Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cancelling Toward the White House

You may be a tad tired of the "Support Our Troops" magnetic ribbons that proliferate every 7th car you see; but, there's a new ribbon in town and it's fully endorsed by the United States Post Office. Its message is firm and direct; instead of the amorphous "Support Our Troops"... uh, ok, sure, will do! these ribbons have a more overt message: Bring the Troops Home Now!

Nothing wishy washy, everything direct and to the point.

Every since the USPS began allowing a new innovation in stamps: print your own (legal counterfeiting?), there's been all sorts of stamps coming out of the woodwork. Pictures of my cat, your cat, cat, your grandma's cat ... now we can go that one step further and actually send a meaningful message to the government.


By affixing them to your good old I.R.S. tax returns!

Those folks at the Internal Revenue Service won't know what hit 'em!

You can then either pass them on to your friends, or use them for mail to to your Senator, your Representative, your local governments or even to pay the cable bill.

So, here's the scoop: the stamps are $1.00 each, way above the .39 cent current stamp price. But, according to Corante's Civic Minded,

"A sheet of 20 stamps cost $20; $12 of that $20 goes to Endicia and USPS; of the remaining $8, 30% goes to Goodstorm to cover it's services, and the other 70%..."

goes to four organizations your SHOULD know by now: Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace.

Please head on over to Bring Them Home Now

You've got some time ... you know you haven't done your taxes yet! Don't try and fool anyone!

Plus, you'll let the government know exactly where you are when they come looking for you.

Oh, and in full disclosure, the stamp was designed by Andrew Boyd (see more here and here), the founder of the political theater action group I frequently participate with in actions, the Billionaires For Bush.

You can find a bit of the background regarding the stamp over at Civic Minded.

For more information on custom made photos stamps, go here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

MOHO in SoBro

Pardon the grand escape, it's been awhile since I've posted, but I moved, turned a year older (though still a dollar short) and have paid my first, waay-biig, student loan bill. Only 194 more to go.

I've made the move from Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn to the South Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven.

"Some people" *said with a Bush-like inflection* have given my new neighborhood the sobriquet of "SoBro," which stands for South Bronx.

You will, from now on, laugh at the term "SoBro" like I do. I actually like its real name, Mott Haven, or as I have affectionately begun to call it, MoHo. Or MoHa. But I like the sound of MoHo better.

Jordan Mott's Haven has transited from a 19th-century Irish-American enclave along the banks of the Harlem River to the birth place of African-American rap music. Its run the gamut from idyllic brick townhouses to massive housing projects, and is one of the poorest areas in America. Robert Moses, the urban planning NYC wunderkind who killed and created New York, did a job on the neighborhood when he built the Major Deegan right through it. That Robert. What a guy.

I'm located on the industrial waterfront, once full of working warehouses doing water-related manufacturing things, and now filled with a gigantic birdshop, chop shops, antique shops, car washes, and a bunch of garbage trucks. Oh, and Sin City... but that's another story.

If I walk onto the roof, I can see the Harlem River over the bird store and the Third Avenue Bridge towards Manhattan. I can see the Empire State Building when I walk toward home from the subway. The building I live in is full of hipsters of all stripes, artists and musicians, but also social workers and teachers. My roommate is pretty cool, and probably for the sake of propriety, I shouldn't blog about him... I know he reads the blog!

The apartment is a two-bedroom loft that my roomie constructed, and he's done a great job. I still have a bunch of stuff in boxes, but that's because my room is still a mess, because frankly, I'm exhausted, so I'm moving very slowly. Have been exhausted for a few months now, and it all culminated two weeks ago when I tried to celebrate my birthday, pack, move, and unpack in a four-day period. I'm still hurting.

This whole moving thing came upon me one panicked night at the start of February when it fully hit me that I had to finally begin paying my student loan, how there was no way around it any longer, especially since I have a 'good job' now. Zanz died on January 26, and come February 3, I knew it was time to cut my rent and move closer to work... and that meant moving to the Bronx, or at least close to the Bronx, but I really didn't want to move any further into the Bronx than were I am right now. I saw a few other places in Washington Heights and Marble Hill, but this place was the second one that I saw, and I actually wanted to move here above the others.

So within the space of less than the short month of February, I decided to move. I endlessly perused Craigslist and dreamt of luxury buildings. I saw several apartments, none of which were luxury. I met several great potential roommates, and only one crazy person, and got a new place. By March 15th, I had hired my friend to move me, packed up, turned 42, moved, unpacked, and now here I sit.

In the ghetto. Heehe...

Which all led to four straight nights where I was seeing double in my right eye, I was so tired. Dog tired. And hence the reason my room is still a wreck, and I have stuff in boxes outside. But it's all pretty neat out in the common area.

I hate to promolgate bad neighborhood stereotypes, but just to give you an idea of where I'm located, I turn your attention to the quintessential 1980s book, The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. In that story, the rich Sherman McCoy hits two black youths, at Bruckner and 134th street, which takes place about a block from here. It's the South Bronx, dude, it's got a baaaaddddd reeeppuutation.

Now, however, NYC real estate dame Barbara Corcoran has proclaimed the area the "New Harlem" or something like that, so real estate is way overpriced already, and while more people with funds are moving in, it's still a neighborhood with a lot of lingering problems.

I think the landscape is strangely beautiful, though some of it is as ugly as sin. (I haven't been inside Sin City, so I don't know what sin really looks like, I guess.) I know one thing, when I walk around, I see the industrial wasteland, I see the depressing, massive and majestic housing projects, and I see the pretty things, too... check out the pretty areas among the poverty. (I live in one of those piano buildings.)

Mott Haven has seen better days, and with the revitilization of the area, Corcoran cooing about the neighborhood, and the upcoming new Bronx Terminal Market and Yankee Stadium projects, which aren't far away, maybe things will be brighter yet again. Hopefully those who have spent their lives here will have 'better' lives with all the changes about to sweep in, maybe some new jobs and industry at least, and maybe the refurbishing of many of the old brownstones will be repaired. It would be such a waste for both people and buildings to continue to fade away.

Maybe more black and hispanic professionals will move back to the neighborhood. That would be nice and maybe good for the neighborhood.

I'll be here for a while, and I'm eager to explore, and get to know the neighborhood, maybe use my high school Spanish, maybe hope like hell I don't get jumped on or called white girl. Jump on me all you want, but call me white girl, and I'm gonna kick your ass.

Moho in the SoBro indeed.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday Cat Blogging?

Damn, I missed the official 'cat blogging' day... AGAIN.

KEv asked about the move and the new little one; we're still settling in, but here's a photo of Paikea Renee Esme, or Pai.

Oh, and I found out that Paikea means "Whalerider," from the New Zealand myths...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Don't Explain

There's a new blog in town, check it out! My friend Yvany is a jazz singer (among other talents) in D.C. She's begun a blog with audio links to some of her recordings.

Here's the blog: Desperate House Child.

Here's the link to her "Don't Explain" demo for a Billie Holiday contest. You go, girl!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Battle of the Fancy Feast Frists and Fords

Would it ever be possible for the Republican Party to act like grownups?

Hmm... doubtful.

I was reading Crooks and Liars and came across a posting regarding the National Republican Senatorial Committee's new "Fancy Ford" website regarding the alledged spending habits of Tennessee Representative Harold Ford as he runs for the Senate. Ford is running for the departing (praise Jeebus!) Bill Frist's Senate seat.

If indeed Ford's got a personal spending problem (unlike any other member of Congress /snark), then fine, go ahead and make an issue of it. But can ya do so like a grownup and not a five-year-old runnng for what is supposed to be the 'noble' house of Congress? Is that possible? Even for the Republican Party? Wait... wait... don't say anything... I know the answer to that.... NO.

The Fancy Ford site, with its slick styling, is reminiscent of an infomercial. OK, fine, but on top of that, look at that uppity Negro with the fancy meals, pedicures, white women (hey, it's the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on the front page!) and penchant for flowers. Ok, those combined do sound a little cracked, I suppose, bu on top of that, have they no idea that "Fancy" makes him sound like a step and fechit fancy dancer from the days of the Cakewalk? DO THEY?

I'm sure there were more mature ways of pointing out Mr. Ford's spending habits than what the high falutin' men and women of the Republican National Senatorial Committee's advertising staff came up with. But, in reality, it's just another political season of hate and immaturity coming from the Republicans. You would think when their president is hovering at only 37 percent, and their own numbers aren't that great either, that they would try a different, sensible, compelling, and intelligent, nay, more mature, way of smearing their opponents.

Oh, what the hell do I expect anyway?

So, in the name of eye for an eye, the Dems have put up a "Very Fancy Frist" site.

Kinda sounds like fancy frist feast cat food.

Kinda sounds like a retort from a five-year-old, too.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Country Singers Get Uppity

Ooowee... I don't know about Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's politics, but from what I know, country singers usually vote Republican. So... President Bush better shoo nuff watch it when country singers get uppity and spout off about the horrible Katrina response from the Federal government.

Hill and McGraw were promoting their new tour, and as natives of Mississippi and Louisiana, they had some choice words for the gubment.

Via Crooks and Liars,

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill embarrassed over Bush's Katrina response


"McGraw specifically criticized President Bush. "There's no reason why someone can't go down there who's supposed to be the leader of the free world … and say, 'I'm giving you a job to do and I'm not leaving here until it's done. And you're held accountable, and you're held accountable, and you're held accountable.

Hill, who grew up in Jackson, Miss., echoed those sentiments. So overwhelmed, she uncharacteristically unleashed an epithet, calling the situation, "Bull- - - -" "It is a huge, huge problem and it's embarrassing," she on

There's a link at Hoffmania to an actual recording of the press conference, while here's an article from AOL about the news conference.

And rutroh... here's the conversative NewsBusters take on the hullababloo... hmmm... they shoot horses and turncoats, don't they?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Andi at Alt. Oscars

Unfortunately Andy T/É was unable to attend due to extenuating bleaching delays, but other Andi showed up in force at the Kostume Kult's Alternative Oscars bash at Crobar in Manhattan on March 5.

Here's a photo of various Andi:

Andy M, Andy O!, Andy A, and Andy J

Val Solanas was unable to make an appearance. She was probably ranting at some man or another.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Condolences to the Reeve and Parks Families

It's one painful whammy to lose your dad to a horrible and paralyzing accident; it's yet another painful whammy to lose your mom from a disease that usually claims those who have a vice such as smoking, coming completely out of the blue. To lose both of them both in little more than a year must be a living hell.

When I heard about the death of actress, philanthropist and devoted wife and mother, Diane Reeve (the wife of actor Christopher Reeve, who died in 2004 from a long bout of paralysis after a riding accident) today due to lung cancer, I was so saddened by the Reeve family double whammy. My sincere condolences go out to their children, especially young Will Reeve, who's lost both of his parents at such a young age.

In fact, my sincere sympathy goes out for all kids who have to go through this, losing their parents either through disease, accident or war.

I saw Christopher Reeve speak at New York's Winter Garden in Battery Park back in 2000 or so. I was a caterwaiter at a fundraising event for his foundation. It was difficult to see Mr. Reeve paralyzed as he was. I remember how sad the other waiters and I were. It was difficult to watch him breath slowly, speak, and then breathe again, by the help of a ventilator. I felt, however, that I was truly fortunate to witness a man with such stamina and integrity. In fact, it was one of the small moments in my life that helped me break free of depression. Reeve, despite his evident problems, seemed generally happy.

May we all be so lucky in the face of it.

A Happier Moment

On another note of passing, Gordon Parks, an icon of the African-American community for more than 70 years, died today as well.

When it rains, it pours.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Horrifying Murder

Crime happens every day. This is a fact. People get robbed, kidnapped, murdered and raped. It doesn't matter who you are or where you are, crime happens to every race, color, nationality, male or female, grownup or child. Sometimes crime gets blown out of purportion and the media goes crazy. Sometimes, such media craziness is not necessarily justified, and sometimes media craziness grows organically and sometimes media creates craziness for their own selfish reasons.

I'm hoping that media here in NYC can show some restraint and respect when it comes to a rape and murder that happened here this past weekend.
I don't know why I've been so upset over the rape and murder of John Jay College of Criminal Justice graduate student Imette Carmella St. Guillen which happened here in NYC over the weekend. Maybe because I've been to the same haunts that she went to on her last night, maybe because she looks so bright and happy in photographs, maybe because the thought of what happened to her over 17 horrific hours this past weekend is beyond my powers of comprehension. And yet, I can comprehend just a bit the fear, the rage, the helplessness that this young woman went through on her last night on earth.

It makes me even more upset when I know that the maniac who did it to her dumped her body along the side of a desolate road and walked away, a free man. I hope that the person or persons who raped her, mutilated her, chopped her hair off, stuffed a sock in her mouth and wrapped her face with tan packing tape won't be free for very much longer.

I wish that no one, no where, ever had to go through such an orderal any where. But that's just wishful thinking.

Rage isn't good. I don't like it. It doesn't help. Sometimes it's hard to stop.


OK, there are so many things happening all at the same time that I truly don't know what to blog about. Katrina tapes coming out of the woodwork, the ongoing Dubai debacle, a horrific rape in New York that I just can't even get my head around... ugh. It's just too much.

So, before I blog about something serious, here's something for all you blogheads out there who want to see your nonsensical blog words in print: check out the site I read about it in the New York Times today. It's downloadable software that allows your beautiful blog to be turned into a beautiful book that can then be published and put into your beautiful hands for some beautiful bucks. Check it out, beautiful people.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Need a Book to Read?

Check out Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation. I laughed, I cried, I cracked up when she called Robert Todd Lincoln, "Jinxy McDeath" for having inadvertantly been in attendance at three Presidential murders, including Robert's Pa, Abraham Lincoln as well as Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley. Hey, who knew? She cuts Robert no slack, either. Turns out he did some pretty crappy things in his lifetime, but you'll have to read the book to find out what.

Vowell, who you may know from any number of projects she's worked on and from Daily Show appearances, has a wonderfully ironic voice (though sometimes a tad annoying), as well as a piercing sense of historical connection, both our historical past and present. She's obsessed about three particular assassinations, and she makes you obsessed with them for a while as well. Plus, she does all the macabre footwork for you.

Anyway, it's a fun read, and you'll learn more about James Garfield in one chapter than you've ever learned about him in your entire life. It's too bad his life was cut so short. As Vowell describes him, he could have been a great President, except for some nasty germs from some grimy hands in a bullet wound and a crazy gunman who thought God told him to shoot the President.

That God. He's always telling someone to do something or the other. Hey, who knew?