A Dance Parade, Protesters, Painters & People Stealing Garbage

People protesting something going on in Turkey.
People protesting something going on in Turkey.
A crazy guy dancing with a toilet seat. He usually does this by the large black cube at Astor Place.
A crazy guy dancing with the molding from a van window, I think. He usually does this by the large black cube at Astor Place.
This guy was taking a break from dancing to the tune of a nearby Buddhist meditation group. Shortly after this, he took a bag of trash from the public bin and walked away with it.
This guy was taking a break from dancing to the tune of a nearby Buddhist meditation group. Shortly after this, he took a bag of trash from the public bin and walked away with it.
This is Francis Virella. He wants to make it big as an artist.
This is Francis Virella. He wants to make it big as an artist.

Today, there were all sorts of things going on in Union Square. We just happened to be walking through and saw a crazy guy dancing, another crazy guy stealing a bag of garbage from a public trash can, had a conversation with a guy that wants to make it big as an artist, and then wandered into a dance parade. It was a lot of fun, and the random, amazingly entertaining things that you can just stumble into is one of the reasons I love New York City.

You can see the rest of the parade photos, in a higher resolution in my Flickr gallery by clicking HERE.

Ripped Books

I’d like to take some time later to write a long post about my experiences over the past week in Lower Manhattan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, but I want to mention something I saw today that made me realize that some things in New York City never change.

When I was on my way home, I saw an older man pushing shopping cart down the street. He stopped by the trash can, peered in, and then reached into a box in his cart.  He pulled out a book, looked around as if he were making sure no one was watching him, and then ripped the front and back cover off the book and tossed it in the trash can.  He then reached into his box and pulled out another book.  At this point, he saw me watching him and turned away from me and hid clutched the book to his chest.  He looked over his shoulder at me and then ripped the covers off the book.  He tossed the remains of the book into the trash can along with the first one and then hurriedly crossed the street, where he peered briefly into the trash can on the corner before moving on, presumably to find more suitable trash cans to receive his defaced books.

I had stopped to watch this guy, so I’d missed the light to cross in the direction I was going.  When I did cross over to the other corner, I found a man in dirty, rumpled clothing singing to a pile of dirty clothes in a shopping cart.

Last week, Lower Manhattan was very dark and the streets were relatively deserted.  Thinking about it now, I don’t remember seeing anyone … weird… out there.  Not weird by NYC standards anyway.  But now, the power is back and the crazies are out again.  Some things just don’t change.

I am now a stalker, says the crazy neighbor.

After getting off the bus, I turned the corner and started walking up the street towards my mom’s apartment building.  Just after turning the corner, I saw the woman that lives next door to my mom.  She stopped for some reason and turned around and when she saw me she threw up her hands and made a weird noise.  She’s deaf and doesn’t speak, at least not intelligibly, so I went past her and kept going.  I wasn’t trying to be rude, but I just didn’t know what she wanted or if she was even attempting to communicate with me.  She suddenly rushed past me and kept looking over her shoulders, making a ‘no no no’ gesture with her finger in front of her face while mumbling.  She rushed off at full speed to the building where my mom’s apartment building is.  Some of the people in my mom’s apartment building are disabled, so I didn’t think much of it.

I entered the lobby just in time to see the elevator door close.  The door on the second elevator was opening though, so I got on and rode up to my mom’s floor.  When I stepped out into the hallway I could hear her making a lot of noise.  I looked, and my mom’s apartment door was open.  She was gesturing wildly and making plenty of loud noises that neither my mom or I could understand.  I walked down the hallway and when she saw me she got even more agitated.  So, I stood there with my mom trying to figure out what her issue is.

Through a combination of hand gestures and her very strained attempt to say the word “following”, we finally concluded that she is freaking out because she thinks I’m always following her.  The fact that there is only one way to get to my mom’s apartment from the bus stop, only one set of elevators and only one hallway that goes to my mom’s apartment, which is right next to hers, seems to have totally gone over her head.  The fact that we’re bound to run into each other in those areas, seeing as how we’re typically going to be heading for that same floor and two adjacent doors in the hallway, well that seems to have gone over her head too.  She’s outright convinced that I’m stalking her and that I’m out to get her.

I’d noticed previously that she would always rush into the elevator and close the door before I could get to it, or if I got in the elevator she would wait for another one rather than ride in the elevator car with me.  I never really put it together, but the idea that I’m following her around intentionally is ludicrous.  It never ceases to amaze me, the kind of fantasies people can create for themselves and live in.  Of all of the women in the street, why would I choose to, as she seems to be implying, stalk a late 40s, overweight, deaf woman that lives next door to my mom?  Besides the fact that I’m married, I’m really not interested in old disabled women.  Even if I were a stalker, as she seems to think I am, well, it’s summer in NYC.  There are plenty of better looking women to be following around.

I just hope that this woman doesn’t completely flip out, because there’s no way this will be the last time she’ll see me going in and out of the building.

Do You Have Your Life Vests And Boats Ready For May 21st?

Lady in Union Square train station with a sign stating the world will end on May 21, 2011.

This lady, or someone like her, has been in the Union Square train station fairly regularly over the last week or so.  When I first tried to take her picture, she was leaning against the side of the pole to the right.  She moved,  so I moved too.  I wonder if it’s because she has some doubts about what she’s promoting and is concerned about potential embarrassment when she wakes up on the morning of the 22nd to see clear skies and just another Sunday?

I say clear skies because the reasoning behind this theory that the world will end on May 21st, 2011 is that God said that “Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made” (Genesis 7:4) and He also said “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).  Apparently, May 21st, 2011 is the day God was talking about, and never mind that whole story that follows Genesis 7:4 about Noah in the ark.  That was just a prequel for the real event.  Or so they would have us believe, I guess.  There’s also some special numerology that they’re using to explain why they fixed on exactly May 21st that involves numbers with traditional symbolism and the number of days between the Crucifixion and that day.

Sign saying the world will end on May 21st, 2011.

I’m not going to hold my breath.  Like every other end-of-the-world theory that’s come before this one, this will end in disappointment and tears, and maybe even some embarrassment.  But, on the off chance that the world actually is flooded on the 21st, at least I won’t have to do finals for this semester.

Weird Emails–One of the Risks of Blogging

I meant to post this quite a while ago, but I kept getting distracted with school work and other things to blog about.  Back on the 11th of February, I wrote a post that was inspired by something we were discussing in my anthropology class, a possible connection between the ancient Egyptians and the Olmecs in Central America, as evidenced by similarities in their cultures.  On the 15th of March, someone left a comment on the blog post.  In the comment, it said to not reveal his information, which was in the comment, on my blog, so I deleted the comment.  Shortly after that I received an email through the blog’s email address, which is listed on the contact page.  This is what it said:

Weird email.

Dear Brad

  I was doing research on Olmec and seen your site and Sertima info. The only reason I am contacting you is that it will take young educated people like you to consider all the archeology Facts to reveal the Truth of ancient History to the world.

  I have been collecting artifacts for about 7yrs that will show absolute artifact Proof that the Egyptians and Olmecs have the same origins from a much older ancient advanced civilization that existed before Pangea when the continents were one Super continent. I know this sounds far fetched but please keep a open mind. The discovery I have made has been suppressed ignored and covered up by the authorities so for at least 3 yrs I have not contacted authorities or updated my site because they refused so many times to not examine NOT ONE ARTIFACT. They just say they are not artifacts!  I am sure of a cover up. So I have collected for the last 3 yrs in secret have and have learned incredible facts of the ancients.

  I did not know how to contact you except through your comment site! will you please take my contact to you off your site before someone acts as you to contact me.

  To make a long story short if you want to see some of the artifacts I have a old site and my opinions but a lot has changed since then. If you are interested contact me Michael Ellis  [email protected]  I have far more than you will see on the website.


Michael Ellis

This email is just weird on so many levels, the biggest one being the credibility of someone who would approach a subject this way (emails to random students who have no real say in the field concerned).  If his work were truly credible, it wouldn’t be getting ignored by these mysterious “authorities” in the first place.  If there’s anything I’ve learned from the anthropology class I’m taking, it’s that damn near any theory is entertained, with sufficient evidence, until proven invalid.  Besides that, if someone is doing this sort of research, which has to involve a lot of archaeological expertise, then you’d think they’d have enough computer sense to know the difference between a comment form and an email.  Not to mention that the level of education required would require someone to have a better command of grammar, punctuation and spelling.  The overall effect is that this person comes across as paranoid and delusional.

Also, I just wanted to point out that when the continents were one “Super continent” it was called “Pangea”, so it doesn’t make sense to say “before Pangea when the continents were one Super continent” because they both mean the same thing.