Saturday, November 17, 2018

Week in Seven Words #435

They're a young couple, boyfriend and girlfriend, looking like they've stepped hand-in-hand out of an ad for chewing gum or smartphone accessories. They're also deep in conversation. As they pass us by, I overhear a part of it. They're discussing whether it's possible to stab someone to death with a pencil.

Most of the people in the group are men, and tough-looking men at that, but never mind the stereotypes, because they enjoy making the flower arrangements and giving each other (and the women) supportive comments over the creation of lovely little bouquets inserted into small silver-colored vases.

In the subway car, a young boy shimmies up one of the poles, shouts, "I'm a Tetris piece!" and slides down.

The room is dim, and incense burns by a small statue of Buddha. When asked if he's Buddhist, he replies that he isn't but was just trying to create a certain ambiance. A shoeless, quiet-voiced, spicy-smelling atmosphere of meditation.

Leaf patting leaf, and one branch rustling to another.

She thrusts her hand into the soil and jerks it out with a gasp. Her finger is bleeding. She's been cut through her glove. Her first worry is that she's gotten nicked by a piece of glass or, worse, a discarded needle, but it turns out to be a thorn.

Pretending that mind and body are disconnected is terrible for one's health. Referring to the body as a mere "sack of meat" – to be disregarded or modified in whatever way you imagine – is profoundly damaging.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Floating Pumpkins, the Battle of Fort Washington, and Autumn Foliage

Two recent NYC parks events worth noting –

One was on 10/28 and involved a flotilla of pumpkins tugged across the Harlem Meer in Central Park by two people in kayaks.


Here is the flotilla getting set up, around sunset.


A little earlier, I had walked around some other parts of Central Park, including the Reservoir:


This brilliant glow was in a clearing a little north of the Reservoir:


Without meaning to, I detoured to the northwest of the park, where The Pool is especially lovely in autumn:


And I crossed east again, to where the Harlem Meer is, through the North Woods:


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Week in Seven Words #434

It's a sleek open space where the light fixtures look like upside-down salad bowls. Three speakers eventually settle on stools facing the rows of seats. As the sky darkens, they discuss ways to make AI more ethical. From protecting data to detecting biases in programming, there's much to discuss, and there aren't simple answers.

In 15 minutes, I learn more about horned dinosaurs than I ever learned in my life.

In the lower level of the supermarket, smoke is pouring out of a freezer. A little later, as I wait on line, we're asked to evacuate. Everyone leaves their cart or basket behind, and it makes an eerie picture: piles of abandoned food, much of it perishable, trailing along an empty store.

During the storm, it looks as if a lightbulb is flickering between the clouds.

We don't order the oxtail soup. We just marvel at its price.

The gift she receives is a doll that says, "I love you," and chuckles like a trapped squirrel. Keeping at a distance, she motions for it to be placed back in its bag and out of sight. Later, we play with the silent pink bear she likes; I help her and the bear down the slide.

On the radio, Vivaldi's Four Seasons comes on played by Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Shlomo Mintz, and Itzhak Perlman. It's a violin extravaganza.