Fourth of July, New York

July 06, 2006

Twice on the Fourth of July, I got called a big fatty.

The first time, I was handling my gut -- grabbing handfuls and jiggling it up and down while seated. Putting this in writing makes me realize that it's odd behavior, but I'm sure it was to make some point or other. Amanda asked, "Goodness, you aren't riding your bike any more?"

The embarrassing part is that I have indeed been riding some.

The other time was even less expected. I was coming from the front of the house after resetting a song back to its beginning. I had done that because I had taken too many Pisco Sours (more on that later), and wanted to dance a little, and this song was striking me right. As I was shaking my tail on the way back to where all of the people were, I crossed paths with Eddie on his way to the bathroom.

He laughed and said, "Man! You need to lose some damn weight!" Apparently my gut was bouncing around like Santa Claus after a Krispy Kreme binge. Honest friends: at least I have that going for me.

You will just have to imagine the tune. Your browser doesn’t support this plugin.

(I've linked to the tune here, so you can enjoy it too. The first 20 seconds or so kind of suck, so stick with it. Promise it's good.)

But overall, the Fourth was a good day. There was some worry about heavy rain in the morning getting in our way, but it cleared up just before 12:00, and stayed dry through the afternoon. We cooked and drank all afternoon.

Mrs. theskinnyonbenny shows a concierge all about the Pegu, which he hadn't known about.

Heather mixed drinks based on lessons that she learned while we were in New York last Wednesday through Saturday. I mentioned the Pisco Sour, which was Pisco, lime juice, some other mixer that I can't remember, and an egg white, shaken and served on the rocks with a few drops of bitters. It was very, very good.

Our New York cocktail tour started at Pegu. Over the next few days we continued to other higher-end bars and sampled from their drink specialties. It was a good way to spend a long weekend, and I have no regrets about having missed the Statue of Liberty.

The main reason for flying to New York was that we had tickets to Madonna last Thursday night. As you might expect, Madonna put on a hell of a show, with tons of acrobatic dancers, lights, video, etc. The show went for a full two hours, with many set and costume changes that all happened while other things were going on, so there was never a break in the music.

The stage.

Here are a few other cool things about the show:

  • Knowing that there was a "riding a horse" portion of the show, I predicted Madonna straddling one of the dancers, all covered in leather in a pseudo-horse ride type of thing. That played out before Madonna even hit the stage, with pairs of dancers. Madonna appeared when a disco ball lowered from the sky, and after the horse-people pranced around some, the disco ball opened like a space pod to reveal Esther herself. And then mounted a dancer's back to start singing. I am money.
  • If you've seen any press about the show, you know about the part where she rides up and down on a saddle (which was on a stage spur right near us), and about the cross of mirrors. If you haven't done your homework, this article is pretty good.
  • The horse riding thing.
  • The most common question I get asked is, "Did she sing any of her old songs?" Fortunately, in my opinion, she kept those to a minimum. I can remember three songs from the 80s, so let's say there were four or so. Lucky Star was sung to the beat of Hung Up -- that latest MTV hit, with the dancing around the ugly room in a leotard -- and one of the others was put to the beat of a (Donna Summer?) disco hit. So it really didn't seem like we were subjected to much 80s Madonna pop music. I get the feeling that Madonna dislikes that old stuff as much as I do. By the way, I remembered the details of what songs went with what beats much better directly after the show, but the specifics fail me these many days later.

There's some footage from this tour on YouTube. This one was a good one, although not chronologically correct.

We went to the show with three gay couples. As this show sort of capped off gay pride week in New York, there were not that many apparently straight males to be seen. I'm not sure that I saw any others, but there were probably 12 or 15 of us in the crowd of 25,000 people. But of course, I'm just guessing.

Toward the end of the show, Madonna dropped a white disco suit looking outfit to reveal a swimsuit looking dance thing. When she did that, there was a guy's voice behind me that said in awe, "Look at that Ass!"

Madge in the white disco outfit.

I turned around with arm in air to high-five someone who was like-minded, but when I saw the guy, it was clear that he was just another homosexual, whose awe meant, "Man, I'm really impressed with her dedication to leg lifts," rather than the intention that I thought he meant: "I'm not sure these seats are worth $186, but I would gladly pay four times that amount to slap one of those cheeks." Even though it was clear to us both that we were on different pages, he gamely participated in my high-five.

I should elaborate on the seats. They were expensive, and they were close, but they were directly to the side of the stage. It was kind of cool to be able to see how they quickly changed out sets and props, but annoying to see a lot of backsides, and miss the video behind the stage altogether. We had to wander around and watch from where we could, occasionally being bounced by a creepy usher-type. That was by far the most annoying part of the whole trip.

Being both straight, and directly to the side of the stage, I bet I was the only guy who noticed the lights dancing over Messier's retired number at the top of the Garden. I didn't see any Knicks numbers, but I couldn't see the whole top circle. Surely, they've retired at least a couple of numbers in their history. Ewing must be up there somewhere, right?

Anyway, after the show, we went to a bar across the street to cool down. (It had been kept very hot in the arena.) It was more of a sports bar type of place, whose usual crowd is probably post-basketball or hockey fans. We got to talking to a couple of nice English people and had a really nice time. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny was offered a free triple of whatever she was drinking, plus a free beer for me and both Brits, if she would only give up her brassiere to the bartender. Unfortunately, she held out for eight free drinks rather than six, and an agreement couldn't be reached. Not that we needed any more drinks.

I have one more story before I complete this backwards chronology of my past week.

When we first got to New York, we were walking out of the airport. We passed through a group of drivers trying to sell a ride into the city outside of the normal taxi line. The first guy we talked to gave me too high a price, but the second guy had a reasonable offer, so we followed him to his car.

He motored along without incident until we got to the Midtown Tunnel. A tunnel cop (honest to God, his uniform indicated that he was truly nothing more than a tunnel cop) busted out of the toll booth and yelled for our driver to stop.

He stopped the other lanes so that he could make our driver pull over. He came to the window and chastised our guy for having a cracked windshield.

I was right behind the driver, and Tunnel Cop asked me to roll down the window and produce some ID. That was annoying, but I handed him my license.

He used that to grill the driver about who I was. He had claimed to be driving "friends," since he didn't have a taxi drivers' license. The cop took his stuff and went to his palace -- a booth about 4 feet square, to write tickets for the guy.

He was in there for 20 minutes. Finally, he came back out and returned my license to me. Then he started explaining the normal stuff about your court date and bench warrants and all of that crap to the driver. The driver looked straight ahead.

Tunnel Cop interrupted his own spiel. "SIR I'M OVER HERE. LOOK AT ME WHEN I TALK TO YOU."

"I can hear you just fine. I don't have to look at your face to be listening to what you say." Our driver had the accent of a Caribbean or African.


The driver stayed very calm, but didn't look him in the face either. Tunnel Cop finally lost the last shred of his cool and threw the tickets in the window at him.

We pulled away, and Mrs. theskinnyonbenny observed that Tunnel Cop must have a very small penis.