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NauenThen

Restored to health

I have been intensely boring for the last 2 days, with a head so light it barely stayed attached to my neck. All I did was read a spy novel in the terrific Julia Probyn series by Ann Bridge. Written in the 1950s & '60s, & set in very well-described places—Switzerland, Scotland, Portugal & elsewhere—the characters are British, well-educated & smart. They really hate  Read More 
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Jazz!

Went to hear my friend Mark play the trumpet. He invited me because I was so ignorant about music & he thought I might enjoy it. I did, a lot. It was Big Band–type music, accessible & fun. Mark had the best chops, Johnny said.

I have a headache & can't seem to see to say more.
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Snow snow snow

Winter Landscapes and Flowers, Qian Weicheng (Chinese, 1720–72), Metropolitan Museum of Art
As everyone knows by now, the storm of the century, Bombogenesis, Snowpocalypse, whatever you want to call it, was a bit of a dud. We in Manhattan got between 6 & 9 inches, although not far to the east they got 20" or more, & Boston is having a real blizzard. Sure it's disappointing for those of us who feel the more the better. I feel like my date with Derek Jeter turned into a date with a Derek Jeter impersonator.

What's been interesting has been tracking the mayor & governor's moves (& how they've been second-guessed  Read More 
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It's begun

First flakes
They've rolled back the predictions—no "historic" storm: the record is 26.9" & at first they were thinking we might get 10" more than that: 3 feet of snow! The latest is that we'll "only" get 18"-24".

I like that there's a few of us who love snow, one of those clubs you get to belong to simply by virtue of enthusiasm: the Preston Sturges club, the baseball club, the snow club. I like being inside, toasty & cozy, with the big weather going on outside. I like squeaking through the snow. I like being cold. I like the idea that I could walk to the North Pole, almost literally, not that I ever would, not that you really can. I like remembering the snows of yesteryear: a rare snow day on my 10th birthday ... sitting at Balthazar's, again on my birthday, the day pitchers & catchers reported, good hot chocolate, big flakes coming down outside... sitting on the porch of the Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, not sure how it could be warm enough to sit outdoors with snow pouring down on the Black Hills ... Janet getting snowed in & having to stay an extra day or 2, I think in 1978 ... building an igloo ... sledding ...  Read More 
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Beside myself

It is, perhaps, the storm I've been waiting for. The latest prediction is for 20–30" tomorrow & Tuesday, & very high winds: a genuine blizzard. All my weather friends, like Steve Willis & Evie, are excited. It's the talk of the weather blogs. Not sure, however, what would make it historic, a word that's shown up in a lot of the articles I'm looking at.

I'm not a driver, shoveler, commuter so it's all joy for me.  Read More 
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Girl groups

The 1960s were full of girl singers: The Dixie Cups ("Chapel of Love"), the Crystals ("And Then He Kissed Me"), Shangri Las (Leader of the Pack), Vandellas, Chiffons, Shirelles. Most of them black & oh-so-stylish. The smoothest harmonies this side of Jeter & Cano.

Were they political? Not overtly, for the most part, at least not in their songs. When it was picked up in 1968 as a civil rights anthem, Martha Reeves explicitly said "Dancing in the Streets" wasn't a plug for revolution: "My Lord, it was a party song!" (Berry Gordy Jr. was well-known for being careful not to connect Motown Records to anything that might interfere with business.) Read More 
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The Imitation Game

Cumberbatch & Knightley in The Imitation Game
Is it even possible to make a movie set in the past that doesn't point out how much harder it was for women then? It is, however, eminently possible to entirely ignore non-whites, especially in a British movie, I suspect. Here, they would give a few minor supporting roles to people of color, even if it were historically inaccurate.

Which is not to say  Read More 
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Hair, glorious hair

I am getting sick of my long hair.
It grew when I wasn't paying attention.
Some people pick a do & stay with it.
Two to three years is about as long as I can stick with a cut.
I've gone from long to short to long to medium to long to short to black to red to blond to calico to creamsicle to lavender-gray.
What's left?
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Funerals

It's not my hobby or anything, but I like going to funerals of people I don't know—synagogue people, say, or the parents of friends. You learn a life story, you get some cathartic crying, & when it's over, you haven't been broken.

So I was thinking I might like to be a professional mourner,  Read More 
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Thinking about poverty on MLK Day

Charles Blow in today's Times talks about "how expensive it is to be poor," in James Baldwin's phrase. One point (of many excellent ones) is that if you don't have enough money to maintain a bank account, then you pay to have your checks cashed & for money orders (& stamps) to pay your bills. Poorer people may spend $1,200 a year in financial services;  Read More 
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