icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


Opening day!

I'm a little shocked to talk about the Red Sox on Opening Day but this video is so great, it crowded out whatever I might have said about hope springing eternal, Jeter's last season, or the hapful or hapless teams we'll be living with for the next 6 months.

Ran into Phil "Two Boots" Hartman in his Mets cap & jacket this morning. "Ya going to the game?" I asked.

He gave me a reproachful look. "Of course. When do I not? It's my Rosh Hashana."  Read More 
Be the first to comment


I was off by a day when I wrote, on Thursday, about Chris Christie: There are updates. First, Christie had the state of New Jersey pay for a million-dollar report that (surprise!) exonerated (& beatified) him, putting the blame on (surprise) the emotional woman, Bridget Kelly. Given that the lawyers behind that report didn't even talk to the 3 principals (Kelly, Wildstein, Stepien), how complete can it be? In possibly related news, Port Authority honcho David Samson, a henchpal of Christie's from way back, resigned with no warning late on Friday. Stay tuned....  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Cloud appreciating

Hobbies are stupid. You either do something or you don't. If you do, you go all out, & if you don't, you don't do it at all.

Nonetheless, I do have a hobby, which is cloud spotting. It's a hobby because I belong to the Cloud Appreciation Society. Doesn't mean I know much—I don't know the names of almost any clouds, except lenticular, which looks like a mushroom cloud. Just like to go outside & look up.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Reverse mortgage

I thought I should expand outside my block, so I went to the NY Times to see what's going on in the world. I was hoping for a Chris Christie update but the first article I landed at was about reverse mortgages, which are designed to keep people 62 and older in their homes by borrowing money against the value of their homes that they don't need to pay back until they move out or die.

I am pretty sure my 90-year-old mother has a RM but I'm in that huge cohort of people whose parents keep them in the dark about their finances and plans. Which is my mother's right, absolutely, as long as I'm not left holding the bag, by which I mean doing the legal, financial, & cleaning tasks she should have done.

 Read More 
Be the first to comment


Looking in
OK, I'm a kosher vegetarian (mostly), but that doesn't stop me from loving Katz's. I'm happy to learn that the young scion of the family plans to keep it intact. He could sell off that corner for so much money but he would rather supply corned beef & pastrami to the people. My whole family eats here as often as possible when they're in town. The great triumph recently was that my sister's hotel was a block away, which meant a daily meal there.  Read More 
Be the first to comment


If I told you I'd spent my 20s worrying that if I took my eyes off it, the chair would cease to be a chair, would you say:
(1) Were you depressed?
(2) Were you a philosophy major?
(3) That was just the LSD.

If you said (3), it could only be because you'd spent your 20s the way I did.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

My friend Eileen

Eileen brought me these jonquils the day she was leaving for Ireland, along with swag—the chrome bowl—from the Whitney Biennial. The flowers are dying now but I don't want to toss them.
Be the first to comment

Sunday, Sunday

The first weekend in a while that hasn't been swamped with company &/or obligations. Looking forward to going to karate then kicking back for the rest of the day.

Updates to various earlier posts: I saw a robin on my block, a robin as big as a pigeon. It was 63° yesterday but this  Read More 
Be the first to comment

My nephew Henry

Henry at the Comfort Inn on Ludlow with a game he won at an arcade in Times Square.

Not much is more entertaining & enlightening than hanging out with a 12-year-old who's full of questions & opinions. We walked around the West Village, compared Minnesota (where he lives) to New York City, ate bad pizza on 7th Avenue & a very good brownie from Amy's on Bleecker Street, & did a little karate. I love that kid!

Be the first to comment

Vernal equinox

Or, in lay language, the first day of Spring. How totally lovely it is today too: 54° with just a little snap in the air. I am crossing things off my to-do list, friends are in town, & my knees are holding up.
Be the first to comment

Pretty amazing

Scientists have found a "pygmy" tyrannosaur (skeleton!) in Alaska's North Slope; they estimate it was about 25' long and weighed 1,000 pounds. Compare that to T. rex at 40' and a weight between 7 and 8 tons. Which doesn't seem proportional, does it? The North Slope in the Cretaceous period was warmer than it is today, more like the Pacific Northwest or northern Rockies.

In more science news, a rare toad species long thought extinct turned up in Ecuador, alive & croaking. And in the Amazon rain forest, according to the World Wildlife Fund, scientists have catalogued some 441 plants and animals that were previously unknown. This includes 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds, and one mammal, a monkey whose babies purr like cats.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

A walk to the west side

A pleasure to start my day somewhere other than the 3 blocks between house & office. My sister & her 12-year-old are in town, she for work, he on spring break to go to an architecture camp. They are staying nearby & we walked to LaGuardia & 3rd to where the American Institute of Architects has a gallery and work rooms, & where Henry is going to learn architecture-by-computer (I can't do better than that).

We went by the Chaim Gross Foundation, also on LaGuardia Place, & I remembered waiting for an elevator somewhere in Soho a few years ago & falling into conversation with this wonderful kooky woman who turned out to be his daughter & Red Grooms' ex-wife, Mimi Gross, & have been intending for ages to go see his art there.

Last night two guys at the next table at Mogador were speaking a Germanic-Scandinavian language that we correctly guessed was Danish, even though I've never heard Danish spoken (as far as I know); the AIA has an exhibit of Danish green building techniques & my sister speculated that the two guys were here for that; she might be right as the opening was just a couple of days ago.

I walked back to the East Village along 4th St & remembered my very first stop in New York, Café Dante, & my first apartment, on Thompson St (for 6 weeks). You never think anything is for the last time. I didn't ever think: this is the last time I'll ever hitchhike or see this friend, & after a while, you read those affectionate letters & can't recall who that person is. Maybe I'll go west again.

Be the first to comment

The snow chronicles: last of 2014 (maybe)

There was a snowflake icon on my iPod for 5 & 6 a.m. but when I went outdoors at 6:45 this morning, the streets were as dry as a bitter wind could scrub them. Now that I have a glass of daffodils on my mantel, I'm ready for spring. I am ready for snow (always) but this cold: enough. Especially as every day I lose an article of warm clothing.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Pratchett’s Footnote to Dickens

My friend Avery recommended Terry Pratchett’s Dodger, a recent novel that has the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist as the main character (Oliver doesn’t appear). It was a fun, quick read that sent me back to Dickens; I doubt that I’d read O.T. since I was an adolescent.

Pratchett's characters are able to rise out of their dismal circumstances through the force of their intelligence or personality. Dodger—a much more likeable character than in O.T.—holds his own with Disraeli, London police chief Robert Peel, and even Queen Victoria.

While many common-born people are heroic in his novels, Dickens often relies on miracles and coincidences, and people are good if their birth is good. Is it plausible that Oliver’s family background can keep him genteel throughout a really awful upbringing of criminal neglect, despite the fact that his mother died giving birth to him? Maybe: My cat Buster was a rescued feral cat who has the sweetest temperament of any cat I’ve ever known. Is that a fair comparison? Aren’t cats way more nature than nurture?

Dickens is much more relentlessly dark—his criminals have few or no redeeming qualities—but also more hopeful, with wider swings of ups and downs. As Avery noted, “Many of his characters can be a little all or nothing. When they are good they are very very good, when they are bad they are horrid.” Pratchett fits in with contemporary mores in that we have less taste or tolerance for neglected children and hard-ass adults. Could the people who run workhouse and orphanage be portrayed as quite so naïve these days? Could kids now really have no social services to speak of and be allowed to run quite as wild as Fagin’s gang did?

Dodger never makes you horrified at him being an orphaned thief, and Solomon Cohen (i.e., Fagin) is benign, intelligent and justified. Dickens (a character in Dodger, a sharp-eyed and ubiquitous journalist) never lets up on making you well aware that he disapproves of the mores that reward and fatten a beadle for starving the children in his care. One sees oneself in Dickens’ characters in a way that Pratchett leaves you outside of. I feel guilty for letting Oliver starve, that is, but feel mostly like an observer of Pratchett’s people—a delighted observer for sure, but not implicated. They know how to help themselves, so they don’t need me to intervene. Dodger isn’t piteous or needy or helpless, the way Oliver is. He’s not a victim, Avery points out, even though society is trying to victimize him.

Be the first to comment

$ $ $ $ $ $

Going to the accountant means acknowledging that I have been remiss professionally this year i.e. last year. I guess I don't want to think about money. I just want it to be there. It always has been, enough of it anyway. As long as I don't spend any.
Be the first to comment

The NuGrape Twins

I’m a bit obsessed with this little-known act from the mid-1920s. It’s possible the Nugrape Twins were Matthew and Mark Little, born September 16, 1888, in Tennille, Georgia. Matthew died in 1962 and Mark in 1965. I’ve heard at least one commenter say they were black. I don’t think so but it’s often hard to tell with rural blues singers.

I’m pretty sure I have their complete oeuvre—only six songs. Far and away the best is “I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape.” They also recorded the similar “Nugrape—A Flavor You Can’t Forget” and  Read More 
Post a comment

Merchant Marine monument

I often ride down to Battery Park to see this but have never before taken a picture. From one angle, the man on the right is calling for help, from another he's praying. Depending on the tides, the man down below (invisible here), who's reaching for help, has water swishing through his mouth. Lifelike. Chilling.

According to the NYC Parks & Recreation website: Commissioned by the American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial, Inc., this memorial was conceived in 1976. In 1988, after an  Read More 
Be the first to comment


Every year in Sioux Falls, my best friend, Debbie, & I would have a competition: Who could spot the first robin of spring? It was always her (& her idea). I hardly ever see robins in New York City but here one was, down by Bowling Green, Sunday, March 9.

I can recognize pigeons, robins, flamingoes & many other urban boids.

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Cousins rock III

It was really great to have Amy here this weekend on her first-ever visit to New York. One trait we cousins share is knowing exactly how everyone is related to everyone else. Amy, for example, is my second cousin once removed. On her dad's side she is related to William Jennings Bryan, who now becomes an ancestor of mine. That's how we roll—family is family.  Read More 
Be the first to comment


First Maggie had a cyst in her finger. The hand doc said he would have to take her to a special room where he would wear a mask, & there would be an MRI, stitches & general anesthesia. She said hmmmm maybe, came over, I hit her finger with a book (traditionally a Bible, but in this case the 600-page hardcover Ice by Mariana Gosnell). Voila, no cyst.

An hour later I was running home, swerved & went flying, messing up my finger. It's OK, likewise thanks to ice.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Sloppy Johny

West 25th St, any time this century or last
Sloppy indeed. They can't even spell his name rite.

My high school friend got an invoice addressed to John Stanton. Is that my dear husband's secret life, working at a shoe store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota? He's so mysterious.

Be the first to comment

Pet peeve II

I just sort of hate saying someone "passed" to mean they died.

I have a lot of grammar & vocabulary peeves, actually, but Ammon Shea, who is writing a book on exactly this topic, says everyone has, always, & that half the time the next generations have no idea why their elders were so exercised over -ize verbs, for example, or "hopefully." Read More 
Be the first to comment

Verizon Redux

I didn't think it could get worse... The guy finally came on Friday (1/2 an hour late) & said, "The problem is in the central line, I don't know why they even sent me." He did this 'n' that & said it would be fixed "tonight." Now it's Wednesday, & not only is the internet not fixed, my  Read More 
Be the first to comment

March Forth

There are people who love puns & those who consider them terrible punishment.

My friend Tim Wiles, for 20 years research librarian at the Baseball Hall of Fame, keeps a list of players whose names form complete sentences, such as Pete Rose. Tim's does too.

Be the first to comment


Becca took this photo of her cat
Such a good photo, all soft angles & those blue eyes. Of a cat who doesn't show up at all in many settings.
Be the first to comment

Pet peeve I

So what do you do when a bunch of people go out for dinner? The easiest thing to do is split the bill, of course, & I don't mind that, since unless one person eats 3 entries & a dessert, & the others only have an appetizer, it comes out about the same.

But then you add in  Read More 
Be the first to comment