Entries from June 1, 2011 - June 30, 2011


June 30, 2011

I thought I’d write a short story about a friend of mine tonight. First a few photos on the walk home and then the story.

And here we go down 6th Avenue, the familiar walk home.

Holy shitballs...look at the address and then look at the image below! I think I've found the headquarters for Cardboard Box Man! Aaaaaah!



Life is is a little kooky, you never know how someone you meet will impact your life. I have a friend named Julie and if the two of us never would have meant our lives would be so different today that it’s kind of weird for me to think about.

Back in the summer of 1992 I got a phone call from a woman who told me she had seen my magazine POP and wanted to know if I was looking for contributing writers. She told me her name was Julie and that she had just moved back to Peoria from California where she had lived for years. She had moved back due to some family issues and was looking for local writing gigs. She was pleasant on the phone and we had a nice conversation. During the course of the phone call we made a date to have lunch.

A few days later we were having lunch at a casual restaurant nearby my aparment complex. Julie’s a pretty, petite blonde, energetic, super smart and had a load of good article ideas for POP. I told her I’d love to have her contribute to the magazine. I then had to confess that I didn’t pay writers anything because I was losing money hand over fist on POP due to a severe lack of advertising. But I told her that there would be very little editing to her writing and no creative restraints as far as articles and ideas went. She agreed to write for free so I picked up the bill for lunch and a friendship had begun.

During the lunch I had asked Julie where else she was writing and she told me she had done a couple articles for the Pekin Daily Times. Pekin is a neighboring town to Peoria and they have their own daily paper. She told me the editors there knew who I was and liked my magazine. She said they were nice guys and I should meet them. I got their names from Julie and called and made an appointment to see Kevin Kaufman who was the managing editor.

Kevin was a lean guy who had a nice disposition. He took me to the editor-in-chief, Kent Davy and introduced me. We had a nice meeting and I started pitching them ideas and soon I was writing freelance articles for their newspaper. While I had been editing and publishing my own magazine for two years, I had never been published by anyone else and having articles in the Pekin Daily Times and getting paid for writing really increased my confidence about my writing skills and ability. I felt like I was really a professional writer.

One afternoon before going in to my night job I stopped by the Pekin Daily Times to turn in an article I had written. I also had some issues of POP hot off the presses and gave some to some of the people in the newsroom, including Kent. Kent was flipping through the issue and asked me the following life-changing question: “Have you ever sent one of these to Dick Stolley out in New York?”

I looked at him quizzically and said, “Who the fuck is Dick Stolley?”

“You want to come over here and sit down for a second?” He asked while pointing to a chair next to his desk.

I went over and sat down and looked at Kent. Kent has a shaggy moustache and kind of looks like the actor Bob Balaban. He had a half-cocked smile on his face and was shaking his head at me.

“You know if I had a dunce cap I’d make you wear it and sit in the corner for an hour, for asking, ‘Who’s Dick Stolley?’” He sarcastically told me.

I slumped in my chair and said, “Are you going to tell me who this Stolley guy is or do I have to stay after school and write 100 times, ‘I don’t know who Dick Stolley is.’”

“You do remember Life magazine, right?” Kent asked me.

“Yeah, I remember Life magazine, who doesn’t?” I shot back.

“Well, Dick Stolley was an editor for Life in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s,” Kent told me.

“Okay,” I fired back still puzzled as to why he would be interested in my magazine.

 He continued to question me interrogation style. “And you’ve created POP magazine, which is kind of a local, wacky version of People magazine, right?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Uh, is there an end to this anywhere down the road?” I asked impatiently. “I gotta get to work, I certainly can’t pay rent with what you pay me.”

Then Kent dropped the bomb.

“Dick Stolley was born and raised in Pekin, Illinois,” Kent told me with a smile.
“His first writing job was here at the Pekin Daily Times and he’s now the Editorial Director for all of Time, Inc. He’s one of the biggest and powerful media guys in New York City. I know if you sent him a package with some of your magazines and clippings from this newspaper he’d be impressed and interested. I can almost guarantee you’d hear from him.”

“Holy shitballs, I gotta send this guy a package,” I barked out.

Kent laughed and said, “Get out of here and let me know what happens.”

So I dutifully wrote a letter and sent Dick Stolley a package. A week later I get a letter from him saying he was impressed but was curious as to why I hadn’t been tarred and feathered and ridden out on a rail from Peoria for some of the stuff I had written in POP. It was a nice letter and I was thrilled. He said if I was ever in New York, he’d like to have lunch with me. I’ve written about this before, so to make a long story short, I flew out, had lunch with him and showed him more clippings. I told him I was losing money on my magazine and probably wouldn’t be able to publish another issue. I confessed to him that I was a little confused about what to do next. Then he asked me a magic question.

“Have you ever thought about moving out here to New York? This is the city for a guy like you,” Stolley asked while gears started turning in my gray matter.

I never had thought about moving to New York. I had loved New York since a kid and had visited the city about three times, but when you grow up in Peoria, moving to New York seems about as likely as building a rocketship and flying to Mars. But after I had heard that question I was obsessed about moving to New York.

Again, I’ve written about this before so I’ll explain what happened next in broad strokes. I found out I could cash in my pension plan from my night job and get a decent chunk of dough, I sold my car, my furniture, my TV, my stereo, my records, most of my clothes and put in notice at work. I flew to New York for a week and found a little apartment on the Upper West Side. I bought a one-way plane ticket and was all set to become a New Yorker. I was flying out on July 7th, 1993. I was 35-years-old and It was probably the most exciting time of my life.

At the beginning of July I had a going away party at my apartment. Most of the people who had worked on POP magazine with me for the last three years were there and a lot of my friends showed up. Julie was there and I noticed her talking for quite a while with my friend, Bob Gordon.

Most people know Bob by his nickname of “Boots,” but I call him “Homer.” It’s a long story, so don’t ask. I’ve known Homer since I was in high school. I was curious as to what Homer and Julie would be talking about because, while they’re both great people, they seemed like opposites to me. Homer is kind of a beer drinking, down to earth, sports kind of guy and Julie’s more of a pop arts and cultural person. After about ten beers I didn’t think much more about it. The party went on until the wee small hours of the morning and the memories of it are fuzzy at best.

The next day I was hungover and it felt like there was a hatchet in my head.
I was picking up beer cans all over my soon to be vacant apartment. The phone rang and it was my friend Bob Gordon a.k.a. Homer.

We shot the shit for a few minutes and then he told me he thought Julie was real nice and wondered if I’d give him her phone number so he could ask her out.

“Jesus Christ, she’s a good friend of mine, do you think I want her going out with an animal like you?” I jokingly asked him.

“Fuck you asshole, just give me the number. You’re moving to New York, you’ll probably be dead in a week, so what do you care?” He joked back.

I told him I felt weird just giving him the number, I told him I’d call Julie and see if it was okay. I think Homer called me a pussy and I told him I’d call him back.

So I called Julie and it kind of took her by surprise. She said she wasn’t sure because she didn’t really know him. I vouched for Homer and told Julie I’ve been friends with him since I was a kid and the worst thing I ever saw him do was throw a pickle halfway across McDonalds and have it land smack-dab in the middle of some asshole’s forehead and stick there. And yes, that asshole was me! So she agreed, I called Homer and gave him the number and then continued cleaning while nursing my hangover.

A week later I was on a plane bound for New York City, my new home.

About a year later, Homer and Julie got married. They’ve got three kids now.

I always wonder what our lives would be like if we never met each other. It kind of scares the shit out of me. One thing is for sure, I probably never would’ve moved to New York, so this blog never would’ve happened and most of us never would’ve known each other. Pretty fucking weird when you think about it.

Further reading: Free Dictionary, Amazon, IMDb and Smoking Hot Waitress.

You also might like: Mony Mony, Sugar Sugar and Jimmy Jimmy.

Four Other Julie’s
Julie Newmar
Julie Driscoll
Julie of the Jungle
Julie Kavner


It's lucy in the sky and all kinds of apple pie,
She giggles at the screen 'cos it looks so green.


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


June 29, 2011

Alright, last Tuesday I went out in search of a swizzle stick and for Uncle Waltie, a commenter here and at various other blogs and the man behind the curtain of the International Bar Blog. Sadly, he wasn’t there. I’ve dropped some subtle as a mallot hints on this blog all through the week, that I'd be coming back this Tuesday so let’s if we can find the elusive Uncle Waltie tonight. And besides, this is just too good of an excuse to go to the International Bar two weeks in a row, I didn’t have that luxury last year!

Okay, we'll be taking the F train to the East Village tonight, so it's down we go into the bowels of the Manhattan subway system.

Shit, a train just pulled out of the stop, looks like we'll be waiting awhile. Oh well.

Here comes a train...

But it's the M train...are you seeing this Gene? Where were you when we needed you! (You had to be there folks!)

And after a half an hour, the F train arrives. I think the F stands for Fucking Finally it's here.

And through the magic of the internet, here we are on 1st Avenue. Just a few blocks to go and we're at the International Bar.


And here we are at the International Bar. I love the gold leaf logo in the window here.

If you were with us last week, you'll remember Jason on the right who's here with his friend Damian. In addition to working at the International Bar, Jason is a guitarist and a member of CABB. Check them out here: CABB on facebook.

Hooray, here's the lovely and friendly Molly behind the bar...but where's Uncle Waltie?

Well he's right here! Uncle Waltie and I with Sip Ahoy sign balloons. (Please note that "Sip Ahoy" is a patented Uncle Waltie catchphrase, use only with permission!)

Molly joins in on the Sip Ahoy action!

And here's Michael, who I met at P.J. Clarke's last year on the bar crawl! It is indeed a small world, but as Stephen Wright once said, I'd hate to have to paint it.

Sebastian has some great Uncle Waltie stories, but you have to come to the International Bar to here them, I'll never tell!

John made his own sign declaring himself, "Out Of Order." I can identify with that. Shortly after this picture John burst into a one man show of the Mulberry Monologues. It was entertaining and frightening all at the same time. Well worth the price of admission!

Here's the pretty Fatou posing with the Sip Ahoy sign at the bar.

And here's Lydia, looking lovely while waiting for a drink. Sip Ahoy!

And a final shot of the lovely Lydia, the elusive Uncle Waltie and half of Gumby.

Sip Ahoy and see you all tomorrow after dark.

International Bar
120 1/2 First Avenue (Near 7th St.)

Further reading: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, EV Grieve, Shecky’s and Time Out New York.

You also might like: Neon, Freon and Leon.

Four International Men
Austin Powers
International Man of Leather
Linley Edwards
Uncle Waltie

I've been a long lost soul,
For a long, long time.


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)

Bonus Link Sent In From Tim “Clacky” Clack!

Aaaaahhh! (Wait until about 2:02 into the video.)


Bonus Sip Ahoy Word Balloons from Jaws!

Jaws made these custom-made word balloons for my next meeting with Uncle Waltie! Thanks Jaws and Sip Ahoy!


June 28, 2011

Okay, I had a big day/night yesterday at the Chillmaster Dance Party II, so tonight I thought I’d take it somewhat easy and just wander around the West Village and snap photos of neon, signs and maybe a person or two. A totally unplanned night, let’s go see what happens.

Usually I go somewhere and just shoot tons of photos and hope I can make a little movie of the night in static photos here, quality be damned, it's the story that counts. Tonight I thought I'd take ten photos and really try to make them decent and pay attention to composition and all that jazz. And I'm just doing one take for each photo, so here goes what will probably be nothing, but I have to go to work early tomorrow, so it's off we go. I call this one, Deja View from the liquor store on 12th street and 6th Avenue.

Cocktails from Charlie Mom restaurant on 12th and 6th.

Creepy baby alert in a baby store on 10th between 6th and Greenwich Avenue.

The Layfayette French Pastry store on Greenwich Avenue near 10th Street. They sell ice cream cakes and logs. Logs?

The Waverly Diner on the corner of Waverly and 6th. I've had 7,934 grilled cheese sandwiches in here and uncountable beers. It's a good diner.

Here's Wolfson who was enjoying some French Fries on a stoop on W. 4th Street.

Vogue magazines on 7th Avenue South near Bleecker Street.

Marilyn Monroe behind bars on 7th Avenue South.

Joe's Pizza on Carmine between Bleecker and 6th. Okay one more shot to go, let's see if we can find a friendly face to end it all up.


Further reading and watching: New York Magazine, Grub Street, Joe’s Pizza and The Happy Wanderers.

You also might like: Chocolate Chips, CHiPs and Chip.

Five People With West For A Last Name
Adam West
Leslie West
Billy West
Mae West
Kanye West


Cuz love comes in spurts,
In dangerous flirts,
And it murders your heart,
They didn't tell you that part.


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)

Bonus Links to Photos From The Chillmaster Dance Party II!
Here’s some photos from Sunday’s Chillmaster Dance Party II at some other fine blogs from fellow friends and Chillers:
One More Folded Sunset
Neither More Nor Less
The Gog Log
Slum Goddess


(Update) Bonus Photos From the Home of Jaws!

A couple months ago when I put up a post from my Fortress of Solitude, Papaya Dog, I wrote that the first person to comment would get one of the pieces of art that was featured. Jaws won, but I'm so shitty at mailing stuff out and I've been so busy it took me months to get them to him. Well I'm happy to say I finally mailed them and included a Joan Jett drawing as well as a copy of Natalie Word as bonus gifts for being so slow to get them. I'm honored that Jaws framed them and the artwork is hanging on his walls. Below are the pictures Jaws sent in and the last one is Jaws and Natalie Word, together at last! If you'd like to hang some artwork from Jaws, check out his storefront here: Jaws the Cabbie Online Store.


June 27, 2011

(Above photo by Goggla.)

Today is Sunday and a special day. The day can be summed up in four words: Chillmaster Dance Party Two! (If you missed the first one, check it out: Chillmaster Dance Party One.)

We're all going to meet at the Mars Bar as we did last time. I wonder if we'll be able to meet here for the third one? Sadly, that's doubtful, but time will tell. There's the owner Hank seated out front as usual, I've got a present for him...

It's a poster of the collage I did for the art show at Mars Bar the other week.

And here we are inside Mars. Where is everybody?

There's Lindsay and Shawn, right behind me.

And pretty soon the whole group is assembled. From left, Shawn, Yours Fooly, Lindsay, Ray, Goggla and Eric. Time to head to the Chillmaster's and get this party going!

And here we are at the famous Chillmaster window...but wait a second, that's not the Chillmaster...

It's Chillmaster's son, Chillmaster, Jr. He explained that Chillmaster had to run out for a minute, but we were welcome to go in and wait till he got back. So that's exactly what we did.

An empty Chillmaster chair. Now that's one sad sight!

A couple late additions to the party were Bob...

And Eden A.K.A. Slum Goddess who's taking a picture of Bob. Eden sings and plays in Eden & John's East River String Band. Check them out here and buy a CD or two.

And here he is, the Chillmaster himself! The Hennessy is poured...(Above photo by Goggla.)

And the chilling begins.

I brought the Chillmaster a baby Jesus candle, he lights it up...

And into the window it goes.

Part of the fun of hanging out at the Chillmaster's is watching the world go by his window.

People look in...

And they almost always smile!

Another late addition is Kate, who's chilling with the Chillmaster.

Even Gumby is chilling the fuck out.

This is a Chillmaster DANCE party, so the Chillmaster points the remote control...

And sweet soul music is blaring out of the massive Chillmaster sound system. Everybody dance now!

Here's Lily, the Chillmaster's pretty neighbor, she immediately got into the groove.

Lily, Lindsay and Goggla chill out on the couch.

Night's fallen and the party is winding down.

This man gives his regards to the Chillmaster from out in the street.

Empty bottles and glasses are the sign of the end of another successful Chillmaster Dance Party. See you tomorrow after dark.

When you enter the Chillmaster Lair all cares and worries are checked at the door as you enter a world of soul music blasted at deafening levels while watching the world parade by outside on the sidewalk throught the Chillmaster window. It’s a glorious time where inhibitions are dropped and life becomes one big why the fuck not?

Thanks to the Chillmaster for throwing another great Dance party and for all the fellow Chillers for showing up.

And thanks to EV Grieve for a wonderful blog and the post that started this whole thing!

Further reading: EV Grieve, The Gog Log, One More Folded Sunset, Neither More Nor Less and Single Linds Reflex.

You might also like: Ice Cubes, Iced Coffee and Ice T.

Four Other Chill Things
Meat Lockers
Chili con carne

I’m a soul man!


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


Bonus Photos from Shawn Chittle!

Shawn sent in three excellent shots he took yesterday and here they are. Thanks, Shawn!


June 26, 2011

Live from New York, it’s Cheeseburger Saturday Night! Starring Whitmans and special guest stars, two thirds of the BBC, Gene and Smoopy! And featuring the ready for prime beef player, Marty Wombacher. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Whitman’s, Gene and Smoopy!

Okay, off to meet Gene and Smoopy at Whitmans, the home of my favorite New York City cheeseburger. It's closing in on 9PM and it's still light out, one of the few things I hate about summer. It's too bright!

I'm running a little late so I flagged a cab to get there quicker.

Okay, it's just around the corner from here.

Told you so, here it is!

And look who's outside, the cute and lovely Claire who you should remember from last time I was here.

And through the magic of the internet, here she is behind the counter.

And she happily serves up an ice-cold Genesee, time to find Gene and Smoopy.

And here they are at a table up front, Gene and Smoopy, two thirds of the BBC! I'm starting to wonder whatever happened to the third BBC member, Terry. Terry if you're out there and still alive, let us know! Some of us are worried about you!

And here we are, together again performing the time-honored tradition of the wearin' of the Genesee while Smoopy tells us to quit acting like idiots.

Okay time to order. Gene and I got the infamous Juicy Lucy burger and Smoopy got a swiss cheeseburger. I took shots of them, but they didn't turn out so use your imagination.

But here's a shot of my Juicy Lucy burger! I swear this is the best cheeseburger in New York City! Delicious!

For the sides we got the homemade potato chips and sweet potato fries.


Okay, out the door for a nightcap.

We decided to continue the Lucy theme and have a drink at Lucy's. One of the best bars in the East Village.

Inside I see a familiar face.

Lucy! She remembered me from when I was in here for the 365 bar crawl and posed for this photo with me. One of the sweetest ladies ever!

Smoopy and Gene's tongues are wagging.

And after a couple drinks it's time to call it a night. Thanks to Gene and Smoopy for stopping by and we'll see you all tomorrow after dark.

My Meal
I had the same meal I had when I came here the first time, The Juicy Lucy and the homemade potato chips. It was just as good as that one and you can read about here: Original review of Whitmans.

Cheeseburger Rating:
4 Wimpys, the best there is!

406 E. 9th St. (Near 1st Ave.)

Further reading: Always Hungry, DMANBURGER, facecrack and Twitter.

You also might like: Paper Towels, Paper Roses and Paper Lion.

Four Other Whitmans
Slim Whitman
Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman High School (Room 222)
Whitman’s Chocolates

My girl had told us that she was,
A niece of Walt Whitman.


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


June 25, 2011

After yesterday’s Beatle post, I realized I haven’t seen the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night” in quite a while. I went to Netflix and it’s one of their movies that you can stream instantly. I’m pretty sure everybody’s seen the movie, so I’m just going to post the trailer and then pick ten iconic shots from the movie for tonight’s midnight movie. Okay, lights...camera...Ringo!

Further reading: IMDb, Movie Locations, NY Times and HDN Trivia (I only missed two. Ha!)

You also might like: Iron Lungs, Brass Balls and Buns of Steel.

Four Movies That Ringo Has Starred In.
The Magic Christian
200 Motels

So play the game existence to the end,
Of the beginning, of the beginning.


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


(UPDATE) Bonus Photo From Gene Rubbico

Gene and Smoopy are back in town and so far since last night they've hit 2745 bars and have had a combined total of 978 drinks between the two of them. They'll be joining me for Cheeseburger Saturday Night tonight, but in the meantime, here's a photo Gene took of a scary encounter the two of them had last night. Aaaaahhhh!


June 24, 2011

I thought I’d just walk home and write a short story tonight. I’ll take a few photos on the way home and then write a story about a favorite memory of mine.

And it's off we go towards the McDonalized light on 6th Avenue.

I'm just going to ignore that gum stain and walk by it quickly.

I hate it when people congregate like this in front of a restaurant hogging half of the sidewalk chattering away. You want to hang out and talk? Then go back into the fucking Olive Garden where you came from and talk while eating your stupid fucking endless salads and then choke on the endless breadsticks and die a slow agonizing death, please and thank you.


Oh fuck, check out this mutant strain of the Cardboard Box Man. It just has a mouth and no eyes...yikes!

Okay, home sweet home and safe at last! Time to go to my writing area and get this story down.


A Beatles Memory
I feel kind of lucky to have grown up when I did. I was a child in the ‘60’s, a teenager in the ‘70’s and a young adult in the ‘80’s. I witnessed a lot of things in those three decades. I can remember the day when President Kennedy was shot, because I was pissed off the next day that there weren’t any Saturday morning cartoons on, just news reports. Five years later I remember watching the reports on TV when his brother Robert was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan (a man so nice they named him twice!) and being shocked and saddened. He was the first politician I was ever passionate about. And I have to confess, it wasn’t really so much his politics as the fact that he had long hair for a politician at the time and I thought he was really funny and cool. I was ten-years-old when he was gunned down and I remember asking my mom why people were shooting at the Kennedy’s. She just shook her head sadly and said, “I don’t know.”

I remember the first moon landing and then seeing the same images being used twelve years later when MTV launched.
I stayed up all night long with my brother watching the videos on the pioneer TV station. We couldn’t believe it, music videos all night long! Such a concept!

Random memories off the top of my head include: Richard Speck murdering those nurses in Chicago, Easy Rider, Martin Luther King getting assassinated, the Manson family scaring the shit out of the Hollywood community in 1969, Woodstock, Altamont, hippies, Watergate, Nixon quitting, disco, punk rock and kids dying in a stampede at a Who concert in Cincinnati. Lots of memories and I’m always playing them back like films in my mind. One of my favorite memories is the Monday after the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan.

On February 9th, 1964 The Beatles appeared and sang five songs on the Ed Sullivan show. I was five-years-old and our family was living in Louisville, Kentucky at the time. I remember the week before hearing ads on the radio saying, “The Beatles are coming!” I was riding shotgun to the Winn Dixie grocery store with my mom and I asked her if they were talking about bugs. She laughed and explained to me that The Beatles were an English singing group and they were going to be on Ed Sullivan that week. I didn’t think much about it and was more interested in getting a candy bar when we got to the checkout line.

That Sunday was pretty much like every other Sunday of my youth. We went to church in the morning, came home and had breakfast then whiled the day away playing and engaging in things that pass the time when you’re five-years-old. My mom always cooked a big Sunday dinner and we probably had something like pot roast and mashed potatoes and gravy. Then after dinner the whole family gathered in the front family room and did what most families did in the ‘60’s. We turned on the TV and watched the Ed Sullivan Show. And here’s what we saw that night:

I watched in amazement at all the screaming girls and wondered aloud why they were screaming and carrying on in the theater.

“Because they like them, stupid,” my brother Jim said and then smacked me on the head.

We watched the whole show and although a couple of years later I would become a full-fledged Beatles freak, they didn’t have much impact on me that evening, but I did like the music.

The next day my dad dropped my brothers Tom and Jim and my sister Terry at their grade school, Holy Trinity.
He then drove me to my kindergarten, Sacred Heart on the other side of town. Almost every day he’d let me steer the car for a little while if there wasn’t much traffic and I always loved doing that. We arrived at Sacred Heart and he watched me climb the cement stairs leading up to the school’s entrance. As I opened the front door, I waved goodbye as I always did, he drove off to work and I walked into the classroom.

Some kids were already there and others were showing up.
I hung up my coat in the hallway wooden coat rack and went inside the room. We didn’t have separate desks, there were tables where you sat at an assigned seat with other kids. I sat at a table with two kids named Matt and Mark. I liked Matt, but I remember disliking Mark because he was kind of mean and didn’t share anything. He had a habit of drooling too and that was gross. Our teacher was a nun whose name was Sister Gabriela. I can’t really remember what she looked like, I only remember her full-blown penguin nun outfit. She was nice though and opposed to other nuns I experienced in my years of Catholic education was an nice and gentle woman.

We started the day out like every other day, we said a prayer and then Sister asked a question of the class.

“How many of you children watched the Ed Sullivan show last night?” She asked with a smile. Every hand went up in the air and then came down.

“And how many of you saw the English group, The Beatles on the show last night?” She asked as the smile disappeared.

A couple kids giggled and once again every hand was thrust upwards towards the gray corrugated ceiling.

“I want all you children to know one thing,” she said in serious tones as the hands went down, “it’s a sin for a boy to wear his hair that way.”

Mark immediately shot his arm up the air and Sister called on him.

“I’ll never wear my hair like that Sister!” He barked out in a sickening, ass-kissing moment.

Sister smiled and said that was good.

God how I hated that drooling, selfish, ass-kissing little prick!

As a little kid, I was pretty good and didn’t often question things my parents, teachers or authority figures told me. I
wasn’t going to say anything in class that morning, but I wondered why wearing your hair a certain way was a sin. I didn’t get it and it bugged me all day long and into the evening. This incident may have triggered a life-long habit of obsessing over weird little things and not being able to let them go. (See: Box Man, Cardboard and Dog, Papaya.)

That night after dinner I was reading a Dr. Seuss book in the room I shared with my brother Jim. He came in and I put the book  down and sat up on my bed.

“Sister Gabriela said it’s a sin for a boy to comb his hair like the Beatles do,” I told him.

He just looked at me and thought about that for a minute. Then he walked over to me, grabbed my arm and said, “Come on.”

I got up and followed him into the bathroom. He locked the door behind us, opened a drawer and took out a comb and ran it under water. He then proceeded to comb his hair down into Beatle bangs. Both of us laughed and then he handed me the comb and I did the same thing. We continued to laugh at the way we looked and then my brother defiantly said, “Nuns don’t know everything.” I looked at him and nodded in agreement.

Ten years later we were teenagers in the wild ‘70’s doing drugs, breaking rules, laws and questioning authority every fucking minute of every fucking day. And it all started with one downward swoop of a comb way back on a winter’s night in 1964.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Further reading: Internet Beatles Album, Ed Sullivan, NewBusters and Trivia Quiz (I only got four out of ten. Motherfucker!)

You also might like: The Dave Clark Five, Gang of Four and Three Jacks and a Jill.

Four Beatle Children
Julian Lennon
Mary McCartney
Dhani Harrison
Zak Starkey

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


June 23, 2011

Today while Googling around I found a place that might be a second Fortress of Solitude. It’s a Jewish deli called, “Sarge’s” and it’s on 37th and Third Avenue which is just about ten blocks from where I work. And it’s open 24 hours, 365 days a year. Perfect for a place to go after a late night at work. From what I’ve read it’s an old school joint and they serve beer there. They probably don’t serve 32 ounce beers, but maybe Al will like this place better. But don’t worry, I’d never totally abandon the Papaya Dog, but let’s go check out this possible alternative Fortress of Solitude.

And we're off, it's a nice summer night out tonight.

Here's a person playing a pink piano in Greeley Square, part of the Pop Up Pianos Project.

I'm just going to ignore this scary sidewalk gum stain and keep moving along.

And here we are, Sarge's Delicatessen. It looks promising!

"Open 24 Hours" always the sign of an old school diner.

Here's Keith who was manning the front register tonight.

A refrigerated case up front houses vegetables and house-cured meats.


Wow, nice display of cakes.

Okay, time to find a seat, there's booths up front...

But I think I'd prefer a table in the back.

I grab a menu on my way back...

And I think I'll sit here at this cozy little table.

Gumby's all settled in at the table.

And I look up and see the mark of old-school excellence, a tin ceiling!

Colorful chandeliers hang from the ceiling and illuminate the diner.

And this is our lovely and friendly waitress, Kostastina.

An ice-cold bottle of Budweiser is immediately served up, beautiful!

I ordered the matzo ball soup and it was delicious.

My patented ebony and ivory shot.

And since this is going to be my alternative Fortress of Solitude, I had to try the hot dog. It was great and the mustard is spicy.

After I ate, I thought I'd check out some of the signed celebrity pictures on the wall.

Who love's Sarge's, baby? Telly Savalas, that's who!

A vintage shot of Larry Storch from back in the "F-Troop" days.

Here's a fuzzy shot of Professor Irwin Corey, one of my childhood heroes. Kostastina told me he lives in the neighborhood and comes in every day around 2pm and always has a joke or two. She told me another regular is Danny DeVito.

It's Kitty Carlisle, I tell the truth!

Okay, I settled up with Keith and now it's back out into the night.


Sarge's Delicatessen
548 Third Ave. (Near 37th St.)

Further reading: New York Magazine, NYC Food Guy, 10 Best and The Naked Potato.

You also might like: Plastic Hammers, Glass Rulers and Zircon Encrusted Tweezers.

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No Time For Sergeants
Sgt. Slaughter

I read the news today, oh boy.


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