Monday, December 31, 2007

Hope for 2008


(No home computer for a while. PK Tech Guy's running diagnostics. [I thought I'd lost] Lots of pictures, data, music, addresses... But I may have a new anchor for the work skiff. )

Friday, December 28, 2007


In the stairwell that first day, the very first new friend my sister made was a cute little freshman in tan corduroy jeans with her dark hair pulled into two pigtails. She looked more like a high school freshman than a college student. She was tacking up fliers for some kind of
cause (might have been related to world hunger) on the bulletin boards in the stairwell.

She was pretty and outgoing and introduced herself to us at once, "Hi, I'm Bennie, Bennie Bhutto."

Everybody probably has a story about someone famous. I have a lot of stories, because when you travel, and work at many tasks, you collect stories like brambles on your socks. Some are small, insignificant, but every one of them carries a seed which speaks of something other than itself. "looseheadprop" from firedoglake has this post about just such a bramble.
The end of the year finds everyone playing the Janus, looking forward and backward. In a society that forgets the past immediately and can't imagine that there'll even be a future, I find this time (usually around my sister's birthday) a only truly spiritual time of year. If spirituality has something to do with reverence for something unseen but believed. The past is gone, but we see the results of its presence and the possibility of its effects on the future. If we care to look.
  • ALL of our teevee news is bad. Assuming that you're shallow and stupid (or trying to be shallow and stupid or are just weary of reality), teevee wants to help. I had a photo of the mangled half-blownup bodies around Bhutto's assassination scene and I was going to put word balloons having the victims saying "What about Mischa's DUI?" and "How high should zoo walls be to keep tigers in?" and "Is Obama Oprah's sexy coke-fiend?" and "Isn't Britney and Jamie's mom a good mom?" I figured I'd just describe my own momentary lack of taste.
  • Somebody creamed my mailbox over the holidays. Very likely a neighbor whose other hand was holding a gin-and-tonic, so I can only complain because of the inconvenience it caused my mail carrier. Of course, she usually has to drive to The Manor over the holiday season, what with the copious abundance of parcels and such.
  • Replacing aforementioned boîte aux lettres wouldn't have been as much a bother as it sounds (I always keep a spare in the rum cellar) if it weren't that the ground, slush, and old mailbox all fused together as one by the quickfreeze we had experienced. So, I awaited the advantageous Apponogansett thaw which was manifest come Christmas Adam. While I was preparing to make the necessary replacement, a neighbor in his new Chevroley Cardamon SUV ("Now with Solar Panels -- We're GREEN!") decided to swerve extra close in order to coat my trou with road salt, sand, and slush.
  • Looking back at '07, I remember being glad to find "SouthCoast Blogger," an online home manufactory operative or "domestic industrialist" or "Internet entrepreneur" (she makes e-mail-order children's fashions). On her blog, she shared some refreshingly honest views about local politics and topics. She was also nice enough to contact me and to remark, very pleasantly, about her business and the state of ... our state. Just as I was about to dedicate a big entry here to her swell takes on the SouthCoast, she disappeared.
  • At first, I attributed her non-blogging to a busy holiday gift season and wished her well by e-mail, jubilating what I assumed was overwhelming orders and success. I never heard anything back, and I have yet to see any new post over at SouthCoast Blogger.
    I realized that I had mentioned to her that I have no children. It would be a little ungenerous to attribute to her the assumption that I would never buy children's clothes (well, okay, I wouldn't) and thus wasn't worth wasting time over in a perspective customer kind of way, so I went right on assuming that real business had trumped online local gab.
  • On the other hand, I had also struck up a gauzy online acquaintance, via MySpace, with an actor who was endeavoring to direct. At the moment I commented -- positively -- on a particularly interesting use of raw footage, her account disappeared.
  • And I haven't heard anything from Large or katie in ages.
  • I've always been acutely aware of my audience: in writing, on stage, while broadcasting, and sometimes to my disadvantage. I've pulled a lot of punches and regretted some remarks. I'm no Doug Piranha ("He used... sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor,bathos, puns, parody, litotes and... satire. He was vicious.") but when I share something online, I hope I'm clear enough to be understood, and am only offensive to the clearly-marked targets of my disdain.
  • So, let's look forward with hope now to the unknowable Maybe. I'm sorry for any misuse of this my online gift, and I'll endeavor to stay true to course.
  • There. Sticking with the nautical conceit of "Soles'n'Bowls," Regret leaves a hard crust on the deck in the head. It needs a little extra elbow grease with the pumice.
  • Before you realize it was never there, just a vague shadow cast by a leaking deck prism.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Just so everyone knows, I was brought up with a definition of Boxing Day that went something like, "That's the day when you box up all the stuff you got for Christmas."
I am required to neither lavish reward upon the servants around stately Goon Manor nor do we designate only one day out of the year for charitable giving. Further, if wassail you must, then do it without the damned bird on a stick. You know the wassail cabinet is always open.
I have always taken the day to my heart as a day to look back at the past few and quietly treasure those who gathered around the table yesterday while I toasted them and their mere (!) existence.
Members of my immediate family are tremendously devout traditionalists. I gave up an aspect of that after the close brush with seminarianism, but I'm sure I'm described by some as a bit old-school. What with the ties and caps with the bills in front. And the Thank You cards I do on this day. Every year.
At some point last century, my friend Woody the Shipwright's paramour, Sophronia, urged me to join her in studying semiotics. I am not one to avoid helping a beautiful heiress with her homework. And since I would be the only man in a room full of Brown University coeds who had to look at Umberto Eco for ninety minutes, I tagged along. They all loved The Name of the Rose (probably for the Connery/Slater) but I loved them, their access to pleasant scotches and holiday spots, and there you are.
A little piece of Eco's online Christmas discussion filled me with joy because he hit on G.K. Chesterton, Dan Brown, and James Joyce all at once. Which is the point.

I think I agree with Joyce's lapsed Catholic hero in A Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Man: "What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity
which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical
and incoherent?" The religious celebration of Christmas is at least a clear and
coherent absurdity. The commercial celebration is not even that.

Happy End of Christmas Season. See you next year.

Go do something good.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Window Installer Offers His Own Exegesis of
the Controversy Over The Huckabee
"Christmas Cross" Ad

"Obviously, it's a set piece meant to represent a window. Like a stage set. It's obviously not custom-made wood. The "glass"? Plastic sheeting. And what's up with outside, the two green lights and the one red one? That's one intersection I wouldn't want to navigate. But really, what's the controversy here? Whether it's a classic four-over-four double hung or, as I believe, a six-panel casement window, like a bay, because it isn't just single-grilled. As the camera pans left, another vertical muntin is clearly visible through the branches of the Christmas tree over the candidate's right shoulder. There is really no indication that it's double-hung. "Yeah, I would say it's a bay. A bay. But with short dimension."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Kirsty MacColl

(October 10, 1959 - December 18, 2000)

Monday, December 17, 2007

An OnLine Journal Wishes Happy Tenth Anniversary to "Blogs"

According to the BBC, today marks the tenth anniversary of the first time that the term "blog" was used to describe the act of logging web activity.
H.M.S. Impossible is an online "journal left open on the galley table, addended as I try to navigate life on The Beach. Feel free to jot your comments in the margins." I said journal.
On many Fridays, I share musings with accompanying links, so that might be a logging of web sites, or a "blog." I call that feature "Soles'n'Bowls" after what a supercilious drill sargeanty ex-Coastie used to call cleaning the heads on a square-rigger I sailed. Not a pretty job, cleaning up after a bunch of Beachdwellers with their noses in Patrick O'Brien books and their asses in pirate costumes. No wonder he was supercilious.
I recently committed a MySpace page and found that a social-networking site is no place for the weak-hearted, but it certainly can be a comfortable home for the weak-minded.
Playing team hockey when you're six is easy. You get dropped off, you suit up, you play, you go eat pizza or ice cream. Everybody gets along, even if you fight, and your parents are part of it. If you're pretty good at skating backward and getting a puck into a net, then you're doing the job and that's fun and Chuck E. Cheese.
See? Simple.
So, what the hell's wrong with MySpace? All these ha'penny narcissists and their goofball "name your five favorite booger flavors" memes and let's all not spell correctly EVAH? Is that what we're celebrating today, on the Anniversary of The Blog? (As if we needed another holiday this month...)
Are we celebrating that we've changed the incidental intimacy and connectivity of friendship to a simple "approval" or "denial" of a clickable "Friend Request"? That you can name all of your favorite bands, movies, songs, books, authors, colors, people, clothes, actors, cars, words, kinds of hair, lips, noses, and smells (with PICTURES!!! and SOUND!!!1!) but you don't have to give your name? Have we so institutionalized mendacity that we aren't bothered when somebody has their PR firm taking care of blogging their innermost thoughts? And you can end every "blog" with "nif u don't like it, you can BOUNCE cuz i no care" ?
A pal held a pool party a while back in order to beam proudly about his beautiful new home, and some old friends who have moved away -- far away -- were in attendance. It was a great time with the usual Summer delicacies and grilling and kids splashing and satellite music and bragging about plans for the backyard pond and gardens.
My Beloved enjoys stopping by H.M.S. Impossible and expects others to do so as well. I gave up on that delusion long ago. She asked a certain pal (let's call the pal "Wyoming Gal") if she ever stopped by. In. Whatever.
Wyoming Gal sort of stammered and said, "Well, I did, but, you know, that it's ..."
Our host then spoke up: "Yeah, it's ..."
A few other partygoers also admitted the website was "..." to them as well.
"I mean, it's not '...,' per se," continued Wyoming Gal. "But I just found that it's ..."
Of course, in conversation, the ellipsis usually accompanies a shrug or a blink or a furtive glance toward the cooler. But I know what they're saying. They're right. This particular on-line journal is "..."
To that crowd, "..." means "a wordy, self-involved waste of time." They're still my friends.
Happy Anniversary!
Or Hpy !Oth Bthdy LOL

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

GIANT Tuki, still a cat, says thanks to FireDogLake

Eliza Dushku. Have Faith in a Union. Or something.(photo from LAist)

Oh ow

There are two very basic tenets to SouthCoast voting:

  1. Be fair, and
  2. Be fair to incumbents.

SouthCoast voters are thrilled to maintain a nebulous quality of fairness. If the legislature is full of those Tax'n'Spend Liberals (who are their own party, although it's pronounced Democrat), then you can be sure that the next Governor will be a hard line budget-slashing Republican. (Except if there's a hard line budget-balancing Democrat running who seems capable of getting a train down here. Then, you just point at the "'tard Speaker," hold your nose and vote for the black guy.) Also, make sure to vote for people with Portuguese surnames, because the Portuguese never have a chance around here. It's all fair, and you can go about continuing to drive your local educational system back to hickory sticks and handheld slates with chalk slivers for the cipherin'.

As demonstrated in recent election campaigns, SouthCoast voters are told that voters desire change, and should make sure that the people who are currently in power enact that change. Just the way they always have. SouthCoast voters are generally elderly supporters of the same names that have been on the ballot for forty years. Change must be slow, so we know what we're getting into. And you like that boy who gives the ride to the polls. Even though you live upstairs from the polling place.

Back when I had to give a crap about Fall River (because it was my job and I took my jobs seriously then), a colleague who was as challenged by thought and language as Leo Pelletier told me that Leo was elected by people who were dumber than Leo. 91,000 people county-wide when he ran for (and lost) Sheriff in '04. Dumber Than Leo. Great name for a band.

I don't often give any credence to funny-paper comics like Howie Carr. His "Boston-is-1930's-Chicago-see-yeah" shtick is tiring and just plain wrong. (Oh, and The Sopranos isn't real, and nobody really cares where Whitey Bulger is. Give it up.) He was barely entertaining during the commute I had to take from Burlington MA to Tiverton RI back when talk radio wasn't foul and I took marketing/writing jobs that were meaningless but paid well. I can't imagine what it's like now. (Radio, not inconsequential employment.)

But even a blind squirrel can unearth a cliché to munch once in a while, so Howie takes a moment to look down upon the SouthCoast and, erm, look down upon the SouthCoast. If your browser doesn't support douchebag, here's the upshot:

Fall River is stupid, because I'm smarter than Leo Pelletier.

Leo Pelletier, longtime knuckledragging City Councillor, is often called "hard-working." Because he finds manners and the English language hard to work. Leo is the Perfect Storm of of Fall River mores, intellect, and politics. Fall River voters don't like suits and ties, because you can't trust them. Leo is sweaty, unkempt, and "drunk uncle" charming. Fall River voters do not value education. "Street smarts" are more important than "book smarts" and felons who "pay their debt to society" are supposed to get right back into their municipal jobs because everyone deserves a second chance. And a third. And an eighth. Because it's only fair.

And Leo wants to take over the position vacated by Queen-elect Bob I'mayorbecausemynamerhymeswithmayor. State Rep. Which is the magical Fawrivah Fairy-tale next step to "Mayor of Fall River." You can't just go from City Councillor to Mayor. Unless you Ascend by Accident, like Dan Bogan or Bill Whitty. And then you can get to wave your Formerhood around to get a good seat at Magoni's or the Venus. Which aren't even in Fall River.

Because the people who are politicians in SouthCoast are born to the job and must always have it, because The Benevolent Elders of Southcoast won't remove them. It wouldn't be fair. And the same names come back again and again, even though they're only required to act as though they're doing something. "Look busy" is the only instruction in SouthCoast politics. And that's why SouthCoast politics is a constant embarrassment, why educated young people do not take part in politics. Because it's a game for the entrenched, the archaic, and the sincerely delusional.

And as a spectator sport, it's just plain boring.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christie Hennessy

Condolences to his family, friends, and fans. After watching the above interview, you'll miss him too. Even if you've never heard of him.

RedGrape Records is donating all proceeds from his latest single A Price For Love to Children in Crossfire. Because that's what he wanted to do.

Learn about the charity Children in Crossfire. Remember the music.

Monday, December 10, 2007

On Dec. 10, 1948, the U.N. General Assembly: Universal Declaration on Human Rights

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Article 16.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Article 17.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Article 28.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein

Friday, December 7, 2007


  • I was just telling Mitt Romney that freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion. People just don't listen anymore.
  • The BIG! SCREAMING!! TEASY!!! HEADLINE!1!! read: Presidential Hopefuls Hate Veggies? Last I looked, Dennis Kucinich is a "Presidential Hopeful." And a vegan. (Oh, and Comcast: It's "bon apetit" not "bon apetite." I mean, as a wacky headline goes...)
  • I am so looking forward to the January 7 Coronation of Dumpy Kakistocrat for Life Robert MayorbecauseIthinkmynamerhymeswithmayor. It's back to the good old days for the Elders of SouthCoast, with a big (cassette tape-recorded) trumpety fanfare and lighting cigars with burning phony tens and jokes about how much the Irish are drinking and a "backroom" where "deals" are misinterpreted (and then forgotten) in a Licor Beirão haze and don't listen to the wives and NO GAY WAITERS.
  • And can somebody tell me what the hell "a black tie-style [sic] ball" is. Don't these jackhole rubes have any clue AT ALL?
  • Although it is offensive ("sin of pride" or "church/state thing") that his Coronation includes an Inaugural Mass at a big Portuguese Catholic Church, Bob need not worry. All he has to do is visit Lourdes within a year, and Pope Benny will grant an indulgence to shave off that purgatory time.
  • So say you're a certain creepy American no-brow who thinks all Scottish people look like this: from artie.comand you want to do something "original," so you decide to build a golf course in Scotland. I wish MacTavish there had Trump's head on his tee. (thanks to for the proud kilt-wearing linksman)
  • Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says that teachers who don't allow the use of Wikipedia are "bad educators." (Of course, Captain Wallbank has never made such a claim.) Now, if we can keep Wales from his continuous ridiculous assertions: that Wikipedia is the "Information Red Cross" and wants "to do good." If I want peer-driven history, I'll go to mySpace. At least there they don't pretend to be authorities.
  • They pretend to be "authori-tah." Which u had bettah respk, dawg.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another Holiday Gift from the NY Public Library

Art News Blog shares the story of another misunderstood exhibit proving once again that some people need to "dude, chill."

An exhibition of contemporary art prints at the New York Public Library has created a mild stir. The NY Times has reported that a number of library patrons have protested because of a series of 8 digital prints in the "Multiple Interpretations" exhibition called "Line Up." The Line Up series by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese depicts people from the Bush administration in fake mugshots.

I'll share the author's following insight: Most political art has a very short shelf life, just like the politicians they depict. The best way to make political art live a little longer is to hire a
bunch of protestors to march at the exhibition or to have the
artist put in prison

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Congregation Beth Ishmael wishes you

Yes, those are TEMPLE toggle irons Happy Hanukkah
It might also be a good time to visit Rabbis For Human Rights:
Stop Jerusalem home demolitions

$anta Comes Early to Downtown NB

... and look what we got!
We're calling this one AhabIt's a SOLAR TRASH COMPACTOR! Right in front of NBAM! And there's FIFTY more!

The Big Belly compactors have a built-in solar panel that powers the internal compactor, which crushes trash at the point of disposal. The solar powered trash compactors are so efficient they will eliminate four out of every five collection trips city crews make to empty a regular trash barrel, allowing personnel to attend to other priorities. In addition, the compactors are designed to discourage illegal dumping and pilfering, and to deter animals from getting into the trash as well.

... said the city in this Press Release.
Oddly enough, there are actually two other trash receptacles (the regular kind, designed for animals, illegal dumping, and pilfering) within seven feet of this new one. But the feeling is that once they see the job this Big Belly Boy does, they'll find some other corner to inhabit, lamenting their chosen anti-triturating lifestyles.
Former Ant-Man Scott Lang, Stark International electronics genius and now mayor of New Bedford, came up with the Pym-inspired trash-shrinkers while working for the Fantastic Four, where he really didn't have much to do.
(ImpossibleFact: The receptacles were originally designed to feature an Incredible Hulk image which growled, "HULK SMASH!" when trash was deposited. Because certain DownTown New Bedford historical and preservation groups voiced unease, the Hulk theme was eliminated. But they kept the green.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Around New York City Around The Holidays

The local University allows one of its more enterprising operatives the opportunity to stuff a bunch of D-UMass pantloads into a bus and carom down I-95 to allow them some holiday shopping time. That's right, I recently enjoyed a cheap fare to The Big Apple. Unfortunately, that meant sharing accomodations with the art teachers who must have paid the special toll to earn the right to holler all the way, bragging loudly about their travels on the University's dime. And how they never get credit for having invented cubism, cleverness, and papier-mâché. And how amusing young noobs are. I don't mind braggarts. Hell, I am one. But LOUD I have no patience for. I just kept thinking, "Twenty-five bucks. There and back." An amiable old guy driving. In the back of the bus, who cared if the guys sitting behind me could name every body who had ever driven the Millennium Falcon? Loudly.
Before the cosmic shift: Every week (for a brief period), I drove into Manhattan to sell a certain "exotic" plant which at the time apparently "could not be cultivated in the city." Because we horticulturalismo types had fooled regular plant lovers into believing that orchids were "exotic" and couldn't ever be grown in anything other than the rarefied environment only we could furnish. And certainly not in Manhattan. They didn't know about the people in Manhattan who owned capybaras, but that's fauna, and I was a flora guy. I have a few of those "exotics" just over by the to-be-recycled stack of newspapers, winter bloomers sending out spikes despite my efforts. (They're bloody indestructible. I knew I would rue the day when I saved them from the 0% humidity of that NBAM. Now I'm stuck with these purple striated butterfly blooms. I just know that when I'm gone, some awful purple burst of "beauty" will distract the geese flying by the decaying wreckage of my manse during what somebody used to call January. If Alan Weissman is anyone to be believed.)
I used to sell those damned things out of a huge white unmarked van registered to a man with a foreign name. Which did not make things easier when I pulled up to the World Trade Center to offload during the Greater New York Orchid Society event. Not long after the 1993 bombing. Luckily, my big ol' Smilin' Irish-American USofA driver's license got me some pretty good location in the underground parking lot that's no longer there since now the whole place is a ... *sniff*
Of course, the best view of Manhattan is from the helm of a ship. It's on the chart. Near the mouth of Henry Hudson's "River of Mountains." Where that Minuit guy dropped an anker and hailed New Amsterdam. Now, there's that instantly-recognizable skyline, that big bridge to Brooklyn to starboard, that tall and torchy woman to port. And South Street Seaport. They have boats.
Beats coming in through the Bronx.
As we did. Lumbering down Fifth, where you can smell the dirty water dogs from the Sabrett's carts along that park there, we ever-so-briefly got to see the big tree at 30 Rock. Closest we got that day to Christmastime In The City besides hearing it played 4,293 times on the Muzak. We were there to meet friends, eat lunch, and accidentally see the On The Road scroll that Kerouac typed. It's at the Public Library.
Longtime habitués of this journal will remember our good friend David. Folks who remember he has the cancer will be happy to hear that I had to sprint to keep up with him all afternoon. We visited with a VERY FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPHER, a gracious host, showing his NEW PHOTOGRAPHY in the best-lit room in the brownstone: the laundry. (I thought he had offered us the opportunity to do a load, he's that gracious.)
Since we get back on the bus there, a brief stop at The Met, a bite at the cafeteria, and back to wait for the bus. Where the ninnies were cold and cranky.
We spent eight hours that day on that bus. When I drove to NYC in the old days, I had whittled down the travel time from SouthCoast to MidTown to about three hours. Of course, I left here at 4 in the morning. Alone. If I wanted to hear anybody talk about nothing as if I weren't there, I could listen to talk radio.
And I could shut that off.