Oct 9, 2004

A Fulfilling Day

I'm so glad that we left the apartment, and our work, behind today. It was a nice day - not exceptional in the sun or temperature, but just perfect for jumping into the car and exploring a bit.

We took care of my most important errand, getting fitted for the tux I will be wearing for Druid's wedding at the end of the month. That took all of 5 minutes, and from Forest Hills, we decided to go into Flushing. We checked out the desi area on Main Street, which Madhulika Khandelwal talks about in her great book Being Indian Becoming American. I hadn't even known that there was a community out there - and it was nice to walk around a bit, do some of our grocery shopping, and then end up at the Ganesha temple on Bowne Street.

Another destination that we were planning to visit for well over a year, it was really nice to go to a temple after so much time. I think that my partner was happy to feel the South Indian presence in NYC, which is sometimes easy to miss in the midst of the very visible Gujarati and Punjabi communities here. While we reveled in the lingual finesse of youngsters who frolicked in the immediate vicinity of the temple, we also marveled at the range of services and amenities that the temple committees had thought of and integrated into the complex in Flushing. There were a number of buildings that housed the priests, as well as a large canteen, auditorium, and wedding hall - all of which we are certain come in rigorous use for the growing community. Additionally, there was a senior center, which is of particular interest for my work, so I made the mental note to follow-up on a similar note about the temple that I'd filed away a long time ago.

From the temple, we walked next door to the infamous Dosa Hutt, which has been written about in the Village Voice a number of times, as good cheap eats. I have to concur - the sada dosa that I had was only $2.50, and it was as good as the $5 and $6 dosas that you get in Manhattan, and the sambar blew that away. From Bowne street, where D marveled at the diversity (aside from this Hindu temple, there was a Swami Narayan temple, a gurdwara, at least one other desi place of worship, a Korean Church (ubiquitous in Northern Queens, I heard that there are hundreds in the borough), and a large synagogue. I thought it would be good for us to drive through some more neighborhoods and so we took Northern Blvd through East Elmhurst, and into Woodside.

We ended up back on the BQE and headed due south, going through most of Brooklyn to end up going through Midwood, Bay Ridge, and finally into Coney Island, where we walked the boardwalk for the first time. D couldn't believe that we were an F-train ride away from the beach - the visceral effect of the water upon her so clear with each breaking tide. "Why didn't you bring me here earlier?" she demanded. As the autumn chillfelt more real in the wind around us, the pink fading sunlight behind us splashed highlights of remarkable clarity upon her raven-black hair. I don't know why. I guess I didn't think about it as much as I could have - I guess that even when I say we shouldn't take things for granted, there's still so much that we take for granted in our lives.

We returned homeward, driving locally through even more neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the long travel making us both comfortably tired, but content with the spirit of adventure that started this day for us. It felt full, and that was nice. Tomorrow will be another day of deadlines, chores, and its own stress. But it was nice to just take a day for ourselves - a day that ended up being just right. We came back into our little neighborhood and stopped by Brooklyn Social, a nice little bar that opened up 6 months ago, when spring was just starting to settle into 2004. A nice drink in their patio, and the day wound itself up where we began... once again in love, and remembering that our privilege was multi-fold: from the breath we breathe, to the unspoken comfort of an embrace from the one person who understands you most of all.

It's a wonderful life.

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New Singles from Rock's Old Guys

Digital Rotation:
REM: "Leaving New York"
U2: "Vertigo"

A beautiful Saturday morning - now afternoon - and we're getting ready to set out on a few adventures in the city. We may check out at least one of the Open House New York events/features, and have pledged that we're not going into Manhattan all weekend. It's nice to have that option, and Brooklyn and Queens hold enough wonder and entertainment (and far fewer of the annoying weekend visitors) to keep our wandering hearts content.

In our preparation to get out - we're listening to 2 new singles from rock pioneers of the eighties. REM has been off-track, as far as this listener is concerned, since the early nineties. I haven't even really paid attention to their releases after Automatic for the People. The new single, Leaving New York evokes some sense of depth - and it has personal resonance for us. D liked it a lot on first listen - and it's still growing on me.

Next was U2's single Vertigo. It's a strong statement, but I don't quite know what it's saying, and it doesn't have the emotional pull of even their most recent work, like The Hands that Build America. I'm not a big fan of this one. Let's hope that the new album, How to Disassemble An Atom Bomb (I think), which "drops" in November, isn't captured in this lead single. Then again, Discoteque wasn't a perfect representation of Pop, so I'll wait to pass judgment.

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Oct 8, 2004

Anything Box

Digital Rotation:
Anything Box

For anyone who's a fan of the electropop group Anything Box from the nineties, who broke out with their hit "living in oblivion" many moons ago, I just found out that they are still around and kicking it. I had heard their albums after debut Peace and liked them a lot - the music was a little darker, but the messages soared. Elecrodelica was good - a departure in their sound. Apparently, there was a follow-up called The Universe is Expanding.

Their website has a few free MP3s from the latter, and one from the former album. Also - while cruising through the forum, in which Claude S. (the real mastermind behind Abox, and the voice that you can't forget) and the other members of the band actually post from time to time, that there's a neat hour-long "experiment" that Claude and one of the other guys do once a month. It's basically set up like a music variety show, in which they alternately program fave tracks of now and yesteryear, and then chat about them for a while. I think that there's also some original Abox and other stuff in there as well (haven't listened to the latest fully). Check it out if you need something synth-heavy and radio-like for those long, dreary work days.

Speaking of which - I got a half-day today, and I'm SO HAPPY about it. I think there's nothing in the world like emerging from your office of indentureship and walking into the mid-day sun free as love, ready to relax, sunbathe, dance, whatever - the future and its intricate, infinite possibilities stretching comfortably and happily in front of you... the chill of evening and dusk of winter the furthest thing from your mind. There's also nothing like gloating about it - so forgive me if I relish the moment a little more.

Game 3 of the Division play-off and Round 2 of the spin-doctors' favorite main event are both tonight. What I wouldn't give for a Television with picture-in-picture capability tonight...

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Oct 5, 2004

Ralph Nader

Wow - this is a strong piece. I admit it - I voted for Nader in 2000. As a New Yorker, I did feel that I'd rather lend my vote to build a third party, and I still stand behind my choice. But I question Nader's motivation in 2000 after reading this piece, and I clearly and most definitely question his motivation for running this year. I feel like he's the new Don Quixote, but this article makes me wonder if it's much more insidious than that.

Granted, like any self-respecting progressive, I think that the two-party system in the United States is a somewhat vestigial remnant from a time when there was some substantive difference between the parties, i.e. the pockets of their suits weren't all identically lined with the spoils of big oil, big tobacco, big defense, or whomever else could pony up. But still, running on ego, and taking advantage of the pervasive distrust, cynicism, and anger for a personal vendetta is not the best way to write the final chapters of your legacy. Nader was a revolutionary. Now he's just a punk.

Ralph Nader, Suicide Bomber
by Harry G. Levine
Village Voice
May 3rd, 2004 1:20 PM

On Friday, October 13, 2000, at Madison Square Garden, the largest of Ralph Nader's "super rallies" kicked his campaign into high gear. It was a great event in many ways. Fifteen thousand ticket buyers cheered songs, jokes, skits, and pep talks delivering timeless radical truths about wealth and power in America. Nader's speech was actually the low point, circulating randomly through riffs about corporate power, health insurance, the environment, and what Ralph Nader had accomplished.


Later I was introduced to Nader's closest adviser, his handsome, piercingly intelligent 30-year-old nephew, Tarek Milleron. Although Milleron argued that environmentalists and other activists would find fundraising easier under Bush, he acknowledged that a Bush presidency would be worse for poor and working-class people, for blacks, for most Americans. As Moore had, he claimed that Nader's campaign would encourage Web-based vote-swapping between progressives in safe and contested states. But when I suggested that Nader could gain substantial influence in a Democratic administration by focusing his campaign on the 40 safe states and encouraging his supporters elsewhere to vote Gore, Milleron leaned coolly toward me with extra steel in his voice and body. He did not disagree. He simply said, "We're not going to do that."

"Why not?" I said.

With just a flicker of smile, he answered, "Because we want to punish the Democrats, we want to hurt them, wound them."

There was a long silence and the conversation was over.

Milleron's words are so remarkable they bear repeating: Ralph Nader ran so he could hurt, wound, and punish the Democrats. His primary goal was not raising issues, much less building the Green Party. He actively wanted Gore to lose. Where did this passion to punish come from?

Full Article.

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Oct 1, 2004


Tomorrow is judgment day. wish me well, folks.

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