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My landlord

Who thinks it's a good idea to glue rubber to every step but one?

Who thinks it's a good idea for a novice bricklayer to build us a convex front stoop?

Who thinks it's a good idea to paint my festive door baby-poop brown?

Who thinks it's a good idea to hire an incompetent non-electrician non-plumber non-carpenter to do renovations & repairs?

Why do I still love my building so much? Read More 
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The photo caption says these men are painting the Brooklyn Bridge...
I have no memory of ever having gone to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Maybe because someone else drove? Maybe because, as I wrote in "The Philadelphia Story" (1998), "how boring Veterans Stadium was, with a bunch of soon-to-be-cut rookies." There's the proof but it triggers nothing. No "right! how could I have forgotten?"

Near as I can tell, I've been to games at 22 Major League ballparks:  Read More 
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Hidden Figures

Not the least of it was playing hooky to see it during the middle of the day. So much I liked about this movie about black women at NASA in the 60s: their struggles as both women and African Americans, the heart-stopping space race, the historical footage (my god, Kennedy's HAIR), that it's a movie about people being smart, a movie about WOMEN being smart, Kevin Costner at his most likable as a white man in the early 1960s who learns to step outside his assumptions.

The astonishing fact that all the computing for sending a rocket into space was done by hand. No mechanical computers till well into the project.

That all of this really happened.

It's not great—none of the main characters have flaws, for example, & it's too tidily wrapped up—but inspiring & totally worth seeing for this unknown-to-me splash of history.  Read More 
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Private disappointment (now known only to my 3 readers)

Somehow I blew my 534-day streak of language learning on DuoLingo. I guess I spaced out & missed a day. Actually, I must have missed 2 days because I had a "streak freeze" option in place, but it's only good for 1 day. It makes me a little sad to have to start over with a 1-day streak. I'm sure there's a lesson in this. Ego or somesuch.  Read More 
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Found on 5th Street (back)

My Spanish is far from good enough to fill in this splotched handwriting. Can anyone help me out here?
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Found on 5th Street

Actually, I found this photo on the steps down to my office.

There's text on the back that I can't read. (See second scan.)

Why do I like this? The randomness of picking it up from my stairs is part of it. I like what's on the TV, which is likewise random. I like that he's (unconsciously?) mimicking the portrait. I like knowing enough but not enough.

I wish I could make out what's in the round frame.  Read More 
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Books books books

Many of Van Loon's illustrations are more geographical than this.
Someone put boxes and boxes of amazing books outside my door today. I rescued a volume of Virginia Woolf’s essays & a bound volume of Outing: The Gentlemen’s Magazine of Sport, Travel and Outdoor Life, Vol IX Oct 1886–March 1887, which covers archery, ballooning, pedestrianism, the wheel (bicycling). sparring, winter sports, & more. Since I have way too many books, I made myself walk away but was glad to see a mom trying to drag off her young son, who was engrossed in the books.

Later … Couldn’t stop myself: went back & got A Book of Anecdotes, a selected Robert Penn Warren, a 1926 book of essays about marriage, & most wonderfully, Van Loon’s Geography: The story of the world, 1932, with gorgeous drawings, many in color.

I bypassed a few thrillers, some college political textbooks, and a few books in German, and overlooked a nice paperback of Henry James's Italian Hours.  Read More 
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An experiment

Random photo with old car.
I'm going to bitch a little & see if it makes me feel better or worse to get it all down.

Actually, now that I'm not in the thick of last week's woes, they don't seem so terrible. I had a root canal, but it went fine & very quickly didn't hurt, & the tooth that hurt no longer bothers me. Johnny was in ER for the second time in 3 weeks, but got a stent in a blocked artery & is much much better. My home phone is  Read More 
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That was yesterday

I loved hearing from friends & acquaintances far & wide, both geographically and in time—from Europe, Asia, Australia, everywhere I've lived and beyond; from someone I've known since kindergarten to someone I met this year.

Now I pass The Birthday Hat to Lynn, Nyssa, cousin Markos, & Smokey Robinson.
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