New York

NY:LON – Battle of the cities

Telegraph blogs are doing a series on New York vs London and all of their contributors have been invited to join in. I’ve yet to visit New York and I’ve probably spent less time in London than any of the Americans I’ve met. (Staines doesn’t count as London, it’s just a rather dire place tauntingly close to the capital.)

With luck I’ll get to visit both cities this year. I could try out my accent over the pond to see who’s impressed, but I’m sure it will be less of a novelty in New York than elsewhere in the US.

Man is 5

there was a guy
an under water guy who controlled the sea
got killed by ten million pounds of sludge
from new york and new jersey
this monkey’s gone to heaven

the creature in the sky
got sucked in a hole
now there’s a hole in the sky
and the ground’s not cold
and if the ground’s not cold
everything is gonna burn
we’ll all take turns
i’ll get mine, too
this monkey’s gone to haven

rock me joe!

if man is 5 [3x]
then the devil is 6 [5x]
then god is 7 [3x]
this monkey’s gone to heaven

Pixies – Monkey Gone to Heaven

Ex Machina: Tag

I don’t buy comics any more, but I have started popping down to the library to read its graphic novel selection. Today I picked up Ex Machina: Tag, and I’m impressed.

The series follows Mitchell Hundred, one time superhero and now mayor of New York, flashing back and forth between his election campaign and present difficulties. Several years before Hundred was caught in the explosion of an unknown piece of technology and developed the ability to “talk” to machines. After a career spent saving the odd life and wearing a costume he admits is extremely dorky, he outed himself and announced he was running for Mayor. Along the way he attracted the attention of the NSA and several foreign intelligence services, leading to dangers he’d much rather do without.

Having won the mayoral race after involvement in a pivotal moment in modern history Hundred now finds himself in office and facing the fraught questions of school vouchers and gay marriage. Meanwhile something is very wrong with his NSA handler and a mysterious tag linked to his powers is showing up on the subway walls and inducing homicidal and suicidal behaviour.

The idea of a superhero turning to politics can’t be new, but it certainly hasn’t been explored much. Brian K Vaughn does a good job of mixing the West Wing with the Iron Man. There is a hint that Hundred’s condition has left him somehow other than human. Some times the decisions he makes are based upon tactical rather than emotional thinking- a lot like many a political animal- but he does seem to be getting some of his humanity back. I imagine this is a thread to be investigated in future episodes.

I’m going to be looking out for other volumes from this series on the library shelves and when I’m feeling rich enough I may even buy copies.

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Semen makes you happy

A study has shown that women who were directly exposed to semen were less depressed. The researchers think this is because mood-altering hormones in semen are absorbed through the vagina. They say they have ruled out other explanations.

“I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms,” says Gordon Gallup, the psychologist at the State University of New York who led the team. “Clearly an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease would more than offset any advantageous psychological effects of semen.”

via Fleshbot

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Celluloid Skyline

A gorgeous interactive site about New York, both its real and cinematic. A companion to the book of the same name. I had to drag myself away from it because I want to get things done this afternoon.

The first is a real city, an urban agglomeration of millions. The second is a mythic city, so rich in memory and association and sense of place that to people everywhere it has come to seem real: the New York of such films such as 42nd Street, Rear Window, King Kong, Dead End, The Naked City, Ghostbusters, Annie Hall, Taxi Driver, and Do the Right Thing. A dream city of the imagination, born of that most pervasive of dream media, the movies.

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Historians are gently drying out and preseving a wooden beam washed ashore from an important piece of War of Independence architecture. A wooden bridge built across Lake Champlain linked Fort Ticonderoga in New York and Mount Independence in Vermont. It allowed thousands of American soldiers to escape when the British took Ticonderoga so they could fight again in the Battle of Saratoge.

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We are traffic

Critical Mass happens on the last Friday of the month in cities all over the world. I used to go on them, and when I remember which Friday is the last of the month I’ll do it again.

Of course, if you turn up to the regular New York Mass on the Friday before the Republican convention, the usually easy going NYPD will arrest the lot of you and throw you in “Little Gitmo”.