Spring will march into Brooklyns Grand Army Plaza early Wednesday morning with a puff of sage smoke, the beating of drums, and a group of people balancing more than 300 eggs on end. “Urban shaman” Mama Donna Henes will lead the egg-centric balancing ritual to mark the equinox, the twice yearly moment when the day and night are exactly the same length and a new season is born.
I confess that I never liked Oscar Pistorius. I didn’t think anything about his attempt to compete with able-bodied athletes was courageous. But I am astounded by the absurdity of his alibi against charges that he intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend last week.
“I fail to understand,” Mr. Pistorius testified in court, “how I could be charged with murder.” Surely, he is the only one.
According to Mr. Pistorius, he was asleep in the home he shares with his girlfriend when he heard a noise about 3 in the morning and “felt a sense of terror rushing over me.”
Crime, they say and I believe, is a big problem in South Africa. Indeed, one journalist who was a friend of the victim said, “The best case is that he shot her by mistake. And that is a particularly South African mistake.”
But another big problem in South Africa is violence against women.
Experts say that a woman is raped every four minutes in South Africa. Many die at the hands of partners, siblings and friends.
The first thing Mr. Pistorius does is grab his gun. He gets up on his stumps — Mr. Pistorius is a double-amputee — and while checking out his house, he hears a noise in the bathroom. I think many people would have called out, asking if it was their significant other/roommate who was behind the door. Some people would have seen an intruder behind a closed door as a momentary advantage, and taken steps to flee for safety. At least one person, a lawyer for the prosecution, asked, “Why would a burglar lock himself into a toilet?”
Mr. Pistorius, whether he considered these points or not, fired his gun four times.
He testified that it did not occur to him that it could have been his girlfriend making all that noise in the toilet.
After realizing what he had done, Mr. Pistorius told the court that he tried to kick down the bathroom door with his prosthetic legs. When that failed, he claimed to have used a cricket bat. Now, we are not acquainted with the quality of South African hardware, or with prosthetic limbs, but it beggars belief that either item would make a dent in the bandbox door to my Brooklyn bathroom.
In any case, Mr. Pistorius said his girlfriend was still alive when he finally got the door open. Yet multiple people beat the police to his home, suggesting that calling an ambulance was not the first thing on his mind.
It’s easy to judge in the sober sunshine of a Thursday morning the actions of an admitted gun-loving paranoiac in the middle of the night. But it is hard to forget the grim visage of O. J. Simpson at times like this, especially after an influential detective is conspicuously reassigned and the police admit investigative bungling.
So, what was on Mr. Pistorius’s mind? Perhaps building an alibi that fit pieces of evidence like a history of menacing and reckless behavior, blood on a cricket bat and a victim’s grievious head wounds.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
If it is clear enough, you may be able to see a meteor shower on Tuesday night.
On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 4:57 PM, I wrote:
Regarding your Quadrantid meteor article of Jan. 2, where exactly in Park Slope would I be able to see that?
Some time later, Todd wrote:
Subject: Re: Patch – Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2013 Peak: When to Watch
John: The best way to see it is to find the darkest place possible. That prevents the “light pollution” from obscuring the view. Happy showering!
A little while later, I wrote back:
I apologize. You mistook my good-natured cheek for a serious inquiry.
I observe that Park Slope is snug in the middle of the largest city in the United States. On most nights, only one or two stars are visible. I have never heard of anyone’s attempting to view a meteor shower in Brooklyn, but I am sure it would be futile. The best we can hope for, nocturnal astronomical event-wise, are lunar eclipses.
Anyway, I would have let it pass, but I noticed that your article says it was published Wednesday, which appears to be the day after your recommended viewing time. It would lend credence to your Web site if you would consider some of these details the next time.
Thanks, Park Slope Patch.
- Quadrantid Meteor Shower Photos of 2013 (space.com)
[10:43 AM] Bob Subject: …glassing for coyotes…got some weather coming in should be a good day for it …almost out of coffee…and ate last donut hole….just sunflower seeds now…
[11:02 AM] Me: Have you been kidnapped?
[11:04 AM] Bob Subject: …looking south towards branched oak lake….low clouds….21 degrees… …$50….bounty….
[11:11 AM] Me: $50? All your kidnappers want is $50? Tell I’ll pay it! If only they free you from that horrible, icy hell hole!
[11:14 AM] Bob Subject: ….sun is trying to poke through….
[11:14 AM] Me: Don’t worry. I’ll send help. Just try to survive. I know it’s awful, cold. Lonely. But I won’t forget you. …I’ve got the $50. Just cooperate. Please, God, let nothing happen to my dear brother!
[11:19 AM] Bob …oh bye the bye…the Norma ammunition we are using in the .243….is a gift to dad from uncle Pat…legend has it it was liberated from Mexican drug dealers…circa 1962..
[11:20 AM] Me: Wait. Your captors are elderly Mexican narcos? Can’t you just escape during nap time? Siesta should be in about three hours. Can you hold out till then?
[11:21 AM] Me: Bob? Bob? Can you hold out till then?
[11:22 AM] Me: (oh, I hope the old drug dealers haven’t killed my dear brother.)
[11:22 AM] Me: Bob?!
[11:26 AM] Me: … Officer, if you’re reading this, the dismembered body you found this phone on is my brother. Be gentle. Also, ship his watch to me in Brooklyn. He’d have wanted me to have it
[11:27 AM] Bob Subject: ….east…towards Ashland
[11:27 AM] Me: You’re alive! Please have the grace to excuse my comments about your watch. I was sick with grief.
[11:28 AM] Bob …Casio Pathfinder…
[11:28 AM] Me: But now I know you’re alive. Let’s get you home, away from all that bleak ice and snow
[11:33 AM] Bob Subject: …pee break….
[11:33 AM] Me: So you’re being well treated? Geneva Convention, at least?
[11:35 AM] Me: Bob?
[11:44 AM] Me: Did you escape?
[11:45 AM] Me: Are you free?
[12:01 PM] Bob Subject: …Valpariaso Ne….looks like everybody is bailing….to hang at Harry’s
[12:01 PM] Me: Phew! Civilization. So glad. Hope you’re OK
[1:49 PM] Bob Subject: …and home…
[3:07 PM] Me: Phew.
[3:08 PM] Me: So what’d you learn during your ordeal?
[3:15 PM] Bob …adventure….don’t shoot coyotes closer then 100 yds….with thin skinned bullets….
[3:29 PM] Me: Well, good.
[3:29 PM] Me: I’ll keep the ransom money, just in case. Ok?