Did anything good happen in 2013? Yes! There was one shining ray of hope in the person of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford , who admitted that, while in office, he smoked crack cocaine, but noted, by way of explanation, that this happened “probably in one of my drunken stupors.” This was probably the most honest statement emitted by any elected official this year, and we can only hope that more of our leaders follow Mayor Ford’s lead in 2014. (We mean being honest, not smoking crack in a drunken stupor.) (Although really, how much worse would that be?)
I found this to be funny, from Dave Barry:
It's part of a longer year-end review:
Previous Post: Part VIII, Asian New York
This will be the last post about NYC. Whew!
Here is a question for you. Does the below look like an "upper middle class neighborhood" to you?
Previous Post: Part VII, Modern Art
Two East-Asians, well dressed, passed us by. A man and a woman. They spoke a foreign language. Half a moment swirling around in my brain, and it registered. It's Korean. Korean, a language I'd heard near-daily for three years (with mostly no understanding).
It was a little disorienting, somehow, but not as much as encountering this a moment later:
Previous Post: Part VI, The Ghost of Sherman McCoy
Previous Post: Part V, "Under the Christmas Tree Like It's 1999"
A Manhattan street scene:
Previous Post: Part IV, "Paying Up"
Another post about cruising around Manhattan in Dec. 2013:
Previous Post: Part III, "Up the Empire State Building"
Just like Greenland doesn't have much "green", Times Square doesn't have much of a square, that I could tell. Here it is:
Yesterday being the solstice (see Post-168: Yuletide 2013) reminds me of something I ought to record here, a recollection of my time as a hagwon teacher in South Korea. I once taught about the equinox. Let me tell you about it.
[Beware: This runs long When drawing words from the honeyed recesses of a cherished memory, it's not hard to do so.]
Here it goes:
Winter has begun, if you follow that clumsy system for determining seasons by the solstices and equinoxes,
The solstice was at 12:11 PM EST on December 21st this year. The Sun was "moving south" at 12:10, and "moving north" at 12:12. It briefly "stood still" sometime in the minute of 12:11. That's what a solstice is.
Ancient people figured-out the mechanics of this back in the Stone Age and attached special religious meaning to it, to that mystical moment of the reversal, the beginning of the "days getting longer" (as we say). The ancient Northern Europeans developed this into a major holiday. They held elaborate celebrations, which they called Yule or Yuletide, and their descendants continue to celebrate "the holidays" at the same time.
I wrote about the summer solstice in post-92.
2013's is the first Yuletide during which this weblog has existed, but hopefully not the last!
Thanks for reading.
Previous Post: Part II, "Feeling Provincial"
It was a bit eerie how all of them got extra-polite when they saw The Card. I'm referring to the many staff at the Empire State Building, who were dressed up like hotel doormen. Many made mild noises of being impressed ("ahh", "wow", "aha", you know the sorts of noises I mean). Some actually seemed to bow when T.A. flashed it. No kidding: There was a distinct lowering of heads, at times, to accompany the extended arms which showed the way to proceed.
T.A. had insisted on going to the Empire State Building. I soon realized this was because he possessed The Card, which, like that "Ring" of the recent movies, allows the possessor access to a magical ability, in this case the ability to rise to the top of the Empire State Building, any time, any day, free, as many times as the possessor wants, with guests in tow, with no need to wait in any lines. Amazing! T.A. had gotten it through another magical ability that many seem to have: Procuring favors from a network of connections. The card was issued by an employer to a Russian-speaking person whom T.A. seems to know. T.A. said that he has been up to the top about fifteen or so times in this way.
Onward with the pictures:
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