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Spain & all

I'm leaving in a couple of hours for Spain (Barcelona, Seville, Madrid). My first real vacation in years (not counting family events, high school reunions or business trips.) I'm pretty sure I won't be able to blog while I'm out of the country. And even though Europe is on the grid, I'm looking forward to being off it.

In Seville was he born, a pleasant city,
Famous for oranges and women,—he
Who has not seen it will be much to pity,
So says the proverb, and I quite agree;
Of all the Spanish towns is none more pretty,
Cadiz perhaps, but that you soon may see.
—Byron, from Don Juan

Until May!
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Saul Leiter

Are there two kinds of artists, the ones obsessed with beauty (art for art's sake) and the truth-tellers, who grab you to explain, who have a point to make?

Saul Leiter was clearly the former: "Saul had a love of beauty," wrote his former assistant Tony Cenicola, now a NYT photographer. "He didn’t like art that was harsh. He had a way of seeing  Read More 
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Spring & all

It's Didi not Derek but the magnolia trees are blooming. I can live with it.

Especially as I go to Spain in 2 days. Did my laundry: As Nicole said, that's the first step in packing.
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Old friends

I love being an extra in others' lives. Maybe one day they wonder what ever became of Elinor, how we fell out of touch, what chugged them to the West Coast & me to New York. Maybe they remember one funny thing I said & not even me who said it. It's fine to be close & then not close, even fine to make a big mistake &  Read More 
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Apparently this was seen by Google doing its maps. I don't know why it doesn't surprise me that a bunch of people in Japan would walk around in papier-mâché bird heads.
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A moment of nostalgia

The Barrell drive-in (root beer, burgers, fries) was on Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls, just a few blocks from my house. It was part of the cruising circuit ("the loop") from 1939 until it closed in 1976. I suppose every town in the country once had a drive-in like it.

Apparently, the signmaker accidentally added an extra "l" & gave a discount if the owner took the sign as-is, thus condemning at least 2 generations of Sioux Falls kids to a lifetime of trying "barrell," "barell" & "barrel" & still never being sure which spelling is right.  Read More 
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May one note that spring allergies are worse than icy winter rain?

And with that, home I go to sneeze & suffer.
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A surprise in the nabe

I don't know why I never stopped & looked at this row of three houses before; I know I must have walked by them many times. While un-Manhattan-like, they look like houses everywhere else I've ever been, so they somehow never jumped out at me as being unusual. Yet there they are on 18th Street, where they've been since the 1850s. The front lawns are  Read More 
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On top of the world

I don't even want to run a marathon. My knees give out after 30 minutes on the cross-trainer. But I kind of sort of want to run THIS marathon. I wonder if I could do it.

It costs 11,900 euros, about $12,500 right now. For that, they fly you from & back to Svalbard (where I've long wanted to go) to the North Pole camp, put you up there for 2 or 3 days, and provide helicopter flights, professional photography, & (uh-oh)  Read More 
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And some weather in Japan

The 53 stations of the Tokaido were rest areas along a 300-mile-long coastal route from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto. They were originally places where travelers had to present a permit in order to continue their journey. How great it would be to walk in Hiroshige's footsteps & see what the whole stretch is like today.

Hiroshige made his famous series of woodcuts in the 1830s. A later artist,  Read More 
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