The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

little, indeed

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Just a short one today.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This kitten was observed living in the rip rap shoreline of Staten Island a while back. Other members of the family were present, and based on the threatening “ruhhhrrrrrrrr” sound emanating from a hidden spot in the rock pile, one of them was its mom.

A humble narrator is hurting for content at the moment, and will be out wandering all afternoon seeking pleasurable scenes and interesting things to photograph. Wish me luck.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 10, 2015 at 11:36 am

recalled bondage

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The Empty Corridor, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

DULIE, or Down Under the Long Island Expressway in Long Island City, is actually quite a busy place during the work week. On the weekends, however, the nickname I’ve assigned the area is “The Empty Corridor.” Last Saturday I found myself wandering about LIC, which was on my way to Greenpoint via the Pulaski Bridge. The light was pretty good on Saturday, and the weather tolerable to one such as myself.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been stuck in the house for so long that I recently found myself chiding Our Lady of the Pentacle for her arrangement of cutlery in the drying rack found alongside the sink (forks down, spoons up), and realized that hell or high water – I had to get out and take a long walk to regain some perspective. Viking Hell be damned. I’m happy to report that the cat colony alongside the UPS facility on 51st avenue seems to be in fine fettle despite the vagaries of winter.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In actuality, I’ve been making good use of any interval wherein polar temperatures and ice falling from the sky were not experienced. The shot above is actually from Sunnyside, sometime last week. As mentioned in prior posts, I’ve been studying up on both Sunnyside and the rail yards which figure massively in the current Mayor’s plans for so called “affordable housing.” More on that later in the week.

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somehow managed

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Some archive shots, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One surprising thing, as revealed by a recent spurt of ultra violent propaganda videos offered by certain extremist groups, is how easy it is to behead a human being. These terrorist fellows are using kitchen knives, it seems. I’ve known a couple of people who were employed as butchers, of the beef and pork sort, and they were fiendishly strong but man – those cabezas really just seem to pop right off with minimal effort. It seems like the only thing that poses any sort of resistance in the neck is the spine, which is sort of interesting to me. I once had a tooth extraction that went on for more than an hour back in the early 90’s, one which saw a stout 250 pound Hasidic Dentist prying the thing out of my head with a weirdly shaped set of pliers in some Brooklyn basement office over in Midwood. In retrospect, he could have had the whole head off in a few seconds, rather than just taking a piece out of it.

BTW, Here’s a NYC tip for you from a lifer - if you have to get a tooth pulled on New Years Day or Christmas, Hasidic Dentists don’t observe these holidays and they will generally be open or available to see you. The beard can be weird, especially with a Dentist, but my guy was wearing a hospital mask style bib over his.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole “beheading thing” however, has led me down a dark path while trying to research it. It seems that the reason northern European swords and Chinese Swords are generally pretty heavy is to bust the spine up whilst beheading. This led me to reading up on the whole “broken on the wheel” thing, and a general exploration of well known medieval practices that involve all sorts of ugly. All of this is horrifying of course, to a 21st century fellow who was lucky enough to have been born an American. The great thing about bullets, bombs, and all the other high tech goodies our culture utilizes to kill and behead is that we don’t have to get our hands all dirty.

Americans don’t chop off one head with some crappy kitchen knife, we blow a thousand heads off at a time in an increasingly accurate and cost effective manner. America is like Superman in many ways, the hardest part of any conflict is not utterly annihilating every living thing within the determined “kill box” and holding back from using all you’ve got.

Me, I’m a bit more Scipio Africanus in my outlook, and I happen to know where we can find large quantities of salt.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the years, I’ve been stabbed, slashed, gashed, lacerated, scraped – you name it – regardless, I still find it shocking how easy it seems to be take off ones head. Why the expense and bother of the Guillotine, then? Why does an executioner carry that ridiculous axe in Europe, or Scimitar in Turkey and Arabia? In China, they use a pistol, or the old bailey, I’m told.

Unfortunately, I did click on the link to watch that immolation video, which is freaking horrible. One thing that jumped at me, however, is that whoever put that thing together is a pretty talented video editor. Not necessarily Hollywood level, but pretty talented, but doomed. Apparently, Superman is coming.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm

powdered exquisites

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The state of the Newtown Pentacle.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whenever I’m not pouring coffee or whiskey down my throat hole, I seem to be fretting. I’m not playing guitar (fret… get it? Ha!), instead one is usually sweating what the next post is going to be either here at Newtown Pentacle or for Brownstoner. There’s also freelance projects – I’m still sort of engaged with the Red Hook people, for instance, and there’s the whole NY Harbor thing as well.

2014 wasn’t exactly a banner year, financially speaking, but I’ve been keeping pretty busy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A bunch of cool posts have been produced over the last year for the O’Connell Organization’s Red Hook Waterfront site which I’d encourage you to check out. I’m the photographer for nearly everything at that website, and act as primary writer on most of the posts, although they are often heavily edited (which is a part of the process on freelance jobs). 

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at Brownstoner Queens, I’ve got two posts a week to fill. Of particular note in the last quarter of 2014 was when I scooped the NY Times and every news source in the City, this post about getting high in LIC, this one about finding where you used to be able to find a pint of Guinness, Halloween in Astoria, and my reactions to the latest attempts at decking over the Sunnyside Yards. More recently, a walk led by Queens Borough Historian Dr. Jack Eichenbaum was attended out in Willets Point.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I tweet the Brownstoner and Red Hook postings out whenever they appear, so if you use Twitter and care about staying in touch with my various offerings, click through to the link below and subscribe to my feed. You can also follow Newtown Pentacle in a reader like Feedly or whatever via the handy RSS Feed link at top right of this page. Additionally, there’s an email signup box at top right which will deliver these posts to you whenever one is published. An appeal is offered to you to please share these posts of mine, if at all possible, on your Facebook wall or on twitter.

There’s a bunch of buttons at the bottom of every post which makes it easy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A few people have asked me when the Newtown Creek tours will start up again, and my answer is purposely vague. It’s likely that we’ll get going again in April or thereabouts, but right now… brrr. The weather is too unpredictable and the possibility of ice and snow causing slip hazards along the way is too great. There’s a couple of interesting things cooking, but nothing definite enough to mention yet.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 23, 2015 at 11:00 am

rattling and beating

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Meshuggenehs, all of us.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An interesting exercise was undertaken recently, which involved the peeling back of hardened scabs and callouses. Whilst browsing the vast interwebs recently, a link carried me over to YouTube. A recording of “The Howard Stern show,” which was broadcasting live during the September 11th attacks, was perused. The reactions of Howard and his crew to the attacks as they happened put me in touch with my own experiences that day, and opened up an old wound. This touched off a spate of reviewing broadcasts, both news and scripted drama, produced in the aftermath of the attacks. One remembers the emotional numbness of the time, when it seemed that nothing would ever be funny again, and the paramount question of that moment in time – raised over and over – was “why do they hate us.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

All these years later, the answers offered by the entertainment industry – whether asked by the hosts of what passes for news in our nation or as interpreted by dramaturges – boiled down to “freedom.” Aside from a childish lack of knowledge about the actual foreign policy of, and an unvarnished look at the actions of the United States in the second half of the 20th century, what struck me was the notion we held about ourselves back then. The general gist of what folks wanted in the months following the attacks was to “unleash” the CIA, and to teach the rest of the world “who’s the boss.” I guess we’ve got that now – with our fleets of flying robot assassins, institutional torture, and a gulag in Cuba. If you’ve got the time, I suggest you scan the web in a similar fashion, as it’s an interesting thing to see what our world was once like and how far we’ve travelled in a very short time. Remember “freedom fries”?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An urban myth is put to rest, incidentally, in the shot above. “Ever notice how you never see a dead pidgeon” is the particular yarn, something I’ve heard repeated over and over. I see a LOT of dead pidgeons, and have photos to prove it. An urban myth which the September 11th attacks actually put to bed was the efficacy of the so called “Emergency Alert System,” whose tests interrupted television and radio broadcast throughout my childhood. It was nowhere to be found on 911, despite there being an actual emergency in my area. Additionally, the Emergency Alert System didn’t seem to activate during Hurricane Sandy either.

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rhythmical promises

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Thinking it through, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The way that the human infestation hereabouts behaves and operates can be described, and made somewhat predictable, via the usage of branch logic. When presented with a decision, you can choose option A or option B – a binary decision. Both have logical next steps. These steps flow out of the original decision, form a branching tree of binary choices – a logical progression of decisions. “If” and “then” and “next” and so on are encountered.

A random factor – X – begins to creep into this process around five or six branches down from the original decision. As an example – I decide to punch a guy in the nose, or not. If I hit him, does he a) hit me back, or b) runs away. A, or B form logical progressions that branch out from their individual decision points. Let’s say that the guy hits me back, do I a) punch him again or b) run away crying? If I choose “B,” how far do I run and where do I go? What happens next? You can postulate a few likely, or highly probable steps, but “X” always rears its ugly head eventually.

“X” is also known as “unintended consequences,” which is the one predictable constant of every human decision.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m absolutely fascinated by the Carriage Horse story going on here in the City, wherein our current Mayor has vowed to eliminate the industry from area streets. Animal welfare activists have long opposed the continuing presence of horse drawn carriages on New York streets, citing that the animals are found commingling with automotive and truck traffic. Often, I have pointed out that human children mingle with the self same traffic which is meant to pose this existential threat, but no one seems to care about that. The Carriage industry has accused the Mayor of crass politicking on behalf of a campaign donor, and offers that theirs is a generational craft with long traditions and that their animals are in superb condition. Additionally, they attest that their animals are working creatures who essentially provide for their own needs by pulling these carriages. The NY Daily News is all over this story, and I’d suggest swinging over to their site to check their take out. I’ve no skin in this game, but for some reason I remain enthusiastically attentive to it.

Anyway, that’s the decision which faces the Big Little Mayor – eliminate the Carriage Horse industry or keep it around. A binary decision, ultimately, which will become diluted and colored Legislative Gray somewhere down the tree of “If’s” and “And’s.” As always, one such as myself has nothing but free time to worry about things that really don’t concern me, and a certain driving thought manifested while I was working down the logical tree.

It was a simple question that emerged behind my fevered brow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What about the Police Horses?

It occurs that I have never, not once, heard anyone complain or protest about the use of horses on NYC streets by NYPD. These are critically well trained animals, of course, conditioned to be non reactive to everything from parades and protesting crowds to gunfire and active duty situations. Arguably, these animals are subjected to greater stressors than their livery brethren working the relatively quiet streets around Central Park. Additionally, these critters are under the direct supervision of the Police departmental structure and by extension City Hall, which brings us back to the Mayor. The logical extension of banning the carriage horses from NYC streets, on the grounds of animal cruelty, would demand that all horses would need to be spared these conditions, no?

This is where the “X” factor mentioned above comes into play, when you’re thinking through the logic of eliminating an entire industry or just punching a guy in the nose it is wise to think about how your choice might play out.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in animals

Tagged with , , ,

in concert

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Break time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A single image greets you this morning, as will be the case through the Thanksgiving holiday.

A humble narrator requires a break periodically, to recharge and reinvent. Worry not, however, for pithy commentary and puckish intent returns on the Monday following Thanksgiving – the first of December.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

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