The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

furious delirium

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Your music sucks, why do you play it so loud?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In the midst of everything else, a humble narrator has to worry about getting the laundry done, which is not always as easy a proposition as it sounds like. More often than not, indecision about the logical process by which one arrives at some sort of conclusion about whether a soiled garment should be considered for the “colors” or “darks” bags reduces one to gibbering madness. Crouched in the corner of the room, wild eyed and slaked with cold perspiration, I often find myself impaled on the horns of dilemma. That navy blue shirt… where does it belong? Does it belong? Where do any of us belong? This is why I largely dress in black.

All ‘effed up, me.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Dire portent abounds. A general tension is palpable, and even the normally laconic army of bicycle delivery guys seem tense, here amongst the raven tressed hillocks of Western Queens. As one sorts his socks and towels, preparing them for drop off at the local laundry shepherd, a distinct sensation of dread permeates the atmosphere hereabouts. Even my little dog Zuzu seems to sense approaching calamity, as she drums her claws across the worn floorboards. At least the humidity seems to have broken.

I fear the polar vortex itself might return, carrying with it certain things which Esquimaux legend only hints at, and am quite unsure if I should send certain articles of Our Lady of the Pentacle’s wardrobe to the laundromat or segregate them out for dry cleaning.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Were this the 21st century that a humble narrator was promised, when still an innocent moppet – the one which had jet packs and moving sidewalks and flying cars – we’d all be dressed in self cleaning space age fabrics which would obviate little need for the services of the laundry shepherds. These were supposed to be “onesies,” or speed suits as Dr. Venture would refer to them, whose coloration would be indicative of social rank. Unfortunately, the world we’ve got is neither “Brave” nor “New.”

Oh no… what do you do with a sock that has red, white, and black stripes? Oh dear lord… the horror of it all…

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mental status

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I’m all ‘effed up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Obligation caused me to have to leave Queens the other day, and not for Brooklyn or some other attractive destination. My unfortunate destination was instead… The Shining City. Unfortunately, one has been undergoing some sort of viral attack since Sunday last which has spawned a vicious summer cold whose worst excesses were felt at the height of the recent heat wave. Regardless of how I felt, the trip was enacted, as the show has to go on no matter what.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I found myself at my destination early, which is a somewhat pathological problem for me, and sitting on a block of concrete at the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan. The concrete’s temperature was likely over a hundred degrees, so if you smelled bacon cooking while driving down the thoroughfare on Tuesday night, that was likely a humble narrator being rendered down. While slowly cooking like a piece of salmon on a hot cedar plank, anxiety steadily built up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What has happened to this part of the city… it’s as if the dreams of a boring 1970′s era fellow named Rich Whitey have been realized here. The section of Hudson River Park in Lower Manhattan looks and feels like an architects visualization – skinny young people jogging and kayaking while nannies march about with the children of the gentry in tow. Where’s the working part of the waterfront? Where the scabby, sometimes dangerous but always interesting, crew who once infested this section of the human hive? Where’s the fun?

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm

long sleep

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“…To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Moby Dick quotation above, made famous by Ricardo Montalban in his role as Star Trek’s Khan, is something I recently said to a Time Warner Cable representative. The latest round of outages in Astoria began with the lightning storms that provided the ramp up to the 4th of July holiday. Storm damage is understandable, but this had nothing to do with weather. Instead, it was just another one of their periodic screw ups which randomly black out cable modems and TV screens in the neighborhood. Luckily, we only use the internet service that these clowns offer, but upstairs – Mario and Dario could not watch their beloved World Cup.

You stand between Croatians and their soccer at your peril, I will warn you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The usual dance with the TWC call centers ensued, the one where you speak first to a Canadian who “is all aboot getting yer service restored” but can’t actually do anything as she’s works for a third party company whose job can be basically described as “delaying tactics.” Understanding their woeful system as I do, I mentioned the word “FIOS” several times, which allowed me to skip up the managerial levels until I finally spoke to someone in NYC. This TWC employee actually admitted that there was an outage in my area, which is a bit of a victory on the TWC front.

If there was an award for “sucking,” TWC’s system would be placing a lot of little statues on its shelves.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, it took around two days for them to get the system back on. It’s still sort of tremulous, with the signal turning on and off several times a minute, and I find myself plugging and unplugging the TWC modem a few times a day to restart or refresh the connection with the central switch. The issues with their network have much to do with the nightmarish wiring job they’ve installed around the neighborhood, and I find the infinity loop of wire pictured above to be a rather appropriate symbol for what its like dealing with the de facto monopoly of suck that is TWC.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

waking experiences

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The big rigs, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was a young narrator, I had a friend named Ronnie. Ronnie adorned his walls with posters, most of which featured engenues and actresses. Farrah Fawcett sat next to Heather Locklear over his bed, and the Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movie series was also given a special place. Ronnie also liked trucks, especially the Peterbilt brand. Ronnie is long departed from this mortal coil, as is Farrah Fawcett, but the trucks remain.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I spotted this somehow sinister seeming convoy the other day, as it thundered across one of the truss bridges carrying traffic over the Sunnyside Yards. A sense of latent menace which they projected – I think a came from the tight, almost military, formation in which the trucks were being driven. Also, the tinted windows on the drivers cabin helped promulgate a certain air of mystery about the purpose and intentions of this convoy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hanging around industrial zones, as one does, a useful habit I’ve acquired is to not walk in front of a vehicle or piece of construction equipment without first making eye contact with and then being acknowledged by its operator. Perhaps this is why the tinted windows disturbed me so. Mayhap too little sleep had been enjoyed before I stumbled out of the house, or it was the loud music that my headphones were playing which had put me into an agitated state. Either way, the convoy seemed to be up to something sinister, here in Sunnyside. One thing I can tell you for sure – my old friend Ronnie would have hung any of these three shots up in his room, but none of them would have displaced Farrah or Heather.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

simple minded

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Fireworks in Queens, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 4th, my neighbors Mario and Dario and I climbed up the little ladder which leads up to the roof hatch and surmounted our building. Arriving up at tar beach, we discovered that just about everyone else in Astoria had the same idea. Our view of the horizon and the Macy’s Fireworks show on the East River was hopelessly occluded, but who needs Manhattan’s little spectacle?

Queens never disappoints.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Off in the direction of Old Astoria, where the Triboro and Hells Gate Bridges can be found, the neighborhood was oddly quiet. There were the occasional detonations, as pictured above, but by Astoria standards – not too much was going on.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was the to southeast where the action was going on, and it seemed that Woodside was competing with Sunnyside and Maspeth from my vantage point.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

desperate care

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Happy Independence Day week, lords and ladies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew. It’s been a very busy June for your humble narrator, and as has become a tradition at this – your Newtown Pentacle – when a holiday week is upon us, single images devoid of verbose description will be offered. At the beginning of the month, a trip to the Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadow Corona Park was enacted for my Brownstoner Queens column, and all the shots presented this week were collected during that excursion.

Pictured above is a Bald Eagle.

I’ll be back next week with “real” postings, after I’ve had a chance to take a breath and eat some BBQ.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

worms beneath

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Happy Independence Day week, lords and ladies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew. It’s been a very busy June for your humble narrator, and as has become a tradition at this – your Newtown Pentacle – when a holiday week is upon us, single images devoid of verbose description will be offered. At the beginning of the month, a trip to the Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadow Corona Park was enacted for my Brownstoner Queens column, and all the shots presented this week were collected during that excursion.

Pictured above is a Swan.

I’ll be back next week with “real” postings, after I’ve had a chance to take a breath and eat some BBQ.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

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