February 22nd, 2006

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Public Service Announcement

One of the problems with living in New York City is the tourism industry. It's not just the scads of witless midwesterners wandering around Times Square looking for high quality NYC cuisine like Red Lobster or the ESPN Zone, but also the traps constructed for said tourists. See as much as us locals may claim to disdain the major points of interest in the city, we do frequent them from time to time. There are good plays on Broadway, Madison Square Garden houses sporting events that can't be seen elsewhere, and sometimes the movie you want to see is only playing at the time you want to see it in the Times Square AMC.

Naturally after engaging in one of these activities you and your companion might want to grab a drink or a bite to eat. That's when the trap sets in. See set up all around the touristy areas are businesses whose sole job is to lure in the unsuspecting visitor for outrageously priced food or trinkets of questionable value. Of course it's easy to avoid buying a $300 Yankees cap or a $20 "cashmere" scarf (actual retail value $.35) but it's not so easy when it comes to food services. One can easily find oneself paying $8 for a gin and tonic that has less gin in it than the average bottle of Evian if one's not careful.

In such a situation it is imperative to do three things.

A) Drink every last drop of your overpriced piece of shit drink. This will enable you to make up for as much lost buzz as is possible

B) Tip poorly. Whatever house policy is the bartender still could have poured you a stiff one if she were a decent person. Never leave a good tip for a horrible drink.

C) Get the hell out of dodge. As soon as you're done sucking the last molecules of alcohol from the bottom of your glass just leave. Go at least 10 blocks before entering another bar just to make sure you are clear of the TT area.

Of course none of this applies to bars you've been to before and know are good, but rather to the times when you feel like going into that place you've always passed by but were vaguely interested in. Sometimes it's worth trying in, but you must always be aware that it's quite likely to be


A TRAP.
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DROP WHAT YOU'RE DOING, YOU'RE IN NO DANGER WHATSOEVER

Today I turned on my TiVo to watch one of the programs I had recorded only to find it pre-empted by a Michael Bloomberg press conference approximately 30 minutes in length. What pressing matter was this press conference on? A discussion of the recent issues surrounding management of the port of New York? A citywide emergency requiring all New Yorkers to be on the lookout for a dangerous element? Some sort of crucial labor issue with the teachers or transit union?

No.

Michael Bloomberg took 30 minutes to tell us that some dude had contracted Anthrax but that it was not a terrorist attack.

Wow.

Now maybe it's worthwhile to take a moment to re-assure the citizenry that despite what they may have heard they are not under terrorist attack. That makes sense. But 30 minutes? Just to say some guy caught anthrax from animal skins?

This is a city of 8 million people. If we stop the presses every time someone has the sniffles then the presses will not only never start again but we'll have to go back in time and make sure they never started in the first place. A guy got sick. It's sad. It's not news. We're not under attack by terrorists. This is also not news.

Sensationalism has really reached a whole new level when the media and government need to spend 30 minutes scaring the crap out of people due to the fact that TERRORISTS ARE NOT ATTACKING US RIGHT NOW.

Come to think of it, I'm starting to feel a little sick myself.