S&M in the Big Apple

backoff Between saddle soars, foot blisters and threading eyebrows, my weekend in the Big Apple has S&M written all over it. First up, the 3rd Annual Burlesque Show at the Hiro Ballroom, Maritime Hotel on the lower West Side. This crazy event draws acts from all around the world, including my adorable little curly-haired juggler from Dallas, Texas. His balancing strip tease act is a scream – while dressed in drag, he balances a glass of wine on his forehead and peels away. It’s absolutely wonderful! My SCUBA buddy, the gorgeous Miss Angela Jensen, fixes me up ala Goth Motif – chunky black boots, blood red lips and a whimsical girlie braid for that twenty-something look. Angela revels in her “back-off-bitch” look, donning fish-neck stockings, an army-camo skirt, and a jean jacket. The winds start to howl and suddenly there’s a torrent of rain outside. Not to despair the subway is only a block away and we don’t look any different than what’s riding on it. The line to the Hiro Ballroom stretches down the street, a sold-out event. Even Sarah Ferguson Windsor, or as she’s more popularly known, party girl Fergie — Duchess of York is spotted entering. There’s 50 acts total and my juggler doesn’t go on until after 1am. During a distraction, Angie and I snake past the VIP guards into Fergi territory. We don’t see her and neither do we find any seats. The show begins; extreme titillation, transvestites, cross dressers, transexuals, smutty humor, French music – no, I’m definitely not in Kansas, err, I mean Albany, anymore. After watching my 15th strip tease (where the hell are the straight men at?) my feet are throbbing and burning. It’s as if I’m walking over hot coals sans meditation to ease the pain. “I want my Fila’s back!” I scream from inside. We shamefully bail early, hey, feet before flesh and… To be continued…..

Survival of the Fittest

“It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” says my favorite coworker, Videographer Jim Felitte. He couldn’t be more right. I think about all the ways we push the envelope to get CBS stories covered, from breaking the rules of the road to having nerves of steel confronting hostile situations. Repeatedly, I’m befriending security, police, politicians, and PR people to get what I need for the story. It sounds unethical, even immoral, definitely cunning or crafty, though I conclude it’s more survival of the fittest than anything disengenious. We all say and do things that has us walking a fine line of honesty and dishonesty. It’s usually just a matter of semantics, personality, and patience that keep me from shooting nothing to shooting an exclusive. It’s terribly conflicting compromising your beliefs (ie. all those little white lies) to get the job done but you do what you need to. In an increasingly “big-brother-is-watching” kind of world you really need to keep close perspective on your own principles, scruples, and standards. Big Brother (ie. media management in my case) breathes without a conscious and can and will, at any time, dismiss your experience and talent for cheaper labor. It’s all about money. It’s not a conspiracy, just read the papers, it’s happening everywhere – in the cut-throat working world of employees and management, the artist and liberal intelligentsia world and the tertiary world of higher education. No place is safe. Unlike love (oh sweet love!) nothing is forever, everything is changing and not always for the better.

Relax It's Just Food!

Celebrating food in all its glorious forms is like music to my tastebuds. I enjoy it all! There are few rules that govern what I eat or how I eat, so if it tastes good, it is good, and I savor it all. Simple as that. I have no time for contemplating, analyzing or scrutinizing what’s inside – it’s a necessity in life so why stress over it? After all isn’t there enough stress in the world as it is? Shouldn’t food be a salvation from stress instead of complicating the matter? Don’t get me wrong – I truly admire people who can be Vegetarians because I know the benefits are enormous – particularly to the environment. I wonder if vegetarians realize that they’re also saving the planet when they bite into a soy burger? Between 1960 and 1985, nearly 40 percent of all Central American rain forests were destroyed to create pastures for beef cattle. And in the US, over four million acres of cropland has been lost due to erosion – 85 percent directly associated with livestock raising, i.e., over-grazing. And even the excrement from “food” animals (which amounts to 20 times as much fecal matter as human waste) flows unfiltered into our lakes and streams. Yuck, I think I just lost my appetite. Yes, “going green” is a honorable and worthwhile endeavor but like the chain smoker who won’t quit until the Doc tells him so, I’m afraid I can’t either. After all, nothing fares better after hibernating with Campbells soup cans all winter, than roasted garlic, asiago cheese, athentic proscuitto and other cured meats layered on a bed of greens between two hearty Tuscans, sipping a Calamansi with ginger, on a sunlit patio, in downtown Albany. No stress here.

Andy Rooney Knows

This was written by Andy  Rooney from CBS 60 Minutes. Andy Rooney says:

As I grow in age, I value women who are over 30 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 30 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think. If a woman over 30 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it.  She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting. A woman over 30 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 30 give a damn what you might think about her or what she’s doing. Women  over 30 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera  or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve  it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.
Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated. A woman over 30 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn’t trust the guy with other women. Women over 30 couldn’t care less if you’re attracted to her  friends because she knows her friends won’t betray her. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 30. They always know. A woman over 30 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 30 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one! You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.
Yes, we praise women over 30 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman, 30+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”. Here’s an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire Pig, just to get a little sausage.

Love Hate Relationships

I have many many of these but city dwelling vs the ‘burbs is the worst. I live 6 miles from downtown and savor the space, sunsets, safety, and solitude. I work in downtown and feed off the energy, convenience, architecture, and history. Both have their vantage points, both are desirable until…. “Hey buddy, what the f*** are doing walking in front of my car!” For the third time today, another hostile punk with an attitude deliberately and carelessly jaywalks in front of me. For a driver, nothing could be more annoying. To the extent that this idiot’s life may be completely “out of control”, he’s found a way of controlling mine! For all the miles I put on in a day, hundreds and hundreds, this obnoxious act of defiance happens only in the inner city. I try to use psychiology to explain away the actions of these disenfranchised headstrong youth so I can just let it lie. I also feign a look of compassion and understanding as if – “oh, sure, it’s ok, no big deal, I nearly broadsided your butt but that’s alright, you go right ahead and take the road, after all, pedestrians have the right away”. The apathetic jerk shuffles his feet, one-by-one, slowly and nonchalantly, not giving a damn that I’m pulling from my arsenal of psychiology tricks to keep me from slamming on the accelerator. Here’s the hook, I can’t do it anymore! Trying to justify incivility and the inconsistent behavoirs of others is giving me an ulcer and maybe this is why I’m better off in a confines of a wooded sanctuary. Also, I can’t look away when I see a desperate homeless guy scraping for a dime or a single teen mom yanking the sleeve of her 4-year old while pushing a baby carriage with 2. Try as I might to poetically paint these scenes as “snapshots of cosmopolitian living”, poverty and unplanned pregnancy is not pretty and it is preventable. The passionate liberal side of me wants to help but my conservative teutonic nature, the one I grew up with (danke frau mutti), wants to literally scream sense into these unfortunates. In the end, it’s a love-hate relationship and there’s nothing I can do about it but keep driving.

Music Mysteries No More

I’m no musician but if Alternative Radio’s Noam Chomsky can endorse it, then it has to have potential. It’s called WAV, a hip new music rag with an accompaning website that features free samples of the listening stuff. How can I resist? I have this terrible weakness for first issue glossy music magazines. Somehow I’ll justify this expense by letting all my musicians friends borrow it, as if they have time to read! Too busy themselves recording. Believe or not, NPR (National Public Radio) has become a library of progressive college-indie segue music. I heard clips from Modest Mouse, Roxy Music and Thievery Corporation the other day. Nearly drove off the road. Ever since buying into XM a few months ago, rarely do I listen to talk radio, but when I do, I’m always amazed at the breadth of underground finds; again, all accessible from their website. The days of calling a radio station and requesting the name of a tune that just aired, are over. Anybody can find rare and foreign beats heard anywhere from a :30 commercial to a lengthy film series. I was even able to hunt down an exclusive track from a NOVA program about Madagascar, Crocs, and Lemurs last night! How about that.