I Don’t Want a Government Without Barney Frank In It

He’s smart, funny, he’s seems to be honest (but how can I know) and … he’s smart. I go for the smart ones. It’s why I fell so in love with Obama—he taught constitutional law! So yeah, I’m sad that Barney Frank won’t be around after 2013. I’ll miss his commentary and perspective. Sigh. Would you consider moving to NYC?

Oh God, that reminds me. I was reading people’s ads on OK Cupid and this guy says he hates homosexuals in his profile. He just comes out and says “I hate homosexuals.” Uh, okay. (Hide me.) In direct contrast in heart and spirit, my choir director began his email to us this morning with this Martin Luther King, Jr quote. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

The aerial view I mentioned of my band playing outside on Monday night as part of the Winter’s Eve event around Lincoln Square. Thank you Gary Schutz of the American Bible Society for this great shot and for permission to post it!

Aerial View of Manhattan Samba Playing at Winter's Eve Event

Winter’s Eve Event at Lincoln Center

Last night my band played out in front of the American Bible Society as part of an event uptown called Winter’s Eve. All up and down the streets around Lincoln Center bands and dancers performed, it was great. There was a wonderful happy, alive, festive feeling in the air. I have a video of an absolutely adorable little girl playing my drum during a break. I’d post it, but I know not all parents want pictures of their children on the internet. Someone who works at the American Bible Society got a great shot of us and the crowd from the roof and he said he’d send it, so maybe I’ll be posting that later.

Playing outside is my favorite thing and last night it was inexplicably in the sixties, while at the same time it was snowing down south. Uh-oh. End times.

I’m getting my hair colored FOR FREE this morning at Bumble & Bumble. By students. I’ve done this before though, for a free haircut, and the students are overseen every second by instructors, so I’m not too nervous. Okay, I’m a little nervous.

Here’s a shot of us from last night that I took from the back. I really want to post the aerial view though.

Manhattan Samba Playing at Winter's Eve Event at Lincoln Center

Under Elevated Trains

Before I forget, I started following the tweets of a poet name Melissa Broder because she tweets things like this:

“I love a crisis b/c it validates a lifetime of foreboding.”

For some reason I’ve always been attracted to the world under elevated trains. I love the look and feel of them, the stores you tend to find under them. Maybe because it has that in-a-fort sort of ambience. I took this coming down the stairs from the G train in Williamsburg in Brooklyn. I’m thinking of doing a series. Yeah, I like that idea. Except, I wonder how many times I say I’m going to do an “X” series and then never do.

Under the Elevated Train New York City

Heart Attacks

I watched the Sanjay Gupta thing, “The Last Heart Attack.” I’ve decided against the coronary calcium scan, for now, but I’ve been furiously googling kale, collard greens and swiss chard. And, I’m leaving to go swimming in a few minutes.

I exercise every day, and swimming is something I do three times a week, but I’ve been thinking of upping that to four. Bill Clinton runs every day, and I think he said he runs for three miles. Swimming just feels so good. I tried to go swimming yesterday, for instance, and I couldn’t. They changed the schedule around and it was “kids only” when I showed up. So I did the treadmill instead.

Here’s the thing, when I go swimming, and if I don’t over-do it, afterwards when I’m walking home I feel blissful and full of energy. After the treadmill I did not feel at all blissful, and it made me feel worn-out.

Oops, gotta run. Here is Vulture Cat. He sat there for about five minutes, staring at the spot he was about to curl up in.

Buddy Contemplating the Spot he Plans to Occupy

Belittling Black Friday Shoppers

One of my first jobs was at a Woolworth’s. I was 17 years old and a Christmas temp, but I didn’t work on the floor. My job was assessing people’s applications for credit and deciding if they should get coupons or not. This was what they gave at the time instead of a credit card, but they were essentially the same thing. I can’t believe they gave that job to a 17 year old. I felt mortified every time an adult came to me to apply for credit. People in their 20’s or 50’s, etc., had to sit and wait to have their finances evaluated by a teenager.

According to the guidelines I was given practically everyone was eligible. But I did the math and it wasn’t a great bargain. The interest rates were high and the people who could least afford it would end up paying a lot of money for a small amount of credit.

I tried quietly explaining this to everyone who applied, (without my boss seeing) but every single person went for the coupons regardless. Finally one woman looked at me and said in tears, “I have to buy Christmas presents for my children. This is the only way I can do it.” I felt like such an idiot. I come from a relatively privileged background. I was aware that the applicants were struggling financially of course, which was why I was trying to steer them away from digging this hole for themselves. And for what, I remember stupidly, cluelessly thinking. For the kinds of things you can buy at a Woolworths? I hadn’t stopped to think why someone would go for them anyway, why they would need to go for them anyway.

I approved everyone (who was eligible) without a word after that.

I bring this up because I’ve read so many tweets and articles basically sneering at the people lining up for these holiday sales. Yes, some of those shoppers lack imagination for what they might do with a Friday, and some are shopaholics or hoarders or insane (the woman pepper spraying people to get them out of her way). But some of them are mothers who are struggling to buy their children Christmas presents. Or things they need. Or maybe something completely frivolous, because it’s hard to live on nothing but the bare necessities all the time.

Yes, I’m doubly sensitive about this these days because I’m on a tight budget myself. In fact, I think the only thing keeping me off those lines yesterday is the fact that I don’t have children!

So I feel lucky that this is what I got to do yesterday. My friends Ellen and Giovanni hosted a music party. Everyone had to bring two Brazilian songs and I was introduced to all this music I probably never would have heard otherwise, it was great. (That’s Giovanni and Ellen on the left, and some of the guests.)