The recent NYT obituary for Yvonne Brill opened with “She made a mean beef stroganoff.” Are you f*#!?g kidding? No offense to any woman who chooses to stay at home with her children. Keep in mind that Mrs. Brill (as she liked to be called) did in fact take leave of her full-time work for eight years in order to raise three kids. But this woman was a rocket scientist!! Who cares what she cooked for dinner. I want to know about her invention of a propulsion system (still in use today!) that allows satellites to remain in orbit.
Under pressure from the public, and maybe a little in-house ire, the Times did end up revising the obit. What you see here are the edits from when the piece was first published on Saturday at 2:21 p.m to the revision later that night at 9:56 p.m. Courtesy of NewsDiffs.
And really, if you are going to reference her stroganoff, at least include the recipe.
From the very wonderful Reanimation Library. For a bigger image, click here.
Along with Muhammad Ali (“Don’t Do Drugs!”), the Keep America Beautiful campaign to stop littering (“Don’t be a litterbug!”) and President Jimmy Carter urging us to turn down the heat and put on a sweater, Smokey the Bear factored in quite prominently to my formative years. Thanks to him, to this day still I have an outsized paranoia of unwittingly setting the forest on fire. This sign is posted on the side of the firehouse in Jeffersonville, NY. The last I knew it had been removed to make way for a more contemporary mural. I was so happy to see that he’s back in place. And don’t you just totally dig his pants!
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and last week’s tragic shooting, unsurprisingly, I have found myself online. More than would be considered healthy. Through some weird roundabout search I ended up on a whole host of sites “promoting” (this is a gentle word for the methods they employ) the purchase of long term food survival kits. The kits provide nutritional needs for as short as a few days, or for as long as a year or more. The buyer can choose enough provisions for a single person, and up to a family of 6. The food itself has a guaranteed shelf life of 25 years, but doesn’t come cheap. In addition to meals, there are other dimensions to these sites: there are survival kits that include shelter, water and weaponry. And there are medical supplies and navigation equipment to boot. In a more paranoid and despairing moment, I can easily see how one could succumb to the marketing of such preparedness. And then I consider the lives of those affected by disaster, and how, in hindsight, an investment in one of these packages might not have been such a horrible idea. If you really want to see more, go here, here and here.
Always a good idea to have some emergency first aid knowledge in one’s back pocket. From, of course, the NYPL archive.
So, we are now more than two weeks out since Sandy hit. Among the many haunting and devastating images – and there are many far worse than this – I can’t seem to get out of my mind the plain sight of hundreds of people lined up at gas stations with some variation of the red gas can in hand. Many post-storm conversations, with people who lost power and heat and water for over a week (or more), have been centered on the idea of finally purchasing a generator. While I fully understand this impulse to have a back up plan, it ultimately doesn’t offer up a lot of solace. In the short term, perhaps, but in the long term, all it does is create another outlet for our use and reliance on dwindling resources. I increasingly think about what it would take to get off the grid. This may be a fantasy, and in some ways a luxury, but it’s a good time to think about it. I have to admit, I’ve been doing my own form of research regarding generators. Solar and/or wind powered generators. I’ll let you know what I find out. All gas can images from Amazon.
If you haven’t seen this already, here are a few updates on the transportation options around town. Go to the MTA’s site for maps and regular updates.