Call Me English

A little corner of the world where I talk about what I want.

Posts Tagged ‘new york

September 11

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I can’t believe fifteen years have gone by since that day, since the deadliest and costliest single terrorist attack of its kind on non-military targets in the history of the world, since cowardly and murderous heretics decided senseless chaos and indiscriminate killing were the only ways to redemption. I can’t believe people born after the attack are in high school now. I can’t believe there are people voting in this upcoming election, where we are still dealing with the divisive ramifications of terrorism and national security, who may be too young to remember when this event even happened.

And I know many probably mean well when they brandish the flag and loudly tell us all to “never forget.” In reality, though, what almost all people saying “never forget” need to do is… STOP.

Stop saying “never forget.”

If you are not an actual victim of this attack, if you are not the relative or friend or colleague of someone who is or was a victim of this attack, if you didn’t spend hours or days after the attack struggling to make contact with everyone you knew from the four fateful flights or from the New York or Washington areas where these murders actually occurred to be certain everyone was accounted for, please stop saying “never forget.”

You have nothing to forget.

Those this profound tragedy directly touched would like nothing more than to forget, and yet how could they ever?

Everyone in the world with access to media on September 11, 2001 shared the experience of watching with utter confusion after the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, impacted the North Tower.

“Oh, no. That looks awful. Maybe a news helicopter lost control or something.”

Everyone in the world stood and screamed and swore aloud when they saw the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175 – a nearly fully fueled Boeing 767-200 aircraft with registration number N612UA, hurtling over Staten Island and plowing into the façade of the South Tower at nearly 600 miles per hour (950 km/h).

That initial dose of almost cinematic dystopia, along with perhaps giving blood to help victims that never emerged from the rubble, digging out an old American flag to display out front, and being glued to cable news coverage for the next year, two years, fifteen years… that’s about where the shared elements of this event end.

Answering the question of “Where were you when you first found out about the attacks?” with a sheepish “I had just finished wrecking the toilet at the Starbucks in the strip mall down the street from my house” eternally disqualifies you from telling anyone never to forget. The best thing someone like that can do is keep quiet. Keep quiet and step aside and allow those whose lives really were permanently altered by this crime to do the best they can to get through this day for one more year.

The last thing the surviving victims, families, friends, and colleagues need is to be reminded of the senseless, violent, and painful manner in which their loved ones died. The last thing they need is to be bombarded on traditional media and social media with 9/11 specials and 9/11 retrospectives and, perhaps tackiest and most heartbreaking of all, 9/11 sales. (Shame on that former mattress store in Texas for ever even considering such a thing. I hope the responsible parties never earn another dollar.) Why can’t people express their respect for the losses of others by giving them space? Why can’t people honor a terrible day by doing something other than making it about themselves?

The September 11 attacks weren’t perpetrated against the suburbs or against middle America or against capitalism or against “our freedom.” They were committed against visible symbols of American hegemony abroad by the brainwashed followers of a morally bankrupt group of lunatics who wanted nothing more than to get the attention of our government. It was never meant to be a rallying cry for those who’d been longing to score political points against “others” for decades.

There is no need to say “never forget” because how could anyone involved ever forget? I just wish the people who’ve been shouting “never forget” for the last fifteen years could say with confidence that they have ever learned.

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Written by Dave

September 11, 2016 at 12:35

Life in New York: Walking

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When you live in a city where you likely pay thousands upon thousands (or even millions upon millions) of dollars for the mere privilege of living in a tiny, dank apartment with a view of a brick wall, a gaggle of loud neighbors, and no washer or dryer, you have to find a way to spot deals when there is one out there to be spotted.

One of the last great deals left in New York is also one of the most convenient and most interesting forms of exercise you can engage in: walking! This is a walking city. It has always been a walking city. Even before the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which laid the egalitarian and perhaps rigid street grid plan onto most of Manhattan, New York was a city best enjoyed on foot.

It is not simply a process of elimination that makes the city so much fun to walk. It is not because driving in the city is an anxiety-fuelled nightmare. It is not because commuting by subway, bus, or taxi is some dystopian combination of crowded, slow, and smelly. What makes walking through New York rewarding and fun is the same thing that makes any city worth visiting or living in: its people and its neighborhoods.

There should be no surprise when I say that the people-watching here is without parallel, but when you combine it with the fact that neighborhoods change color and flavor every few blocks, you wind up with an entertaining and different walking experience every time you go out… and I can’t stress how important that is for me. If exercise feels like a repetitive chore, I won’t do it. I won’t want to get off my butt on the weekend, no matter how nice the weather may be outside, if what I get is the same every time.

We have really begun to get back into the swing of going on long walks to different parts of the city and think about planning the next walk before the one we’re on is even done. And this is not just on weekends, either. As with a lot of other things in life, results are what matter… and we’ve got them. In the month of May alone, we have walked more than 100 miles (160 km).

Not too bad!

Written by Dave

May 29, 2016 at 23:45

I’m not your intended recipient

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I have seen a huge increase in the number of misdirected emails I have received. I know I have a common male first name, David, and not the rarest last name of a certain heritage, so some misdirected emails are inevitable for me. That comes with the privilege of ungooglability and being a relatively early adopter of Gmail, I suppose. My issue is that the majority of the misdirected emails I’m getting are clearly intended for the same older couple in Essex, Connecticut who don’t seem to know (or give half a crap) that the email address they’re giving to their family members, friends, place of worship, preferred women’s apparel shop, and even their boat dealer IS NOT THEIRS.

Every time I receive a wrong-number email, I always send a courtesy alert:

Hello, Mr./Ms. Innocent Goober.

I’m not the intended recipient of your email below. Please verify the email address of the person who was meant to get this message.

Kind regards,
David Notthepersonyoumeant
New York, NY

I always include New York, NY in there because that is normally the most glaring sign for people that they sent their message to the wrong party.

Sometimes I get a response; sometimes I don’t. I don’t really care if the sender responds to apologize or not. What I want him or her to do is to reach out to the goofballs who share my surname and give them a shake. Email address accuracy is important, and the technology has been around long enough that it is no longer acceptable to claim unfamiliarity with how it all works.

PS – If you’re going to send me an email that’s meant for someone else, don’t have the last name McAnally because I’m just going to make fun of you in my mind for the rest of the day…

Written by Dave

May 23, 2016 at 22:15

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Laundry list items

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Not a lot of time for le bloggage tonight because of the curse of the laundry and other fun distractions like the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but I wanted to talk about the future. Again. I mentioned the FLICS posts right before putting up a list of conversation starters yesterday, but allow me to throw out a preview of other regular kinds of posts I look forward to sharing with you. Obviously, more ideas are welcome!

  • Detailed discussion of my political positions by topic. I like to consider myself politically active and engaged and am prepared to talk about where I stand and why.
  • Recipes and restaurant reviews. I love to cook and dine out, and I would love to share that passion with you all here.
  • Thoughts on language. I named this blog Call Me English because I’m a language man. I love words and am in awe of the power they wield. It was comedy legend George Carlin who said that “the quality of our thoughts and ideas can only be as good as the quality of our language,” so I will talk about the finer points of language that we should all be aware of and use more effectively.
  • Life in New York. I am lucky enough to live in one of the most exciting and influential cities in the world, and I look forward to sharing some of the positives and negatives of life here.

Written by Dave

May 17, 2016 at 23:59

FLICS #2: Mike Tyson Understudy Edition

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So here are five more things that have sprouted up the last couple of days…

  • Mike Tyson and Broadway mix, apparently. Whose idea was it to put the boxer-turned-wife-beater-turned-prisoner-turned-vegan (?) on stage?  Spike Lee’s.
  • We went to Gotham Bar and Grill for my brother’s birthday a couple of nights ago, and although the food was very tasty, the service was a little over the top, especially considering that the kitchen was slow.  Have you ever had a meal in a nice restaurant where the server tries too hard to show you how much he knows about the menu? “No, Wyatt, I really don’t need an anecdote about the founding of the farm my braised baby bok choy came from.”  Couple that nonsense with the woman at the next table swimming in Estée Lauder’s Youth Dew (Eau d’Old Lady), and you’ve got yourself a weird evening.
  • One thing I’ve taken particular notice of during this super hot, sticky week: some people just have faces that seem like they would be dangerously satisfying to punch.
  •  Speaking of the heat wave, why do the media in New York feel the need to give the most obvious weather advice ever? It’s a couple of degrees short of boiling outside, so don’t wear any sweaters, don’t engage in any strenuous activities outdoors, and don’t attempt to cool down by climbing into your refrigerator.
  • Twitter was down for a not insignificant amount of time today due to what they called a “cascading bug.”  The internet seemed to collectively lose its cotton-pickin’ mind. The first thing I thought of was what a huge increase in actual work productivity it would bring… once everyone stopped bitching about it on Facebook.  Don’t you remember what life was like before we had all these different forms of heroin to be addicted to?

Written by Dave

June 21, 2012 at 22:42