Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Keeping Cubes Clean

Amazing. Germophobia has infiltrated the office supplies market. I gues this is how you make people buy new versions of things that never break: "antimicrobial staplers" at Office Depot.

I'm as germ-conscious as the next guy -- heck, more so -- but I am agog at the array of products that "feature a compound that is added to the plastic to prevent growth of bacteria and molds." What about the rise of supergerms? What about all those little marketing coordinators who will grow up without antibodies?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

He's a Super, Man

Home sick today. Read all of Peter Bagge's "Hate," a bday present from my Clinton Hill pal, an ex-Seattlite. Ate sparingly. Drowsed. Gave the Brita a workout. But all this laying about was good for getting out the vote. The mayoral bid is picking up steam.

In case you're not keeping up with the Zimses, I'm running for Mayor of My Apartment, in advance of Bloomberg's imminent run for the POTUS spot. Yesterday I got the endorsement of my bedside table and two pairs of shoes. The windows are still on the fence, but I see through them. They just want me to wash their backs. The magazines aren't organized, so they may never have a unified voice, but I have a back-channel plan to win over all the New Yorkers. I think the BusinessWeeks are looking for a more fiscally minded candidate. An early poll of the eggs in the fridge shows sentiment running high against me, so I ate two of them just to show how far I'll go when pushed. We'll see how they feel about me tomorrow morning. At breakfast time. Now that I have a new stove.

LordZim readers wouldn't know this, because for a mayoral candidate I've been a very slack little blogger, but my oven went down. Not sexually -- permanently. According to the mustachioed expert from Speedway Appliance, "mice chewed up the wiring." Mice! Now that would be a wily voting bloc. Happily, not one has ever shown its whiskery nose in my presence, so I bear them no personal animus.

Hey -- anagram alert. Animus = I'm anus. Were truer words ever typed? Now let's move on to palindromes. Here's the famous one: Madam I'm Adam. OK, ready? Madam I'm Anus, Tsunami Madam. (I'm also the perfect storm, a Mayoral candidate with a lot to ADD.)

But we were talking about how my oven went down for the count. Once down, it dragged the dishwasher with it. Happily, I don't wash lots of dishes or cook much (turncoat eggs aside), so the loss of these two appliances was no deathblow to my bachelor lifestyle. In fact, my bachelor lifestyle seems to have shrugged it all off and gone to Tahiti without me. Curses, lifestyle -- I'll have my revenge on you yet.

You must be wondering how an oven can break a dishwasher -- outside of Appliance Rodeo season, of course. Allow me to explain. By now you must have seen the stacking washer-dryer "units" popular in condo closets. As space-saving as these are, they are not trendsetting. In fact, these days they border on passe, now that the Europeans have brought two-in-one laundry machines to our shores.

One ring to unite them all: Preciousssss.
One big steel box to wash and dry them all: Priceless.

(To the tune of "Troglodyte," by The Jimmy Castor Bunch) But way back in the days when John Lindsay ruled New York, there was a space constraint that too many people knew about. And every night, about a quarter to ten, the doors would swing open. A hulking frame would appear. It would be none other than …

Modern Maid. Before she was swallowed up in the savage appliance-maker consolidations of the last century, Modern Maid made modern but now extinct kitchen combos like the one that used to dominate this leaderless cubby.

Ingenious solutions flourish in the space-starved shoeboxes that pass for dwellings here in the modern city, though no space-saver is as genius as the combo oven-stove-dishwasher package -- or "unit" -- I had to surrender yesterday. It was black, and it featured a dishwasher at floor level, four gas burners directly atop that, a "work area" above that, and then an oven at eye-level. It also had a clock, a timer, lights, and even a noisy fan that I always turned on when cooking -- only to discover yesterday that it wasn't vented to anywhere. (No wonder this place got so smoky.) When the "mice" chewed up the oven wiring, they wrecked the dishwasher too.

In brief, the whole thing died last month, so yesterday a guy showed up to dismantle and remove it. Why was I not surprised to find a big pink wall where the unit used to stand? (Note to Campaign Staff: This pinko streak may be very useful when I assemble my Coalition for Victory.) Once upon a time, apparently, someone painted the whole kitchen a lurid shade of bubblegum. Time passed, and soberer hues (white, white, white, and more white) prevailed in the visible areas, but no one ever bothered to paint behind the Modern Maid. Now that the Maid herself is but a fading memory, a stick of gum looms above the new oven, a Frigidaire four-burner that hulks low and white where once towered a mighty black space-saving giant.

Why have you just read all this?

I don't know. I just work here. But here's the soft pink underbelly to the foregoing. The inspirational money shot.

When I saw the super today in the lobby, he said, "You have a new stove!" (He knew the old one was shot when he looked at it a month ago. He didn't need no stinking mustachioed experts, but the landlord did.) I agreed and told him about the pink wall, saying the landlord wants me to paint the wall for her, and given the rent I pay, I don't see why I should do any work here. Then -- are you ready? -- the super channeled Oprah: "When I used to rent, this would happen to me too, but I always painted the wall or did the fixing myself. I did not do it for the landlord -- I did it for me."

Speechless, I was, before this textbook example of a fully realized, balanced adult behaving maturely. Why, this mindshift could change my whole life. It could provide a template for a new approach to the world. Though it pains me to refer to Nietzsche twice in a week, it was a perfect example of an ubermenschlich action, even if der Uberman was only ein Renterman at the time.

Did I march right upstairs and take control of my life? No, of course not. I reasoned his good sense right out of my head. Of course he painted things -- he's a super, man. He's good at painting and spackling. I am not. I have a history of postponing home repairs for years, even when the home belongs to me. If someone were to ask me to help them paint a room elsewhere, I'd be willing. That's usually kind of fun. But I'm busy. And with regard to the spackling arts, I'm lazy.

Apart from all that, to be honest, I'm not really ready to paint over the one note of delirious color in my austere precincts. When I look at that giant gumstick above the stove I have to smile. If I squint, I can almost see in its raw edges and random pencil scribblings ("19") a third-rate Ab-Ex canvas.

So maybe I don't want an all-white kitchen just yet. Maybe I'll wait till after the election. Besides, I think that wall vote is a cinch once I nationalize the Swiffer and agree to let the gays marry.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Starving the Beast

Traffic down at LZ, waaay down. They say that the Republican approach to government is to "starve the beast" -- strip Washington to so poor and impoverished a state, shuttering bureaus and weakening laws that government collapses in on itself and surrenders to the rule of business. (Worked good, guys. Make way for Dems!) And yes, that's just what we've been doing here at LordZim: starving the beast. Yes, it's true. The traffic to this blog had grown so vast and demanding, the requests for ideas so unrelenting, the requests for pages so server-crippling, that I, as Lord and Zim of all I survey, had no choice but to weaken the public's grip on my spare time.

So I went dark. Swam down to the inky depths and took my thoughts with me. The loyal audience suffered, no doubt, but you knew it was good for you. A long-needed respite from the regular luxuriant infusion of ideas and philosophy to which you and you had grown so accustomed. Dare I say addicted?

I dasn't.

So what do I do now? Well, first, I announce my candidacy for mayor of my apartment. With Bloomberg setting his sights on Washington, a void in the body politic looms ahead, and civic-minded New Yorkers are already jockeying for position. I'm warming up. I'm acting locally, thinking globally. Dig the new breed, baby!

Second, I announce a temporary abdication of the iron horse, owing to sciatic issues. This too poses a void, insofarasmuchas my recreational commutes have given way to the grimy subway lifestyle. I have to make my own endorphins in the bathtub now, employing a complicated algorithm stolen from Bell Labs.

Third, I announce a moratorium on announcements.

Thank you. Thank you for your time, and now, a few items from the news department.

1. My mom. Yes, my mom. My mom yesterday swung wide the doors of her digital domain and accepted the majesty of broadband in to her life. Praise Roadrunner! Praise the cable! Praise Nelson the installerman. Praise cable modems and pass the content, because here comes my mom, watching online video for the first time. I also explained Nietszche's concept of the superman and the slave, and it seems to have gripped her powerfully.

2. New Mac. Yes, a silvery new Mac for the new year, and soon -- tomorrow! -- new higher-speed broadband service here at LZHQ. The March of Progress is unstoppable.

Well, that's our show! Duty calls, and I must run. Happy new year to you and yours, and stay tuned.