The youngest passenger on the Titanic, Milvina Dean, died at a nursing home in Britian. She was ninety-seven years old, and was only nine-weeks old when her family fatefully set sail for America. Her mother and two-year old brother survived, but her father Bertram died, after placing his family in a lifeboat. She was among the 708 survivors, whilst 1,517 people lost their lives.
In later years she had financial problems and felt compelled to sell some of her Titanic-related memorabilia. Fortunately, people, including Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the director of the eponymous movie, James Cameron, all donated to a fund which helped support her.
She died on the 99th anniversary of the ship's launching from the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast.
Two big infrastructure birthdays today. First, to the Great Clock of Westminster in London, commonly known as "Big Ben", which celebrates its 150th anniversary. That name by-the-way, technically only refers to the main bell in the tower. Officially, the bell is known as the "Great Bell", and there are several theories as to how it got its nickname. It is the world's largest four-faced chiming clock in the world, and first started ticking on this date in, 1859.
Back in March, I discussed the 100thanniversary of the Queensboro (AKA 59th Street) Bridge. In that post, I said the anniversary was on March 30th. However, both the city and Gothamist seem to feel otherwise. Fireworks are tonight.
Dr. George Tiller, who provided late-term abortions at a clinic in Kansas, was shot to death today, as he served as an usher at his church. His wife, who sings in the church choir, was also present.
Prior to today, Tiller had been shot and wounded in the 90's, as well as earlier this month having had his clinic vandalized. This month he was also acquitted of charge that he was performing abortions in an illegal fashion. He continued to provide access to women's reproductive health services.
The demonization of abortion providers does nothing but nurture hatred, and those who do so, know damn-well what can happen.
And who and what am I talking about? Well here's an example:
Now I expect O'Reilly to offer some pro forma condemnation of the murder, but let me be clear, I view him no differerent that Operation Rescue's Randall Terry, who had this to say today:
"George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."
Fortunately, there are those, who even while strongly "pro-life", say the right thing:
"Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands. No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him. We are a nation of laws. Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence. Rightly or wrongly, George Tilller was acquitted by a jury of his peers. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord." For the sake of justice and right, the perpetrator of this evil deed must be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. By word and deed, let us teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion. Every human life is precious. George Tiller's life was precious. We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life,"
Let me go further and say that people like O'Reilly, are just as morally repugnant as Terry. I sometimes really wished I believed in Hell, as these guys deserve to rot in it.
Not for nothing, but I used to share a cubicle-wall with someone who I enjoyed talking with every day, and having the occasional lunch with, a "work friend". We'd banter about politics too, and though we didn't agree on many things, we could agree on some, and more importantly, on how to disagree. One day though, the subject of Dr. Bernard Slepian came up. He was the abortion provider, who was shot by James Kopp, through his kitchen window, while he did the dishes in his home. My colleague opined that he had no problem with Kopp's action, and would, if serving on a jury trying him, never vote to convict him of murder, as he didn't see anything wrong with what he had confessed to doing. I never spoke to my work-friend again.
Today the Times had a review of "sports bags". You know, the thing you stuff your gym clothes in. What I generally use is the bag I get every year from a sponsor the end of the Wall Street Run (thank you, Siemens). It usually lasts until the following year's race.
The article starts off with this bit of a priori knowledge:
"In most instances, the conventional gym duffel — awkward, garish and
usually overwrought with excess mesh and polyester — is better left off
the shoulders of an elegant shirt or suit, unless, of course, the man
inside the ensemble cares little for his aggregate appearance.
presence of an accessory so essential to sport and play doesn’t
necessarily have to spoil even the most dapper suit.
The ability to be both athletic and aesthetically pleasing is a rare quality in a man,.."
The cheapest bag was a Perry Ellis, which at $165, is "rudimentary and relatively inexpensive".
It lacked "urbane elegance", which apparently the Mulholland Endurance Oval Duffel", at $380 has.
For that price, let me state that a bag must have not only "sophisticated...leather trim and brass buckles and zippers", it needs to contain at least one, preferably two, seniors from the all-girl parochial high school of my choosing, and in the pockets of their pleated plaid skirts there ought to be Krackel miniatures... lots of them.
I welcome the news I read on Gothamist that several bridges around town are host this spring to a total of 5 baby peregrine falcons.
Peregrines prefer high roosts such as cliffs, and around here, (since the species' rebound from near wipe-out via DDT), places like the Verrazano-Narrows and Throgs Neck bridge towers, and the roof of 55 Water Street.
They are the fastest traveling animals in the world - reaching speeds well over 200 mph in a dive. You do not want to be the pigeon on the receiving end of that "How ya doin'?"
I was very glad to read that Secretary of State Clinton re-emphasized that any growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank should not take place.
"Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions. We
think it is in the best interest of the effort that we are engaged in
that settlement expansion cease."
As I hold almost no hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu will agree with that, what I'd really like to see happen is the Congress vote to do something like cut aid to Israel $1.25 for every $1.00 that Israel spends to expand those settlements.
I have very little hope of that happening either, but at least someone in the U.S. government is willing to say in public what has long needed to be said.
Of course, those people opposed to the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court are principled in their opposition. Of course.
Exhibit #1 is in today's NRO, where Mark Krikorian complains that the manner in which the federal judge pronounces her last name is "unnatural in English", and that the Bronx-born Sotomayor better lose her "newcomer" ways.
I wonder how Mr. Krikorian would have insisted a fellow like Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko pronounce his name? Mr. K. was of course, a Polish-Lithuanian who came to the nascent United States, and fought as a colonel in the Continental Army, and was its chief engineer.
At the end of the war, the Continental Congress promoted to the rank of brigadier general, and became a citizen of the country he risked all for.
A hero of many countries, there are places all over the U.S., and indeed the world, named after him. Closest to my house, is the bridge that takes the BQE over Newtown Creek.
Like most New Yorkers, except perhaps those hailing from Greenpoint, I pronounce his name something like "Koss-cue-sko", with the accent on the 2nd syllable.
How Kościuszko would have said it, can be heard here.
I suspect the Brigadier General would have had several suggestions as to the pronunciation of Mr. Krikorian's name, as do I.
Gothamist linked to a post of mine today, and consequently I've gotten about 20x more hits than usual. I'm very grateful, and I hope that the people who are visiting for the first time decide to stick around.
As for the 10% of you who were reading me before today, extra-special thanks.