Category Archives: Personal Diary

Happy 100th Birthday Victor Lundy

This was a building in my hometown. They demolished it 32 years ago and replaced it with a dull office building. The architect turns 100 years old today.

The architect’s name is Victor Lundy.

He was born in NYC in 1923. But his parents took the family to the Soviet Union for most of the 1930s. They returned to the USA just before World War II started and he served in the US Army at Normandy.

He’s probably one of the last Americans alive who voluntarily emigrated to the Soviet Union during the Stalin era. So far he’s outlived the Soviet Union by three decades. He was 5 years old when Eisenstein filmed October.

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

Rahway New Jersey the Morning After the Big Storm

Last week in New Jersey we experienced the kind of natural disaster most of us have only heard about. While my home state may be the butt of a lot of jokes, we also tend to be free from horrible things like earthquakes, tornados, mass shootings and Republicans. Nevertheless, after a hot rainy summer (which is far from over) the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped over 10 inches of rain on the already water logged ground. Twenty three people died in the floods. Some people died through no fault of their own. Four people in Elizabeth drowned in their basement apartment after a river overflowed its banks and made escape impossible. Other people died out of sheer stupidity. For some odd reason an 83-year-old man in Union felt he needed to get in his car and drive and another man in Maplewood felt it necessary to clear the debris out of a culvert near his house.

As for me, I was doing my best to get a Darwin Award. I live on the second floor of a very well-built house on top of a hill. I could have easily slept through the storm and not even realized it happened. As soon as the storm was done, however, I jumped on my bike to explore the area, because, well, why not? Not far from my house, at the bottom of two steep hills, there was a small body of water where, only the day before there had only been the street in front of the local topless bar. There were also dozens of abandoned cars, their electronics shorted out when they tried to make it through what turned out to be at least two feet of water. I road through without a hitch, my feet soaked, but my pride swollen. My bike has no electronics, and it turned out I was stronger than 2 tons of Detroit metal (well these days fiberglass) powered by a V-6. I wound up riding through three large bodies of water, each more deep than the other, the last one lapping over the side view mirrors of cars parked on the street, a couch that had formerly decorated someone’s back porch floating by as I chugged through the brackish muck.

When I got home I couldn’t help but turn on Pete Seeger performing his now all but forgotten song Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.

Pete Seeger

For Seeger, the song, which tells the tale of an infantry officer who drowned on a training exercise while foolishly trying to bully his platoon to ford a tributary of the flooded Mississippi (a stream that turned out to be the Mississippi itself), was a metaphor for the Vietnam War. The same military industrial media complex that recently attacked President Biden for his surprisingly courageous decision to end the American Occupation couldn’t admit they had made a mistake intervening in the Vietnamese Civil War. Like the idiot platoon commander in Seeger’s song, they were determined to drag the American people down with them. But Seeger’s platoon was smart enough to turn back and barely make it to dry land. The American people in the 1960s were smart enough to protest the occupation of Vietnam and demand we leave.

In 2021, I wish the “big muddy” were the war in Afghanistan. But it’s not. It’s something much more dangerous, to be specific, global warming, the weather patterns that have turned the Northeast into the Southeast, complete with deadly tornados, hurricanes, and floods. And the foolish platoon commander is not the American ruling class. It’s all of us, every ordinary citizen who just has to get into his car every day to run the rat race that’s killing the planet. Will we make it out? Or will we condemn our grandchildren to a dead, flooded planet. One can only hope for the best .

Joe Biden for President


In 2016, I voted for Gloria La Riva and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. I had no intention of voting for Trump, but I also had no intention of voting to allow the Clinton Crime Family to establish a dynasty in the White House. This time I’m going to vote for Joe Biden and the Democrats.

Why? Here are ten good reasons.

1.) There are currently no credible third party candidates on the ballot. Howie Hawkins and the Greens are what the Greens have been for the last 30 years, a “political party” that does no organizing, never shows up at protests, and makes no attempt to expand their base beyond a tiny inner circle.

2.) I don’t want to be able to say in 20 years that I never voted against Trump. Yes, I voted third party in 2016, but a third party vote is more of a vote against both mainstream parties. It indicates you have no real preference. I want to unambiguously vote against the 6’3″ Cheetoh currently occupying the White House.

3.) There are far too many leftists and pseudo leftists who have fallen for the idea of Trump as anti-war or “anti-deep state” or “anti-imperialist.” He’s not. He’s a right wing Zionist and neoconservative who has taken millions of dollars from the Israel Lobby, a radical Islamophobe who wants to limit immigration to people who look like me (ugly white people). He’s made several attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela. He’s continued to aid the Saudis in their genocidal war in Yemen. He supported the coup in Bolivia. He covered up for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. In terms of foreign policy Trump is basically Dick Cheney, if Dick Cheney spent too much time on Twitter. I want to be able to point to the Trump adjacent left and say “I’m not one of those.”

4.) Trump has the unconditional support of the Christian Fundamentalist right. Biden at the very least supports the separation of church and state written into the Constitution by Jefferson and consolidated by none other than Ulysses Grant.

5.) Biden is in his late 70s and is unlikely to spend very much time in office. Whoever he picks as his Vice President is who I’ll really be voting for and he’s already promised to pick a black woman. Good. When Kamala Harris or Stacy Abrams continues the sanctions on Venezuela and Iran and starts bombing Yemen or Syria I’ll finally be able to tell feminists and black nationalists to shut the fuck up. Professional managerial class women in New York and Boston will finally stop talking about Putin and go back to pretending that they’ve actually read Anna Karenina. American liberals will go back to forgetting Russia exists.

6.)  If Trump is reelected he will unleash a massive wave of repression against Black Lives Matter and pretty much anybody who’s ever gone to a protest (including me). You seriously don’t want to know how bad it would get during a Trump second term.

7.) I live in Union County New Jersey, and overwhelmingly Democratic place the Republicans have no chance of winning and where they make no attempt to suppress the vote. That means voting usually takes me all of 10 minutes.The only thing it will cost me in terms of personal commitment is that I’ll jerk off three times on election day instead of four. Hey, a man’s got to make sacrifices.

8.) I’m old, ugly, bald and my dick fell off ten years ago. But I was barely out of Kindergarten when Biden went into the Senate. He’ll make me feel young again. True, Bernie would have too, but that dream is gone. Every day Biden will remind me of the senile old fuck I’m going to be in 30 years, if the Covid doesn’t get me first. During the Tom Cotton Presidency in 2025, watching liberals rehabilitate Trump the way they rehabilitated Reagan and George W. Bush in 2017 and 2018 will give me a delicious sense of moral superiority, the kind of thing, just about the only thing I really live for.

9.) Bernie, Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky and just about every professional leftist I’ve ever gone to see give a speech at Cooper Union has endorsed, or at least semi-endorsed Biden. All these people are smart. I’m a dumb fuck loser incel who’s never had a real job. Surely they know something I don’t. Yeah, they’re all public figures who have to protect their reputations in establishment liberal circles (even though they’ve all got more money than I’ll ever have and don’t really have to protect their reputation in establishment liberal circles), but fuck it. Once when I was a stupid 19-year-old I asked Noam Chomsky a dumb question during a lecture tour (I quoted Pat Buchanan on the Israel Palestine conflict) and he made me look stupid. The very least thing I can do to thank him is to vote for the man he sort of kind of maybe says I should vote for if I lived in a swing state.

10.) Part of the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is that I thought he’d be less likely to start a dumb conflict with Russia than a bloodthirsty neocon like McCain. Yeah he overthrew Qaddafi in Libya and armed Al Qaeda (who exactly do you think the White Helmets are) in Syria, but at least he negotiated a peace treaty with Iran and tried to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba. Donald Trump is jingoistic, neoconservative racist who blames China for Covid-19 and just might try to start a war (with a country that has nukes, a billion people, and an oversupply of 18-30 year old men). Biden probably won’t.

Will there be a new “bike boom?”

Westfield, NJ May 2020

Just about the only place I’m seeing long lines in my little corner of the suburban NYC hot zone is my local bike store. It’s easy to see why. All of the gyms are closed, and will be for the foreseeable future, so people are digging up all those old bikes from their basements and getting them repaired.

As Carlton Reid points out in his new book “Bike Boom,” the last time the United States saw a major resurgence of cycling was in the 1970s. Partly because of the 1960s counterculture and partly because of the 1970s oil shocks, everybody started riding bikes.

In Washington DC, there was a young Post staff reporter called Carl Bernstein – later to become half of the Pulitzer Prize-winning pair – known as the “office hippie” and a “long-haired freak who rode a bicycle …”

“Many cyclists harbour fierce antipathy for what they regard as an automobile culture that is choking the nation with fumes, speed, noise and concrete,” he wrote in the Post in 1970. He went on to describe a “growing group of cyclists who regard pedalling as an almost political act and inevitably flash the two-finger peace symbol upon encountering another person on a bike”.

There were also plans in the 1970s to build a cycling infrastructure in the United States that would have rivaled that of Germany or the Netherlands, but sadly it never got off the ground. Like many good ideas that came out of the 1970s energy crisis, the bike boom turned out to be a fad. Perhaps it’s possible now, but I suspect people will go back to the gyms as soon as it gets cold (if they’re open).

Put your mask on so the cops don’t give us a ticket

Imagine for a moment that I have designed the greatest mask in the world. My invention, let’s call it the Detroit One, protects the owner so well that it’s the equivalent of being surrounded by 2 tons of fiberglass and steel. It has a battery powered air purifier and a set of airbags that immediately inflate to come between you and the rest of the world in the event of a catastrophic failure of social distancing. But that’s not all. Lest you think such a mask would be unworkably heavy, over 100 years of testing have shown that far from being a burden, the Detroit One will actually carry you to your destination in comfort and luxury. All it requires is that once a week you fill it up with gasoline, which is now selling for under 2 dollars a gallon.

Today I road my bike through my hometown, the working-class suburb of Roselle, NJ, a community of just over 20,000 people squarely inside the hot zone of the New York Metropolitan Area. Roselle, like some of the more posh towns directly to the west, has neighborhoods with row after row of neat little post-World-War-II Cape Codes and Split Levels, a vision of New Deal middle-class equality. It’s also a bit more densely populated, or at least it seems that way. Due to the relative scarcity of garages, the streets always seemed packed with cars, so packed that I’m often happy that I’m riding a bike. I suppose that in the post-2008 world, a mortgage in a “good” suburb is more difficult to get than a car loan. Thus the rather impressive number of expensive late model SUVs and luxury sedans that make the streets so difficult to navigate.

In any event, while nostalgically riding past my old junior high school, I noticed what seemed to be a rather large “house party” put on by some kind of motorcycle club. Not only where the sidewalks clogged with Japanese made “sport bikes,” the front lawns of several adjacent houses were filled the dozens of people, none of whom were wearing masks, and all of whom were clearly violating six feet (my height and Trump’s penis size) rule for social distancing. Even worse, the party seemed to be breaking up. Large families were walking in the middle of the street. People were milling about on the sidewalk. Many of the party guests were clearly in a good mood and slightly inebriated. One man even called out to me “bro do you want a beer?”For a moment I thought about simply turning around and going back in the opposite direction but eventually I saw a clear path and dashed through the crowd to the opposite side.

When I turned around I was astonished. Some of the same people who had been drinking, eating and celebrating together without masks were putting on masks just before they got into their cars. One young woman tied a mask around her toddler’s neck before donning her own. A man in his twenties strapped on a red bandana before putting on his motorcycle helmet and firing up his Yamaha. Another woman, who seemed to be in her 30s, was arguing with her son, who appeared to be in middle school. Perhaps he will eventually go to the same junior high school I did, the one right down the street. A rush of nostalgia overtook me when I realized that decades ago, in the crisis of legitimacy that overtook the American ruling class in the 1970s, we were talking about “killer bees” the same way the media in 2020 is talking about “murder hornets.” In any event, the young boy, quite understandably, didn’t want to wear a mask on the way home. “Why do I have to wear a fucking mask in the car,” he said, and yes he dropped the F Bomb. Personally I was on his side, but his mother was having none of it. She grabbed her son, tied a mask around the back of his neck, and shoved him into the back of their car

“I”m not going to tell you again,” I heard her say. “Put your mask on or the cops are going to give me a ticket.”

It’s a Bourgeois Town

Westfield, NJ April 2020

The local bourgeoisie has discovered water soluble chalk. A few years ago, during Occupy Wall Street, or Black Lives Matter, chalking the sidewalk often meant that dozens of militarized police would roll up  on you, throw you to the ground, and put you through central booking (before the judge offered the inevitable ACD). But now, during the pandemic, in Central Union County, NJ, where the average family takes in about $200,000 a year from jobs on Wall Street, or in for profit healthcare, it’s rare to see a street without some message written out in pretty colors. I just wish there were more creativity. 90% of the slogans are generic, apolitical messages like “thank you to our healthcare workers” or “stay safe.” Perhaps I should buy some chalk myself the next time I go to the grocery store and write something like “workers of the world unite” or “end the fed” and see if I get arrested.

A New Jersey Story

So I’m riding my bike down the Kenilworth Boulevard, a broad double-laned highway that runs right through the middle of the compact, little suburb of Kenilworth, New Jersey.  Up ahead are two SUVs, one in the left lane, a white Ford, moving slowly, the other, a black Cadillac Escalade, about 2 feet behind, aggressively tailgating. Even though the traffic is surprisingly heavy for a state under a “shelter in place” order in the middle of a pandemic, there’s still there’s plenty of room to pass. I suppose the driver of the Escalade simply wants to teach the driver of the Ford a lesson before he goes on his way.

At some point, the Escalade passes the Ford in the right lane, gunning his engine as if to say “I’m faster than you and frustrated with your behavior,” before he swerves back into the left lane and slows to what seems 5 or 10 MPH. The tables are now turned. The driver of the Ford has made the transition from “lazily driving along” mode to “Death Race 2000” mode. He steps on the gas and pulls to within about 6 inches of the Escalade’s bumper. He leans on his horn, a steady “honk” without any pauses. After the driver of the Escalade, admitting defeat, switches into the right lane to let his beaten adversary pass — the Virgin Cadillac Escalade and the Chad Ford Explorer — the driver of the Ford, still leaning on his horn, follows into the right lane him and continues to tailgate.

At this point, I’m starting to get worried. I’m a vulnerable 178.5 pounds of flesh against 6 tons of Detroit metal coming my way. They never make it that far. The driver of the Ford guns his engine and hits the Escalade in the rear bumper, pushing them both up against the curb before they finally come to a stop on the shoulder. Fortunately for the driver of the Escalade he spins clockwise and takes his adversary’s blow in the passenger’s side door. There is no passenger, and, praise Jesus, nobody is hurt except the door of the Escalade, which has a big dent, and the front end of the Ford, which iss half caved in. I stop, desperately trying to swing my backpack around to get my camera before I realize I have forgotten it. The two men — of course men — get out of their respective vehicles and face off in front of each other on the sidewalk.

They are both wearing N95 surgical masks.

I’m Starting to Feel Nostalgic for the Bad Old Days of October of 2001

Right now Coronavirus is making me feel pretty much the way I did during the Anthrax attacks back in 2001, that same fear and paranoia, the idea that death could come out of nowhere. I don’t think anybody quite expressed it quite as well as David Rees did in his comic Get Your War On. So I went back to his old website. His crude, clip art comics are as good now as they were back then. They’ve lost nothing of their satirical bite.

So why am I nostalgic for the bad old days of 2001? Well, I suppose it’s because as terrified as I was during the anthrax attacks, the danger passed almost as quickly as it had arrived. Eventually of course we realized that the anthrax attacks were a false flag planned at Fort Dietrich in Maryland and designed to gin up support for the invasion of Iraq. None of us (who wasn’t a Democratic Senator or part of the liberal media) was really in much danger at all. 2020 is much worse. Coronavirus is 100 times more terrifying. It’s not only real, but it’s going to be around for awhile, if it in fact ever really goes away. So I’m looking back to the “good old days” of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks.

Just fuck me.

Magical Thinking

Roselle, NJ April 2020

Garwood, NJ April 2020

Even though the hardest hit town in New Jersey so far has been Lakewood in Ocean County, a very religious community, the locals here in Union County seem to be calling on God to save them (because we know Trump won’t).

Personally I think it’s arrogance to assume that God will save us all from the plague. How do we know the plague hasn’t been sent by God to punish us all for our sins?

In any event, I suppose it’s never a bad time to post the 91st Psalm.

My Refuge and My Fortress

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”