Archive for August 2011

Stray observations IV

August 31st, 2011 — 8:21pm

(i) In times of recession, even street advertising adheres to strict cost-benefit-analysis and lowers expenses: Hence the freebie ballpoint pen’s internal ink reservoir holds only enough ink for a few notes and empties within half an hour. Now that is disposable bait, Peapod Delivieries!

(ii) Who’d have thunk I’d ever get jaded of Diet Dr Pepper’s? Dr. Brown’s Diet Cream Soda seems a good alternative, for the moment. Notice the period!

(iii) Up until tonight (29.08.), I’ve never seen ketchup and mustard served as toppings at a Chinese restaurant. So it happened first time at the New Kam Lai take-out joint, 514 Amsterdam Ave.

(iv) I want to try Harriet’s Kitchen. Badly!

(v) Namaste, America! Bollywood at its hips’t on channel 73 (NYC World).

Shangri-La lies in Hell's Kitchen!

Shangri-La lies in Hell's Kitchen!

(vi.a) Forget about the monolingual Americans! It’s a cliché, although a somewhat justified one! At the cash register at Broadway Farm two nights ago, a young Muslim woman parlait français avec un couple, des touristes évidemment, et quand j’ai dit „bonsoir“ nous conversions un peu et ensuite je me suis présenté comme allemand, woraufhin wir unsere Unterhaltung auf Deutsch fortführten. In between, she spoke English and ??????? with some staff. Amazing!

(vi.b) A polyglot (a quatrolingual) at a low-wage job. An immigrant, Raquel suggests, a bright future, I’d think.

(vii) A friend is someone listening to your endless ramblings, keeping her smile and shine, forever patient and forgiving.

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August 30th, 2011 — 1:06am

Dem Spiegel genügte die Sturmwirklichkeit also nicht, welche zumindest hier in der Stadt tatsächlich dem hysterisch angefachten Fauchen und Toben der Journaille glücklicherweise um einiges nachstand. Wenn auch Regen, Wind und Überflutungen beträchtlichen Schaden anrichteten, großteils außerhalb der Five Boroughs, samt und sonders Manhattans, und Irene knapp 40 Menschen das Leben kostete, so befand die Spon-Redaktion schon Sonntag früh um 6:02 Uhr EST den Hurrikan als „bisher enttäuschend“.

War das für die Öffentlichkeit bestimmt?

War das für die Öffentlichkeit bestimmt?

Was uns dieser Tweet über das Verhältnis von Nachrichtenwert zu journalistischem Ethos verrät, muß angesichts der zusehends boulevardesken Aufmachung und sensationsheischigen Ausrichtung des Hamburger Nachrichtenmagazins nicht ausbuchstabiert werden. Als Leitmedium hat sich der Spiegel ohnehin seit langem selbst diskreditiert, Qualitätsjournalismus findet woanders statt. Aber zumindest hat diese unwillkürliche Entäußerung, gleich ein jeder freudschen Fehlleistung, anstelle zuverlässiger und respektvoller Berichterstattung, uns das wahre und schamlose Gesicht der augsteinschen Erbverweser offenbart.

Die New York Times hingegen versöhnt just Leserpartizipation, Reputabilität und hochwertigen Journalismus wieder einmal ohne Tadel und Fehl, nachdem sie schon vor dem Sturm publizistisches Verantwortungsbewußtsein und Fürsorge bewies: „As a public service, @nytimes will allow free access to storm-related coverage on and its mobile apps.“

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August 29th, 2011 — 6:38am

David Brooks, the Times‘ conservative cultural columnist who all too often likes to frame his op-ed contributions in fleeting terms and feuilletonistic sophistry, betraying his intellectual lazi- and sloppiness time and again, recently speculated on the merits and prospects of current Republican incumbent Governor of Texas Rick Perry as 45th President of the United States, a frightening thought indeed given Mr Perry’s inclinations towards the New Apostolic Reformation movement and its fundamentalist Christian teachings (including dominionism and the fight against witchcraft, Islam and demons), and the Governor’s proneness towards nepotism, corruption and hypocrisy.

Mr Perry, whose unnerving resemblance of actor James Brolin’s Governor Ritchie on The West Wing complements him in his embodiment of today’s GOP’s agenda of anti-intellectualism, anti-scientism, anti-liberalism, anti-progressivism, anti-multilateralism and anti-welfare, ever so often boasts about his successful term as Texan Governor, and his track record is impressive indeed if one takes a closer look at his policies and what they have yielded for the people and state of Texas, and whose modicum of humility is yet to be found as he gathers the citizens of Texas in a phillistine event to pray for rain.

That is minimum government at its best, a starved one even, one might think. Unless, of course, one remembers his use of the federal Recovery Act first. Nevertheless, the following comment by a reader on Mr Brook’s piece caught my attention even more than the blatant hypocrisy exhibited by Rick Perry and the disingenuous, yet obvious way David Brooks is currying favour with a power to be, as I feel pretty much dumbfounded by the point of critique therein which calls into question not, as one would suspect, in birther fashion the obvious, but rather what we take for scientific consent:

It is unfortunate that Mr. Brooks‘ article included the following snide, patronizing remark: „[Gov. Perry] does very well with the alternative-reality right — those who don’t believe in global warming, evolution or that Obama was born in the U.S.“ I fail to see a valid reason for Mr. Brooks to lump together those Americans who refuse to believe an established fact (i.e. that President Obama was, indeed, born in Hawaii) with Americans who take issue with a contested theory (i.e. global warming as an impending disaster, and a man-made one) and those Americans who take issue with an unprovable theory (i.e. Darwinian evolution as the explanation for the origins of human life).

(Posted by AlbanyAttorney40, Albany, NY, August 26th, 2011, 1:46 am)

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Stray observations III

August 22nd, 2011 — 12:03am

(i) How many bags does a man need? Depending on whom you ask, two cloth grocery ones or a hundred plastic shopping bags custom-printed for Westside Market NYC Est. 1965. On the street and at the cash register, this betrays me as a German more than anything else.

(ii) Which reminds me of the Austro-German recycling conundrum. There, to recycle a PET bottle is to dispose of it at a plastic bottle bank, or outright discard it. For us, the keyword is the recycling deposit, or bottle bill.

(iii.a) On my way to Webster Hall, I read „destined2bgreat“ tattooed unto the neck of a young, black woman: What a perfect metaphor for the radiance and compassionate confidence of youth.

(iii.b) And for her specifically, what a maxim to go by in one’s personal branding and conduct of life. Unknowingly and unchallenced by history – or as a transformative act of reappropriation? I can’t tell.

(iv) What a difference a letter makes! A mile, or a 15 minutes walk minimum, as I outsmarted myself with taking the 2 Express, ending up at W 14th St / 7 Ave instead of E 14th St / Union Square. (See here.)

(v) We regret these disruptions in service. (MTA, Brooklyn-bound L line)

(vi) At concerts these days, there is always a not too tiny faction diligently texting and receiving msgs on their shiny new cells, instead of listening. Inundated by the then and there, they miss the here and now.

(vii) The same goes for us hiding behind (captured by?) the lens of a pocket-size camera.

(viii) This city has been overtaken by the iPads. Tablets are everywhere, on the subway as e-books, at concert venues as photographic devices and digital frames for fleeting stills, on the street as somewhat oversized flyswatters, or just as a personal display of vanity, plus a badge of honour for the tech-savvy.

(ix) Old-fashioned me is still handling physical maps and plans, and books for the sake of it. Each day, though, takes small nibbles at the material and its toll at my patience, hence casting doubt unto the reasonable practicability of the former practice.

(x) What a tasty blend, the pluot!

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Stray observations II

August 18th, 2011 — 10:20pm

(i) Spell it all out: „Watermelon chunks / USA // Watermelon, chunks Great snack for the hot summer ahead. Delicious, mouth-watering. Ingredients: Just Watermelons!!!!! Nothing added, nothing taken off.“ (source: Fairway price tag $4.85 / 1.39 lb)

(ii) Abundance all around. It is too much: strictly speaking of quantities. As if the 2 liters (2.1 Qt) soda bottles weren’t enough or the 8 fl oz (236 ml) of lemon juice, a minimum 500 count of cotton swabs seems excessive even in these parts.

(iii) A dove bravely ruffling her feathers on the fire escape railing outside my window, unmoved by my ever so encroaching curiousity. Even the birds prove tough New Yorkers here.

(iv) In the Time Warner cableverse, somewhere there is always a Law & Order franchise running. 24/7.

(v) What does this tell us about the American psyche and what it is longing for?

God is Kung Fu!

God is Kung Fu!

(vi) The Five Points Mission: „Finding God through martial arts“. Really?

(vii) E Houston / Forsyth St (Sara D. Roosevelt Park), late afternoon: A brother with earplugs, smartphone is preaching the gospel, and white middle class America is passing by, rushed, at a distance. In the background kids, playing the game on the basketball court, hazy future deities of sports.

(viii) Rush hour, Times Square, hopping onboard the 3 Express Train, on the local track: a surprise stop at 66th St.

(ix) Two words I, as a non-native speaker, need to teach my Manhattan-bred, Manhattan-native host: cutting board and kitchen knife. Seriously, even a Manhattanite needs such lest cutting carrots proves a chore.

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Stray observations I

August 17th, 2011 — 2:27am

(i) In each of the four flights the uppermost stair is noticeably off, hence stepping outside from the apartment is always a steep step downwards at first.

(ii) For one hour straight, between 4 and 5am, a car alarm went on and off on the 82nd street, again and again. From which light sleep followed, and much too early a morning. Shut off the frigging car alarm, now!

(iii) Proceeding from the lake and Central Park Driveway, while ascending towards high life at 72nd street, I notice a striking odour and think to myself: Maybe a more befitting name for Strawberry Fields would be The Weedy Patch?

(iv) How can they not know about liquid sweetener in the US? (Or at least in the organic food fueled, overtly health-conscious Upper West Side of New York?) This is the darn United States of America! The greatest nation under God, the land of opportunity! The beacon of consumer sentiment, the epitome of awesomeness? But no artificial sweetener in liquid form available, anywhere.

(v) And no, syrup doesn’t cut it.

(vi) There is something wrong about nightfall taking place at 8pm in New York City in mid-August.

Hazy shades, West End Ave (Apthorp bldg.)

Hazy shades, West End Ave (Apthorp bldg.)

(vii) At dark, cicadas, katydids or crickets welcome the night just before my window, on the sill, with an unairy (eerie / eyrie) song.

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