journal 9/11/04

The day started out badly. I start almost every day with a cup of Earl Grey tea (in a wonderful mug that Bethany made for me, with a little honey) and 1010 WINS (a local all-news radio station).

The tea was as good as it usually is, but I quickly turned 1010 WINS off again. Ceremony from Ground Zero (I hate it when people call it Ground Zero), the reading of the names (I really don't need or want to hear the reading of the names), and I'm sure some ridiculous and meretricious connection between the events of 9/11/01 and the events of 2004.

I ended up listening to WFAN (the local all-sports station) and found out that Chris "Mad Dog" Russo is about the same as ever. I had been thinking about him since he and his partner (Mike Francesa) had just been profiled in The New Yorker magazine. They have been talking sports together on the radio in New York for 15 years, but they hated each other when they started (I heard their first broadcast and the tension was very obvious), and they're not exactly friends even now.

In the afternoon, I went to a bookstore (two, really) in search of plays set in a bar. I found a copy of The Iceman Cometh, but couldn't find a copy of The Time of Your Life. I guess maybe Saroyan isn't so hip these days. I'll try again tomorrow.

(If anybody can suggest any other plays set in a bar, let me know. As long as 1) they're good, and 2) they're set entirely in a bar.)

(This is because the chapter I'm writing now is set entirely in a bar, by the way. [If you want to read it, it's right here.]

When I was at the bookstore, I looked at Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers. It looks wonderful, and I'm sure I'll break down and buy it soon.

I was looking for something enjoyable to do in the evening. I decided to go see a movie. First I thought of The Brown Bunny.

I know, it got incredibly bad notices from Cannes, but 1) now that 27 minutes were cut from the Cannes version, even Roger Ebert says it's good (or maybe he was just scared because Vincent Gallo said Ebert should get cancer and then Ebert did get cancer), 2) Vincent Gallo directed Buffalo 66. And I loved Buffalo 66.

But, much as I want to see The Brown Bunny, it sounds a little depressing. And that's not really what I need on September 11, of any year.

Then the obvious answer came to me. End of the Century. What movie could be more positive about New York City? (It's a documentary about the Ramones, the band that created punk rock.) I went and saw it, and it was great.

Four guys from Queens, three chords, two minute songs and one quarter of a century (more, really). Interviews with all the band members (including the later replacements), family and business associates, and just people who were on the scene. Plus many people from other bands who owe a lot to the Ramones (including Joe Strummer of the Clash, now dead).

And, most importantly, interviews with Joey and DeeDee Ramone (both also now dead). And a few moments where I was the only person in the theater laughing.

And, similar to Mike and the Mad Dog (mentioned above) Johnny and Joey Ramone (the only two members of the band to last all the way through) disliked each other and seldom spoke, especially after Johnny married Joey's girlfriend. But they could do something together that they couldn't do alone.

The movie was a good choice for September 11. And I came home and changed the filter in my Brita water pitcher. Because, on 9/11/01, when I got home, I thought to change the filter in my Brita pitcher. I've always had trouble remembering when to change it, and I figured that I'd always remember September 11. And I was right.

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