An Evolution, of Sorts

Monkey SkeletonThis weekend was delightfully full. Friday began with a trip to the Museum of Natural History where Jenny Rappaport and I checked out the Darwin exhibit. With hundreds of skeletons (like the small monkey at left) the exhibit has a way of sneaking up on you after a time. With Darwin’s original manuscripts, pistols, and even his tiny jars of beetles, he made a convincing case the universe is older than 6000 years. We also saw an outrageously expensive but very cool film inside the planetarium called “Cosmic Collisions.” The highlight was watching the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies collide over a period of millions of years sped up so that it looked like two merging tornadoes. (They truly will collide some few million years from now.) And though each galaxy has hundreds of millions of stars, almost none of them will collide. The universe is, after all, mostly empty space.

And, we were awed by the powers of ten exhibit they have right outside the spherical planetarium which tried and succeeded to convey the scale of the universe. We walked the wrong way, from small to large, but I think it worked better that way. The universe is very huge, no matter which way you look at it.

Saturday began with a trip to Yankee stadium where me and some old-skool friends visited Monument Park. I had never been to this part of the stadium before. On the wall were plaques honoring Gehrig, DiMaggio, Ruth, Mantle, and others. One plaque honored Ron Guidry, and as we turned to leave, we were surprised to find the Yankee bullpen right there where, what do you know, Ron Guidry was coaching a pitcher. You can’t beat that experience.

During the National Anthem, the US flag got stuck around the flag-pole. The wind kept gusting, but the flag never unfurled. The star-spangled banner did not wave. And at that moment I knew what was wrong with the US. We are like the flag, stuck around the pole, unable to soar in the wind. It made me sad. We can be so great.

Our seats were high in the upper decks, and the wind was blowing hard, but we managed to buy more than one $9 brew. The night ended in the East Village pub called “Scratchers” where, coincidentally, Fred Cataldo showed up. There was much rejoicing.

Street ArtistSunday was especially nice. I met Devin Poore, Eugene Myers, and Kris Dikeman (and some of Eugene’s friends) at a little tea shop in the East Village. We drank exotic teas and there I finished my novel (yes, I did come up with the impossoble quotes after all). This picture to the right is a street artist I saw. He was all too happy to let me photograph his work.

Kris Dikeman browsing in East Village BooksKris and I browsed through the East Village Bookstore where they had lots of great titles, but the prices were a little steeper than my limited budget would allow.

Eugene Myers - Writer at LargeWe also walked into De La Vega’s store (De La Vega is a NYC street artist). Outside the store he had three chairs. One said, “Coloreds only.” Another said, “Jews only.” And the last said, “Whites only.” Surrounding the chairs were shopping bags whose sides read, “Suspicious package.” De La Vega was in the store too, and Kris complemented him on his work on the upper east side. “That’s my favorite area,” he said. The store offered pieces of chalk from a large bag where we were encouraged to write something inspirational somewhere in the city. I hope Hoboken counts. It is the sixth borough after all.

Computer Literate Only

De La Vega Art

2 Replies to “An Evolution, of Sorts”

  1. You should also mention the fact that Darwin was slightly weird, albeit brilliant, and had a wonderful fondness for putting beetles in his mouth and eating armadillos. No mention of the exhibit could be complete without that. =)

  2. Yes, also of note was that Darwin ate many of the animals he studied. Since he was at sea for five years and the small ship he was on couldn’t carry that much food, he shot and ate his specimens. He had also been part of a club that specialized in eating exotic species.

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