3 Years o’ Blogging

English: The New York City fireworks over the ...
The New York City fireworks over the East Village of New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cubiyanqui is 3 years-old today.

This little speck in the blogging universe has been my home for over a thousand days. During that period, my enthusiasm for this enterprise has not diminished, even if occasionally — like the last couple of months —  the available time that I’ve had to dedicate to it, has. When I started the blog, I was unemployed. There was plenty of free time left over for posting after all those resumes were mailed out. Today, a job I’m very thankful for takes a lot of my energy and focus. As it should be. I’d much rather be an occasional blogger, than a frequent one facing foreclosure.

From the window that faces the Hudson, on this home saved by grace, I have a sliver of an opening to the New York City skyline. As I write this, the fireworks have just begun. Luckily, one of the Macy’s barges is sitting on the river, directly in front of us. My five and a-half year old son is more excited about the spectacle than I remember him on years past. I loose count of the “Wows” after the first few minutes. Behind the exploding shells — and in direct competition with them — sits a day-old new moon, a majestic red that will soon fade in the haze.

I never picked Independence Day as the day to start the blog. It was a coincidence, but I appreciate the symbolism. I value the liberty to write about or post anything here. Freedom of expression is a big turn on. It is what so many people come in search of, when they come to America. The idea that you can be who you are and say what you mean, whether from a street corner or a humble blog.

I love this country!

A Letter (and a Photograph)

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Letter from Birmingham Jail

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Continue reading

Light Up The Free Sky

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The view from our bedroom window of Macy’s fireworks display on the Hudson River. Ray Charle’s interpretation of America the Beautiful, recorded Live At The McCallum Theater, is the perfect soundtrack. Enjoy you Holiday!

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A Year of Blogging

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Last year, on this day, I started this humble — yet awesome — blog. I originally wanted to name it Cubiyankee, but my daughter suggested the Spanishsized version and I’m very glad I listened. Since the first day, I’ve posted 708 entries — this will be the 709th — or an average of 1.9 posts per day. Some have been personal essays and others links to interesting and informative stuff I’ve come across.

I’m nowhere near Andrew Sullivan’s superhuman output levels, but certainly I’ve exceeded what I envisioned at the outset.

I’m very excited about the sophomore year that begins tomorrow and I certainly hope that you continue to visit often. I’ve certainly enjoyed your company.

Here’s the very first post, in case you missed it:

Early this morning I hung a flag in the front of our home. This is the first time that I have done this since the tragedy of September 11th. The weather, no doubt caught up in the patriotic spirit, decided to contribute a glorious day to the celebrations. The annual firework display was moved closer to our neighborhood and there was the possibility that, if the barges were anchored in a certain position in the Hudson, we would be able to catch it all from our second floor bedroom window.

For the first time in a long time, the number of people telling pollsters that the country is going in the right direction is increasing. I am in that group. Even when on a personal level I have suffered a great deal from the economic crisis, I haven’t felt this optimistic in at least a decade. The financial situation is a difficult one — and so many people have it even worse than our family — but I have bought into the sense of possibility that came over this country last November.

The promise of America is alive and well in America. Continue reading

Ephemeral, Elemental Shelter

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[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=sukkah&iid=1997875″ src=”2/4/f/3/Orthodox_Jews_Prepare_9e02.jpg?adImageId=12971265&imageId=1997875″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

Sukkah City, New York City 2010:

12 Radically Temporary Structures will be built in Union Square Park in New York City, September 2010.

ABOUT THE SUKKAH

Biblical in origin, the sukkah is an ephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each fall, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.

Ostensibly the sukkah’s religious function is to commemorate the temporary structures that the Israelites dwelled in during their exodus from Egypt, but it is also about universal ideas of transience and permanence as expressed in architecture. The sukkah is a means of ceremonially practicing homelessness, while at the same time remaining deeply rooted. It calls on us to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, to reconnect with an agricultural past, and to take a moment to dwell on–and dwell in–impermanence.

And also

‘Sukkah City: New York City’ will re-imagine this ancient phenomenon, develop new methods of material practice and parametric design, and propose radical possibilities for traditional design constraints in a contemporary urban site. Twelve finalists will be selected by a panel of celebrated architects, designers, and critics to be constructed in a visionary village in Union Square Park from September 19-21, 2010.

Please visit the Official Website

If You’re in Philly This Saturday

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Please check out the 2nd annual LimmudPhilly’s “Panoramic Jewish Learningfest”.

You can catch a screening of the documentary Praying With My Legs: The Radically Amazing Life of Abraham Joshua Heschel by Steve Brand, this Saturday, March 6 from 8:30 PM to 9:45 PM at Gershman Y, Classroom 408

Praying With My Legs is a work in progress documentary feature about the life, thought and transformative impact of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The film explores Heschel’s religious thought and its direct connection with his human rights activism. The film will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker where you will have an opportunity to help shape the final direction of the film.

Steve Brand, President and Founder of Ways & Means Productions is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker currently working on a documentary on the life, thought and legacy of Abraham Joshua Heschel. His film about growing up as the child of a survivor, Kaddish, received a documentary award at Sundance and made David Edelstein’s “10 Best Films” list. Steve has been a producer for Now on PBS, 20/20 and Primetime. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

LimmudPhilly is at 401 South Street, Philadelphia, PA. You may reach them at (267) 235-4083

Steve Brand Photo by Michael Labbe

Get Your Party Hat! It’s Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!

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Dr. Seuss

My 3 year-old son is a big fan. As part of a Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel birthday celebration Tuesday, his pre-K class had green eggs and ham for lunch today. Not the book, the meal.

Here’s his teacher’s entry in the notebook that travels back and forth in his backpack — a great communication device, btw, which we did not have back in my school days:

I hope you are sitting down. Nick ate green eggs and ham (2 helpings).

He was reluctant about the eggs at first but ate well after the first bite.

Thank you, Dr Seuss. Happy birthday!

The NEA (National Education Association) is also getting into the celebration.