Morsel: Some thoughts on the Lottery

I can’t believe I’ve neglected you for over a month. I’m sorry! This is all I can offer for now, some free association…

The other day I was at the CHASE (formerly WAMU) on 88th and Madison, waiting in line to deposit a check. Only one teller was present and was busy helping a Hasidic man wearing ill-fitting pants, with a complicated cash transaction. After a few minutes a little old lady hunched over a small shopping cart joined me in line. Throughout the next eight minutes we waited and I glanced over my shoulder several times to see what she was up to. She was depositing a check- her name, an old fashioned Jewish one, and the address of a building on 87th Street between Madison and Park Avenue, were printed on it. The check was from the New York Lottery. I waited for the amount to become visible and after a few more minutes of shifting in our designated standing area, she moved her thumb over to reveal the staggering amount of $2.00. I looked her up and down and saw that her clothing was very well-made, old fashioned but definitely expensive. So that was kind of crazy.

Then, a few weeks later, I heard of an old man in a nursing home sending his younger relative often, to buy stamps for him. The stamps were for mailing in game pieces for some sort of lottery. His relative didn’t understand it but it seemed to be the old man’s favorite source of entertainment.

Then, the other day I noticed the newest New York Lottery gimmick- the ‘New York Lottery Black,’ another game piece like the rest but its design evokes classic New York luxury, like a 1950’s hotel advertisement, or a fancy whiskey.

I frown on the existence of a state-run lottery. It feels ruthlessly cynical to me that the government provides a pass time whose popularity rests on and highlights the most depressing aspects of the American condition.

I would be curious to know, though, how NY Lottery Black does in ticket sales and what demographic is buying these seemingly classy lottery tickets.


Walking by the Food Emporium on 87th Street and Madison Ave I thought I saw an abandoned funky snowboard out of the corner of my eye.  I was disappointed to realize it was an ironing board.

Wouldn’t it be so UNCOOL it’d be COOL to have a snowboard that looked like an old ironing board?

That thought makes me think of the Futurama (one of my all-time favorite TV shows) episode ‘Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch.’  Amy and Kif are expecting a baby (Kif, a male alien, is the one who is pregnant) and Amy’s mom has Amy’s party board converted to an ironing board.

According to Vintage Inspirations blog, in the days before teflon-coated ironing Continue reading “SNOWBOARD DESIGN IDEA”

I CANT SLEEP: Omer Bhatti is Not Michael Jackson’s Son

Why would Omer Bhatti resemble Michael Jackson the way Jackson looked AFTER plastic surgery?

Omer Bhatti

Note: high cheekbones, chin dimple, and slim nose.

Omer Bhatti and Michael Jackson

Image via

Omer Bhatti and Michael Jackson

Photo via

Young Michael Jackson:

Young Michael Jackson

Image via

Whatever, it’s all O.K.


Was Omer Bhatti Michael Jackson’s Secret Love Child? [Vancouver Sun]
Jackson’s Secret Son No Secret to Family [MSNBC]
Does Jacko Have a Secret Child? [Fox News 2004]

Chirping in the Dark

You know what’s kind of crazy? When you’re drunk, walking home from the subway at 4:55am, it’s still dark out and you’re surrounded by a deafening choir of chirping coming from the cherry blossoms, which you didn’t remember were even there earlier. (87th St. between Park and Lex)

Black Current Pastilles, Fancy Pharmacies

There’s a tin my family has been using to keep sewing pins in for 20 years.  It originally held black currant pastilles – one of my favorite tastes as a kid.  Seeing the tin the other day I became determined to find the pastilles once again.  I googled the brand Allenbury’s, which seems to have changed to Grether’s.

Googling “Grether’s Black Currant Pastilles New York” yielded some fancy pharmacies such as Thompson Chemists, New London Pharmacy, and my local, Zitomer!  Also a website,  (Really?)

I can’t remember going into Zitomer for at least fifteen years but lately keep noticing the giant “Zittles” sign in the second floor window- sounds like a Yiddish nickname but also makes me think of zits.

So I went to Zitomer- turns out the candy counter is right there if you enter through the 76th Street entrance, whose awning also bears the name “Z-Spot.”

Just a note of caution- when I asked the lady behind the counter for Grether’s Black Currant Pastilles she handed me the sugar-free kind without noticing- luckily I was paying attention- I damn sure was for $9 and some change for a 110g tin. (The 110g tin is no cheaper on the Pastilles for Less site which claims to be “Your DISCOUNT site for Grether’s Pastilles!”

The 110g tin contains 44 pastilles, or 22 servings.  It’s been three days and I have one pastille left.  Yikes, this could become an expensive habit.

New  tin, old tin:

In other fancy pharmacy news, Boghen Pharmacy on Park Ave and 88th (One of the few Park Avenue store fronts) has tasty meds!

Below “Tasty Meds” it reads “We flavor kids medicines!”

Come See: New York, N. Why? at The Met.

Rudy Burkhardt, Pedestrians, New York City, 1939
Photo via Met Museum

There’s a show up at The Metropolitan Museum of Art of which I’ve come back to three times because I enjoy it so much, maybe I can convince you to come see it too…

New York, N. Why? (1940) is a handmade scrapbook of silver-gelatin photographs Rudy Burkhardt took in New York City between 1937 and 1940 accompanied by 7 sonnets by the poet and dance critic Edwin Denby.  The Met owns the only copy which has been unbound and hung on the wall in sequence for this exhibition. Continue reading “Come See: New York, N. Why? at The Met.”

A Very U.E.S. Night

A Very U.E.S. Night

(for me was Tuesday, August 5, 2008)


I broke my third power cord for my apple laptop. I managed to post a note on facebook asking if anyone had an extra before draining the reserve battery power playing boggle on facebook (known as Scramble.) Frustrated, I cut in half two old power cords that had broken in different places and tried to join them while everything was plugged in. This created a fizzing sound and crackling sparks. With no internet I napped most of the evening.

I woke up at around 10pm feeling energized. Perhaps tonight I would finally check out karaoke at Dorrian’s Red Hand. For the last few months I had been receiving weekly invites on facebook to Tuesday night karaoke from a barely-known friendly acquaintance. Having previously only heard of Dorrian’s in connection with the Preppy Murder, I was surprised to see that it was still a popular bar attended by people with no ironic intentions whatsoever. I had maintained a strong morbid curiosity about the place from researching Upper East Side crimes and watching the Law and Order episode based on it. Continue reading “A Very U.E.S. Night”

Playhouse 91 to Become Pentecostal Church

Playhouse 91, a 299-seat theater, was built in 1980 in a former stable and ice house. It hosted various theater companies over the years staging productions such as Arthur Miller’s After the Fall, Spook House, A Bronx Take, and The Syringa Tree. Some notable actors who performed there are Harvey Fierstein, Chaz Palminteri, and Frank Langella. Menopause, The Musical, Playhouse 91’s last production, ran for four years.

So what’s coming to the neighborhood? A little research on the Continue reading “Playhouse 91 to Become Pentecostal Church”

Christmas is in the Eyes of the Beholders

The 63rd Annual Park Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting took place tonight outside of The Brick Presbyterian Church on 91st Street. Having somehow never attended or even bumped into one of these ceremonies in my twenty-five years here, I never realized that the trees along the Park Avenue meridian are actually all “Christmas Trees.” Will I look at them a little differently now? Maybe. It’s one of those Platonic/ontological mysteries.


The 63rd Annual Park Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting took place tonight outside of The Brick Presbyterian Church on 91st Street. Having somehow never attended or even bumped into one of these ceremonies in my twenty-five years here, I never realized that the trees along the Park Avenue meridian are actually all “Christmas Trees.” Will I look at them a little differently now? Maybe. It’s one of those Platonic/ontological mysteries.







As I was saying, I saw this car last night parked in the 80’s between Madison and Fifth, prompting this train of thought:

Someone once suggeseted in one of my classes at art school that in our consumer culture we only have the illusion of choice when it comes to what we consume. This is because the public generally does not really know what it wants – it only believes it does within the limits of what it is presented.

Whether that theory is generally true or false, I do not know. But I do know one thing I want…

Back to the Batman car – wouldn’t it be funny if an actor who had starred in one of the Batman movies where the character is very developed – if this actor, a year or so after the film has been released, say even after the DVD has been released, and any press hubub concerning the movie, any promotions one might expect to see around town are finished – this actor gradually tries to assume the character of Batman in real life.

At first, maybe a tabloid or more likely a gossip blog would catch a photo where it appeared as a funny coincidence that this actor was wearing an outfit slightly reminiscent of Batman. The change would be very gradual and the actor would never discuss or advocate anything to do with Batman, but eventually it would be noticed and commented on by more and more press, pundits and tabloids – until it was generally accepted that the actor had gone crazy – but in a lighthearted funny way.

So what I want in general is a new set of celebrity scandals. Especially when it seems that some of them are manufactured to attract attention, at least put a little thought into it! Give us a work of art. A story so good, an anecdote so delightful that it will be told for generations to come.