Category Archives: nyc

For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn

Police are trying to track down the psycho parents of a toddler who was ABANDONED in a stroller on an UES sidewalk after a fight. The only shred of evidence is a receipt for baby shoes (from H&M), never worn, which has since led to the arrest of the baby’s father for reckless endangerment of a child. Bet Hemingway never thought about that.

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

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Daily Oddities, Immigration, nyc, Russia

Life’s a 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….

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Filed under Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Daily Oddities, Los Angeles, nyc

I have Google Voice

And it’s the coolest thing in the world.  Dr. T and I got the inside skinny about pre-invites (to the nerdiest party in the world), signed up, and then, this Friday, it happened: the launch of the most exciting app since GMAIL–Google Voice.

In the non-geek media world, most people’s first reaction to Google Voice was exactly the same as their first reaction to Gmail or Google Docs (*actually, it’s still most people’s reaction to Google Docs, but more on that in a minute*) …wow, that sure sounds cool, but I’ve already got a cell phone/iPhone/Blackberry/office-line. In an era when we’re all biologically invloved with our communication devices, being able to receive all your calls in the same place with digital tracking might sound redundant/horrible. The market for cheap international calls is still largely the domain of Skype, and digitized calling-cards make Google Credits even more dubious as business propositions go. Fortunately, we’re already perverting the system. As always, the coolest thing about a new Google app isn’t what it’s programmed to do, but what users actually do with it.

If you’re like us (young, over-educated and underemployed) you’re probably living on the fringes of the legitimate world, always scraping together another scheme. Dr. T is starting a business, and I’m constantly freelancing. Unfortunately, out area-codes don’t always match our ambitions. Think nobody’s reading into your prefix? Well, they are.  Case in point: ever tried to work in New York City with a California (###)? Even sources wrinkle their noses at some out-of-city digits. And editors? Fuggetabout it.

But selling stories is small potatos compared to seeking $M’s worth of funding for a clean-energy startup. Selling Silicon Valley with San Fernando Valley extension? Callers immediately know it’s a cell, and worse, they know you’re too young or too broke to have a local number.  Or at least, they used to know it.

Google Voice doesn’t just allow you to manage your analog conversations in a digital format. It also lets you chose your number (or at least, your area-c0de), sort of like a telephonic pseudonym. Do a lot of business in Atlanta?  Sign up in time and you can receive calls (and dial out with your smart phone) from a 404. Not only are you more accessible to persnickety public organs, like schools and others notoriously adverse to dialing out, you’ve got the pale of legitimacy to new local contacts. For the Dr. and I, our (###) always belied how long we had lived in a particular place and how much we really knew about it. I’m stoked to see where other creative types take the newest app in the Google family, even as the tide of approval may be turning for the company.

Now if only I could figure out how to save old txts to my computer…

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Filed under California, Daily Oddities, nyc

Sergei Dovlatov, and why you should care

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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:

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Brighton Beach, it's a small world, nyc, Russia

Fat and Dumb in the BIG Apple

New Best Reason to be an Anorexic=IQ Points.

A major setback for the size-acceptance ‘obesity-isn’t-a-disease-its-a-lifestyle’ set. Size-ism may be unfair, but it might not be so unfounded, a new study finds.
The New York Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene today announced that overweight and obese children routinely perform worse on a academic tests than their leaner counterparts. They also let slip that 40% of NYC’s school children are porky. In fact, they’re about 4% more likely to be obese than other kids around the country. Bullies everywhere cleared their social calendars and booked a ticket to the BIG Apple. Fucking…maybe that’s why we’re so behind in the global brain race.

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Wal-Mart–Still Evil? You Decide

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It’s been about a week since we all stopped to take a second look at Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart, watchword for American imperialist evil for decades, villain of countless books, documentaries and feature stories, silent shadowy hand of evil in so many more (think about it: where did Michael Moore buy bullets in Bowling for Columbine?), suddenly an outspoken and vehement  supporter of health care reform. Huh? (In other total oddities, they now sell Kosher meat, under OU supervision.)

If for some reason you missed this, the super-mega discount chain/evil empire/redneck Mecca took a break from screwing wage workers and quashing unions to become the Goliath hero of socialized medicine. Awesome? Or just a red herring for more dastardly business?

Probably both. With the recession giving it a boost , Wal-Mart can afford to shoulder a cause unpopular with its base (socialism) because, well, it’s time. After all, Wal-Mart knows better than anyone, recessions don’t last forever. A surge of good press won’t do a lot now, when people don’t really have a choice. But a strong stand on a serious liberal issue could help them in the long run.  Seriously, have you ever been inside a Wal-Mart? If you live in one of the densely populated, liberal urban centers like New York City or the SF Bay Area, chances are probably not. That’s because they’ve been zoned into places like Richmond, CA and Long Island, where you’re not about to shop if you live on Manhattan or the Peninsula. Wal-Mart busted into Amristar before it made it to the Big Apple. We’ll keep you posted on the Smiley Face’s progress in India–and

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, India, nyc