View current page
...more recent posts
Wandering around Hell's Kitchen, my old hood, today, I noticed a sickening thing: a 20 story residential building going up at 55th and 9th, where the A&P used to be. A complete eyesore, all out of scale to the neighborhood. In the past, Clinton neighborhood groups had been vigilant about the incursions of greasy developers: what happened this time? Midtown continues its inexorable march west, bye bye funky old neighborhood.
An inspiring sight at Barnes and Noble at Broadway and 67th: three kids camped on the carpeted floor of the graphic novel section, completely lost in the big manga comics they were reading. All were sitting, the two boys with backs resting against the shelves (right where I was looking for something, of course) and the girl with arms and legs twisted in a tight pretzel of total concentration in the middle of the floor. An airplane could have hit the street outside the building and not pried their eyes away from those books. This is the sort of behavior that would have made my own mother question my mental health back in the day, so I silently saluted them.
Lastly, two movies worth seeing: Buffalo Soldiers and Dirty Pretty Things. Regarding the first, which was delayed in release several times, I think we can handle a black comedy the message of which is (1) the military is stupid and wasteful, and (2) recruiting volunteer soldiers as an alternative to prison results in violence whether there's a war or not. This was true in 1989, when the movie was set, and it's still true. In a "terror war" who needs a friggin' permanent Army, anyway? New kind of war, new kind of defense response: having an army and bases all over the world without an actual, tangible, global military enemy (like the good ol' USSR) just encourages adventuring, such as we've seen in Iraq. And please don't talk to me about "Islamofascism," or "Islamic Nihilism," as Christopher Hitchens now likes to call it. Nothing's going to change, though, till the twisted, paranoid generation of the Cold War dies off (including, unfortunately, young fogeys like Bush).