If you're going to fulminate against your political masters, spelling their names correctly helps your case.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
It is, in a sense, a relief to find out that Assange is not the international man of mystery he seems to have accident-ed into, in 2010, but instead, a twat. Yes, a tedious, total twat:
The three of us went to a very pink café in the town and ordered sandwiches and cakes. We sat outside, and Julian got distracted by some young girls walking past. ‘Hold on,’ he said, and turned his gaze. ‘No,’ he said. ‘It was fine until I saw the teeth.’ One of the girls was wearing a brace. When Sarah came back and asked what we were talking about, Julian said he’d been admiring some 14-year-old girls, ‘until they came close’. I record this not to show how predatory Julian is – I don’t believe he is any more predatory than hundreds of men I’ve known. It’s not that: I tell it to suggest how self-delighted he can be. He doesn’t at all see how often his self-delight leads him into trouble. He doesn’t understand other people in the slightest and it would be hard to think of a leader who so reliably got everyone wrong, mistaking people’s motivations, their needs, their values, their gifts, their loyalty, and thereby destroys their usefulness to him. He was always very solicitous of me when I was with him, but I could tell he responded much more to the fact that I like a joke than to the notion that I was a professional writer. The latter mattered to him for five seconds when he was trying to find a writer to work with, but it was the time-wasting, authority-baiting side that really kept our relationship alive. He thought I was his creature and he forgot what a writer is, someone with a tendency to write things down and perhaps seek the truth and aim for transparency.
Sunday, February 09, 2014
I was waiting on a friend the other day, and I sent him a text, then two texts, then a third text. Still no response. And I could see the Dunkin Donuts he was sitting in! Yet clearly he was oblivious to my messages.
Impatiently, I called his cell number, finally resorting to the main purpose for which those ubiquitous devices in our hands were invented — phone calls — and yet which always seems to be the last option we choose to use. That got his attention.
Some time later, he texted me. In reference to the three text messages I had sent to him, he wrote: I was not paying attention to my phone.
I started to write back: I know
Then I turned it a touch more specific (or so I am congratulating myself now!):
Let me be the first to congratulate me in coining a new word, definition pending, but something like this:
to knowtice (verb): to be aware of something in advance of others comprehending it.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Monday, January 06, 2014
Saturday, January 04, 2014
Friday, January 03, 2014
Thursday, January 02, 2014
An artist called Drew Dernavich drew this cartoon, above, and had it rejected by The New Yorker in 2007. Then some years rolled by...
...and he thought about it, and refined it, decided to resubmit it...and this time it was accepted.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
What lies beneath: I have often taken people to visit the "audio sculpture" called Times Square: New York (listen here) that is located under some metal grills at the very center of Times Square, the traffic island at 46th Street right where Seventh Avenue and Broadway overlap.
It's a mysterious but harmonious constantly-playing chord, that emanates upwards from beneath your feet. The artist, the late Max Neuhaus, created it back in 1977, from the cacophony of trucks, trains, clunks, clanks, yells and screams which he recorded one day in and around Times Square: out of the strong came forth sweetness; out of the of Times Square comes forth harmony. And it plays 24 hours a day... except that last week, I took someone to hear it, experience it, and.... silence. We stared down at the metal grill, and no sound was to be heard.
I wonder why? Will it return? I hope so!
This is not a sparrow, but it has most definitely 'fallen on the ground', to quote from the Book of Matthew.
I don't know what kind of bird it is, but I am going to guess it is a type of swallow...? I saw it today lying on a street in Astoria. It may have come to grief by hitting a car window, reflecting today's bright, sunny sky.
Concluding with some more verses from Matthew, chapter 10:
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
I don't care if Lou Reed approved this advertisement, currently plastered around New York City's subway system, before he died, it still seems disgusting to use him, his long career in music, and his recent death, to flog crappy headphones.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Saturday, December 14, 2013
[Begin angry rant] Am I the only person who thinks that skateboarding is stupid, and stupid specifically, because, as a means of transit from point A to point B, one is required to put in laborious effort to propel oneself along, while experiencing a high risk of personal injury. And so, it was with a strange feeling of glee that I spotted the above and took a photo. [End angry rant]
Get a job? But he just did! Finally, New York City has gotten the 6', 5" tall, left-wing liberal mayor (and family) that it always seems to have deserved. And the Bloomberg era has come to an end. Let's not forget its many high points:
But it's too soon to say much about Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio (and family!), and I wish him all the luck in the world, remembering that, as Albert Camus said: "luck is the residue of design..."
In his victory speech, de Blasio thanked his wife for her uniquely important support, and said that she and he made decisions collectively, and that this would continue to be the case now that he will be our mayor. But the people elected Bill as mayor, not his wife... Also, though his victory was indeed a gratifying landslide, and gives him a clear mandate for change, the record low voter turnout (24% of eligible voters) ought to temper that, somewhat. In New York magazine, Chris Smith summed up things crisply:
The risk of a Bill de Blasio mayoralty is that it sputters with politically correct incompetence. But the great promise is that he might turn out to be a complicated, highly unusual mix of ideologue and operative.It's Christmas season, of course. And I can't help it, and you may accuse me of Grinchian tendencies, of failing to enter into any of the holiday spirit, or my lacking the ability to see that 'it's for the children, really'... but really, here we go again:
...That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.
From which none come round...now that's an eggnog recipe I wish I had. And anyone who says Christmas is really all about and for children...it's precisely because of that attitude, that ¢hristma$ is handed on, generation after generation after generation, meaning nothing.
New York City can, on occasion, give one a visual that seems precise to the sentiment of the moment. And so:
At the bottom of the subway stairs, I saw... a rat tucking into a pile of vomit.
Movies, movies: I saw Brad Pitt as a heel, playing Achilles, in Troy...
And I saw O Henry's Full House, a retelling of five of his short stories for the movies:
This is a scene from The Gift of the Magi, in which boy meets girl, they fall in love; it's Christmas, so she sells her beautiful hair to buy a chain for his gold watch, while he sells his watch to buy her a comb for her hair...