Saturday, October 15, 2016

into the mouth of the wolf

First there was the Bruckner, then the Clock became Charlies; 
Ceetay opened on Alexander and now we are blessed with 
La Grata, woodfired pizza right around the corner.

Italian Executive Chef Erminio Conte has been around the block a few times, so he brings the highest quality ingredients to his new home on Alexander.

The store itself is spare industrial chic: 
cool tile, concrete, glass and steel with dueling, 
wood-burning ovens to warm things up.

We started with the Burrata pugliese, $14, 
a large, tender ball of cheese so spectacularly fresh we barely noticed the oven-softened, cherry tomatoes underneath. 

Of course we ate them. :-)

Her pepperoni $16 was terrific, the grainy, chewy meat noticably superior to the usual pizza joint.

And the crusts are just-right thin, perfectly crispy and spotted with authentic, delicious black wood char.

Erminio said the whole process takes about 90 seconds 
in the withering hot ovens.

My dining companion was just back from Milan and she said the Margherita there was not as good as this one, $11.

Plus, the service has a familiar face here and there, so I suggest you get over there right now because La Grata is going to get busy.

In bocca al lupo!

from our Cape Cod correspondent

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

the Dirty Dancing song

Four more years

One brief but powerful essay you should read today:

“Capitalism is not a system of morality. It’s a system of economics based on wealth extraction, from the land and from people. Our minds are being formed to be dependent upon and addicted to corporate interfaces and systems. This is ‘for profit’ technology. There is nothing free. When a corporation offers you something for free it’s because they are harvesting something from you more valuable than your money.

I think of things like the subjugation of women, drone warfare, neoliberal capitalism, Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, massive wealth disparity, corporate sovereignty, the weapons industry, the fossil fuel industry, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, population explosion, factory farming, and the destruction of wilderness as opportunist infections.

The climax of all this is global warming, collapse of biodiversity, and the final breakdown of the body of the earth itself, at least as far as we have ever known it. But in America, we don’t connect the dots. We hate connecting the dots. 

People fantasize that the destruction of the American Dream is the fault of the poor, rather than the explicit and long term intention of the corporate class. Instead it’s China, it’s Mexican immigrants, it’s lawlessness, it’s that black boy on the street. Let’s blame him.

We can have these conversations about discrimination and the persecution of minorities in this country just as long as we don’t connect the dots back to 35 years of trickle down economics. As long as we don’t connect it back to the economic structures that were designed to systematically undermine most working people, or to the Occupy movement that Obama shut down one day in a single federal sweep.
For a moment, the Occupy movement really threatened to draw back the curtain and reveal America to itself, and that posed a most powerful threat.  Where would we be now if the Occupy conversation had been allowed to flourish in the media and in society for the last four years?

The government and the media have made sure that Americans don’t understand their relationship as American citizens with the rest of the world. We don’t comprehend the terrible death that our country and its corporations have wreaked upon the Middle East, or the ways that the consequences of our wars for oil have provoked a refugee crisis and waves of nationalism that are now threatening to destabilize Europe.
We have not seen the images of the death that we paid for. We haven’t seen the dead bodies. The government forbid the media from showing us what they were doing.

Obama’s administration imprisoned Chelsea Manning for 35 years for being the only one with the moral courage to expose images of our country’s war crimes. She is the only one in jail. Not the politicians or military officers who actually committed those crimes.

Most American families are preoccupied with the fact that they now need both parents working full time in order to pay the mortgage and they still have no money for holidays. They have lost their retirement plans because they were fired from their union jobs and rehired as temps. Mining industries came in and offered them the world, raped their land, and then abandoned them after all the wealth was extracted from their towns. Just sucked them dry of all their oil and then left. Perhaps they are 10 years out of college and still trying to pay off a mountain of student debt. Perhaps they are buried under debts from out-of-pocket medical expenses. Why does life seem to be getting harder?”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

by ferry only

With walls 40 feet high and eight feet thick, Castle Williams was destined to be a fort, a prison or a landmark.

It turned out to be all three.

It was designed and built in red sandstone on Governor’s Island between 1807 and 1811 under the direction of Colonel Jonathan Williams, first Superintendent of the West Point Militay Academy. 

You can see it, hard left, from the air.

Bristling with over 100 cannon, it was the sister fort of Castle Clinton in Battery Park. You can see that fort easily from the air, too.

Working together, their artillery was brutal.

Not once in history was an enemy ship ever foolhardy enough to try to slip between them. 

During the Civil War, it was used to imprison Confederate enlisted men and deserters from the Union Army. 

After 1865 it settled in as a military prison.

By 1895 Castle Williams was beefed up and designated one of the U.S. Army's top ten military prisons.

The angled gate walls were remodeled in 1912-13 to create a two-story guardhouse with turrets and rifle slots, using stones from two demolished magazines within the courtyard.

Each time there was thought to demolition, renovations were carried out instead to keep the old fort useful. 

After World War II concrete and steel staircases and galleries replaced originals made of wood.

The Coast Guard set up shop between 1966 until 1997.

By 1983 somebody realized this was an important landmark and it was listed by the National Register of Historic places. 

Today it’s a tourist trap.

But a cool one.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

the cost/ the price

could it be I’m falling in love

Ascension Tower in Memphis looks nice enough in the official publicity photo.

But look closer and we see it ranks no more than 2 stars out of 5, and zero reviewers recommend it.

A woman fell from the unlucky 7th floor balcony yesterday, crashing through a tree and although injured, she staggered away and survived.

Why did she fall?

She didn’t.