Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leland Sundries at the Staten Island Tugboat Graveyard

Check out this video of Brooklynite band Leland Sundries. Nick Loss-Eaton, the man behind the band, drives over the Verrazano to escape the seepage of the Newtown Creek and frolic in the bucolic marshes of Staten Island.

Dude even takes a canoe and traverses the tugboat graveyard. Great visuals. Nice Leonard Cohen-esque song. Where is this shit, anyways? Need to hang out on the abandoned docks more.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deconstructing Kanye's Fantasy

This week America grappled with the gargantuan task of setting aside Kanye West's epic douchery and attempting to appreciate his fantastic new album entirely on its own merits. Not easy.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was released on Tuesday with the predictable fanfare and rave reviews expected for our generation's most revered megalomaniac.

Fantasy is a pop album. A meticulous, triumphant pop album - with, sometimes, pitiful lyrics. But instead of borrowing from musical past to regurgitate his own version of Thriller, West takes some of today's more successful musical tropes, then uses broad strokes to apply each one to his own inchoate repertory.

It's this collage method that helps Kanye craft a pop album more successfully than contemporary crossover rap stars. Lil Wayne rode mixtape madness to the top of the charts. However, when Weezy strapped on a guitar for Rebirth, the results were met with mild derision and ample head scratching.

Kanye places a funky guitar riff into "Gorgeous" with the deft skill of a veteran producer. The saucy lick drips all over the track without sounding forced or haphazard. He may not play the instrument, but he knows exactly where to put it.

I suppose one would point to Jay Z - an artist who attempted to turn his rhymes into a new American songbook - as the most ambitious hip-hop 'pop' star these days. But although Jay's "Empire State of Mind" has an indelible hook, the song's ubiquity is wearing thin and may soon be relegated to the 'used bin' of once great pop songs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Consider the Bike Lane

The recent decision by the Department of Transportation to remove a bike lane on a scenic stretch of Father Capodanno Boulevard - overlooking the putrid beaches on the east shore of Staten Island - was disappointing, although not exactly surprising.

Generally, bike lanes are a good idea. They help promote alternative forms of transportation, and could ease congestion by diverting traffic into a single lane. They also prevent speedsters from wreaking havoc on pedestrians.

Father Capodanno Boulevard is not a heavily-trafficked street (except for rush hours) and the addition of the bike lane was a mild impediment to cars, to say the least.

But the unfortunate fact is that Staten Island drivers are not mature enough, forward-thinking, or possess the common decency to share the rode with cyclists traveling at a less-than-optimal speed. This will obstruct the locals from getting to their nail salons and mini-mansions at an average clip of 30 to 90 seconds a commute. Not acceptable.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is George Bush too dumb to write his own book?

George W. Bush, the guy who ran the country for 8 years, is back. And this time, he's writin' books. It's the perfect Christmas gift for your Republican relative, who you have nothing in common with.

Bush's new memoir, Decision Points, was released recently and it is the usual re-hashing of important points in his colossal error of a presidency without the requisite insight and analysis you should probably get from the person who was actually there and making the important decisions.

You may have seen him making up with Kanye West recently on the Today Show. Wouldn't it be great if Bush got a guest verse on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy?

Anyways, it turns out that Bush couldn't even bother to write some of his own memoir. The HuffingtonPost points out that some of the book was lifted from the book American Soldier by one of the guys who ran the Afghan war, Tommy Franks:

Staten Island Jihadist faces judge, gets no bail

A former Staten Islander, and Tottenville High School student, appeared in federal court Tuesday to hear why he won't be joining the Taliban anytime soon.

Appearing in a Brooklyn court, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh was accused of lying to authorities after making a number of unsuccessful attempts to fly overseas and join Jihadist groups.

The Times describes the non-eventful courtroom scene:
In court on Tuesday, Mr. Shehadeh, who wore a brown T-shirt and loose-fitting blue pants, quietly answered questions from a United States magistrate judge, Ramon E. Reyes Jr., saying he understood the nature of the charges and his rights.
After he was denied travel to Iraq and Somalia in 2008, Shehadeh tried to enter Pakistan and claimed he was going to attend a University. He wasn't. And when investigators questioned him, he got caught lying.

The dude even tried to join the Army and go to Iraq where, we would guess, he was going to desert and join the other side. What an a-hole!

Prosecutors asked that he be denied bail because he is a flight risk and danger to the community: ya think? His lawyer didn't even bother to file a bail application.

Shehadeh faces up to 8 years in prison. Meanwhile, Staten Island is under Jihad watch. Maybe Pam Geller was right after all.

Redman is in Wu Tang? Who knew?

The Grammy-winning, How High-acting, Cribs-appearing, post-EPMD rapper Redman (aka Reggie Noble) is doing promotion for his next album, Reggie, due out in December.

During a recent interview while touring Europe, Noble came out as the 11th member of Staten Island's prolific hip-hop collective, Wu-Tang Clan:

"I am a Wu-Tang member and Method Man, he been a Death Squad member way before I was a Wu member," Redman said.

"I was like a Wu member but I wasn't official. But E. [Erick] Sermon made him Meth a death squad member back in the day. I became a Wu member about 5 years ago. I am the 11th member of Wu."

Besides the head-scratching grammar, what the effe is going on here?

Hipsters wage war on Duane Reade

The New York Times featured a story Friday about the scourge permeating the hipster neighborhoods of Brooklyn: Duane Reade.

Apparently, a second version of this chain establishment is opening in their artist enclave/former-crack epidemic crime zone. And this is just too much for the trustafarians to bear.

The Times lays it down:
For many residents it signaled that dreaded chain stores — symbols of all things corporate and uninspired — were about to breach the industrial neighborhood turned bastion of the young, do-it-yourself and arty.
Arty? That's a word, I guess. Odd how these 'residents' will happily take the L Train to Manhattan everyday, where there are - i dunno - maybe just a few Duane Reades. Also, what is there position on Starbucks? Tell me these kids like bodega coffee. I'm sure their anti-corporate crusades stop at the point of Cappuccino convenience.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wild Turkeys terrorize Staten Island (video)

You've heard the apocalyptic headlines the past week or so. There's been everything but a red alert issued for all seniors living near the Ocean Breeze section of Staten Island.

Turkeys are everywhere, and they are raising hell.

Here is just a sampling of the horrors we've been subjected to from local media in the past week - coincidentally, right before Thanksgiving.

'Wild turkeys take over Staten Island neighborhood' - ABC

'Staten Island Locals Fear Wild Turkeys!' - Gothamist

'Turkeys Terrify Staten Island Residents, Trap Woman in Car' - Field & Stream

'Scourge of Staten Island: Turkeys terrorize residents as they roam neighborhood' - Daily News

We went down to Ocean Breeze to investigate, and it was just as terrifying as the news outlets told us. Honestly, it is amazing that we made it out of that shit hole alive.

Video below:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Angelina's rap: the remix

It's the best piece of music to come out of Staten Island since the last Budos album, or Ingrid Michaelson, or whatever crap you people listen to.

NO. We are not talking about the horribly awesome rap song leaked to TMZ this week. The one with Staten Island native, and Jersey Shore actress, Angelina doing her impersonation of a whiny cat getting run over by trunk. Not that one.

It's the remix! By Staten Island's own DJ LowBall.

In case you're not in the know of Island culture/high art, LowBall is the guy who DJs at local hot spots every so often with an iPod for, like, real cheap.

You can catch LowBall himself, at a venue near you. Just name your price. But for now here's his latest creation:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beware of the annual turkey story

What a coincidence. Every year, just a few weeks before Thanksgiving, a bunch of turkey stories waddle right out off Seaview Avenue and into the pages of the local dailies.

Do turkeys send out a press release, or is it just the time of the year when editors say: "They have turkeys out in Staten Island, don't they? Go drive out there and see if you can find a few."

And find turkeys they did.

"Thanksgiving may be two weeks away, but every day is turkey day for a quiet section of New York City's Staten Island." -CNN

Cute, but a conspiracy theory lurks nearby, in the hot dog cart.

"About 12 years ago somebody dropped two turkeys off down by the psychiatric center." -hot dog guy

This could be a new urban legend, like Cropsey. What happens when turkeys attack?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Big Friggin' Stereotype

Now that Jersey Shore Season 2 has ended, Viacom could not help themselves but dole out another pitiful reality program that portrays Italian Americans as shallow, materialistic pieces of trash.

The latest tome in their canon of diminishing returns is My Big Friggin' Wedding, a reality show that follows four couples as they plan out the biggest day in their young guido lives. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of drinking, embarrassing revelations, and gross generalizations.

There's even a token character of color thrown into the mix, a Haitian man named Danny. He's mostly there to show how others react to his skin color.

"My grandmother was crying hysterical, for months, because I was marrying a Haitian," his to-be bride admits.

"My family is making him feel like he's gonna steal something as soon as he walks in. Like, please."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How many hungry cats can you fit in a rented Staten Island home?

This disturbing story came out of Great Kills last weekend.

70-year-old Bill Reilly moved out of his rented home in October, but when something started to stink real bad, neighbors complained.

Animal control found 38 cats living in the apartment with nothing to eat or drink.

When the Advance called Reilly he said they "just multiplied" and then hung up.

No word on whether the cats were really Gremlins, the creatures from the 1984 movie who multiply when you add water.

Reilly's landlord was a little defensive about his tenant.

"Apart from the thing with the cats, he was a great guy."

Yeah, besides the whole thing about torturing animals, we're sure Bill Reilly is totally awesome.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

10 questions for 'The Situation'

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino came to the Barnes and Noble by The Staten Island Mall Wednesday night to sell some books.

As the 'Jersey Shore' wanes in popularity (MTV is already moving on to younger programming) the reality star is grasping at his newfound fame and whatever monetary deals come his way.

The Situation - or, more accurately, his ghostwriter - has written a new book that celebrates his shallow, manufactured, misogynist lifestyle.

Even the local paper could not hide their contempt as we detect a smidge of snark in their straight report.

Reportedly 600 people showed up, and the video verifies that at least some screaming young women were excited about the opportunity to meet the character and/or read his epic piece of literature.

Since we have no desire to go near this piece of shit, unless given the opportunity to smack him in the face, here what we would have asked him:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Staten Island: You done goofed

Election night hangover is in full effect. Not from booze or weed (Prop 19 failed) but from a late night of watching election returns come in from around the country.

But like the double rainbow, the election left us wondering: what does it mean?

On a national scale, the election confirmed our belief that the Tea Party is wildly overblown: the witch lady lost in Delaware, Paladino and his baseball bat went down in glorious flames, Sharron Angle was pummeled by Harry Reid, Sarah Palin's pick in Alaska, Joe Miller, looks like he will go down to a write-in candidate of Lisa Murkowski.

Sure, Republicans picked up lots of seats in the house of a bunch of governorships, but most big ticket Tea Party crazy candidates went down. One exception being Rand Paul, a guy who want to privatize social security - good luck with that.

But Staten Island's congressional race was a close one. Incumbent Mike McMahon and Mike Grimm battled back and forth late into the night, and Grimm was left standing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Last gaffe for Carl Paladino

We're gonna miss you Carl!

Even though only 13 people showed up to your last Staten Island meet-and-greet, you were by far the best (local) candidate to make fun of.

The election is tomorrow, and it's hard to think what life will be like without you: your misogynist statements, your white rage, those hardcore pornographic e-mails... All will be lost.

As if your fat head never emerged from the wastelands of Buffalo.

If Christine O'Donnell weren't a practicing witch you could've have rode your bullshit campaign into a national spotlight of vulgar assholery.

But you were rendered to viral internet memes. Better than nothing, we guess.