Sunday, September 02, 2007

The story so far

I've been away for a month while re-locating to another state. All right, Memphis, Tennessee. Not the Memphis of Beale Street and Sun Records, but a characterless suburb called Bartlett which, if not for the Baptist churches sprinkled among the strip malls, might as well be New Jersey. My arrival coincided with a record-breaking heat wave which hasn't ended. You know it's hot when the local power company tries to avoid losing any more customers by distributing free air conditioners to the poor and elderly. You know it's dry when they announce the level of the Mississippi River on every newscast. You know it's serious when football practice is curtailed or even canceled. (Two high school players in Mississippi died in August.) We've had one thunderstorm all month, and lightning set a nearby house on fire. Didn't Franklin invent the lightning rod? This is a strange country. Only taste the local version of salami on rye and you'll say, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Katz's anymore." Yes, I worked on that one for a while. The reasons for the move are unimportant. Let's just say that Mickey Bloomberg is one tiny step closer to his dream of a New York consisting solely of billionaires and beggars, and the proles who will commute from Camden (the closest place they can afford to rent) to serve the former in dread of joining the latter.

It has been an interesting time, in the sense of the fake Chinese proverb. Six men died when a Utah coal mine collapsed, and three more died trying to reach them, but it wasn't an act of terrorism. Beverly Sills died. Ingmar Bergman died. Leona Helmsley left twelve million dollars to a dog. ("RICH BITCH" was the headline in the New York Post, which sometimes gets it just right.) The I-35 Bridge in Minneapolis fell into the Mississippi, killing a dozen people, but it wasn't an act of terrorism. Nearly two hundred miners died in China when a dam broke and flooded their mine. It probably wasn't an act of terrorism. Brooke Astor died, so sorely neglected by her son that she was only 105. Some old phosgene was discovered in a storage closet in Manhattan, where it had rested for eleven years without bothering anyone, but the media couldn't pass up an opportunity to try to foment a little fear. The weather was just ridiculously bad everywhere. The wrong Scooter died. Somebody tried to burn down Greece. It now appears that Pat Tillman was in fact murdered, the unfriendliest of friendly fire. The FAA decided it was time to inspect 737s, with a view to finding out why they tend to burst into flames. (No, not terrorism, a loose bolt.) The Iraqi parliament adjourned to spend a month in prayer and contemplation, and if you believe that, you probably believe Nicole and Paris and Lindsay have learned their lessons. It appears a guy in Portugal -- I'll bet he's about 16 -- is extorting money from American banks and stores by threatening acts of terrorism. (He made the customers at one store undress, so we know he watches Criminal Minds.) The New York Times is visibly shrinking, while charging more for paper editions and restricting free online access to its content. Apparently the new building is costing more than Pinch anticipated. It turns out that Michael Chertoff's gut is as clueless about terrorism as his brain. Say hello to the new attorney general of the United States. Incredibly, the ruins of the World Trade Center took the lives of two more firefighters when fire broke out in the Deutsche Bank building, which should have been dismantled years ago. Chalk this one up to terrorism.

If you missed me, let me know. I'd hate to think this is nothing but an exercise in talking to myself. I've unpacked my books and recovered from a nasty case of Davy Crockett's Revenge, and I'm ready for autumn if it ever comes. Are you? Happy Labor Day.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jackie said...

Hey there hot stuff,
I miss you. The weather here has been pretty bizarre- we went from toxic steam heat to wacky thunderstorms in a few days.
The Bridge is the latest political hot potato. They never want to put money into public transportation and now there is discussion about putting a track for trains on the New Bridge.
Minnesotans are renowned for not wanting to get into a vehicle that might have someone from an African nation or a local black neighborhood. Might get cooties.
It is getting to be fall here.
More later.

7:37 PM  
Blogger elfradiowave said...

Welkern ta Tennahsee!

-ahem-

Welcome to Tennessee. I hope your stay will be a pleasant one.

12:07 AM  
Blogger M. Bouffant said...

How sucky to be driven from NYC. And end in the suburbs. In a minor inlying region. Perhaps you'll have more time to type & publish here, good for us at least. Did you have to undergo a career/job change as well?

5:48 PM  

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