franklanguage: (trucknbus)


About ten days ago I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time, which was awesome; but there were a lot of people walking across the bridge, and for some reason I didn't see that there were park benches at regular intervals on the left [pedestrian] side. (Well, duh!)

About halfway across, I was looking off the the right, and stumbled into one of these benches. Worse, my breastbone connected with the cast-iron arm of it, causing me instant, searing pain. Worst of all, some [20-ish? 30-ish?] kid whose first language was evidently not English grabs me by the wrist and insists on hauling me up. "Stop it! Let go!" I shout and try to resist, to no avail. He's grinning like a maniac, pulling me up, and making the pain worse. I'm walking a dog at the time, as well, which complicates things and makes even less sense for him to do what he did. Even more horrifying: no one else around takes my side, to tell him to back off.

In what universe is it okay to grab a stranger who is injured, conscious, and actively protesting your supposed well-meaning advances? More horrifying, there are several people nearby who do nothing to defend me. Ten days later, my chest still hurts every time I breathe; I didn't go to the ER with this, because I know there's nothing they can do even if I cracked a rib—which I'm pretty sure I did. (They don't tape ribs anymore, because that puts you at risk for pneumonia. I had pneumonia when I was six; no thanks.) But the outrage that still sticks in my mind is that the guy wouldn't leave me alone. It makes me feel gross just thinking about it.



In other news, I saw the premiere of a movie Friday night that examines the problem of spiraling student debt. Ivory Tower is an important documentary, currently at the Angelika Film Center, that at least addresses this problem—although in an interesting slant, it presents Harvard as a veritable paradise.



Cooper Union is one school focused on in the film; in recent years, its 150-plus-year tuition-free status has been undermined by financial mismanagement on the part of the current administration—who now insist they have to charge tuition for the first time in over 150 years. This has culminated in a lawsuit brought by current students and alumni.

I recommend this movie to anyone affected in any way by student debt.
franklanguage: Lost in Space B9 robot (B9 robot lost in space)
Peter Cooper statue with wreath and balloons

There was the annual wreath-laying on February 11th at the Peter Cooper statue in Cooper Square, but today students protested by wearing black and carrying black helium balloons. This was in response to the school's going forward with its plan to charge tuition after over 150 years of being a free institution—through two world wars, and the Great Depression.



John Leeper, president of the Alumni Association, reiterated his vow that the school would find a way to become tuition-free again, "however long that might take."



These signs were left behind at the foot of the statue: "Rally around and protect," "Without Money + Without Price," and "Words of Warning Cannot be Spurned and Neglected without a Terrible Retribution On Us and On Our Children."



And of course, "I observed that most of the shipwrecks in life were due to debts hastily contracted and out of proportion to the means of the debtor."

This Founder's Day wasn't nearly the happy and upbeat occasion it's been in the past. However, there were many multicolored cupcakes to be had afterward.

franklanguage: Man-in-the-moon belt buckle (moonbuckle)
I had fun on New Year's Eve; I wore some totally inappropriate clothing—sequin bustier and silk zouave pants. I would have been pissed if nobody asked me to dance; fortunately one guy did.

I don't have any pix of myself except the ones Richard took of me before I left our messy house, so here it is:



[unfortunately you have to tilt your head to the left; sorry!]

The boots with 3" heels totally did my feet in and I only lasted one dance. (But they feel so good when I put them on!)

There were old people dancing to LP records; I was happy to see a variety of people I knew:


"Stayin' alive, stayin' alive..."


Barry Drogin and Paul Garrin


Plenty of likker was served


Amy Velez looked stunning


Naturally, in this digital age, there were plenty of photographers on hand.


"Say, 'Cheese!'"


Because the crosstown bus stops running at 1 AM, I went up to the 14th street subway to take that crosstown. Note the ""Mikey's Hook-Up" bag; most of these hipsters are going back to Brooklyn.
franklanguage: My cat in a box (Tripod in box)
On Thursday the 31st, or Halloween as it's called in most of the world, the spirit of Abbie Hoffman took over the Foundation Building, and Cooper Union students, alumni, faculty, and staff set to work casting a spell to levitate the building—as Hoffman and the Yippies had done with the Pentagon in 1967.



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Students dropped a trail of cornmeal around the perimeter of the building and circled it, chanting. They lit tea lights and carried votives:

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They circled faster and faster, and chanted louder and louder; some rode brooms. Eventually they congregated in front of the building and ate Munchkins™.

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Lastly, they placed a shrine including candles, brooms, flowers, and pumpkins at the statue of Peter Cooper on Cooper Square.

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This was the best Halloween ever!

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Afterwards—not having actually caused the Foundation Building to levitate—we sat in a circle and shared our thoughts. Well, the Yippies didn't manage to actually levitate the Pentagon, either.
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