The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few last shots from the Gateway Clipper excursion which Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself enjoyed on a crisp and cool evening in Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh back in early December. That’s the Ft. Pitt Bridge pictured above, spanning the Monongahela River.

As mentioned earlier in the week, one has become rather adept at predicting the somewhat tidal nature of the Covid pandemic. I knew a high tide would be arriving around Christmas and New Year’s. It’s logarithmic mathematics we’re living through, ultimately. Viruses are essentially random number generators, and not unlike genetic slot machines. A single slot machine will pay off rarely, but if you put enough of the mechanisms in one place, there’s a payout occurring somewhere in the room once an hour.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Covid genie is out of the bottle. It’s going to be reclassified as “endemic” pretty soon, which means that the state of emergency will end and we will just have to learn to live (or die) with it. If, like a humble narrator, you find yourself infected with it after you’ve been vaccinated – there’s an uncomfortable couple of days ahead of you. If you’re not vaccinated… that’s where that random number generator side comes in. Is it a jackpot of symptoms, or did you break even?

Pictured above is the skyline of downtown Pittsburgh, as seen from the start of the Ohio River, where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers combine.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I spotted this push boat tug moving barges around while the Gateway Clipper was returning to dock along the Allegheny River.

You can recognize a logarithmic statistic when you see a graph and it looks like a hockey stick – 2×2 is 4×4 is 16×16 and so on. If you see your income taking on the shape of a hockey stick – Mazel Tov, and you should be purchasing bonds and other tax or inflation proof financial instruments to vouchsafe your windfall. If the hockey stick is going down, apply for a second job where you can work nights for a bit of extra income. If you see infection rates in your area “hockey sticking” then this is a pretty lousy time to hang around in bars.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back on land, I spotted the “T” – Pittsburgh’s light rail train – entering a tunnel cut through the base of Mt. Washington. Signage indicated that this tunnel was exclusively for the use of mass transit, which also included buses.

We were heading up to the top of Mt. Washington, where a rented AirBNB apartment was our home base for the weekend. We also planned on getting dinner up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick ride on the Monongahela Incline carried us up and over. By the time we reached the top, the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself had slipped away and twilight consumed Pittsburgh.

Now, my plan for this weekend involved doing some night time shooting – using tripod and shutter release and all the usual bells and whistles. Saying that, Our Lady of the Pentacle was going to be flying home a day earlier than I. I wouldn’t be boarding the Amtrak train back to home sweet hell until Monday morning, whereas Our Lady was leaving on Sunday evening. My plan was to spend the alone time shooting, but more on that particular disaster next week.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few hand held shots would have to do for now. We were hungry, she was cold, and both of us were a bit tired after having shlepped around as visiting tourists all day. It was time for a beer, and meal, and a good night’s sleep.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

Posted in AMTRAK, railroad

Tagged with ,

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