starter kit

Hannah's wedding continues to spread the love as Harry moves into a new apartment with those IKEA plates and substandard cutlery. Note to college graduates: We have more!
    In other news, if you see pictures of my Block Island houses listed on Craig's List in Providence, beware. There is someone—not I!—advertising Hannah's as an apartment, using pix  and garbled copy from VRBO.  Be advised, there is no time left during season, and the only way to rent is to go through VRBO (links at right). I don't know what would happen to the poor people who showed up thinking they had the house.


the newsboy

In just a week the latest occupant of the Dowling Intercontinental has relocated from Orlando, found an apartment in the neighborhood of his choice in his price range, landed a job and started his first story for that job—due Monday. Fact! I call that fast work.


round 'em up

Every once in a while it is necessary to show you iPhone snaps by a real photog just for contrast. Those at left are from a story on water in Uganda by one of the judges of this National Geographic contest
   In other news, a viral video making the rounds stars Block Island's own Christopher Walken in a dance mashup. The Ozarks (not far from my place) get the Duck Dynasty treatment. Spogga puts a new song out there. Jessica Rath has a new exhibition in Los
Angeles. Asher Diaz, Elaine's nephew, talks about being a transperson in a Latino family. And finally, in the wake of the announcement by Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, i once interviewed her) that she has "consciously uncoupled" you can goopify your own relationship status on this website. I'll tell you mine if you'll tell me yours.


the cruellest season

Yes, it's that time of year when, young or old, a person's fancy turns to springtime and love and the summer house. Sadly, it's still bitter and snowy at the summer house—about 10 degrees colder than on the mainland, which is cold enough. Today the ferries were cancelled for winds gusting to 80. Hopefully they will remove what remains of my roof (second from left in the family compound). I do have a promise to put a new roof on—beginning as soon as the weather is clement. Doomsday, belike!



I don't always realize how lucky I am to have a cheap apartment in Manhattan until there is someone sitting across the table from me looking at Craig's List. Apparently what I pay here can rent a one bedroom in Astoria, Queens. No pets. My nephew Harry, the one seeking, thinks it's amusing that he's looking for a place as of April 1. No fooling! He's started to say "as soon as possible" instead.
  And on the apartment front, note the old/new window decor.


boyos at the bar

They missed St. Patrick's Day but repaired to Donohue's for a boost to their spirits after (another) memorial service for another former editor of Life. (Yeah, we kind of went through editors there.) "One thing about these affairs," said Ed, "I feel pretty young compared with the rest of the crowd."
   However, the very fact that they were at the bar is a tipoff that they're old-style. As it was put in a New York Times article recently, "Our cultural image of the writer has historically been of a thrice-divorced, whiskey-swilling chain smoker who brawls with his rival over a nasty review in a dimly lit Manhattan speakeasy. Now it’s a married yogi in a BabyBj√∂rn who tweets exclamatory encomia from the kale section at the Park Slope Food Co-op."


common ground

What do these items share?
 Well, both stem from 10D, an apartment that is being renovated.
    The Old Paris porcelain vase, not a particularly good example, I am told,  was being thrown out when our own CBA told me to retrieve it for her. I did so.
   That's the upside of the renovation.

The downside is that I too live in a D line apartment, four stories above, and the denizens of the walls tend to depart for points otherwhere when disturbed. Sadly, mi casa est su casa, and I fear they may move in. Hence the ounce of prevention, suggested by CBA.
    Alas, this seems to have drawn attention by reknowned animal rights law firm, Les Felines Pour la Justice. Senior partners Catticus Finch,  F. Miaow Bailey, Furry Mason and Clarence Sparrow have already been in touch with me: "Due to all the new insect clients in your apartment, three new first-year associates have been hired."
   I uneasily await events.


it's spring somewhere

Though not quite yet in New York or Block Island, apparently. Still, we have a hint that it won't always be winter. And the last of the black snowpiles should melt off today. Must finish the spring cleaning. . .


in memorium

Seems like too much death. Last week a memorial service for one of Time Inc.'s great editors, Pat Ryan. This week one for Mary Simons. And we had already lost Judy Daniels. That's three women who made it in the man's world of Time Inc.— a fact mentioned in every one of these obits.  The only good thing about these memorials is seeing everyone who is still walking around. It was also gratifying to see Time Inc. host a major do for Pat, who was summarily fired as the editor of Life for being partnered with the wrong man, an editor of Time and Sports Illustrated who was a rival of one of the Powers That Were. Not mentioning any names.



I'm not sure what they call themselves—maybe Travellers, like they do in Great Britain. Here we call them crusties, or crusty punks. Mainly for the dirt and the smell, I assume.  They are street kids, probably with psychological problems or drug problems or family problems. They travel in packs. They dwell in squats and public parks, under bridges and hedges. Typically there is a dog in the picture, something to do with not being able to be arrested for loitering if they can say they are walking dogs. I ran across the phenom in New Orleans (above), where they take up residence in the winter. Come the stifling Louisiana summer, they head north for Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or Portland, Oregon. They say they're seeing the USA, but I don't know. Here is a crustypunk blog with some stories. When they get older are they just plain bums, begging outside Zabars?
    I remember when I was their age, a hippy living on the beach in Hawaii, hitchhiking and begging and living on foodstamps with another bunch of kids—one a former male prostitute from, come to think of it, New Orleans. I began to feel inauthentic within a month or two. A privileged kid posing as poor. And I eyed the babies of the other drifting hippies "living off the land." Children who never had a birthday party or a Christmas. Children whose parents were taking acid trips and not thinking about mealtimes.
   So now I feel for the dogs.



Camilla and Isaac wearin' the green.
Also this about politics.


civic duty

In the shadow of the World Trade, the voir dire for an accident case continues. remains to be seen whether ex-journalists make the cut. Nice to be in a different neighborhood. Though not quite this early in the morning. Meanwhile yesterday I missed all the excitement at the State Supreme Court when hip hop mogul Damon Dash, being sued by an ex,  got into a screaming match with reporters. How did I miss this? And does it account for the extra security in the building?


5 years ago today

Now (well, last summer).

The deed is done March 13, 2009
 Five years ago I bought an old cafe/gas station in the Ozarks for $22,000. Mike (left) had bought it, but his fiance had no interest. I'd had my eye on it for years and bought it with a credit card. Property taxes are $48 a year. No, in a dis-incorperated town (pop @50) half an hour from the nearest grocery store we don't get many services. The post office, store, gas station, bank, cannery, school, Harley Davidson dealership and etc have all long since been shut down. The River's Edge Cafe across the street (by the river's edge—hello!) drew folks from 100 miles around but, alas, there are very few people for 100 miles

When buyers' remorse set in. March 14, 2009
 around—Mark Twain National Forest—and the cafe gave up the ghost.
  "Why the Ozarks?" people ask me. "What on earth do you do out there?" (BTW people in the Ozarks ask me the same thing about New York City.) Here were my answers. Come to realize, that having spent my childhood on the other side of the Missouri/Arkansas line, the landscape just feels right to me.

Now. Well, last summer. Place has been shut down for winter, tnx god. And it has been a really cold one there. Atypically.


nice view

Would you like to move in upstairs? You could do so for $18,000 a month. See ad. Rent likely to go up 25% each year. Nice views though. The building has been having some problems. See complaints at the bottom of this website. Tenants seem to be caught in a standoff between landlord and tenants' association about security. The TA complained that the door was unlocked and the desk unmanned after 9:00 pm. The landlord or management company retaliated by locking both front doors all day long and issuing electronic fobs.
   As of yesterday the doors were locked. It is a big pain in the ass for tenants, deliverymen and doormen alike. And there is supposed to be a doorman strike on April 21. I figure the people paying high rents for such gigantic apartments as the one above will complain. Or the agents trying to rent same. But for now, they're playing chicken. I am waiting for the day when the owners will pay me the outrageous sum of money one rent stabilized tenant got to move out of 15 CPW.
BTW, if you're in protest mode and want to stand up for the New York Public Library system today, here's the info.


the roundup game

This week's links:
 A plea from Paula to save the 42nd Street New York Public Library, due to be eviscerated, by petitioning the New York mayor .
 Pictures from an exhibition of National Geographic photographers, including a couple of our faves.
An essay about W.H. Auden
An article about my stepson Adam's successful defense in a murder case.
A Buzzfeed entry naming the New England towns you shouldn't miss with Guess Which as No. 2. That's Hannah's in on the left of the third pic by the sea.
And to get there, there is now a plane from Providence airport, making it easier for such people as my stepson from California to get to that place!


surviving katrina

 It has become a mark of honor, that X on the houses in the Ninth Ward that survived Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. Not too many made it through in the Lower Ninth, where the levee was stove in, but there are quite a few again occupied in the Upper Ninth, aka the Hipster heaven of Bywater (though kale, alas, is in short supply).
    The numbers at the top of the X are the date the house was inspected; at left is the ID of the inspection team; at right, the issues found (NE means No Entry); at bottom the number of people found, alive or dead. Many residents have carefully painted around the original spray paint, while one inventive soul & survivor had the sigil cast in metal.



OK, I don't usually post on weekends, but this was too good not to pass on. Right when I leave New Orleans, the New York Times discovers the Bywater. Naturally, the folks in the Bywater were vastly amused. My cousins are calling it  #kalegate. You have to read the article first for it to be funny. Almost instantly the following Craigslist ad making fun of the article was posted:

Cannot find you - m4t (New Orleans)Your tender curls had me entranced the moment we met in New York. I cherish the time we shared in all the most cosmopolitan cities. I long to bring you home, to let you soak and cast off the gritty remains of your upbringing. Your bitter sting is more precious than Peychaud's, but you are nowhere to be found in this bohemian danger-zone.
I have biked all over town, and consulted the finest voodoo priestess landlords. Now I find myself becoming unhinged in the produce aisle.

BTW, That's Spogga doing "When the Saints Come Marching  In" in his own inimitable style. His other Cosmpolitan Metropolis is Providence. . .



Crawfish boil from Sal's
Beignet at Cote du Monde
Praline bacon at Elizabeth's
The blue plate lunch at Frady's?
Time to head home.


meanwhile back at the goose. . .

They've been having a harsh winter in the Ozarks. Kids out of school this week in three degree weather—just getting plowed out. And the area isn't set up for much snow. Usually it's one fast-melting fall a winter. My neighbor, who took this picture, has nothing but a wood stove in her house. Bear has nothing but a little space heater that he won't use because of the cost (and the fact that the electrical company reads his meter "with a computer.") Thank goodness the Goose is shut down, and I have no worries about frozen pump, pipes, etc.


mardi gras norleans style

When we were awakened by the skull and bones krewe rattling down the street  in the morning it was in the thirties and raining, so we put on layers and my hosts, the banana family, donned their skins and I donned my cowhide (and monkey on back) and friends gathered and off we went into the festive rain, walking knock-knock jokes.


fat tuesday

Here I am in Fat City on Fat Tuesday, having landed soft. I knew something vague about beads, but there are a lot of Mardi Gras traditions I had no inkling of. For one thing, did you know that there are Mardi Gras colors? Guess what they are? Yes, even Rubbermaid wants a piece of the action. Also there's King Cake—don't get left holding the baby, which means you'll be bringing the cake next time! The one above is actually a highly evolved version with chevre, apple and caramel filling. And about the beads, I had no idea that they hang from the trees year round here from missed throws. Or that there are throws that are "gets" or that the people on the floats pick someone out in the crowd, look them in the eye and throw to them personally (until the floaters get too drunk, at which point it becomes scattershot). Or that schools are closed and streets are shut down and the parties go on for weeks. Or that people discuss their high concept banana costumes for months. Or that Bourbon Street smells like skunked beer and vomit most of the time despite the street sweepers. Or that there are krewes from artsy to fartsy, black to white and everything in between. Or that the Rex krewe, which started it all, wears what look like colored satin Klan outfits. Or that some people parade in body paint and little else (perhaps not today because it's 36 fucking degrees out—bummer!). Yes, it's a scene. I'm about to hold my breath (and maybe my nose) and plunge in. We'll be attending the alternative/indie/Williamsburg South fete in Bywater, but if you want to check out mainstream, here's one of many live cams on Bourbon St.


spogga rocks

Our own Spogga Hash rocks Bourbon Street daily during this interminable Mardi Gras season. He is hoping his voice makes it through tomorrow, and on Wednesday, like everyone else, he will abstain. In his case from singing.

Check this out on Chirbit


ringing my bell

 I admire Dr. Bob's scene greatly. Alas, it had to be from the exterior only. I was too afraid to ring the bell to go in and too afraid to go in without ringing the bell.