Demitasse #9


Demitasse   a sip of the Compendium

George Harrison's birthday, 1999


Demitasse is a free sip of the sardonic social commentary and reports of

real life weird that fill the Ladies' Fetish & Taboo Society Compendium of

Urban Anthropology (the Compendium).


(c) copyright Kathy Biehl 1998


It's mid-morning on a weekday. I'm riding the No. 6 train to its last stop,

at the tip of Manhattan; my fellow riders, by this point, are headed for

either the Staten Island Ferry or the corridors of Wall Street. As the

train pulls into the station, I approach the door with my reading material

still in hand: a LSAT manual, the textbook for training I'm taking.

"Lawyers first, people second," says a moderately well dressed man in his

late 20s as he takes a pronounced step back.

"That's ridiculous!" I laugh.

"You're right," he replies, stepping up to my side. When the door opens, he

makes a point to walk out first.



A husky man is pushing a cow-sized cow on wheels down 77th St. between 3rd

Ave. and Lexington. The other remarkable characteristic of the cow, besides

the casters replacing its hooves, is "Brother Jimmy" painted in script

across its flanks. As if the act of pushing a cow through traffic isn't

enough to draw attention, the man is whistling Harpo-like and waving at

people on the sidewalk. "Not everyday you see a cow in the street!" he

yells at a woman. No one argues; several people laugh.

"Hey! What does this do?" he calls to a couple of schoolchildren on the

sidewalk.  "Moooo," answers one of them. "Tha's right!" he laughs and

pushes on a few steps, at which point a torrent of schoolchildren rush into

view. "Hey!" he yells, resting his hand on folded arms atop the cow's back.

"All of you! What does this do?" "MOOOOOOOOO," the crowd responds. Smiles

break out on both sides of the street, and Brother Jimmy and his pusher

continue on.

Within a few hours I am standing on a sidewalk in front of two rows of

55-gallon orange drums filled with pickled wonders, the sales point for a

legendary Lower East Side business called Guss' Pickles. A commotion breaks

out in the street behind me. "What pickle men do in their spare time," the

sales clerk announces. Two men have pounced on a car at the curb and are

vigorously rocking it from side to side while yelling insults at the

driver. There's no need for bystanders to duck for cover; it soon becomes

clear that the assault is a perverse but good-natured greeting. Rockers and

rockee proceed to discuss the specifics of nasal passage surgery.



We're tracking that rough beast as it slouches towards Bethlehem to be

born. Check his progress at

Think you've seen the Beast move? Send your sightings to kbiehl AT


Fear not, print subscribers: The Compendium isn't dead; it's I've been temping on Wall St., prepping diffident high

school students for the SAT, answering phones during a "Teletubbies"

marathon (oh, the horror!) and wandering through ethnic enclaves in

Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Eyewitness reports to follow!

How to subscribe to the Compendium

Send back issue inquiries to kbiehl AT

Moving On '98 (Vol. X, No. 2), featuring:

Impersonators of dead comedians taking to the streets, along with mermaids,

     men in platform shoes and the inexplicable, near-ubiquitous Supergirl

The detonation (and target-hitting) of another scud lust missile

The Continuing Adventure of Mass Transit

     or what people get away with doing in public

New Horizons in Snack Food

The Dangers of Mall Walking (hint: they carry a clip board)

How Microsoft is wasting our lives

The sorry tale of a book deal gone stoopid

...Not to mention more inductions into the Bad Name Hall of Fame,

ranting about restaurants, research into the migratory properties of animate

objects, random weird, odd coincidences and the best letters in zinedom


How to subscribe to Demitasse:

Demitasse is an electronic newsletter of highlights from the Ladies' Fetish

& Taboo Society Compendium of Urban Anthropology.  It's published just as

erratically as the print zine, which is to say, whenever.  It will also


behind the scenes announcements and ramblings that may or may not make

it to the photocopied page.  It's free for the asking!


[subscriptions no longer being accepted]


The Compendium on the World Wide Web:

You are cordially invited to visit Cafe Compendium

"progressive and original"  Netsurfer Digest

"the home of an intelligent, sophisticated woman and

cult goddess who has a droll sense of humor and who

notices things." Little Home Page on the Prairie



Feel free to distribute copies or excerpts of Demitasse, as long as you

include the copyright notice and do not distribute Demitasse for commercial