Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

"What do you mean 'he's right behind me'?"

We spend the day BBQing with an army of newly minted FBI agents. But then, my life’s gotten a lot more interesting every since I’ve started sprinkling hallucinogenic mushrooms on my breakfast cereal.

This baby should stop drinking

Some nice things about a barbecue on a roof in Brooklyn: you get a great view of the bridge and the harbor, and some Osprey’s flying over shortly before getting in yet another accident. Deathtraps those things, I swear. You also get to wear a babybjorn while doing squats and eating ice cream in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Downside? Minor sunstroke the following day.

Chinese Junker in the East River, Bound for Singapore

It would be remiss of us to let Memorial Day go by without a nod for the reason we have the day off in the first place. So let’s talk about Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Thomas Baker. From the citation:

When his entire company was held up by fire from automatic weapons and small-arms fire from strongly fortified enemy positions that commanded the view of the company, Sgt. (then Pvt.) Baker voluntarily took a bazooka and dashed alone to within 100 yards of the enemy. Through heavy rifle and machinegun fire that was directed at him by the enemy, he knocked out the strong point, enabling his company to assault the ridge.

That’s pretty impressive. But that’s not the half of what he did.

On 7 July 1944, the perimeter of which Sgt. Baker was a part was attacked from 3 sides by from 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese. During the early stages of this attack, Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded but he insisted on remaining in the line and fired at the enemy at ranges sometimes as close as 5 yards until his ammunition ran out. Without ammunition and with his own weapon battered to uselessness from hand-to-hand combat, he was carried about 50 yards to the rear by a comrade, who was then himself wounded. At this point Sgt. Baker refused to be moved any farther stating that he preferred to be left to die rather than risk the lives of any more of his friends. A short time later, at his request, he was placed in a sitting position against a small tree . Another comrade, withdrawing, offered assistance. Sgt. Baker refused, insisting that he be left alone and be given a soldier’s pistol with its remaining 8 rounds of ammunition. When last seen alive, Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly facing the foe. Later Sgt. Baker’s body was found in the same position, gun empty, with 8 Japanese lying dead before him.

He was 18 years old when he died. He was from Troy, NY. And it’s because of him and millions like him I can eat a hot dog under the Brooklyn Bridge, while wearing a goofy hat and drinking a beer.

His actions are not forgotten.


Do You Like Rock Music?

May 30, 2010 Leave a comment

You should. Rock music is pretty cool.
Broken Social Scene’s new album is pretty cool too. Here’s the first track. You should check it out. It’s very difficult not to get up and boogie to this song, “Water in Hell” or “Meet Me in the Basement.”

That’s What You Get for Waking Up in Chinatown

May 29, 2010 4 comments

The tourists are out in force in Chinatown, which is where I happen to wake up late Saturday morning, for reasons not entirely clear to me but which I suspect may involve beer. It’s Memorial Day weekend and there’s a festive mood on the streets. This weekend, New Yorkers trade places with the rest of the world. We all head out of town, to the Hamptons, or the Poconos, or the Adirondacks, to family farms or barbecues, or upstate to see our in-laws, or down the Jersey Shore to catch the early surf or play nickel slots in Atlantic City. It’s our start of summer ritual, as sacred in its own way as a Druid solstice celebration. In fact, most Brooklynites even have the beards and scruffy hair to match. We welcome the change in seasons in our city by escaping it, knowing we’ve got a 90-day march of failing air conditioners, summer blackouts, tourist-crowded streets to get through. But it’s also the season of summer Fridays, subway rides to Coney Island, restaurants opening their outdoor seating, movies in Bryant Park, fireworks, bike rides to nowhere for no reason, booze cruises around Manhattan, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, laying on the grass on your lunch break, Shake Shack, lazy fourteen hour baseball games, girls wearing less, softball leagues and street fairs.

Meanwhile, East Broadway is filled with stout Midwesterners or French families or school tour groups, who look up at the buildings and down into their guide books. I nurse a fierce and wicked hangover that snarls and claws at the back of my and try to not run them over. As I make my way through the usual Chinatown throng, a nice, older Asian couple in sun visors and Crocs smile, and ask me in a thick West Coast accent if I know a good Chinese restaurant.

I point them toward Wo Hop, but make for dim sum myself. It’s been about 24 hours since I’ve eaten anything other than beer and my stomach is screaming for a chicken bun. I contemplate going home to shower first, since I smell of stale beer, fried calamari, and nuclear death. Kids, do not try this at home.

I’m far from the only white boy in the restaurant, I realize while dipping shrimp dumplings in duck sauce and stare at the other customers with unconcealed interest. I am, however, the only white boy not attached to an Asian woman, who order for their boyfriends or husbands in flawless Cantonese or Mandarin. Strangely, I don’t see any Asian men with white women. I suppose this is the sort of odd cultural phenomenon that speaks volumes about the intersection of race, gender, and identity in our society. Unfortunately, I have no idea what it means. I pay my bill, say ‘xiexie’ to my waiter, who looks at me funny and answers ‘yup, take care man.’ I head back into the throng of tourists and head toward the nearest farmer’s market.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone. And remember, if you come across any talking penguins while you’re out drinking, for god’s sake, do what they tell you.

If Someone Asks You if You’re a God

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Oh, Greta.

This poll can have only one legitimate answer: All of the above

Greta Van Susteren, a Fox News anchor, put a poll on her blog asking people if she was dumb. Dumber than a viewer who emailed her telling her how dumb she was.

Greta, you’ve clearly never heard of Internet Logic. Probably because I just made it up.

It’s based on something called Nap Logic, which is a form of logic invented by an undergraduate at the University of Michigan about 10 years ago. And by ‘undergraduate’, I mean a friend of mine, and by ‘invented’ I mean ‘came up with the idea while drinking PBRs and Goldschlager shooters in my apartment.’ How she got NSF funding for her research I’ll never know.

Anyway. Nap Logic goes like this: if you’re tired enough to wonder if you should be taking a nap, you will infallibly answer in the affirmative, usually responding with a total autonomic shut down before your brain finishes formulating the question, even if you happen to be in the middle of a lecture, or having sex.

Internet Logic works along the same lines. Essentially, if you give people the opportunity to be a bunch of smart-asses online, they will invariably seize the opportunity with both hands and their prehensile genitals (we’ve all got these, right?) Asking the Internetz, a domain that originated as the creation of a bunch of smarasses and proudly continues this traditional tone of assholery, if you’re dumb will only result in one possible answer.

Yes. You’re dumb. You’re dumb just for asking the question.

Geeze. I’ve been blogging for all of five minutes and I know better than to post dumb questions. Frankly, I’m surprised some random troll hasn’t swooped in just to inform me that I’m an idiot yet.

Here at Walkabout, we have no need for polls. I know I’m dumb. You know it. Let’s not go out of our way to measure stupidity with polling data. Fer chrissake, we’re live-blogging Spanish Telenovelas, of course we’re dumb…


May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Today’s most awesome word of the day is ‘systempunkt‘, which sounds a lot like ‘cyberpunk’, or something Ashton Kutchner might do, but is a completely different concept. Like all great portmanteaus, it’s also a great name for a band, provided that band is not a punk band, because c’mon people, that’s being too obvious.

Die System Ist Punkt

An experimental klezmer band though? That’s perfect. The name sounds ironic in that context, but isn’t, making the reader’s assumption of ironic intent to be, itself, ironic, reaching level of such transcendent irony that-

[—–error message type:X-42]

[unstable system]

[too many English Major classes]

[initiate shutdown]

Jet Li and DMX are probably better in Spanish anyway

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Oh Snap, Transporter 2 en espanol

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Just changed my plans for Sunday