Thursday, February 27, 2003

WTC Plans

It looks as though they've decided on the design for what is to be built at Ground Zero. Of the two that were being considered, I suppose I like the chosen one better.

The trouble is that anything they put there is going to look wrong to me, just as people hated the Towers when they first went up. But I never knew New York to look otherwise. It looks strange now, and it will look strange with the new tower. It will never look right. It's very odd to me that my children will have a very different picture of New York than I have, because I can't picture it any other way.

I am glad they didn't go with those two skeletal towers. They just looked like bombed-out buildings to me.

In happier news, "Angel of Harlem" is playing on Virgin Radio. Joy.

But then, people hated the Eiffel Tower when that went up. Maybe I'll warm up to it.


Thursday, February 20, 2003

All De Little Critters

I'm sure they have rules against this kind if thing, but I placed some bread out on the balcony during the blizzard and am currently delighted by the birds that have discovered it.

It took a while for them to find it. I don't think they're used to handouts around these parts. Not because people don't care, but because if people were to put bird feeders on their balconies, we'd all be awash in caca. But this one time can't hurt.

Along the same lines, I've found some fine furry programming that helps me while away the job-searching hours. Animal Planet has surpassed VH1 as my favorite time-wasting channel (which speaks volumes about my worldliness and sophistication. Meh). I'm quite taken with Emergency Vets (ER...for animals!) and Animal Precinct (COPS...for animals!). I like That's My Baby as well, but were I to watch it regularly it would amount to two hours a day of watching farm animals and Sea World denizens give birth, and there's something inherently wrong with that.

My favorite show has to be a program that looks as if it wandered away from Brooklyn cable access and found its way into syndication on Fox. It airs Sunday mornings and is called Pet Shop, and features this doofus giving pet advice while surrounded by MORE ANIMALS THAN YOU CAN SHAKE A STICK AT. There's giant bunnies mingling with prairie dogs and parrots and puppies and cats and hamsters and two extremely wound-up chinchillas and ferrets and crows, all sitting on a space the size of an office desk. I don't know what the hell he's talking about half the time. That's not the point. If you do find yourself awake on a Sunday morning, give it a look. You won't be sorry.


Monday, February 17, 2003

The Short-Lived Charm of Snow

Sure, it was charming two days ago.

Yesterday it was laughable.

Now this crap must cease.

Blizzards in New York are okay, because New York is such a pedestrian city that you're still able to navigate. Blizzards in Richboro are okay, because the community knows how to clean up after itself in such an event.

Blizzards in Forestville, Maryland are no fun whatsoever. Apparently, this area doesn't see 18 inches of snow all that often. I think this qualifies as the fifth-largest snowstorm in recorded history in the DC area. So they have no bloody idea what to do about this. Two days after it stopped snowing, most of the main streets are clear, but small roads and parking lots are a mess. Lots of places are still shut down.

For the past few days I've been playing the jaded Northeasterner to Jeffrey's the-folks-back-home-won't-believe-this Texan. I've been saying things like eighteen inches isn't so bad. Wait until a three-footer. I can so handle this.

But I never had the joy of shoveling a car out of an apartment complex parking lot, without a shovel. Not only must you contend with your neighbor shoveling snow into the vicinity of your vehicle, thereby doubling your workload, but you must do so with a mixing bowl and a dustpan. The let's-go-play-in-the-snow-whilst-we-dig mentality fades real fast. At least some other neighbors are nice, and they have shovels, and they save your bowl-scooping behind from three hours of liberating the Blazer.

And it's only the middle of February. I'm buying a shovel.


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Fear and Loathing in DC

I'm angry at the news and at my goverment. It's not a happy feeling. I'm angry that I'm angry.

The news has been broadcasting semi-hysterical reports on what you should stock up on in the event of a terrorist attack. These lists are presented in the same over-hyped manner in which they tell you what you should buy in the event of an expected snowstorm. They're not quite sure what kind of attack we're in for, or who will execute it, or where it will strike, but by golly, the government says that three days worth of water and a couple of rolls of duct tape will save your sorry ass from this undefined, but profoundly nasty, thing that may or may not go down IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD.

I don't really want to be a cynic. I don't really want to mistrust the government. But these reports are extremely frustrating and more than a little insulting.

The list of things to buy are a lot like the "Duck and Cover" drills of the 50s and 60s, in which the American public was led to believe that putting your hands above your head or ducking under a picnic blanket will save you from nuclear fallout. Will these things really protect your family?
How can you protect them if you have no idea what it is you're afraid of?

I understand that the failure of the government and the armed forces to forsee (or at least prevent) the events of September 11 needed serious rectifying. But creating a society based on fear and paranoia is not the way to do that. It's not a society worth fighting for. It's not a society I want to live in. Whatever happened to "we have nothing to fear but fear itself"? This is a society in which fear is marketed by the news for ratings and promoted by politicians who are desperate to push their agendas on a doubtful public. This is a society where fear is color-coded and categorized as though it were the weekly weather forecast:

"We're in for a few more days of orange, which will give way to yellow, which is characterized by a more general degree of fear than we're used to seeing in this area. The DC area can expect 4-6 inches of fear overnight, while Baltimore can expect a light dusting. You might want to take your umbrella and duct tape in the morning."

If the definition of terrorism is "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion," then just who are the real terrorists anyway?