Half a percent

Back in the good ol' days when I was maybe five or six years old, I got the idea that I could fly if I ran in a small circle fast enough.

Too much time spent reading The Flash, probably. 

Anyway I'd practice this in the house and out on the street. I'd tell people what I was doing when asked. The adults usually just smiled (in hindsight I see now it was the placating "kids will be kids" thing). Most of my friends laughed at me. A couple believed my idea and tried it themselves.

A neighborhood of kids, running in small circles, hoping for liftoff.

I'm seeing now that the Occupy Wall Street movement is very much what we were doing in 1981: thinking outside the box without a clear understanding of what we were trying to do.

After the chaos of yesterday, I couldn't take it anymore. I took to Twitter last night to throw out some nuggets about the Zuccotti Park occupation that most people probably didn't know and that the occupiers would probably prefer to keep quiet.

Primarily, I mentioned the small businesses in the area being affected. and not in a positive way.

Bars forced to hire daytime bouncers because occupiers started showing up and using their bathroom to clean up and wash their clothes, leaving a mess left behind.

Occupiers going to assorted restaurants in the area demanding food donations because "it was the right thing and they're all in this together".

Some places already just scraping by are hurting even worse now that their places were no longer easily accessible, or because the sight of protestors going in and out was enough to convince people to eat/drink elsewhere.

The response I got on twitter was swift and, sadly, not unexpected.

"bars are now helping the economy by hiring people.", one reply said.

Yes paying out of pocket to cover an expense that should be unnecessary, but thanks to the protestors, required.

A reply came back: "how do you know? you took a poll of all small businesses?"

As a matter of fact, yes. I work right there. I eat and drink in these places.

When I go to Big Al's on Thames and hear counter guys complaining about "hippie fucks" asking for free pizza to support the cause, yeah, I think I have my finger a lot closer to the pulse than you think.

At that point, said supporter told me I didnt know the movement and should educate myself by reading Krugman and Stiglitz.


I pass the park every day. I've seen the naked woman in knee high socks with a sign "corporations raped my father and fired him. do you want to rape me too?".

I've heard kids in the park blaming the whole thing on conspiracy theories and demanding CUNY schools offer free tuition.

I've heard people complain "kids in school have, like, nothing, but these guys make money".

I've seen the SF protest occupy a Bank of America branch demanding BOA donate their profits to schools.

I don't need Paul Krugman to give me the breakdown of what the top .001% are holding in net worth, because that's missing the point.

The sad truth of this movement is that at the end of the day they're no different than the tea party.  Anger directed everywhere, with nothing being offered in terms of a solution.

Rage for the sake of rage. Socialist Rush Limbaugh-ism.

Personally I'm a big fan of the idea of introducing a little anarchy.

Yes, the financial system is corrupt and it is broken and it needs to be regulated and controlled to keep the pigs at the trough from continuing to feed like Jabba the Hutt.

Occupy Wall Street won't accomplish that.

Building a Hooverville in Zuccotti does nothing to address the president inexplicably hiring as advisors people like Larry Summers, Martin Feldstein, or Laura Tyson. Or having Tim Geithner or Ben Bernanke remain in power, in spite of all of the above being heavily involved in the meltdown of 2008.

People talk about failing upwards in Hollywood, but this is ridiculous.

If Occupy Wall Street wanted to make a difference, wanted to really get the ball rolling for change, instead of focusin on sit-ins and playing the drums and bicycle-operated generators to power MacBooks and iPads, they should be marching on the White House....or camping outside Larry Summers' home, or Tim Geithner's office, and vowing not to move until they are removed from power.

Instead, they're ambling from place to place, looking for support from the masses (a sure sign they don't have it; this is not the Matrix, people, the little blue pills you're offering to 'wake up' are more likely to lead to all night raves), self-proclaimed leaderless and proud.

I laughed when people took the 'redistribution of wealth' comment of Obama's a few years ago seriously. Unfortunately, it seems like that comment has stuck for many, and they really believe socialism is the way to go.

They'll tell you that dialogues have been opened, that things are being talked about like they never have before.

Yeah. Nobody's ever mentioned the ever-widening gap between rich and poor before, and advocated change by overthrow.

Nothing will come of this because nothing is being asked. And most of these protestors probably don't even know who Summer, Taylor or Feldstein are, let alone their roles in the meltdown.

Hell, one person told me that having a job earning more than 50K a year with health insurance and paid vacation qualified as being in the 1%.

Wow. I guess I'm one of the super rich.

If you need me, I'll be hanging out on Warren Buffet's yacht, smoking hundred dollar bills and shooting genetically engineered dinosaurs with rocket launchers. Because that's how us rich folk roll.

You occupy folk, keep on asking for free college and free pizza. Plus a place to bang on the drums all day.


Sgt. Costa

Hey, sarge, if you ever happen to read this, the answer is yes, I was just fucking with you.


Further proof I could've survived law school

Every once in a while I go back and wonder what would've happened if I'd done like everyone thought I should and applied myself to making a career as a lawyer. 

On a practical level, given my general lack of aptitude taking tests (emphasis on taking them, it's habitual for me to go in well-prepared for a test, then panicking at the first multiple choice question, thinking it's a trick question, and repeating this process for the next X number of questions), I pretty much figure I would've given up after year one....but then again, maybe I would've found a way to survive, then go on to take and pass the bar, then go on to become a celebrated criminal defense lawyer, gotten a celebrity client off some murder case, written a tell-all book that landed at number one on the New York Times best-seller list, made me a hundred million dollars in fees, royalties, speaking engagements, selling my life story......

....and so on.

Occasionally, I get the bug in my ear. It's never too late, said bug will say. Remember that John Grisham book the Client? The lawyer who was played by Susan Sarandon in the movie went to law school in her 40s after a divorce, and....

..and enough.

Today was day one of jury duty, and without divulging anything too detailed, I'll just say this. 

The defense lawyer made me realize that A) I could've aced law school, and B) Lionel Hutz is real and walks among us.

Well, maybe not a straight up Lionel Hutz. More a combo of Lionel Hutz and public defender John Gibbons from My Cousin Vinny (you remember him...."Ladies and gentlemen of the j-j-j-j-j-j-j-j-jury...."

Where the assistant district attorney was cool and collected addressing the jury, throwing case facts out there without batting an eye, found a way to memorize the names of everyone in the potential jury box and referred to them as "Mister or Ms. so-and-so" regularly, and just generally presenting himself as well put-together, the other guy sounded like he just took the Acela down from south Boston, waved papers at the jury on a regular basis, kept getting people's names wrong, and was interrupted by ADA objections (twice) and the judge, who cut him off for overstepping the line of proper conduct or over-complicating the process a half dozen times. He also ran over his alotted time, and was finally instructed to sit down by said judge.

I kept watching the defendant, and couldn't help wondering if he was sitting there thinking "where the fuck is Vincent LaGuardia Gambini when I need him?!?"


The Chicago Way

When the temperatures drop below 50 degrees in New York, by law the landlords/building managers/slumlords of the city are supposed to make sure there's heat coming up.

This, apparently, is news to my building's manager.

When temperatures dropped to 32 on Saturday, the radiators in my apartment were colder than Katherine Heigl after a date at Cheesecake Factory.

The building super was MIA and he didn't respond to messages left on his mobile.

When the heat still wasn't on yesterday, I did a little investigative work and found a couple of contact numbers for the guy listed as building manager.

One of the numbers turned out to be his mother's apartment in Alphabet City.

When I told her the situation and that it was in his best interest to speak to me, I got him on the phone.

"How did you get my mother's phone number?"

"Worry less about how I got it than getting the heat turned on. Your mom's apartment is nice and warm, I bet. Alphabet City is nice this time of year, I know the area well."

" do you know where she lives?"

"How long until the heat is back up in my apartment?"

"I'll look into it right now."

All that and it still took until 2:30 today.

62 hours without heat.

I can't wait to find out what kind of discount on rent I'm getting.


Dear #OccupyWallStreet

The proponents of American democracy claim the people rule, but the people are merely manipulated by the lies of newspaper editors, politicians, and business leaders. The people do not truly rule themselves, they are lead around by the nose. Capitalist rulers do as they choose, reducing wages of workers when it suits them, increasing work hours at will, hiring and firing as they like, and the people have nothing to say about it. The rich who own America crush anyone who stand in their way. These top one percent cannot be changed or influenced, they can only be defeated in battle, scattered and exterminated.*

That about sum up the thoughts down in Zuccotti Park?

I thought so.

Those words are taken, slightly out of context, from Johann Most in 1892.

The revolution isn't new, you just think it is.

Make sure to re-tweet this from your iPhone or iPad, courtesy of Apple. You know, one of those happy, friendly corporations you love who have nothing to do with slave labor in China.


*courtesy of Warren Sloat's "A Battle for the Soul of New York"