I realize I sound like a broken record, but it's been hot and humid again for most of the week. On Thursday the humidity broke and I actually enjoyed a night with the windows open and fresh air. If I had my druthers, I'd always choose fresh air over air conditioning. But, somewhere on the path of life, I've lost my druthers ... so the world does what it wants and I just have to go with the flow.
In the city (Manhattan) this weekend, they're having their Summer Streets festival this weekend and the next two. They close down certain streets to motor vehicles and it becomes a big walk mall, biking path, etc. This year they introduced dumpster pools. It gives dumpster diving a new meaning (although diving is prohibited). When I brought trash out to my own dumpster in the high heat of the week, I thought ... hmmm ... swimming? Ew. No.
In my town they brought Al Sharpton in as a speaker to one of the city meetings. I didn't attend, but really question why he was paid to come. As I mentioned before, this summer has seen many gang-related shootings. But, as an observer, I don't think it's race related, nor would it even be in Al Sharpton's personal universe for his commentary. The man is wealthy. True, he's an interesting speaker. But he's so far removed from the world of the real streets and gang issues that I doubt it was worth the cost of having him speak.
I don't have the answers myself and I'm more familiar with what's happening daily. It's not an issue which can be solved overnight and it may take generations to get things right again, if ever. There have to be changes in parenting, education, job availability to youth and attitude in general. People must find their compassion once again. Life isn't a shoot 'em up video game. Freedom needs to be a better option than thug life. I don't know the fix. Life isn't always easy even when you work steady and do the right thing. But it's so much better than the alternative. Every life has a value.
Oh, well ... onto my photos of the week -- clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window:
This man lives down the street from me. I used to walk by him struggling on his crutches for more than a few years. Now he has an electric wheelchair and is able to scoot by me. He always wears cowboy hats, not the same one and none ever look new. We've always chatted on our encounters. He's always pleasant and I'll always remember that he once told me that I was one of the "good and beautiful people" because I take the time to greet him and chat whenever we meet.
What's up with that? Church Street and East Second Street in Plainfield.
... there's firemen and food! While I missed the events near the library yesterday as the PBA put on a huge festival, I caught the fire department's free food, music, and stuff for the kids event as I walked home from the train station after work. It was like a huge cookout with chicken, burgers, hot dogs ... all free! Plus they were cranking out old time Motown music.
I tend to "name" people I often see on the streets with nicknames. For example, there's a man I think of as "James Whitmore Eyebrow Man." Well, at this little fire department party, there was the "Pips Man." I've seen him since I came to town ... walking along with a late-60s Afro, polyester pants, retro shoes. Last night he danced up a storm, all by himself. I've never seen the man even talk! He always seems so intent on getting wherever he's going. Yet, he cut a fine rug all by himself last night. Alas, he was moving too fast and I didn't get a clear photo.
I had a burger and several folks I know in town gravitated over to sit with me. So many people define this town by its past history with racial divide and its present gang problems. I define it as a place where I encounter friendly folks and feel welcomed. Last night was a fine affair for families, children, and even the local TV blogger. The kids got fire hats, coloring books and other goodies; the adults got food, several tables and chairs to sit, chat, and have a good time. There were no problems or gangs.
Yeah, it's the way to go LATE all summer again as they do track work. Still, it's better than getting stuck in traffic here where it's so densely populated. Plainfield Train Station.
This is the train on the other track. As you can see, there's an engineer (in a pink shirt!) driving the train. We're a diesel line and the first train I pictured is the car with the engine/motor/whatever. However, the trains are set up so that either end can drive. It makes sense as you don't want to get to your destination and then have to turn around the train, right? The engineer (driver) is the only employee I ever see on NJT who's not in uniform.
Mine, of course. That's pretty bad as the trains only run once an hour on Saturdays. Plainfield Train Station, edited for the black & white/color effect.
Well, it's not ME ... it's THAT GUY. An urban shot taken on North Street in Plainfield (as I waited for a late train).
The one guy looks like he wishes he could be anywhere else! The Latina Jesus Ladies are out in full force downtown every day of the week, passing out brochures and saving souls. Watchung Avenue and North Street, Plainfield.
Free from care
Free from sin
The Saints are trooping in
The children play all around the throne
Innocent of sin
A trillion voices sing the name
The mortals may not know
And Heaven's walls are too high to hear
The trouble down below
If I'm late don't wait
Go on without me
I may tarry awhile
Cause I need to know
Before I go
How come the Devil smiles
-- "Step by Step" by Jesse Winchester
Backlighted by the sun. East Front Street, Plainfield.
Why aren't any flowers named "Jackie"? The senior citizen building across the street from me has an impressive garden of these. East Front Street, Plainfield.
This is one of the several ice cream trucks which prowl my Jersey 'hood. This one isn't as irritating as another whose music stops, then you hear "HELLO, HELLO" and the music starts all over once again. I have no clue the cost from these trucks. I know if I had kids, I'd be buying store brand Popsicles from the supermarket rather than investing. East Front Street, Plainfield.
Why, it's a satellite news truck set up by the Police Department/Court building on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. I haven't a clue why they were there. I believe it might have had something to do with National Night Out (this was taken Tuesday after work). But those festivities were a few blocks up the street at the City Hall building. As it's the Spanish-speaking station and they always talk way too fast for me to understand, I didn't check it out on television.
This isn't Enzo's New Jersey, as you can tell.
That was a childhood insult I never quite understood. However, it fits this bike which is locked up but abandoned at the Bound Brook Train Station.
The stinkhorn mushrooms have gone wild with just a smidgen of rain. But they all do this after their burst of growth.
The gold finch is the state bird, but I don't see them in town often. They're late maters, so I believe this pudgy one is a young 'un. East Front Street, Plainfield
I was a distance away, but caught three of them resting on the East Front Street sunflowers!
Sunflowers and goldfinches ... perfect together.
Despite the fact that birds will take over the world, I went on a bird photo stint. This tree at the Plainfield Train Station is slowly dying. I don't know if it's the lack of rain or just an ill tree. But with the leaves the way they are, I thought the shot turned out well.
From cute birds to ugly beaks. Now, I often admire the pigeon's feathers, but their beaks are so often all jacked-up.
Yet he sleeps on. Hmmm ... that looks like a good idea -- a cat nap!
How was your week?