Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I often get review copies of cd’s sent to me. Reviews I do not publish elsewhere will appear here.
Christian McBride - Conversations with Christian
One of my least favorite expressions is “a good problem to have.” It ranks right up there with “it is what it is” as being a discussion ender. Christian McBride (bass) suffers from having too many interests, and way too many friends. Good problem to have, right? Well, sort of, but it depends. In this case, for one thing, it depends on intended usage. I liken this project to a hybrid bicycle. Being a bicycle snob myself, that is not necessarily a good thing. However, I have mellowed in my old, old age, and have grown to accept that some people at some times will, in fact, find the hybrid to be the perfect thing for them, as opposed to the worst of both worlds, as I have always considered it to be. Take this all with a grain of salt however, as I issue the following sincere disclaimer. Christian McBride is, hands down, the man. His tone is undeniably gorgeous, his facility is light years beyond anyone else’s. He plays the upright as if it were a tiny toy in his hand, and is capable of doing whatever he wants on the instrument, which is an absolute joy to listen to, and he is that, always an absolute joy to listen to. This is probably partially what accounts for all those friends. However, this is where the trouble starts, where the hybrid comparison begins. This project would probably be great dinner party music for a certain set, and it is true that McBride’s bass and the duo format gives a bit of a thread throughout. Unfortunately, the styles are all over the place, and I think even the casual listener would be hard pressed to not find preferences pop up instantly. That’s fine, often there are tracks one prefers on any CD, but this project is that to the nth degree. Being a traditionalist, I loved several tracks. The Dr. Billy Taylor and the Hank Jones cuts are sublime, and make me want more. There are several others including the Hargrove, Ron Blake, and Russell Malone tracks as well. But I will probably not be putting the CD on often, as it is not worth it to me to skip over the Sting and the Dee Dee Bridgewater tracks. Nothing against those phenomenal musicians, but as opposed to what Ms. Bridgewater insists incessantly on her showcase, it ain’t my thing.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Public Humiliation & the NYPD
This past weekend I was wrongfully arrested.
For those that do not know me, I am an avid cyclist, bike advocate (I’ve been a member of T.A. since 2009), and active member in my community. What I was accused of makes me feel like a social pariah and makes me sick to think about. That said, and because I do not plan on pursuing legal action because it would not give me any satisfaction and would be a pain in the ass to do, here is my account of what happened:
On Saturday, June 25th, 2011, I rode from Brooklyn to Manhattan to meet up with friends at the Bicycle Film Festival on 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street. I arrived around 6pm just catching the tail end of the day-long bike-centric street festival and having some time to kill before the 8pm showing of movies, I wanted to grab a bite to eat. So, I locked up my bike by the Film Forum and meandered my way up to St Marks Street to get some falafel from Mamoun’s. I popped into a shop on the way and suddenly heard an urgent and firm woman’s voice yell “Ma’am I need you to step outside now!” I turned to see a female cop (in uniform) staring at me. I turned around to look behind me, but she insisted “You, yes you. Come outside now!”
Obviously confused, I followed her to the sidewalk to see a cop car parked in the street (against traffic), another male uniformed officer, and another plain-clothed guy who started shrieking at me, “YOU TAKE BIKES, HUH?! YOU TAKE BIKES! SHE TOOK MY BIKE!”
The officers then told me to put my bag and my helmet on the ground and turn around—where I was then hand-cuffed. Totally and utterly bewildered, I asked what I was being arrested for multiple times before I was told that this belligerent guy said he saw me steal his bike. I was arrested on the spot for a hear-say accusation (and I was later horrified to hear that they can totally legally do this since he already filed a report) and taken in a police car and carted to the 9th Precinct 4 blocks away. I should also mention I was never read my Miranda Rights.
The long story short is that I ended up spending about and hour and a half in a cell, without a phone call (because I was advised not to call and unnecessarily freak-out my boyfriend unless I actually ended up being booked), while they “investigated” the situation which was apparently that dude said he recognized me “by my markings” (I am heavily tattooed). Apparently accusatory dude had an open claim about having his bike stolen, so I had to wait for the detective on his case to show up and question me. When he finally did, he asked me if I had a picture of my bike on my phone and I did and showed him. I was totally cooperative and forthcoming. I have no previous arrest history. I told them I did not and would not ever steal someone’s bike. I am gainfully employed and have zero reason to steal anyones bike and that I probably couldn’t ride whatever bike of his that was stolen because he was much taller than I was (I am only 5’2”).
Ultimately (and finally) I was released (and I could’ve been held for 24 before they had to do anything, too) and was told that, “the officers did a good job here today figuring out that you didn’t take his bike.” Give me a fucking break!
The guy that accused me was still there at the station when I was released and stared me down on my way out after I was given back my belongings. I told him I was sorry someone stole his bike and I felt bad for him and I would never do that because I am gainfully employed and have no reason to steal and it’s a totally shitty thing to do! I also told him that I hope no one ever profiles and accuses him of something like this the way he did to me.
I was so shaken I ended up not going to the film fest, but rode home back to Brooklyn instead to regroup and chill out. It was then I also realized that they did not give me back my ID. I called the following day and was told to call when my arresting officer was on duty. When I did call later, I was told they couldn’t tell me what personal property was left and that I had to come to the precinct and prove my identity in order to claim. Fortunately I have a passport (I’m flying on Thursday and would’ve been more screwed if not) and went back yesterday to get my ID. They don’t have it. I asked for a copy of my police report and learned that it was sealed (which ultimately means that it was a mistake and people outside the criminal justice system cannot see it and it’ll never show up on my record).
The most I got was my arrest #.
I will probably have to pay $80 to get a new ID in addition to being totally inconvenienced and publicly shamed. It sucks.
A few helpful links:
So, that’s my story.
Again, pursuing this in a legal matter wouldn’t bring me any closure, but I wanted to share that this fucked up stuff happened/happens more than we think. Please reblog if you so desire to let other people be aware of the shit that the NYPD gets away with.
So now the bike crackdown has expanded to trolling for incidents, and wrongful arrest?
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Tickets were handed out to several cyclists this morning in Central Park for speeding.
From the NYCC message board:
"In the early 1990s, when the not so estimable Commissioner, before ascending to Public Advocate, she devised and imposed a 15MPH speed limit on bikes in . She did this all on her own in response to complaints about how dangerous was the pack ride in Central Park, a large group of cowboys who rode in the evenings for the most part and did scare people. And how did she arrive at 15MPH? Very scientifically: she had a chauffeur drive her once around the park and, at the end of it, announced 15MPH seemed right. There was a lawsuit against this. The NYCC was a co-plaintiff and helped in the writing of the submissions. We were represented by a first-rate law firm working pro bono, LeBoeuf and Lamb or Lamb and LeBoeuf. The core of our suit was the city failed to abide by its own required procedures in promulgating a regulation: that there be announced, public hearings on it. It turns out there was a hearing: on the far west side in the middle of a workday and it was not well publicized. My faint recollection it may also have been held very close to Christmas but I may be wrong about that. We lost at the appellate level. The justices couldn't have been more unsympathetic to our argument in their questions: before the lawyers sat down, the conclusion was a given.was Parks
Another: Here's a link to the NYC Parks Dept website that says the speed limit during non-car hours is in fact 25mph. http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/facilities/bicycling_greenways/html/af_bike_car_hours_new.html#sites
And finally: The 15 m.p.h. speed limit for bicycles is only when cyclists are in the recreation lane (which is when the drive is open to cars). I believe the logic is that there are also runners and other users in the recreation lane, which is relatively narrow, so it's safer if cyclists are limited to 15. Anyone who received a ticket this morning prior to 8:00 a.m. should definitely fight it because the speed limit for cyclists in the roadway prior to 8:00 a.m. is 25. "