Me and Dad's Jawa, 1967

View from work.. B'klyn Bridge

Back yard, Edgie

Back yard, winter

Dad on Bear

Angers, France

Carm in MOMA


Still life, Thompson kitchen

Country lane, Vendee, France

My apt. in NYC


Please note: I've moved my blogging to

Tribeca Film Festival
April 7, 2007

I was one of THOSE people today. The ones waiting in line on a random corner (Laight St., Varick St., Canal St. convergence in lower Manhattan) in the freezing cold.. the ones you walk by and go, "geez people, haven't you heard of online ticket sales?" And walk on by. Yeah, well, this is the Tribeca Film Festival. This year they've a) doubled ticket prices b) added more films and c) apparently neglected to upgrade both their website and their ticket sales offices and processes. Ugh.

That said, I did stand dutifully in line behind that man who seems to be in every line ever in Manhattan: he's a balding, spectacled 40-something under his ubiquitous NYY baseball cap, teenage daughter in toe (she has to pee) and he feels it necessary to comment almost incessantly during the hour-long outside wait. "You'd think they'd get it together by now, these festival people... I can't believe they don't have a bathroom, what,
their employees never have to pee? How many labor laws are they violating here? I'm not letting my daughter use a Dunkin' Donuts bathroom, no thanks... Half of these movies are showing in godforsaken theatres outside Tribeca. Who wants to trek to Kip's Bay? ... Who do these pin-striped goombas at the door think they are? They need doormen on a Saturday afternoon at a high-class venue like this? " And on and on.

So, an hour and a half wait and $84 (with founding sponsor discount) got me 2 tickets each to the premieres of "The Grand" and "The Air I Breathe."

* The Grand, directed by Zak Penn, written by Zak Penn and Matt Bierman. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. Woody Harrelson goes all-in to save his dead father’s hotel-casino from a real estate developer in this hilarious mockumentary. His master plan: to win the world’s most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker. Anteing up the laughs are Werner Herzog, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano and Dennis Farina.

The Air I Breathe, directed by Jieho Lee, written by Jieho Lee and Bob DeRosa. (U.S.A.) – World Premiere. A businessman (Forest Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race, a gangster (Brendan Fraser) sees the future, a pop star (Sarah Michelle Gellar) falls prey to a crime boss (Andy Garcia), and a doctor (Kevin Bacon) must save the love of his life. Based on a Chinese proverb, these four overlapping stories dramatize the four emotional cornerstones of life: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love.

Should be fun.

Goodbye MeMe

March 24, 2007

Anyone who knew MeMe my cat understands that her recent passing was something of a mixed blessing. She died, in a quick fit (heart attack?) right in front of me on my new Iranian rug. I flipped out a little, running around shrieking her name and hyperventilating and then calmed down enough to put a large towel over neighbor Ann I called my dear neighbor Ann, 88, who is good in these situations and she came over and helped me put MeMe in a box. It was past 8 pm and I didn't know what to do with her, not having had to deal with a dead body before. I ended up hoisting her into a cab and zooming off to the all-night animal hospital on the upper East Side where they kindly took her off my hands. I felt a little freakish when I asked to have an actual vet declare her dead but dead she was and I went home to grieve.

Petey (my boy cat) took it all in stride but still, weeks later, has a tendency to peer under the bed in hopes his old friend might still be around. Related images.

We Got A Thing Goin On
March 1, 2007

So thrilled! Got an e-mail from my personal presidential candidate today. I savored the moment: the measured bubble-up of my gmail notification (at work, no less!); the intimate "Hi Kit," the unspoken promise of our new bond of friendship, sealed just the day before with a mere $100 contribution. Update 3/24: Sadly, I had to unsubscribe after the first twenty such missives; apparently my hundred clams wasn't quite enough.

Small people, more small people, Gustav Klimt and My Mother
January 29, 2007

Interesting news on the science front: "The tiny skeletal remains of human "Hobbits" found on an Indonesian island belong to a completely new branch of our family tree, a study has found." (BBC). Apparently the story first broke three years ago but I missed it then and maybe you did too.

So my mother came to town last weekend and showed me what it could be like to be a proper New Yorker, New Yorker in hand. We first visited Murray's Cheese Shop, which I knew would flip her lid. (I must buy her the T-shirt that reads "You have a friend in cheeses." As you may or may not know, she is a D.Min.) Next it was the Brooklyn Museum for the Annie Liebovitz show -- and because it was adjacent, the Ron Mueck exhibition which is startling, kind of gross and absolutely compelling: gigantic, extremely lifelike naked-people sculptures (oh, and small people too, equally life-like, naked and even more disturbing). Later we had an interesting philosophical discussion about the relative merits of photography, shock value in art, hyper-realism, etc. All very good for the soul -- and that much more entertaining because of (not despite) our mutual ignorance of art history -- past, present and future.

We paused for a phenomenal lunch at Bar Pitti (the mozzarella, basil, tomato salad dish is positively transporting; you must try it.)

Then it was off to the Neue Galerie, la di da, which I'd walked past a million times, housed in the old Vanderbilt mansion on Fifth and 86th, ostensibly to take in Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I about which my mother just read in (natch) the New Yorker. (She was particularly taken with Rebecca Mead's description of the subject: "She was a well-known hostess whom Klimt depicted in a sinuous golden gown and robe... looking like a Byzantine socialite who has just set down her cigarette holder and is about to discuss the latest symphony by that terribly interesting composer Gustav Mahler." Me -- I just want her dress). Even more interesting to me were the polka-dot walls of the mansion (there were also stripes... way cool.) Actually, the rest of the collection is great -- featuring the works of Egon Shiele, Josef Hoffmann, Max Beckmann, among others.)

We topped that off with a visit to the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station (where we've gone every time my mother and father visit; it's been closed every single time). We were thrilled to get a seat at rush hour at the bar and ordered a sensible amount of oysters and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc each and commented on how rude the server was. He got more friendly, however, the more we ordered. Imagine that. We both greatly enjoyed the Kamumotos (I'd never had before) and got over the fact that there were no Penobscot Bay, Damariscotta or Pemaquid oysters to be had.

Thanksgiving: Cheese Balls and Good Cheer
November 26, 2006

It doesn't get a whole lot better than Thanksgiving in Maine. I won't go into too much detail but here are the salient facts:

I bought a hat at Reny's, the go-to discount clothing store on Main Street, Damariscot
ta, thinking myself quite cutting-edge in a retro sort of way. Come back to NYC to find the same hat (at twice the price) at every sidewalk stand AND on actual people everywhere. You know the one.. the lumberjack, flap-eared, fur-trimmed headgear. Sigh..

The RiteAid in Damariscotta, Maine, can provide ever so much fun, even on Thanksgiving (until 3 pm). "NOTHING will be open," my mom intoned
as Jeannie and I prepared to go "to town." Not true. At the store, J. and I, suddenly 14 again, purchased (among some other nutty things) a 72 oz. clear plastic tub of Utz cheeseballs to act as a counterpoint to the gourmet foo foo sure to be served pre-turkey feast. Picture here (I think the toxic orange of the actual balls zapped my camera's ability to deal rationally with color nuances).

The actual feast was amazing and everything was delicious, even my mother's scary-sounding apricot and almond-studded stuffing made with turkey heart and, like, a half gallon of Grand Marnier.

Good friends (courtesy of my discerning parents) and family members made the whole thing memorable. Quite the tableau (5.5 MB wmv) -- nearly impossible to capture the joie de vivre, but I tried.

Goodbye to my grandmother (Gannie, aka Monnie, b. 1911), Marion Emily Cary. You will be missed.

Politics: Plus Ca Change
Well-written "Why Bush is Bad" for Dummies in this week's NY Times. Perfect primer from Frank Rich entitled, "Has He Started Talking to the Walls?" Funny and maddening and replete with links to relevant video and other media. (Times Select only, I'm afraid. I just signed up... I couldn't bear feeling left out.)

It turns out we’ve been reading the wrong Bob Woodward book to understand what’s going on with President Bush. The text we should be consulting instead is “The Final Days,” the Woodward-Bernstein account of Richard Nixon talking to the portraits on the White House walls while Watergate demolished his presidency. As Mr. Bush has ricocheted from Vietnam to Latvia to Jordan in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the troubling behavior of a president who isn’t merely in a state of denial but is completely untethered from reality. It's not that he can’t handle the truth about Iraq. He doesn’t know what the truth is.

I"m a little late tuning in to "Weeds" (Showtime) but am fully addicted (cough, cough). Thank you Bob
D. I was horrified today to find out that Season 2 --apparently running now -- isn't yet available on DVD. If I had KNOWN... why... I wouldn't have deVOURED the whole of Season 1 quite so avaricely.

There aren't words: Election 2006
November 8, 2006

Oh. Yes, there are! There are so many words and thoughts and phrases and witticisms and clever-isms, and connecting of the dots (and attempts to disconnect the dots) that I have no business even weighing in. Can I assume you know what I'm talking about? Well, certainly not my birthday, which was yesterday. Election Day. The Day the Tide Turned (or whatever it will be historically referred to in time).

The New Yorker cover of this week was so very prescient (George Bush standing in the aftermath of a bull-in-china-shop scenario [read: Iraq], mouth hanging open in a "What, who me?")

Paris and Spiders
October 21, 2006

Back from Paris yet again. This time, though, there are no pictures and no movies. I forgot my camera. Which is fine, as much of the time I was not in the mood to photograph anything. I was suffering from what I now believe to be the toxins of the brown recluse spider. I won't go into the gory details of the actual bite (and they are deliciously gory; words like "volcanic ulceration," "necrosis" and "sinking wound,"), which I had noticed before I left. The bite was behind my knee, so I couldn't really see it that well and easily ignored for nearly two weeks.

After a couple of lovely days running around the city with C. (Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, le Marais -- where we stayed -- up and down the Seine, walking, walking, eating, drinking, more walking) I started feeling feverish. On the worst night, I was curled up in a ball, shivering violently, with the worst headache ever. Then I was hot, hotter than hot, burning up, opening the windows and feeling like death.

I didn't connect the spider bite until I finally got home and felt it -- golfball sized now and very painful. I really should have gone to the doctor then, but I didn't. The fever finally faded and I seem to be on the mend, with just a red and tender site on my leg that kind of looks like I've been shot. I'm going to the dermatologist next week and I'll be able to run my theory by him. The theory includes the fact that global warming is driving predominantly mid-Atlantic dwelling critters north to places like New York City and into my livingroom.

Modern Times
August 29, 2006
On the grayest Manhattan day, I've found something to be really happy about. Simplistic as it may sound, it's just the knowledge that I'm alive in the same century and eon as Bob Dylan. OK, I'm unduly influenced now, this evening, by Bob himself on his new album Modern Times, which I dutifully downloaded via iTunes, hoping for the best. I really like it. Haven't read reviews yet but it strikes me as -- oh shit, I don't know. I'm not a critic. Dylaneque?? Alright, I can try to be a little more articulate. The single "Blood in My Eyes for You" reminds me of Leo Kottke's "Corrina, Corrina" - it's that striking and heartfelt (though not quite as good). The wierd thing is I can't (at this moment) figure out what song came when on the album (CD, whatever). I mean, on iTunes it comes into my library, at least, alphabetically. Which places the longest song, "Ain't Talkin', first. Which is nuts. Not that it's not really, really good.

Say what you will about iTunes but how utterly cool is the ability to watch mini music videos in the corner while listening? I know I'm easily impressed but I don't care. And to have lyrics right there? For Bob? There aren't words. Er... well, you know what I mean. "Jokerman" transports... naturally. The levee breaking song touches on the Katrina horrors just obliquely enough to satisfy and not be maudlin or disturbing. And yet is... disturbing. At least coming right now, on the even of the one-year anniversary. If the song had been more morose or piercing, I bet CNN would be using it RIGHT NOW as a musical backdrop to the "looking back" footage. As it is, the song is just... bluesy Bob at his best. "Things Have Changed" is lovely; the accompanying star-studded video is bizarre and hilarious (Michael Douglas lip-synching? Katie Holmes??).

All Work And No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
August 6, 2006

Meaning only that not every post deserves a title. I write a lot of headlines for my job and they're usually dull as dirt. Except when they're brilliant. Ha. Ok, so I'm listening to Yo Yo Ma playing Bach's cello suities and eating oatmeal, tofu and blueberries which tastes much worse than it sounds. Life could be better. I could be on a beach -- but oh, I will be next week, in Maine.

Speaking of which, some lucky NYT's writer got to cover
the Maine lobster roll trail up from Kennebuckport on up to New Harbor. Of course, they hit Red's Eats (kind of hard to miss, positioned right on Route One before the railroad tracks and the long bridge to Edgecomb. I don't think they quite captured the slavish loyalty with which people patronize Red's -- have you seen the lines? Dear Damariscotta was only briefly mentioned, oddly, as "a fishing village with a well-stocked bookstore." Huh? Are they trying to say something there? First of all, it's hardly a fishing village and the bookstore is lovely but they totally missed Reny's! Oh well. Glad the southern coast got some press.

I'm still looking for some software that will give me comments like a normal blog (sniffle) and I did install an SQL database but only managed to find a rather overly robust content management program php-fusion which is brilliant, with a message board and "shout outs" and "post a link... website... article... news" and is somewhat customizable but doesn't quite work for... HERE. Sigh.

Current reading: The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright.

I'll be following this one closely: U.S. threatens suit if Maine probes Verizon ties to NSA. Talk about frivolous lawsuits. I hope they go through with it. That would teach those uppity Downeasters to not question that government's war on American... I mean ... terrorism. War on terrorism. We need a new war on a new -ism. This one's getting old, I'm sorry. Interesting article on the top in this month's Atlantic Monthly:

The United States is succeeding in its struggle against terrorism. The time has come to declare the war on terror over, so that an even more effective military and diplomatic campaign can begin.

You can't read the whole article unless you subscribe. Subscribe! It's worth every penny.

The Doggiest of Dog Days
July 29, 2006

Woof. Seriously. It's 95 in the shade, and even the shade seems to have snuck off to the Hamptons. I frittered away this afternoon (dressed in gym clothes, ready to go) fixing up my archived pages which are a complete disaster. I need to go through the code with a fine-toothed comb and pull out all the malevolent font tags that Dreamweaver refuses to fix for me. I discovered the joys of CSS late but will never worry again. I think what I'll do for now (to fill up some of this new-blog whitespace) is excerpt from the archives so you don't have to go there.

From the Archives


"Preserved in Amber"
March 21, 2004. Thank you 60 Minutes. Richard Clark blows the lid off the current administration's ineptitude and its dangerous and quite probably criminal war-mongering, comparing the Bush administration to bugs preserved in amber from the prior President Bush's cold-war oriented milieu. Dick Clark (not to be confused with the other Dick Clark (who does seem to be preserved in amber), told Lesley Stahl, well, all. Now let's just see if anyone listened...

Being Me

Quining the Qualia
February 12, 2003. I've been doing a little light reading in hopes that a mental workout might unfreeze my neural connections. So far, I'm just getting a headache. I'm spending the morning divining words that encourage my velleitous imagination, that make my heart leap or that I have to look up.

A Hair-raising Experience
February 23, 2004. My singular goal for the weekend was to get my hair cut. Those who know me well know that I would rather go to dentist every day for a month rather than get my locks trimmed. It just kills me to pay upwards of $100 for a marginally better look. On a whim, I decided to try a barber-type place. All I really need is someone with a really sharp pair of scissors who can discern a straight line. There's a little hole-in-the-wall place on Spring St. that I pass by often. In my mind, it was warm and welcoming, and where the old guy is a coiffing genius merely disguised as an old-time barber. I poked my head in and he said he'd take me in 40 minutes. I went home and asked C. for advice. He told me to go for it. So I did. When I went back to the place, I was dismayed to see three or four men in there. I was hoping the barber would say something like "So, what brings you to our fine establishment? Then I could say I had lost a bet or that it was an emergency and all the other shops were closed or booked. No such luck.

I also almost keeled over from the smell. I think it's still in my nose and I don't know exactly what it was - shaving lotion, cheap aftershave, something rank and old-man-smelling. Yuck. But I took a seat and started looking through the magazines. When I noticed that most of them were Playboy I started to feel a little nauseous. I bet I'm the only woman to ever entertain the idea of cutting her hair here. Once in the chair, things did not improve. I focused on not breathing through my nose and on the amazing dissimilarities between the places I usually go - and this. First of all, no modern techno-dance music, just a tv in the corner showing some movie with some woman on a bed about to have sex (that much I could see out of the corner of my eye. Not the kind of thing you want on a sunny Sunday afternoon). Instead of the neat, clean shelf with funky hair products (Bedhead, Tea Tree, Bumble & Bumble) this not-so-clean shelf held a kitchen timer, some manly shaving brushes, some hair, more hair, Brut 33 and combs in a jar of blue liquid.

Instead of a shampoo, head massage and deep conditioning, I got sprayed like a dog with a bottle of cold H20. Instead of complimenting me on my unique and clearly homemade haircolor, he noted that I "needed a touch-up." Hey, hello, first semester Beauty School rules dictate no making fun of the customer! As he clearly didn't have any hair clippies, he had to just sort of throw the twisted spirals over the other side of my head, where of course they wouldn't stay. I will say he was quick - the five requested millimeters were gone in a jiffy and he was blow-drying me - thwapping my face with the cord and then burning my neck and scalp. I finally jumped up and said we were done. I put my damp hair quickly into a ponytail, threw the man a twenty and peeled outta there.

So, you ask, was it worth it? Well, I saved between 60 and 100 dollars, got a perfectly fine trim, and something to write about. But no - I miss the pampering and music and the smells and the product array of my half-dozen other salons and I'm pretty sure I will never step foot in that toxic Hair Box or Hair Bin or Hair Hoppers or Hair Hell or whatever it was called, again.


Horses Can't Throw Up
February 9, 2004. In other news (to me), Kim reports that horses can't throw up. Something about the sand they ingest while eating hay and the attendant psyllium that acts like gelatin. Something like that.

Gay Fruitflies, etc.
April 13, 2005. Dear to my heart is Harper's Findings, a seemingly random compendium of scientific findings, some of which fall into the "well, duh" category (and makes you wonder who's paying for these studies) and some are awe-inspiring. I believe that reading these improves the brain, makes those little neurons work, connecting the dots or trying to make connections between such proclamations as:

  • Geneticists succeeded in giving fruit flies a gene that makes them gay.
  • Scientists studying the endangered Devils Hole pupfish in Nevada accidentally killed eighty of them, about one third of the remaining wild population.
  • Scientists found that subliminal happy faces can persuade people to drink more, and that compliments can make women feel better about their bodies. A British charity concluded that Aka Pygmy men are the best fathers.
  • Microbiologists discovered that some pollution-eating bacteria can generate electricity

Book Reports
Fortress of Solitude
October 7, 2003. Reading J. Lethem's Fortress of Solitude. A ticket to the Brooklyn of my false (but not so far off the mark) memories, cadged from some other book or movie. Brooklyn in the Seventies, with honeyed sun filtering through the trees that line the streets where kids play arcane forms of ball and struggle to define themselves in an unforgiving and ultimately too-forgiving urban landscape. A ranging novel not nearly as funny as Motherless Brooklyn.. EATMEBAILEY! But, really, better and deeper and more satisfying.

Move along, people. Nothing to see here.

Art & Culture

On the Death of Loiseau

The great French chef Bernard Loiseau died today in an apparent suicide:

"Loiseau's death recalled the legendary 17th-century Francois Vatel, said to have killed himself over a failed meal at which King Louis XIV was the star guest. The fish had reportedly arrived late." more... (NYT-AP)I didn't know him, or even of him, but I feel for him. His name caught my eye and I thought immediately of Wallace Shawn, the actor and playwright who played a man name "Oiseau" in the highly enjoyable 1988 Alan Rudolph film, "The Moderns." Wally, if you didn't know, has been in an amazing 73 movies, mostly rather bad ones, from the brilliant "My Dinner With Andre" to the probably not-so-brilliant "Nice Girls Don't Explode." I like the guy but he once cut in front of me in line at Drama Books. Oh well.

Libeskind vs. Attia
I'll be closely following the Battle of the Wedge wherein our two protagonists, architect Daniel Libeskind, winning designer for the new buildings at ground zero, whose work has been described alternately as "brilliant, complex, radiating, emotional, spastic, genius, embarrassing, towering, lovely, sick, astonishing, plagued, quintessential, incomprehensible, simple, elegant, and fatuous" and architect Eli Attia, who designs very big, shiny, rather cold but slick and elegant buildings, as they battle over the idea of sunlight. Yes, the idea of sunlight. I'm going to try to sum up the controversy in their own words. Or something like their own words.

Mr. Libeskind: The sun will shine without shadow.
Mr. Attias: That's a lie.
Mr. Libeskind: The effect is not linear but a three-dimensional phenomenon about the ambience of light and the reflections of light between the buildings.
Mr. Attias: [It's] a virtual smorgasbord of narrow-minded incompetence in urban planning and architectural design, garnished with a rare blend of political propaganda.
Mr. Libeskind: harrumph...
Mr. Attias: ...a figment and a sham memorial in which the defining image and metaphor is shadows conquering the light
Mr. Libeskind: This is about radiating light, reflecting light, the atmosphere of light.
Mr. Attias: It's a national embarrassment.
Mr. Libeskind: It's not about tricks of light but about how light behaves when you look at the sun in three-dimensional form.

To be continued...

Recently Read & Recommended

Extremely Loud and INcredibly Close
Jonathan Safran Foer
Ian McEwan
Lunar Park
Bret Easton Ellis
Snow Flower and The Secret Fan
Lisa See
The Asian Grocery store Demystified
Linda Bladholm
The United States of Arugula
David Kamp
The Happy Isles of Oceania
Paul Theroux
I Am Charlotte Simmons
Tom Wolfe
the looming tower
Lawrence Wright
The Foreign Correspondent
Alan Furst
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna
Umberto Eco
John Updike
A Disorder Peculiar to the Country
Ken Kalfus
Bill Buford
Garlic and Sapphires
Ruth Reichl
Thank You for Smoking
Christopher Buckley
Jeffrey Eugenidies
How to Be Alone
Jonathan Franzen

Dance Dance Dance
Haruki Murakami


2004 - 2006
2003 - 2004
2002 - 2003

(may require Windows Media Player)
Movie: At the Louvre (9.3 mg)
Slideshow: Paris '06 (3.8 mg)
Movie: Winter '06 is back (4.9 mg)
MOMA with Carm
Paris '05
Slideshow: Paris '05 (5.9 mg)