I have been across the Golden Gate bridge a bunch of times but have not once been tempted to jump. The past two days have been spentamidst a large Chinese-American/Mississippi-American family, and although the occasion was beyond sad, the food was phenomenal. Think collard greens and dim sum. Meant to be winging my way back to NYC tomorrow, weather permitting.


Wheels down

Yes, I have made it to California. I have pictures of the golden gate bridge and the grandiose and everything but don't seem to be able to upload them on my iItem. So I guess it will be radio silence here for a bit.


the new look

What do you think? Off to San Francisco this morning; back Tuesday, weather permitting.


the childhood hill

snow report

My niece sends in this pic of my truck "hibernating" in Holliston, Mass. for the winter.
 My sister sends in this pic of her yard, "Thought you might like to see how deep the snow is. This is a tree. You know, with a trunk. Like that."
 Somebody sent in this picture of my daughter's back steps. It looks like somebody shoveled them, too, because I received this picture at 7:58 am and I know for a fact that my daughter doesn't get up until 11:00.
Kathleen sends in this picture taken out our window. Yes, we got snow in New York, too. Nineteen inches. I have to get dressed and get out there to look at it. No pressure on me to shovel.


ferrato framed

Photographer Donna Ferrato readies her "20th Century Icons" show, including frames of Andy Warhol, Mohammed Ali, Kurt Cobain and this nameless beauty. If you have a lot of money and are in a buying mood, let me know and I will snooker you an invite.


ocean views, not

 All right, with much disagreement about what pix to post—everyone wants to see the view of the ocean, which I don't seem to be able to photograph the way it really looks—I have posted this ad on VRBO. Please do a review if you have stayed there and can spare the time. And by the way, the ocean is visible out the above windows. In reality.


book block island

It may seem odd on the coldest day of the year, but summer is already in the air. I got my first rent check last week, and the houses are booked for the season. We still have before July 1 and after August 26 at Claudia's, so I'm thinking of advertising on Vacation Rentals By Owner like my bro-in-law for the off season. I see that since I looked into that—yesterday— the number of Block Island rentals have doubled on the site. But very few are on the beach!



I don't ordinarily post on Sundays (or sometimes Saturdays), but a link from a fan of Miss Mock in Spain popped up, and here it is.


 Jake Shimabukuro, of Honolulu, played the Brooklyn Bowl last night to a crowd of adoring hipsters. There was also bowling and rippin' chicken. Jake is notable for not playing Tiny Bubbles or the Hawaiian Wedding Song. You can hear the kind of thing he does play on his website and on his new album "Peace Love Ukulele." Can you name that tune below?


wearer of plaid

If the latest astrological revisionism were correct (and indeed if astrology itself were correct) I would not be a Sagittarius but in phact an Ophiuchus. Yes, Ophiuchus. Do you want to know how to pronounce it? Here is a link.
   Among other characteristics ( interpreter of dreams, attracts good luck, serpent holder, a seeker of peace), Ophiuchus is said to like to wear plaids! 
I am typing in my plaid bathrobe. 
However, I still believe I am a Sagittarius, Hannah is a Capricorn, etc. Here are the new zodiac dates:
Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11
Pisces: March 11-April 18
Aries: April 18-May 13
Taurus: May 13-June 21
Gemini: June 21-July 20
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17 
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20

Do you like your alternative better?


words of wisdom

There has been rather a lot about the Duchess of Devonshire in the paper lately due to her autobiography about growing up as one of the Mitford sisters, Wait For Me. That's Deborah, the current Dowager Duchess of 90, not Georgiana, the one who died in the early 1800s.
   "Debo" stayed married for 62 years, despite the Duke's infidelities and alcoholism. “It was absolutely fixed that we shouldn’t divorce or get rid of each other in any way,” she says. “It’s completely different to Americans, who all divorce each other the whole time. Such a bore for everyone, having to say who’s going to have the dogs, who’s going to have the photograph books.”     


felix navidad

On 47th Street, Felix (above) toils to finish the finishing of the last of Wear Your Music's Christmas rush bracelets.  Now he's cranking on the Valentine's Day beat. There's still time to get customized Widespread Panic,  Dolly Parton, Dweezil Zappa, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton or hundreds of other artists' guitar string bracelets for your beloved. I think they're sold out of Keith Richards, though.
   In other family news, Pam Littlefield Gasner has won Block Island's Bayberry Wreath award for her service to the Historical Society. Yay Pam! Richly deserved! Check out the article and post your congrats.
   And buy those bracelets. Thus ends the PR reading for today.


he had a dream

I have lots of dreams, many of them right now involving taking off for the Caribbean rather than the dentist. Everything I can think of to talk about seems really trivial today.
Do you have a dream?


shoutout to MIT

To the Mystery Hunters at MIT: Here's to you! Wish I was there!
Here's a fun story I wrote about it many moons ago.

caption this picture

If I don't get some Internet interactivity soon, I'm going to have a hissy fit.


alternate side parking suspended

Yes, it's a little nippy for y'all up here. The Alabaman just headed off to play rush hour at the warmest nearby subway stop—96th—wearing thermal underwear and snow boots in "feels like" 11 degrees. Expecting other Southern folk this evening: CBA and cub from Madison, Ga. Better turn on the radiators, cause baby it's cold outside.
   Yes, I know. But wouldn't you rather hear about the weather than the State of Journalism Today?


the matter of facts

This is not the kind of note you like to have slipped under your door when you are at the gym. But it is the kind of note one grows to expect when one is aging out of a dying field, in this case journalism.
   It was apparent during the early "coverage" of the Tucson shootings that there were no local people with the faintest clue about how to report out basic information. Nor did they appear to have any contacts with education or law enforcement. Nor did they appear to realize that they had a story of national interest in their bailiwick. It took 24 hours—and the arrival, presumably, of some pros—before we got details like a yearbook picture of the suspect or interviews with neighbors and witnesses.
   There are people who know how to do this kind of on-the-ground reporting, but they are being replaced by pundits and bimbos. No one is teaching the skill, says one friend who has become a journalism professor, because there is no market for it any more. The friend who left me the note was told that he was "outstanding" and "the best" at his job but that his position was being eliminated. Another friend, also now teaching, and bitter, says that he believes being good at your job in journalism is reason enough for being fired.
  The same economics drive job elimination in journalism as in the rest of corporate America: you get older and are paid enough that a company can hire several newbies for your salary—so what if they don't have the chops. It may take a while, but I suspect that one day people will realize that even tweets require facts. Let's hope some of the fogies are still around to teach them how to gather them.



The snow blew in last night and so did the Artist, en route to Washington DC and a meeting of National Geographic photographers. This morning, it was as if both were never here but for the nine inches on the ground. According to the National Weather Service, there is now snow on the ground in all 50 states — including Hawaii— except Florida.


holiday on ice

My sister narrates as daughter takes granddaughter for a spin.


for familiars only

 These pictures will mean nothing to those who have never stayed at the Dowling Intercontinental. For those who have, however, please note these pictures of the new bathroom directly above my kitchen, two stories up on the seventeenth floor,  where the D apartment is being thrown together with a contiguous one for a three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath spread:
The corner with tub (top) is where  my kitchen table is located. The shower is above my refrigerator, and alas, the toilet (see pipe below) is directly above my stove. Well, Toby's stove. Talk about lousy feng shui!



Certain family members made me buy qwikpix in the lootery the other night at zero hour. It goes without saying that the plans I had to share the largess with the aforementioned family members and various penurious friends (yes, I mean you!) did not come to fruition.
What single indulgence would you grant yourself had you just won the megamillionz?


abidin' of the fields

It's a new moon now, the holidays are over, and, chillin' on the fruitcake and beer, I've half-lost the weight I gained on New Year's Eve with the gang. It's another year of reality at the gym, the doctor, dentist and optometrist. And, of course, taxes and snow. Nothing like January and February, armpit of the year. Let's all go to New Zealand.
What is your favorite month?


blackbirds dead in the dead of night

 Just pointing out, perhaps unwisely, that the following events reported by the New York Times occurred less than 100 miles (slightly north of the beetle), as the crow, er, used to fly, from a certain demesne in Missouri:
 Times Square had the ball drop, but no place had a New Year’s Eve as freakishly disturbing as Beebe, Ark. Around 11 that night, thousands of red-winged blackbirds began falling out of the sky. They landed on roofs, roads, front lawns and backyards, turning the ground nearly black. “One of them almost hit my best friend in the head,” said Christy Stephens, who was standing outside among the smoking crowd at a party. “We went inside after that.”. . . State scientists believe one thing to be almost certain: that the bird deaths were not related to the roughly 85,000 fish that died a few days before near Ozark, in the western part of the state, the biggest fish kill in Arkansas that anyone can remember. They were spotted by anglers along the Arkansas River last week and reported to the Game and Fish Commission, which spent New Year’s Eve measuring and counting dead fish that had spread out for nearly 20 miles.
Meanwhile roughly 500 dead birds were found on Monday outside New Roads, La. Those birds were much more varied, with starlings and grackle in addition to blackbirds.
Hmm. "Experts say" that such things do occasionally happen, but one can't but feel that those who talk about malevolent government forces and the end times have, if not reason, at least not total nutcaseness on their side.
   The latest here in Baton Rouge  and the Times. And a new link from Google Maps.


keep on rockin'

photo and stratocaster by Kathleen Mock


happy new baby year

Today is 1/1/11, Hannah's birthday, one of the few I have not spent with her (please do not show up at my house today—we will be open for business again next year).
    On this day last year we had no idea that this year she would really know what birth day means.