Why I Dislike facebook

Yes, I am on facebook. Well, not right now, but generally. And I admit that it is good for staying in touch with many people, but in the end, I have to say that I dislike the whole platform, as they say.facebook-dislikeI have shared and posted and, yes, even liked, but I have always been bothered by the fact that facebook trivializes everything. It’s all one-liners, giggling or aghast. It is as facile as tweeting and blogging. Oh, uh…well, yeah. bad girlLaetitia Sadier sings it best: We communicate more and more/in more defined ways than ever before/but no one was got anything to say/it’s all very poor it’s all just a bore. In facebook world, we share silly pictures and comment on issues of great import – massacres, gang rapes – on the same weirdly awful page. We are like infants, screaming out and giggling at our farts…which is fine, for what it is.facebook cartoonBut I still dislike it. Maybe we’ll all give it up in 2013! (Smiley face here)

It’s Time for Sci-Fi.

my bad side is done. serval and girlAnd I’ve started something new. It’s to be the first in a trilogy on leaving this planet. I have always been enamored of science fiction, and yet, have been, for the most part, disappointed by the story elements. There’s a good idea to start – a journey to the centre of the earth, to the sun, a dystopia, a mirror world, robots becoming human – but it drifts into fill-in-the-blank characters, story arcs and trite resolutions. Is this because the cosmos are beyond our conception? Or is it because science fiction writing tends towards the spectacle? hubbleOne thing is certain: I’m out of my element. I’ve started my research with the Hubble Space Book and The Definitive Guide To The Universe, reading Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene and consulting my brother, who can translate anything of the universe, all of the neutrinos and dark energy for someone like me. One thing I know: Deirdre (from my bad side) will be the voice. barbarella

The destination is as of yet unknown…and it’s time to figure out what’s beyond.

Coping with another Storm: Make a Fire

The miserable weather is back in New York.

Heavy Rain / Wind

Another storm, more rain and wind, and more flood warnings. Good God, enough already! Okay, well, at least we can make a fire, right? Not the crazy pyro-kind, kids, but the sensible lovely kind, the kind that soothes and makes all things right…for a little while anyway. First, you need your paper. IMAG2083Ball it up tight, page by page, and place those into the fireplace as your first layer. IMAG2084Then put in a layer of junk paper packaging things, whatever would be normally mounting toward more landfill. IMAG2085Next it’s the branches, the small and the big. And then a couple of small logs. IMAG2086The trick to a good fire is the oxygen. Make sure there’s gaps between everything. IMAG2088And then set it ablaze! Light as many places as you can without burning your fingers and make sure that the flue is open. IMAG2090Let it burn for a few minutes and then, once it has burned down, pile on another log or two cross-ways. Keep pushing the logs around. IMAG2094Make sure the oxygen gets inside. Once it’s going, it’s time to listen to the winds howl, the cold rain and snow batter against the windows or some favorite music. And, yeah, have a drink…ginger ale, tea, whatever. You deserve it. IMAG2092My goodness, we just made fire! Keep an eye on it. Stoke it. And get ready to do it all again soon. Another storm is forecast for Sunday.

Christmas Card…with a stinger

I wish you a Merry Christmas. I wish you merry Christmas. I wish you a Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year. 

Christmas Card...with a stinger

Moon and World Trade Centre lit as a Christmas Tree

Good tidings I bring to you and your kin.  Good tidings for Christmas. And a Happy New Year.

Christmas Card...with a stinger

Construction Boots as Mistletoe

Bring me some figgy pudding. Oh bring me some figgy pudding. Oh bring me some figgy pudding. And a cup of good cheer.

Christmas Card...with a stinger

Man Sleeping in Brooklyn Bridge Subway on Christmas Eve

I won’t go until I get some. So bring some out here. Good tidings I bring to you and your kin. Good tidings for Christmas. And a Happy New Year.

Christmas Card...with a stinger

Empire State Building as Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer

Faux Good

NRA Spokesman Wayne LaPierre stated that we should take this horrifying moment of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting as an opportunity to get at the real issues. He is right. There is little doubt that we need to reflect on our true natures, who we are, what we have done, who we have loved and cared for, who we have shunned and hurt. We need to recognize that it starts in all of us and, only after genuine, tough reflection, can we offer what we have learned to others. APTOPIX Connecticut School ShootingI intended to go out to the Rockaways today, to help distribute gifts and food. And I didn’t. I have many excuses to myself for this – I’m not really needed, I’m tired, I can’t be late for Christmas Eve dinner, I’ll do it later – and I do believe some of them, or at least I say I do. But the truth is that I am lying to myself. I am selfish and lazy. I’m pretending to be a good kind-hearted individual when I’d rather sit here and indulge myself. I’m faux good. (Good intentions do in fact pave the road to hell.) IMAG1666One thing that did hearten me during the Hurricane Sandy aftermath was that this false nature in us wasn’t nearly so apparent. I saw many sharp words exchanged because things had to get done. They weren’t pretending. They were being direct. People expressed themselves intensely and honestly, in anger, in sorrow, in devastation, in thankfulness. There was so much of that. New Yorkers can be quite good at this, speaking their minds – maybe too good – but we must remember that there is much positive in that.

Rockaways Donation Center

Rockaways Donation Center

Being direct and honest. I think it might be just as simple – and hard – as that. I think back over the past couple of years to a most unpleasant situation at my workplace. The problem was never the difference of opinion – what could there be possibly wrong with that? – but because those who disagreed with me have whispered, plotted and attacked. I knew of this but was not concerned. Truth will out. That’s what I’ve always believed. But the bystanders didn’t do anything for fear they might be subject to the same attack. In other words, the misery wasn’t in what was said but because this cabal manipulated  so many – even themselves – into believing that the monstrous shadow in the room wasn’t real. It was something else…which brings me back to LaPierre: “There are monsters out there every day, and we need to do something to stop them.” Indeed we do.wildthingThese wild things live in us. These are terrifying things. We can’t hammer one another to concede. This isn’t about intimidation. This isn’t about winning an argument. This is about what is true in us. It is about being honest. It is about reflecting on how our actions affect others and making an examples of ourselves so that this world might be a safer, kinder place. Or do we want to pretend that we need a “good guy with a gun” to do that for us? Not me. I need to do something. I really do.

Am I going crazy…and if I am, should I join the NRA?

Yes, we all knew that NRA Chief Loon Wayne LaPierre would say crazy things like having armed guards in schools is the “one thing that will keep people safe” and gun control “is not going to make any kid safer”…but enough already! This is ridiculous!lapierreDon’t these statements in fact prove that Mr. LaPierre is mentally unstable and therefore should not be allowed near a sharp object himself, let alone a firearm of any kind? I mean, as interesting as Mr. LaPierre and his fellow gun-bearers might be for a Tarantino movie in their stupidity, duplicity and fury, this is too much. Little kids died. That happened. It really did. And if they don’t want to take that seriously, they need to be given a time-out – a very long one – and let the adults in the room sort out the problem. It’s time to dump the Second Amendment, kiddies. Everyone knows it. The West was settled – all the Native Americans nicely slaughtered – a long time ago and that whole Frontier Justice idea is done. unforgivenGuns are the problem. If they aren’t taken out of the picture, many more people will die violent and horrible deaths. More little kids will die too. I mean, it’s so insanely obvious! Right?!? Ahhhh! Okay, I’ve got to sort my mind out somehow. I need to divert my attention to something else….Canadian Troupe Comedy perhaps? Click here for a little SCTV magic. sctvHere for some Kids in the Hall. kidsinthehallAnd here for CODCOcodco2Sign this petition to get CODCO’s work released on DVD. At least we can do that. I know it’s not gun control or human rights, but it might help us cope.

Sufjan Stevens – Bowery Ballroom, 12/21/12

Sufjan Stevens played out the apocalypse at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last night. And I feel pretty good. Sufjan Stevens - Bowery BallroomIt was a remarkably lovely show with Santa balloons, noisemakers and crazy costumes – a real X-Mess as Sufjan wrote on his shirt – but it was the music….my goodness, the music, that transfixed. He played many different things, many of them Christmas songs, some of them not, like one of the encores: To Be Alone With You. (Click for live clip of the song here.)Sufjan Stevens - Bowery BallroomSufjan Stevens is a remarkable presence with a profound sense of who he is, his mind working too fast, his talent radiating out, almost embarrassed about it…but not that at all.

Sufjan Stevens - Bowery Ballroom

Sufjan Stevens as the Christmas Unicorn.

Sufjan Stevens - Bowery Ballroom

Sufjan Stevens as the Christmas Unicorn

I’m the Christmas Unicorn! You’re the Christmas Unicorn too!
It’s a simple thing. It’s a wonderful thing. It doesn’t have to be a world full of guns, floods and death. It really can be something else. We just have to put on our damn balloon suits. That’s it.

Sufjan Stevens - Bowery Ballroom

Christmas unicorns and confetti for everyone.

And nominate Sufjan Stevens for President of the Inter-StellarCollective.

December 21, 2012…and all is well.

Okay, it’s been a pretty windy day, rainy too…but I don’t think that qualifies as the world coming to end. And so…now what? We went through the seven stages of accepting this world’s end, and the planet’s still here. December 21, 2012...and all is well.What are we going to do now? There are so many battles remaining to fight: getting rid of guns, taxing fairly, bringing peace to Syria, Congo, Palestine, Afghanistan, dealing with our collapsing planet, being honest and decent to one another. I mean, really, are we up for this? Or is to be same old same old? I would like to suggest some things to get us on the right track. Not only is Sufjan Stevens’ voice delicate; so are his words. Listen to Seven Swans.December 21, 2012...and all is well.And will I be a part of what you’ve made?/ And I am throwing all my thoughts away./ And I’m destroying every bet I’ve made/ And I am joining all my thoughts to you/ And I’m preparing every part for you

The Partridge Family: Season One is worth watching too. Yes,The Partridge Family. No one gives better moral advice than Shirley Jones. December 21, 2012...and all is well.People aren’t as different as we think. We may have different beliefs, but we’re all pretty much alike.

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is a fascinating examination of free will and morals, and it’s only 796 pages.You’ve got the time. December 21, 2012...and all is well.Love children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts and, as it were, to guide us.

And finally, if you’re in New York this week, think about attending Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace event in Times Square. It is on every night 11:47-12:00 midnight until December 30.December 21, 2012...and all is well.What better way to spend the apocalypse?

Survival Guide: The Last Day

Today is your time for measured reflection. During this, the last of the seven stages before this apocalypse, you must learn to accept the reality of your situation. Acceptance doesn’t mean happiness, but rather a way forward…even though the world is going to end. There is no better guide than Martin Luther King Jr. His final speech in Memphis, Tennessee (April 3, 1968) is an incredible collection of ideas and moments, all of it delivered without notes. Survival Guide: The Last DayAnother reason that I’m happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we’re going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. He was assassinated the following morning.

Watch My Dinner with Andre, written by Wallace Shawn and directed by Louis Malle. Two men talk over dinner, just that, but remarkable so, reminding us that a good story just needs to be told. Survival Guide: The Last DayI wouldn’t put on an electric blanket for any reason. First, I’d be worried if I get electrocuted. No, I don’t trust technology. But I mean, the main thing, Wally, is that I think that kind of comfort just separates you from reality in a very direct way.  Survival Guide: The Last DayRead the poetry of William Carlos Williams. Yes, poetry! He was a doctor by trade, which provides great insight into the good old human condition. It is almost impossible to state what one in fact believes, because it is almost impossible to hold a belief and to define it at the same time. Survival Guide: The Last DayIt’s time. Take stock of your life. Are you good? Until tomorrow then.

Post-Sandy: Reconstruction and Change

Post-Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction continues. Flying Point Beach in Southampton is beginning to look like itself again, returning to its previous width and color.

Flying Point Beach, November 2012

Flying Point Beach, November 2012

Flying Point Beach, December 2012

Flying Point Beach, December 2012

And on Maiden Lane in Downtown New York, while the external generators do remain, IMAG2024the Toyota Prius is gone.

December 8, 2012

December 8, 2012

December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012

It had been parked there for over 50 days, which has got to be a record.