Monday, September 22, 2008


1) Once again, a Random Thoughts column is titled with an obscure reference to Larry King's USA Today column. Well, not so much the column as the man himself. And not so much the man as his TV sitcom incarnation, McLean Stevenson, with a line from the theme song for the much-mocked series Hello, Larry .

In any event, we're starting things off with me explaining and half-heartedly justifying a willfully obscure title. Never a good sign.

2) No new posts appeared here over the weekend, and that felt kind of nice. I keep saying this over and over: Maybe I should spend less time here. It sometimes feels as though it takes me away from more valuable pursuits, and since I've recently become increasingly clip-dependent, it seems I may be running out of things to say. More likely, I'm only thinking that way because it's 3 AM and I really should be sleeping.

3) One thing that's certain, this space has become far less political in recent months. Of course, one reason I haven't said much about the current financial mess is that it's too depressing to consider at length. Consider Our Beloved President's proposed 700 billion dollar bailout to the nation's wealthiest institutions. This is essentially a meaningless transfer of numbers--the country is so far in debt, there is no real money to hand over. But if the bill is ultimately paid, it will break the backs of U.S. taxpayers, and the already shaky middle-class will simply disappear.

Of course, if no bailout occurs, and banks, lending companies and investment firms continue to collapse, and the world's economy fails, combined with the inevitable exhaustion of the planet's fossil fuel supply--well, hey, that future predicted by the Mad Max movies will arrive much sooner than expected.

4) It was the Big Adios to Yankee Stadium last night, the pointless end to a perfect ballpark. Greed, of course, is the reason--the beloved old stadium didn't have enough skyboxes for the wealthy few to lord it over true fans. This is the reason people don't care as much about baseball as they used to.

My memory of the stadium is from a Friday night game in '94: The Bronx bathed in the golden light of a fading early June day, the city lights twinkling in the distance as the night descended with such grace it happened without notice.

The Yankees faced off against the Royals, represented by much-despised ex-Met Vince Coleman, booed by the crowd every time he'd step up to the plate. Beer and hot dogs were consumed, and even though the Yankees lost that night, they were on their way to another killer season, if only the baseball strike hadn't intervened.

After the game, I rode back to Queens with my friends Janelle and Kevin. I didn't stay long at Janelle's apartment--really, just long enough to say goodbye and admire once again the spectacular view of the Queensboro Bridge from her window--and they didn't even walk me to the subway station. I took a weirdly deserted train into Grand Central, and got back to my hotel in time to watch the Knicks face off against the Bulls in the Finals, and finally defeat them.

That was my last perfect trip to New York. A return trip in '96 was rather abbreviated due to lack of funds and, frankly, interest. The Giulianification of the city had officially begun, and the subterranean music shops, funky book stores and affordable boutiques where I'd spent so many happy hours had already started their slow fade. I walked the streets in search of something that no longer existed, and in my final moments there, descending into the nondescript hell of Penn Station, I realized I no longer cared if I ever came back.

5) Wow. That took a turn for the depressing. Does that happen too often here? Do I spend too much time wallowing in sadness? I'm not trying to be Captain Bringdown. Just my nature, I guess, but I can do happy. Honest. For instance...

6) Anybody up for a Lynda Carter clip? No?

Fine. At least I tried, dammit.