As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
Sunday morning was unexpected bright and clear, similar to September 11; we had been expecting rain for the visit. For brunch we stopped off in the town of Califon, NJ for a pancake breakfast. The firefighters of Califon, NJ host a breakfast at the firehouse on the first Sunday of every month. For $6 per adult, it was an all-you-can-eat meal served by firemen and local scout troops. Profits normally went to funding local firefighting teams. Today, however, all proceeds were going to firefighting efforts in NYC.
We drove in from the New Jersey side after the breakfast. We had been warned that NYC mayor Rudy Guliani declared that solo drivers in cars were banned from the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. Only groups/carpools were allowed and everyone else had to take public transportation. The police at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel seemed to be scanning all cars for that purpose, though I'm not sure that applied to drivers on the bridges from the North.
One of my friends commented on the "chemical" smell as soon as we left the tunnel on Canal Street. This smell was not suppose to be normal. For some reason we couldn't drive on Canal Street there so we ended up driving around town to get to the Bowery. Driving was suppose to be complicated by the New York Marathon that day.
The first thing that we saw was the huge flag at the New York Stock Exchange, symbol of the American financial world. Further up the street was Trinity Church which reopened this morning. It was obvious that New York's Finest was out in force. From the area of Trinity Church, we looked to the northwest between the buildings where we could see some large cranes in the skyline; I was reminded that we used to be able to see the towers from this spot.
As we walked up the street, we could see the fences that surrounded the site of the devastation. The fences were covered with an almost opaque cloth so it was hard to see the site. I took some pictures and continued along that street. The fences were filled with flowers, pictures, and notes from visitors. This went on all along the street. The smell of something burning was clearly evident in the air. I got to a location where we could see the shell of the Amex building but most of the rubble of the towers were not visible.
One building that was burnt out but standing was an office building that had a Borders bookstore on the first floor. I remember being in that store two years ago; from there I had gone on to the lobby of the Towers, trying to get into Windows On The World. It was weird to remember that I had once stood on that spot.
There's clearly a void in the crowd of buildings, where 50,000 people used to work and 100,000 people used to visit every day. The cost of the buildings was not important. That 5000+ people who didn't make it home that night because of a senseless act of a group of hateful facimiles of human beings is still hard to accept and understand. The added deaths of ordinary guys making a superhuman effort to save lives will make it hard to ever forget or forgive.
I think that everyone should take time out to make the trip to New York City while the rescue, recovery, and clean up is still happening. Everyone should see what happened there and what is still happening. I think that people who are against the American response in Afghanistan should go to New York and see what the terrorists did to us first.
My opinion of the death penalty has been wavering over the last few years as several of my friends have served on juries in murder cases and I read about people who were freed from jail for crimes they did not commit.
(The following philosophy was loosely taken from The Belgariad, one of my favorite science fiction/fantasy books, by David Eddings). The purpose of the universe to live, to create, to grow, to exist. Destroying and killing goes against the purpose of the universe. In other words, destruction and chaos is the purpose of the *opposite* of the Universe.
On the other hand, I think that we should bring back burning at the stake. Not for punishment. Not for retribution. I just think that it's only fair, after all, to give these criminals a preview of what they're going to face when they stand in front of God to be judged.
The Muddy River is a cozy bar downstairs (with a cover charge) with a small dance floor. I think that it's what Johnny D's should have been. It's a place that offers dancers a place to dance without management worrying about nobody buying drinks. I had fun and I'll go back.
PS: The food is pretty good in the restaurant upstairs.
Of course, November at the IC (BSDN) dances in Watertown belongs to Doc Scanlon's Rhythm Boys. This Albany, NY band keeps coming back to loyal fans every year and they don't disappoint. I heard comments tonight that the tempos seemed faster than normal, but all of their music, fast or slow, had the same energy that the band is known for that keeps the dance floor filled. I had made plans not to be travelling during November so I could be around this time around.
Someone told me to write about something contraversial (sp?) for the Soapbox. Why? No one bothered me this week and I didn't notice any breaches of dance ettiquette and it was late Saturday night. What's there to whine about?
Serves me right for asking. :-P
I guess it's been a long time and some people don't go back to read some of past ravings of this demented dance fanatic so I suppose it's time to talk about it again.
Guys! (or should I say, "Leaders!")
When you're leading, pretend you don't have a thumb. Some of you are clamping down on the followers' hand and you don't even know it! And a few of you are doing the "Death Grip" and also using the "Vulcan Nerve Pinch" at the same time. Net effect? Bad followers! When a leader has their thumb clamped on the followers hand, it pinches a nerve and that can be painful (yes, I had a follower demonstrate this to me). And the typical leader is going to be larger, stronger and heavier than the typical follower. That means that using a thumb to hold the follower's hand can be a very painful experience. It's also a distraction. The follower has a hard time paying attention to the lead because their hand hurts!
The ironic part is that most of the perpetrators don't think they're doing this, especially the ones who have been dancing for a while (I hope I don't do this!)
Also, I have friends who end the night rubbing their shoulders from aggressive leaders.
Some leaders will lead a follower to twirl around several times by cranking their hand over follower's head, AND THEN bringing the follower's hand down abruptly to signal that they should stop twirling. GUYS! This *hurts* the woman's back and shoulder. Again, I just had this demonstrated to me by a follower, and I can tell you that this is really *painful*. This follower was much smaller and not stronger than me (I think) so I can just imagine how painful it is when the average leader leads the average follower like that.
The "lead" for twirling the follower is to *hold* your own hand over her head (and remember, no thumb!). She spins on her own and needs no help from the leader. There is absolutely no reason (and no excuse) to crank her hand over her head, unless you want to guarantee that she'll go see a doctor or that she won't dance with you again.
Bring your own hand down or around *gently* to signal a lead. Don't grab her hand and force her to follow your lead. And keep those thumbs off. They hurt.
I always hear them say something like, "God willing, we will prevail against our enemies (or everyone we hate who is not like us)... blah... blah... blah..." I've always wanted to stick in my two cents and ask "...but what if God *ISN'T* willing? Then what?"
"If the other side wins, then that does mean God wasn't on your side? And does that mean you're *wrong*?"
Now, tell me, am I talking about the Taliban terrorists or am I talking about the Moral Majority? :^)
Many years ago, the evangelist Oral Roberts threatened that "God would bring him home" if his flock [of mindless sheep] didn't raise enough money for his church. For first time in my life, I was waiting for a sign from God. :-)
I finally got around to driving out to the Longfellow Dance Club in Wayland which always sounded like a long drive away and I wanted to find out what the place looked like. I had never gone out there before because at first there were only the Second Saturday dances held there and it was always on the same night as the BSDN dances which were Lindy, had live music, and only two blocks from my house.
It took me about 35 minutes to get there and a lot of it was just driving down Mount Auburn Street in Watertown to get to the Pike. A better way is probably just going down Route 20 from Watertown Square (Main Street) and heading west for about 11 miles. While the sign isn't all that visible (not far past the Routes 126/27 intersection), it's right before the Sudbury town limit (yeah, I drove past the place, too).
They just put in a new floor for dancing and the place is pretty roomy for dancing. I liked the tables and chairs on the raised levels so you could watch what was happening on the dance floor.
Hopefully, I'll learn more West Coast Swing and get out there more often. I suggested to JoEllen over there that she should consider bringing some Lindy-type events.
Reader Kate Harney had this to say about last week's Soapbox:
"Bless you...for your anti-pain mini-rant in this week's Soapbox. I do hope some readers take the metaphorical 2-by-4 and realize it could be about THEM."Every leader, including myself, should take the [Soapbox] comments to heart. This reader is also a leader so she knows what it feels like on both sides of the handhold.
Whatsabigdeal? I remember thinking, when I was 13, that *30* was ancient.
"Growing old" is mandatory.
"Growing up" is optional.