Fleet Week

Fleet Week Car Card

New York, New York, a wonderful town
The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down
The people ride in a hole in the ground
New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town!
Song Writers: Fred Ebb / John Kander

When we were in New York City, we visited the NYC Transportation Museum. In its lower gallery are dozens of subway cars, from all eras. Many of these cars are open and still period decorated. Chief among these decorations are subway car cards. These placards are nestled in the soffits that run the car’s length and the advertising gambit. The black and white one pictured above caught my attention. It is selling the 8th Avenue subway as the way to get around and see the US Navy on parade, during its annual Fleet Week visit to the Big Apple.

This car card doesn’t mention its particular year, but it could very well be 1934. Many of the ships advertised were sunk in WW II. Most of the battleships that were then named after states were also at Pearl Harbor. Coincident with this year’s fleet week, the WPA artist Paul Cadmus painted his notorious depiction of sailors on liberty, The Fleet’s In. The debauchery portrayed so incensed the admiralty that it was pulled unseen from its scheduled WPA show and remained hidden from view for almost fifty years, until 1982. 

Then 77, Cadmus (1904-1999) expressed gratitude for getting to see his painting again. He also remarked that after so many years hidden from light, how new it still looked. He recalled, ”What I actually saw sailors and their girlfriends doing in Riverside Drive Park far exceeded anything that I could have put on canvas.”

The Fleet’s In, Paul Cadmus, 1934

Move On, Nothing to See Here

725 5th Ave President Barack H. Obama Ave, New York, NY 10022

MoveOn.org is petitioning NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to rename the portion of 5th Ave in front of the Trump Tower to President Barack H. Obama Ave. There is precedent for this. The portion of 6th Ave in front of the Rockefeller Center is called Avenue of the Americas. Currently more than 25,000 signatures have been gathered, with a goal of 75,000. Sounds implausible, but it would be nice. 

Yesterday, amongst all of the hubbub about the government shutdown and the Wall, there were new developments in the Trump-Russia collusion case. First, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who during the 2016 presidential campaign met with Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower, was charged with money laundering. As part of her scheme, she is alleged to have cycled this money through Manhattan properties. Veselnitskaya is in Moscow now and is very unlikely to face any of these charges.

Another development was triggered by what appears to be a mistake made by Paul Manafort’s legal team. A redacted court filing was made disputing Robert Mueller’s contention that Manafort violated his plea agreement by lying. The redaction was easily circumvented by a simple cut and paste. What was revealed is that Mueller claims that Manafort lied about his sharing of campaign polling data with a Russian operative, while he was Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman.

Finally on Tuesday, Chief Justice Roberts denied a stay involving a bank owned by a foreign government. This case is shrouded in secrecy, but is believed to be associated with the Mueller investigation. Reporters staked out the courthouse, but were kicked out when officials cleared the floor. The bank and the country are not known, but what is known is that their continued failure to comply with a grand jury subpoena will now cost them $50,000 a day.

I can guess where these lines of investigation will eventually lead. The pieces disclosed indicate a pattern of investigation that has been used before to take down Mafia crime families. In this case there is only one family of note. As the noose tightens expect further disruptive behavior from Individual 1.

Our Eve

Overheard by Dan on the streets of NYC, “There is no holding hands in Times Square, if we get separated, we’ll meet again in heaven.” Our Eve was quieter than the one presented last night on TV, but it was also much drier. It did rain here and quite a bit, but that was well done my midnight. I know this, because we all managed to make it to the witching hour. We did see some fireworks, just not the ones pictured. Ours were of the local, neighborhood variety.

Unexpectedly, Dan stayed in for the night. I was surprised and a bit unprepared, but there was more than enough supper for the three of us. As the out-of-town impresario, Dan held the remote for the night’s entertainment. Befitting the only member of our household having his own IMDb page, he began with a series of lectures from movie dialect coach Erik Singer. Singer’s talks included voice coach analysis of famous actors speaking with an accent not their own. He also deconstructed fictional “constructed languages,” such as Klingon and Dothraki.

For the feature film, Dan chose Avengers: Infinity Wars. This Marvel superhero movie includes a cast of thousands, so I was always asking Dan, “Who’s that?” Meanwhile, Anne the biblioklept, read Dan’s book, Hope Never Dies. This non-Marvel superhero story, features two buds, two out-of-work civil servants, Joe and Barack, now chaffing at the lack of action. A suspicious death launches this dynamic duo into the role of amateur sleuths. These two parallel tales concluded at about the same time, just before the night’s big countdown got interesting. 

All that Glitters

Tablecloth, Milky Way, Marguerita Mergentime, 1939

Anne’s yarn-a-month club gift box states that she “crafts so hard that she sweats glitter,” which really makes a mess, especially in-between the sheets. Glitter in bed is worse than beach sand, if you ask me. Still, I was intrigued by Caity Weaver’s New York Times article about glitter. In it she waxes poetic, while describing a glitter factory’s appearance that she visited for her story:

…which looked like an industrial manufacturing plant colonized by pixies. The concrete floor was finely coated with what appeared to be crushed moonbeams. The forklift winked with shiny crimson flecks.

I was actually more intrigued with the underlying science. There wasn’t all that much in her article, trade secrets precluded many disclosures, but one could read between the lines. I’ve had some similar experience that guides my guesses on how glitter is made. Those processes were even more closely guarded than gold.


Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, the day that the boys practice pugilism. We got out and about today. First, lunch and Literati, which I kept wanting to call Illuminati. Anne and I walked home from there, the boys taking the car, having more boxing yet to do.

Lunch was at the Blue Tractor, which was not as good as Grizzly’s, even though Grizzly’s serves the beer brewed at the Tractor, but more about that later. The luncheon clientele consisted primarily of families with small children. The table next to us had two couples, with between them four children in high chairs, plus one still strapped to mom. Anne observed that everyone was taking their kids out to lunch, which we were too, but I also observed that our boys were bigger and could probably take anyone else’s there. Boxing Day, don’t you know.

Ordering there was somewhat difficult. The first beer selection that Dave chose, they were out of. So too for the first beer that Dan ordered and again for Dave’s second attempt. They were also out of the food that I first ordered and the same for Dave. We did all eventually get food and drink, but when it came time to pay the bill, both the first and second pens handed to me were out of ink. 


Back to the glitterati. On the way home, Anne told me a glitter related joke. It is a little bit racy, but here it goes:

A woman getting ready for her GYN appointment, first took a washcloth to her lady parts. Her doctor upon examination commented, “Wow, you really did something special.” “Thank you for noticing,” she replied. Returning home, she was immediately queried by her teenage daughter, “Mom have you seen the washcloth that I used to clean off my glitter makeup?”