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America's pinkest city

I love when my hometown shows up in the news (at least when it's for beauty not some crazy dingbat move by a senator or state rep).

This article talks about Sioux quartzite, a very hard, reddish stone. My high school & many important downtown buildings, along with some of the fancy late 19th-century homes on Prairie & Duluth avenues, are made of Sioux quartzite, so it never seemed that special because so ubiquitous. Beautiful, for sure, but how was I to know it wasn't like this everywhere?  Read More 
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The end of the automobile?

I know it's sentimental to love the car, I know it's better to go electric, but it is beyond sad that cars will one day soon be nothing more than transportation. The glamour & romance of the road will be gone. Maybe it already is?

It's been a while since what was under the hood was exciting. It's all computers, & now it'll be batteries, & one day we won't even be driving. Future generations will no doubt be appalled at how primitive our way of getting around was, & those Jaguars & Minis & Packards & all the rest of the real-steel wonders will be historical wonders but not something so beautiful & fast they make you cry.  Read More 
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The most glorious Pound

Someone graced our foyer with this display.

The book is The Most Glorious Crown: The Story of America's Triple Crown Thoroughbreds from Sir Barton to Affirmed.

It's been there for several days.
Which despite the landlord's nuttiness is what is so great about the Pound.

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The usual

The first time anyone asked me if I wanted the usual, it wasn't even mine. I was working for the poet James Schuyler & every day would go around the corner from the Chelsea Hotel where he lived to a diner on 8th Ave & get him a BLT. Nonetheless, I was excited to recognized as a regular.

The best time was one year when I was going to a lot of  Read More 
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Around the corner II

Here's another part of the trailer-shed.

There's the key, so maybe I should just go in & find out what this is all about. It's been there for years & has never moved. I half-think someone lives there & has somehow managed to park there without getting a ticket.
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Around the corner

Reason #42,216 to love my block. There's a shed (or trailer) around the corner on 1st St that gets repainted frequently, maybe weekly. I have never seen anyone going in or out of the shed, & only once seen people doing the artwork. I have no idea what it's all about. The most recent iteration has 2 elements I like.  Read More 
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Agony's liquor

Spring Street, New York City.
Great old—old without being dated—sign, palimpsest of Italian Soho. Before it was Soho.

* Anthony = Agony courtesy of Robyn Ryan, who knows some heavy drinkers!
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So mysterious. What is a "possible electrical condition"? What is an electrical condition? Is it a little bit sexy?

This was in front of my building when I left this morning. I went in the store to ask my landlord.

It's nothing, he said, it's resolved. Something that was supposed to be less than a 1 was a 1.

This is typical of Mike. He doesn't want to share information & he will never admit he doesn't know something or that anything is wrong. You wanting to know pretty much guarantees he won't tell you.  Read More 
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Tomatoes on a plate

Tomatoes are the best thing about summer. Juicy, sweet, on toasted bread with mayonnaise & sometimes a little cheese. I could live on them the whole season.
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Foliage on 4th St

It makes me happy when something escapes a well-tended block & gets wild. It makes me happy that no one from the bank felt an obligation to trim this. Maybe banks like wild growth.
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The New Museum

The Elinor Nauen Handrail?
The Elinor Nauen Elevator Button?
The Elinor Nauen Toilet Paper Dispenser?  Read More 
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Baby bird

This little guy was right outside my office steps a couple of days ago, making a noise that was louder than he was. I tried dropping crumbs into his mouth but that didn't work. Whenever he ducked his head you could see that he was bald under his feathers. Really a new bird. There was a lot of bounce-back chirping from all around, & a little while later he wasn't there at all, which I hope is connected.  Read More 
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The Royal on the left is a real beauty. The others are the K cars of their day.
None of them really work but I love having four manual typewriters. One still has a bunch of glittery car stickers on it (not shown here) that immediately hurtled me back to all the work I turned out on that Smith-Corona. My first typewriter was a portable Olivetti my brother gave me. I was so sad when my apartment was robbed (back when the East Village was way more dangerous & my only protection was a 2x4 wedged into the window) & it was stolen—I was sure my poems came from it not me & there would be no more.

Two of our granddaughters want typewriters so I hauled these out. Can I give them away? The older likes retro things—she also has a turntable, although it plays through an iPod. The younger  Read More 
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"Every time Hitler crossed a new line, of rhetoric or violence or policy, those who had decided that he was what Germany needed found a new way to overlook his latest egregious step. His speeches and books, to say nothing of his policies, were dripping with Jew-hatred, but decent Germans, including many Jews, found reasons for looking the other way, all in the service of some other ostensible good which his election would serve. One does not need to read Ullrich’s book to know that matters did not work out terribly well for Germany – or for the Jews."

This is Rabbi Daniel Gordis talking about Volker Ullrich’s "stunning" recent biography of Adolf Hitler, Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939, and why many Jews still support tRump.

The synagogue in Charlottesville hid their Torah scrolls & canceled events.

Sick. Read More 
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The president of the United States

The president of the United States can't bring himself to condemn Nazis & white supremacists.

What world is this? I thought the Atlantic Ocean had knocked me down last week but this is so much more terrifying & deadly.

And yet, and yet, he continues to have his defenders, who are sick of black people being "pandered" to &, I suppose, agree with his moral equivocating.

Sick.  Read More 
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Roof door

The view from the roof is great but the view of the roof not so much.

It's pretty funny that Mike thinks he is making the building better by painting the walls baby-poop-beige adding a terrible front door (see yesterday's post), & "renovating" with all sorts of "upgrades" that are invariably any or all of dumb, useless, unwanted, nonfunctional, ugly.  Read More 
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Across America by bicycle

My 15-year-old nephew finished a 56-day 3700-mile cross-country bike ride today. He started by dipping his wheels into the Pacific in Oregon & ended this afternoon at Coney Island. I've driven across the country many times & it's a long haul. To do every bit of it under your own steam is hard to imagine. He saw the uncountable stars in the West, climbed Rocky Mountains, followed the Columbia River Gorge, joined RAGBRAI for a stretch, was alone with himself for hours on end (the hardest part), ate incessantly, showered rarely, & had a life-changing time.

I love that kid. I can't wait to see what happens next for him.  Read More 
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"Be Careful"

The pale sign in the window's upper left reads: "Be Careful the door is shocking people"
My landlord's latest "improvement" is a door that is magnetized. It requires two hands to exit—you hold that red button on the right & turn the handle simultaneously. Not only is it inconvenient, & difficult-to-impossible if you are, oh, carrying something or have a bum shoulder or are short, it's probably illegal, according to a friend of mine who works for the Fire Department. It's mostly used for locked psych wards & is only legal if it's hooked to a particular kind of building-wide fire safety system, which he says we don't have. If the electricity goes out, which has happened many times & certainly could happen in a fire, we could be trapped  Read More 
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All that is solid melts

Climate change has led to many deeply buried mysteries being exposed. In the news recently was a story about finding the bodies of a Swiss couple who disappeared 75 years ago when a glacier receded. They had gone to milk their cows, leaving behind 7 children. An Iron Age horse was found in Norway & Incan child sacrifice victims in Argentina.

Think about these  Read More 
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Southern Cross

The one nice thing about having no internet at my office is sitting at Southern Cross, the coffee shop up the block. I had a decaf iced cappuccino & a too-peppery scone, & listened to the Doors & Beatles among much more contemporary music. They claim to have the best coffee in the city. It is pretty good but that seems an unprovable claim, doesn't it?

Unrelated fact: I own 4 manual typewriters.  Read More 
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Dirty scrabble

This is a game Ann & I just finished, where many more words than usual contributed to an unplanned, & rare, theme. (Although another game I'm playing with someone else right now includes bird, rat, sow, eel, bear, & local denizen.) This one includes:
Hombre / Deft / Taxicab
Some of the words are suggestive mostly in a sort of snowballing way. Read More 
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Beach training!

Yesterday was my dojo's beach training day. We black belts arrive at Far Rockaway around 4 a.m., meditate while the sun rises, then do exercises on the sand & in the water. It's really fun except when you're waking up in the middle of the night, oh, & when you are so blind-sleepy that you trip & spill a whole cup of tea & mash up your shoulder.

A day later, I'm still not totally awake, but it was fun to come home all sandy & take a nap.  Read More 
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On procrastination

I finally did a little task that I had had on my to-do list for probably two months, which was to get my passport picture. It took all of 1o minutes, so why did it take so long to get to it? I guess that's the nature of postponing, that tasks then take longer & loom larger than they need to. The accomplishment can't equal the investment.  Read More 
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Ava Gardner once said: Elizabeth Taylor is pretty, I am beautiful.
Johnny and I watched The Killers on DVD. Angie Dickinson in the 1964 version, Ava Gardner in the ’46. He loves Angie but I love Ava. In real life, a 19-year-old woman in (I think) Maryland hired a hitman (really an undercover cop) to steal a lump of cocaine (really a block of queso blanco) and kill everyone (four men and “children if present”) in the house. Read More 
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From my roof

Could I drag an air mattress up here & sleep out? People slept on their fire escapes in the days before air conditioning. I can't imagine. I can't even imagine growing up in an apartment. When it was too hot in Sioux Falls, we kids would sleep on the floor in my parents' bedroom, which had a room a/c, the only one in the house. We didn't even have fans in our rooms, let alone a/c or central air. In fact, I've never had central air conditioning in my life, having gone on from South Dakota to even more primitive living conditions & ending up in a tenement for the last 40 years. Read More 
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