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The YBNBY Council
McSorley's table.JPGThrough the ages there has been moments that have changed the course of history. Councils, meetings and forums. The Council of Nicaea, the ecumenical meeting in 325 AD where a handful of religious leaders were gathered together by a pagan Emperor to vote on a uniform Christian doctrine. (Worked like a charm.) America's Founding Father's at Independence Hall. Knights being awarded the highest order of Chivalry at the Round Table. And the Fellowship of the Ring being formed at the Council of Elrond.

Such a gathering happened this past week in the East Village of Manhattan.

Four writers for pop culture juggernaut YesButNoButYes.com met at McSorley's Old Ale House to have an erudite discussion about politics, religion, love, war and bacon.

This meeting is bound to have a drastic impact on the direction of our society. The wise, kind-of-old sage's that met that night felt the results of this meeting should be shared with the world. For posterities sake. Thus, YBNBY Royal Scribe and Keymaster of Legends Johnny Wright has been asked to relay what happened on that historic evening.

We now turn this tale over to Johnny.

Picture bar.pngThank you for that introduction, Raoul. Raoul is our valued YBNBY intern. He's a sweet chap, hard working and dedicated, but a bit of an idiot. (He insisted the sticky-fingered bluesy solo in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was done by George Harrison. It's Clapton, Raoul. What a dope.) The introduction of this piece was his biggest assignment yet. Quite a step up from making daily hot dog runs to Gray's Papaya. Well done, kid.

Knowing that this upcoming council would most likely change history, I felt it was necessary to bring my A-game. So I carved off the beard to a top-drawer moustache.

This evening Scaramouch, Baierman, Echowood and myself met at McSorley's in the Village. This was upon my insistence. Echowood wanted to go to Wendy's, but I had eaten lunch there that day and wanted a change.

hemingway_scrittoio.JPG A little about the joint; Former gentleman's club McSorley's Old Ale House is the oldest watering hole in New York City, opening her doors in 1854. Not much had changed since then. Inside, there is sawdust on the floor and history in the air. Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were counted among the visitors. As were Mark Twain and Papa Hemingway. Poet E.E. Cummings wrote in the back, including the work "I Was Sitting In McSorley's." Woody Guthrie loved the place. A pair of Harry Houdini's handcuffs are attached to the bar rail. No woman were admitted inside until 1970.

Nothing has been taken off the walls since 1910. Some of the framed articles are so weathered and faded, you can no longer make out the text. There is 100 years worth of campaign buttons over the entrance to the back room. On the West wall, hangs a Teddy Roosevelt campaign poster for Vice President. Over the bar, next to the Jackalope, is inscribed the bar's motto; "Be Good or Be Gone." Also above the bar is a wicked looking ancient mace. Who knows the story behind that weapon.

Echowood and I arrived first and procured the corner table. Perhaps the same table that Hemingway sat at. Scaramouch and Baierman arrived soon after. In McSorley's you have the choice of light and dark beer. That's it. No novel-sized menu of the world's microbrews. Light and dark. They also come two at time. No exceptions. Two beers for $4.50. Scaramouch ordered two dozen brews. I don't drink, so I had a Coke. I got a dirty look from the bartender when I ordered.

The Council came to order after an invocation from Echowood. Which was fine, but he offered the prayer to "Thor, Sun Goddess Sol, Egyptian scarabs, and whoever else might be listening up there." He also included "we're thankful for Jessica Alba and cheese" in his supplication. Off to a weird start.

The first fifteen minutes were spent extolling admiration for my moustache. It got old really quick. I know it's foxy, lads, let's move on. Geez...

Baierman produced a laminated agenda from his briefcase and we got rolling. To set the tone, he read the poem "A Man Young and Old" by W.B. Yeats.

My arms are like the twisted thorn
And yet there beauty lay;

The first of all the tribe lay there

And did such pleasure take;

She who had brought great Hector down
And put all Troy to wreck.


All of us nodded slowly. We had no idea what that meant, but it sounded pretty good.

Next up, Scaramouch said "Okay Johnny, you are only allowed three monkey posts per week. It's getting ridiculous." Before I could offer a rebuttal, three hands shot up in agreement and that was that. I fumed in my seat and gulped my Coke.

"Along these same lines," Scaramouch continued, "does there need to be a cap on how many penis related entries we have each week?"

Silence. Crickets and tumbleweeds.

"Let's move on."

Another great thing about McSorley's is the surly help. You don't have the waiter bouncing over to say "Hey guys! My name is Todd and I'll be taking care of you tonight! I like that shirt! Have you been working out? Before I take your order, you can see me doing crappy stand-up at Giggles and The Ha-Ha Hole every Tuesday and Thursday. Okay, what can I get you?" That doesn't happen here. Instead, a fifty-five-year-old Irish bloke named Hank walks over slowly wearing a grey barbers smock. "'Nother round? Dark? Okay." That's it. Forty-five seconds later, Hank reappears holding a dozen dark beers.

mcsorley's toilet.jpg I excused myself to use the toilet. Which was interesting because the door has a window and you can see inside while the men stand at the urinal. "Hey, how are ya? Just having a wee. Be right with you."

When I got back to the table, somehow Echowood had a beer I.V. stuck into his arm. He was mainlining dark beer intravenously. I'm still unclear how he accomplished this.

Back to bidness. "Now what are we going to do about the War in Iraq?" Scaramouch asked. "What can we do?"

We thought in silence for a half hour. Hank switched out Echowood's bag of beer.

Still thinking ... still thinking ...

"Who would win in a fight between a bear and a tiger?" I asked. This kicked off an hour debate. We're going to return to the War in Iraq problem solving session at the next Council.

Adam.JPG Echowood began a passionate soliloquy about the need for more YBNBY posts about cats. I don't know what he was talking about. Cat calendars, cat themed caption competitions and cats in funny hats. This went on for quite some time. I wasn't really listening. I kept staring at a drawing on the wall over his left shoulder. It was dated 1771 and appeared to be a caricature that was a cross between a Mohican warrior and Toht from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The cat rant ended when the second I.V. beer bag went dry. Okay, he's done.

"Hank! Need a fresh bag! Stat!"

The Council concluded with the collaborative writing of the first draft of the YBNBY Manifesto. The document is being reviewed by the staff and will be published soon along with our list of demands. Framed copies will be available in the gift shop.

And so we adjourned. Confident that we made the Algonquin Round Table look like Blue Collar "Comedy" Tour. The dialogue was scholarly, pithy and sapient. A meeting of the minds that will be revered by generations to come. As important as the Jedi Council where it was decided that Anakin Skywalker would be promoted to the rank of Master.

The transcript is currently being deciphered by Raoul. Volume One will be on sale soon. Thanks Raoul, now go get us some hot dogs.

Good night and good luck.

Selah.

JW

Johnny Bar.JPG
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17 Comments

Good taste in venues. Cheers.

said E on June 28, 2008 10:36 PM.

Yes, Mom, these are my co-workers. No, I haven't met them, but I may someday. Don't worry, I carry bail funds.

said Miss Cellania on June 29, 2008 9:33 AM.

Looking back, I think it was wonderful idea to snap this photo in front of not 1 but 2 window crosses. Take that Mike Huckabee and God bless YBNBY.

said Baierman on June 29, 2008 9:55 AM.

E,

Would you expect any less? McSorley's is exactly my kind of joint.

JW

said Johnny Wright on June 29, 2008 11:27 AM.

Only bar I've read the history of. Joseph Mitchell, The Old House at Home (as I recall). Good reading.

said E on June 29, 2008 6:55 PM.

Johnny,
Dig the Pervstache. I'll look forward to the the next episode of "To catch a Predator." to see if it has grown out.
Gotta give it to ya for having the balls to pull a mean stache. You have backed the stache well and I apologise for doubting your loyalty to the stache. Some people talk a mean moustache game but don't back it up. While others like myself want to grow one but just don't have the physical ability to pull it off.
Given the combination of your hat and the stache you kind of remind me of a John Candy from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Just skinnier.

said Dave on June 30, 2008 9:09 AM.

Thank you Dave. I walk the walk, and talk the talk, baby.

Set your DVR for To Catch a Predator.

Still have the stache...

said Johnny Wright on June 30, 2008 9:33 AM.

Lights? or Darks? AND, do they still employ the wheelchair as the preferred method of removing the misbehaved?

said jbizzquick on June 30, 2008 11:29 AM.

I think the wheelchair is stashed behind the bar. Just in case there's trouble.

Luckily, we didn't cause a rumble. Best behavior and all that.

said Johnny Wright on June 30, 2008 11:37 AM.

not quite To Catch a Predator. Mr. Wright looks more like a no-nonsense silencer in the Irish mob.

it is a nice 'stache though.

said etantao on June 30, 2008 12:49 PM.

Scottish mob, etantao, Scottish.

My Grandfather would roll in his grave if I didn't correct that.

Thanks for the stache love. Not in that way. Cheeky.

said Johnny Wright on June 30, 2008 12:55 PM.

That's quite a pic gang; looks like a great time was had. And Johnny's eloquent synopsys of the evening makes us all wish we were there.

Still, I can't help but feel that some of the meeting notes are missing. For example, did Johnny stumble upon the T-shirt sale at the Gap and notify Baierman of the find, or was this Baierman's coup? Why wasn't everyone included in the shopping spree?

I'm just sayin' ...

said Tim on June 30, 2008 1:29 PM.

For crying out loud. You're right Tim. I didn't notice that. Dammit.

Not that anyone cares, but my shirt is from an Oasis show at the Hollywood Bowl. It has Noel and Liam in silhouette.

said Johnny Wright on June 30, 2008 2:50 PM.

And my tee features the cover of Guns-N-Roses Chinese Democracy.

said Baierman on June 30, 2008 5:19 PM.

Can't wait for that record.

said Johnny Wright on June 30, 2008 5:28 PM.

yeah you can, we've been waiting for about 5 years

said etantao on July 1, 2008 1:02 AM.

Dude?

You're all hot?

And bloggers?

And you hang out together?

What the FUCK?

Did someone forget to send me the memo that the apocalypse is nigh?

Oh... Scaramouch, is this where you guys discussed missing me? If so, I'm extremely flattered that you all were ~blush~!

said Jeni Gump on July 2, 2008 8:16 PM.
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