Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fear and Loathing on Court Street

A little before 1 PM I ran out of my office on Court Street to grab coffee and food. Court Street from Joralemon to Montague was closed off. A police officer said that a suspicious package was found on the subway. I went into Court Order, a nice take out food place with great soups and salads, when the NYPD came and stretched a yellow "Police Line - Do Not Cross" tape from one of the doors of the shop to opposite side of Court Street. I left the shop without getting anything as the police officers began moving people further and further west on Court Street. I have heard of a lot of "bomb scares" before, but this was the first time that I remember actually feeling concern based on the scale of the NYPD operation, and the precautions being taken. As I walked down Court Street, I saw a woman walking hand-in-hand with her little girl and I realized the awful potential posed by modern times, how we in the US have, in so many instances, been shielded from it, but how awful, violent and frightening life in reality is for so many people around the world, in the Middle Eastern world in particular, the continual carnage in Iraq specifically. I thought about the velocity of sharpnel, nails and glass, and the fragility of human flesh, particularly that of a child.

When we were kids, back in the 60s, we worried about Wars to End All Wars. We learned about duck and cover. But the enormity of that type of conflict seemed so all consuming that it appeared you couldn't really worry about it. While that threat of "mutually assured destruction" was also a form of mutual terror, still, "Toe-to-toe nucular combat with the Russkies" (to quote Slim Pickens) had only one logical outcome. Today, the dangers seem closer, more intimate.

I saw a clip of the forthcoming HBO special on "Alive Day" with wounded young military veterans, and thought about the continuing civilian carnage reports from Iraq, and the latest promise of a "special gift" to be given on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, while possibly more psych warfare, also suggests how real the fears and how intimate the dangers this lower-tech threat can bring.

We just received word that the suspicious package was nothing to worry about. No buildings were evacuated. The trains are again running. There is nothing to worry about...
--Brooklyn Beat

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Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
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  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
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  • First Civilizations
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  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
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  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
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  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
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  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
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  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
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  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
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  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
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  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
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  • Dali: Painting & Film
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  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
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  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
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  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
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  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo