The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

unutterable aeries

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Tekelele, indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in yesterday’s post, a sexual display committed by two monkeys at the Central Park Zoo scared me, so a retreat to the “safe space” of the Penguin house was enacted. It should be pointed out that the lighting in this section of Manhattan’s premier animal penitentiary is rather dim, which I suspect is for the comfort of the captive birds contained therein. It took every trick I know, as far as the subject of low light photography goes, to capture the images in today’s post. You can actually discern the sensor grid of my camera in a few of these shots, as it was pretty darned dark in this safe space and the exposure triangle required for hand held shots (through glass) leaned toward staggeringly high sensitivities. Also, a significant amount of condensation and moisture was observed on the barrier glass of the bird prison, which actually created some interesting visual effects, imho.

Whilst concentrating on my task, errant thoughts kept intruding, and one couldn’t help but think about H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness.” Actually, since I was listening to an unabridged reading of the novella (Audiorealms, Wayne June reading) it was extremely difficult not to think about the star crossed Elder things and their shoggoth problems. Tekelele, tekelele.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, given the largely useless amount of trivial information which populates my thoughts, a secondary narrative began to intrude. The Mountains of Madness tells the story of a fairly inaccessible Antarctic region which holds the remains of an alien city whose inhabitants were exterminated by a certain biological technology which ran amok, which Lovecraft called “shoggoths.” Good book, this, and Lovecraft makes a good case for letting “sleeping dogs lie.”

The ends of the earth, and the so called “poles of inaccessibility” began to come to mind. Anything, anything to erase the micro aggressions suffered at the Snow Monkey enclosure, was a welcome reprieve.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oodap Qeqert is a bank of gravel and rock which is found off the northwest coast of Greenland, and is possibly the most northern point of land one might find before the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean obliviates terrestial life forms. Geologists don’t consider a gravel bank to be actual land, per se, and Kaffeklubben Island (also off the coast of Greenland) is officially the northernmost point of dry land you can get to if you’re on the way to the North Pole. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, and headed for the antipode, the most remote island on Earth warrants a visit. It’s a Norwegian territory, believe it or not, called Bouvetøya Island.

Unless a Penguin got seriously lost like Topper (the scarf wearing Penguin from the Rankin Bass “Santa Claus is coming to town” animated television program), you won’t find any in Greenland. You’ll find lots of Penguins on Bouvetøya Island, however.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The chilly waters of the antipode are actually quite mysterious. Lots of interesting and fairly undocumented things happen down there, like the so called Vela Incident back in 1979. The Antarctic Continent is literally the last terrestrial frontier for mankind, and was a focal point for the Super Power competitions of the Cold War era. The Soviets established Vostok Station nearby the Southern “Pole of Inaccessibility” on the continent. What that “POI” term means is that it is situated as far away from a coastline in every direction as you can get on Antarctica.

Famously, the Russians who now inhabit Vostok Station have been involved in a deep drilling experiment to access the unfrozen fresh waters of Lake Vostok, which lies some 13,000 feet beneath the glacial surface that Vostok Station sits upon. Speculations about what sorts of primeval life – the lake has been sealed off from the rest of the planet for fifteen million years – might inhabit the lake cause one to shake and quiver with horror.

Truly – who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Soviets were goofy for drilling deep holes into the Earth, it should be mentioned.

Their “Kolskaya sverkhglubokaya skvazhina,” or Kola Superdeep Borehole, not too far from their border with Finland on the Barents Sea, managed to penetrate down better than 40,000 feet. The rocks and geological layers that their drills reached to date back to the Archaen Age, which are about two and a half billion years old. The Kola project was abandoned in 2008, and the Russian Federation made it a point of not just destroying the facility and equipment, but capping the hole with reinforced concrete and steel. They likely had their reasons. What is held in the deep earth is not something that mankind truly wishes cognizance of, and were its contents to become widely known… Incidentally, Kola is the supposed location where that “well dug to hell” recording was captured, but that’s just an Internet meme, right?

Deeper holes have been drilled since Kola, in pursuance of hydrocarbon deposits nearby Russia’s Sakhalin Island in the Northern Pacific Ocean, and in the Persian Gulf by Qatar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My recovery from the startling and outré Monkey incident accomplished, a humble narrator decided it was time to return to Queens, where my delicate sensibilities might be better coddled, cultivated, and wrapped in vibrant diversity than here in Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo.

On the whole “poles of inaccessibility” thing, I’d suggest study of the village of Suluk in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is one of the so called “cradles of nations” and likely the most inaccessible place in Eurasia. Closer to home, the United States’s “POI” is called Corn Creek, and it’s in Allen, South Dakota. Allen is, coincidentally, the poorest county in the entire United States and the median family income thereabouts is $3,819 per annum, and that is all the justification you’ll ever need to hear for the importance of loving someplace with a harbor or port nearby.

Hell, $3,800 won’t even get you one month in a closet sized studio in Williamsburg.

The geographic center of New York State is in Madison County, and is around a half hour drive from Utica.

The geographic center of NYC is on the “Boulevard of Death” – the middle of Queens Blvd. at 58th street – according to the NYC Dept. of City Planning. There’s a brass plaque and everything on the spot, and it’s one of the places where a humble narrator likes to shout out “Tekelele, Tekelele” at passing traffic.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. […] Btw, did a whole post on the Penguins at Central Park Zoo last year – click here. […]


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