We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

I went out to Staten Island this afternoon to attend the We Will Not Go Back March, organized by the National Action Network. The march was against police brutality and in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died last month after being placed in a chokehold by the officer arresting him.

I probably would have attended anyway, but as it happens, in the course of my research at the Municipal Archives I came across a series of police memos about the deaths of young black men in the 1930’s. The cases they described read as if they happened today. The response from the police commissioner at the time was especially heart-breaking. He refused to do a single thing, not one single thing, to address the problem. So when I saw a post about the rally I headed to the ferry.

I got pictures of the more well-known speakers, but my favorites were of the people in the crowd.

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

Thousands of people were there, but I don’t like being penned in (how the NYPD handles crowds) so I stayed on the outskirts. It allowed me to get better shots though, I think.

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

I took this shot because of the Emmett Till/Trayvon Martin tshirt. The woman Emmett Till whistled at is still alive, by the way. I would like to interview her before she dies. She has never expressed remorse.

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

A lot of men wore suits to the protest, I noticed. There was something very touching about that.

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

Old school/new school.

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

I got to the rally late, and missed some of the speakers. But I heard the mother of Amadou Diallo, who talked about the fears of mothers of sons. I’ve never had children but I looked at the faces of the young men around me. Who couldn’t understand the fear and heartbreak she described??

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

I confess I had to google the people named in the signs. Harry T. Moore was the founder of the first NAACP branch in Brevard County, Florida. He and his wife were murdered by the Klu Klux Klan on Christmas in 1951. If there is a God, I wish I could hear what his son has (or had) to say to the murderers. “Let me get this straight. You thought murdering innocent people on my symbolic birthday …”

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

I saved this picture for last because this speaker got to me the most. I left my bag at home, so I didn’t have anything to write down his name. I’ll update this post when I get it. He’s retired NYPD, and he made a very moving demand.

He explained how the NYPD, when they arrest someone for a crime, will also arrest everyone with the guy for “acting in concert.” He then said that all the cops who stood by as Eric Garner gasped over and over, “I can’t breath, I can’t breath, I can’t breath,” should also be arrested, according to standard practice, for acting in concert.

While I was listening to him speak I kept thinking, “This guy has witnessed some very bad things.”

We Will Not Go Back March, NYC, 8/23/2014

Will I Hit 50 Miles??

It doesn’t really matter if I do. I came in 2nd place at my pool, in the women’s Night Owl Division (with 39 miles)! Woohoo!! They took pictures of the winners on Tuesday but I wasn’t there, I took the night off. Damnit! But they didn’t tell anyone they were coming.

The party is next Wednesday, when I will pick up my tshirt and trophy. I’ll be back with lots of pictures. But even though that part of the contest is over, we’re still tallying miles and right now I have just under 49 miles. It would be nice to hit a nice round number like 50 and walk in all, “Fucking fifty, bitches!”

The other day, while walking along the High Line, I saw this sign in the window on the right. The truth is out there. (That show was fun. X-Files, for the insanely young among you.)

Area 51 Sign Seen on the High Line, New York City

My Cat Has Diabetes! Yay! Kinda!

Once your cat is diagnosed and starts insulin they very quickly become healthy again. So there’s that. They feel better. Yay!

Then there’s the price tag. Finney’s insulin is $278.99 and that’s with a 10% discount from my pharmacist!! He gets an insulin called Lantus, something that I don’t remember being around when my other cats had diabetes. But it seems to be very well tolerated by cats (all insulins on the market were developed for humans) so I’m happy to have my bank account drained by it.

The best price I could find for it elsewhere was $209.99 from Drs. Foster and Smith, except they say it has to be shipped overnight because of the refrigeration issues, and that costs $24.99. I’ll take the $44 savings, but I’d like to do better.

Please look away now Fed-Lurkers: Does anyone have any experience buying from pharmacies in Canada?

Here is my diabetic cat Finney taking a nap. I’m glad you’re feeling better little guy. I’m sorry again about Bleecker. (My new kitten who terrorizes/won’t stop trying to play with him.)

My Diabetic Cat

There Will Always Be News

I like to stop and read the plaques on park benches. The one below was dedicated to newspaperman Dennis Duggan. I googled Duggan and read his ode to the Lion’s Head, a bar in my neighborhood that I used to go to on occasion that’s now closed. His essay described a newspaper world gone by and it was particularly poignant after having just read David Carr’s Print is Down, and Now Out. I’ve been riding this wave of nostalgia about print news ever since re-reading Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. There were some beautiful passages about working at a newspaper in that book.

But now it’s time to lay a wreath and fully embrace the new world that the kids today will be mourning the loss of in the not too distant future. (I say “fully” because I already love it.) (PS: I won’t miss the sexism. Which I’m pretty sure will still be around for a while to come.)

Dennis Duggan
New York City Newspaperman
October 12, 1927 — April 20, 2006
A heart so grand
A spirit so generous
… and we’ll all go together

Dennis Duggan, Abingdon Square Park, New York

Why I hate the Word “Whining”

I just read a review of a great writer and in it the reviewer complained about the author “whining” too much. I couldn’t believe they described what she’d written as whining, but it also made me furious. I’d thought that I only got mad when someone characterized my writing as “whining.” But it turns out it’s the word that I find so infuriating. The minute I realized that it became obvious why.

The reviewer is saying one of the following to the writer: Your problems are trivial and you should just shut up. You are being a baby. You complain too much.

When it was used to describe something I’d written I thought, “Well, I’m not dying of cancer. And I do complain a lot.” (It took years of therapy to learn how, and I’m very proud. Thank you, J.C.)

But the issues in this particular book were serious, and there isn’t anything about her writing that is even the least bit “whiney”. It was insane. My friend Chris pointed out that “whining” is used almost exclusively to describe the complaints of women. You almost never hear someone describe a man as whining. In any case, it’s a belittling, dismissive word.

Reviewers can say whatever they want, of course. Everyone is entitled to their opinion! Someone is going to come along, read this post, and think: “Oh quit whining.”

A screenshot from a short video I took of a dress rehearsal for a concert of Eric Whitacre’s music. This was at Carnegie Hall. It looks like he’s saying, “Hallelujah!”

Eric Whitacre, Carnegie Hall, New York City