Me and My Dog During Wartime; Reviews
P.J. sneezed as I first put a Red Cross dust and particle mask over my face, then one over his. Within seconds, my 8-pound Yorkshire terrier tried violently to shake it off his face.
But it wasn't going anywhere.
I made it real tight.
Ever since the morning of Sept. 11, every time he, Wendy or I ventured out of our apartment, which is only a few blocks from "Ground Zero," we were sure to have our masks, as well as water and sometimes goggles. Like the Talking Heads say, it's life during wartime.
But this morning, and perhaps for many more mornings to come, I saw something that made me angry and want to puke almost as bad as I did when Wendy, P.J. and I watched the towers burn and collapse right outside our window. It wasn't the pictures on the fire station across the street. It wasn't the National Guard parked on all four corners of our block. It wasn't even the stench of death that hung so brazenly in the air, invading our nostrils with fierce abandon.
It was the fucking tourists.
For some reason, perhaps just to let people see for themselves and grieve, the City of New York was now letting people into what they called "The Frozen Zone." "The Forbidden Zone" is what I would have called it, just like in Planet of the Apes?the first one. The only one, as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, as P.J. and I made our way out the door, the first things we noticed were people. Not just a few, not even a lot. A shitload is the best way to describe it. Guys with their shorts and black socks. Kids on their skateboards and scooters. Women dressed in heels, wearing dresses, and even pushing baby strollers.
And their cameras.
Zillions of cameras.
Still and video.
And they're all shooting pictures of everything they see. The pictures of the missing firemen, the guys in their military fatigues, the police riding around in golf carts, and, of course, the twisted metal that was once the world's twin monoliths.
It was weird to see them, I thought to myself as I began to have an asthma attack, even with the mask on. This once-quiet neighborhood had turned into a macabre Disneyland. People were posing in front of wreckage, smiling, as cameras were clicking away. But perhaps the worst thing P.J., myself and my neighbor Rachelle saw was what they were doing to the car that had been parked on our corner since that day.
The car was a small blue sedan-type thing and it was covered, I mean covered, with crud. That dusty white crud that coated all the surfaces in our apartments even though the windows were tightly closed. The crud that was made up of whatever the World Trade Center had turned into once it went down. Chemicals I'm sure we don't even know about, as well as, well, people.
And here were these tourists, scraping off piles of the stuff, putting it into whatever containers they could find. Salad bar containers, envelopes, even Ziploc bags some lady on the corner was selling for a dollar apiece.
As I watched, I truly wondered what people would want with the crud as they high-fived each other after scraping off ounces into their receptacles. Perhaps as a memory of the worst day in American history? Maybe to show their friends they were actually there? To sell on eBay?
Whatever the reason, it made me want to vomit.
Until I saw a middle-aged woman silently scraping just the tiniest little bit into a Altoids tin. As she did so, a tear ran down her cheek.
Then I remembered my mother, her cremated ashes still lost somewhere in Brooklyn.
And I understood.
And after P.J. did his business, I went back to our home, maybe a little less furious.
The Mad Daddys' new album, on my favorite current label, RAFR, is called The Age of Asparagus. Not only are the title and cover art terrific parodies of the Cro-Mags' Age of Quarrel, the music here rules as well. Much like their other albums, the Mad Daddys have stayed in that Cramps sort of style, so much so that I can't tell the difference between their lead singer and Lux Interior. Good trashy rockabilly here and great drinking music. Especially in these weird times.
Death Alley is the title of Zeke's new album on Aces & Eights Records. Zeke, for those of you who don't know, is the most fucking kickass band since Motörhead and, well, Motörhead. This disc has 16 tracks, but only two songs. The fast one, and the slow one. Actually, all the Zeke albums have these two songs, and this one is no different. Which makes it great. My favorite song here is "Night Rider" because I saw them play it at Knitting Factory last time they were in town. I also love "Road Ahead" 'cause, well, it just rocks. Zeke!
Extermination is a new video game for the PlayStation2 made by Sony, and you know, it ain't half bad. It's a cross between Syphon Filter and Resident Evil, but you play as a Marine/Special Op guy with a funny haircut who goes around killing aliens and mutants on some army base in the north or south pole. What? It sounds like a ripoff of John Carpenter's The Thing? Well, yeah, it is. If it wasn't, I'm sure it would suck.
Another half-decent game I got for the PlayStation2 is Rune: Viking Warlord made by Take 2 Interactive and Human Head Studios. In it, you play a Viking dood named Ragnar, and you kill lots of bad guys and beasts and shit. The graphics are okay, a little too much slowdown for my taste, but the sound is great! There's nothing like hearing your massive battleax saw through someone's neck.
If you are tired of violence in video games?and who isn't, after recent events?check out Sega's Sega Bass Fishing 2 for the almost defunct Dreamcast. Beautiful graphics of fishies swimming around in the nice blue water. Then you cast your rod, snag the little fucker and reel him in real good. He'll put up a fight, but don't worry, after lots of practice you'll be able to snag the bastard, then catch him and have him die pointlessly.
Some chick named Amy Fix sent me her self-released CD called Spoon up here at New York Press. In a cover letter she tells me that she does not rock. That she is a chick. That she's a chick that eats pussy. That she's not punk although her high school friends were. That she does not have a drummer. That she has not finished becoming a bad girl. That her lyrics are funny. That she also sings about being abused as a child, which is not funny, and that she kicks her own special kind of ass. What else can I say?
God Hates Us All is the title of Slayer's new album, released the Day After. I don't know about all of us, but perhaps he does hate Slayer. Their last couple of albums have blown dog dick, with the exception of like one or two songs. Not so here. This new one actually has almost as many good songs as it does bad. Plus they brought back their dueling guitar leads, blood-curdling screams and production that almost ranks up there with South of Heaven and Reign In Blood. For a band that's a bit too old to sing about Satan seriously, these guys are in heavy rotation around here.
Finally, I got the new Toilet Boys CD on Masterplan Records. The first song is called "The Party Starts Now," so I put it on expecting to hear a great version of my pal Dick Manitoba's classic Wild Kingdom hit. Nope. But it didn't matter. The song was good, as was the rest of the album. Especially the songs "Hollywood" and "Another Day in the Life." These guys look like a cross between Mötley Crüe and the Misfits, but sound like a cross between Ratt and the Cars, and I love it. But what I love more is their live shows. They definitely put on the best show of any New York City band these days. You go, Boys!
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