Tag Archive for sj rozan

Duck-u-drama

It’s spring and the waterfowl on the river are busy as bees, or beavers. This morning two pairs of mallards were swimming around, with a male Gadwall in attendance. One of the male mallards swam away from the little flock, which caused two events. First, the female he’d been with zipped over to him, swam right in front cutting him off, and then settled in right beside him, reminding him who he belonged to. The Gadwall, meanwhile, came over to harass them. That left the other mallard pair on their own, but not to worry: a female Gadwall came flying in, landed behind them, and started annoying them. What does this say? That the Gadwalls, as they’ve done before, are nesting in the bushes by that stretch of river and the mallards were getting too close in their own search for a nest site. Also, that female mallards like to keep their males in line.

And speaking of nesting, those of you who remember the goslings born last year on the rocks by the Sanitation Pier and raised in the park by Mama and a very fierce Papa may be happy to know M and P have nested again, and I think she must have eggs in there because he’s been swimming back and forth patrolling for enemies. This is the best photo I could get so I’ve circled them in red. Papa in the water, Mama in the upper left of my circle right up by the wall. Just after I took this a crow flew in and landed near her. Papa lifted out of the water and flapped over, practically sat on top of it. It left in a hurry. Hatchlings coming, I hope!

Ode to my Second Vaccine Shot

Got my second shot Moderna

And I’m feeling kinda great.

Got my second shot Moderna.

I was early, couldn’t wait.

 

Got my second shot Moderna

Up on St. Ann’s Avenue

Where the golden sun was shining

And the sky was brilliant blue.*

 

Got my second shot Moderna

Up here in Mott Haven

Across the Bronx from the small house

Wherein Poe wrote “The Raven.”**

 

I checked in with my QC code

They said, “SJ, welcome back!

Just go on in here to the school,

Talk to the man in black.”***

 

He waved me to the lunchroom

Where the tables were all set up

And nurses, docs, and volunteers

Were wearing sterile get-ups.****

 

The nurse at table number 5

Swabbed my arm and stuck it

Then she smoothed on it a Band-aid

And said to me, “Good luck! It*****

 

Might swell up a little

And you may start feeling sick

But if you do, don’t worry —

That part is over quick.”

 

Then she sent me to the gym to wait

A fifteen minute span.

I sat there and I people-watched,

Enjoyed my fellow man.

 

When time was up I headed out

To E. 138th

To get café con leche

And some cake to celebrate(th).”******

 

So as of now I’m fully vaxxed

And it’s a happy day

And I hope you all soon get your shots

And COVID goes away!

 

*You saw that coming, right?

**Irrelevant, but true.

***It wasn’t Johnny Cash, no.

****Just cut me some slack, okay?

*****Not what you were expecting?

******Okay, that one’s awful.

 

 

 

We made it

It’s 2021. Well done, all. Here’s to peace, good health, and good work in the new year.

Parnell Hall, RIP

 

Standing third from the left, Parnell Hall one of the ways I remember him best: on the basketball court, where he had a funny (of course) one-legged stork shot that always went in. I remember him at the poker table, too, where he’d shake his head sadly at his cards, sigh at his luck, and leave at the end of the night with great piles of other people’s money. He was one of the first people I met in the crime-writing world. I was a last-minute substitute on a panel at Bouchercon Seattle in 1994. My first book had been out about an hour, I hadn’t expected a panel assignment, and I was terrified of being up there with the grownups. Turned out nothing I did mattered. Parnell and Donald Westlake spent 40 minutes being hilarious and ended the panel with a cream pie in the face. Parnell’s face, of course. He was generous, kind, funny, smart, and I’m going to miss him terribly.

2021 Calendars!

 

If you were wondering where the SJ Rozan 2021 photo calendars were, they’re here!

Get one, get two, get ’em all! 2021, here we come!

A parable

God on His golden throne looked down on the earth and sighed. He called unto Himself all the smartest people in Heaven and they came, trailing clouds of glory, to hear His will.

“I despair,” said the Lord. “I meant for humankind to be the pinnacle of my Creation. Yet behold, they choose for their leaders the most selfish and evil among them. They persecute and kill each other and they lay waste on all sides. If they continue on this course they’ll soon destroy the emerald planet I made for them. What shall I do?”

From the smart people came the chorus, “Smite them! Smite them!”

“No,” the Lord said. “Honestly, I could have thought of that without you all clogging up my throne room. But I promised humankind free will. They must be allowed to choose their fate but they must NOT be allowed to proceed as they are doing. You were all human once. You know how they think. Who among you can make a suggestion?”

Silence fell among the smart people. Until finally one spoke up.

“Well,” said Charles Darwin, “I have an idea.”

Social distancing? Gimme a break. We’re squirrels.

Neither of these guys is the baby, who comes as soon as I fill the feeder, before the bigger squirrels and the birds get here. I think he sits and waits. These two are siblings, two of the four born in the tree this year. Things were not this amicable for long. They kept whacking each other over the head and diving for the best seeds. They did share the feeder without actually chasing each other off, though. A big crow came to watch, but he clearly decided the whole thing was just going to be trouble, so he left. Bella practically lost her mind over the two squirrels, but she was a little intimidated by the size of the crow. So was I.

 

 

 

Putting your money where your, er, mouth is

NYC’s MOFAD – Museum of Food and Drink – has compiled a list  of food-, food-industry, and chef-related resources focused on communities and individuals of color.
And Ethnojunkie has posted a list
of black-owned restaurants and eateries in NYC.
Once we’re in Phase 2, you know where to go.

New York City, Right Now

A couple of people have asked if I’d write about what it’s like here in NYC these days. First, thanks for your concern, those of you who’ve asked if I and mine are okay. We are; I know what it looks like on the TV news, but this is not a war zone. I went to the Greenmarket this morning, on the north side of Union Square; the south side has been the staging area for the Manhattan protests. The farmers were selling produce and bread, people were shopping, folks were wearing masks and being orderly. Nevertheless, when I asked one of the farmers whether there’d been extra thought given to whether to come in today, she said no but they expected the market would shut down early as it had on Saturday to give people a chance to clear out before the protests started.

I’ve been hearing helicopters since Friday, sirens occasionally. I’m in the West Village, about a mile from Union Square itself and a mile from Soho, where a lot of luxury shops were hit hard. Near Union Square I saw three broken windows — a restaurant, where the bar had been looted, a Verizon store, and a sneaker store. Nothing else, though some stores are boarding up in anticipation of more to come tonight.

Will there be more tonight? I suspect so, but I also think the intensity will taper off. In normal times it would taper way off as people went back to work, but of course part of the problem is everyone’s been out of work for nearly three months.

I’ve seen videos of the looting at Gucci, at Dolce & Gabbana, and I’ve seen a lot of posts asking, “How does this help?” Also, photos of destruction with “I’ve never seen NYC like this!” captions.

First, for the NYC-has-hit-the-apocalypse crowd, I refer you to the 1970’s fiscal crisis, to AIDS, to 9/11 — oh, go look it up: the history of NYC. We’ve been here before. We’ll be here when this is over.

Second, and more important, for the “How does this help?” people, I suggest that’s the wrong question. For the record, nobody’s saying looting Gucci “helps.” But I’ll bet a lot of good upright citizens in 1773 asked, “How does this help?” when rioters seized 342 chests of tea from ships of the British East India Company — a private company — and dumped it overboard to protest government action. The rationale then was the same as now, and can be encapsulated into this: when Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police killing black men, he was called a son of a bitch by the sitting President and he lost his job. Or this: the Tulsa Race Massacre, 99 years ago to the day today, when white Tulsa rose up and, burning, murdering, and rampaging, destroyed the most prosperous black community in the country. (Did you learn about that riot in school?) Or this: the NYC Draft Riots of 1863, when a group of white men, angry at being drafted into the Army by a white President to fight other white men, lynched black men and burned buildings, including the Colored Orphan Asylum, to the ground. (Did you learn about that riot in school?)

I suggest that instead of uttering a rhetorical gasp, people might  read Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Colson Whitehead, Attica Locke, Ta-Nehisi Coates; to listen to measured voices, which are speaking even now; and to ask the only question that can even begin to stop this endless repetition, which is: “How can I help?”

We interrupt the Cuba posts…

They’ll be back. But I want to talk about Assisi. Every time I say, “Hey, I’m teaching in Assisi this summer, come do a workshop!” some of you say you wish you’d known sooner, and some say, yes, you’ll come some year…

So here’s the thing. For you folks who wish you’d known sooner, it’s January and the program starts at the end of July! This is about as soon as I could tell you!

For you folks saying some year, I get it, I really do, but: Notre Dame will be under scaffolding for the next 20 years. Yes, I know that’s not in Italy. My point: if you’d been saying “some year” about seeing Notre Dame…

I understand if you can’t afford it. Though keep in mind that one, right now the workshop has an early bird 10% off special; and two, many organizations give in-service kinds of grants to help with this type of thing, especially if you’re an educator. The dollar is strong right now and flight prices are low.

But if something besides money is holding you back, let me entice you: the hotel is lovely (we all stay there, all classes are held there, we all dine together), the food is wonderful, the town is quiet and beautiful, and — your book isn’t writing itself!

COME TO ASSISI!