Tag Archives: New York

Recent Thoughts, April 2020

3 Apr

April 3, 2020

Updates to this site are few and far between lately. The easy answer is that I have less time and opportunity to post. Far less than I used to have. But the better answer is that I don’t feel the need. Don’t feel the urge to write. Is it because my job, in which on some days I do nothing but write, satisfies whatever craving I have? I don’t know. I really don’t feel the writing bug much, if at all. But I can tell you that what I want to do with and get out of this blog is very different than it was when I began 10 years ago. That’s a different story for a different time. Long story short, updates to this blog are likely to remain few and far between. You know what? I’m ok with that,

And judging from my stats and comments, you are too.

With the current situation, many people would think that this is a good time to write, to read, to catch up on TV, etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately, for many people it is. It’s really sad that so many people I know are out of work and have no money coming in. I am not showing off or humble-bragging when I say that I am working from home, getting as much work done, if not more, than before this virus hit. Yes, I am grateful for the money coming in, but the stress level is high. There is the general level of stress many of us feel these days due to the virus situation. I’m in New York City, so I assume you’ve seen how bad things are on the news. Add to that the stress of my job, which I will not go into here. Plus there is my wife to consider, and my Job One is making sure she’s happy and OK. (I don’t mean to imply she’s unhealthy. She’s perfectly fine.) She is uppermost in my mind these days, right alongside the rest of my family that it kills me not to see.

I’m not the only one going through these things. Things are bad (and badder and baddest) all over. I’m no martyr, but this is my sandbox so forgive me if this comes off as all about me. It is. This is my blog, after all. If thousands of self-obsessed YouTube and Instagram influencers can have channels dedicated to the minutiae of their ridiculous lives, forgive me this one post on this obscure website.

One thing I am doing to cut down my general stress levels is avoiding Facebook. A timewaster at the best of times, it has become nothing short of aggravating. Luckily, my feed is not full of idiots licking fruit or jerks throwing virus parties and crowding 50 people into their apartments. My friends and the people I follow are smarter than that.

But Facebook is full of funny memes about toilet paper shortages and social distancing, and joke after funny picture after silly cartoon about the coronavirus. And that’s fine. But it doesn’t do a thing for me. Some of these jokes are funny, some of them make me laugh. I begrudge no one for posting these things. No problem at all. I’m not some weird moralist who finds no humor in this. Go ahead, post your jokes, post your memes, no problem. I don’t care, and you certainly don’t care what I think anyway. But I don’t want to see them. I don’t want to know from them.

For me, it is a little too close to picnicking in a graveyard.

It isn’t just Facebook. I make a point of checking the news only one or two times a day, and I completely avoid any news conference by New York City’s buffoonish part-time Mayor. The Governor is controlling him like a puppet anyway.

Before you think I am all stress – work – stress nowadays, I have to tell you that I made time to watch Tiger King.

Wow. Just wow. That is exactly the type of thing I’d love to blog about.

If only I felt the urge.

 

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My Review of Shaft, by Ernest Tidyman

10 Nov

November 10, 2018

Shaft is a deep book. Oh, not in the sense that it touches on deep issues and ponders difficult sociopolitical questions, but in the sense that it puts you in Shaft’s head and he thinks deep thoughts about everything.

Every freakin’ thing.

Reading this book I wonder if Shaft has ever had a happy day in his life. The book can be a ponderous read at times because Shaft ponders everything. Nothing is just surface, everything is fodder for Shaft’s dark and dolorous musings. There’s a dark cloud behind every beam of sunlight in Shaft’s world. There are bad intents behind every person Shaft sees in the street, and in every glance Shaft sees the bad behind the good. To be fair, Shaft comes by that worldview honestly, and it serves him well in his job, but even when the case is wrapped and Shaft is playing a board game with a child, he’s deep in brooding. And what is he brooding about? How the child beat him in the game, and Shaft will get better and beat him next time, then have to let the kid win after that because, after all, he’s an adult playing a kid in a kid’s game. Even downtime with a young child brings out the rain clouds.

Does Shaft ever smile?

Despite all that, I liked the book. It feels like a slice of the seventies and this is a book that could only have been written in that era. On the other hand, it deals extensively in stereotypes. Every black person is a militant or a drug dealer. Every Italian is connected to the Mafia. Every white girl wants to sleep with a black man and every white man is afraid of the black man. I would stop short of saying there is anything truly racist about this book, but I can see the arguments. However, Shaft does have some clearly anti-Semitic thoughts about the Jews, making the title of the next book, Shaft Among The Jews, more intriguing.

I read the book because I always like reading the source material behind classic films, and the movie Shaft is an undisputed classic. The big question is, of course, is the book better than the movie? I have to say no. I enjoyed the movie much more. Even if I was listening to Isaac Hayes’ soundtrack as I read the book I couldn’t help but feel like Shaft is not a character I’m in a hurry to revisit, at least in literary form.

 

 

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