Monday, October 31, 2005


This weekend I sent a group of short stories to assorted fiction contests. I feel like a mom watching her kids board the school bus - what is in store for them? Will they be treated well? Will someone see their potential and give them a chance?

Most of the contests aren't publishing results until January, so it will be a long wait.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A blind man sat in front of me.

A blind man sat in front of me at the movies today. With his seeing eye dog lying in the aisle beside him, and a sighted friend on the other side. I contemplated changing seats - if anyone is going to be talking during a film, it's going to be the blind guy's friend, and I don't think shushing them would be the right thing to do. But they were very quiet. The friend would helpfully read text off the screen (i.e., "January 15, 1956") but that didn't happen often.

But I found myself watching the film and noticing how much the visual played into the experience. "He's standing in front of the farmhouse now," I wanted to tell the blind man. "The trees beside it are silhouetted against the white sky. It's very still and beautiful and frightening." But the man in front of me just heard the background music and the dialogue. I wonder if he wondered where the characters were.

(10 points for anyone who can name the film I saw today.)

I have to move.

I have to give some serious thought to finding a new apartment. I haven't really tried very hard because I wanted my next move to be to something I buy - but prices are insanely high in my neighborhood, and with all the gloom/doom talk of a bubble, I'm not about to invest $600K in a one bedroom apartment that will start dropping in value as soon as I close. Not to mention, I don't really think I could afford $600K. When I moved here almost 12 years ago, I was worried about saving up enough of a down payment for a $200K place. Ah, good times.

My current place is insanely cheap - so much so that I've ignored all of the problems associated with landlords who won't lift a finger to do anything unless it's absolutely essential (and even then they'll bitch and moan about it.) I'm not alone; my entire building is filled with people who only put up with the crap because the alternative is to more than double your rent elsewhere for something not as big or as centrally located.

But... my apartment gets so hot in the winter. I have turned off all of the radiators, and keep them off for most of the time (except for rare below-zero weather.) Problem is that heat also comes off the metal poles that run from floor to ceiling next to the radiators, and you can't turn them off. Plus, my bedroom radiator, even though it's turned completely to the off position, still generates tons of heat. I said something to the landlord about it when they replaced the boiler last year, and he said, oh, never turn them off! That's not good for them. If you're hot, just open a window.

How stupid is that?
1. That's a huge waste of energy.
2. Fuel costs money - you'd think he'd care about his heating bills. (We don't pay, it's included in the rent, so he does.)
3. Opening the window doesn't really solve the problem - suddenly you have bitter cold breezes wafting over pockets of heat - depending on where you are in the room, you're often just as miserable.

Every morning I am unable to dress appropriately for the outdoors because I'm so frigging hot I can't wrap my mind around how cold I'm going to be shortly. I can't even put my coat/hat/gloves on until I'm standing in front of the building in the bitter cold. Then, I come to work and my office is really cold - but I'm wearing the short-sleeved cotton sweater that I pulled from the closet because in my 80 degree bedroom, the thought of wearing the thick woolen one was unbearable. I can't blow dry my hair because I won't be able to stop sweating, and so I'm always out and about with a wet head. It's amazing I'm not constantly sick.

I'm tired of it. I think I need to at least look at rental options, even if I can't afford to buy.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Finding the Arrow

I have always enjoyed listening to Elvis Mitchell's "The Treatment" on NPR, and now that it's available as a podcast, I never miss it. He interviews filmmakers (directors, writers) as well as actors and has in-depth & intelligent conversations with them about their work, their influences, their processes. It's especially advantageous to download the podcasts rather than listen live on the radio, because then I can wait until I see a film before listening, which makes the experience that much richer.

Long intro to just say that on the way to work, I listened to Mitchell interview Noah Baumbach, the writer/director of "The Squid & The Whale." He said a lot of interesting things, but one particularly struck me. In describing what it's like to write a first draft of a screenplay and then shape it into a cohesive film, he said that it's like shooting an arrow into the forest, and then going deep inside the woods to look for it.

Very much like any kind of writing, I think, and very relevant to crafting a short story from a mass of material. I like that analogy - when I'm finalizing a draft, I'm looking for that arrow, that one precise thing that is the story, amid all the clutter of words and ideas.

As another quote said, "Write profusely. Edit severely."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Good Night, Squid & Good Luck, Whale

Can you figure out which 2 films I saw this weekend? Okay, I'm not at all that clever. But at least it wasn't "In Her Shoes" and "The Squid & The Whale" or I'd have had to resort to "Squid In Her Shoes."

In addition to being my weekend choices, the two movies have an actor in common, Jeff Daniels, who plays the father in "The Squid and the Whale" and one of the reporters in "Good Night & Good Luck." I didn't even make the connection at first, because he has a heavy beard and long hair in "S&W" and I somehow got him confused with Jeff Bridges. I even thought, hey, this is a similar role to the one he played in "The Door in the Floor."

"S&W" was a great movie to watch in my neighborhood theater in Brooklyn on a rainy Saturday afternoon. It was set in Park Slope, another brownstone neighborhood, so there was much for the audience to relate to - for example, the running motif about Jeff Daniels's character looking for a parking spot. The movie kept reminding me of other films - "You & Me & Everyone We Know" (because of the joint custody arrangement and the ages of the boys and the somewhat twisted sexual antics of the kids), "Wonder Boys" (older bearded professor and young nubile student lodger*), and "The Door in the Floor" (pompous writer father who is played by actor named Jeff who used to be - well, less dumpy.) But I enjoyed it despite those distractions. The young actor playing the high school aged son (who is the 22 year old brother of that annoying Hallie Eisenberg) was really good, as was Owen Kline as the younger brother. I can't help wondering, though, what it's like for a 12 year old actor to play a scene where he has to (spoiler alert!) masturbate. I know that Owen Kline, son of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, isn't unfamiliar with the concept of acting vs. real life, but even the most sophisticated kid has to feel a bit weird at pretending to - well, not to completely spoil it for you, but it's not exactly the way most pre-teen boys do that kind of thing. (At least I hope.) But it's an interesting and entertaining coming of age story (literally) and worthwhile viewing.

"Good Night & Good Luck" is a beautiful film - black and white, shot in a dreamy (and appropriately smoky) style that matches up nicely with the fuzzy quality of the real footage inserted throughout. I admit I really didn't like "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," George Clooney's directorial debut. The plot was ludicrous, the acting vague and confusing, and I didn't like some of the visual choices. There were some interesting camera angles that caused me to stop and say, "That's an interesting camera angle," which completely took me out of the film. It felt like being artsy for the sake of being artsy. In contrast, "GN & GL" has some artistic shots, but they don't overwhelm the film, they complement it.

The acting was really good, too - esp. David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow. Well, mostly David Strathiarn. It really is his movie; everyone else is just a supporting player, even George Clooney, who has a sizable role but it's never really clear what kind of influence his producer character had over Murrow. He comes across as insubstantial; Bill Paley, chairman of CBS, actually discounts his character in one scene. So it's not that Clooney isn't performing up to par - it's just not about anyone but Murrow. And McCarthy, of course. Somewhere I read that there has been criticism that the actor playing Joe McCarthy was over the top - of course, there is no actor playing McCarthy, as he only appears in actual footage.

I wasn't as thrilled with the film as others were. It's a good, well-made movie, but I didn't really feel connected to it. I don't think there's much dramatic tension - we know what happens to McCarthy. I don't think there's much investment in any of the characters - the film starts when Murrow has pretty much made up his mind to run a story that is anti-McCarthy, so we don't really get to see him prior to the decision to understand his motivation. Nor do we really see him change much over the course of the film. Most of it is Strathairn playing Murrow against the news reel footage of the real McCarthy. Interesting? Yes. Entertaining? Not so much.

There seemed to be an attempt to add some human element by having a subplot about the secret marriage between the reporters played by Robert Downey Jr. And Patricia Clarkson. But I didn't think it belonged to the rest of the film - it had little emotional connection or connection of any kind, other than they all worked together at the time this took place. I know that the characters were based on a real-life couple who served as consultants on the film, but other than giving them a place in the movie, I can't see any reason for them to be there. In all of the Murrow scenes, the couple is just background - sometimes there are knowing glances but we don't get the sense that their secret relationship impacts their reporting very much, nor that their reporting impacts Murrow's very much.

Good news - my neighborhood theater showed a trailer for "Capote" which means it's coming there. That's a film I can't wait to see!

*wow, I'd forgotten that it was Katie Holmes in the "Wonder Boys" movie. But that was before she was a tabloid freakazoid, while she was still a young and interesting actress.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Any old age

Update on previous post: Roeper & Ebert gave "Shop Girl" two thumbs up, and say the trailer is misleading, and it's a much better film than you'd expect. They also say it's not really about a woman choosing between two men. So I'll withhold my repulsion until I see it and can judge for myself.

I think the issue I have is built on the fact that Claire Danes usually plays "young" and doesn't look all that much older than high school Angela in "My So-Called Life," while Steve Martin has been silver-haired since his 30's and so always seems much older. So the actual age difference (34 years) seems more like 45.

I felt a similar weirdness when I saw Robert Downey Jr. & Patricia Clarkson playing a married couple in "Good Night & Good Luck" (review of that film to come.) Robert Downey Jr. looked sufficiently middle-aged (although in a cast that included a portly George Clooney, a dumpy Jeff Daniels, and a "where have you gone?" Tate Donovan, that is not much of an accomplishment.) But isn't she a lot older than he is? Because he's about my age, and she played the aunt of Peter Krause in "Six Feet Under," who's also about my age. Well, truth is stranger than fiction: Clarkson is only 6 years older than both Downey & Krause (who are both 40). Frances Conroy, who played Clarkson's sister in SFU is only 6 years older than her, so that's fine, but - that makes her only 12 years older than her on-screen son.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Things that make you go "Ewww"

It's a rainy weekend and I have a slew of movies I want to see. Last weekend, I had company from out of town so I didn't make it to a film but I did watch "Birth" on DVD Sunday night. You might remember it from its lousy reviews - Nicole Kidman plays a widow who meets a 10 year old boy claiming to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. I like to think there might be a director/writer who could have done this well, and a pair of actors who could have pulled it off without causing the viewer to cringe. Sadly, none of them were involved in this film.

I think Nicole Kidman is becoming a bad actress in direct proportion to her growing reliance on plastic surgery. It makese sense, doesn't it? As her face tightens she loses the ability to express herself. I mean, do we really know what Michael Jackson is thinking?

There's a trailer playing right now which looks as horridly inappropriate as Nicole Kidman bathing naked with a seductive 10 year old. I'm talking about Steve Martin's Shop Girl, in which he apparently romances Claire Danes. Can we say it together? Ewwwww. First time I saw the trailer I was shocked when I realized where it was going. He's not just old enough to be her father, he's old enough to be her grandfather. Yes, I know it's the same age difference as Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen in "Lost in Translation," but that wasn't an overt romance. If they had actually done anything, I probably would have hated that film, too.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Less than Zero

My new office is directly across from the World Trade Center site. Every morning I walk across a covered metal footbridge along the south end of Ground Zero. The lobbies of the buildings in this complex are all on the second floor with big bold windows, so they offer a bird's eye view of what is now a construction pit. I don't know exactly what goes on there all day - there seems to be some movement, there are lights and vehicles and half-structures and ramps, but it doesn't have the feel or noise of a bustling worksite. But it draws tourists to our building in droves - large groups of tourists with matching t-shirts and accents, families with kids strapped to their backs, young couples holding hands, and everyone with cameras pointing at the pit.

I am getting used to being here, to looking out a window of someone's office and suddenly seeing the pit from another angle. These offices were vacant for over 2 years (3?) before the company moved back. I missed all of that, and now I am here in that in between stage before another large building (or two) rises up to block our sunlight.

When I say I am getting used to seeing it, I don't mean that I've become numb to it. It never escapes my mind what it is, why it is what it is. And I don't really want it to become just another noisy construction site to me - I want it always to have meaning.

For the longest time, I would not look at televised footage of the towers falling. It was unbearable. Someone said to me, "Oh, once you see it enough, it doesn't bother you any more." I decided that that wasn't acceptable - I wanted it to bother me. I wanted it to always horrify me. I never wanted to be able to watch it and not feel it. So I stopped watching, closed my eyes when the footage appeared. Because I'd already seen it, live, not clear and direct like the cameras caught, but close enough that I could smell it. When the first tower fell, I was running from one building to another in midtown, from a meeting to my own office. I'd seen the smoking towers from a 40th floor window in Rockefeller Center. I was surround by (was one of) people crying as they raced along the sidewalks. When I crossed Fifth Avenue, the tower was falling and smoke billowed up toward us (60+ blocks.) Just as a camera somewhere caught it slipping down into nothingness.

I've heard stories of tourists walking up to people who work here and asking, "Where is Ground Zero?" as they stand right in front of it (it's that ordinary looking.) But I don't mind the tourists, even though sometimes I wonder if pictures of a construction site through the windows of an office building are really all that interesting. But I understand the draw.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Who you talkin at?

I have so many brilliant thoughts on things to post when I'm walking to/from work. I need a keyboard connected to my brain to capture them, because when I'm sitting here facing the empty blogger box, my brain is in freefall. Or maybe I can get some kind of voice-activated recorder and spout out my thoughts for typing up later. I've often thought that would be perfect for story ideas that pop into my head at weird (i.e., not near pen/paper/computer) times. But I'm pretty sure that once I were able to save them and look at them later, they wouldn't be so brilliant. Much like drunken profound thoughts which, if you can even remember what they were, are absolutely ridiculous in the light of (sober) day.

If I had a voice-activated recorder, I could just walk down the street talking to myself, and fit right in! I've finally adjusted to seeing people do that with their nearly invisible hands-free cell phones, and no longer assume that they are crazy people. But what's scary now is that sometimes they still ARE lunatics, and I'm smiling along past them, thinking they are on a cell, and they are clearly not, and suddenly I am an uncomfortable foot or so away from an angry dude who wants to "kill all the bitches."

Today's fun spell check suggestions: For "freefall" we are offered "fearful," "firefly," and "friable." What the hell is "friable?" Able to be fried? Wouldn't that be... everything? I thought the deep-fried-snickers cuisine had that all covered by now.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Defiance" & "Violence"

I am very delinquent in sharing my thoughts on the last two films I saw, "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" and "A History of Violence." This is shaping up to be a movie-free weekend, though (nice weather plus visiting family) so I'll get my cinematic kicks by reaching back into my brain for thoughts on last weekend's movies...

First, "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio." Eh.

Next, - oh, all right, I'll give a it a bit more space. But not much. It was just so-so. Pleasant, not overly stupid or sentimental, but not very inspiring either. And for a story about how a mother of 10 inspired her children to go on to great things (including writing the memoir which the film was actually based on), inspiration should be a given. I think my standard for big-struggling-family stories was set long ago by the book "Cheaper by the Dozen" (NOT the inane film of 2004, which took nothing from the 1948 book/1950 movie except its title and the concept of 12 kids), and nothing ever is as good. I used to read "Cheaper by the Dozen" over and over; I was fascinated by the efficiency expert father and even tried to emulate some of his experiments. For example, I wrote his Morse Code teaching hints on the wall next to my bed, just like he'd written them on the wall of their summer home to teach his kids.

See? I can't even talk about "Defiance, Ohio" without branching off into something else. That's how insubstantial it really is.

"A History of Violence" on the other hand is a really great film. Despite my bad experience in the theater that day, I really enjoyed it. You have to understand I hate watching violence on the screen, and avoid most action/horror/war films. So when I do watch something that contains violence, it affects me more - but I also appreciate when it's realistic and has ramifications and isn't just all surface and visual. But I'd sit through this movie again (covering my eyes when I know someone is about to get shot in the face) just because it's that good. Maria Bello and Viggo Mortenson both are really good - the actor who plays their teenage son (Ashton Holmes - I assume no relation to Katie) holds his own as well. Ed Harris makes a compelling enough victim, but it was William Hurt (as a NJ mobster) who surprised me - I barely recognized him, he was so transformed. I think this is a movie I would have absolutely loved if I'd been able to really focus on it (and not on what was going on around me) but it still managed to impress me.

I also got to see trailers for two movies I'm incredibly anxious for - "Rent" and "Harry Potter & Whatever the Fourth One is Called." I loved "Rent" - saw it three times on Broadway (which is a lot, considering that makes up about 50% of the Broadway plays I've seen in the last 10 years), have the soundtrack memorized, etc. I am really happy that the orginal cast is (almost)intact. It could have gone the way of "Chicago" - can you imagine, Renee Zewelleger darkening her hair to transform herself into the latina Mimi? One of the Wayans brothers as Tom Collins? I'm worried about Rosario Dawson taking over as Mimi, though. But at least it's not Jennifer Lopez.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Weather update

All of my whining and complaining seems trite in light of the horrors people are facing every day from earthquakes, mudslides, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis... Doesn't it seem like the earth is trying to shrug us off? Like a dog shaking and shuddering to rid itself of a mass of pesty fleas.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Random Insomniac Thoughts at 2 am

One. I don't know anyone who ever watched "Becker." I don't think I ever heard anyone even talk about it much, in person or in the media, and yet, according to imdb, it was on for 6 seasons. I may have seen one or two episodes during that time, just because I was curious about Ted Danson's hair. So why does CBS run reruns of "Becker" at 1:37 every morning? Is its target demographic people who've made it through the late-night lineup and are still hankering for a laugh? Does CBS not have any other sitcoms on the shelf, or did they make some kind of deal with Ted Danson? ("Yes, of course, we'll rake in big bucks with the syndication deal - and if we can't sell it, we'll just show it ourselves!")

Two. I was flipping through the channels, and according to the digital cable information box, one of the Cinemaxes ("Mighty Max" or whatever) was airing "Crash," the 2004 film directed by Paul Haggis. Only it wasn't, it was the 1996 movie "Crash," directed by David Cronenberg. I kinda got the hint when Holly Hunter & James Spader were having sex in a car.

Three. The "Brady Bunch" episode where Marcia & Greg fight over who gets the attic bedroom is more fun to watch after you know that they were sneaking off to make out during taping.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I blame the terrorists.

This afternoon I decided to go see a movie, but the one I wanted to see wasn't playing in the theater nearest me. Normally that would mean I'd go into Manhattan, because even though there is another theater just a dozen blocks away, I hate going there. In fact, I haven't been there in several years. Until today.

It just seemed silly to jump on a subway and spend money to go to a theater that's farther away, and costs more, just because I don't like the crowd at the closer one. Especially on a day when terrorists have allegedly targeted the NYC subway system. So I decided to stay in Brooklyn.

Now, the two movie theaters near me are radically different. The closer is an old family-run, independent cinema with medium and small-sized screens, mostly new comfy seats, and prices $1.25 lower than the chain 10 blocks north. It targets the more gentrified yuppie neighborhood with an assortment of family, independent, and mass market films, all first-run. Right now, for example, you can see "Flight Plan" or "Oliver Twist" or "Corpse Bride" or "In Her Shoes" or "The Constant Gardener."

The other theater opened up about 3-4 years ago and is a big huge monstrosity with 12 theaters and a Barnes & Noble sharing its space. It's further up, near a bunch of subways, and attracts a different crowd. Younger, noisier, wilder - less discriminating, I guess. I'm not going to spend too much time figuring out why, because I am not going back there. Why? Oh, let me count the ways.

1. I was seated between two couples who talked throughout the film. I tried turning and giving dirty looks to one, but of course they couldn't see that passive-aggressive move, and experience has taught me that people don't really respond well if you ask them to be quiet, and the whole thing just causes aggravation that winds up spoiling the movie for me far more than putting up with their chatter. So I tried to relax and ignore them. It might have gone okay, but...

2. The people in the theater cheered when the plot erupted into violence. Now, this wasn't a cartoony, shoot 'em up, cars blowing up action movie. This was a serious drama about the nature of violence, and the depictions of it on screen were tense and dramatic and realistic. There was no wise-cracking hero walking away with his buddy, slapping him on the back for a job well done.

3. More than one person brought a toddler/young child into the film. It's rated R for violence, the movie is ABOUT violence, it's CALLED "A History of Violence" and at the first sight of a guy's head being blown off in bloody gorey detail, those people should have taken their kids next door to "Wallace and Grommit." I agree with Stephen King, who said (about another film - "The Passion of the Christ" I believe) that people who bring young children to super violent films should be arrested for child abuse. There's just no excuse for letting a three year old sit through that in larger than life technicolor.

4. There were two sex scenes in the movie, both realistic and human and gritty and graphic. The crowd hoo-hahed them both. Have they never actually had sex? Do they think it's all soft focus and pretty like in other films? The young woman sitting next to me said to her date, "That is strange" when the couple on the screen moved into a sixty-nine position. Honey, if you don't know what that is? you probably don't belong in an R-rated film.

5. The crowd also went crazy when Maria Bello, in a very tense and dramatic scene, walked in front of the camera in a half-opened bathrobe that revealed frontal nudity. How juvenile can you get? Oh, wait, here's worse - someone started calling out, "Bush! Bush!" Did I mention that this is actually an emotionally charged, intellectual film? I mean, it's about something. This isn't Austin Powers with giggling over sex and cartoon violence.

6. In the ladies' room after, I went into a stall after a woman and her young daughter. They had taken the entire contents of the paper seat cover dispense and dumped it into the toilet. I backed out and said, "What the fuck?" and the woman, who'd said nothing as she saw me walk into the stall, said, "It wouldn't flush." Again, let me say, "What the fuck?" How was cramming it full of paper supposed to help? What is wrong with these people? I've seen cleaner bathrooms at Penn Station, and they are frequented by the homeless.

7. In another stall, a woman chatted away on her cell phone as she urinated, wiped (presumably), and flushed. Is this acceptable now? If so, please don't call me from a public toilet stall. Please.

Lesson learned - pay the extra money, take the extra time to go into Manhattan if you have to. Fuck the terrorists.

I don't have the energy to talk about the film yet - later on that.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Rainy Saturday

It's raining and I'm loving it. I really want to spend the weekend inside, cleaning and being generally a layabout. Nice days bring too much pressure to "get out and enjoy the nice weather!"

But here I am a few minutes later, and feel the need to escape my apartment. I live near a multitude of bakeries (so don't know who to blame this on, or even if there is only one culprit) and almost daily the neighborhood is filled with a strong burnt smell... like sugar or something dripping to the bottom of an oven and charring into a gooey mess. It smells horrible. It blows into my apartment and I can't get away from it. It gives me a headache and destroys all of the good feeling I get from having the windows wide open to enjoy the clean rainy breeze.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

In Briefs

I haven't been posting much since my brain has been filled with new job transition stuff, none of which is very interesting to anyone but me. (Oh, there is the delightful coincidence that my former employer screwed up on the paperwork, so I'm continuing to get paid, while my new employer screwed up on the paperwork, so I might not get paid - but beyond the immediate irony that merely involves a lot of phone calls and faxes and emails.)

But I did have an interesting morning a few days ago: I took a pair of black cotton underpants from my dresser drawer, where they'd sat since I unpacked laundry a week or so earlier. (Note that black sounds more exotic than it is, considering they are from Victoria's Secret and other color choices include hot pink and aqua paisley, making black one of the basics.) I tried to put them on and realized, THEY WEREN'T MINE. Although they fit, they were a completely different style and brand than I own.

Now, understanding that I live alone, this is a bit unnerving.

I drop off my laundry at one of the nearby laundromats, paying for their "fluff and fold" service. It seemed indulgent at first, but really it doesn't cost that much more than doing it myself, and the small difference is worth not having to spend two hours of my time hanging around the laundromat. And the Russian ladies who work in this particular place are very pleasant, and I like the way they fold my clothes.

I'm a bit freaked out about it, but mostly hope that one of their other customers doesn't happen to buy VS cotton hi-leg briefs in the same size I do, because then if one of their pairs hid in the dryer to exit with my clothes, well, I'd never know the difference.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Each with its own pros and cons...

This morning on the way to work I saw one of my favorite reality show contestants - Drew of Kevin & Drew from the first season of "The Amazing Race." He was about half a block ahead of me but turned and walked away, and I didn't really want to run after him. Chances are I'll see him again, though - he works across the street from the subway I'm now taking. No, I'm not a stalker, his career (court officer in Brooklyn) is well known and the subway stop is on Court Street, so named because of all of the court buildings located there.

Anyway, if I had been close enough, I would have walked up to him and said, "Can I have a frank?"

(For any of you who don't know what I am talking about - well, what's wrong with you? The Amazing Race is the best reality TV, ever, and one of the most exciting shows of any genre. Although this season's family version is TAR-lite, it's still entertaining. Start watching!)
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