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for August 11, 2004

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A Single Candle
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Itís just a power failure, one of the trials of living in a building raised between the World Wars. You wake up, your alarm clockís blinking and the cable box informs you youíre already supposed to be arguing with your co-workers. You go to sleep at night, and the sound of your answering machine resetting makes you sit bolt upright. You never feel entirely secure in that your appliances will be keeping your ice cubes constantly chilly. One evening, the power goes out, blinks back on three or four times, then goes out for another three hours. Despite the elevated Terror Levels and because youíre prepared with dozens of votive candles, a bottle of red wine and only Suydam Streetís dark, itís an adventure.
You have time to think. You wonder about the StayFree Maxi Pad commercial in which a complete stranger walks up and says, "Isnít it weird that Iím talking to you in the maxi pad aisle?" Oh dear. When a stranger and a camera crew approach a random vivacious gal in the feminine protection aisle, this is either the moment to exclaim, "You know what Hell hath no fury like? Me, if you come any closer," or simply pretend youíre a foreign exchange student from Leavemealonevia, and mutter, "Americans could use some four-wall protection Ė from you!"
You remember that on the evening of September 11th, 2001, you sat in the atrium of Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, watching the huge cloud of dust, glass, flesh and paper that used to be the World Trade Center and its occupants as it swept toward us, then over us, and onward. In a sense, the cloud we saw was like a physical manifestation of our terrible sorrow, but within days, everyone had allergic and respiratory infection problems that lasted weeks. It would have been understandable if we attributed these maladies to depression and grief, but that cloud was real. We saw it and felt it. Almost immediately, the Environmental Protection Agency issued statements indicating the air quality in Manhattan was fine, and asbestos levels were well within a normal range. Well, how stupid does the government think we are?
Sometimes, when you have a little time to think, you discover what you already know. Despite the furor over at the Saudi Embassy, Michael Mooreís Fahrenheit 9/11 doesnít really tell you anything you havenít heard somewhere before, give or take a few details. This movie is like other Moore documentaries only streamlined and focused, and once again, we might find ourselves so alone when laughing in the theater. Itís a familiar feeling. Thereís a good reason why this feels familiar. The filmmaker is telling us someone has once again underestimated our intelligence. When the lights come back on, are you afraid or do you feel sure you know what you have to do?

©2004 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


Today's NY/NJ Shows That Matter

Sunday, July 12, 2020
Janet Jackson at Prudential Center (POSTPONED)
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ALTROK Ordinals

ALTROK recommends music once a week; here's our most recent choices. Most links will take you to a place where you can buy the music; if there's no link, and you own a record company, consider releasing it yourself...

A Place To Bury Strangers - It Is Nothing
The Boxer Rebellion - Semi-Automatic
The Cribs - Cheat On Me
Datarock - True Stories
Everything Everything - Photoshop Handsome
HEALTH - Die Slow
Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls - Catching More Than We Miss
Julian Plenti - Games For Days
Los Campesinos - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future (Free download!)
Miike Snow - Black & Blue

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