Manhattan Living


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Best Reason to Love this Economy
Downtrodden Real Estate Brokers

Now you can suck our nuts. Not long ago they were riding high, charging 18-percent fees, failing to return our phone calls and making us feel like a loser if we wanted a studio for less than $2500 a month. Now? They're slashing fees, calling with leads and assuring us that we're better off dealing with them than with apartment owners directly.

We disagree. This is-silver lining-a renter's market (by New York standards). Because everyone with $15,000 in the bank has decided to buy, for the first time in years landlords with rental properties are not deluged with offers. Many are offering no-fee, two-year leases. Get them while you can. The bad times will end some day, the brokers will be back and the deals will be gone.

Best Romantic Trend
Threesomes

Easy-going couple seeks... "I found us a little something," he said, on one of his nightly phone calls.

"What?" we asked, though we knew the answer.

"A toy. She's 22, with long black hair. Cute. Bisexual. She's totally into hanging out with us when we get out of here."

"Uh-huh."

"We're gonna punch a void in her that all the Paxil in the world can't fill."

"I can't wait."

"I'll call tomorrow after morning group. She wants to talk to you."

We have to wonder: Why is it so difficult to meet a normal chick who wants to fuck us and our boyfriend? All we want is a cute, intelligently psychotic female who can execute the elaborate threesome pantomime with ruthless enthusiasm: She instinctively knows the act is an equal mix of Scores, Duran Duran video, Hustler lezzie spread and catfight.

Most importantly, the ideal Ms. X would know how to be cordial. There would be no teary phone calls, no weird tension. If she talked behind our backs, she would say only nice things. This twitching composite of lust, skewed heterosexuality and boredom is tucked away somewhere right now, and we want to find her. Unfortunately, all of the potential takers we have unearthed so far have been fresh out of detox, or needy, or strung out, or hairy.

The obvious, of course, is this: Women really don't like threesomes. They love women only as friends. They're jealous. Too many cooks spoil the pot, they might add. But these women probably haven't had anything on the stove for a long time.

Those who do go along with it do so to pacify/appease/completely enslave their man, and the pleasure they derive from a threesome is a byproduct of the exquisite, blood-hot shame of seeing the beloved fuck someone else. Does he always look that stupid when he comes? What the inhibited ladies don't know is that a threesome is a good way to be competitive, and they're often harder to arrange than a large dinner party. We love a challenge.

Personally, we enjoy being one half of a thoroughly immoral modern couple. We roam the beach, the Xeroxed swinger mags with their pendulous hopefuls, the yoga centers, the recovery groups, we glance from car to car: Her? What about her? Our last Ms. X was a wizened lesbian who claimed not to have had consensual sex in five years, and we left her with a lube-soaked massage table, severe cramps and Achtung Baby skipping on the turntable.

Not good.

The 22-year-old was a no-go. She got a day pass from rehab and eagerly met us by the lake, and our boyfriend watched silently as we wound her thick ponytail around our fist. She kissed like a girl-breathily, with no muscle, no meat. All void. Not quite what we were after, but we'll certainly keep looking.

Best Crime
All Those Bank Robbers and Their Notes

Hand over yor money, I have a gub. It started quietly last November. It was so quiet, in fact, that it took a few weeks before we realized what was happening. Hardly a day was going by without some little report in the dailies that another bank had been robbed by a man armed only with a note. Some guy walks into a bank, slides a "give me all your money" note to the teller, and runs away with "an undetermined amount of cash." This past spring, the NYPD finally caught wind of what was up-not bad, given that these bank jobs were happening every single day. It was becoming a trend, a fad, and suddenly there were hundreds of bank robberies by men with notes, most all of them getting away with at least a little something for their troubles.

There were a few standouts along the way-the guy in the construction-worker get- up, the woman in the blond wig; those persistent souls who, having been refused by one teller, would simply step over to the next teller and get their money from her instead; the guy who handcuffed the fake bomb to the bank manager's wrist. All of them with a little style, none of them harming a soul. Not really, anyway.

The NYPD blamed the banks. The banks blamed the NYPD, but didn't really seem to care very much. Despite the best efforts of both parties to control the flow of small amounts of cash out the front doors in a variety of parcels, the gentle, quiet bank robbers continued going about their business, day in day out. And we salute them and their nonviolent ways.

Best Way to Keep Brown People Out of Your Park
No Más Futbol

Ain't really football anyway. Used to be, on Friday nights on a dusty field under the Triboro Bridge, real teams played football with referees and everything. On Sunday mornings, there was baseball, a few of the players aping David Wells' conditioning program. And at just about any other hour, there was soccer. Sometimes there'd be formal games that took up the whole field, but usually they'd play sideways, four or five games, each confined to a precious 30 yards of the field, maybe six or eight players a side endlessly catching the ball on their foot.

Greeks, sure, in Astoria, and Americans pale and otherwise. But the players were mostly South Americans, a lot of short, broad Colombians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians by the look of them-and no wives and kids mucking up the sidelines.

That was then. As Manhattan rents sent flocks fleeing to safe and accessible Astoria, as property values leapt and old houses were razed for brick boxes shoehorned into lots, it was time to sanitize the only park in the area.

A brand new, six-lane track was installed, the sort festooned with exercise stations with guidance on the perfect sit-up and a bunch of "No Ball Playing" signs. If that wasn't enough to demoralize a working-class community's green space, along came two lines of trees, some six in a row, bisecting the field, one toward one end, the other closer to the middle.

Try playing futbol now, Jose.

A few stragglers migrated to the grassy hills elsewhere in the park, but it's tough to generate any momentum, one leg shorter than the other. It's worth it, though, because without all those short, squat brown people sneaking peeks at the pale pony-tailed set, the whole neighborhood is safer for the recession emigres.

Best Absolutely Useless NYPD Initiative
Cops on Segways

And speaking of making criminals laugh out loud. Our initial suspicion upon hearing that cops were being put on Segways in midtown was that it had to be the result of some kind of product placement deal the struggling Segway company cut with the NYPD. What other explanation could there possibly be? We can understand these things being used by mailmen or meter readers-but regular cops?

Think about it-you take already overweight and slow-moving beat cops, put them on cumbersome devices that promise to keep them from getting any exercise at all, then send them out onto the most heavily trafficked sidewalks in the city? Not only are they going to become one more enormous pain-in-the-ass obstacle for the rest of us to get around-what happens if they actually encounter, say, a crime?

Propped atop a Segway-the dink device of 2003, and maybe even 2004 and beyond-NYPD's finest aren't likely to be chasing any of our better crooks on a machine that tops out at 12.5 mph. If it does come down to a chase, they're going to have to stop, chain up the Segway to something, then undertake their pursuit. Why not just leave them on bikes, or horses, or in cars-or best of all, on foot, which might help a few of them actually drop a couple pounds?

Best Security Lapse
Amtrak

Wide open. For a recent trip to a friend's wedding in Massachusetts, we paid for our Amtrak ticket online, providing a credit card number and the barest of personal information. On travel day, we simply got on line at Penn Station, showed our ticket and walked down to the track with our two large duffel bags, one of which contained a jumble of electronics.

The office building above Penn Station, 2 Penn Plaza, is like Fort Knox, with guards checking identification and calling parties down to confirm visitors. We admit that this is a good idea, but if there are concerns about terrorism, shouldn't someone look at the open doors provided by Amtrak all day long?

It's not just Manhattan-it's everywhere. With so much money-and criticism-thrown at the airlines to buckle down, what of America's largest private rail? Their trains run through every major city in America, and we can't remember the last time a ticket-taker looked twice at our ticket.

We're convinced that the Ground Zero checkpoints and lobby patrols and cops pulling Operation Atlas duty amount to nothing more than Manhattan's Maginot Line.

Best Reason to Blind Yourself With Lye
Belly Shirts

C'mon baby-hide a little skin. Lord knows we have no problem with people who decide to wear revealing clothes. The only problem we have is with the fact that most people-an enormous percentage of them, really-who decide to let it all hang out simply shouldn't. Not when there's that much that's going to be hanging out. And this past summer's predominant fashion trend-belly shirts-made that all too evident.

In most of the cases that we were subjected to-and there were thousands this past summer-clothes that were designed for young, slim, fit women were donned by women who were too old, too flabby, too pregnant and had too rampant a skin condition to justify such attire. We don't want to sound sexist or ageist or whatever some will undoubtedly call it here, but Jesus Christ! We're out trying to take a peaceful stroll when suddenly we're confronted with this enormous, gray, bare gut bobbling straight toward us, squeezed and distended, the bellybutton lost in a wink of flesh. And if they're walking in front of us, we find half a fat, wrinkled ass staring back, threatening to flop out completely with every step. Well, there goes lunch.

Contrary to what the ads might imply, belly shirts do not make the unattractive more attractive. They make them instead seem pathetic, desperate and delusional. What's more, these clothes apparently also leave the people who wear them oblivious to the looks of horror and dismay-not to mention pity-shot at them by everyone they pass.

Thank god winter's coming soon. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the big fashion trend next summer involves clothes that fit.

Best Subway Ad
Dr. Zizmor's "Strength and Courage"

As if he didn't have troubles enough. Competition this year for "Best Subway Ad" has been unusually fierce. There was the Bronx Zoo's ad for their new tiger exhibit, which showed a child hand-feeding an ice cream cone to a full-grown tiger. The MTA was up there, too, as usual, feeding into the city's heightened level of paranoia with their "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign-as well as their list of subway do's and don't's to avoid causing another terrorist scare that would fuck up service.

Also in the running: the Bud Light ad with the Puerto Rican giving us the finger and the hateful "We Love Smoke-Free New York" campaign, with its photo of a smiling group of smug waiters and waitresses-all of them just asking to be slapped.

Without question, though, this year's champ was Dr. Z. Never one to let the cheapest, tackiest ploy go unused (even if it's almost two years late) Dr. Zizmor-New York's most recognizable dermatologist-went above and beyond this time.

The list of skin diseases was still there, as were the rainbow and Dr. Z's smirking mug. But now the ad reads, "Doctor and Mrs. Zizmor Congratulate New Yorkers on Their Strength and Courage." And sure enough-there's the otherwise unnamed "Mrs. Zizmor," in big sunglasses and a floppy hat, Photoshopped in behind the doctor (suggesting to us that it was really just Zizmor himself in disguise).

Although at first the "strength and courage" bit seemed a clear reference to the 2001 attacks, the fact that it only first appeared so late in the game soon had us convinced that at heart, it was really a reference to those hapless New Yorkers who'd dare drag their pimply asses into Zizmor's office.

Best Kick in the Nuts by the MTA
"Sometimes You Have to Go Backwards to Go Forward"

Go forward yourself. It isn't enough that the MTA has hiked fares while stripping us of our beloved, though under-appreciated, token booths and clerks. Now every time we step onto a steamy platform from a freezing train we're confronted by patronizing paper signs bearing the slogan, "sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward."

So that's why we're paying $2 for the same ride that a few months ago cost 25 percent less! Does the logic follow that sometimes we need to give more money to get more money? Is there a rebate in our future? Doubtful.

At the Atlantic Ave. hub, we were completely abandoned by a local 2 that refused to take passengers forward, so we tagged along with a group of pissed off passengers who seemed to know where they were headed. Soon enough, our fellow stragglers had found their way, leaving us with no more options. Construction workers ignored us, and those MTA workers one finds directing lost souls at 42nd St. were absent.

Everywhere, the "backwards to go forwards" signs-the only explanation offered up for screwy service. We wandered downstairs and nervously walked across an empty LIRR station platform, through a maze of temporary, blue-wooden hallways, to another paper sign that finally identified our train line and direction (penned sloppily with marker). Eventually, we arrived somewhere near our destination.

News for the MTA: While you're taking more of our money, we're doing an awful lot of going backward. We don't exactly go forward, we just got to where we were going in the first place, you cocksuckers.

Best Williamsburg After-Hours
The laundromat on N. 3rd St., between Bedford & Driggs Ave., Williamsburg

We hear they wash clothes, too. We knew it was a bad idea, doing that last line of meth in the bathroom of whatever bar it was. We'd started at work, six o'clock or so, needing the chemical kick to push through happy-hour pleasantries with coworkers. Then we ran wild for a bit, flirting on a coupla buzzy catch-up hours with acquaintances.

At three, we chased in that bathroom. At four, everything was closed, everyone was gone and we were alone without a comfortable couch and television for the comedown, no warm body welcoming us into the bed. We were right fucked.

After-hours bars and clubs and parties are easy to come by-if you're an attractive woman or if you're hanging out with attractive women. Or, simply, if you have friends. Typically, we didn't qualify, so we wandered Bedford, hoping to stumble upon others in the same situation. Eventually, we came upon the 24-hour laundromat on N. 3rd St.

Where there's a Miss Pac-Man/Galaga combo arcade game. The latter just so happens to be the only arcade game we've ever been good at. It was our game growing up on the Jersey shore, stalking from arcade to arcade, scouring coin-return slots for quarters and pumping the proceeds into this superior sequel to the Space Invaders rip-off Galaxian.

Six games and two hours later, we could feel the tickle of tired finding its way topside. We wiped our brow and went walking again. An hour in the park staring at the skyline, smoking a joint and sipping lemonade, we were just about ready to fall. Off to the L, back to the island, a few blocks home and sleep until noon.

Best Corporate Trend
Revoking of Casual Fridays

Pol Pot wore khakis. Yes, yes, in the corporate world. Casual Fridays are still around, especially in the summer. But we get the sense that after a high-water mark in the mid-90s, they're dying out. Frankly, we'd gladly wear a tux every day to further their demise.

In the offices we've seen, Casual Friday involves a bunch of overpaid, commuting white dudes strolling around in short-sleeved knit shirts with a demeanor that suggests a ruler up their asses-as opposed to the usual yardstick. What does "casual" mean to frightened automatons like this? To us, it means a t-shirt, ragged shorts and sneakers. The only corporate staff we see dressed like that is in the mailroom: the messengers who earn the right to always dress casually by not earning enough money for the work they do.

So, no more Casual Fridays. They're too glaring a reminder of how dislocated those striving to be the ruling class are from any vestige of common sense. The day we see a CFO strolling in with a sleeveless Def Leppard t-shirt and kneeless jeans will be the day we reconsider.

Best Female Fashion Trend to Adopt
Le Buttcrack

Girls' club. In the past year, girly couture has moved beyond thongs, beyond low-slung hip-huggers, beyond the lower back tattoo-and achieved a newer and even more glorious apotheosis with the brave display of asscrack. At this rate, the three-inch rise should give way to bare pudenda fashion some time by decade's close.

Designers like Daniella Clarke may not have originated the full-on buttcrack look (plumber's've been honing it for decades, no?), but Clarke's popular Frankie B line of jeans does succeed as the first major commodification of the half-bare bum.

The urge to reveal, in extremis, is something we can grasp. What remains a question for the ages is why female crack is so exciting and good while the male stuff is?not? Perhaps there's a squad of semioticians out there right now, searching for the answer. In the meantime, we do not mind this trend, so long as the right women are hopping on the bandwagon.

Best Reason to Shout "Cunt!" at a Disembodied Voice
Claire, Sprint Wireless' AI Assistant

Can you hear me now, bitch? For someone who isn't real, Claire sure has a way of chafing our tits. Yes, dear Claire: everyone's favorite illiterate immigrant from the digital world. Claire: Sprint's artificial intelligence that's genuinely stupid.

Thanks to some starry-eyed IEEE member out there, an increasing number of major corporations are switching over to digital operator software that-or so the pitch goes-employs speech-recognition technology and thus makes our lives easier. We'll admit that wading through push-button menus is annoying, but we fail to understand how talking to a comprehension-impaired machine is supposed to make anyone happier.

We're far from Luddite, but talking to a non-entity leaves us feeling schizophrenic. To help us overcome this discomfort, Sprint attempted to pull a Simone and gave form to the digital dust of Claire. Extrapolating from the red pullover, fashionable short hair and almond-shaped face offered on the Sprint website, she's exactly who we hate: a khaki-clad, SUV-driving, Jersey mom who thinks she's saving the digital world with her voice- answering system.

Fuck you, Claire. No, you can't help us. Fuck you, Claire, we were speaking clearly. Fuck you, Claire, and fuck your technological advances and fuck your entire species. We'd rather retreat to the land of landlines than face a future of you and your kind. Were you only real, we'd find you and sodomize you with our piece-of-shit Sprint cellphone.

A little heads-up to other companies considering the switch to a vox-recognition operator: When it comes to customer service AIs, we're in the middle ground of efficacy. Until the boys at MIT make strides significant enough for them to work, stick to the honest bumbling of human operators. Claire may be fake and all, but the universal resentment of her sure is real.

Best Male Fashion Trend to Avoid
Pubes

At least trim a bit. He was a poncey little piece of Noho trash. Greasy, black, shoulder-length hair, all slack and louche with one hand jammed deep in the pocket of his low-rise jeans, the other describing a helix of bullshit to go with the nonsense he spoke.

She was pretty. A young Asian girl, undecided, apparently, as to whether she wanted him or wanted to blow him off. Each time he lay the rap on too heavily, she backed off the sidewalk and into Elizabeth St. He would then reach out, grab her elbows and pull her back to him. When she finally told him he couldn't come home with her, he got angry.

"Come on," he yelled.

"No," she yelled back.

"What's your problem?" he said, jamming both hands in his pockets in a full-on pout.

And that's when we noticed it: his massive, hairy bush. Pubes down to the top of his junk. Dark short hairs, blowing out over his trou, beckoning like anemone palps. Flicking. Fluttering. Filtering dirt particulate from out of the passing breeze.

She, too, noted this cornucopia of curlies, and a curdle came over her face. Placing both hands on his hips, she yanked upwards, issuing a command more guys of a certain generation should heed:

"And by the way, you should really pull up your pants."

Best Cause to Wonder What the Hell City This Is
The Smoking Ban

Ciao, NYC. Not too long ago, really, New York had a reputation. We were not only the biggest city in the nation, we were also the toughest and the scariest. We were the world capital of vice. The tourists came, yes, but they did so to be able to go back home and tell people that they'd visited New York and survived.

Look at us now.

Put a couple of schoolmarms in the mayor's office and what do you think is going to happen? Times Square is sold off to major corporations who have their own reputations to maintain. Dozens of ridiculous "quality of life" laws are created-though never the ones that matter. Snapple pays the city more than $100 million and becomes the official sponsor of the New York City public school system. (Think about that one again: Our school system has an official beverage, AND IT'S SNAPPLE.) Everything's prettier and cleaner and nicer, and doozy of doozies, we can now no longer smoke in bars.

Rarely has such an ill-conceived piece of "public safety" legislation been shoved down the throats of the public it's supposed to protect. In the guise of "safeguarding the health of bar employees," it has led to a massive drop in business, crowds of surly drunks blocking the sidewalks, more noise complaints and at least two deaths-but you can follow all that in the Post.

The smoking ban was, simply, the last big step in transforming New York from the King of All Cities into just another small-minded provincial burg-albeit with a glandular problem. The city that never sleeps now needs to take regular naps.

Best and Only Supporter of the Smoking Ban
Our Dog

Wows for bow-wow. We'd like to add our wiggly little pitbull to that wee constituency of prigs and asthmatics won over by the mayor's ban on indoor smoking. She's a social dog, a lover of love and a giver of infinite licks. And since the policy went into effect last spring, it's been nothing short of an attention windfall for her.

La vita couldn't be any more dulce for our doggie now that most nights of the week see a different gaggle of steakhead girlfriends smoking between us and our front doorway. Half-cocked and feeling the love, they invariably clamor around her to coo and to stroke. Sometimes they even plop down on the sidewalk and make out with her, not realizing that her snout spends a fair bit of time up other dog's cracks. But hey, let's face it-be it inside a bar where they belong or out among pedestrians, a schnockered idiot will do what a schnockered idiot will do. No faint reek of doggie ass is going to deter the scores of knee-walking Friday-night drunks who choke the sidewalks and cloud the air with their tar-tinged, secretarial-pool desperation. Which is exactly as our pooch wants it. As far as we can tell, she's okay with smoker's breath, too.

Best Stencil
Presumed to be courtesy Bansky (UK)


Best Socially Aware Tourist Attraction
Critical Mass

A bicycle built for 200. Too much social-justice stuff is grueling and thankless. Not so at a Critical Mass outing, where you can tool around the city on your bike with a couple hundred people. Some call it "activism lite," because it's more about the fun than the message.

On the last Friday of every month, all manner of bike riders gathers for a trip through the city streets. Whizzing down Broadway, grinning like a banshee, other cyclists and the occasional Rollerblader alongside and behind and in front of you, often as far as the eye can see-it's quite a rush.

Many recreational riders express reluctance about taking part-afraid they're not fit enough, or that their bikes aren't sophisticated enough, or that the pace will be too demanding. No need to fret. Everyone can participate, on any bike. You'll see antique Schwinns and three-speed Raleighs and seven-foot choppers and fixed-gears and hybrids and mountain bikes and fold-ups. Cyclists of all ages and abilities come along, and with that many bikes, the pace is normally no speedier than a brisk amble.

The first time a little kid on the sidewalk catches your eye and sets to hopping up and down frenetically, squealing with glee at the spectacle of hundreds of mismatched people on mismatched bikes, your heart will melt, even if it's January and you're otherwise numb. Sure, Critical Mass has pissed off a motorist in its day, usually, but not exclusively a Beemer or Escalade, but it's mostly rounds of cheers pressing you forward-coupled with the flashing of digital cameras. To us, that's the coolest thing about Critical Mass-every month a crew of tourists will interpret this sea of cyclists bum-rushing the avenues as just another piece of New York City.

Best Activity that Shouldn't Be Condoned but You can't Help Applauding
Masturbating on Tourists in Rockefeller Center

Gee, Midge, what's this stain on the back of your shirt? Everything in life is a trade-off. If all the bums and delinquents had to be run out of Times Square and the rest of Midtown so we could attract tourists, then they should be allowed to fire off a jizzshot on the back of some diabetic from Iowa in swooshy fat pants every now and then. Questions of morality (and health code) aside, we give these guys a certain amount of credit for having the balls to whip it out in public. They're certainly a braver lot than the frotteurists who rub against women in crowded subway cars.

All we ask of delinquents is that they be up front about it.

Best Simulation of New York City
New York City

Paging Mr. Philip K. Dick. Edging out the Las Vegas reproduction of New York City as the best simulation of New York City is New York City, though the previous got serious points for its eerily prophetic omission of the Twin Towers when it was constructed a few years ago.

The "real" New York City-i.e., the place we're living right now-is a mere shell of what it once was. Yes, there are still signs of life-real people struggling to live real lives-but the emasculation and sterilization of this once-cultural capital has spread from Times Square throughout midtown, down deep into Greenwich Village, over to the east side, across to Hell's Kitchen, leaving few neighborhoods untouched.

The end of the world's never seemed closer, and yet neither has the MTV-birthed belly-shirt/faux-tough persona seemed more essential yet vacuous. There's a constant exchange of endless "urgent" messages-via billboards, via flash ads, via signs atop every single bit of available public space-without fear of shame or repercussion. Where are we headed? We recently envisaged a future with hard-baked chartreuse subway cars with "New York Means Business" painted on the side, and conductors in variegated shades of jump-suit. The male newscasters will soon wear shirtless overalls. Little triangles will be cut out of women's pants-they'll be called "Hot & Moists" (but the modicum of dignity we all require will preclude their being worn at the workplace-except perhaps on "Freaky Fridays"). Million-dollar plasma ads and the latest world news and stock prices and weather in Japan will flash non-stop in miniature, holographic Times Square replicas all over town. There'll be maybe four blackouts a year-at first.

And when all is said and done, the rats will wear business suits and the nightly ratcasts will talk of "people-some as big as fifty times our size-seen climbing up buildings at night." Hollywood, decades after moving out of their own lots to film reality on the streets of New York, will once again return to the stage sets-the cinema veratistes among them-to recreate the "real" New York of their memories.

Best Appalling Litigation
The Body Bag Lawsuit
Fordion Packaging Ltd. of Hackensack, NJ

The rigormortis racket. At a time when private citizens flocked to donate supplies, food and pints of their own blood in a sad attempt to assuage the aftermath of a national disaster, Fordion Packaging was the company tapped to produce and deliver body-bags to the World Trade Center. New York City requested 100,000 of them. (At the time, we had no idea of the extent of the attacks, how long they would last or that there wouldn't even be enough bodies left intact to warrant a fraction of this order. No one did.) New York City attempted to return the bags on the grounds that they were not constructed to specifications.

This year, Fordion actually had the balls to file a federal lawsuit against our city for the cost of those unused bags, plus interest ($203,388, now $310,420). Fordion-which also, fortunately for them, supplies bags to the U.S. military-argues that other clients' orders were waylaid while they scrambled to meet our apparently extravagant demands.

Imagine the precedent this might set. Can we sue the Red Cross for misrepresentation and get our plasma back? Plus interest?

We're all biting the bullet these days, but last time we checked, the death industry in this country wasn't exactly floundering. It's more than enough that our newly hiked taxes will drive thousands of New Yorkers to New Jersey's cheesy malls and needle-laced beaches.

Hey, Fordion-if you're really lucky, maybe some of us will drop dead while we're over there smoking in the bar. Have a little class, you pricks.

Best Way to Score Special K
Befriend a Veterinarian

Dealer of Veterinary Medicine. For several years, the feds played a cat-and-mouse game with this animal tranquilizer. No one could quite figure out how its manufacturer could justify shipping such huge quantities. We never complained, so long as the supply lasted.

Then Special K was reclassified as a Schedule III drug, and the coveted Ft. Dodge label became as scarce as polo shirts at the Black Party. Sure, we could live without it. But it was so easy: Just open the bottle, pour into a Pyrex dish, set the oven at 300 and in 30 minutes, presto! Enough of the residue to scoop into a gram bottle and up, up and away.

K's use as a club drug probably reached its apotheosis when Club USA named its Sunday gay night Bump and featured a three-story slide it called the K Hole. We're especially proud of our friend Ken, who introduced Timothy Leary to K; he then reportedly used it to slip into an easier death. Most of us will have to settle for the average disembodied K-hole experience.

(On a side note, our favorite howler will always be Frank Owens' compendium article in the Voice, in which he authoritatively stated that sex was impossible while high on K. Um, sorry Frank, but a lot of us could've told you otherwise. Authoritatively.)

We have a friend who likes Special K so much, all his friends call him Kitty. Like the rest of us, Kitty's hardly satisfied with counterfeit Tijuana brands or the Japanese stuff that couldn't put a turtle to sleep. Maybe it's just a coincidence that Kitty has become such good friends with Artie, who is setting up a new practice on the West Side as a cat doctor. Or, could it be the pharmacy-grade K that Artie would willingly share at the Roxy? Either way, we're not asking questions, as long as we get a taste now and then.

Best Homegrown Public Service Announcement

Best Wacky New Fad That Isn't
Flash Mobs

Flux you, too, pal. The news stories first began appearing in early July. There was a crazy new fad sweeping New York, they said, even though few of us who actually lived here were aware of it.

They called them flash mobs, and they involved large groups of people contacted via email gathering together at a predetermined public spot-a park, a store, a hotel lobby-doing something silly for a few minutes, then dispersing quickly.

"In the latest occurrence," one early news report had it, "about 200 people converged on a Central Park ridge across from the Museum of Natural History? Once in place, the mob tweeted like birds and crowed like roosters, chanted 'Na-ture,' and then dispersed? If you're wondering what's the point, there is not one."

Wow, we thought, these are wacky hijinx if there ever were!

Before you knew it, every major news outlet was doing a "flash mob" story. And suddenly flash mobs themselves were popping up not only in New York, but London and Vienna and Italy and Germany, too. Why, this Wacky New Trend was bigger than goldfish swallowing or flagpole sitting! And what's more, it was something no one had ever done before! Not ever in the entire history of man on Earth!

Yes, yes, yes. Well, nobody'd done it for a while at least. Plus they'd given it a new name, which is something.

In the late 60s and 70s they would've called such a thing a "happening." Later, snooty types called it "performance art." When we were involved with this sort of pranking in the 80s, we never bothered to give it a name, thinking that giving it a name would give it too much meaning. Before that there was Fluxus, before that there was Dada, before that there was?

Every modern (and postmodern) generation, it seems, has played with some sort of variation of the same thing-but most of them never got national news coverage. They just were.

Then again, to be fair, most every generation that's pulled something like this thoug





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