I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A neutrino walks into a bar

My second favorite geek joke of all time now (admittedly it's a very short list):
We don’t allow faster than light neutrinos in here, says the bartender. A neutrino walks into a bar.

This will always be my favorite though:
There are 10 kinds of people in the world -- those who understand binary and those who don't.
No internet service for a couple of days -- cable is flaky -- so photos are on hold temporarily.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


To the right, the Time & Life and Exxon buildings, neighbors on Sixth Avenue at Rockefeller Center, in New York.

The Exxon building is the "x" in what are called the XYZ buildings, three monolithic, much-derided office buildings that sit in a row across from the setbacks and Art Deco friezes of 30 Rock. I like their verticality, though, the way they grab your eyes and urge you to look up to where they square off against the sky.

Here's the afternoon light adding some texture to the stripey windows.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Angry birds

Bonus bird blogging.

It's just a robin, and a little blurry, but I keep expecting it to start hopping up and down waiting for its turn in the slingshot.

Robins are among the more, um, robust birds, and maybe it's just the angle, but this one does look as though it needs to lay off the earthworms for a while.

Sunday bird blogging

Another gray catbird, this time in a more typical pose: sitting in a tree, contemplating some delicious ripe berries.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A wind of such violence will tolerate no bystanding

No need to shriek. Reflections in the algae-covered lake in Central Park look like Impressionist paintings of trees in a violent storm. I love the effect!

Saturday reflections

A crazy quilt of angles, rectangles, reflections and projections in Midtown.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Welcome to the working week

In the spirit of looking ahead and moving forward, here are two more shots of One World Trade Center. I love the texture of the fabric draping the structure. "See the big unveiling in 2013!"

And another, very New York shot, with water tower.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday reflections

Another shot of the new One World Trade Center.

Remembrance wall

A composite of some of the notes left on the Wall of Remembrance in Battery Park, a reminder that for some of us this was all too personal. I asked the young woman who put up the license plate "4 Adam" who he was and she started to cry. "I can't talk about it!"

It made me feel a little like a poseur, being there, only as a citizen, a New Yorker, with no loss of my own except the ones we all share. And I wasn't even here on 9/11; I was in San Francisco moving my mother into assisted living, and I watched it all on tv. It was a week before I could get back here, to this numb, raw city, where we smelled the fires burning at Ground Zero every time the wind shifted.

That's what I wrote about on the wall: the smell. It was a rough poem I wish I could take back and do better, that I almost took back after I made the red-haired girl cry because I'm only a bystander and have no Adam to make the grief particular.

It was about the fires that burned for months, and how the smell reminded us that we were breathing lead and cadmium and asbestos, and my small way of coping was to tell myself that I was inhaling the towers, inhaling the dead.

Ten years on, steel spires in my spine
And you still walk Manhattan in my bones.


Some of the almost 3000 flags in Battery Park.

Anniversaries aren't as arbitrary as some of the other ways we've sliced time into manageable pieces -- 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 12 months in a year. A year at least means something tangible, one more trip around the sun, one more cycle through the seasons, but there's no real reason why ten years is more of a milestone than nine years or twelve years.

But milestones do remind us to pause, to think, to reflect and be grateful; they give us something to grab on to in the flood of daily life. We're like dancers spinning, whipping our heads around to find that fixed point that lets us balance so we can keep turning, turning, turning.

Yesterday morning my friend Jayne and I were in Hand in Hand, a line of thousands of people ringing lower Manhattan and joining hands for a minute of silence at 8:46 am. It was sunny and warm, a perfect September morning and I closed my eyes and sent my prayers up into the soft breeze while holding hands with a stranger.

We've done so much damage to ourselves this decade, even worse than the horrors of that single awful day, and it can't all be undone. There's no going back to Before, and standing in line holding hands doesn't make that any different.

Unless it inspires us to keep working for a better After.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday reflections

The new One World Trade Center tower, currently under construction in lower Manhattan, on the site of one of the old lesser World Trade Center buildings (the site of the actual twin towers is part of the new memorial, adjacent to this tower.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Slaves of New York

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, and afterwards took a cab from the Upper East Side to my office in Midtown. The driver was a sixtyish woman with a very jaunty blue and white polkadot ribbon in her hair. She told me there was an accident and we needed to stay off the West Side, and then started complaining about the technology that provided that presumably useful information.

"People are crazy! They love their toys, all this technology. But they're slaves! They're all just slaves!"

Then her cell phone rang and she spent the rest of the ride chatting to a friend, occasionally complaining over her shoulder to me about the lousy reception she got in Manhattan.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to normal

It's only an interlude -- the earthquake and hurricane safely behind us, and the worst of the flooding and power outages over, and a few days still to go before the awful anniversary next weekend.

It's the end of a low, dishonest decade rivaling what Auden looked back on in 1939, even if the personification of so much that was bad about it, the vile Mr. Cheney, is still granted respectability by theoretically responsible news outlets while he peddles his mendacious little book.

Here's the extraordinary light on an ordinary evening, a little of the reliable comfort of the quotidian.

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