On my mind today are Harvey Weinstein and the women he offended. Found guilty of some (but not all) of the charges he faced, Mr. Weinstein is now the face of unbridled male supremacy and the suffering women are often forced to endure at their hands. His name alone now represents every obstacle women must often surmount in order to be competitive in today’s society, and as I looked upon him as he half-walked/half-waddled into court every day behind a walker, my thoughts were of the many women who accused him and of the little girl who represents women’s struggle for respect.
On my mind today is a story you probably know something about even though you may not know the strange tale behind it. To begin, a large, “unsinkable” ship struck an iceberg while crossing the icy Atlantic; the hull was pierced, water flooded in unchecked, the ship sank, and thousands of people suffered a cold, watery fate. So, do you think you know this story? Think again.
Most people alive today don’t know that this particular tale is not only the story of the RMS Titanic, but the much earlier story of the Titan, a fictional vessel created by Morgan Robertson and told of in his 1898 tale of disaster-at-sea, Futility. Amazingly, what was originally a fictional tale of human nature, water, and death became a thing of terrible reality when the RMS Titanic famously disappeared beneath frigid Atlantic waves on the night of April 14, 1912. Later that same year, avarice overruled decency and Robertson’s Futility was renamed The Wreck of the Titan in an attempt to capitalize on the morbid popularity of all things Titanic.
Let’s have some fun today! Here’s a New York City tale with a Quentin Tarantino twist. In Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” characters Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) visit a restaurant called “Jack Rabbit Slim’s.” The restaurant, as seen in the movie, was a wonderland of neon and a hodgepodge of 1950s and 1960s iconography, complete with a wait staff performing their duties in character as celebrities of the time (James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Ed Sullivan, and several others).Continue reading “Jack Rabbit Slim’s”→
Hello, everyone. My last article, Transit Trouble, featured the story of a young woman on a subway train whose attempt to remove herself from personal contact with others went wrong in the worst possible way. Upon further reflection, I now realize that her behavior is not a deviation from today’s norm, but an embodiment of it. Our society is now one where all others are shunned, and that sad fact is blatantly obvious on New York City’s mass transit systems.
In the years before the popularization of wearable technology, buses and subways were often impromptu forums where commuters often braved speaking briefly with one other. However, it is clear the rule of today for transit riders is now one of going to great lengths to avoid and ignore others. That is truly a pity as the city’s often maddening mass transit systems are actually great equalizers in our society. Continue reading “Mass Retreat”→
This article has descriptions some may find upsetting.
Reader discretion is advised.
Like many New York City residents who ride the city’s subway, I brave the filth, rats, noise, bed bugs, and numerous leaks of questionable origin within the system. If you live here, then there is no escaping the vast network of underground trains and the often-disgusting elements within it. However, despite my long-time experience and relative comfort with the many deficiencies of the subway, one strange trip made me fear for my life.
I boarded a train heading north from Brooklyn and took note of a homeless man sitting toward the back of the car. The derelict had matted brown hair and he gave off the stomach-turning odor of unwashed flesh, stale urine, and feces. His stinking presence caused many people near me to quietly thank God for the subway car’s robust ventilation system even as others gagged or held their noses in disgust before fleeing to another car at the earliest opportunity.
At first, the vagrant chose to inhabit a rearward-facing pair of seats of the kind that extends into the aisle and has another pair of seats directly behind. He had the last one-third of the subway car all to himself as everyone else wisely stayed away. However, as the train progressed and new passengers boarded, riders would rush to the empty seats near the reeking horror only for his foul smell to assault their noses and send them fleeing to the crowded front of the car. This happened repeatedly as the Culver Line train moved out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan, but then came the Second Avenue station and the young, blond man who lit the fuse.Continue reading “Transit Trouble”→
The enduring nature of our creations is on my mind today. Here in New York City, there are innumerable monuments that silently testify to humanity’s ability to build things that last. There is the unyielding copper sculpture that is the Statue of Liberty. There are the city’s old, iconic, steel and stone bridges that carry millions daily without sway. There is the crown jewel of Manhattan, the majestic Empire State Building, standing tall despite suffering a direct hit from a B25 bomber in 1945. All are of such permanence and wondrous majesty, and all reflect the creativeness and indomitable nature of the human spirit. Inspired, I considered both my mortality and the list of my lasting contributions only to feel the ephemeral nature of my profession hit me like a runaway truck.Continue reading “When Life Becomes an Illusion”→
Hate. That horrible word and all it entails are on my mind today. We hear about hate every damn day, and I’m sick of it. The ugly thing is everywhere and it’s seemingly inescapable! Hate has found an incubator like no other on the internet, and that’s in addition to the homes it maintains in print, on television and radio, and through direct communications ranging from public speeches to water cooler conversations.
Hate is jealousy, fear, bias, distrust, and much, much more. Hate is the need to diminish or destroy entire groups as a means of expressing dominance or elevating one’s own. It divides humanity into pockets of normality and abnormality, of “us” against “them” where “they” are always wrong and abnormal while “we” exemplify absolute correctness and undeniable normalcy. Accordingly, we live in a fractured world where boundaries are erected due to hate and we are willingly kept apart in what could only be described as mass expressions of sheer idiocy.Continue reading “Hate. Again.”→
The year was 2013. I thought I was going to die. A lump the size of a golf ball appeared in my throat and worry immediately began to set in. Unfortunately, my doctors didn’t say anything to turn my concern into confidence. Instead, a biopsy revealed three nodules of mysterious origins on my thyroid gland, and all three were filled with blood. There was no recent injury to my neck, no infection, no overt stress or strain placed on it, yet three clear signs that something was very, very wrong appeared on every scan my doctors ordered.Continue reading “The Heart of Christmas”→
Sinbad, my cat from long ago, is on my mind today. He was a big, heavy, jet-back Maine coon cat mix, lacking the ear tufts of a full coon cat but sporting a heavy coat all year long. The giant puffball was the most un-catlike feline of all time! He would practically humiliate himself by begging to be held every waking moment. “Sinbad Kitty,” as we often called the massive furball, was addicted to cuddling! Continue reading “Sinbad Kitty”→
The issues of fake news and fact-checking are on my mind today. We are plagued by memes with false information, slanted news, and biased opinions on a daily basis. Instead of leveraging our high intelligence, we surrender to our need for affirmation and our desire to group with others under the umbrella of common belief even if the unifying belief is incorrect. Actual statements and events are increasingly presented in ways designed to appease or incense citizens from one end of the political spectrum to the other, yet beneath it all, buried under mountains of partisan manure, is truth.Continue reading “A Little Fact and a Lot of Fake”→
On my mind today is a conversation I recently had that left me perplexed. In speaking with a friend about social matters, I asked the following: “So what are you saying, that we should move off the planet whenever the technology exists to support a mass exodus? A second migration, but this time to the stars?”
My friend shook his head up and down so excitedly, I thought his neck would break. “Yes!” he exclaimed. “Yup, we should get the hell outta here and go to someplace better!”
I smiled a bit and said, “You know, I read The Martian Chronicles too. As much as I love Bradbury, it’ll never happen.”
My friend moved back by a step or two as a curious look shot across his face. “You love Brad who?” he asked in a rising tone.
“I love Bradbury’s works,” I said calmly, expecting him to understand.
“Dude!” he yelled. “Your wife know you switched teams?”
Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .