April 02, 2007

How children have changed me

I was having this chat with my dad the other day. He and I agreed that having children changes a person. Not a very controversial position, frankly, but it was nice to kick around a not too difficult topic for a change.

This morning, walking to work after my morning squash match (lost, but it was close and who cares since it was so much fun anyway) and weight lifting, I cut across another guy's path to cross the street. I tend to walk very quickly and I easily passed in front of him without him even having to break step. Just the same, he spit out: "F*!k you". Maybe that's just normal behavior in his neighborhood, beats me. So, the post-three children guy that I have become responded, without thinking about it, not that way I would have 6 years ago "("Oh yeah? Suck my ****, you asshole!), but:

HEY!! That wasn't very nice!!!

Any street cred that I ever might have plausibly laid any potential claim to is now officially dead, kaput, gone, history, finished.

I am now officially rated G, even when angry.

That G rating does not apply when I am behind the wheel, however. Just saying.

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 08, 2006

Dumb question of the day

Overheard at the table next to us, in the local Irish pub, asked by a 20 something kind of hipster/skate boy cleaned up to be respectable at the office:

To the waitress: Do you have Guinness here?

I expected the whole room to fall silent at that and am shocked it didn't.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 20, 2006

How do you make $330,000 look stupid?

Easy. Make it two toned.

As seen this morning at Madison and 40th Street, the Mercedes Maybach:





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March 14, 2006

Struck dumb

Overheard today in the lobby of my office building, the following:

She says the most dumbest things some times.

No irony here, folks. Nope. Just move along.

Needless to say, perhaps, but it tickled me mightily.

Posted by Random Penseur at 04:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 20, 2005

Hit the streets

The New York City Transit system has been shut down by a strike. Probably illegal, but you never know. Makes the city a little odder than usual. Firstly, Grand Central Station had an odd vibe at 6:30 this morning as I was passing through. Sort of an expectant silence, like it was waiting for something to happen. Then, there were a whole mess of buses and private vans parked outside all around the station to take commuters to points downtown. Then, the sidewalks were packed on my walk to work after the gym. Just packed. Lots of people walking who don't usually walk at all. Very interesting. And the streets had many fewer cars than usual. The police are enforcing a 4 to a car rule or else you can't get below 96th street. Thus traffic is way down.

I expect that the ripple effect of this will be very bad for the city, the merchants, and the employees.

Posted by Random Penseur at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

The Pod People

Where did they go, the alien race incubating on the backs of women in New York City and other large cities? You've seen them, haven't you? Women striding confidently through the streets of the city sporting small pod like things hanging from their backs. They used to be all the rage. Everyone had them. It got to the point where I was convinced that there was a plot, that aliens had taken over the women and convinced them to carry the seeds of the destruction of the human race on their backs until the aliens were strong enough to take us all. Or, maybe they were just carrying a lot of credit cards. Not sure which is worse actually. Alien slave or credit card debtor.

You decide.

Whatever did happen to those little back pack things anyway and when did they leave us?

Posted by Random Penseur at 11:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 01, 2005

Street Art?

I think that this picture, captured in the raw with my cell phone camera, is street art. Either way, I like it:


This is a test of the cell phone camera. I want to capture more of the raw, less filtered, street life.

Posted by Random Penseur at 10:00 AM | Comments (9)

May 24, 2005

A moment observed

I am back from Court, where I was this morning as a judge sat there, after tens of thousands of dollars, no exaggeration, were spent on motion papers, and said she hadn't read the papers and what were we down on. An outrage. A total outrage.

Anyway, I am more mellow now after an excellent lunch at an old style Spanish restaurant. I had arugula with manchego cheese in a sherry vinegar and oil dressing, followed by red snapper baked in a clay pot in a tomato puree and onion sauce. Delightful.

On the walk back, I observed a moment between two other people. It almost made me feel like an emotional voyeur. They were both in their early 30's or late 20's, both professionals (at least dressed that way) and appeared to be taking their leave of each other as he continued down Madison and she entered an office building. He said goodbye and turned to leave and she turned away to go in. And it was this moment that I saw, this moment where she made a half pivot as her steps to the lobby slowed and she looked back at him with this expression on her face -- like she was willing him to look back at her -- this expression that was half resolve, half puzzle, all yearning, all speculative. I think he did not look back at her because she looked a second time, as if to give him another chance, and I think I saw a shadow of disappointment cross her face. I slowed, a tiny bit, somehow drawn to her hope, her neediness, her wanting, her orbit, and that's why I noticed this, but it did happen very quickly, objectively speaking. And then she went inside and I continued up Madison, full and content from my excellent lunch.

But I wondered, was this the beginning of a relationship or the end?

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2005

Signs of the times

I saw one of the following signs, read about the second one, and was sent the third by a friend from New Orleans. The creativity that goes into these things is quite something.

The First Sign. Spotted while driving in the Bronx yesterday right next to Yankee Stadium, stopped in traffic:

Why Lie? I Want A Beer!

And yes, people were indeed giving the thirsty guy money.

Second Sign. Read about this morning in the Metropolitan Diary:

Ninjas killed my family. Need money for kung fu lessons.

No word on whether he was getting any closer to his revenge.

Finally, a picture sent to me by a buddy who was in New Orleans and came across this fellow with this sign:


Posted by Random Penseur at 09:08 AM | Comments (4)

April 18, 2005

Overheard on the Street: A cell phone call

Been awhile since I've heard a cell phone call worth posting, but happily, some new material has come my way. File this under how not to improve marital relations:

What am I going to do tonight? Same thing I do every night, go home to that bitch of a wife of mine. She's been sitting on the couch all day doing nothing but eating take-out Chinese food and when I get home the first thing she's going to say to me is 'Do I look fat?' And I'm gonna say, hell yeah bitch you look fat!!

The streets of New York are a never ending source of delight, amusement, and material.

Posted by Random Penseur at 12:04 PM | Comments (3)

November 17, 2004

Unintended Irony File

Overheard while getting lunch today. One young woman to another. Accent, pure Queens.

Everyone hates her. She's so condescending. [pause] You know, she talks down to everyone.

You just cannot make this stuff up.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:10 PM | Comments (6)

July 14, 2004


I don't recall where I first heard the term "yellular". It is a reference to cell phone voice. As in, not cellular but a really loud yellular. Anyway, you can hear the darndest things as you walk the streets of New York. Here are the snippets I overheard from two conversations while going to work today:

1. In Grand Central Station: "So Lee (or Leigh?) was at camp for five days before Health and Human Services shut it down and sent everyone home. Turns out the guy running it was a registered sex offender."

2. On the corner of Park Avenue and 42nd Street: "I was like, 'you will NOT talk to me like that' and then I was like, 'fuck this shit" and then I was like . . ." Regrets but I had moved on before I found out what she was "like" next.

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:01 AM | Comments (5)

June 15, 2004

Elevator etiquette

Up and down all day long in a small cabinet the size of two or three old fashioned telephone booths. If you are lucky, you have the place to yourself for the trip. If not lucky, you've caught the local on the way down and it feels as if you've stopped on every floor for someone to get on or for someone to hold the door open until it buzzes while they're waiting for their friend to catch up.

What button is worn down to the plastic cover on an elevator in NY? The "close door" button. Not the open door, the close. In fact, you regularly hit the close door button before you push your desired floor button. Helps to keep the rif-raf out, don't you know.

What happens if you end up in the local -- crowded or otherwise? The etiquette is interesting. First, the make up of the cabin helps determine the etiquette. Perhaps your fellow travelers include the nice woman from the African country UN Mission a couple of floors up. Well, then you chat with her in French. You discuss only the weather. Nothing more, nothing less. You hope you do not see her more than once in a day. If you do see her, hope that the weather has changed in the meantime. Maybe the elevator contains the mailman or the FEDEX guy. These guys you say hello to. You know them and it's important to be friendly. To them, a quick word about sports is in order.

Then you may have a cabin filled with strangers. What do you do then? Again, while it depends on the kind of stranger, you can't go wrong following the general Urinal Rule. Men will be familiar with this rule. The Urinal Rule means you look only down or up and never to the side. Translated for the elevator, you look only at the floor indicator as it changes or down at your watch or keys or shoes. No eye contact. Do not check out the young woman no matter how little clothing she may be fashionably almost wearing. Not polite and probably even vaguely threatening to her when she's locked up with you in that small space. Try to tune out other people's cell phone calls or conversations. The exception is the messenger. The messenger always wants to talk. Maybe he doesn't get a lot of human interaction. Whatever the explanation, he'll want to pass the time of the ride in conversation of sorts. Indulge him. It's safer that way.

The thing I've noticed the most though is that when strangers are thrust into close proximity with each other in a confined spot like an elevator cabin in a big city, mostly, they all pretend that no one else is in there with them. They pretend so hard, that they are clearly acknowledging the other people.

It's odd. But at least, usually, it smells better that the urinal.

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2004

Another amusing cell

If you've read some of my other posts, you may know how much I love to overhear cell phone conversations on the street. Last night's call was a good one. I overheard this very handsome young man, in a beautiful suit, earnestly updating his friend as to the new developments in his life. This budding young Master of the Universe (remember that phrase?) says to his friend: "So, did I tell you? I'm learning Farsi". I don't know why it amused me so much, but it did and I share it with you.

Posted by Random Penseur at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2004

Random Observations while walking in NY

I was out getting my lunch and running errands and I had the following random observations which I've decided to inflict on you:

*I hate walking behind people who are smoking;

*with respect to the newish fashion of low rise pants on women, without attention to personal grooming that borders on the obsessive, we're all going to know whether that woman is a natural blond;

*some conversations should not be held loudly on cell phones while walking down Madison Avenue at 1:00 ("I'm not doing hormone replacement for like the next 15 years just to have your fucking kids");

*"If you don't know me by now" is actually a nice song to hear coming out of some guy's box;

*Europeans need to stop complaining about the dress of American tourists based on the nasty examples of fashion faux-pas's attached to foreign accents; and, finally,

*three fire trucks pulling up to a building across from the NY Public Library are kind of impressive.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)