Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sarandon Shit Storm














I've been increasingly disgusted with Susan Sarandon and her bashing Hillary Clinton but even I didn't realize how far gone she is.

“I think Bernie would probably encourage people [to vote Clinton], because he doesn’t have a lot of ego in this,” she said. “But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to do that.’” As for herself, “I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens.”

“Really?” an incredulous Hayes asked.
 
“Some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately,” she replied.
Hayes accused her of adopting “the Leninist model of ‘heighten the contradictions,’” and she happily agreed. Isn’t that dangerous, he wondered?
 
“If you think it’s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now, then you’re not in touch with the status quo,” she said.

I like how she says Sanders "doesn't have any ego in this thing." Sarandon clearly thinks Sanders isn't a politician but a saint.

As Michelle Goldberg said:
What Sarandon is voicing is the old Leninist idea of “heightening the contradictions,” which holds that social conditions need to get worse in order to inspire the revolution that will make them better. In this way of thinking, the real enemy of progress is incremental reform that would render the status quo tolerable. That was the position of the German Communists in the early 1930s, who refused to ally with the Social Democrats, proclaiming: “After Hitler, our turn!” A similar—if less deadly—assumption underlay Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential campaign, for which Sarandon served as co-chair of the national steering committee. George W. Bush, Nader argued then, could serve as a “provocateur,” awakening the power of the left. “If it were a choice between a provocateur and an ‘anesthetizer,’ I'd rather have a provocateur,” said Nader. “It would mobilize us.”
And of course that is the extremist Radical Chic position as I have noted.


Tony Kushner has a response to the Sarandon controversy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Binge City

Well ever since I heard about the HRC episode of Broad City I decided I had to see the entire rn of the show to date. It's pretty great. Every now and again it was too much though - the episode about the hurricane was much too scatalogical and gross.

I really enjoyed a bit from the episode "Co-op" where Ilana's boyfriend, Lincoln, played by comedian Hannibal Buress and Ilana have the following exchange:

       ILANA
What if we tricked her into having a threesome. 
       LINCOLN
People really shouldn't trick other people into having sex.      
       ILANA
I've heard so many women say that, but when you say it I really hear it.

This is of course a reference to the fact that women had been accusing Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them for years, but they were commonly dismissed until Buress called Cosby a rapist in his comedy routine.

Awesome.

Also this is adorable.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Me and my consumer goods

Rose gold - ooooh so pretty!


The day my old landlord told me I had to move out by the end of December (I didn't move out until the end of February but that's another story) I dropped my old iPhone on the sidewalk and I got a nasty ugly crack on the screen with a little piece chipped out of the corner. It was embarrassing to be seen with it. I know, first world problems, right. But anyway I could finally afford a new phone and it's one of these whopping big iPhones with the amaaaazing video capabilities.

Meanwhile, as I was moving, the Jawbone Up2 activity tracker band my daughter gave me for Christmas fell off my wrist and was gone forever. So I bought another wrist band and had it for two weeks until that one fell off and was gone forever. So I was not about to buy another one, it was starting to look like the ease with which the Jawbone band fell off my wrist wasn't the result of a poor design but rather Jawbone's businesss model. 

So I complained about it bitterly to Jawbone so they sent me a new one and two weeks later, here it is.  

THANK YOU JAWBONE!

I mean it was awful - for weeks I had no ideas how many steps I was taking every day! I feel much better now.




Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter aesthetic odyssey

"That's right I'm a woman and an artist in
eighteenth-century France - suck it, sexists."
I decided to slack off on all my household chores for a little bit and just enjoy my new neighborhood and its proximity to great places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I was excited to go to the Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun exhibit. I'd seen her work in art books but never in-person. Her self portrait is especially impressive.

Forbidden photo!
You can't take photos in the museum though, which is silly in my opinion. I snuck one anyway - one of the smaller exhibit rooms in the Greco-Roman section had fewer guards than others and so I got a quick pic. Like anybody cares.



I got a picture of myself while I was at it, wearing the traditional Easter black.

Unfortunately a guy I dated very briefly a year ago works at the Met and as luck would have it he was taking a shift today. Fortunately I saw him first, and was able to watch out and ensure I didn't run into him. Although maybe he would not have remembered me, who knows. But just in case.



The exterior of the museum, which you can take photos of, is a Greco-Roman work of art itself. In fact I had never noticed all the heads along the top before. You don't notice them at a casual glance but I happened to look out the window from the Greco-Roman gallery and noticed them. What a bizarre architectural style. I don't think they did this for the Parthenon.

Decorative heads!

Vigee Le Brun and the Classical world were the only two exhibits I visited - and even they had so much to see I couldn't take in everything. I enjoyed the Greek red-figure vase paintings, as always, but they didn't have any of the obscene ones on display, like these.

Then I headed out to the Conservatory Garden - I hadn't been there for almost four years. It was pretty much the same, although I'd never been there this early in the spring.

The English garden


The French garden
And then I walked home - I was excited that I could walk from the Conservatory garden which is across the park and twenty blocks north of my apartment. I got a great shot of the Garden from far away and high up.

But what is that giant building looming above the Garden? It's the Terrence Cardinal Cook Health Care Center.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Apparently I can

Co-workers have been asking me if my commute is longer thanks to moving to Manhattan and I say: "it takes about the same amount of time, but of course I can't walk home like I used to do."

But apparently I can walk home. I did it today. It's almost three miles more than my commute from work to my apartment in Astoria but four and a half miles is perfectly do-able. It took me an hour and twenty-four minutes at a moderate pace.

I went through Central Park of course, since it was a warm, partly sunny day. The Park was looking good with all the flowers popping up. Of course there were tourists all over the place but that's how it goes.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Diamonds in the friend zone

I finally got around to watching the entire "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." It looks like I'm going to end up watching every damn Monroe movie while I try to figure out how I'm going to do this play I'm working on.

It's no great work of art, that's for sure. It's pretty goofy. But Monroe does do an amazing job in the song and dance bits. Here is the entire "Diamonds are Girl's Best Friend" number - wow I feel sorry for the women who had to be a living chandelier right in the beginning.




Other observations:

It's really creepy how Monroe's character Lorelei Lee refers to her fiancee as "daddy" - and she does it in other movies too, even doing a song "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in "Let's Make Love." And she did it in real life too, I believe she called all her husbands daddy at one point or another. I realize it was fairly common during that time period - and it lives on in the expression "Who's your daddy" but it has such unpleasant pedophilic connotations now.

Jane Russell, who was not the blonde, does her own version of "Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend" plus imitates Monroe's character in a later scene in the movie and she is certainly no slouch in the song and dance department.



According to a Monroe bio, Russell befriended Monroe and tried to get her to join a Hollywood Christians group but Monroe wasn't interested.

The phrase "diamonds are a girl's best friend" acquires a new meaning (and is sung) at the end of the movie when there is a double-wedding for the Monroe and Russell characters.

You can see why Monroe became sick of that character though - she plays virtually the same character in "How to Marry a Millionaire," "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like It Hot." And unfortunately for her, they are her best movies - although of course her performance in "Don't Bother to Knock" is her best. And "Niagara" is pretty great too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cat tree

Yay, Mr. Fuzz likes his expensive new cat tree!

Since my new place is smaller than my old one, I felt bad for my cats who have less room to run around. So I figured I would let them have a vertical option - the cat tree is right next to a storage closet - they can hang out on the cat tree itself or go up into the closet for extra amusement.  The storage closet is way high up near the ceiling and the ceilings in this place are so high, I can't even reach them with a broom standing on tip-toe.

Miss Willow hasn't even sniffed the damn thing as far as I can tell. She always was very conservative. But there's plenty of room in this tree for two cats Miss Willow!

*sigh*

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Another thing I discovered, and that I must only have in moderation

I was at Gristides grumbling to myself that they sell beer but not wine, when I realized they also sell hard apple cider. So I bought a bottle of Scrumpy's Organic Cider and wow do I love this. And now that my liver is getting old (even if I am still 25 in my own mind) hard cider is a nice alternative with half the alcohol of wine. On the other hand, it's so delicious it's hard to stop drinking and what it lacks in alcohol it makes up for in calories. But it's nice to have an alternative to wine - I'm never going to be a big fan of beer, that stuff is gross. And scotch tastes like what lighter fluid must taste like.

Apparently cider was big in the American colonies and popular right up to Prohibition - once that came along farmers destroyed their orchards with hard-cider-making apples and replaced them with eating and juice varieties. But the  hard cider industry is coming back.

I ordered cider at a Bareburger recently and was excited to find the brand they had - McKenzie's  - offers seasonal varieties and since it was still winter they had a cider mulled with cinnamon and nutmeg. Amazing.

Monday, March 21, 2016

97 grams of heaven

I discovered  * sea salt caramel gelato *   when my daughter and her girlfriend took me to Trattoria Machiavelli - conveniently right on the corner only yards from my apartment - for my birthday and I chose it for dessert. It blew my freaking mind. And then there it was at the nearby Gristedes, in one of those little mini cartons they have (97 grams) and it was just as great as I remembered. Wow. When it comes to candy bars I always avoid ones with caramel because it's just gross and chewy and sticks to your teeth and you know that virtually all those M&M/Mars and Hersheys candy bars have so much caramel in them because it's cheaper than chocolate. But when it's in ice cream (sorry, gelato - they are different enough that this stuff is labeled "Italian Style Frozen Dessert") caramel is of a much more agreeable consistency. And although Talenti makes superior gelato (and I was addicted to their mango sorbet for months) they don't offer it in those little single-serving containers and I dare not get more than a little bit at a time because I'm afraid I'll eat the whole big tub at once.  I don't know if Ben & Jerry's has Gelato but it doesn't matter ~ I'm boycotting their products because.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

La Primavera 2016





Very interesting interactive image of Botticelli's La Primavera.




And a performance of Vivaldi's Spring section of The Four Seasons of course.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

And me without a TV


I have been TV-free for over seven years. But for the first time I am regretting it.

I haven't watched much of Broad City yet, although when my daughter had me watch some of it at her place I liked what I saw - and I've been a fan of Ilana Glazer since I saw her and her brother in "Shit New Yorkers Say" four years ago.

But NOW - I want to see this episode of Broad City as soon as it shows up on TV - but I will have to wait until it gets posted online instead.







Friday, March 18, 2016

Brava Bitter Gertrude

How privileged do you need to be to imagine that it’s a good idea to risk the actual lives of vulnerable Americans because you “hate” Hillary so much you vow to stay home if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination? How protected from the consequences of a Trump presidency do you need to be to think your hatred of Hillary constitutes, as I saw someone say earlier this week, an “inviolable principle,” meaning, more important than the actual lives of vulnerable Americans? That all applies equally to anyone saying the same about Sanders. (We have yet to see the full weight of American antisemitism aimed at Sanders, and if he wins the nomination, we most certainly will.)
.
Vote for whoever you like in the primary. But let’s step away from vicious attacks and hatred. Let’s step away from buying into debunked conservative propaganda about Clinton’s trustworthiness. Let’s look at the candidates’ actual proposals and weigh those proposals’ actual strengths and weaknesses. Let’s respect each other’s choices in the primaries.

And whoever becomes the Democratic nominee, the stakes are far, far too high for us to selfishly stay home because we didn’t get our first choice. I will happily, proudly vote for either Clinton or Sanders, and I hope you will do the right thing and join me.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

John Oliver: older women are disgusting, and if you disagree you're a sexual weirdo

I missed this episode of Last Week Tonight - here I was getting ready to say yet again what a cool guy John Oliver is, thanks to his Women's Day episode, when I caught this months-old excerpt:




Beginning at 1:55 he says (to uproarious laughter)

oldwomanface.com, all-free-nude-old-granny-mature-women-triple-x-porn-pics.com and what can only be described as the penis-haunting maturewitch.com - India if you want your population to look at less pornography, don't just unblock these site, make them mandatory because believe me ah-ftah looking at them I never want to have sex again. 

Mind you, not bestiality or people eating shit or any of the other extreme non-human-body-sex porn categories that are arguably objectively gross - Olive suggests that just looking at an older woman having sex  - or just her face! - is the most disgusting thing he could possibly imagine.

I mean, I certainly don't seek out porn with old men in it, but I also don't think it's my place to tell anybody who does that they're weirdos with unimaginably awful predilections.

Can you imagine the controversy if he had said tranny porn was disgusting? His show would probably have been cancelled immediately.

This is a screen cap of part of the splash page for maturewitch.com - looking at these women will turn John Oliver celibate.




Because apparently if you're over 30 you are a hideous troll to John Oliver. God only knows what he thinks of Hillary Clinton.

And this is one of the monsters featured on the splash page of oldwomanface.com

Damn and I thought John Oliver was one of the good guys. I'm not sure if I'm quite old enough to be in the granny-porn category, although I'm pretty sure I rank as "mature." Maybe I'm sensitive because people keep telling me I look like Nina Hartley, but still I have to say on behalf of all older women and the people who find them unrepulsive:

GO TO HELL JOHN OLIVER



Spring in Central Park


I took a walk through Central Park on my way to an appointment on the East Side the other day and spring is here. Daffodils were popping up next to the Glade Arch.

The Central Park Conservancy site provides a Bloom Guide which tells you what else is popping up in the spring - or the other seasons.

As you can see from this Google map, it takes less than fifteen minutes to walk across the Park's width from the West Side to the East Side.




Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More of the Ladies Auxiliary sucking up to the bros

As promised, I've been keeping an eye on the Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary. They certainly don't become any nicer as Hillary Clinton keeps winning more delegates than Bernie Sanders.

I haven't seen many direct attacks on feminists lately, except for this one by Amber A'Lee Frost against Amanda Marcotte.



What is more interesting though is how both founding members of the Ladies Auxiliary use euphemisms for testicles as signifiers of bravery.

Frost:



Featherstone:




Testicles signify bravery in our male-dominated society because men have testicles and women do not. By the same token, the word "pussy" is both a euphemism for female genitalia and cowardice. You can't get a more blatant example of sexist language than this common dichotomy of cowardice/bravery, pussy/balls.

And yet the Ladies Auxiliary persists in using this sexist language. My guess is that, as per usual, they want to demonstrate to their Radical Chic men that they are the good kind of feminists - the kind of feminists who don't see feminism the way "bourgeois feminists" do, as being about women's rights, but per Doug Henwood, they see feminism as being about peace and egalitarianism without focusing on all that unsightly girly shit. Continuing to use the term balls to indicate bravery has the double advantage of proving they aren't prudes and can use the rough language of the proletariat; and that they don't mind continuing the tradition of glorifying masculinity while putting femininity in its pussy place.

I hadn't noticed this before but on his blog Doug Henwood labelled Katha Pollitt, the one real feminist I thought he didn't hate - a bourgeois feminist.



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Yorker: Who Sponsored the Hate?

Another great piece about the Koch brothers by their worst nightmare, Jane Mayer: Who Sponsored the Hate?

In summation: The Koch brothers may hate Donald Trump, but they are still completely evil.
After pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into promoting their right-wing libertarian views over the past four decades, and budgeting some eight hundred and eighty-nine million dollars to spend in the 2016 election cycle, he and his brother David Koch, and their donor circle, are apparently disappointed that they have bought so little control over the Republican Presidential candidates. “You’d think we could have more influence,” he lamented to the Financial Times. But, in fact, the influence of the Kochs and their fellow big donors is manifest in Trump’s use of incendiary and irresponsibly divisive rhetoric. Only a few years ago, it was they who were sponsoring the hate.
Over the July 4th weekend of 2010, I attended the fourth annual Defending the American Dream Summit, in Austin, Texas, which served in part as a training session for local Tea Party activists. The summit was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, which purported to be a nonpartisan grass-roots political-advocacy group devoted to the cause of small government, free markets, and liberty. It was in fact an organization that had been founded and heavily funded by the Kochs, whose early activism was entwined in fearmongering and racial intolerance.

Monday, March 14, 2016

One month

It's hard to believe, but I've had possession of this UWS apartment for an entire month as of today.  Especially since I still don't have it together - I still have to hang pictures, put stuff in storage, give stuff away, buy new stuff to replace some of the stuff I had to give away, etc. etc.

So far my observations of this area are:

  • Central Park is Awesome: my daughter and I went for a 5K run in the Park on Saturday - through the Pinetum, up and down Summit Rock and around the Reservoir. Lots of terrain variety. It was fairly crowded until we headed north of the Reservoir, and then we had the trails to ourselves.
  • Self-serve laundromats are almost non-existent. This is tolerable because there are plenty of wash-and-fold places - and I do love to get a nice, folded brick of clothing back from them. I've always been lackadaisical about folding my laundry, meaning I never fold it. I just stuff it right into a drawer. But few of the wash-and-folds are same-day service. I miss the convenience of just popping clothes into the washer/dryer and having clean clothes in a few hours. Albeit unfolded.
  • There are quite a few vacant retail spaces around. I don't know if that's an issue with the UWS or retail spaces in general since so much shopping happens online these days.
  • There is a much higher concentration of white people on the UWS than in Astoria
  • There is an Apple store on Broadway in the UWS that is even bigger than the one on Fifth Avenue.
  • The neighbors are friendly in my apartment building - I've had nice chats with three of my neighbors so far - two of them helped me schlep boxes up the stairs. At my old apartment building not even the superintendent helped me schlep anything. And I don't think I exchanged more than a few words with my neighbors in Astoria the entire six years I lived there.
  • I don't miss the view - I had a view of the Empire State Building from my Astoria apartment, but after the first couple of weeks I barely noticed it. Meanwhile I have big trees out my windows in this apartment and I am looking forward to watching them go through their seasonal cycles. 
  • People really love animals around here - there's a whole bunch of animal organizations with storefronts on Columbus Avenue, and one of them has peacocks - live peacocks - in the window. I must get a picture of that.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Still don't look like her

THE PINK HULK post-performance feedback

I went to see my pal Val's developmental performance of her new one-woman show THE PINK HULK, based on her own real-life experiences. I saw the first public reading of the piece a couple of weeks ago and it's definitely coming along. She will be taking this to a festival in NYC soon.

Unfortunately the MTA is just as annoying in Manhattan as in Queens. I went to take the subway to see the show which was in Midtown and all would have been fine except that they decided to do one of those deals where your local train isn't stopping at your station - so you have to go in the wrong direction until you get to a station where the train is stopping and then you get off there and take the train in the direction you want to go, This process could add another 30 minutes to your trip, and I didn't have 30 minutes to spare.

So here I am taking a taxi to get to the show on time. You know who I look like? Well whoever it is, it is not Nina Hartley.




Friday, March 11, 2016

Staaaahp it! I do NOT look like Nina Hartley!

This is getting ridiculous. From a recent Twitter conversation.





I did know who Nina Hartley is when I wrote that retort - this is about the fourth time I've been told I look like her - not by anyone who knows me personally, just people on the Internet. But I just didn't feel like talking about it with that creep.

Hartley and I are both white women close in age (she's older) with blonde hair, blue eyes and often wear glasses. I guess that's all it takes to look like someone when you're old. Jesus.

Other than the coloring and glasses our faces are completely different.

EVIDENCE!




As far as I know, the only R-rated movie Hartley made is Boogie Nights, from 1997 - about the porn movie industry of the 1970s - which she missed - she made her first porno in 1984 according to her Wiki page.

These clips show her appearances in the movie, except for the part where  (spoiler alert!) she's murdered by her husband played by William H. Macy.

This clip is NSFW.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Summit in Sumter



I was certainly right last week when I said I needed to recognize Sprinter while there was still time because it was going to get warm this week - but I underestimated just how warm. I walked in CP on my way to work this morning in my t-shirt - it was warm already and before the day was done it broke the record by getting up to 76 degrees, after breaking another record yesterday.

Normally Sprinter is the harbinger of Spring, but this year it was the harbinger of Summer so I guess I should call it Sumter.

Summit Rock in Central Park is close to my apartment so I strolled on by - I know I've seen at least one theater production there. It looks the same. These steps are on the south side coming down from Summit Rock.


While I was strolling along the Summit I was struck by this building along Central Park West. I've seen it before of course but never really noticed those two... I don't know what to call them - towers? They look like entire houses on top of the apartment building.



Here is a close up of the north tower. It looks more like something at the Vatican than NYC. I would love to get up in there and see what it's like. Naturally I had to Google it - this is the Beresford, a "luxury, 23-floor "pre-war" apartment building..."

Many rich and famous people have lived here including my boss's boss's boss's boss's boss's former boss.

You can apparently get an apartment there for as little as $3million - cheap!

I wondered if those towers were apartments. The building doesn't seem to have its own web site. This article from eleven years ago in the NYTimes has some info:
The building's northwest quadrant fronts only on West 82nd Street and was subject to more restrictive zoning, but the other three quadrants face wide streets with more generous zoning allowances, and Roth gave them three stubby but picturesque towers.
These were the topmost parts of the most unusual apartments in the building, all multilevel residences. The original drawings suggest that they were all intended to be triplexes. The apartments rise to the areas behind the towers' great arches; the areas are labeled "Observation Room" on the original architectural drawings and are about 25 feet square.
The Observation Room in Tower No. 2, at the corner of 81st and Central Park West, was designed with a 16,000-gallon water tank concealed under the tower roof; in Tower No. 3, at 82nd Street, the design showed a smaller, 3,500-gallon tank for firefighting. But Tower No. 1, the most westerly on 81st Street, had none.
So they are apartments and you can't just ask to go for a tour. But I guess it couldn't hurt to find out who lives there. Helen Gurley Brown used to live in one of the towers, until she died in 2012. You can read about her apartment here. It says:
Offered for sale for the first time in 40 years, this iconic penthouse apartment occupies the South/East tower of the Beresford, one of the most recognizable and sought-after buildings on Central Park West. It offers dramatic 360-degree views of Central Park, the southern skyline, and the Hudson River, and one of the largest terraces on Central Park West. 
It's listed as $20 million. The pix in the related slide-show are pretty impressive - and HGB sure liked the color pink. 

The site gives the apartment number as PH22D, which is no help. The Homemetry (my guess is that it's pronounced hoe-MEM-eh-tree) web site, which is normally very snoopy, is no help - it doesn't list any of the penthouse apartments, unless "MR" is an alternate way to refer to them. You can see John Stossel (ugh) - 15K and Jerry Seinfeld (meh) - 19F live there. But not in the towers.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Walking through my park

Another awesome Central Park vista

And by my park of course I mean Central Park.  And technically I'm not wrong if you consider Central Park belongs to everyone, especially those of us who pay the taxes that go directly into supporting it.

If I walk from Central Park South through the park up to the 86th Street transverse it is a distance of 1.5 miles and it takes me 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. I'm not sure how long it would take if I just stayed on the sidewalk and walked up Central Park West instead - less time I assume without the usual twists and turns of the standard path in Central Park. CPW has its own charms with all the historic old buildings along the street including the Dakota. But it's so nice to stroll in a space that's relatively bucolic for a change. I rarely get out of New York City and when I do it's to go to places like Jersey City, so this is definitely a nice change for me, to be in this planned and highly manicured but still pretty natural place.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Good enough homes & gardens

More scenes from my new apartment. Here is the orchid - yes it is an IKEA orchid.



Mr. Fuzz enjoys our new bedroom window. We did not have a view of ivy and trees in the old apartment. Here we are much closer to nature than we were in Astoria. Plus we have two indoor plants - I didn't even bother with houseplants in the Astoria apartment. I don't have the greenest thumb but I do OK with low maintenance plants.


Monday, March 07, 2016

Getting it together

I am finally getting this new apartment together. I knew I was going to have to get rid of a bunch of stuff when moving from a fairly large apartment in Queens to a smaller apartment in Manhattan, but I didn't realize how much stuff - I'm still getting rid of things.

I'm happy to finally have a desk though - I was going on about getting one two and a half years ago and finally got a nice little secretary desk.

And I got a palm tree. Mainly because palms are non-toxic to cats, as are orchids, which I also bought.

I have this whole floral theme going on in this apartment now, inspired in good part by the print of Botticelli's La Primavera hanging over the real but non-functional fireplace. I've had this print for at least ten years but it's never looked quite so at home as it does here.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Sprinter 2016

I got to walk in Central Park in the afternoon recently and experienced that most ineffable of all the seasons, Sprinter.  And not a moment too soon - apparently it's going to be in the mid-60s by next week. And of course this has been an unusually warm winter, so we're lucky we got any Sprinter at all - we didn't in 2012.

You can tell it was Sprinter because it was sunny and bright and above freezing, but if you kept your hands out of your gloves to take photos with your iPhone for a while you definitely became uncomfortable. But meanwhile trees are getting ready to bloom, like this willow.





You can tell it's above freezing because the Canadian geese can swim around freely.




A month from now this covered walkway will actually be covered by foliage.



Thursday, March 03, 2016

My inner 25-year-old

I still can't get over the idea that I'm not twenty-five years old - in my mind I still am. This is increasingly getting to be a problem, the disconnect between internal and external age.

For example - I keep seeing claims that young women prefer Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton and my knee-jerk response is: "oh yeah, well I like Hillary Clinton" and then I suddenly remember... oh... right.

Speaking of being old, I have to laugh once again at the idea being pushed by Evan Marc Katz and other conservatives that women and men are equally bad towards each other - the old false equivalency. Krugman talks about it in reference to politics, but it's just as false in gender politics.

To get an idea of just how full of shit the false equivalency hucksters like Katz are, consider that there is an entire web site, We Hunted the Mammoth, devoted to reporting on the organized misogyny of the Men's Rights Movement.

Or you can go right to the source - I defy you to find me a women's organization devoted to spewing hatred towards men over 25 with the same single-minded venom of the Return of Kings article Unmarried Older Women Need to Go Away.

And of course the ongoing slaughter of women by the men in their lives.

There's only one reason why someone like Evan Marc Katz would keep pushing the idea that women and men are equally bad to each other - because he has an agenda and he doesn't care if he has to lie to promote it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Doug Henwood vs. Sady Doyle

Sady Doyle posted an excellent piece on Tumblr three weeks ago - Progressive - I assume she hasn't seen my blog posts about Doug Henwood and his feminist-hating Ladies Auxiliary, so her using the term "Women's Auxiliary" in her piece is no doubt an example of great minds thinking alike:
You can use sexism to rally people for a “progressive” cause, but you can’t then claim that the sexism is invisible, that it doesn’t exist, or that it doesn’t matter, or doesn’t compromise you. You can frame women and feminists as your Women’s Auxiliary, people to be tapped when you need their time and effort and platforms and organizing skill, and discarded or flat-out trashed in favor of better, more male politics whenever we step out of line or whenever it’s convenient. But you can’t do it and tell me that your gender politics are “progressive.” You can’t be a feminist on some days and a person screaming about Hillary Clinton’s vagina on the internet other days, as a wise man might say. So go ahead. Type about how Hillary Clinton is “pandering for votes with her vagina.” But don’t do it and then tell me your opposition to Hillary Clinton has nothing to do with her gender. There is a limit to precisely how many times you can feed me horseshit and call it chocolate frosting, and right now, the taste in my mouth says your time is up.
I also used the chocolate/shit metaphor for sexism ten years ago.

I was blocked on Twitter by Doug Henwood over a year ago, when I got a little too contrary for him - he's used to his Ladies Auxiliary who are compliant and deferential to him as a Great Man of the Left - but Doyle has had an ongoing and increasingly bitter war with Henwood for months now. Perhaps because they were once friendly Twitter colleagues it has become so bitter - I was never friendly with Henwood - my first introduction to him was him attacking the Fawcett Society as "bourgeois feminists" and me giving him shit about it.


I could tell Henwood was a misogynist Radical Chic type from the moment I encountered him. And his online interactions with Sady Doyle have only proven I actually underestimated his shitheadedness. From another article by Doyle: Beware of the angry white male public intellectual which justifiably links other infamous shitheads like Richard Dawkins to Bernie Bros like Henwood:
In many cases, online attacks are set in motion when well-bylined men publicly point their followers to the offenders in question. It’s hard to document every incidence of this, because it’s a bit like a fish documenting water. I called Doug Henwood’s anti-Hillary book cover sexist and blocked him. He began tweeting about how I’d blocked him and suggesting that I was lucky he wasn’t planning to sue. Soon enough, I was getting hundreds of angry tweets. 
Greenwald and similarly left-leaning writer Matt Taibbi, meanwhile, linked to an old article about left-wing sexism against Hillary Clinton by Rebecca Traister. “We got more or less the same argument about ‘Obama Boys’ years ago,’ Taibbi complained. Traister reported that a few hours later, her mentions now include “many suggestions that I am a paid shill hack who should suck a vinyl dick.”

Brad DeLong, colleague of the Mighty Krugman and who Henwood insinuated was saying good things about Clinton out of careerism has Sady's back.


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Finally made it to the Pinetum

I've already been living here officially for half a month and this was the first time I managed to get to the Pinetum (pie-KNEE-tem). There were no sign of Martha Stewart but lots and lots of dogs. It was like the entirety of Central Park was transformed into a dog run. I don't begrudge the poor doggies - they probably spend most of their lives cooped up in too-small apartments. Most of them appeared to be ecstatic that they were out and about. It's really disturbing though to see some of the breeds that are being kept in the city, including working dogs like this Shetland sheepdog (upper left side of photo.) I really don't think it's fair to keep large dogs in the city, even if you take them out once a day to the park. The city is bad enough for those annoying little yapper dogs like the one who lives across the hall from me and is right this moment yapping, no doubt out of loneliness because his owner is out all day at work.


Anyway, in addition to dogs I did see pine trees, pine cones etc.

And picnic tables.



And a cardinal.



Genuine Pinetum pine cones


I knew that the Delacorte Theater, home of the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park was nearby, but I didn't realize how close it is - during my very brief and leisurely pre-work stroll in the park I walked right by it. Maybe this year I will get to actually see Shakespeare in the Park from inside the Delacorte. Although it is kind of fun to listen outside via loudspeakers while sipping Chardonnay which they sell at the concession stand.