Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
andee's world: February 2006

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

People You've Known

You know those friends you had when you were in high school? They were always real cool when it was just the two of you together -- like you could've been best friends. But in mixed company, they acted mean and shitty to you, to impress the other person.

Believe it or not, some people still act like that as adults.

This fella was a paragon of masculinity, you better believe it! He did it all according to code: the regulation haircut, the no-nonsense clothes, the rigorous weight-lifting routines. No one was gonna mistake this guy for a faggot. And, just in case there was any confusion, he'd often point out -- loudly, for all to hear -- how much he hated the homos. It just made him sick that two men would want to fuck each other. It just made him sick. If he saw someone in a bar who looked a little queer, you always knew he'd start some shit with the guy.

At night he would go home and masturbate furiously, bitterly, imagining himself with other men. He would lay boiling, waiting for sleep, disgusted to the marrow with the thought of those goddamn faggots.

She was bubbly and optimistic, always smiling. It seemed that every week she had a new "best friend." You never asked about the last "best friend," or the one before that, or the one before that. At some point she would just stop talking about them, and you knew there had been some kind of falling out, and that would be that. Hey, as long as she's happy, right?

She was so easily taken in, she fell for everyone. Anyone with an ounce of cool or charisma would pull her into orbit like a little moon. Amazingly, she was completely sold, every time out. "BFF!! Best Friends Forever!" You would just smile and nod. The relationships were hollow and fleeting, based on nothing real.

Every few months she had some new plan for her life. A new passion, a revelation. And some type of rationalization for why the last thing didn't work out. You knew she was just whimsical, and grabbed for anything that looked promising, anything that would allow her to abandon the last pursuit. None of her plans were carried to fruition. In a matter of time she would just lose interest, and latch onto something and someone new, chalking it all up to "fate."

After awhile you stopped listening to her.

When you met him, you knew he'd always been there and always would be there. He was as eternal as the sea, as corny and cliche as that sounds. But it was true; his strength was as calming and dependable as the sun, or some shit like that. His self-sufficience never ceased to awe you. His abilities were a combination of talent and hard work, and, astonishing as they were, you were never surprised to discover them, one after the other.

Everything he said was truth. His humor was brutally spare. He could sum up a person, place or thing with a lightning-quick, devastating one-liner. His delivery was flawless and crisp.

You were honored to be his friend and you hoped that some of his qualities would rub off on you. He made you want to be better


He was squirrely and dishonest, but he hid all that under a smokescreen of phony joviality and hearty laughs. He had a lot of secrets in his life. You started noticing that he didn't have any old friends; he always ran around with ephemeral characters that existed solely in the present. He could never hold onto a job. You got the feeling that he had burned a lot of bridges and run off quietly in the night.

He smiled to your face but you knew a confrontation was coming...

What a fat, bloated, life-handed-to-him-on-a-silver-platter piece of shit this guy was. He was a good ol' boy, one of those people who never had to struggle a day in his life and has absolutely no perspective on the real world. His rich daddy handed him a big cakewalk job in his giant company. He married some submissive little Asian trophy, who he objectified constantly. When she wasn't in the room, he made joking, racist references to her and bragged about his sexual conquests with her. When she was in the room, she hung on his fat arm and smiled blankly. She never had a thing to say.

This triple-chinned, upright slug had the world by the tail: more money than you could imagine, an ostentatious house which was, of course, far too big for just him and his tiny wife. He collected expensive gadgets, top-of-the-line everything. The wife was just another piece for his collection.

He embodied all the worst tendencies of the white, rich, racist Republican, forever protected in the womb-like bubble of wealth and suburban contentment. What the fuck did he care if some niggers in the city didn't have jobs? Throw 'em all in jail and get me another cigar, will ya? Heh-heh.

She was the ugliest girl in the third grade, maybe in the whole school; it was almost like a title she held. Kids teased her mercilessly and their cruelty was monstrous.

One day I saw some kids walk by her in the cafeteria, pointing and giggling. She spun on them suddenly, and said "I know I'm ugly, so what? Why don't you leave me alone?"

She had more guts already than any of those little shits ever would in all their lives. I hope she's rich and happy now and eating people like that for breakfast.

He was a bartender with a deep, contagious laugh. He was the kind of bartender who'd start pipelining you free drinks after your first round. He was a bit rough-hewn but as far as you could tell, he had a heart of gold and some real smarts, too.

It was a bummer to find out that most of his friends were total losers -- violent, sexist, racist, homophobic drug fiends. Guys who were in their forties and still picked fights with people in bars. Real pieces of shit.

He let them get away with everything, even though he knew better -- he could have set them straight on some shit, but he always let them slide. At the end of the day, he was just as guilty as they were.

She was one of those "punker-than-thou" types. If you didn't know the names of all of the Dead Boys, then you were a total fucking idiot. But even if you did, you'd never be as "punk rock" as she was. Like that means anything.

This worthless dirtbag probably couldn't even name the last ten presidents of the United States, but oh well, who cares? She spends all her nights rotting in bars.


This dude was weathered. I don't know how old he was but I suspect he looked much older than his actual age. His face was cavernous and deeply lined. All his front teeth were broken out. He looked like he'd wrestled with hard drugs for a good chunk of his life. He looked like he'd hit depths you and I couldn't even dream of. An intense looking cat.

Despite all this, he was the most unselfconscious guy on the dancefloor, bar none -- you could always see him out there under the strobe lights, shaking his ass and smiling broadly with the ladies. He wasn't ashamed of a goddamn thing.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Stop the Madness!

A few things that are burning my britches these days...

Why does everyone have to use the word "amazing" to describe every goddamn thing under the sun?

"Oh my god, your teeshirt is a-MAAAAA-zing".

"Oh my god, their organic smoothies are a-MAAAA-zing!"

"Oh my god, have you heard the new Kelly Clarkson single? It's A-MAAAAAA-ZING!"

First of all, most things you discuss in your day-to-day life do not warrant this adjective. A teeshirt can be many things: "sexy!" "vivid!" "colorful!" or "hilariously ironic!" But probably not "amazing."

A smoothie can be "delicious!" "satisfying!" even "energizing!" But certainly not "a-MAAA-zing!!"

As for Kelly Clarkson -- well, more on her later.

Webster's defines amaze thusly: "to bewilder, perplex, surprise; to cause astonishment." Does that really sound like the word you want to use to describe a cute pair of shoes?

If you still insist on overstating your enthusiasm with inappropriate adjectives, here are some perfectly adequate synonyms for amazing, just to get you out of your rut:


Why is the United States Post Office so completely and utterly incompetent? Are we living in a third world country? My mother mailed me a Christmas present at the beginning of January and I didn't get it until over a month later. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I went through unbelievable trials to rescue the package from the abyss of ineptitude that is the US Postal Service.

Why is something so simple as getting a package in the mail such a maddening ordeal? Why is impossible to get answers? Why does no one pick up the phone -- not even an answering machine -- when I try to call my local post office?

When I need to buy stamps, why are three out of four vending machines always out of order? And the machines that do "work" -- why won't they accept my money? I can stick any old ragged, torn, dog-eared bill into any candy machine on the continent and get a Butterfinger, no sweat -- why can't the government get their hands on that technology?

Kelly Clarkson. Somehow it has become all the rage for otherwise discerning music lovers to champion this manufactured paper doll pop singer, brought to you by the heinous folks at American Idol. True enough, you can walk into any hipster bar in this city on any night of the week and count on it: right around midnight, the dj puts on the inevitable "Since You've Been Gone," and everyone in the place starts screaming and jumping up and down like a pack of 12-year-old girls hopped up on Mountain Dew, as if hearing this trite, meaningless, predictable piece of run-of-the-mill pop pap for the fifth time this weekend is cause for rapturous celebration.

I know this is all partly ironic but you know what? There's no time for that, when truly great artists like Nellie McKay are languishing in obscurity.

And now, to my horror, djs are starting to play more Clarkson singles. Each one follows the same basic plot as "Since You've Been Gone": more mundane chord progressions that you've heard a million times before, more predictable, worn-out melodies and of course, the Big Bridge, where Clarkson dependably caterwauls to the very top of her range, to show you how "talented" she is.

Ok, the joke's over, everyone. Can we get back to real life, please?

Why do you throw your trash on the ground? Do you people really want to see garbage strewn all over the streets where you live? Is it really that hard to wait a few seconds and toss your bottle into a trash can? You've been carrying it all this time, drinking your goddamn Yoo-Hoo -- why do you suddenly have to jettison the thing the very instant you've drained the last of its contents into your stupid gullet?

Has the MTA been taken over by monkeys?! Why is the subway service in New York City so totally fucked, all of the time?

Why can't they hang up a simple sign in the subway platform telling you that the downtown 6 trains are only running express? Why is that so hard? Why do I have to sit in the station for two hours in the cold, small hours of the night waiting for a local train that never comes? Is this the way it has to be?

Why do the conductors wait to tell you about service disruptions until after the doors are closed and you're stuck on the train, hurtling helplessly to a far-flung destination? Why can't they figure out how to use the intercom without unleashing horrid peals of excruciating feedback?

This can't be the best they can do, it just can't. I thought this was supposed to be the "greatest city in the world" -- why is the subway system so embarrassingly shitty?

Why has laziness become Standard Operating Procedure in these parts?

Why can't I expect a piece of merchandise to last more than two years after I've bought it?

Why is mediocrity embraced?

Why has total incompetence and godawful service become acceptable -- and expected -- in this country?