Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Beach, Fleet Week and a Horse Named Sebastian

Oh, Coney Island.  Despite the sometimes unsavory sand-side neighbor or two (or group of teenagers) the place still has its charms.   Like when you’re minding your own business, quietly reading a JFK biography and suddenly some nearby roughhousing –  involving throwing a kicking and screaming girl into the water – exposes a breast.  And at the same moment a helicopter appears, flying very low, and the people on the beach are momentarily torn between which is more exciting to look at.   For me, it was the chopper.  With my neighborhood plagued by excessive helicopter noise, I hope sharing it will cathartically help me appreciate the machine for its ability to spot distressed swimmers and not hate it for the otherwise constant disruption of my quality of life at home.

Later, after finding a great parking space and waiting on multiple lines in the unseasonable swelter to get on the Intrepid’s pier, I enjoyed some swing dancing.

I walked to the end of the pier and took in the sights, including the Concorde. Much like the Mona Lisa, it is remarkably smaller in real life.  The people-watching was mostly tourists and military recruiters, so I stood along the railing and got my lean on.   To my left appeared this dynamic duo, and when they bounced away in their freaky future shoes, I just had to capture the absurdity.   Although, as life did not loan me the body of a leggy French supermodel, I am quite curious what it would be like to be that tall in a crowd.  Perhaps then I would not be so uncomfortable in crowds? Noted, and please take a moment to imagine me at a concert at Summerstage in Central Park sporting these contraptions, a unitard, and holding a lighter.

In addition to Army recruiters there were also seamen helping children make little boats…

And then they showed them how they control the weather using a pool and fans.

After I got too hot on the pier, I made my way to Times Square with my camera (since I was in the area).  It was such a nice afternoon! While crossing 10th Avenue I heard a horse in distress, and I looked around.  I saw a mounted officer talking to some Marines on the corner as they waited to cross, and continued on.  After making my way across the avenue, I heard the whinny again and looked around.  I found this horse tied against the fence, and he was really anxious.  (Of course) he had seen his stable mate down the way and was calling out, wanting to “join the herd”.  I calmed him down, hung out with him, and went to a bar to get a container of water for him.  I spent an hour alone with a horse today, and it was very good for my soul.  I love New York.  And horses.


A Bidding We Will Go: Jon Stewart, Puppets and Providing What’s Missing In America’s Public Schools

UPDATE: A total of $96, 270.50 was raised for the cause.  Great work by all!


A few months ago I received the honor of assisting the Story Pirates with their fundraiser, the 3rd annual After School Special with Jon Stewart at Symphony Space on Friday, May 20th.  The show, beginning at 6pm, will also feature Ana Gasteyer (Saturday Night Live, Wicked), John Oliver (Community, The Daily Show) Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk With Me), Josh Gad (The Book of Mormon), and Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords, Toy Story 3) and the Story Pirates to bring to life stories written by kids in the audience (this is also what they travel the country doing in America’s public schools).  There will also be a secret guest who can’t be billed because their June Summerstage gig calls for a blackout. I wonder if this is at all helpful to the artist or others, or if it is some sort of venue tyranny, but that’s a separate blog entry.

For the last few weeks I have called upon all of my successful friends and counterparts and helped, among other things, build a pretty impressive list of auction items.   Most of them were excited to donate, and that makes me so proud of and grateful for the incredible people in my life (even those who are too busy releasing a new album and touring the world).  The link to the auction site is here and closes on May 19th (this Thursday).  If you have a moment to take a look, there are some really unique items up for grabs.

Special thanks to friends CAKE, Morgan Spurlock (who even gave me mustache hairs because the Pirates asked and he understands how funny that is), Michael Musto, Gary Belsky (ESPN The Magazine), Jonathan Ames, Molly Crabapple, Reggie Watts, Mike Doughty and the entire Story Pirates team – and supporters!

For discounted tickets to the show with Jon Stewart, enter KIKI for $25 off each ticket when you check out here and join us! The after party downtown will feature celebrity guest DJs and be a lot of fun.  Especially since Lou Reed will be at Symphony Space and we can finally talk it out about him crushing my hand at St. Ann’s Warehouse this winter in that epic handshake that shook my reality.

Sugar Ants Up In Here: Spring In Brooklyn

Hooray, hooray ’tis the season for sugar ants in Brooklyn.  Luckily, any sugar I have for baking is stored in air tight containers so the little pests can’t invade my stash.  No sugary snacks hiding out in the cupboard, either.   But trust me, and this is from experience, if you forgot a candy cane somewhere after a holiday party, the ants will find it  for you and and dig in, and the resulting tiny-ants-everywhere can get pretty frustrating.  What to do?

Kill them.  The ants were first noticed late last week, marching in squiggly lines along the grain of my wood floors.  I tried to find their source, and also their destination, but to no avail. I also tried bargaining with a few of them, but they ignored me.  I realize some might say those ants could very well be the reincarnated energy of one of my relatives or friends or any other human for that matter, but I doubt it.  But if I am wrong, consider me the harbinger of their next, better life.   I had saved some Raid traps from last year and put them out.  And I prayed.

When I got back into town after a few days away, the little guys were still present. Not in an infestation sort of way, mind you.  Just being present in an otherwise insect-free apartment is unsettling.  Their numbers pale in comparison to last spring  as sugar ants typically nest in the foundation of old buildings and pop in through the cracks, beginning on the first floor and then making their way to the top.  No one is safe, even very clean people like me.

It looks as though the ants are coming in through the electrical outlet.   I braved the parking lot of Lowe’s on 9th Street in Brooklyn to fetch some more traps.  I recall last spring that the ant presence, with tiny and perfectly formed thorax , left me feeling like I was on a bad acid trip. Little ants.  Here and there.  Everywhere. I was glad this spring was different, but what can I do as an alternative to plastic traps (so wasteful).

I mentioned the ants to a neighbor and she told me about her own trick: boric acid. We both commented on boric acid’s effectiveness in treating yeast infections; a natural remedy her doctor recommended that I have researched but have not yet had the opportunity to, shall we say, self-experiment with. She gave me what she had left.  I began my research. You can find boric acid next to the band aids at your local pharmacy.  Or call your local hardware store. (Buy local.)

Here is the recipe I used to get rid of sugar ants:

1 and 1/2 cups of water, hot

1/2 cup sugar

1 and 1/2 tablespoons boric acid

Mix the sugar and boric acid well.   Add the water slowly so it isn’t lumpy. I took my small whisk and it was diluted in no time at all.   Take cotton balls and soak them in the mixture, then place them in the lid of a jar.  I used a saucer turned upside down and made sure to leave a “trail” of the death juice so they could find it ASAP.  Although it is just a tad more toxic than table salt to humans (and caffeine is  14 times more toxic) it is best to keep children and pets away from this organic remedy.  The great thing is you can put the sweet filled lids up on a shelf and rest assured, the ants will eventually find it and your pets and kids won’t be able to reach it.

My neighbor pointed out that right there on the jar it says “poison”. She also noted that her vagina, after inserting emptied gel capsules of boric acid to stop the infection, had survived unscathed and fresh as a daisy. I’m not sure what she has written on the label, but I believe it says “goods”, (unintelligible) and “job”.

I carefully mix the ant death recipe and dip cotton balls into it. I place them on the floor.  I prepare for the ants to take notice and congregate.   The concept is that the ratio of boric acid must be small enough to allow for the ants to eat the mixture and report back to the queen, feeding her the poison, too. After some time, the boric acid affects their metabolism and is abrasive to their exoskeleton. Basically it solidifies in the ant and it dies (and hopefully after delivering the food to the queen).

Here they are, sort of pretty, before I put the cotton balls on a plate.  I wanted to see how long it took them, and they got there in five minutes.  Some even started eating the lump of boric acid.  See?

Goodbye, ants.  They should be gone in less than 24 hours.  Thank you, science! And neighbors!