Balagot Ba-logs

...It's the little things in life...

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From Cable to Coffins: Breaking out of the Box

The title may be misleading.  I promise this is a happy story.

Once upon a time, I had cable issues.  It’s a tried and true story that I am sure many people can relate with.  On the first day, there was a terrible summer storm that we attributed to being the root of the problem.  When we called the company, a recording told us there was an outage in the area.  So my roommate, Madeleine, used it as an excuse to enjoy a night being disconnected from social forums and depressing news updates that would lead us to believe the world was ending.  We left that up to imaginary scenarios inspired by the storm.

Day two and still no connection.  Same message from the company and a slightly elevated stress level as some “business-y” things were becoming more significant with time.

Day three, and the supposed outage in our area had been resolved but alas no working rainbow icon.  After I called in, mission control was sending me to the other side of Brooklyn to exchange my box and fix all of our problems.  

As I walked away from the warehouse with a bigger, badder, bulkier, and brand new box I spied to right a beautiful looking cemetery.  Usually I find them spooky, but something about this one seemed a bit more…inviting? (Would you ever want to be “invited” to a cemetery though?)

And what do you know, I had stumbled upon the Greenwood Cemetery, one of Brooklyn’s main historical landmarks.

See? Not creepy.

Actually, it is quite gorgeous:

Upon entering, the woman at the front gave me the shpiel about what was the most fashionable place to be buried back in the 1800s.  It is chock full of history and historical people.  For example, Battle Ave (shown above) is named for a battle fought during the revolutionary war right there.  See it?  It happened right there!

The first name of a resting resident she dropped was Leonard Bernstein.  So of course I was flustered and excited when I told her that I was performing in West Side Story for year.  Turns out she did a spin as “Anybodys” too.  And her daughter’s name is Hannah.  And her name is Judy (WHAT?! That’s MY mom’s name!).  This was shaping up to be a jolly good day at the cemetery.

After some exploring I found Mr. Bernstein and his family in a very modest setting, paid my respects, may have gotten a little emotional but don’t tell anyone because that’s like so embarrassing I didn’t even know him, and left.  These past few months we have been back, I have felt slightly in limbo.  A bit of a “what do I do now?” phase while looking for the next project.  This small adventure helped to put into perspective what I have accomplished and how grateful I am to Mr. Bernstein for creating and sharing such wonderful music.  He brought together millions of people with the score alone.  It’s just about impossible to listen to the music and not be moved.  Thank you Mr. Bernstein.

After some more snooping, I found out the cemetery is also the resting place of big names such as Boss Tweed, Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Ebbets, and the first guy to put a hot dog in a bun.  They also hold events and tours.  If you are in the New York area, need some escape, and dig history, this would be the place to go.

After the unexpected soul search, I headed home to what was sure to be a feeling of satisfaction and a problem solved.  Found out later that it was never the box in the first place, but that our wire outside of the building had been cut…

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Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton is in Iraq.  He brings humanity to the news we see blasted on our front pages.
humansofnewyork:

“They are taking control of the water supply. They are breaking dams, and flooding crops, and destroying the food supply of an entire country. They are forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes. It seems that there is a hand behind all of this. They are very calculating. They are making their moves very carefully to destroy the human soul. They want to rob an entire people of food and water and homes, as if to wipe them from the pages of history. And when they take the homes from these people, the children have no place to play. The children have no place to be young. No physical space, and no emotional space. They have no place to be a child, so their only frame of reference is war and fighting. And when that’s all they know, how can they grow up to be doctors and teachers? All they can possibly know is the desire for revenge and hatred for their enemies. I wish people would understand that Iraq is filled with intelligent, civilized people. This was the cradle of civilization in the Ancient World. Even the Garden of Eden was here. These aren’t dust covered, nameless refugees being forced from their homes. The refugee camps are filled with architects, and musicians, and teachers.”

Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton is in Iraq.  He brings humanity to the news we see blasted on our front pages.

humansofnewyork:

“They are taking control of the water supply. They are breaking dams, and flooding crops, and destroying the food supply of an entire country. They are forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes. It seems that there is a hand behind all of this. They are very calculating. They are making their moves very carefully to destroy the human soul. They want to rob an entire people of food and water and homes, as if to wipe them from the pages of history. And when they take the homes from these people, the children have no place to play. The children have no place to be young. No physical space, and no emotional space. They have no place to be a child, so their only frame of reference is war and fighting. And when that’s all they know, how can they grow up to be doctors and teachers? All they can possibly know is the desire for revenge and hatred for their enemies. I wish people would understand that Iraq is filled with intelligent, civilized people. This was the cradle of civilization in the Ancient World. Even the Garden of Eden was here. These aren’t dust covered, nameless refugees being forced from their homes. The refugee camps are filled with architects, and musicians, and teachers.”

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Patriotic Pride

Last year, I spent the 4th in France where they have mixed opinions about Americans. I was surrounded by wonderful people and living an absolute dream.  But there were no fireworks and no barbecue.

This past 4th completely made up for that.  I got to go to Washington DC with these cool cats:

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