Essays from 116th Street

Self-therapy, since 2004...

Location: New York, New York

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Get Ready

Only nine days away!

116street Soccer

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Serious Conundrum

I am presently faced with a dilemma, which, unresolved, could threaten the very fabric of my definition of human existence: I am thoroughly obsessed with Sergio Mendes' "Mas Que Nada." Liking a song, even loving one, rarely presents a dilemma of any kind, of course; the problem in this instance is the overwhelming presence of my musical nemeses, The Black Eyed Peas.Those who know me well are well aware of my hatred of BEP, which borders on a Luthor-esque mission to eradicate them from existence. Much like the relationship between my main man Lex and Kal-El, the Peas and I were once on good terms with each other; their well-documented and admitted sellout killed our friendship for good. Thus, it has been my duty to provide hateration, even upon hearing them at their most avant-garde.So I was chilling at home, firing up my Playstation 2 for an initial go-'round in 2006 FIFA World Cup, when the game intoned upon my earlobes the hottest song I'd heard since Zuco 103's "Garganteiro." Upon further listening, I felt the familiar pangs of guilt come over me, and the question "Is that The Black Eyed Peas?" began to linger in my mind. I navigated the game's menus, to discover the song's origin, and was relieved to find it attributed to Sergio Mendes. But then, I heard the disgustingly familiar "Ooh La, La, La La" that Fergie has somehow managed to make her calling card, and I knew the ugly truth to be true. Unfortunately for me, the song was too good to not listen to again; the slow process of The Black Eyed Peas creeping into my consciousness had already become an inevitability.As is commonplace with anything associated with those effing sellouts, I next encounted the song via a TV commercial. My usual righteous indignation was mellowed out, however, that the commercial in question happened to be one of those excellent Nike Joga Bonito joints with the Brazil soccer team. I still couldn't hate. Then, the other night, I was participating in one of my favorite new activities, checking out the outstanding Radio Mundial at Camaradas, when Radio's lead singer started singing the hook to "Mas Que Nada" over an improvised samba beat. Rather than getting an ice grill, I got extra excited instead. What in the world has come over me?The good news is that I'm not entirely carried away; I contemplated purchasing Sergio Mendes' Timeless, but a few listens on Amazon clued me in to the fact that the Peas are all over this album: I passed. So I know I'm not entirely delusional, but I'll be damned if my heart doesn't warm every time I hear the opening rhythms to this song. What's a righteous brother to do?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Thanks, Ladies

It is time for me to give a shout-out to all of my female friends. I have had the incredible fortune of knowing some of the most intelligent, compassionate and beautiful women around; at any point when my faith in the opposite sex should waver, these are the ones who are quick to restore my belief. There are those who never seem to mind my constant philosophical babbling (Stephanie and Rachel), who always inspire me to be more virtuous (Bethany), who remind me not to take myself so seriously (Abby), who provide blunt advice and a pat on the head (Cait), and who always make me wonder what could have been (Melanie and Jessica). There are, of course, many, many others, so if I haven't named you here, please don't be upset, it's pretty early in the morning. I am so fortunate to have such a caring and protective group of women, ready to be there for me at a moment's notice, with the full knowledge that I would do the same for them. You girls are my great ones.

With that being said, it's time to award the two funniest quotes from yesterday, responses to the demise of the two-month saga of The Girl By 23rd Street.

Melanie: "Do you want me to come up there with a lead pipe and beat her?" No, Melanie, I don't want you to do that, I know you've been itching to use the lead pipe on my enemies for some time, but I don't want you to hurt The Girl By 23rd Street, she's never been in a fight in her life. I do find your constant willingness to resort to violence very sexy, however. You win second prize for the day, the reward being an ironclad promise that I will try to make out with you next time I'm in Philadelphia.

Jessica (via voicemail): "Hi Zack, sorry to hear about Stacy - oh, I mean, Cindy..." Jess, your attempts to belittle the status of The Girl By 23rd Street by referring to her as "Stacy, or Cindy, or whatever" have always been pretty humorous, but the spite in your voice on this occasion elevates you to first place in this informal contest. When we run away to Belize together, I will be sure to provide you regular massages, and to feed you grapes. In the meantime, you will have to settle for the first place prize, which will be the most heartfelt 3 AM drunk-dialed smiley face the world has ever known.

These girls bite! I love them for it. Anyone with friends as good as mine has to be doing something right. Also, a word of benevolent advice to all women I've dated, past and future; if you ever come across a gorgeous brunette attorney in a power suit and briefcase, flee! I can't control Melanie, or what she does with that lead pipe she keeps in her briefcase. I constantly tell her not to hurt others, but she really likes me, so what can I do?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


It has been chilly and overcast here in New York this past week, resulting in a seriously hostile frame of mind here on 116th street (of course, it could also have been that annoying, pointy-shoed hobbit I was unfortunate to have spent part of my Saturday night hanging around). So here I sit, with so many things to look forward to, things that should be bringing a smile to my face, and instead I have become Gargamel.
For example, today I am going to pick up my copy of 2006 FIFA World Cup for Playstation 2. I will probably spend a couple of hours striving to gain qualification to Germany with Beasley and company, and that will make me happy. At least it would, if I hadn't spent the past few days in a grey-skied, goosebump-inducing state of both body and mind. Isn't it supposed to be May?
Tomorrow night, The Girl By 23rd Street finishes her finals, which means that she will be talking to me again. This is, of course, a fairly exciting development, but without a warm spring breeze to make me feel at peace with the world, I instead find myself grumbling about how it's too cold to be outside, and how it looks like it's going to rain at any moment. Not to mention that it's still not tomorrow night yet, so still no The Girl By 23rd Street.
Hey, the Suns play the Clippers again tonight! That's fun, too! But I bet my cable acts up again, and lord knows how much I hate dealing with those shmucks. "That's right, Mr. Jackson, we're coming between 10 and forever, on a day that's two weeks into the future, from now until the end of time!" Since when did Time Warner Cable turn into Mum-Ra?

OK, wait, the really hot girl at work just smiled at me, that made me feel a little bit better...

OK, back to being grumpy...

Oh yeah, that girl from Saturday, who came out with my friends; did I mention how annoying she was? Begging for attention, insulting my friend and trying to push me into even more of a bad mood by insisting that I was in a bad mood, despite my attempts to ignore her? Sigh...

But guess what, kiddos? I'm gonna be an uncle again, I'm gonna be an uncle again, I'm gonna be an uncle again, I'm gonna be an uncle again... That makes me legitimately happy! So I guess what I'm saying is that it's never as bad as it seems. In fact it's pretty good. Now if those damn clouds would just go away...