Friday, March 05, 2010

Out of Control

The NYPD needs to get down of its high horse, or eventually, 
the citizens of this city will have to teach them some manners

I was shocked to see a New York Times piece with balls yesterday. Bob Herbert writes:
From 2004 through 2009, in a policy that has gotten completely out of control, New York City police officers stopped people on the street and checked them out nearly three million times, frisking and otherwise humiliating many of them.

Upward of 90 percent of the people stopped are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. And yet the New York Police Department is compounding this intolerable indignity by compiling an enormous and permanent computerized database of these encounters between innocent New Yorkers and the police.

Not only are most of the people innocent, but a vast majority are either black or Hispanic. There is no defense for this policy. It’s a gruesome, racist practice that should offend all New Yorkers, and it should cease.
Generally, but with some exceptions, police officers are rather intimidating and unhelpful. Routinely in the last three years I have found police officers to me more often than not rude and unhelpful. One evening, after a gun was fired in a Deli near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, I walked past the cordoned-off street corner. I -- white, well-dressed, wide-eyed  -- asked a young woman officer: "Oh my goodness, what happened?" And she replied: "Keep moving. It's none of your FUCKING BUSINESS."

Incidentally, after a hold-up in a jewelry store in January during which a store employee was murdered, the police department released this sketch of the gunman, above. Oh my God! Is that my neighbor /mother / Ray Kelly / R Kelly / St Vincent de Paul / Captain America / the Virgin Mary / a Cadillac / Richard Nixon / all of Iowa's teenage girls and some Iraqi children / Donald Duck and Michael Bloomberg kissing / the Jabberwocky, in a mask?!

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Ssssh... it's The Secret of Kells, an Irish animated film, which has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (the Oscars will be distributed this Sunday).

Plot summary from Wikipedia:

The story is set in the ninth century. Twelve-year-old Brendan is educated by his uncle, Abbot Cellach, who holds a firm grip on his nephew and expects him to follow in his footsteps. One day, Brendan meets Brother Aidan, a master illustrator who shows him the beauty of art and stimulates his creativity and fantasy. Finally, Brendan decides to break free in search of his dream: completing the valuable Book of Kells. On his journey through the forest, he has to face his biggest fears.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Little Early to Go Larkin'

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

By Philip Larkin

Monday, March 01, 2010

At Times, On Occasions, Even On Tables

As a rule of thumb, in life, there are no hidden agendas. Above, some Emco Occasional Tables. Occasional, because occasionally (see below) they are instead cartoon weirdos trying to look like tables.

So, if the actions of your government seem mendacious, dark and sinister, it's usually not because these tax-payer agents are trying to cover up the fact that half of New Mexico was eaten by green six-leggers. It's because far too many people are not talking to each other. (In fact, the idea of any government cover-up is increasingly unlikely in any democracy these days). But when would people these days ever find the time to talk to one another?

So take time, my friends:
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
In one of his books, Albert Camus has a character in a bar who says:
I often wonder what future historians will say about us. One sentence will suffice to describe modern man: he fornicated and he read newspapers.
That was in 1956. Today it is more likely that one could say: he was scared to fornicate and didn't read newspapers.