Z. Madison

For when you're relaxing at home or killing company time - Z. Madison's here for you.


You Couldn't Pay Me To Do It....Again

Twelve years ago tonight, when I was but a wee Freshman in college (Jesus, has it really been that long?), I did something utterly stupid and yet, incredible. A once in a lifetime kind of thing. As in, no way in hell would I ever do it again.

I 'did' Times Square on New Years Eve.

Normally I avoid that stretch of the city like The Plague. Unless there's orchestra seats involved, you won't find me within a ten block radius of Dante's eighth layer of inferno. Back then though, my love affair with New York was still in it's courting phase and I seized upon any opportunity to discover more about where I would come to call home.

From the moment we stepped outside Penn Station and pushed our way through the throngs of tripping Phisheads (Phish used to have a lock on the annual Madison Square Garden New Year's Eve show. FYI, Chris Rock is this year's headlining act.), I knew we were in for a wild ride. Realizing there was no better way to make it to the ball dropping than by hoofing it, we stocked up on 40s purchased with fake IDs and claimed our spot in the street just outside the barricade that surrounded the 'official' Times Square Rocking New Year's Eve.

Back then, I had no idea where I was. I'm pretty sure it must have been between Broadway and Sixth Avenue around 40th Street. When we first got there, our group spread out on the pavement like we were at a picnic. There were drinking games and all the usual college festivities (read: drugs). We made friends with newcomers and counted down the hours until the real fun was to begin.

Fast forward to about 11:15 or so. Our group is now crammed up against one another and swaying with the crowd. People are pissing where they are standing or against any building or semblance of cover they can find (damn those 40s) as all the surrounding businesses smartly shuttered their doors and pulled down the metal guards. Bottles were flying through the air and what cops were visible were trying, in vain, to coax a couple of jerk offs down from the roof of some poor fool's car.

It was chaos. Insanity. Incredible. I loved every minute of it.

I wasn't even sure we'd know when the ball itself was dropping as we didn't have a clear vantage point of the main area. In fact, at that point, I didn't even know WHERE Time's Square was. But all of a sudden, the chaos transitioned into elation. The sway of the crowd began moving in tempo with Auld Lang Syne which thousands and thousands of people were now singing along to. Total strangers were hugging and kissing. Everyone was ecstatic. I've never felt a surge of kinship like that.

Not even a minute later, chaos returned. Angrier, uglier and more brutal this time. Now, you had thousands and thousands of pissed off people trying to get out of a tiny space. People were drunk, had to pee, didn't know where they were going. Cops were suddenly everywhere and pretty briskly going about their business.

We ended up dancing the night away at Phoebe's in the Village.

Every year since, I cringe when I see the shots of Times Square. Well, cringe then smile. But no. You couldn't pay me to do it again.

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Deathwatch 2007: Smoke Em If You've Got Em

As of Wednesday, if you're caught lighting up in a Paris Cafe, it'll cost you 450 Euros (about $660 with today's exchange rate). France, where one in five residents is a smoker, is extending the legislation introduced in February of this year banning smoking in hospitals, schools, airports and public workplaces to essentially what we have in New York now: No smoking indoors anywhere.

As a smoker myself (who's been half assed toying with the idea of quitting for some time now), I wasn't sure how I'd react when Bloomberg instilled our city's ban back in 2002. I have to say though, I'm thankful he did. I think back now to where you could smoke and wonder what the hell were they thinking? It's so much nicer to go out at night and not have to breathe through a cloud of haze (makes nursing a hangover the next day that much easier, too). And restaurants? My God...world of difference.

So you go outside for a smoke. No biggie.

Ireland, of all places, had the next big banning announcement. If the Irish can do it, we bloody well could was Britian's answer earlier this summer (ironically the day this smoker arrived in Merry Ole England for a vacation). Italy, Spain and Belgium have also instituted bans.

So to France, you're in good company. Embrace the ban. It truly will make life better. Oui, oui.

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Pug vs Peacock

With how shitty the weather is outside, I figured a little cuteness/faux horror vignette was in order.


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Don't Say I Never Gave You Anything

Just in time for Christmas, Jet magazine gives the greatest gift of all - MJ in all his gold glory. I'd say it scores tops on the Photoshop Awards list, but neither you nor I have the time to detail all the air brushing techniques in this shot.

Try not to be blinded by this most hot beauty.

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What Is Get Well Soon, Alex

You can now add Jeopardy as one more show that will be on rerun until well into the new year. No, its writers aren't also on strike, it's just Alex's heart that needs some R&R.

Admittedly, I can remember when Alex Trebek looked like the above. I practically grew up with the show and still tune in from time to time. So when I read tonight on CNN that he'd had a heart attack, I was concerned.

Not to worry, it was a 'minor' heart attack and Trebek is resting well at a hospital in Los Angeles. He is expected to recover quickly and resume taping in the new year. I can only hope some old school episodes reair during the hiatus. If only to see more classic moments like this:

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God Bless Texas

It's no Dick Cheney says to read this magazine or I'll shoot you in the face. Nor is it 63 Tacos to eat before you die. But, once again, Texas Monthly pulls off a cover like no other mag could.

Mmmm, steak.

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