The Newtown Pentacle

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…this one’s for the birds

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Washington, whose actual birthday is on February 22, would have avoided shopping on this holiday- I would think.

Have no doubt that the American Augustus had significant material aspirations and enjoyed a lifestyle that could only be maintained by a subjugate army of slaves, but I’d like to believe that he would be resistant to having his birthday celebrated with a crass and consumerist bacchanal.

I like to think he’d be embarrassed, but as I’m a non-slaver, it’s difficult for me to imagine the mindset of the “founding fathers”.

from wikipedia

Titled Washington’s Birthday, the federal holiday was originally implemented by the United States Congress in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia (20 Stat. 277) and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices (23 Stat. 516). As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. On 1 January 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This date places it between February 15 and 21, which makes the name “Washington’s Birthday” a misnomer, since it never lands on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents’ Day to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, but this proposal failed in committee and the bill as voted on and signed into law on 28 June 1968, kept the name Washington’s Birthday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

February 15th is also Susan B. Anthony‘s birthday, who is at least as important to our republic as its founder. If Washington was indeed Augustus, Anthony was Trajan. Speaking of pagan times, incidentally, today is the third day of Lupercalia – a Roman spring cleaning ritual that is also known as Februa. The particular deity of this ancient rite is Februus– an Etruscan god of malaria- although its the ritual that lends its name to the calendrical month, not the god.

Closer to home, February 15th is also the birthday of a man who sired one of Astoria’s most important families– Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg.

from wikipedia

Because of the unstable political climate in Germany, Steinweg decided to leave the country. He emigrated from Braunschweig to New York City in 1851 with four of his sons, but before leaving he gave the company to his son, Theodor Steinweg. Once in New York, he anglicized his name to Henry E. Steinway, and he and his sons worked for other piano companies until they could establish their own production under the name of Steinway & Sons in 1853.

The overstrung scale in a square piano earned the Steinway Piano first prize at the New York Industrial Fair of 1855.[3] In 1862 they gained the first prize in London in competition with the most eminent makers in Europe; and this victory was followed in 1867 by a similar success at the Universal exposition in Paris. According to Franz Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, and other high authorities, the Steinways have done more to advance the durability, action, and tone-quality of their instruments than any other makers of Europe or America.

He and his wife, Juliane, had seven children: Albert Steinway, Charles H. Steinway, Christian Friedrich Theodor Steinweg, Doretta Steinway, Henry Steinway, Jr., Wilhelmina Steinway and William Steinway.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Thawing Thursday linkage

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Lovecraftia-

Well, it seems that the Deep Ones have been spotted in Antarctica by the Japanese. They dare much, these Deep Ones, for the city of the Old Ones– infested with Shoggoths– still awaits rediscovery atop the Earth’s forbidden peaks at the austral pole. Has to be, because Lovecraft was actually right about a lot of things- although his racial politics were distasteful even by the standard of his times.

photo from Pinktentacle.com

The Ningen, ladies and lords, and the glory that is pinktentacle.com.

The Occult-

Check out the story of an Orthodox Jewish exorcism, which is part of an ongoing Dibuk Possession at failedmessiah.com

Politics-

Check out Geoff Dyer’s comparisons of the British and American mindset at nytimes.com

Discredited, but worth a look-

Miss Murray’s Witch Cult in Western Europe

Tragedy in Haiti

Looks like a 100,000 may have died in the Earthquake on Tuesday. 48 tons of emergency supplies and 2,000 Marines are onboard speedy ships coming to help dig out, set up field hospitals, and facilitate law and order. An air craft carrier and multiple support vessels are enroute as well. The Coast Guard just arrived to set up communications and air traffic control. It is time to live up to our national mythology, and damn the cost of it. Count on the national government to find a way to focus the charitable urges of the nation- a flood of donations and canned food drives- with shipping arranged by some friendly corporation. The Mexicans are a rather large presence in the region as well, and don’t be surprised if even Cuba shows up to help.

And- America must resist the urge to “fix” Haiti during reconstruction in any way except to leave behind a staggering amount of useful stuff. Our national will has tried to “fix” Haiti several times before and it hasn’t worked out very well for anyone concerned. Haitians are clever, just broke. They can do a lot more with a cord of lumber and a set of tools than they can with a paper grocery bag full of cash, and there’s enough unsold raw material sitting around in American warehouses and factory docks to build a stairway to the moon out of PVC pipes and drywall.

This is the head of the snake, of course, and a vast conveyor belt of aid is being loaded up all over the East Coast. America is coming, and this is when we are at our national best- when our friends are in trouble. The Eagles are coming.

note: Growing up in Brooklyn, I knew A LOT of Haitian families, and my heart goes out for the people of Port Au Prince. There are so many Haitians in Brooklyn, by the way, that this may as well have happened to New York. God speed, good luck, hold on for a couple of days and stay warm- the Cavalry is just on the other side of the hill… hopefully.

For Google’s listing of organizations working on Haiti relief efforts, click here.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 14, 2010 at 5:14 am

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Wednesday linkage

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, it seems that the “In the Cold Waste” postings (1, 2, and 3) from last week stirred the fecal material a little bit when LIQcity and Queenscrap linked into them. If you’re inclined, check out the comment threads on their posts, my favorite one by far is from an anonymous commenter at LIQcity that said “The Newtown Pentacle person has to learn to write. I feel like Liberace or Elton John are his inspiration“.

If you want to hurt me, compare me to some latter day August Derleth, or call me an unlettered and revisionist neo-prudentialitarian with no scholarly legs to stand on- but Elton John? I’m just interested in stuff, some guy in a filthy black raincoat on the side of the road, nobody cares what I think but I still have the right to an opinion or two. Conversely, I can and will defend my opinions and admit when I’m wrong.

Maybe I do find the story of Liberace somewhat inspirational. I do prefer Elton’s vocals on “Pinball Wizard” from the movie album to the straight up Daltrey version.

– photo from wikipedia

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Discomforting and odd as it is, the theme music for most days is not Liberace or Elton John, it’s actually sides 2 & 3 of “The Wall“-

and speaking of England… Check out this post at BoingBoing about the “war on Photography” over in Britain.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also, I haven’t mentioned the podcast bliss that is Dan Carlin, have I? If podcasting could win an Academy Award, Dan would own many little statues for his recent “Ostfront” episodes of the Hardcore History series, exploring the deep history of the War on the Eastern Front between Nazi and Soviet during World War 2 (proving the point that you never want to piss off a Russian in his house, those people are insane and cannot be beaten on their home turf).

Ostfront factoid: During a spell of severe weather which had destroyed a road, the Russians marched their German POW’s to a ditch and forced them to lie down in it- spaced out in regular intervals. The Soviets poured water into the ditch, allowing the russian winter to freeze the dead solid and build them a corduroy road out of their enemies. Don’t screw around with a Russian in his house. Crazy.

Carlin’s “Common Sense” show is the most cogent discussion of modern politics I’ve been able to find anywhere. Available through iTunes, Podcast Alley, and others, follow this link to dancarlin.com to check out the king of the hill and listen to some actual editorial journalism.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

And just as a note, today, January 6, is Three kings Day.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 6, 2010 at 4:44 am

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Remember, Remember- the 21st of December

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Pour me a drink and I’ll tell you some lies – photo by Mitch Waxman

An axial tilt of loathsome memories, shifting identities, and unrealized vengeance torments your humble narrator and makes him thankful that December 21st is, indeed, the shortest day of the year. The long nocturne of the Solstice, however, is no cause for celebration here in the Newtown Pentacle.

Solstice indicates that the Famine Months of January and February are upon us. The ancient Hellenes would enact the barbarous Lenaia bacchanal on solstice, and the Maenads would feast upon human flesh. It was also the central night of a week long Babylonian festival called Zagmuk, a celebration of divine Marduk’s victory over the darkness called the Anunnaki and their champion- the chaos dragon Tiamat. In modernity, in the nation of Mali, the Amma Cult of the atavist Dogon will sing and offer boiled millet at the conical altar of their high god.

from dailyworldbuzz.com

Today is the Celebration of Winter Solstice Traditions – Monday, December 21, 2009 marks the Winter Solstice traditions, and this is the announcement of the official start of the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter Solstice is also known as Yule.

More precisely, winter solstice will take place at 12:47 pm EST (1747 GMT) on Dec. 21. It is a date that will also mark the shortest day and longest night.

Winter solstice falls every year around Dec. 21. It is because of the earth’s axial tilt, which is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. At this time of the year, the sun is closer to the horizon, thus giving out least amount of daylight therefore shortening the day and lengthening the night.

But there is a bright side to it. Starting Tuesday, the days will start getting longer, leading to summer solstice, which in 2010 will fall on June 21. At that time, the day will be the longest with the daytime lasting for about 15 hours compared to 9 hours on Monday.

Long Island City is ready for an undead invasion, so are parts of Greenpoint – photo by Mitch Waxman

Tonight- Cernunnos- the Horned God of the Wiccans, who the Arabs call Dhu’l Qarnayn, will be reborn after being ritually slain on October 31st.

December 21st is a special day in history, signs and portents abound.

Disraeli and Stalin were born in 1879 and 1804 respectively, Pierre and Marie Curie identified radium in 1898, Elvis had his famous meeting with Nixon in 1970, Ireland finally won its independence from a large and aggressive neighbor in 1948 and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered in 1937. Oh… and then there was Apollo 8.

from wikipedia

Apollo 8 was the first human spaceflight mission to achieve a velocity sufficient to allow escape from the gravitational field of planet Earth; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to planet Earth from another celestial body – Earth’s Moon.

shot on June 21st 2009 – Summer Solstice – photo by Mitch Waxman

Do not be surprised if you see oddly costumed people beating out unfamiliar melodies on drums today as you make your way around the great metropolitan city. Gatherings of initiates are sure to form, and wild orgiastic dancing will ensue.

Can you be sure, were you to find yourself caught up in some modern celebration in Long Island City or Greenpoint, that you weren’t in the company of flesh eating Maenads? Or that you hadn’t become one yourself? Your humble narrator, lords and ladies of Newtown, will be casting one eager eye at that rivulet of arrested misery called the Newtown Creek- in particular.

from souledout.org

At certain ancient cairns in Ireland the sun only reaches deep inside on the winter solstice, only on that one day is the inner chamber lit … like the celestial body of male Sun impregnating the Mother Earth with rays of light.

At the winter solstice the sun reaches its southernmost position in the northern hemisphere perspective (**), and begins to move northward as it enters into the cardinal, earth sign Capricorn. Through the ages, the period when the sun moves northward again ~ from the winter solstice to the summer solstice ~ has been regarded as a festival season. In many lands and civilizations the winter solstice season has been associated with the coming of a Sun-God to save the world ~ bringing light and fruitfulness to the earth, and bringing hope to humanity.

Gabled roof of netherlandish design, windows glowing with a strange colour, Astoria Church – photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, this whole rumination on the Solstice takes place against the dominant culture’s winter holiday season. For the better part of a month, ritual feasting and familial gift giving consumes the modern mind. This period of the year, beginning with “Thanksgiving”, culminates in Advent/Yule/Christmas and ends with celebration of a calendar cycling.

1,096 days ago, I was in a hospital bed, and hadn’t yet experienced the pale ecstasies found in the glass strewn alleys and loamy graveyards of the Newtown Pentacle. 26,309 hours ago

The darkest day, the longest night- my hour of the wolf is an interval of brutal introspections- here at Pentacle HQ in the ice choked heart of Astoria.

Note: Please say a quiet devotion for the ever patient and long suffering “Our lady of the Pentacle” today… she’s going to have to put up with and listen to this kind of maudlin revisionist crap all day…

from wikipedia

In many countries Advent was long marked by diverse popular observances, some of which still survive. In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a custom (now extinct) for poor women to carry around the “Advent images”, two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A halfpenny coin was expected from every one to whom these were exhibited and bad luck was thought to menace the household not visited by the doll-bearers before Christmas Eve at the latest.

In Normandy, farmers employed children under twelve to run through the fields and orchards armed with torches, setting fire to bundles of straw, and thus it is believed driving out such vermin as are likely to damage the crops. In Italy, among other Advent celebrations, is the entry into Rome in the last days of Advent of the Calabrian pifferari, or bagpipe players, who play before the shrines of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Italian tradition being that the shepherds played these pipes when they came to the manger at Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus. It is the second most important tradition behind Easter for Roman Catholics.

In recent times the commonest observance of Advent outside church circles has been the keeping of an advent calendar or advent candle, with one door being opened in the calendar, or one section of the candle being burned, on each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve.

and just as a note: December 21 is also the anniversary of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock and getting the whole “America thing” started.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 21, 2009 at 6:28 am

Some old movies

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sometimes, a humble narrator needs to admit defeat, kick off his shoes (which are showing signs of having picked up some of that queer colour observed around the odd shimmerings of the Newtown Creek) and soak in some passive entertainment.

courtesy of the Prelinger archives at archive.org

1940 ethnic New York

Focusing in on the “new community” concept of the ethnic melting pot in 1940. This is Roosevelt era propaganda, incidentally. First push to what NewSpeak calls multiculturalism (not for it or against it, just what it is).

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page link with info and multiple movie versions:

512k MP4 movie link

Unfit For the Living (ca. 1949)-

Robert Moses Propaganda, selling Public Housing as Panacea. Shows building of Alfred E. Smith Houses and makes the case for slum clearance with the promise of an ideal life in New York City Public Housing Projects.

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page link with info and multiple movie versions:

512k MP4 movie link

Social Class in America (ca. 1957)-

One of the “nose on your face” third rail topics in American Politics, which is not discussed in a modern “identity politic” defined culture. Poor people have a whole lot more in common with each other as a social class than they do with their ethnic groups. Dividing the city into groups based on how they comb their hair is Tammany Hall at its finest, there’s only 2 groups- the bosses and everyone else.

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page link with info and multiple movie versions:

512k MP4 movie link

Manhattan Waterfront (ca. 1937)-

Incredible infrastructure pornography for the tugboat and bridge fetishist crowd. Shots from Shore Road by Astoria Park of Hellgate and Triboro Bridges. Also, Manhattan waterfront shanty towns of indigent labor- not something that normally gets edited into the story of heroic modern New York.

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page link with info and multiple movie versions:

512k MP4 movie link

One of the money shots in the film is contrasted by the photo below, shot in summer of 2009.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despotism (ca. 1946)-

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A terrifying warning from “the greatest Generation” about how to determine how close to despotism your community is- which virtually predicts the modern United States after the first decade of the 21st century. Really, watch this one, scariest thing you’ll see today.

page link with info and multiple movie versions:

512k MP4 movie link

– photo by Mitch Waxman

and just as a note: December 18 is Robert Moses’s Birthday.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 18, 2009 at 1:22 am

Posted in linkage, New York Harbor

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Back amongst the living

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Wasn’t it nice of this movie production (an Angelina Jolie flick no less) to be setting up for a shoot at the end of the Queenboro Centennial Parade? – photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Pentacle Cemetery Month went a little long, by about an extra month and a half, sorry. We’ll be out and amongst the living city for a awhile. I promise.

Although I’ve got a few Calvary Cemetery posts “in my pocket”, I’m going to hold off the graveyard stuff for a bit, and need to go do some shooting and research at Mount Olivet anyway.

Here’s a few interesting links, including a “things to do” happening in the Subway.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Linkage, and its Gettysburg Address day

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It’s the Eastern Orthodox feast day of Obadiah, and the anniversary of Christopher Columbus stepping his european foot on Puerto Rico.

Lostcity has been drilling down through the years on the enigmatic origins of the Brooks Restaurant in Long Island City.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel?

I am ashamed. For years, I’ve told myself: “One day, I’m going to get to the bottom of the mystery of 1890 Brooks Restaurant in Long Island City, and uncover its shrouded history.” But sloth and inertia took over, and now intrepid reader Ian Schoenherr is having all the “Eureka!”s.

via Lost City: The Light at the End of the Tunnel?.

just a warning, the bulleted links below lead to BRUTAL nature photos and GRAPHIC footage, if you’d rather not think about such things or are squeamish, feel free to skip these links:

Today is the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, as well.

Here’s the little 10 sentence speech that Lincoln was rumored to have scribbled down on the back of an envelope.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Posted in linkage, Uncategorized

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