Essays

TITANPOINTE: The NSA’s Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight

THEY CALLED IT Project X. It was an unusually audacious, highly sensitive assignment: to build a massive skyscraper, capable of withstanding an atomic blast, in the middle of New York City. It would have no windows, 29 floors with three basement levels, and enough food to last 1,500 people two weeks in the event of a catastrophe. But the building’s primary purpose would not be to protect humans from toxic radiation amid nuclear war. Rather, the fortified skyscraper would safeguard powerful computers, cables, and switchboards. It would house one of the most important telecommunications hubs in the United States — the world’s largest center for processing long-distance Read More

OVERHEARD LIVES: AN APPRECIATION OF EAVESDROPPING IN THE CITY

Few of the films or TV shows I write about are as fascinating and full of unruly life as the encounters I have each day in the city. New York is an immense, honeycombed theater of interactions, some deliberate, some incidental, seemingly constructed for eavesdropping, casual conversation and unexpected moment of mutual empathy, as well as eruptions of misery and rage. Every city has a touch of this sort of literal street theater, but it’s harder to avoid in cities that have a tradition of pedestrian life. Some encounters only last a few minutes or a few seconds, but you remember them forever, so vivid are the Read More

Sex Advice: You Gotta Have Some Low G Rendezvous Couple Time

“We are seriously out of practice,” Callie said after plopping down next to her boyfriend Holden. It was a bit of an unusual couple for us since neither of them seemed angry or even that worried about the fact that they hadn’t had sex for the past 2 years. More than anything they were perplexed. Callie added, “In the beginning, our sex was insanely romantic, like every touch and every look and every move was full of meaning and promise.” Holden chimed in, “After a while, that just sort of faded and it didn’t really get replaced with anything.” “That sounds like some pretty High G sex,” Read More

Love in a Time of Cannabis

The first time I ever smoked pot I also had sex. I was in high school, she was older and asked if I was cool. I nodded. She showed me how to hit the bong then laid me down on the bed and showed me how to please her. Forever after, I’ve associated sex and weed. They go together like music and dancing. It’s the perfect substance for romance. Your body becomes hypersensitive and alert. Everything’s light, funny, wonderful and weird. Indeed the cannabis plant has evolved with humanity. There are special receptors in our brains that respond to marijuana, it’s grown alongside us for millions of years. Read More

The Five Most Important Things I Learned By 27

So you’ve finally made it: At long last you’re a grizzled veteran of adulthood, and there’s nothing that this universe can throw at you that you haven’t already beaten. Not unless you’re anything like me. So you’ve finally made it. Officially in your late twenties – half a decade out from college and conquering the great, wide world through pure grit and elbow grease. At long last you’re a grizzled veteran of adulthood, and there’s nothing that this universe can throw at you that you haven’t already beaten. Not unless you’re anything like me. It’s been barely over a year since I wrote about “The Five Most Read More

Presidents And The Cars They Drove — Part I

William Howard Taft (1909-1913) • Baker Electric Taft’s presidential administration was the first to switch to cars from the old horse and buggy. It was also the first to supply vehicles for official presidential use. Ahead of his time, the 27th president included in his fleet an environmentally friendly Baker Electric, the actual car shown here which is housed in the Petersen Automotive Museum in California. Using a $12,000 appropriation, the first White House chauffeur was given the job of identifying the most appropriate vehicles. Seeking the “best deals”, he purchased a White Steamer, two Pierce-Arrows, and this Baker Electric. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) • Pierce-Arrow Limousine Like Read More