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Priceless

Priceless

A picture is worth a thousand words — especially when the letters have been rearranged to spell “vomit.” What more needs to be said?

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The folks on the G line near Pratt have been especially creative recently, so I thought I’d share their work with the rest of you. The one above is a sentimental mash up that shows how sports cheese and Lifetime channel romance cheese blend so seamlessly. The one below is just FUNNY.

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Hit bonus plus two for being a "native"

Hit bonus plus two for being a "native"

Two art interventions caught my eye the other day, so I thought I’d share. The one above is more obviously hipster ironic than the one below. The one below is just great art. (I hope you can see the stubble lovingly drawn in on her chin.) Now that the G will only be running every half hour, young aspiring artists will have plenty of time to perfect their skills at the Metropolitan stop.

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Kathy, or Ken?

Chinese electric cars, courtesy of the NY Times

Chinese electric cars, courtesy of the NY Times

There’s plenty of uncertainty on what the future holds, but one thing is for sure, the 21st century will not be like the 20th.

While Obama and Gordron Brown try to convince the Europeans not to take away our capitalism toys, the Chinese are making exactly the kinds of massive public investments in the future that Krugman and others have argued the US must make in order to stay relevant. The money isn’t the problem. Excluding some rightwing nutters in Congress, our country has signed on to the idea that something must be done (other than cut taxes) to ameliorate this economic crisis. But why isn’t any of that money going to beef up Amtrak or the MTA? The answer: no one in power in America, either Democrat or Republican, has a 21st century vision.

But the Chinese have it.

Outside the Court Square stop in Queens

Outside the Court Square subway station in Queens

What’s the news on NYC’s slice of the stimulus money? I hear complaints from conservatives that the money isn’t going to “shovel ready projects,” and then I hear complaints from liberals that the money that IS going to “shovel ready projects” is paying for thousands of miles of new highway in the fly-over. Ahem, but, NYC has billions of dollars of shovel ready projects ready to go. Second avenue subway anyone?

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This guy was on the 2 line headed uptown a week ago. His patter was so good it had everyone in the car in stitches. He singled out participants and sang old R&B tunes with improvised lyrics personalized just for them. (Think “When a Man Loves a Woman” with the words changed to comment on her touristy fanny pack or Midwest sized hair sprayed hair.) He had an electric bass, a giant amp (far too loud for a cramped space like a subway car), and a voice like fingernails on a chalkboard wrapped in a twix bar that has been dropped next to the train car’s heater and left to molder for several weeks. There was no getting away from the music.

Even though the quality of the music left something to be desired, his charm and moxie won over all the passengers — even the ones who obviously were on the brink of committing mass murder. (You know who you are.) It was a real New York City moment — a bunch of surly strangers brought together by humor and wit, if only for a few minutes.

oil-fields

Dubai is a palace of excess and contradition. It is a mushroom that paradoxically bloomed under the whithering rays of the sun. But the leadership of the UAE is a lot smarter than anyone in America today. From today’s New York Times:

[The UAE’s] new investment [in renewable energy] aims to maintain the gulf’s dominant position as a global energy supplier, gaining patents from the new technologies and promoting green manufacturing. But if the United States and the European Union have set energy independence from the gulf states as a goal of new renewable energy efforts, they may find they are arriving late at the party.

The irony that the most wasteful and oil dependent part of the globe should be on the cutting edge of green energy is unremarkable next to the ambition — characteristic of the Gulf states — to go all the way all at once. Consider Masdar City, a planned community outside of Abu Dhabi that claims it will have a zero-carbon footprint. Even though skeptics doubt this claim, it is notable not for its complete success in execution, but for its audacity.

According to the Times article, Qatar has invested $225 million into a British research fund, and Saudi Arabia has invested untold millions into American universities, including $25 million for Michael McGehee an associate professor at Stanford, to develop cutting edge technologies. That is fifty times the amount invested by Western governments or industry.

Finally, the Times tells us Masdar City “goes beyond creating new materials and is in fact exploring a new model for urban life.” To wit: “The city will have no cars; people will move around using driverless electric vehicles that move on a subterranean level. The air-conditioning will be solar powered.” As a New Yorker I take exception to this. After all, we also have subterranean electric cars that move people around. It’s called the subway. If only the city, state, and federal government could get their posteriors and capitals wired together they could see that a massive investment in the New York City subway is a necessary good faith effort to putting America into the 21st century.

This intervention almost speaks for itself. The Stepford Wives of Orange county are faceless, but their pudenda speak immodestly loud.

Whoever did the bruise makeup on this poster is a genius. Kudos to you my anonymous friend. (Poster Boy, is it you?!)

I encourage all bored transit riders, art students, hipsters with something to say, and people with Sharpies to try and do a little better than “Woman with a Goatee” at the Lorimer L station. This is not very creative. If you’re going to take the time to marker in a goatee, why not add horns? Make her walleyed. But seriously, the best interventions are the ones that use an exacto knife, like Deion and Pillar at the Clinton Washington G station.

The penis graffito is probably the oldest symbol in the world.

BTW, This is a close runner up: ({}).

There are many, many examples of the penis graffito, but for the sake of space (and sanity) we’ll just look at two from the Clinton-Washington G train stop. Both of them seek to impose sexual power on the person in the poster, and the only difference between the two — and it’s a slight one at that — is the gender object of the power.

Poor Moonshadow! He looks happy, but size of that member cannot be very satisfying.

Is it pornography? If it is, what can a concerned citizen do about it? Public decency is absolutely necessary — no one would argue it is OK for men to walk the streets wagging their membri viri at passersby. But how can you stop someone from stamping a symbol of male power on a poster in the subway? You could have the cops check everyone’s bag for Sharpies. Giuliani introduced paint-proof trains to get rid of unsightly graffiti. One rider took the matter into her own hands and attacked the vandals on their own turf:

From the Clinton-Washington G stop (Queens bound track):

Blacked out teeth are easy but not always funny. It looks like Marvell meets the Beverly Hillbillies. This person, however, has a good eye for humor. (heh heh.)

Walleyed pin-up girls are always funny.

It’s erotic and scary. Gives you that fun tingly feeling all the way to work.

This is from the Lorimer L stop on the Manhattan bound track.

Obviously Kathy Griffin is laughable. That’s why they chose her to host the show. The question is, is a Hitler mustache always funny, never funny, only sometimes contextually funny? It is the easiest form of graffiti, but it must be offensive to the many, many Jews living in Williamsburg. Or is it? The “Void” stamp on her forehead critiques both Griffin’s imbecilic smile and the black smudge on her upper lip. (Could they be the work of the same hand?) The entire picture says “American TV is liberal fascism ultimately void of content.” If we were going to place this on the political spectrum, is this the kind of thing Jonah Goldberg would say? Or Jello Biafra?

The G train from Metropolitan to Hoyt-Schermerhorn is a laboratory for individual artistic interventions in corporate advertising. This one is on the Smith and 9th street bound track at Clinton-Washington. Notice also the name on the helmet.