At first I thought maybe he was surreptitiously sketching his fellow riders. "Who says this is no longer a town for artists!," I thought to myself. Clearly David Byrne, Patti Smith, and every other rich, aging artist who has taken to the pages of the Times and the Guardian to denounce New York City as a materialistic cultural wasteland were wrong. But then I glanced over at the paper, at which point I realized he was basically drawing porn.
Unfortunately I was unable to obtain a photo of the porn, because even in 21st century New York City it's generally unwise to take obvious pictures of the sorts of people who draw pornography on the subway. Instead, I was forced to pretend that I was reading my phone while surreptitiously shooting photos, but I was unable to get the right angle while maintaining the ruse. Even inverting the photo and zooming it in doesn't reveal the image, thanks the the artist's surprisingly delicate line work:
I can, however, report that it appeared to be a representation of a woman with her hands tied behind her back squatting over a man's face, but whether she was receiving cunnilingus or administering urine or feces I cannot say. I also suspect that the artist is not under the impression he is drawing porn, and is probably a devotee of "manga" or some other dark facet of extreme nerdism. Still, call me old-fashioned, but when I see a picture of a woman squatting over a man's face, I says it's porn.
Speaking of material with little in the way of redeeming cultural value, I found myself reading an inverview with Levi Leipheimer this morning:
In which the interviewer makes this observation:
VN: They probably appreciate it, too. I mean, I doubt parents are saying, “you better not listen to Levi because he made bad decisions so many years ago.”
This is patently untrue. In fact, I said just this to my seventeen (17) children the other day. There we were, playing with our USADA Reasoned Decision flash cards, and I said to them all, "See this guy? Don't listen to him!"
Believe me, it's not specific to Levi. I just don't want my children listening to pro cyclists, or indeed any pro athlete. What life experience does an athlete have that is in any way relevant or useful to the rest of us? Dedication? Determination? Please. If anything, life is the art of knowing exactly when to quit, which is pretty much the antithesis of professional sports.
Other people I tell my children not to listen to are Ralph Kramden, because his harebrained schemes always backfire:
And of course Jesus:
It's not like Jesus didn't have some nice things to say, it's just that nothing good has come from any of it. If my children are going to learn from fictional characters I'd much rather them watch TV. For example, "Sesame Street" teaches children pretty much exactly the same values Jesus does, with the added benefit that nobody has ever used some shit Elmo said as the pretext for invading another country.
Actually, that's not entirely true:
("'O' is for 'Oil,' and 'A' is for 'Airstrike!'")
I guess what I'm saying is that the sooner you teach your kids they're living in an Orwellian dystopia the better, which is why when they behave mine get to watch the move version of "1984:"
It's just like the Pixar movie "Ratatouille," except instead of being lovable and charming the rat just chews through is face.
Speaking of those crazy athletes, there's a movement afoot to give Marco Pantani the 1999 Giro d'Italia win:
Mercatone Uno president Romano Cenni has hired a lawyer in a bid to have victory at the 1999 Giro d’Italia assigned to the late Marco Pantani. Cenni’s legal action follows claims – 15 years old but recently re-aired extensively in the Italian press – of irregularities in the testing procedures when Pantani returned a high haematocrit on the penultimate day of that Giro and was forced out of the race while leading the overall standings.
So wait a minute: Lance Armstrong dopes and then loses his seven Tours years after the fact, while Pantani dopes, doesn't even finish the Giro, and might win it anyway? I can't believe this sport's not more popular! I mean, the arguments are so consistent!
Naturally, it's all a conspiracy:
“Mercatone Uno and, in particular, its president Romano Cenni, just want for Pantani to be given what was taken unjustly from him and the team.”
What the hell is it with Marco Pantani and conspiracy theories? He's like the Italian Tupac:
(Both bald, both fond of bandanas, both probably still alive somewhere.)
For his part, current 1999 Giro winner Ivan Gotti is okay with it:
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday, Gotti said that he would have no objections if the 1999 Giro was taken from his palmares and posthumously awarded to Pantani, who died in 2004.
“Re-writing history isn’t a problem relative to what happened to poor Marco,” Gotti said. “If they were to award him that Giro, I wouldn’t feel deprived of something. I’m prepared to give it up.”
Yeah, of course he's okay with it. Nobody remembers who he is now, much less that he won the Giro that year, so giving the win to a famous dead guy is a great way to get some bonus publicity. By the way, remember Paulo Savoldelli, a.k.a. "Il Falco," the guy whose whole schtick was that he was good at descending?
(Salvoldelli going down like Cipollini on date night.)
In retrospect, it's pretty hilarious that in those days everyone was so doped they couldn't even out-climb each other anymore, so the only way left to get an edge was to be really good at going down the mountains.
This whole goddamn sport is a race to the bottm.
And of course let's not forget that Pantani was supposedly "murdered" for some reason:
In recent months, magistrates in Italy have announced that they will re-examine both the circumstances surrounding Pantani’s haematocrit test in 1999 and his untimely death in Rimini in 2004. In August, a lawyer acting on behalf of Pantani’s parents submitted a dossier to magistrates in Rimini claiming that he had been murdered by being forced to drink a solution of water and cocaine.
Forced to drink a solution of water and cocaine? I'm so sure. Just like when they put a gun to your head at TGI Friday's and force you to order the Death By Chocolate:
("Eat that goddamn sundae, you mudder fucker!")
That looks uncannily like the TGI Friday's in Penn Station, by the way.
Lastly, if you really want to get depressed, here's the "most dangerous junction in the Netherlands," which would just as easily be the safest intersection in New York:
Fuck it, I'm leasing a Hyundai.