The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘bee’ Category

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A splash of color for a gray world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is not having a good week, and as it’s only Tuesday, portent does not offer much in the way of hope. The weather isn’t helping, either. This gray, misty, and unseasonably warm climate is depressing. Accordingly, since I haven’t been doing too much in the way of shooting for the last week or two, the archives have been accessed in pursuit of color and polychrome light. Consider this a public service from your Newtown Pentacle.

Or don’t, I’m too numb to care.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This whole climate change business seems fairly obvious now, don’t it? The butterfly in the shot above is the one responsible, and I was there when it flapped its wings.

I should be living inside a hoodie sweatshirt by this time of the year, damnit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It feels like we didn’t get a “spring” in 2018, and that the summer was composed merely of the uncomfortably humid and hot days and punctuated by rain. Bah!


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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm

muffled evidences

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It’s National Trail Mix Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is indulging in a bit of down time this week, and single images will be greeting you from now until Labor Day on September 4th. I should mention that I, and the rest of the Working Harbor Committee, will be spending the week preparing for and organizing the 25th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race on the morning of September 3rd. The festivities will be occurring at Pier 43 over in Manhattan (nearby the Intrepid museum) and there’s an opportunity to get out on the water during the race onboard a Circleline Spectator boat if that’s your bag. For full details visit the workingharbor site.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 31, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in bee, insects

Tagged with , , ,

scarcely envisage

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The future is smaller than you’d think it is, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I’m in a bit of a Kafkaesque mood today, I figured I’d run a few pictures of some bugs I’ve met over the years. Bugs are like little war machines, and I’ve never been able to understand why the MIT types go to such pains reinventing the wheel when building robots and drones instead of just following nature’s solution. Why build one big hard to replace war robot when what you really want are a swarm of little cheap guys to do your nefarious bidding?

Also, bugs like that wasp pictured above might be a lot easier to enslave than you’d think. Imagine, what could you get done with an army of millions of ants doing your bidding? You’d certainly be able to “move that rubber tree plant,” despite the pop cultural aphorisms. If we could get control over the Termites, they could potentially build homes and cities for us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Big Agra” is what my environmentalist buddies would call a company like Monsanto, who are the ExxonMobil of planting things and feeding animals. I’m sure they’ve got a staffer working on changing the preferences of this butterfly specie, or that one, so that instead of liking to visit and fertilize Milkweed or other pest crops, they would instead prefer to visit rye or wheat stalks. They’re also likely working on military applications for their butterfly technology. Butterflies who spy, or Butterlfies who disseminate toxins to an enemy’s fields?

Imagine a United States Marines Tactical Butterfly unit. I’d like to think the insect’s wings would be a camouflage pattern.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Weaponizing the bees and hornets would likely be the easiest thing to do. Everything I’ve ever read about bees suggest that just like termite mounds and ant nests, you have to consider the hive as being the living organism rather than consideing members of the community as individuals. A bee, or ant, isn’t very formidable on its own. When their Queen excretes the right sequence of pheromone triggers, however, the hive operates as a single organism. What you’re looking at above is actually a single cell of a far larger entity, programmed by an intelligence not its own to perform a task.

I would hope that the Marines get the tactical Butterflies, and that the Army gets the weaponized Bees.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 20, 2016 at 11:00 am

admixture or connection

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Busy, busy, buzzy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one of those annoyances which distract one from productive pursuits is a certain inclination corporate America has developed in the last few years. It seems that just as our elected and municipal officials seem to have largely forgotten whom their constituents actually are, so too have our corporate entities developed a lack of understanding as to what the nature of the “customer/services provider” relationship entails. A certain amount of pique, therefore, drove my steps as I headed over to a storefront outpost of a certain bank which has enjoyed collecting the fees associated with my various bits of financial business for nearly three decades in order to identify myself. The fact that they were able to reach me on the phone, and send me mail, was immaterial.

It seems that some new set of internal rules which their drones had determined as being necessary to safeguard the world from terror was missing from my account information, and it was the duty of the customer (me) to come to them and dot their “i’s” and cross their “t’s.” The consequences for not doing so would be dire, with accounts closed and an inability to remove my limited funds from their institution without supplying them with the information which they so recently decided was required anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It should be mentioned that the account in question was opened in 1987, an era when a young Joe Piscopo taught America how to laugh and Saint Reagan was in office down in Washington. Upon arriving at the bank, the manager I sat down with (they don’t wear suits and ties anymore, these bank managers. Rather it’s corporate branded polo shirts) was informed that since his institution was wasting my time in a vociferous fashion, so too would this process take as long as it possibly could for him. I apologized in advance and got started.

One launched into an extensive conversation about the history of colonial Woodside and Maspeth, the trade relationships between the Nieuwe Stadt and Boswijck colonies along Newtown Creek during the Dutch colonial period, my thoughts about the current Mayor, and my opposition to the Mayor’s proposed Sunnyside Yards development. Discussion of the current state of the Mets, where to get a good egg sandwich in Astoria, and the relative merits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ensued.

After wasting after forty minutes of the gentleman’s time, I decided that I was satisfied and supplied him with the requested paperwork. He disappeared into the back room to make photocopies for their files and then returned telling me “you’re all set.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happily ensconced in the comfort of knowing that my accounts were not going to be frozen for the sin of not supplying 2015 era information to the institution back in 1987, one found himself wandering back in the general direction of HQ for around 15 minutes. That’s when my phone rang, and the manager announced that his photocopier had malfunctioned. A second trip to the bank was then called for, and this time I opted not to take it easy on them.

Using my tour guide voice to ensure that everybody in the bank, and likely in neighboring store fronts, could hear me – a long soliloquy began. This time I covered subjects ranging from the Rockefellers to LeCorbusier, mentioned a few bits about Robert Moses and the construction of the Whitestone Bridge, the declining quality of Italian style food in Western Queens, and how much enjoyment I find watching “The Strain” television show on the FX network which tells the story of a vampire takeover of NYC. Ending with the analogy that large financial institutions like the one I started a checking account with back in 1987 are in fact the true vampires of our modern age, I was handed back my paperwork and told “you’re all set.”

You waste my time, I’m going to waste yours.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 10, 2015 at 11:00 am

mad and fantastic

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Busy bees, and misanthropy, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The insect above was busily raiding Our Lady of the Pentacle’s herb garden one recent afternoon. Accordingly, I chased it around from blossom to blossom with a camera and flash. Soon, it was chasing me around. Such is my lot. The bee was merely attempting to shoo a representative of NYC’s human infestation away, something for which I can hardly blame it. There’s too many of us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One shouldn’t be surprised at the various indignities and inequities commonly experienced along the daily round, I suppose, given that many of the places I find myself have the word “hell” in their place names. Over in Manhattan’s Hells Kitchen, for instance, this taxi garage was queerly devoid of human habitation. A good start, I guess, but there’s still too many of us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Down on the Lower East Side, in an area once known as “Jew town,” this laundromat scene reminded me of certain Edward Hopper paintings. The facility was offering the humans housed therein a chance to remove the soils and bodily excreta which had accreted into their textile garb – using a variety of semi caustic chemicals, detergents, and mechanically agitated hot water. There’s way too many of us, and I fear that what this city could really use is a good plague.

Someday a real rain will come and wash these streets clean…

Sorry for the misanthropy, I get a bit “Travis Bickle” when my back hurts…

“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”

photo courtesy wikipedia

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Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, September 27th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, September 28th, The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

inspired dreamer

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124 years ago today, an outsider was thrust roughly into the world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If the squamous gods of our own world do not care about you, what causes you to believe that those whose realm is cosmic would even take notice of an unimportant mortal speck living on a muddy world which – from their unknowable and unguessable point of view – has only recently coalesced from star stuff and debris? Were you to find yourself lying prone, naked, and cowering before some galactic, universal, or pan dimensional deity whose regency includes whole galaxies – realizing the true horror of the universe in that moment, and the inconsequential role which terrestrial life plays in it – would you go mad with the realization of the futility of life itself or would a blood vessel burst in your brain? Would you rise to your knees, begging to join some hidden cult which worships the titan, or stare unblinkingly at its manifest radiance until your eyes boiled away? One is incapable of anticipating what ones reaction to a pulsing nucleonic horror found at the center of our universe that is called Azathoth would be, nor what beholding the so called “goat with a thousand young” which is both the gate and the key called Yog Sothoth might do to you, but one would certainly be forever altered and held under their sway afterwards. We are but men, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These star born – or Elder Gods – whose machinations stretch back billions of years and into other dimensions and realities where our paltry notion of the constancy of physics and the true nature of the universe are revealed as childish fantasy – enjoy the devotion of uncountable servitors. Their servants, who are the true rulers of the earth, are in the air and the water and burrow into the ground unmatched and unheralded. None inquire as to their purpose, for none have realized that theirs is a plan which has survived more than one extinction event. The cities of the Old Ones, at the so called Mountains of Madness in fabled Antarctica, and those of the ruggose cone shaped Elder Race (which drifted into their current position as the continents formed) in the deserts of Arabia and Australia demonstrate that at the end of all things – only the Conqueror Worm claims victory. The so called insects have a plan, and they created this biosphere of ours only to increase their food supply, as a stock yard. Deep below the Pacific Ocean, their paymaster lies not dead but dreaming instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hundred and twenty four years ago, a set of ideas was born at 194 Angell Street in Providence, Rhode Island. The product of Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft and Winfield Scott Lovecraft, the child grew into a strange and lonely but quite erudite man who always considered himself an outsider in the world to which he was born. His name was Howard. His pen name was H.P. Lovecraft, and today (all this week, actually) we celebrate the day of his birth at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

habitual association

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is childish for me to believe in anyone or anything beyond myself, it seems. In truth, the number of good men I have known in my life can be counted on one hand, and I do not consider myself one of them. Do not think that this handful are or were saints, they just held to a code of ethical behavior and behaved in a consistent fashion with their moral compass. History teaches that such men are few and far between, of course, and that the vast majority of those within the human hive are merely degenerate refugees from the monkey tribe- cowardly, bestial, restive, and capable of nothing but criminal and personal defilement.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I have always believed in certain principles, attempted to adhere to some sort of personal code. Rules are rules, and one of mine is “Say what you do, and do what you say.” Watching those incapable of such turpitude wriggle and splash in the ooze would afford me amusement, were I an evil man. If religion or the rule of law were my trip, condemnation and punishment would be all consuming passions- but all I ever aspire to be is a good man, and seeing those who should know better transgress this threshold between right and wrong just makes me sad.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are things you do not wish to invoke upon yourself. You never want to say any phrase containing the word “fuck” to an on duty New York City Police Officer, for instance, nor get into a drinking contest with Russians or Koreans. Never date a woman who is named after a luxury car, and if you find a dusty book of incantations in some cabin in the woods- do not read from that book aloud. You have no idea what it is you might call into existence.

Upcoming tours:

The Insalubrious Valley– Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 13, 2013 at 12:18 am

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