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It’s National Pizza Day, in these United States.

One seems to get around a lot, visiting all of these distaff corners of New York City, and always traveling either on foot or by Subway or some combination of the two. It occurred to me, suddenly, to take stock of my “ABC’s” and figure out which Subway lines have escaped my camera. As it turns out, I seem to have zero shots of the “Z,” “L,” “6,” or the Staten Island lines in my library, and there doesn’t seem to be anything representing the Times Square shuttle in there either. I do seem to have most everything else, and will make it a point in the coming weeks to fill in the missing stuff. Hey… it’s not like I just ride the trains taking pictures… well, OK, I do that occasionally… I get these shots when I’m going back and forth to places.

OK, this post is going to display a towering amount of nerd.

A is for aardvark, I’m told. It’s also the designation for the IND Eighth Avenue Express of MTA’s B Division, and the A ranges between 207th street in Manhattan and either Far Rockaway or Richmond Hill in Queens – depending on its mood. Service on the A line started on the 10th of September in 1932.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The B line, over in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay Road station.

Another IND line, the Sixth Avenue Express has an extremely complicated schedule that changes at seemingly random parts of the day and week. On weekdays, between nine in the morning and eleven at night it’s likely going to be somewhere between Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and 145th street in Harlem, but then there’s the rush hour exception which takes it to the Bronx. Service on the B line started on the 15th of December in 1940.

It’s all very complicated, and B is Byzantine, and for B Division.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The C, at some transfer station deep under central Brooklyn.

Nineteen miles long, the route of the IND Eighth Avenue Local is. One end of the line is all the way uptown in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at 168th street, the other is at Fulton Street in Brooklyn. It’s also in the MTA’s B Division. C is for counting the days until the MTA finally retires these 1964 era “R32 model” trains from service. Service on the C line started on the 1st of July in 1933.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The D, out at Coney Island in Brooklyn.

B Division, R68 cars, IND, incredibly long route to service – that’s the Sixth Avenue Express, or D train, at a terminal stop in Brooklyn, and the other end is found up in the Norwood section of the Bronx at 205th street. D is for “damn, there’s 41 stations on the D.” Service on the D Line started on December 15th, in 1940.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The E, rolling into LIC’s Court Square in Queens.

Service on the E, or IND Eighth Avenue Local, line started on the 19th of August in 1933. It goes from Jamaica in Queens to lower Manhattan (with a couple of late night extras, depending on time and such) and is part of MTA’s B Division. E is for “Express” when it’s running along the IND Queens Blvd. tracks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The F at 34th street, over in Manhattan.

Another IND B Division train, the Sixth Avenue Local or F line is a local train that has an impossibly long route. It spans from Jamaica in Queens to Coney Island in Brooklyn, crossing through 45 stations. Service on the F line started on the 15th of December in 1940. F is for “how ‘effin long is this ride to Coney going to take?”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Franklin Avenue Shuttle, Brooklyn.

A BMT line, this four stop long shuttle itself was created in 1963, and formally became called “Franklin Avenue Shuttle” on the 1st of November in 1965. The cool thing here is that these tracks were part of the original BMT Brighton Beach line which opened in 1878. FS is for “fs, how long am I going to wait here, I could have walked it by now.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The G entering Smith/9th street, high over Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal, in Brooklyn.

The G Crosstown Local is only 11.4 miles long, is an IND line in MTA’s B Division, spanning from Queen’s Long Island City to Brooklyn’s Church Avenue. The G has 21 stations to hit, and opened for business on August 19th of 1933.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A twofer, with the J and M side by side on the Williamsburg Bridge over the East River.

The Nassau Street Local/Express is what the MTA calls the J train, which goes from Jamaica Center to Manhattan’s Broad Street, covering some 30 stations along the route it shares with the Z. The B Division train follows the route of an original 1893 BMT route, but J service as we know it didn’t exist until November of 1949. J is for “Jesus, how do I not have any shots of the Z?”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A proper shot of the M, under Astoria’s Broadway.

The M, or Sixth Avenue Local, in another IND B Division line. It starts and ends in Queens, at Forest Hills on one side and Middle Village on the other, but along the way it loops through midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn while servicing some 36 stations. Service started on July 14th in 1914. M is for “Marcy,” and “Myrtle,” and “Metropolitan.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on Broadway in Western Queens’ Astoria, that’s the N entering its elevated station.

The BMT Broadway Express runs from Ditmars Boulevard in Queens to Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn’s Coney Island, serving 45 stations. The line opened on June 22 of 1915. N is for “Nice lighting up there.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Q, at Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

The BMT Broadway Express used to live in Astoria, with the N, but when the Second Avenue Subway opened it started hanging around with the rich kids on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It travels from 96th street – along the Second Avenue Subway tracks – then switches to the Broadway Line tracks, and heads all the way out to Coney Island. There’s another complicated 1878 story I could tell you, but the modern day Q started service on the 1st of August in 1920. Q is for “damnit, I get a Q every damn time I play scrabble.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The R, entering Queens Plaza.

The IND Broadway Local has another huge route, moving between Forest Hills in Queens and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, covering 45 stations. Service on this B Division line started on January 15th in 1916. R is for “aging rolling stock.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Rockaway Park Shuttle, out on some sandbar in Jamaica Bay.

It’s only got 5 stations to cover, and is a relative newcomer to NYC having come into service on June 28 in 1956, but this IND shuttle line connects the western end of the Rockaway Penninsula to the A line. I haven’t got anything an “RPS” is for…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 1 line, at 14th street in Manhattan.

Moving between Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and Manhattan’s South Ferry, this A Division train started service on October 27th of 1904. It’s the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Local if you ask the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 2 line, on elevated tracks in the Bronx.

The IRT Seventh Avenue Express is an A Division line. Providing service between 241st Street/Wakefield in the Bronx and the Flatbush Avenue Juction nearby Brooklyn College, the 2 covers 61 stations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 3 line, entering either the 72nd or 96th street station on Manhhattan’s Upper West Side.

The IRT Seventh Avenue Express moves between 148th street in Manhattan’s Harlem and New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn. Service on this A Division line began in 1904, on the 23rd of November.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 4, entering the Bowling Green station in Manhattan.

That’s the IRT Lexington Avenue Express, an A Division line which services traffic between Crown Heights in Brooklyn and Woodlawn in the Bronx. Service began on June 2, 1917.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the 5, heading south into Manhattan’s 59th st./Lexington Avenue station.

IRT Lexington Avenue Express, that’s what MTA calls this A Division line. It’s another one of the lines which has differentiated routes depending on what day or time it is – but it goes from either Nereid or Dyre Avenue in the Bronx to Flatbush Avenue Junction or New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn after passing through all of Manhattan and services 45 stations. Service began on October 27th, 1904.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last – but never least – the most photogenic of NYC’s subway lines, the 7 as it curves out of LIC’s Court Square station in Queens.

The IRT Flushing Local and Flushing Express are A Division trains, operating between Flushing in Queens and Hudson Yards in Manhattan. Service started on June 22 of 1915.

Now – it seems that I need to conjure up some reason to go to Staten Island, ride and photograph the L, Z, and 6 lines, then take that shuttle at Times Square… and then I think I’ve got them all… am I blanking out on anything – oh Internet hive mind?


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

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It’s National Frozen Yogurt Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not too much to tell you today, lords and ladies, other than to describe and share photos from a recent excursion which took me to Flushing for a social event. It’s on evenings like this, when I’m not consciously “working” that my pathologies are most fully on display. One just cannot stop taking pictures, as Queens is just too marvelous for words and nobody believes it until you show them. My journey from “Point A” in Astoria led me to Jackson Heights, where one secured a transfer from the sepulchral depths of the IND lines to the elevated IRT Flushing Line which carried me eastwards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My arrival in ancient Flushing, at the so called “Main Street” stop, coincided with the local gendarmes performing their duties. My assumption, based on observable behaviors, is that the small statured fellow in the shot above had overly indulged himself with intoxicating beverages. NYPD didn’t seem overly concerned about the situation, treating it with a characteristic world weariness and the laconic mannerisms one normally sees the City’s uniformed security forces display.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At my destination, which was at a fairly new hotel that sits alongside the local precinct house which the fellows in the second shot would call “the office,” there was a rooftop deck – which despite frigidity – was available to visit and explore. The shot above was captured some nine stories up from Northern Blvd. in Flushing, and looks westwards across Queens towards the Shining City of Manhattan. That’s the Queensboro Bridge you see just to the right of center.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Flushing, Photowalks, Pickman, Queens, Subway

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baffling lack

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It’s Setsubun Day, in the nation of Japan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in yesterday’s post, the 21st of January was a pretty foggy day, which is something I consider pretty. One made it a point of visiting several distaff locations around Long Island City to capture the scene. The shot above is something that all of you reading this will be able to personally enjoy sometime in the very near future, when the Smiling Hogshead Ranch expands its operations up to the abandoned trackway of the Montauk Cutoff.

The photo above depicts the most photogenic of NYC’s subway lines – the IRT Flushing, or 7 line – exiting the elevated tracks of the Court Square Station and traveling on its way to Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent a bit of time up on the tracks, as I ran into an old friend while making my way up there and we spent some time catching up while I waved the camera around. The cutoff is brutally bare during the winter months, as all of the self seeded vegetation surrounding it is deep in hibernation. During the warmer months, it’s positively verdant up here – an island of green amidst the concrete devastations of Western Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Disturbingly, the Queens Cobbler seems to have visited the Cutoff recently, leaving behind one of the totemic “single shoes” signaling that he or she was here. The “Queens Cobbler” is the name I’ve assigned to a likely serial killer who claims human lives all around the Newtown Creek watershed, leaving behind a single shoe to announce that their latest hunt has been successful.

Someday, the NYPD will happen upon a hidden warehouse room in LIC or Maspeth filled with footwear and gore, and on that day – the metaphorical and literal “other shoe” will truly fall. Back next week with something completely different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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It’s National Tater Tot Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For a maritime city, New York doesn’t actually seem to get foggy all that much. Sure there’s mist and murk occasionally, but it’s actually pretty seldom that we get a full on “inversion” and the sky fills with straight up pea soup. Whenever fog conditions do occur, however, one makes sure that the camera is out and about.

Nothing I like more than some atmospheric diffusion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots were gathered on the 21st of January, when just such an atmosphere permeated and propagated across the neighborhood. As I’m wont to remind everyone around Newtown Creek – constantly – if you can smell it, you’re breathing it. On this foggy Saturday in January, we were all breathing New York Harbor for a day.

Speaking of Newtown Creek, check out how the new Kosciuszcko Bridge’s cable stay towers are visible from the corner of 39th street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One left HQ relatively late in the day, hoping to catch that particular moment when the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself would angle itself properly to create sculptural lighting for the industrial landscape of LIC. Win!

The shot above looks down 47th avenue, as you travel down off the shallow ridge that Sunnyside and Woodside straddle towards the alluvial flatlands surrounding the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, just for the curious.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As part of my “winter strategy,” which allows for taking some sort of transport in one direction to or from “Point A” in Astoria, a short ride on the “7 line” carried me to Queensboro Plaza where I transferred over to the Astoria bound “N line.” Glad that I did so, as the photo above was my “shot of the day” for the fog occluded 21st of January.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm

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It’s National Cheese Fondue Day, here in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in yesterday’s post – one left Point A (A is for Astoria) for a walk around LIC’s construction zone, ate an egg sandwich, and swiped his Metrocard to vouchsafe a journey to Manhattan’s Hells Kitchen in pursuance of attending a holiday gathering. While awaiting the arrival of the 7 line subway, the hair on the back of my neck went up, and it occurred to me that the thing – which does not breathe or think or live – that persists in the cupola of the Sapphire Megalith – had fixed its three lobed burning eye in my direction. Brrr.

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long, and that inhuman intelligence didn’t have time to send any members of its army of acolytes to investigate, proscribe, or accuse. This will likely surprise regular riders of the 7 – the “not waiting long” part. Nobody will be surprised about the thing which cannot be that exists in the cupola of the Sapphire Megalith of Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Arguably, the 7 is the most photogenic of NYC’s subways. There’s a lot to be said about various examples of the lettered lines – notably the G and F entering and leaving Smith 9th street in Red Hook – but to me, the 7 is the visual champ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Even if I’m on the train, I keep flipping the shutter, which causes no end of concern for my fellow riders. It always seems as if my fellow New Yorkers experience difficulty in distinguishing the difference between an assault weapon and a camera, based on the masked expression of apprehension they assume upon spying the thing. Mind you, they’ve all got their smart phones deployed – which sport cameras directly connected to the web – but nobody seems at all concerned about that. Old weird guy in a filthy black raincoat with a DSLR? Clearly terror related, so cancel all National Cheese Fondue Day events just in case. .

Of course, I’m the nervous type, so I’m terrified of everybody else. What’s wrong with you people? Eeek!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 continued along its well worn path, entering the subterrene and the dilapidated Vernon Jackson stop. If you feel like googling “Hunters Point South FEIS,” it’ll take you to a document prepared by NYC’s Dept. of City Planning which discusses the need for the platforms at this stop to be widened and the station to be thoroughly rebuilt in order to handle the burgeoning population of LIC, btw.

NYC City planning ain’t perfect, but you have to be a real dummy not to listen to their advice and shoring up the transportation infrastructure of an area that you intend on adding thousands of people to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My destination was in Hells Kitchen, over in Manhattan. Given that I was a couple of hours early to attend the Holiday party I was invited to – and I really can’t imagine why ANYONE would want to spend time with one such as myself, as a note – the 7 was ridden all the way to its western terminal stop at the brand spanking new Hudson Yards station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is the first of the “new style” subway stops which sports a mezzanine that’s one flight of steps up from the tracks. It’s pretty airy in here, but this mezzanine represents a not insignificant investment at the Hudson Yards station. Wonder how much it cost to create a cavern here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is DEEP, and there’s a couple of sets of industrial meat grinders escalators which carry you up to the surface. The leading lines of the tunnels which the escalators carry you through are fairly vertigo inducing, in my experience.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s actually a bit nauseating. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of nauseating, on the Manhattan side of the 7, the western mirror of LIC’s mega projects is underway – the Hudson Yards development project. Funny, how it often seems that the 7 line – from Flushing all the way to LIC in Queens and all the way down 42nd and then to 34th in Manhattan – seems  to be the singular focus of the Real Estate people.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 4, 2017 at 11:00 am

unrelieved insanity

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It’s National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, here in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One fine day at the end of December, my calendar informed that a holiday party was on my schedule at seven p.m. in Manhattan’s Hells Kitchen neighborhood. Having few things holding me at home, and desirous of an end to my “bouncing off the four walls” that typifies my response to the Christmas season, I decided to make a day of it. I packed up the camera bag and left Astoria at around two in the afternoon. My path first carried me down the Carridor, or Northern Blvd. if you must, and at the undefended border of the neighborhoods of Astoria and Dutch Kills (31st street) one encountered a gargantua construction project whose goal – I believe – is to deliver yet another badly needed hotel to the Dutch Kills neighborhood.

There’s only about twenty or so of them there now, and god knows we need more, as at least one of them has been converted over to a homeless shelter by the administrative geniuses employed by our beloved Mayor – the Dope from Park Slope, Bill de Blasio.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Construction projects have stolen the sky in Long Island City in recent years. Long shadows are cast, and bizarrely reflected sunlight glares from the mirror box surfaces of the new towers. The glare sometimes illuminates a long shadowed factory block, burning away the mold and nitre of the early 20th century Industrial Age of Queens. The towers eradicate these ancient factories and warehouses which still hosted hundreds of blue collar and industrial jobs, replacing them with residences. It’s all done in the name of providing jobs, I’m told, although after the 24-36 months of construction work is done those jobs move on.

Luckily there’s still a handful of jobs for servile labor – doormen, porters, building superintendents. There would be delivery boys too, if the designers and funders of these towers had remembered that a neighborhood is more than just a collection of apartment buildings, and that you need doctors offices, laundromats, and supermarkets too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza seems to be quite the focus point for construction activity at the moment, answering the clarion call that all New Yorkers have been singing for generations demanding the opportunity to live here. As mentioned earlier, the only good part of these new structures to me is that they act as sun reflectors during the late afternoon and illuminate the transportation hub that serves as the de facto focusing point for nearly all the Midtown Manhattan bound vehicular traffic of Long Island and the locus point for the screeching steel wheels of the elevated N, W, and 7 Subway lines.

I do wish that the orange construction netting was a permanent feature, of course, as it provided for a nice color contrast with the stolen sky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve always been fascinated by the elevated Subway architecture hereabouts, which forms – technically speaking -“Queensborough Plaza.” The underground Subway complex, where you’ll find the E, R, and M lines, is called “Queens Plaza.” One of the things that has long puzzled me, however is why there isn’t a free transfer between upstairs and downstairs. If I get off a train at either complex, there are free transfers to the NYCTA Bus lines which Queens Plaza is lousy with, via some sort of magical Metrocard alchemy.

Conversely, MTA doesn’t allow a free transfer from… say, the N line to the R. Instead, you’re told to transfer to the 7 from the N, go to the Court Square stop, and transfer there instead. Not too big a deal, but why?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crossing under the elevated tracks, and towards the Citi building megalith, one encounters another construction zone. These buildings are further along, many have been open and renting for a while now. I know a couple who live in the “Linc LIC” building at the right of the shot above, and they proclaim great satisfaction with their new home.

Of course, as I’m ever a black spider crawling across clean white linen, one had to inform them of their proximity to half a dozen State Superfund sites, and to the Dutch Kills tributary of the noisome Newtown Creek Federal Superfund site. It seems that the realtors of NYC are under no obligation to inform buyers and renters of these new properties about environmental issues present in their new neighborhood. The realtors would be obliged to disclose if the property was known to be haunted by a ghost, conversely, in accordance with NYS jurisprudence.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless of opinion, sense, or a web of infrastructure capable of maintaining this new population – construction continues. Hospital beds – Who needs ’em? Sewer plant upgrades – nobody cares about that. 7 train at capacity already, according to the MTA – haven’t you got something else to worry about, Mitch? Clouds of toxic dust mixing into the air column from construction sites – pfahhh, have you tried the new muffins at Coffeed?

Well you get the idea, and it is National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day after all, so why aren’t you out shopping for some? What are ya? Some kind of commie? Go buy something. Maybe an apartment in Queens Plaza.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Swinging around onto 23rd street, under the elevated tracks of the 7 line, in an area which I’ve always referred to as “the fedora district” since it’s the sort of place you can picture working guys wearing old school hats – I encountered some politically expressive vandalism on the plywood fencing of what promises to be yet another construction site.

The same writer installed the screed “Trump is your fault” around the corner. Politics and vandalism versus expression notwithstanding, one realized that he had left the house without eating breakfast. After counting out how many pennies I had in my pocket – I went to the ever reliable Court Square diner and ordered a sandwich which I call a “cholesterol bun” – 2 scrambled eggs, with ham and swiss cheese, on a roll.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst quaffing my cholesterol bun and sitting on the sidewalk of Jackson Avenue, the construction site occurring on the site of the former 5Ptz caught my eye. This is the one that burns me, incidentally. Maybe people do want to live in Queens Plaza. Maybe I’m just a recalcitrant preservationist and my knowledge of the intricacies of LIC’s environmental woes and infrastructure deficiencies prejudices the way I perceive all of this construction activity which the avarice of the politically connected Real Estate Shit Flies have created.

Thing is, a significant number of people who are moving in to LIC have been sold on its “vibrant art scene” which doesn’t actually exist. There WAS a vibrant art scene at 5Ptz, but nobody in power raised a finger to save the one thing which drew crowds of “artsy fartsy lookie-loos” to LIC. It’s a a crime what happened to 5ptz, from the literal whitewashing of its walls onwards. What’s rising are two more bland towers overlooking an elevated, busy and quite noisy, subway track.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Disgusted by all the short sightedness, and abundant entropy of LIC – and after the consumption of my yummy cholesterol bun – one entered the MTA “system” and paid my fare for a ride on the most photogenic of NYC’s subway lines. As mentioned at the top of the post, I had a social obligation to keep in Hells Kitchen, and it was time to head into town. LIC will shortly resemble a Hells Kitchen anyway – surviving tenements converted to one family “pied a terre” and surrounded by outré scale luxury towers that host the minimum number of low income housing allowable by law, and suffused by staggering levels of congested vehicular traffic.

My plan was to take the 7 to the western end of the line, in… Manhattan. More on that tomorrow, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


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I hate Christmas, but I do like puppies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the worst time of year for one such as myself. The forced social encounters at Christmas parties, the darkness, the cold. One gets invited to a few holiday parties, which I agree to go to, then back out of the day of. This is kind of a dick move on my part, it is realized, but in reality I’m trying to spare the party giver that certain shadow which I carry around with me. Nobody actually wants me around their homes during the holidays, just like a kitchen fire. Y’know how a lighthouse looks? The bright beam of light scanning about? Imagine a beam of utter darkness emanating from it instead, that’s me.

During December, I always feel like some demon cursed and quite useless object that spreads an acerbic contagion to whatever it touches, or a tumor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I prefer to work on updating my enemies list during December, looking through my calendar for those who’ve slighted or annoyed me during the preceding year, and begin to develop my plans for exacting vengeance on them. There’s a few people out there who I can already tell you will be having a very difficult time of it in 2017. Bah.

Usually, when I say “bah,” somebody chimes in with “humbug.” I don’t know what a humbug is, but I suspect it’s one of those angry red razor bumps people get from ingrown hairs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s best for all that one remains secure in his hermitage this time of year. The humans all seem happy to be enacting their odd rituals, giving manufactured items to each other in the presence of a tree which they’ve had killed and then brought into the house. Luckily, the seasonal bacchanal ends in a couple of weeks,

Bah.


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