pig trouble

photo by Douglas Gasner, text by Claudia Dowling LIFE 1986
Checking out the West Plains Daily Quill yesterday, I found the following:
     Feral hogs are bad for Missouri. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) continues to work towards eradication of the hogs that decimate wildlife habitat and crops. But, a spokesman said, when asked where to hunt feral hogs in Missouri MDC’s standard response is, “If you want to hunt feral hogs go to another state.’’
      He said well-intended “hog hunters’’ typically are unsuccessful or may remove only one or two hogs in multiple attempts. The hunters’ presence and activities may cause feral hogs to leave an area, which can disrupt many weeks of baiting and trapping efforts by MDC staff, he said. “It causes us to have to start the process of scouting, surveillance, pre-baiting conditioning and trap building all over."
     They should have imported Pepito and his pack of pig dogs from Kauai, Hawaii. The boar jaws on the door of his shack were testimony to the animals that met their end at the point of his knife.
     And yet, I can't help wanting a wild piglet like the one my friend Jim had in Hawaii. He named him Pepito, and Pepito the human returned the favor by naming one of his dogs Jim. Pepite was the smartest animal I've known—smarter than the dogs he thought he was, a better swimmer, a more interesting and faithful companion.
    It was a terrible thing when he hit puberty. He trotted down to the nearest canine neighbors for a hookup. They were Kala Kapa'hoo's pig dogs, and they tore him to pieces. My friend Jim, himself a pighunter, wept as he butchered his pet. He gave all the smoked meat away.
   Note to MDC: If you catch a piglet, I'll take it. Female preferred. 


new home

Back in the day, when I worked at Time Inc. in Rockefeller Center, I would often walk through the Equitable building to admire the five-story Lichtenstein. And then I would walk through the corridor where the Thomas Hart Benton mural "America Today" hung—too high, in my view,  to keep it safe. Underappreciated for years, it has hung in public buildings, sat in storage. But now it has been given to the Metropolitan, which will give it the showcase it deserves. Here is how it will look in 2015.


no need for lsd

For a second there, I thought I was having an acid flashback—it has been known to happen. But no, that was the real reflection, how it really looked (well maybe not quite as good as it really looked), in an unenhanced image. With everyday marvels like this, who could ever be bored?


block island winter

Simon et al play hockey on our pond (Dada)

View of the compound from Beach Avenue (BI Times)

The monument reinstalled after Sandy (BI Times)
Here are some pix of a Block Island that most visitors seldom see. Actually, thanks to the Gulf Stream,  islanders themselves don't always see that much snow. And it was a good year for ice, as well. "Today will be the third day in a row that good skating for the whole day will be had by increasing numbers of passersby who can not resist clear ice and a wood fire with roasting hot dogs, burgers and marshmallows," reports Dada. Sounds good to me!


find the star

Let's say you didn't recognize any of the actors in this shot. Who stands out? Who do you think would prove to be the sleeper fave of the series?
     That's right, our own serial-killer-lover CBA.
OK, so you do recognize Kevin Bacon. But does he look as intriguing as that extra playing detective in front of him? No, right?
     Well you can watch for yourself in the pilot episode of "The Following" reviewed here by the LA Times. If you know CBA, that would make you (I think) one degree removed from Kevin Bacon.
    And if you think they should bring her back in coming episodes, tell Fox. I hear a groundswell of audience approval can help beef up a role.


parke benched

Some of you may be wondering about the tortoise, Parke. He is fine. He has been moved indoors for the winter and seems to have his customary (large) appetite for fruit and veg, with lettuce still a fave. He now boasts a heater underneath his tank, but still seems to spend much of his day beneath a lamp. On the floor around him lie many, many dogs and many, many books.


a moon of new jersey

And a beautiful sight it was.
Still scrambling to catch up and Be Here Now.


fifth row tickets

Barrett points out where Kathleen and Kate might be sitting at the inauguration. In fact, they got within about a hundred feet of the stage despite heavy security.


a lock

I personally loved the skull door locks, but B preferred the overview. The whole thing, of course, was cherry.


cotton fields of home

Last year's cotton will be this year's corn or alfalfa, no doubt. That cotton strips the land of what little nourishment it has. Despite the day of snow, the rye grass (and daffodils) are coming up spring.


wilbur wonderland

There are dogs who have never seen the snow, especially if they are southern dogs. And can't see anything anyway because they are blind. But there must be some vestigial memory that allows even southern dogs to take pleasure in a once-in-a-lifetime snow. Unlike southern drivers, who can't cope at all. . .


the cats arrive home

There is a bit of a delay in these posts (like about three days), but the cats are now ensconced in their home territory in Madison, Ga., happily climbing the walls.


statesville, n.c.

A different town, but still scenic. Sadly, it was Sunday and the Nu-Way was no way gonna be open. . .


fancy gap 3

OK, this is it from Fancy Gap, N.C. A little creepy but well worth the visit! I promise not to post any more from that locale. . .



blue ridge

Made it through the ridge with a pause in Fancy Gap. And now all the way to CBA's in Madison, Ga.


woodstock, va.

All settled in at the _______ Inn with two more cats than we paid for.
Ominously, one has NOT been well since drinking the water in the toilet. Stay tuned. . .

the prius road trip, part 1

All that's left to pack is the food bag. When I hear from the Prius owner that she has left her current location, I will run out to Zabars and get the bagels. Not too many. This isn't your usual what's-in-the-truck road trip. It's more a matter of what-will-fit-in-the-Prius-with-four-cats. . .


oh yeah

So looking forward to that cardboard slice of pizza!


wizard in pink pants

Some days there is magic in the air—or at least in the mind. It started when I saw this woman waiting for the bus. I thought she was carrying a magic staff topped with a crystal ball.
It was a curtain rod.
Later, on the sidewalk, a hummingbird wing sparkled, a jewel in the sun.
It was a candy wrapper.
Most exciting of all, there was the wild boar as big as a garbage truck rooting up the ground outside the Museum of Natural History.
Alas, it proved a fallen oak.
Was it a magical day, the kind you have sometimes as a kid?
 Or just an acid flashback?


just one more

the bozos do the art world

So I was meeting painter Kate Knapp and art heiress Barrett Andrews at the Metropolitan Museum to see the Bellows show (me, the art critic, having written about the show before seeing it whilst in Missouri). However, because the painter and the heiress had brought with them a purported Bellows purchased by the heiress's painter father (is this getting too complex?), they could not come in!
The cloakroom would not check artwork. So in the end, we took turns visiting the show whilst the one sitting with the Bellows on the steps admired the living Bellows of  shops and bus stops and doo-wop. And contemplated trying to hawk the thing: Get your own Bellows here!


college girls

Similarities much?
Remember how it was to go from being all grown up at college to being a kid again at home? And boomerang back again? And, parents, remember how hard it was to wrench yourself from your dearest love and let her go?
No worries, girls. After those first separations and reentries, you will get used to it and life will go on. As proof my (very filial) daughter sends me the following, hilarious story.


the way they were

Hannah lost two grandparents last year. Here are glamor pix of Shirley and Walter, and here is Douglas's obit in the Block Island Times.


dog afternoon

I don't know if you can tell, but we are still recovering from the day after the day after. And as far as I can tell, holiday season won't end until next Monday. . .