Demolishing Without A Permit

May 19, 2020

Back in the very early 1970s, in Manchester, my then-girlfriend had a brother-in-law who made a living stealing lead from the roofs of parish churches. Well, it made him a living before he slipped off one particular parish roof and died on the pavement below.  I hadn’t thought of him for a while, but he came to mind this morning.

The entrance to our underground parking is a wooden structure that has seen far better days. The roof is made of tin, covered some twenty-odd years ago, by tar paper or something similar, and it is in terrible shape.  I look out onto it every day through my home-office window. Some commotion made me look out today, and there were two large crows picking at something, squabbling.


I thought that they had a small bird that they were tearing apart. But looking more closely, I saw that they were actually fighting over bits of loose tar paper. The bigger one flew away with a full mouth load of stuff. The other stayed around and started pulling small sheets of the tar paper off the roof.

I can only guess they use them as nesting materials.

Image: The City Paints Itself

May 19, 2020

Grandview 19th May 1920

May 19, 2020

Sun, 19200519, p.10

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings

In Memory of Malcolm X

May 19, 2020


Malcolm X


Today would have been the 95th birthday of the revered Malcolm X.  Murdered by adherents of the Nation of Islam (NOI), Ossie Davis called him “our shining black prince”.

After years in the NOI’s leadership, Malcolm renounced the inherent racism of that organization and the alleged financial, political, and moral corruption of Elijah Mohammed. Without ever caving to white power, and maintaining his belief in the ultimate weapon of armed struggle, he sought, through Sunni Muslim beliefs, to raise the self-esteem of blacks in America.

Malcolm X’s “Autobiography” stands with Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and Nelson Mandela’s speech on his release from prison as the most influential statements of civil rights in the twentieth century.


May 19, 2020

I was looking at a few wise words this morning,and this one really made me nostalgic for, say, three months ago:

“It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we choose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real.  Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold, and the car handle feels wet, and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another human being, soft and unrepeatable.” — Mark Nepo