Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Meteors, Murders And Flying Half-Mast

Remember Arlo Guthrie, son of the great folk-pioneer Woodie?  He'd call today "about as dern near good as it gets."  He'd be right, it's a God-kissed breezy bright day where no matter what's going on in your life, you know things will be alright.  My plant is blooming against all odds and I just got back from my walk.

For those who've been with me awhile, you know about my habitat   Why Would I Move?  posted 7/29/06.  The best part of my place is the immense view from the windows, I'm up high and have parts of five different cities available to my view, including the sadly altered Manhattan skyline.  This means that before and on July 4th the big sky is filled with firework displays from all parts, including here.  This is Newark, the largest city in NJ and I've called it home about a dozen years.

Yesterday and last night weren't that bad, we only had about 8 non-fatal shootings, between 25-40 stabbings, countless robberies and car thefts, the usual few fires, it was pretty quiet.  My telescope is perched out onto the eastern skies which is the main direction I see most of, it's a very expensive one (no name-dropping) and it's why I don't have some of the usual things like a radio, camera or good TV.  Saved my pennies for a long time so I could watch what's up there - and last night, early this morning, was even better than Sunday.  Tonight promises to surpass that, with the Perseids coming in straight down.  I can't lie on the ground even if I were fool enough to go out at night into the park with my scope, so I'm seeing the show from a vantage point which isn't always the best.  Yet I have enough "big sky" and a vast horizon so all I see is space no matter in what direction or how far I turn my head.  Since it's August, my scope is angled on Cassiopeia.  I love this thing.  Someday I'll have a camera outfitted to it, right God?   

Newark is broke.  The previous administration cleared out the till in a slow, sneaky way and our present mayor, a refined Rhodes Scholar, has no idea what to do next.  The city needs a renaissance but no one's bargaining to invest their capital just now.  This seems to be happening everywhere, but Newark is especially effected because of its notoriety.  Maybe you've heard of the recent murders of 3 young people, 2 in college and 1 preparing to enter, who were lined up against a wall and shot in the head.  St. Valentine's style.  Newark is in mourning and all flags are at half-mast, but I think some of the powers-that-be are thinking with their brain at half-mast too.  There's legislature waiting to be passed that will take even more of our privacy rights away.  It has to do with this particular shooting.  One of the killers was hiding only blocks from my building.    

Newark is used to murder, sorrowfully.  Worse it's mostly kids doing it and having it being done to.  I mentor a few and it really makes a difference, these are near-babies starved for adult guidance and direction, just plain, simple interest in them as people with their own feelings and dreams.  Wish more adults would get involved - whether they have time or not. 

This last shooting is very news-worthy because of the identity of one of the killers - illegal Hispanic with outstanding WARRANTS why was this guy out in the streets?!?  And WHY in the world when he went for his arraignment didn't the judge order a deporation hearing?  

My late Father made his business here in Newark, I'm very familiar with my city.  I've watched it prosper in the 50s when coming here to shop with Grandma was a treat, it was safe and clean.  Then the riots of the 60s hit - all over the country - and Newark burned as fiercely as Watts or Chicago, more so.  People with an alphabet after their names say we never truly recovered from those riots which is pretty much the truth.  We've built a Center for Performing Arts, we have a Symphony Hall which my late Mother sang in as part of the opera chorus, we have a myriad of churches, a beautiful library, museums, and several well-kept parks.  Housing construction has been going on in earnest for several years now, in attempts to attract the working folk.  But there's a liquor store on every corner. 

I'll be star-gazing again tonight into the wee hours with my Media Player for music, even AOL radio isn't half bad.  Now that I joined the rest of creation and got DSL I'm not worried about going online for any length of time.  My children and their children can call, my siblings, my friends, even the pesky telemarketers - because every time I sit at this computer and pick up the phone just to hear that dial-tone, I have to smile my thanks to God for every single thing I have.  I thank Him for what I don't have, too.  Why not.   



xxroxymamaxx said...

I missed the meteor shower! waaaaaahhhh!!!  I don't live up high and I'm hard pressed to get my family to sit outside with squitters at 1 in the morning to watch the stars. lol  jerks!  Anyway, I'm glad you saw it. : ) Love, Shelly

luddie343 said...

Author (Cathy) 2 Shelly:  Hey, missed ya!  Don't worry, if you DO get a chance to see them they'll be visible for at least another week.  Thanks for stopping in!  

kirkbyj05 said...

We are overhung with rain clouds here in the English Lakes.  Ther's no chance of seeing any meteor showers here!
I loved your opening gambit and play on alliteration when describing your day and your exhilerating walk.  It lifted me up too.
Enjoy your stargazing.  
Take care.
Jeanie xx

rockoned7 said...

It is a shame that you have to live in such a depressed and run down neighbourhood. Thankfully I live so remote from that scenario that it makes me think of it as some third world and impoverished citadel where the rule of law is a regardless inconvenience leading to life being nasty brutal and short.

Maybe when your country is finished off sorting out the world's terrorist groups and your heroic sons return home, your legislature can turn their energies into better use and renew these inner city ghettos and desserts with the same economic clout as one does in chucking thousands of dollars per hit to destroy some old mud hut killing all its occupants without too much fuss or annoyance of the platoon sent to control a civil war.

It is hardly surprising that you turn your gaze towards the heavens to rest your eyes on the beauty that surrounds us from afar rather than at street level where most of us live and life endlessly goes on.

There but for the grace of God go I in where I fortunately live. For that I not only thank Him but you also for sharing those feelings with us.

Keep that scope well up!

barbpinion said...

How blessed you are have seen the meteror showers. And not only that, I love what you are able to see from your window. I'd love to see the firewords from your window- can see them in my mind. I had two dear friends I wrote for years, both from New Jersey- both gone now. They'd tell me how they loved it, but were oftentimes fearful. I'd write back and tell them that these days one isn't that safe any where. Crime is found in small, isolated towns, as much as in large cities. If I had a telescope I'd be checking out the skies every night. Enjoy the skies and think of me next time you see something spectacular. lol
Barb- http://journals.aol.com/barbpinion/HEYLETSTALK

pharmolo said...

Great you could watch the meteors, Cathy. I am glad light pollution isn't interfering too much (or is it), and hope beyond hope that the crime rate in Newark will drop a bit.


luddie343 said...

Author (Cathy) to Rockon:  Note, just click onto that link, "Why Would I Move" you'll get a better idea of how great I have it here.  Yes, it's inner city but I live on the outskirts in very beautiful well-kept surroundings.  Nothing "run-down" around these parts friend.  Elder folk just keep things tidier I'd say :-)  

acoward15 said...

Despite the smell of cow dung, perhaps it's not that bad where I live.

firestormkids04 said...

Oh Cathy!  Sign us up!  Sounds like the perfect place for two older disabled people.  Of cours Rob would miss his tools . . . that was referring to the city block you live on.  It doesn't matter where you live if you have your needs - and some of your wants - taken care of.  We live in the oldest part of our town.  Just about a mile away there are homeless people - we used to call them bums, LOL - wandering the streets looking for help to get their needs met.  Down there is a high crime area; gangs, dog fighting, theives, etc.  Our part of that street is in the industrial area.  Quiet and peaceful 99 percent of the time.  We are both blessed, my friend. It can't get any better than that.  Blessings, Penny  http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/FromHeretoThere

preciousone25 said...

I'm glad you got to see the meteor showers, I feel asleep.... WAAAAAH!!!
I'm also glad that you love your city, I hope that things settle down and the new mayor can take control somehow to make it a safer place.


lanurseprn said...

I hope your Mayor figures out a plan to get your city more $$.  We are full of crime around here. It never stops. Something new always in the papers.
I would have to go up to the mountains to see the meteors. Here I'd never be able to see them.
I figured you had a telescope. That's just COOL!

tpiez4me said...

The Bible said "In all things give thanks"...you're on the right track there.  Why can't the local government get off their bunkus and find some funding to clean up?  Geeeesh why are they even voted in????

jmorancoyle said...

    The murders are truly disturbing. I'm afraid there will always be that element that will commit murder or larceny. I wonder though about how good mentoring programs are, and if they can make a real difference. I hope so. Something to think about.

gehi6 said...

I went to your journal to read about your home in a complex for retirement and disabled people past a certain age, which sounds a lot like the Westwrd Ho.  I am on the 9th floor in the tower of 14 floors.  There is also a large section they call the patio section and another 34 apartments that are new they just built two years ago, mostly for the disabled, with walkin showers, etc.  Your telescope sounds intrigueing.  My last companion had a telescope.  The skies are so clear up in the Utah community where I am from, I have often thought how great owning a telescope would be up there.  We also have high crimes areas in the city.  I lived for 13 years in a HUD complex that was not the least bit secure when I first became disabled and still had children at home.  I thought it was ironic that the only apartments available to women with children were so dangerous. I had a boy and a girl so required 3 bedrooms according to HUD rules and we don't have many of those in Phoenix that aren't in high crime areas.  I lived in one I fled from, because it scared me to death.  But had to try to get used to the second one which seemed a little bit less dangerous  Many of these juveniles you are talking about roamed the streets there with guns, terrorizing the populace.  I saw so much during those years, did a lot of thinking about what could possibly help these kids.  Just becoming more aware of the problems is a start, so your entry this morning was encouraging to me.   Gerry   http://journals.aol.com/gehi6/daughters-of-the-shadow-men/  

ma24179 said...

I heard about the shooting, and it is a tragedy. I don't understand why or how someone can be so cruel....Good luck with your star gazing. - Missy

ma24179 said...

I heard about the shooting, and it is a tragedy. I don't understand why or how someone can be so cruel....Good luck with your star gazing. - Missy

gazker said...

What a sad, sad world we live in. At least you have your telescope to oogle your wonderfull views with!
Oh to be blessed with a view you describe.
Gaz xx

mutualaide said...

I love the way you take us on walks through your mind and your thoughts.  This was a pleasure to read.

I didn't have the opportunity to see the Perseids ... cloud cover, but I KNEW you would mention them.  :)