Thursday, October 30, 2008


All week, my car has been parked in the first spot I found after getting off the highway last Sunday, when I got back from New England. It’s a Tuesday-Friday spot, to take advantage of alternate-side suspension on Tuesday for Diwali, the Hindu Feast of Lights. I was a little uneasy about leaving the car there, because the block is nonresidential, which is to say subject to crime. When I got out of the car, I noticed heaps of crunchy windshield glass along the curb—not a good omen. Just as well that I have to move it tomorrow, Halloween. Something weird always happens to my car around Halloween.

It was autumn in New England, and there was shopping and Thai food and apples and cider and king crab legs and the last of the sweet corn. There was also a burial: Shadow, a fox terrier, died. He was my buddy, and I had been warned that he was failing, so I brought him one last toy: a fuzzy orange witch with a black hat and broom. Shadow would tear off her accessories first, then knock the stuffing out of her, rip off her head, and finally remove her squeaky heart. Sadly, he died before I arrived, and never got a chance. But at least this way I get to remember him as he was: a muscular little guy, like a torpedo, with a preposterously long, bony black nose (the better for rooting in foxholes) and avid black eyes, hurtling himself at me in ecstasy when I walked through the door.

Shadow was aptly named, and not just because he was black. He was originally meant as a replacement for another small dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Stripe, who got run over on the country road outside her house when she was still a sweet young thing. For all of Shadow’s thirteen years, there was anxiety about keeping him inside the fence. His favorite toys were garden hoses and hula hoops, which he’d whip around and bark at in the front yard. He used to run the length of the white picket fence, barking at passing cars and tractors, and especially at the school bus that was taking his boy away. Over the years, the fence deteriorated: pickets were replaced by chicken wire, and the gate wouldn’t close. Shadow could have gotten out anytime, but by then he seemed to be choosing to stay inside.

Shadow lay in state in one of the bedrooms on Friday night. During the night, there were mysterious squeaks that sounded like Shadow playing with a toy. It was the bird, a cockatiel (he and the dog were friends). It was as if he were imitating Shadow at play. The squeaks gave way to songs—the bird was accompanying himself. I'd never heard the bird sing at night before.

In the morning, the boy, Sam, now a young man, came home to bury his dog. He and his mother chose a spot across the road, and Sam went at it like a professional gravedigger. This boy has buried horses. He lifted the sod in slabs and laid it aside. After the first few shovelfuls, he used a post-hole digger to make the hole deep enough. He had bought two bags of pea-sized gravel and a bag of lime to sweeten the earth and keep any country creature from sniffing around. Sam’s mother carried the dog’s body, wrapped in a blue-and-white blanket, out of the house and across the road. Sam laid the body in the grave, along with a favorite length of hose, and we each took a ceremonial turn with the shovel. “All that’s missing is bagpipes,” I said. And someone produced a cell phone with a bagpipe ring tone.

After replacing the sod and tamping it down, and choosing a Japanese maple sapling to plant later, we went inside and reminisced, as one does at a wake. It was always hard to get a good photograph of Shadow, because his eyes and his face were so black, but I remember taking pictures as he tore apart a toy Santa, and the expression on his face when that Santa talked to him, saying “Merry Christmas, ho-ho-ho!” Shadow loved the city, and once, when he visited, I couldn’t resist buying him a red backpack at Petco. We put his cans of food in it and walked him home. Every time he went through a doorway, he would forget he was carrying a wide load and bump into the door. The last time we took him to Petco, we let him pick out his own toy. He tried out one, and then another, and then settled on the first and carried it to the checkout. It was so funny to see a dog shopping.

Later my friend realized that she had forgotten to take his collar off, and it had Stripe’s tag on it. Too bad. Shadow became his own substance years ago.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Baby Dee's Fall Tour

The fabulous Baby Dee winds up her fall tour this weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee. Here's a link to an amusing interview she gave to the Dallas Voice, in Fort Worth, Texas. Dee has covered a lot of ground in her VW Bug, and returns home with the harp on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the family piano is coming east in a truck full of Nativity figures.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


My scam to sneak into the movies as a senior has backfired. (See post of February 7, 2007.) I had been itching to see the Bill Maher movie, “Religulous”—it sounded right up my alley. There was a huge crowd outside the theatre, waiting to see “Quarantine, ” but no one in line at the box office. The lady there was older than your usual apathetic twenty-something: she could have been selling tickets part time while collecting Social Security. So I decided not to try to get in as a senior. She might look up.

“One for ‘Religulous.’”

“Are you a senior?” she asked, looking at me.

“Yes,” I said, looking back. I was astounded, but if she was going to offer, I would go along with it.

“Do you have I.D.?”

“I don’t have it with me,” I said. I was carrying an enormous bag, the bag I bought to carry “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” in, and she must have thought it odd that there was no I.D. in there. What was in there was two bottles of imported beer and an opener. I shrugged and said I’d pay the full price.

“How old are you?” she persisted.

I was beginning to feel like a bug under a magnifying glass in the sun. “Sixty-four,” I said. (I forgot that the minimum age for old is sixty-two. Maybe this added verisimilitude.)

She looked at me searchingly—I have let my hair grow out, but I still prefer to think of it as brown with platinum highlights—and said, “Next time, you’ll have to show I.D.”

I walked toward the escalator with my $7.50 ticket, wondering if it was worth four dollars to be humiliated, and trying to calculate my year of birth, if she had asked. (1944? Incredible!) I bought popcorn and Whoppers, like a six-year-old, and found a seat in the back row. A young couple came and plopped themselves down right next to me, and after a while I picked up everything—coat, bag, popcorn, beer—and moved down a few seats to have elbow room. You see, I am ageless: child, adolescent, and crank, all rolled into one. Behaviorally speaking, all that is lacking is my true biological age.

“Religulous” had some good things in it, like a shot of Mormon underwear (it has pockets) and an interview with Father Reginald Foster, the famous Latin teacher in Rome and Latin Secretary to the Pope, who was fired by Gregorian University for letting people audit his class without paying. He’s wonderfully irreverent. There was also an interview with an actor who plays Jesus at a Biblical theme park, and apparently has trouble breaking character, and a visit to a service in a truck-stop chapel. But after I had drained my beers and munched my way through the popcorn and masticated the Whoppers (which were gooey instead of crisp; a true crank would have mailed in the unused portion and demanded her money back), I felt myself dozing off. The next thing I knew, the credits were running.

Maybe I was tired. Maybe the film, a documentary, lacked narrative thrust, or was a bit too much like the Stations of the Cross. Or maybe I was just trying to live the lie. Anyway, I hope I didn't snore. And I wonder what I missed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mayor's Cup

Two of my (sort of) interests converged on Sunday when ukulele players were invited to entertain the crowd at the Mayor's Cup, a kayak marathon that began in the Hudson River at Battery Park City and ended somewhat short of circumnavigating the isle on a Sunday afternoon. I could see it was too windy for me to go out in a motorboat on Jamaica Bay—frankly, it was too windy even to bike downtown to the Battery—but this did not stop the kayakers from pushing off into the Hudson. Now, make no mistake: I have never been caught in a kayak, for the simple reason that if I ever got into a kayak I would never be able to get out again. I would be like one of those mythological creatures, a Centaur, half woman, half surf-ski: a surfosaur.

So I was lazing around on Sunday, feeling bad not so much for missing the kayak race as for not coming out to support Ukulele Fun, in which some friends were playing. I hoped they had brought along fingerless gloves. I needn't have worried: the event was cancelled, both uke and race. Here is a description of the conditions from the Times: "The wind picked up speed ... and worked against the current to create a volatile chop, said Greg Porteus, a retired New York State trooper and the safety officer for the race. The currents in the river overtook several racers immediately after they turned north from the harbor, leaving them struggling to control their boats." One guy ran into a barge, and there was a pileup as kayakers tried to avoid him and negotiate the current. Several people had to be rescued from the water. Luckily, nobody drowned. If I were the Mayor, I would take my name off this event.

Read the whole article here and watch hair-raising footage of the race from the makers of the kayaks, who believe that there's no bad publicity.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Calculated Risk

I took a calculated risk on Sunday morning and moved my car out of a Monday-Thursday spot that I had found on Saturday night—at the Sanctuary, no less—to take full advantage of alternate-side suspension on Tuesday, for Shemini Atzeret, a Jewish holiday. (Simchat Torah follows, on Wednesday, but as there is no street cleaning on Wednesdays in any of my parking haunts, I will not be observing it.) I read a little about Shemini Atzeret on Wikipedia, but learned nothing except what it isn’t: it is not associated with Succoth. I like Succoth, because everywhere you go there are little huts, and people go into the huts and eat: the feast of picnics. You can even order out pizza and have it delivered to your hut. There are mobile huts parked on Broadway, in the Garment District. On Sunday, after reparking, I was trespassing on the grounds of a school of nursing and came across a couple of huts set up in a corner of the campus. They remind me of dune shacks.

Speaking of dunes, I was in Rockaway on Saturday, and because it was too windy to go out in the boat, I drove to Fort Tilden to take a walk on the beach. The dunes there were built to house big guns installed for the defense of New York Harbor. (There are similar fortifications in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and Staten Island.) As I approached my favorite parking lot, two police cars, with their top lights swirling, and a Park ranger in a khaki-colored S.U.V. were blocking the entrance. I entered via the exit, and who should I see in the midst of all this police activity but my old friend Frank of Assisi. He comes to this beach with his metal-detector to prospect for coins, watches, jewelry, lead sinkers, cow bells … whatever. I hung around on the fringe, waiting for a chance to say hi to Frank and tease him. I was going to say, Are you stirring up trouble again? Or, Do you need a character witness?

The two police cars drove away, but Frank was still talking to the Park ranger. Finally, he turned his head and recognized me, and I asked what was going on. “I just told someone they couldn’t park here, and all of a sudden the police show up,” he said. Then he made an ungentle motion, meaning that I should get lost, so I did. I never saw Frank so irritated before. My best guess is that whoever he was giving advice to, in his Good Samaritan way, did not take it kindly, and they in turn busted him for prospecting on a beach that is reserved for surf-fishing. I may someday get to the bottom of this.

I timed my walk in the dunes to end at sunset, and drove straight home and lucked into that spot at the Sanctuary. It was a little close to a fire hydrant, but my concern about getting a ticket was dwarfed by the sight of an enormous dumpster in the Sanctuary precincts, taking up three of the seven precious spots. By morning, my car seemed even closer to the fire hydrant, but no zealous cop had given me a ticket. It broke my heart to give up my spot in the Sanctuary—who knows when I’ll park there again?—but if I could find a Tuesday-Friday spot I’d have every morning free until Friday, when I plan to get out of town anyway.

I'd been cruising for eight-tenths of a mile when I saw it: a spot the size of a station wagon, with a shallow sinkhole in it, on the other side of the street. I slammed on the brakes, put my signal on, and made a U-turn mid-block to snag it. Behind me, cars started honking. Fortunately, none of them belonged to a policeman.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sheepshead Bay

Swans in Sheepshead Bay.

Boating tip: Hide your empties before you wave to the Coast Guard.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It's really only a minor leak. The outboard is surprisingly photogenic!

Monday, October 13, 2008

More on the Bailout

Last fall at the marina, the Boss was awfully eager to take my boat out of the water, so I expected the same this year. I had enough gas in my tank to run the motor for about an hour and a half, and I was going to use it up and then hang up my oars for the season. But the Boss hasn’t yet shown any sign of taking boats out of the water, and conditions were perfect on Saturday: sunny and mild, with a light breeze and an incoming tide. So I put two gallons of gas in the tank and pointed the boat west to Sheepshead Bay.

I had been wanting to go to Sheepshead Bay, but it is a long trip—two hours out and one and a half hours back (with the tide). I amused myself on the way out by timing a measured mile that begins, according to my chart, at a green can west of the Marine Parkway Bridge and ends at the stack of the Neponsit old-age home, which Giuliani evicted all the old people from in the middle of the night several years ago so that the city could do something more profitable with the beachfront property. (It sits there vacant still; all he succeeded in doing was confusing a lot of old people, who had until then enjoyed a fine view of the nude beach at Riis Park.) I set my diver’s watch and covered the mile in about twelve or fifteen minutes—not a very precise measurement, but I couldn’t tell when I was abreast of the stack and, anyway, who cares?

I have at last discovered that, at the right speed and under the right conditions, you can let go of the tiller, and the boat will go by itself. That’s what boats do. It was good that I made that discovery, because I had a little bailing to do: water was seeping out of the sealed hollow seat beneath me, puddling at my feet, and I had to keep sponging it up and wringing out the sponge, something it is hard to do with just one hand.

Sheepshead Bay is where the party boats dock. The Golden Sunshine was there, and a few fishing boats came in while I was putting around. I did not tie up and go ashore, though there is a Loehmann's in Sheepshead Bay, and often there are fish for sale (off the boats, not at Loehmann's). I was tempted to try to buy some blackfish: my mechanic had told me, when I went to pick up my car, that blackfish was in season; he says it's delicious. I looked for the American Princess, thinking she might have been towed here for repairs, but I didn’t see her. There were flotillas of swans on the bay, and a lot of sailboats to steer clear of.

Sailing seems kind of pokey to me (as if with six horsepower I attained blistering speed), but I am beginning to get curious about it. How do they do it by themselves? How does a lone sailor manage? In Sheepshead Bay I saw an old guy sitting by himself in the middle of his sailboat with his arms outstretched, a line in each hand connected to a sheet at each end. (I believe “sheet” means sail and “line” means rope, and the sailor was sitting amidships.) It looks to me as if sailors have to be equally adept with both hands. On the way back, I decided to try sitting on the opposite side of my outboard, the port side, with my right hand on the tiller. Well, I am not equally adept: I couldn’t figure out which way to point the tiller to change course, and twisting the throttle to control the speed was out of the question. But while I was sitting over there I noticed that I had sprung a leak: water was spurting out of a previously plugged crack in the transom. Would this be, as they say in baseball, a season-ender? I wedged a towel against the crack, so as not to soak my back, and resumed bailing. Thus ended the experiment in ambidexterity.


This morning I took the ferry back to Manhattan to celebrate Columbus Day (Observed), leaving the Éclair in Rockaway, where it could take full advantage of the week's alternate-side suspensions. I took the bus to the ferry landing, and the bus driver drove like a maniac, so I got there early enough to recognize the American Princess heading up the bay from the Parachute Jump at Coney Island. So she was back. I asked one of the crew where they took the ferry to get its engine fixed. “We bring it to Freeport,” he said. “We have a good mechanic there, so that’s where we do it.” Some of the crew had worked on the catamaran that replaced the American Princess—passengers called it "the yellow boat"—but the guy whose name I think is Joe, who collects tickets and occasionally drives the boat and cleans it and serves drinks and welcomes people aboard and points out things like a World War II submarine tied up at Red Hook, says he stays with the boat all the time. He had to drive out to Freeport every day. I asked him what happened the day the engine blew. Nothing, he said. Then he explained, “This boat has three engines. You can run it on one, you can run it on two—we run it on three engines all the time.” The crew heard one of the engines failing, and they could have kept going (as I certainly would have) but they knew it would only get worse (which I would have learned the hard way). So they delivered their passengers safely to Rockaway and went to Freeport under their own power.

Vs of geese flew over the harbor. A low fog rimmed Manhattan. All that is left of a sign on the Brooklyn horizon is a backwards R.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Faux Falls

Since one of the chief thrills of Olafur Eliasson's New York Waterfalls, to be turned off next Monday, is being able to view all four at once, I am jamming them all into one farewell post. In order of appearance as the Rockaway ferry approaches Pier 11, at the foot of Wall Street, are the Governors Island waterfall, to port, somewhat upstaged by the ventilation tower for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Then comes the waterfall off Red Hook, in Brooklyn, on the starboard side. Up ahead, also to starboard, is the most majestic of the waterfalls, under a pylon of the Brooklyn Bridge. (This was the only one there were complaints about: people in Brooklyn Heights said the salt water was ruining plants along the river.) You have to transfer to the East River ferry to get a good look at the fourth waterfall, to port, off Manhattan's Lower East Side.


I had this idea I’d reverse-commute to Rockaway this morning, to pick up my car, and since I was awake at five-thirty, I decided to act on it. I got a train down to Wall Street, and the place was swarming with TV cameras. Oh, yeah … the market is tanking.

I plowed down the middle of Wall Street, against the crowd, which was thin yet. Near the river, I tried to see if I recognized any of my erstwhile fellow-commuters disembarking from the 5:45. It was almost 6:45, and I know that the ferry doesn’t wait around but has to get back to Rockaway in time for the 7:45 run. There was no sign of it when I got to the pier. I don’t know if the American Princess is back on the route, but I didn’t see any ferries from New York Water Taxi. I had missed the boat. Still, it was very beautiful down by the river, with boats coming and going. I thought about taking ship to Jersey City, as long as I was up and about, but decided against it.

So I went back up Wall Street to get the train home, putting off my trip to Rockaway till tomorrow. On the way, I was approached by a TV camerawoman, Vivien Lee, from NY1, who asked me if I was one of those stockholders who were panicking and selling off. I told her I was not, that I figured the market would go back up again. I said I had my head stuck deep in the sand. I don’t think they’ll put that on TV.

If I had been smart, I would have kept my money in this low-interest but stable fund that I can’t even remember the name of, because I don’t like risk, but I got swindled by some jerk at Merrill Lynch and saw my little nest egg dwindle in the dot-com crash. I moved it, out of hatred for Merrill Lynch, saw it grow again, and now I have a system: Never open financial mail at night. I don’t want to ruin the evening by agonizing over bad financial news. If I put it off till morning, chances are, in the rush to get to the office, I’ll forget about it. Same thing the next day: the conscious decision not to open the envelope at night, followed by the unconscious failure to open the envelope the next morning. One day, when I’m in a bad mood anyway, I rip open all the envelopes and contemplate suicide. But not today.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Auto Atonement

On this day of atonement (Yom Kippur), I have a confession to make. When that state trooper stopped me on I-80 last month—when I saw his lights flashing in my rearview mirror and immediately, like a law-abiding citizen, pulled onto the shoulder to hang my head for speeding—I remembered my puzzlement on examining my driver's documents (license, registration, insurance card) and seeing that my insurance had expired in June, 2008. Surely I’d paid the premium … but where was the proof? And what was I doing on the road without it?

The trooper, who drove an unmarked car (except that all those unmarked cars are so arch-conservative-looking), asked for my license, registration, and, of course, insurance card. Then he asked, pleasantly, for my current insurance card. I riffled through the glove compartment—at one point, I had put all my documentation in there, in case the friend I left the Eclair with while I was in the Azores wanted to drive her—but came up empty. He returned to his car and came back on my passenger side to hand me the tickets and explain it all. He had the neatest handwriting—the tickets were perfectly legible, except for his signature. He explained that, although I had been speeding, he was ticketing me for the lesser offense of windshield obstruction and showed me the exact address where I should send the money. Then he wrote down the phone number of the magistrate and told me to call and get the magistrate’s fax number and within ten days fax proof that I had insurance—“and I believe you do,” he added. The fine for not having insurance is substantial: $350. For that I could spend a full week in the beautiful Hotel Millheim.

I was trying to envision where the insurance card was. There was no point in telling the officer all the details of my complicated life (“See, I stay at the beach in the summer, but my mailing address is in Manhattan …”), and I could remember paying the insurance premium ... almost. I remember adding up my car expenses, and the fact that insurance was the major one, and thinking I was being overcharged and that it was time to shop around. At home, I found the file of envelopes from the insurance company, and sure enough, there, unopened, was the most recent, postmarked May 07 2008, and stamped in red: “IMPORTANT: Insurance Policy, ID Cards and Bill Enclosed.” Who pays any attention to that?

So I made the call and sent the fax first thing the next day—I also paid the (not) speeding ticket—and before the week was out I got in the mail a notice from the Magisterial District Judge withdrawing the charge of “OPER VEH W/O REQ’D FINANC RESP.” And, of course, I put the new card in my wallet. So now I am right with the State of Pennsylvania.

Luckily, when the officer stopped me, my right headlight hadn’t yet popped out of its duct-tape bandage. Nor did he say anything about the cooked-tar odor coming from under the hood, which turned out to be a transmission leak. I called the mechanic yesterday to find out if it had been fixed (it had) and how much it cost: only forty dollars. “What, did you use chewing gum?” I asked. “No,” he said. “It was a line—it happens a lot.” I will pick up the car tonight or over the weekend, in time to celebrate Columbus Day and Succoth.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Waterfalls

Since this is the last week of the New York Waterfalls, and there are four of them, and seeing them all was part of their appeal, I thought I'd post another waterfall photograph. This one, of the falls in Red Hook, Brooklyn, was taken from the Rockaway Ferry early in the morning. Someone asked me if I'd seen the art "behind" the waterfalls. I didn't know what he was talking about, but it made me start looking. I liked the way the sun, at that hour, made the structure for the falls, the pipes (a fountain, really), cast shadows on the falling water.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I drove out to Rockaway last Saturday, and before I left, Dee, who was in town for a concert, offered to move her car into my spot in the Sanctuary to hold it for me. It’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done to support my parking obsession! I told her she didn’t have to, though, because my plans were in a state of flux, and I would take my chances.

There was an article in last Saturday’s Times occasioned by the overlap between Rosh Hashana and Id al-Fitr, by a woman with the wonderful byline Jennifer 8. Lee, which contained some interesting history about alternate-side parking as well as the excellent suggestion that alternate-side parking rules be suspended for the entire thirty-day period of Ramadan and the information that the only people who don’t like it when alternate side is suspended are the bosses in the D.O.T. who have to reassign the guys who drive the street sweepers. Surely they can think of something else to clean.

Also it was reported in the Wave that the American Princess, the ferry to Rockaway, blew her engine last Wednesday during the morning run. New York Water Taxi is putting another boat on the route, probably one of the yellow-and-black checkered catamarans. I would have loved to be on the ferry to witness this little maritime disaster: to see how the crew handled it, who towed them, where they got towed to, etc. I miss the ferry and the crew and New York Harbor. I even miss the faux waterfalls.

The New York Waterfalls, by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, are getting cut off next Monday, October 13. I found myself recommending them to some visitors from Italy, so I guess I like them, though I came to them from real waterfalls in Flores (below), worthy of King Kong. I am not ashamed to say that I am a waterfall snob, but I am also a big fan of plumbing.

In Rockaway, I intended to go on a historic bungalow tour that I saw a notice for in the Wave several weeks ago. (There was a typo in the headline: “BUNGLOW.” I couldn’t decide whether to pronounce it Bung Low or Bun Glow.) But then I remembered that I lived in a “bunglow” and I ought to be ON the historic bungalow tour. So instead of reporting on the historic bungalows, I offer this link to a cut of the documentary “The Bungalows of the Rockaways,” by Jennifer Callahan and Elizabeth Logan Harris. The filmmakers hope it will be shown on PBS in its entirety when it is done.

My first stop in Rockaway was the mechanic’s. I finally had to admit that the smell I’d been smelling, all across Ohio, of burning rubber or petroleum or something bad cooking, was coming from me and not from the guys spreading blacktop or making asphalt repairs who appeared by coincidence, for me to blame it on, everywhere I drove. It started on the L.I.E. a few weeks ago, when I felt a jolt—something pretty solid hit the right rear tire—but the car kept going and seemed to be all right. I told the mechanic, and I tried to describe the smell, but said I didn't know if there was any connection. He came out to the car, sniffed, and said, “I can smell it.” He opened the hood, and then crouched down under the car. (All the pens fell out of his pocket.) “What did you hit?” he asked. I don’t know, but apparently there were parts of it stuck under there (it wasn’t an animal).

While he was under the car, I thought to tell him that when I started up the car that morning, and pressed the accelerator to pick up speed, the engine didn’t respond. I had to pump it a few times. “That’s the transmission, isn’t it?” I said, and he said yes, he could see the leak. He couldn’t do anything about it right away (mechanics like to get out of the garage early on Saturday), but I gave him the spare key and said I’d park the car in the lot later. “Write this down!" he yelled to someone inside. "Tranny leak.”

Baby Dee's Fall Tour

Baby Dee played a concert in New York last Friday, at the Knitting Factory. The opening act was Dorit Chrysler, who plays theremin. She looked like a wizard, plucking the air around these two radio antennas and making them sing. Playing with Dee was Maxim Moston, a violinist, who studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and plays with Antony and the Johnsons and at Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas show.

Dee's show on Friday had an intimate feel. You could hear every word of the lyrics. It reminded me of the show in Madrid last March, partly because two people who had been at that show in Madrid, Annie Bandes (a.k.a. Little Annie Anxiety) and Maude, one of Dee's faithful European roadies, were there.

The next day, Dee was off to Washington. Here are the dates of her fall tour. My favorite segment is the one that takes her from Gabriola, in British Columbia, on November 16, to Riga, Latvia, on November 20.

Sun Oct 5 Washington, DC National Museum of Women in the Arts
Mon Oct 6 Charlottesville, VA Gravity Lounge
Tue Oct 7 Newport, KY Southgate House
Wed Oct 8 Detroit, MI Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit
Thu Oct 9 Chicago, IL Hideout
Fri Oct 10 Cedar Rapids, IA Legon Arts
Sat Oct 11 Dubuque, IA Monks Kaffee Pub
Sun Oct 12 Minneapolis, MN Kitty Cat Klub
Tue Oct 14 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
Wed Oct 15 Austin, TX Emo's
Thu Oct 16 Houston, TX Orange Show Center
Fri Oct 17 Fort Worth, TX Fort Worth Modern Art Museum
Sun Oct 19 New Orleans, LA One-Eyed Jacks
Fri Oct 24 Atlanta, GA Eyedrum
Sat Oct 25 Knoxville, TN The Pilot Light
Sun Nov 16 Gabriola, BC, Canada Phoenix Auditorium
Thu Nov 20 Riga, Latvia Dirty Deal Cafe
Fri Nov 21 Vienna, Austria Bluebird Festival
Sat Nov 22 Athens, Greece Diavlos Music House
Sun Nov 23 Athens, Greece Diavlos Music House
Tue Nov 25 Aberdeen, Scotland Tunnels
Wed Nov 26 Glasgow, Scotland Arches
Thu Nov 27 Birmingham, UK Glee Club
Sat Nov 29 Coventry, UK Taylor Johns
Sun Nov 30 Brighton, UK Freebutt
Mon Dec 1 London, UK Festival Hall
Sandy Denny Tribute
Tue Dec 2 London, UK Union Chapel
Thu Dec 4 Galway, Ireland Rosin Dubh
Fri Dec 5 Dublin, Ireland Whelan's

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


This was blooming in New York City on the first day of October, and though it's not a great picture, it seemed to me remarkable. I have never seen magnolias bloom in the fall before.

The Mayor has been all over the papers this week, having decided to bust through the term limits and run for a third term. I guess he thinks we need him, what with the economic crisis and all. His work has just begun. Actually, those little pedestrian strips he's creating at the Crossroads of the World? Another mayor would bulldoze right over them.

The mobile surveillance tower in Bloomberg's Broadway bench zone has moved to the other side of Forty-second Street, where it takes up less pedestrian room. The best use I've seen so far of the tables and benches was by a homeless person. He was just resting there, among the tourists, with all his worldly goods in a post-office-issue canvas bin-on-wheels. Tourists sit on the benches, taking a break from hauling their luggage between the train station and a hotel. I wonder what it's going to look like in the winter. Will someone shovel? Or will they use it to pile up the snow from the street?

Bloomberg has all three New York papers in his pocket, and of course he has a lot of money, so he could buy the city, if he wanted. He doesn't have (and here's the rub) too much competition. One guy who wants the job is Anthony Weiner, a congressman whose district includes Rockaway. Weiner is a little guy, and hard to take seriously. (Mayor Weiner?) Another contender is the City Council president, Christine Quinn. We can probably wait four more years before having our first lesbian mayor.

I must admit that none of what the Mayor has done so far has seemed too onerous to me. I'm a little worried about those windmills. It has already been decided that they'll be built off the coast of Queens, but they are supposed to be far enough offshore that they won't ruin the view from the beach. I'm still not convinced about the people sanctuaries. I think Bloomberg thinks it's cosmopolitan, something the French do, have places for people to sit outside. I told my hairdresser this (he's French), and he said, Yes, but not in the Champs-Elysées.

Here is the evil-eye that I got the ticket in Pennsylvania for.