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Copycats! Copycats! May 17, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in animals, critique, current events, eating, food, funny, humor, new york city, opinion, pedestrian behavior, rats.

Before I delve into some of the wonderful food adventures we had in London, a coworker of mine, Mara (who you’ll remember as having taken down that 29 pound turkey on her first hunt), came over to my desk yesterday morning with a “scoop” for me. It seems that the folks at “Time Out New York” did a story on the best walks to do in New York City. But lo and behold, in their story they had a sidebar called “Walk of Shame” in which they discussed giving “violations” for offenders of “pedestrian crimes”.


Hmm. Does this idea sound familiar? It should, considering that back in March I unveiled a posting on the “Rules of Pedestrian Engagement”.

I have tons of admiration for Time Out New York and often keep issues for months and years as references. And the Time Out New York crew obviously has a larger budget than I do (my budget is a whopping nil, zilch, zero, none, you get the point). They were even able to go out and produce video of their reporter dressed up as a policewoman, zapping pedestrians for their violations and giving them tickets (again, sounds a little familiar doesn’t it?)

Some of the violations they handed out were for:

“Walking too slow in a crowded area”

“Stopping in an inconvenient place”

“Stopping at the top of the stairs at a subway station”

And…drumroll please…

“Walking side by side in a group of three or more”

Now…as much as I love Time Out New York for their articles and viewpoint on New York City life I became very suspicious. Especially considering the violation I had specifically discussed giving pedestrians was:

“Persons in groups of three or more who are walking together side by side”

Hmm…can someone say plagiarism?

Now I know my blog is not as popular as say Gawker or any of the other celebrity or humor blogs out there, but how was I to know that someone hadn’t seen my blog, read that post and decided that that would make a great idea for a story. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I wrote a letter to Time Out New York explaining I was a loyal reader and that I was curious on where they got their idea and inspiration for this pedestrian rules story being that I had covered a similar story months back.

I got a prompt and courteous response back from their deputy editor saying that their ideas are discussed in their brainstorming sessions, and they had an idea about walking etiquette in general and came up with some nagging pedestrian gripes, like walking in threes, impeding traffic, etc. They assured me they had no knowledge of my blog and thanked me for also shedding light on the subject.

I thought it was very nice of them to send a response in acknowledgement. And I’m sure their initial response was like, “Fuck this guy, we’re Time Out New York, who gives a shit about his little blog”. And rightly so. But in this day and age of “The Blogger” and with journalistic integrity under scrutiny now more than ever, I was a little disappointed they didn’t research their subject a little before going to press with the story. Not to say pedestrian rules haven’t been discussed before in many aspects and I know I’m certainly not the first nor the last to come up with zany ideas on how to punish pedestrian rule violators. However, I know that with my journalism background, Journalism 101 says always research your subject to see if it’s been discussed before.

I know I do that with this blog, and if come across an idea that has been discussed already, I’ll decide if my spin on things is unique and then move forward from there. If my idea is not fresher or better than the one already out there, maybe I’ll acknowledge the point and give credit to the person who came up with the idea. Case and point, I (ok…Bridget) thought up an idea when I launched this blog over a year ago to call myself “America’s Next Top Blogger”, after the widely popular “America’s Next Top Model” show with Tyra Banks. However, a quick Google search yielded some people had already used that term so I decided that I could just be seen “copying” off them even though I had the idea pop into my head without seeing it elsewhere.

Anyway, I was a little upset that no one on their team did any research on Pedestrian Rules or Pedestrian Violations or giving tickets to pedestrians in a humorous sort of angle. Not to say they necessarily would have seen my posting, but with just a little Google digging they could have seen the topic had been discussed. I do however applaud their ingenuity and brainstorming ideas and, taking the high road (which I almost never, ever do!) gave a kudos response back to their staff for the idea. I also mentioned they can feel free to contact me about future ideas, for which I of course was met with no response.

So I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Although I can proudly say that I “went to market” and developed an idea way before a whole staff of journalists did for a popular magazine! Just shows that thanks to blogs anyone can voice their opinions and ideas, no matter how far-fetched or arcane! And maybe they’ll take me up on my offer to help brainstorm a few ideas for them for future stories. Although that’s highly doubtful.

Anyway, this is a warning, Time Out New York staff. If I do see any articles in the future that even remotely resemble a topic I’ve discussed on this blog I’m calling bullshit on you! I’ll go to your offices and inflate one of those union rats in front of your building! I’ll say mean and nasty things about you…like your mother is a french prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet! So let this be a warning!

An inflatable rat awaits the next person who plagiarizes this blog!

I’ll post more later on my food adventures through London, including my yummy rendez-vous with Fish and Chips and my experience at the widely popular chain, Wagamama.


What a relief! April 11, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in American Idol, celebrities, critique, current events, funny, humor, movies, opinion, photos, pictures, rats, sarcasm, television, world news.

Whew! In case you haven’t heard, according to DNA testing Larry Birkhead was declared to be Dannielynn’s father (Anne Nicole Smith’s daughter)! Thank god that ordeal is over with, I was so sick and tired of being questioned about my relationship with Anna Nicole. I mean, so we shared one wild and drunken night downing a bottle of Hypnotiq and popping some Trim Spa. That was like 7 years ago! Get over it. It was impossible for me to be the father!! Fuckin idiots.

Anna after our night of partying several years ago. I told ya I wasn’t the baby’s daddy!

Anyway, I happened to catch the tail end of American Idol last night. I really haven’t watched the show in a few seasons (ever since I called the whole Taylor Hicks winning season in my very first blog). I caught Sanjaya’s song and the recap of the other contestants. Even though I know there’s the whole “keep Sanjaya on even though he sucks conspiracy”, I gotta say he wasn’t that bad last night. The song suited him perfectly, even with that porn star moustache he was flaunting last night.

If Idol doesn’t work out, Sanjay can appear in some sleazy Cuban mafia movies

In the recaps, I wasn’t really wowed with the other performers. Then again, J-Lo was their “teacher” this week, and we’ve seen the great decisions she’s made with her life recently! First there was Gigli and now she’s married to a rat.

I don’t think J-Lo is qualified to give advice given the decisions she’s made in life recently

I would say the last good thing J-Lo’s done was star in the Wedding Planner. Although Matt McConaughy really stole that movie from her. And the only reason I’d say she was “good” in that movie was the one line she had about M&M’s: “I only eat the brown ones because they’re pure” (which is much funnier when I say it in my Rosie Perez accent from White Men Can’t Jump).

Anyway, if I had to pick my American Idol favorite this season based on the auditions and the little that I’ve seen of the show, I’d go with the beat boxing Blake (who doesn’t love a beat-boxer!). Especially with the popularity of J.T. right now, Blake could be riding Justin’s coat tails a bit. I know LaKiesha and Melinda are the two most talented singers, although can you see the American public voting in a “Doo-little” as their Idol? Dunno about that. Anyway, Sanjaya wasn’t half bad last night so I think that the conspiracy phenomenon definitely lives on this week. Especially after Simon gave him a disgruntled, half-hearted “that wasn’t so bad” feedback on his performance. I think either Richardson goes or the girl who was wearing close to nothing goes But then again I haven’t really followed the show this season so I don’t know who is getting the “popular” vote.

Restaurant Shutdowns March 12, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in critique, eating, food, funny, humor, opinion, photos, rats, restaurant.
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So those who saw the Taco Bell debacle in the city (as published here on this blog) with the rats who invaded the place, know what a PR nightmare that created for Taco Bell and the NYC Health Inspectors at the Department of Health(who just one day prior gave that infamous store a passing grade.  Well, the DOH got slammed (and rightfully so) for that one, especially being that the whole world saw the clips of the rats running wild inside the restaurant. Since then the NYC Health Department has been on a blitzkreig, re-inspecting restaurants that may have had “minor” violations in the past and shuttering them at the sign of the smallest violation (i.e. sink being too far away from cooking element, etc).  One to feel the city’s wrath was famous John’s Pizzeria on Bleecker Street


Another spot that was shuttered was the popular Blondie’s on the UES (92nd and 2nd).  A sign on their door said they were “on vacation” with John’s Pizzeria and had the articles posted on the door from the New York Post.  For Blondie’s, this couldn’t come at a worst time considering thursday starts the NCAA Tournament which is any sports bar’s busiest time of the year.  Glen, the owner of Ship of Fools on 82nd and 2nd once told me that 20-30% of his business comes from March Madness alone.  So closing down for a violation during this time period is basically a huge blow. 

I must say in my humble opinion the DOH is being way too harsh with the penalties.  They were embarrassed by the Taco Bell debacle and now are using that to basically set the tone PR wise.  My father, for those that knew him, worked in the restaurant (air-conditioning and refrigeration) industry. He told me all the time how basements of restaurants were rat-infested because food was left around, cans were left open, etc.  This hasn’t been a surprise for as long as restaurants have been serving food.  And it wasn’t just the “dive” places that had problems, most upscale restaurants met the same fate (cracks in basement walls, food stored improperly, trash laying around).  This was just all part of the restaurant life.  And no patron ever cared what went on in the basement so long as the food was good and the atmosphere enjoyable.  Did knowing that rats ran around the basements of restaurants or that food was poorly stored stop me from eating there?  No.  As long as it wasn’t a blatent violation that was visible in the restaurant itself or the place was at least on the surface clean and orderly I was fine.  It’s like an attic or a garage, you don’t expect it to be in perfect condition.  If it is, it’s a bonus, but if it’s a bit messy and unkept you still go in anyway, right?

Personally I think the DOC needs to get off their high horses and ease the restrictions a bit.  I’m sure you can find a violation in every restaurant (most of us probably have a violation in our own apartments!) but as long as it’s not impeding or affecting my food nor eating environment i’m cool with it. So what if a sink is 11 feet away instead of 10.  Or that the basement has a crack in the foundation.  John’s Pizzeria’s building is like 150 years old for christ’s sake.  It’s gonna have cracks.  Basically NYC Health workers have put themselves on par with traffic cops…they have a job to do, but most of the time overexaggerate the violations so they “look good” in front of the city coffers. 

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles (just don’t get any crumbs on the floor if you’re a restaurant owner, you could get a violation that will shut your doors for good!)

The Beavers are coming February 23, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in bathroom humor, beavers, food, humor, muppets, new york city, opinion, photos, pictures, prostitutes, random references, rats, restaurant, television, top blog candidate, world news.

So apparently the 1st “beaver” was spotted in NYC in over 200 years. The beaver was spotted in the Bronx. Here’s the article:

Although I’m sure they’ll later find out that the said beaver was actually a shriveled up prostitute from Hunts Point who got dumped in the river. Hey oh! Its funny though, since they are trying to develop the South Bronx (SoBo) into the next trendy area – redoing warehouses into condos and fixing up some of the crack houses. Although it’s putting the squeeze on hunts point prostitutes since the area is trying to be “gentrified” with “types of people” who aren’t out to get them some poontang.

Here’s a quote from the article: “…beaver populations are expanding, and their habitats are shrinking,” said Dietland Muller-Schwarze, a beaver expert at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. “We’re probably going to see more of them in the future.”

Although I guess the good news for the “beavers” is that having the South Bronx developed and gentrified is opening up a new clientele to those “beavers” who sell their wares in Hunts Point, especially the ones who have been featured on HBO’s special “Hookers and Johns”.

Beavers looking for work in the South Bronx

Wait. Am I confused? What? It was an actual beaver they spotted? Like the animal? Oh…oops. Well good luck to those beavers as well. Most of the union construction jobs have already been taken.

Speaking of union jobs it seems that rats these days are trying to get in on the action (I mean why should they be denied umemployment when most illegal aliens get employed too). It appears a gang of rats infiltrated a Taco Bell/KFC this am before the store opened “looking for work”.

Read the story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070223/ap_on_fe_st/restaurant_rats

Rat looking to bus tables

Its a good thing these rats weren’t trying to gain employment at a chinese restaurant…hey oh!

I won’t finish the punch line if you’re looking for one.

Anyway, rats have long been hard workers, mining our subways tunnels for centuries. They’ve also held memorable jobs in the restaurant industry before! In fact, who can forget the vital role rats played in the movie Muppets take Manhattan?? Rizzo the rat got himself and his friends a job in the kitchen at the diner and they saved the damn place. Even futher, his girlfriend Yolanda was the first female rat to gain a part in a movie and quite honestly was more attractive in her waitress role than most other human waitresses. Don’t believe me…compare Yolando to Flo from Mel’s Diner and you be the judge:

Yolanda lookin good in the kitchen

Flo from Mel’s Diner

The rats went beyond the kitchen, exposing themselves to great danger when they went undercover to perform a “whispering campaign” for Kermit’s Manhattan Melodies at Sardi’s. They were swatted at, stomped on and thrown to the curb. Definitely broke all sorts of animal rights violations on the set. Did you hear them complain though? Not a peep. Maybe more workers should learn from rats and just do their jobs and not complain. Then maybe we’d have a more productive workforce in this country!

A little too early for this May 23, 2006

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in common sense, critique, funny, humor, muppets, new york city, opinion, pedestrian behavior, random references, rats, stupidity, subways, top blog candidate.

So on my way to work this morning at the ungodly time of 6:45 am. Yes 6:45 am…I had to set up a conference at the Harvard Club. Yes the Harrrverd Club. So distinguished and polished. I felt richer and more educmacated just walking through the crimson doors onto the crimson carpet through the crimson lined walls with crimson lamp shade adornments (you get the picture). Anyway after two 6 trains wiz by the stop at 103rd going express (cause obviously us poor folk in east harlem don’t need to go to work either) I get on an empty 6 train, meaning there was plenty of room to maneuver without getting arrested for subway grinding.

At 86th street I move to the middle of the car with a good 10 feet of room on either side of me clear. Of course the rats rush onto the train looking for a seat (rats = commuters…not actual rats. Although how funny would that be. Rizzo the Rat from the Muppets hops on the 6 with his little business suit and micro sized NY Times. That would be a sight). After the rats find their seats I still have tons of room on either side of me and there’s open space galore. Which means only one thing. That people will crowd around the nearest person they see.

It’s amazing, no one knows what to do with empty space on the train. The first thing people normally do is find that first pole and cling to it, like a “dancer” at a strip club.

(Side note:  Could there be anything dirtier than a subway pole? I mean I know strippers slide up and down the poles at strip clubs, but how many strippers work at a given club a day? 30, 40? And compare that to how many people touch the subway poles a day. A few thousand? And don’t give me the hand is cleaner than crotch excuse. Not unless you know where everyone’s hands on that train have been. At least with the stripper you know what you’re getting – Dirty whore. Who knows what you’re getting on a subway pole. Dirty whore. Sleazy business execs oozing with grease. The occassional child molester. I rest my case).

I betcha she wouldn’t be licking this pole if it was in a strip club.  But isn’t the subway dirtier?

Anyway so this scumbag stands about 2 inches from me with his bookbag shoved into my kidneys. I mean come on dude, you got like 10 feet of empty real estate next to you and you have to fucking dry hump my leg on the train. This is followed by some goth chic moving to within 3 inches on my other side. I look left beyond the guy practically standing on my shoulders and you can park a 18 wheeler in the middle of the train without touching anyone. But look right and there’s about 30 people huddled together like penguins trying to brave the Antartic cold. I’d expect this kind of behavior during peak rush hour times but at 7am, come on…give me a freakin break. Oh and it doesn’t end there.

On my way walking down 45th between Park & Madison on route to the Harrrverd Club (btw I was so tempted to say to members of the Harvard Club that I went to Yardsley and had a perfect 4.0 – that’s South Park reference from that episode where the kid is hitting on Wendy in competition w/ Stan. You know the episode where Stan throws up on Wendy everytime he talks to her) this guy about 50 feet in front of me is walking full steam, staring straight into his Crackberry. You can see where this is going. I move about 15 feet to the right to give this schmuck on wheels room to drift all over the sidewalk like Billy Joel driving on a backroad in the Hamptons and what does he do…make a fucking B line right towards me. Not looking. Head down. Had I not turned my shoulder in a Matrix type move I would have knocked his front teeth out. And I should have…but at 7 am I was still a little sleepy to be throwing body checks around the streets.

I may start a petition to make walking and using your CrackBerry illegal…similar to the cell phone ban while driving. Although I wish I had morphing abilities so that at the last second I can morph into a telephone pole and have these crackberry assholes slam head first into the pole. Then morph back into a human to laugh at them when they try to pick up the 1,000 pieces of crackberry fragments all over the sidewalk. That’ll teach them to walk with their head up next time.

Anyway so that’s been my lovely day so far…and I just got a leg cramp from being on my feet for 5 straight hours so i’m gonna go limp around for a while.

Until next time America…don’t be kind to each other out there until someone shows kindness first. That sounds a lot better than “be kind to each other out there”.