Welcome to The New Chainik Hocker. I am your host, the eponymous Chainik Hocker, here to share news, reviews, pretty pictures, and silly opinions with you. Contact me at chainik DOT hocker AT gmail DOT com

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gunboat Diplomacy!

It's the most efficient kind of diplomacy, after all. Lots quicker than dressing up in striped pans and handing around little bits of chocolate wrapped in gold foil during embassy receptions while that annoying string music they always play in movies during fancy shmancy black tie receptions plays in the background (you know the music... dah dah dah dah DAH! Dah dah... dah dah...)

(Irrelevant tangent: this came up in a Google search for "those songs they always play in movies".)

Look, I'm just some moron with a moronblog, not someone who's opinion actually matters. I don't have the jorb of coming up with a good, solid, workable strategery to deal with that evil little troll in Tehran who is busily trying to get nukes and is crazy enough to use them if he ever got his evil little claws on them. I do know that one good thing, at least, has come out of the Iraq mess.

People know that the current Administration is crazy enough to actually go to war with anyone who pisses them off sufficiently.

They aren't, of course, not really. (Shhhh. Keep that little tidbit to yourself.) But speaking softly and carrying the big stick only works if people think you really might take the big stick and start getting all LAPD on a country. People know the difference between a promise and an empty threat. If Clinton or Carter told someone "behave or I'll bomb your country", no one took them seriously, and for good reason. But when, say, Ray-Gun spit in the eye of the Evil Empire and told them that the United States of gosh-darn America was no longer taking no guff from nobody, people listened, because the crazy senile old whackadoo was really seriously gonna push the button and laugh while he did it.

Is this the ideal way to conduct international intercourse? No, of course not. But if, for example, Denmark began a nuclear program, we could talk to them, reason with them, buy furniture and cellphones from them. You can reason with the sane. The insane sometimes will listen only to a tazer.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

If you can't be right, be loud.

As we settled into discussion, I discovered to my delight that the students were attentive, respectful, and vocal, and the entire affair flowed in a relatively genial-yet- enthusiastic manner for over an hour.

The teacher then decided she had to open her mouth.
Heh. RTWT.


Shock Report: Goyim may actually be human beings, new study suggests. Satmer not convinced.

A Conservative Rabbi from Minnesota has come up with what he calls a "hechsher tzedek", a certification testifying to the company's commitment to social justice issues.

Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again- hearing "justice" from a liberal is like hearing "freedom" from a conservative, a code word meaning you aren't going to get any. And The Forward is the one hyping this, and their beef (ha!) with Rubashkin is well known, as is PETA's.

Now, as an evil neocon, I support the abuse of workers and the torture of animals and burning orphanages and so forth. Also, most if not all of the meat in my freezer is from Rubashkin- they are, after all, the largest kosher meat company in the US. But, as much as I hate hippies (and Rabbi Morris Allen seems like a prime example of the type), he might have a point.

I am an alarm installer, and I do a lot of installations and maintenance work for a lot of Jewish owned businesses in New Jersey and New York. Many if not most employ illegal immigrants, and treat them like dirt. I know they get paid peanuts and get abused constantly.

How do I know this?

I never quite learned the trick of treating certain people differently, I guess. I know you are supposed to treat your social inferiors a certain way, your peers another way, and your social betters yet another way, but I've never been able to pull this off.

That's right. I talk to Mexicans like they're human beings, not like they're horses who have unaccountably learned to talk and wear clothes but are still fit for nothing but drudgery.

I get told things most employers never hear.

This hechsher tzedek may not be a bad idea after all. Maybe a movement in the heimishe velt to learn how to treat other people like human beings btzelem Elokim (see this post) is something that is sorely needed.

H/T Y-Love


Movie Wednesday

Faisal: They call him the Sand Spider.

Trilby: Really? Why?

Faisal: Probably because it sounds scary.

True Lies


Friday, May 25, 2007

The stuffing is the ikur.

There is no such thing as a potato blintz.

There. I said it. I have stated this as a hard, unequivocal fact.

The only real blintzes are cheese blintzes. Cherry, cherry and cheese, strawberry, blueberry, apple-cinnamon (my personal favorite)- all these are pale imitations of the One True Blintz Stuffing, which is cheese.

Grated or mashed potato stuffed in dough is called a knish. So let it be written.

What is the difference, you may ask?

The accompaniments, of course. Blintzes are served with sour cream. Knishes are served with deli style mustard. It doesn't matter if anyone actually eats the sour cream or the mustard- I've happily eaten knishes with no mustard, just like I've eaten falafel with no techina- but it mamesh does not pas to serve blintzes with no sour cream, just like serving latkes with no apple sauce is a booshe despite the fact that it tastes just fine stam.

Ai, you can say that knishes are fried and blintzes are baked, but I can show you Gabilla's knishes (no website), which are both fried and baked and are delicious.

You can tell me that blintzes are rectangular and flat, whereas knishes are either round (pizza shop style) or square (Mom's Knishes)- but I tell you that this is no reiya, because a food is a food even when you change its shape. We learn this out from Italian slices, which everyone holds is still pizza even though it is puffed up and square and not flat and triangular.

And bourekas are no reiya, either, because I hold the same thing by bourekas- stuffing potato into dough makes it a knish whether it is square, round, or in the case of bourekas, triangular.

You can ask me what makes a boureka different from a blintz, and I can answer: you serve a boureka with schug, tomato salad, and a hard boiled egg.

Calzones are clearly the work of the Satan to confuse people, and I have serious doubts on what bracha is appropriate- and in any case, it is part of the pizza family.

If you ever wondered what your husband/ brother/ son does all night in the BM on Shavous night, now you know.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Music duel: Jewish klezmer vs Gipsy music - Train de vie

From a wonderful, hilarious, heartbreaking movie.

I suggest you watch it. And I suggest you reserve your judgment till the end.


Word to the Wise

I will have to remember this quote the next time I get into a flamewar.

A person who always wants to win the argument is very intolerant of truth. The truth may be staring him in the face, but because he is determined to win at all costs, he ignores it completely. If you want to find the real truth, you must rid yourself of the urge to win. Then you will be able to see the truth if you wish.

(Rebbe Nachman of Breslov)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ron Paul found beaten within an inch of his life.

Ron Paul was found bloody and bleeding last night outside John Birch Society headquarters, police say. He was covered in tire iron-like marks. A police source close to the investigation claims that strange markings were embedded in Congressman Paul's forehead and buttocks. According to a forensic report, it appears the words Office of the Mayor of the City of New York were engraved on the tire iron.

Ron Paul most recently had a run in with Rudy Giuliani at the debate. Mr. Paul stated that 911 was America's fault, and Mr. Giuliani asked him to recant the statement. In video from the debate, Mr. Giuliani's left eye can be seen twitching. Mr. Giuliani was recently the Mayor of the City of New York, and frequently carries the ceremonial tire iron of his former office. When asked for a comment on the frequent assault, Mr. Giuliani said "I beat that moron like a rented mule. I beat him so hard I think the tire iron has a new dent. I'll do the same to any moron who wants to tell me 911 was America's fault. And if he doesn't apologize, I'll do it again. Rudy smash! Graaaaaah!"

Police are continuing to investigate. Anyone who has information on the case should call 555-TIPS.


With great power comes great responsibility

We're Thinking of Going on the Road

Teen girl #1: Lauren! What is the name of the movie I saw that one time? You know -- there was a guy in it. He had, um... hair? He was sad and stuff?
Lauren: Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands.
Teen girl #1: Yes! Exactly! Him! He was in another movie. I swear... Um... His hair was different, though, and he had that hat. We should rent that movie.
Lauren: The movie Secret Window will scare you. Your mind can't take in something like that.
Teen girl #1: Hey! Well, yeah, maybe you're right.
Teen girl #2, to Lauren: How can you ever tell what she's talking about?!
Lauren: I can read the minds of idiots. It's a sad and useless power. Except, of course, in cases like this.

--Central Park

via Overheard in New York, May 15, 2007


Monday, May 14, 2007

Candidate number 368923560: Mike Bloomberg

Mayor Mike is planning on spending a cool one billion- $1,000,000,000- to guarantee a Democratic win, by running as a third party independent. Chuck Hagel is cheering him on. That's not my joke, it's Ace's. And Newt Gingrich is mulling his candidacy.

At this point, is there a white, Christian, middle aged male with (as Dave Barry sez) two dark suits who has not been indicted recently not running? At this pace I may just throw my hat intot he ring myself.

Heh. There's a thought. Our first blogger-President. With an all blogger Cabinet. Tee hee.

Well, for Secretary of State, I'd get Mark Steyn- he knows how to talk to those furriners, being one himself. Glenn Reynolds will be Attorney General and Frank J will be Secretary of War (one of my platforms will be to rename the Department of Defense, because everyone knows that the best defense is a good offense).

Secretary of Education will be Ahitoricality. Secretary of the Interior will be Lileks. Rubin can be the Secretary of Commerce- he's in advertising, he must know how to get the furriners to buy our stuff, which is what the Secretary of commerce does as far as I can tell. Secretary of the Treasury will be whoever runs AdSense.

Did I leave anyone out? Want to nominate a blogger to fill a position? Comments!


Ye Olde Security System

I have a professional interest in crime, being a security systems specialist. So it was with great and geeky joy that I found these examples of early CCTV systems, which were so expensive that only banks and other high risk targets could afford them. Now, of course, you can get a top of the line hardcore security system for your business or home for less than five grand.

Price is not the only thing that has changed. I liked the people who, after a robbery, picked up cash dropped by the perps and put it back on the counter.

Video One
Video Two


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Buzzwords a go go!

What, exactly, does Web 2.o mean?

I tried Wikipedia, which is never incorrect, and they say that "Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform."

Which means precisely bupkis.

I think that Web 2.0 is one of those marketing buzzwords that have no real meaning, like paradigm, or synergy, or fair trade. These words are the prostitutes of the English language, willing to work for anyone at all. Words like these have no definitions, just connotations. You don't know what it means, but you know what it implies, and you know if some slick Rick in a Hugo Boss suit mentions two or more of these words in a single paragraph you are going to be paying about 20% more than you thought.

Here's a cute little viral video about Supermarket 2.0. Enjoy!

Full disclosure: as I wrote this post, I realized that I'm probably going to up my Google hits quite a bit. X Box 360. IPhone. Paris Hilton.

Tee hee.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jewish KosKid Quits Kos Over Anti Jewish, I Mean Anti Zionist Moonbatism

In Ye Olden Dayes TM, Jews voted Democratic for the most part. There is a very good reason for that: Republicans were crazy scary antisemites. Right up until the second when Pat Buchanan was a mainstream Republican, Jews voted for the people who reminded them of Nazis the least.

But now (i.e. for the past 25 years or so) that the Neocons have decided to support Israel (because its a democracy, not for any moral reason), the Left has embraced antizionism as a policy... and this leads to rhetoric that sounds, to Jews, indistinguishable from the most violent rabid strains of antisemitism.

This is interesting:
clipped from newsbusters.org

The goal is the same, and the reason is not people's concern for Human rights, of even Palestinian rights. Its just plain old Israel Bashing as a way to clear people's conscience by finding a scapegoat and a target for their pacifist post-modernist views.

People here are advancing ideology that leads directly to Israel being destroyed as a Jewish and democratic, and me dying - since the two are one and the same…The TV ethics employed by some members of this site here is a mirror of misguided ideology and theory. Reading this site for the past few months has me feeling like I was reading the writings of West European communists in the 1970's : Confidant, just, well written, scientific, moral (remember the "evils" of capitalism?) . Yet - in the view of history - utter garbage.

I came to this site with Leftist Zionist Environmentalist Pro-Peace ideology (Meretz style).

I leave it with a heavy doubt of the entire "Progressive" ideology, morals and goals.

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A deep moral and philosophical question of great import.

If I told you I found Waiting for Godot amusing and interesting, would you think less of me?

I saw it on PBS a few years back, and I actually liked it. I found it interesting and full of fascinating imagery. Plus its full of my favorite form of humor, the non sequitur. But I grew up in Boro Park and learned long ago not to show any signs of intellectualism. Also I'm pretty sure that admitting to like Beckett is a sign of snobbishness.

Anyhoo, here is Waiting for Woody Alan. The beards are badly pasted on, and the accents silly, but the dialogue is dead on- you could hear it on Thirteenth Avenue in any conversation.

That's probably why I liked Waiting for Godot so much- besides for the Oirish brogues, boyo, the dialogue was straight out of Shomrei Shabbos after 11:00.


The Simpsons Movie Trailer #3

I want to see this now. Now!!!


Chasydzi w Leżajsku- 2007

This is Lizhensk, right?


Lag B'omer in Meron 2007

Chaos... confusion... cigarette smoke... crowds... singing... makes me want to hop a plane to E"Y.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Lion in Winter

Later this summer, Tony Blair will resign as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and his beleaguered Labor Party will be inherited by Gordon Brown, a current financial chancellor in the Blair government and in all likelihood, Blair’s successor as Prime Minister as well. The end of Blair’s decade in office seems an appropriate time to reflect upon the lasting significance of the man who brought Labor in from the wilderness and proved to be perhaps the most enduring champion of the trans-Atlantic alliance since Dwight Eisenhower.

Tony Blair entered office in 1997 with a sweeping public mandate to reform the British welfare state and restore Britain’s faltering economy. Blair’s vision was to transform Labor (and consequently Britain itself) from a demoralized socialist wreck into a genuinely pro-American party which stood for justice abroad and economic freedom at home. Blair’s domestic agenda was a resounding success. “New Labor,” as Blair calls his party, is here to stay and the days of former party leader Ramsey McDonald advocating the socialization of the means of production are gone for good. Blair’s legacy, however, will ultimately be judged on the success or failure of his support for nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Heart-wrenchingly, the British public has turned against its former champion. With his nation discontented with slow progress in Iraq, the Prime Minister has become the object of vitriolic scorn and animosity on a scale not even paralleled in the United States with the current administration. As Blair’s approval ratings have plummeted, so have Labor’s, and the opposition Conservatives stand poised to assume control after the next election cycle. The only chance for Labor seems to be an early exit for Blair followed by frantic action from presumably Gordon Brown to win back over former Labor supporters who left the party because of Mr. Blair.

The resurgence of David Cameron’s Conservatives is disenchanting from an American perspective principally because Cameron’s party is not conservative in any sense of the word. Cameron is a slick politician who has forsaken the traditional Tory policy of pro-Americanism and moved towards a generic anything-but-Labor platform. Cameron has gone as far as to indicate that he would move the U.K. away from the United States politically and his support for American action in the Middle East is unreliable to say the least.

The best chance for the trans-Atlantic alliance to be preserved is probably for Gordon Brown and Labor to retain power. While Brown is certainly not as vocal about his American sympathies as Mr. Blair, Mr. Brown is a reliable ally and is a moderate supporter of a continued British presence in Iraq. Unfortunately, this muted position is the best America can help for out of its long-time strongest and most important ally.

What Blair’s exit demonstrates more clearly than anything is that Britain is no longer the rock of Europe. After three and a half centuries of leading the Western world, Great Britain has finally settled into a long slumber. While after the Victorians Great Britain had seemingly found a balance between projecting power and shunning colonialism, the Second World War caused Great Britain to fully retreat from its imperial past and settle into its role as a second rate world power. The status quo of the Thatcher-Blair era was a waning Britain struggling to exercise what influence it had left as it sought to support Washington in strategic areas across the globe. However, even this minimized approach seems likely to meet its own end as the trans-Atlantic alliance’s last great champion makes his exit.

With Britain now seemingly in perpetual retreat, it is more important than ever for American policy makers to look elsewhere to forge lasting and meaningful alliances. While Europe has always dominated global politics, the strategic scene has, for the past quarter century, been shifting towards the Orient and in particular the Pacific Rim. Japan is the most likely candidate to replace Great Britain as our foremost ally, and so long as we finally liberate Japan from the burdensome post-WWII restrictions placed upon its military, the Japanese will be able to project power deep into Asia and safeguard a liberal order on the high seas just as Great Britain did throughout its history. Coupled with a strong bi-lateral alliance with Japan, a strategic partnership with India would not only balance a growing China, but provide a reliable trading partner without the double-edged sword of doing business with the Devil. In short, a new Pacific entente is in order, fully integrating growing Japanese self-confidence, India’s immense population and economic potential, and of course the hard power of an American Carrier Battle Group.

As American policymakers look towards the brave new world of the future, they would do well to keep in mind the strategic implications of the Blair administration’s fall from power. With Great Britain on the defensive, new strategic partnerships will have to be forged and while Great Britain will always remain a sentimental and ideological ally of the United States, hard power has shifted decisively to the Pacific Rim. The future of the world rests with the burgeoning powers of Japan and India, and perhaps if we are less fortunate, with China as well. While the twilight of British power is surely lamentable, if history teaches us anything, it is that self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly. We as a people cannot meet the challenges of the 21st century with the strategic partnerships of the 20th.


Just got a beter view of the chopper (scroll down). Its spraying... Somethig, hopefully not chemtrails.


There is a small helicopter buzzing buzzily around south Lakewood right now at barely treetop height. I feel like I'm in M*A*S*H. How bizarre.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Falafel Chicken

Last night we had falafel chicken, which recipe I got from Kosher by Design: Short on Time by Susie Fishbein. And behold, for it was goooooood.

I was pretty simple to make, and it was delicious.

You need:

One and a half chicken breasts, split and cut into strips.
One box of dry falafel mix.
Extra Virgin olive oil.
One tomato.
One cucumber.
Tehina (I prefer the new Salatim brand. They don't seem to have a website, but I first saw the brand in Lakewood supermarkets around Chanukah time.)
A deep skillet.
Two bowls.
A wooden spatula.
Metal tongs.
A fork.


Pour one third of your dry falafel mix into one bowl and the other two thirds in the other one. Split your chicken breasts and cut into strips. Roll the chicken pieces in the bowl with less falafel mix. Pour some warm water into the bowl with more falafel mix and stir until you have a spreadable paste. Mix well and set aside. Make sure it stands for about ten minutes. Pour olive oil into the skillet until it is filled up about half way and heat it to medium. While it is heating up, finely dice the tomato and the cucumber.

When the oil is hot, dip the chicken pieces into the wet falafel mixture so that it is evenly coated on both sides. Place the chicken into the skillet carefully, not touching any other piece. Let it cook evenly on both sides, turning them over with the spatula. When a piece is stiff enough not to bend when you squeeze it with the tongs, take it out of the pan and put it on a plate covered in paper towel.

Serve in a pita with tehina and diced vegetables. Serves 2.

Status: Meat
Time: 40 minutes (taking the ingredients out of the fridge to serving)
Difficulty: Beginner
Cleanup: not bad. Only used a few utensils, though washing a skillet with an inch of oil in it is a bit of a challenge. Keep the heat on medium and the serving dish close to the pan so oil does't splatter everywhere.
Overall: a keeper. Serve informal guests on a Sunday night when barbecue is not an option and you have enough advance warning to air out the apartment after cooking but not enough warning to go shopping. Frying falafel mix makes your apartment smelling like the 415 bus to Yerushalayim. Then again, your guests might not mind that.


Monday, May 07, 2007


I'm Reluctant to Say More

Dude: Hi, I'm looking for the World Trade Center.
Cop: Uhhh, yeah... You need to go to Manhattan.

--Ferry Terminal, Staten Island

Overheard by: Ghost Rock It

via Overheard in New York, May 7, 2007


Williamsburg's carbon footprint must be huuuuuuuuuge

An interesting theme of liberal philosophy is an intense hatred for people. What other explanation for opposing execution but legalizing abortion? What other explanation for distributing needles and condoms but campaigning against marriage?

I read that some econut says that humanity is like a virus and the global population should drop below one billion, just like in the movie 12 Monkeys. Scary.

Having large families ‘is an eco-crime’

HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour
in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a 4x4 car and failing
to reuse plastic bags, according to a report to be published tomorrow by a
green think tank.

The paper by the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) will say that if couples had
two children instead of three they could cut their family’s carbon dioxide
output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New

In his latest comments the academic says that when couples are planning a
family they should be encouraged to think about the environmental
consequences. “The decision to have children should be seen as a very big
one and one that should take the environment into account,” he added.

Guillebaud says that, as a general guideline, couples should produce no more
than two offspring.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Movie Review: Dirty Dancing

At the Local Video Store TM, Mrs. Chainik picked up a copy of Dirty Dancing, which she claims never to have seen despite being a straight female growing up in the Western Hemisphere during the last quarter of the Twentieth Century. So we rented it and took it home.

As I popped the DVD in, Mrs Chainik said "do you mind if we watch this without the commentary"? Mrs Chainik is not an MST3K fan, you see, and actually expects me to shut the hell up when we watch movies. I agreed, because that is the kind of considerate husband I am. The kind that will lie to his wife in order to not get beat up before the popcorn is gone.

Now on to the review: the movie is awful. The acting is wooden, the plot is predictable, and the dialogue is silly. Mrs Chainik agrees, adding that the dancing is technically very good (she
was a dancer in high school). At the end of the movie, I exclaimed "Baby is now a self-actualized woman through the magic of the Dance, yay!" at which point Mrs Chainik threatened me with bodily harm. I give it a five out of ten (watch it if it's late Saturday night and nothing much else is on) and Mrs Chainik gives it a six out of ten (if its on cable on a rainy Sunday afternoon you can watch it).

I wanted to show Mrs Chainik that even though neither Jennifer Gray nor Patrick Swayze know how to act, it doesn't matter if the material is good enough, but the Local Video Store TM did not have Red Dawn. I question their patriotism. We got Ferris Bueller's Day Off instead, which, while not being a cinematic masterpiece like Red Dawn, at least features the destruction of a classic Ferrari and has the added bonus of not having Patrick Swayze in it.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

A new dawn rises
In Mesepotamia
Boom! A roadside bomb.


Information wants
To be free, say the Diggers
Bunch of damn pirates


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Awesome RMP

The NYPD needs to get this for the BQE.
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Alas, poor Boris, we knew you-hey, put that vodka down!

Sinister Dan delivers the best eulogy Boris Yeltsin is ever likely to get.

Lets poor some Stolichnaya on the curb for homies up in heaven.

In the August coup attempt of 1991, Russian hardliners sequestered Mikhail Gorbachev and sought to take over the government. Yeltsin, then the mayor of Moscow, gathered a throng of supporters and declared his defiance to the old order upon the hood of a main battle tank – a tank belonging to the opposition. This unmitigated and uncompromising declaration of support for the new Russia was the final nail in the coffin of the Soviet Union – and the specter has not risen against since.

But clearly, the man had to be fall-off-his-ass drunk to climb up on the other guy’s tank.

Uncle Boris got drunk and groped at the glasnosts of his female staff. Yeltsin got drunk and danced on stage like a methamphetamine-fueled monkey during folk concerts and Yeltsin even got so wasted that he could not leave his plane during a state visit with the Irish Prime Minister.

You need to be exponentially more hooched-up than the worst day of Orson Welles in order to be too drunk to meet the Irish.

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On the Jersey Guys now: Gov. McGreevy (ghey NJ ex-gov) 'reinventing hmself' bec he wants 2 b a minister. I think the guy's just a nut. Comments?


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Currently listening 2 the Jersey Guys on teh radio. Peter Gabiani (sp?), a Joisey politician, fwd an email w/ racist jokes. He says he's sorry.


Happy May Day!

Ebay has quite a collection of KGB memorabilia for sale. Get this stuff while you can.

Here is a repost of my "A Jaywalking Primer, or, Dividing the Spoils of the Cold War", from April 7th, 2004. Enjoy.

I went to shopping in the Park Slope neighborhood today. Park Slope and the surrounding neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Fort Greene, and East New York is a fascinating case of shifting demographics. Just a decade ago, the area was under the control of the Brooklyn chapter of the Drug Dealers' Union, along with their affiliates, the Hookers Union local 452, The International Brotherhood of Thieves, Carjackers, Muggers, and Pickpockets (IBTCMP) and the gang banger's franchise of Murder, Inc. In other words, the neighborhood was fun and interesting. Then the white people moved in.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against white people. Heck, I'm white myself, or Jewish, which is close enough. "White People" is what we call the people who call themselves "hipsters". You know, Midwestern-born the latte drinking, health food eating, goateed jerks who wear Buddy Holly type glasses and listen to jazz. They are ignorant of the most basic aspects of life in the city.

Say, for example, something as simple as crossing the street. These morons will stride to the nearest crosswalk, wait for the light to change, carefully look both ways, and proceed across the street at a leisurely pace, all the while blathering about the cultural diversity of the urban experience. This in the city that invented jaywalking and has since elevated it to an art form. I or any other Brooklynite worth his rat poison will cross between two parked cars I will wait for a break in the traffic and walk briskly to the double yellow line. I will watch the car coming the other way. Provided the driver is not in a homicidal mood (by no means a given), he or she will speed up, traffic conditions permitting, causing a gap in the flow of traffic. Noting this, I will shift my weight to my left leg a raise my right. When the car's mirror passes me, I will step with my right leg and begin walking. Timed correctly, I will reach a gap between two parked cars on the other side before the next car can turn me into a greasy spot on the pavement and a forty five second spot on the five o'clock news. See? Like I said, it's an art form. That is, if a native is driving. If a white person is driving, there really is no telling what they'll do. Sometimes, they'll slow to a crawl, causing cars behind them to drive into oncoming traffic in an attempt to pass (and narrowly missing me standing on the double yellow line, if I'm lucky). Sometimes they will panic stop, causing horrific traffic pileups. Sometimes they will gesture violently to the effect of "I'm from out of town! Take my wallet and my car keys, just let me live"! Or so I assume.

Anyway, Park Slope. There is a weekly flea market in the yard of the local public school. One can purchase hilarious neckties from the fifties, ridiculous buttons from the sixties (Make love, not war!), horrible clothing from the seventies, and horrible and ridiculous Danish furniture from the nineties. There is enough gaudy costume jewelry to bebauble every prostitute to ever work in this city going back to Tammany Hall. There are always elderly Russians Soviet era gewgaws- campaign ribbons and medals from the Great Patriotic War, tie clasps and cufflinks bearing Lenin's ugly mug, and various coins and bills.

It was at one such stall that I got into a bidding war with a soft spoken Asian guy over a Soviet tanker unit patch. "But why?" his girlfriend wanted to know. "I guess I just have a Soviet militaria fetish (the magazines and websites of which I shall leave to your imagination). I ended up paying six dollars for the patch and six dollars for a set of cool looking shoulder boards. The dealer alleged that the shoulder boards were that of a police senior sergeant, which I am still attempting to verify. The guy event threw in an officer's belt, which has a cool looking buckle. The belt itself, however, is made of the awful thin plastic-looking leather we failed to make wallets out of in summer camp. The Asian guy bought a less elaborate set of shoulder boards and an awful- looking Sam Browne belt, also police, in white patent leather. It would have been rejected out of hand by any self respecting crossing guard (oxymoron alert) in America on account of its comical appearance. The fellow, clearly delighted at the sale, promised to have better stuff next week. "You like officer coat, yes? Maybe hat?" He solemnly shook hands with the Asian dude and me, and we walked away with our purchases.

It occurred to me that what we had here was nothing less than the spoils of our victory in the fight against International Communism (European Division). The guy walked away with twenty six dollars between us and was clearly thrilled to be dumping the useless garbage on us. The powerful, terrifying Soviet military was nothing but junk. That's right, comrade. The revolution is over, and the bourgeoisie won. I was surrounded with elderly men desperate enough for my greenbacks to supplement their Social Security checks to part with their hard earned "Proletariat of the Week" medals and old, yellowing Ché posters (although the people selling the Ché posters were all aging American leftists). Taste the ash-heap of history, tavoritch.

It is always prudent, while doing a sack dance in the end zone, to make sure the other members of your team aren't setting fire to the stadium, defenestrating the announcers, and raping the cheerleaders. In the next stall over, there was an Author Andersen travel coffee mug. The woman selling it said I was the first person all day to recognize Enron's old accounting firm. It was labeled five dollars, but she let me have it for four. Then, with the mug of capitalism at its most rapacious sharing a shopping bag with the uniforms of the police state so total in it's totalitarianism that it simply collapsed under its own weight, I went home. I had a coffee while looking up my new purchases on EBay. The belt was selling for six dollars, but there were no buyers. The tanker patch was selling for four. I couldn't find the shoulder patch at all. The bastard had ripped me off. Maybe he was getting the hang of this capitalism thing after all. So there's hope for the Russians. At least I have the mug.