A Corner Confluence

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Barack Obama’s Columbia years are again the subject of a lengthy profile in today’s New York Times. Bwog correspondent CML had a revelation about a particular paragraph.

obama“Mr. Obama arrived in New York in August 1981, at age 20, from Occidental College in Los Angeles. According to his memoir, he passed his first night in an alley near 109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, unable to get into his apartment. The next morning, he bathed at a hydrant alongside a homeless man.”

We like to bitch and moan about Barack Obama’s weird reticence toward his time here at Columbia, but the more important point here is that very same intersection where the young Barack slumbered is currently the site of the 109 Gourmet “Crack” Deli, home of the storied Spicy Special.  For what it’s worth, the otherwise completely inconsequential crossroads of 109th and Amsterdam is also mentioned in the J.D. Salinger story “The Laughing Man,” as the place where the narrator is picked up by the bus to be taken down to cavort on thesporting fields of Central Park with his youthful companions. Now, whenever I indulge in the disgustingly delicious Special, I’ll imagine the spirit of the fledgling Obama, bright-eyed and bedraggled, ruing the day he left California and sublimating his sorrows in processed turkey and arcane cheese.

Oh, and I hear there’s another Crack Deli up around 123rd and Broadway, but you can only get one type of crack there as opposed to two at the original location. Obama, though, always seemed like more of an Adderall guy to me.



  1. me!  

    wow, this writer is a tool.

    arcane cheese? are you fucking kidding me? I will just assume that one of your friends paid you to see how much word vomit you could get away with. I know I'm basing this on a very small blog post, but I think you are what's wrong with this school, and probably also this country. Just utter toolness

  2. ggg  

    "Now, whenever I indulge in the disgustingly delicious Special, I'll imagine the spirit of the fledgling Obama, bright-eyed and bedraggled, ruing the day he left California and sublimating his sorrows in processed turkey and arcane cheese."

    that's my least favorite sentence ever typed

  3. also interesting  

    "He writes that “it was only now that I began to grasp the almost mathematical precision with which America’s race and class problems joined; the depth, the ferocity, of resulting tribal wars; the bile that flowed freely not just out on the streets but in the stalls of Columbia’s bathrooms as well,” where the graffiti was both racist and anti-Semitic."

  4. Rumor

    has it that Obama got fucked by the early 80s version of Dean's Discipline shortly before he graduated. It left a really nasty taste in his mouth, which is why he avoids talking about his CU days to this day, and held his NYC rally at NYU. Could also be why he won't release his transcript.

    The Spec op-ed yesterday was spot on.

  5. random  

    I know precisely where that photo was taken :-P.

  6. Hmm...

    I used to think that he avoids talking about CU because of its association with radicalism in many parts of the country. But how on earth could such a rumor come from credible sources (unless, of course, university officials have breached confidentiality).

  7. rumors

    He doesn't seem like the type who would commit sexual harassment. Maybe this is just a secret missive from the Clinton camp. The irony!

  8. haha  

    he was here during the "venerable ivy league institution or training ground for the bullshitters of the future" era...

  9. i can think  

    of other credible sources besides administratos. unless of course he really didnt have any friends.

  10. for real  

    seriously bwog, why do you let CML write?

  11. green

    #5, 6, 8, 9 12, 20: these speculations/lies are making me ill. stop it.

    • Believe

      What you want to believe buddy, but the truth hurts. Sorry

      • green

        #23: i have no loyalties to politicians. but I also don't support folks who are either lazy of thought or just plain malicious and therefore comfortable spouting clichés about the "truth" with little or, in this case, no knowledge. Giving leverage to accusations without merit, makes me irate 'cos they tend to linger in ppl's memory in one way or another, as many studies have shown. case and point: some folks still have no qualms about taking cheap shots at the Duke lacrosse players.

  12. public figures

    face plenty of ridicule for they things they might have done or said. Why should they also face ridicule for things they might not have done? This is why I seem to know more about Obama's personal nonsense than details of his policies.

  13. done

    gossiping at other ppl's expense is such fun, but, alas, I contacted the Obama campaign to address and/or put an end to this, once and for all.

  14. we'll see

    how it turns out. at least, his camp is now aware of these rumors. typing in all caps is not going to make your point more valid.

  15. You're a

    You're a good little Eichmann aren't you? Why don't dig up what happened to him at Columbia, if you're such a little snoop? Would you have the stones to tell the truth?

  16. Enough already

    Obama was a transfer student, so he was at Columbia for two years; he had shitty housing, and he spent his time playing catch up in the library, so he can get into Harvard Law. Those are three reasons why he didn't connect w/ his peers and the university. To top it off, apparently, he kept his gf at an arms length because he was having a hard time and struggling with race and class issues. He feels shitty about it 'cos she was a sweet girl. So, to sum up, he doesn't have fond memories of his time in New York. Some people's penchant for scandal is out of control. if there's any truth to these rumors, no worries, the sharks in DC will be on it. until then...

    • Even worse

      Worse than rape, he was GS. Enough said

    • Don't worry

      Unless Obama starts catching up with Hilary in the polls, or she decides she doesn't want him as a potential VP - this is buried for now. But if the GOP gets wind of it, it'll be Swift Boat all over again.

      • arr

        I've yet to pick a candidate, but this sure is making me want to stick to up for Obama.

      • clearly,

        you've yet to receive a kick in the arse that teaches you not to bear tall tales that may ruin people's lives.

        • So let's

          So let us tally this up, you pretend that all the comments about the rumors are coming from one source. You claim to not support any politician, yet you go so far as to call the Obama campaign, you know specific details about the candidate's life, and then you try to shame a bunch of anonymous college students into voting for Obama.

          No one is even saying anything happened. Just that an incident did occur. I personally believe the source who told me about the rumor, and I've heard it independently from several sources. It could be an exaggeration, an outright lie, but in any case it's a suitable discussion point for the comment section of Columbia's gossip site.

          No what exactly is your agenda? Seems clear to me, and all I have to say is YUCK.

  17. correction  

    I believe that he waited five years before applying to law school.

  18. Good ol bwog

    The making of a journalist: no ideas and the ability to express them.

    this goes for all of them.

  19. grow up &

    nope, that was Howard Dean.

  20. green

    I'm not pretending that the rumors are from one source. I know how the game of telephone works. And, I don't have loyalties to politicians, that's correct. But I like a few better than others; Abe Lincoln comes to mind. Also, I've yet to decide on a candidate because I still have some reservations. I probably know just as much about the other leading candidates as I do about Obama. He gets a lot of press, and I heard the detail about his relationship, during his interview with Charlie Rose about a year ago. I haven't read his books or briefed myself on details of his policies. I did catch some of the debates, and I've to admit, I liked the guy during last night's debate. But I don't like that the boys club ganged up on Hillary, even though she seems to have impressively thick skin. Lastly, one of my good friend's from high school ran the Obama campaign at Harvard Law, and he's the national coordinator for something or the other Obama related. That's the extent of my knowledge of and relation to Obama. and I'm not interested in shaming people or influencing their vote, as you seem to imply. That's so left field, it's kinda funny to me. in the long run, I'll probably be living in some hut in the Global South, away from all this, but in the meantime, I must suffer to earn that privilege...

    In any case, I alerted Obama's campaign about these rumors because i felt bad for the guy & thought he/his ppl ought to know what's up. I can't be arsed to fight his battles, and I'd much rather his campaigners deal with this. I'm not denying the possibility that such an "incident" (I'm not clear on the details.) happened. And I agree, the outcome (innocence, guilt, dismissal) is a different story altogether. My point is more nuanced: it's irresponsible to discuss this matter as if it has been substantiated. Any individual, much less a candidate in this race, is likely to take issue with gossip that asserts that insidious charges were leveled against them, especially if there isn't a kernel of truth to this rumor. There are plenty of less outrageous explanations for why he was miserable when he went to school here. Your credible anonymous sources have the same level of legitimacy as McCarthy's "spies", until they volunteer their names and affiliations.

    As for BWOG, I hope it doesn't spread unsubstantiated rumors, but I haven't been around long enough to know that for sure. I started reading it about a month ago, here and there, 'cos it informs me about events, posts interviews, offbeat news etc. and some of its shenanigans make me laugh, but I don't like it when it's mean. and I also don't like that it advertises itself as a gossip site. I think I've addressed your points...I'm spent...I've to go collect my candy supply for the year. & I've a busy week ahead, so I probably won't be on the net much. you can have the last word, serves me right for getting involved in this nonsense. Cheers!

    • Hmmmm

      So you essentially your response to reading about things you don't like is to tattle to higher powers and you're comparing him/her to Joesph fucking McCarthy?

      Obama is a very experienced, blood thirsty politician. I'm sure he truly appreciates your help, but trust me, the teams of lawyers churning through his past are well aware and ready for just about anything.

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