Wednesday, March 21, 2018
I started this blog twelve years ago this month, three years after the U.S. invaded Iraq on spurious premises of finding weapons of mass destruction, and on a heady revenge kick in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th, 2001.
I wrote about many things, but often I vented about the war in Iraq: about those spurious reasons for going to war, about the probability that the war would go awry, about the cavalier approach to the occupation of Iraq, about the horrible effects on U.S. servicemen and women and their families, and the huge, ghastly tragedy and cost of life in Iraq itself.
Few images summed up better what a disastrous foreign policy adventure it was, than the photos of interim ruler of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, in a business suit paired with army boots, above, with Donald Rumsfeld...
Today's New York Times: Fifteen Years Ago, America Destroyed My Country:
No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago. Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime. Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of Trumpism and a mostly amnesiac citizenry. (A year ago, I watched Mr. Bush on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” dancing and talking about his paintings.) The pundits and “experts” who sold us the war still go on doing what they do. I never thought that Iraq could ever be worse than it was during Saddam’s reign, but that is what America’s war achieved and bequeathed to Iraqis.
Monday, March 13, 2017
Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find,
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.’’
Friday, January 27, 2017
Monday, December 12, 2016
His apartment turned out to be slightly larger than a broom closet. And that pleasant eccentricity? His space was crammed full of dozens of Ernie dolls, of Bert & Ernie fame, all sizes, including a life-size Ernie...
Years later, one evening in Washington Heights, he passed me on the street again, with two friends of his, and I remember my mind weighing for a split second, whether to say "Hey Jefferson Street man!" or "Hey, Ernie doll man!" as I couldn't remember his name. I think I went with "Jefferson Street!" And we had a brief chat.
As we talked, there were mobs of teenage Dominican girls passing by, in various states of teenage hysteria: it was the annual Dominican version of the "sweet sixteen" coming-of-age event. That was the moment when I remembered why I didn't really like my Ernie doll friend. Gesturing to the young women, he pointed out that as a stupid, privileged white person, I would be completely unaware that Dominicans celebrate a "sweet fifteen" coming-of-age event, and not sweet sixteen.
"Ah, yes, the quinceañera," I said to him, and gave him a hard look. He took himself off with some annoying minor crack about white privilege.
I do not have the rapier instinct. I guess I could have made fun of his stupid Ernie doll fixation (and I think he also sucked his thumb), but I didn't.
All this memory was triggered by that Sesame Street doll in the photo, which isn't even a Bert or Ernie doll...!
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Monday, September 12, 2016
Monday, August 08, 2016
These photos are a little old...
This was when someone I know lived on Bergen Street, Brooklyn, near this bright little BMW.
I really don't know what was being suggested on this yellow... thing...
A cool chick seen through a speeding express train... waiting for the local.
A snowy day in Queens, probably two winters ago. The Harris Shutter app.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
This is of course the 'ugh' in 'borough' adorning the outside wall of the Queens Public Library's HQ, in Jamaica, Queens.
Let me ramble on a bit more.
In Washington Heights a few years ago, there was a room renting service on whose business card were the unforgettable words: We Cover All Four Boroughs!
Last night, I had the unpleasant experience of walking just one and a half blocks of 42nd Street, the lower end of Times Square. Not only was the area c r a w l i n g with uniformed cops, there must have been scores of undercovers too.
Normally that distance might take six, seven minutes to walk. Last evening, amongst the hordes of rowdy locals and gawking tourists, I think it took 25 minutes... and we were penned in: guard rails of the crowd control/ crash barrier variety now run all along the length of 42nd Street. Was this a safety measure after what happened in Nice? The Police Commissioner says no... but the sense of being penned in, of having nowhere to run, only added to one's tingling anxiety.
Friday, July 08, 2016
...spell like a moron? How can you screw up spelling the name of someone as famous as the late Greatest of All Time? Especially when you are painting it on a wall.
A couple of people have tried to argue with me that the spelling is not wrong, that it is somehow... not spelt wrong. But it is! That has never been, nor will it ever be, how one spells 'Ali'. 'A-L-I'.