untitled (grid) 2017

untitled (after Weegee) 2017

I was thinking of Weegee's 'Afternoon Crowd at Coney Island, Brooklyn', but the pansies were thinking of moving up and down Broadway.

This image, captured on Monday, recorded an ephemeral moment between the time these little pots were unloaded onto the street pavement and the time they were carried off to their separate planters to welcome spring.

untitled (mosaic) 2017

untitled (rustication) 2017

These images, of a section of the building's original floor and wall, were taken on our way down from a terrific dinner party on the 6th floor of a classic Manhattan walk-up on Mulberry Street.

I was probably too focused on the exertions of the walk up to notice what later jumped out at me on the way down.

Disclosure: My first apartment was a 4th-floor walk-up (at the very bottom of the island, views forever), and I regularly carried my bike and groceries up those stairs, but then I was over 30 years younger then.

Patti Smith Arthur Rimbaud's utensils n.d.

I came across this photograph by Patti Smith while looking on line at the very few photo images we have of Arthur Rimbaud. My short trip began with the news of Smith's purchase of a house in Roche, in the Ardennes, built near the foundations of the one in which the French poet had grown up (His mother's original farm house had been destroyed in the First World war).

While there may still be so much to be said about Rimbaud, all I'll say in this post is that once again I'm feeling a wee bit closer to him, and it's because of this knife and spoon, which had apparently been used by the great boy: They are virtually identical to some that I've been using for almost half a century.

They're old (nineteenth century), made of a material I know as 'German silver' [nickel silver, or Maillechort in France]. Their shapes are very fine, and they never tarnish. Like Rimbaud.

I now love them all more than ever.

my own couverts

[the image at the top is from The New York Times]

untitled (Greenpoint wall) 2017

The wall shone in the late afternoon light while we awaited a bus on Manhattan Avenue, insisting I capture it before it moved on.

untitled (golden beets) 2017

The image of these gorgeous golden beets, caught while I was documenting a Greenmarket purchase from Norwich Meadows Farm, was a fluke, but I like it. A proper focused portrait will eventually appear on the Food Blog.

UPDATE: The 'proper focused portrait' I promised now appears on the Food Blog, inside this entry


What is to be done? Not much, if we're asking what the current administration can do before January 20. Obama has had eight years to do - and not do - the things which really had to be done.

As I understand it, anything substantive he might now accomplish, with an executive order or interim appointment, would be erased as soon as he's gone.

The only concrete thing he could do which would survive him is to pardon existing whistleblowers (although this would not protect the next ones, or the republic, going forward).

He actually could shut down Guantanamo (before it becomes an off-shore political prison for Americans). Since its existence itself is a war crime, executive fiat is enough for the task.

There are any number of moves he could make while still president, including immediately halting his ramped-up deportation programs and the use of drones in countries with which we are not at war, but the relief they could offer, while hugely welcome to the victims, would only be temporary.

He could speak out, and not just to help dress in sheep's clothing the monster he condemned until just two days ago (and who did what he could to rob him of his humanity).

There are plenty of things he could say to us all, beginning with, 'forgive me'.

In the last few days we may have learned that much of Obama's popularity was a fiction, potentially minimizing the effect of a bully pulpit, even one delivered from a dying administration. Yet if he were he to address the nation now, with honesty, transparency, and contrition, on the policies with which he abandoned his most fervent constituencies, and, presumably, his own principles, for eight years, he would at least leave office with personal integrity.

Most of these are merely nostrums, unlikely to have a long-range effect on the survival of the republic - and by extension, the world - but there is one thing Obama could do.

The Democratic party has still less popularity than he does, and also should be recognized as the greater culprit. It should be dismantled altogether.

Obama should immediately summon a major, transparent, national gathering of true progressives, with large minds and great hearts, an assembly which would be open to public input, to discuss, found, and organize a replacement, one which would eschew the failings, the remoteness, and the fatal dysfunction of the one which has now been spurned by the people it has itself spurned for so long

The image is of Karl Marx speaking before at assembly which founded the International Working Men's Asociation, at a St. Martin's Hall meeting, London, 1864.

[the image is from The Socialist Review]


Blood, so much blood.

Did the Syrian civil war begin with George W. Bush?

Who started it? Americans don't like looking back, but when the subject is a war without end and a complete failure to address it, or the damages that continue to mount up internally, the question has a real and present urgency.

All of the wars in the middle east for the past 15 years (and which, by definition of the umbrella 'War on Terror', have no foreseeable end) will forever be the shame of this country. Both political parties, and, apparently, most Americans, have affirmed them and adopted them as their own.

At least to the extent that we have not demonstrated against, or at least vocally opposed these wars from the beginning, and regardless of the fact that we are not the specific, immediate agents of the death and destruction, we are all responsible for their creation, and for their continuing horrors,

This is true also of the formation of ISIS, and the character of the civil war in Syria. The Bush regime's obsession with Iraq, and its decision (with the concurrence and assistance of others inside the country and abroad) to invade that nation, was the fundamental impetus for ISIS, and the continuing civil war in Syria.

In this May, 1915 New Yorker piece, Dexter Filkins makes the connections, but unfortunately he begins with the invasion of Iraq as a given, pretty much absolving the Bush regime of the blame for ISIS and Syrian horrors.

If Bush gets off scot free, then obviously nobody did anything wrong, and nobody is still doing anything wrong.

Shit just happens.

We had dinner at a creative restaurant, Thermroc, in Mitte, on Torstra├če.

untitled (Flatfix) 2015

This is an image of a streetscape I found on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick this beautiful afternoon, on a walk between Los Ojos and Interstate Projects.

If I'm going to restart this blog, maybe I should be carrying around a camera other than my old iPhone. I like this image, but I can't help thinking Mr. NIKON could have done it better.