Category Archives: Brighton Beach
Even though it’s anything-but-beach weather in the Sunset, I’ve decided we’re taking a slight detour through some beach related news today, so hang onto your Lotto visers boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
It’s been a big week for Coney Island. As the beachfront neighborhood wears down it’s third last summer in a row, the New York City Council may finally make a flipping decision about the Future of Coney Island©. After truely endless bickering in the autitorium at Coney Island Hospital (Avenue Z, holla back), the City Council rubber stamped Bloomburg’s unpopular rezoning plan for the famed (and decrepit, and even sadder than last season) urban playground. Joe Sitt and the strange bedfellows of Save Coney Island still aren’t happy, so the July 29th vote should be pretty interesting.
In other beach related news, LA is expecting record heat and hunormous waves, meaning you probably won’t be allowed in the water even though the beaches will all be super crowded. Also, in super weird beach news, my ex-boss just crossed over to the dark side. According to LA Observed, Phillip Sanfield, former EIC of a newspaper that covers Los Angeles from LAX to the LA Harbor is leaving to flack for….the LA HARBOR. Leaving journalism for PR is sort of out there enough, but leaving to spin for your ex-nemisis? I guess he’s well qualified….
It’s been a little while since I felt the compulsive need to write/talk/read about Sergei Dovlatov, the unsung Soviet storyteller whose raw wit and uncomfortable humor trancends national borders, economic philosophies, and continents, even if it never trancended Russian. He is also my favorite author, and the subject of this week’s New Yorker Fiction Podcast.
Dovlatov was at once the ultimate starving artist and the ultimate sell-out hack. He was as reluctant a Soviet as he was an American, and yet he excelled at both. Though he died of liver cirrosis (which, if you’ve read any of his fiction, is painfully ironic) at 48, he was exceptionally prolific. Yet, much deserved notoriety has evaded him, in death as in life. Perhaps because he died at precisely the same historical moment as the Soviet Union, a period in which our interest in our great Cold War nemisis suddenly evaporated into thin air. Perhaps it’s because so little of his work is translated, although that’s a rather specious arguement. In any case, Dovlatov is one of only a few writers you’re more likely to find at your local library than at your local bookstore. Go check him out. Vidoes are in Russian.
Dovlatov on being a writer:
There’s a lot to talk about in the World today, so lets jump right into it. You know about Tehran and you know about Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech, so we’re skipping that and getting straight down into the stuff you didn’t hear.
More than a billion people go hungry, says the World Food Program. That’s about as many people who will contract malaria this year, a statistic that’s broken down masterfully by the country in a multi-part feature for the Global Post. Check out India. As long as we’re chatting about weird statistics, who knew that traffic was hazardous to your health? Well, ok, everybody, but who had a study to scientifically prove it’s hazardous to your health? The World Health Organization, that’s WHO. (hahahaha). Finally, a UN commissioned study with empirical evidence that climate change is effecting human migration. Which, if you’ve never heard of Tuvalu, might be news.
In other global news, the Cuban Five, whose pictures were emblazoned across whitewashed walls of local groceries and in the posh lobbies of upscale hotels when I visited Cuba in 2003-04 will not have another day in court, after what is at least five years (one for each of them!) of trying. The five stand accused of spying for Havana.
On the opposite side of the earth (and also in Brooklyn) the Guardian has a retrospective of female suicide bombers, more coverage of the refugees post-Tiger surrender and The New York Times has 4 Brooklynites (none of them M.I.A.) arrested and convicted of sponsoring the Tamil Tigers to the tune of millions. From Flushing or Staten Island, we might have expected…but this!
Some interesting stuff out of Russia: Global Post notices absurdly ostentatious oligarches reining it back. John Vinocur at the Times has some advice for Obama in Moscow next month. In sum: your shit will not work with the Russians, Mr. Smiley Pants President.
Finally, China still defies explanation, US Asians hate girls and Al Gore is once again the butt of a hilarious joke. (Guest Apperance by Rahm Emanuel. Continue reading
We’re starting this round of Daily Oddities with something everybody wants–a job! Today’s odd job listings include counting bees in New York City and catelouging controlled substances for the NYPD. Awesome much?
Now that you’re gainfully employed, lets take a quick gander around the globe.
GLOBE: Things are getting ridiculous in Russia, where the racing collapse of the post-Soviet economy (again) is producing the largest anti-Putin uprising ever, as even Russians admit Medvyedev has nothing to do with it. In other news, is this the fattest crime reporter you’ve ever seen? Is Moscow the best place ever to major in police blotter?
In India, small time farmers may soon be eligible for micro-insurance policies protecting against climate change. After much whining in at the UN, Sri Lanka has some revised numbers of this year’s war dead (cue streamers). It’s a lite news week for Mexico, where only one horrific, deadly event seems to be capturing headlines. Finally, even more weirdness emerges on the Cuba front: today, we learn that a US couple in their 70s has been spying on the US for Havana for the past several decades, before they were duped by American intelligence with Cuban cigars. Really? Continue reading
From time to time, when I am writing, I have this thought—which I occasionally post on FB:
“sometimes i sit down and i write some shit and i think, holy mother of G-d i am a sick, terrible person. at least i’m thin”
Usually in those exact words . Anyone who knows me knows that i write a lot (despite not having posted here in about a week—srry!), both for a living/school and in my free time. It’s like that quote from Karn’s piece about cigarette smoking in NYC—”I won’t be able to quit. It comes from inside me”
I’ve gotta tell you, the shit i write for work is bad enough (Tamil Tigers, stabbings, rape/murder and a measles epidemic, and that’s just this week), but in spite of or because of this, the shit i write after work is even worse. Sometimes I read through what I’ve written for the night and then i think, motherfucker, i need some valium or a quarter of a xanax or something. Because of course I’m really not writing about these things—I’m writing about a doomed love affair and a laundromat chain and some IED taxi cabs—and yet they come out of me. Which is why if the Kindle ever generates a tag-cloud for fiction, I’ll have to throw myself from the Verrazano Bridge.
You may have seen this weird, yet weirdly cute image on Gawker and wondered, Hey Russia, WTF. If you are sitting in your cubicle wondering, are Russians racist against black people, you can stop holding your breath. The answer is yes. And yes. And yes. Whether or not this advertisement is an expression of angry racism or a misguided (but strangely cute) nutty Russian capitalist trick (notice how the flag in the background is just the Russian flag twice over) strained through the filter of Japanese cute culture remains to be seen. Stay tuned.