While most national flags represent lofty concepts like fraternity, courage, patriotism, etc, Ukraine’s blue over yellow flag, perhaps reflective of our demeanor, is simply the sky over fields of wheat.
So we need something more serious when the shit hits the fan.
The red and black flag is an old Kozak flag representing blood on the earth. It was also used by Ukrainian partisans during WWII who fought both the Nazi and Soviet Armies, and resisted the Soviets into the mid 1950s.
I’m on an old phone after breaking my main one. I don’t think the camera captured the beautiful evening post-storm light. The air was perfectly clear and fresh. The pysanka celebration is a great herald of spring.
Not unusual to see casual security. Tonight’s was on the severe side, though not the most I’ve seen. Four black SUVs with tinted windows. All had the same first six digits of the eight alphanumeric digits on Ukrainian plates. They slowed about a hundred meters from the entrace of the building. Ten or so guys jumped out while the vehicles were still moving. They ran ahead and formed a small perimeter into which the four vehicles then entered. Good disciplined security. No crowding. No confusion. All the guys were facing out except for the few that seemed to go to the main vehicle.
I didn’t linger or try to see who it was. I think there are some heads of state, or their direct representatives visiting Ukraine right now. Perhaps it was one of them.
– still super exciting — best in the world in so many dimensions. Whatever you love, you’ll find high level talent there.
– still the city of beginning. At the drop of the hat, you can have a clean slate among a new set of interesting, worldly, talented people. (pro tip:if you’re tired of beginnings and want middles or ends, get the hell out)
– still super frustrating — I paid thirty dollars twice, for parking < 2 hrs.
- still puts you at the mercy of unreasonable and predatory bureaucrats.
- Pongal on Lex is still the best Indian food in the world, and an example of perfect service -- everything you want and nothing you don't.
- Rosa's Pizza on 69th Street in Queens is still the best pizza in the world. We called it Rosa's II because there was another Rosa's Pizza on Grand Avenue at the time of their scandalous opening in the late 80s.
Loved sharing it with my family. Three surprises:
- The Orpheum is ***still*** showing "Stomp"??? (I remember saying the same thing about "Little Shop of Horrors", and noticing when Stomp finally showed up . . . twentyish years ago.
- Saint George's Ukrainian Church was having mass in English! Broader appeal. Makes perfect sense. The icons were extremely familiar. I spent hours of my youth studying them while listening to masses which I didn't understand. Long, agonizing hours measured in impatient child time. Also: I lit candles to remember departed relatives -- they have a push button system in pace of real candles. Somehow, it does not appear in poor taste.
- Though I've been back many times since adulthood, the streets, houses and hills in Woodside/Maspeth Queens still seem much smaller than they were.
- An old Army buddy with whom I was delighted to cross paths said that in Williamsburg, there really is a training academy where leftists learn some weak perverted version of hand to hand combat. These psychopaths are really going all the way with their delusions. They have it completely, and dangerously backwards. It was not a lack of leftist violence that accompanied the rise of fascism, but an excess that precipitated it. You have to look beyond the sanitized, popular versions of history to see this, but once you do, it's obvious. So please tell your radical leftists friends -- be careful what you start.
The communists, in their attempt to destroy culture, and specifically, Christianity, attempted to replace Christmas with New Years, and they shifted many of the traditions, like gift giving, family gathering, and the Christmas tree to New Years.
(This is much less palpable in Lviv and Western Ukraine where the people remain more religious and both pagan and Christian traditions are much more closely observed. That’s part of the reason my heart remains in Galicia, even though I live in the capital.)
Sadly, many Ukrainians aren’t even aware of why the celebrate New Years the way that they do. Ukrainian television seems perfectly content to cater to the godless Bolshevik New Years holiday.
I’m not against celebrating the New Year, but I want to see its status lowered to well below that of Christmas.