Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School

About a year and a half ago, I came across 3eanuts, a site that removes the fourth panel from Peanuts comic strips and reveals the depth of the Peanuts kids right before the punch line. As the tagline of the site states, “Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics often conceal the existential despair of their world with a closing joke at the characters' expense. With the last panel omitted, despair pervades all.”
While we, as adults, generally consider children to be young and innocent, this site reminds us of the deep thoughts kids can have. And even if we don't quite understand how something so small can have such a large effect on a child, Schultz can remind us that it does.
I emailed myself the site so that one day down the road, I would be able to write about it. This weekend, the events in Sandy Hook Elementary School brought me back to this website.
20 children, along with six faculty members and one mother were killed on Friday. It is easy for us to count the numbers. It may be easy for us to remember that each one of these children have a family, and an entire community that knew and loved them. What often gets overlooked is that each and every one of these children had something to offer the world. To them, we were all just grownups talking like a trumpet while they went through their lives. They had profound thoughts that neither I nor you would ever think of. And now, the world will never know them.

The most humbling thing is that despite being only six and seven years old, they had just as much power to prevent this situation as adults did. Schulz reminds us just how hopeless the world can get. Perhaps Linus was right. Maybe the only way to go through life is to hold onto a nice, warm blanket.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Street Study: Ocean Parkway

For all those people from Brooklyn who claim that Queens roads are so confusing because the numbers don’t make sense, it’s time someone pointed out the truth behind the “easy-to-understand grid” that make up the streets of Brooklyn. All I’ve been hearing about Queens my entire life are statements like “take 68th Road to 68th Avenue to 68th Street,” and “how come there is no 74th Avenue?” While all of these are fair points, it’s high time we get to rebut Brooklyn about their equally, if not MORE confusing streets.

Ever drive down Ocean Parkway? It’s simple, right? Exit the Belt parkway and you start at Avenue Z, and working backwards, you get all the way to the end of Ocean Parkway at Avenue A. And what’s nice about it is that you know that the Avenues go in alphabetical order, and in a case where there is a name of a street, it simply replaces that letter. So for instance, Avenue Q becomes Quentin. Right? Not only that, but the Streets go in numerical order, only to be interrupted by a main road such as Coney Island or Bedford Avenues.


Oh, Brooklyn, how funny you are! If only it was true that Brooklyn was a simple grid. Here is a short list of “convenient features” the streets of Brooklyn has to offer to give the outsider every possible way to get around in your borough. WARNING! You may want to follow this blog post with Google Maps.

Kings Highway is not a replacement for Avenue K. It cuts diagonally across Brooklyn, intersecting any Avenue it so chooses. And at one point, it even completely takes over Avenue R!

If one were to drive past Avenue J and would like to turn off of Ocean Parkway and head east, well forget about trying to cut through Avenue I, H, or Glenwood Road. There is an above-ground subway line that cuts the road off.

Okay, so now I’m passing Foster Ave, which must be instead of Avenue F, and Newkirk Avenue, which comes between Foster and Ditmas Avenues. No sign of Avenue E. What happened to E? So I drive down to Ocean Avenue to see if they have an E, but all I find is…Farragut Road. So wait, is Farragut or Foster the F?

Back on Ocean Parkway, amid all of the alphabetical streets is 18th Avenue, which makes perfect sense because it turns into Ditmas at Coney Island Avenue, so all is cool. If you turn left at Coney Island, the next street you hit is…Ditmas. Makes perfect sense.

Back again on Ocean Parkway, things start getting clearer Cortelyou Road comes next (which much be the replacement for C), which is followed by Avenue C. Wait, what? Then Beverly Road and finally…Church.

I know this may have been difficult for some of you to follow, especially those of you who did not take my waring about Google Maps (told ya so). And you know why? Because Brooklyn is confusing! And this was just off one section of Brooklyn.

Having studied the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, I now have the question if the name of the borough was actually supposed to be Brooklyn. Maybe they were trying to spell something else, but thought the alphabet was in a different order, and those symbols made different sounds. I could only guess that the name was supposed to be Ckooklye. No worries. I can start calling it that.