That’s Life in the Inferno of Post Modernity

June 18th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Twenty-five years ago yesterday, we all watched OJ in the white Bronco. People on Echo watched and commented on it live, as the drama unfolded.

It begins (edited down a little) …

Item 550 17-JUN-94 22:31 Jonathan Hayes
That’s Life in the Inferno of Postmodernity!

550:1) Jonathan Hayes 17-JUN-94 22:32

This is incredible.

550:2) Ann 17-JUN-94 22:33

It’s very sad.

550:3) doktor dorje 17-JUN-94 22:33

They are reading his letter, psychoanalyzing him, and following him in a copter on 1010 WINS.

550:4) Ann 17-JUN-94 22:34

Don’t you think they’ll run out of gas soon?

550:7) Jonathan Hayes 17-JUN-94 22:36

I think it fascinating that this banal image, a white car moving down an empty road, should be so riveting.

550:8) Twang 17-JUN-94 22:36

You’re right Jaze — this is the I of PM at its most bizarre and fascinating…This hero is self-destructing live on CNN…

I keep thinking of Lee Harvey Oswald getting shot on Sunday morning tv.

550:9) Jonathan Hayes 17-JUN-94 22:36

It’s like foreplay.

550:10) Twang 17-JUN-94 22:37

Great shot right now on CNN — you can almost see into the car…
Just heard they have a hostage negotiator standing by.

550:12) Jonathan Hayes 17-JUN-94 22:38

The radio is now nothing but a series of highway numbers and off ramps and intersections.

550:13) Twang 17-JUN-94 22:38

Interesting tidbit: they traced him via a call he made on the car phone.

550:15) Ann 17-JUN-94 22:40

I think he’s sort of heroic now, in a sad way. I mean most people watching will be so pleased if he gets to his mothers house and it will seem a heroic act. I haven’t expressed myself right. this is so bizarre. I wish he had email in the car.

550:17) Jonathan Hayes 17-JUN-94 22:41

No, Ann, most people are wanting him to:

A) Shoot himself
B) Die in a fiery crash like in a movie
C) Be shot by the Police.

If he’s shot by the Police, THEN he’ll be a hero.


You can read the whole thing here. It’s a snapshot of history. Remember, this was 1994.

Double Hanging on Roosevelt Island

June 17th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

This chapter was originally supposed to be the beginning of my book Damnation Island, but my publisher thought it was too grim. Full disclosure, it is grim. The two people executed were young, and the woman, like most women who ended up executed at the time, was African American.

Quick backstory: Shortly after buying Blackwell’s Island in order to build humane institutions for the poor, sick and criminal, the City of New York scheduled a double hanging.

Blackwell’s Island

Everyone wanted to avoid the gridlock conditions that choked the City that crisp spring day in 1824, when roughly a third of the entire population of Manhattan crammed into Peter Stuyvesant’s farm at Second Avenue and 13th Street. Even those who would have described themselves as good, or charitable, swarmed the field to see John Johnson hang. Johnson knew what he was in for. It could take him up to twenty minutes to die, and he was only too aware that he was likely going to feel every second of it. The doctor he’d begged for something to ease his suffering had been pitiless, refusing to provide any form of medicinal comfort. The last thing Johnson saw before his four foot drop into eternity, with clear eyes and nothing to mute the terror or the pain, was the “solid mass of living flesh—men, women and children, of all colors and descriptions” who’d come to watch.

Afterwards, Stuyvesant demanded compensation for the damages to his property. The following year, only five days before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with their families, the masses came together again. Once more a wave of humanity surged towards the sight of one man violently squirming as the weight of his own body was used against him, and not even the 7th Regiment of the New York Militia, who’d been called in to preserve order, could quiet the viewing frenzy.

To read the whole chapter you can download a pdf: Blackwell’s Island Hanging

A lighthouse was later built on the site of the hanging.

Signs of Reincarnation

June 16th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

James Matlock, a Research Fellow at the Parapsychology Foundation, has written a new book called, Signs of Reincarnation. You can buy it at all the usual places online, but if you order it from the publisher’s website, Rowman & Littlefield, you get a 30% discount! Enter the code RLFANDF30 during checkout to receive the discount.

I wrote an article about reincarnation, and the research I found was carefully and painstakingly conducted, and regardless of what you believe, it still requires an explanation. It’s utterly fascinating. (I see Jim has a copy of one of my books on his shelf, thank you Jim!)

All My Grandparents on Their Wedding Days

June 14th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

This first picture is of my maternal grandparents, who I never met. They both died before I was born, alas. They were the blue collar side of the family. Walter worked for Con Edison his entire life, and died on the street on the way to work. My mother told me his co-workers joked, “Walter didn’t come to work today, he must be dead!” And he was! They were married in 1927.

Scroll down, please …

This second shot is my paternal grandparents. I didn’t have the original, so the quality isn’t great, but I love the top hat! They were married in 1926. My father’s side of the family was more affluent. His father was a judge who was appointed by Mayor La Guardia. They were neighbors of the Trumps, and my father’s sister used to babysit Donald. I remember my father telling me that no one in the neighborhood liked Donald.

Times Square Subway Sign

June 10th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I spotted this sign on the platform for the Q Train Times Square stop. I love a nice, positive message in the morning. Thank you PrideTrain people!