--> Thoughts from 2015

The Last Lutz? (with apologies to Frank Deford)

Posted by Admin

In a secreted lab, far away from cameras and animal rights activists, there may be researchers behind locked doors watching stop-action images, busily calculating the bone fracture tolerances of figure skaters. I imagine primates rolling over spent limbs toward steel food dishes, the result of a controlled study that roughly translates in English to ‘Chimps on Ice’.

When I was a kid, a single spin above the rink was considered the ultimate in figure skating. I was glued to a our first color TV to see Great Falls, Montana’s own John Misha Petkevich skate at the 1968 Olympic Games: the crowd swelled into polite applause at a single Lutz back in those days. In the 1960’s, Olympic skaters were young adults in their twenties. Now that science has confirmed that our bones begin their brittle decline at puberty, talented skaters live far from their families and fall asleep clutching stuffed animals on their way to five a.m. practice. Time’s a wastin’…you got one, maybe two Olympics, right?

We are seeking the limits of humane endurance, boldly about to go where no groin pull has gone before. First it was a single, then a double, a triple, and now, the elusive quad. At each increased rotation, rapt fans wonder if the skater’s body will spin apart on camera, appendages detaching, Quentin Tarantino style, across the rink. It’ll take more than the Zamboni machine to clean up that one—but can you imagine the ratings?

Is there a limit? The Last Lutz, a banner headline may someday read, atop a photo of a perplexed seventeen-year-old kid cradling what used to be his left leg, designer skate still attached. There will be an “I Told You So” sidebar written by 94-year-old Dick Button, and interviews of boy Soprano hopefuls who’ll glance at their coaches before nervously assuring reporters that this tragedy will not deter them from their dreams. The last resort may be selective breeding. It’s probably a shameful drinking game among sports agents, a whispered fantasy league. Look at sports controversies today and tell me it’ll never happen…well, maybe not with figure skating.

Gender scandals are on the rise, though on ice they have involved orientation more often than chromosomes. Still, could some version of reality be far behind a Will Farrell movie? How can we give our skaters the edge? Beyond the sextuple Lutz, ankles may shatter, trainers may shrug, and sports medicine experts may be forced to frantically search for controversial protocols: is it worth sacrificing the youths of the few, so every four years the many can spend a few hours of pride and nationalistic frenzy, witnessing the ignominy of an icy ass on NBC that does not belong to Jay Leno?

Navigating the Naked City: The Male Anatomy of New York

Posted by Admin

Quick, where’s Broadway?

Because the same name can be used in other boroughs, it helps to know which Broadway you’re talking about. If you are planning to give your regards in Manhattan, don’t take the J or Z line to Broadway Junction (Queens); please take the C line, get off at 42nd Street. If you care to see the other Broadway, remain on the subway for about 18 stops, except if you are headed to East Broadway, in which case please take the V line.

Luckily Rockaway Avenue is on the way to Far Rockaway if you are on the A line, but you aren’t so lucky if you are headed for Rockaway Parkway, which is the last stop on a totally different subway line. At least all these destinations are in the same borough. By the way, there are TWO 23rd Street Stations. They are both served by the E line. It takes half an hour to get from one to the other if you get on the wrong E train by mistake. Trust me, I know.

As a cruel twist, although you do not see them on maps, Manhattan has handles: big steel handles, one at South Ferry, and the other way up at 207th Street. While you are in the subway, New York flips a 180 just to piss you off. The funniest part of this joke is that everyone maintains a straight face.

Even if you don’t visit them, you should recognize the other four boroughs of New York City, out of respect for all the people who serve you in hotels, restaurants, stores and salons at the very least. Besides, if you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, when you get there, no shit, you are in Brooklyn.

In case you haven’t gotten the point, getting around in New York City is confusing. You need an easy way to remember the five boroughs of New York City—Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn. I do it by thinking of the Naked City–fully undressed. The Manhattan part (flaccid) is the main organ of the City, the borough that becomes engorged during the day and expensive to sleep with all night. Once I got a taste of Manhattan I admit, the smile on my face was so big I didn’t care if I saw another Queens in my whole life.

What gives Manhattan its bucks? Have you ever seen a rodeo? Do you know WHY Broncs buck? You’d buck too if someone did that to your testicles. So right there, logically attached to the base of Manhattan: the bucking Bronx. The big splat of an island off the other end, the tip of Manhattan, well, that’s Staten Island. Much of this part of New York City got shot out so far it almost stuck to the wall across the room—New Jersey. Enough said.

Up close, sitting right beside Manhattan but not touching it, you got Queens. Queens like to attract Manhattan, but we are often happier sitting next to it than actually touching, thanks. Brooklyn, the big land mass just under Queens and across from Staten Island, is Manhattan’s ambitious alter ego. If you can’t afford a 4.2 million dollar condo in Manhattan, you may be able to look at your high-powered kid brother from a place in Brooklyn, like they do in the short embedded slideshow on Brooklyn’s website(!)…The way I remember Brooklyn is not strictly anatomical, but it’s relevant. Brooklyn is the Peeping Tom, the verdant voyeur of New York boroughs, with its Botanical Gardens and Brooklyn Bridge. Besides, Brooklyn separates Queens from Staten Island, which, given the previous descriptions of both, may not be a bad idea.