wanted: iranian art expert

Coffee house painting
A friend is interested in loaning or selling this piece of folk art. She bought it in Iran in about 2000. A coffee house painting is typically a backdrop for traveling theater companies in Iran, and apparently they have become quite valuable and collectible. The question is—to whom? She is looking for that collector because she is selling the house she bought specifically because it had a wall that would accommodate the 12-foot canvas. Also, the newlywed said, "I like it better than my wife." I had to read that sentence twice.


the car life

Those of us who live in New York City don't typically think in terms of automobiles unless we're obsessing about parking. But for people in other places, especially parents, the car is a second home. I babysat in mama's car while she had a haircut, and we had snacks, a meal, playtime and naps during that period. And then I picked up my car, which I had about forgot how to drive. Since I am departing New York, I will be living in it for the foreseeable future. But all I need is a cooler, some bananas and a bunch of stray chairs.




Sorry, can't write! Rain Rain go away. Wait. It's not raining, that's just the song! Make a fort! Be a slide! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!


leaving nyc

 It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, but I'm outta there. Gotta go see the funniestgrandson and the mostwonderfulgranddaughter. And so begins the hospitality season. Dowling Intercontinental is booking fast, with cousin Avery staying there now and three others expected within the week. I will just be there for a flash now and then until—November?


birth pangs

Ali and Matt head off to the hospital.
Can you feel it yet? The newness? The beginning of something else? The tabula rasa?
Yes folks, it's the vernal equinox, the solar eclipse and the new moon all in one day!  Never mind the snow, it's spring! It's also my stepson's birthday. And Max's birthday! Yes, Matt and Ali had a baby with all ten toes and a lot of hair at 3 ayem-ish. It's all about new beginnings.
But, there's more!  It's International Day of Happiness, too!
So share the love.
Oh and if you missed the eclipse (which I bet you did), you can watch it here.


fly your learjet

A very, very rare (maybe never before) total eclipse of the sun occurs on the vernal equinox beginning at 4:30 ayem tonight. You can only see it from Northern Europe, but you can live stream it here. What this means in astrology, hell, I can't figure it out. But here's one take. And another.

st paddy's week

Toby held St. Patrick's Day dinner a day late, and I made the above Irish soda bread from Doro's recipe. I'm sure hers was better (and her photo was better too), but mine was good enough that the Reilly recipe has been requested. It's going to snow tomorrow, so plan ahead! Feel free to take the rest of my buttermilk, or you can use yogurt mixed with milk.
Also note that corned beef has gone on sale.

Kilkenny Irish Soda Bread Doroʼs favorite (and only) ISB recipe  
Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees 4 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, pinch of salt

1 T caraway seeds Toss all that together

Crumble in 1/3 cup room temperature unsalted butter and work in with your hands or a pastry blender until the consistency is like cornmeal. It doesnʼt take long.

Add 1 cup raisins, light and dark or all dark - whatever your preference.

In separate bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 egg. Mix it all up.

Pour buttermilk combo into the well of flour mixture and combine. I donʼt like to kneed too much - just until you have your dough formed.

Now you have two options.

Leave dough whole and make one large bread or split in half to make two. I always make two and sometimes three from one recipe.

Handle with floured hands and place one, two or three breads in buttered pyrex or glass casserole. Cut a criss cross on top, and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Test by inserting knife in center and gently picking up out of dish to see that bottom is golden - you know.

- St. Patrickʼs Day, 2015


bleak island

Johnny took this picture en route to or from Disney World. He probably should have stayed in Florida. The daffodils (or jonquils, as seems to be the local locution) are blooming in the Ozarks, and I'm thinking about hitting the road.
   For female journalists who have an international project in mind, there are a few more days to apply for a large sum of money.
Sorry, Chien-Chi, you can't. But as consolation prize his was picked as one of the top 10 booths to see at Art Basel Hong Kong.
And speaking of planes and Hong Kong, watch your stuff on the way. Apparently, on long trips thieves go through your hand luggage in the overhead compartment when you're not looking. Traveler, beware.


company matters

Annie and wife Nancy

Ed and friend Tommy
In my continuing and mostly futile effort to take pictures of people rather than things that hold still properly, I submit two pix of recent dinner parties. That both soon devolved into alcohol-fueled hootenannies we can only deplore but, in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, chin chin!


pure as the driven

The remains of winter.
Not so fast! You think winter is over? Not quite. there's more snow in the forecast, and boy we sure could use it to cover up the old and the emergent trash piles.
And speaking of trash, here is a Smithsonian film about out own Aymar's project to make art out of the trash choking Lake Titicaca.
If you are looking for a project, perhaps you'd like to enter an essay contest about why you'd like to run an inn in Maine. The woman who had it won it years ago and is ready to pass it on. Entry fee is $125.
Some interesting photos from former People photo editor Joyce Seymore.
And in case you believe you are one in a million, you can check "how many of me" on this link. I found there were something like eight Claudia Dowlings in the U.S. Now, I do have several addresses, so some of them could be me. . .
And anyway, I know YOU are one in a million!


summer dreams

I know you all will deplore this photo program, but it's so fun!
It's that time of year. One hint of spring and people are trying to book summer houses—for 2016. Nothing this year left between June 19th and September 4th. I wonder what the spring will be like after this tough winter.


round 'em up

My inbox is getting full, so that means it's time for another roundup!
Investment opportunity awaits for Calm-A-Mama (above, spokesgirl not included). Hannah wants to go wide and is looking for investors.
"Duang," a word Jackie Chan invented some time ago has apparently gone viral. In China, anyway. Here is the shampoo commercial where he first used the word, which appears to mean something like voila or ta-da.!
If you haven't heard enough about the weather, you can read about gardening in the Ozarks in a blog by an acquaintance of mine who appeared as herself, a musician, in the film Winter's Bone.
Enjoyed this story about NYC buildings that become dormlike since I've been living in one since 1977. Now, if everyone didn't want to be my roommate. . .
A podcast from horror screenwriter Wesley Strick.
A nice bunch of portraits for International Women's Day from some National Geographic friends.
Word on the work of Molly Price, actress and Block Island resident, with storytelling by foster children and the elderly.
A link to Chien-Chi Chang's moving picture oeuvre on Magnum in Motion.
OK there's more, but that's enough from Claudia's Clip Service for the moment.


then and now

79th and Broadway, 1972

79th and Broadway, yesterday, 2015
 The fireplug is still in the same spot, as is the Dublin House tap room. The Museum of Natural History is still visible to the East. The top picture looks pretty much like it did when I moved to the Upper West Side in 1974. But for a brief foray to Park Avenue, a year or so in Springfield, Il., a year in Block Island and Jamaica, and one in Chicage, I have pretty much lived here ever since.
   That building on the corner was a Woolworth's, not a Filene's (recently) or a  Designer Shoe Warehouse. The billiard parlor was there for a while, then it moved around the corner, and I don't know that there's a pool hall anywhere any more.
   I didn't get the angle on the photo quite right, because I had to get out of the middle of the street. Also wanted a shot of the double-length buses they have now, but it was Sunday, and the damn thing never came. For more old pix of NYC, check out this site.



an amazing essay

 This is a wonderful essay about Selma from 1965 by Elizabeth Hardwick. The heartbreaking part is that it feels so fresh and true today.
  I knew nothing of her work before, but here is a short bio from the New York Review of Books:
 Elizabeth Hardwick (1916-2007) was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and educated at the University of Kentucky and Columbia University. A recipient of a Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is the author of three novels, a biography of Herman Melville, and four collections of essays. She was a co-founder and advisory editor of The New York Review of Books and contributed more than one hundred reviews, articles, reflections, and letters to the magazine. NYRB Classics publishes Sleepless Nights, a novel, and Seduction and Betrayal, a study of women in literature.


good golly!

Hannah's Hideaway and Claudia's Surf City. OMG.

Crescent Beach in front of the house. OMG2
Douglas took these pictures. Today! I'm fainting. We're not m-e-e-e-e-e-e-lting!


spring snows

It must be Purim

It's snowing outside. And it is Purim. You can read about how Queen Esther saved the Jews in Iran (timing, Netanyahu?) here, but I am not clear about why people are costumed. The site does say, however, that Purim is in a winter/spring month. You're telling me: Yesterday 40 degrees; today a blizzard and planes sliding off runway.  And then there's my spring meal. OK, I know that this looks gross to y'all. But shad roe is as sure a harbinger of spring as Frank's jonquils.  The shad, a type of herring, run up the rivers like salmon to spawn. Typically, the shad bush is starting to bloom simultaneously in Block Island. Doubt that will happen this year, however. I like to saute shad roe and serve it up with new asparagus. It doesn't have much taste other than the zing of spring.
It must be spring.


block island connection

Ah, The Voice. A TV show that has entered our lives in the past, back in the first season when it seemed that all you needed was a voice and not a look.  Sawyer Fredericks is the voice de jour and it turns out he is the grandson of a Block Island woman. She talks all about her excitement in the Block Island Times here.
The judges may be blind, but the people who audition for the show are not. It does not hurt that Sawyer is cute. And already has a fan base and a website.


make spring happen

New town logo and slogan
I'd like to make it happen there. Spring, that is. If spring could happen there, I could be happening there, too. I could, like, turn on the water, vacuum up the spidies and roly polies and horseflies and daddy longlegses. I could really happen! But, like, if spring doesn't happen, I'm so not happening either. And it seems like you can't really make it happen. The snow has to stop happening first. The temps have to happen above, like, 33 degrees. I mean consistently happen. And then maybe the whole spring thing could, like, happen. And me too. Happen there, I mean, in West Plains, Mo. Until then I'm, like,  hapless. I mean, seriously!


the family hams

Sara Dowling

Ben Dowling
My niece was auditioning for the London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts this weekend, and she and my brother flew in from L.A. It went well. They asked her if she had an extra monologue and she did and she nailed it. And then on the way out, Sara informed her father that this was only the first audition, and that the second one is in London. At 6'4"  he doesn't find these long distance flights all that comfortable. However, he is used to them since his day job is playing keyboards with the Al McKay Allstars, an Earth Wind Fire funk group that mainly plays in Europe and Asia. And really, all for art, dudes.