The Secret of the Bro

An excavation.

New York City, February 26, 2015

weather review sky 022615★★ A baby rode in a chest carrier while wearing a full-body electric-blue down suit, the sealed ends of its sleeves and legs dangling far beyond normal baby proportions. The 1 trains were stupidly spaced out, according to the signboard, but the prospect of walking to Columbus Circle in the generically wintry gray was unappealing in the same way as being stuck on a platform, only more intensely so. Only Down on Grand Street, the cloud-dimmed sun brightened and a few snowflakes began falling, in sparse and disorderly manner. Then the shadows and the snowflakes went away. The latter made a desultory but surprising return for a moment in the afternoon, just enough to give the children something to look out for on the way back from the preschool.

The Lager Beer Riot and the Birth of Law and Order

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One Saturday in April of 1855, a large group of German immigrants assembled around the courthouse in downtown Chicago, hoping to attend a hearing at which nineteen saloonkeepers would stand before a judge for violating one of two new laws enacted by the new nativist mayor, Levi Boone, who had promised during his campaign to curb liquor consumption. One banned the sale of alcohol on Sunday, while the other mandated a three-hundred-dollar fee for a liquor license (up from fifty dollars in previous years). As constables tried to move the crowd out of the street, a tussle broke out. The Chicago Tribune fashioned the crowd as monsters. The street, it claimed, was “crowded with a multitude of the most desperate and savage characters in the city, ready for any blood, rapine or murder.” It’s true that the crowd was angry and agitated, but it was the show of force by a constable that turned the assembly into a melee, a mob against the police.

A Friendly Race With My Pal Nate P.

In The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman, the main character, a specifically chauvinistic Brooklynite with a book deal, goes for a run around the Prospect Park loop two blocks from my apartment. It takes him 27:22 to run 3.41 miles. As seems to be the standard reaction to this book, it put me in an unexpected critical mode: I wanted to beat Nate in a footrace.

A tale of the tape:

Height: Nate: under 6’ (I’m guessing); Jake: 6’2” (rounding up)

Weight: Nate: ? but he has a paunch; Jake: 165, paunchless

Reach: Nate: ?; Jake: about 5.5 iPhones (no tape measure/ruler available)

Ontological status: Nate: fictional; Jake: real (rounding up)

Neighborhood: Nate: Prospect Heights; Jake: Park Slope (southern)

Alma Mater: Nate: Harvard (he mentions it a lot); Jake: Cornell (probably Nate’s safety school)

Relevant medical history: Nate: ruptured Achilles; Jake: allergic to most things in air

Shoes: Nate: ?; Jake: New Balance 880 V3 in McDonald’s colors

Music: Nate: none (doesn’t like music); Jake: Spotify playlist on iPhone

The night before Nate’s run (aka our race), his girlfriend, Hannah, who is starting to bore him, cooks the two of them a nice dinner of pasta and clams. Nate notices that some of the clams don’t open. I think this is like how Nate’s heart can’t open. That night, the only thing that appeals to him about Hannah, a woman he supposedly feels great tenderness toward, is how her butt looks when she reaches up to put a bottle of wine on top of the fridge. Even if I don’t win this race, I’m going to cook myself a dinner for two of pasta and clams and drink a bottle of wine. The clams will open.

When Nate wakes up the next morning and puts on his running gear, he’s “conscious of trying to evade, literally to outrun, a feeling of restlessness.” So I guess it’s going to be a three-way race. Or a four-way race: I’m also trying to outrun restlessness in the sense that running helps my restless leg syndrome.

To prepare for the race, I do absolutely nothing. I don’t even stretch. I’ve heard it hurts performance. Also, I forget to.

What Color Were Her Eyes?

The more things stay the same:

Also, You Will Never Know Whether What You Call Love Is Experienced Comparably By The People Who Love You

“I know from experience that Internet events like this have consequences.”

A List of Costs Associated With Buying Our Home

combining financesIn December, my husband and I bought our first house. Our house cost $500,000 on paper, and in real life we spent exactly $91,068.31—money that used to be in our bank accounts, but is now somewhere else. A lot of our money went to the bank, and a bunch of other people and places got some money too. Here’s where it all went:

Inspection: $450
Before we put an offer on our house, we paid an inspector to come over and tell us everything that was wrong with the house. He said it needed a new roof, a new boiler and more attic insulation. We said, “Thank you! Here is a credit card!”

Deposit, with the offer: $15,000
Our real estate agent suggested we provide a deposit of $15,000 with our offer to make us seem as serious as possible.

We made the decision to buy the house quickly and didn’t have thousands of dollars in accessible bank accounts (free online banking is the best, except when you need a certified check for thousands of dollars and you need it right now). My dad offered to go to his real bank and get a certified check for us.

My husband met my dad at his office to pick up the check. My dad gave him a tour of the office and a bottle of apple juice from the office fridge.

We paid my dad back three days later.

Leandro Fresco, 'El Reino Invisible'


If you want to pretend that the weather is anything other than suicide-inducing you could do worse than to press play on this one right now and occasionally look out the window before the flurries start to fall. You’d be lying to yourself, sure, but at this point in the season lies are all we have left. Lies and sorrow. Anyway, ambient genius Leandro Fresco’s El Reino Invisible is available now and my feeling is you should get it.

New York City, February 25, 2015

★★★ The sky and air were crystalline to the north, hazy southward into the sun. If the winter was unceasing it was also for the moment out of tricks: standard cold, standard breeze, standard ambient frozen matter. Beside the bodega flowers, under the ever-higher angle of the light, one could pretend to catch an intimation of spring. Later in the day, high wispy clouds curled so extravagantly they came out undulating. The building tops were in loveliness; the sidewalks were appalling with melt-freed soggy garbage. The cigarette butts alone were a time-lapse allegory of misery. Up the stairs from the subway, uptown, a bright print dress and high-cuffed pants stood in a department-store window.

Lines from the New Yorker's 3.5-Star Yelp Listing

tny“I will never read The New Yorker again.”

“NYC bores nowadays.”

“Thank you New Yorker for helping me kill time the other day.”

“I had lost interests in their article qualities so I stopped subscribing paper version a year ago. However I would like to have a free New Yorker logo tote so I subscribed digital version…Today In receiving this tote I feel not only disappointed but also cheapened myself.”

“This is a great magazine to subscribe to if you’re too busy to find a better one.”

Let's Dance