Thursday, February 23, 2017

Running of the Bulls in Jamaica, Queens

A bull escaped from a slaughterhouse on Tuesday running through the streets of Jamaica, Queens with reckless abandon, terrorizing pedestrians in its path. The NYPD was in hot pursuit as the bull paraded down city sidewalks and hopped fences looking for its way out of the urban maze. The beast was struck with tranquilized darts resembling carefully placed swords from Spanish matadors while crowds gathered to watch the event. Its captors from the nearby Aziz Slaughter House chased the bull until it turned its horns toward them and charged. They escaped being gored without the customary cheer of Olé!
Bull escapes slaughterhouse in Queens. Theodore Parisienne

The bull traveled two miles and was seemingly cornered before escaping to run a half mile more. It finally sat down in a yard on 158th Street and 116th Avenue and was captured and transported to a nearby animal shelter where it was later pronounced dead from the corrida. The gallant run by the beast to escape the butcher's knife prompted a candlelight vigil in its honor outside the slaughterhouse the next day. 

While the annual Running of the Bulls Festival takes place in Pamplona, Spain in July, New Yorkers received an unexpected preview this winter. To some, it came as no surprise as the bulls have been running wild on Wall Street for the past month.

 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Enduring Beauty of Liz Cho

Liz Cho, Eyewitness News, Feb. 4, 2016.
Have you ever stared at a portrait of a lady for an eternity? What if eternity was measured in 10 minutes or 10 hours or 10 days? What if you saw the same picture each day for 10 years? Would it feel like eternity? Could any portrait hold you captive for that long? Perhaps if it changed ever so slightly each day, a new hairstyle, a different dress, a dash of pepper here, a pinch of salt there, would it continue to entice the palette? Imagine if the lady could speak and you could watch her expression change from mock disbelief to spontaneous laughter in an instant? Would eternity be long enough?

I first wrote about Liz Cho in December of 2006 when she was the co-anchor of Eyewitness News at 11pm. Her bright portrait illuminated my tranquil living room each night. Those times when she was absent, there was a noticeable void like a blank space on a museum wall. I took note of one such absence in 2007 when she was on maternity leave and triumphantly announced her return a few months later. I chronicled the disappearance of her wedding ring in 2008 and speculated there was a budding romance between Liz and her co-anchor Bill Ritter. It was an unfounded rumor; however, it forshadowed her public divorce in 2012 and her equally public romance with Good Morning America's Josh Elliott with whom she would marry in 2014.  
Liz Cho, Eyewitness News, Feb, 14, 2017

The consummate professional, Liz Cho's personal life rarely interfered with her professional one. The only disruption in a decade was when she left the 11pm broadcast to fill the 4pm void in programming when Oprah Winfrey retired. The change in shift was thought to be temporary at first, but it soon became permanent. The portrait of the lady that had become a fixture in my home seemed lost forever, snatched away by an earlier broadcast that mercilessly conflicted with my own schedule. Luckily, it wasn't for long. As my living room grew less tranquil with a growing family, my schedule skewed earlier and earlier until her 6pm broadcast filled the time slot before dinner. 

To me, it does not seem like an eternity since I first gazed upon the portrait of this particular lady. Her elegance and beauty has not only endured a decade, it has radiated in high-definition from an increasingly larger frame, leaving me as captivated today as I was back then.      

Related posts:

Friday, February 03, 2017

Thank You Lord

Thank you Lord for the ability to make a wrong a right
and coffee and aspirin after a late night,

Thank you Lord for another chance to run and laugh
and for declining the penalty after an ill-advised gaffe,

Thank you Lord for treating us all the same
and for being impartial to our endless blame,

And thank you Lord for listening to my prayer
and letting me know you're always there.

Other poems:


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Drink on Hemingway

I drove through Islamorada in a fiery Mustang convertible with the top down and Marley and the Wailers playing over and over while my foot weighed down like gravity on the accelerator.

Spontaneous flight to Miami, now on the hunt for inspiration once owned by the man who left a blueprint to literary fortune in his short, swift typewriter strokes.


Ernest Hemingway
Hotel in Key West where a cute girl in navy blue g-string bikini waits poolside for me to make a move, but I'm incapacitated by irreverent sun beams and the beauty of her fresh tan lines.

Night falls. Drag queens on Duval Street singing Christmas carols. Ruckus up ahead, sirens and handcuffs, I turn left to Whitehead, to find blues burning from Caffeine Carl and the Funky Beans and wild locals getting loose on buckets of beer, drunk on the notion I'm in heaven, but it's filthy and lonely after a while.

Wallet empty, party strong, I leave dejected, seeking inspiration, call on Hemingway ... Show yourself, you son of a bitch.

And then I find it -- a five dollar bill in front of his house! 

After six long years of embellishment, I pick up the bill and head back to the bar for a drink on Hemingway.

But, according to my notes, the bill was one block away and I could not go back, chased by a black cat to the beach where I charge bare-ass into the water only to be devoured by camouflaged sharks and the wonder of how I will look back on this absurd life. 


Green Parrot Bar, Key West, FL


Friday, January 20, 2017

Unre quit ed

Unre quit ed is a bitch
A back to scratch that doesn’t itch
A nose to pick that always bleeds 
A potted garden full of weeds
A towel to dry unwashed hands
A container filled with rubber bands
Unre quit ed is a bitch
A gaping wound with no stitch
A mirrored ball with no dance
A matching top with no pants
A drink in hand with no thirst
A thinking man’s muttered curse
Unre quit ed is a bitch
A name I’d say but just can't snitch.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

To Be a Kid Again

My wife and I promised our boys we'd take them ice skating this New Year's Eve and we made good on it. I haven't been on skates in ages and the sum total of times I have can be counted on one hand.

My youngest son is a big three, which means he's closer to four and he was unfazed when I laced up his tiny skates. He walked with a purpose to the edge of the rink, but when he stepped on the ice, his confidence shattered. His feet went in different directions like a foal outside a barn and he screamed from the top of his lungs for me to get him out of there. Problem was, I couldn't.

He held my hand as I clutched the wall and the two of us spiraled our way forward with the other skaters. At times, he would clutch me as if he was hanging off a cliff. Then a young girl came by and asked me if my son was learning how to balance. She couldn't have been much older than six. She told him to keep his legs straight, bend his knees, and walk like a penguin. I don't think he heard her over his tears, but I followed her instructions and echoed them as we made our way.

About halfway through, my lower back started barking like a hound dog in pursuit of a fox. My son's pleas to turn around became my own. We did an about-face and before we got too far, the young girl skated over to us and told us we had to go in the same direction as everybody else. Of course she was right, that know-it-all.

We pushed on. Salvation lay on the other side of the rink, but to make it, we'd have to cut across the ice without the safety of the wall. My son sensed the gravity of the situation and squirmed like a puppy before its first dunk in the bathtub. We glided in slow motion toward our destination. When we made it, I praised him for being brave and asked him if he wanted to go around again. He looked at me like I was crazy. He couldn't wait to get his skates off.

On the way home, he and his older brother were filled with song and laughter before they fell into a deep sleep.

I've never made a New Year's resolution I intended to keep and today is no different. I did realize something, though. After I made it around the ice rink with my three-year-old, we watched the other skaters and I felt exhilarated. Memories of my first skate flooded back to me along with the realization that decades later, I'm no better at it than I was then, but boy, did I have fun. Simply being with my kid, doing what he wanted to do, made me feel like a kid again. I may have a different answer later tonight when the ball drops and that familiar question is raised in song: Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Grab your kid by the hand and see for yourself.