I am considering buying a minidisc recorder or one of those iPod add-ons in order to be able to post little snippets of unusual sounds that I encounter, especially snippets of subway performer music.
From what I can tell, this guy is a pretty good didgeridoo player. Also, it’s one of the few instruments that allows the performer to say “thank you” through the instrument. Well, that must have been the funniest “thank you” that I ever got from a subway performer for my buck.
Now, this guy is probably the worst pan (pronounced “pon”, like “man” is pronounced “mon”) player. I don’t usually give money to sub-par players, but this guy was the worst of the worst. He did get my dollar for what must be the most terrible steel drum rendition of “Hava Nagila” I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard a few.
As a side now, in the subway “Hava Ngila” is one of the main money makers for hacks. Also you get to hear a lot of Pink Panther Theme, Jeopardy! Theme aka “Think Music” and Katyusha. It’s kind of fun to hear these on exotic instruments like “musical saw”, but more often then not it’s a nuisance.
When I lived in Odessa, Ukraine, I once encountered a most strange cat. Odessa used to have a huge open air book market, right in the middle of the city. Kind of like a much larger and organized version of the street booksellers in front of NYU. Me and my dad spent a lot of our time and money there. On one of our trips, my dad pointed out a cat sitting in a tree near the book market. On a number of our visits there that stretched over weeks and months, the cat was still there. Water and food dishes appeared there. Somebody told us that the cat apparently went a bit crazy and refused to leave the tree (even though it wasn’t a very high one). Kind hearted booksellers started to feed the cat. I am not sure exactly how long the cat stayed in the tree, or if he or she ever left it.
New York has strange cats of its own. Subway cats. The most famous one of those, Schatzie the cat that lives in the Fulton Street station, according to Randy Kennedy’s book “Subwayland : Adventures in the World Beneath New York.” The mice and rat population must make living near the deadly third rail and moving trains possible for cats. Sadly, eating those rodents must be pretty dangerous too, because they are frequently poisoned.
Well, I found a subway cat of my own under the platforms of the Kings Highway station.
Actually I spotted two, a tabby and a tuxedo, but was able to take a picture only of the tabby. She sat there calmly, not bothered by my flash. I hope she’ll stay safe there.
Higher class of corporate denizens absolutely love metaphors, buzzwords and doublespeak. Corporate conversations are sometimes a bit similar to the way that Mr. Helpmann speaks in the movie Brazil:
“Bad sportsmanship. A ruthless minority of people seem to have forgotten good old-fashioned virtues. They just can’t stand seeing the other fellow win. If these people would just play the game… ”
“We’re fielding all their strokes, running a lot of them out, and pretty consistently knocking them for six. I’d say they’re nearly out of the game.”
“All I can say is don’t fall at the last fence. The finishing post’s in sight. See you in the paddock… keep your eye on the ball. ”
Although Mr. Helpmann only uses sports metaphors, they usually come in a much wider variety as chronicled at jennypeters.com.
For some reason, public transportation in a form of a bus became a symbol of “quick corporate death” as in “you need to document this project for the “hit by a bus scenario”" or “what if Joe gets hit by a bus tomorrow?”. There’s even an expression “bus number” – a number of key people in a company.
Yesterday I’ve encountered the actual “hit by a bus” scenario:
Apparently some old lady got run over by an MTA bus and lost a leg. My favorite cop quote from the incident – “Hey, you better get onto the sidewalk, especially in light of what happened here.”