nights in

 The galas began on Friday evening, with a dinner party of former Time Inc. friends, and I guess it must have been a good party since it lasted nine hours—not that I particularly remember the last three. I know that it was a three Diet Pepsi night for Adam. There was still some food and wine left over the following day, fortunately, because a writer turned photographer friend came by to contemplate his upcoming show and then we were later joined by visiting photographer Chien-Chi Chang, who consumed, as usual, all the leftovers in the fridge. What tonight holds I do not know.


night out

A little bit of Missouri in New York City. Judge David came to town for something he is the best judge of, i.e. wine. He has some hoity toity tasting at Hudson Yards this evening, and as a warmup he took me to a hoity toity restaurant last night. It's called Upland, and is upscale in terms of pricing and clientele. The sonic ambiance was a trifle bright for a couple of rapidly deafening (?) oldsters, but the visuals were nice. We went full-on seafood, which may have been a mistake. The fried calamari was good, but heavily adulterated with potato. The ceviche was not anything like the Mexican tulip-glass type I expected, and the cioppino tasted like it had a can of tomato paste dumped into the broth. I prefer that at La Petite Crevette, possibly because the one time I ate there chef Neil, of Flying Lobster fame, hosted us. The marguerita pizza at Upland was damn good. We ordered too much food, and had to take half of the za away. Sorry, once a reviewer, always a reviewer. Anyway, it was very fun to see David here in town, and very nice of him to entertain me. But that is one of his specialties as well.

David tries to hide from the camera's all seeing eye.


real estate news

Always fascinated by construction. This is the reno going on across the street from 98. I can anticipate many days of voyeuristic pleasure watching other people work.
   In other news, Frank and Dianne are selling off a couple of their dozen or so rent houses in and around West Plains, Mo. This one is notable for its acreage and stables (why they don't mention the pool is beyond me!), and this one for its price.
    I have given up trying to interest anyone in property in T'ville, though now that the cafe is open (see on Facebook) y'all may be more inclined.


hot boiled

Whenever I am down south, especially in Georgia, I have my eyes peeled for this sight. I then slam on the brakes and screech to the side of the road. This last trip I took the precaution of buying raw Valencia peanuts in the shell so that I could boil them myself when I got home. I bought three two-pound bags at Piggly Wiggly in Sylacauga and have gone through half. BTW, boiled peanuts are good for you. But I vastly refer buying green and just-boiled peanuts by the side of the road. Only fly in the ointment: I do not have the true southerner's ability to eat them while driving.


break time

"It'll be a great place—if they ever finish it." So said O. Henry of New York City, and it's never seemed more true as the skyline heaves and sprouts and the streets are perennially rooted up. On 82nd Street they are doing something or other to some pipes or other, and virtually every building has scaffolding for repointing.
   Meanwhile I feel like I should be doing reno on my little piece of New York. But where to begin? Seems like it should be infrastructure, but that is not my job. So maybe I'll just start by going to the dentist and the doctor and the gym. Construction worker, heal thyself.
Ceilings need work.

Electricals need work.


new york, new york

 I reconsidered and put out a pumpkin to welcome trick or treaters from the building. Got like four groups was all. Now the season moves from scary to thankful. Where's that Indian corn or whatever it's called now?
   It appears that the Apartment of No Regrets will not be looking its best for the holidays. Extensive water damage in halls, bedroom and bathroom (sadly, recently painted) won't be fixed any time soon. The building managers don't want to spend the money. And they apparently have no regrets.

The place is still pretty great though.


halloweens past

Block Island, 2017
 Typically, I have spent Halloween on Block Island, on the most memorable of which we tried to capture a ghostly horse in the fog. But this morning I woke up thinking about a Halloween 56 years ago, when my father told his wife and his children that he was leaving. My mother, needless to say, was a mess.
   So I was the one who rallied the troops for trick or treating. Chris, as I recollect, was a tree, wrapped in brown paper bags and holding a branch in each hand. It was not easy to walk nor to carry a candy bag. Ben was the standard sheet ghost where the eye holes kept slipping sideways and he stumbled and couldn't see. Erin, who was five, was a gypsy, I think, though my memory is unclear. I have no recollection of my own costume, if any.
   Last year the four of us, both parents recently dead, gathered in New Orleans for a cousin's wedding—and Halloween and the Day of the Dead. I didn't think of that long ago Halloween then.
New Orleans, 2018

New Orleans, 2018



 Another 98 Riverside Drive family member will not be with us this Thanksgiving. I got the following message from Tony's daughter Ali today. It was not a surprise—Tony had been in a coma for 25 days after collapsing with heart failure on the 79th Street subway platform—but it is a sorrow.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tony has left the building. 
    He died on Monday, with me and Delia by his side. We'd just played some of his best tunes, thanked him for being such a great dad and toasted him with his favorite cocktail of all time after smuggling the ingredients into the hospital. It was a sendoff I know he'd appreciate. The whole thing very peaceful and left no doubt in my mind that he was ready to move on and be done with hospitals for good. 
    No funeral, but we'd like to have a memorial gathering that incorporates the things Tony loved best: friends and family, food and drink, memories and jokes (even if his often made you groan instead of laugh!). Once we have something planned, we'll let everyone know. 
    Thanks for all the support, kind words and fun stories you all shared during these dark and sad few weeks. They buoyed me and Delia — and Dad would have been so grateful to you for that. 
With love,


the blue goose

 They had been shooting a movie in Madison, Ga., and when I got there about a month ago, Barrett took me to see one of the sets they'd built.
It was a juke joint called the Blue Goose. It looked like they had finished shooting. The place was wide open, so we just walked in.   B thought I'd get a kick out of it since, to refresh your memory, I had just left my place known as the Goose.
 Actually, my place says "The Spotted Goose" right above the picture of the goose, but I have never used the adjective. Not big on adjectives in any case.
I think I like the picture of me that B took better in color than black and white, though the latter looks more historical. Wasn't wearing my juke joint clothes.


pastor without borders

Actually, it's more like Pastors Without Boundaries, a church in which you are welcome no matter where you may fall in the animal kingdom or on the astral plane. The Rev. Christian Mink welcomes many guest ministers as well as you, simple voyeurs:
    "Greetings , friends and parishioners, be ye with two feet or four, or more! Mark your calendars  This  Sunday our guest speakers will be the Reverend Keith Rex and his daughter, Macey, a small terrier. Their topic will be "Parenting Your Fur Babies through their Tough Teen Years." As many of you know, Reverend Rex is a busy man! With six children and four retail stores to manage, he knows the importance of establishing boundaries. He’s been doing a great job of convincing his children that he has rights, too, but I did hear that he’s still ending up on the floor at bedtime.
   "Oh well!  Win some, lose some, Rev! 
   "Praise Him! Castro Convertibles are very mid-century, right?
God is always in control!
   "Following the Reverend’s sermon, Miss Macey will demonstrate the techniques she has developed over the years for keeping her siblings firmly but gently under control. No biting, Macey! Jesus does not condone biting!"
Rev. Christian Mink has plans to fill that billboard with upcoming metaphysical lectures.

The historic Georgia church will host paranormal phenomena former parishioners could only pray for.


the apartment of no regrets

I'm home. Back in the Apartment of No Regrets! Very grateful to be here and be done with closing up houses for another year. The wall calendar still says April.
   What was in the truck? The last of the island dahlias, the paint that wouldn't survive the winter, a spare vacuum cleaner for Missouri, a load of candles for the season ahead, three onions, a half bag of flour and a pound of Zabar's coffee I didn't use up. Oh, and two  bitchin key chains my son-in-law found in Memphis.



 The storm was over. The sun set, the full moon rose, and all was calm on Block Island—except at the bars. And islanders got ready to heave a sigh of relief at season's end.


why the boat isn't running

This is why the ferry isn't running—the wind is in the wrong quarter and there are big waves over the breakwater. Actually a couple came across the road in front of my house. I have been sleeping downstairs on the couch partly because my bed is shaking so much upstairs it wakes me up and partly because it is warmer downstairs with the propane fireplace roaring, I spent yesterday hermiting. Just reread old mystery novels, made Ed's fish stew and avoided people. Today I am more sociable.


weather report

Sorry. You can pretty much expect lots of weather news for the next four days, so if you are not interested, give me a pass. I can't help myself. I like extreme weather—whether torrential rain and thunderstorms in Missouri, nor'easters and high surf and hurricanes in Block Island or snowstorms in New York. I like fair weather, too, but like good news it doesn't make for drama. The seagulls knew something was up last night. They went crazy.


it's always naptime

The clock stopped—battery, but why replace before winter?—so now it's always quarter of naptime. Which is just as well, because a major blow is expected by the end of the week. Some folks, like my high school friend Jamie (and apparently all other prospective diners), were wise enough to clear out. Me? Oh no! I need to suffer some before my departure.


the scandalous sofa

Flip kicks back on the Sofa of Shame. Photo by Pam
 Alas, the beautiful sofa was springing leaks. I had patched it, investigated the cost of recovering it (basically much more than a new sofa) and mourned it. My sister, Erin, was at the house, and I asked her and her husband, Flip, to move it out onto the verge of the road. I often put things out there, and pretty much everything gets taken. If not, I take it to the dump.
   Erin got great amusement from watching tired cyclists take a rest and wedding guests take selfies on it. But no one took the sofa. "Flip is leaving the island and won't be back for three days," Erin told me. "What should we do about the sofa?" "Oh, just leave it there. If no one takes it you can take it to the dump when he gets back." So she did. And when Flip got back they took it to the dump.
   The Block Island Times made the sofa infamous. Wet, so it cost more to throw away than dry. For the record, the scandalous piece of furniture  was taken to the dump before this article was published. Also, I'd like to point out that it wasn't dumped "on the side of the road." Had they scooched it back into the briars and poison ivy, it would have been on my property.
   Ironically, now that I'm back on island, I see clusters of "free" items alongside the road everywhere. Corn Neck just happens to be a main road. My bad. Have I reformed? No!
I don't recognize that other piece of furniture.


my style

My style is not high style. Y'all know that. However, I attempted to put it into words for the latest and third issue of "Ideas of Order," a perfect bound and highly produced magazine put out as a kind of look book for California Closets, a company that does high-end home storage. You can see the whole Style issue here. I'm, like, on the last page. Only fitting.


foxy lady

Hannah was all over the place this week, from Block Island to the set of WPRI's "Executive Suite" program. Listen in at 13:13 for her segment. Or you can listen via podcast here. Or watch on TV this weekend. It seems like only a couple weeks ago, she was in Memphis collecting kudos from FedEx. Well, it was only a couple weeks ago, and here's what she had to say. Adulting bigtime.
Oh, and here she is with Bryan Adams. Not in the summer of 69.



There have been many miles, states and people since I last posted. Sorry. However, about to hit a period of solitude (maybe?) and play catch-up. Meanwhile this picture shows why I haven't been posting since I got to BI.


apples and oranges

 It was great to get to Jan's rustic palace and see the improvements she has made to the place. Like, can you even believe these rugs she painted on her porch? She has them all over--as doormats and throw rugs. And, yes, that's Lucy—the Brown Dog,  my father called her when he forgot her name. She is the oldest but has ceded her primacy to the large male. Jan calls him Augustus; I call him Thor. These amazing apples, which look like they came from the Garden of NoEdum, will be pie. Sorry I missed them!


birthday weekend

 The Junk Food Extravaganza was held in honor of Camilla's birthday on Friday, kicking off a weekend of water play. Chris jumped off the rock at Blue Spring, Hannah made bubbles at the slab, Camilla and Isaac blasted everyone with the squirt guns Dianne and Frank thoughtfully gifted them with, and the turtle headed for the water at every opportunity.



 There must be a catalogue where you can buy your fiberglass steeple, because there are identical ones all over around here. Just buy one, pop it on your house and call yourself a preacher. That and schisms could account for the more than 300 churches in a town of 9000 souls. This building I call the Chapel of Love.
    You can just see the Goose in the background.
 Can you see the beware of dog sign? There is no dog. This is Randy and Virginia's rent house next door to the Goose. There is no dog, but there are likely raccoons and skunks.
 I liked this guy's perfectly manicured lawn and cherry car in contrast to what looks like a deserted mobile home. He did not know what I was doing when I stopped in front, and came out the door. Without a gun. I explained that I liked the way the red car looked, and he was satisfied. I asked if he wanted me to send a picture. He said no.

This place is not for rent. In fact, nothing is for rent there any more. It is for sale.



 I apologize for not writing in more frequently and also for the extremely unflattering pix of my new/old neighbors. What I want to show in these pictures is their river cabin (or shack, as some term it) just across the road from me in T'ville. It's basically one, big L-shaped room. And being as it's on the river bank, it, too, was wiped out by the flood. It's been totally redone.
   But it is the first time that I've ever had friends living here in T'ville, and it's so fun to have people wandering over to borrow a grater or have a cocktail. When we got together before, one of us always lived a half hour away. Because while Bill, an artist, had owned the place forever—and indeed convinced me to buy here—he never lived here while I was in residence. He only came out to mow the lawn or by special invitation. But he sold the farm (better than buying it!) and moved to Arizona with Carla, and now T'ville is their foothold in the Ozarks. Welcome home!


grand gulf

 This is the Grand Gulp,  I mean, Gulf. The good picture, above, is by Frank Martin. It is supposed to have geological significance, but I don't know what. It is deep enough that it did cause me to gulp when I was standing by the edge, so I edged away. Apparently where that mud puddle at the bottom is, there is a cave with a lake that you used to be able to go in by boat. Doesn't look that appealing right now, thanks to recent heavy rains. Some geologists did an experiment with dye, and apparently water from half the state away emerged here in the gulp.