Friday, July 23, 2004


Evening in New York

I'm not in Chicago anymore
City of Algren, City of Sandburg
The big shoulders on the make
Hog butcher on the lake

I'm in New York
City of my father's birth
Where concrete has replaced the earth
It's evening in New York

Someone's random disconnected rage tears a yellow pay phone receiver from the rest of its body which now lies dismembered in the gutter of Park Avenue South,
The maimed communication device stretches towards the evening sky while in repose against the iron lined curb, reaching towards the evening light, desiring to crawl to Madison Square Park- if it could only grow legs- the wires, its muscles, torn and bleeding...

It's evening in New York
The young and those trying to stay that way run on treadmills, pedal on one wheeled bikes in trendy pricy health clubs, going nowhere faster and faster as they try to look good for their next job interview or trip to the singles bar, sizing up each other in their urban keeping up with the Joneses, simultaneously contemptuous of each other while filled with self doubt, superior inferiors accomplishing greatness while questioning themselves, reprimanding themselves about how they got away with their huge mistakes without anyone noticing for one more day... 

It's evening in New York
Orange-red light glows on the side of the Flatiron building in the sunset, I cross Fifth Avenue to the beautiful sounds of a woman folk-singer, sweet music rises up to meet the city sky and gets bitch-slapped by a taxi's horn...

My favorite happy hour haunt welcomes me, a beautiful barmaid greets me with a cold pint of ale, baseball on the TV without sound while music plays the day's strife away, done with the subway until tomorrow, it's time to go to my inviting wife, to curl on the couch, to the joys of bed, love, comfort, drifting to the metropolis of dreams...

It's evening in New York

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Ad Pollution

I must be getting old. I feel like Andy Rooney lately. I’m starting to ask questions that start with “ever notice that…”

There are these ads that don’t tell the whole story…

The Naked Cowboy. He’s not naked! What’s with this jockey shorts crap? There are tourists walking all over Times Square looking for something that’s not there! All the nudity left the square when Disney took over. The tourists, starved for nudity, are looking for the guy who does “Cotton Eye Joe” at Yankee Stadium between innings to be waving his package at the corner of 46th and Broadway and they’re being short-changed. Literally.

Pharmaceuticals. Ever notice at the end of the headache/arthritis/insomnia/high cholesterol/erectile dysfunction combo platter wonder drug advertisement that promises to treat all that ails you there’s a long disclaimer about the product’s inherent danger? I’m waiting for the one that states: some patients on certain days of the month may experience unusually rapid hair growth and baying at the moon…

Cruise ships. Why no ads with people feeling the effects of intestinal parasites?

And while I’m on the subject of intestinal distress, how about that Pepto Bismol commercial where the office workers are doing the upset stomach/diarrhea line dance at the copy machine? At least a few actors got paid for it, though if any of them ever become stars, you know that will be the clip that gets played the first time they go on Leno or Letterman.

Earlier today, I was on the First Avenue bus going uptown. I was thinking about these ads, and how low some of them have sunk. As though I was answered by a higher power, another bus pulled up alongside as I was staring out the window, lost in thought. On the side of this bus there was a large poster for the Fuse channel. It was a take-off on those iPod ads with the bright colors and the silhouette of the person dancing to the music. On a lime green backdrop there was a silhouette of a man, bent over, holding a remote control, watching a TV. Another hand was reaching into frame from behind, holding a Zippo lighter, setting fire to this man’s combustible emissions, flames blasting out of his posterior. Nothing more can or should be said about how low advertising has plummeted. An ad executive would call this a highly successful ad, since I remembered the product. It will now be taking up space in my brain, possibly taking the place of something I find much more important, like the score of a Cubs game I saw ten years ago.

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