This photo by Fred R. Conrad was on Page One of the New York Times today. I looked at it a long time last night; it’s not exactly “The Garden of Earthly Delights” but there’s a lot to see.
The woman in the pumpkin-colored sweater is clearly what the photographer was aiming at. Her open face, and its expression of pain and bewilderment, is the story in a single image. But I love the woman in the dark blazer that we can see over her left shoulder, looking at the photographer with a suspicious scowl — damn media ghouls! The little boy’s blue T-shirt reads BUCKLEY. It’s a private school for boys on the upper east side. The school’s website suggests they have a blue-blazer dress code, so his casual dress pegs the time period as late afternoon. And the plump Latina holding his hand? Everything about her says “nanny.” Look at the grip she has on him; this is a woman who knows her job. There’s a woman at far right, out of focus, in a pale trench coat. She has a goofy smile on her face, but we’ll make no judgments about her, beause pictures lie. Another out-of-focus man talks on the phone directly behind the boy, and he’s wearing a uniform. I’m thinking doorman. And because this is New York, note how many people are moving, especially the woman on the left, holding a white bag. Look at the length of her stride. New York is the only place where my usual walking pace (brisk) is frequently too slow for the flow of traffic. People in New York always have someplace they gotta be. Gotta make some money. Gotta pay that nanny.
Another day of keyboard-clattering for me, so how about some quick bloggage?
Desperate times call for desperate measures: Aggrieved that younger, prettier and more fecund celebrities are stealing her Mother Bountiful thunder, Madonna picked an African country, parachuted in with her entourage and left with the ultimate party favor: an African baby of her own. (She’ll never be a brunette again. And look for her to wear lots of white from here on out, so the baby photographs better, riding on her hip.) I’m puzzled by one thing, though: The child is not an orphan. He lost his mother at birth, but his father is still alive, and is said to have approved the adoption. If Madonna is such a champ philanthropist, why not write a check to dad, make him a rich man, and let the child be raised by his own father? I’m sure what Madonna spends on dry cleaning in six months could set the whole village up in style. And I’m sure, in gratitude, dad and the other villagers would be happy to provide children for photo opportunities well into the future.
Forget what all those jerks say about the internet making film criticism obsolete. We’ll always need the good ones. It wasn’t until “The Departed” was released, and Roger Ebert didn’t review it, that I realized he wouldn’t live forever. I’m sure that thought occurs to Ebert himself several dozen times a day lately, but in the meantime, he’s recovering, and I hope he has a few more reviews in him before he goes to the screening room in the sky.
I tried to read “Snow” and couldn’t get past the first chapter. Of course, Orhan Pamuk just won the Nobel Prize. Back to the old drawing board.
I keep a weather-radar widget on my computer desktop. Yesterday, bands of green blobs marched across the screen from west to east. Today, cottony white ones. Sigh. And so it begins.