It’s Not A Drive-By!


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My friends, I intended to show pictures of murals that I snapped here in New York City, but upon inspection of my work I found my efforts wanting. The lovingly crafted murals were created by truly gifted artists, and each one depicts various musicians who lived within Queens county. The men and women who painted the murals obviously understood things such as lighting, perspective, and sizing when creating their masterpieces, and to see their work is to view unheralded artistic wizardry. Conversely, my rushed efforts to capture their artwork via a digital camera were…well…not reflective of wizardry of any sort.

In my own defense I have to note that I hurriedly snapped the photos from the safety of my parked car since many people violently object to the presence of cameras pointed anywhere close to themselves or their property. While the murals are public displays, the buildings they are on are privately owned, as are the other buildings and homes around them. As I was trying to take the pictures, curious passersby and onlookers gave me a once-over with the occasional menacing glare thrown in for good measure. My gosh, I felt like yelling that I was taking pictures, not engaging in a drive-by shooting! Was I able to take a picture at anything close to a correct angle? No. Was I able to position myself for optimal lighting? Nope. Was I able to adjust the zoom to sufficiently capture the details so carefully placed within each mural without the looky-loos giving me the stink eye? No way.

People, it was like something out of the original Twilight Zone. The only things missing were the late Rod Serling and the show’s theme music. I will try again to capture images of the murals next week. Whether it was due to back-to-back days of 80-degree heat following weeks of low temperatures or the bites of rabid raccoons, the locals seemed to be very much on-edge. Am I going to anger anyone in a city where a wayward glance could result in gunfire? No, no, no, and in case I wasn’t clear: NO. Too many people were too nervous about something, and in true New York fashion I don’t want to find out what that something was.

Let’s see how next week goes. With luck, the residents will remember to take their Prozac before I stop by.

All the best,
Keith V.



Total Bullcrap #1: Deep Web Scans


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Hello, and welcome to the first installment of “Total Bullcrap.” This series will address the many wallet-draining claims made by individuals and businesses that aren’t merely unfounded: they are total bullcrap. The first steaming pile of manure I want to flush into a sewer is the “deep web scan” feature that certain companies offer as an incentive to buy their services or as the service itself. Such scans purportedly offer reliable protection against identity theft, but in truth, they are mostly the fiction of clever marketers.

Yes, it’s all total bullcrap. Continue reading

OJ, Twelve Years Later

Bloody hands.The Fox network recently aired a twelve-year-old interview of OJ Simpson in which the former gridiron legend told a “hypothetical” tale of how he would commit the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ronald Goldman. With absolutely no fear of facing a criminal trial again, Simpson was free to engage in—ahem—murder fantasy during the interview, and it was sickening. If OJ Simpson truly is guilty, then his words from twelve years ago could be a rare and frightening insight into the warped psyche of an arrogant murderer, with every syllable a blistering slap in the faces of the families of the victims. You can read the synopsis here. Continue reading

Remembering My Other Mom

SunsetThe world is a colder, meaner place now, for a brilliant light has dimmed forever. That light, Mrs. Ester Cousins, came to an end at the end of February, and the extended family has reeled ever since. Mrs. Cousins, or “Ma” as I came to call her, was a rail-thin woman who faced and overcame horrific tragedies that struck her immediate family, and in doing so her displays of inner strength utterly contradicted any image of weakness her wispy frame would otherwise imply. Continue reading

A New Home For “Fearless Girl”

Strong woman.

With her chin up and hands placed firmly on her hips, the young girl’s slender frame stands rigid and defiant before an onrushing creature of muscle and sinew. An unseen wind catches her hair and billows her dress like a sail, yet the girl remains still and unyielding. Mere feet from her is a horned beast of enormous size and even greater power, yet the girl’s face shows neither fear nor concern, but unfailing confidence and immeasurable calm. Her name is Fearless Girl, and she is currently a close second to the Statue of Liberty as the New York area’s most famous sculpture.

Continue reading

Rejecting Hate

Bloody nut.

Sometimes I receive disturbing feedback to my blog entries. The notes in question largely ramble on and are mostly filled with baseless accusations and overt racism. In one case, an offensive note referenced a website that was filled with even greater amounts of rambling hatred. Clearly, some people have too much time on their hands and too much negativity to contain!

I fail to understand how people filled with unbridled hatred could send such notes to me with the implicit expectation of seeing them published here or in any other blog I control. I assure you, their comments will not see the light of day. My blogs are meant to inform, entertain, and spur intelligent thought. They are not platforms for hatred or intolerance. They are not launching pads for unfounded conspiracy theories. They are not feeding grounds for fear and suspicion. Continue reading

Preventing Mass Murder

Kid with gun.Due to the mass murders that happen with appalling frequency here in America, I believe this nation needs people with self-control more than it needs infringements on the Second Amendment. Mass murder is committed by people, not guns. A loaded firearm, when placed on a table and left alone, will not spring to life and start shooting people spontaneously. It takes a person afflicted by some kind of mental dysfunction to intentionally commit human slaughter. Gun control will not affect the millions of guns that already exist, it will not affect the purchase of guns and ammunition through illegal means, and it will not stop those with murderous intent from bringing death to others through shooting or by other means. Accordingly, gun control by itself will not save lives as those who want to kill will always find a way to commit murder, yet something must be done to stop the mass killings that plague our nation. Continue reading