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February 3, 2007

A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.

February 3 , 2007

Martin Gets Ignored

Freezing rain scares off the politicians this year

Dr. Martin Luther King

There’s something symbolic about this picture I snapped of Dr. Martin Luther King’s head in Lincoln Park on his birthday this year. Perhaps he is weeping frozen tears for our nation. Perhaps his tears freeze for the deliberate shredding of the Bill of Rights by our elected officials, for this endless war that serves only to funnel money to those who deserve riches the least, for the racism and class hatred that has become so fashionable among this nation’s elites.

Then again, this is a hunk of metal out in the freezing rain. A work of art depicting the great man, but still a hunk of metal. Every year there is supposed to be a procession to this site followed by a brief ceremony in the cold. But it was canceled this year.

Damn politicians afraid of a little freezing rain and ice. Okay, it was pretty bad outside, but still. At least people could suffer a little to show their reverence for the man and what he represents.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

When I came out around Noon there was one guy holding a serious piece of equipment photographing Martin. I’ve seen him around, I think he works for a news organization. “That’s a great shot,” he said, hoping I would get out of his way. I stepped back. When he was done snapping pictures he scooted, and I was all by myself with the freezing rain.

I looked down at Martin’s feet and did a double take. Someone had left a single bouquet of flowers. But between his feet was... a dead horse?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It was one of those mylar balloons in the shape of a horse, placed very deliberately and carefully. Perhaps it was meant as disrespect, but I think it was supposed to mean something emotional to somebody, a kind of bizarre homage. Perhaps it was a companion to the bouquet of flowers.

The flowers looked like they were from that shop on Lark Street, wrapped in a sheath of clear plastic coated with ice. Inside the plastic was an envelope that read, “Please Read!” I looked all around me at the icy landscape and saw no one, not even a passing car. It was up to me.

I pulled out the envelope and opened it. Immediately the pages were spattered with rain, so I trotted back to my house double time and spread it out on a flat surface. After snapping a photo, I went back outside and put the envelope back where I found it. I present the contents of the envelope below without comment. (Click on the picture to read.)

Contents of Envelope

This nasty freezing rain had ended an unprecedented and disturbing warm spell, apparent evidence of global warming. The kind of weather we’d had that day was supposed to happen in November, followed by cold and plenty of snow. M.L. King Day is supposed to be a serious winter’s day in these parts. But a few days earlier I’d been running around outside without a coat. That’s not right.

Bugs had appeared and grass was growing, the natural living things thinking that spring had come. I’d heard a report that fish in the Adirondacks were seen getting ready to spawn. A lady who lives up in Argyle in Washington County told me that she had been bitten by a mosquito.

And the flowering trees in Lincoln Park had started to bud. I sure hope the ice and cold had come on time and the buds are not too far gone to survive. I look forward to seeing the park bloom in glory, in April, not in the middle of winter.

Frozen buds

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