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Archive for February 5th, 2009

dewey-martin“Dewey Martin, drummer for the short-lived but long-resonating rock band Buffalo Springfield whose career after the group split never ignited like those of his former band mates Neil Young and Stephen Stills, has died. He was 68.”

(via LA Times)

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“Milton Parker, who brought long lines and renown to the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan with towering pastrami sandwiches and a voluble partner who kibitzed with common folk and celebrities alike, died in Queens on Friday. He was 90 and lived in Manhattan. . . .

‘In the history of delicatessens, Milton Parker’s Carnegie Deli caused more heartburn to the Jewish world than anything I’ve ever heard of,’ Freddie Roman, the veteran borscht belt comedian, said this week on the savethedeli Web site. ‘His pastrami sandwich was incredibly much too large for human consumption.’” (via NY Times)

[Parker was born the same year as my father and both grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Parker’s passing reminds me of my father’s frequent boasts of having served in the same Army battalion as the owner of the Pastrami King, the venerable Queens Boulevard delicatessen that my father proudly referred to as the “Carnegie of Queens.”]

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While the completion of the final 670-mile stretch of security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border continues to be slowed by political and engineering issues, across the more than 600 miles of fence already completed (“a hodge-podge of metal panels, wire mesh and steel posts”) “drug smugglers . . . continue to breach the fencing that is up, forcing Border Patrol agents and contractors to return again and again for repairs. The smugglers build ramps to drive over fencing, dig tunnels under it, or use blow torches to slice through. They cut down metal posts used as vehicle barriers and replace them with dummy posts, made from cardboard.”

Teddy Cruz, reporting for “The Nation,” writes that “no matter how high and long the post-9/11 border wall becomes, it will never stop the migrating populations and the relentless flows of goods and services back and forth across the formidable barrier that seeks to exclude them.” Yet from the southward flow of materials something remarkable is being created – “while human flow mobilizes northbound in search of dollars, the urban waste of San Diego moves in the opposite direction . . . The leftover parts of San Diego’s older subdivisions — standard framing, joists, connectors, plywood, aluminum windows, garage doors — are being disassembled and recombined just across the border. A few miles south, in Tijuana, new informal suburbs — some call them slums — spring up from one day to another. This river of urban waste flows across the Tijuana-San Diego [sic] to make something dramatically new.”

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cable-box1“In order to keep some 6.5 million TV screens from going dark two weeks from now, both houses of Congress have now voted to postpone the deadline for a changeover from analog to to digital television transmissions from February 17 to June 12. The president has been pushing for the delay, and despite delays from peevish Republicans, he got it. It remains to be seen whether the postponement will be enough to resolve what has by now become a completely failed government program–another parting gift from the Bush administration, which managed to raise government incompetence to new levels, while always seeming to shaft the nation’s most vulnerable people.”

(via Mother Jones)

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“Don’t Piss Here” – Painted message on brick wall in residential section of Hanoi, Viet Nam, December, 2006 (note evidence of just-concluded disobedience along bottom of wall at lower left)

(Full photo)

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dvd“Because of widely available broadband access and a new wave of streaming sites, it has become surprisingly easy to watch pirated video online — a troubling development for entertainment executives and copyright lawyers.”

(via NY Times)

[Earlier this week, for the first time, I watched a pirated movie, a DVD copy of a current-run Academy Award-nominated film apparently reproduced from an advance review video (during an early scene, for a few seconds, a message appeared on the bottom of the screen warning against reproduction or distribution of the video). I must admit to having had some misgivings about watching the DVD, yet what I mostly thought about was how commonplace it is to find for sale legally in bookstores, uncorrected proofs or review copies of new books sold to the stores by editors and reviewers, often in advance of the books’ release. Review copies of new books, not intended for resale, are so ubiquitous in New York City that it has become hard for me to justify paying full price for new titles.]

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