Recently, I spotted a car with a Kennedy-Johnson bumper sticker. It wasn’t affixed—sixty years ago—on a pre-1960s vehicle bumper. Rather, it was a subtle but powerful contemporary statement, lost, no doubt, on the Millennials in their myriad hashtag worlds. Yes, it's easy to poke fun at Millennials—they are not all created equal—but so many of the guys sound the same. From my ear: Just like the Amazon code phone call voice.
Anyway, what the bumper sticker hammered home to me was this: We are living in stinky times on a whole host of fronts. There was a time when politicians earned their initials. JFK-LBJ was quite a ticket, following in the ample footsteps of FDR. From the New Deal to the New Frontier. Now we have AOC, a media-made grandstander. Can you appreciate the decline? The pandemic and all that it has wrought has merely enhanced the stink, literally and figuratively. Nevertheless, I continue to wonder as I wander. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Once upon a time when the lights were lit, I saw Engelbert Humperdinck there. It's a complicated back story that involved Regis Philbin, may he rest in peace.
Hey, Mike Bloomberg, do you want to contribute to a worthwhile charity? Double what you spent running for president will suffice.
How about a billion plus for the city you love, which will hardly make a dent in your net worth. For the city, by the way, that you left in not very capable hands. If you want to get a fix on the caliber of Bloomberg's successor, I refer you to his presidential campaign.
Hey, if Prometheus can wear a mask, so can you!
Back to Mayor Mike, the philanthropist. The police budget has been cut by one billion dollars. Watching the local news nowadays is akin to having a ringside seat at the O.K. Corral. Looking on the bright side, it's not the Windy City, although it was pretty windy today.
So, how about one billion for the police...
And another one hundred million for the sanitation department, whose budget has been cut by that figure. It hasn't gone unnoticed, by the way.
One final aside on the local news: The amount of commercials run during them is too much to bear. Infomercials even air during the news broadcasts. But, I get it: These are stinky times. Remembering fondly Jim Jensen, Rolland Smith, and Carol Martin.
Saturday was a beautiful day for baseball Let's play two. On second thought, one is too much. For a long time now, Major League Baseball has not been the game that I once knew and loved. But in these stinky times the sport—among others—has gone political. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks...
Thank you! But wish there were some garment workers left in the Garment District.
This is an all too common sight around New York City. The aforementioned service cuts leave these street litter baskets overflowing for days at a time. It just adds to the abiding misery. And it stinks!
Remember me to Herald Square.
In these stinky times, it's easy to get steamed. Back to the FDR-JFK-LBJ-AOC monikers for a moment. Referring to the statue of Father Damien of Molokai, a canonized saint, in the U.S. Capitol, AOC remarked, “This is what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like!” Really? The man ministered to an isolated leper colony in a remote part of Hawaii. He died of the disease and is considered a hero by many.
A new term used by the news media to describe people who can't afford sufficient groceries: food insecurity. There's a lot of that in these parts and virtually everywhere else.
It's getting near that time. What will the college experience look like this year?
In my alma mater, woke-inspired protests will begin, I fear. An English professor was quoted in the local paper, The Riverdale Press, that Manhattan College, which is in the Bronx, by the way, is being "exclusionary" by listing its address as Riverdale, New York. Riverdale is a neighborhood in the Bronx. Got that. I feel fortunate that I attended college in the 1980s and not now...no straight jacket required.
The train's leaving the station. Don't let it leave without you.
(Photos from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)