Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Football Fever (Fumble)

ich liebe es

New York is not a football town.  "Its" NFL teams, the Jets and the Giants, both live in New Jersey.

New York is a sports town, to be sure, with millions of fans and statisticians supporting half a dozen professional teams across leagues in ice hockey, football, basketball, even soccer and of course, baseball ... but only the Yankees, and B-ball's Knicks, seem to whip up actual "New York" hometown frenzy.  If you're from out on the island (or like to tantalize and frustrate yourself year after year!), you might prefer to cheer the Mets - or skate to the tune of hockey's Islanders.  Often you'll pass through the city to get to New Jersey, to watch the Devils, the Red Bulls ... or see a football game.

"New York", per se -- that is, Manhattan -- is generally flyover country when it comes to football.

So why is Midtown Manhattan in lockdown this week, as hundreds of thousands of additional sports fans, and statisticians, pour in, to clog the streets, drink free coffee and essentially tailgate down Broadway and across Times Square, to experience the first ever Big Game in "New York"?

The Big Game, Super Bowl XLVIII, is not in New York!  It's in New Jersey.  There, in the clogged and congested bedroom arteries of diners, Italian restaurants, bridge and tunnel noise and traffic, bad roads and off-ramps and overpriced -- way overpriced -- fleabag motels, should be the lockdown!

I start mixing metaphors when I'm angry ... Or when I find myself in a scene not mine, or a world I can't fully comprehend.  I'm not a sports fan myself, first off.  I couldn't care less about the "Big Game".  Super Sunday has become just one more in a long list of endless winter holidays ... Another excuse to be forced to entertain, be entertained, invite friends over and overeat.  Except for the nachos, and maybe an off chance of catching a wardrobe malfunction, I prefer to stay in bed and play KenKen each Super Sunday.

"Darla," I'll ask my wife (though that's not her name).  "Darla?"

"Yes, Jeff?"

"Are the teams still playing?"

"Yes, Jeff."

"Can you bring me a nacho?"

I used to like football, and all sports.  Don't get me wrong.  I went to the gym once.  I walk, and do things.  Why, when I was Lorde's age, I actually played football.  Played hockey too, and to this day, can skate a mean crossover.

But unfortunately, I suck at KenKen ... and I can't stay in bed all week!  Which brings things around to my original question.   Why is Midtown Manhattan in lockdown?  Once again, "New York" has subsumed its surroundings, and sucks up all of the hype and attention ... falling over itself to piss me off!!!

As I'm driving up 1st Avenue, hoping hopelessly to cross to 8th, I bump and fender-bend and ding into the first available parking thing I see.  I stop the car and get out, and walk across town ... passing buses and taxis and gridlocked thousands.

By the time I get to my morning appointment, it's afternoon.  I walk back across town.

go, big blue

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Yet Another Song & Dance

On a social network last week, a minor kerfuffle erupted when I posted a picture of Super, Man!
photo via

... not one of my own original Photos by Jglo ... but I found it online and linked to it, to illustrate a point I was trying to make.  Actually, I was using it as a punch line -- to illustrate "accomplishment" after reciting a children's poem -- and this is where I was perhaps misguided.

Someone called me out on my attempted humor - which, in retrospect, relied on a visual version of the "retard" / "retarded" pejorative ... though when I posted the image, I wasn't thinking so far ahead.  I was just thinking like I was ten, when most of us used to laugh and clap around "like retards", for comic effect.

Like Jerry Lewis ... or Don Knotts ... or Buddy Hackett ... or any number of rubber-faced, googly-limbed, weird-voiced childfolk, who built careers, if not legends, by "playing retarded".

Or franchises.  Dumb and Dumber, anyone?  Little Britain's Lou and Andy (speaking of 'kerfuffles') ... How about Mitch Fatel?  Some Adam Sandler ... That fat one who lived and died like Belushi.

All are, arguably, "offensive".  In the same way that I offended a few people by posting a picture I found to be contextually appropriate ... I suppose I could have just written, "golf clap".

But my point is the hypersensitivity and hypocrisy which pervades American culture, and society at large.  When I was 18, having just come to New York and attending college, there was a discussion in some class about immigration.  From the second or third row of the classroom, I piped up humbly that newly arrived immigrants, in order to arrive (and stay) in the United States, should be required to learn and speak at least a fundamental English ... which, some 25 years later (and nearly 400 years after the pilgrims landed), is still the nation's first language.

This simple suggestion of common sense, which remains my opinion and is shared by many, did not go down well.  A girl in the front row nearly snapped her neck whipping around to face me, and snarled, "A man named Adolf Hitler once believed the same thing!"

WTF??, I would have thought (if "WTF" had been around then).  Really?  That's Hitleresque?  A suggestion that new arrivals to any country be required to have at least an awareness of that country's language??

As a result of the unexpected smackdown, I spent the next four or five years in classrooms not opening my mouth - and eventually, not graduating from college.

Now last week, a woman on a social network demanded to know what my kids eat for breakfast -- what I must feed them -- because I posted a picture of Super, Man!

My startled response was to request that my own post be deleted ... which it was, together with, more disturbingly, the entire thread (an innocuous, if maddeningly pretentious, thread about Poetry).  No longer ten years old, I could see the woman's POV and understood how young Super, Man! might have upset, perhaps even "offended", her.

And this time, I let hypocrisy win.
"Song and Dance (Man!)", ©Jeff Glovsky

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Arctic Corollary

Ha!  Told you so!

As I suggested in a post last week, I'm not alone in believing that we've become a nation of sissies when it comes to weather ... specifically, cold weather.

Leaving aside for now the global warming arguments (and any kooky renditions of "Ice Ice, Baby"), let's just say that America, as a nation, is prompted to overreact when it comes to extremes.  And don't get me wrong:  30 degrees below zero (in some cases, plus wind chill) IS extreme ... as is the (*ahem*) 'polar' opposite: 100+ degrees in some nasty, fly / mosquito bake-off ... but for many Americans, neither extreme -- brutal cold nor baking heat -- is beyond what might be expected seasonally, or at least geographically. 

In other words:  SHUT UP already about the cold, and stop throwing words around, like "dangerous", "deadly", "advisory", "warning" ... It's WINTER.  Sometimes it's cold outside.

As I escaped the clutches of the holidays last week ... emerging from torpor and "polar vortex" ... my three hour drive to the airport was clear:  not a hint of snow or even black ice on the freeway (I-35 between Duluth and Minneapolis, MN) and the point of every star sharp and crackling like glass.

Beyond this, my overnight flight back to comparative warmth was delayed a little, maybe two or three hours ... but by 8am, I was back in my home away from Home, and back to my normal (winter) morning routine.

I did not stay indoors, avoid driving or change travel plans ... and yet (amazingly?) I did not freeze to death, become sick or frostbitten, spin out or worse on the side of the freeway, or be forced to sleep on an airport floor.

... I just went about my life in winter.
"Homeward Bound", ©Jeff Glovsky

Friday, January 10, 2014

Stolen, Caught, Captured

The Lo-Fi Project

In September 2013, I began the Second Set photo blog on WordPress.  Continuing where the ‘first set’ of 500 Photos by Jglo left off, Jeff Glovsky: The Second Set, has been a wordless “timeline” of perceptions, moods, seasons and occasional travel … together, with its predecessor on Tumblr, over the course of nearly a year.
"Goodbye", ©Jeff Glovsky

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Overkill (Polar Bromides)

Fast Forward (2015):  It's Only Winter

When winter storm "Hercules" took a dump this past week, I, like millions of Americans, woke up to CNN newspeople yelling and laughing, and climbing snow banks and oddly gesticulating, as they do, toward satellite maps and radar readouts.  They made jokes and threw snowballs, and pointed out snowplows and train crews doing their jobs.

When the MTA cancels full service for something other than a shooting or a sleep-deprived speed demon, you can rest assured the weather is actually bad.  Millions of people in the New York metro area alone are impacted directly ... Not to mention the densely populated Eastern Seaboard, from roughly Richmond, Virginia up to Boston, and inward (Philadelphia, Newark, Albany) ...

Add to this the domino effect of canceled flights, disrupted travel, delays and impatience, shutdowns and slowdowns, severe Arctic cold and a weather-related death or two ... and you've got the makings of a weather "event".

But seasonally speaking, is it really so newsworthy?

Like millions of Americans, I woke up Thursday morning to a snowstorm.  Like hundreds, perhaps even thousands of Americans, I wondered after the fourth or fifth hour of "Breaking News" coverage, what the big deal was.

In other words, like millions of Americans -- and people from various regions across the globe also directly impacted by winter weather -- I woke up to a snowstorm.
“Tundric Technicolor”, ©Jeff Glovsky
What's the big deal?

Visiting family and friends in northern Wisconsin this holiday season, I'd already spent several weeks with frozen finger and nose tips, relentless gray skies and accumulated December snowfall of over three feet (nearly 1 meter).  As an uncout' yout' growing up in the northland, I remember regular "snow days" - when school would be closed not because of snow, but because it was twenty below zero and pipes would freeze ... not only my pipes, but the plumbing in the late 19th century school buildings also.  It would be too cold for school!

When winter happens ... even a powerful winter weather "event", like a "Hercules" (or "Ion" now!) ... I don't need to be seeing reporters bundled up, telling me to keep warm, or how to throw snowballs.  I don't need to learn the phrase, "polar vortex".

It's WINTER.  It's cold out.  It snows.  Sometimes, it snows hard, fast, wet and sloppy ... Sometimes the cold is subzero, and ice forms.  Ice, if you're walking or driving on it, can make you slip and slide, lose control ... Drive safely.
“Rude Conditions”, ©Jeff Glovsky
It's winter outside.  If you prefer to stay inside, set your thermostat to 70-ish.  Don't open the window to let in fresh air - It may feel good for a minute or two, but in the end, you're only inviting the cold in; what you want to be doing is keeping it out.  The human condition of comfort demands warmth.

Stay warm this winter.  Bundle up.  Dress in layers - but don't wear anything too tight, or you might sweat.

Stay indoors if you'd rather, or if you must.  Have plenty of food on hand, a flashlight, blankets, and make sure all your prescriptions are filled.

Then read a book.  Or better yet, talk to your family.  Communicate.  Play games ... some charades, a little Monopoly maybe, some Trivial Pursuit.  Build a house of cards or play poker, or chess ... But unplug, if you'd like things to thrive while "surviving".  If the power goes out, try not to light candles ... It might be romantic, but you might fall asleep and your house might burn down.

Beyond this, don't be afraid to embrace winter:  its beauty, its power, its furious grace ... and celebrate what we 'up north' -- in the Northern Hemisphere -- are lucky to know as our holiday season.
“Celebrate (Life / Work)”, ©Jeff Glovsky