Evil is the New Black


(photo: Alexandra Panyukova)

Orange is no longer the New Black
Evil has trumped it

with gun-slaughter
domestic terrorismus
unlawful law enforcers
sniper attacks

blood splatter
media porn king pins and queens
luxuriating in the horror
like a bubble bath
after a hard day

thoughts and prayers
thoughts and prayers
thoughts and prayers

another funeral
interviews on wide screen TV
24-7 news cycle
weeping mothers and children

it’s so banal
it’s all the rage
to be enraged

Congress on vacation
needing a break
from truth

how hard it is to see
when you won’t believe

Subway Portraits

All Portraits by Nancy Rodrigo

subway portrait 1
Football Fan

subway portrait 2Brooklyn College Professor

subway portrait 3
Feminist Incognito 

Subway portrait 4Steampunk Sophisticate

New York-born artist Nancy Rodrigo uses her life experiences as a medium. “The media and content have changed and evolve to reflect my experiences. I see art as a means of expression and a therapeutic process.” She began her art career in 1981 under the name Nancy Weinstock, exhibiting in the East Village, Soho, Chelsea and Brooklyn. Her recent work of rich, colorful biomorphic paintings‒with vaginal imagery‒influenced by the Feminist Art Movement, including initiators Judy Chicago, Nancy Spero and Miriam Schapiro. In the 90’s she  did a series of works on canvas and mixed media constructions, the “Collective Memory Series.” These intricate pieces are constructed from found objects, organic and synthetic materials, paints and old photographs. Another project she is working on is the “Subway Series” hundreds of pen and ink portraits of people riding the NYC subways, all done without the rider’s knowledge and capturing most of the portrait in under 10 minutes.  This project has been a love letter to my city and her amazing people. Rodrigo’s work is diverse, expressive, and she is very prolific.



How the Anarchists Stole Christmas

Haymarket Riot

Haymarket Riot, 1886 (Granger)

“Anarchism: a philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made laws; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.”
–Emma Goldman

Did you know that bands of “anarchists” have been running riot in the streets of NYC and all across the U.S.? Well, that’s what the New York Post says. Apparently, they started their dastardly plan to destroy the holidays prior to Thanksgiving. By golly, they are worse than the Grinch!

“Anarchists plotted on Wednesday to disrupt the Thanksgiving Day Parade – feeling emboldened after cops allowed them to run free on major roadways like the FDR Drive and the West Side Highway . . .  .”

But they were no match for blow-up Snoopy and Woodstock—the parade continued as planned. Phew! I chalk it up to the journalistic integrity of the Post, owned by Fox News CEO, Rupert Murdoch. Thank you, Rupert!

Call me old-fashioned, but when I think “anarchist,” I think Haymarket Riot, bombs, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman.

Chicago’s famed Haymarket Riot of May 4, 1886 was a direct response to police brutality during a strike for 8-hour workdays at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company the previous day. On May 4, several of the better-known labor leaders and anarchists addressed a crowd of sympathizers from the back of a wagon pulled into an alley near the Haymarket, a popular meeting place and square. August Spies spoke, followed by Albert Parsons, who also spoke almost an hour denouncing the capitalist system, and quoting statistics, as he had on numerous other occasions. Parsons’ speech was followed by a speech by Samuel Fielden, another well-known activist. As Fielden was concluding his address, Inspector Bonfield and more than 170 armed other police officers ordered the crowd to disperse. An unknown person threw a bomb into the crowd. Seven policemen and an unknown number of civilians were killed during the confrontation; eight anarchist labor leaders, the “Haymarket Martyrs,” were arrested and convicted of inciting violence and conspiring to commit murder. Four of the eight were hanged as a result of their involvement in the riot.

“The public and the mainstream press called for vengeance, the anarchists claimed sabotage, and a wave of popular sentiment against anarchists and labor organizers swept through the city and the country. In Chicago a secret organization of prominent businessmen and employers was formed to counteract the labor activism. Many were arrested, illegal searches were conducted, and rights of free speech and assembly were drastically curtailed. Some labor organizations and activists also protested the violence and supported the government’s response to the bomb throwing. In the meantime, no one knew who threw the bomb or if it had originated in Chicago.

In short order a specially constituted grand jury indicted ten defendants, most of whom were prominent labor organizers and activists, as accessories before the fact to the murder of Officer Matthias Degan by the bomb.”

Radio City protest

December 3, 2014 New York City (Nathan Congleton)

Protests in response to the grand jury’s failure to indict Officer Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner have been mostly peaceful; no bombs were involved. 20 people were arrested for blocking the FDR Drive and for disorderly conduct. “Die-ins” were staged at Grand Central Terminal, an Apple store on Fifth Avenue and in Macy’s at Herald Square.

You might believe the protests were quite violent if you read the Post’s interpretation, however:

“Protesters chanting ‘No justice, no tree!’ tried to storm Rockefeller Center on Wednesday to disrupt the annual lighting ceremony following a grand jury’s decision not to indict an NYPD cop in the death of Eric Garner. 

‘F**k the tree!’ the mob bellowed as cops held them at bay along Sixth Avenue near Radio City Music Hall.

Hundreds of frustrated anarchists then trekked to the West Side Highway, where they vaulted barricades and clashed with cops in riot gear.”

After reading this report, I’m wondering why the “anarchists” are so “frustrated.” Any thoughts? As we have observed, nothing can stop the tree lighting, not even the death of an unarmed man selling loose cigarettes on the streets of Staten Island. 

Only time will tell if the “anarchists” can truly stop Christmas from coming.

*For clarity’s sake, please be advised that I do not believe the protesters to be anarchists.

Fear: It’s What’s for Breakfast

CBS news team

“What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge
when anthrax bombs are popping all around you?”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

The CBS morning news smacks me awake with cold FEAR, aside from weather with my favorite meteorologist John Elliott, traffic updates with Jill Nicolini and Alex Denis’s delightful-bordering-on-daft “Now Trending” segment. Before I have a chance to grab my morning Joe, I swallow FEAR in the guise of ISIS, Ebola, Enterovirus, a fire in Paterson, carjacking / police shootout in front of Sleepy’s in Paramus, baby black bear found dead in Central Park, a stabbing in Jamaica, Queens, on and on. Fear is what’s for breakfast or what Charlie Rose calls, “your world in 90 seconds.”

Of course, I can shut off the Fear Channel whenever I choose. It’s on when I drive my husband to the bus stop in my pajamas, then I do some stretches and soak in more . . . FEAR. After that I tune into Soundscapes, the New Age music station, and go upstairs to shower. The cats prefer Soundscapes, at least that’s what an animal behaviorist told me. She said they are most soothed by New Age music. Back to Fear.

This morning Charlie Rose asked chief medical correspondent Dr. John LaPook, “What is the worst case scenario?” Norah O’Donnell nods, almost salivating.

LaPook makes it plain that there is little to no chance of an Ebola outbreak on our shores. One look at Charlie’s furrowed brow and we can tell LaPook’s response does not satisfy him. Does he want Ebola in America?

Todd Kincannon’s answer to Ebola is the most straightforward: Kill (“humanely”) everyone who has contracted the disease.

Governor Rick Perry, whom people seem to take more seriously since he donned glasses, has assured Texans he has set up a “task force” to deal with Ebola, now that it has hit home, literally.

In between the sound bites of Fear, commercials are yelling at me: call 1-800-MATTRESS, call  1-800-STEEMER, with the accompanying jingle, “Call 1 800 Steemer, Stanley Steamer gets your home cleaner.” They want me to give my car to a kid, and they sing,“1 877 Kars for Kids, 1 877 Kars for Kids, 1 877 Kars for Kids, Donate your car (kar?) today.” It’s a catchy tune, but I need my car (kar?)!

At last, I switch to the Soundscapes channel which once offered bucolic visuals along with tranquil music with titles like “Sensual Afterludes” and “Zen Dreaming.” Now there’s a black screen with ads popping up offering deals on catheters, telling me who to call if my house is facing foreclosure and who to call if the IRS or collection agency is after me. Help!

I don’t know where to turn. I want to get the weather, traffic report, a sweet, harmless tidbit from Alex Denis, and a smidgen of real news that isn’t fear-based. Of course. there’s WBAI which I can listen to in the car, but it’s often an endless fundraising-a-thon. Perhaps silence is best. Looking out the window upon waking, my kitties in tow, I can determine the weather based on the coolness of their eraser noses, or check my iPhone. But I’ll miss John Elliott, who not only provides weather with a smile, but tells me it’s National Bring Your Ferret to Work Day. He must have a book that he refers to because every day is a holiday with him. And Jill Nicolini announced she’s pregnant this morning. Congratulations, Jill! And it’s a boy!

Okay, now I’m being daft. All I want in the morning is coffee, a dose of visual and audio pablum, and to trundle off to the bus stop, catch the 163 and not be terrorized before reaching Port Authority. Is that too much to ask?