Slaying demons by resurrecting a dead blog: Sit On Things

In Winter 2009, I was napping after a long day following a long night and thought it wouldbe funny to start a blog about sitting on things. So I sat at my computer and started a blog called Sit On Things – a bizarre, kinda funny site that used 'sitting on shit, mundane and weird" as a vehicle for riffing on politics, religion, pop culture and some other stuff. 

Commitment really terrified me – or at least triggered some serious energy-sucking anxiety – back then so I stopped updating the blog after a few months. But I loved that weird website and quitting it has nagged me for MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS so a few weeks ago, I resurrected Sit On Things. 

Here are my three modern posts so far:

Paranoia, paranoia everybody's coming to get me: On Pole sitting, pillar hermits and Harvey Danger

Sittin on a bee can get you killed out here: On Ferdinand the Bull

You'll need to sit down for this: On cliches

 

Touring Charleston's Racist History with the Mayor

I briefly visited the Charleston, SC- area last weekend and parked my rented F-150 on Calhoun Street across from Marion Square, a former parade ground surrounded by several monuments in the middle of downtown. My friend and I walked across the grassy field to a short obelisk honoring Wade Hampton III, one of the South's largest slaveholders and a Confederate general turned post-Reconstruction governor who unleashed violence upon African Americans and white Republicans throughout South Carolina to suppress votes.

At this monument to a real American stain, we encountered a small group of well dressed men and women discussing the statue and South Carolina's history of white supremacy.

We need to tell the whole story about these guys. Yes, they were important, but they were also 'racist SOBs,' said a white man with a tan suit and white hair.

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QNS on a bad day

Woke up looking out the window into Queens and all those pleasantries:

Woodhaven Woodside Ridgewood Sunnyside;
Beaches, Points, Parks, Gardens, Hills.
The lead paint chipping off the factory cross the street
trickles into the sewer with the rain.
Everyday there's a new mattress blocking the sidewalk at the bus stop.
The sad old man bar has a slot machine
that's 'sposed to be for fun.
Just ask the gambling addict.
I first met Queens idling in line outside the Shea parking lot.
Lotsa deconstructed cars, you know?
There's a junkyard in a forest on toppa a mountain in my hometown
and I always thought, this is here to stay forever, huh?
Just because one hoarder couldn't get enough carburetors
and so he 'ccumulated several acres of doorless car carcasses.
People mock real estate developer spin:
East Williamsburg, Something or other Heights
Do you know that "Blissville" in Queens
Borders a toxic creek? It's just poison factories
And a crowded field where formaldehyded beings
decay.

Two blocks on the corner

How do we know if a building fits the aesthetic and culture of a neighborhood? Who's to say?  Seems like it's up to the people of the neighborhood. Not some developer who trumpets hollow talking points about abstract cultural influences. Not the new arrivals for whom the building was built and who, yeah, might think a building fits the area's aesthetic because it fits the only aesthetic they've ever known – they didn't experience the brick townhouses before the introduction of glassy prefab slabs. They have no memory and little stake.

In neighborhoods choked and sabotaged by derelict governments and ignored by private investors, we hail modern, somewhat radical buildings that serve the community – for example, some of the funkier supportive housing developments for formerly homeless adults and families like Breaking Ground's Boston Road. The new apartments feature foreign colors and materials or tower above the old, but people tend to consider them progressive and as indicators of investment (which they are).

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In Sugar Hill: Convent Garden and its Determined Caretaker

For almost ninety-years, a wedge in the uptown grid at the quirky intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and Convent Avenue, designated a park by the Board of Estimate in 1909, sat misused, abused or neglected.

Initially, the triangle contained a gas station until the Parks Department discovered its rights to the rare patch of land and razed the pumps there in 1985. A group of neighbors then developed the first iteration of Convent Garden, but after the city uprooted their landscaping to remove the underground gas tanks, weeds grew and trash accumulated in the triangle. The chain link fence around the perimeter began to collapse and police officers from the nearby 30th Precinct commandeered the lot to stash seized vehicles or park their own cars.

In 1998, Juliette Davis, who lives on the fourth floor of a building across the street and who neighbors call Miami, decided to rejuvenate the so-called garden. Today, the .13-acre park, full of flowers, trees, a gazebo and an assortment of decorations donated by friends and neighbors, stands out as a colorful oasis amid the Sugar Hill brownstones and a testament to Davis’ determination.

“You can sit around and wait for days and months and years for somebody to do something for you and never get it done, but maybe with a little knowledge you can do it,” Davis said as she sat in the shade beneath a rosebud tree near the garden gate and reflected on the history of Convent Garden and her neighborhood. “I just started doing the work. I started cleaning the place up and doing things myself. I cleaned off this entire lot because my first thought was, ‘I want grass.’ It was like the wilderness here. Garbage. Weeds growing up above your head.”

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A Tale of Two Shootings on Social Media

Someone got shot in the face around the corner from my apartment around 5:15 pm on Wednesday. I walked outside a few minutes later and encountered thirty cops who had shut down the street to collect evidence, like the empty shell casings nearby.

Twitter serves as the best source for breaking news citizen journalism, but only two people had Tweeted about the shooting. Neither provided much info. @PremierPolitics got the details wrong (according to brief news reports, only one person got shot – not three) and @DignaUrena posted a few photos of police on the scene.   

Five days later, these two tweets remain the only human-generated posts about the shooting, which occurred during evening rush hour on a crowded block (there were a few tweets from bots that post police scanner activity). On Friday, NYPD returned to shut down the street - this time to film the show Bull. Life goes on. Events, even really shocking ones, are wiped away and papered over.

Contrast the social media indifference to the public response to a shooting two days earlier near the corner of Greenpoint Ave. and McGuiness Blvd. in Greenpoint. Well before police and the media determined that the shooter was an ex-cop (a detail that definitely does make for a juicy story), Brooklyn Twitter lit up with photos and information. Here's a sample:

While trying to research the Greenpoint shooting immediately afterward, a friend who lives nearby encountered several other killings that received very little attention aside from a two-paragraph blurb on the News12 Brooklyn. What makes some shootings grab our attention while others fade away – disregarded or, unfortunately, accepted as a fact of life in poor urban neighborhoods of color? 

The amount of attention paid to a specific gun violence episode in New York City seems directly correlated to the amount of gentrification in the area surrounding the shooting. Greenpoint is white, hipster and thoroughly gentrified. Rampant redevelopment and displacement have hit Bushwick hard, but the eastern part still maintains much of its past identity as a neighborhood populated by low-income people of color. Gunshots out here still seem to be shrugged off as a "same old Bushwick" phenomenon, but gun violence is not a natural occurrence and we shouldn't accept it anywhere. 

Othello: The Remix

I drew some social media content for Othello: The Remix, the Q Brothers' awesome and funny hip hop adaption of Shakespeare's Othello. This play was definitely near and dear to my heart (since I love Shakespeare X Rap fusion) and I enjoyed watching it, learning about the cast and then drawing them. 

Here are three pieces I contributed: 

Six Fictional Establishment Conservatives Revealed as Castrated Hollywood Cucks

Much like Mitt Romney, I hope to win favor with Daddy Trump and his storm troopers before next month's Inauguration so I decided to participate in the vital Cuckservative Purge. I spent weeks combing /r/The_Donald and the Breitbart comment sections in order to uncover those emasculated cucks who masquerade as conservative champions of film and television. Here's what I found: 

1. Thomas Whitmore - President, Independence Day

thomaswhitmoreisacuck.jpg

Mainstream Media Depiction: Hero leader and courageous pilot saves nation from invasion of illegal aliens. 

THE TRUTH: Globalist fighting other countries’ wars for them.  

2. Mayor McCheese – Spokesburger, McDonalds

MayorMcCheeseIsACuck

MSM Depiction: Devoted, relatable public servant.

THE TRUTH:  Whiny, low-energy establishment shill sucking teet of massive corporation employing potential criminal aliens.

3. Alex P. Keaton – Republican dweeb, Family Ties 

AlexPKeatonIsACUCK.jpg

MSM Depiction: Quirky and mature teenage economist. 

THE TRUTH: PC wimp who fantasizes about squirming into the Northeastern Ivy League elite; worships weenie-cuck forefather William F. Cuckley.

4. Ron Swanson – Director of the Pawnee City, Indiana Department of Parks and Recreation, Parks and Recreation

ronswansonisacuck

MSM Depiction: Bemused libertarian curmudgeon.

THE TRUTH: Poses as small-government champion while enabling the rise of brainwashed, leftist, bureaucracy-inflating crybabies.

5. James Marshall – US President, Air Force One

jamesmarshallisacuck.jpg

MSM Depiction: Military vet who single-handedly dismantles terrorist cell.  

THE TRUTH: Throughout entire film, never once has the balls to say “Radical Islamic Terrorism.”

6. Dave Kovic as President William Harrison Mitchell – US President, Dave 

davekovicisacuck.jpg

MSM Depiction: Devised plan to provide jobs for every single American. 

THE TRUTH: No indication that these jobs involve construction of a border wall.

Demonstrating to put Trump and his enablers on notice

Conservative Republicans continue to call themselves the Silent Majority. That's fine.

Meanwhile, those representing the actual majority — the Americans who delivered Hillary Clinton a +2 million popular vote victory — have been gathering across the country to declare they will not tolerate Trump stoking hatred and exploiting prejudices to enact discriminatory policies. I joined Sunday's huge demonstration between Columbus Circle and Trump Tower and wrote about it for The Progressive and The Indypendent. I found that few attendees seemed to condemn the legitimacy of the presidential election, a notion critics (including liberals) have hammered to invalidate and diminish such events.

Such demonstrations are important because they A) assert our Constitutional right to assembly, a fundamental feature of our democracy B) affirm love and support for immigrants, Muslims, Latinos, women and other groups targeted by Trump and his enablers C) inform the rest of the world that most of us are unhappy with and indeed stunned by the election result and D) put Trump on notice that we will not tolerate bigotry and injustice.

Keep the energy up. Keep it moving.