Friday, July 27, 2007

Candy Bars

I was on the train yesterday and a kid gets on and announces that he is selling candy bars. He says that he could be robbing people but he thought selling candy bars was better. Of course the implication was that if selling candy bars didn't go well he would start robbing people. If I asked you to identify this kids race do you think you could?

Of course you could, only a black kid would use this line. Do black kids actually feel this way or are they just using a public perception. Either way this is a bad thing. We need to move beyond this. I didn't buy any candy.

I got a comment about my last blog that was interesting. First of all Macinac is in Michigan, not upstate New York. I suspect the folks in Michigan hate New Yorkers almost as much as those in upstate NY, but I find it hard to believe that someone would know I was a New Yorker and purposely have their dog take a dump in front of me. It wouldn't work anyways because like all New Yorkers I walk around looking at my feet.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dogs will be dogs

I went Macinac Island last week. Two things happened that I found strange and disturbing. (My wife thinks I’m getting crazy.) The first happened before we got to the island. We were waiting in line for the ferry and the line was kind of long. It went up one side of the dock and then it turned. We were standing right past where it made a U and there were about 20 people behind us. One of the ferry company employees asked us to move the line and make it straight instead of a U. A request that has happened to me in the past. No big deal.

Most of us started moving in an orderly fashion, keeping the integrity and order of the line. The 3 people behind me decided to cut the corner and end up in front of me. I told them that I thought it was not nice to cut in front of us. One of them looked at me and smiled and didn’t move. I repeated that it seemed that they were being selfish by cutting in front of us. They ignored me. I then did nothing. I did not pull out my gun because I do not own a gun. Actually as a city person I expect people to respect lines.

Many country folks (these guys looked like country folk) probably feel that lines are kept in order in New York City by an unwritten threat of violence. I do not think that this is really true. I think that people in New York have learned how to live with other people. This means how to stand in a line.

The second thing happened while we were on the Island. Macinac is this cool place that has no cars. Everyone travels by bike or horse and buggy as well as walking. The downtown is kind of crowded and very touristy. I was walking down the sidewalk and this nice middle class white lady with grey hair was walking her small poodle down the middle of the sidewalk. The poodle decided that it was time to take a dump, and so it did in the middle of the sidewalk. The woman tugged the dog’s collar and continued to walk, leaving behind a small pile of dog feces.

All of us New Yorkers have seen this type of behavior in tourists in our city. People stand in front of subway doors; they block intersections and many other behaviors that break the public order. I think that this is part of the split that has happened in America. There are people who can live with others and there are those who do not know how to do this. I don’t think this is a moral failing on their part. I think they have just not evolved. They think that cities are moral cesspools. We are actually much better at living with other and not doing unto others than the country folk.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rock and Roll

R and I went to Cleveland the other day. We went to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is a really cool museum. Once again we are faced with the concept of people in their 50's confronting their rock and roll past. Rock has always been raunchy and sexual. People who went to rock concerts did not wear pinafores. So how does one approach the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

What we saw was families of tourists dressed in tourist clothes walking around looking at the exhibits like it was Cooperstown. Except it wasn't. Here is my imaginary overheard conversation. Mom, Dad, Bud and Kitten are walking around the museum. Dad and Kitten wander over to the Madonna costume exhibit. Dad says: "Look Kitten, that's the exact same bra that Madonna wore on her 'Like a Virgin' tour. The one with the pointy tits. It's amazing to be in the presence of such history." Meanwhile mom and Bud are walking down the history of rock and roll display cases. They pass the Beatles, Van Halen and then they finally get to CBGB's exhibit. Mom turns to Bud: "You know Bud, I used to go to CBGB's all the time when I was young. My favorite group was the 'Sex Pistols"'. One night Sid Vicious invited my back stage. What an amazing night. Boy was I sore the next day."

You see the problem. The museum is a legitimate museum of the history or Rock. The problem is how can you make it work for the family group. You can't.

Cleveland is a cute city. They are trying really hard to re-make the downtown area. They are converting some great old buildings into condos, and opening clubs and upscale restaurants. Of all the mid size cities I have been in Cleveland seems to be doing the best. I don't know it it will work. If it doesn't work in Cleveland, if the young keep leaving, then it may not work anywhere.