My buddy John, an immigrant with a heavy accent, the driver from CNBC's car service, called me his boy when I told him thank you so much for the banana he'd brought for me because he remembered that the last time he'd driven me I'd forgotten to eat lunch and he'd given me his apple. How nice are people? I once had a doorman, an immigrant with a light accent, in this horrid little slum building in the projects on 101st and Amsterdam who'd given me his little portable stereo when I'd first moved to New York in 1996. One day he'd just said, "Cody, I'd noticed when you moved in that you didn't have a TV or anything at all. Do you want to borrow my stereo?" I almost cried as I thanked him and took his stereo to my box on the 8th floor. People are so nice.
So I got home from this rather amazingly fun episode of Kudlow tonight and crawled onto my couch to watch the clip and then collapse from a day of newsletter, blogging, and TV. Ah, but the clock in my head strikes seven and I pull my Treo out from beneath the aging West Elm coffee table in front of me. West 64th reads the address on this Darfur thing I wanted to go check out. So I lie my head back and rest my eyes for a few. I rise and call a few friends to see if any of them would like to go to this thing. I shouldn't have waited to the past-the-last moment and maybe someone could have gone with me.
West 64th? That's the middle of nowhere, man. Taking a cab from here will take forever and a day and subway-ing it would be akin to taking a hammer to your funny bone once an hour for a business day.
But then I remember my trusty ol' cheap mountain bike in the hallway of my other-than-me empty floor. I grab my Nano and head up town.
Oh - thinkin' about all our younger years, there was only you and me
We were young and wild and free
Now nothin' can take you away from me, we've been down that road before
But that's over now, you keep me comin' back for more
Baby you're all that I want when you're lyin' here in my arms
I'm findin' it hard to believe we're in heaven
And love is all that I need, and I found it there in your heart
It isn't too hard to see we're in heaven -Bryan Adams
Yeah, that's the song that followed the Temple of The Dog on my random mix of 1k tunes. It's an acoustic version that's awfully pretty, and I can't really apologize for having a song that flashes me back to seventh grade cheesy as it is, can I? Well, I won't. And isn't there something to be said for not being afraid to embrace one's own cheesiness?
So I'm thinking about what could I possibly do to try to really make a difference about getting some help down to Darfur while still obviously keeping pedal to the metal in my dayjob?
"Tie it in to your blog, Cody. Life Lesson Thursday screams for this one, no???" "Ah," I reply back to my own self in that voice from the Guiness commercial, "Brilliant."
So I pull out my phone/camera/videocorder/TV/Internet device, aka my Treo 700w with Broadband Access from Verizon Wireless, both which I truly and completely am in love with. And that's not a sold-out gush to them though I'd plead with either company that if they read this maybe they should think about getting involved here too. I take the first picture of this here photoblog post.
My mom hates it when I ride my bike around NYC, though as I type that it makes me chuckle because my mom used to hate it when I'd ride my bike all around hell and a half of Georgia as a kid (as my father's father whom I'd never met apparently used to say -- we were in NM and my parents are from Kansas. No idea how Georgia came into that phrase). But check out some of these shots and picture hearing the songs on the Nano as you're riding through the streets of NYC on a beautiful clear spring night.
Hurt A Long Time
I've got only time, I wish it was a bad dream
'Cause it's gonna hurt a long time, yeah
He lies awake with saddened eyes
Sleeping babies, keeping him alive
I'll save it for you, you save me from me
And the hole in my head I can see
Tell her I love her
Oh, it's a bad dream
I've got only time -Jerry Cantrell
Get What You Need
Call you on the telephone (she's not there)
Ya always leavin' me alone (she don't care)
I'm through with messin' around (she's not there)
If you've got a lady friend I'm taking her down (she don't care)
Let's go! So come on.
You're gonna get what you need (you're gonna get what you need)
Now I'm in a rockin' band (she's not there)
No-one has to hold my hand
Word starts getting around (she's not there)
If you've got a lady friend I'll take her to town yeah! -JET
When I became of age my mama sat me down
Said "Son, you're growin' up, it's time you look around"
So I began to notice some things I hadn't seen before
That's what brought me here knockin' on your back door
I don't mind the games you play, but I don't like your dealin'
God looked bad, the luck's been had and there's nothin' left to smoke
Will I be back tomorrow for the punchline of the joke? -Joe Walsh
So I get to this amazing place and I sneak into this overly packed hall and listen to the end of a speech that meant nothing to me since I'd not heard the beginning.
Then there was a short film of print and sound effects but I've not picked up my new glasses prescriptions for days on end and I'd need them to be able to read that print.
The movie ends and there's a quick Q&A session and they talk about how the best way to help is to contact our representatives and, if I may put it in Geodylish, jump up and down and say, "Get some UN Troops down there to see what the hell is going on!!"
So I'm sitting there thinking about that and I think about that horridly disgusting hypocritical UN propaganda website that keeps emailing me and telling me to write my representative and make sure we make a new layer of bureaucracy in the most bureaucratic institution in the history of the planet and how incredibly upset it makes me that they're wasting time, money, and energy on bureaucratically-funded propaganda begging us to waste more time, money, and energy creating these other layers of bureaucracy. When does the madness stop??? It's all one big, uh, orbital-push, if you wanna play on the word.
And then it hits me. Use the machine against itself! Flip it, as it were! So here's what we do. Let's all click on this hypocritical propaganda machine's website and it's pre-set function to enable us to write our elected officials and holler:
"First and foremost – do something right now with the UN troops who can get down there and see what's happening! Oh, and down with shameful bureaucracy."
And then I realize how parched I am and how I haven't eaten enough of a meal at any point today (the banana from that nice driver John who'd remembered I'd done that recently notwithstanding. People can be so nice.)
As I left the hall I got back on my bike and decided to ride up to the majestic Dakota building of Lennon-death fame. I remembered this funny article today about a John Lennon séance PPV and how these idiot fake psychics want to make some money by "channeling" John's spirit. I've never been a fan of John Lennon's politics (see Last Song post for more there), but you have to admit that the dude gave a damn. He cared and gawd did he bleed for it. So I thought, ha, you really wanna channel John Lennon's spirit, well how about using a picture or two from his death place and Strawberry Fields in a photoblog about sending in some help to fight genocide in Darfur. This hard rock cover version of The Chain turns on in my earbuds:
Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise
Run in the shadows, damn your love, damn your lies
And if you don't love me now, you will never love me again
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain. -Tantric
And I'm taking a picture of Lennon's death spot and a beautiful black woman dressed all professionally and nicely is walking ahead of me and I ride up to her. I ask her nicely, "Excuse me, ma'am?" She turns and smiles and I explain to her that I'm a writer and I just wanted to take her picture for this photoblog about Darfur and that I'm using my Treo because if you think about it, it can be a symbol of the revolution and there's just something beautiful about that and could I take her picture, because you know what? It's pretty damn awesome that a black woman is walking alone on 72nd Street in NYC as she's on her way home from work from a high-enough paying professional job that she can live in that beautiful area. And I tell her so and how amazing it is that just 20 or 30 years ago that really wouldn't be so likely.
She says, that sounds all fine, but being a lawyer and all, she's curious to know what purpose I really have in taking this picture. Oh, I say, I write for the Financial Times, Realmoney.com. She says, wait, TheStreet.com is a client of mine. I laugh and tell her how in my trading blog on Realmoney last week I wrote about how it didn't surprise me that I'd randomly run into Jim Cramer twice this year already. So I take this picture of Natasha (sp?) in front of the Dakota.
And we exchange a hug and I head on back on my bike wondering why I still haven't gotten myself any water or food. But I'm cruising now and I ride through Central Park.
Hey, I ain't never coming home
Hey, I'll just wander my own road
Hey, I can't meet you here tomorrow
Say goodbye don't follow, misery so hollow
Hey you, you're livin' life full throttle
Hey you, pass me down that bottle, yeah
Hey you, you can't shake me round now
I get so lost and don't know how
And it hurts to care, i'm going down -Alice In Chains
Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin', we could dream this night away.
But there's a full moon risin', let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin', let's go out and feel the night.
Because I'm still in love with you, I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you, on this harvest moon. -Neil Young
We Are All Made Of Stars
Growing in numbers, growing in speed
Can't fight the future, can't fight what I see
People they come together, people they fall apart
No one can stop us now, 'cause we are all made of stars -Moby
After The Gold Rush
I was lying in a burned out basement, with the full moon in my eyes.
I was hoping for replacement, when the sun burst thru the sky.
There was a band playing in my head, and I felt like getting high.
I was thinking about what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie. -Neil Young
And on down into my neighborhood where I found that my trusty Treo's batteries finally gave in. A box of Sushi and a Heineken bring me to my home and I collapse onto my couch with my Nano still in my ears.
The waiting drove me mad, you're finally here and I'm a mess
I take your entrance back, can't let you roam inside my head
I don't want to take what you can give, I would rather starve than eat your bread
I would rather run but I can't walk, guess I'll lie alone just like before
I'll take the firmest path, oh, and I must refuse your test
A-push me and I will resist, this behavior's not unique
I don't want to hear from those who know, they can buy, but can't put on my clothes
I don't want to limp for them to walk, never would have known of me before
I don't want to be held in your debt, and I'll pay it off in blood, let I be wed...
And I'm already cut up and half dead, I'll end up alone like I began -Pearl Jam
Hey, seriously, guys. Let's email our reps and get something done about Darfur. If it's anything at all like the situation in the movie Hotel Rwanda then every single minute is of the essence here. Let's shine a light on this evil.