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Bret Nicely

Five years ago, as a recently immigrated domestic (from Wisconsin) to New York, I heard the well worn cliché, “New York is an island off the coast of America.”...and I was a happy expatriate.

In the time since, as a rank and file member of Williamsburg’s community of hipsters and mass-cultural exclusions, I galvanized my revulsion to much of that which the continent to the west of us gobbled up. I didn’t believe in SUV’s, FM Radio, Starbucks, and Survivor.

Then, the petty luxury to stand apart from America disappeared.

Rushing through Manhattan on September 11th with scores of fellow New Yorkers, crowding over the bridge to get to Brooklyn, I realized we are in this together. Days later, I’ve saw real immigrants displaying the stars and stripes with equal fervor to their pride in the colors of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. They’ve embraced America.

Every small act towards getting on with the business of living, in work, but more so in pleasure and in the enjoyment of our lives, is important. For my distractions and entertainment, and towards maximizing the good times in bad times, I'm going back to America.

1. How have you been spending your days?
"Going to work, but I've realized that even if your job sucks, the people you work with don't always suck, so I value the time spent with them, trading stories of our last month's travails and sharing laughs over work-related nonsense.

2. Have you been exercising and doing yoga, or drinking and smoking?

"I've wanted to play basketball with other hacks, but it's hard to get a game on because everyone is doing too much drinking and smoking to get up and play ball by noon on a Saturday. Which is all the more reason to drink myself, which I'm heavily into these last few weeks. I've switched nearly exclusively to Wild Turkey"

3. What books, music, or videos have helped you escape the news?

"I just read an excellent light read by Paul Auster, a Classic Broolkynite, called "Mr. Vertigo" which is a parable about America's ascension through the twentieth century, as personified by a vaudevillian flying boy. Also, the always essential Bob Dylan's new record, "Love and Theft" is an automatic upper, as well as being a similar survey of what's good about America and it's musical heritage. This guy's really nailed how to raise what you love doing to new levels over and over again."

4. What should readers do to have fun in the upcoming days?
"If you've ever remotely cared about sports, the landscape of America's Big Three Sports is historic. Jordan's coming back to not only defend his legacy, but to challenge the new school game of Iverson, Kobe, and the rest of the rising NBA stars. Barry Bonds is going to break the all time homer record and the feel-good team of the century, the Mariners, are heading for a showdown with the legendary Yanks. And for football, my Packers are undefeated so far, so the NFL is shaping up to be a great season.

Pro Sports has become an excellent, unflinching distraction and adventure worth following. Hell, Hunter S. Thompson is even writing a weekly column for


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