Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You

Over 50,000 Served - Marking a Mild Milestone

Reflections on the feline friend follows

“… I don't want to fight
I'm a little bit wrong
And you're a little bit right…
You know that it's true
It's a little bit me
And it's a little bit you... too” – Neil Diamond

“I want to thank you for letting me be myself again
I want to thank you for letting me be myself again"- Sly Stone

“It all started at a 5000-watt radio station in Fresno, California…” – Ted Baxter

How does one pat himself on the back while simultaneously pecking away at a keyboard? It takes an effort requiring more than just your ordinary level of ego, self-congratulation, self-importance and self-regard! So, with that as an extremely unattractive and un-ingratiating introduction, nycityman invites and welcomes you as we commemorate 50,000 views of  “… and several butcher’s aprons.”  While, by its nature, being far too self-referential and perhaps even reverential (something that was never an original intent of this venture) the primary endeavor, as is ever the situation, will be to humorously entertain. Should we fail in that noble attempt please feel free to avail yourself of the comment section below to chide us on mistakes made and errors incurred.

"Congratulaci√≥n y buena suerte" - Don Francisco

Is 50,000 a substantial sum for a blog that is not the Huffington Post? For some perspective - in Willard Romney’s environs 50,000 is the minimum number of dollars set aflame to properly light his smuggled Cuban Cohibas. In Marcus Bachmann’s journeys, 50,000 would be the concise correct count of rhinestones bedazzled on his Mardi Gras ensemble. And for Sarah Palin, 50,000 may be the weekly SarahPac cash crop she filches from her gullible and trusting disciples despite the uncomfortable and inconvenient truth that she occupies no office nor is she actively in hot pursuit of one.  In “… aprons” terms, it took slightly over a year  to accumulate our initial 10,000 readers, but since, in merely another 24 months or so, an additional 40,000 fine folks, discriminating and discerning, intrepid, internet investigators, one and all, muscular, intelligent and attractive, have peeked, perused and even opined on this page – a voluminous pickup in viewer velocity. So, whether, in World Wide Web reality, it actually is an admirable blog figure or not I chose to celebrate it, but most importantly I need to express my sincere, deep and heartfelt thanks and astonished appreciation. Astonished as in, I haven’t a clue why anyone reads these random ramblings nor have I an idea, for the most part, how our remarkable readers and audience members even happen upon it.

 “… and several butcher’s aprons” first expedition through Al Gore’s internet tubes occurred on July 23rd, 2010 with a captive and enraptured audience of Mom, brothers and psychoanalyst. Yet, truth be told, nycitymom has never, and will never, have any interest in accessing the wired wonder of the world that lives beyond the modem; nycitybrothers are not similarly of luddite-leanings regarding technology, but are conservative concerning collecting squandered hours on the newer medium platforms. As far as the psychoanalyst goes, Dr. Alan Smithee is as made up as a Kardashian’s face on NBA Draft Day, just one of many fictions fabricated to forward an authoring agenda and expose and encourage an existence that extends far beyond the everyday, mostly mundane reality of the creator. Foremost among the imagined inventions is that of nycityman himself. That nom de blog is but an invented identity that frees up the living and breathing, flesh and blood scribe to express opinions, thoughts and experiences that can only find full comfort in doing so while employing a cloak of anonymity.  It allows allusions to actions and activities in an arena of legal and moral ambiguities and, sadly yet significantly, shields one from being embarrassing yelled at by his 82 year old mother should someone share the site with her. But despite such secretiveness, distortion and misrepresentation, on occasion actuality invades as in the essays on my employment, apartment, cat companion and even the spine-tingling, edge of your seat saga of a recent double hernia surgery. From that first moment standing in the surgeon’s office – shirt on, pants off – it was crystal clear that there was comedy gold to be mined there.  In a related personal note, all writings are originally birthed as voice recorder annotations - public situations often find me scrambling and searching for dictation-friendly spaces of solitude as not wanting to appear like some retro recreation of the Rowan and Martin Spy Sketch (“I’ve got the yoyo.” “I’ve got the string.”) –  and recorder playback often reveals the presence of cat meows on a significant number of aural memorandum earning  Spanky the cat, meowing muse of my mirthful meanderings, a rightful mention in both text and picture.

Blogging is surprisingly satisfying and fulfilling and considerable hours, days and nights are devoted to each submission (this one, perhaps, will reveal itself as the obvious exception) but as Neil Diamond penned and the Monkees performed lo those innocent decades ago, “it’s a little bit me, it’s a little bit you,” (and maybe even “Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death, Rode the 50,000”) for a voice in a vacuum is as pointless as a Tea Party members only spelling bee. Scribbling countless “appreciations” and “thank yous” ad-infinitum for the balance of this posting would still not be suitable articulation. The fact that so many have peered at this oft-times pretentiously prosed, vexing verbiage and have not regularly conveyed their condemnation is a testament to human decency, and thrills and excites like being strapped into a Six Flags X-Flight Roller Coaster Ride in the midst of a rolling brown out, accompanying Sarah Palin as she received the results of her Verbal SAT scores, or conducting a co-joined polygraph test on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

As for the future, can circulation continue expansion? These thoughts - there are 47 percent of the people who will not read this no matter what ... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims... My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. (Sounds imbecilic no matter the context, doesn’t it, Mitt?) “Half a league onward” to more complaining, castigating, haranguing, harassing, alliterating and indignantly igniting the farcical flames of political and social commentary.

“It's not the pale moon that excites me
That thrills and delights me, oh no
It's just the nearness of you”

The Monkees with, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit Me."

The legendary Sly Stone and Sly and the Family Stone with their classic, "ThankYou Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin." -

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Unconventional Wisdom 2: A Pictorial Parody of the Democratic National Convention

 Worth a Thousand Words 5: Battle for the Planet of a Thousand Words


"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims... My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." – Mitt Romney

“It’s Only Words
And Words Are All I Have
To Take Your Heart Away” - Gibb

As promised, although no one asked, or very likely particularly cares, we are marginally proud to present our follow-up to the “Worth a Thousand Words” installment on the Republican National Convention, with another comically captioned caper, this time lampooning our friends who lean more logically to the left – the Democrats. If, perchance, you’ve ever found this blog previously beckon you (thank you, please tell your family, friends, neighbors, PTA, congregation, Knight of Columbus chapter - whichever grouping you deem appropriate) you’ll be aware that any attempt to position ourselves as non-partisan, fair-minded or unbiased is in reality a shallow, insincere and superficial exercise, but hopefully one that amuses and entertains. And, in perfect proof of that point, before frolicking forward to the photo follies, and although ostensibly about the Democratic Convention, we dedicate today’s post to Willard Romney for as the “Worth a Thousand Words” series is, after all, much about words, we regrettably learn more concretely week to week, day to day, hour to hour and as ignorantly illuminated by Mitt’s quote above,  just one in his recent historic and unprecedented string of bloopers, blunders and unintended self- flagellating  practical jokes, words are not his friends. Perhaps from this point forward the Republican standard bearer best not express himself verbally at all, but rather put forth solely his manly and masculine, game-show host, good looks and hope that his slight resemblance to Wink Martindale can carry the day.  Now that we’ve concluded this portion of our show with a quite generous compliment to the ex-Governor and former Robert Hall menswear mannequin, we move onward and upward to further frivolities.

 And now the Brothers Gibb sadly lament those cursed, unfair enemies of Mitt Romneys - "Words."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Unconventional Wisdom: A Pictorial Parody of the Republican National Convention

Worth a Thousand Words 4: Conquest of the Planet of a Thousand Words

So yes, perhaps this installment of  “… and several butcher’s aprons” is, desperately and weakly, weeks behind the actual political news cycle; but sometimes an idea has to gel over time, has to mature, ruminate and age like a fine vintage Bordeaux; and then other times, the cheap, easy, obvious, salacious, low-brow and frequently sexual suggestive humor does not occur to you until the unmarked tablet your buddy gave you for your headache, swearing “it’s just an aspirin, man” turns out not to be so. The creative process is eternally an unpredictable and fickle mistress.  But rest assured in this fact, my loved, desired, needed, appreciated, respected, remarkably intelligent and devastatingly attractive, regular readers; and you disappointed new-comers who happened upon this page from an errant Google search while seeking the website of the male escorts showcased on Showtime’s “Gigolos;” forever and always, this shall be so - Wherever there’s a mean-spirited, New Jersey Governor appearing even the list bit peckish, I’ll be there.  Wherever hand motions are wide enough, and positioned in such a way to permit one to make “size” jokes, I’ll be there. Wherever a candidate is snacking on a phallic shaped food item, I’ll be there.  And although I receive no compensation for these refined and noble efforts, I consider it my duty, nay my privilege, as an American.

Before forwarding to the folderol, a note, lest you think that the admittedly exceedingly partisan nature of this blog means that the comedic captioning will be applied solely to our rivals on the Right, stay tuned for the DNC’s turn, soon to follow.

And now, because you just saw a number of photographs, we very uncreatively present Ringo Starr performing “Photograph.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What is America to Me? – Remembering September 11th

"The faces that I see,
All races and religions,
That's America to me.”

In these most partisan of times, in these times when even what it means to be an American is being determined by petty party politics and anger, we honor those whose sacrifice and whose bravery and courage and conviction truly define the word - American.  An American is not white or black or brown or yellow.  An American is not a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim or a Sikh or a Hindu or an Atheist.  An American is not a Republican, a Democrat, a Conservative, a Liberal, a Libertarian or an Independent – an American is all of those things and more. An American is not even necessarily born within the borders of our 50 states. We can let the worst of us – the biased, the bigoted, the blowhards – the radio talk show hosts, the TV pundits, those in power who are willing to sink to the lowest of levels just for one additional vote – divide us; or we can look to the best of us, to those who displayed authentic patriotism, to those who lost loved ones and to those very loved ones who have left us – and allow them to unite us.  Let’s reject those prophets of doom who make profit from doom.

Today, I also commend my fellow New Yorkers who behaved so boldly, calmly and resolutely. We came together, we pulled together and we supported each other - as we always do - we of the most diverse population in the nation, if not the world - we of every language, religion, culture, and ethnic background - we who join as one, time and again because our differences aren’t a weakness but our greatest strength. We may in some ways be dissimilar but ultimately we are the same - with our regard, our respect, our embracing of our differences and the eventual melding of them that makes us the richest and strongest culture in the word. It is the might and power of our diversity that bonds us and makes us above all - New Yorkers. Some express distaste when faced with unfamiliar garb and tradition and language; but when I stroll 8th avenue and, within just a few blocks, hear a multitude of tongues being spoken, I smile in appreciation of the rich, wonderful variety of peoples and customs and beliefs that I am so fortunate to live among,

Every American has their own stories and their own remembrances - memories of that horrific day are not in short supply - so I will share but a few, brief personal reflections.
I think of the visiting firefighter from West Virginia that I met in a souvenir store in Times Square - he was searching for a pleasant memento of his trip, perhaps to help balance the very unpleasant recollections he would be taking home with him from the sad site where he was valiantly voluntarily toiling. He was in New York to try to save lives, he was in this shop to bring a home a Big Apple snow globe, I was there in search of an American flag pin. And all I could think to say was to express my sincere thanks. Right now, our nation seems divided unlike any time since the Civil War, but on that day he wasn’t from a red state, I wasn’t from a blue state, we were from the United States, and unfortunately that feeling appears all but lost.

For days I couldn’t tear myself away from the 24-hour news coverage - initially watching it mostly with a feeling of absolute disbelief which, when acceptance of the events finally sunk in, changed first into sadness and sorrow, but then into a seething rage. I found myself feeling an intense and ugly anger, a pure blinding hatred, a desire for reaction and revenge - done swiftly and even violently - that I had never experienced before and have not since. At times while watching the events on television, my eyes would well with tears, not necessarily tears of grief, but rather tears of rage. Not an uncommon reaction I imagine and one that would explain the outpouring of pent-up relief and jubilation that followed the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. People may criticize the joyous reactions of many Americans, but it was a genuine and necessary release, one long overdue and one needed for the continued healing of our nation.

Returning to thoughts of New York,  I want to conclude with two quotes taken from a conversation on an episode of “the Chris Matthews Show” that nicely address some of the special nature of my metropolis and its exceptional inhabitants - in this case, of course,  in relation to September 11th.

Howard Fineman, Huffington Post - “Even right near Ground Zero and all over New York today, New York is alive more than ever, that is the Mecca for everybody on the East Coast, for every kid from all over the United States and still from around the world. The sense of creativity and possibility in NY remains undiminished.”

Jamie Tarabay, an Australian-born journalist from the National Journal, “The first time I arrived in America…I landed in New York and I went down to Ground Zero and I met New Yorkers and it just struck me how Al Qaeda had basically picked the wrong place, they picked on the wrong people. They just didn’t understand the mentality of New Yorkers… they are themselves, they are unique to this country… New Yorkers were like, ‘is that it. Is that all you’ve got? We are going to move on, we are who we are, and we are going to continue.’”

In tribute to the heroes and victims of that dreadful day, and to my fellow Americans – Frank Sinatra and “The House I Live In.”

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Lies and Times of Willard Mitt Romney – Man of a Thousand Faces

Changeling. Chameleon. Prevaricator Nonpareil.

“I’m a strong believer in stating your position and not wavering” - Mitt Romney

“I changed my position” - Mitt Romney

“Oh yes, I'm the great pretender
Adrift in a world of my own
I play the game but to my real shame
You've left me to dream all alone” – The Platters

Dynamic, magnetic, charismatic, captivating – words all, but ones that have heretofore never appeared on the same written page as the name Mitt Romney. Cypher, empty suit, forgettable, nondescript, the insomniac’s best friend, a haircut, vegetative, vanilla, vapid, tapioca, an off-ramp on the road to interesting, a detour to dullness, brain-numbing, coma -causing, could irritate Bob “happy little trees” Ross, low-def, “look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s plain,”  libido-lobotomizer, the sexual appeal of Marcus Bachmann, makes Al Gore look like James Brown, emotionally Vulcan-esque, “Bland, James Bland,” “Mr. Bland Builds His Whitehouse,”  Duke of Dishonesty, Pharaoh of Fabrication,  Bishop of Boring, Lord of Lies, Sultan of Snooze, Monarch of Mendacity, ordinary, unexceptional, mediocre, wooden paneling with a heartbeat, arrogant, elitist, entitled, superficial, the empathy of a corpse combined with the compassion of a rabid badger, the weighty sense of humor of a macrobiotic devotee  paired with the comic timing of an executioner, a man who’s arrival is anticipated in much the same manner as one would welcome a blood clot in the leg during a 14 hour flight- just a partial remuneration of Romney descriptives expressed on an almost daily basis (and that would be from his supporters) and gratefully accepted as high-praise from anyone in Mitt’s camp.  (Author’s note: the previous claims were made with the same honesty and credibility displayed by Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention, but in this circumstance the intent is comedy, not tragedy.)

As you’ll see very shortly by revelation of the man’s own words, Mitt’s goal is to be all things to all people. He’s been “severely conservative,” he’s been moderate, he’s even been progressive, “he’s been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king” and the casualty of such superficial aspirations – no principles, no convictions, no beliefs. The results - the public sees through him like a tulle gown awash in klieg lights, like Claude Rains with bandages unraveled or like Sarah Palin ordering take-out from a Chik-fil-a.  His polled unfavorability stands at 51%, and his support in the African-American community is at 0%, a historic number (or lack thereof) never before seen. Wolves have performed better among triads of little pigs (it’s been said that even Pollyanna has abandoned her expedition for endearing attributes.) Yet despite these serious shortcomings this weeping willow of a fellow,  this circling weather vane, this non-answer “blowin’ in the wind,” undeniably deficient in charm, personality or genuineness, defeated a clowns car full of repulsive and repellent, Republican rivals and remains essentially dead-locked in polls against President Barack Obama… mayhaps his mater never told him “cheaters never prosper.” All evidence would suggest that this self-proclaimed “job creator” whose stewardship of Bain Capital  costs thousands of employees their livelihoods and whose governorship of Massachusetts left the Bay State 47th in job growth, and left Willard with a 36% approval rating, is astutely aware that facts and numbers are clearly not his bff’s. This philosophy of falsification was the guiding beacon of the recently held Republican National Convention (a pathetic parade of politicians playing political limbo – “how low can you go?”) which was resolutely built on a foundation of three, very publically, disproven and discredited deceptions – that Obama removed the work requirement from Welfare (with the new flexibility requested by governors they must now increase the work-rolls by 20%),  that he pilfered $716 billion from Medicare and syphoned it into “Obamacare” (savings over the next 10 years by cutting over-payment to providers resulting in greater benefits to Seniors and longer solubility for the program) and the out of context line “you didn’t build that” which immediately followed the, always conveniently edited out, very pro-America and pro- capitalism sentences , “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.” Now with the convention concluded and best remembered for a monologue with an empty chair, we shall see if any truths rear their un-ugly heads as the Republican campaign sallies forth.

Mitt Romney Quarrels With Himself
Apparently utterly unaware of the existence of either audio or video tape, or of any other form of recording device, for that matter, we present the many minds, the many moods, the many opinions of Mitt, whose recent redeployment into “birtherism” reconfirmed with positive proof that he will say anything to anyone at any time, or to paraphrase The Eagles, “life in the slow lane, surely make you lose your mind. Life in the slow lane, everything all the time.”

The Stimulus Bill –
“I have never supported the President’s recovery act, all right, the stimulus, no time, nowhere, no how.”
 “I think there is need for economic stimulus...”
Women’s Right to Choose –
“I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose”
“The right next step in the, in the fight to preserve the sanctity of life is to see Roe v. Wade overturned.”
Ronald Reagan -
“Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush.  I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”
“The principles that Ronald Reagan espoused are as true today as they were when he spoke them.”
Health Care –
“Well, that’s what we did in Massachusetts, and that is, we put together an exchange, and the president’s copying that idea. I’m glad to hear that.”
“Obamacare is bad news ... and if I’m president of the United States I will repeal it.”
Climate Change -
“Well, I believe the world is getting warmer.... I believe that humans contribute to that.”
“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.”
Gun Regulations -
“I just signed a piece of legislation extending the ban on certain assault weapons.”
 “I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapon ban nature.”
The Auto Bailout -
“I’m not willing to sit back and say too bad for Michigan, too bad, too bad for the car industry.”
“That’s exactly what I said.... ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.’”
Illegal Immigrants -
“Illegal immigrants should have a chance to obtain citizenship.”
“I think I’m best off to describe my own positions. And my positions, I think I’ve just described for you – secure the border, employment verification and no special pathway to citizenship. I feel that’s the course we ought to take.”
Birtherism -
“I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States.”
“No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised. ”
 (and for extra dis-credit, from his convention acceptance speech) ”When the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American”
Romney’s Political Viewpoint -
“My views are progressive."
“I was a severely conservative Republican governor.

And so, we now leave Willard Mitt Romney in the embarrassing and shameful stew of his own pot of hypocrisy and dishonesties, as he stoically soldiers on, sans soul, the leader of a party that incredulously and intolerantly believes that the future somehow lies in the past.

Enjoy The Platters, and “The Great Pretender,” feel free to warble along.