Category Archives: Brooklyn

Must See: Don’t-Stop-Non-Stop Gogol Bordello

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Daily Oddities, July 23rd, 2009

We’ve got lots to talk about today, so lets get right down to the real serious stuff.

Globe: Things still really suck for EU little cousins Bulgaria and Romania, where infighting, corruption and graft are making it difficult to get anything done. Vote-buying, which we’ve mentioned before, is easy when your political power is less valuable (and less real) than a few kilos of sugar. Someone finally explains the decriminalization of homosexuality in India, which was confusing us, and scientists learn that chimps really had AIDS all along.  Chief Rabbis have threatened to un-kosher certain veggies for overspraying, and the first trials of a new swineflu vaccine are underway in the land down under!

California: As we repored earlier, it’s going to be a hot motherfucker in the Southland this weekend. Which apparently won’t stop people from lining up around the corner for social services from the Mexican Consulate (brought to you by the department of obvious feature stories).

If you want social services in Brooklyn: Brokelyn’s got a special report on all the places you can recieve medical care if you haven’t got a pesky little thing called insurance. Which could come in handy if you happen to run into one of the CRAZY RABID RACOONS terrorizing the boroughs or if you happen to be part of the half of New York City that is overweight.

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Cheating, made simple

GOOD magazine has an article about the new market for lying, cheating and otherwise behaving badly without getting caught at it. For a pretty penny, you can get fake receipts, Phony ATM records, falsified alibis and corrupted word files (ones that look like that assignment you were supposed to finish by midnight, but can’t be opened by your boss or prof). But they forgot the most important (and possibly the sleaziest) class of Internet cheat sites–the ones made for actually CHEATING. A big favorite is Shaindy.com, a website catering exclusively to Orthodox Jewish couples who want to cheat on each other with other Orthodox Jewish couples. Chicks with names like FlatbushHottie and Frummie might not get your blood boiling (unless you live in Brooklyn). Beats ChabadMatch any day.  Nice Try, GOOD. Better luck tomorrow.

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Daily Oddities: July 17, 2009

Os Gemeos

Recognize this? It's the unfinished mural by Os Gemeos, whose work adorns the facade across from the Stillwell Avenue Subway in Coney Island

It’s another day in the neighborhood, and Oddities are all around us. In fact, I’d say it’s a banner week for weird.

Brooklyn:

Despite preliminary approval for the city’s first Wal-Mart, Brooklynites are still fighting the man, while the Man uncovers coaching documents for Chinese immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. Classic Man-hating gutter punks (so familiar to any resident of the Bay Area) have infultrated Williamsburg, an underground climbing gym in Greenpoint closes after the Local writes them up, then eliminates the post, and Animals also had a banner week of weird: Jerry Stiller will never again visit Sea World after watching a film that depicts the terror of trained dolphins, the Brooklyn girl who baked a kitten (whose name is the same as my mom’s kitten) tells off animal activists and Sad Panda, the poster child of weird,  is Missing!!! In non-weird or animal related news, Brokelyn has your best bets for book-swapping in the borough. Plaza de Armas it ain’t, but worth a look for bibliophiles.

Globe:

FailedMessiah has a map of Orthodox riots in Israel and child-star Rubina Ali thinks Nicole Kidman is “weird” because she’s “afraid of the sun” and doesn’t come out of her trailer.

More to come…

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Your Intifada was Made in China: Commodity Fetishism Killing Palestine

A version of this is up at Mother Jones, but this one is too hard for the homepage.

annefrankkeffiyeh

Oh the keffiyeh. How long have I waited, in vain, for you to die? Before it was the emblem of the hipster generation, the keffiyeh (spelled many ways but worn only one) was the preferred and only headdress for PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and the symbol of Palestinian nationalism. What fatigues were to Fidel, the oragamied scarf was to Arafat.

Thanks to an late aughts explosion of popuarity, the symbol of intifada is now second only to the Che t-shirt for its global ubiquity and collegiate rebel chic. Today, you can buy this fashion juggernaut from half of all street vendors on Earth for a cool five bucks. There are in existance people who are “too cool” for the keffiyeh, but in all my wanderings through Williamsburg, the Mission and Silverlake, I haven’t met them. If Urban Outfitters and Rachel Ray couldn’t kill it, it seemed as though nothing could.

For all of you who were waiting on the “I told you so” moment, here it is.

According to a heart-wrenchingly earnest video by web-magazine Monocle, the global keffiyeh craze  is about to force Mr. Hirbawi, 76, the last keffiyeh factory owner in Palestine, out of business.

That’s because the one you’re wearing (and, increasingly, they ones they’re wearing) are made in China. Ironically, global support for Palestinian-statehood-as-fashion-accessory has put yet another nail in the coffin of the Occupied Territories’ beleaguered economy.

Here’s how it happened: Back in ’87, during the first intifada, intifadniks couldn’t get enough of Mr. Hirbawi’s $25 scarves. Looser export restricitons meant that Israelis could rep them too, and slowly but surely the scarf and its emblematic pattern began appearing in the West. By the time the second intifada rolled around in 2000,  hardcore activists and the super cool already had them. Somewhere between then and now, the keffiyeh reached its tipping point, and hipsters’ insatiable lust for the scarf lured Chinese manufactures into the gig. Being the Chinese, they were able to undercut the Palestinians by an order of magnitide, and out-export them at every turn. Fast forward about a decade, and globalization killed the keffiyeh.

Is it yet another case of globalization ruining the world, or are Chinese keffiyehs just a natural outgrowth of Marx’s commodity fetishism? After all, what can’t be commodified these days?

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Daily Oddities: Monday World Edition

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.

Russia_06_11_09_Elder_Oligarchs

GLOBE:
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

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This Week: Transit Oddities

This week, NY Mag’s Daily Intel wants to know: Would you rather give birth on the R train or the B61 bus? It’s not an idle question. Back to back MTA births last week confirm what we always knew—public transit is the artery of New York life.

Unfortunately, some modes of transit are better than others. Exhibit A: a massive pedicab crash off the Williamsburg Bridge highlights how poorly that summertime industry is run. Exhibit B: World Naked Bikeride…is just nasty.

Finally, while there are ways to keep other people from touching you or jacking your shit in the subway, there’s little you can do to keep total creepsters from looking at you. Ewwww.

Got anymore transit oddities you just must share? Let us know in comments.

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