1/5/17…So what’s new…

Yesterday I had a sudden attack of chills that left me weak and whimpering, so I pretty much dogged it. Hope I can find more to say today. One matter is kind of interesting. I’ve been rereading – doing the readerly equivalent of bodysurfing, actually; riding this wave to its conclusion, then pushing out from shore to find another –  Bob Caro’s immortal The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York  and I’m struck by the similarity to Donald Trump. The “win at any and all costs” mentality. A genius for bullying. The concomitant ability to outstay and outmaneuver opponents and competitors. The worship of Mammon, the skill at financial dissimulation and the conviction that the taxpayers’ purse is there to be exploited. The kingly lifestyle. The unconcern for the city, its neighborhoods and its less affluent residents. The self-regard. The lack of real friendships. Caro’s book also complements a point made by Kunstler: that the suburbanization that Moses made possible with his system of parkways and highways was probably the greatest instance of misallocated investment in our history – especially when you add in the high maintenance requirements that highways bring with them. I especially recommend Caro’s chapters on the building of Long Island Expressway and the way Moses killed a series of proposals to configure the roadway for mass transit (high speed bus lanes down the middle), with the result that the LIE had exceeded its specified vehicles-per-hour capacity within five years.  The next time you’re making a crisp 5mph. in traffic around Grand Central Parkway, think on Moses – and curse the SOB.

1.http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/fck-work.html If only we could achieve the no work/guaranteed income paradise at the level I observe on the Brooklyn Bridge everyday, where a repair and maintenance program that now feels like it’s taken longer than it did to build the goddamn bridge consists of small knots of people in hardhats standing around smoking at $85/hour plus overtime. Or the not-exactly-underpaid NYPD ‘patrol” at the Manhattan end: flashers on, but checking out his cellphone (porn? video game?) with such concentration that I could drive a van bearing the sign “Stay Back 1000 feet – Nuclear Device on Board” in 5-foot-high letters onto the Bridge and never be noticed.

2.First rule of business: whatever what you make or do, whether a product or a service, it has to be something someone, somewhere, is willing to pay for: http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-cofounder-evan-williams-lays-off-one-third-of-staff-at-medium-closes-two-offices-2017-1?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_content=10ThingsSAI&pt=385758&ct=Sailthru_BI_Newsletters&mt=8&utm_campaign=Post%20Blast%20%28sai%29:%2010%20things%20in%20tech%20you%20need%20to%20know%20today&utm_term=10%20Things%20In%20Tech%20You%20Need%20To%20Know%20-%20Engaged%2C%20Active%2C%20Passive%2C%20Disengaged 

3,How have I gotten this far without one of these? http://graphics.wsj.com/image-grid/ces-2017-best-gadgets/3693/simplehuman-voice-activated-trash-can And speaking of Tech, who needs Virtual Reality when we have the real thing?

4. No comment needed. http://www.cjr.org/the_feature/trump_journalism_press_freedom_global.php And click through to the Masha Gessen post.

5. If you’re looking for an exemplification of horseshit, you’ll be hard pressed to beat this pearls-twister, which seems to think there’s a world out there without male adolescence, the rising of the sap, testosterone as a natural secretion  etc. http://www.alternet.org/culture/homo-obnoxious-toxic-masculinity-really-taking-over-country One sentence caught my eye: When I arrived at the University of Georgia in 1988, a sophomore from my hometown issued a helpful warning not to ever hook up in a certain popular fraternity house. Now the way I read this, the advice’s subtext is: “But it’s okay to hook up at A, B or C.” Why would the person giving this advice think that hooking up might be on the writer’s agenda? I think we should be told.   And if “hooking up” means what I believe it does, the inference is that this is a natural, inherent type of conjunction – in the female of the species as in the male. To the best of my knowledge, it was Eve who, with the aid of an apple laced with the godly equivalent of Spanish fly, or whatever “date drug” the Creator had synthesized In the Beginning, seduced Adam and not the other way round. Had Eden been located on an Ivy League campus, after the deed was done, presumably to Eve’s performative dissatisfaction, she would have made tracks to file a sexual abuse complaint with the Dean, who would lately have shed his snakeskin and donned trousers.