off the dust of the old year and gather no moss in the new. Two
clichés are better than one -- cliché supersets.
have broken things to fix and weak things to strengthen, bad habits
to eliminate and good habits to establish. Apathy must be replaced
with motivation and aimlessness with direction. Purpose and achievement
fueled by desire and determination will transport us day by day
of this new year in this, our wonderful life.
is a continuum we have come to define by time. This man-made bracketing
of life’s ongoing process enables us to refer to happenings,
the past, present and future. Let’s take advantage of man’s
cleverness. We now have the opportunity to delineate our past from
our present, put that which is undesirable behind us and go forward
with good and right, the rich and the admirable.
for me, I’m gonna kick back and cruise. Que sera, sera. What
will be, will be. I also speak some pig-Latin and a little East
and I spent our Christmas in New York City. Yes, the isle of Manhattan,
a serene setting where man and nature merge, where night is as dark
as Arabian oil and soundless as the ocean depths. During the day
you can walk for miles without encountering a soul, only stray buffalo
and wild horses inhabiting the river-dense landscape. Fruit trees
and vineyards and lush natural gardens dot the granite island, and
sandy river beaches soften its rugged shorelines.
Well, not exactly. Spongy from jetlag I sat with my head out the
window of our 11th-story room at 3 AM, listened to the dull, ever-present
turbine-like sound of the world around me and watched straggles
of netherworlders making their way in the darkness. Sirens and the
howls of night accented the drone -- cymbals and tambourines of
a strange ritual song. Daylight brings the mobs.
of New York are as permanent as indelible ink. Born city-dwellers,
they will die in the city and live to tell about it. Their roots
are thick, strong and deep -- concrete and steel. Their accents
are like mud, but their insight is as clear as spring water. Opinions
come in monster truckloads like coal ore from strip-mines. That’s
not attitude, anger or rudeness you detect, its personality, expression
and possibly affection. Them New Yorkers, they’s different.
the heck were we Californians doing in the Big Apple over the Christmas
holidays, you ask? Good question. The experience is the first answer,
a test of courage and endurance is next. Times Square’s mad
magic, those tall, sky-scraping buildings, Handel’s Messiah
at Carnegie Hall, brightly decorated 5th Avenue and Rockefeller
Center with its tree and skaters and tourists wearing hooded jackets
and clutching digital cameras with frozen fingers. It’s the
subways, Central Park and pastrami sandwiches at the Roxy Deli on
Broadway; it’s TriBeCa, SoHo, Greenwich Village, Chinatown,
the Statue of Liberty and the bridges like tentacles reaching in
all directions at once. There was a train out of Penn Station to
an old friend’s house on Long Island, city transportation
from Grand Central, barbeque at Virgil’s, off-Broadway’s
“The Stomp” and brisk walks shoulder to shoulder, elbow
to elbow -- everywhere, all day long. And never forget Ground Zero.
were on a mission, setting the groundwork for the Bomber’s
Bash in September of 2004. Wearing party hats and carrying notebooks
and pens, we scouted the terrain for things to do and places to
do them: where to stay, where to train, where to play and where
to convene for a seminar, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We recorded
explicit directions when traveling by foot or subway to a variety
of cool, must-see fun-spots, intending to eliminate any hesitation
one might have to move about a city so packed, exciting and overwhelming.
When in NY one must step out, take a risk, engage, zigzag, absorb
like a napkin and keep going forward. Waste no time while wasting
in Manhattan isn’t cheap and being impecunious (broke) since
birth, I took this factor into consideration. There are ways a frugal
person can survive. There are four-star hotels on Times Square that
are affordable for a special vacation and there are real decent
hotels a block away for $50 a day less. There are hot-spot restaurants
and NY delis for indulgence and lesser mini-takeout buffets for
half the price. Of course, there’s tuna and water and Bomber
Blend for cheapo die-hards like me. You can walk darn near everywhere
or catch a subway with economical day passes. Or you can take a
cab and watch the meter swell and the blur of traffic as it goes
walked till our legs ached and took a gazillion subway rides to
points beyond ten blocks away. Our necks cramped from looking up.
I once counted nine airborne aircraft from my limited tall-city
viewpoint: two jets (one landing at Newark and one departing from
LaGuardia), two blinking lights far overhead like slow-moving stars,
one private craft over the Jersey coast and four helicopters making
their way in various directions above the Hudson. About the same
time I stumbled over a lone foot sticking from a heap of raggedy
blankets and a tarpaulin pressed tightly against the edge of a high-rise
reaching for the cold black sky. Excuse me, I thought to say. Do
not disturb was the unspoken message I heard.
Square is for me the highlight, the centerpiece, the magic, the
grand and spectacular show; the city revealed in a brilliant, pulsating,
vibrating and exciting spot all at once, a splendid corridor of
America exulting its energy, imagination, resourcefulness, ingenuity
and sassiness. Times Square is big and beautiful.
oozes and drips and overflows; it buzzes and roars, rumbles and
honks. Blinking, flooding, dazzling, the lights tell stories and
give messages, stimulate and astound, hypnotize and confound. Nothing
is small upon its walls, no space is wasted, every light is lit
and not an eye is in a shadow. Traffic moves like blocks of a giant
cubit; the tour bus gives way to the stretch-limo and jalopy from
Jersey; the bikes slip past the cabs and the people walk in some
accidental harmony even the tourist attunes to within the first
cacophonous hour. Delivery trucks nudge their way through the intersections
where enormous animated billboards collide and a 16-wheeler from
Idaho like a battleship floats atop a sea of misting subway vents,
steaming manhole covers and fluttering pigeons bathing in leftover
pooled our collective notes and listed them on the clean and clear,
yet impersonal computer. In review, spontaneous and subject to change,
we outlined a plan to determine the logistics of an event still
nine months away. In the rough it looks something like this:
places to stay, the Crowne Plaza in the middle of Times Square or
the Best Western down 45th Street
venue for the seminar, the Mid-City Gym in the basement of a non-descript
building at 49th Street and 8th Avenue
Friday night reception at Roxy Deli’s third floor next to
the Plaza on Times Square.
Bomber’s Bash feeding at Planet Hollywood’s second-floor
atrium above Times Square, on Broadway.
Sunday farewell brunch at the café in the Crowne.
rest is up to y’all, in smaller or larger groups, as they
are organized in advance by e-mail and telephone or in the last
minutes, as paths cross and urges arise. Laree and I have a bunch
of surefire adventures for the brave or sleepy or bored or timid
or time- and money-conscious. Where to go, how to get there, why,
how much... we have suggestions for those who need them.
you have New York and the New Year. I just wanted to toss out the
last of the confetti before we get down to business and get huge,
ripped, lean, shapely, mighty, thick, thin, dense, defined, fast,
awesome and stuff like that. We’ve got weights to lift, routines
to follow, exercises to perfect, personal records to set, protein
to devour and we have, always, fat to lose. We have a body and its
soul to build, one rep at a time, set after set, day by day, this
week, next week, each month and forever. We have the rest of our
lives and there’s no rush, only the joy.
speed, strength and courage through the year, 2004.
Draper, the Bomber
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