shall we resolve?

. . . to once and for all get the place painted this summer
. . . to get fit enough to make it to 14,000 feet and down again
. . . to have all those eye tests and colonoscopies and dental exams
. . . to find paying work in a new career
. . . to learn languages
. . . to love
. . . to actually use Quick Books this year
. . . to be a better person
. . . to be badder than ever

Will you join me, or do you have your own revolutions?


let it snow, let it snow

The weather just seems to just keep doing what it's been doing all around this nation of ours. In Santa Fe, at Cowboy's house, that was snow and more snow. I think I know what that object is. Do you? In Louisiana, that was rain and more rain. And here in the tropics of New York, it's just balmy all the time.

pork shopping

The birthday season continues, with Berber, Wolfen, Justin, the Artist Known as Chang, sister Ping, Nevvie, Holly, Ivy (I kid you not), Dada & etc all celebrating. Angelina and her entourage arrive in town today for a hastily assembled meeting of Jeal-Anon, for those of us NOT being feted with birthday galas and 21-pound hams.


the birthday girl

Well, I was kind of hoping for a picture of the actual event, but it hasn't materialized. This is a great picture of J, though, who turned a nice round number a couple days ago, and no, that's not her daughter but her granddaughter, who photographer Donna Ferrato characterizes as "the Empress-To-Be."


they signed the lease

. . . and will move into this elegantly rehabbed mill building the day after Wolfen's birthday. Not sure how all the truckloads of stuff that have been transported to staging areas all over the Northeast ever fit into our apartment in the first place. The loft should be big enough.


twas the day after christmas

This picture was taken with my brand new Christmas camera, which is very small and cute but which I don't know how to use quite yet. Perhaps inspired by the cheerless scenery, or the fact that Wolfen was wearing a bathrobe over her clothing in the car, or by Ruby Montana of fame, the cubs decided that we needed to start a country band called White Trash Patio. Just the thought of the song titles! the stage sets! the costumes! had our heads a spinnin' like we'd just drank a magnum of Colt .45. Or maybe got too close to the neighbor's meth lab.
Still not sure why the flag was at half mast in Connecticut, though.


the good news

The good news is: today is NOT the shortest day of the year. That was yesterday. The solstice occurred at about 7:20-something p.m. As a devotee of The Golden Bough, I know a lot about winter solstice celebrations and how fires bring back the sun (son, in Christian tradition), but the other good news is I'm not going to tell you about any of that now. I'm going to Brooklyn to get the truck fixed. Again. Right after the cub goes up to the Bronx to get his car fixed. Again.


nutty as

How did fruitcake become a national joke? Johnny Carson once cracked that there was actually only one fruitcake in the U.S. that was simply passed from person to person. Whatever the reason, no one sends me fruitcakes any more. I think they're too embarrassed. A whole one is too much, but a slice or two isn't amiss at this season. So if someone gives you a fruitcake you don't want, toss it here.


plan ahead

Wonder if the stalker from Spain will show up at the front door. . .


the fourth night

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me
a laundry bag under the tree
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me 2 Tide detergents
and a laundry bag under the tree
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me 3 rolls of quarters, 2 Tide detergents and a laundry bag under the tree
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 4 fabric softeners, 3 rolls of quarters, 2 Tide detergents and a laundry bag under the tree.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 5 mismatched so-o-o-cks. . .
12 washers washing
11 shirts a sudsing
10 jeans a spinning
9 tighty whities
8 colored t-shirts
7 ripe bandanas
6 driers drying
5 mismatched so-o-o-cks . . .


it's a miracle!

The Ghost of Christmas Present drops in on Riverside Drive on the third night of Hannukah.
Other miracles:
It is springtime in New York City, and the crabapples are blooming.
I was able to finish the crossword puzzle Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The household vehicles were all repaired last week, and the amount of stuff that fit in the truck last night for portage north (Wolfen and the Cub move imminently) was its own wonderment. The fact that it had fit into the apartment at all in the first place was the real miracle. Not to mention that everyone in the household is still speaking.
And speaking of Wolfen, for the first time, at age almost 25, she became addicted to a handhheld video game. I don't think that's a miracle, but it is distinctly odd. I'm not sure she was able to put it down to go to bed last night.


chappy chappy

the imagined life

Good morning. This is your captain speaking. Skies are clear in New York City, and as far as the eye can see I have nothing to say. Or nothing I will tell you all, anyway. Please feel free to invest my life with all your wildest dreams and fantasies. Some of them may even approach the truth. But you'll never know, will you? Because this me, this Captain Claudinkus, is just a computer construct. So use me any way you please—I'll never tell.

P.S. Do you prefer this larger type size?


outer boroughs

Brooklyn, Bronx and Beyond.



Thanks for all the calls. And thanks to Dolores, Dangerman, La Otra Rubia, the Subway Singer and the others for showing up on a school night.



It's also my birthday, so I will be holding court for anyone who wants to drop by and have a glass of—water?
PS For those of you who want to read the fine print, if you click on the image you can see it a lot bigger.


holla back

A blog can be a masturbatory form, a report from Boredomland, dateline My Life, of what "I" am thinking/doing.
Or, it can be more of a community of loosely connected people who can't be in the same room having a conversation.
Yes, here it comes: Aside from CBA weighing in from down south in Beautyland and Otra Rubia from the Bronx (who, BTW has two nice new Ikea cabinets up against the wall today), and, oh, we must not forget Ace who gave us that splendid Christmas letter the other day, nobody has anything to say. It doesn't have to be witty or wild. Naughty might be nice. Really just "How y'all doin'" is enough, just to let us know you're out there.
This is the semiannual plea. Won't do it again for another six months or so. I promise. Although come to think of it, I'm not sure that I will keep this act going for another six months if you guys don't want it. Maybe it's time for the end. Maybe it's time for a vote.

Angelina sends in this about her latest exploits.

Harry sends in a link to his latest movie short

And don't forget Wolfen's guitar string bracelets featured in People last week.


an afternoon in hell

The serenity is on the surface. Despite the sunshine and the sparkling windows, the staggering view and the gleaming table top, despite the Web at our fingertips and brains enough for four, despite the will and the tools and the ability to follow directions, we were wrestled to the floor by


Yes, I'm aware that this has happened to others before. But that was others. This time it was me. I wonder if I will have to drive back to New Jersey and buy La Otra Rubia another shelf to replace the one that I smashed or whether the glue will hold.
I will find out today when we open the book and begin to read Chapter 3 of

The History of Sleaze


christmas letters

Yes, 'tis the season of the Family Annual Report, and boy am I looking forward to it! (I have this one cousin who does the whole thing in the worst imaginable doggeral, which sounds even worse when she reports that something bad has happened—there's no way you can really brighten your dog's death or your husband's losing his job.)
This year's haul kicks off with the following from my sister:

"Here we are again! And guess what? We don't have anything to say.
Don't get your hopes up, though, we'll say it anyway."

That pretty much puts the genre in a nutshell, don't it?
Please weigh in with such portions of your own holiday reports that you don't mind the rest of us laughing at.
With, with. Laughing with.


this or this?

I like the plastic/ stainless thing. I like the wheels, also. The Cub doesn't like plastic, though. He's into full metal jacket.
What do you think?

I have until spring to decide.


not for kids

Anyone here ever been pregnant in New York City? Please raise your hand.
You? And you?
So did the behavior of friends, coworkers and even passersby change towards you at all?
Yes, you in the front row.
"People I barely knew started asking me personal questions in the office. Some of them even patted my belly without asking!"
"Yeah. At restaurants people frowned at me if I ordered fish. Or coffee."
"The thing that bothered me was perfect strangers telling me disgusting horror stories."
"They kept telling me what to do with my own body! With this attitude."

There are only two other situations in which people think they have a right to tell you how to live:
If you smoke or if you drink. (You will be immediately struck dead if you do either while pregnant, so nobody will have to tell you anything.)
My friends and family have been complaining to me about my addictions.
Let me see, now. I have been drinking far too much lately, and yes it is making me fat, and yes, I have heard that that it can affect my liver. Someone told me that smoking is bad for you, too, and I'm pretty confident studies prove it.

Yet there are some other self-destructive behaviors that you all might want to be on the lookout for in the people you love or in, for that matter, perfect strangers who are making your medical costs or taxes higher or just plain bothering you:
Extreme weight gain or loss
Bad marriages
Fingernail biting
Profligate spending
Infrequent dental visits, mammograms and colonoscopies
Keeping irregular hours
Not eating five servings of vegetables or fruits a day
Too many kids
Obsessive/compulsive disorder
Listening to excessively loud music
Not enough exercise
Having unprotected sex
No seatbelts

I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of things.

But remember, you especially owe it to your near and dear to do an intervention if you observe such self-destructive behavior. Because their business is your business. Because you love them. Call them on it. They'll thank you one day.
Unless they're really, really contrary.

Oops, I think this post was meant to go on whatismyfuckingproblem.com
Or maybe whatisyourfuckingproblem.com

globetrotting photog confirms flight



hot mulled cider

Here is a seasonal recipe for hot mulled cider:

Cut down Christmas tree in the country
Bring it up in the elevator in the city
Invite over a bunch of old friends and lovers
Put a half gallon of cider into a pot
Add clementines and some peel
Add cloves, grate in nutmeg
Remember that you left the cinnamon sticks at the bar
Decorate tree
Yak with friends
Drink Beaujolais Nouveau


i kean't

An all-day shopping trip to Ikea in Paramus, N.J., during Christmas season. Can you imagine anything more fun? An excursion so long you have to stop for lunch and don't get home until rush hour. Maybe I will get that bumper sticker that reads: "Yes, this is my truck. No I won't help you move."
Oops. This is becoming an entry for whatismyfuckingproblem.com. I forgot: This is the nice site.
So let me ameliorate the effect of the foregoing by saying that the problem of what kind of cabinets to put in Hannah's Beach Party City may be solved. There are these aluminum slats that roll up like a garage door, see, and . . .


season of the witch

As soon as it turns cold—and it has just done so with a vengeance over much of the country—our thoughts turn to Palm Springs and the charming motelier Ruby Zee Montana at the Coral Sands.
And speaking of Ruby, she has just started her own blog, mainly about little dogs and her weird friends (of which I am proud to be one). I have linked to it on the right (under "Links," duh) on this page and also here Ruby's Blog Check it out, keeping in mind that it is less PG than this one. Though we know that for you, Dear Readers, this is rather a selling point than not. You have proven that over the past couple days.


sex sells

Well, the s-word seems to be in the international language. I got hits from Slovakia, Argentina, Hungary, not to mention assorted college campuses in the U.S. They all musta been mighty disappointed when they found out how much x-rated stuff was available on this site.


sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll

I have vowed not to take any more pictures until this year's are edited. However, since mostly all I'm doing is editing pictures, I have little to say and less to photograph. I have been trying to get you guys to pick up the ball , but in vain, I'd say, except for Mr. Li and La Otra Rubia. So I have overbilled this entry in the title hoping for a little fresh blood. I expect the next thing that will happen is links to porn sites. Unless even the Google crawler is bored out of its poor little artificial intelligence.


what do you want?

What do you want for Christmas?
A little doggie with a rhinestone collar?
A gift certificate to Barnes and Noble?
A backhoe?
A moment to yourself?
A million dollars?
A new love?
A vegetable peeler that really works?
A trip to Vegas?
What do you want?


i'm sorry

OK, I'm sorry. I'm SORRY. OK? So I didn't post today. So what do you want from my life? Sometimes I have other things to do and nothing to say. I'm SORRY. I said so, right? I am really really sorry. But there is just nothing in my eyes or my brain to show you. I'm just boring. OK? So give me a BREAK already. I'm SORRY.


night and day

How does this work?
In November on the island I have to struggle to stay awake until 8:00 pm, while in New York I have to force myself to bed at 1:00 am.
When do you sleep?


da bronx, baby

Yes, La Otra Rubia has moved into Dolores's building, lock and stock and Veuve Cliquot. They began with mimosas in the morning (well, it wasn't really the morning—Dolores doesn't get up that early) and moved on to the famed Yankee Tavern in the afternoon. Exploring the neighborhood. An expedition to the grocery store was cancelled due to lack of oomph. And fortunately, the firecracker sisters (above) left town before the vice police came after us all.



He was pretty surprised. Wolfen had organized a party at DJ-man's bar and was wondering how to suggest they go there, when he suggested it himself over dinner. There were presents and carrot cake and mulled cider, which I took down in a cab. The party got started kind of late and seems to be continuing (devolving into a sleepover, with Spogga on the couch) in the living room this morning


stone soup

The children prepare their own Thanksgiving dinner.


this year's thanksgiving lineup

Female: 11
Male: 6
Males under three: 2
Sets of twins: 1
LBGT: (that I know of) 2
Psychiatrists: 1
Under 25: 6
Big media employees: 2
Female car mechanics: 1
Chinese-Americans: 1
Latinas; 1
Gasner/Dowling clan members: 7
Aliens: 1
Parents: 6
Blonds: 6
Strangers: 1
Native Americans: 0 (though a possibility for next year)

We still don't know about the toilet seat mosaic artist or the high school friends.



Movin on up. Wolfen's room looks like this (below), as we prepare for the feast and for her move.
And my room looks like that (right), because a gal's gotta

run her business from somewhere in the interim.

I can't describe how the living room looks. Suffice it to say that the Cub is packing, too.

And now, I will go buy a turkey.
And move the truck.


it's a miracle

Our Lady of Lourdes appeared on the kitchen table in New York City.
She arrived by post, having suffered a bit of fluid loss through her screw-on crown, with the result that the US Postal service is now holier than— well, certainly than thou.
J sent her hoping that she would cure my knee. I was hoping that she could find me some work.
Now that would be a miracle.


and the winner is. . .

OK, thanks for playing WHAT'S IN THE TRUCK?
As you can see, DaDa was correct about the banana. Actually, there were two bananas at the beginning of the trip and one and a half by the end, seen here. So that's 5 points for being right and a bonus of 5 points for being first.
Dada 10
Wolfen, too, scored on the banana issue, for 5 points. She gets an additional 5 for condiments, though she might have specified four different types of wasabi, two boxes of sea salt from France, a bottle of ketchup and several mustards.
Wolfen 10
CBA, hmm. She was right about the power tools (though actually it was just one screw gun and the girlie set of manual tools my sister gave me last Christmas) for 5 points. And I probably SHOULD have had an air conditioner and a few chairs, though I didn't, for 20 points. But CBA loses points because the question was not what was in HER truck (which she only bought because she was jealous of me) but what was in MY truck! And that is so outrageous that she loses 15 big ones.
CBA 10.
Dangerman was right about the beer for 5 points, but he had something of CBA's problem about Jimmy Hoffa in that I suspect he simply wished that I had Hoffa in my truck so that he could find the body and put it all over Fox News. Doesn't he understand that this question is about me, not about him? So I'll give him 5 for trying.
Dangerman 10
Certain Mother is wrong on one point. I DID have a lipstick, and a pretty fancy one that Desperado bought me at Jeffrey's in the Meat Market for going on TV. As for the girdle, that's outrageous. She get's 15 points for that suggestion, minus 5 for being WRONG WRONG WRONG about the lipstick.
Certain Mother 10
DR was right, I SHOULD have had those darned tomato-soup coffee cups. But I didn't have room when I finished loading 50 white dinner plates and 50 place settings of cheesy Ikea silverware, along with 15 wine glasses and 16 strands of fairy lights for that next big party. And BTW, DR, did you notice your vase in the tricked-out kitchen of the new place?
DR 10
Cowgirl. This girl was playing for real! Laptop 5. Tools 5. How-to books? Ixnay. I have very little left to do. Other books (a copy of The Marriage of Zones Three, Four and Five by Doris Lessing among them)5. Coffee maker? Nope. I had the last pound of Zabar's coffee, but at last count I owned two Chemex coffee pots, two electric setups and a Melita or two, so I don't travel with em. Camera, check, for 5. Underwear 5. Water 5 (you can see it in the Ozarka bottle above). Phone 5. deducting 10 points for the how-to book and the coffee maker, that still leaves Cowgirl the rodeo queen.
Cowgirl 25! Yippie ty yi!

None of y'all guessed the koa wood ukulele, the ham knife, the brass platter on permanent loan from 4th floor Web Guy, the bushel of apples, potatoes and onions, the cooler full of frozen foodstuffs including a lot of veggie burgers, the two pumpkins and the box of things to return to Home Depot, but hey, thanks for playing WHAT'S IN THE TRUCK? I look forward to your suggestions next year.

Oh, the prize. The prize for the 6 runners up, with 10 points apiece, is being able to stay in the New York apartment. Preferably NOT ALL AT ONCE. And the prize for Cowgirl? She gets to stay a whole lot longer!


point b to point a

Yes, folks, it's time for that semi annual game once again of
It's harder this year because--yes--it's been raining, so everything is in garbage bags.
Still, I am sure there are things you could guess right--and some things you would never ever expect to find being carted from the island to New York City.
So, let's play WHAT'S IN THE TRUCK?

5 points for each correct answer
10 points for answers that should be correct
15 points for outrageous answers

Employees of Claudia's Surf City not permitted
Prizes to be announced


house proud

If you could only see what the other half of the room looks like, you would understand photography as illusion much better. Let's just say it is not floored.


this just in

Here is a glimpse of a new earring collection by Wolfen at AZU. She says,
"This piece, 'Silver, Brass and Glass,' from the Hapless Collection, will be featured at the "Are You Nosi" Event in Providence on December 2nd.
Why hapless? We're nosi. And we want to know what they cost.


godzilla invades fjord

OK. So it's raining, and polyurethane takes longer to dry.

another triumph for geekdom

T-Shirt Turns Air Guitar Into Music

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Scientists announced Monday that they have developed a high-tech T-shirt that turns the strumming of an air guitar into music. The T-shirt has motion sensors built into its elbows that pick up the wearer's arm motions and relay them wirelessly to a computer which interprets them as guitar rifts, said Richard Helmer, an engineer who leads the research team from the government's Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

That would be "guitar riffs," however. And I think it might work better if the sensors were on the belly of the T-shirt.


perhaps you'd like to know. . .

We are reliably informed that the Fox News tower in midtown Manhattan has bedbugs. Dangerman reports that they originated on the VIP couch. . .La Otra Rubia has moved into the just-floored apartment she bought in Dolores's building. . . Angelina is in Georgia making everyone terribly jealous by pursuing the purchase of a large, loaded midlife crisismobile, a Chevy Silverado pickup to compliment her Tiffany diamonds. . . J returned to California in time to vote, leaving her mate in France attempting to install the new Viking stove in the under-renovation kitchen (photos upon request). . . The Block Island social scene has been etiolated (?) by the departure of Mr. Piss-on-the-ants and his bride, Ber-Ber. It will be further depleted by the desertion today of Wolfen and the Cub, bearing a cratefull of wedding gifts and much firedancing equipment, and leaving the Architect happy with a new portfolio of photographs and me with a new kitchen floor to be urethaned. My own departure next week will be the less mourned as I have decided to forego hosting further dinner entertainments.
Please post your own items below.



It seems that neither Rhode Island nor New York needed my vote. Shoulda moved to Virginia.


now what?

Faithful readers, I know I've been boring you lately.
There is the post-construction slump, the post-wedding slump and, perhaps most importantly, the this-island-is-too small factor which has led me deeper into vanilla prose and prosaic photography. I know you need a little hot sauce.
So what do you want?
Nude pictures?
More pet photos?
A return to the ascerbic?
Intimate details about the lives of people you may or may not know? Intimate details of your own lives?
Pictures of La Rubia's construction site?
A guide to feng shui?
The latest on the internet affair with the MTF Lakota?
The most recent installment in that continuing family saga, "East of Westchester"?
What's going on in Oaxaca?
The sociology of blended families?
Dangerman's latest health report?
Yesterday's beer count?
Or I could just pass my remaining days with the specific goal of not boring you and report the truth.
My life is in your hands, dear readers. Do you ever wonder whether your participation in this blog is just a little, shall we say, passive?


meet cute

Wolfen and the Cub were headed north along the Eastern Seaboard.
Angelina and I were headed south.
The twain, or rather two twains, met by the side of the road in New Haven for a few minutes of face time.


the boat

We're down to two or three boats a day. And today, I'll be on one of them.


the way things are

This is the way things are:
The plasterers are slogging and slopping away.
My brother is packing up.
The window casings are done.
The doors are hung.
There are a few things left to do. Downstairs floor. Cleanup. Urethane. Cleanup. Painting. Cleanup. Fireplaces. Cleanup. These things will probably not get done until spring. The painting alone could take me a year (window casings, doors, interior walls, floors, stairway, exterior trim, railings).
I am going off island on Thursday to take my bro to the airport, then to NY to see the subway singer perform that evening.
Kathleen Mock will be at Makor, 35 W 67th Street at 7:30 on November 2, for those who wish to see her. www.mockmusic.com
Then I am coming back to the island to see how much I can get done before I have to shut down.
That is the way things are.
Superficially, anyway.


just one more

phototgraph by Donna Ferrato


but that was yesterday

The ceremonial lowering of the flag and raising of the fake flowers takes place on Neruda's last golden weekend on the island.
Today, we are expecting up to two inches of rain with gusting to 65 mph. The ocean is heaving and who knows if the boats are running.


here's ben!

Thanks to the groom, we found Ben.


getting plastered

There is some discussion about whether to paint or seal with a masonry product like Okon. Also about tinting plaster. Thoughts? Think quick. . .


venus in scorpio, avian style

The birds have gone crazy. They seem to think it's nesting season. They are flying around like nutcases (nuthatches?), flying into the house and out, around and around the house, through the porch. They're doing this all over the island. I mean, the apple tree started blooming and then the shad bushes and now this. I'm freezing my ass off. Don't these dumb birds know it's time to go south for the winter and not time to nest?


where's ben?

photograph by Donna Ferrato


point c to point b

Pulled myself out almost bodily from a dream (does everybody dream like this?) to realize I'm late starting to move stuff back to from where I moved it from the last time so as to make room for the plasterers to start work! Tomorrow! On this island, when a group of workmen say they have a week's availability, you jump on it, no matter how inconvenient. I have a bit more insulating to do as well, and Cowboy is finishing out the window sills and casings. Better get out to Point B so I can move stuff back to Point A!
BTW the leading contenders for names at this point are East and West (thanks Phil—so dignified, though the allusion to Frank Lloyd Wright seems boastful) and the somewhat less dignified Claudia's Surf City and Hannah's Beach Party or Hannah's Party City.
Whaddya think?


stairway as heaven

So, do we paint the railings white? aqua? leave them natural? We are going for the look of a waterfall of wood, here.


lights, action

What is this item, Mr. Li?
This very fine item came from China, touching down in a San Diego warehouse. I bought it on line based on a 2 x 2 inch photo, knowing very well that I was taking a risk. But it wasn't very expensive (a closeout sale, no big surprise), shipping was free and the thing was guaranteed for a whole while.
It was installed months ago, but last night I was able to treat myself to my first spa evening. Mind you, you can have lights or action, but not, apparantly, both at once. I also don't dare use the heater for fear of blowing the whole scene to kingdom come. But I was able to sit there in the bubbling rice bowl feeling like a cannibal's next meal. "All you need is some giant chopsticks," Photochild says. And I know I'm really asking for it here, but it seems like giant chopsticks are something Mr. li might stock.