Archive for May, 2008

Boogie Down Lunacy

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 by wally426

29-05-2008  South Bronx, NY

The following exchange took place on the uptown D train last Friday as Vic and I were heading to the Yankee game:

*Two seats open up. A little girl sits down and places her hand over the other seat to reserve it for her mother. Little African Guy (LAG) with huge sunglasses doesn’t notice this and sits on the little girl’s hand, prompting some serious rage from Ghetto Momma Bear (GMB)*

GMB: I know you didn’t just sit on my daughter. Get up right now b****!!

*LAG sits coolly, looking straight ahead. GMB now lowers her head to get eye level with him, and yells at the top of her lungs, sending spit from her flapping lips all over LAG’s face*

GMB: Look M*****F*****, you will get up outta that seat or I will knock you the f*** out! Get the f*** up! Get the f*** up b****! Don’t you ever disrespect my kid again!!! Get the f*** up right now!!

*LAG remains cool as an ice cube, slowly wiping the spit from his cheek and looking directly ahead. GMB, infuriated, pulls a blade out of her pocket and holds it at her side.*

GMB: I ain’t gonna tell you again, you will not disrespect my kid. Get the f*** up or I will f*** you up!! I don’t give a f***!! (Calmly to her daughter) Honey, go sit over there… (To LAG) I don’t give a f***!! I don’t give a f***!!

*LAG calmly removes his gargantuan sunglasses, hands them to a friend, and stands up, staring straight into GMB’s eyes. Vic and I joked afterwards that this dude had the 100,000 yard stare. You could cut the tension with a knife (no pun intended) at this point. The car gets really quiet*

GMB: I told you, M****F*****, I don’t GIVE A F***!!!

*GMB then grabs LAG by the neck with one hand, pressing him up against the wall. With the other hand, she swings at him with the knife. LAG makes a perfect interception and grabs GMB’s swinging hand, looking cooler than ever. A jumble of people move away from the action as LAG’s friend breaks the two apart. The doors open at the next stop and the meelee spills out of the train. Cops eventually come and separate everyone, moving LAG to the car ahead. Crisis averted!*

Best part #1- There was an armed MTA cop standing no more than five feet away from the altercation. You’d have thought he was looking at a movie over there, watching as these two went at it.

Best part #2 – After LAG was moved to the caboose, BMG proceeds to tell the onlookers that she’s “a sweet person” who never gets riled up. Ladies and gentlemen, give your props to mother of the year! Look what a fine example she sets for her daughter.

I tell you, there’s never a dull moment on the D train… 

Smells like heaven…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 by wally426

Possibly the greatest scents in the world:

Garlic and onions simmering in olive oil

cake batter

honeysuckle

baseball glove

gasoline fumes

toast and coffee

Xerox toner

Bacon

Fresh Doughnuts

freshly cut grass

rain on hot concrete

burning cherry wood

old books

clove

baby skin

frankincense and myrrh

cookies baking in the oven

orange blossoms

smoked turkey 

pine needles

leather

new shoes

hot bagels

moth balls

Noxzema

Mom’s apple crisp 

peaty scotch

pipe tobacco

crisp dollar bills

cedar

fruit loops

linen closets

orange peel

fresh snow

suntan lotion

dead leaves.

Feel free to add to the list…

The fall of the house of Ulster

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2008 by wally426

27-05-2008   New York, NY

After a long and dreary spring, summer finally waltzed into our lives in glorious fashion this weekend. She looked particularly beautiful this year, ushering in warm breezes and sunshine with a sweep of her dress. To celebrate the fine weather, I decided to take my crazed beagle, Zeus, up to the Catskill mountains for a little hiking expedition. Zeus had been a sprightly little pup growing up, routinely wreaking havoc in the house by eating cell phones, cameras, credit cards, and his personal favorite – lacy women’s underwear. Aside from this, he also ate tons of ‘people food’ every chance he got, causing him to swell to enormous proportions at a young age. As he ballooned in weight, his little beagle legs couldn’t support his body. At the ripe age of three, he had successive surgeries to repair/remove his anterior cruciate ligaments in both hind legs. Luckily, the surgeries were a success and he is now able to get around quite well (sometimes maneuvering better than when he was a pup). I decided to test him with a short but strenuous hike up Giant’s ledge in the craggy Catskill foothills. We raced up the mountain with lightning speed, passing people and dogs the whole way (he even attacked a pitbull on the way up, saying eff you! in doggie language before I yanked him away). After toiling up the ridiculously steep rock scramble at the summit, we were rewarded with a magnificent view of Ulster county’s rolling hills. Shortly after, we stopped at a natural spring to rehydrate and completed the onslaught by ripping the return trail to shreds. I was proud of the little guy for all the effort he gave. There was a time where we thought he legs wouldn’t be 100% after the operations, so it was great to see him back to his old self once again.

We continued driving on route 28, soaking up the sun and smelling the sweet smells of another approaching summer. After taking a wrong turn on one of the side roads, I noticed a huge rusting abandoned train near a particularly expansive corn field. Exploring the hulking wreck was an opportunity too good to pass up, so I crept inside with trepedation. After doing some research, I found out that the tracks the old train rested on were once part of the Ulster & Delaware railroad formed in the late 19th century. With the advancement of highways, service on the line lulled and the company eventually declared bankruptcy in 1932. Passenger service was permanently suspended in 1954, so this magnificent yellowed mass had been left here for over fifty years. Upon entering, I was surprised to see that the infrastructure was well preserved. Wicker seats were torn but still in place, cloth shades over the dining car’s windows held their simple patterns, paint and fans installed on the ceiling were cracked and rusty, an old frigidare sat ready to be stocked in the kitchen, and a huge ornate kitchen cabinet waited with open doors to be filled with plates and silverware. There were also eerie little remnants of people that had visited the cars after they were retired. A child’s etchings on the peeling metal, the relief of a cross spray-painted onto a window shade, a vagabond’s mattress in the dining car, faded Polaroid pictures lay strewn about the warped tiled floor. Sparrows flew in and out of the cars, dashing through the lima-bean green light streaming through the windows. I sat in one of the seats for a little while, listening to the silence, feeling no odd presence or malevolent force that could have inhabited that old train. It’s a hard feeling to describe, but sometimes you visit a place (abandoned or otherwise) and have an overwhelming feeling that you’re not welcome there. Even if it’s in broad daylight and your mind isn’t playing tricks on you, the hairs will stand up on the back of your neck. I’ve learned through all my years of exploring that if you sense that awful presence in a place, you leave immediately. As I sat there in silence, I wondered about the people that had been part of this train’s history. What other people had looked from this window as the cars lumbered through the mountains? How much had the landscape changed? What conversations were had in this car before the vines crept up it’s sides and gradually overtook it? I was snapped out of my musings by Zeus’ yelps from inside the truck. He was tired of wondering what happened to his master after watching me disappear into the dark gloom of the rusty blue train. I hopped back into the truck and drove off, leaving the weathered iron beast and its long memory behind. Some places you visit for a brief moment but take them with you the rest of your life, this might have been one of them. Driving through the curvy Taconic parkway back towards the city, I kept thinking about the old U&D train as Zeus added to the internal conversation with loud snoring from the back seat. The trip was a great way to dance with summer as she brought in a new season.

Mutterkuchen

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2008 by wally426

 

22-05-2008

While we’re on the topic of controversial posts, I figured keeping the ball rolling couldn’t hurt. I went out to my friend Sean’s house in Astoria last night for a little birthday BBQ. Though the weather was rather inclement, we braved the chill and sparse downpours with beer, hearty lamb burgers and good conversation. At some point during the evening, I thought it fit to bring up my intention of cooking and eating my baby momma’s placenta after she gives birth. To give a little background on the practice –

Most women will probably be aware of the age-old rumour that some mothers reputedly enjoy tucking into a nourishing meal of placenta after giving birth. Indeed it is commonplace for some cultures and, of course, many of our friends in the animal kingdom have always enjoyed it. However, to your average discerning human being it still doesn’t seem that appealing a prospect. In the Western world it is accepted, although unproven, that eating placenta will reduce the risk of post-natal depression. This is because the organ is rich in minerals and vitamins, particularly B6, which can help to fight depression.

The criticism that a UK television show came in for a few years ago after showing the cooking and eating of a human placenta cannot have escaped the notice of many. The Broadcasting Standards Commission said that the programme has reportedly “breached convention” after an episode screened in February 1998, which showed a mother preparing and eating placenta pate to celebrate her daughter’s birth. Incidentally, for those of you wishing to know how the “offending” placenta was cooked, it was fried with shallots and garlic, flambéed, puréed and served on focaccia bread. In fact it must have been pretty tasty as the father of the child was reported to have had seventeen helpings, though apparently, other guests on the programme were less enthusiastic!

The practice of eating placentas was also fashionable in the 1970s among so-called “earth mothers”, but its popularity has since declined, with few mothers wanting to take their placentas home from hospital with them. Those people who agree with the practice of eating placentas argue that it is a perfectly normal thing to do, whilst those against are asking if a placenta belongs to the mother or the baby? If to the latter, this would imply cannibalism as pointed out by some of the nine viewers who complained about the television programme. However, during pregnancy the placenta is part of the mother, existing for the specific purpose of nourishing the baby until birth, after which it is expelled, ceasing to be part of her. (mothers35plus.co.uk)

So the question remains, should it be considered a form of self-cannibalization if the mother engages in placentophagy? We’re talking about a portion of the body that has no more usage after the baby is born. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s also a symbol of a (hopefully) successful birth, and consuming it or (symbolically) making it a part of you could be seen as an acceptance that the baby is no longer dependent on the mother’s womb to survive. It’s strange how humans always try and disassociate themselves from the animal world when in actuality we’re no different. Does our ability to reason and two opposable thumbs completely separate us from our primordial instinct to survive? Aside from camels, most mammals engage in placentophagy, even the herbivores. So, I look forward to the day when a little Woerner enters the world. Not only will I be the proudest poppa on Earth, but I’ll get a few good meals out of it as well. How can you lose???

LENS

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2008 by wally426

19-05-2008

Gente & Familia,

As the photo library becomes saturated, I’ve decided to post a separate page with all of my shots from the city and beyond. You can access the page by clicking on the ‘LENS’ link. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them…

~WC

EVENTS THAT LEAD TO MY ARM BEING B-B-QUED

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2008 by wally426

Pensamientos Dolorosos

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2008 by wally426

 

09-05-2008   Brooklyn, NY

The run begins at 11. I step out into the humid night air, tighten my bandanna and start up the music. Night runs are rare on my schedule as I’m usually exhausted by the time I get home from work, but tonight I welcome the pain. My stepfather had taken my brother and me out to see Lawrence Fishburne perform as Thurgood Marshall in a two-hour monologue earlier, I needed mindless excercize to digest it. Even though I wanted my mind to wander, thoughts were accutely concentrated on the physical pain of this run. Shortness of breath, the nagging pull in my right quad, burning calf muscles, sweat. The park at night is a surreal place. The only things visible in the glare of bright yellow streetlamps are the concrete pathways, crumbling old remnants of the park’s past, and an occasional low-hanging branch laden with hundreds of newly sprung green leaves. The rest is just blackness and shadows moving in the distance. I catch the sweet smell of a burning blunt, people must be out wandering in the woods. My thoughts begin to flow like a fountain…

…I don’t even see them, just the sudden rush of pavement towards my face. I get my hands in front of my body before hitting the floor, but my knees are completely skinned to the caps. The pain hits instantly as the asphalt peels my skin like a ripe orange. I roll on my back and I see four kids on bikes. One rushes off and comes at me, grabbing at the Ipod strapped to my arm. I kick at him blindly, somehow managing to spring up and push him down. The others realize they picked the wrong victim, I’m not going down without a fight. They speed off into the darkness. Realizing his friends abandoned him, the little hood tries to scramble into the woods. I pounce on him and we both collapse into his bike, bending the back tire into a ‘U’ shape. I crawl on top as he tries to scramble and raise my fist high into the air. The blows come unconsciously with Herculean force and I hear the awful sound of bone against bone. Blood spatters my white shirt as his cheek tears open. I keep the blows coming. His nose is now shaped like the bent tire, his lips mangled and swollen, his eyes bulging black out of an abyss of torn mahogany pulp…

…I come out of that macabre daydream as the lake slowly passes to the left, the run is halfway over. Fleetwood Mac is playing on the Ipod: Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom, Well who am I to keep you down, it’s only right that you should play the way you feel it, but listen carefully to the sound, of your loneliness, like a heartbeat drives you mad, in the stillness of remembering what you had, and what you lost… A lone streetlight atop the steps to the boathouse reveals a troupe of three stray dogs. They stare at me as I pass, spectators watching a one-man race. I rub my eyes to make sure I’m not still dreaming, but after I pass they bark and run after a rabbit on the side of the pathway… I continue on into the quiet darkness. Once again, the familiar smell of a burning blunt wafts from deep within the woods. I’m reminded briefly of when my friends and I were young, creeping through this microcosmic kingdom. We felt like kings of a huge jungle back then, running through the cold grass under the yellow city skies. Oddly enough, I see a group of kids wandering out of their own jungle kingdom near the trails by the zoo. One of them runs out onto the pathway next to me and I remember the thoughts I had earlier, hoping this kid doesn’t have any bad intentions. I notice my fists clenching with anticipation. The momentary tension is broken when I see a young girl pulling up beside me, she can’t be more than my sister’s age. We run side-by-side for a minute as she waits for me to make conversation:

You think you’re going to beat me up this hill, girl??

Yeah, I just might. I run this thing every day.

So do I, once in the morning, once at night. No way you’re beating me…

We’ll see!

What’s your name, girl?   

Keisha

My name’s William

<We shake hands and she looks back, realizing she’s almost lost her friends>

Nice meeting you, William. I gotta go.

Take it easy, Keisha. Be safe…

I finally summit the mountain, still unsure of what was real on that obscure evening journey through the park. What a strange and unique place this is, nothing seems to make sense, not even my own thoughts. Before I exit, I catch that sweet smell of a burning blunt once again, people really love smoking weed around here. I guess it helps them drown out reality, or helps boost their imagination and lift them out of the potentially glum nature of this city.

Party on, Brooklyn. Party on.