Journals, December 2002
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
It was a very good year
Regrets? I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. Here are ten highlights from 2002, as reported on the home page, some important, some silly, listed in chronological order:
Monday, December 30, 2002
I'm off, no headlines
Today's journal entry comes from very special guest Tim Swift, a newspaper copy editor and friend vising from Baltimore. - Daryl
Full frontal fire escapes amid a clash of old blue collar and new yuppie, but most certainly comfortable and honest. This is Brooklyn, a place I knew existed but never thought about what it was really like. It's been a laid back day of skylines, cornbread and even a movie with a cripple and an autoharp. Daryl has been an able tour guide and host. I hope to have a crazier day tomorrow, but for now, Brooklyn is a good deal.
- Tim Swift, Fox News, Brooklyn
Sidebar: The movie to which Tim refers is "An Affair To Remember," a Cary Grant picture from the 1950s that includes a fantastic exterior shot of the building in which I now work. - Daryl
Sunday, December 29, 2002
Like winter break, with work
Tim arrives today on the train. He's visiting from Baltimore to supervise the dawn of the new year in New York. We've got a couple options for the New Year, but we aren't sure yet know where we'll end up. Suggestions? (Not Times Square.)
Don't you love year-end retrospective countdowns? On Tuesday, I'll list the top ten highlights from my past year's worth of journals. Are there any entries that spoke to you more than others? Let me know.
Elsewhere on the Internet: Betsy writes about our visit to the Tea Lounge. (She's right; it did have hints of smoked sausage.)
Saturday, December 28, 2002
Bleep Ooo Wee-ooo Wee-ooo Wee-ooo Wee-ooo! Ert! Ert! Ert! Ert! Dooo-eee Dooo-eee Dooo-eee! Honk! Honk! Honk! Honk!...
Can you name that tune? That's the sound of the car alarm. It is a constant din in the background here in New York. Car alarms trip up and down every block whenever a big truck rumbles past, the wind blows, the air pressure changes, and so on. People sometimes trip their own alarms when they try to open the door without unlocking it first. All of the car alarms seem to result in either the constant honking of the horn, or the tone described above. I'm not knowledgable of car alarms, so I have no idea who invented this tone cycle or how it got to be so popular. (The best I could find about this tone on the Internet was an NPR story, which handles the subject in a way only NPR can.) But here's the real mystery. Car alarms are so prominent that they can't possibly prevent car theft. When you hear a car alarm, do you run to the window and scan the street for trouble? No. In fact, if you live in a city, you probably don't notice the car alarm sound any more than you notice the sound of your refrigerator kicking on. Why do people install these useless, annoying and expensive devices? I think it's because the insurance companies offer a discount if you have an alarm. Always the easy answer: Blame the insurance companies.
Friday, December 27, 2002
Have you seen the "Jakks Atari TV Games" toy? On the outside, this product looks like an old-school Atari 2600 controller, with the big red fire button. Actually, it is an entire Atari, re-engineered to be really small. The controller takes four AA batteries, plugs directly into your TV and plays ten classic video games. I bought it for my brother and gave it to him for Christmas. We tried playing some games with it in the basement Christmas night. Despite the chunky graphics, garish colors and annoying sounds, these games are still a lot of fun. The controller is stiff, but feels sturdy and well-made. It's especially handy to have 10 of them packaged into one unit, so you can switch between them easily. If you get sick of watching your little catapult men fall to their deaths in "Circus Atari," you can always watch your city get wiped out in "Missile Command" or be attacked by the duck-billed dragon in "Adventure." Okay, so we suck at these games. Oh yeah, my brother got me a Chia Shaggy, which is a Chia Pet in the likeness of Scooby-Doo's stoner sidekick. Like, zoinks!
Thursday, December 26, 2002
I don't know what the weather was like where you were, but we enjoyed a nice snowy Christmas day around Baltimore. Somebody said that hadn't happened since 1993.
Hmm, what else. Enjoyed some Afghan food on Tuesday night with my friend Tiffany in Baltimore. After stuffing ourselves with tasty food, we walked through an staggering shower of puffball snowflakes to the visit Ben, Tiffany's boyfriend, working late at the Baltimore Associated Press office. The rest of the weekend, I spent some quality time with my brother and the rest of my family. And did my laundry.
Not much else to write about at the moment. I've got some unpacking to do and some holiday photos to e-mail folks.
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Oh by golly
And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the East. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs!
Among my friends, the standard holiday question isn't "Are you doing anything?," but "Are you going anywhere?" We are both blessed and cursed to be such a mobile society. But more blessed, I think. There's a long tradition of Christmas travel. Consider the wise men and shepherds, traipsing all the way to Bethlehem. Countless songs have been recorded about going home for the holidays. Plenty of folks who don't celebrate Christmas also find themselves on the road this week. I have two friends who, independently of one another, told me they want to use their day off to drive to their nearest casino for a day of dice-rolling. Go for it. Me, I'll be gambling with traffic on I-95 en route to Maryland. The greatest globe-trotter of them all, Santa Claus, allegedly makes his worldwide overnight delivery run tonight. Now, I'm beginning to suspect that the jolly old elf is actually an elaborate hoax, a money-making ruse cooked up by Corporate America. I know this conspiracy theory sounds far-fetched, but look at the evidence. You really think it's a coincidence that Santa's outfit is the same shade of red as the Coke can?
The home page will take a pause tomorrow for Christmas. Hold your applause; I'll be back Thursday afternoon with a fresh update. Merry Christmas to all y'all. Peace on Earth. Word.
Monday, December 23, 2002
Get on up
It's always fun to spend time with my brother. Yesterday, we went to the top of the Empire State Building (see photo at right). I had been up there once, a long time ago, but that time it was windy and they had closed the observation deck. This time, we got to go outside and see the city from its tallest building. Worth $10? You bet.
After that, we went to investigate the mysterious Tramway that runs from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. What is Roosevelt Island, you ask? It's a little sliver of the city between Manhattan and Queens that most New Yorkers are quite content to ignore. That's a shame, because the Tramway is worth a visit. It's an elevated cable car. (You've see this thing in action if you've seen the ending of the movie "Spiderman," ) Operated by the MTA, it is apparently the only cable car in America used for mass transit. Impressed? Sure you are. The tram runs every 15 minutes, costs $1.50 each way, and had no line when we visited it yesterday afternoon. Of course, it dumps you out on Roosevelt Island. There's an F stop there, so we rode the subway back. Interestingly, the Roosevelt Island subway stop is deep, deep underground because the train is crossing under the East River at that point. I had a hunch that we had hit visited both the highest point in New York City (the Empire State Building) and the lowest point (the Roosevelt Island subway stop?) in a single day. But a little bit of Internet research put an end to my novel theory. According to one unofficial site, the deepest subway in the city is actually the red line stop at 191st Street in Washington Heights. Maybe next time.
Sunday, December 22, 2002
Today, very special guest Bret Salmons, a Dave Matthews Band expert, offers his review of last night's show.
James Brown. That's about all I can say. I suppose I've been to enough DMB shows to consider myself something of a veteran; last night's show at the Garden was my sixth. It was also the best I've seen, hands down. The crucial elements to any good concert, Dave or otherwise, include fast-paced opening numbers, a good jam or two, both familiar hits for casual fans and lesser-known songs for the diehards, and perhaps a special guest. We got the jammin' "Drive In, Drive Out," crowd favorite "Granny," an old single in "What Would You Say," and the newest hit "Grey Street" to kick off the night, just to name a few. The middle of the show consisted of a nearly 20-minute jam of "Seek Up," straight from the olden days of the band touring in Virginia clubs. The band's version of "All Along The Watchtower" rocked the house, as always, and the boys coasted through the rest of the night with a good mix of old and new. After bringing out members of Karl Denson's Tiny Universe to guest on "So Much To Say" and "Too Much," Dave introduced the Godfather of Soul and my eardrums practically exploded. "Sex Machine, Part 2" got everyone dancing, and from then on my night was complete. An amazing show and an amazing night, one to remember.
Saturday, December 21, 2002
Once again, this weekend's theme is old friends. Namely, Natalie and Nathan, and my good pal Dave Matthews. I haven't seen Natalie (a middle- and high-school friend) and Nathan since they got married two summers ago. I sent them a Christmas card, and Natalie called to let me know they would be in the city this weekend. We're going to meet up later. Cool.
Then there's Dave. Wonder if he'll recognize me? It's been a while. My brother and some of his friends are on their way here from Maryland, and we're supposed to see the Dave Matthews Band tonight at Madison Square Garden. (That's "DMB" at "MSG," got it?) I dug through my "tickets" file in my file box and found the stub from the first time I saw the band -- December 29, 1995 at George Mason University in Virginia. I saw them again at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in Washington in 1998. My opinion of the band has varied over time. When I first went to see Dave, "Ants Marching" and "What Would You Say?" were on the radio. I saw DMB as a fun pop band doing cool things with fiddles. They got John Popper to play the harmonica on their CD! I waited in line at the Ticketmaster machine at the Kemp Mill music store in Columbia, Md. My two friends and I got "obstructed view" seats, behind the stage -- but close to it! Life was good. But the something odd happened and Dave started singing high-pitched songs laced with sex, drugs and easy-listening radio. This leads me to a conclusion: To be good, a DMB song needs a snare. Where's my snare?! My own lame music criticism aside, I think it's important to recognize Dave for what he is: An entertaining, talented, money-making franchise. Really, Dave, it will be good to see you.
Friday, December 20, 2002
Odds and ends
Have you seen the concept designs for the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan? Do you think anything like these will ever be built?
Heartbreaking story: A woman in Ohio made up a story about her daughter having cancer in order to win the heartfelt affection of their community and collect donations. The woman shaved her daughter's hair to make it appear she had undergone chemotherapy. This went on for some time before the hoax was exposed. The ruse probably lasted as long as it did because no one will ever challenge the sincerity of a kid with cancer. Who second-guesses such a thing? What reporter or police detective would think to investigate this family to see if they were telling the truth? How many other people have gotten away with similar hoaxes? Never underestimate the lenghts to which delusional parents will go when they believe they are acting in the best interests of their children.
On Dec. 30, the cover price of The New York Times jumps from 75 cents to $1. That's the last straw. I'm switching to The Daily News.
Friday, December 20, 2002
Don't be a victim
Heartbreaking story of the week (and why journalism is so impossible): A woman in Ohio who lied about her daughter having cancer in order to collect donations and the heartfelt affection of their community. The woman actually shaved her daughter's hair to make it appear she had undergone chemotherapy. Apparently, this went on for some time before the hoax was exposed. Surely the ruse lasted as long as it did because no one can dare challenge the validity a kid with cancer. Who second-guesses such a thing? What reporter would investigate such a family to see if they are telling the truth? How many other people have gotten away with similar hoaxes? As anybody in law enforcement will tell you, everybody lies.
Have you seen the new plans for the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan?
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Here's a leftover Brooklyn story from Sunday, which marked the Festival of Santa Lucia. Santa who? This was a new one for me. The Festival of Santa Lucia apparently stems from a Swedish legend about a Sicilian missionary who delivered gifts to the poor while wearing torches on her head to light the way. There are some variations on the story, but the festival is celebrated in various forms around the world. At the Lutheran Church in my neighborhood, they had a Santa Lucia celebration during coffee hour after the worship service Sunday. A girl from the youth group (playing the part of the "fair maiden" Santa Lucia) donned a white robe and a dangerous-looking headpiece of candles. Someone dimmed the lights and the girl picked walked around the church basement, passing out Christmas cookies and other treats. And we sang. It was a beautiful carol like a tune from a music box, sung in full harmony by a whole room of people. We sang first in English, then in Swedish, doing our best to pronounce all those strange vowels on the lyric sheet. This isn't a Swedish church, mind you. The congregation is made up so many ethnicities that we could be the cast of a phone company TV commercial. Yet there we were, on a winter's day, eating homemade waffles with lingonberry jelly and warbling this enchanting Swedish hymn in the cozy church basement. It was one of those surprise spiritual moments that wells up in you like a shiver.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
"The citizens of New York are tolerant not only from disposition but from necessity," E.B. White wrote in 1949. "The city has to be tolerant, otherwise it would explode in a radioactive cloud of hate and rancor and bigotry." If the same were true in Mississippi (or most other non-urban parts of America), we wouldn't have witness the pathetic bumbling of folks like Trent Lott, a U.S. Senator who appears simply unable to speak intelligently about race.
While we're talking current events, here's an interesting fact from the Times: "Statistics released yesterday by the F.B.I. showed that New York's overall crime rate is the lowest among the 25 largest cities in the United States. It is last in forcible rape, burglary, larceny and auto theft and near the bottom in murder, robbery and aggravated assault, according to a police analysis of the federal statistics."
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Just shoot us
Saturday night, we walked past the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. A photographer from a web site took our photo and gave us a card with a special code to view the photo on the site for free. (The gimmick: Pay $10 to have a print sent to you.) What I didn't realize was that this also gives us access to all the other photos taken that night. Likewise, those people can see our picture. One could, I suppose, build a whole collection of other people's holiday portraits. In a way, that's kind of a fun idea. Some of the people look great. Others look like buffoons. Some are drunk. Some appear to have traveled from far-away places. But all of them have come to gaze in wonder at the giant, electrically illuminated evergreen tree -- New York City's holiday beacon. You can tell by their faces and their postures that they are standing in a special place. Have a minute or two to kill? Go to www.NBCpix.com and enter the following code: 138916. Here are some winners: Frame 52. Frame 65. Frame 81. Frame 100. And, of course, frame 158. (Augie: "Get Daryl in the picture so it's multiracial.")
Monday, December 16, 2002
No transit strike, folks. Now we can go back to talking about where we work and how much we pay for rent.
It was important for me to get to work today because it is my first official day as a full-time copy editor; I've been working freelance since September. (This is a guy who said he would never be a copy editor -- too boring. Ha!) I'm off to "orientation" this morning. I can say with certainty that I have a new appreciation for the subway now that I've been worrying about life without it. It's a nasty morning, with icy rain falling over Brooklyn.
Sunday, December 15, 2002
Another blast from the past
Another in my series of New York City coincidences. My friend Augie, who I knew in middle school and whom I hadn't seen since freshmen year of college, sent me an e-mail to tell me he was going to be in town this weekend. Turns out he's staying with college friends (Millie and Sabrina) who live two stops away from me here in Brooklyn. We got to hang out yesterday in a fun-filled day of sushi, paella, and sake (and, oh yeah, falafel) in that order.
Me, Augie, and the rest of our lunch table were not the cool kids at Dunloggin Middle. As I remember it, we were harassed mercilessly. At about 1 a.m. last night (this morning?), drinking warm sake in some hip, dark, underground bar in East Village, we wished it were possible to take a picture of this scene right now and send it back in time to ourselves in seventh grade. When we were 12, getting our french fries stolen by the other kids, could we imagined any possible scenario that would have led up to this scene?
Countdown to transit strike: It starts at midnight. Feet fail me not. (More on that tomorrow.)
Saturday, December 14, 2002
Doing my part to help the economy
Today I'm going to do some Christmas shopping. This might sound like an exercise in insanity, what with the crowds and all, but I think I can hold my own. We are ready for these crowds.
Did you watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" last night on TV? What a beautiful program.
Countdown to transit strike: 1 day. Do you believe in ferries?
Friday, December 13, 2002
Flight of the bumble bee
It's a crazy world and there are many, many things I don't understand. Today I'm writing about one of the simpler ones. My office is near a heliport, where I can see helicopters buzz to and fro all day like bees around a hive. I even got to ride in a helicopter once at Penn State as part of a recruting effort by the Marines. Yet something about a helicoper troubles me. See, to me, an airplane makes perfect sense. It has wings to lift it. Heave an airplane down the runway fast enough and, no matter what, it will fly. A helicopter, on the other hand, is a strange bird. It can hover in place, move up and down and forwards and backwards. It can turn left or right. It can pitch forward and back and tilt from side to side. Yet the typical helicopter only has two rotors, a horizonal one in the front and one smaller, vertical one in the back. I'm supposed to believe that a helicopter can manuver in all these directions with two big fan blades? I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. Can anybody explain how this works? Any chopper pilots out there?
I am reminded of a famous quote, so famous I cannot figure out who actually wrote it: "Although the principles of aerodynamics suggest the bumblebee cannot fly - its wings are too weak and its body too heavy - the bumblebee, not knowing this, flies anyway."
Happy Friday the 13th.
Countdown to transit strike: 2 days. How quickly can I get a Segway delivered?
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Hours of entertainment
It's 3 p.m. And as far as I'm concerned, it will be until next Tuesday. See, I've gotten hooked on the FOX show "24," the serial thriller where each episode is told in real time, over an hour. The entire season of shows will span just one full day, and we're now up to 3 p.m. This is the first time in a while that I've been able to follow a TV show on a regular basis. I tried watching the first season of "24" when I lived in Carlisle, but my work schedule was always different, so I wasn't able to watch. But now, I can turn on the TV every Tuesday, sit back, and ask myself: "How far will Jack go to save Los Angeles?" Sure, the show is a little violent, but I'll keep watching for one reason -- Good storytelling.
Countdown to transit strike: 3 days. If they walk, we walk.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Subway or no way
Here in New York, people are abuzz about the impending transit strike, four days away. Apparently, the last time this happened was 1980, too long ago for the city to have much of a memory about how to survive without subways or buses. There are many complicated reasons for a transit strike, but the end result is a stop of all basic public transit services. Compounding the problem, the roads will be so clogged with cars as to be impassible. The half-empty view: Woe is New York. How am I going to make the seven-mile trip from Brooklyn to my job? I'll need to work from home, or sleep at the office. The half-full view: We're all in this together! Prepare the bike! Regular readers of the home page will remember my bike was stolen back in October. Happily, I claimed my brother's old bike when I was in Maryland for Thanksgiving, and have it in working order. Winter biking has its own challenges. Key points: Dress in layers. Allow extra stopping distance, not just for icy spots but because colder brakes don't stop the bike as well. Drink water even if you don't feel thirsty. And, in times of transit strikes, I imagine it makes good sense to steer clear of sidewalks and bridges so clogged with fellow commuters as to be impassable. The TV is saying that strike-time rules will ban all cars with fewer than 4 people in them from crossing into New York. No such restriction will apply to bikes, but if you need a ride on my handlebars, just give me a yell.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Always room for tangelo
At my local fruit stand, tangelos are ten for a dollar. You'd have to be crazy not to buy any. I bought five. Back at home, thawed to room temperature, they are delicious. They are so juicy that the best way to eat them is leaning over the sink. Seedless, pulpy, sweet, tangy. I sound like an ad for tangelos. Really, I'm not sure what exactly a tangelo is, so let's consult the Food Network Encyclopedia: "[tan-JEHL-oh] A juicy, sweetly tart citrus fruit with few seeds that takes its name from the fact that it's a cross between the tangerine and the pomelo." Orange you glad to know?
Monday, December 9, 2002
I was a skater boy
This past weekend, I tried some things I hadn't done yet in New York. Not to worry, all good and wholesome things. Saturday, I went gallery-hopping with Japhy (sidebar: I've been instructed to use his nickname in online references.) in Chelsea. This just involves going door-to-door through a cluster of small art galleries, most of which are housed in re-built garages and warehouses. This is much like trick-or-treating, with the treat being a surprising and usually interesting art exhibit behind each door. Free. The movie "Solaris" was not free. I highly recommend "Solaris" if you like boring films. Sunday, I dug my skates out of the closet and walked over to the outdoor ice rink in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. It was pretty packed with children, but it skating in circles is hypnotic and relaxing, not to mention a way to get some much-needed exercise. Then Sunday night, I went to a lounge on the Lower East Side for a reading from a writer named Ned Vizzini. I met Ned earlier Sunday in church. Ned is younger than me and already has a book published. A real book. He's good.
Sunday, December 8, 2002
The Barber of Park Slope
INT. BARBER SHOP -- AFTERNOON
Saturday, December 7, 2002
Down! with Shania Twain
Have you seen Shania Twain's new CD? This album, "Up!," is actually 2 CDs sold together, each containing the same songs. One side is a country mix and the other is a pop mix. You know I love gimmicks. But I don't love Shania. Why? Because -- as you may have read in Entertainment Weekly -- her real name is Eilleen Lange. I happen to think Eilleen Lange is a beautiful and dignified name. Eileen Lang also happens to be my mom's name. In my opinion, it is outrageous to change your name from Eilleen Lange to a goofy stage name that sounds like a waitress on a riverboat casino. Shania, you reclusive international pop princess, lose the alias. Be Eilleen. Do my mom's name proud.
Friday, December 6, 2002
Please, just your Voice
The Village Voice is a free alternative weekly newspaper distributed in New York. (You New Yorkers already know this. Baltimore and Washington people: Think "City Paper.") It's a reliable source of insiderish city columns, political commentary, overwritten entertainment reviews and club listings. I'll admit it if you will: I pick up The Voice for the comics and Dan Savage's sex column. Still, I find something deeply troubling about this paper. Despite being a progressive and left-thinking magazine, the Voice accepts a huge volume of adds for prostitutes -- a decidely un-liberal industry. In fact, the whole back chunk of the newspaper is packed with expensive, full-color ads offering "escorts" and "party girls," plus the tamer array of phone sex and sex personal services. This week's issue -- 171 pages total -- features 19 full pages of adult ads. I realize this is not a new issue. Yet as I carry my beloved Tom Tomorrow and Ted Rall cartoons into my home, I also have to bring in a stack of ads that list womans' measurements and a phone numbers, just as if you're shopping for a used car. Even if this didn't bother me, it gives The Voice no credibility when it chasticises politicans for taking contributions from oil companies (or whatever is the current corporate evil of the month). I know business is business and the ad market is tight, but how can the publishers of this newspaper justify whoring themselves out?
Thursday, December 5, 2002
Weather - an inspiration for bad writing
The air this morning is alive and dancing. It gently touches our face as it encircles us with snowflakes, the most affectionate severe weather. Today, snow is falling in New York City. Snow takes all those jagged edges we've built and turns them into mounds of white puff. It burries all the trash we've abandoned in our streets. Just walking though the snow makes me high. I think of cancelled school, snowball fights, sledding, closed roads, hot chocolate and cookies. It touches everyone. Even today, as I zip to work in an underground tube, it's great to know I'll be able to watch from my windows at the office while the city gets tucked under a blanket. Maybe I'll walk over to the tree in Rockefeller Center and take some pictures tonight. Something tells me everyone else will have the same idea.
Wednesday, December 4, 2002
Knitting is the rage in New York City. It's caught on chiefly among young women, many of whom knit on the subway. Can anyone tell me whether this is a new thing, or if this quait craft gets popular this time every year? Maybe it picks up whenever holiday gift-giving season coincides with a recession? I don't knit, but I respect knitting. It's a way to be productively unproductive, as if after a few hours of playing Windows solitare, you were rewarded with a scarf. I'm sure it helps quell those obsessive-compulsive Lady-Macbeth-handwashing fixations. There's actually a semi-underground knit club at my office that meets after work. (The first rule of Knit Club is, don't talk about Knit Club.) They tapped me to join, but I respectfully declined.
Creepy Michael Jackson quote of the week: "It is a spider bite. It is real bad. If I showed it to you, you'd be shocked. It hurts very much right now as I speak."
Tuesday, December 3, 2002
I went on a tour of USA Today headquarters in Virginia a few years ago, and they showed us a mock-up of a special section they were preparing about Ronald Reagan. The headline was something like "The Gipper: 1911-XXXX." That's right -- the paper has a special memorial section already designed, in case Mr. Reagan has the bad timing to die on deadline. I'm sure every major news organization has a Reagan package ready to roll. You can bet there are pre-fab obits ready for Pope John Paul II, Boris Yeltsin, Bob Hope, and anybody else you'd find in a celebrity death pool. Which brings us to Strom Thurmond. As you may know, Sen. Thurmond turns 100 on Thursday. This is the same man who ran for president in 1948. He built his political career as a supporter of racial segregation, but later changed his mind on that matter. He still enjoys massive support in South Carolina and has now served in the Senate for 48 years. Imagine the stories he could tell if he were coherent. These days Strom lives in a hospital and plans to retire when his term ends in January. Is Sen. Thurmond a genius or a fool? We turn to the Internet for the answer. A Google search for "Strom Thurmond" and "genius" produces 941 hits. A search for "Strom Thurmond" and "fool" produces 1,100 hits. Case closed.
Monday, December 2, 2002
My mom bought my brother and I each and Advent calendar this year. Thank you, Mom. No, of course we are not too old for this. My advent calendar is a thin paperboard box with 24 punch-out doors and a small piece of chocolate behind each one. The front is a picture of baby Jesus, away in the manger, in the little town of Bethlehem, all is calm, all is bright, etc. You've seen this picture so many times that you'd probably stare right through it. It's worth a second glance. Even if you don't subscribe to the birth-of-Christ story, it's still a pretty amazing religious tradition: The one all-powerful God portrayed as a humble babe. The chocolate isn't very good. The back of the box says it was distributed by an outfit called "PROFIT POTENTIALS" of Hull, IA. Well, God bless 'em.
Sunday, December 1, 2002
A full tank of gas, two Krispy Kremes and 16 ounces of bitter black coffee. Casey Casum on the radio. It's early Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, the first gust of December. Shimmering sun brushes Baltimore City with pink, then charges into the sky, casting glare on the passenger window. All along I-95, Plymouth Voyagers and Ford Explorers with roof carriers, sporting license plates New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and all points north. It's early enough to beat the long lines at the toll booths, but there are jams at all the Turnpike Sunocos. Mammoth highway stops smell of Cinnabon and Lysol. Wide lanes, coach busses and rigs all around, airplanes overhead, trains alongside. Over rivers, through forests, past oil refineries and factories and great buildings, 60, 70, 80, miles per hour. Somewhere in this unbroken ribbon of vehicles, there's me in a tiny red station wagon full of laundry.
Looking south from the Empire State Building. - Photographed 12.22.02, posted 12.23.02.
The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. - Photographed 12.05.02, posted 12.06.02.
Snow in Brooklyn. - Photographed 12.05.02, posted 12.05.02
Holiday travelers at Grand Central Station. - Photographed 11.27.02, posted 11.28.02.