Monday, April 29, 2013

Lag B'Omer Parade in "Little Yerushalayim"

Yesterday, Chasidim conducted a fairly ambitious and probably permit-free parade (in traffic) on Avenue J, honoring the Lag B'Omer holiday and welcoming their anticipated, upcoming Messianic era. Even Customers at diFara's Pizza had to put down their overpriced slices to watch.

The parade included young musicians in band uniform, led by a young black hat Chasidic band leader, followed by floats with various Chabad Headquarters celebrated, the counting of the sheaves, etc., and a number of "Mitzvah Tanks".. As my daughter, presently a grad student in Tel Aviv noted "when you live in Brooklyn who needs to see Israel?"
--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn
(Photo by Anthony Napoli)

Bada-bing: Conan O'Brien at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

--Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Freedom: Richard Pierce Havens 1941-2013

Rest in peace Richie Havens 1941-2013 iconic American musician of the 60s counterculture who passed away at his home in New Jersey. DITHOB caught Mr Havens' performance at a wonderful outdoor lunchtime show a few summers ago at Brooklyn's Metrotech. Born in Brooklyn, Mr Havens interspersed his many classic original and cover versions songs with stories of playing stickball on Howard Avenue (met with cheers from the diverse crowd). DITHOB's earlier article reflecting a performance by a great folk artist, communicator, educator, activist and noble human being appears here

Mr. Havens' entry in Wikipedia  here 

NY Times obituary about Mr. Havens here
Note: This is Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn's 1000th post. May Peace, Prosperity, Creativity, and the spirit of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment flow to every region of the Earth.
Post #1 (June 2007) here_

Saturday, April 20, 2013

'Get Lucky' and Dance Away the Summer with the Return of Daft Punk

Daft Punk, uber creative and visually dynamic French pop duo, are back with the first single off of forthcoming "Random Access Memories" featuring Pharrell Williams and the joyful and cool  reappearance of Nile Rodgers. This one will be sure to help to dance away the summer. (Thanks again to the impeccable taste of Bob Lefsetz for the heads up.)

Below, the awesome teaser ad featured on Saturday Night Live:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coda: Shake It Up: Anthony Weiner, the Upcoming and the Talking Dog

Some frustration and push back zinging through the aether about Anthony J. Weiner's bobbing and weaving in and out of the Mayoral race. I do think it shows that the guy (maybe thanks to the Mrs., or the folks around the Mrs.,  or the folks around the Mrs. and Bill and Hill, etc.) is capable of providing some new and interesting ideas and possible policy prescriptions…Still, if he doesn’t announce soon, it will be interesting to see where he stands in the polls a week from now.

I can understand the frustration that supporters of other candidates may can have with this, or just, for that matter, voters trying to decide where exactly their interests lie in this crowded election. But, still,  I have to give him credit --he’s got the rocks to propose this, and none of the other candidates have enough verve/zing and that je nous sa qua quality that makes a clear far and away front runner anyway.. As pollsters predict, on the Dem side, this is promising to be a mess already, with a possible runoff inevitable following the primary, and, for that matter,  none of the other Dems are withdrawing from the race for the good of the party so whats the diff?  (It would appear that even Tom Allon on the GOP side decided to make an early and classy exit after seeing the writing on the wall.)  But for now, whether Anthony J. Weiner is in or not, this is continuing to promising to be just a pile on…where it stops - -nobody knows.

--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Shake It Up: Anthony Weiner, the Upcoming and the Talking Dog

As a follow up to his interview with former US Congressman Anthony Weiner, NY1's political anchor Errol Louis wrote an op-ed in the NY Daily News regarding the once and possible future political candidate's prospects in the upcoming mayoral election.

While the focus remains certainly on Mr. Weiner's "truthiness"  (as Stephen Colbert might put it) in light of his fall from the political heavens, and whether he can regain the trust of New Yorkers in general and the NY Media in particular, there is no doubting that, even from the margins, Mr. Weiner would be a formidible candidate. His fiery and intensive debating style,exhibited many times on the floor of the House of Representatives, and even more so, his ability to generate creative and interesting ideas in his policy statement, suggest that even his preliminary appearance on the fringes of the hustings could have the capacity to throw the campaign wide open.

As Mr. Louis, himself one of NYC's most engaging and thoughtful political journalists and analysts, observes in his op-ed:
   "Meanwhile, Republicans inclined to gloat about the prospect of Weiner throwing the Democratic primary into
     chaos should be careful what they wish for.

    "None of them has developed the kind of policy proposals — some quixotic, others intriguing — that Weiner
      released in his 64-point “Keys to the City” paper this week.

    "Weiner’s call for stepped-up ferry service to Rockaway, Sheepshead Bay, Riverdale and Harlem is an idea that
       should have been tried long ago in our city of islands. His call to build new federally subsidized senior
       housing on hospital parking lots seems sensible. And his idea of making food stamps carry double the value
       when spent on fresh fruits and vegetables takes New York toward better health using an incentive rather than
       a punitive tax."

Clearly, what's missing from the current soft serve of Democratic and GOP Mayoral Candidates-in-a-Blender are some New Ideas and policy prescriptions that might just suggest a direction in which the post-Bloomberg NYC might move, rather than just the brewing political street fight, (mindful of the mashup of "Network" and "The Gangs of New York" in Will Ferrell and the battling news presenters in "Anchorman")..

Ironically, while it is no doubt Mr. Weiner's dramatic personal foibles and peccadilloes, compounded by his admittedly disgraceful (if perhaps adolescent) dishonesty after the fact, that would make him the easier target in this race, it could be this NYC-native's sharp intelligence and creative, fresh and interesting ideas that would throw up the mirror to the other candidates own lacks and weaknesses. In the long run, as 538's Nate Silver indicated, 100% name recognition and 15% ballot support "is an ugly poll..not an encouraging one." And, while the NBC/Marist poll gave him comparable numbers to the other candidates, maybe, like the talking dog, it is not how well the dog talks, but that, at this late point, he talks at all, and as well as the other candidates who have unbesmirched records and have been in the race all along.

Read more from Mr. Louis' article here  

Mr. Weiner's "64 Keys to the City" here  

-Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Safe as Milk: Iranian Scientist Invents 'Time Machine'

Beyond Iran's forays into nuclear energy (and presumably weaponry), scientists there also appear to be trying to develop new technologies that will perhaps help the nation to recreate lost glories of the past caliphates.

The UK Telegraph reports that Ali Razeghi, a Tehran scientist has registered "The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine" with the state-run Centre for Strategic Inventions.

The device can predict the future in a print out after taking readings from the touch of a user, he told the Fars state newsagency.

Razaeghi, 27, said the device worked by a set of complex algorithims to "predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy".

As the managing director of Iran's Centre for Strategic Inventions, Razeghi is a serial inventor with 179 other inventions listed under his own name. "I have been working on this project for the last 10 years," he said.

"My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you."

And, talking about safe bets, Razaeghi claims "Iran's government can predict the possibility of a military confrontation with a foreign country," or, more prosaicly, "forecast the fluctuation in the value of foreign currencies and oil prices by using his new invention."

More here

Monday, April 8, 2013

Signs of Spring: 'The Water Song'

Hot Tuna's The Water Song. Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Sammy Piazza. Spiritual. All natural. Uplifting. A classic.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Not in the News: NYC Fast Food Workers Plan April 4 Job Action Over Low Wages

Although it apparently has yet to be reported in the NYC media, the UK Guardian has reported that fast food workers acroiss the city are planing a job action to protest low wages.

"Organisers behind the protest predict that some 400 workers will walk out or stay away from their jobs across the city in a move aimed at impacting at least 70 restaurants from big chains like McDonalds, Wendy's and Burger King. The workers are calling for wages of $15 an hour and the right to organise without the threat of retaliation or intimidation. It follows a previous protest in New York last November when 200 workers went on strike."

Organizers Fast Food Forward state: " Fast Food Forward is a movement of NYC fast food workers to raise wages and gain rights at work. It is part of the national movement of low-wage workers fighting for a better future. When we make enough to live - instead of barely getting by - our community and economy benefit.

"Fast Food Forward joins the momentum of the Black Friday strikes and other low-wage worker struggles to build community engagement, hold corporations and their CEOs accountable, and to raise wages so that all Americans can prosper."

See the Fast Food Forward link here

Updates on actions on Twitter here

Monday, April 1, 2013

Getting Ready for the Season: Coney Island on My Mind

The young gal laughed as she supported her companion who grasped his chest in mock agony and semi collapse: "No more 'Shoot the Freak'! Where's my Coney Island?" he asked in exasperation.

While it's true that Coney Island is continuing its inexorable journey toward modernity and gentrification, there is a certain charm to its new look. Gone is lots of the grime and grit. (Though public restrooms can still use a major update.) Funny how in the past we mourned the disappearance of the urban funk, in fact it has finally caught up with other parts of NYC and may now once again can be compared as 'Times Square by the Sea"-- more refined and polished commercial identity for the "Coney Island brand" but what's wrong with outposts of Tom's with heavenly flapjacks on the menu or a refurbished Paul's Daughter or a gleaming new Nathan's on the Boardwalk complete with gift shop. New store fronts for all businesses and the happy renewal of the lease for Ruby's Bar. While the absence of ski ball games and the one armed bandit claw prize grabbing machines may signal a sea change perhaps if the Old Lady Fortune Teller machine was still around she might say "look to the future- the more things change the more they stay the same" for after all it is the incredible confluence of New Yorkers in all of our remarkable diversity along with visitors from around the world that make Coney Island the remarkable place that it is. Whether it is new construction at the MCU Park, the guy spending April 1 bungee jumping by the Atlantic, or the recovery work following Sandy on the Boardwalk, Coney Island's world famous boardwalk is reinventing itself, like it was only better.

Of course many citizens of Coney Island like other NYC residents are still recovering from Sandy's destructive natural force. More here

--Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • 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
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • 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)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • 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
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • 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
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • 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
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • 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
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo