cab with a view

Gridlock @48th and Ninth Ave, NYC
Forward, things weren't looking too good—stopped traffic, the meter clicking towards $15 for a short jaunt. But look up and —oh! A sunroof as big as the boxy cab. Take your pleasures where you find them. This concludes the lesson for the new year.
   And speaking of the New Year, I was on my way to Esposito's, aka The Pork Shop, to pick up a 22 pound ham for Hammah's birthday on January 1st. Be there. Or rather, here. And yes, there will be vegetarian fare. Ed promises Ronald Reagan's mac and cheese. He'll tell you all about it.


the way home

I wasn't the only one traveling after Christmas. Every table in the cafe car (regional from Boston to Washington) was taken. And now we are all home.


i want what you got

And Christmas Chaos commences. . .

"I want the dinosaur! "I want the horse!" "Ok let's share." Pajamas no problem.
From the Bureau of Better Late than Never. And, yes, I am back in NYC.


christmas eve

Then we settled our brains for a long winters' nap.



The holidays always bring me the gift of visitors. They visit the store windows, check out museums, bring me delicious food and head out loaded with Zabar's bags. This contingent has just left for Block Island and home. Always assuming the ferry is running!


taylor camp, kauai

When I lived in Kauai in 1973, there were a lot of other hippies there "living off the land"—i.e. on food stamps, other people's papayas, stolen pineapples from the Dole fields, coconuts from the palms in the graveyard, panhandling. I lived on the beach way at the end of the road on Waimea side. But when the park ranger would run us out of there, our little group (blonde Krishna, ex-prostitute John-John, queen Marty and the two Vassar girls) headed for Taylor Camp, way at the end of the road on Hanalei Side. There a bunch of hippies had fabricated fantasy treehouses of tie-dye and wood and found objects, and we could set up our little tent in peace.
   However, I am the person who, famously, hated the Woodstock festival, and I was not all that fond of the camp reputedly owned by Elizabeth Taylor's nephew either. For one thing the other folks  were not all that welcoming. Then there was the camp facility. I don't recollect the privacy wall presided over by Frank Zappa on the krappa above. All I remember is a toilet mounted on a platform in the middle of an open field. And the hepatitis shots we all had to get at the clinic after drinking from the stream nearby.
   But the worst part was the weather: Hanalei is the rainy side of Kauai, and we were living under an Indian print bedspread. Damp. And chilly since we didn't wear any clothing except maybe a shell lei or, for formal occasions, a loincloth. Bummer! So after a couple days we would pour water into the radiator of the Midnight Rambler (bought for $25), light some incense in the ashtray and head back to Waimea Side, home and dry, where the rangers were waiting.
   You can see possibly more accurate reports—yes, we were all on drugs—in a new book about Taylor Camp. There is also a documentary. John-John, Krishna, Marty—where are you now? The other Vassar girl I can locate.


my sources say yes, I will yes

There's a whole alphabet between no and yes. And then there are the noes that mean yes, the yesses that mean no and the yesses and noes that mean exactly what they say. But the world seems to be in such a mess (rape, hackers, wars, murders, illness, age—well, you know, yes?) that I am going to yes, I mean, yes, say yes. No more talking about ailments. No more negativity. Just. . .yes. To everything good. Yesss!


christmastime roundup

Atop the letter box in the lobby. Nice reindeer!
And in other news
Lynn Johnson has a story about child development in National Geographic this month. Check out the video with GoPro kidcam!
Hannah offers up a spreadsheet for your personal expense budget for the new year.
And here's your sexy horoscope for the new year.
Debby sends a cool link for a company called Magic Leap that one of her banks just became the CFO of. Open the link twice to see the little girl and the elephant.
Elaine's good friend, New York City's premier political consultant David Garth just died at 84. She always said she shoulda married him and would be sitting pretty in Cafe Des Artistes. Terrible that she died first.
On a lighter note, this is a hilarious New Yorker piece by friend Jenny Allen about how we can't remember anything any more.
Artist friend Jessica Rath opens her latest show soon of a human-sized honeycomb. Very cool.
More festivity: A hip-hop Nutcracker.
And finally, Happy Hanukkah. Tonight is the first night.
Neighbors tote the tannenbaum.


claudia gets cultcha

Just call me angel of the bayou.
The fact that I —despite living in New York City and actually appreciating art—so seldom get off my ass to view it has long rankled many of my friends and relations. My cousin Glenn has come up with a solution.
    For the past four years, she and her friend Michelle have taken a picture of me along when they explore the art scene in and around New Orleans to mark all of our birthdays. This year they visited bricklayer Kenny Hill's sculpture garden in Chauvin, Louisiana. And so, luckily for me, did I! We all loved it, a miraculous trove of outsider art deep in bayou country. One of these days I'll get there in person.

Michelle and me—and maybe Jesus?


holiday giving

A friend of mine who is a photographer (which one? you ask) (ok it was Chien-Chi Chang) asked me to donate to the Magnum Foundation, which is a not-for profit that funds photographers—not Magnum photographers (CCC, a Magnum photographer, emphasizes)—doing worthy projects for which photographers are seldom funded these days. He is trying to round up his rich friends but came knocking at the wrong door in my case. Well, I did donate a few bucks. And if you will do the same through Magnum Foundation more photographers will be able to go to the places no one wants to go and find out the things no one wants to know about people we never heard of—who are some of the most important human beings on the planet right now. We need these stories.


thank you, ganesh

The Elephant Parking God was with me today. This pic doesn't do it justice, but it is a very tight spot—maybe six inches on either end. A guy saw me cruising, gestured that he was leaving. Another guy saw the interaction and blocked the empty spot til I could get around the block and back (going through two red lights)! And they say New Yorkers aren't nice. . .


Santy Claus is TK

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


news flash

Yes, Isaac can talk—at least to the extent of saying my name. Hannah says he believes I am always on the phone on Face Time.
In outrageous news, my friend Peter's family members survived a small plane crash in the Bahamas. He reports: "I just got word from my brother Tim in the Bahamas that brother James and his family survived a plane crash as they were flying in. Sounded pretty hairy. One person died.  Luckily, James (age 60!) is a serious mountain biker and in great shape and his son-in-law is a fireman; two guys you want on your team if your plane is going to crash in 6,500 feet of  water.... My brother's wife, daughter, and 18-month-old granddaughter were also on board.  Whew!"
   But the biggest news event that I have missed is the protest scene in my home town, New York, N.Y.  "So, Missourians want to know if you are going to take a picture of a New York license plate with a piece of tape across it and explain how ashamed you are to be a New Yorker," writes one Missouri friend, apparently piqued by a previous blog. Another, also somewhat miffed, writes"Guess NYC can join the club, "BREATHE IN NYC" and "SHOT ME STATE, MO". Got tape on your NY license plate?  It's mid 60's all over again." So sorry guys. Thought I made it clear in previous blog that all humans are guilty of being tribal.  Me and New Yorkers too. Let's work against it.


holiday pic

Their mother posed them. let's hope she got a better picture than I did. I just look at this and see me and my brother, also three years younger than the big sister. Boy that was a while ago.


off off season

But really, the season never ends for us homeowners. I have slotted returning tenants and am now writing up leases—changing the dates, prices and ages of the guests as another year passes. By next season, the footprints in the sand will have been smoothed away by the winds, and a virgin beach will await the summer lovers.


in hannah's room

Hannah's room was once again a scene of neighbors, kids and moms. For which we give thanks. Here is a link to what National Geographic photographers, including friends Maggie Steber and Lynn Johnson, give thanks for. An interesting selection.


great american eating ceremony

The usual cast of characters gather around the groaning board. Thanks!
. . .and they ate! And ate! And were grateful and somewhat rueful at the quantities they individually consumed.


no mo

I don't feel too good about having Missouri plates on my truck today.
Missouri is tainted, the U.S. is tainted.
Cops are tainted, white people are tainted, humanity is tainted.
I'm guilty. We're all guilty.
But some are more guilty than others.
Yeah, I'm talkin' about you, skinhead cops.


making room

Hannah's Room Redux
Back in the day, Hannah's room had two bunks, one for her and one for sleepovers. When the sleepovers became more than just chatter sessions, the two bunks became a double bed. Around the time her fiance moved into this room, I bought a new double bed. Four years and one year ago now, the full-sized bed became too small. Hannah's family of four now has to squeeze into her childhood room—and the apartment. Good luck getting into the bathroom. . .


in memorium

People people pay tribute to Thaddeus Novak, son of one of their own.
 The amazing Thaddeus Novak died after a long wait for a lung transplant that ultimately failed. You can read about this brilliant polymath here. Thad spent many an hour at the People offices as a child, and the celebration of his life became an impromptu celebration of our lives with him as well. I'm saying this poorly, but I know what I mean.
Dick Burgheim, my boss at People; David Hiltbrand, the man who took my job. 


it was in the truck

Yes, we did some shopping. Now for the mopping. Then the flopping.


lovely bones

Nothing like some nice bone marrow on a cold day. Despite all the fotofooling in the world, I couldn't get my foot out of the picture.
Something is happening. There's the paleo diet, bone broth and now the lumbersexual. Word from Gear Junkie is that Brooklyn is swarming (Ed?) with bearded, plaid-flannel-shirt-clad hipsters. Word from The Daily Beast is that the the lumbersexual is the latest iteration of the metrosexual and that styles are inspired by the homosexual, as per usual. In my opinion, however, the whole craze was foretold by Monty Python in I'm a Lumberjack (and I'm ok).
  Should you wish to make your very own bone broth, here's a recipe. I'd add ginger.
  And if you want to prepare marrow bones, ask me. But I doubt you will.
  I await comments. Like: "Eeew."


lives in ruins

Yes. I had to walk two blocks to attend.
An ex-LIFE editor read from her book, and there were a lot of ex-LIFE and ex-editors there. I am sorry to say, we could all barely recognize one another, and there was a lot of catch-up and humor, some of it quite dark, touching as it did on disease, death and divorce. Which made the book title—Lives in Ruins—appropriate. The subject matter, however, is quite different. The subtitle is: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble. I have not yet read it, but Marilyn Johnson calls herself a comic writer, so as well as truth it likely contains humor. My takeaway was that Indiana Jones is a hero to the archeological community, which makes use of his image any old way.



Babes at work
So Hannah texts me a picture of the chaos surrounding my grandbabies at her house.
Incredibly, there was a very similar scene going forward at my house with two friends.


here come da judge

Judge Tang swears in Adam Gasner as a judge pro tem of the San Francisco Superior Court. Yes, that's our little Adam no longer.


calendar girl

 Summer 2015 in Post-Its
Some people live in the past; I live in the future. And as time slips and slides, this becomes more difficult. I was already having problems envisioning my holiday schedule, and then my tenants started hitting me up with theirs. For next summer. I was driven to color coding the Block Island houses and the weeks in stickies. They cover the Thanksgiving board, so I'll have to sew up the schedule by then.


war, huh, what is it good for!

"Mouth Full of War"

Bill Dugan as a young soldier, 1969
Now a sculptor, printmaker and painter, Dugan was in the corpse corps back in the Vietnam War.  When he got his degree in art at Washington University, he made prints using roadkill. He spent a career counseling veterans. He still depicts death (urns, skeletons), but has branched out into hearts, typewriters, animals and, lately, pizza. He will ride in the parade in West Plains, Mo., today. He embodies our own conflicts about conflict:"I am tired of war and honored to have served."


jiggety jig

My body is in Manhattan
I haven't been so happy to get off Block Island since the time 20 years or so ago when I ate boiled eggs on the deck floor of the Manitou in high seas and laughed my ass off with Barrett. It's definitely weather related, but it's also because I'm going home.
   However, no sooner did I get here (above) than Block Island followed me. Episode 4 of Showtime's The Affair (see premier here) is set on Block island, and whether my previous guests were flagged by that or by the popularity of Block Island this past summer (booming business), they started writing in early, trying to get the weeks of their choice. So now I am doing the juggle with the knowledge that, inevitably, someone is going to be unhappy. I am already overbooked for 2015.
But my mind is on vacation


the phantom newsstand

Yeah, there are pieces missing in this puzzle—like that magazine I did that cover for in 1989 (top right—remember stage directions?). Taylor Swift wasn't born yet. Arnie was an actor not a player. I do believe Premier, Manhattan Inc, YM and Ladies Home Journal have gone down the tubes, too. Correct me if I'm wrong. Magazines used to be big, fat and vigorous, and so were newsstand sales. Stacks of newspapers (including New York Newsday), bursting with ads, teetered beneath.
    But then even I don't read magazines or print newspapers any more.
    I'm not sure about the candy—are they all still manufactured?
    Here's an interesting piece called "The Bad News About the News  from the Brookings institute. Read all about it (online) and weep.



You know it's time to leave when the lawn mower is in the living room.



The view from Claudia's Surf City today
Not absolutely positive will be making the 8:15 ayem boat off tomorrow given the marine forecast.



all hallows eve

Rainbow not that Brite prepares for school parade.

Rainbow with school paraders. I call it solidarity.
So it was nine years ago tonight that I quit smoking. You can read all about it in my somewhat disused blog formerly called Why I Can't Stop Smoking and now called Why I Can't Stop Drinking. Guess what we're going for tonight?


ozarks on the island

Martin and Denise are visiting from Missouri. Amazingly, Denise will be one of the few people who has ever been to every one of my demesnes. We took a six-mile hike led by the indefatigable  Ana Santana yesterday.
   She had to tame herself for us—she usually runs the trail through "my jungle." We call it the Maze. Ana remembers when she was first taken on the trails and did not grasp the beauty: Her native, tropical  Dominican Republic seemed so much brighter and more lush. But now she appreciates the Northeast's more subtle palate. "This is my jungle."



Hannah & family depart on the Block Island ferry.
Do not expect much from me this week—I am very busy. Houseguests, carpentry, closing up and then, of course, waiting for my lone trick 'r treater. Also plan on taking a lot of pictures. The fall light is so beautiful I can hardly stand it!



She loved a party.

It doesn't feel like a year since Elaine Rivera left us.
Feels like forever or yesterday.


block island blow

In Hawaii they would say it's blowing like stink. here it would be a bit of a blow. Whatever you call it, it shook the house and threw the garbage cans all over the yard and likely there will be no mail or milk delivery today.  And now to report an Internet outage. . .


roll call roundup

Every year on Block Island, a turkey dinner is held at Harbor Baptist Church. Most islanders (and a few ringers like me) show up to be counted. Students from the school bus the tables and pass the pies. Everybody knows who makes the best lemon meringue (I'm not telling) and tries to get there early enough to score some. Pam usually makes one of the turkeys. This year she had oven issues, but with many ovens on the property, she bailed it out in time.
Meanwhile, lots is going on elsewhere.
Hannah bows her put-down-your-phone-bitch class tomorrow with support from rapper prince ea. You can still join for $35. Yes, she appreciates the irony of a person with Internet business hosting this. . .   She recently appeared on an ABC interview and in the Providence Journal about Wear Your Music.
Speaking of social media, Hannah's brother the Defense Lawyer Adam Gasner talks about social media and evidence on TV.
Photographer friend Keri Pickett debuts her new website.
Photgrapher friend Todd Hochberg gets CNN kudos as the eminence grise of bereavement photos.
Also: The Times discovers the Ozarks. Love this map about the best book set in every state, except that I have read few of them.
There are more, but that's it for today. Wind is howling outside.