I went down to the basement last week sometime to get clothes I had left in the dryer, and saw movement under a shelving unit. It was my old friend, the possum. S/he was resting on the cardboard box that holds a Grass Hopper, a rolling gardening seat that I bought before the accidents that make my sitting on anything very low a tad inadvisable unless I have something like a pole or bar to hold onto in order to get up. So the Grass Hopper remains in its box in the basement, and there is enuf give around it to make its corrugated box into a comfortable cot for a possum. She was a little nervous, but didn't try to escape out the door. (I keep the basement door ajar on a strong chain, wide enuf for my cats, and apparently a possum, to get in thru. Mind you, I don't want the cats to go out, and try to keep them in and away from dangers, but if they somehow do get out, I want them to be able to get back into the basement to get away from people and dogs.) I cleared the lint trap and restarted the dryer, then played some pool.
I don't have pix specific to today's topics, so offer a mix of pix from NYC and Nwk on misc topix. I don't get into Manhattan very often, but I'm glad it's there. There, not here. This large cube with a cylindrical hole thru it (and which I
think I have seen revolve around the post that holds it) is outside the Marine Midland building in Lower Manhattan.
The possum may have been a bit concerned about me walking around not far from where she lay, but she has seen me before and knows I've never tried to hurt her or even touch her. I talk to her sweetly, which may actually have helped her accept me living in my (now also her?) house. I do not, however, try to pet her, because I suppose possums might bite — they have fearsome-looking teeth — and are notorious for carrying rabies, a fatal infection. NJ has had almost no rabies in over 20 years, but I don't think I should get myself bitten by a possum anyways.
A few blocks south of the sculpture above is a famous sculpture at the point where Whitehall Street (left) and Broadway (right) diverge. There was a cluster of tourists around it.When the dryer had run a while, I stopped it and went to hang up the pants and shirts on hangers, and put other things into my big blue nylon laundry bag to take upstairs. The possum watched me walking back and forth from dryer to where I hang things up, and didn't panic even tho it was only perhaps 4 feet from her. Then I went on my way upstairs, and haven't been back in the basement to see if she has left or set up house there. Wouldn't it be cute to see a little possum baby hanging out of a pouch or clutching the fur on its mommy's back or tummy?
Here's what I could see past the tourists, the stock-market bull, head-on.Crime Story in Manhattan. Yesterday I wanted a break from my routine. It was a holiday weekend but I hadn't done anything special. So I decided the bars would probably have a good crowd fairly late, given that most people had Labor Day off, so called my friend Don, who lives in Greenwich Village, to see if he'd like to meet at Ty's, our favorite gay bar not far from him. But my call to his cellfone produced an odd intercept message, that this customer is not accepting calls at this time (not even voicemail). Hm. I got ready to head out anyway, figuring he might very well be at Ty's on a Sunday evening, and I'll just ask him in person if he forgot to turn his fone on after work. Still, I called once more before I left the house, and got the same message. Undeterred, I headed to the Village, which is almost exactly a half-hour by the fastest route, but I took a slitely longer route to get some money from the bank along the way.
That little crowd dissipated, and a young woman climbed atop the statue for her friends to take fotos.Don was there, sitting on a built-in bench, and when he saw me, got up to join me. I asked about his fone,** but before he could answer, I saw he had a black eye. When I looked more closely, I saw that his right eye too had a less noticeable shiner. What the heck happened? He told me this appalling little story. Mind you, Don is 69 years old, but solidly built, served in the Army decades ago (before "Don't ask, don't tell"), and goes to the gym and swims in a pool with fair regularity.
It seems that the prior nite, around 3am, he was going into his building, on Bleecker Street at Avenue of the Americas, when two guys charged him from the sidewalk and pushed him into the vestibule once he had turned the key. One then stood outside as lookout while the other, a little shorter than Don, and slite, said he had a gun in his pocket, and demanded Don's wallet. Don was not having it. He somehow felt the guy did not have a gun, and he could take him. So he said "Go f- yourself!" and fought him until the guy gave up on getting his wallet, and got the heck out of there. There was, Don said, blood all over the vestibule when he headed upstairs to clean up. He was wrestling rather than punching most of the time, he said, and he didn't think to shout for help or "Police!" so his neighbors might hear the commotion and come downstairs or at least call 911. He looked at the clock when he got into his second-floor apartment, and had just looked at his watch before entering the building, and noted this fite lasted 23 minutes! His clothes were all bloody, and he had a good shirt on, so he put his clothes into cold water in the sink to soak, then took a shower. He was in no mood to call the police, and the miscreants were probably long gone anyway by the time cops could get there. So he filed a report the next day. When he told the police that he had told the mugger "Go f- yourself", they laffed, and apparently did not warn him that this could have turned out much worse, if the guy had actually had a gun.
Back in Newark, and back to the first Beautiful Newark day in April 2007, I spotted these kids in martial-arts attire walking past kids planting flowers inside the wrought-iron fence of the Benjamin Franklin School. Perhaps Don should get some self-defense pointers from our friend Joe F., who has a karate school in Queens. I don't generally approve of karate schools and the culture of violence they promote, all the while pretending they do the opposite, but there are legitimate uses for self-defense techniques. I asked Don what made him so sure the guy did NOT have a gun, and he said that the way he was holding his hand made it look merely like a fist in his pocket, not a gun. I told him the one time anyone said that to me, he actually showed me a gun, so I did not resist, even tho I couldn't know if it was a real gun or not. (Well, there was one way to find out, but I decided not to risk it.) He had said "This is a robbery. Don't make it a murder." I didn't.
Fortunately, Don did not end up in a place like the setting, Fairmount Cemetery, for this grand little building, the tomb of Gottfried Krueger, one of the barons of Newark's beer age.
I remembered later a second incident I had forgotten, in which someone also had his hand in a pocket and claimed to have a gun, whereupon I did resist, pushing him back and shouting for help. Neighbors came out (here in Newark) and he ran. One of those neighbors told me later that he recognized the guy as someone who lived a couple of blocks away, and he told him, next time he saw him, not to try that sh- again or he would tell his mother, not just the cops.
Here's another view of the Krueger mausoleum, from flat-on the other side.
While Don and I were talking a bit later, a guy came in and stood in front of Don until recognized. Gaetano had come in from Newark the same nite, and Don started to tell him of his adventure. In that I'd already heard the story, I excused myself to look around the room. Guy didn't stay long, but it was nice to see him.
While looking at some of the architectural detail, I noticed something curious.
New York certainly does not have a monopoly on crime, and Newark is certainly not completely safe, but if you listen to local TV news from NY, you hear horrible things all the time, and Don's story didn't even make it onto the news. Fortunately, this story did not have a catastroffic ending, but it did impact Don's emotional state. I drove him home later, and he asked me to wait until he got in safely, and to make lots of noise (and call the police) if anybody followed him, which I was of course happy to do. He'd never asked that before, in all the many times I had driven him home. I told him earlier that if this preys upon his mind, he will have to seek counseling, or move out of New York (and implied rather heavily that he should move to Newark).
There's a little tree growing out from between the stones in the Krueger monument. I think somebody had better pull it out. Replant it in a better place if it survives being dislodged, but don't let it push stone blocks apart.
* I think the possum's a she, but haven't had a clear view of the animal's derrière, and may not know enuf about possum anatomy to be sure.
** Don did eventually tell me that he had misplaced or lost his cellfone days earlier, so had the fone company turn off the service until he could find it. Which is why I couldn't get thru. He has another cellfone but hasn't put it into use yet. It's back to email until then.
These angels guard the door to the Krueger tomb. I'm vaguely curious as to what's inside, but can live without knowing.