Friday, November 28, 2008

A day at the beach

Today, continuing my thanksgiving vacation in New York City, I went to Coney Island.

It's not all fun and games. Most of it is quite desolate. Especially in winter.

Outside the amusement park area, Coney Island is predominantly black and Latino. It's one of the more dangerous parts of the city. And unlike the Flatbush area where Obama's face is plastered everywhere, I didn't see a single image all along Mermaid Avenue. Does that say something about the relative presence of hope in these communities?

A day in the city

I think I mentioned that I'm vacationing in the New York City area this thanksgiving. As far as vacations go, that's akin to eating shit for thanksgiving dinner. Certainly not one's first choice.

On a photography note, I need to go back to this place when those smokestacks are smokin.

Actually it is a lot of people's first choice. Why? Beats the hell out of me. But I had nothing else to do so I went to check out the phenomenon.

You know there's a lot of controversy as to the precise location of the asshole of the universe. Well, I've been to a lot of the contenders and can't imagine there being anywhere more excremental than Times Square. People pay incredible amounts of money to come here and look at advertising. How crazy is that? Pretty crazy, that's how. Future historians will wag their heads in disgust.

Then I popped by Rockefeller center. I actually enjoy this area at night during the Xmas (we here at chuckling on-line magazine believe in taking the christ out of christmas) season. Cynical I may be, but there's a happy vibe about the place on december nights. But it's not even past Thanksgiving and this crap just feels excremental. Still, I found myself wanting to buy something. Damn the costs.

Then I went to church at St. Patrick's cathedral. Talk about excrement. Made me want to high tail it back to Brooklyn toot sweet.

That's more like it.


Speaking of worship, I belatedly took an interest in the African American community's genuine pride in Obama's election. If it's not too late I may put together a show at some point. It's probably too late. It seems a lot of street vendors are going to be stuck with nicely framed portraits.

I've never understood why anyone goes to Manhattan. Except maybe to work. Or museums. And for nightlife. Granted, there's that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Obla di, obla da, oble ah

Kia has a nice essay about ultra-violence, religious stupidity and intolerance in the Caribbean. Includes a link to a coupla great statues that are (allegedly) responsible for much of the violence.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

W(h)ither the 800 pound gorilla?

I can't help but noting that in all this talk of out-of-control budget deficits and cutting wasteful spending, I have not heard nor read a single person mention the defense budget which is what? Half of all spending, much of which is total fucking waste and corruption.

Sure, the old Soviet Union went bankrupt and collapsed, partially due to the devotion of too many resources to military spending. But that can't happen to us now, can it? We're different. Exceptional, you might say. And our imaginary enemies might develop awesome capabilities for which we must be prepared, no matter the cost. Of course if they want to just buy us, that's a different matter. Rope is selling cheap these days.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another day in the life

I've given up color photography. Just so you know. I'm like totally sick of color. It's just a trick the brain plays on the eyes and I've had it up to here with stupid brain tricks. From here on out, all I do is black and white. And many shades of gray. At least sixteen. No fewer.

I had to get a specialized black and white camera, which was expensive. That and the price of travel these days resulted in me staying home for Thanksgiving, doing my part to tank the economy. I'd already taken the vacation days at work, so here I am playing the tourist in Brooklyn on a rainy November day. Today I saw Flatbush Avenue.

Figuring it's going to get even colder before it gets warmer, I hiked to Sears and bought some long underwear. When I got home I put on a top and threw a t-shirt over it. My teenage daughter said I looked like Kurt Cobain if he had lived to be old and fat. Kurt Cobain, I thought. Cool. Anyway, after shopping I had a bite to eat.

Then I did some window shopping. The Xmas season is upon us.

I felt safe with the NYPD watching over me.

Getting tired, I stopped by the orgy for some relaxation.

Then I took a picture of a tree.

That got me thinking about nature so I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It's free on weekdays all winter.

Afterward I walked back home through Prospect Park. Tomorrow I'll probably do the same. The same. The same. The same.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's in store

A sign went up for the new business that will be replacing the recently closed Halal meat market in my neighborhood. Fortunately, we were all wrong. It is not a pawn shop, nor a pawn mall. Not a storefront church, though that was a very good guess. Could have been a storefront mosque as well, but no. And it didn't turn out to be a Mexican or Chinese restaurant either, though I got a bit scared when I saw two Chinese looking guys installing a steam table.

No, it turns out to be a place called Basmati, specializing in Curries, Shwarmas, and Falafels. Praise be to Allah! Something to balance out the dreaded Pizza or Chinese on eat in Fridays.

There are already plenty of curry places down the street and around the corner, but we never eat there because we are sure they rip us off. None of the prices are posted. The rooms are full of Bangladeshi and Pakistani laborers and taxi drivers. And they're asking me to believe a shriveled piece of Tandoori chicken is nine dollars? No way Bub. And a Jewish Falafel place opened recently, but they are closed on Friday nights and Saturdays, which are the only times we ever order out.

So my pessimism was over the top, as is not unusual. But the recently closed 99 cent store is now gutted, and whoever bought it also took over the recently deceased cheap furniture place right next door, so something big is coming.

Normally, I'd guess something that size would be a drugstore but it's right across the street from a Walgreens, caddy corner to a Rite-Aid, and just down the street from at least two Russian pharmacies, so I'm not as confident in that prediction as I might otherwise be.

It's almost big enough for a burger joint like Wendy's or McDonald's. That would be a horror. The first fast food place on the strip. Or it could be a porno palace. We don't have any of those nearby. Storefront church or mosque is still a good possibility.

But I'll still guess drug store. That smells most like capitalism these days.