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Seriously, is it ever going to stop raining? I already have mushrooms sprouting in my hair & my last dry pair of pants, yep, got soaked this afternoon.

"Good for the farmers," someone was sure to intone back in the agricultural heartland where I was raised. But this much rain? Is it good for anybody?
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Yesterday during the warmup before fight class, I felt or heard my left knee snap or pop. It was so quick & unexpected & alarming that I couldn't say, even a moment later, what had happened or what sense was involved.

I was afraid but a moment later, when I dared wiggle it, it felt fine.

In fact,  Read More 
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Reasons for admission

This is from the late 1800s & is from West Virginia’s Hospital for the Insane also known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Open these days for tours only.

I think these might be contributing factors not causes, & I'm sure it's a complete list, so that every symptom anyone suffered from is on there.

Intemperance & business trouble
Kicked in the head by a horse
Imaginary female trouble
Immoral life
Jealousy & religion
The war
Mental excitement
Novel reading
Over action of the mind
Decoyed into the army
Fighting fire  Read More 
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What if

What if you could (legally) change your birth day? Would you?

(Not the year.)

(Or maybe the year?)

What date would you prefer to your own?

Me, I think February 18 can't be beat. Plus a different date just wouldn't be mine. I sometimes dream I'm married to someone else & living in a different home.  Read More 
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Found photo

Another (see February 22) photo that was lying on the steps outside my office.

I hope they are still together.
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Design for living

Williamsburg at night, near A/D/O. I neglected to take a picture of the studio's periscope—you lie back on a couch & look up to see the street, Manhattan skyline & roof.
Was fortunate to attend the second Phil Patton Memorial (sadly) Lecture at the A/D/O designing studio in Brooklyn, thanks to an enduring friendship with Phil's wonderful wife Kathleen. This year's speaker was Dejan Sudjic, director of London's Design Museum, who made me see past my usual careless unconcern for anything but function (except when it comes to cars & Apple products). I bought & am reading his book of essays, B is for Bauhaus, Y is for YouTube: Designing the Modern World from A to Z. (As always, I'm a sucker for an abecedary.) Read More 
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Sleeping, that's my day.

Back Sunday.
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Joanne Kyger (1934–2017)

My goodness, it's been a bad week for cultural icons.

Just last Friday this was my Facebook post:

I'm belatedly "occupying FB" with poetry. Joseph Massey gave me Joanne Kyger, who I love, but more in a big heap than in any separate poem, since every poem she writes is atypical yet somehow add up to one beautiful work. So it took a while to find when & then I picked this one because it's timely, which isn't a great reason but here it is: Read More 
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Another little memory: Driving a bargain

Johnny and I once bought a coffeemaker entirely because it came with free filters. We had no interest in any other feature or price, just the filters.

Which turn out to cost 99¢.
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A Texas tale: Judge Austin of Austin

I could grab a paragraph like the following 10, 20, 50 times a day from every newspaper, website, & magazine. Imagine! Every single one of these stories should be the biggest news of the month, but most will whiz by without a breath of notice.

From Texas Monthly magazine's daily newsletter:
Remember when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up about 50 people over the span of a few days in Austin last month, and publicly characterized the raids as simply “routine” enforcement actions? Well, turns out the raids were not “routine.” Instead, Austin was targeted as retribution for the Travis County Sheriff’s sanctuary policies. On Monday,  Read More 
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Chuck Berry (1926–2017)

I often am cheered by the thought that Chuck Berry is still alive.

That's over.

Johnny says white people like him because you could understand what he was saying.

Wasn't it the backbeat?

I don't have more to say. Chuck Berry!
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The Two-Ingredient Cookbook

I never thought of myself as a cookbook author, let alone a cook, but I already have 2 great recipes for this collection. I made up this one:

Bell Pepper Soup
Cook 4 red, orange, &/or yellow peppers till soft, liquefy in blender at highest setting, add a small container of crême fraiche or similar & a dash of salt. Serve cold.

I had this in Maine:  Read More 
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Sweet dreams at last

New sheets!
Yesterday I spent hours trying to track a package. Not only was I on hold for a total of almost two hours over two days with the carrier, the horrible LaserShip, they gave me different information every time I called. It will come this afternoon, it can't come till this evening, it'll probably be tomorrow, it was lost (they didn't tell ME this, Amazon did), & so on. This is after they already hadn't delivered the package for a week.

Naturally, a supervisor couldn't be found to speak with me & no one returned my calls. At one point I said, This is when any trained customer service rep would apologize. And he just said, Ma'am, this is the information, in the most irritating passive-aggressive manner imaginable.

Contrast this to Amazon,  Read More 
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A little memory

When I was a kid I was given a record, a 45, that played “Happy Birthday.” I wondered how they would know to say “Happy Birthday, Dear Elinor” and was disappointed & chagrined that they merely sang “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday.” Was it that they weren’t following the format? Or that I hadn’t anticipated how they would manage? I think I thought they cheated, more than I was disappointed not to hear my own name.  Read More 
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The Dark Years IV

French garden.
Since the 18th century, the means of subjugating people have made the same progress as the means of killing them.

If I knew something useful to my country which was ruinous to another, I would not propose it to my prince, because I am human before being French (or, rather, because I am necessarily human and only French through chance. —Montesquieu

The new great men of these new times—Hitler, Stalin—are great mass men. Back when I studied Lenin, I was struck by that character. A great man in civilized times was great precisely because of what set him apart from the mass: intelligence, willpower and culture, the delicacy of his mind or heart. These new great men  Read More 
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A bust

Snow plow, Union Square.
This was my Facebook post:
East Village report: gym is closed, dentist is closed, laundry is closed, B&H (wheatgrass, baby!) is closed, Block is closed, & I am exfoliated from walking around in the icy pellety wind finding out.

Came home exhausted & didn't go out again all day. Whew!

WillisWeather® [Spartanburg, SC] explained: It was looking so promising, but it's weather. A storm yes, a blizzard  Read More 
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For real?

I almost gave up hope when it was in the 60s last week, but I didn't, & I believe amen. Blizzard tomorrow! The New York City schools & my dojo & lots of other places are already closed, & I'm going with the crowd on this one. Of course it won't be official till I hear from WillisWeather®...

Disclaimer: I know many people hate the snow & slip & break bones & have heart attacks from shoveling. But I take great pleasure I walking around hardly breathing till I get too cold then drinking tea & looking out the window as the world becomes a new one (just what we need, right?). My personal pleasure isn't caused by, or causing, your suffering, OK?  Read More 
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Politics here & there

Why is it that in the United States one "runs" for office & in England one "stands" for office?
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Every Friday they predict snow, & every Friday it never snows.

However! Despite it being 60° yesterday, it IS snowing right now. Nothing major but gosh, so friendly to have the air around me filled with silent white.
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I found out that a longtime (now former!) friend is a Holocaust denier. He posted a long rant that said there weren't enough Jews for 6 million to have been killed, that those skinny prisoners were all actually Russians, & it's only because the Jews control the media that this lie hasn't long since been exposed.

 Read More 
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International Women's Day (prize edition)

I sat here staring at this hed & wondering what to say about IWD & mostly thinking about its being the birthday of my niece. Decided I would go downtown & get my big reward for being an official Senior Citizen: my half-price metrocard. Whoopie!

Ha ha, my favorite story: I was on the subway a few months back & noticed a handsome young man making eye contact with me. Exactly at the moment I was telling myself, Yup, you've still got it!, he said,  Read More 
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From the Vault: XIV

Pierre, or, the Poets

Pierre or the what?

The ambiguities

What’s that supposed to mean?

Ron: “The first 10 pages were so great I couldn’t read anymore.”

Ben: “Jack says I don’t have to read it.”

Simon: “Yes! That’s all.”

That's all.
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Fun fact

Spearfish, South Dakota, holds the world record for fastest recorded temperature change. On January 22, 1943, at 7:30 in the morning, it was 4° below zero. A Chinook wind swooped in and TWO MINUTES later it was 45°.
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2 months into the year & I have been running out of steam (pep, joy, optimism). Went on a long walk yesterday with my friend & accountability buddy, & decided I need to plan a 5-minute (or longer) fun break every day. I have been compiling a list of things I like so that I don't fall into the slough of despond without being able to respair myself. (Respair being  Read More 
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Prose Pros

I don't know why I don't write more frequently about the series Martha King & I have been hosting for 10 years now. Last night the readers were Quincy Troupe & Hettie Jones. Quincy read from his memoir Miles and Me (he also wrote Miles Davis's autobiography) & a short piece about doing the last interview with James Baldwin. He's a wonderful writer & reader, and the nicest person. I have read with him a couple of times & always enjoyed talking about our midwestern roots (South Dakota, St Louis) and poets & poetry.

Hettie read from her new book of letters between her & the artist Helene Dorn. Even though Hettie emphasized  Read More 
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