Fuck Yeah, Jimmy Van Bramer

I get it.

The word “fuck” is offensive, abrasive, unchristian, inappropriate for mixed company, even subject to federal censure in some instances.

It is a slap of a word.

For some of us, though, that slap is a common occurrence, a word we use and hear often, not a big deal, a regular visitor. It is not that the word has become meaningless in its repetition but rather that it has remained a satisfying sound to use, a reverberation which suitably fits particular moments and situations as the best means of expression.

For others, however, the eff bomb is appalling, gratuitous, a betrayer of low class, a demonstration of anger, a denouncement of God, even an expression of violence. When the word is said to them, it is as if they cannot hear anything else beyond that word: the uttering of it ends the communication and the utterer is held in contempt and subject to judgment for having dared to have used it. The word is then held against the speaker as if it were the sole act committed, a great crime which conveniently diminishes the integrity of all else spoken.

But maybe such a word falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, between complete ease and complete inconsolable horror. Because there is a credibility to sporadic use of a good curse word: when utilized sparingly, there is a gravitas to it, however offensive it may be.

Sometimes, no other word will do. Sometimes, “fuck” just simply fits.

And in the case of Jimmy Van Bramer’s pointed response to the latest false accusation of Pat Lynch who heads of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York: that “fuck” fit.

Mr. Lynch’s assertion that “LIC residents should know that this is exactly what @JimmyVanBramer and his radicals comrades wanted: decriminalize everything, then undermine and sideline the NYPD” is a lie about me, too as one of those “radicals [sic] comrades.”

Lynch’s habitual, fear-mongering whine belies his rage that his zero-credibility “benevolent association” is under especially deep scrutiny these days as the call to defunding the police builds momentum. The PBA is known for consistent dishonesty so the demand for greater transparency has never been more warranted.

At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement here in the city, in order to plea for pro-cop sympathy, the PBA dramatically tweeted that police officers had been “poisoned” at Shake Shack which was immediately called out for the lie it was.

The NYCPBA continually reveal themselves to be desperate, cheating, greedy fabricators who will do anything to maintain their power, which ultimately means maintaining their cash flow.

Because no one wants to “sideline the NYPD:” every NYC citizen wants order but we also seek to manage the financial and political power of an abusive union.

And no one is “pro-crime” in this city, either: that is as much of a lie as Donald Trump’s present claim that American cities are “on fire.”

New York City is a population which wants fairness, a dynamic that somehow threatens the quite oddly monikered Benevolent Association. Is that why they endorsed Trump for a second term? What an absurd and inappropriate gesture: it is like they are in fact the ones who are trying to “sideline” the city with such misguided support.

Police unions are corrupt, blatantly corrupt in this city in particular. They fool no one.

So, in this instance, Jimmy Van Bramer telling the NYCPBA to “fuck off” is fitting.

It is forceful, it is offensive but it is also fitting.

And Jimmy catches hell when he drops an eff bomb, which isn’t often.

In January 2019, at what turned out to be the final NYC Council hearing for Amazon HQ2 LIC, Van Bramer derided Amazon Global Public Policy Head Brian Huseman for Amazon’s inability to guarantee any significant job numbers for low income public housing residents; the best Huseman could come up with was a one-office-site call center, offering 30 part-time, no-benefits roles.

30 jobs, are you fucking kidding me?” spat Van Bramer.

The passage of time has since confirmed the treachery of Amazon, Brian Huseman and their ever-present team of lobbyists: their secrecy and inability to partner warranted such a response.

Amazon was not in NYC to try to make HQ2LIC work for everyone involved: it was in New York to do whatever it wanted to do. That’s how Amazon operates.

When HQ2 was met by the Queens community with suspicion and the demand for transparency and negotiation, Amazon decided leaving was a better option than trying. Two weeks after that January 2019 NY City Council hearing, Amazon quit.

Amazon spent over two years whittling down choices on which Northern Hemisphere city it would take as its new HQ2 bride: a commitment of years which then culminated in a lukewarm, 12-week courtship where a reluctant, evasive and absent Amazon, after having spent no time in Long Island City and met with no constituents, at least not publicly, rolled its eye at the deserved criticism and just walked out.

I mean, are you fucking kidding me?

This year’s story of fired warehouse manager Chris Smalls corroborates Amazon’s inability to partner or lead, which directly reflects exactly LIC’s experience of Amazon as an entity here in Queens. It is a sneaky, silent, cheating liar.

Jimmy was right to say “fuck” to Amazon almost two years ago and he is right to use it now with the NYCPBA.

Because a lie is a lie is a lie and all lies need to be called out each and every time they happen.

Jimmy was endlessly criticized for using rough language, that one word, at that city council meeting: it is still held against him.

But I come from the camp which believes politicians are allowed to be angry.

Politicians are allowed, by law and freedom, to express their exasperation and chagrin. In fact, it is beneficial and relieving for the voting public to see the human inside the person they have elected, to hear the anger, to witness its effect.

Cursing is jarring for sure, but not necessarily inappropriate, especially when executed sporadically. Abuse of foul language is not Van Bramer’s style: he knows the strength of a good swear is its spare utilization.

And despite a broad political divide in his district, along with the hatred, homophobia and veiled physical threats thrown at him, Jimmy Van Bramer’s service to our community remains consistent, enthusiastic, thoughtful and passionate.

So, fuck yeah, Jimmy Van Bramer!

Thank you for swearing, thank you for taking the heat, thank you for advocating for sanity, thank you for always taking a stand for what is right.

And Pat Lynch can fuck the fuck off.

What, Specifically, Am I Lying About, Michael Lambert?

Just a simple question, Michael Lambert: what exactly have I lied about?

I have been specific and detailed in my allegations against you, both with the incident from last summer which is detailed in my pinned tweet and with the recent unearthing of the #livejournalgate plot with which you were involved.

But you have not proven any dishonesty on my end. In fact, you haven’t even been that clear about what it is which, according to you, I have actually lied about.

I watched your video diary about me: the 20-some-odd clips make only vague and non-specific accusations with no examples or details on my deceit. It would be useful to learn exactly what your viewers should be looking for in determining my dishonesty: it would serve your stance if you could define, in particular, what I’ve said which is false.

You only state *that* I am a liar but you never get around to depicting *how* I am a liar.

By contrast, you do prove how insulting I am towards you, with which I certainly do concur. I take full responsibility for referring to you as a “pompous asshat,” a “donuthead,” a “whackadoodle,” and a “narcissist on wheels.”

In fact, I wholeheartedly stand by these assertations about you. I do think you are a pompous narcissist: you refer to yourself as Da Guvnah, Mr. Lambert. You fancy yourself some kind of leader or teacher of your devoted and rapt followers when you are, in fact, simply just another user yourself, no more different or special or commanding than anyone else on a social media forum. I believe you kid yourself on who really buys your act.

I also agree with your accusation that I am “tantamount to a pest,” which is both cogent and documented: I have indeed trolled your account because I wanted your followers as well as folks who browse your account to see my calling you out on your silence regarding #livejournalgate. I am indeed guilty of going after your tweets as I wanted to share that story via your own tweet threads.

I had already been trolling all the players behind #livejournalgate, including you, Kyle Christopher, Joe Lentol himself, Emily Mijatovic and Jessica Carrano by posting the same material on their tweets, too. I had already been drawing attention to how silent all of you, the candidate, his own team, his paid consultants and strategists, were regarding the failed attempt to smear Emily Gallagher. You were all pretending like it never happened, so I wanted to continue to amplify that it did indeed happen and you all comprised the team behind it.

I had been trolling each one of you since that Daily News story (which Joe’s team planted, hello) hit on June 13, 2020. I had been trolling all of you, not just you alone as I sought to amplify that Joe was behind that story and I wanted residents and voters to know the truth about how that whole operation went down, who was involved, my history with those parties and their repeated pattern of behavior.

That is the reason why I went after all of you: to amplify the truth.

I do not have to unblock a blocked account so to leave a reply. I left replies so users could read my take on you, not because I am obsessed with you or because I need to get some help: it was to show the truth about you, about the antics of the Lentol campaign and your role in it. And to amplify the subsequent silence from all of you about the attempted smear after it backfired.

I seek to point out that lack of accountability: I seek to shine a light on it.

The democratic primary for New York State Assembly District 50 in Brooklyn is a public political campaign. The actions of the teams supporting the candidates for Brooklyn AD 50 are subject to public scrutiny. I believe #livejournalgate was a dirty trick by Joe Lentol’s group in a political campaign and the general public should be aware: the public deserves to have every piece of available information about any political race in front of them so they can make an informed decision.

Yet despite the robust length of your video diary, you still don’t make any specific case against me in terms of my own dishonesty. It’s like you’re asking people to just take your word on how dishonest I am instead of showing them how exactly I lie. With the tweets of mine you have chosen to highlight in your diary, you in fact amplify my experiences with you and end up supporting and strengthening my stance more than your own.

And your claim that I am a racist holds little water as well.

I believe you are calling me a racist so to diminish my argument against you. I take accusations of racism directed at me very seriously, most especially when they come from people of color; I remain accountable for my words and actions and I also remain open to feedback.

I do not believe my tweet about you being “openly for sale” was in any way racially inappropriate given that you are a person who has been compensated to work on political campaigns: my words were in no way making reference to your skin color but were rather illuminating a pattern of your displayed behavior, the pattern of working on campaigns and working for politicians.

Because you work for politicians: you are paid by politicians to do work for them.

Your insinuation that my “openly for sale” statement is an expression of my white privilege to sell your black body to the highest bidder as a transaction of bought human flesh is thus off base and appears like an attempt to smear me.

Because my tweet that you are “openly for sale” is my declaration that you work for politicians, nothing more. Because you are openly for sale for politicians.

Because you work for politicians.

The tweet you show in your video (but, oddly, do not link) states you “[would] do it again,” declaring your future aid of an “underserved” pol as a “no-brainer.”

You work for politicians. That is what I mean by “openly for sale.”

My tweet was in direct reference to you yourself sharing you would welcome such work (“do it again”) from politicians: because you work for politicians. I tweeted you were “openly for sale” for that. Because you are: you work for politicians.

Not because I am white and you are black.

But because you work for politicians.

That’s what this all comes down to.

And Mr. Lambert, I appreciate what it looks like for me as a white woman to come at you, a Black Caribbean immigrant, with accusations flying out of my white mouth. I make no accusations lightly. I certainly didn’t last summer when I caught you in that lie in my pinned tweet.

I never accused you of videotaping anyone. I accused you of having knowledge that these tapes exist and that videotape surveillance is a regular practice of the Queens Machine and the minions who support it.

I accuse you of having that knowledge. And you having that knowledge does seem evident in that pinned thread, despite your cries against it. I essentially live-tweeted my reaction to you as it happened, as I observed you, as I saw this situation play out right in front of my eyes: that is the real meat of my pinned tweet. It is me witnessing you in real time as you lie and my physical reaction to you lying.

That is why I never changed my pinned tweet.

I was stunned by your dishonesty when I first beheld it. You had always been pompous and condescending but especially because you made Christian references, I did not think you were a liar; I just had you pegged as a guy who thinks he’s better than everyone else.

But witnessing you blatantly lie took my breath away.

I took a week off Twitter: I pinned our conversation to my profile, allowing it to flap in the wind.

It remains there to this day, almost a year later, for a reason. I will change my pinned tweet when there is finally some progress in the breaking up all the mechanisms which allow the Queens Machine to run. I will change it when some transparency directly shines on the activities which I witnessed with my own eyes and described in that discourse.

And I find even more dishonesty in your video diary: you attempt to dismiss what has already been defined as a solid connection with both Tyquana Rivers and Kyle Christopher. Mr. Christopher himself has publicly described you as his “biz partner and mentor” and Mrs. Rivers as his boss. You have socialized with Mr. Christopher, posting photos of you having drinks at one of your homes: why are you downplaying what has already been a clearly defined personal and professional rapport? You don’t even mention Mr. Christopher by name in your video, as if he’s some rando I just pulled into the fray. But Mr. Christopher is no rando: in fact, he’s one of the only people to respond to that very thread. You can deny it all you want but the two of you are firmly connected: it looks strange that you now claim there is no significant connection between you two.

In fact, both you and Mr. Christopher held the exact same role and fee for Joe Lentol’s campaign: social media consultant for $2500 a month. It weakens your credibility when you try to suggest such a robust bond does not exist between you and Mr. Christopher when it clearly does.

And, Mr. Lambert, you are right, I bet no one reads what I blog about. But in case they do, and even if you do, I stand by my actions, I stand by my work and I stand by my witnessing of you.

When we met briefly in November 2019 at the Forest Hills Queens Borough President debate forum, I told you that you were acting exactly as how I suspected you would have acted with me: I knew how you would be with me and I told you as much to your face.

During our discourse, you had such trouble making eye contact that I had to ask you to please look me in the eye because you spoke off to the side, as if to an nonexistent audience, perhaps so to soothe yourself. You monologued about Coro training: you wouldn’t look at me yet you reprimanded me, via your imaginary audience, for not having taken a course you took.

You treated me as you always had, like I was a cartoon character, a person not worthy of any respect.

You said in a tweet later that day that you wanted to still meet with me but then your video diary you outright claim I turned “caustic and nasty” immediately after I introduced myself to you and that there were witnesses.

Sir, I had friends there, too and I never became caustic and nasty with you.

In fact we spoke for about four minutes or so; you confronted me, fairly, about my having blocked you and I explained that I had to protect my account. You also brought up my pinned tweet. I didn’t bring it up: you did. Whereupon I looked you in the eye and told you that I suspected you had knowledge of videotaped surveillance.

Because you do.

You, sir, then stuck out your hand for mine and wished me a brisk goodbye. Even as you shook my hand, you never met my eye. You then turned and ran away from me.

Curiously though, you approached me for a second goodbye after I had walked out from the middle of the row where you and I had been talking and into the aisle so I could exit: there you were again. And it was a pleasant second goodbye; although I had been bracing myself for a famous Michael Lambert “last word,” you merely said it was nice to meet me, a sentiment I easily returned.

Mr. Lambert, our interaction was perfectly pleasant: I was never caustic or nasty and neither were you.

You struggled to make eye contact. I think meeting me threw you a little but neither of us ever got caustic or nasty. Your witnesses saw that and my witnesses saw that too.

There is no reason for you to lie about this. Why on earth would you then want to have a meal with someone who was “caustic and nasty?” Give me a break, Mr. Lambert: don’t lie about the one meeting we had, the one which I made happen because I went to introduce myself to you. Please do not misrepresent how that conversation happened: I remember it so well.

You have always treated me like that, from over a year ago, when you and I first started interacting over Amazon: you are pro-Amazon and I am anti-Amazon and had stood up to HQ2. We stood on opposite sides of the 2019 Queens District Attorney race: you volunteered for Melinda Katz’s campaign while I canvassed for Tiffany Cabán.

You always laughed at me, mocked me, dismissed me, even blew me off when I suggested we meet. You preferred instead to fight all day long on Twitter, much to my chagrin and disappointment. Although I presently call you a whackadoodle with a personality disorder, back then I was very respectful to you, no matter how mocking and condescending you were. Even in my pinned tweet, as I accuse you of not being honest, I repeatedly call you “sir,” because I appreciate how audacious it is for me to make such an allegation, as a white female against a Black man.

That is why I called you “sir.” That is why I always took what you dished out to me, Mr. Lambert, whether it was a six-hour bad faith conversation of you defending Amazon as an equal opportunity employer or you snickering at me for daring to argue with you.

I took it.

Back then, during the summer of 2019, I gave you way more respect than you ever gave me.

Being respectful to you at that point wasn’t hard for me to do: it was time-consuming for sure, but it was easy. It was the right thing for me to do and it was the appropriate response for me to take with you. It also showed my character with you: it showed my patience and respect for you even when I argued with you.

As trying as you could be, I still always thought of the bigger picture and how our arguments were an opportunity for me to continue to share research and data; they were also an opportunity to show my attempts at diplomacy and my displays of deference.

I believe my words and actions speak for themselves.

I believe your words and actions speak for themselves, too. And I do not find you credible with your latest accusation. I do not believe you have proven me to be either a racist or a liar.

I believe you are in fact lessening your credibility with your indictments against me and I remain here to defend myself as we all move forward.

But, sir, #livejournalgate is going nowhere, nor is my pinned tweet, nor is the scrutiny which follows you, which you both deserve and have earned.

And I ask you again, Michael Lambert: what specifically have I lied about?

fuelgrannie and Penelope fireworks!

(My holiday email conversation: I am making this public because you’re lying about it on Twitter, Penelope Katsaras. You cannot avoid the truth when you deal with me. Happy 4th of July!)

 

Penelope Friday, July 3, 2020 8:33pm

Hi,

How about we talk privately.
Penelope
Me Saturday, July 4, 2020, 7:50am
Go ahead.
I’m listening.
Penelope Saturday, July 4, 2020 9:33am
Hi,

 

Do you want Trump gone?  Do you want to eliminate poverty?  Do you want equality for all?  Do you want a greener earth?  Do you want to fix health care?
If so, we have to end the battle.  We may not agree on every method  how to get there.  That is fine. Dialogue is good.
But if we have the same goals, we need to end the battle.  Division of the progressive movement is our greatest obstacle to achieving our goals.
We can say this was a misunderstanding and move on.  We can ignore each other for now.  That might be best?
The alternative is an endless battle.
I have thought of writing a blog about you.  I could do that.  But honestly I don’t think it would be productive.  If I write about you, then you write about me, and I write about you, and the circle continues.  And the war does not end.
I propose a peace treaty.  I will remove all tweets about you, mention you, have you in the discussion, etc.; if you do the same (including the blog) and we start over.
I just blocked you.  I didn’t know how it worked.  I didn’t know I could block you if you blocked me.  I will unblock you so you can check my Tweets.
I deleted the make art account a while ago like I said I would.  But I reopened it after you wrote the blog.  It is locked now.  No one can read it.  I will delete it again permanently.

It’s not my personality to have an endless argument.  I don’t like fights.

Think about what I am saying.  Someday we may have to work together to get good things for us like healthcare or UBI or something.
I am staying with family outside of NY for the summer.  Therefore I can’t meet for coffee till September.
Happy 4th.
I will celebrate the Oglala Lacota today.  My heart breaks for them.  We should give them their mountain.
America is in crisis.
Progressives should unite and take back the country.
Sleep on it.
Peace
☮️
Penelope
Me Saturday, July 4, 2020, 10:15am
Hi Penelope,
To refresh your memory: you came for me, over and over, last year with your @WonnderrWommann account; then it was your @HestiaofQueens account; then it was @plane_astrolabe; now you’re hiding behind @LoveAllLoveAll_.
You hid behind multiple personas and you also did the exact same thing to other people. On Twitter and on your precious Facebook.
This is no “misunderstanding:” this is you never taking accountability for your own actions. You need to admit what you did and what you continue to do: it is absurdly obvious at this point and I am beyond the only person who figured out it this is all you. Everyone knows who you are in all your incarnations.
Why do you think the community board gives so much weight to what I said in my blog? Is it because I lay out my case so thoroughly using your own actions and words, could that be it?
Why do you think people would forget what you did to them, the words you used, the approach you took?
Take responsibility for what you do, Penelope.
And you fight constantly: it’s all you do. You’re doing it right now, this morning, both via email and on your @PenelopeEleni account. All you do is fight: you are known for it. Fighting and lying: *that* is your “personality.”
It’s not that you “don’t like fights:” rather, you don’t like being found out.
And you are so found out. You are so busted. And you can’t face any of it: you’re not used to accountability. Your habit is to change your username and pretend nothing happened. While we all watch you do it, over and over and over again.
You need to fathom what you look like; you display no capacity for introspection. You need to see yourself through another set of eyes: the eyes which witness your repetitive shenanigans on social media.
I’m not removing anything I’ve tweeted either: I don’t delete or archive my tweets, that’s your specialty. You are not my boss, you don’t get to direct me on what you want me to do just because you are too ashamed to face your own actions.
This situation is one you created: the fact that you refuse to take any responsibility for your own actions and the situations you create speaks so much to who you are. Your actions and denial of your actions define you to everyone around you: face who you are and how you are seen.
You prove who you are with every action you take, every word you articulate: you show who you are, Penelope.
And we all see it.
Penelope Saturday, July 4, 2020 10:42am
Sleep on it.  Do you want Trump gone?  Do you want a United progressive movement?  Or do you want division?  Sleep on it and we will talk again.
Me Saturday, July 4, 2020, 10:50am
I don’t need to sleep on anything, you liar: stop talking about Trump and instead take responsibility for your own actions.
This has nothing to do with Trump or Amazon or Yang or UBI or any other of your insane disconnected distractions. You look crazy and you look guilty, Penelope.
Sleep on that.

Connect the Dot Dot Dots

Total Ellipsis of the Heart… A Penelope Found Out

Penelope Eleni Gaitanis Katsaras, aka @PenelopeEleni, @LoveAllLoveAll_and @MakeArt15, and formerly @WonnderrWommann, @HestiaofQueens and @plane_astrolable: it has always been easy to tell that all these accounts are you.

For all these profiles, it is evident that the content is crafted by a lone architect; there are consistent, repeated (many times verbatim) narrative, phrasing, and, perhaps most informatively, punctuation use.

Despite these visible, frequent and obvious regularities appearing in all of the accounts, you have nonetheless defiantly denied ownership on multiple social media platforms: perchance because you cannot believe that people were able to connect the very few dots to be able to figure it out, thereby figuring you out.

My aim here, serving as an alternate to tweeting at you directly, is to help break down these dots as I cannot engage with you anymore on Twitter via your most recent incarnation @MakeArt15. I reported you for not only creating an account with the sole purpose of “talking to” me but also because you had tweeted you were going to report every tweet I post. I had to block you: you did not leave me much of a choice.

I wonder if you understand what it looks like for you to have all these different accounts and for the way you behave on all these accounts. I suspect you possess neither the introspection to perceive how you might be coming across nor the foresight to contemplate any consequences despite the inevitable, and now current, arrival of the latter.

And this is not my treatise to implore you to change: it is not my place to tell you what to do and how to be; I doubt you have much inclination to behave any differently, certainly not via my prompting.

Rather, this is my witnessing of what I have seen you do and how you have treated me: this is a documentation of your actions and patterns. You seem to be more angry at people for having found out that these accounts are all you than you are angry at yourself for your clumsy management of this discernible farce.

The truth matters. It matters that Amazon is not honest and it matters that its supporters are equally dishonest. And this isn’t about using a pseudonym on social media: I use one. It is not a lie to employ a self-styled moniker as a Twitter handle; I have no issue with you or anyone else doing that. The issue I have had with you all along, Penelope, is your lack of truthfulness in your content. I just happened to have found out your real identity while I was reporting on the dishonesty in your timeline.

I figured out who you were back in March/April 2019: I knew your name from discussions last spring after a Queens Council of the Arts event (and you are a recipient of a QCA grant ) where the name Penelope came up as a vociferous attendee who persistently expressed how upset she was about the demise of HQ2LIC to a roomful of people who disagreed with her and were struck by her odd argument of Amazon being a savior. This Penelope impressed repeatedly that she was an artist, a teacher and a parent, curiously the same three descriptors you persistently ascribe to yourself on all of your Twitter accounts. When presented with trepidation about the HQ2 deal, this Penelope had argued back that Amazon was going to rebuild the MTA and NYCHA housing. She had no sources and told people that all her information could be found “in the deal, just read it,” when, in fact, none of what Penelope had said was in the memorandum of understanding.

At this QCA event, Penelope had stood out.

Around that same time, I had already become acquainted with your @WonnderrWommann incarnation as we had started engaging directly and/or peripherally soon after the 2019 Valentine’s Day announcement of the Amazon HQ2 pullout: you had been posting Amazon propaganda which I had then been refuting. What you posted was so grossly incorrect: Amazon was going to repair the subway system; Amazon was going to eradicate poverty in New York City and “hire the children of the undocumented;” Amazon deserved no criticism and everyone loved it.

You consistently condescendingly referred to NYCHA housing as “the projects;” you bemoaned a Queens with “bodegas and dollar pizza” while yearning for more of a corporate presence and thereby exposing a surface materialism which betrays your own selfish interests. I appreciate you want a sanitized, Manhattan-esque version of Queens so your children can enjoy designer birthday cakes and private piano lessons but that’s not everyone’s dream for our Borough of Enchantment. You speak only for yourself with these wishes.

Your engagement with me had been aggressive, not that I mind at all, but acting in such a manner drew attention to yourself. You were disagreeable and demanding: one morning you even snapped at me to get off Twitter and go make pancakes. It’s hypocritical and foolish to use Twitter to tell another user to get off Twitter: take your own advice, whackadoodle. And it is no cogent argument in terms of your Amazon stance: trying to silence another person does not make what they are saying any less true.

You also habitually referred to yourself as not being human, as being above others, as having superpowers, as being all-knowing and better. It is a laughable way for an individual to present themselves on social media. It’s one thing for the Twitter @Steak-Umm account, who is no more a bunch of ready-to-cook meat slices than you are a Greek goddess, to represent its brand because it is not pretending to be something it is not nor is it spouting false propaganda. The problem I have always had with you is that you have not been honest while hiding behind what is essentially a catfish personality.

And your patterns gave you away: you asked “huh” a lot; you referenced people’s usernames frequently; and, when presented with inarguable truth, you would tell people you were suddenly very busy and didn’t have time for them.

And you used dots constantly: the humble ellipsis peppered your content.

The simple ellipsis and your excessive use of it ended up becoming your own Achilles tendon. Two Greek terms readily revealing one Greek lady trying to hide behind a persona.

You were patronizing yet predictable: an account pretending to be a god, who wanted to fight, expected to dominate and wasn’t shy with the insults or shade. When you started calling me “Connie” repeatedly, I saw your intention to attempt to shame me by revealing my identity, a detail I never hid. There was such a snideness to your tone with me, especially in the repetitive use of my name: a palpable and gratuitous passive aggression followed by those dots.

It backfired on you as I called your bluff: I not only didn’t care that you knew my given name, I was thrilled that you did. It seemed you did not expect that reaction from me; you were surprised that I reveled in being “revealed,” that I am publicly active in my community and that I don’t lie or pretend on social media (or in real life, for that matter). I think you were stunned that I didn’t melt down or deny my own name or block you: funnily enough, these were all actions you ended up taking very quickly, not me.

So, I played then your game back on you. I called you “penelope.”

Unsurprisingly, soon after you blocked me which you announced on Twitter with a smiley face, a tweet you then deleted but not before I had been able to take a screenshot of it. I suspect you blocked me because, like Amazon, you didn’t like that I knew the truth about you.

Your patterns of behavior have remained constant: you’ve deleted a lot of your tweets; you’ve rage tweeted; and you’ve pointedly use other people’s names followed by those three dots, ellipsis ad nauseam. Dot dot dot.

And you never found fault with Amazon. You never informed yourself about what kind of organization it is: instead, you blamed politicians. You singled out one junior congresswoman, in particular: one who had zero involvement in any aspect of Amazon HQ2 other than criticizing the shady deal, along with millions of other people.

The convenient targeting of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is extraordinarily obtuse: AOC is your district’s congressperson so you would know better than anyone that she does not represent Long Island City, the district where HQ2 had been planned to be.

HQ2 wasn’t even going to be in her district. It is fake news for Amazon to blame AOC and it is fake news for you to blame her, too.

AOC had nothing to do with any HQ2 deal negotiations. AOC had been sworn in six weeks before Amazon pulled out of Queens. AOC did nothing to affect the HQ2 project: she was involved in no way.

It is a lie to say she is responsible, let alone solely responsible, for a mess Amazon made all by itself.

And yet you blamed her anyway over and over, all while pretending to be a deity.

But it was when you linked a petition to bring Amazon HQ2 back to Queens that you officially revealed who you were: the site’s welcoming pop-up revealed your name. This is the most critical proof in this whole “mystery” and what ultimately sealed your fate: Penelope Katsaras was inextricably tied to your many burner accounts because of that one link.

The dots, the ellipses, betrayed your habits but it was that pop-up which proved it.

Dot dot dot: it’s you, Penelope.

I don’t think you will ever change. I don’t think you will ever learn anything. But you are now found out, something with which you must live. One’s reputation defines who one is. Your reputation is that you create personas, lie about it, and then get found out by your very own actions.

You’re a liar; not a very smart one at that.

I do not wish ill on you nor have I ever expressed that to you. I wish you no karma for your actions other than the karma of truth. You have lied about who you are and you have continued to push untrue propaganda about Amazon. Your family history, your education and your work experience, no matter how exemplary, have nothing to do with your behavior on social media and do not excuse or erase your dishonesty.

So, if you are really serious about getting a cup of coffee, I am always down for an in-person confab; I wonder if you would truly want to take me up on it, despite it being your own offer. I nonetheless suspect that you most likely would not want to listen to anything I have to say and would prefer to yell at me, interrupt me, bark goodbye to me repeatedly while continually circling back and dictating, “And another thing!”

And if that is what you would like to do: not listen to me, yell at me, tell me what’s wrong with me, interrupt me, laugh at me and scream…

Guess what, angelface? I am ackshually up for it.

I would love to meet you.

I’ve met with Justin Potter several times; I’ve introduced myself in person to Michael Lambert; and I have a rapport with a few people at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. I always get something out of meeting with an adversary; sometimes a unique rapport can even be forged.

I’ve said this to Justin Potter: I never expect to win most of the battles I fight but I am still compelled to fight them and to at least try; I enjoy knowing the players in these fights, interacting with them and hopefully learning from them.

The fight is important because the effort counts. Standing up for something generally falls on a lot of deaf ears but taking a stand, even when ignored, still has value. It is still always worth it for me to fight for what I believe in, no matter how much I get criticized for it or how “stupid” and “crazy” I may appear to others.

I found out to my huge surprise that, occasionally, fighting works. The Amazon pullout demonstrated that fighting can be effective, that criticism of a shady deal and even shadier company can actually be heard.

I have never understood your steadfast disregard of all the cogent and proven criticism of Amazon. I appreciate you only saw the alleged good in Amazon but that doesn’t mean that corruption doesn’t live and breathe like a choking weed in that corporation.

You may never see that or even want to see that; and I know I will never see Amazon your way because your information about it is not correct. Still I think it’s always useful for people who disagree to meet: it’s always meaningful to spend time with another person who doesn’t share one’s own views; a lot can be gained and a lot could be squashed.

It’s a good idea…

I’d love to do it…

“This Person Just Schlepped”

Guilty as charged, Ben Carlos Thypin.

I did indeed “just schlep all the way from LIC” on January 23, 2020 to attend and address Manhattan Community Board 2: but it wasn’t to “just shit all over Open New York.” And it certainly wasn’t much of a “schlep,” either, Mr. Thypin: it’s ackshually called a “direct subway ride.” Perchance I am out of the loop on just what exactly a schlep entails but a trip to Soho via New York City mass transit is especially quick and easy from Long Island City.

To clarify, I did not attend that CB2 meeting to shit all over you: I don’t need to do that because you and your fellow ONY members and supporters do a sufficient job of defecating all over you and your “organization” all by yourselves; your own words and actions reveal that.

If anything, you all make your critics’ work easy: all we have to do is shine a light on your words and actions.

The simple truth is I “schlepped” that night to CB2 out of love, to be another voice speaking up for historic preservation and to stand up against the way ONY operates, especially its deplorable age-shaming habit. I believe ONY’s pro-rampant-gentrification slant, condescending attitude, sporadic deceit and poor judgment do not serve any New York City neighborhood or community, especially one like glorious, unique and beloved Soho.

Again, I made this trip, I executed this “schlep,” out of love.

New York City, my hometown, is my first and most enduring love and I will always feel compelled to fight for it. I do what I do in Queens out of love and I said what I said at CB2 out of love. Last year, I stood up to and spoke out against Amazon HQ2LIC because Seattle warned New York that, among other aspects, Amazon “[hasn’t] been the best civic neighbor” and I care about who moves into my neighborhood, especially when they appear to be a global bully with a shady land deal. As a former executive search industry researcher and knowledge manager, I know a poor corporate culture when I read about one and Amazon reeked and acted like early 2000s Walmart: I wasn’t about to let an abusive tyrant just slide on in, using public land (our land, our city land) via a secretive, vague and breakable deal, without saying something about it. I love where I live: I will always stand up for it, out of my love.

There was no other reason for me to do this. This isn’t about my hatred of wealthy people or my need to be popular with radical groups: this is about how much I love my city, my enduring, magical, extraordinary city. Downtown Manhattan was where this country was born and for centuries now has never diminished as the city’s center: the whole area, most especially the airy lofts of Soho, deserves special consideration for preservation. Development is neither desired nor necessary in this area; repurposing is a better option and running an inventory of all unused spaces and apartments, especially chronically empty luxury apartments, is a logical next step.

I had no idea such a movement as yours existed until last year, when ONY member Justin Potter ran his quiet, inconsequential campaign against Senator Mike Gianaris before unsurprisingly dropping out earlier this month. Aside from supporting a skittish monopoly, Potter’s pro-Amazon supporters also advocated for the destruction of landmarked buildings, the elimination of historical districts and the demolition of brownstones: I was surprised such sentiment existed and was saddened to see it. The logic employed had some reason to it, though, even I had to admit that much: the promotion of a carless society in cities by increasing residential density near mass transit. But there was a brusqueness to this group’s engagement, a snappy impatience, an eye-rolling mocking snarkiness, a trigger-happy tendency towards insults and condescension.

Back in mid-2019, I was so unassuming when I first stumbled across ONY on Twitter that I had started following the account; I naïvely assumed too quickly that ONY was a pro-tenant organization because of the reference of wanting to be a neighbor in its Twitter bio. This implied ability to partner is soon revealed as conditional and ultimately insincere.

As I had witnessed with its pro-Amazon peers, I observed Yimby in New York to be a small group of easily identifiable and loquacious personalities; I became quickly acquainted with the tiny cadre of troupe players and what I suspected was a strategic and deliberate style of social engagement, and with which I was already familiar having witnessed Justin Potter in action. ONY members and supporters conduct themselves in a mocking, impatient, snarky, disrespectful manner.

Deliberate bad faith is consistently used by ONY: mockery is tossed as bait to throw off the main focus of discourse; disrespect is hurled in what seems a desire to get a reaction; words are purposefully twisted and nontangential accusations are created to deflect from the point at hand. This is a repeated pattern, seen in numerous public interactions, all by the same players, this same small group.

Good, fair and productive arguments include respectful debate, a reasonable and generous attitude and a sense of peerage and deference to the other person. Not with ONY members and supporters, though. You guys arrive at the ready with impertinent (and false) accusations of racism, classism and depravity. A pattern of accusations, the same accusations, over and over.

And that, Mr. Thypin, is what I strove to “shit all over” at CB2 on January 23: the repeated behavior, the insults, the bad faith engagement. I shine a light on it. You wish it was shit: because feces isn’t see-through. And what you all do and say is very easy to see through: it is all clear and self-evident to everyone but you and your small group, it seems.

Another tidy little fact in all this is that you, sir, in particular, stand to make a profit in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. And you already have, Scion Thypin: your family’s wealth expands way beyond real estate.

And I mean, if your tactics are fair, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about when you receive criticism, right? You should be proud of how you operate: you don’t have anything to hide, do you?

And of course, I can express myself publicly, just like you can express yourself in such a fashion: that’s only fair, isn’t it? It’s only right, isn’t it?

Because, to me, two sides expressing their viewpoint seems like the crux of democracy: you have your opinion and I have mine and we both get to express our own opinions. No matter what our opinions are or how disparate they may be, they get to be expressed by us in public forums: that in itself is a beautiful thing; a democratic declaration.

And I don’t put you down, Mr. Thypin, for having an opinion, no matter how much I take issue with what you say. But what I *do* do is take issue with your opinions, aka your words. I then form specific arguments against your opinions, against the words you say. I use my words to express my issue with your words.

You, in turn, use your words to express your issue with me opening my mouth but you quite never get around to the part of specifically critiquing what comes out of my mouth: you only take issue with me expressing myself. You never address what it is that I say, instead you disparage me for opening my mouth. Conveniently, though, you ignore what I say.

Someone from ONY must have filmed the speakers at that January 2020 CB2 meeting: you have a history of photographing community speakers. I wonder if I was videotaped, if my words were captured. And if so, I wonder why no one posted what I said: I mean, it must have been absurd and untrue, right?

How come you never directly address what I say?

Because that’s what I do with you: I cite your own words and actions to depict how you and your ONY cohorts conduct yourselves and how you chronically treat other people. I seek to raise awareness about it: I wonder why you are not open to such relevant and fair criticism. And it’s not slanderous, either: if I am showing your own words and your own content along with published media about you, how can that be considered defamatory or even insulting? If you wrote it, you should be able to stand by it: all of it.

Right?

Like the sweet nothings you tweet to me.

Or your rejoicing in the destruction of brownstones in my neighborhood.

Your words and actions represent you: I assume you are proud of them. So it’s problematic how defensive you are about your own words or your real estate business and family legacy. It’s problematic how snarky, quick-tempered, overly dramatic, condescending and insulting ONY members and supporters are. It’s especially problematic as this behavior appears to be strategic and deliberate: even city officials have noted this obvious and clumsy conduct. Lower Manhattan District Leader Paul Newell’s tweet thread on your own history and comportment is gloriously thorough and revealing. Committeman Ben Yee called ONY out for something I experience for one whole day: the pile on.  My own pile on lasted 12 hours where I was falsely but deliberately accused of hating poor people and of being immoral. It was so obvious what you all were doing in that conversation with me: it was so telling. It shows who you all are.

At the end of that discourse, as I am wont to do, I asked you out for a cup of coffee. I am known for coffee terrorism: I have a reputation for wanting to meet people in person so to create a better rapport, to build a bridge and for me to learn more.

But you never took me up on that offer from a half a year ago. I wonder why.

Maybe because it is difficult for you to truly face any of the shit you do.

You most likely will never take me up on it, Mr. Thypin but my offer still stands.

Van Goner

January 21, 2020: Citing personal reasons in a statement released this morning, Jimmy Van Bramer announces he is dropping out of the Queens Borough President race. At last week’s Queens BP forum in Sunnyside, there was no hint of such trouble while Van Bramer scuffled enthusiastically with Queens Machine darling Donovan Richards over Amazon, bail reform and gentrification.

But today’s announcement follows months of neighborhood murmurings about Van Bramer’s quiet dissociation from his progressive base, despite his having been a soldier on the front lines in last year’s local fight against Amazon: it was as if he could not quite square his progressive past (albeit a shaky one: never forget 5Pointz) with his broader political aspirations.

And what better step for any ambitious Queens politician than Borough President? Until this morning, one could have argued the QBP race was JVB’s to lose: after all, he was the first to announce he was running for it and it seemed the perfect next move for this homegrown borough son.

So, what went wrong?

Although Twitter has already pondered this a.m. if the Queens Machine “made Jimmy an offer he could not refuse”, I think it’s more that Jimmy felt on his neck the hot dragon breath of more comfortable progressives like Costa Constantinides and Anthony Miranda.

Maybe Van Bramer did not expect such strong competition, especially from Miranda, whose campaign is being managed by AOC’s former campaign manager Vigie Ramos-Ríos and rising progressive activist Nick Haby.

Van Bramer will land on his feet for his next step whether aided by the Queens Machine or not. It’s a completely different Queens from when JVB first started his political career, a Queens which may no longer fit him and in which he may find he no longer fits. Progressive progrowing pains: it’s now a race between Costa and Miranda.

Queens wins either way.

@fuelgrannie Twitter suspension appeal

(This is the letter I sent to Twitter after my account was suspended: 36 hours after I submitted this appeal, I got my account back with no loss of content or followers. Names of accused parties have been changed: but those hoes know who they is…)

Thank you for this further opportunity to appeal the suspension of my @fuelgrannie Twitter account.

I have been using the name fuelgrannie since the internet’s inception in mid-1990s: I was, wisely, protective of my identity back then and was reticent to use my real name. “fuelgrannie” was a moniker I chose after some consideration as I wanted a name that I would feel comfortable using for years, a name that would grow with me and consistently reflect who I am. This name, “fuel” for the band Fuel and “grannie” to celebrate aging, has become my literal brand, a brand which further solidified during my ten years of use on Twitter. fuelgrannie is also the name of my Instagram, New York Times commenter and Reddit accounts but it started as my very first and still active email account. My first foray into public engagement was on the MTV message boards, the dinosaur precursor to modern social media, some two decades ago where I interacted with people from all over the country and the world; I still have paper printouts of scores of other users wishing me happy birthday one year. fuelgrannie has had an established online presence and personality since even before the new millennium.

The fuelgrannie name means a great deal to me personally but it is also tied to my professional efforts: it is a brand name in effect, a brand which has been developing for almost a quarter of a century now. My social media is part of my work resume: I am proud to send prospective clients my Twitter profile; I am proud of the following I have grown and I am especially proud of the content I provide, crafted from thoughtful and careful research. This past year, I provided boots-on-ground investigative reporting and analysis from the front lines of the Amazon HQ2 fiasco as the tech company attempted to set up camp near where I live in Long Island City, Queens. Recently, I have also been drawing attention to the Queens democratic political machine: my tweets are critical and truthful information that voters and other interested parties should have access to.  I am known for my data-packed tweet threads, my sourcing, my deliberateness and my honesty: these tweets are my work and they serve to educate the general public. My fuelgrannie name remains recognizable and trustworthy: I am a reliable source for journalists, politicians and activists.

And I have ticked off a few people along the way.

As the Amazon deal crumbled in Long Island City this past February, I was swiftly blocked by Amazon’s VP of Public Policy, Brian Huseman and Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist Serge Kovaleski, the latter a Long Island City homeowner. Since then, a few minor local politicians along with a selection of local property owners have also blocked me, furious at my stance against what was ultimately a shady business deal from which Amazon itself bailed very quickly, making the whole fiasco appear even more suspicious. Time has shown I had neither bad judgment nor poor research when it comes to this company.

The name “fuelgrannie” has become a reviled character to the pro-Amazon supporters in my borough: I have been sent tweets with memes of people defecating; I have been called “crazy,” “delusional,” “kook,” “asshole,” “immoral,” “callous;” I have been told I should have been beaten as a child; I have been sent gifs of people getting kicked in the neck. I do not begrudge anyone their response to me as they must endure the consequences of their actions; they alone make themselves look less credible when they insinuate violence or have no cogent argument against me other than claiming my insanity. Even now as my account remains suspended, my detractors are openly celebrating my absence.

But I rarely act in kind. My arguments use facts, reposted tweets/tweet threads and other cogent research. I never lie, I always take full responsibility for my content and my own words, good bad and ugly. Most of the time I strive to be respectful, especially when someone is engaging with me in a disrespectful manner, because such an attitude comes naturally to me and also because it makes my opponents’ bad behavior more apparent. My timeline reflects such conduct and I’ve frequently experienced people telling me in real life that they can’t believe what I go through and how well I handle it. I am now heavily involved in the Queens political scene and am known for my honesty, my bravery, my ability to articulate and my fair way of fighting. Most of the time.

Because there have been rare times when I have hit below the belt. And there have been (more) times when I have blind-tweeted in a shady, petty manner. And there have been times when I have been directly impatient, unkind, quick-tempered and disrespectful to other users but that only happens when I get repeatedly provoked and I make the choice not to rise above the situation. But that just does not happen that often with me, which my tweets reflect. It doesn’t make me look good when I take the low road, nor does it make me feel good, or even feel like myself, when I do stoop to do it. Again, my timeline attests to that: my overall and consistent mode of argument engagement is patient, knowledgeable, tolerant, thorough and respectful. I stop engagement with people when they insinuate violence, when they are caught lying or when they solely want to fight endless fights. I do not indulge gratuitous Twitter wars: I have neither the time nor the inclination.

I do however, selectively chose to defend myself when it’s necessary. I have been accused (quite strangely since I am broke as a joke) of being a secret millionaire. In real life however, I have a profoundly developmentally disabled sibling for whom I have partial financial responsibility since our parents left us with almost no inheritance when they died: these personal facts have been called lies and my brother has been mocked directly to me. These were tweets I could not report because they didn’t fit the criteria for reporting under your terms of service: but I still endured that bullying without reacting back in an inappropriate manner.

I am happy to provide you with these tweets. These tweets were sent by accounts whose tweets I have consistently reported on my behalf and the behalf of others being abused. I have been trolled and, in some cases, bullied and harassed by these accounts: I have had to endure that whether I am able to report an offending tweet or not. Having my personal situation mocked, dismissed or found to not be credible has been the toughest burden to endure here on Twitter and I am very proud of how I have handled myself when I have been bullied about my personal details.

I have also noted to you, Twitter, when I report these tweets, the history and context of these engagements. Two accounts in particular have been quasi-violent with me [in this blogpost, I will refer to them as Loudie and Windie; in my appeal to Twitter, I supplied their account handles]. Loudie and Windie are part of the local pro-Amazon gang, they are both landlords and they both deliberately behave in a similar disrespectful, long-winded and irrational manner. They shame people for their physical appearance; they mock female sex workers; one even posted the name and street address of a local progressive activist; I have not been the only target of their irrational, untrue and cruel tirades. Whenever I have reported them, along with notation of the history of their consistently poor engagement with me, I have never seen them suffer any consequences other than the doxing incident because that instance was so extreme and I was not the only person to report it.

But many times, their conduct and behavior are condoned by Twitter because their offensive tweets remain and their attitude and engagement have never toned down. And yet here I am, the person who ends up with the suspended account. Even as I write this now, I have no idea specifically why my account was suspended and I do hope some clarity can be given to me.

What I suspect happened is that I was hyperly reported this past week, the timing of which curiously coincides with the October monthly meeting of a group I will refer to in this blogpost as GrowthieNewYork [in my appeal to Twitter, I supplied their account handle], a pro-Amazon, pro-gentrification, pro-development local group whose members have been aggressive with me and a few have blocked me. Their mode of conduct is surprisingly similar to Loudie and Windie and their sock puppet cohorts, who have trolled me for months now; they also engage in a specific behavior known as “flying monkeys,” as in the Wizard of Oz, where many accounts swoop in to silence, overwhelm, shame and ultimately stop any dissention. In my case, it is my anti-gentrification efforts and my criticism of the GrowthieNewYork organization

GrowthieNewYork is proudly YIMBY, meaning “Yes in My Back Yard” as they aim to get rid of historical districts in New York City by advocating for the tearing down of landmarked buildings with taller nondescript structures to then take their place. They generally engage in groups for battle with various single accounts who dare to engage or confront them: they mock aesthetic appreciation, dismiss the need for lower income housing and become disrespectful exaggerators when confronted on their tactics.

But more importantly, GrowthieNewYork has been dishonest about its not-for-profit status, about which I had been recently tweeting. I suspect news of efforts was shared at their monthly meeting, which occurred this past Wednesday, and I suspect they encouraged a bombardment of reports against me. My suspension occurred less than 48 hours later: again, I hope you can kindly provide the specific reason as to why and I wonder if my suspicion is right and that from Wednesday to Friday, Oct 2 – Oct 4, 2019, you received a barrage of complaints about me.

And again, I am happy to provide a list of accounts which may have been involved in this barrage: members of GrowthieNewYork, other local and national YIMBY activists, accounts with bike and avocado emojis in their handles. I can share a thread in which I engaged where I was bombarded by about ten accounts and endured a “flying monkey” pile-on which I handled with truth and research even while a select few of those accounts behaved inappropriately, but not in violation of your TOS so I could not report the tweets and instead defended myself. I wonder if those accounts could have played a part in suspending my account.

And that alone, getting a group together to try to silence another account, is, in effect, breaking your terms of service: it is harassment and bullying and I ask you to take that aspect seriously. I suspect YIMBY accounts conspired to get my account suspended and I ask you to take that into consideration with the processing of this case.

I ask also for you to please consider the ten years’ worth of work and research I have posted on my Twitter account: I had assumed this content would never be in jeopardy of being removed and that once I had publicly published it, it could be easily sourced and available for anyone to see it, learn from it and use it. I created this content, it is important to me and it has served my community well: I implore you to please that into consideration as well. My work has helped raise awareness: I am proud of my reputation and visibility in my neighborhood, borough and with the causes I promote. My work has been valuable and even significant in its own way. If you chose to never reinstate my account, I ask that you be able to please provide me with the decade’s worth of work and content I created. I appreciate you own this data but I argue that I half-own it, too, as its creator and I ask to at least be able to get it back in my possession for my own use.

I am happy to delete any specific tweets which have been determined to be inappropriate for the site and in the effort and good faith to get my account back: again, I look forward to learning what I actually did to earn this suspension. I have no idea what I did: that’s why I think this was a deliberately targeted campaign against me.

I ask for you to please give me back my fuelgrannie name and presence on your website. It is part of who I am, it is tied to my work and ability to generate income (it will be inconsistent for my brand to have to create another account riffing off of an already weird name) and it is a self-assigned moniker I have been using for almost half of my life now. I have conducted myself well on Twitter, I have grown from a cheerleader for Queens with a few hundred followers to an advocate for justice and transparency with over 3600 hundred followers: I have worked hard for every one of those followers, some of whom are so important to me, like the Exonerated Five and I ask that these online relationships and connections be restored.

I look forward to the next steps in this process and I hope very much to get my name back on a site where it had grown and thrived because there is no replacing a name I have used and invested in. Because most of all, I just want my name and my brand back.

Many thanks for your time and attention to this issue which means so much to me. I hope to resolve this as fairly as possible. I ask for you to consider my length of time on Twitter, my engagement carriage over the years and the possibility that my suspension may have been a strategic and deliberate attack against me by an organized group.

With appreciation, CM

Back

Twitter has compelled me back to blogging and I am psyched to be back: it had been on my mind for some time to return and get back to public longform prose.

For the past half-decade or so, I have been working on two memoirs, various essays, and a few published articles but much of my day-to-day writing has been on social media, especially Twitter. Tweeting with its 280-character-per-post limit, presents the challenge of crafting sharp, sensical, truthful brevity which lends to its own art form: nothing in this modern world beats a perfect tweet. Twitter is also the best platform for sharing news and information with one’s own lean-spined analysis: it’s quick, it’s interactive and it’s no place to hide, except for private accounts, as discourse is as much of the game as self-expression is.

Blogging now allows me, once again, a useful sounding board: a place where I can spitball what I’ve been sharing on Twitter. My critics reprimand me in tweets on my engagement: I am told that I “rant,” that I am “a kook,” so perchance I can exorcise some of my alleged insanity on here instead beyond 280-character chunks.

Initially I had started using Twitter to promote Queens and its events; I went from solely following Long Island City accounts when I first joined in 2009 to then embracing my whole borough and investigating it more in person. As the years passed, I became more involved in social justice issues, especially ones affecting New York City, like the Exonerated 5. In 2015, I started tweet-yelling at Donald Trump: to my friends, I was “crazy” as I never stopped worrying about him being elected in 2016 and it turns out I had reason to be concerned.

But it was Amazon’s announcement in November 2018 to set up half of its HQ2 in Long Island City, my home, which has defined my recent Twitter engagement: my backyard, my borough, justice and politics all entwined in this debacle. Amazon ducked out of its deal in February 2019 but the patina of its exit remains, thick, in this community, we are a neighborhood divided: a tale of two Long Island Cities. This is where I will workshop my side of the story, my perspective. It is quite a story to tell, part Dickensian corporate mystery, part local Hatfield/McCoy soap opera and it is still on-going: right now, the ballots for the recent Queens District Attorney race are being manually counted as Queens remains the center of progressive politics in the country, maybe even in the world.

I look forward to following how the DA race plays out and I will also be sharing my experience of what it has been like being on the front lines of the local Amazon social media discussions (where anyone can thusly be involved if they so desire) and also what kind of organization Amazon is. There is a lot of misinformation out there so it is meaningful to have a platform to flesh out each issue about this company, each consequence, each misstep: more people need to educate themselves on just what Amazon is. I hope to break it down as clearly as I can.

January 2, 2015: Soup for Dayz, Day 2

Happy official New Year, my angels! Hope you rang it in exactly as you wanted (I was in bed at 10pm, per my usual NYE routine: rockstar) and here’s to 2015 being a year which brings you strength, joy, clarity and continued health. Always be grateful for what you have and who you are.

And of course, I broke my resolution to blog every day right exactly on New Year’s Day itself, but it was worth it. I finished a job application last evening after spending the day hanging out with my awesome neighbors; the latter being an especially delightful event from which I still feel energized today. There is nothing better than connecting with other people and having a good time and great conversation, nothing better at all (not even those three long, mentholated cigarettes we smoked, as a rare treat, frontin’ like bad kids!).

Back to the magnificent Soup fah Dayzzzz!

Now we’re on Day 2. This may even be a workday for you so you can do this second day of cooking after you get home from your job. The most time-consuming part has already been completed now that the base has been attacked; the next steps are building on that base and letting the flavors steep and develop.

Take the casserole out of the fridge and put it back under that really low flame, at a bare simmer. You’re not working for heat here: you are working for time and building cohesion. The soup will be in the form of a very concentrated stew, not taking up much room in the casserole; there may even be a coagulation of oil at the top, which is fine. Give another good round of spanking with some fresh ground pepper and cut up another lemon into 8 pieces, carefully removing seeds, and squeeze by hand into the soup. Add another half cup or so of water so to maintain the liquid content: those veggies need to stay nice and saturated. Use a wooden spoon to scrape down any errant pieces off the side of the casserole pot: get all the bits back into the mixture. Cover and let simmer at the lowest heat possible to ease it out of refrigerator mode.

Now we can start to add more ingredients, some which will be repeats. I prefer not to use carrots to the soup base because of the lovely sweetness they bring to cooking (you may want to, however, for that exact reason) but I will certainly add in those fab orange puppies now at this stage of the game. I use one large carrot, pared and then sliced into discs about ¼ inch think. I then cut each disc into tiny pie-shaped pieces. The smaller discs I just cut into halves or quarters, but the larger slices I will cut into eighths, sometimes even more: again, my theory is, the smaller the pieces, the greater the melody when it’s finished. The soup even looks nicer with all these tiny pieces, especially the carrots which add that pop of color. If you want, throw in more than one carrot, just make sure you chop it all down to size.

Also at this point, after I have added the carrot, I like to add in another onion flavor layer, perhaps maybe a bunch of gorgeous scallions: cut the white bulbs into thin slices and then separate all the little round rings (again, as always: tiny pieces are this soup’s best friend); chop the leaf greens finely, discarding any yucky bits but feel free to use as much of the leaves as you want, just make sure you chop them to oblivion. That’s one of the great things about this concoction, and any other homemade soup for that matter, you can use as much of your vegetables as possible.

Another option for this second round of onion-ation is to add any stinky bulb(s) you may have hanging around, even the proverbial half red onion wrapped in tinfoil that seems to live in all of our refrigerators. Yes, even if it is kinda old and sorta dryish: this soup’ll wake it right up and benefit from what is always dependable onion-osity. Discard the papery ends and top layer, because those do not cook well; I’ve tried because I hate to waste food but they don’t absorb the moisture. One option with those pieces is to pop them in the oven until they get crispy, not burned, to eat as a chip of sorts, but that’s really stretching the whole no-waste routine; sometimes some things just have to go straight to composting. With the usable onion you have left (and you know what I am going to say), chop it down to itty bitty, teeny weeny bits and then chop those down even more.

To cement this second day, let’s toss in more garlic, shall we? No such thing ever as too much garlic for this Queens girl. We don’t need another whole head here (but you could do that, if you want: and if you do, when are you having me over for dinner?) so you could use as few as two or three cloves although I suggest using at least five for this stage, especially if they’re not that big.

Here’s my lesson on garlic dicing: slice a clove into thin lengthwise discs, by standing it on its side and carefully cutting from top to bottom. Stack the discs, as many as you can; I can usually stack two to three at a time, sometimes more, if they’ll stay in line. Julienne those discs lengthwise into little sticks. Line up the tiny julienned sticks and cut those down crosswise, millimeter by millimeter, making a nice pile of garlic mulch and making sure to cut down any overly large pieces. Since we’re not cooking these directly in oil, as we did on Day 1, you want to make sure you have finely chopped these garlic segments to death, honey. Like to a consistency of grainy paste.

Throw in that garlic mulch, spank the black pepper grinder anew, stir the soup, wipe down any errant pieces with a wooden spoon, cover the pot and let this simmer for at least an hour, preferably closer to two hours. Check every twenty minutes, making sure the heat is as low as possible. Your home will smell awesome. After two hours, turn off the heat, let cool for about an hour and then pop back in the fridge.

Day 2 over! The mingle-ation continues as this soup keeps being heated and cooled while the days pass: just like with any fabulous dame, it just gets better and better with time. Directions on Day 3 are forthcoming, kittens…

A sad note from my wonderful borough of Queens concerning this exact subject: the home cooking of soup. There was a horrific fire in the LeFrak City housing complex in Corona which claimed three lives on Wednesday night, New Year’s Eve. Homemade soup meant to celebrate the incoming year was left unattended on the stove and caused a blaze which killed a middle-aged couple and their niece. My heart goes out to this family: there but for the grace of the universe go I and all of us chefs. Here’s to every one of us always being mindful of our cooking and never, ever leaving the home with any kind of unsupervised fire going, be it a candle or a low simmering soup. Even if you are running out of the house for only a minute during the cooking of, say, this amazing Soup for Dayz or any other wonderful creation: turn the fire off, blow the candle out. It’s never worth it to take that chance. Always be aware of an open flame and always, always take care, for your sake and your neighbors’ sakes.

The number one rule in the kitchen, above all, is safety. It ain’t gonna taste like anything if you’re not alive to eat it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014: Soup For Dayz, Day 1

This is the recipe for what I basically live on: it’s a hearty, vegetarian, salt-free stock with which I create meals. It’s cheap and healthy (xactly: just like me) and no-fail (yup: not like me at all). Even though I am providing some sort of a concrete process for the base, it, as well as the other stuff you throw in, can be played around with and you can use whatever you have in the fridge or whatever’s good and/or on sale at the market.

The base is a variation of a mirepoix or holy trinity, with celery and onion: I then add garlic at the last minute, instead of bell peppers or carrots, which I may or may not throw in later. The magic ingredient of this handiwork is time which you sneak in over the course of a few days. Many times, I’ll have one batch of this soup in the “build” stage on the stove and then another, more finished batch in the fridge, ready for chowtime. This soup does not go bad, it just gets better and better with time (again true: just like me).

My suggestion is to start this process on a lazy weekend morning or afternoon; you’ll need to tend to this for about three hours at its start and I suggest using a large 5 to 6 quart casserole pot for the cookage process. You’ll cook this for dayz, bunny: it tastes so much better, just like love, if it isn’t brand new.

DAY 1 – here’s what you need for the base:

1 big yellow or white onion, or two smaller ones

½ bunch of celery, give or take a few stalks – you want to have about the same amount of celery and onion

Chop these up as finely as you can bear: the finer the chop, the more potential for flavor so take your time, turn up some music and chop away; get it all down to tiny pieces – you’ll have roughly two cups or so of each vegetable. There’s nothing wrong with doubling this recipe, too; just bear in mind it may take longer to cook it all down.

In the casserole pot, gently heat up some olive oil on low heat for about a minute: use enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pot, a good long pour; you can always add in more, as you need, since you don’t want your vegetables to burn or get dried out.

After that minute of heating the oil, add in the finely chopped onion and celery: the oil should never get too hot; you don’t want to shock or scald the veggies. Coat the celery and onion mixture, making sure all of it gets good and oiled; even add more olive oil if you need. Make sure your heat stays at an extremely low simmer, then top the mixture off with a good spanking of freshly ground black pepper (be generous because you won’t be using salt, so this will help the flavor as well as the cooking) and let this simmer, very low and covered, until the onions and celery get really soft. This will take some time; I let this go for well over an hour, usually close to two hours (remember: you won’t be eating this tonight, you are just building your base). Check on the mixture and stir every 15 to 20 minutes or so: make sure the heat stays super low and add more oil, if you need, to keep the mixture soft, and definitely feel free to re-pepper.

During this time, chop a half a head of garlic, about 10 – 12 cloves or so. If you are like me and living in a world where no such thing as too much garlic, use the whole dang head. Chop every clove by hand as finely as you can, itty bitty pieces, to almost a paste. Yes, it takes time so catch up on some crappy TV on your DVR and not feel guilty about it. Pretend each clove is an absurd old problem that you are literally cutting down to size. The finer the chop, the more tasty the final product: chop, chop, chop, chop and chop away with love in your heart.

After 90 minutes to two hours, your celery and onion (the dynamic duo for the time being) should be nice, soft and translucent: add a little more oil, pepper it up and stir for minute or two so that the added oil gets some heat.

We’re now about to enter phase 2: where the dynamic duo meets the superhero garlic and the angels above your head sing to the newly formed trinity.

Add in the garlic, stir well and stay put by the mixture. It’s important that the garlic not get burned or fried, so this phase only takes about two minutes, tops. Once you start to really smell the garlic, once all the fabulousness has been released by the heat after about a minute, give it another thirty seconds or so, stirring and smearing it all around, getting the celery and onion good and saturated with the miracle that is garlic.

Phase 3: another nice, long sleepy phase – add a little bit of water, like a half a cup or so, to this mixture no more than two minutes after you have added the garlic. You could even add white wine, if you’d like, for some zing. If you are a total cheater (and I ain’t hatin, playa), you could actually add some other stock, but it’s healthier if you stick to H2O because this will allow what you have slaved over to actually come through once you are finished. Believe me, it’s worth the wait. The addition of this liquid will allow the ingredients to continue to soften and mix.

Cut up a lemon into 8 pieces, making sure to remove all seeds. Carefully squeeze out each piece into the mixture, checking for and removing any errant seeds; squeeze out every last drop you can. You could use a juicer but I think you get more juice if you do this by hand; as well, there is something about the ceremony of squeezing, and chopping by hand. It just tastes better, in my opinion.

Phase 4: let’s call this mixture “soup” – we’ve earned the name and it certainly has by now. With both the water and lemon juice, the soup should be a nice and chunky dense mix. Add some more freshly ground pepper and let it continue to simmer, over that low heat, for another hour. Then turn the heat off, keep it covered and let it sit to cool enough to go into the fridge, for about another hour or so (no worries if this is longer: it’s not going to turn into poison if it doesn’t go into the fridge immediately after an hour).

Whew: Day 1 is ovah! Instructions for Dayz 2 and on are forthcoming.

Happy New Year, by the way! My resolution is to blog every day. Let’s see if that happens. I am just glad I finally started this thing this year and I am very excited to see what the next year brings. 2014 was the end of some stupid stuff for me so I bet 2015 will be the start of some not-so-stupid stuff, just like this post depicts the start of some not-so-stupid soup: the elixir of the earthling! Soup for DAYZZZZZZ!!