Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Ghost of Robert Byrd... probably now roaming the floor of the United States Senate, giving all the speeches he may have wished to give, and with no temporal pressure, he can speak for all eternity.

The late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia was the longest-serving U.S. Senator of all time, a constitutional expert* and a treasured windbag. He also evolved from being a head-banger racist to a liberal position on many issues. (Above, flowers of remembrance are placed at his desk by a Senate aide). I mention him only because his death on Monday reminded me that in an excellent book that untangles the scandals leading to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, one of the woes piling up on Clinton's head was that if he went to trial before the Senate, Robert Byrd would be in his nirvana:
"Bob Byrd has been waiting for this all his life," the President said bitterly... "He can give long speeches about the Constitution and impeachment. I can just see him walking around the Senate. He'll love it."
Byrd loved the Senate and its proceedings all the way from his early days filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to his more commendable stance in opposition to President Bush and the Iraq War. No doubt to the joy of all Americans, Byrd helped arrange for the Senate's proceedings to be televised from 1986, and launched a series of one hundred Senate floor speeches based on his study of the Roman Senate and... and... all I can add is that *if you're not a constitutional expert after 57 years in Congress, what the heck were you doing?!

Street Pianos

Some artist called Luke Jerram has had the bright idea of putting pianos in public places in cities for punters and passers-by to play on — and this "Play Me, I'm Yours" project, as it's called, has just reached New York City. Above, one of the pianos is given the once-over in Times Square.

Here is a map of all 60 pianos available (between 9am and 10pm daily) around the five boroughs:

Jerram, the artist behind the plethora of pianos, has produced some interesting art, from intricate glass models of viruses and microbes, to this wind pavilion, below, which looks and possibly sounds far more interesting than passing one of his dingy pianos and hearing someone droning out their down-tempo version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

UPDATE: from Inner City Press by Matthew Lee, who reports lovingly on the Bronx because it is his home:
The “Play Me, I'm Yours” public arts project people put only four pianos in the Bronx, unlike other boroughs. Then, or and so, two of the four got broken, including the one at Fordham Road...
Somehow all this honkytonkytalk made me think back to the 17th century inventor Athanasius Kircher, who invented the Cat Piano. Several cats were lined up in a cage attached to a piano keyboard and when a key was struck, a cat would receive a sharp poke in the ass, and would screech accordingly... See below.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recently: Hudson River Park

One day recently, I sat on a grassy bank facing away from the River Hudson, and enjoyed the shade from a newly-planted sapling. I remember this was an exceptionally hot day, and so as I sat there, I fell asleep for a time. I left my camera rolling, recording video, and after I woke up, these are some still shots from the moments in the recording when someone flitted past on bike or foot.

To sit in Hudson River Park and gaze at this great river  at the point where it finally reaches the ocean: by far one of the best places in the entire city, even when it's raining. People trot, walk, stroll, cycle past, endlessly, as the tidal Hudson washes the fringe of Manhattan Island, sometimes with great swells and sometimes with barely a ripple...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

After midnight in Harlem on Sunday...

...and upstairs a preacher was laying the word of the Lord on thick.

The Scum

...of the earth. Spotted on West 34th Street yesterday.

If you think my invective against this individual is harsh or unkind, consider the manifesto or platform just adopted by the Republican Party of Texas, which states:

Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.
Texas Sodomy Statutes – We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.
 What a bunch of threadbare morons. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

G20 Meet in Toronto

Lest Gay Pride has wafted real world thoughts out of anyone's mind, this impressive photograph* reminds us that on the streets, encounters between police and protestors have already turned ugly. New York Times:
Leaders of the world's biggest economies agreed on Sunday on a timetable for cutting their deficits and halting the growth of their public debt, despite the Obama administration's concern that reducing spending too quickly might set back the fragile global recovery.
*From Top Left Pixel. 

Gay! Gay! Gay!

I have some images and thoughts to share about Gay Pride in New York City, which is still on-going as I type here in the West Village. I will share my thoughts and images later, or tomorrow, even though my track record suggests that when I say I will do something later, it as is doomed an enterprise as the Titanic. 

Earlier, I stepped outside and was just in time to revive a dying gay dog! The poor mite was being tugged along by concerned owners 1 and 2, who were — perhaps — brother and sister. The dog, a Pekingese, sat down with a thought bubble over its head which contained the words "EXTREME HEAT EXHAUSTION." So I watered it and fetched a bowl from the faucet.

"Don't tell him it's a c-a-t bowl," I mock-whispered to the owners. Number 1 was as cute a lesbian as I have seen in, oh, a block and a half. And number 2, taller, and a boy, appeared to be the Oxford English Dictionary definition of "twink." I wish I'd had my camera right then, because as the revived dog trotted off happily, I noticed it was wearing a studded leather collar and leash.