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olt! is a way station and oasis on the ancient road from Bedlam to Bellevue, dedicated to free and open discussion of topics moving heart and spirit.
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Gathering storm clouds promise a welcome respite to a parched City after a long hot dry spell. I hurry home before the downpour, stopping to watch a pair of sparrows having at it right there on Third Street in the dust below a thirsty sidewalk tree. One of the sparrows gets the upper hand, so to speak, grabs his foe by the neck and starts hammering him into the dirt. He's gonna kill him! What to do, what to do?
A couple of neighbors join me, watching in horror. I can see their thoughts, same as mine: It's nature. It's normal. Nothing we can do. The pair of fighters begins to roll, oblivious to all, clenched to each other. They roll off the sidewalk over the curb and plummet through the grating of a storm sewer.
The neighbors hurry off without looking at me. I head home, mumbling to myself That's nature. It's normal. Nothing I could have done. I make it to my front door just as a clap of thunder shakes the air signaling the start of the deluge.
seems like a good place to hide ...
That is too cute! :D My kitty will hide behind my kitchen window curtain, but like your kitty, their tail is sticking out. :D
She's a handful, except when ...
Do Not Disturb! I'm taking a nap.
We humans gave up our position as the sole user of tools long ago. But, you say, there still is the exploration of space to claim for our uniqueness, something to be justly proud of. I think a closer look even there shows no single unique knack that makes us human, it's all a matter of degree, orders of magnitude, powers of ten.
Behold the lowly slime mold! Lab experiments have shown it possesses enough intelligence to find and remember the route through a maze to get at food. But wait ... there's more: In the wild. Protostelids, commonly known as slime mold, are solitary microscopic one-celled creatures which spend most of their life roaming forest floors while munching on decaying leafs, fallen trees and such. Perhaps it's when they bump into each other too often, or when there is not enough to munch on, or simply because they want to accomplish greater things, they band together and join into a gelatinous protoplasm, a blob, that goes galumphing through the underbrush, leaving slimy strands snagged on twigs and stones. That's what gets it noticed and why it's called slime mold.
At some point the blob finds a suitable spot to stop. Using their own bodies the creatures build a launch tower, then top the tower with a capsule containing a payload of their precious spores. Don't know if there is someone doing a countdown but there is an explosion and We have a Liftoff! The capsule with its precious cargo soars into the wild blue yonder to find new worlds, to boldly go where no slime mold has gone before.
It's all a matter of degree, orders of magnitude, powers of ten.
We head north through theater crowds, checking out the lights and huge billboards. I love midtown Manhattan when it drizzles, when puddles reflect the neons and tower tops disappear into a misty fog glowing in every color of the rainbow.
At Sony IMax I get on a very long wrong line being served by a human and get send to ticket machines lining the wall, stick in my card, punch the `picking up tickets' line and it spits out four tickets and a receipt. Just like that. Doesn't ask what movie, how many ... gives me just what I had ordered via phone earlier, untouched by human hands all the way.
Up an endless escalator and into a Starwars hangar, the control room is way up there in the back, a four-story screen in front of us pulses slowly with the colors from Times Square. We adjust our headsets and head off Into The Deep. Water hesitates just at mouth level, giving us time for a collective intake of air, then closes up above our heads. I'm looking at a bright-red fish two, no, four inches in front of my nose. The fish is looking at me. Various sea creatures do battle; it's a Nature film, with everything in 3D, ultra-real, details and colors galore. Stunning.
The possibilities are endless. I can see a Hostess handing out lasers so we can make our choices. My red beam marks an octopus, a tuna and a herring. When I turn in my headset and pointer I receive a card. We end the evening in a tatami room - Lenge's Sushi, they take my card. We toast with sake, try some pickles, gyoza, negimaki, shumai and a favorite of mine, ikura sushi. With just a slight smile, the waiter brings our sashimi. He shows the markings. It is indeed the very octopus, tuna and herring I picked. I nod. Everyone's impressed.
It was a good evening.
took a walk today ...
Trees have it tough.
For a couple of hours yesterday it looked like a blizzard though it was too warm for anything to stick and the snow melted so fast it left no slush. As I wander out today it's blustery, pleasant when the sun breaks through; in the shadows it's a bit cool. Up in front there's a hubbub with people rushing to a woman on the sidewalk, helpless, tangled I realize in a small wheelchair which has collapsed beneath her enormous weight. The woman is huge, no neck in sight. I believe the term is morbidly obese. It's hard to understand how she made it this far, at this point the chair looks somewhat like a squashed baby cart.
Six of us are pulling on her arms and pushing from the back trying to get her up when I realize that may not be such a good idea. If we did indeed get her up what were we to do with her then, her chair doesn't look like it would be available anytime soon. At least three men in the surrounding crowd are calling 911 on their cells and I suggest we just relax and wait for help. I commandeer a backpack to prop up her head a bit and she snuggles down, starts twiddling her thumbs, seemingly content to wait it out. Someone covers her with a coat as I fade out of the picture, heading north.
We leave the restaurant and round the corner onto Second. People everywhere, crowding the sidewalk. "What's up, what's up?" "It's the drag race, starting any second." A drag race, here, in the middle of the East Village? I see cops closing off the street and Second Avenue. A Chinese restaurant delivery boy pedals down the block just as the crowd roars "They're Off!' and all becomes clear.
Twenty or so drag queens in high heels dodge the egg foo yung people ordered back then, led by a very tall, ebony sprinter in sensible heels, pink mini shorts and tight halter top showing off a molded midriff. The crowd cheers. There seems to be a correlation between the size of the wig and the position in the pack. The higher, the slower. Same goes for heels.
Halfway down the block they all stop. Another cheer goes up: "Eat your fruit! Eat your fruit!" As far as I can tell, some have bananas and some have apples. I think all of them cheat and take off before finishing their fruit. A nun greets the runners at the finish line across the Avenue, one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence I suppose though I don't see the Bishop who often hangs out with them.
We make our way to Second Avenue ... cars backed up as far as the eye can see. The last racer limps across the avenue, cops leave and traffic moves again.
The Big Reveal