Thursday, December 30, 2010

Photo: Accumulated

"Accumulated" (Flickr)
Unless you've been sleeping since Christmas Day, you'll have heard about the blizzard that dumped a whole bunch of snow on the northeastern United States last weekend. I had a snow day on Monday -- which was really a no-brainer since the nearest subway line wasn't running and there was no way in hell I was going to make it to the next-nearest. (Turned out there was no way in hell I would have made it even to the nonfunctional nearest line, but I didn't find that out until I went out for a few groceries.)

So, I took a picture of the snow that built up on the windowboxes out back. Just to give you a sense of scale, each of those boxes is about two feet long and maybe five inches high -- and the snow, as you can see, is taller than the boxes. And just to give you a sense of magnitude, behind those windowboxes is the only side that isn't sheltered.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Duly Noted: Jane Austen's birthday

Just a drive-by posting to say that novelist Jane Austen was born today in 1775.

(Links: Jane Austen on LibraryThing and Wikipedia)

Duly Noted: Plane Crash in Park Slope

If you also read Brownstoner, you might have seen that Green-Wood Cemetery will be unveiling a memorial today to the 134 people killed when two airplanes collided off of Staten Island. The wreckage of one, La Guardia-bound TWA Flight 266, landed on Staten Island (1) near where the collision occurred; the other plane, United Airlines Flight 826, bound for International Airport (now JFK), crashed at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Sterling Place in Park Slope.

Of the passengers and crew on those two flights, only one survived the initial crash. But that survivor -- an 11-year-old boy who had been thrown into a snowbank -- later died; half a dozen people on the ground were also killed.

Weather conditions at the time of the collision were what could be called, at best, sketchy: it had snowed earlier, and rain and fog still lingered (2). And while neither flight had reported any mechanical problems, but the United flight was apparently having trouble with its navigational receivers. Either way, it had strayed a dozen miles off course and into that of the TWA flight.

Witnesses speculated that the United flight's pilots were attempting an emergency landing in Prospect Park. On the face of it, it's not an unreasonable supposition, since the park is only a few blocks away from the crash site at Stirling Place and 7th Avenue, but it's uncertain whether the pilots still had control of the plane.

Further reading:
Wikipedia has an article about the crash; the "References" section contains a few sources not linked to here.

In addition, the New York Times has been running a series of articles about the anniversary.
The last two articles are about Stephen Baltz, the 11-year-old who survived the initial crash, but died a day later.

Additional stuff:
Brooklyn Public Library's "Brooklynology" blog had a post about the crash, as seen through one photographer's lens; it had not worked its way through my feed reader when I initially published this post.

Monday, December 13, 2010

... I mean it this time

Holy crap, has it been a year?

Well, at least now I have access to a working computer with working internet access while here at work. My ISP at home isn't playing too nice (which for them isn't exactly unexpected), and my browser is arguing with my system. At least there's something I can do about one of those problems.

And yes, I will be back soon! In fact, I have part of a Duly Noted typed which I expect to get out this week. If you don't see it by Thursday -- the anniversary in question -- you can probably assume that I've caught my third bug in under a month.