Quote from Auntie Mame: "Life's a Banquet"

Movie Still from Auntie Mame (1958)
Rosalind Russel as Auntie Mame (1958)
Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death. ~Auntie Mame 

What is so great about Auntie Mame's advice to her young nephew is not so much the hedonism that it espouses, but the grim observation that most of would not know pleasure even if it hit us smack dab in the face.


The Calm Before the Storm is Lugubrious: So Says the Doleful Statue of Liberty

In this post, I write a "Journal & Rant" piece about superstorm Sandy — an Atlantic hurricane that hit the New York City region hard and caused massive amounts of damage to the city's infrastructure.
image source: nasa
A hurricane is a white circular atmospheric daub of cotton candy from the perspective of space. It looks as though the Northeast is about to get cotton swabbed. For us terrestrials, a hurricane is a force of nature that knows no equality or justice.

I cannot help but think of Irene in connection with all the other hurricanes I have known: kind of like bad relationships you sort of wished had never come into your life, but nevertheless, they sit there like a bad taste in your mouth.

All seems pleasant so far.
My Sunset Park apartment affords a view of New York's Upper Bay; I have a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. She looks slightly lugubrious in the dewey hours before a hurricane (or tropical storm, whichever forms she decides to take) hits the New York City region.

My roommates promptly filled every available empty gin bottle with water. I bought a token Infant of Prague votive candle to stave off the night in case of power loss.

I write this post in a sort of blasé anticipation. Come on Irene. I know: I could not resist.
Katrina in New Orleans: a sheer catastrophe. This one: who knows? Plenty of rain. Wind. Power outages. Normality will get a jolt to the left. Can we really afford a Katrina redux? Everyone knows New York City is certainly vulnerable to a head-on attack. We are crossing our fingers: denial is so much softer than reality.

The MTA shuts down public transit in the region at noon today: subway, bus, Metro North, and the Long Island Railroad. Mayor Bloomberg seems to be stalwart: hope for the best, prepare for the worst. His answer to a worst case scenario: people will die. Thanks for that reminder of mortality. Denial, remember!

People are uncharacteristically cheerful when awaiting a vengeful storm. A woman was skipping home yesterday in the breezy calm of pre-hurricane weather. Adults in Brooklyn do not usually skip. At the Safe-way the manager's mug creased an overly zealous grin as he watched the wads of cash unfold by people picking up loads of goods in the event of lockdown. Who isn't manic during an impending disaster?

We speak not of death but of anticipation. What will happen next? Are our lives so dull that a hurricane gets people talking about the end of the world as if they were talking about an upcoming birthday party?

What will I do?
I will do as I always do. Remain indecisive. Drink the last gin. Read Proust. I hope the Internet does not flicker out for long.

Last week an Earthquake: I barely felt it. This week: Irene (which means peace) rains (reigns).

Irene Did It: MTA Suspends Public Transportation

7 Avenue BMT Station Roped Off on the Brighton Line in Park Slope, Brooklyn 
I must say: not having our iconic subway trains in service because of Irene is eerie. I understand the rationale behind the MTA's decision but I am still stunned that in New York City today there is no revenue service AT ALL. The MTA suspended service on all subway, bus, Metro North, and Long Island Railroad - as well as New Jersey Transit and PATH.

Trains have been moved from vulnerable yards and holed up on tracks at a higher elevation. If I could be a fly on the wall during this complicated maneuver to put the MTA rolling stock on safe ground.
image source: bkabak


Aesthetic Thursday: Giant Head in Madison Square Park

The sculpture of a head sits in plain view in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.
Jaume Plensa, Echo, Madison Square Park

image source: Benjamin Sutton
It's an apparition out of a dream. I am walking in Madison Square Park. And I see a head. Jutting out of the ground. The head of a woman. Her eyes are closed. And she does not awake. But it is not a dream. It is real. A public art installation this Summer. And I thought I was dreaming!


Report: Earthquake in the Northeast

In this post, I record that time there was an earthquake felt in New York City.
Felt a Minor Shake
I was in a library near 14th street (320 miles away from the epicenter) when the quake occurred. I noticed the building sway but I thought it was due to the activity of a construction site next door.

It Was Barely Perceptible
It was not until the alarms went off in the building (twenty minutes after the initial seismic nudge) and when I heard some say "earthquake" that I knew what had happened.

I hope you did not shake too much!


First Sentence of a Failed Novel

Do you have failed first sentences of novels you tried to write? Here's one:

Her skin was chalky white, but Patrick thought she was rosy. Amelia was stretched out on the bed, beneath the mosquito netting.
Please share your own failed sentence in the comments section:
Image source: the new yorker

Quote from Don Quixote

Henry Caseroti, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, 2010
Every cock crows on its own dung hill
Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote