Tuesday, June 28, 2005

central time zone

from breakfast this morning:


We fought Appalachia all morning yesterday, stopping for the best breakfast I've ever eaten at the 79er Diner ("where the food is finer") somewhere in WV. An empty coal train rolled by as we ate, framed by the booth's window and the tiny American flag standing on the sill. Passing through Charelston, WV, I saw my first true riverboat pushing two coal barges up the Kanawha--a trickle on the map, but a tributary of the mighty Ohio and an important local waterway. Then we crossed into Kentucky, fueled at a flying J (where I posted here), and drove into Lexington. There, Segway-mounted cops were busting homeless dudes on every other corner, whisking them into cars and vans and getting them out of someone's sight. It was bizarrely intense. There was nothing to do there except buy deoderant, so we did that and left and hit Louisville.

There was a surprise. While Lexington, just over an hour away, seemed a thoroughly Southern city--in terms of its public squares, landscaping, and to a lesser degere, more contemporary architecture, Louisville looked like it belonged on the Great Lakes. Old cast iron faced warehouses, abandonded for years stood along the waterfront, and the streets were adorned with snow emergency route signs. The familiar smell of loft (rotten timber, rats, young artsy people) wafted through the streets, and I could tell the developers were just beginning to realize that they had to turn all of the old buildings into Luxury Condominiums before the waterfront could again be called a success. We stopped in Stevie Ray's, a little blues bar that was quiet at 6pm, and we each sipped a Maker's on the rocks. Then we walked down to behold the river. A beautiful, recently build public park of cascading fountains extended from the buildings to the river, and dozens of people of all ages played and swam in the fountains. Dan and I joked about the happy scene in art-historical terms, about how THE EXPRESSION OF LIGHT BEGETS AND AMPLIFIES THE DIGNITY OF THESE COMMONERS, ALLOWING THE BATHERS TO TRANSCEND THEIR ORDINARY EXISTENCES and then we walked down to the river.


Now I've read two-thirds of Huck Finn and everybody reads Uncle Tom's Cabin, but the river is something to behold, if not for its relatively brief history but for its everyday vitality and importance. We watched, amazed, as huge pushboats forced giant tows of barges up the river--16, 9, and 10 at a time. They carried grain and scrap metal and rocks and coal and blasted their horns at the parkgoers as they wound their way northward to Cincinatti and beyond. After an overpriced pizza dinner, we decided we had to walk the river ourselves, crossing the mile-long U.S. 31 bridge into Indiana ("Southern Indiana is the sunny side of Louisville").


After trying for an hour to get out of the city, we wound south on 31 to Bardstown, a tourist hole about an hour to the south of Louisville. Everything there is about bourbon history and Stephen Foster, whose home is featured on the back of all Kentucky quarters. We bounced from hotel to hotel, being told of rates too high for our liking in broken Indian-English by imported proprietors. With the help of a gas station attendant, we finally found a nice little place and settled down for an excellent night's sleep.


It's 11 a.m., and we just finished breakfast at the Stephen Foster buffet. I think we'll look at some bourbon stuff around town, then leave for the long trek to Memphis, the late-hired mecca of this trip. Graceland, the Stax museum, barbeque food, and the Mississippi beckon, and we think it's worth skipping through Nashville, this time.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Flying J #1, Cannonsburg, KY

from last night:
Four point one dark miles from I-79, the Country Club Motor Lodge stands watchful guard over a seldom-traveled, five-way intersection in Fairmont, WV. It's $4 cheaper than the Red Roof Inn down the road, and looks a little like one of those awful L.A. apartment complexes that show up in your film noir of the 40s. Note that I did not italicize any of the letters in noir.

Rundown of day:

  • Brave urban atrocities like Queens Boulevard, the BQE, the Manhattan Bridge, Canal Street, the Holland Tunnel, and Newark's Pulaski Skyway (perhaps the most horrifying urban thoroughfare in existence). Cross boring suburban NJ.
  • Explore Allentown in fruitless search for the CEMENT INDUSTRY MUSEUM, a red dot on our map that we couldn't find in real life.
  • Eat in nameless, signless downtown Allentown diner where waitresses have names tattooed on the sides of their necks and say FUCK every 20 seconds.
  • Drive through farm country and pass many trucks.
  • Stop in Cumberland, Maryland Panhandle, for gas and food. Get cursed out by thugged out thug in rural gas station. Give money to PepsiCo at Taco Bell. Watch big coal trains roll by.
  • Dodge speeding, lane-changing tractor-trailers laden with Long Island trash on WV highways, confirming the unfortunate and depressing fact that everywhere is the suburb of New York's suburbs.
  • Discover Robot Chicken.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

roadtrip ii

today is the day. since the only reason i started bloggin' again was to document last june's roadtrip (see archives) i figured i'd do some live writing about this one. dan m. and i wrapped up 12 minutes of planning in his [70s antiseptic elderly jewish widow couture] mid-queens apartment on friday rught before he shipped off to beloved worcester for yet another holy cross wedding. saturday i bought a new rough guide as well as spare antifreeze and motor oil. sometime before 3pm today, well after dan's return to the city, we'll be off to somewhere in W. Va. there's a family owned motel with its own COZUMEL RESTUARANT on state road 26 that i wouldn't mind staying in.

i know i've done too much planning, though. that'll be okay in 24 hours, when the weather, construction delays, near death experiences, etc. completely fuck up our trip. i hope the company car lasts another 3,000 expensive personal miles.

Friday, June 24, 2005

new roadtrip

morgantown, WV, louisville, KY, nashville and memphis, TN, part of AR, joplin, MO, charlotesville, VA, DC. starts sunday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Be Thankful for All These Shitty Blogs

Or else Microsoft will partner with your local government to censor it. Personally, I wouldn't mind if this commie lapdog would eliminate serial usages of the abbreviation OMG OMG!! and curtail emoticon usage here in the "West." Then we could pretend more easily that blogging was promoting a new medium for the exercise of writing. Despite my qualms with what appears on most blogs (including my own), you can still say whatever you want in this corner of the internet, thanks to the men and women of our all-volunteer national forces, killing brown people all over the world so you can blog about your new cat or dumb students.

Monday, June 13, 2005

INSURANCE CAPITAL OF AMERICA

Stranded in Hartford for 2 hours on Friday night, I was only able to come up with these corporate clipart photos of the city's suicide-inducingly boring architecture.


Who would want to work here? Who could? Apparently no one who lives here, since Hartford is the most hispanic and second poorest city in the U.S. To fill all that office space according to the guidelines of American social stratification/apartheid, they actually have to bus in the white people on big, luxury express coaches. And the city's nightlife paper, the Advocate, seems to seldom include an article on reggaeton or salsa but is perfectly at home covering high school rock bands that play halfway across the state. What a shithole!

Waystations, 6.13.04

Seth has joined the growing list of influential people trying to move me away from my job so that I have more time to develop and articulate ideas. Dan and I are back together after fighting all weekend in CT. We have hammered out plans for CADA #3 and CADA #4 (name_tk productions). #3 will still be text about "love" and "sex," but I am taking on more of the editing duties. #4 will be a B+W, xeroxed photo essay by yours truly. More on that to come--it'll be our first attempt at a purely visual "zine"/artistic entity. In other news, middlebro moved to Virginia via Greyhound and immediately ripped up a check from the Bellinger family! Drastic! Minibro languishes in Queens (the locality, but perhaps not the mental state), but I'll be there next weekend to curse a lot and bike a loop around doomed Staten Island with Erich. I hope that Erich and I will write music together again.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Deletion of a Child's Future; The Return of Save Dave

My mother (link to highly depictive video sent upon email request) has officially released parental plans for my now 16-year-old brother. It seems that after the first two sons used parental money to basically put themselves through Tufts and the University of Virginia, young David will not be encouraged to follow in their footsteps. Despite his utterly sick 99% average in the honors program at a Queens private school, the parents are "gonna tell him to take the civil service test so he can work for the sanitation for twenny yeas and then retiya."

The plan also includes complicated subliminal messaging: telling siblings and possibly Dave himself that Dave "won't get into a good college," not encouraging Dave to participate in any extracurricular activities that might increase the likelihood of his acceptance into a better school, and most recently, preventing him from taking an SAT-II exam because he was sick (whether he was actually sick is debatable--Dave had recently broken his nose, but I don't know how bad conditions were).


Apparently city retirement benefits are so stellar--just ask my dad, a transit worker--that they outweigh the literal cost of higher education. Sadly this is no surprise, as it is news from people who have demonstrated an inexplicable ability to learn absolutely nothing during a combined 7 years of college parenting.


My thoughts are with Dave as he begins to navigate his last two years of high school with the typically Bellingerian, total lack of intellectual support. There is no way that college is not for him. Given his intellectual abilities and the way society works, I don't think he has a choice: he has to continue his education, and at a damn good school. He deserves better than a garbageman's life, but for now it doesn't look like he's going to get any nudges in the right direction from the people closest --at least, physically--to him.

Fun Fact from the Globe

"Since 2000, the number of students in Catholic schools around the country has dropped by 170,000."


Read more at http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2005/06/09/diocese_shuts_school_early_to_prevent_an_occupation/.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

New York Atrocity #1: The Deletion of Soul

There are serious problems developing in my hometown this week. Just when I was getting into "Oldies" radio here in the metropolitan joke that is Boston, Infinity Broadcasting has virtually deleted that "format" from New York's lamentably monopolized airwaves (Daily News via M. Bell). After digging for years through obscure soul for learnable hooks and basslines, I was thrilled to find so many of them available in my car on Boston's WODS. And now New York, the biggest consumer market in the country, has no readily available way to stay in touch with the nation's recent and illustrious musical past?


We are ignoring history as we make it. And, contrary to all theories about contrived nostalgia, PEOPLE ARE GETTING STUPIDER.


Footnote: Listen to Kool and the Gang's Wild and Peaceful--even if you just try out the short preview tracks on iTunes. Count how many songs in the past decade have sampled this album. Then try to hear any of those songs on your radio.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

PORNO CLOX

While you're surfing around and looking for ways to waste money, why not buy a clock from my dad?


P.S. This is real. Don't ask if this is real or not.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

about the below-mentioned missing blog

feds sez: "i actually asked pat what happened to his blog - he took it down because he had said some bad stuff about some professors and then decided he didn't want anybody to find it"


come on, pat!

by the way

Pics below are of a tanker from Canada getting dragged up the Chelsea Creek, so that the Bostonians can have fuel for their autos.

"Boston" "Harbor"

Lately I have been scouring the ruins of Charlestown and the Chelsea Creek by bike to find some remnant of a working waterfront (this is no New York). To get good pictures of "boats" I must bike down highway 16, pass through two murderous rotaries, slowly sterilize myself by bouncing down two miles of virtually unpaved road through the prostitute-infested NEW ENGLAND PRODUCE CENTER, pass under the Tobin Bridge, and cross into crime-lade East Boston. Ships only move at high tide, so this requires some advance planning (in order to avoid biking these areas at night). When I am done risking my life out there, I get to bike home again. Here are some views from two weeks ago:






i just deleted 3400 gay sex and prescription drug ads

from the now-defunct message board on this site. it's almost summer--time to blow the dust off and put some new stuff up (mainly photos).

as an added thought, how come pat carr's blog has vanished? do you know?