City of Joyful Dread

I caught a fever, a holy fire

Month: April, 2012

On Israel

Dear TIME Editors,

The wording of TIME’s September 13 cover, “Why Israel Doesn’t Care about Peace,” suggests a critical analysis of the US client state’s harsh political calculus. Unfortunately, the story itself (“The Good Life And Its Dangers” by Karl Vick) delivers an obnoxious encomium to Israeli hipness, disengagement, and technological ingenuity at the expense of a serious focus on Israel’s worsening treatment towards Palestinians, who exist solely as objects of the author’s condescension (e.g. “Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is taking a serious stab at governance”– how shocking to expect from a head of state!) or scorn (the tired cliche that Arafat “turned down a striking passage of Israeli concessions” at Camp David in 2000, which various policy analysts have debunked). His quote on the “security wall” (“‘The wall,’ marvels a former Israeli negotiator, ‘put the Palestinians on the moon,'” a metaphor he enjoys so much he abuses it twice more, including describing the Gaza Strip as the “dark side of the moon”) underscores Vick’s blind worship of brute Israeli power and “innovation,” an idolatry that permeates the whole article. I just wonder why TIME bothered using 1000 words to explain why Israel doesn’t care about peace when one sentence would have sufficed: Israel doesn’t care about Palestinians.

H. Wechsler
unpublished e-mail to, 9/8/2010


Rough Sleeper

We smashed the clubs in Tunbridge Wells
We brawled outside Berlin
We tore off rocks at Blackwall Docks
We warmed to Ho Chi Minh

We crucified at Orléans
We occupied Bourgogne
We blew through walls with cannonballs
We moored at Marylebone

Now we’re out of luck in Hungerford
Sleeping rough in Sevenoaks
We’re ten years banned from Camber Sands
We’re a bunch of desperate blokes

Top Ten Men’s Rooms Compared To Which I Would Rather Use the One on the Cover of Beggars Banquet











One man’s opinion only.

10. The Gallery, Market East, Philadelphia

9. The Khyber, Philadelphia

8. unknown flea market, Wharton, NJ


7. Johnny Brendas, Philadelphia

Pre-remodeling, back when everyone who wasn’t a hipster drank PBR and it wasn’t cool.

6. Staten Island Ferry, Whitehall Terminal, NYC

Saturday night, summer of 1995.

A few of us waiting forever for the ferry to come, and I desperately need the men’s room.

There are five stalls.

Someone is in one of them.

The other four have no toilet paper.

So I wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Whoever is using the fifth stall groans in agony.

John uses one of the urinals, then tries each of four sinks for soap.

No soap.

Outside, he asks the enormous cleaning man, who is flabbergasted.

“Soap???” he gasps in puzzlement. “We don’t GOT no soap–???”

I continue to wait as the man in the fifth stall groans and groans.

Five minutes.

Ten minutes.

Eventually, a flush.

Simultaneously, the enormous cleaning man walks in clutching rolls of toilet paper in his hands as the stall door creaks open and a bewildered elderly man in a cheap suit shuffles out.

The bewildered elderly man immediately notices the rolls of toilet paper in the enormous cleaning man’s hands, turns a ghostly pale, clutches his head in shock, and cries out:

“NOW he puts it in—JESUS!!!—I had to waste a napkin—!!!!!!!”

So we missed the ferry.

5. The Bean Café, South Street, Philadelphia

4. Bazaar of All Nations, Clifton Heights, PA

Sadly, Bazaar is no longer with us— so where else can one buy a t-shirt that depicts two pigs fucking and reads IF SEX IS A PAIN IN THE ASS, ROLL OVER?-but will fondly be remembered for its men’s room stalls with half-doors, meaning that, unless you were a midget, your head would be visible while seated. Clifton Heights wasn’t just big hair and somewhere for Cousin Sheldon to buy a cheap case of Schlitz.

3. Cat’s Eye Pub, Fells Point, Baltimore

a.k.a. the men’s room that most RESEMBLES the cover of Beggars Banquet. I swear I have photos somewhere, but I’m actually wondering whether I just dreamed the Zappa quotes.

2. McDonald’s, Sunset Boulevard, Echo Park, LA

As previously recounted. (Note, however, this was technically the women’s room.)

1. Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel lobby, Asbury Park, NJ

The only men’s room ever that I was both too scared and too nauseated to use. Whoever used it before me apparently went Berserkeley.

Worth mentioning: LA Farmers Market, also pre-remodeling, where as recently as 1991 you could still read graffiti like IF YOU VOTED FOR NIXON YOU CAN’T SHIT HERE CAUSE YOUR ASSHOLE’S IN WASHINGTON.

Beggars Banquet reference which inspired this post courtesy of Tom M.