For those of you who are on your way to New York to live, here are a few facts:
Item: The average rent on a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, below 100th street is $2,333
Item: The average cost of a can of soda on the Upper East Side is: $1.25
Item: A hot dog in the nearby deli costs: $2.50
However, things are not as bleak as all that because if you do live in an expensive neighborhood, note that Thursday and Saturday is "big trash collection" day. This is the day when you can wander the streets of the Upper East Side and find fabulous bargains, so long as you are willing to stoop down and pick them up. A goodly part of my darkroom has been built with magnificent wood tossed out on the street. This morning, on my way to the Indian deli, there was an open Dell computer - completely intact. The only problem was that a few dogs had had their way with it - and I didn't have rubber gloves with me, otherwise I might have pulled a few memory chips from it.
Like any sale, you need to get out early if you are going to go scavenging. Usually by 7:30 a.m. most of the really fine merchandise is gone - and it is not taken by the homeless -- it is taken by the homed (okay, no such word). The homed have to get out and get to work, and they appear on the streets at the break of day to search for valuable objects on "big trash day."
Two weeks ago, I saw two suited fellows carrying a mahogany rolltop desk which they had just lifted from the trash. As they passed me, little trinkets and papers fell out. I stooped down and picked up one of the trinkets which was a silver, maybe silver-plated bottle opener - and some of the papers were old and brittle. They had been soaked in the rain -- and there were some photographs there as well. One was of a piece of wood, at least that's what I thought it was -- and had the initials W.E. on the back. Hey, I thought -- maybe that was Walker Evans' desk. He used to live around here.
I took the photograph home, and began searching for Walker Evans images on the web, but didn't find anything that looked like a piece of wood; and then found out that he did indeed once live nearby on 75th street. But that was years ago...
[Ed. I am going to stop this now because Mr. Beckerman is obviously making this up. As usual, he starts with something that seems to be true, and then goes off on a farcical journey. This may be one of the reasons that he enjoys reading people like Castaneda, who have been proven to be bogus. Also, in light of the various editors who have been forced to resign lately because of bogus reporters, we don't think this is the time or the place for such nonsense.]
Of course there is no so-called editor, so I could keep going if I wanted to, but the cat needs attention, and the beginning part of this -- the part about prices in New York is true. It was in today's New York Times. Oh, that's right, they recently fired that reporter for making stuff up. Let's say it might be true.
- - -
On the political front, I've been reading The President of Good and Evil by Peter Singer. This book has been giving me nightmares. It may just be too sharp, too cogent for me to deal with. In other words, I find that it is illuminating things that I've felt but never been able to properly articulate -- which is to say that my own feelings about the war and the President are brought into sharp focus and the result is depressing because I always hoped that I was wrong.
"As the philosopher Karl Popper aptly said, the difference between science and dogma is that a scientific theory must always be open to falsification, on the basis of evidence. Bush seems almost to boast that his view of the truth is not open to falsification on the basis of evidence."
In other words, a long time ago, when I argued with people about going into Iraq, I said, tell me what the outcome will be. Predict the state of affairs in Iraq a year or two from now so that we can see whether you or me are right.
Nobody wants to do this. Nobody wants to be pinned down.
The current idea which is being floated about is that all the violence is because of the passing over of sovereignty on July 1st. I don't think this is true. Since it is going to be a sovereignty in name only -- since American forces will still be tasked with "providing security" -- a nice phrase for fighting and dying -- I can't see how an occupying force isn't going to continue to be targeted. I just don't see it.
Now if July 1st comes -- or August -- or September -- and things begin to stabilize -- I will say -- you know, those guys were right. They knew what they were doing. But if it gets worse -- will they say they were wrong? Did they say they were wrong when they predicted that getting Sadaam would calm things down? How can you be wrong, when you have "no doubt" that you are doing the right thing? Give me some doubt. Doubt is the mother of all change.