Hobos in Space

Two west side hobos talking in a vacuum, thinking they're funny.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


LOW opened for Wilco last night at Hammerstein Ballroom. The Minnesota band continues to illustrate why they've been around for quite a while,
perhaps without listeners like myself even knowing it. They have a
familiar sound, both eclectic and soothing. And as we climbed the steps
to the second Mezzanine level, I wracked my brain to figure out where
I've heard them before.

I have to admit: I was prepared to be disappointed last night, not
because I don't like Wilco's new album, Sky Blue Sky. (I really like its
mellow tone and for that, I may be in the minority.) Rather, because
the last time I saw them was unbelievable; "unbelievable" as in part of
the triumvirate of the best lives shows I've ever seen. July 2005, they
played an endless concert at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo
New York; the weather was perfect, hot but breezy; the venue was small
not even close to overcrowded, and they were at their best. This past
October, I went into mourning when I learned Wilco was playing a concert
in my college gymnasium and I couldn't extricate myself from yearlong
plans to attend. The Albright Knox Art Gallery's grounds, St. Vincent
College's gym, and countless other college gyms: those are the venues I adore,
and the ones I bow down to Wilco for playing. And so, Hammerstein Ballroom
seemed rather large and as can be typical of NYC, impersonal. I
couldn't shake that thought as we settled into our general admission
seats, stage right, about 6 rows back. Hammerstein Ballroom has a
shoddy elegance about it. The stairs have tape on them, and there are
pillars obstructing views. But our seats were great, and the creaking
wood steps and seats are a throwback to its pre-war origins. The refreshment
stands have old neon signs, and they sell the kind of popcorn old movie
houses are famous for. Cold beers, good seats, no lines in the
bathroom, and I was on my way to being proven wrong.

When Wilco ascended the stage, my preconceptions vanished entirely.
They have that quality: an ability to completely obliterate everything
but the present. Their performance make me conscious only of that exact
moment. I'm not wondering when the hell they're going to come out. I'm
not wondering what they'll play next. I'm not wondering what the lines
in the bathroom are looking like. I'm not wondering how many more times
the hipster next to me is going to get up. I'm not wondering how long
they'll play or when they'll call it a night. I'm completely engrossed.
They grabbed me early with some of my favorite songs from Sky Blue Sky,
"Impossible Germany," "Either Way," "Shake It Off". They opened with
"You Are My Face", and as Tweedy started with the litany of lineage "I
remember my mother's sister's husband's brother", I felt once again like
he was telling me a story. The kind of stories Johnny Cash, Willie
Nelson, Kenny Rogers, and Woody Guthrie tell. Maybe that's
why I like the new album. Critics complain that it lacks Yankee Hotel
Foxtrot's experimentalism. However what the album may lack in the
experimental, it gains in its new twist on Tweedy's alt-country roots (from the Uncle Tupelo days). They kept me awed with Foxtrot favorites like "I'm The Man Who Loves You," "Jesus Etc.," and "I am Trying to Break Your Heart." "Walken" and
"Handshake Drugs" sounded even better live than on disc. Being wrong never felt so good.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The last memorable temp at Hobos Inc, and I really hate to do this, but I can't be stopped, was this largish, lumpish boy with curly hair. He looked like the chubby offspring of a mad scientist. He wore old-style professorish blazers and, I swear, suspenders, tortoiseshell glasses, his pants were short by maybe half an inch or so, his hair boinged uncontrollably in all sorts of directions, and he was a little doughy. He scared me a little. He always had the same speaking volume, which was at high bray.

Our coworker thought he was a little autistic. He swooped into every little office party. It was amazing to watch him eat. I wouldn't want to be in the same hot dog eating contest with him. I only go up against people I think would hurl after three hot dogs, and these are not necessarily the skinniest people. But I think this kid would beat me for sure.

So anyway, one day a group of us were in the elevator after work, and at the very last second, even though the elevator was full, the boy got in. He takes up a lot of space, in many ways. As we made our descent, the car packed in a bit more, and he moved back. The car got really hot all of a sudden, and I felt the air change even before I smelled it. The kid let a really deep one rip, and suddenly the car was filled with butt gas. When I noticed the change in the air, pushed my hair in front of my face and started breathing in my scalp and didn't look up for fear of making eye contact with anyone.

The poor kid's got a flatulence problem. The next day, I walked by him while he was in the file cabinets alley, and right as I passed him, he passed along something, too. God, that sound. And it spurted out like it was some force of nature, like unstoppable and shit. It blared out like a muted trumpet. And I think Cass overheard him saying something about how the Imodium AD wasn't working.

He got moved around the office every few days until he'd been moved every which way and spread his essence to all corners. After everyone expressed an interest in not being gassed out while working, thank you very much, he ended his tenure there and I never saw him again.

I kind of miss him. No one complained about how I smell when he was around.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pube # 1: King of the Pubes

In terms of accolades, you can't get any more balder or transparent than that. In fact, bald and transparent sort of covers it. What, the boy is thirty, looks twelve, and cannot for the life of him grow a 'stache that allows him to rise up and graduate out of the wee-wee boys club. He remains forever a Mouseketeer with a milquetoast face and a sparsely haired nutsack for a head. His chin is covered in a fine spattering of fuzz, and his grin is earnest and skeevy, all at once. He looks like the kind of guy who charges sex on his American Express Black card, and indeed, that is the case, if you're a total snide reductionist like me, Tiresias.

Ladies and gentlemen ... uh, ladies (quite sure that our readership is mostly the former), I give you Justin Timberlake, otherwise known as The Pube. It's not like anyone will usurp his throne anytime soon. He'll be seventy and he'll just look like a sagging, wrinkly bagged hairy nutsack. His chin will just be covered in liver spots and his morning huevos rancheros, and the hair will be just a wee longer and more pube-like, because he thinks the length gives him a more magisterial gravitas.

We, Tiresias and Cass, don't get it.

He is NOT attractive. He is NOT talented. And his "racy" videos ("Cry Me a River" and the newest one "whatever the fuck it's called" featuring ScarJo) aren't sexy. They're creepy. He's clearly harboring some resentment against the women he's dated. Issues - perhaps he'll outgrow them? Doubtful.

REALLY, though -- what up peoples? What's wrong with Us Weekly? With popular culture? With WOMEN? What is the appeal of this guy? He's ugly. Don't we have actual real examples of men? Why aren't they getting jumped with the regularity of this guy? Or maybe those women with a bit of common sense who manage to express their affections and intentions to these stalwart models of masculinity actually exhibit a sense of class and decorum, and don't find a walking premature penis sexy in any way.

You know why you can't have sexy back, you whoreboy? You never had it to begin with.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tiresias Breaks Her Silence: "Put Them Away!"

The call came in simply enough: a request from a relative. Our dear Tiresias has become the personal shopper of a thirty-five-year-old fourth cousin/grandchild/grandniece (Tiresias's lineage is long as the days and hard to track). Said fourth cousin/grandchild/grandniece is with child and requested that Tiresias take her seeing eye-dog over to Macys (luckily it's open again, following the bizarre ConEd fart of yesterday) and head straight to the Maternity section. I heard Tiresias's shriek all the way from Grand Central. Now that she has gathered her wits again, she's offered some thoughts on the horrifying, yet necessary errand and on the need for the bra, in general:

"Yes, they're a necessity or you're going to have major flopping of flesh ... I actually find the free swing of mammary glands just a bit disgusting, as though you're advertising your breeding potential ... and I'm not into that. And it seems something more appropriate for, oh, I don't know, a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere, a beach in high summer, a vacation somewhere else fabulous (but also remote), or while in some state of dishabille. If you're getting out of the shower or you've just gone to bangkok, it's okay.

"Other than that, it's no-go."

Friday, December 29, 2006

No Longer Bitter Stew?

I was all set to post a bitter rant about how Hobos Inc. is empty, and yet, I still HAD to return (from the Great White North) for two days of work. I was all set to comment on the fact that despite half of New York is not working this week, midtown streets are packed. Reporters in the trenches (Rock Center) have cabled in to tell us that it took them approximately twenty-five minutes to move three blocks. Even Hell's Kitchen is no longer safe. Tourists have waded through 8th Ave and crossed over into the sacred ground of 9th Ave, creating long lines at local favorites, like Basilica. This morning, as I made my way to the subway, the streets of the W Village were eerily empty; morning dog walkers and espresso sipping loiterers seem to have vanished. In contrast, our second home at Penn Station, is bursting at the seams. I witnessed a little boy escape the clutch of his suitcase dragging parents and dash across 7th Ave, only to be saved from a serious flattening by the vigilant eyes of the cab stand man and surprisingly, a cab driver. As father and the cab stand man shook their heads, mother hugged her little darling. And I, Cass, rather than breathing a sigh of relief, couldn't help but think my parents would have given me a corrective, loving swat on the ass.

So yes, I was bitter and ready to expel my bitterness on the digital page, as my dear Tiresias, recipient of most of my bitter stew is away on a much needed (and much deserved) sojourn to her Sweet Home of Georgia. And then..........my bitterness faded. How? I stepped on to the 1 train to the sound of my favorite MTA driver/announcer's voice: "Good Morning New York." I have been a passenger, always on Fridays it seems around 8:40AM, of this man before. And he makes me smile. He enunciates and speaks like a living, breathing, happy person! "Good morning New York....looking good New York" is one of my favorite lines. He was even in the seasonal spirit this fine Friday: "Peace and prosperity in the New Year!" At stops like 14th and Penn Station, he makes sure to stress the New Jersey connection: "Transfer is available to the PATH train to Neeeeeeeeewwwwwww Jersey." And he offers helpful instructions on where to make that connection: “walk to the front of the train.”

So bitter tirade averted...thanks to the MTA #1 driver. I highly recommend taking a ride, Fridays around 8:40; jump on the Uptown 1 at Houston.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Caught Knitting in Conference Room by Hobos Upper-Level Staff. Twice

Really, wouldn't you, if you were caught once, just close up shop and get out of there?

Nope. I stayed. Moved my chair back so it was behind the door (you know, sneaky, but totally ineffective), put my feet up, and kept the needles going, my electric blue loom of disaster. And then he popped in again with an apologetic look and said it was for the last time. I shoved my knitting into the chair and bent over my notebook, which had a three-column list of all the movies I had seen in 2006. I was about to make a separate column for all the movies I saw on video, plus all the tv shows. The previous page in the notebook had nasty notes next to some quotes by co-workers I despise. I said, "I'm totally taking a break here." Then when he left, I finished my row and got the hell out.

I'm pretty sure he saw. But I had my manuscript with me ... and I WAS working! (When I wasn't updating my movie lists.) I just needed to take a break.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tis the Season

It's that time of year. Stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Macys' windows are all aglow. A large decorated Christmas tree stands proudly in Penn Station...with the ornaments (surprisingly) still on the tree. The hobos are asleep by the planters, and Penn Station is back to smelling like urine.

The Goldman Sachers are out blowing their 600K (minimum) bonuses they received just Wednesday. And yet, we at Hobos Inc., remain saddened by the plight of the less fortunate. Like ourselves. We had our lovely company party today, and our bonuses arrived in a neatly packaged mini cupcake: 2K calories straight to our asses.