Monthly Archives: August 2007

Fabrice Santoro’s Technicolor Dreamshirt Wrests Fashion Victory From U.S. Open Defeat

santoro3rdarm.JPG“I look handsome, I look smart
I am a walking work of art
Such a dazzling shirt of many colors
How I love my shirt of many colors
It was red and yellow and green and brown
And scarlet and black and ocher and peach
And ruby and olive and violet and fawn
And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve
And cream and crimson and silver and rose
And azure and lemon and russet and grey
And purple and white and pink and orange
And red and yellow and green and brown
Scarlet and black and ocher and peach
And ruby and olive and violet and fawn
And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve
And cream and crimson and silver and rose
And azure and lemon and russet and grey
And purple and white and pink and orange
And pilot light blue”

The New York Times recently featured an article, only available to Times Select subscribers so I won’t bother to include the link to you amateurs, discussing and somewhat dismissing the style points of the game of tennis. Tonight after watching World War II In Color with my aunt and grandma I switched over to the U.S. Open coverage on Universal HD, and James Blake, a focus of the NYT tennis style feature, was competing against Fabrice Santoro live in the night match. On her way to bed, my aunt’s eyes bugged out at the sight of Fabrice’s shirt. She said in her day tennis players only wore white shirts.

DISCLAIMER: My family is from Connecticut. And so is James Blake. Nevertheless, the NYT began the piece, titled, “Blake Has the Shots, Including Some for the Camera,” with this lead paragraph: “James Blake wore a shirt the same color of blue as a pilot light, creating the feel that he was flickering as he darted from net to baseline in an illumination of his speed.” Evidently the color blue is a bit too much for the fashion empire of America. A tad showy. Let’s not even get into that Blake headband, in matching powder blue with Nike swoop.

The writer of the article, Selena Roberts, probably thought the exaggerated antics of Blake’s second round opponent, Fabrice Santoro, detracted from the purity of the game. Much as she argues that Blake’s acrobatic between-the-legs shots ruin a little bit of tennis, so she says the slam dunk is bad for basketball. I will say here and now that she is wrong, that athletes have taken enough drugs by now to do the superhuman, let them at it, and that obviously sports audiences eat up these special power moves. My quarrel with her reasoning lies not in the obvious, but in how she attaches criticism of Blake’s dress to her argument like nurse sharks to a whale shark.

Who is this woman to criticize a black American, born in New York City, raised in Connecticut, with enough skill to hit balls between his legs clear over a net many feet away? This is the U.S. Open. He can do whatever he wants. Fellow Americans, our country not only lets James Blake and his supporters, the J-Block, rock out whatever headbands they want, we’ll let the French run completely wild like dogs off leashes in our yards. Not only did Fabrice Santoro’s multi-colored dreamshirt silence that bitch Selena, but his on-court antics, like getting his legs iced up mid-game, totally ruined the purity of whatever Selena remembers as “tennis.”

Fabrice not only had another man rub ice all over his legs with his shorts pulled way up to his groin, while the score of the game is tied 15-15, but then he kept hiking up those shorts in the points and games that followed. I would have been totally distracted were it me on the other side of the net. As a spectator, it was all the concentration I could muster to keep an occasional eye on the scoreboard and not at the crotch area of his wet, iced up shorts. James Blake is a tennis saint for beating this man in five sets, or perhaps just a very competitive player and complete heterosexual. In any event, by winning in five sets Blake got the five set monkey off his back after nine five set matches lost. That wasn’t the monkey I was looking at!

Serious Amigos

The lobster fever carried over into my big debut dinner at B&G Oyster. I had never been but since becoming friends with two chefs and the general manager and a couple of the waitstaff I felt the time was right. I had served their executive chef at brunch beforehand, then showered and put my new plates on the car before hitting the streets to the South End. As a matter of fact, before last night I had never had dinner in the South End before. I was in for a serious treat.

The patio at B&G is in the foundation of the building that used to exist behind the restaurant, like a sunken garden, and thats where we ate. My friend ordered a bottle of white wine, which I let him pick because my specialty is in the Boone’s Farm, Night Train price range. What can I say I like fruity, malt wine. No I don’t. Regardless, he then let me pick out the dozen oysters because I used to shuck and we got some snaggly-toothed beasties. Also, a watermelon and feta salad that was drizzled with balsamic reduction. Very tasty.

The oyster / appetizer course was interrupted by a gift from the sous-chef of the Butcher Shop, whose nick name is Short Rib. That restaurant is located right across the street and is also in the No. 9 Park group. Short Rib came over in a tiger striped green tie and white apron and gave us a toast with a bottle of Miller High Life, the champagne of beers. Then we were presented with sliced veal and radishes from the Butcher Shop, where Short Rib was working the chopping block. I thought it was turkey. In any event I ate it in 3 seconds and wanted more. Fear me, baby cows.

For my entree I had the lobster carbonera. The Lord and Mariposa later that night told me the story of carbonera, which is that it originated in Italy by the coal mines. The dish utilizes heavy amounts of black pepper because that way the miners couldn’t tell that coal was flaking off of themselves and into the food. I thought it was delicious with its bacon and lobster combination, and again, I was finished in about three minutes and my friends had hardly gotten started on their entrees at that point. I want to say that it was the best service and food I’ve had in 2007, excepting the restaurant I work at of course.

After dinner I rushed my car back over the bridge to the Allstar Sandwich Bar where I poured beer and wine at the 1 Year Anniversary Party. Congratulations go to Jimmy and Kate and Mr. S. etcetera for making that place work out so well. The following is a picture of the amigos in the kitchen at the Allstar… we are serious.

Serious Amigos

The Kraken and the Non-Target Animals

The pest problem at work has been intensifying. A new company was hired to bomb the bugs, because the last bug guys were insistent that there was no bug problem. “We haven’t seen any cockroaches,” they told the owner. He replied it was good that they hadn’t seen any, but bad because customers had, and this they didn’t understand. Sometimes seeing is really believing. Other times eating can be believing. The biggest change, other than the big bomb that was dropped Monday night, necessitating every loose item be wrapped in plastic bags, are small traps placed strategically around the restaurant carrying the following warning: Keep away from Non-Target Animals.

It got me to thinking, or hoping actually, that I am not one of those target animals. When management brings down the hammer we all feel the pressure, and I’d hate to wind up stuck on one of them glue pads, unable to punch out and leave. There are fly traps in the back yard where layer upon layer of flies wind up, which breeds maggots, who then turn into new flies born into a hellish prison. I recall the story of crabs in a bucket that a Haitian coworker once told me: the top crabs try to climb up over the bottom crabs who then inevitably stop their progress, and they all end up dead. A bucket of dead crabs, a container of dead flies: maybe the roaches who only show themselves to the customers are the smart ones.

When my sister and I were little we vacationed with my mom and aunt on the Cape almost every summer. One year in Eastham my aunt and mom bought lobsters alive back to the cottage. The plan was to boil them up and chow down. My sister and I had another plan, however, and we turned off the stove. When my mom realized that it was taking forever to get a boil she checked and saw the burner was switched off. She yelled at us, but we were undeterred. After she and my aunt went outside to the patio to smoke cigarettes and turn their attention back to their books we snuck into the kitchen, snatched the kraken, and spirited the lobsters down to the beach to release them into the wild. My mom and aunt were not happy.

For years that incident helped me avoid eating lobster. When I worked at the hotel with the Haitians I won a huge lobster in a contest called the Hotel Olympics, but I gave it away to an older server, Francisco, because I couldn’t deal with killing it. That lobster was double my age and demanded a bit of respect. Unlike Homer Simpson I felt it would be equally disrespectful to put a collar and leash on the thing, to make it a pet. What I really wanted was for it to sit me on its massive knuckle and tell me tales of the ocean. Or to release it back into the wild. Really, respect is was I intended for the old feller in turning it over to Francisco: he has a massive hungry lobster-loving family who would, in my estimation, make the best mouths.

It’s a new day now. After a couple years working for the restaurant, shucking oysters and cooking whole animals, I have put in the past my resistance to eating kraken. My roommate Adam went down to James Hook on the Boston pier and purchased for our consumption a 13LB lobster today. He had them steam it for us because we don’t have a kiddie swimming pool sized pot at home. For dinner we had a New England style lobster fest, and I helped myself to a steaming plate of fresh lobster, drawn butter, potatoes and asparagus. One of my new rules for selling food is to never use the word “delicious” in the sell. It seems wrong, too hard a sell, so I prefer the word “tasty.” Only the recipient of the food, when asked how it tastes, should be able to use an adjective as ebullient as “delicious.”

That kraken sure was delicious. Lobster may just have made my list of target animals, even if it is just a big bug.

Behold the kraken

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Arrested Dishevelment

Honeycomb CraverIts time to go see Helen again. I called up Savvy Hair Design in a state of personal crisis this week. My hair has reached a point where its taking control of my life and getting me into all kinds of troubles. Even the tow truck driver seemed aware of its queer influence, as he instructed me that next time I get followed by the cops I should simply pull into the nearest residential driveway or gas station.

The common sense in me knows that by driving a white car and removing my hat when on the move I can alleviate much of the police perception that I am a deviant. But lately that has not been enough. In the month of August I have been pulled over two times already, and we are only at the midpoint. That is two more times than I have been pulled over in the entirety of owning my current white whip (two and a half years), and indeed the entire time I have had a driver’s license except for one slightly hairy incident with my carpeted cargo van in high school.

I blame the hair. It is unruly, wild. Like Peter Fonda in Easy Rider, its a big fat target for the shotgun of cruel injustice. When driving, I remove my hat as to appear more civil, but the hair that bounces out waves a freak flag pennant and looks like the furry mascot of Honey Comb, the Craver. If you click that link you will see the Craver in action, with the accompanying child exclaiming, “Nothing can stop it!” That child is me.

My hair is packing serious heat. Here’s what happened: After work on Monday night I want to be with my friend Reggaeton before he departs to Georgia on a marathon 17 hour drive. After hanging out at my house, I pack up my car for the drive down to Connecticut and drop him off at his house. As soon as I pull away, I remove my cap. A police cruiser pulls up behind me. I pass a gas station, a Store 24 and numerous residential driveways because I am in a hurry to stop off at Zuzu in Central Square to say a quick Happy Birthday to my main man Kiki, before I jump on the Interstate.

As I make the turn towards Central Square the copper puts his lights on and I swear to God my hair gets tingly. Like shampoo plus conditioner the tingle means its working! I pull over, the cops say my change of insurance and the gap in between insured periods means my car is no longer registered in the state of Massachusetts and that they will have to remove the plates and tow the vehicle back to my house. The song, “Bad Moon Rising,” is playing on the radio and my big Charles Worthington hair is singing along, “Don’t go ’round tonight, its bound to take your life…”

Hence the tow truck driver, sympathetic to my situation (hell, even the cops were nice about it), and dispensing advice about what to do when followed by the police. The larger issue at work would appear to be dealing with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and getting my car back on the road, especially after shelling out almost a grand to Amica for car insurance and still having these traumatizing events transpire. But that is the wrong way to look at it. I have to shear the beast itself, or else I will never again feel comfortable behind the wheel.

Or more to the point, Savvy Hair Design has to step in and save the day. When Helen cut my hair to look like Kurt Russell back in June, she watched Escape from New York as an inspiration. Little did she realize that two months later my hair would be acting out the most dangerous stunts from that movie, all whilst still on my head, breaking laws left and right, and causing me to stand out in harsh relief for all the police to see. My hair apparently thinks it IS Snake Plissken, and that we ARE living in a post-apocalyptic Northeast!

I need a haircut.

Additional resources below.

Definition of Dishevelment:

1. A state of personal untidiness.

Dialogue from John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, with Brain being played by my brain, and Snake Plissken being played by Charles Worthington, aka my big hair…

Brain: I thought you were dead…
Snake Plissken: Yeah, you and everybody else!

I’m The Doctor, You Wait On The Waiting List

Patients been here since this morning, I dismiss.


Skirt Vs. Skirt!

Ladywar over a blue skirt. Commenters vote, and the winning skirt wins a fin (roughly five US dollars).

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skirt02.JPG skirt03.JPG

The Blueprint


Blueprint for a new website that will lift me out of poverty and put me on the track to becoming a millionaire who can easily travel all the way around the world eating and drinking and watching as much TV as I want in the next five years, illustration omitted because of copyright issues: The lemurs came running from the nest of trees on the hill. Larry was in the lead. He had just watched a sneak peak of the Real World Sydney On Demand and was re-addicted to his favorite reality show. They came to the wounded bear, and the bleeding otter, surrounded by a ring of dead pigeons and rats, the last vestiges of the knife fight over the dumpsters. Larry asked Lucy if she had seen the latest episode of the Hills. One pigeon slowly blinked, it was still alive. The blink could have meant yes or no to the Hills question. The bear and the otter had drinking related problems. The bear had a liver problem. The otter had a thirst problem. “Fuck that shit,” said Lucy, who liked Laguna Beach but hated the Hills. “Fuck you,” said Larry. And… scene.

I wish I could be on the Real World Sydney, and when I write that I am actually thinking of how horrible that would be. What I really want is to write more lemur stories on a new website and illustrate them and sell advertising and make enough money to stop working, eat and drink more, wear fancier Converse sneakers like Whoopi Goldberg did during her debut hosting the View, hire a staff of personal assistants and own several cars and planes and fly around the world at a moments notice doing whatever I please and then maybe I could go to Sydney, Australia, or Brisbane, where my hero Andrew McGahan lived, and do whatever the hell I damn please. MTV does not allow the people on the Real World to watch TV, not even MTV. I couldn’t live like a stinking fish in a fishbowl like that, fighting roommates for the computer to update my blog.

I dont think that my idea of becoming rich off a new website that features my raw illustrations of crass animals discussing current affairs in crude dialogue is insane. To me, it makes total sense. Its not the only way I can stop grinding through restaurants and actually become obese, maybe, but thats because I could also get fat off an anti-discrimination lawsuit that I could potentially file against the owner of the restaurant I work for because I am not allowed to wear the headband and wristbands pictured above because they subtly anger the sous chef who is currently on vacation and who I am so afraid of that today when I took a nap on my aunt’s bed, and this was the first time in maybe one year that I slept on a real bed, so we’re talking deep sleep, I dreamt that he was flying me over New York City in a glide plane looking for checks that I could not find in my apron. It may be time for a new job.

Another thing, last Sunday I decide that because I am the Floor Captain of the brunch shift I am entitled to take the Sunday New York Times off the bar at the end of the shift home with me. The person who disagrees is the eighty year old man Billy who lives directly behind the Grill and decades ago used to operate a barbershop in the room currently referred to as the Lava Lounge, who is now a millionaire yet who scrounges and dumpster dives, eats the entirety of all the plates of every staff meal fifteen minutes after the staff is served, drinks the kitchen beer, watches our backyard, and who has been taking the Times off the bar at the end of brunch for as long as I’ve been alive. But my point is, I’m the Floor Captain, and I am a sophisticated young man, and the Sunday Times costs five dollars, and he can have the Globe and the Herald but I’m taking the Times. Except that now every time he sees me in the neighborhood he looks disgusted and angry and I can’t live with the guilt. This guy is a millionaire who could easily fly to Australia and do whatever he damn pleases!