Follow the slope downward, to the east, toward the meadow, to where the earth levels off and there are crocuses coming up through a damp layer of wood chips. This is where the tree is. Behind the tree, the ground rises into a sort of berm between the Botanic Garden and Flatbush Avenue that breaks the siren howl and traffic rumble. A wide asphalt pathway meanders in front of it. On a typical spring day visitors usually pause here to admire the tree, and read the placard with its name and chuckle, because it’s a caucasian wingnut.
The tree’s branches are thick and deeply ridged, twisting out from a [...]
The toilet man was obsessed with numbers. Like the number of days he had left to live. Ten-thousand five-hundred was about how many days he said he had left, if he lived to be eighty. Thirteen years ago, the Toilet Man said, he turned forty and asked himself, how long is one lifetime? Then he checked the national statistic: eighty. So, forty more years; fourteen thousand, six-hundred days more days, give or take. "And then you die," said the Toilet Man. He lingered over the last world, stretched it. "Dyyyyyyyeee," it sounded like.
Back then, before he was the Toilet Man, he was Jack Sim, a rich Singaporean, running 16 [...]
Brooklyn criminal courtroom number 105, at 10:43 p.m., Judge Jackie Williams presiding. The room is high-ceilinged, the light fluorescent, the pews so worn most of the graffiti etched into the wood is illegible. Judge Williams is seated far back in the room, high up and centered and staring into a flat Dell computer monitor. Behind her, sagging, the United States and New York flags and above those, on the wall in gold Helvetica, “In God We Trust.” Below and in front of the judge, behind another monitor, sits the court reporter. In front of the reporter, two attorneys and the defendant stand facing the judge at two faded lecterns, also [...]
In Chelyabinsk the men are tough. So tough there is a meme among Russians depicting the tough men from Chelyabinsk acting out their audacious toughness: shouldering a dead horse through a peat bog, using a chainsaw to shave, having sex with a giant scorpion. When the meteor 60-feet-wide and weighing more than the Eiffel Tower shot towards Chelyabinsk at 41,000 miles-per-hour and burst into a fireball brighter than the sun, the tough men of Chelyabinsk looked up at the sky and cursed quietly. When the fireball exploded 14 miles above Chelyabinsk it did so with a force 30 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The subsequent shockwave [...]