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NoOriginalArt
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Back in the early aughts (which feels like a century ago at this point) I remember seeing Lydon in a reality TV show on...VH-1? where he was filmed in his Venice (California) home with his wife and kids, storming about and swearing at the camera crew and anyone else getting in his way. He was overweight and ragged looking, made worse by his dressing either in suits or in really bad beach tourist clothing, baggy shorts and XXL t-shirts with abstract prints in primary colors. I found myself glancing at the mirror (he and I were born in the same year, 1956) and thinking, 'Yeah, it happens to the best of us, but god, he didn't age well.' His on camera antics however made me wonder if he wasn't just making fun of the genre and us, the viewers, for watching a washed-out celebrity wander the SoCal beachscape like a lost dementia patient. That said, I was not sympathetic to his pro-Trump rant. Even if it was satire, it's the kind of privileged snot-wiping that can only be practiced by someone distanced from the people not so lucky to escape Trump's and the GOP's SS-like cruelty. I'm not buying his latest Public Image Ltd. album---he obviously doesn't need the money---and I'm half tempted to throw my old Sex Pistol albums in the dumpster, which I think even my 20-year-old fangirl self would support.
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Happy Birthday, you baby. (I might have said that to you last year. If so, sorry, but I'm ten years your senior and anyone under the age of 60 gets no sympathy from me re birthdays.) Actually I'm glad you had a relatively safe year, up to this point. I hope the rest of the year brings better news and other things to write about than Tangerine McCovidface and safe distancing.
Toggle Commented Oct 13, 2020 on 53 at Flaming Pablum
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One of the comments on YouTube linked the man in black to an episode of Amazing Stories (1986) directed by Scorsese, "Mirror, Mirror." I don't think it was particularly good---it's funny how a lot of great movie directors fall short with the medium of Television---but it's as if that last shot in "After Hours" segues into the horror theme of "Mirror Mirror." Or not. Quarantine seems to make us dive into many rabbit holes. https://www.nbc.com/amazing-stories/video/mirror-mirror/2909110
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Agreed, the states still observing lockdown should put up barricades and seal the borders against the residents of those states that are re-opening while contagious. My concern however is those jerks in my state who insist they have to get their hair cut or nails done and cross over to a stripey state. Do we tell them they can't come back? Or do we nab them as they come back in and throw them in quarantine, as Hawaii is doing?
Toggle Commented May 7, 2020 on Where We Are at Flaming Pablum
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!. Hisaye (My Japanese name. I've already said too much.) 2. Bay Area, California. But lived in New York 30+ years and still have family there. 3. I read a lot and enjoy cooking, but have also resumed playing video games, specifically Skyrim and a Japanese mobile game that involves samurai and dating. Again I've said too much. 4. As much quiet, calming music as I can stomach. As a former headbanger, it's weird, but with all the stress and stupidity outside, I just want sounds that remind me to breathe slowly and not pay too much attention to the old guy living above me who loudly coughs and clears his throat every five minutes. (I'm learning what thin walls and ceilings my overpriced apartment building has.)
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2020 on Listening Deeply at Flaming Pablum
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You and yours as well. I've noticed attendance at the school I work at has gradually decreased, even though the superintendent has declared classes will continue "until further notice." I'm guessing it's a combination of the usual crud (colds, stomach flu: some kids seem to catch everything) and COVID-19 panic. We've done hand washing instruction, "sneeze/cough into your elbow," and "stay home if you're sick," but the truth is, kids forget, and some parents use school as daycare and can't afford to take a day off to stay home with a sick kid. You can take all the precautions, but public health, even in New York, really depends on everyone following the guidelines.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2020 on Be Safe, Everyone at Flaming Pablum
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I'd add, keep it south of 28th Street: the more gentrified the neighborhood, the more likely someone will come out with a bottle of Goo Be Gone and a pot scrubber and furiously scour your stickers off, no matter how neglected the spot you've placed them is. Also, don't do it in predominantly residential neighborhoods of Queens. I had neighbors in Astoria who would scream at me for not sweeping the sidewalk in front of our building (I told them I wasn't the maintenance guy but no matter, they saw me coming out of the entrance); if even a tiny sticker or graffito were left up on the lamppost in front, they'd probably set the place on fire.
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After looking over your list, I thought, 'So who the fuck did win a Grammy?' I went back to 1980, when (I thought) punk had more or less established a foothold in American music, and the award for Album of the Year then was...Christopher Fucking Cross. I don't even remember anything by Cross; I definitely do not have his album in my ancient record collection. (Which used to be fairly eclectic: I actually had a couple of Eagles' and Lynyrd Skynyrd records given to me by a high school boyfriend. I sold the records for beer money when I was in college, then found out HS boyfriend had joined the Young Republicans' club at his Midwestern Lutheran college. Needless to say, we don't talk.) Anyway, the list of winners is so freaking disappointing I won't bother mentioning them. It did seem to be a requirement for winning a Grammy in the '80s, you had to have a Jheri Curl perm. But it's just funny to see what was popular then contrasted against your list. I'm kinda proud I don't own anything by any Grammy winners. (Oh wait, my daughter left her Alannis Morissette CD in my shelf. Best Rock Album 1995, according to the sticker on the case. Obviously I disagree, but nice to see a female artist finally win the title.)
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2020 on About Last Night at Flaming Pablum
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Back in 1984 when I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and was going to school in Berkeley, a housemate dragged me to a Dead concert at the Community Theater. It was definitely not my jam at the time--Gang of Four was on my turntable along with XTC and The Clash. (I was a snob and listened to British punk only---on imported albums---mainly to piss off the punk wannabes on campus who boasted about seeing Television and Talking Heads at CBGB during spring break.) Admittedly, I was also spending way too much time inside of my room, which was why the Housemate thought I should "get outside and meet some people." Anyway, my primary memory of that night was of the smells of burning cannabis and patchouli layered over the terrible BO coming from the tie-dye-clad bodies in the audience. Jerry Garcia didn't look so good either: he sometimes acted as if he'd suddenly woken up and was surprised to see all these people standing in his bedroom. When I read the following year that he'd gone into rehab after being hospitalized, I wasn't surprised. But at that point, I'd given up on law school and Berkeley. I liked the place and yeah, hearing the opening notes to "Ripple" or "Sugar Magnolia" will suddenly take me back to chilly summer evenings watching the fog slowly cover the setting sun over the Bay. But like the Dead's music, it felt like I was living in somebody else's home with old Live at the Fillmore posters and tie-dyed sheets hanging on the walls and a smelly, blackened bong on the coffee table. It's still not my jam.
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When I got a call from the high school principal about the son cutting classes (to attend a Foo Fighters concert in Philadelphia, I learned later), my mother said it was karma for all the grief I gave her when I was a "rebellious" teenager. (I thought I was pretty tame: I didn't smoke, drink or do drugs until I left for college. And I cut classes just once, after my jeans got soaked by the monthly Red Tide and the school nurse refused to let me go home.) Anyway, it felt weird to be lecturing my kid on the importance of school attendance when in my heart, I would've loved to call in sick to see one of my favorite bands play in Philly. Parenting when you're an old punk is hard.
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2019 on Joking on The Steps at Flaming Pablum
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Jesus, I haven't been following your blog all that long, but those kids grew up fast. I half expect you to start crying any day now about them staying out too long and shopping for prom. And college tours....
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2019 on Joking on The Steps at Flaming Pablum
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I am not a violent person (I swear) but when I visited the 9/11 memorial site, I had an overwhelming urge to grab the selfie sticks from grinning tourists and beat their owners with them. The place is a fucking CEMETERY: the remains of people who were never found are resting somewhere in those granite-lined pits. I don't know anyone personally who died there, but I was moved to tears seeing the non-Anglo names carved along the enclosure, people whose ethnic and religious backgrounds are now being demonized by the Hope to Gawd Soon To Be Impeached President. Anyway, I won't ever go back there if I can avoid it. That, and the Hello Deli near the Ed Sullivan Theater....
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I deleted my Faceboob account not long after the 2016 election, partly because I saw so many people among my "Friends" come out for Cheetos Mussolini (who knew? I consider myself pretty political, but I seldom asked people what their opinions were on immigration policy or Middle East foreign relations): but mostly because I found out my employer, a certain urban school district, was actively monitoring social media and going after employees whose opinions were considered offensive or demeaning of said employer. You could scream free speech and 'where are my First Amendment rights?' all you wanted; apparently one's place of employment can fire you for saying "My job sucks dick" or "one of my students is a little Nazi." Even if you wrote the comment at 1 a.m. on a Saturday. All this said, I do miss keeping up with community events, activities by my favorite bands, and sometimes faraway friends (but not many). Though it doesn't say a lot when somebody issues a funeral notice for their mother on FB and doesn't bother to call or email those not on the site. Or worst, when my kid thinks writing "Happy Birthday, Mom!" on my FB wall is as good as giving me a phone call. Guess who's not getting my record collection when I die? [sob]
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2019 on Facebreak at Flaming Pablum
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Ackshully, my kids have been stamped with my 80s-formed musical tastes, and I bet yours have been too, in spite of this thing called Spotify. Or is it Pandora? Or iTunes? (At this point, my kids would groan and say, "Mom, you're soooo OLD!" But they love The Ramones, and Bowie, and The Clash, and whatever else they can salvage from my record collection.) But thank you for this. I tried to avoid all the Woodstock hoopla on public television (The American Experience? Really?) and NPR. I also love the artists that were featured there, but it sounds like a shitshow of mud, poor planning, and terrible transportation logistics. You ever try driving up to Woodstock in the summer, with all the tourists on the road? Plus I was barely in elementary school when it happened: the one sixth grader whose older brother went to Woodstock acted like he personally shared a bong with Jimi Hendrix. He grew his hair to his shoulders and sewed (or his mom sewed) that stupid dove with guitar logo onto his Real Levi's Jacket. Yes, I was insanely jealous, but when I was in high school, I was doing my imitation of Siouxie Sioux while he was a burnt out hippie. Last i heard, he was in rehab in Minnesota. But I'd like to think that punks at least didn't vote for Reagan, while a significant portion of the Woodstock generation suddenly went right wing and crazy.
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Pulling off the band-aid is a good way to describe it: the first time my oldest went off to camp for a mere three nights, I had to bury my face in an old beach towel to keep from loudly sobbing in the car. (I also had to drive the 85 miles home by myself, so it just wouldn't have done to hit the interstate with tears blurring my vision and my nose stopped up with snot.) But it is, after all, a good test of your parenting to see how your kid functions away from home and your hovering presence. Because it's just the start: the community service trips in high school, the college tours (where you may be present, but sometimes not), and then that agonizing day you drop them off at their college dorm, where they'll be living more or less for the next four years, if all goes well. Maybe you'll be spared if your child decides to go to school in the city; but all three of mine chose to attend colleges on the Left Coast. Only one returned; the younger two told me they hated East Coast weather and living in NYC (where did I fail?) and moved to cities facing the Pacific. We still see each other during the holidays and Facetime a lot: but it's never the same. And if you think you're going to rejoice at getting all that space back in your apartment...no. You'll feel like the place is a yawning cave, and the silence in their empty rooms haunts you like abandoned toys staring at you from the bunk beds.
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Jeezus. It IS kind of weird, disorienting even, to see the posters from my college dorm room hanging in a museum, though I didn't have the fancypants frames or matting those posters are so reverently mounted in. (It cost me $65 in 1980 to frame a photograph of Johnny Rotten during The Sex Pistols' last performance in the US, and I think, their final show together as a band. I spent the following month eating ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but that's how much the photo was worth to me. Yeah, I still have it.) Does this mean we have reached dinosaur status, or has the mainstream finally caught up with us? My son, turning 30 this year, refers to my box of records from the late 70s and 80s as "Mom's classical collection."
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If it's any comfort to you, my son-in-law, who works in finance and makes insane amounts of money (to me living on a teacher's salary, anyway), and my daughter had to abandon their search for a bigger apartment because they couldn't find anything that was both affordable on a single income and in a neighborhood they felt comfortable raising two kids in. I've been thinking that at this rate, there won't be any families living in Manhattan, and de Blasio might as well close up the public schools there. But---speaking as one who had to fit three kids in a two-bedroom apartment for ten years---lose the old-school computer and get a laptop that you don't need a desk for. You can park it on the dining room table or even your actual lap while watching TV or listening to music. The filing cabinet...my kids would say "Really? You still keep paper files around?" as they push me to scan more stuff and store it in "the cloud." (And they mock me for believing in an afterlife, when they put their faith and photos and music and tax files in this cloud.) You could also put up wall shelves up near the ceiling and place square storage baskets on them, the kind that Apartment Therapy writers get all excited about. But I seriously feel for ya. When my kids were in high school, I finally found a three-bedroom apartment in Queens and said farewell to Manhattan. None of us were thrilled with the move, but we actually had not only separate bedrooms for the girls and their brother, but a master bathroom and a separate one down the hall for the kids. For the first time in their lives, they didn't have to fight over who got to piss first before somebody took a shower or put on their makeup. And then...they went off to college on the West Coast, and I was all alone in that big space. It'll come sooner than you think. If that's any comfort.
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2019 on The Blowout at Flaming Pablum
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I was angrier at the way mainstream news and online media backpeddled so quickly from "outrage over white boys harassing Native American veteran" to "it's complicated and we shouldn't rush to judge these poor victimized kids." Fuck that gaslighting: especially since Sandmann's parents were rich enough to hire a GOP-supporting PR firm to spin his image and make it look like he was an INNOCENT VICTIM. If this kid is up for nomination as a Supreme Court justice 30 years from now, I will officially become an anarchist and blow shit up. Even if I am at that point an old lady on a walker. And before someone says, 'Hey, bet you did some dumb stuff when you were a teenager,' Imma gonna say I did not march in antiabortion protests or harass old Native American men. I was a feminist in high school (I had a Ms. magazine subscription when I was 17); I marched with Cesar Chavez during the United Farm Workers' strike; and I passed out boycott/devestment flyers against apartheid South Africa. The one thing I apologize for is being a fan of the Doobie Brothers after Michael McDonald became their lead singer. When friends found my stash of Doobie Brothers records in my collection, they taunted me to no end. And I deserved it.
Toggle Commented Jan 24, 2019 on Youthful Indiscretions? at Flaming Pablum
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One proof of Trump's narcissism is that he thinks that Taylor Swift or any of the celebrities he takes swipes at cares about his opinions. I suspect that the only reason why he "likes" her is because she's blonde and young. Like Ivanka. But I'm still gobsmacked that my 20-something punk rocker son loves Taylor Swift. He told me it's because she's "a feminist songwriter." Oookay. I thought Sleater-Kinney was his favorite feminist songwriting band, but they're all in their mid-40s, which my son says is old. No, I did not slap him, since he's now so tall I cannot reach his head.
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2018 on Taylor Talks at Flaming Pablum
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That Times piece already feels like ancient history. In a sense it is, since most of Trump's tax fraud took place back when Bill Clinton was in the White House and investigation of white collar crime in the private sector fell off while both the Times and the feds were busy investigating Whitewater and the semen stains on Monica Lewinsky's dress. (Anyone remember that, besides us old folks?) The Repugnicans were so busy digging up dirt on the Clintons that nobody bothered to notice that Trump and his corporate cronies were already ass deep in the cesspool. And...to be honest, I feel a little guilty about this. Those of us living in New York at the time knew Trump was a motherfucker, throwing old people out of apartments they'd lived in all of their adult lives and refusing to rent or sell to African American families. A friend who works in real estate told me 10+ years ago that when Trump got hit by a fine for some code violation, he'd refuse to pay it until the city took him to court: and then the city attorney's office would be forced to settle for a far smaller amount than what Trump was originally hit with. So we knew from the start he was a corrupt, shitfaced pig, but well this is New York City, all those rich guys are like that, anyone can be bought off with a big campaign donation. We shrugged, at least I did. And when he announced he was running for President, I laughed and thought it was a stunt, like most people I knew. I never thought he'd win, but then I didn't know the level of ugly that was rising in this country. And now the whole fucking nation is stuck with him, not just us New Yorkers. He went from just another asshole in a Fifth Avenue limo to a malignant evil taking over the US. We could have stopped him back when, but *shrug* New York.
Toggle Commented Oct 7, 2018 on After The Confirmation at Flaming Pablum
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I dislike 'Describe ___ in X number of words' games, but what the hell, I'll bite. I honestly love/hate this city, especially after having endured forced exile in so many different areas of the country. (Try living through a subzero winter in Minneapolis; imagine watching The Replacements perform drunk at a dive bar near the University of Minnesota, surrounded by guys in smelly Army surplus parkas dancing in Sorel boots.) Anyway: The Cloisters Astoria (I'm assuming we're not limiting ourselves to Manhattan) Brooklyn Bridge Pearl River Brownie's Cafe The Strand Irving Plaza Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson The Velvet Underground Patti Smith John Ashbery I forgot to throw in Central Park but that seems too obvious. Also a shoutout to PS85Q aka Judge Charles J. Vallone School.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2018 on 25 Words at Flaming Pablum
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I wonder if Golthar found a place to live.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2018 on Summer in the City, 2018 at Flaming Pablum
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I don't have anything against changes to the already crowded skyline of Manhattan: 9/11 permanently altered the one I used to see on my occasional ride on the Staten Island ferry. What really disturbs me is how casually the NYCurbed article reports on $2 million condos, as if that's not a big deal anymore. I recently gave up my three-bedroom apartment in Long Island City so my daughter and son-in-law had a decent place to raise two kids---and son-in-law works in finance, where in theory his salary should enable him to afford an apartment big enough for a family of four. (It doesn't; my daughter and him fought for a year over whether to move to Tarrytown or some other family-friendly exurb before I decided it was dumb for my empty-nester self to hang on to space I didn't need anymore.) But it's ridiculous that someone making over $100K a year can't afford to live in lower Manhattan now. My first apartment in the late 70s West Village was crap, but I could actually afford the rent all on my own while working as an editorial assistant at an allegedly counterculture publication. Some kid working in the same position now would be sharing a closet with two roommates, and Apartment Therapy would run a feature on how they transformed it into an adorably intimate and cozy space. With houseplants. Moreover, it infuriates me that this is going on with a supposedly progressive Democrat in the Mayor's office and a not-so-progressive Democrat in the Governor's. We can blame Trump and his real estate cronies for turning a mostly inhabitable, people-oriented city into a playground for millionaires and technocrats, but De Blasio's administration has been turgid at best in addressing the crummy public housing and lack of affordable homes for middle income families. AND WE WERE FUCKING TALKING ABOUT THIS BACK IN THE 80S AND 90S. Are they waiting for us to hang all the real estate investors from the lampposts? If only I should live so long.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2018 on The Fault In Our Starchitecture at Flaming Pablum
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So many posts to catch up here, after being out of town for two weeks. (In Montreal. No, not moving there yet, but ask me after the midterms.) There's so little visual information in that photo, it could be damn near anywhere: but it reminds me a lot of the student housing over in the East Village between 12th and 17th Streets, maybe closer to Stuyvesant Square Park. There are a couple of streets there that deadend at the park and by Mt. Sinai. But so much has changed, when I took friends who were looking for a place for their NYU-bound kid out to the old 'hood, I got lost. Or maybe it was early onset dementia. My thoughts have become so muddled lately.
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I can't decide if this is marvelous or frightening. Dammit, Internet.
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