the aftermath

So there was this chocolate pie, see, and it was covered with slippery whipped cream, and the crust was kind of hard, and, like, it just jumped off the plate, ricocheted off two people and, like, landed crushed on their feet. . .


american eating ceremony 2008

Another production concluded—or almost, there is still a LOT of pie.
In other Thanksgiving news, check out Madison's video of the event and Sam's disgusting what can you make with a turkey jello mold. And especially note picture of Barrett in her store in the New York Times slide show today.


santa has a pop

"I know what a blogger does when they don't have anything to say," says a friend (you know who you are).
"What?" I ask.
"They post a picture," he says.


guess who's coming to dinner

It's that time of year again, when in an inclusive spirit of Thanksgiving we attempt diversity—in nationality, religion or lack thereof, age and whatever else we can think of—and fall well short of the mark. This year, as a matter of fact, is piss poor.

Smokers 5
Ex-smokers 2
Dillitant smokers 1
People who have never smoked (yet, so far as I know) 15
HINT: If you add the foregoing, you can get the total.
People who have never eaten turkey 1
People I have never met 2
People who live on the Upper White Side 9 known
People from the Bronx 2
People from Queens 1
People from the West Coast 2
People from Massachusetts 5
LBGT 2 (known)
Chinese 1 and two halfs
Taiwanese 1 (or else)
Latinas 1
Fans of Hannah Montana 1
People named after rock stars 2
Scientists 1
Engineers 1
Shrinks 1
People with full-time jobs 8
Grandmothers 3
Twins 2 (not sets, individuals)
Newlyweds 2 (one couple)
People buying houses 3
People building houses 4
People living in apartments 23—all, I think

What categories can you think of?


the journey begins

The pitchfork was buried underneath the old Victrola, the exercise bicycle, the chipper/shredder, the lawn mower, a couple chairs (natch), four snow shovels and I don't know what all else, but that devil had us going all over New Jersey and as far away as Pennsylvania distributing various things at various of his houses. And then I got the truck stuck on some snowy grass and had to be towed up the driveway--just like the last time I visited that house--in the almost dark by a man who wanted $175 in cash because my Road 'n' Tow service simply didn't "have anyone in your area" and then. . . But then we did have fun, and there wasn't anyone around to say I told you so but ourselves. And we didn't engage in mutual recriminations.


ok, so we don't go to church either

What Happy People Don’t Do
NYT November 19, 2008 Happy people spend a lot of time socializing, going to church and reading newspapers — but they don’t spend a lot of time watching television, a new study finds.
That’s what unhappy people do.
Although people who describe themselves as happy enjoy watching television, it turns out to be the single activity they engage in less often than unhappy people, said John Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and the author of the study, which appeared in the journal Social Indicators Research.

I'm happy. Are you happy?



The LIFE photo collection is going up on the web and the photo world is in an uproar. This means that you can search this site for thousands of LIFE photos through the 1970s (yes, including Woodstock). We're talking Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa (those two are making Magnum see red) and most of the FSA photographers like Dorothea Lange (who took this and another better known frame of the woman above during the Depression—or should I say, the last depression).
I can only say: GO BOBBY BAKER!


unsafe at any speed

No, not the Corvair. These guys!

Man Nabbed After Hitting Girlfriend With Sandwich
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -- A man faces a domestic battery charge after allegedly hitting his girlfriend with a sandwich as she was driving on Interstate 95 on Friday. Police said the 19-year-old man became angry and hit the woman in the arm and face with a sandwich, knocking her glasses off.
The victim nearly lost control of the car because she couldn't see the road and the man then allegedly ripped off the rear-view mirror and used it to shatter the windshield.
The man was freed on $7,500 bail.
Police haven't said what type of sandwich was involved.

Driver Loses Control After Sneeze, Hits River
BOSTON (AP) -- An untimely sneeze nearly cost Andrew Hanson his life. The 42-year-old Weymouth man told authorities that a sneeze caused him to lose control of his pickup on Soldiers Field Road and plunge into Boston's Charles River on Tuesday.
Hanson was able to wade to shore after escaping from the truck, which was partially submerged in 4 feet of water. He was not seriously injured but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Lawrence Callahan of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation said Hanson told him that after he sneezed, ''the next thing he knew he was in the river.''

Orbin Dale May in Proffitt Center
West Plains, Mo. (Quill) Orbin Dale May, 66, West Plains, will spend one year and a day in federal prison [for] a conspiracy to provide fraudulent commercial driver’s licenses to large numbers of Somali and Bosnian nationals while he was an employee of the now-defunct West Plains R-7 School District’s South Central Career Center (SCCC) truck driver training school.
Co-defendant and former director of the truck driver training school, Dean P. Proffitt, 74, West Plains, pleaded guilty. May admitted that he fraudulently certified that applicants had legitimately passed the driving tests. A commercial driver’s license allows a person to operate heavy commercial trucks – such as 18-wheel tractors and trailers – and buses on the public highways.

On the road again, we're on the road again. . .


google me, baby

Most of the people who read this blog are known to me intimately, but there are some exceptions. Notably, the people searching Block Island Honeymoon. And already today someone from Australia has googled how do you pronounce cai guo quiang, for instance. Later today several people will likely google the three meaningful words "John Deere cake" and wind up here. They read no further, having presumably either found or not found what they want.
And yes, that is me with the coffee with my boyfriend (yes, we are still friends though I am fat and he is bald) and his siblings and friend in Waimea Valley, Hawaii in, um, 1973, when I was three yours younger than Wolfen.
We won't mention how much younger than Chris G. I was—will we, Chris.


time to revise the definition

"The traditional way delusion is defined under the diagnostic guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association [is] that if a belief is held by a person’s “culture or subculture,” it is not a delusion. The exception accounts for rituals of religious faith, for example."
—Seen in the New York Times a couple days before the story of the minister who told a parishoner to leave a rotting corpse on the toilet of her house until it was resurrected. Here is the link to the Times story.


the future of newspapers

So accustomed to the hands-free version have I become, that this is how I read the one actual paper I buy a week.


son et lumiere

The artist Chang is now moving into sound as well as light. Here he practices his new equipment as Ed tells us exactly how the world is going to go to shit (one third of restaurants in New York to close next year), then retreats to the known, a photograph of the view from 98.
Speaking of the world going to shit, I found a Popular Mechanics list of 100 skills every handy man should know and learned from this that I am no man. Even if I kind of fiddle the truth I am no more than 50 percent. This becomes important because one of our readers has cooked up a plan whereby she puts her house on the market and we sign up as a caretaking couple with this agency for rich people with too much property, a category (the latter anyway) that we know whereof. Call it Plan C. It has to be Plan C because I'm not sure either of us has the subservience chip. Nor am I sure that the family advertising for a couple would be as forward-thinking in their own homes as, say, Connecticut. Still, it's an option better than the poorhouse.
Repeat after me, "Yes, Madam."


little ol' me

Lately, I have been getting complaints that I am intimidating, harsh, arch, a pain-in-the-ass know-it-all old fart. Mea culpa. I can't seem to stop myself from blurting out whatever I think, no matter how painful to the blurtee.
I promise to try to do better. (Knowing that it's highly unlikely I will succeed. But really, I am going to try.)
In the mean time, if you start feeling somehow intimidated, try to think of me as the smaller person in this picture, someone you could easily stomp (if her dad would let you).


yes we have bananas

Dada sends in this image of someone who travels with more bananas in the truck than I do.
And speaking of the truck, it has been in the same parking space on the street since Saturday, thanks to Veteren's Day. I have to move it tomorrow. I am ready to unload it for the winter. A vehicle in this town--especially a large one--is just crazy.


there's always missouri

Is your livelihood threatened? If you are an aging journalist (or really any paid print journalist), the answer is yes. With consumers on strike, even niche publications are laboring to find advertising, and the web has yet to find a way to pay for professional journalism. Every blogger's a writer or photographer now, with no need for that darned objectivity.
So most people I know are talking about Plan B: sublets, roommates, communes, bankruptcy, self-employment, new careers, family support. One of my former colleagues was even wishing that there was still such a thing as debtor's prison—"At least they'd have to feed you," she sighed.
Maybe they're too young to remember the Mother Earth News movement in the early 70s that sent urban hoards back-to-the-land in the Ozarks. Some of them are still there, with their hunting and garden truck, their composting toilets and off-the-grid electrical systems. I'm buying a piece for pennies, and there's enough room on the lot for a couple doublewides.


moonrise over magic city

Never has the New Jersey Turnpike looked so fabulous as on a fall afternoon with the moon coming up big and pale if not yet full.


or flip a coin

Now you can find out whether your favorite bloggers are male or female! Check here!


splendid cynosure

To me, the word cynosure occurs in the phrase "the cynosure of all eyes," meaning the center of attraction. Perhaps all the rest of you know it as laser hair removal.
In any case, as we were having our election, a different kind of transfer of power was not-so-quietly going on in Taiwan. But as we were the cynosure of international attention, maybe you didn't notice. In their last election, Taiwanese voted for a president who would bring them closer to mainland China. This week, a Chinese negotiator came to Taiwan to make direct Taiwan-China flights and cargo shipping routine. There were protests. Policemen, journalists and protesters were hurt. This time, we didn't have to endure that.


from sea to shining

The deserted State Beach, as I saw it before leaving for the season. Now it's time for bright lights, late nights and a whole new life. Like maybe I better get a job. What should I do?


yes we did

About midday yesterday, Wolfen forwarded me the following e-mail from a friend in New York. I have taken the liberty of lightly editing it and presenting it here.

I was up early this morning, too excited to sleep. I knew there'd be long lines at the polls, but the day is mild and sunny in NYC and it was a short walk to the 4th street and Ave A polling location. After pulling the lever, I let out a "Yeah baby!" and left the booth with a big smile on my face, beaming with the confidence that Obama would win, and send an overdue message that the Bush years were at long last over.
But as I was leaving, an elderly black woman, dressed in her Sunday best, was being helped to the door in tears. My first instinct was concern that something had happened, that perhaps she was injured or ill or had not been allowed to vote. But as we negotiated our way past the line of incoming voters, she recognized a friend, an elderly black man, dressed in a sport coat and tie. As he opened his arms to her I saw that he was choking up, too. As they embraced I heard her say "I never imagined I'd see this day," and I finally understood. She was weeping for sheer joy that a young, brilliant, respected man of color was on the ballot—one who was favored to win.
I imagined what it must’ve been like to be a black American before the civil rights movement. The segregation, the drinking fountains, the open hatred, Rosa Parks, bloody Sunday, the marches, Dr. King’s rise and assassination. . .
And in this moment, I saw the varied New York faces standing around these two lovely people, smiling with tears in their eyes, too. We were all moved. We were all feeling the magnitude of the day. We all forgot about the sometime stupidity of this long campaign. Because this campaign paled in comparison to the campaign that these two old friends, and the countless other Americans—white and black and brown and yellow—have waged awaiting this event. Sure I want Obama to win, but in many ways, regardless of the outcome, he already has. And so have we.
There is a famous political cartoon from the early 60s of two small children, one white, one black, in which the black child is saying to the other “I’ll sell you my chance of becoming President for a nickel.” Today, our country laid that sad sentiment to rest, forever.
And yes, I cried all the way home.

with love,


for beautiful

. . .for spacious skies, for amber waves of—phragmites? Anyway, vote.


goin' home

Voting booth bound. Gotta catch a boat.



We were driving around in the Bedazzling Halloween Lunamobile when we spotted a Horsemanless Horse Meandering down the Middle of the Road Past the Cemetary near Midnight—guided by who knows what Phantom Whiphand. Afraid that Tricksy Teenagers, foiled in their plot to TP the Churchyard (you know who you are!), might run into the Gallumphing Ghost Horse, we attempted to track down its Owner at the Cop Shop. The Animal was not best pleased by the Lunamobile, nor our Attempts to catch it. It Spooked and took off at a Trot when its Rightful Owner attempted to herd it in his Pickup, and when last seen the Night Mare had taken a Dark Dirt Road in the Opposite Direction from the Home Farm.