A spell of internet interruption last week morphed my computer into a glorified word processor – no emailing or reading publications online. Reduced to library books and magazines, I read about topics I would never Google.
The New Yorker’s February 9, 2015 issue offered an article titled, “Talk to Me” by Reeves Wiedeman who wrote of searching for disappearing accents.
He reported Joe Franklin, “the longtime New York talk-show host and self-proclaimed king of Nostalgia was interviewed for a documentary about the New York accent. Franklin, who recently died at the age of 88, had been born in the Bronx where his best friend was Tony Curtis, who became famous for one line, “Yonda stands da castle of my fodda.” A line which Franklin said Curtis never actually uttered. Franklin said Curtis had one of the most pronounced accents in show business. But like other actors, Curtis took voice lessons until his Bronx accent was watered down to one that could have been from any state in the U.S.
A deaf man from Coney Island said locals from his part of New York sign more rapidly and with a regional vernacular, referring to fellow New Yorkers by raising their arms as if they were riding a crowded subway.
The next article in Talk of the Town titled, “Door to Door”, dealt with mezuzahs. Before reading Andrew Marantz’s article if anyone had asked me what a mezuzah was I might have guessed a musical instrument similar to a Jew’s harp, a lively type of Polish folk dance, or the Islamic call to prayer delivered from a mosque.
I would have been wrong, wrong, wrong.
The mezuzah, according to Webster, is “a small parchment scroll inscribed with Deut 6:4-9 and 11:13-21 and the name Shaddai and placed in a case fixed to the doorpost by some Jewish families as a sign and reminder of their faith.” To quote Marantz’s article, “the modern custom is to place a parchment scroll inside a small decorative case – a mezuzah – and screw it to the doorjamb at an angle. Some secular Jews go mezuzahless or make do with a single mezuzah on the front door; Orthodox Jews, or those with a liberal parchment budget, mark every room larger than sixteen square cubits.”
A cubit is 18 to 21 inches, take your pick. Sixteen square cubits would be roughly the size of a cramped bathroom or the kitchen in my first New York apartment.
Thursday morning I drove to the newspaper office to hand in my typewritten copy and across the street, the Mountain View Apartment complex currently under renovation was completely shrouded in opaque white plastic sheeting.
What a construction trade innovation! Hippwrap would have been a boon making boat tops in windy or wet weather.
Called Hippwrap, the heavy-duty, fire retardant polyethylene treated with UV inhibitors is durable, withstanding forces over 2500 PSI thus enhancing the integrity of scaffolding increasing safety, making workers more secure and productive.
The opaqueness reflects heat from outside yet lets in a great deal of light; less electric lighting needs to be hooked up on the job.
Seams are bonded together with glue and heated for a strong, wind-proof seal. Any rips can be mended with special adhesive tape.
On the Mountainview site, the wrap traps renovation debris so it doesn’t litter the sidewalk and street. Site cleanup is faster. One user reports efficiency is enhanced all around the shrinkwrapped area.
Nearly 100 per cent of the airborne particles are contained so blasting processes, for instance, don’t interfere with workers on nearby projects. It is less expensive to work with than heavier tarps.