November 26, 2004
Another explorer

I was never a Lethem fan, but then on the plane read his piece "Speak, Hoty-Schermerhorn" in the December Harper's, the best meditation on place I've read for a long time (and better in whole than in part).

“ spying at Hoyt-Schermerhorn triggers a rustle of disquiet. I’m not here for a trian. What I’m trying to do maybe can’t be done: inhabit and understand the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station as a place. Worse, I’m trying to remember it, to restore it to its home in time. There’s no greater perversity, since a subway is a sinkhole of destroyed and thwarted time. By standing here trying to remember Hoyt-Schermerhorn I’ve only triggered its profoundest resistance: I’m using it wrong.

Yet I’m stubborn. This was my first subway memory, the tunnel, those ruined Loeser’s windows. I’ve returned to reclaim the seed of a lifelong romance, a New Yorker’s typical romance with our limitless secret neighborhood, the one running beneath all the others. Nothing subsequent, not The Warriors, or my own feeble crimes, can displace this memory’s primacy or fade its color. I held my mother’s hand. I was being taken to her office, in Manhattan. Perhaps it was a day off from school, I don’t know. I rode the subway for the first time I can recall, but I don’t remember the train. I remember the station.”

Posted by dbrown at 11:20 PM
November 25, 2004


I had forgotten how much of coming home is an act of mapping. Of saying, there’s the library where I learned to read, there’s the way I walked home, there’s where the arcade was, there’s the bar where Jenny’s dad went to drink. It’s fun, I’ll go on: there’s the rental car kiosk where Donna Ewing’s mom worked in after her divorce (Donna was an elementary school friend, though I French kissed her once at a party in eighth or ninth grade, her tongue was rough like a cat’s); there’s where Kelly Maroney beat me up for no apparent reason; there’s the convenience store where I bought cigarettes in high school – before that it was the service station where Hank’s dad worked when the airline went on strike, and now its empty; there’s the Baskin Robbins where that girl Lauren Hunter worked, though now it’s a window-tinting place.

I went to Berkeley today, too, and suddenly needed to go photograph this fountain; here’s where Tracy and I met for our first date, in 1988. She was late, I wound up following her for a few steps, she was wearing boots (with a skirt!) and talking to herself. I thought that was charming. We walked around Berkeley, traipsed through the JCPenney, and somehow wound up back at my house to drink root beer. The fountain remains, sturdy stone, it’ll probably last at least another century, protected between Wheeler Hall and Sather Gate, in the most hallowed stretch of the campus.

Posted by dbrown at 02:39 AM
November 22, 2004
we might as well be brief

Edward Weston's epigraph to the first volume of his "Daybooks," found at the thrift store today:

"By the way, I have already written my introduction.
Here it is: How young I was.
That covers everything." -- E.W.

which reminds me of my birthfather, who also fell under the spell of E.W., but now that's a different story (and do I know that from in-person, or email, or his blog?; which is yet another story)

Posted by dbrown at 10:41 PM
life/art/games, that's how it goes


Art -- in this case Jon Haddock -- gets a few points this time for actually horning its gnarled old head into the increasingly thin space between life and video games. Haddock's screenshots shocked a small section of the world by turning real-life tragedy into video-game-esque images. JFK Reloaded, not art, I don't think, is reaching a lot more people.

Posted by dbrown at 05:51 PM
November 21, 2004

so I can remember it, and everyone can enjoy. The best paragraph of Kirsten Bakis's Lives of the Monster Dogs.

"'I was going along beside Prinzi's skirt, you know, a very long, big skirt, very noisy, so fascinating for a puppy. And her coat! She had such a wonderful coat, trimmed with fur. It was ermine. I wanted to chew on it, but of course I knew--so I used to just brush up against it with my muzzle, and just open my mouth a little bit, so that perhaps the fur would graze the edge of my tongue, and I could imagine exactly what it would be like to chew on it.'"

Posted by dbrown at 02:08 PM
November 20, 2004
D-West Virginia


q: Is Sen. Robert Byrd wearing a leopard-pattern vest on the floor of the Senate?
a: yes

Posted by dbrown at 07:00 PM
November 19, 2004
It's Always About the Dead

from Garrison Keillor's writer's almanac, for today

"It was on this day in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln got up in front of about 15,000 people seated at a new national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and delivered the Gettysburg Address. Gettysburg was the pivotal battle of the Civil War, with 45,000 casualties over three days in early July that year. After the battle, a Gettysburg man named David Wills had the terrible task of identifying and burying the dead. Wills wrote Lincoln and asked him to attend the cemetery's dedication ceremony, because, he said, Lincoln's presence would " anew in the breasts of the Comrades of those brave dead a confidence that they who sleep in death on the Battle Field are not forgotten by those highest in Authority."

It was a foggy, cold morning, and Lincoln arrived about 10 AM. Around noon the sun broke out as the crowds gathered on a hill overlooking the battlefield. A military band played, a local preacher offered a long prayer, and orator Edward Everett spoke for over two hours. Around 3 PM Lincoln got up to speak. He spoke for only two minutes, and when he sat down most of the people in the back of the crowd didn't know he'd even spoken: Lincoln thought his speech, the Gettysburg Address, was a failure. He ended with:

"From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.""

Posted by dbrown at 03:30 PM
Ariel Sharon's Fat Face in Dung


Sorry, straight rip from metafilter, but this is dedication, arofish's graffiti in Bagdhad and Palestine (above). Each with a narrative, the Bagdhad ones especially harrowing. I don't know how he didn't get shot.

Posted by dbrown at 12:36 AM
November 17, 2004
Sixth Avenue Freezeout

Mother with brood of 3 children; one is sitting on the curb, refusing to move. Mother: "Can you make it? It's only two blocks."

Posted by dbrown at 04:14 PM
November 16, 2004
The Season

anyone have access to the MEDLINE database? I could get only the title, not even the abstract, for this intriguing bit of medical lit:

1: J Clin Ethics. 1998 Winter;9(4):356-9.
The Hanukkah bush: ethical implications in the clinical management of intersex.
Groveman SA.
PMID: 10029836 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Posted by dbrown at 04:41 PM
November 10, 2004
The Quiet Poetry of Geezerhood

"Since the 20 age, your physical structure tardily ceases makes a momentous internal secretion known as Someone Increment Internal Secretion. The diminution of it, which regulates grades of other internal secretions in our trunk is at once liable for many of the largest usual designations of geezerhood, for example furrows, light hair, subsided power, and vitiated intimate purpose. "

Posted by dbrown at 11:35 PM
Space 1999

Yahoo: "There is very little temperature contrast and very little energy to drive the weather in Uranus," says Sromovsky. "Whatever is happening has to be well lubricated; it has to be a low-friction environment."

Posted by dbrown at 05:36 PM
November 08, 2004
umm, not really sure

question in a Zogby interactive poll today, in a whole series of questions about Vietnam (the country, not the war):

If Lt. Col. Oliver North were to tell you that [Vieetnam] has done a great job with recovering American MIAs and that the country was a great place to visit, would his endorsement affect your opinion of this country?

what do you say to that? If Vietnam told me that North was a good place to visit, would its endorsement affect my opinion of the Lt. Col.?

Posted by dbrown at 05:56 PM
Chin Up.


David Rees tries to encourage us.

Posted by dbrown at 02:47 PM
That's What I Call Youth Marketing

from Automotive News (no link):

"As the Iraq war continues to send wounded soldiers back to America, Toyota's Scion youth division has created a version of its boxy xB hatchback to sell to disabled veterans.

Scion has paired with aftermarket manufacturer Indpendent Mobility Systems Inc. of Farmington NM, to create 20 units a month of the Scion xB xRamp.
The modifications include removing the rear seats and installing a driver's seat, power rear door, and power ramp."

Posted by dbrown at 01:41 PM
November 05, 2004

drinks and dinner tonight at Cafe Loup on west 13th; toward the end of dinner, 3 men -- one young, one youngish foreign, and one older -- are seated next to us. Waiter makes some mention of the election, that they had won. Wasn't sure what he meant, but 2 minutes later, the youngest of the guys is suddenly talking about John Kerry, as if he was in the Youth in 1934, talking about hymies: "Did you ever see pictures of Kerry when he was young? He was so ugly, his little eyes, it's unbelievable." A moment later, the conversation turns to Bush, and the same guy says, straight face, "George Bush is an honorable man." His companions rush to agree. I lean over, and ask the older one: "Is this parody, or is this for real?" He says: "For real." The wait for the check was interminable.

Posted by dbrown at 10:59 PM
Readings 2

on craigslist

when you vote republican its like pretending that you are a millionaire. FUCK TAXES? who the fuck is going to pay for your ebt or wic? fuck abortion? how many more fucking babies are you going to crowd into your house? what house? screw housing developments! fuck healthcare? see who is gonna take care of you when you are drooling all over yourself. fuck you because all those fucking babies that you couldnt afford to have in the first place are the first ones that are going to war every time because to bush and the rest of the world thinks your sons life is trash. by voting for bush you are setting your children up to be killed. you think bush is pro-life? what trimester is your 18 year old son going to be in when they take his ass over to some oil soaked country just to use him as bait? you think that 9/11 was it? you fucking watch how much more pissed off everyone else is now that we have this fucking asshole as president again. no one is going to bomb motherfucking ohio. no one is going to attack idaho. doesnt it say anything to you that kerry won ny? that kerry won washington d.c and pennsylvania? the very states that were actually attacked? and you are fucking scared sitting your fucking trailer drinking your goddamn coors talking "them immigrants taking all the jobs." no one would even waste throwing a rock at your fucking trashy trashed ass. you think bush is going to take care of you? you think hes gonna actually defend you? maybe bush will be real nice and ask his friend ken lay to give you a fucking job.
when your foodstamps are gone and you are pissing all over yourself on the corner of a street without disability or a fucking pension i will smile in your face. i will lean really close to you and mouth the words "i told you so."

Posted by dbrown at 06:24 PM
November 03, 2004

For the first time in months, I didn't buy the Times today. I didn't want to read a fucking word about it. The subway was quiet, the streets were quiet, no one wanted to talk about it. I didn't read The Note at 10 am; it is a sign of what today was that all I needed was CNN and, briefly, Drudge. (Though AMC really came through yesterday and this morning on Wonkette.)

Finally in the afternoon I started reading some of the blogs, and I found fantastically well written and often saddening things.

Must reads:
Steve Gilliard's memoir of illness

Josh Marshall on the basics of November 2, 2004: "I think the result portends very bad things for America's role in the world and the well-being on all levels of this country. Changes in domestic politics, in theory at least, can be shifted back at a following election. The world, though, is different. There we are just a ship -- though the largest one -- on waters we can never truly control. And I fear that this result will set in motion dangerous dynamics that even the relatively young among us will be wrestling with and contending with for the rest of our lives."

Dailykos diarist galiel on the revolution, and it wasn't ours:
"When analysis of local races around the nation becomes available, it will become clear that theocrats have advanced everywhere, gaining control of even more school boards, gaining even more representation in city councils, winning even more seats in state legislatures.

Make no mistake, this election was the keystone of the theocrat coup. All that is left now is carrying out the agenda and changing the laws of this nation irrevocably to gut the Bill of Rights and establish a Dominionist government in America."

Posted by dbrown at 06:50 PM
Agnew Rising

Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing writes, in the same mood we're all in:

Four more years of a nation led by criminals. I was making coffee with one eye on CNN when the news broke, and I called my dad, a man who's spent many years fighting for good things, sometimes at great personal cost.

"Get over it," he said, "The way you feel now is exactly how I felt when Nixon won a second term -- crushed. I just couldn't believe America was that stupid."

Posted by dbrown at 01:03 PM

Well, that really could have gone better.

Posted by dbrown at 11:12 AM
November 01, 2004
The War

A friend of a colleague was killed in Iraq over the weekend.

Posted by dbrown at 09:19 PM
Earthquake Weather

The city was so quiet today -- the F train half-empty; the A, later, not too full. The phone didn't ring much at work. The light was different 'cause of daylight savings ending, but still, it was different, today, November 1. We are all holding our breath. I am voting in 12 hours. Wish me luck.

Posted by dbrown at 09:02 PM

Kerry: 51.5
Bush: 47.5
Other: 1

We take FL and PA, lose IA. Not sure about AR.
equals 284 vs. 254

Posted by dbrown at 08:11 PM