Monday, December 04, 2006

The "Pointless Family Photo"

Tata at Poor Impulse Control takes a close look at the so-called "Pointless Family Photo" making the blog rounds over the past three months. A quick googling of blogs that posted this photo revealed only ignorance of Islam & stupid jokes, or at best it was displayed without comment (as if that absolved this good Christian blogger of editorial responsibility). Nobody recognized the humanity. Except Tata.

Here's an online Daily Advent Calendar based on a Peruvian tapestry. Each day a new window becomes available. It's really good, check it out.

This was first day of season I needed to wear a winter coat, & knit cap & gloves. Took bus across town for an annual social services appointment, very nice woman who probably likes me because I'm an uncomplicated client whose primary personality trait in her office is slight befuddlement, since she, thank heavens, does the paperwork & crunches the numbers; I know she's both competent & supportive, so I only ask questions if I have to sign a form I haven't seen before, plus a few hypotheticals I've been saving for the interview. She asks me to send her one more document & gives me an addressed envelope. Then we chat briefly & with some circumspection about social services in general. Her program is one of the most underfunded & her frustration is not that her caseload is too large but that she can't help enough people.

We shake hands & I leave, & outside I recall what the area was like 40 years ago when it was mostly home-owning union workers of my parents' generation, a lot of Irish & Italians & Poles, & I stand on a frigid corner on a wide busy road that connects to the Jersey Turnpike & Goethals Bridge, next to a big busy liquor store, & wait for a bus that fortunately arrives sooner rather than later. The bus is not crowded yet. It will be when it reaches downtown. On the way back I notice a small business called Hong Dry Cleaners & I find it remarkable that Hong earns a living in that neighborhood, which while not especially run down or poor has a lot of people who are a couple of lost paychecks away from big trouble. & if they get into trouble, the person I just left will not be able to help them.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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