Pineapple Slices in its own juice


“Pineapple Slices in its own juice.”

I think it’s scary. Don’t you?

I mean, what does the pineapple slice in its own juice? And should a pineapple really be slicing anything?

And to think that you thought the edge of the opened can was dangerous.

Yes, we did.

Snipped from the documentary Kabul Transit

What would the world be like if people in the US were seeing this clip on the five o’clock news?

Do I still love you? Eat more MUMMs.

But of course I do.

Seen on top of a car parked in the East Village, NYC:


Seen on a lamppost in Long Island City, Queens, NYC:


Seen on a C-Town supermarket door in Astoria, Queens, NYC:


I love you, so I remind you to eat more MUMMs.

I am not certain if 5 MUMMs a day, or 5 entire MUMM plants a day, is optimal for health. Why don’t we ask Mr. C-Town?

Just looking over my travel photos from last summer…

I have the “urge for goin’” as Joni sang, and was appeasing it with my flickr collection.

I snapped these girls doing a rubbing of a gravestone at Gettysburg last summer. It was during steamy hot August, in the late afternoon.


All systems are — almost– go

Well, something still seems a bit off.  I welcome your critique of the new banner photo.

I like the new Extended Live Archive.

And comments are now working again.


Temporary new look. A few major glitches.

Okay, I have not been blogging much lately. That’s an understatement. But I recently went into the old cPanel and updated my WordPress. And found I needed a new theme, because the old one was messed up. High time, so no trouble.

I kind of like this theme, though I miss my subway-banner. And I love the Extended Live Archive. (Um, correction: I loved it until it disappeared!) And where did my blogroll go? Links are still in the admin section of the account, but I cannot see them displayed. This is what I get for doing a hasty upgrade. If I used to link to you, be assured, I will be again soon!
Anyway, I need a theme with widgets. Widgets are cool, widgets move with you, when you change the wallpaper, if the mixed metaphors of that are not too much.

Update 2/4: Missbhavens has pointed out that the comment function has also gone awol. Yikes. I hate this! I need time to come in here and sort it out. Please bear with me!

Would someone also explain why, since my comment function is not working, why I just had to go in and delete 38 of the nastiest comment-spams you ever read from my spam filter? Just curious…

Where was he on December 25th?

Trapped in a plastic bag, in the way back, bottom shelf of the fridge, of course, growing those antlers. Poor Rudolph.

St. Isidore, Patron Saint of the Internet. The Pope has deemed Isidore Patron of the Internets. (And here I thought it was Saint Al of Gore.)

Maybe things will run a bit more smoothly from here in?

No Gutka

Divali 2006 in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC





If you see something, run like hell. Bush does.

Found this gem on the E train, going from Chelsea to Queens.

What was difficult was snapping it on my cameraphone without making the gentleman sitting next to it nervous.

Sign alterers took the “If you see something, say something,” slogan and altered it with two neat cut-out replacements:

If you see something,
Run like hell.
Bush does.


I guess the weatha was nice that day, cause the shoe shiner was out, slipping around in the DC sunshine.


Too bad, as missbhavens said, that $1 info sounds like a good deal.

Ane wiki in the Scots leid

If ye dinnae ken what Scots is, it’s the leid o the Scots fowk. Fae Scotland, ken?

Scots has been a written language since medieval times, but it lost much of its social prestige as a written language after the Act of Union (1707), when it became fashionable for young, upper middle class, trend-setting Scottish people to speak English as if they were from the newly reinforced center of political and economic power, London (and I don’t mean they spoke Cockney, either). The language of London trickled down to the middle class, until there was a quite the social bias against speaking Scots.

And so Scots became, for a long time, the language of home and hearth, street and field. But not the language of books, school, academics, politics, or finance. There was an institutional bias against Scots, and it was not used formally in politics or education. Children were scolded– beaten even– for using Scots words and grammar in school. It never died out, but with some notable exceptions, it wasn’t much of a publishing medium for a few hundred years. Many Scots speakers do not think of Scots as a language; it’s quite common for them to describe it as “bad English.” It doesn’t help that some linguists still do too.

Now, however, as you may know, especially if I’ve bent your ear on the subject, Scots is flourishing, and so its prestige is rising again. It’s been building for decades. And to ring in the 21st Century, there is a spate of fiction, poetry and drama writing, a slew of new childrens’ books (indeed, childrens’ presses), language learning materials, and so on.

There’s still room for growth, though; the Scottish Parliament has a Cross Pairty Group on the Scots Leid which has written a document called “Scots: a Statement o Principles” that you can download here; and there’s a link to the SCPB Leid Policy here, which outlines which languages are used in the Scottish Parliament, and when. The language of the Scottish Parliament is mainly English, though debate is allowed in Scots as well as English, and in other languages (for example, Gaelic or British Sign Language, in which case translators are provided).

All this is progress. The day the Scottish Parliament re-convened on 12 May 1999 (the previous meeting adjourned on 25 March 1707), Dr. Winnie Ewing greeted the Parliament in English and Gaelic. Scots, spoken by more people in Scotland than Gaelic, was not officially used in this address. According to the documents above, Scots has some limited role in the new Parliament, and given the way things are going for Scots, it is bound to grow, as it should. On the other hand, the European Parliament, which has many official languages, does not give official status to many minority or regional languages, especially those that aren’t official languages of the various nations; Scots is one of those.

But now, there is a Scots-language Wikipedia at There are other wikipedias besides the one English speakers are most familiar with. The Scots one differs from some of the wikipedias in other languages, because its the first Encyclopedia in the Scots language in the world. It also differs from these other wikipedias because Scots is not yet a codified language. Scots speakers aren’t in 100% agreement about how to represent their language in writing. (This may sound strange to you, but look at books written just a few hundred years ago in English, and you’ll see more than a little variety in how words are spelled, for example.)

Despite any minor disagreements, though, communication is flourishing. And it’s braw.

braw: a. Fine, elegant, beautiful, excellent
ken: v. know
leid: n. language

It’s all about the camera

Yes, I am busy. It’s a good thing I have a crush on my new(ish) camera, or you’d hardly hear from me. Will post more soon. But for now, the camera will speak.

Here’s the railroad gantry here in Long Island City. As you’ve probably noticed before, I am obsessed with photographing it — usually via cameraphone, because I am usually Walking (capital W) when I’m there, and I don’t usually take my camera Walking — this time was the exception. But maybe I should. Maybe we’re getting to that next level of the relationship — you know, not just official dates and sightseeing in museums, but everyday exercise.

Mucha window

The Mucha window in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague


young angel in prague


a graceful language

I do not know much Italian. But it is clear from the following warning about pickpockets, which we found in a Vienna hotel, that the Italian version of the message is probably more delicate than the shorter English, German, and French versions provided. If anyone can translate it to English so we can see just how different it is, I’d be grateful.


Eyes Wide Open

The week before last, I was at Silver Bay of Lake George in the Adirondacks, with Quakers at New York Yearly Meeting 2006.

The American Friends Service Committee were exhibiting the New York and New Jersey sections of the travelling exhibit Eyes Wide Open, which you can read about here. A pair of combat boots represents each soldier who has died in the current war in Iraq. (They have a pair of boots for every soldier from every state — labelled with name, age, hometown — but since this was a conference of local Quakers, they brought just NY and NJ).



There were also shoes to represent a small number of Iraqi victims of the war. A small percentage indeed, since there have been many more than 100,000 Iraqis who have died.


I am trying to think of the size of field that an exhibit of well over 100,000 pairs of shoes would require.

I can’t.

You can see more of my Eyes Wide Open photos here.


ipod toilet paper holder
Apparently, they’re serious.

The Problem with Fresh Direct

Fresh Direct, a local internet grocer, has drawn plenty of public criticism for a number of reasons. People complain about their idling trucks (which take up parking spaces and waste gas), their choice of which neighborhoods to deliver to, and their packaging methods, which can be wasteful. And then there was the lady who claimed her FD delivery guy mugged her.

In my own experience, I use Fresh Direct occasionally, picking up myself at their warehouse, cause I’m in the neighborhood, and cause I got used to doing that back when they–inexplicably–did not deliver to their neighborhood. And while I think they should find another packing method that does not leave boxes all over the city, as they deliver, I haven’t before gotten orders from them that were terribly overpackaged. Until now.

First, I opened one box, and found this box of tea in its own massive box:


At this point, I went for my camera. I wanted to document this ugly overpackaging moment.

Then, I opened the box below it (in the photo), and found this small pint of tomatoes (I think) in a plastic bag, again alone inside a massive box:


At this point, I was screaming and running around the apartment in horror.

If you ask them, Fresh Direct will say they pack items in boxes according to what part of the store the items came from (so cold stuff is in a box together in a cold place, veggies are together in an appropriate temperature, dry groceries together, and so on. But why not take a minute, before heading out the door, to consolidate items which could live together in one box? And why not find some system whereby your customers could recycle those boxes back to you?

Shame on you, Fresh Direct! I guess in the past I have ordered things which fit in a box together. This was the first time I have seen anything like this. And now I know why they’re losing customers, big time.