Wednesday, March 15, 2006
posted 12:02 PM
This Japanese robotic snake is the single coolest and most sci-fi robot I've seen to date.
Friday, March 10, 2006
posted 10:29 AM
Tia Juana sent him walking, crosstown along 110th, to Amsterdam and the cathedral of St. John the Divine, the better to consult Eleggua. The owner, she said, of the roads and doors in this world. Lord of the crossroads, intersection of the human and the divine. For this reason, Juana maintained, there had secretly been raised a window to him and a place of devotion, in this great church in Morningside Heights. “Nothing can be done in either world,” she said, “without his permission.”
It had begun to snow, as he’d walked uphill, past chicken-wire and poster-crusted plywood, where the retaining-wall of the cathedral’s grounds had been brought down, long ago, by rains. He turned up his collar, settled his hat, and walked on, no stranger now to snow. Though he was grateful, finally, to reach Amsterdam. He saw the unlit neon of V&T Pizza, like something pointing to the avenue’s ordinary human past, and then he was passing the priest’s house, and the garden that surrounded the perpetually dry fountain, with its delirious sculpture, where the decapitated head of Satan dangled from the great bronze claw of the Holy Crab of God. It was this sculpture that had most interested him, when Juana first brought him here, that and the cathedral’s four peacocks, one of them albino and, Juana said, sacred to Orunmila.
There were no guards at the cathedral’s doors, but he found them within, waiting, with their suggestion of five dollars donation. Juana had shown him how to remove his hat, and cross himself, and ignoring them, pretending he spoke no English, to light a candle and pretend to pray.
So large a space, within this church; Juana said the largest cathedral in the world. And this morning of snow he found it deserted, or seemingly so, and somehow colder than the street. There was a fog here, a cloud, of sound; the tiniest echoes, set moving by any movement, seemed to stir ceaselessly among the columns and across the stone floor.
Leaving his candle burning beside four others, he went in the direction of the main altar, watching his own breath, and pausing once to look back at the dim glow of the giant rose window, above the doors through which he’d come.
One of the bays of stone that lined the sides of this tremendous space was Eleggua’s, and this made clear by images in colored glass. A santero consulting a sheet of signs, among which would be found the numbers three and twenty-one, whereby the orisha recognizes himself and is recognized; a man climbing a pole to install a wiretap; another man studying the monitor of an ancient computer. All images of ways in which the world and worlds are linked, and all these ways under the orisha.
Silently, within himself, as Juana had taught him, Tito made respectful greeting.
There was a disturbance in the fog of sound, then, louder than the rest, its source lost immediately in the turning and stirring of echo. Tito glanced back, down the length of the nave, and saw there a single figure, approaching.
He looked up, to Ellegua’s window, where one man used something like a mouse, another a keyboard, though the shapes of these familiar things were archaic, unfamiliar. He asked to be protected.