Archive for June, 2008

Vampire Alley

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25, 2008 by wally426

Prospect Park mascot

25-06-2008  Brooklyn, NY

The walk began after a fine dinner of steamed Jasmine rice with cayenne pepper and soy sauce. I’d been taking it easy the past few days, not running after work due to an agonizing sports hernia that had been plaguing me the past few months. This old man had been feeling older than usual after being downgraded from casual jogs to walks through my beloved park. Nonetheless, these evening strolls have proven to be just as cathartic. If anything, they’re more so due to the fact that more can be taken in when someone isn’t being influenced by endorphins flowing through the brain.

The walk began around 8:30, just after the sun had sunk below the soft horizon of bushy trees and low buildings. After walking through the Garfield Street entrance into the great meadow, I was surprised to see almost a hundred people dotting the slow rolling glens. Whether they were playing soccer, laying on blankets, smoking dope, or lazily strolling, all people present seemed to be enjoying the refreshing scene. I joined the sedated masses, walking barefoot through the grass, feeling the cold blades tickling the bottoms of my feet. It felt surreal being there, having come from an office where I sat blindly looking at a piece of glass for almost twelve hours straight. The air was fresh and crisp, with wafts of new leaves, broken grass, and humid earth sweeping from the woods every so often. The sky also produced a magnificent blue hue in the waning sunlight, somewhere between deep ocean and blueberry. It was at that moment, while entering into the corridor that led from the great meadow to the baseball fields, that I noticed creatures flitting in abstract angles across the sky. Most weren’t but a few feet above my head. After hearing the chirping, it became clear that there were tons of bats out hunting for insects. They couldn’t have been more than 8 inches across, so there wasn’t any reason to be afraid, but it made the scene all the more spooky and exciting. As I walked on into the navy blue expanse, I noticed figures of other wanderers – A woman with a pink dress seemed to hover on a hill, black hair spilling across her back, dogs chased each other aimlessly, flitting and yipping as their eyes peeled back white and tongues flopped pink, a couple held hands and gradually disappeared into the black of the lost trails. It was surreal scene, but it made me so happy that this odd place was only steps away from the apartment. Whenever a delirious work day sends my eyes spinning from their sockets, I’ll come here and escape into a strange land of bats and ghosts.



Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2008 by wally426

19-06-2008   Brooklyn, NY

Nixzmary Brown

“Kyle Smith lay in a tiny coffin surrounded by stuffed monkeys Monday as friends and family finally got a chance to pay their last respects to the abuse victim. Kyle wore a white baseball cap, and his body was framed by giant bouquets of white and pink roses in the white satin-lined coffin. A stuffed purple monkey wearing a New York Jets jersey and a pink monkey sat next to him. Placards with baby photos and rest in peace messages were set by the coffin.”

Every so often you’ll hear a story about the failures of the ACS, the city’s bureau for protecting abused children. As with the case of Nixzmary Brown two years ago, too many people missed too many signs of abuse and another child ‘fell through the cracks’. After coming to school with bruises, missing school, and weighing only 36 pounds, ACS refused to take action and look into Nixmary’s case any further than an occasional visit. As it turns out, Nixmary’s stepfather kept her confined to a spare room in the apartment with dirty mattresses, a broken radiator, an old wooden school chair with a rope, and the litter box. She was obviously routinely starved as well, even though the family’s fridge was stocked with food. Two days before she died, she stole a container of yogurt out of the fridge and a severe beating ensued. Her stepfather threw her into the shower and doused her with freezing water while smashing her head against the side of the bathtub. It took her two days to succumb to her injuries. From the Daily News’ coverage of the trial “It was indicated that a head blow Brown received two days before she died was the cause of her death. ‘She was unconscious and going into respiratory depression for at least several hours before she died,’ Dr. Barbara Sampson informed jurors. It was further learned that neither Rodriguez nor Santiago did anything to help Brown during the hemorrhage. Further photographs of Brown were shown to the jury to back up Sampson’s diagnosis. Sampson said in court that the blow to Brown’s head was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ and she further stated that Brown died from ‘child abuse syndrome.’ Dr. Barbara Sampson also provided the following details during the day’s trial, saying that Brown had been somnolent and then in a coma. Sampson also indicated that Brown probably had progressive respiratory depression and perhaps had made moaning and groaning sounds, and was also gasping for air. Sampson further indicated that subdural hematoma was the mechanism of her death.” Her stepfather was convicted and sent to 29 years in prison (despite the fact that the defense actually tried to convince the jury that Nixmary was a “troubled child” and the guy was only being a “strict disciplinarian”… lawyers make me sick sometimes).

So, the most recent little victim is 3 year-old Kyle Smith. He was beaten to death on June 6th by Nymeen Cheatham and Lemar Martin, a couple that had obtained custody of him through his druggie mother (who had been staying down south with her father to try and exorcise her demons). Even though, according to the Times, Ms. Cheatham’s own children, then ages 3 to 11, were removed from her care in 2002 when child-welfare officials in Borger, Tex., near Amarillo, found them malnourished and alone, locked in a filthy home without food or running water.Why didn’t ACS pick up on this? Why didn’t anyone complain when Kyle was left to stand outside for hours in the sub-freezing temperatures in a t-shirt and shorts? What’s wrong with people that they wait until it’s too late, until these little innocent kids have been tortured, beaten, maimed, and humiliated repeatedly before their deaths? It makes my stomach turn.

Sorry for the rant, but this topic really strikes a chord. I usually don’t like to pass judgement, but I hope for nothing but the worst for these people when they’re finally sent upstate. I know the boys and girls in the pen don’t take too kindly to Child killers/abusers. Hopefully they will get what’s coming to them in terms of the so-called humility and discipline they imposed on these poor innocent souls.

I ran a race in the pouring rain yesterday and dwelled on the fruitless plight of this kid, it kept me going through the pain of a bruised left heel. I stumbled across the finish line, exhausted from thinking and winding through the thousands that were running ahead, and looked up to see a beautiful rainbow cresting through the trees in Central Park. It was beautiful, but sad at the same time. This kid will never see another rainbow, or get to run a race, as his future has been wiped away in an unbelievably cruel manner. 

Rest in peace, little guy. Hopefully you’re better off wherever you are now, free from the demons that had tormented you during your short time on Earth.

Meditaciónes y Escritos

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2008 by wally426

Don\'t eff with Michael Douglas

13-06-2008  Brooklyn, NY

A few ramblings from this past week’s mental mayhem, feel free to skip the internal dialogue to the previous post…

Do you ever have one of those days (after an extended period of high stress) where you wake up and realize that all the worries from the previous week have melted away? You feel like having a few brutally honest moments with life’s fabricated fraternal detractors, worry and doubt. You remember moments in books and movies where characters had similar epiphanies: Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye, Michael Douglas in Falling Down, Peter Finch in Network, and Edmond Dantes in Count of Monte Cristo. There’s a nothing-left-to-lose air about the day, a feeling that things couldn’t possibly bother you more than they already have. It’s a wonderful yet dangerous feeling all at once, and it’s one that I have today. Perhaps it was the stress caused by my firm’s precipitous downfall, by my faulty accounting last week that caused my boss endless grief with the auditors, by the oppressive heat that’s been racking the city, by the lost keys that seemed to have disappeared from my pocket last weekend, or by the simple fact that I should be taking pictures, writing, drawing and or teaching (all things I would rather be doing) that had caused this sudden spike of negative outlook on life. All of this broke like a bad fever this morning. It isn’t that things suddenly seem possible, just that there has been a strong realization that these negative things will unlitmately become positive ones. Some of life’s plans always find a way to work themselves out. In the meantime, I’ve come up with the following issues and solutions in the past few hours:

1. The firm is tanking, we might be scuttled on the rocks, the world is coming to an end…   Are you trading stock and making serious financial/strategic decisions that will effect the firm’s future? Hell no. When it comes down to it, these are rich men getting a little less wealthy. They might have to trade in their Bentley for a Benz, or downgrade from a 20 bedroom house to a 10 bedroom for their four members of the nuclear family. If you’re let go, then go back to school to get that doctorate in American History, sell artwork on a streetcorner, become the best bartender New York has ever seen, join the Canadian Mounted Police, become a professional bagpiper, or figure out a revolutionary way to use the energy expunged by trains to fuel the city’s massive electrical grid.

2. The city is turning into a huge E-Z bake oven, and it’s not even July, the world must be coming to an end…  What the heck are you worried about that for? You love the heat. Not only do you love the heat, you love OPPRESSIVE heat, the kind that makes a pool of sweat form in your belly button, that turns your blue dress shirt a translucent shade of lavender. So hot that as you lick your lips the spit feels cooler than the air. The heat that brings out all the good and bad smells of the city – The rotting fish of Chinatown, the peanuts roasting on 6th Avenue, the tarred wood of old Brooklyn Piers, Central Park’s baked earth, simmering asphalt, stagnant streetwater on the corners, exhaust from the backs of Ice cream trucks and stale popcorn wafting from Coney Island’s boardwalk.

3. Dreams are falling by the wayside… There’s no talking yourself out of this one, but don’t you need to formulate a dream concisely before following it? Shouldn’t you hone in on what you REALLY want to do for the rest of your life? Is it worth giving up all you’ve worked for in order to let go right now? What will be best for your family in the future? Bottom line is the pictures, writing and teaching can be put to the side until the time is right. Until then, the man will have to be appeased by another lowly servant!

**If anyone else has some issues and solutions of their own, feel free to sound off in the commentary. First up should be Vic with his loathing hatred of Evil Russian Slumlords… the mic is all yours people**

The realm of Dr. Hauch

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11, 2008 by wally426

11-06-2008   Brooklyn, NY

Last weekend we celebrated my best gorilla’s (Victor) date of birth by taking a trip into the Adirondack wilderness of upstate New York. With the exception of the mosquitoes and black flies that run rampant this time of year, it was a perfect setting for an escape out of the city’s sweltering confines. There ended up being twelve of us setting up camp on a pristine lakeside point in the middle of the Pharaoh mountain wilderness area. Light breezes blew away the bugs and oppressive heat, the timber was plentiful and the water was cool and refreshing. We spent the nights drinking beer, laughing, and gazing at the enormous fire in the middle of camp. The sun gradually set and blue light turned black behind the matrix of pine trees. Owls, crickets and tree frogs serenaded us as the night went on, their songs mingling in an atonal harmony. As odd as it is being completely away from civilization, it’s comforting knowing that the only agenda at that point was survival. We had the bare essentials at that point: Food. Water. Shelter. Marshmallows. Heat. There was nothing left to do but enjoy the evening and drink ourselves into a stupor. If man’s exploits of this good Earth come to apocalyptic proportions, then the woods would be the first place I would go. They truly provide everything you would need to survive. Part of me doesn’t see how the Earth can keep up with the pace of development, it seems as though a purging must take place at some point in the near future. Resources are constantly being depleted, and most trends are favoring those methods that do not promote the sustainability of our environment. Not that I’m a tree hugger, but the pace of which we consume will eventually cause a shift in our planet’s natural balance. So we’ll have more tsunamis, heat waves, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes. There’s no logical reasoning to the hypothesis, but we still serve as microscopic parasites on the back of a large beast. I’m sure there have been people in every era that thought the planet couldn’t possibly keep pace with human development without “correcting itself”. Just like the black flies that bit our backs last weekend, ire was eventually drawn after a few bites and we slapped back. Such will be the case with humans and this magnificent planet of ours. There will either be some wild natural disaster or humans kill each other off… I’ll be enjoying the woods in the meantime…