Monday, January 19, 2015


Martin Luther King jr.

Like a monstrous octopus, [poverty] stretches its choking, prehensile* tentacles into lands and villages all over the world. Two-thirds of the peoples of the world go to bed hungry at night. They are undernourished, ill-housed and shabbily clad. Many of them have no houses or beds to sleep in. Their only beds are the sidewalks of the cities and the dusty roads of the villages. Most of these poverty-stricken children of God have never seen a physician or a dentist.
 There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it.... Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life? ... There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will....

*prehensile (adjective):

1. adapted for seizing, grasping, or taking hold of something: a prehensile tail. 
2. able to perceive quickly; having keen mental grasp. 
3. greedy; grasping; avaricious.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's All A Pack Of Lies & Cigars

A woman on the subway last night, confiding to her friend: "I love my kids and all, but children are expensive…"

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Year's Resolve

At South Ferry the other morning, walking through the phalanx of somewhat intimidating private (?) security guards with sniffer dogs, I saw one Labrador seemingly waiting at its handler's feet. But then he tugged the leash a few times and said: "come on! You ate too much again!" And finally the dog stumbled to its feet and yawned. What's that old saying? "The price of liberty is…"? And that price includes overfed Labradors. 

Later on that same day(!), I saw this sleek beast awaiting its debut on the streets of Manhattan. What could it be? 

It turned out to be a Tesla, one of the new electric/battery-powered cars, which its maker hailed as the next big thing during the economizing of the Great Recession. 

The Ford Mustang is fifty years old. Recently, a New York Times writer wrote lustily about the latest model of Mustang, and the sound of its V8 engine that will go from 0 to 60mph in 4.9 seconds… will there ever be a sound from a fast electric vehicle that will invite such rhapsodies?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Not Much In The Way Of Icicles Yet

When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp’d and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Does Too Long A Sacrifice Really Make A Stone Of The Heart?

Religious bigots in Pakistan killed at least 148 people at a school in Peshawar, of whom 132 were children. 

Even in a violent 'failed state' such as Pakistan, the attack, by a branch of the Taliban, has horrified the country… 

…and united Pakistanis in grief,

…who have used the victims' Facebook pages to…

focus their grief. 

These are photos of some of the victims. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Bright Amidst Darkness

Habibi Deli Grocery, Woodside, Queens. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire… a still small voice.

The Irony

The irony, in a room this messy, in a house where cats crap wherever they want to, and where the state of the kitchen sink made me retch — of the slender, yellow vacuum cleaner.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Go To He'll

An Unsubtle Time Square Stutter. 

Are They Carrots Or Fish?

Friday, November 21, 2014

More Glorious Munson

I hurried through Bryant Park subway station the other day, but screeched to a halt when I saw art by Portia Munson, whom I first mentioned two years ago. 

Munson makes huge symmetries of flowers, arranged in circles which are beautiful explosions of color. Viewed from a distance or close up, they are striking and vivid, especially now that winter grips the city once more. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

He Croaked!

Crime scene: West 50th Street near Seventh Avenue.
Notes: sometimes the headlines practically write themselves! 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

And He's Gay

James Randi first entered my consciousness when I was devouring books in Dungannistan library, aged 13 or 14. I knew that he was a magician, but a peculiar kind of magician, one whose work kind of went in the opposite direction from spectacular mystification. Randi is a debunker, a de-mystifier, who has made his name by poking holes in the 'magic' tricks of others, exposing those who claim supernatural powers or psychic abilities as practioners of deceit.

Randi's severely rational, scientifically skeptical cast of mind appealed to me as a school boy. Today, the NYTimes magazine profiles Randi, and reveals something I had not known: Randi is openly gay.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Darien, Connecticut

Of course, the Darien mentioned in the poem by John Keats, below, is not the same as the one in Connecticut. Keats' Darien is Darien Province in Panama. Locals in Conn. pronounce their hometown, 'dairy-ANN', or so I was told. 

The other Darien, the only other one that I have ever heard of: I suppose that ever since Keats wrote this sonnet, people have been pointing out that Velazquez, not Cortes, was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean: 

On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific — and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.