Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Frogma PSA - Measles News For The Midlife Set

Well, WOW. They say you learn something new every day. Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm enough of a creature of habit that most days I would have to think really hard to come up with the day's lesson, but not yesterday. Yesterday's lesson?

I probably need a measles booster.

This was pretty mind-blowing for me. I am fortunate enough to have been born to some of the most responsible parents a person could ask for, and all the medical, dental, and schooling stuff was taken care of, no exceptions. I live in Brooklyn, which is one of the hot spots in this growing measles outbreak we've got going on right now, but I didn't really think twice about it as far as being affected personally, because I'm about as sure as a person can be that I got those immunizations when I was little.

Until an old friend who lives near me mentioned that she'd just gotten a measles booster, at which point I thought "Hm, maybe I should check with my folks, just to be sure".

And asking my incredibly responsible folks to confirm that I'd been vaccinated against a childhood illness here in my early 50's felt so bizarre that I mentioned it on Facebook.

And then a couple of very smart friends whose opinions I respect filled me in on some facts I didn't know - basically, it turns out that many of us born in the 60's were vaccinated (here's an amazing chart showing the falloff of the disease after the introduction of the vaccine), but it was still early enough in the development of the vaccines that they did not have the lifelong effectiveness of later versions. That was possibly the most useful FB exchange I've been a part of in a while - thanks to our local anti-vaxxers, Brooklynites in particular can't rely on herd immunity at this point, and I had NO idea that I might not be safe. I've got things I want to do this summer and I do NOT have time for a bout of middle-aged measles!

This is definitely not my usual topic, but it was a startling enough revelation that I thought I would share it anyways, particularly since the FB exchange ended with the sharing of a really good NPR piece covering the exact topic. 

Click here to read.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Loon Doodle

Haven't done a good doodle in a while, but back in February our Jamaica Bay Guardian Don Riepe had taken a lovely shot of a loon in winter plumage, and I'd had that in mind as something that would be fun to draw since then. I love seeing (and hearing) loons in the bay in the wintertime, when they're dressed in soft charcoal grays. There were still a couple around during my last paddle, on Saturday the 13th; they'd changed into the snappy black and white summer plumage that most people picture when they think of loons, and by the next time I get out on the bay, I expect they'll all have left for the northern freshwater lakes where they spend the warmer months. Safe travels, lovely laughers, see you back in the bay next winter. 

 Quiet week at work this week and I got home early enough last night to have time for a quickish rendition of Don's winter loon.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

March Reading Part 1

Oof! Hate that I left the blog on a bummed-out note before budget season pulled me off for a while!

I'd had my March reading queued up for a lunchtime post for some time, but then all lunches were working lunches up until yesterday. Have been doing some fun things at the club too (a friend coordinated a paddle on the 13th, another gorgeous day, and then on the 14th there was a trip-leader review session and a garden committee meeting) but the book list is sitting here, so here we go.

Disclaimer thing: I'm a Scholastic employee but all opinions expressed here are just my personal ones. I'll mark all the Scholastic books with an asterisk.

Dactyl Hill Squad 2, Freedom Fire* by Daniel José Older - Started off the month with this second installation of the Dactyl Hill series.  The Squad is a close-knit group of kids from the Colored Orphans' Asylum in Manhattan who escape to Brooklyn during the horrors of the draft riots. The dactyls are Pterodactyls - in Older's fantasy, dinosaurs survived and humans use them instead of horses, including the flying ones! Great fun and excitement with a lot of very serious history folded in. I get grouchy about series sometimes but so far each book is something of a cohesive story -- I particularly hate getting to the end of a book and just being dropped instead of being given an ending. Only now I have to wait for Book 3!  Goodreads page 

Where She Fell*, by Kaitlin Ward - Another Scholastic title. Teenaged girl falls into a hole in a swamp notorious for disappearances, finds that some of the previously vanished are alive and well (except for, muahaha, an odd little quirk of not really wanting to escape the way you'd expect they would...) and living in a network of underground caverns. Adventure ensues! Maybe not as thought-provoking as some of our YA stuff, but the underground world is interesting and creative and it made for a quick, fun subway read. Goodreads page

The Cider House Rules, by John Irving - I reread this old favorite after being horrified to discover that there's a far-right movement (including a relative of mine who's been elected to the Idaho legislature and so is in a position to try to push this through, that's how I learned about the thing) of fetal personhood bills being introduced here and there across the country, even in true-blue Washington State. Doubtless after a chance to challenge Roe v. Wade. 
Full rights for the fetus from the moment of conception, NO exceptions - the minute a woman becomes pregnant, she's just a walking incubator, regardless of her situation in life (unless she's well off enough to go to another state - they're not quite ready to put women under house arrest to stop them, although if you read the bills, you wonder if that might be under consideration). None gone through so far but there's a wave, I keep reading about another one here, another one there. Just makes me so, so sad. I turned to Irving's tale of decency, caring, courage, and sympathy for comfort. Excellent read always but especially in these times when so many in this country are pushing to force their beliefs on others without a thought to who gets hurt.  Goodreads page

The Hero 2 Doors Down*, and Child of the Dream: A Memorial of 1963* - both by Sharon Robinson. Speaking of things to read when you're not feeling so good about people - anything, I think, by Sharon Robinson will do. The first is a sweet middle-grade book telling the story of how a Brooklyn Dodgers-loving kid growing up in East Flatbush came to be lifelong friends with the one and only Jackie Robinson and family when the Robinsons first moved to Brooklyn and rented a house in East Flatbush (the home is still there, maybe sometime I'll go check it out). A true story with some details lightly fictionalized to move the story along, as explained in an afterword section. I grabbed the book for some Jackie-loving young relatives in Texas but had to preview it, of course. Enjoyed it so much that when I overheard a couple of editors discussing Sharon's next book I mentioned it and was rewarded with a practically hot off the presses Advanced Reader's Copy of Child of the Dream, which comes out in September. This one is Sharon's own recollections of what it was like to be a 13 year old member of a family playing an influential role in the Civil Rights movement. Amazing, I could hardly put it down. That went to Texas too. 

Part 2 titles - ARGH, sort of. I'd written up all of these and then through some accident of having an earlier version open in a window and saving that one, I lost 'em all. Not such a bad thing though, made for a VERY long post and I was thinking maybe it would be better broken into 2. Here were the rest of the March books with Goodreads links. Oh, btw, April 27th is Independent Bookstore Day, support your local independent bookseller! 


Other Islands of NYC
Because of the Rabbit*

*All titles marked with an asterisk are Scholastic publications. I'm a Scholastic employee but this is a personal blog and all opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Blu Marble - neat but also disappointing

Click on any photo for a better view
Spotted that sign from Mr. Taco on my way to go see Blu Marble, a temporary art installation on Ludlow Street that's generated at least a little buzz that I've seen. It's by New York-based Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz, and it was really neat to see. The artwork consists of a circular LED screen displaying real-time live-stream images of Earth from a NASA satellite. I'd been meaning to go see it for a while, it went on display in mid-March and was only going to be up for a month - being one of the last people around who haven't gotten a smartphone yet, I haven't got a camera on me at all times like most people do. Finally remembered to bring my camera to work on Friday, the last possible day for me to go. I went around 8:30 pm and Earth was in a waning crescent phase - it's hard to make out the continents in my photos but I could make out the USA and it was fun to see the line of darkness that had fallen across NYC an hour earlier proceeding slowly westward. Even on a soggy night, a few people had come to see it.

It was neat to see but I was really disappointed to find out that the art was funded by a manufacturer of vaping equipment when I'd thought it was a production of the New Museum (opening was there and the first day featured a projected version on the side of the museum building). Bummer. 

:(  |>

(frogma kayak not-quite-so-smily) 

Friday, April 12, 2019

SoHo Scene

Amen to that, Mr. Taco

No time for tacos tonight, but I'll be back sometime when I'm not rushing in the rain.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Robert Moses Repercussions

Robert Moses with Battery Bridge model

So this is a little outside of the usual blog topic here on Frogma, but a Gothamist article caught my eye today. I've mentioned Robert Moses a couple of times in recent posts as Sebago had a really wonderful day in March where we visited Dead Horse Bay, where you can so easily imagine the sadness of all of the people he displaced as you inspect the belonging of theirs that were buried at the badly-capped landfill at Barren Island and are now strewn across the beach there. And then I also have a set of photos to share from a hike at a spot where you're reminded that he also did some very good things for the city.

But the repercussions of his clearances turn out to carry on to this very day. I never knew.

Just fascinating.

I have really got to get my hands on a copy of The Power Broker.  

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Creatures Enjoying A Fine Spring Day

Canis Familiaris

(click on any photo for better view)
Sus Scrofa Domesticus
Chrysemus Picta

Homo Frogmabloggeriens

Lots more pixs from a lovely day out at the Rockefeller Preserve near Tarrytown at Flickr - click here!

:D />

(frogma kayak smiley, patent pending)

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Beachcombing at Dead Horse Bay

Back to Dead Horse Bay at Barren Island for a little virtual beachcombing tonight. If you watched the short documentary about this area I shared a few posts back, you know how all of this stuff got here - Barren Island had long been a place where the city sent its leavings for processing, and then when Robert Moses condemned neighborhood after neighborhood to make room for his highways and the residents couldn't afford to take all of their belongings, the things they left behind were brought here.

The bones of the dead horses that were brought here to be rendered are still here. Usually you just find little rings of sawed-up leg bones but my friend Shari found this large end of a femur. Her description was both science and a poem and made me think of the living horse in a way that seeing the bones never had before:

"The first thing I saw was part of a femur. The honeycomb of the inside of the bone, where the horse made lifeblood."

Then we wandered on, looking at the remnants of all those early 50's homes -

click on any photo for a better view 
A record

A child's toy car. I had to play with it. Vroom vroom vroom!

(thank you Frank for the photo!)

A million zillion bottles -- some people call this Bottle Beach.
Bricks, and bits of floors,
A cup with an art noveau pattern still showing through years of weathering. I don't bring a lot of stuff home from here, I have found a lot of bottles that I liked but the windowsill where I keep those is full up now, but this was interesting enough that I kept it. When I shared this photo on Facebook, friends who are Jewish told me that it might be a kiddush cup

Clubmate Ellie was finding doll parts - an arm and part of a scalp - and also half of a heart-shaped waffle iron similar to ones you can still buy today!  "Brunch is at my place!", she announced.

We couldn't figure out what these layered sheets were - possibly roof insulation.

Machinery, old lamps (oh heck, I didn't think to check for a genie) -- 

a toilet or two - 

And strangest of all - a car, a real one this time!

Or at least a fair percentage of a car. Just stuck there as though somebody had crashed it into the landfill back then.

The Andromeda is of a much more recent vintage. Anybody looking for a fixer-upper? Don't worry, person who signed the rudder, your secret is safe with me, I won't tell a soul, I promise. 

And that's just the tiniest sampling. Such a fascinating place, I'm glad we took the time that morning to visit.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Spring Spring Springety Spring Spring Spring!

OK, it's been known to snow in April, but knock wood, we're getting some springy stuff in NYC now! Midwood Daffodil

Midwood magnolia buds

Midwood forsythia

First three all from my Brooklyn neighborhood - I love watching them coming in as I come and go from work.

The next 2 are from our great Pelham Bay Park hike up in the Bronx last weekend - still looks pretty wintery up there but these tiny little green leaves caught my eye, and another member of the group noticed a pussy willow tree just off the trail. 

And these are from Canarsie, weekend before last - cherry blossom buds, and then the crocuses I'd already shared not too long ago. I'll be at the club again this weekend and I expect that the buds will have opened now - looking forward to seeing the flowers. Happy for Spring!