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Above: Phil Stafford, the Elsewhere Philatelic Society lectern, relaxing after the first above-ground EPS meeting since the late 1970s; The Elsewhere Philatelic Society banner affixed to a disused JC Decaux outdoor newspaper kiosk temporarily transformed into a "Universal Philatelic Center"; 14-foot spinning globe "Home" by Michael Christian, Burning Man 2010

January 2010.

2010jan14. The first Friday Free Day of 2010. This means something to someone. I'll be over here, packing my things.

2010jan18. Excerpts from Harpo Speaks! by Harpo Marx with Rowland Barber (1951).

There was one supreme holiday every two years, and there was nothing sad about it. This was not a family affair. It belonged to everybody. The poorest kid in town had as much a share in it as the mayor himself.

This was Election Day.

Months ahead, I started, like every other kid, collecting and stashing fuel for the election bonfire. Having quit school, I could put in a lot of extra hours at it. I had a homemade wagon, a real deluxe job. Most kids greased their axles with suet begged or pinched off a butcher shop, but I was fancier. I scraped genuine axle grease off the hubs of beer wagons, working the brewery circuit from Ehret's to Ruppert's to Ringling's.

I hauled staves, slats, laths, basket-lids, busted carriage spokes, any loose debris that would burn, and piled it all in a corner of our basement. This was one thing the janitor helped me with. The Election Day bonfire was a tradition nobody dared to break. If you were anti-bonfire you were anti-Tammany and life could become pretty grim without handouts from the Organization. Worse than that, the cops could invent all kinds of trouble to get you into. So around election time, there were no complaints up the dumbwaiter shaft about the leaks in our garbage cans.

The great holiday lasted a full thirty hours. On election eve, the Tammany forces marched up and down the avenues by torchlight, with bugles blaring and drums booming. There was free beer for the men, and free firecrackers and punk for the kids, and nobody slept that night.

When the Day itself dawned, the city closed up shop and had itself a big social time ‒ visiting with itself, renewing old acquaintances, kicking up old arguments ‒ and voted.

About noon a hansom cab, courtesy of Tammany Hall, would pull up in front of our house. Frenchie and Grandpa, dressed in their best suits (which they otherwise wore only to weddings, bar mitzvahs or funerals), would get in the cab and go clip-clop, in tip-top style, off to the polls. When the carriage brought them back they sat in the hansom as long as they could without the driver getting sore, savoring every moment of their glory while they puffed on their free Tammany cigars.

At last, reluctantly, they would descend to the curb, and Frenchie would make the grand gesture of handing the cabbie a tip. Kids watching in the streets and neighbors watching from upstairs windows were properly impressed.

About a half-hour later, the hansom cab would reappear, and Frenchie and Grandpa would go off to vote again. If it was a tough year, with a Reform movement threatening the city, they'd be taken to vote a third time.

Nobody was concerned over the fact that Grandpa happened not to be a United States citizen, or that he couldn't read or write English. He knew which side of the ballot to put his "X" on. That was the important thing. Besides, Grandpa's son-in-law's cousin was Sam Mars, a Big Man in the Organization. Cousin Sam had a lot to say about whose name appeared under a black star on the ballot. And it was he who made sure the carriage was sent to 179 at voting time. A man of principle, which Grandpa was, had no choice but to return the courtesy by voting.

Then came the Night. The streets were cleared of horses, buggies and wagons. All crosstown traffic stopped. At seven o'clock firecrackers began to go off, the signal that the polls were closed. Whooping and hollering, a whole generation of kids came tumbling down out of the tenements and got their bonfires going. By a quarter after seven, the East Side was ablaze.

Whenever our 93rd Street fire showed signs of dying down, we'd throw on a fresh load of wood, out of another basement, and the flames would shoot up again, After my stash was piled on the blaze, I ran upstairs to watch from our front window with Grandpa.

It was beautiful. Flames seemed to leap as high as the tenement roof. The row of brownstones across the street, reflecting the fire, was a shimmering red wall. The sky was a great red curtain. And from all over the city, we could hear the clanging of fire engines. Our bonfire never got out of hand but a lot of others did on election night. [pg 47]

I decided to take Groucho on as a partner (as Chico had once taken me on, in the cuckoo-clock promotion), when I found out that stores in the neighborhood were paying a penny apiece for cats. I've forgotten why they were. There must have been a mouse plague or a cat shortage, or both, that year.

So now I was a promoter. Groucho and I put on a show in our basement. We performed Uncle Al's popular sketch, "Quo Vadis Upside Down." Admission: one cat.

It was my first public performance. As I remember, we grossed seven cats at the boxoffice but made a net profit of only four cents. Three cats got away. Well, that was show business. [pg 59]

One scene I will never forget. We were presented in England by a famous promoter and sportsman named Cochran. When Cochran called for auditions to round out our show at the Alhambra, a mob turned up. Ever act in the British Isles ‒ except the Coliseum Danseuse ‒ wanted to share the bill with the balmy Marxes. Cochran, who hated to say no to anybody, had the painful duty of turning down ninety-eight percent of the hopefuls.

One of these was an aged hoofer ‒ he must have been damn near eighty ‒ who'd obviously spent his last copper getting his costume out of mothballs and into immaculate condition. He came out in gray suit, gray derby, gray spats, gray shoes, and swinging a gray cane ‒ straight out of a Victorian music hall ‒ and went into his song and dance. He put up a courageous, dapper front. But his bones creaked, and his voice and rusted to a croak. It was an embarrassing moment.

Cochran, down in the orchestra, raised a hand to stop him. "I thank you very much," he said, unhappily. "I shall let you know."

Then, instead of retreating in defeat and humiliation, to make room for the next act, the ancient hoofer stepped grandly down to the footlights. He leaned over and pointed his cane at the conductor.

"Maestro," he said, "would you please play four bars for me to go off with?"

The conductor complied. The old gentleman danced offstage to the music, waving his derby, as if it were his fourth curtain call. Everybody in the house, including the impresario, broke into applause. [pg 151]

Crazy bits of Round Table talk come back to me still, over the years, like isolated lines from an old show whose title and plot I've long forgotten. I can hear the voices clearly, voices of some of the most brilliant people who ever lived, but what I hear them saying is not always brilliant, and never very profound. [pg 197; see also Flapper for more Algonquin Schmalgonquin]

Neysa had one failing as an art instructor. It was, as far as I knew, her only failing, period. That was her passion for fires. If a siren or bell should sound during one of our late-night seminars, that was the end of the seminar. Neysa was such a fire buff that she once dashed to Penn Station and jumped on a train when she heard there was a four-alarm fire burning in Philadelphia. [pg 203]

Not long after this, I felt in the mood for another good deed. The beneficiary this time was Tiffany's, the famous jewelry store on Fifth Avenue. Tiffany's, I told myself, was too stuffy for its own good, and something had to be done about it.

I bought a bag full of fake emeralds, rubies and diamonds, at Woolworth's, then went to Tiffany's. I asked to look at some diamonds. The clerk pulled out a tray of stones, and while I looked at them I turned over the bag from Woolworth's behind my back. Jewels went spilling and bouncing all over the joint. Bells rang. Buzzers buzzed. Store detectives appeared out of the woodwork, hustled out all the other customers and locked the doors. Meanwhile the whole sales staff, including the manager, in cutaway coat and striped trousers, were down on their hands and knees retrieving my sparkling gems.

When they were all collected and put in my hat, the manager saw they were phony, every one of them. The attitude of Tiffany's changed abruptly. The store dicks hustled me out the door, with the recommendation that I never return to the premises. On the way out, for a final touch, I tipped the doorman a giant ruby.

Tiffany's, I found out, had a long memory. Five years later I went back there to make a legitimate purchase, some silver for a wedding present. The minute I stepped into the store, two detectives recognized me and grabbed me. I convinced them I was carrying no fake jewels. Nevertheless, they stood close by while I bought the gift, and followed me to the door with visible signs of relief.

On the way out, I tipped the doorman a giant ruby. [pg 207]

One time I was traveling with Beatrice and George to their country home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We decided to have lunch on the train. The diner was crowded, and an old lady asked if we minded her taking the fourth chair at our table. That was okay with us. It was only mildly embarrassing to George. He was apprehensive, I could tell, that I might somehow get involved with the old lady and make a scene. But I said nothing to her. I didn't even look at her.

She finished eating first. The waiter brought her check on a saucer. Still not looking up from my plate, I reached for the saucer, salted and peppered the lady's check, and ate it. Kaufman twisted in such agony that I was afraid he was going to screw himself through the bottom of the car. [pg 209]

Our last excursion was to Naples, so Beatrice could pay one last visit to her favorite acquaintance in Italy ‒ the sensitivo in the Naples aquarium. The sensitivo was a fantastic kind of shellfish. It drew into its shell whenever any strange object came near it, then peaked out of its shell when the object was pulled away ‒ all in a weird, synchronized movement. Beatrice could watch it and play with it for hours. The real reason she was so fascinated, she said, was that she knew a lot of people who were sensitivos. She refused to name any names, however. [pg 263]

Our office was over a real-estate brookage, up a flight of creaky stairs. I was still a city boy who believed that stairs belonged only in tenements. Otherwise you took an elevator. So I preferred to do my business on the street.

When I whistled from down below, Rachel, the secretary, lowered my day's paper work out of the office window in a basket, on a rope. I then sat on the curb of Beverly Drive attending to bills and correspondence. When I'd finished reading my mail and writing checks and memos, I'd reload the basket and whistle twice and Rachel would pull up the rope. It was a very efficient office. I never saw it. [pg 286]

When I returned to New York there was a cablegram waiting for me. It was from Chico, who was still in England. His message was desperate: Dying for sports news. Can't get results here. Please send papers. I devoted the rest of the day to fulfilling Chico's desperate request. I scoured the city and bought copies of the London Times, London Observer, Manchester Guardian and the Scotsman. In each paper I underlined scores of association football, rugby and cricket matches, and shipped the whole batch off to Chico. I cabled him that the papers were on their way with the latest results, and wished him the best of luck. [pg 342]


February 2010.

2010feb19. Friday blah blah blah doo wee blah.

March 2010.

2010mar08. My site Phoneswarm died in 2006 for a number of reasons, one of them being that payphones that allowed incoming calls were rapidly disappearing from the landscape. I spoke with my friend who keeps Cardhouse alive about bringing Phoneswarm back, but with two additional features: 1) foreign payphones, and 2) other people. You would have had the option to get random calls, and the calls would have been routed through my own number, so no one would actually know anyone else's number. Anonymous. I think the whole operation would have cost about twenty bucks a month. That was fun to talk about for a few months, then it died out and was filed in my super-meta-project Projects That Were Never Started/Finished which also has an entry for itself. What I should have done is shifted the medium of contact to video and called it something like "Dongroulette".

2010mar14. One thing that e-jackholes have been doing the last n years or so is making fake webpages then triggering a looksee on your domain, so the result shows up in your referer log. I guess what I'm seeing are those attempts to get trackbacks on weblogs, but since I don't push that sort of junk, I'm the singular very special person that gets to see it. Today's menu features lobsters. I replaced the term "lobster" with "spam." ‒
http://../swarm/swarm.htm ‒
../macros/macros.htm ‒
.. ‒
.. ‒
.. ‒

I don't know, this all seems so tiring to me. Can I move into the woods somewhere? Does anyone have some woods? I could be a caretaker that slowly goes mad, talking to the trees. "Hello, trees!" Oh, how charming ... this olde caretaker is hilariously daft in the head. Have some of my lobster "thermador," old man!

2010mar19. Friday. Get used to it, it keeps coming over and over. There's nothing anyone can do. Don't try to be a hero.


April 2010.

2010apr02. Friday. You will face many Fridays in your life. My job? Turn them into dainty chocolates. "Oh, hello!" That's you, talking to the chocolates. Because they're so fucking dainty.

2010apr02. I don't think "Yahoo Finance" covered enough job interview mistakes so here are fifty more worster worstings.

51. Forgetting pants.

52. Remembering pants.

53. Asking interviewer for a delicious malted milkshake, "and don't skimp on the malt, Charlie," followed by a complicated physical send-off, like Pinky Tuscadero in the hit TV show "Happy Days."

54. Secretly peeing behind shelves and/or filing cabinets. They'll find out, trust me. There will be plenty of opportunities to mark territory once you land the position.

55. Foot binding. You, them, anyone. It is no longer practiced as of 1997 Q3.

56. Couch fort in reception area. It may seem safer, but it is a mind ruse, a self-delusion.

57. Offering sexual congress in exchange for employment, unless interviewer makes overt gestures to same. Be alert for exaggerated winking, finger-in-fingerhole pantomime, panting.

58. Not immediately answering the first conversational exchange with the following standard reply: "Okay, I KNOW this. Larry and Adam go over first ‒ that's two minutes, right? Bring Adam back, that's another minute. Now we're at three. Bono takes time off from saving Africa and goes over with The Edge, that's ten minutes, so now we're at thirteen total. Larry ditches the clods, that's two minutes, total fifteen. Now Adam and Larry go back over, that's seventeen total minutes. And scene." Practice with flash cards.

59. Making too little eye contact; making too much eye contact; touching your own eyeballs; pressing your eyeballs against the interviewer's eyeballs; touching the interviewer's eyeballs while expressing a deep admiration for said eyeballs; opening up your briefcase to reveal rows of exquisite glass eyes mounted on a backing board covered with rich, luxurious black velvet; offering a trade.

60. Reading a comic book hidden by a pornographic magazine hidden by a contemporary novel, say the lusty delights of Rabbit is Rich by John Updike.

61. Describing your former porn career in excruciating detail; not describing your former porn career fully.

62-100. Seeming too casual; seeming too rehearsed; seeming not casual enough; seeming not rehearsed enough. Your elbow: there. Not there! Cross your legs! Don't cross them! Up! Down! Assume the position! Sweat a little, no, that's TOO MUCH! Your crotch itches, now what NOW WHAT. Scratch it ... discreetly ... not that discreetly! NO NOT THAT OPENLY!!! The interviewer begins to call security, but you reach over and hang up the phone! Now you're got their attention! Run over, lock the door! No one gets in or out, see? Now how about that job. How about that job. [FX: blissfully itch crotch]


May 2010.

2010may21. Friday is something-something something. Please use Friday responsibly.

June 2010.

2010jun11. Mail.

I just wanted to say how much I really appreciated your "Shipping/Moving Your Stuff: A Consideration of Options That All Suck" article, since I am moving across country soon and found reassurance that throwing my stuff out will be beneficial and refreshing. Too bad I don't have any time period furniture. How much pizza will it take you to help one move from Ohio to Colorado? Just wondering.

Let's get the most "bang" for our "buck" and go with Little Caesar's Pizza. Now, when I was a wee lad, I was taken to one of the first few Little Caesar's several times. They had a Plexiglas® window through which you could see actual pizza tossers actually tossing pizza. Your table ‒ it was a restaurant ‒ had a real cloth tablecloth on the table. They played Laurel & Hardy movies on real goddamn movie reels because the VCR was all like gasping and shit "invent me ... INVENT me ... try porn first, that'll hook 'em ..."

This was the beginning of the end of chainfood that had a remote sense of dignity, right there.

Now, you go into a well-lit Little Caesar's and one of their teenage box-folding ro-bots will magically take a pre-finished pizza out of a sterilized holding cube and that will be $5.52, please. For a large. Given that number (finally), I can see that actually assisting you in your OHCO move will cost you approximately 81.521 pizzas. But you will have to send the money to me first ‒ then I will buy the pizzas WITH THAT MONEY, after which I will buy a plane ticket OUT OF MY OWN POCKET and come and help you. But I promise the pizzas will be purchased and they will be DELICIOUS!

Im trying to locate vendors for indian fry bread and funnal cake in the phoenix az area can you help with contact info. thanks. chris.

If anyone has this information, please contact me. would like to carry all your candy products immediately. Please contact me to pursue this opportunity. is confused.

thank you for this algorithm
we are an IT graduate and we have an image processing project which requires conversion from raster to vector using java.
we didn't really understood the language of your code, so could you please write it in java and we appreciate any help.
thanks again

HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH "Thank you ... now re-do it." Yes, your royal completely highness.

Let me take you (all of you?) to the school of "hard knocks." Your lack of understanding? That's your problem, not mine. Your job -- if you want to use my example ‒ is to understand it. It's practically written in pseudocode, if you can wheel around in Java you should be able to devote a few brain cells to figuring it out.

Also, Java is a dead donkey in a desert which is just a skeleton covered by sand. Java = donkey skeleton. Do you hear the howling, unforgiving desert wind? It makes a whistly noise. Oooh, tumbleweed.

Fix my car,

The gelatin in the ingredients, is it from a pork or beef source?


Get your spam even bei YouTube, as video answering.
Just ONE such; "I can do that my own, too."
Don't ask me about that kinds in this town,
it's annoying. :'>D

God ... totally.

are you a computer answering me ?:S


2010jun17. Friday, in Dutch architecture, was traditionally the time to "roll in the harvest" of fried multi-berries. We pause and gather strength each Friday, with this knowledge or not.

July 2010.

2010jul14. Hello, suckers! I am going to be attending a desert festival in which a tall wooden structure in the shape of a man is burned early again. If you are attending, perhaps you can stop on by with a shower and some decent food, not like Pop-Tarts and cereal. Do you have a sandwich distillery? I would like to be your best friend ever. I will provide a map later on in the month so you can plan your future life with me and what's left of your perishable edibles starting with desserts. If you have trouble spotting me gravitate to the guy who is using a bullhorn to not shut up ever. I will considerately whisper in the bullhorn in the morning, not like the jackholes jackhammering outside my window right now at 9am. This is the first time I will be attending this desert festival in eleven years, so I will make hilarious critical mistakes. Here is my first visit to the festival which was seventy-bajillion years ago, before anyone was actually born.

August 2010.


You grew up with crayons. You drew lime-green houses, you melted Crayolas on the heat register, you traded them for drugs when you got a little bit older. But now that you're an adult, you'd like to "recapture" the "magic" of crayons, no, yes? But there's something about colorful crayons that is just too kid-like. What you need is a more "grown-up" crayon. What you need ... is Staonal®, the adult-onset crayon. Created in 1900 by Binney & Smith, Staonal crayons look and smell just like their more popular brand, "Crayola," but they're about twice as large and carry with them the philosophy of a crayon geared toward industry. Staonal is called a "general marking crayon" on the package and on the paper that surrounds each crayon, and some reserved type on the side of the box indicates that Staonal Crayons are "available for many other marking purposes," which is great because I thought maybe they had gone on vacation. Also, whereas Crayola Crayons are available in five billion color combinations including hues outside the visible light spectrum, Staonal is "Made in Black and Colors." "Colors" seems to mean "red" and "discontinued-twenty-years-ago yellow." The listing at the website "" indicates that Staonal is "Not intended for children's coloring purposes." Keep your filthy hands off my Staonals, you dirty kids! Who are also rotten!

Staonal. A serious crayon for serious times.

September 2010.

2010sep07. I visited a festival in the desert last week. Each year it has a completely superfluous theme that is sometimes used as the basis for art cars, theme camps, etc. The last time I was there, eleven years ago, the theme was "Two Guys Sitting on a Bench Eating Sandwiches" so there wasn't much variation in artverks. This year was "Metropolis" because Burning Man is turning into its own little city with its attendant rules and regulations. Some of the changes took me by surprise; I was expecting to be surrounded by fire on the last day or two, but that whole "burn the city down" aesthetic got chucked awhile ago now that the festival has the full and continuous attention of several different levels of Interested Government Officials because they care. About the cashbox.

If you were at the festival and didn't stop by you're a shit, because I warned you. A. Shit.

Here are some photos, Shitty.

This is an unfinished art car. Later, a bottle of wine, some ants, and etc were attached to the top but I liked it better like this.

Some of the art cars I never saw "in action."

A seven+ person bicycle-type vehicle. The gearing system is intense, and/or insane.

Some vehicles looked slapped together and ready to pitch the entire complement of passengers into a nearby body of water in a bold and dramatic re-telling of the 97th Indian ferry disaster. Overcrowding: your best entertainment value. Well, at least it had mindless thumping "rave" "music" blaring for all to hear. Not that I can remember, it could have been Journey or Lionel Richie, or maybe that was another party bus of partying. That's right, people still party to Lionel Richie and Journey. It's never going to go away as each successive generation stumbles upon the sonic equivalent of beige carpets. Beigerock.

The angle of this shot reminded me of the TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies."

One of the best pieces out there. Mesmerizing. City street designs formed into a large metal globe. Everyone was quiet around this thing, until 17 party rave buses pulled up next to it playing the gabbercore mash-up of "Hello" and "Who's Crying Now?"

Quite possibly the best art car out there this year. Jaunty hat. Style. Presence. Poise. Poultry.

Hypnowheel will divulge all your secrets and tell you who your perfect mate is. You could control the wheel with some knobs and such.

I ran after this car to get a shot of it; it snapped me out of my typically slow acclimatization process. Thank you, wind-up car.

The Minibago. So tiny and perfect. +10 bonus points for putting a map on the side of the vehicle.

Funny times: A friend asked someone in front of this car to move because I was trying to take a photo. It was the driver of the car.

You may have noticed another art car behind the peacock. I will talk about this and various German-themed theme themes at the festival in the near future or not at all. Stay tuned, or don't.

2010sep17. I suppose I should say something about today, a Friday. There.

November 2010.


2010nov16. I'm expecting company so we'll have to do Friday a few days early. This means that Wednesday is Saturday; dress/plan accordingly.

December 2010.

2010dec17. Friday. It is a traditional time of yap yap yap etc. I want egg nog. Where is?