Entries from April 1, 2011 - April 30, 2011


April 30, 2011

Okay, usually I do the midnight movie thing on Fridays, but I’m busy with my parents in town and don’t have time to do it tonight, so I thought I’d just take pictures on my walk to their hotel today in midtown. One of the things I love about New York is just walking around and looking at all the sights, signs and people. So here we go.

And here we go, straight up 6th Avenue to midtown.

This guy's a regular in the neighborhood. He dresses up in newspaper and asks for money. I gave him two bucks and took this picture.

I like the back of this woman's head. I've been following her for three blocks now.

Okay, I'm officially in love with the back of her head. The back of her head is the Jodie Foster to my inner Travis Bickle. All of a sudden I feel like shooting a pimp and getting a mohawk. You talkin' to me?

Sadly she just turned the corner and now I'm stuck looking at this truck. Sob!


How true! Cocaine and mescaline immediately come to mind.

The Walking Man.

No food, no drink, no pet...I ain't got no cigarettes!

I wonder how much things cost in this store?

Cheap Trick Nail Alert!

Smell the glove.

What a bold-faced lie!

Elvis on 43rd Street.

A texting woman in Starbucks. Sad.

For my Brazilian friends, I salute you!



Okay, this concludes our NYC walking tour. I'm almost to my parent's hotel. I hope you enjoyed it.

Obligatory goofy hotel elevator mirror shot! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow, after dark.

Further reading: Big Onion, Walking Tours Manhattan, Uncle Sam’s New York and Walking Man.

You might also like: Frisky Business, Risky Business and Risk.

Four Foot

I didn’t know just what to do,
So I whispered, “I love you.”



April 29, 2011

Okay, I’m going out a bit early tonight. My Mom and Dad are in town and we’re going out to eat, so I’ll take a few pictures on the way and in their hotel room and then I’m going to write a story about their reaction to when I told them I was going to move to New York when I get back home. So there!

I really hate the daytime and these fucking slow-walkers that fan all over the sidewalk. Bah!

Jeremiah Moss flashback moment!

Okay, I'm here at their hotel room. I've scrambled the number so no internet stalkers will bother them.


My Mom and Dad in their hotel room.

They had a bookshelf and books in their room, which I had never seen in a hotel room before and was amazed by it.

Hey, look at this one, "The Runaway"...could it be...

Yes! Joan Jett! What a magical evening!

This picture of this jockey kind of creeped me out. I took a picture of him and vowed never to look at it again.


And look, through the magic of the internet, we're already at the Chinese restaurant!

Cheers! From us to you!

I kept telling my mom to order the Chicken with Three Different Nuts. It totally went over her head and she kept asking why I was telling her to order that dish. I'm easily amused.

The chopsticks here are high-grade plastic and made me think of a swizzle stick.

So I stole one of them. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow, after dark.

My Mom and Dad’s Reaction To Me Moving to New York
Back in April of 1993, I decided to move to New York. I was going to cash in my pension plan from my job I had worked at for 13 years. I had no job or job offers and knew about five people in New York. You have to realize that if you grow up in Peoria, work a decent job for 13 years and then decide out of the blue to quit it, cash in your retirement fund and move to New York with no friends or job offers pending it’s pretty much the same as saying to someone, “You know, I think I’ll build a spaceship and try and fly it to Mars.” So I was a little concerned as to what my parents reaction would be, when I told them what my plans for the future were.

I remember taking the night off from work and going to their house for dinner. I don’t remember what we had, but I remember being nervous about telling them what I wanted to do. I do remember my mom saying, “You’re quiet tonight, is everything alright?”

I can be a real motormouth, so when my gums aren’t flapping something is usually up and my mom can read me like a book. So I decided to spill my guts and I told them I was quitting my job, yanking my pension fund, planned on selling everything I owned and move to New York by the summertime. I wanted to move in the summertime because “Summer in the City” is one of my favorite Lovin’ Spoonful songs. I do things for reasons sometimes I don’t even get, but Zal Yanovsky has always been an inspiriation to me and he totally kicks ass in this song.

So told them and there was a moment of silence and then I don’t exactly remember who said what, but basically what they told me was this: “If you don’t do this now, you may always regret it. If things don’t work out you can always move back here and live in the basement and start all over.”

How great is that?

In the movie, “The Last Waltz,” Levon Helm describes coming to New York for the first time and he said, “You come to New York and get your butt kicked. Then you go home, heal up and come out and try it again and eventually you fall in love with the city.”

New York City can kick your ass. And believe me, New York City has kicked me in the ass more than once. But when it does, I just pick myself up, wipe the dust off my jeans and move the fuck on. Knowing I’ve got a room waiting for me in Peoria in case I get knocked out for good has helped me fight the good fight out here. Thanks Mom and Dad.

My parents are great people.

Further reading: Wikipedia, The Basement and Wikipedia.

You might also like: Merv Griffin, Griffin Dunne and Griffin Nightclub.

Five Son of’s...
Son of Sam
Son of Dad
Son of a Gun
Son of a Preacher Man
Son of a Bitch (Scroll down to the picture of the grafitti that says: Gruber MacDougal EATS SHIT!)

I feel I gotta get away.



Bonus Linkage!
Here’s more photos from the legendary Easter Sunday at Mars Bar, via the Villager and Ace Photographer, Jefferson Siegel. Check it out: Mars Bar in the Villager.


Bonus Swizzle Stick!

Jaws sent in his perfect gin and tonic including his very own swizzle stick. Cheers to you, Jaws!



April 28, 2011

When you live here in New York, you don’t do a lot of the stuff that people who visit here do. For instance, unless I have a specific reason to go there, I avoid Times Square like the plague. I’ve written about how I don’t like the bright, shiny, family-friendly area that it’s turned into and I just don’t like to be there. But, some of the stuff there may not be so bad after all, how would I know? I’ve never really checked most of the new stuff out there. I’ve decided here at MAD that every once in a while, I’ll do something called: “Tourist Trap OR A Place That’s Actually Worth Checking Out.”

Tonight I thought we’d visit Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditiorium deep in the heart of Times Square. I wanted to make sure they were open late, so I went to their website and went to find their answers on their FAQ page of their website.
But...believe it or not, that question wasn’t asked. So I tried calling and...believe it or not, I accidentally called the fax number and got my fucking eardrum blown out. Finally I found out that...believe it or not, they’re open till one in the morning!

And so, let’s find out if Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditiorium is a: Tourist Trap OR A Place That’s Actually Worth Checking Out.

This place is within walking distance from work. Straight up 7th avenue to 42nd street.

Someone alert the fire department, terrorist's have set Lady Gaga's tits on fire! Run and hide!

Okay, here we are at 42nd street, we'll hang a left...

And run into a giant McDonald's sign.

Yeah, save up a lot of dough for a trip to New York and then eat in McDonalds. Warning though: They don't have the McRib in here.

And, believe it or not, here we are.

I like this sign, maybe this place will be cool.

I rarely do as they've led me down so many empty rabbit holes through the years. Okay, let's check this place out!

Wow, they've got Joey Ramone's right tennis shoe on display in here. I don't believe it!

Holy cow! A big stuffed cow! I don't believe the stuff in here! They should rename this place, "Crazyville!"

Wow! A big metal hand! And I can touch it! Excuse me, Ripley's people...I don't believe this! It's pure insanity!

Holy smokes, a picture of a guy with a big cigar...UNBELIEVABLE!

Look at this unbelievable fat woman who probably hasn't washed her private parts for decades. I bet she doesn't smell very well at all. This is all just too hard to believe!

it's a statue of a giant horse! Ripley's, stop toying with my sense of believability! Because, quite frankly, I don't believe any of this!

Holy shitballs, a flying crocodile! Do you believe this shit? Because I truly don't!

Am I really looking at this crazy elephant or is my mind just totally blown? I don't know what to believe anymore after all of this!

Wow, look at this crazy cylindrical device. Okay, I'm screaming. "Uncle" and getting out of here! You got me Ripley's! I can't believe this place even exists!

And the craziest thing of all, I spent close to thirty bucks to look at that shit...I don't believe it! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

The Verdict

Tourist Trap OR A Place That’s Actually Worth Checking Out?


I thought that everytime I go on one of these tourist expeditions I'd buy a souvenir from the gift shop. Tonight I got this little glass. I figured it would probably cost around $9.99. I was shocked when I found out it was only $4.99. I couldn't believe it!

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditiorium
234 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Ave.)

Further reading: Ripoff Report, Wikipedia, Grunnen Rocks and Cher.

You might also like: Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod.

Four Famous Lies
I am not a crook!
I did not have sexual relations with that woman!
Read my lips, no new taxes.
I’m married to Morgan Fairchild.

I don’t know how to write a big hit song,
And the crossword puzzles well I just shun.



Bonus Photo!

Gene Rubbico from the BBC shot this photo when he and Smoopy visited here a couple of weeks ago. It's the Flatiron Building and it's one of my favorite buildings in New York. I've never been able to get a decent shot of it, but Gene took this beautiful photo. Thanks for sharing it, Gene! See you in May!


April 27, 2011

First off, you should go check Goggla’s blog post about the Mars Bar last Sunday. She has some great photos from the day. Check it out here: The Gog Log. And check out her flickr page for more fabulous photos from Goggla.

Last week, after being inspired by a post at Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, I went out in search of the ever-elusive, glass swizzle stick. I ended up with a plastic one, but it kind of struck a spark in people. Karen McBurnie from Grade “A” Fancy sent in photos from her collection of swizzle sticks and Jaws and Jason both donated glass swizzle sticks to the MAD collection I’ve started. And there are pending swizzle sticks on the way from “Boris” and the fine blog, One More Folded Sunset.

I’ve decided that every Tuesday will be “Swizzle Stick Swag Night” here at MAD. Basically, I’ll go to a bar and see if I get a swizzle stick in my drink and what other goodies are there like matchboxes, etc. I’m always going to order the same drink—double gin and tonic in a tall glass, which should be accompanied by a swizzle stick in my humble opinion. And, not to be barking up Lyndon Johnson’s barbecue-soaked asshole, but I do feel like my opinion carries a little weight. I did go to 365 bars in a row last year, after all. Harumph.
I thought that for the very first official, Swizzle Stick Swag Night, I’d pick a bit of a ringer. One of the more high end bars I visited last year on my bar crawl was the Brandy Library. It’s really upscale, but at least on the night I went there, it was friendly and attitude free. I didn’t get a swizzle stick then, but I had a beer and two short drinks, not drinks you’d associate as being swizzle stick-friendly. Let’s go order the double gin and tonic and get rolling on the first of what will be many Swizzle Stick Swag Night. I’m so excited!

Deja view, here we are at Penn Station again.

For once I had a nice escalator ride down free from the dreaded escalator walkers. Nice!

Okay, one minute till train-time!

And 59 seconds later, here's the train! Everything's working out nicely tonight. I love it when that happens.

And through the magic of the internet, you're spared the subway ride and me getting lost for about twenty minutes in Tribeca. It's confusing down here. But here we are, the Brandy Library. Swizzle me dizzle!

Some of the top shelf liquor available at this fine drinking establishment.

Ah, nice and dark in here, definitely an Al bar!

And check it out, the "Librarian" on duty was none other than, Josimar, who mixed drinks for me last year on the bar crawl. It was good to see him again.

I ordered the double gin and tonic and he set about mixing it up. First the ice...

Josimar suggested this gin, which is served exclusively at the Brandy Library.

Tonic and a lemon wedge are added...but where's the swizzle stick?

Houston...we have Swizzle Stick! And it's a nice one. It's not glass, but it is sturdy plastic emblazoned with a gold brandy snifter at the top. Very nice!

Here's some of the top shelf liquor on top of the bar.

Here's Shawn Rhynehart who's the manager of the Brandy Library. Shawn started out in this industry at age 15 and has done everything from washing dishes to bartending to now managing this high end saloon. He's hoping to open his own place within a year or two. Best of luck to you, Shawn, I hope when you do open your establishment it's in Manhattan!

Swizzle Stick Rating
The Brandy Library is an upscale institution in Tribeca that is an attitude free zone. The bartenders/librarians are more than happy to suggest drinks from the massive list and even if you’re a newbie to the high class cocktail world, they are happy to serve you and answer any questions.
Their swizzle stick isn’t glass (will that ever be found in my travels, only time will tell and as usual, time ain’t talking) but it is sturdy plastic and a nice shade of brown. A brandy snifter emblazoned in gold leaf shines at the top of the cirlcled swizzle stick. A nice addition to the MAD collection. Plus I took a cocktail napkin which had their logo on it. I couldn’t find a pen to steal. Maybe next week.
Brandy Library
25 N. Moore St. (@Varick St.)

Further reading: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, New York magazine, NY Times and Shecky’s.

You might also like: Pete Best, Peat Moss and Kate Moss.

Three Types of Brandy and the Sea
Chandon's Brandy
Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)
But my life, my lover, my lady...is the sea.

Pirate skulls and bones,
Sticks and stones and weed and bombs.



Bonus Swizzle Sticks!
Karen McBurnie from Grade “A” Fancy sent in these photos of more swizzle sticks from her prized collection. The first two have paper rolled inside of the glass and the third is a Friars swizzle stick. How cool! Thanks, Karen!

Bonus Movie!
And speaking of Grade “A” Fancy, the other half of that publishing team, Jon Hammer made this genius movie starring my recently acquired Gumby bag versus my arch-enemy, cardboard box man. It’s a chilling and high stressed film, so don’t say I didn’t warn you, it’s not for the weak-hearted! Thanks for making this, Jon! Too cool!


April 26, 2011

Okay, I’m really hungover tired tonight and so I’m skipping the Papaya Wars for a week (that applause you hear is coming from Miami...who could it be?) and I’m just going to do a random quickity blickity blog tonight. I’ve decided to go to Penn Station again. I know I went there last week, but it’s always full of people and a good majority of the shops and stores are open all night long. So it’s a good place to get some decent shots and then get home and try out my new keyboard. If the blog is blank tomorrow, you’ll know it didn’t work.

Easter Sunday at Mars Bar: Priceless.

New keyboard and mouse after drunkenly spilling a 16 ounce beer all over them after you got home: $106.

Here we are, Penn Station.

And here's some asshole that just pushed by me to walk down the escalator...

Because apparently there was just no room for him on the stairs. Asshole!

Wow, it's kind of empty in here. Is everyone on spring break?

Let's see what's happening at Duane Reade.

What a difference a week makes. Stock up for next year. Let's go see if the cards section have cleaned up their act.

Lyndon Johnson humor? What, are in 1965 or what?

Now that's just wrong! Let's get out of here!

Too bad this is closed, I'm wondering if they have Curly fries in here.

Well, well, well...look what I stumbled upon.

They've got beer in here!

Hair of the dog, Lloyd!

And speaking of dogs...well it is Monday night after all. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

And now, a short film: Click here to go to film.

Further reading: Amtrak, Wikipedia, NYC.com and Cafe Press.

You might also like: Sean Penn, Penn and Teller and Pens.

Four Hangover Cures

My makeup is dry and it cracks round the chin,
I’m drowning my sorrows in whiskey and gin.



Bonus Photo!

Ace photographer Jefferson Siegel sent in this photo from the Mars Bar festivities on Sunday. About 14 beers later and my keyboard would be history. Great to meet you Jeff and thanks for sending in the photo!


April 25, 2011

Okay, it’s Michael O’Keefe’s birthday and it’s Easter Sunday. That can mean only one thing...MARS BAR!

Last year I bought pizza for everyone at the Mars Bar, but this year, they're having a BBQ, so I thought I'd bring dessert. I spent all night Saturday decorating this special Jesus Easter cake for the event. And it is special, isn't it? Okay, the rest of the pictures are going to be caption-less, because as Rod the Mod once sang: "Every picture tells a story, don't it?" And there's a million stories inside the Mars Bar. And I don't have time to type them. Especially since I came home drunk out of my mind and spilled beer all over my keyboard and now my computer doesn't work. I came in to work early to post this (I'm off the clock for any of my bosses reading this.) I don't feel too well right now, but yesterday was a ton of fun! Here's a little glimpse of the festivities. But you really had to be there and I'm sorry if you weren't. I think I had a really good time.

The Mars Bar
Another epic Easter at the Mars Bar. People always ask me what was my favorite night on the 365 Bar Crawl and I never hesitate when I say it was last Easter at the Mars Bar. I always have so much fun there. I don’t go that often because I’m always nervous that for some reason it won’t be as much fun as the last time, but it always is. I think it’s because everyone lets their guard down in there. It’s one of the true non-judgmental zones I’ve ever been in.

What a night. It was great to see Terry, Hamlet, Lisa, Goggla, Ed, Eric, Bob, Bob’s two friends, the guy with the white beard, the giant Easter bunny and the guy who had a trash bag on and was kind of dressed like an alien and everybody else who was in there. I’d like to try and describe the feeling, but you had to be there. I will tell you that when I heard “Good Vibrations” coming out of their classic jukebox and everybody was laughing, drinking and shoving things into the Jesus Easter cake, it felt like one of the best times of my life. Another Epic Easter at the Mars Bar. Where will we be next year at this time? Only time will tell and hopefully time will be on our side. I hope to see everyone again. Mucho love to the Mars Bar and all that inhabit it. Happy birthday Michael O’Keefe!
Long ago it must be, I have a photograph,
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you.

—Paul Simon

The Mars Bar
25 E. 1st St. (@Second Ave.)

Further reading: EV Grieve, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Nadie Se Conoce, The Gog Log and Village Voice.

You might also like: Rubber Bands, Band on the Run and The Band.

Six People Born on April 24th
Michael O’Keefe
Jim Capaldi
Shirley MacLaine
Eric Bogosian
JIll Ireland
Cedric The Entertainer


Running: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday,
Saturday Sunday,
What have I done?



April 24, 2011

Live, from New York it’s Cheeseburger Saturday Night. Starring my apartment with a special appearance from the Food Emporium in Union Square and featuring the Ready for Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. And now, please welcome, my apartment!

I thought I'd stay home tonight and make a cheeseburger from home. Tomorrow's a big day at the Mars Bar, so I decided to stay home. But we have to go get ingredients so it's off to the Food Emporium we go. And now...Fruit! From the Farmer's Market on 14th Street.

Regular tomatoes are $1.99. I wonder how much the irregular ones are? They usually taste better.

Holy shitballs, they're selling computers here for 99 cents! I wonder how much the iPickle is going for?

Union Square Park is a little lively as it's finally starting to warm up a little.

And here we are at the Food Emporium to get our ingredients for tonight's homemade cheeseburger.


Check this out.

It's a scale for customers to use.

So you have to climb up on this thing to weigh yourself? And you'd fall right over yourself trying to read the results. This thing is a lawsuit waiting to happen!

Okay, all the ingredients are in place, back to my apartment to make tonight's Saturday Night Cheeseburger.

And here's the ingredients for tonight's cheeseburger meal. From left, red chili popcorn, ground sirloin, Jerk Sauce (yes, I bought it just so I could type in the words, "Jerk Sauce"), A.1. Sauce and in the front a Kaiser roll and WisPride Sharp Cheddar cheese spread. Everything one could want for a cheeseburger meal.

And the background music is my favorite Rolling Stones album, "Beggars Banquet." I added a little graffiti, see if you can find it.

Here's the burger seasoned with pepper, hot curry powder and a liberal dose of mustard powder.

I made a marinade of the A.1. Sauce, Jerk Sauce (Jerk Sauce!) and a dollop of Italian dressing. We'll let that sit in the fridge for about a half an hour and have a beer or three.

Okay, a half an hour and four beers (burp) later, here's the burger cooking in my electric skillet.

I applied a couple of mountains of the WisPride cheese spread and covered to let it melt.

And here it is in all its melted glory. Holy smokes, its grown cheese tits!

I cut the Kaiser roll in half and spread cheese on them put them in the toaster oven. Okay, time to put this all together.

And here it is, in all its cheesey glory, tonight's cheeseburger.

And here's the entire meal, plated with the red chili popcorn.

A great burger, if I do say so myself and I just did, so there! And what did I watch while eating this feast?

Fugitive Girls! It came in the mail today, look for it next Friday night. Goodnight and see you all tomorrow after dark.

My Meal
This is the best cheeseburger I have ever made and it was inspired by the cheeseburger I had at Whitman’s. Mine wasn’t quite as good, so Whitman’s is still the one to beat. The popcorn went well with the burger and there is no finer movie to watch while eating a cheeseburger, some popcorn and a beer than Fugitive Girls!

Cheeseburger Rating: Three Wimpy’s

Further reading: Food in Mouth, cooks.com, Cheese-Burger.net and Homemade Vs. McDonalds.

You might also like: Fuzzy Vodka, Fuzzy Duffy Bags and Fuzzy’s Taco.

Five Cheese Jesus’s
Cheese Jesus on Uncyclepedia
Grilled Cheese Jesus
Three Cheese Jesus Pizza
Cheese Toast Jesus
Cheeto Jesus

We ain’t got no friends,
Our troubles never end,
No business cards to send,
Daddy likes men.



Bonus Photos!

We've been on a swizzle stick kick here, inspired by a post at Jeremiah's Vanishing New York a few days ago. Yesterday, Grade "A" Karen sent in some photos of some swizzle sticks from the collection she and Jon have over at the Grade "A" Fancy publishing and cocktail compound. Check these out!


April 23, 2011

A few posts ago the Mad list was comprised of legendary filmmaker Ed Wood films. While Googling around I found one I had never heard of called, “Fugitive Girls” (he wrote it and had two brief parts in it, as Pops and a Sheriff.) It looked great! And Jaws commented that he had a copy. So I went to Amazon (yeah, I know, I should’ve tried to buy it locally after all my preaching, but I was in a hurry) and found it on DVD. As I was leaving for work, the package was on the landing in my apartment building, just in the nick of time. It was a real Bonnie Raitt moment. I really felt like dying my hair red and then marrying and divorcing Michael O'Keefe (who's birthday is coming up and flea markets in NYC are closing in honor of it.) But I had to get to work, so I left the package on the landing. Let’s go get it and then it’s: Lights, Camera...Wood!

Okay, this is my block, almost home.

And here's the box on the landing, almost movie time! Let's take it upstairs and open it up.

Wow, this thing is really packed solid!

This doesn't look like a DVD, what is this?

It's the glass swizzle sticks that Jaws sent me! Thank you so much, Jaws! They are really cool and boy do I feel guilty as I haven't sent him the John Lennon drawing he won here the other week. I'll put it in the mail today Jaws, and thanks again!

The least I could do is to put up a link for Jaws' fine book, "Two Fisted Cab Driving Tales." It's a great read and I have a copy and so should you. You can order it here: Two Fisted Cab Driving Tales.

And check out Jaws' online store right here: Jaws the Cabbie Store.

I'm going to start collecting swizzle sticks. Here's the collection so far: The glass ones on the left are from MAD commenter Jason Hwang (I traded a skull shotglass for them), the the Jaws set and last and least the shitty one from Sir Harry's. I should've saved the Blarney Cove straw, but I wasn't thinking. And now, since I thought Fugitive Girls was waiting for us, I don't have a movie for tonight. Well, let's just watch some trailers from YouTube and call it a night.

Here's the trailer for Fugitive Girls, which I'm sure we'll watch next week. “Betrayed by her lover; Pimpkiller; Dope Smuggler; Bank Embezzler; Lesbian—Leader of the pack!”

I love the smell of napalm in the morning...

Do you know what it takes to sell real estate?

My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.


It just doesn't matter!

He's very clean.

Further reading: Killed by Dreck, amc film critic, Avax and The Deuce.

You might also like: Clown Handkerchiefs, Lollipop Tits and Strawberry Socks.

Five Fugitives
Abbie Hoffman
I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang
Robert Vesco
Frank Abagnale Jr.
The Fugitive

Mr. Congressman,
You can’t understand.