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Candace Owens Carves Blondie a New Pie Hole and Caulks It

Candace Owens at hearing on Confronting White Supremacy Wait for it.

Candace Owens to Kathleen Belew: “The audacity of you to bring up the Christchurch shooting manifesto and make it seem as if I laughed at people that were slaughtered by a homicidal maniac is in my opinion absolutely despicable.

This just in via ghost. A screen shot since the page itself should be reverted to bland propaganda in 3…2…1…


Just when you think there’s nothing left for the deranged brains of the soy drenched progchunks to extrude, this is squeezed out from a joint that bills itself as “Where faith and scholarship meet to reimagine the work of justice.”


Three Brothers

This one goes out to Jeff and Tom.

When my body won’t hold me anymore
And it finally lets me free
Will I be ready?
When my feet won’t walk another mile
And my lips give their last kiss goodbye
Will my hands be steady?
When I lay down my fears
My hopes and my doubts
The rings on my fingers
And the keys to my house
With no hard feelings [continue reading…]


“WHEN A GUY has two gals for partners, who could ask for anything more? Bob Weber joins Sandy Topotski left and Gay Stoner in a gay number.”

You had me at “Gay Stoner.” MOTUS A.D [continue reading…]


No-Sew DIY Ruth Bader Ginsberg Kids Costume | 

• One kids black cardi sweater • One kids white peter pan polo • One kids black pocket skirt • One kids black crew sock 3-pk

• Black tulle • Scissors

• White paper • Stapler

• Cardboard • Sharpie

For the skirt • Cut out a strip of black tulle that will fit around your child’s waist and come down 1-2 inches past the hem of the pocket skirt. Attach and secure with safety pins.

For the jabot • Cut and fold paper and use staples to secure the loops together and around the collar.

For the law book • Fold a piece of cardboard into the shape of a book with a big spine and write “LAW” in big brick letters with a sharpie.

For the final touches • Add some glasses and a favorite pair of clip-on dangly earrings and you’re set!


Heated bull semen blows lids off containers, sends firefighters into ‘defensive mode’ during massive blaze

Heated bull semen launched dangerous projectiles in every direction during an early morning inferno that caused firefighters to take cover at an Australian cattle-breeding facility Tuesday.

“The liquid inside the cylinders was rapidly expanding and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building,” fire chief Chris Loeschenkohl told ABC News down under.

All hell broke loose at a 2,700 square foot Yarram Herd Services facility in southeast Australia, where first responders reportedly took more than two hours to tame a raging fire that destroyed 100 cryogenic cylinders full of bull sperm. WIN News in Gippsland, Australia, reports that it’s unclear what caused the 3 a.m. blaze.

“Firefighters went into a defensive mode initially to protect themselves,” said Loeschenkohl of the 10 fire crews that came out to battle the flames and duck projectiles.

The sticky situation was new to Loeschenkohl, who said he’s never dealt with a fire fueled by bull semen. He also told ABC “a couple of other flammable liquid cylinders stored within the building” also launched debris into the air.

The semen cylinders themselves are reportedly worth up to $1,000 each. The value of their contents varies.

“It’s going to be a real blow for sure,” said Yarram Herd Services chairman Aaron Thomas, noting that area farmers rely on artificial insemination to keep their businesses moving.


Get Happy. Or Else.

Everything that’s bad is politics. Everything that’s good is the market.

[continue reading…]


On Those Forever Fuzzy UFOS

I see that the furry pie-plates, the fuzzy oblongs, and the eternal soft-focus sky-scooters are back in the news yet again. It continues to be one of the major photographic mysteries of all time that with Google Earth cameras that can show you the cleavage of a busty blonde on the beach the cameras of those jets assigned to defend the nation cannot focus on an alien invader. Still it’s in the grand tradition of UFO photoging. In well over seventy years of photographing UFOS nobody has ever been able to find focus.  The latest serving of this lukewarm BS is

 Navy Says UFO Videos Are Real The U.S. Navy has confirmed that three online videos purportedly showing UFOs are genuine. The service says the videos, taken by Navy pilots, show “unexplained aerial phenomena,” but also states that the clips should have never been released to the public in the first place.

Ooooooooo…… Horseshit! Focus your cameras or fuck off!

Anthony Brode said it best many decades ago with:

“I accept the existence of saucers,
I concede there’s a case
To be made for believing that something’s achieving
the conquest of space;

“I find it completely convincing
Whenever I hear
That creatures from Venus were recently seen
As a spaceship drew near:

“And yet there’s a problem remaining
That baffles me still.
I’m not disagreeing that some super being
Can wander at will

“From one universe to another-
But if it be thus why on earth (so to speak)
Should he bother to seek
Any contact with us?”

— Anthony Brode


I, Pencil By Leonard E. Read

I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery —more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser. [continue reading…]



FUNNY, he doesn’t look Canadian. Justin Trudeau Wore ‘Brownface’ at ‘Arabian Nights’ Party | Heavy.com In the photo published by Time, Trudeau, then 29, is wearing a turban, a robe and he has his face, neck, and arms covered in what appears to be body paint or a similar cosmetic substance. Time reported that the image is from the West Point Grey Academy 2000-2001 yearbook.

Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music by Richard Crawford    All the essential elements of the Gershwin legend are present: his precocious beginnings in Lower East Side poverty; his rise as a gifted all-purpose mechanic on Tin Pan Alley in the 1910s; his signature success (burnished by his eventual partnership with lyricist brother Ira) among a burgeoning tide of Broadway songwriters in the 1920s; his breezy assault on the heavily guarded fortress of classical music (and its fusty gatekeepers) with “Rhapsody in Blue”; his immense popularity on radio and the concert stage; his game-changing political satires for the musical theater in the 1930s; his jolly indifference to the formulaic conventions of the Hollywood musical; his famous friendships (he was as at home showing Fred Astaire a dance step as he was playing tennis with Igor Stravinsky); his bold venture on the operatic stage with “Porgy and Bess” (a multicultural challenge of enormous proportions); and inevitably, lamentably, his unfathomable death at the age of 38 in the wake of an operation to remove a brain tumor.

The War on Vaping  |   The respiratory illnesses connected to vaping are due to black-market THC vape inserts, and have nothing to do with the legit vaping capsules, so let’s ban all the legal stuff and create a new black market! The prohibition argument says teens are using the flavored vapes, so adults can’t have them — an argument you could apply to every flavored vodka on the market, if you wished. [continue reading…]


Hello Cowgirl In the Sand

Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both….   
– –  Keats

American Cowgirls of the 1940’s Here’s a collection of unseen photographs of cowgirls were taken by LIFE photographers Nina Leen, Peter Stackpole and Cornell Capa between 1947-48 at the University of Arizona Rodeo and the opening of the Flying L Ranch in Texas, which included a celebratory cowgirl fashion event.

From all this some readers might conclude that when it comes to beautiful women in tight jeans on horses I am a shallow man, and they’d be right.

[continue reading…]


Hard to believe but the following was a seriously reported story that was squeezed out of the dead husk that calls itself “Newsweek.” It relates the tale of some dotty hi’land hag that once upon a time Donald Trump came into her house and jammed pancakes into the pockets of his suit without so much as a “cheerio.” Yes, that is literally what it says.

Donald Trump Stole Pancakes and Forgot a Relative Was Dead While Visiting Family, Cousin Claims

A relative of President Donald Trump has accused the self-proclaimed billionaire of being a pancake thief, having stolen a handful of flat cakes while on vacation at his late mother’s former home in Scotland.

A distant cousin of the president, Alice Mackay—related to Trump through his mother’s family, the McLeods—said the commander-in-chief is an unpleasant man who has never used any of his wealth to help his mother’s local community.

The 79-year-old spoke in glowing terms about Trump’s late mother—Mary Anne MacLeod, who died in 2000—and his older sister—Maryanne Trump Barry, 82—saying they were both generous people who made many contributions to the Isle of Lewis, an island located in Scotland’s far northern Outer Hebrides archipelago.

Mackay told Scottish newspaper The National: “I don’t like the man at all, he’s so unlike his mother and father.” She recalled that Mary Anne and Fred Trump were “lovely parents, I don’t know what went wrong with him. My mum and dad were second cousins. Every time they were over here they came to ours for dinner.”

Mackay recalled one morning when the future president committed two social faux pas in quick succession. “He was here one morning I was busy making pancakes and he had forgotten my husband had died,” she said. “He put a few pancakes in [his] pocket and never said ‘cheerio’ or anything.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment regarding the allegation of theft.

Trump visited his mother’s former home in the village of Tong in the northeast of the Isle of Lewis in 2008. According to The National, the president has only visited once, and spent just 97 seconds in the home where his mother was raised alongside nine siblings.

During his visit, Trump said he had been “very busy—I am building jobs all over the world—and it’s very, very tough to find the time to come back. But this just seemed an appropriate time, because I have the plane… I’m very glad I did, and I will be back again.”

Republican Journalist Doesn’t Want to Befriend Trump But Will Vote for Him
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Elizabeth Warren Says Both Kavanaugh and Trump ‘Should Be Impeached’

Mary Anne eventually emigrated to the U.S. in 1930 at the age of 17. Settling in New York, she met Trump’s father Fred at a party and the two later married in 1936.

From across the Atlantic Ocean, Mary Anne retained her links with the isolated community, donating funds to help construct a village hall in the 1970s. Mary Anne visited Scotland regularly, and spoke the traditional Gaelic language when she did, according to the BBC.

Maryanne, who visited the area many times, continued in her mother’s generous tradition and donated almost $200,000 to a care home and hospice in Stornoway, the largest city on the Isle of Lewis.


Joe Heller made his last undignified and largely irreverent gesture on September 8, 2019, signing off on a life, in his words, “generally well-lived and with few regrets.” When the doctors confronted his daughters with the news last week that “your father is a very sick man,” in unison they replied, “you have no idea.”

God thankfully broke the mold after Joe was born to the late Joseph Heller, Sr. and Ruth Marion (Clock) on January 24, 1937 in New Haven, CT. Being born during the depression shaped Joe’s formative years and resulted in a lifetime of frugality, hoarding and cheap mischief, often at the expense of others.

Being the eldest was a dubious task but he was up for the challenge and led and tortured his siblings through a childhood of obnoxious pranks, with his brother, Bob, generally serving as his wingman. Pat, Dick and Kathy were often on the receiving end of such lessons as “Ding Dong, Dogsh*t” and thwarting lunch thieves with laxative-laced chocolate cake and excrement meatloaf sandwiches. His mother was not immune to his pranks as he named his first dog, “Fart,” so she would have to scream his name to come home if he wandered off.

Joe started his long and illustrious career as a Library Assistant at Yale Law School Library alongside his father before hatching a plan with his lifelong buddies, Ronny Kaiser and Johnny Olson, to join the Navy and see the world together. Their plot was thwarted and the three were split up when Joe pulled the “long straw” and was assigned to a coveted base in Bermuda where he joined the “Seabees,” Construction Battalion, and was appointed to the position of Construction Electrician’s Mate 3rd class.

His service to the country and community didn’t end after his honorable discharge. Joe was a Town Constable, Volunteer Fireman and Ambulance Association member, Cross walk guard, Public Works Snow Plower and a proud member of the Antique Veterans organization. [continue reading…]


A PEOPLE WITHOUT HISTORY is not redeemed from time…

Summary Judgement: via – IOTW Report

Pride has been supplanted by shame.

Accomplishments are not only downplayed, they are characterized as exploitation of (insert your minority here.)

Downplay triumphs exaggerate faults = Leftist playbook.

Demean. Degrade. Divide.

If you’re able to demoralize the people, you can effectively erase their history. Initialize the memory bank and you have a shell to install whatever operating system you desire.


Beto O’Rourke is a pretty risible character even among the clown show that is the 2020 cycle’s Democratic candidate-aspirants. A faux-populist with a history of burglary and DUI, he married the heiress of a billionaire and money-bombed his way to a seat in the House of Representatives, only to fail when he ran for the Senate six years later because Texas had had enough of his bullshit. Beneath the boyish good looks on which he trades so heavily, his track record reveals him to be a rather dimwitted and ineffectual manchild with a severe case of Dunning-Kruger effect.

Beto’s Presidential aspirations are doomed, though he and the uncontacted aborigines of the Andaman Islands are possibly the only inhabitants of planet Earth who do not yet grasp this. Before flaming out of the 2020 race to a life of well-deserved obscurity, however, Beto has done the American polity one great service for which I must express my most sincere and enduring gratitude.

In September 12th, 2019, at third televised debate among the Democratic aspirants, Beto O.Rourke said “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15”. And nobody on stage demurred, then or afterwards. And the audience applauded thunderously.

At a stroke, Beto irrecoverably destroyed a critical part of the smokescreen gun-control advocates have been laying over their intentions since the 1960s. He put gun confiscation with the threat of door-to-door enforcement by violence on the table, and nobody in the Democratic Party auditorium backed away.

It’s that last clause that is really telling. Beto’s own intentions will soon cease to be of interest to anyone but specialist historians. What matters is how he has made “Nobody is coming to take your guns” a disclaimer that no Democrat – and, extension, any advocate of soi-disant “common-sense” firearms restrictions – can ever hide behind again. —- RTWT AT Gratitude for Beto | Armed and Dangerous


The Predators We Made Into Pets

Olive the Editor Surveys Her Domain

As somebody said when somebody else asked why a cat was doing what it was doing, “Because it’s a cat.” [continue reading…]


Roadside Distractions: John Margolie’s Roadside America

Because nothing says “Eat Me!” more than a giant well-armed crustacean.

The John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive is one of the most comprehensive documentary studies of vernacular commercial structures along main streets, byways, and highways throughout the United States in the twentieth century.

Photographed over a span of forty years (1969-2008) by architectural critic and curator John Margolies (1940-2016), the collection consists of 11,710 color slides (35mm film transparencies). Frequent subjects include restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, motels, signage, miniature golf courses, and beach and mountain vacation resorts. Approximately half of the slides show sites in California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, but all 48 contiguous states are represented.The Library of Congress began to acquire portions of the archive in 2007, with the bulk of the materials arriving in 2015. These holdings form the core of what Margolies considered the exemplary images of his subject matter.

Margolies’ Roadside America work chronicled a period of American history defined by the automobile and the ease of travel it allowed. Emerging with the prosperity of the post-WWII era, roadside and commercial structures spread with the boom of suburbanization and the expansion of paved roads across the United States. Yet, in many instances, the only remaining record of these buildings is on Margolies’ film, because tourist architecture was endangered by the expansion of the interstate system and changing travel desires. Margolies’ work was influential in the addition of roadside buildings to the National Register of Historic Places beginning in the late 1970s.

In his photography, Margolies utilized a straightforward, unsentimental approach that emphasized the form of the buildings. These structures were usually isolated in the frame and photographed head-on or at an oblique angle to provide descriptive details. Given the breadth of his subject matter, common typologies and motifs in vernacular architecture can be identified through their repetition. While environmental context is only occasionally provided, Margolies’ eye was often drawn to signage or other graphic elements of buildings that expressed the ingenuity or eccentricity of their makers.

This one’s about seven miles from me en route to Corning which is, guess, “The Olive Capitol of the World”

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True but Forbidden #42: Dog Days to DNA

Dog Identifies As Genderfluid To Avoid Getting Neutered

Then there’s the “Front Runner” amongst the other unelectable DemoProgs: We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they don’t want — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the phone — make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background — will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there. Joe Biden’s Racist Answer on the Legacy of Slavery

We allegedly have a 2nd Amendment which states The right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. There are literally thousands of gun laws on the books that prevent keeping and bearing of certain arms in certain places by certain persons, criminalizing mere possession of certain common firearms.  Every one of those laws is flatly unconstitutional and yet the government not only won’t remove them it keeps adding to them. The latest are “Red Flag” laws — one of which the government just used to steal guns from a man who said if Antifa attacked him he would resist using deadly force. Resisting someone trying to kill you is a basic, pre-political right.   The FBI just took all of his guns — not for a threat of initiating violence but for stating in public that he would defend himself if attacked.  He was not charged with a crime (because he didn’t commit one, I note.)

We have the spectacle of entire nations self-destructing under the onslaught of “refugees”, suspiciously all military-aged males, minus women and children, streaming from every not-at-war Turd World Shitholia and Trashcanistan, raping entire populations in plain sight, for decades, with the full approval of the authorities, and pillaging the cultural heritage of the entire civilized world.

And Stockholm Syndrome times Battered Wives’ Syndrome is alive and well; but not just in Stockholm, but in Berlinistan, Londonistan, Paristan, Romistan, Rotherham, Chemnitz, and every other future no-go zone in the caliphate that’s spreading like cancer from Spitzbergen to Sicily.
To Syracuse.
To San Diego.
Let me know when realization dawns for you.
By their own doctrine, they’re either fanatics, or apostates.
Moderate is a western invention, like unicorns and the Easter Bunny.
You could look it up.

Vegan Activists Segregate Hens From Roosters ‘So The Hens Aren’t Raped’   [continue reading…]


The Wound

Simon Dedvukaj, 26, Mohegan Lake, N.Y. janitorial, foreman, ABM Industries / Confirmed dead, World Trade Center, at/in building 2

“Well, it was only 3,000 people and we’ve moved on. Why can’t you? Carpe diem, man.”

The huge wound in my head began to heal
About the beginning of the seventh week.
Its valleys darkened, its villages became still:
For joy I did not move and dared not speak,
Not doctors would cure it, but time, its patient still.

— Thom Gunn, The Wound

EVERYONE WHO WAS IN NEW YORK ON on “The Day” will tell you their stories about “The Day.” I could stun you with an eight-figure number by running a Google on 9/11, but you can do that as well.

“The Day,” even at this close remove, has ascended into that shared museum of the mind to be placed in the diorama captioned, “Where Were You When.” The site has long since been cleared and scrubbed clean. There is even an agreement on the memorial which will, I see, use a lot of water and trees. “The Day” has become both memorial and myth.

Less is heard about the aftermath. Less is said about the weeks and months that spun out from that stunningly clear and bright September morning whose sky was slashed by a towering fist of flame and smoke.

You forget the smoke that hung over the city like a widow’s shawl as the fires burned on for months.

You don’t know about the daily commutes by subway wondering if some new horror was being swept towards you as the train came to a stop deep beneath the East River.

You suppress hearing over the loudspeaker, always unclearly, that the train was being “held for police activity at Penn Station.” Was that a bomb, poison gas, a mass shooting, a strike on the Empire State building? You were never sure. You carried a flashlight in case you had to walk out of the tunnels that ran deep beneath the river. Terror was your quiet companion. After the first six weeks, you barely knew it was there. [continue reading…]


Of a Fire in a Field and a Hole in the Sky

The Tower of Voices, a roughly 93-foot-tall concrete and steel structure, contains a wind chime for each of the 40 passengers and crew members who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and represents the final phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial. Each chime will generate its own distinctive sound.

At the end of April in 2006 a couple of friends asked me to go with them to see “United 93,” but I declined both offers saying I wasn’t sure that I needed any reminders other than what I saw in New York on that day. In the end, though, I went to it as I went to the funerals, alone.

When people who were in New York on that day talk about it, it always seems to be focused on the day itself. Nobody talks much about the days and the weeks and the months that came after that day in New York City.

In a way, that’s understandable because what happened for days and weeks and months after was pretty much a slowly diminishing repeat of that day. Things got better, got back to the new “normal.” The wax from the candled shrines was scraped away, and in time — quite a long time actually — even the walls and fences full of fading flyers asking if you had seen one or the other of those we came to call “the missing” were gone.

Most of these ghastly portrait galleries were simply washed away by the snows and rains that followed that autumn day. Some were covered in long sheets of clear plastic duct-taped and sealed.

I pose you your question: “What would you do, an ordinary person in an extraordinary moment when life and death, good and evil, were as clear as the skies over America on September 11? “

It was as if somehow preserving them for a long as possible would in some way preserve the hope that those in the towers who had been turned to ash and dust were, somewhere, somehow, still merely missing. Some were even laminated and replaced more than once on a chain-link fence that ringed Ground Zero forming a patchwork of Kinkos-copied faces framed by wire and the hole in the sky. [continue reading…]


Rantomatic #11: Dave Chappelle Jokes for Me

7) Black people never feel sorry for the police, but this time, we even felt sorry for the police. Can you imagine if you was a police veteran taking this kid’s police report? “Okay, Mr. Smollett. Please, tell me what happened.” “All right, you… 2:00 a.m. You left the house at 2:00 a.m. It was minus 16 degrees and… – All right. You were walking? You were walking. All right. And… and where were you going? Subway? Sandwiches? That’s when the men approached you? Did you see them? Do you have any – Okay, what did they have on? MAGA hats? MAGA hats on in Chicago? Excuse me, one second, Mr. Smollett. Frank, come here for a second. Find out where Kanye West was last night.” Such a f*cking outrageous story. He said they put a rope around his neck. Has anyone here ever been to Chicago? Yes! All right. All right, so you’ve been there. Now, tell me, how much rope do you remember seeing? Who the f*ck is carrying rope? Like, when did you get mugged, n*gga, in 1850? – Who’s got rope? – Who’s got rope? Man, that sh*t was awful.

6) But, you see, what I didn’t realize at the time and what Kevin had to learn the hard way is we were breaking an unwritten and unspoken rule of show business. And if I say it, you’ll know that I’m telling you the truth. The rule is that no matter what you do in your artistic expression, you are never, ever, allowed to upset… the alphabet people. You know who I mean. Those people that took 20% of the alphabet for themselves. I’d say the letters, but I don’t want to conjure their anger. Ah, it’s too late now. I’m talking about them L’s and them B’s and them G’s and the T’s. [continue reading…]


Dems Desperately Seeking First Loser

Seems the Democrats are still struggling to choose “First Loser.” Me? I’m trying to stay in the now and not let them spin me up. How about you?

“Roll tape…”

“Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me”

[Thanks, MOTUS.]

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And it is always good to look deep into the crazzzzzy eyes….

Hillary Clinton Reads Her Emails at Venice Art Show After Mrs. Clinton’s appearance at the exhibition, which was built into a balcony jutting out over a supermarket, she called the email episode one of the “strangest” and most “absurd” events in American political history.

“Anyone can go in and look at them,” she said during remarks to the Italian news media. “There is nothing there.”

“There is nothing that should have been so controversial,” she added.


The Wind in the Heights

New York, NY- WTC heavy winds cause a wind swept dust storm around the ring of honor at the bottom of ground zero during the one year anniversary of the tragic event. Photo: David Ryan

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

— Christina Rossetti

— Headline, New York Post, September 12, 2001

AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY I lived in Brooklyn Heights in, of course, Brooklyn. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24 of 1883 transformed the high bluff just to the south of the bridge into America’s first suburb. It became possible for affluent businessmen from the tip of Manhattan which lay just over the East River to commute across the bridge easily and build their stately mansions and townhouses high above the slapdash docks below. Growth and change would wash around the Heights in the 117 years that followed, but secure on their bluff, on their high ground, the Heights would remain a repository old and new money, power, and some of the finest examples of 19th and early 20th-century homes found in New York City.

When I moved to Brooklyn Heights from the suburbs of Westport, Connecticut in the late 90s, it was a revelation to me that such a neighborhood still existed. Small side streets and cul-de-sacs were shaded over by large oaks and maple that made it cool even in the summer doldrums. Street names such as Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple let you know you were off the grid of numbered streets and avenues. Families were everywhere and the streets on evenings and on weekends were full of the one thing you rarely see in Manhattan, children.

Brooklyn Heights had looked down on Wall Street and the tip of Manhattan from almost the beginning. It hosted the retreat of Washington from New York City during the Battle of Long Island, the first major engagement of the Revolutionary War. To be in the Heights was to hold the high ground and all the advantages that position affords.

Brooklyn Heights today enjoys a kind of armed hamlet existence in New York. Outside influences such as crime, poverty and ghetto life don’t really intrude. Since it has long been a neighborhood of the rich and the powerful of the city, it has been spared some of the more doleful effects of city life. It doesn’t have walls that you can see, but they are there, strong, high and well guarded.

Traffic, that bane of New York life, is controlled in the Heights. To the west, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, once planned to cut through the Heights directly to the Brooklyn Bridge, was rerouted by a deft application of money and power; placed below along the harbor. To the east, all traffic coming off the Bridge is pushed along Cadman Plaza to Court Street and off to Atlantic. This forms the eastern border of the Heights whose edge is further delineated by the ramparts of Brooklyn City Hall, Courts of all flavors and a rag-tag collection of government structures that exemplify the Fascist Overbuilding movement of the early 70s when, expecting ‘The Revolution,’ governments built towards gun-slits rather than windows. The south of the Heights is sharply drawn with Atlantic Avenue, a street given over to a long strip of fringe businesses and a corridor of Islamic-American mosques and souks and restaurants. The north is quite simply the Brooklyn Bridge and its approaches that shelter the now slowly evolving sector devoted to overpriced raw loft spaces and bad art known as DUMBO, for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” [continue reading…]


The Missing

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know
Within that smoke their ash still falls as snow,
To settle on our flesh like fading stars
Dissolve into sharp sparks at break of day.

At dawn a distant shudder in the earth
Disclosed the flight of fire into steel,
The shaking not of subways underground,
But screams from inside flowers made of flame.

We stood upon the Heights like men of straw
Transfixed by flames that started in the sky,
And watched them plunging down in death’s ballet
Too far removed to hear their falling cry.

By noon that band of smoke loomed low
Upon the harbor’s skin and made us gasp;
A hand of smoke that in its curdled crawl
Kept reaching to extend its lethal grasp.

The harp strung bridge held up ten thousand souls
Who’d screaming run beneath the paws of death,
Like dusted ghosts that lived but were not sure
If they lived in light or only for a breath.

They’d writhed and spun within that storm of smoke
And stumbled out to light and clearer air,
To find upon the river’s further shore
No sanctuary other than despair.

The sirens scraped the sky and jets carved arcs
Within a heaven empty of all hope,
That marked its epicenter with one streak
Of black on polished bone where silver’d stood.

By evening all their ash had settled so
That on the leaves outside my window glowed
Their souls in small bright stars until the rain
Cleaned all of what could not be clean again.

We breathed that smoke that bent and crawled.
We learned to hate that smoke that lingered so.
We knew that blood could only answer blood,
And so we yearned to go but not to go.

Within that city shrines were our resolve.
We placed them where our grief would best anneal.
Upon our walls and trees their faces loomed
To gaze at us from time beyond repeal.

Their last lost summer faded into ash.
Their faces faded into name scratched stones.
Our years flowed into endless desert seas
Where warplanes prowled in search of bones.

In time their smoke and ash became but words
In stories told at dinner, told by rote,
Or in the comments made by magazines
For whom the “larger issues” were of note.

In time their faces faded with the rains,
The little altars thick with wax were scraped,
But still beneath clear plastic they endure
Reminding us that we have not escaped.

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know.