I had my first encounter with a Smart Car Fortwo on Tuesday on the corner of 22nd and 8th Avenue.
What a sight to behold! And fitting into an almost non-existent parking spot.
I noticed later that there was a bike in the picture to help add perspective to its diminutive size.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The second quarter is about to begin. Gold is up 3-0. That's Shayna on the far part of the screen. I lose her for a few seconds, but I catch the final part of the shot: a crossing goal that zips through the defense, and sinks in the back corner of the net. It goes quickly.
Shayna's goal put the team up 4-0, but the lead was not to last. One of Shayna's classmates, Raphael, plays on the Green team. He is phenomenal. He scored 7 of the Green team's 7 goals. The game ended in a 7-7 tie.
One of the people I have come across in the blogosphere (and thus a "victim" of my occasional meme-ing) is Mat Giordano of Houston, Texas.
I tagged him with a recent meme and he asked for me to shamelessly plug an art project he is working on in the blogosphere. Normally, I would never entertain such nonsense....ah, who am I kidding? I love doing that! What's better, the assemblage of art is actually quite interesting. For example:
If you're interested in the above image and other cool, funky, thought-provoking images, check out This Blog Right Here.
The final assembly is being auctioned this Friday at a silent art auction to donate to the AIDS Foundation of Houston: http://artshouston.ning.com
I will be in Los Angeles, so I'm dropping off the piece tomorrow, but will send you my blog mailer when I'm done sometime tonight matting everything.
And then at 3:25 PM EST on February 27, Mat notified me:
After a ton of hard work over a short period of time, the response to the art collaboration project was immense. The final piece will be going up for silent auction this Friday, February 29 to benefit the AIDS Foundation of Houston.
To see everyone's hard work put in perspective, visit This Blog Right Here and show some love for those who gave their time to help make a tired, late night idea a true reality, and in turn helping those in serious need:
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This was the view out our window Saturday morning.
At first we were baffled.
But we came to learn that under that snow, within the rectangle of yellow safety tape, is a metal grate.
As of Tuesday morning, the car and the cones are still there.
Con Ed pays 'em to sit on grates
Livery drivers making a bundle to guard dangerous city hot spots
By JIMMY VIELKIND
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Posted Thursday, May 3rd 2007, 4:00 AM
Cabbie Zafrul Islam holds letter explaining why he's guarding manhole in Brooklyn.
Con Edison has come up with a bizarre way to protect the public from stray-voltage hot spots throughout the city - it's hiring livery cab drivers to guard them until crews can fix the problem.
The dark cars and their drivers sit next to a roped-off area around the clock for days, with a placard explaining their mission.
"A stray voltage hazard was discovered here," the card says. "The coned/taped off area contains an extremely dangerous electrified object or structure.
"I am unable to move my vehicle because I am guarding this coned/taped off area from pedestrians."
The utility said the program started about six months ago and about 1,000 drivers from various livery companies are involved.
Previously, when Con Ed was alerted to a stray-voltage area - which can deliver a deadly shock to people and pets - it had one of its own cars protect the site.
But high-tech vans that roam the city looking for electrified pavement are finding so many danger zones that Con Ed had to enlist outside help, said spokesman Chris Olert.
He referred to the livery hacks as "site-safety" personnel who have been specially "trained."
But the training consists of being told to keep people away from the cordoned-off area.
"I just watch and make sure no one goes near it," said Zafrul Islam, 42, a driver for Executive Transportation in Borough Park, who has sat sentry over stray current in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
Yesterday, his dark-blue Lincoln Town Car was stationed near a 5-foot power grate on 11th St. near Third Ave. in Gowanus, Brooklyn, where a 16-volt leak had been discovered.
Annoyed neighborhood residents said cabs had been stationed there since Thursday evening.
"It's a gimmick," railed Cosimo Catanzano, 80, whose home is directly across from the faulty grate.
The curbside was blocked off with four construction cones and yellow safety tape. Islam's car had another cone on its roof - and its constant presence had alarmed locals.
"I called 911," said Rosemary Snyder, 58. "Don't you think ConEd should have let us know instead of letting a stranger sit outside like that?"
Maryann Slattery, 32, called the situation "ridiculous."
"Con Ed wants to raise our rates but they have the money to pay for a private car service? We have a lot of children and a lot of dogs. Why can't they send someone to actually fix it?"
Con Ed, which is spending $4million on the entire stray-voltage program, could not say how much it costs to have cabs baby-sit.
But if the power company were paying market rates of $30 an hour and up, the bill would be at least $720 per day per site.
The utility also said it did not know how many cab companies were hired by its subcontractor, Sarnoff Co., how many spots they've guarded since the program started, or how long it takes to fix each spot.
Sarnoff makes the vans ConEd uses to detect stray voltage. Last year, those vans found 1,969 hot spots, while manual detection turned up another 914.
Just four months into this year, the vans have already identified about 1,500 stray-voltage sites, Olert said.
Roger Lane, whose daughter, Jodie, was electrocuted in the East Village in 2004, was surprised to hear about Con Ed's new fleet of lookouts - but glad they were at least doing something to keep people away.
"Cones and cabs, policemen and firemen - whoever they put there that will protect the pedestrian from inadvertently walking on top of it is fine with me," he said.
With Tracy Connor
UPDATE 2/27/08 At around midnight, there still seemed to be no progress. Livery cab company still raking in the bucks for watching this rectangle of pavement! God Bless America!
But then, a large pick-up truck appeared, and the driver talked for a while with the cab driver, talked on his cell phone, stood inside the forbidden golden rectangle (gasp!). When I went to bed, finally, the truck was still idling out front. At 5 AM, when I woke up, everything had vanished. Cones, car, stray voltage (apparently). It was as if it was all a long, bizarre 3-day dream......
Monday, February 25, 2008
I love malasadas. Easy to do since I rarely have them. Tough for a former Hawaii resident living in New York, no doubt. But I have a got malasadas? bumper sticker from Leonard's Bakery in my office.
And, last Fall, my mom brought us a bag of malasada mix from Tex Drive In in Honoka'a:
Of course, we have it in a place of honor, hanging in our kitchen.
Why am I inducing malasada salivation? I posted about these delicious treats a long ways back here. And I just recently discovered my post was linked by a French culinary blog here. I ended my post back then, saying that malasadas "are paradise packed into light, fluffy, sugar-dusted dreams."
The blog Le Petrin, translates this as "le paradis enveloppé dans des rêves aériens, cotonneux saupoudrés de sucre". Sounds even better in French, no? It's nice to be referred to by a prestigious European blogger.
So, to assuage my malasada separation anxiety, let me share this gem from my video vault, circa August 2005:
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I am calling this a New York City icicle, although it could occur in other cities, I guess.
Any city-dweller surely will bemoan the phenomenon of plastic bags, usually from grocery stores, getting stuck in trees.
They are an eyesore, to say the least. The writer Ian Frazier wrote a piece (abstract here) about it in The New Yorker about four years ago.
Anyway, take a bag in a tree, add snow, then heat slightly causing said snow to melt. Preferably there is a small hole in the bag, causing dripping snow to freeze as an icicle. Behold: the New York City icicle. Any icicle on an awning or dangling from a gutter could be from anywhere. There is something ugly and special about this one.
A lovely glistening shard of ice clinging to a plastic bag, twisting in the wind, trying to break free of the tree that refuses to let go. Nature and litter's bastard child.
It made me smile.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Sure enough, on a different bus, the B64, I spotted a second new poster of the day. This one from the New York City poet Grace Paley, who died just last year.
It's a short one, but nonetheless, powerful.
from her dear
face   then I
(1922 - 2007)
B64, February 23, 2008, 1:45 PM, EST, 86th Street, Brooklyn.
I always remotely blog whenever I see a new Poetry in Motion poster. And when I see a new one, that usually means one or two are others are not far behind. Behold:
from "In My Craft or Sullen Art"
Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the grief of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.
Click on the title to read the full poem.
First spotted February 23, 2008, 12:30 EST, B63 bus, 5th Avenue, Brooklyn...
Friday, February 22, 2008
The snow has stopped and we are on a downtown B train headed home. The Museum of Natural History rarely fails to disappoint.
IMAX film on dinosaurs was fascinating, and finding a $10 bill sticking out of an empty seat after the lights went up and the majority of the audience had left was icing on the cake (google "Luck of the Cohanim" and see what you find).
The Water exhibit was interesting and we enjoyed the Planetarium, as well as the halls of mammals, marine life, and dinosaurs.
Have a good weekend.....
Butterfly exhibit at the museum. Always a treat, moreso when you enter the hunid chamber filled with floating colorful creatures and it is cold and snowing outside.
Here are butterflies.....photos taken by Bill, Jolee, and Shayna Cohen
It is snowing in New York City. I already had a scheduled day off, so I am not inconvenienced by the snow, merely in awe of it. This is our first real significant snowfall this season (and February almost over). It has snowed, but in minimal quantities. What was predicted last night as 2 to 4 inches in the city has swelled to a 6 to 9-inch estimate.
I am writing now from the R train. Jolee, Shayna and I are going to Manhattan. The American Museum of Natural History is our destination. They were supposed to go on Monday, but the plans didn't materialize as expected. I am wondering, with the snowfall, if the museum will be crowded or suffer the ill effects of inclement weather on attendance.
The Today show sadistically broadcasted this morning from Miami Beach.
At 36th Street I saw a yellow train marked "DE-ICER CAR". Makes sense, but I have never seen one of those before. We switched over to an N train.
We recently sent out our annual family newsletter. 2 months late, or ten months early, depending on your perspective. I welcome all those new visitors who may have seen the BillyBlog plug in our family newsletter.
It's not always like this, but then again, sometimes it is.
I may post more today from the Museum, if I can.
Signing off for now.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Ok, I've been working on this for over a week (although it's probably hard to tell), but here it is, finally.
Eric Valentine over at Scattered Chatter tagged my father, The Ancient One, Blessed Be He, with a meme called "Open Book".
These were the instructions:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open it at page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence/ phrase.
4. Blog the next four sentences/ phrases together with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig your shelves for that very special or intellectual book.
6. Pass it forward to six friends
Now, I can't be trusted. So I assigned my daughter Shayna to go to a book case and pick a book for me. This is what she brought me:
Great. Not my book. Oh well, and so it goes.
Page 123, go to the fifth sentence;
wait! Page 123 is just a photo, so I am going to page 124...crud, only 4 sentences. Let's go to page 125....again only four sentences. The problem is, this book is small 4 x 4 x 1.1 inches.
Ok, going to the fifth sentence on page 123, and blogging the next four sentences:
...I had not seen either of them at all during Easter week.
"Are you up?" she asked.
"I'm up," I said, and Teddy, holding out his arms, climbed over onto me.
Clarissa came in, glancing toward the street...
A little disappointing. Oh well.
Now I must choose 6 others to tag. Unfortunately for me, my Pops tagged me, so that eliminates one of my definitive six. Of course, as he has since told me since meme-ing me, doing this has helped increase his "authority" on Technorati, helping his blog rank leap frog over mine. Kudos to the Ancient One, but I must do something about this.
Time in a Blog
Vic Monchego's Episodes
This Blog Right Here
Good luck and thanks in advance for partipating.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
When traveling, whether it is cross-country, or cross-town, I can’t just have one book with me. My moods change and I like having choices. I’ve been known to shuttle between fiction, poetry, the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle, and non-fiction all in the course of a 45-minute subway ride.
What’s my point? The New York Public Library and its counterpart to the south, in Brooklyn, are treasure troves of books, a few of which I have borrowed, carried on trains, and returned, unmolested by my grubby paws
However, once in a while, I judge books by their covers, borrow them, and actually read them. The latest in this category was the just-published ’85. The title drew me because those are the three keystrokes after my name when the Iolani School alumni office sends me mail. I snagged it as well because it was a graphic novel, and it looked like a quick read. I was right.
Here’s the book in a nutshell:
Inspired by the widely praised novel Three Days as the Crow Flies, Danny Simmons and Floyd Hughes present a richly illustrated graphic novel set in the gritty underworld of New York City circa 1985 -- a time and place when street culture and the fine arts scene came together in strange and often predatory ways.
Crow, a junky and the son of a deceased police officer, steals a few paintings from his friend Danny, which he hopes to sell and make a few dollars off of to pay his landlord and cop some powder. Before he knows it, he's drawn into the surreal dreamland of "do-as-you-please," a hazy, hedonistic world of sex, drugs, and cold-blooded commerce. Filled with evocative black-and-white imagery and crackling with authentic, street-smart dialogue, Simmons and Hughes capture and bring to life this haunting urban tale.
This 96-page tale is surreal with its darkly-shifting images, with different visual perspectives populating the panels. I am no aficionado of graphic novels, but I do appreciate when something is interesting. This story fascinated me because it’s set in a New York that predates my arrival by 12 years and the transformation of the Big Apple from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s is mind-blowing. It’s fun, as well, when a writer skillfully incorporates historic figures into their fiction. The appearance of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Run-DMC, and one of the Beastie Boys certainly enrich an already-riveting storyline.
The reader is initially horrified that a character would steal art from a friend and fence it for some quick cash. But as unlikable as that act may be, I was drawn along a moral journey, following and actually caring for Crow, despite his questionable choices. It flies by quickly, but it’s thought-provoking nonetheless.
Danny Simmons is the brother of rap mogul Russel Simmons, and one of the co-founders of the Def Poetry Jam.
Monday, February 18, 2008
The BilliPod served up a weird mix for me on my commute home today. Here's what the Shuffle dealt me (links and extras to be added later)...
"Dance Like a Monkey" by the New York Dolls
"Flames Go Higher" by the Eagles of Death Metal
"Blues for Sister Someone" by Lenny Kravitz
And the track that brought me home....
It's not often that the BilliPod throws me such an eclectic mix in which
every track is a winner.
I had heard of the book Foreksin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander, but I hadn’t really looked into it. Then a colleague of Melanie’s had recommended it to her and she, in turn, recommended it for our book club at the Bay Ridge Jewish Center.
Melanie read it first and, while discussing how much she was enjoying it, I realized I had read Auslander before, in The New Yorker. In fact, one of the sections of the book had originally appeared in the magazine in January 2007, a piece I remember reading and enjoying:
There are thirty-nine categories of work that are prohibited on the Sabbath. Category No. 37, Kindling a Fire, also rules out kindling anything electrical, including a television. It was Game Four of the Stanley Cup semifinals between the Rangers and the Washington Capitals. I had decided to switch on the television Friday afternoon and just leave it on until Sabbath ended…
Basically, the book is one man’s memoir of growing up as an Orthodox Jew, his dysfunctional family, and his own personal, very strained relationship with God. What would come off as a sad tale of disappointment and religious oppression is thwarted by Auslander’s wicked sense of humor and irreverent outlook on life. We tag along as the author battles his demons: an abusive father, a vengeful God, drugs, crime, and an ambivalent relationship with pornography.
Here are some additional links:
A Q&A from Entertainment Weekly here.Another excerpt here.
I, along with the majority of our small book club, enjoyed the book immensely. I think it would certainly appeal more to Jews who are more familiar with the religion and culture. However, that is not to say that Non-Jews wouldn’t get anything out of it (hmm, is that sentence a triple-negative?) It’s a relatively quick read, as memoirs go. If you’re unable to motivate oneself to read it, at least give up a few minutes to view these two excerpts, delivered via the majesty of YouTube:
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Her exploits on the soccer field and her good marks in school are sources of great pleasure for our household. We love you, Shayna!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Worth watching. This is amazing. Melanie sent me this link.
Here's a new feature....a random assortment of things that piqued my interest over the past week:
Billboard magazine discusses and exhibites the Top 25 concert posters of all time.
New Yorkers are still talking about this:
More on David Tyree's Amazing Catch in the Super Bowl and how he's not an anonymous diner at the IHOP anymore: article here.
For those who may be too young to recall the original "Catch" by Dwight Clark,
you can read about it here.
And if you want to watch that see "The Catch":
And Tyree's catch also has its own wikipedia entry here.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Ah, such great plans!
Every year around this time, the Westminster Kennel Club has its annual dog show at Madison Square Garden. There are always tons of beautiful dogs around the building in which I work (across from MSG), as there are two hotels, the Hotel Pennsylvania and the Affinia, where many of the handlers and the dogs stay.
At some point during day one, I thought it would be fun to take pictures of the dogs being walked around the area. Problem was, day 1 was Monday, and it was brutally frigid in Manhattan, with temperatures in the teens, and wind chills dipping into single digits (or below). Day 2, Tuesday, I started to take a few pictures on the street, but then the snow started falling by mid-afternoon. Day three, which is after the show, when all the dogs are out on walks before heading home, we had incessant rain.
That being said, all I have is four pictures. Maybe next year. Two are not so great, but the last one is a beaut. Enjoy, this weather-shortened idea that had so much potential, but came up a little shy of what I wanted.
This last one is a spectacular dog:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I picked up Scouts in Bondage; And Other Violations of Literary Propriety at the local library. It’s fluffy, quick reading that will provoke a smile or two. Basically, it was compiled by a British bookseller, and consists of covers of antiquarian books that, transplanted into the 21st Century, raise eyebrows. Insert your innuendo here. A dirty mind helps.
Want to learn Welsh in a Week? Or see How Nell Scored?
Well, with a few exceptions, your journey ends at the cover depicted on the page. We get a few sneak peaks at the contents of some tomes, like the first eight chapter titles of Invisible Dick (Chapter III – Porker Puzzled, for example).
And then, this is decidedly British in its slant. I’m sure Totty: The Truth About Ten Mysterious Terms and The Captains Bunk; A Story for Boys has them slightly more giddy across the pond.
Now we just need to wait for the inevitable American version to grace our shelves.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I found this in the Book Sale Room of the NYPL on Friday:
Aside from the cool geometrical damage to the photo, I love how the young girl has her eyes scrunched shut:
As a father of two girls, this photo is familiar, yet alien. Obviously, the girl is a stranger. But the inevitable questions arise: Who is she? Where is she now? What was her doll's name? What model of Polaroid camera was the photographer using?
Well, maybe not the last one.
Remember when the Polaroid was cutting-edge technology? Today, our photographs can be snapped and previewed in the blink of an eye. Pop that camera in the docking station and print out a photo, lickety-split.
Something about this just makes me feel nostalgic.
Friday, February 08, 2008
I thought about posting about this over on Tattoosday, but despite the congruent themes, I didn't want to start featuring tattoo subject matter that wasn't in line with what Tattoosday is all about, the spontaneous spotting of body art in New York City, and the stories behind the ink. That said, on Thursday, two tattoo-prominent models appeared in the New York media.
First, I spotted one of the free New York morning papers on the subway. The issue of Metro was actually overlayed with a "faux" cover which was really an advertisement, in this case, for Kenneth Cole. Here's the photo that graced the front cover:
The tattoos are spectacular. In fact, some people at work thought they were fake. But these are real and grace the body of Theo Kogan, lead vocalist from the Lunachicks (her MySpace profile is here). You can see this ad here, along with a video explaining how she fits into the Kenneth Cole "We All Walk in Different Shoes" campaign.
Similarly, The New York Times ran a story called "The Vanishing Point" on Thursday about the new "thin" male models. It is Fashion Week in New York, so this all makes sense. Anyway, one of the photos accompanying the article was this one:
The model on the left (with the tats) is Sascha Kooienga:
I was hoping to get a shot of what appears to be a Miro tattoo on Kooienga's right side (in the Times photo), but no such luck.
And on a totally unrelated note, those readers of this blog know what a big fan I am of the Best American Poetry series. I discovered yesterday that David Lehman started a BAP blog, which is here (and hereinafter on the sidebar). The poet Denise Duhamel has a post entitled "The Politics of Erotica".
In a matter of a minute or two, I went from standing next to an older Orthodox Jew reading the parshas of Rambam to sitting across from a young Park Slope-type twenty-something reading the graphic novel by Jeff Smith entitled Bone: The Great Cow Race.
Ok, so it's not Yosemite, Micronesia, or the Amazon rain forest, but sometimes there's a breathtaking view in Brooklyn.
Ah, who am I kidding? It's a sunset. But Wednesday at dusk, the temperature had soared to nearly 60 degrees and we had some passing showers. This is what awaited me when I got off of the subway:
A little closer:
And this may be a blurry mess (or not), but I love the colors:
Photographed from the corner of 81st Street and 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge, February 6, 2008, approximately 5:20 PM.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
by C. K. Williams
On the metro, I have to ask a young woman to move the packages
beside her to make room for me;
she’s reading, her foot propped on the seat in front of her, and
barely looks up as she pulls them to her.
I sit, take out my own book—Cioran, The Temptation to Exist—and
notice her glancing up from hers
to take in the title of mine, and then, as Gombrowicz puts it, she
“affirms herself physically,” that is,
becomes present in a way she hadn’t been before: though she hasn’t
moved, she’s allowed herself
to come more sharply into focus, be more accessible to my sensual
perception, so I can’t help but remark
her strong figure and very tan skin—(how literally golden young
women can look at the end of summer.)
She leans back now, and as the train rocks and her arm brushes
mine she doesn’t pull it away;
she seems to be allowing our surfaces to unite: the fine hairs on
both our forearms, sensitive, alive,
achingly alive, bring news of someone touched, someone sensed,
and thus acknowledged, known.
I understand that in no way is she offering more than this, and in
truth I have no desire for more,
but it’s still enough for me to be taken by a surge, first of warmth
then of something like its opposite:
a memory—a girl I’d mooned for from afar, across the table from
me in the library in school now,
our feet I thought touching, touching even again, and then, with
all I craved that touch to mean,
my having to realize it wasn’t her flesh my flesh for that gleaming
time had pressed, but a table leg.
The young woman today removes her arm now, stands, swaying
against the lurch of the slowing train,
and crossing before me brushes my knee and does that thing again,
asserts her bodily being again,
(Gombrowicz again), then quickly moves to the door of the car and
descends, not once looking back,
(to my relief not looking back), and I allow myself the thought that
though I must be to her again
as senseless as that table of my youth, as wooden, as unfeeling,
perhaps there was a moment I was not.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
BillyBlog had its 40,000th hit on Thursday, January 31, at 12:02 PM, Eastern Standard Time.
An individual in the city of The Hague, in the province of Zuid-Holland, in the Netherlands,
googled "The Hot Chick Movie" under images, in Dutch, and hit this post.
Little did he (or she) know...
As always, thanks to all my visitors! Your attention makes me keep going.