ON THE QT #24
Everything You Always Suspected--
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
After 2 Dozen Cups of Strip Mall Joe
Publisher and Editor
to QT #24. Where an open door policy to non partisan reform is
the norm. Those Republicans. Those Democrats. Knee deep in
the Big Muddy? Hell no. They won't go till the well runs dry.
These guys (and gals) are sloshed to the eyeballs. Each day
brings a new excuse to overindulge. Security! Economic
development! Transportation! Short & sweet--
THE GLORIOUS FUTURE!
Streets are crime and terrorist free as spycams swivel coyly
on every corner. Cops spend their time blowing smoke rings in
community meetings and cruising on automatic. Eyes fixed on the
horizon. No slums to foot patrol. Politicians, cronies and small
spud speculators finally finished sucking up HUD and a few bucks
trickled down to the poor. Who were granted predatory mortgages
on historic shanties. The debt ridden but shack proud underclass
have meaningful jobs in the non polluting tech centers every city
in the country has become. They travel the few blocks twixt work
and home in clean dependable public transportation which New
Urbanists ride as well as advocate. On the quaint neo street cars
no one ever passes out in a pool of urine or screams obscenities
when the driver asks for their zoner. A transportation revolution
made possible by an ocean of ISTEA* which washed away all such
behavior as well as the congested highways that carried sitcom
Kulaks to suburban dachas. Drug addiction? No problemo thanks to
legalization. Statistically successful rehab programs flourish,
supported by sales tax dollars collected from incorporated drug
dealers. And by the profits generated from Unca Samz Own Stash.
Averting our eyes from this vision we consider the
QT says thanks to some sharp eyed readers who spotted bloopers
in the past two issues. From Albany, New York, Renee reminded QT
that the "middle" school on lower Western Avenue is actually an
elementary school. All the more reason why drug dealers should
be kept out of her nabe. And kudos to the Man About Manhattan who
corrected the song writing credit for "Stop! In The Name Of Love"
to "Holland Dozier Holland". As opposed to the other way around.
Great toonsters done wrong by creeping dyslexia. From beautiful
Jersey City came an inquiry whether QT had been thinking burgers
when Mayor Dave Roberts of Hoboken, New Jersey was briefly
renamed Dave Thomas. Possibly, but the slip may have been
musical. David Thomas, of Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu,
did vocals on "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo". An old song with
new immediacy. Just like
EVE OF DESTRUCTION
"You may leave here for four days in space, but when you get back
it's the same old place." So sang Barry McGuire before the end
of history. Speaking of same old same old another politician
has been bagged in the great Northeastern corruption roundup.
Irvington, New Jersey Mayor Sara B. Bost has broken the glass
ceiling and joined the boys club of mayors facing federal
corruption charges. Among the issues arising in Irvington are
alleged bribes from paving contractors and odd goings on within
the police internal affairs unit. Irvington is home base for
United Gunite Construction, Inc. Gunite is all wound up in the
recent corruption indictments of Paterson Mayor Marty Barnes
(Gunite built the waterfall in Barnes' backyard pool) and the
just announced FBI investigation of Essex County Executive and
senatorial hopeful James Treffinger. While these folks are
Republicans, Gunite also made major contributions to Democratic
federal, state and local candidates. Three of "their" Jersey
Democratic mayors are tangled in corruption cases. Irvington
(pop 60,000) has the highest crime rate in Jersey and was once
upon a time blue collar. The jobs that go with this sobriquet are
long gone. Where? Probably Over There-- paying 25 cents an hour.
Could this be yet another city awash in charity for the well
connected? Where residents get no return on the social contract?
Not even time off for good behavior?
HAS BOHEMIA GONE STRIP CRAZY?
New and used bookstores, used record and CD stores, music
instrument shops, Sci-Fi and comic book emporiums, inexpensive
ethnic restaurants, art supply stores, junk/collectable/antique
palaces, coffee bars: the commercial establishments beloved by
bohemia are increasingly found in strips on secondary highways.
Southern California pioneered the boho strip mall scene. Now
it's noticeable in the northeast, including upstate New York.
Highway 9W in New York State runs along the west side of the
Hudson River, more or less parallel with the New York State
Thruway. 9W cuts through the rear end of numerous cities and
long corridors of strip malls. It also passes through suburbia,
rural areas and main drags of small towns. The 11 mile stretch
between the city of Albany and the village of Ravena could
HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN.
Heading down 9W to Ravena one can meet God in a Pentacostal
church that looks like the Grand Old Opry crossed with J.R.
Ewing's Southfork Ranch. Or attend a pre Vatican II Tridentine
Mass at a clapboard spin off from the Roman Catholic Church and
walk in an ornate meditation garden right next to the highway. Or
do Karate for Christ in a mini ghost mall. Winter winds brought
a section of movie screen tumbling down at the Jericho Drive-In.
9W hairpins through graveyards with tombstones lining both sides.
Convenient for those just rushing towards death. Trailer parks
lend a southern flavor. Burt Reynolds, where art thou? In one
of those trailers a philosopher inevitably sits, pondering the
paradoxes of Zeno recast in modern terms: just how does the
tortoise outstrip the truck? Amidst factories and farms,
roadhouses promise home cooking. A down-on-his-luck guy might
buy the come-hither delivered by waitress Cora or Mildred and
fall even further. But ultimately, everyone comes to
THE BARN! THE BARN!
A huge Ravena Flea Market with stock ranging from nails to
dressers. Sorted carefully with all flaws noted. "As is" on
a chipped 50 cent saucer. Important investments require
disclosure. The hubbub and camaraderie of a treasure hunt rises
from the aisles. Patrons run the gamut. Antique hunters rub
shoulders with Mexican migrant workers seeking a ten dollar TV.
Pink haired hipsters want paintings of Jesus on black velvet.
Immigrants from eastern Europe, experienced in the art of
cobbling together computers from Speak N' Spell chips, scavenge
the electronics bins. Young couples on a budget look for
replacement parts for appliances and children are drawn by the
charms of discarded toys. A pile of half dressed, wild haired
Barbies beckon, as do boxes of plastic figures from Disney
promotions of the recent past. The Little Mermaid. The Lion King.
Like yesterday's politicians, they seem puzzled by the fleeting
nature of prominence.
PATROONS NO! INDIANS SI!
The Helderbergs, at the top end of the Catskills, lie to the
west of highway 9W. These rough hewn smaller mountains were among
the hot spots of upstate New York's Anti-Rent Wars of the 19th
century. Vast holdings of land in the upper Hudson Valley and
Catskill Mountain area were granted by the Dutch government to
wealthy Dutch citizens in the 18th century. These landowners
were called Patroons. Some never lived on their land. Others
did and fancied themselves manor lords. The system by which the
Patroons leased land to tenant farmers was close to feudal.
Though the basic system was outlawed at the end of the 18th
century, a politically protected derivation continued well into
the 19th. A long and sometimes bloody series of uprisings by
tenant farmers, plus more peaceful political action, eventually
toppled the system. The rebel farmers took inspiration and
tactics from the American Revolution. To avoid recognition they
dressed for guerilla warfare in disguises-- including calico
dresses and leather masks. When so dressed they called themselves
"Indians", as did similarly clad participants of the Boston Tea
Party when dumping British tea into Boston Harbor.
So begin letters by modern day tenants in New York City as they
attempt to squeeze repairs out of psycho cheapskates convinced
no deprivation is too high a price for the honor of an apartment
in NYC. How to squeeze effectively, plus other helpful hints for
tenants, can be found at Rent Wars: the website, the newsletter and the television show. The latter is available on Public Access in 400,000 homes in Brooklyn and 1.3 million homes in Manhattan.
Each Rent Wars endeavor reflects a creative and strangely fun
approach to the ever raging and deadly serious NYC housing wars.
Though in no way related to the historic tenant farmers movement
the spirit of Rent Wars is decidedly guerilla. Even without the
calico dresses. Check the Online Forum at the Rent Wars website.
Forums can be a ramble among lurking loonies but this one stays
on target with sharp topics and NYC style. Rentwars maestro
Ronin Amano acts as ringmaster.
NEW & IMPROVED-- ON THE QT!
As of the next biweekly issue, On The QT will begin alternating
with all picture "PEEP". Subject matter will range from political
satire, to art for Art's sake. Who is Art? Find out in PEEP.
Guest contributors each issue. Further on down the road: a QT
Internet movie "Jersey City Venus" starring the late, great
Donna Lee Malone. Also, QT's mailing list is being reformatted.
If you stop receiving, it's an error you can correct by
resubscribing. And remember-- if it bugs you and/or makes you
laugh, pass it on. If it copies QT will run with it.
"Aristocracy is not an institution: aristocracy is a sin;
generally a very venial one. It is merely the drift or slide of
men into a sort of natural pomposity and praise of the powerful,
which is the most easy and obvious affair in the world."
G.K.Chesterton, "The Eternal Revolution," Orthodoxy
"The incidents, the places, my friend, we cannot keep this
a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty; let us reward
Criswell, Plan 9 From Outer Space
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. Passed in 1991
the law allocates billions of dollars from the federal gasoline
tax. The question of misuse of ISTEA funds (sometimes called
"free money") has arisen in some Northeast federal corruption
cases. Planning processes regarding use of ISTEA funds are
required by law to involve high levels of public participation.
However, federal oversight is difficult since true public
participation is hard to accurately assess from afar.
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