Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!


TO ALL IN 2013!


Feliz año nuevo
Feliz Ano Novo
Bonne année
Buon Anno Nuovo / Felice Anno Nuovo
Kull 'aam wa-antum bikhayr
Aliheli'sdi Itse Udetiyvasadisv
Na MwakaMweru wi Gikeno
Feliĉan novan jaron
聖誕快樂 新年快樂 [圣诞快乐 新年快乐]
Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mise duit
Nava Varsh Ki Haardik Shubh Kaamnaayen
Ein gesundes neues Jahr
Mwaka Mwena
Pudhu Varusha Vaazhthukkal
Afe nhyia pa
Ufaaveri aa ahareh
Er sala we pîroz be
سال نو
С наступающим Новым Годом
šťastný nový rok
Manigong Bagong Taon sa inyong lahat
Feliç Any Nou
Yeni yılınızı kutlar, sağlık ve başarılar dileriz
نايا سال مبارک هو
Emnandi Nonyaka Omtsha Ozele Iintsikelelo
Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Chronia polla
Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
Kia pai te Tau Hou e heke mai nei
(*Shinnen omedeto goziamasu)
IHozhi Naghai
a manuia le Tausaga Fou
Paglaun Ukiutchiaq
Naya Saal Mubarak Ho

(International greetings courtesy of Omniglot and Jennifer's Polyglot Links; please note a few of the phrases may also contain Christmas greetings)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Random Photos

A few recent photos, as we all take cover from the looming austerity bomb (and yes, I, like the vast majority of Americans, will be paying more in taxes, though I fall well under that $250,000 / year income threshold)!

In the US Post Office
At the US Post Office, Canal Street
Chestnuts, on an open fire
Chestnuts (and more) roasting on an open fire

I <3 NY Car, Bleecker Street
Christmas eve musician
Street musician, Fifth Avenue
 ("One died, and the soul was wrenched
out of the other in life....")
Armani's 5th Ave. store
Armani/5th Avenue, gleaming like a newly wrapped gift

The remains of St. Vincent's
Remains of St. Vincent's
Looking west up 57th St.
57th Street, Manhattan, with a tower rising in the background
Mangia (and those who patronize it)
Canal Street
Canal Street, as the sleetstorm was beginning
7th Ave., Midtown
7th Avenue, Midtown
At Idlewild Books, 19th St.
At Idlewild Books, 19th Street
Art Students League
The legendary Art Students League of New York
(training ground of many a famous American artist)

Towards the Newport Light Rail Station
Heading to the Newport Light Rail, Jersey City
JOY, Spring Street, SoHo

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!


Christmas tree

Our holiday meal is C's production (and you can find some of the recipes, like Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans and Homemade Rolls in C's Holiday Kitchen, an e-book as well as an iPhone and iPad app), but I made a Chocolate Whiskey cake, based on a recipe I found in the New York Times

It is DELICIOUS, especially on the second day, after its flavors have settled. Here's the recipe. One bit of advice: spread the semi-sweet chocolate chips (or any kind of semi-sweet crushed chocolate) around in the batter; most of mine clustered at the center of the cake, so that was much thicker and more gooey the first night.

Chocolate whiskey cake

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hoboken PATH Station Reopens

It has taken almost 7 weeks but Hoboken's PATH station, a key portion of its overall rail hub system, has finally reopened, with limited daily service from 5 am to 10 pm, and train service to Manhattan's 33rd St. PATH station. The direct line between Hoboken and World Trade Center, whose line to Newark resumed last week, remains closed.

For New Jersey residents who commute for work or school, or who just want affordable and convenient options to get to New York City, for New Yorkers who work or study on the NJ side of the Hudson, and for tourists who lodge at more economical NJ hotels, to name just three sets of potential riders, the return of service is a boon.

I snapped some photos of the light rail area and the rest of the station, some of which show the tropical storm's lingering, devastating aftermath, while others display the renovations and cosmetic improvements that have occurred over the last few months. I pray the businesses that are still shuttered reopen. Soon.

A decorative tile now gracing the light rail platform
One of the landline phone booths (during the storm
the landlines proved invaluable and cell service
often nonexistent)
A new sculpture/bench, still
inaccessible to commuters
Gulls sunning themselves in tranquility
Inside the railway station (temporary information
and ticket booths are visible at right)
The liquor store, still closed
The train platforms, mostly
back to regular form
Hudson News, still closed
The grand waiting room, closed off
but mostly cleaned and in very good shape
One of the convenience booths,
back open, and more ticket trailers
The exposed ceiling heading
to the PATH platform looks like
it still could use more repairs
Inside the Hoboken PATH station
which looks mostly back to normal

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quote: Roberto Bolaño

"There are books that inspire fear. Real fear. More than books they seem like time bombs or like taxidermied animals that'll go for our throat when you're not looking. This is a feat I've known only twice. The first time was long ago, in 1977 or 1978; I was reading a novella in which, on a certain page, the reader is warned that he could die any moment. That is, he could die literally, fall to the floor and not get up. The novel was La asesina ilustrada [The Enlightened Assassin] by Enrique Vila-Matas, and as far as I know none of its readers died on the spot although many of us emerged transformed from our reading of it, conscious that something had changed forever in our relationship with literature. Along with Los dominios del lobo [The Wolf's Haunts], Javier Marias's first novel, La asesina ilustrada, marks the departure point for our generation.
The second novel that's truly frightened me (and this time the fear is much stronger, because it involves pain and humiliation instead of death) is Tadeys, the posthumous novel by Osvaldo Lamborghini. There is no crueller book. I started to read it with enthusiasm--and enthusiasm heightened by Lamborghini's original prose (with its sentences like something out of Flemish painting and a kind of improbable Argentine or Central European pop art) and guided as well by my admiration for César Aira, Lamborghini's disciple and literary executor as well as the author of the prologue to this unclassifiable novel--and my enthusiasm or innocence as a reader was throttled by the picture of terror that awaited me. There's no question that it's the most brutal book (that's the best adjective I can come up with) that I've read in Spanish in this waning century. It's incredible, a writer's dream, but it's impossible to read more than twenty pages at a time, unless one wants to contract an incurable illness. Naturally I haven't finished Tadeys, and I'll probably die without finishing it. But I'm not giving up. Every once in a while I feel brave a read a page. On exceptional nights I can read two."
-- Copyright © Roberto Bolaño, from between parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003, edited by Ignacio Echevarría and translated by Natasha Wimmer, New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2004. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Black Diaspora in Hollywood 2.0

Watching Sunday night's Homeland finale, which brutally and ironically dispatched one of my favorite characters from the show, CIA Counterintelligence Chief David Estes, superbly embodied by British actor David Harewood (see below), I recalled that during Black History Month in 2006 I wrote a blog post pointing out the sizable number of black actors from across the African Diaspora now in Hollywood, and featured stars including Idris Elba, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Adewale Akinnoye-Agbaje, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Edjiofor, Garcelle Beauvais, and Boris Kodjoe. I noted then that I hadn't seen any discussion at all of this reality in the mainstream media, though the black film and TV communities in the US appeared to be acknowledging the diversity of their talent pool, and, like the larger black communities across the country, reflected the truth that the US black population has always comprised people from all over the world. As far as cinema and TV go, you need only cite iconic non-US-born black actors from the past such as Sidney PoitierHarry Belafonte, Juano Hernández, Frank Silvera, Austin Stoker, Percy Rodriguez, and Zakes Mokae to bear this out.

As of 2012, the trend continues; just as with white actors in Hollywood, a number of high-profile black stars of film and TV shows are originally from overseas, but have found roles and homes (even if temporarily) here. The list below suggests that black actors from several different parts of the globe are making their names and careers in the US. Some, like Mel B, play themselves; some, like Dania Ramirez, are able to get roles crossing ethnicities; others like, Harewood and Oyelowo, quite effortlessly slip into African American/unspecified black roles without much problem. The British actors have gained considerable attention, and it remains the case that in the UK, roles for talented black actors are scarce.  In Hollywood, there are many more roles, but few leading ones, outside biopics, for actors of the caliber of many of these folks or their African American colleagues. As the country darkens, though, one can hope.... Here are a few of the most notable contemporary black diaspora actors gracing US TV screens:

David Harewood (UK)
Homeland, Blood Diamond
Ashley Madekwe (UK)
Revenge, Drop Dead Gorgeous
David Oyelowo (UK)
Red Tails, Last King of Scotland, Lincoln, The Help
Naomie Harris (UK)
Skyfall, Miami Vice, 28 Days Later
Benjamin Charles Watson (Jamaica/Canada)
L. A. Complex
Gloria Reuben (Canada)
ER, Feast of All Saints, Lincoln 
Dayo Ade (Nigeria/Canada)
L. A. Complex, Lost, Let Go, Degrassi High
Dania Ramírez (Dominican Republic)
Entourage, Heroes, Fat Albert, She Hate Me
Dayo Akeniyi (Nigeria)
The Hunger Games
Mel B (Melanie Brown/Scary Spice) (UK)
X Factor, Mel B: It's a Scary World
Dwain Murphy (Canada)
Saving Hope, The Mentalist, How She Move 
Enuka Okuma (Canada)
Rookie Blue, 24, Andromeda 
Lyriq Bent (Canada)
Rookie Blue, Saw III, Saw IV, Four Brothers
Marsha Thomason (UK) 
2 Broke Girls, General Hospital, Lost
Peter Mensah (Ghana/Canada)
Avatar, True Blood, Spartacus
Lorraine Toussaint (Trinidad & Tobago)
Scandal, Friday Night Lights, Saving Grace, Ugly Betty
Rocsi (Díaz) (Honduras)
106 & Park, Brothers, Soul Ties

Aml Ameen (UK)
Harry's Law, Red Tails, CSI Miami
Harriet Lenabe (South Africa) [shown with Don Cheadle)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Hotel Rwanda
Nonso Anozie (UK)
Game of Thrones, The Grey
Kandyse McClure (South Africa)
Battlestar Galactica, Persons Unknown