Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Delaware, are you aware, is this thing on:
Tagged with the "Five Things You Don't Know About Me" meme. Let's see.

1. I have a ridiculously soft spot for the Statue of Liberty. My mother made the mistake of taking me to see her when I was a toddler, and for the next -- oh -- four, five years I insisted on going all the time. Even now, when I'm in Brooklyn and drive Ma to the Fairway in Red Hook, I can see her and I get choked up. Before I know it, I've been transfixed for five minutes, reflecting on her majesty.

2. I may hold a record for the number of times by a white person stopped/accosted by police and never arrested. I'm up to something like six, all of them in high school. On two of these occasions -- one in Brooklyn, the other in Philadelphia -- the cops threatened me with severe physical violence; and the Brooklyn cop, part of the notorious Abner Louima-abusing 70th Precinct, told me that if he ever saw me again, "no one ever would." I cut off my liberty spikes as soon as I got home from school. On another, in Danbury, Connecticut, I had to lie face down in the street, fingers interlocked behind my back, as three cop cars disgorged their cargo, all of whom had guns drawn at me and my bandmates. It was out in front of the club where we were supposed to play our first show. A punk-rocking time was had by all; my bassist was the only one charged, and the charges were quickly dismissed.

3. I once baked and served a batch of vegan cookies for a swap meet/record fair at ABC No Rio that had glass in them. The problem was that I had a jar of soy lecithin in my locker at school, and it ended up cracked under a textbook. There was no chance of getting another jar in time, and I needed those records -- it was like the first Charles Bronson seven-inch and the One Eyed God Prophesy album had just come out. My friend Sam and I picked out the notable shards of glass and figured, ok, let's just work with what we have. We got to ABC, warned our friends not to eat any of the cookies, and served. The cookies were a gigantic hit. As we were driving away, with not a single casualty to our names, our friend Jesse's girlfriend (name long since lost to me) took a bite of an errant leftover cookie and immediately started squirting blood from her mouth. A shard of glass had lodged itself in her tongue piercing. Win some, lose some.

4. I went through about an 18-month hard-right phase in college. It makes sense to me why ex-leftists & liberals do this -- everyone they know is either a fellow leftist or liberal, the arguments get either parochial or sectarian or sedate, and the intellectual frisson of taking a vastly unfamiliar position is thrilling in a juvenile way. For awhile I tried to justify it to myself that I was just a libertarian, but when I went on an Institute for Humane Studies summer seminar, it was clear to me that I was a conservative. I shuddered and slouched back to liberalism, but not before I slept with an engaged woman from Bari, a coastal Italian city, who was ten years older. As a result, I'll always have fond memories of conservatism.

5. I once filmed an impromptu, amateur Mentos commercial in Amsterdam in order to see the Dandy Warhols for free. My friends Gaston and Michael -- Michael is the aforementioned bassist against whom charges were dismissed -- and I flew to Paris for spring break 2001. The two of them loved the Dandys; I was lukewarm. They set to work goading me into using my New York Press credentials into linking up with the Dandys' European tour, and soon enough, I was yelling into payphones at promoters, insisting that I had four days to meet up with the band, and both my photographer and online guy had to get there as well. We had tickets waiting for us in Brussels, when Gaston met Zia McCabe's then-fiancee-now-husband Travis, who was selling t-shirts. An exchange of controlled substances occurred, and Travis happily offered to get us in free to the next day's show in Amsterdam.

We hopped on a Eurail and sped out. Fast forward a couple of hours and a few mind-altering substances, and we spied the Dandys in a Japanese restaurant near the club doing an interview. We couldn't remember if Travis had indeed promised to get us in free, so we decided to take matters into our own hands. This meant something audacious. Michael and I would hold up to the restaurant's plate-glass window a homemade sign reading SHOW SOLD OUT -- GET US IN FREE? while Gaston filmed on his digital videocamera. When we got the band's attention, Michael and I would each pull out a tube of Mentos, tip our chins like they do in the commercials, and we'd all share a laugh.

This is much harder than it seems when you're extremely high.

But sure enough, it worked, the Dandys doubled over laughing, and we got into the show for free. At one point during their set, Courtney Taylor-Taylor requested some candy from the audience, and Gaston threw him a Mento. It turns out that the only Mentos we could find in the tourist district of Amsterdam were black licorice. Courtney remarked, truthfully, "These taste like shit."

OK. I tag Kanishka, Adrienne, Heather, Justin, and Jen.
--Spencer Ackerman
The only time I have ever actually seen the Statue of Liberty, my much older ex was telling stories about the glory days of the Christopher Street pier.
Blogger J'myle | 9:04 AM