04.20.10: the dirty dozen, part II {watching it}



it's just as well that i didn't buy one of the high-concept bird feeders i eyed before we moved; in the six months we've been in the new apartment, not a single bird has ventured up to the eighteenth floor.* happily, tugboats continue to chortle by with satisfying regularity; new york was the tugboat capital of the world until the 1930s, you know. last week's especially substantial new yorker, the one with the story of the doomed aeronauts, also profiled a tugboating family and their business; apparently the action's in louisiana and the gulf now.
"This place was no different than the Wild West or a gold strike in the Yukon," one tugboat captain told me. "It was a boomtown without any morals. You'd get friendly with someone in a bar and wake up the next morning on a boat heading into the Gulf. Shanghaiing was a reliable trade."

Things have calmed down since then, but only intermittently, and the Cajuns still try to keep their business in the family. One local phone book lists numbers by nickname as well as by given name--Jimmy (White Bean) Sonier, Michael (Possum) St. Tierre--as if it were still a sleepy fishing community and not a global hub.


To change course or speed [on an early tug], the captain had to send his orders down to the engineer via a system of gongs and bells threaded through the boat, as if phoning a foreign country. The busiest tugs...averaged more than five hundred bell commands in an eight-hour shift. On trickier maneuvers, the rate could rise to six per minute.
it goes without saying that i'd like to rig a system of gongs and bells in our apartment immediately, even though most of the messages will be about fritos.

05 celebrities v. giant inflatable rats: slippery-as-an-eel** edition

i passed jerry seinfeld and a colin-quinn-looking guy (probably colin quinn, now that i think about it) en route to the office this morning; seinfeld was wearing villainous teeny tiny round black glasses and cultivating an i-imprisoned-sydney-bristow vibe.

rats: 4.5
star: 14

06 we're going to a tribeca film festival screening next monday, huzzah! though joe's soccer and drugs documentary was sold out, we secured tickets for a slasher movie about hong kong real estate; i am well pleased. the slasher screening overlaps with feathered cocaine, the icelandic documentary about falcon smuggling, but i feel confident that feathered cocaine and i will cross paths again. now there's a phrase one doesn't use every day.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 what should one call a group of tugboats? don't say fleet. fleet is boring.

02 what would a system of gongs and bells in a modest private residence communicate?

03 how do you feel about seinfeld?

04 should seeing jerry seinfeld on the street automatically make you a new yorker?

05 have you ever been to a film festival? what'd you see?

*o, to have a hummingbird family like my mum's! then again, i shudder to think of how steve would feel about hummingbirds.

**seinfeld is all over the place in my affections, but i have a consistently soft spot for "hello! i got beaned with a giant ball of oil! i'm slippery as an eel!"


Rachel (heart of light) said...

1. Flock?
2. YES. Very efficient communication.
3. Will watch re-runs, if nothing better is on.
4. Can't speak to that.
5. I was going to say yes and then realized that I'm not sure I've ever actually made it to one. Planned to, yes. Followed through and gotten tickets and shown up? No.

wabes said...

a pull of tugboats. yar.

i love the ron rifkin/all "alias" baddies reference. funny bit about when the series should've ideally ended, on television without pity (care of naila via facebook, i can't claim it). seinfeld might be growing into those sorts of roles.

i'm always surprised how much my dad remembers about seinfeld, given how infrequently i remember watching it at home.

i just learned today, apropo of diss research, that "horresco referens" means "i shudder to recall" in latin. it was a shorthand nickname for one doctor in uganda, between two other doctors. i gather the dude was annoying, but this seemed so very victorian and over-the-top.

g said...

01. tugbeets.
02. requests for cake and/or cookies
03. the guy? fine. the show? haaaaaaaaaate.
04. no.
05. i've been to a couple animation film festivals, which were fun.

03ps - i mean, really. it was a show about horrible people. fuck those guys.

Katherine Cortes said...

01. DAMN it. I was going to say a pull. Or a yank, if they're in New York.

05. In 1998 I covered Sundance for the Harvard Independent. Actually I was just going to Salt Lake City with my dad to visit my sister and her new husband, but I got a press pass. I saw a sort of boring documentary called East Side Story (about musicals behind the Iron Curtain), the original Japanese Shall We Dance? (can't beLIEVE they remade that with Richard Gere) and some other movie which evidently was not memorable.

Milkmaid's dumb friend said...

01: In the capricious technique of animal group taxonomists, how about a Skedaddle of Tugboats.
02: My Mistress’s gentle entreat (for now…) a la Bob Flanagan and Cinderella.
03: J Louis-Dreyfus in Deconstructing Harry? Yes. J Alexander in Love! Valour! Compassion!? Yes. M Richards in UHF? Yes. J Seinfeld referenced in a C Rock routine? Yes. L David in Curb Your Enthusiasm? Yes. But I completely missed the boat with Seinfeld.
04: Authenticity questions w/r/t New York residency- is there a booklet in the box for definitive rules? Myself, I’d be far more jazzed to see Colin Quinn. I (heart)(ed) Tough Crowd and concomitantly a girl desirous to write for the show, a practicing New Yorker by birth (coincidentally) with a similar sounding last name to David “Hurlyburly” Rabe’s, which only made her more worth wanting.
05: Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuOvqeABHvQ) and The Denver Film Festival to see a friend’s film in the student short competition. Otherwise, a touch of movie theater related agoraphobia and paroxysms of hissing antipathy for phones, munching, and soft conversation keep me away from such things.

G said...

01 clearly, it is a a snug of tugboats

02 can you have a system of gongs and bells in a "modest" domicile? Maybe mason jars and tin cans...

03 meh

04 meh?

05 I think i'm barred from film festivals. I think the last movie I saw in the theater was Harry Potter. the second one.

Amanda said...

01 According to James Lipton's "Exaltation of Larks," a "drudge" of tugboats.
02 Everything, obviously.
03 Nothing.
04 No. Woody Allen, mayhaps.
05 No. But Sundance is a glorious place to get a massage.

06 MDF, you are my favorite movie partner. Or would be if you would eat popcorn.

kidchamp said...

@rachel: that's exactly why tribeca's on my 101 in 1001 list. sundance was actually on my first list, but we never did make it to utah.

@wabes: victorian and OTT epithets are the very best kind, i think.

@g: i was going to make an "oh god, internal bleeding!" joke about tugbeets, but i'm way too mature for that.

@katherine: didn't peter gabriel cover the magnetic fields' "book of love" for the remake? i'm still angry about that.

@MDF: my thoughts were along those lines. a chortle, possibly, or a belch. a scoot? re: NYC, yeah, the preoccupation is weird. in my defense, the new yorker part of the equation is meant to be less significant than the automatic win - you know, like how playing KWYJIBO means you automatically win a scrabble game. re: booklets, if i ever attempt to parlay kidchamp content into printed anything, please execute me with a system of gongs and bells.

@G: if it is DIY, i say o yes.

@amanda even though i like woody allen (sometimes), i would probably kick him in the shins if i saw him in person. it's a failing. what kind of massage? and...no popcorn?! [scribbles out names on notebook cover]

g said...

01 addendum: i had a better term, but had forgotten it once i was blinded by seinfeld annoyance.

a juggle of tugboats.