Does Anyone Here Speak English?

photo, cafe and cannolli, rocco's pastries, bleeker street Café Life in another town, at Rocco's in Bleeker Street.

M o r e G o o d B l o g W e e k

by Ric Erickson

New York:– Saturday, 25. November:– Without a doubt I survived my first Thanksgiving in America on Thursday. The weather was pretty terrible here. It was windy, gusty, and the damn water pelted out of the low scudding sky. How those pom–pom girls in Macy's parade managed to fling their legs over the rainbow without turning blue is one of mankind's greater mysteries.

At least the TV coverage showed... the rain. It was wet. Cold and wet, horrid, and the advertising balloons flew low. Millions went out to watch it. Folks came all the way from distant Arkansas and Saint–Quentin–en–Yvelines just to see the advertisements full of helium!

Later, slogging from the subway to an apartment on the Upper East Side, was zero fun. The streets were deserted except for fish. But inside, up high, protected by a doorman down below, Thanksgiving food was a treat even if the cook nixed the garlic. The Pilgrims didn't think it was American enough.

photo, other music, 4th street Other Music has our sounds.

The day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Americans were giving back. There they were, full of turkey and cranberry jelly, lugging their credit cards off to the sponsors of the parade. Here they call it Black Friday. Why should consumers care if their tormentors break even? They give thanks and then go out and bust the bank. What is that for solidarity? So there they were at midnight banging on the doors of Toys'R'Us, storming the mall at Queens Center at 06:00.

By Friday the storm was past, the skies cleared and the temperature took a bound up by 10 degrees, so of course I saddled up and moseyed along to Queens Center to see the insanity firsthand. Frankly I was not impressed – I have lived through the first day of several Soldes d'Hiver and Eté – not impressed at least until I got to Best Buys.

It was a shambles. Right inside the door, just after the guys frisking customers for terrorist bombs, there was a stack of Phillips DVD players. One dazed store guy said, "Take one, they're only $30." Man I was tempted. I checked out the TVs but they seemed to cost somewhere around $1500. Ripped paper like confetti covered the floor all over while yet more customers streamed into the place.

Outside, drivers were being impatient, nearly running over neat little families composed of mom, dad, stroller, miniature kids, bags, crates – all babbling in Spanish and eating ice cream. It caused me to become hungry so I stopped in at the place that used to be Joe's Shanghai but now seems to be an oriental cantine for Chinese navies and grandmoms, and had a couple of dumplings to calm me down.

Today, of course, not being black Saturday or anything, I took myself off to lower Manhattan, to find the best record store. This would be anything other than the top three turned up by Google. I'm looking for the best music there is, not fodder for an iPod.

photo, mondo kim's video, st marks place Kim's underground sounds emporium.

On the street at 4th and Broadway there is Tower Records on one corner. 'Going Out of Business' say the signs in its windows. Signs inside say, 'Don't ask us when we're closing.' Other signs say, 'Buy it today because it won't be here tomorrow. By the way – no refunds.' I gave it a lookover like a tourist, noted the sign saying, 'Thieves will be busted' and then tooled around the corner and across the street to the Other Music location.

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