Thursday, August 30, 2007

Convent of Extinct Nuns

Monday, August 27, 2007

music for yoga

David led Eddie and Jeff through a morning routine without requesting the subtraction of Parliament Funkadelic.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weekend in Connecticut

Languid. Serene. Leisurely. Food we'd never eat in real life, but once of a summer Saturday won't kill ya. Joey, not used to a soft mattress, received an expert adjustment that worked wonders.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Brunch

Cook, eat, blog, yoga. (Note the trivia about Lorenz Hart on the TV screen).




They Travel Well

All settled in, we pile into both cars for the hop into the Wretched Little City to attend a monthly gathering of 200 gay men at the downtown Marriott. Proving the significance of what two hours travel time away from NYC can mean, and while making introductions, several of the locals actually asked for a definition of blog, and, nobody had ever read our Joey.

Here are
1 Joe
2 Aaron
3 Tom
4 Eddie
5 Chris
6 David
7 Jeff
8 C
9&10 Tony & Ken of Connecticut and Key West

Friday, August 17, 2007

Only in New York

What started out as a Sunday afternoon tour of Central Park's Bethesda Terrace and Fountain (don't miss the newly restored Minton tile ceiling) ends with a startling and yet typical "Only in New York" encounter. I wonder if he caught anything in his fish nets.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brooke Astor

The delightful and admirable Brooke Astor has died at the age of 105.

I recently read Frances Kiernan's bio of Brooke entitled The Last Mrs. Astor. I recommend it for its insightful treatment of her leadership of the Astor Foundation.It is also not without nuggets:

"As someone in a highly visible position she could not wear the same outfit too many times. Such gowns as she did not pass on to the Costume Institute she passed on to her friend Kitty Carlisle Hart, who put them to immediate use in her role as a regular panelist on the television game show "To Tell the Truth". In those days TV shows did not provide performers with lavish wardrobes and the newly widowed Kitty Carlisle Hart did not have much money to spend."

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A Second Look at Greenpoint

(magnifiableviaclick)

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Greenpoint Sunday

On Sunday we took the subway to Long Island City and walked across the Pulaski Bridge into the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Its desolate industrial buildings have been re-zoned and are now blending into adjacent Williamsburg where swarm the skinny kids with jet black hair and walking cell phone addictions and parents who pay the ratcheted cost of their condos. Their voices drove me nuts, but the frequent sound of spoken Polish was a soothing reminder of what Greenpoint had been, and still is slightly. We walked past McCarren Park, and, at a cafe called Sweetwater, I had a decadent dessert that combined a warm dense chocolate cake with dolce de leche and banana. At the Brazil Coffee Shop in Long Island City, I had a deliriously moist cappuchino muffin. These parts of Brooklyn are a kaleidoscope. This one collage samples just a bit of it and really needs a larger format to help you rummage through it, but your click will help a bit.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

this ought to be fun

On Friday, 6-9AM, Florida time, Fort Lauderdale's Mayor Naugle will co-host a radio talk show on News Talk 850, WFTL, addressing the accusations of bigotry and homophobia that have come his way because of...his bigotry and homophobia.

This may be enjoyed via the internet at http://850wftl.com

Starved as I am for entertainment since the conclusion of the last round of American Idol, I'll be glued to my laptop.

(UPDATE: This was a total waste of time. The cable TV repairman will be here in a few minutes. Maybe that will be better.)

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Controversial Mr. Cavett

The brilliant Dick Cavett is back, and he has a blog in The New York Times! He recently posted an extremely controversial piece. I cannot simply link it because you have to be a "Times Select" subscriber to get to it that way. Instead, I will reprint the whole of it below. He has received a mountain of replies, many of them from long-time fans of his who were nevertheless outraged by his position. Here it is in its entirety. What do you think?


July 25, 2007, 9:30 pm
Is Bigger Really Better?
It was only a few years ago that I first noticed an obese person in a
commercial. Then there were more. Now, like obesity itself, it has gotten
out of hand.

This disturbs me in ways I haven’t fully figured out, and in a few that I
have. The obese man on the orange bench, the fat pharmacist in the drug
store commercial and all of the other heavily larded folks being used to
sell products distresses me. Mostly because the message in all this is
that its O.K. to be fat.

As we know, it isn’t.

It isn’t, mainly, because of the attendant health issues. The risk of several cancers, crippling damage to joints, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and sleep apnea — a much under-publicized life-threatener — defies sense.

So why is it so prevalent in our culture and in the media? Could it be that the ad agencies — always with our best interests at heart, of course — are making use of the appalling fact that obesity in the United States has doubled and rapidly redoubled to the point where one-third of the population is imperiled by gross poundage? Fat people, the commercial-makers may feel, are entitled to representation. What’s wrong with that?

Everything.

Anything seen on TV is, in a subtle and sinister sense, thereby endorsed. I’ve done shows with Ku Klux Klansmen, Mafiosi and Nazis (both domestic and Third Reich). Despite my being not overly cordial to them, always a nagging little voice in me wondered if there wasn’t something wrong with having them on at all. Was it somehow a tacit endorsement, just putting them on television? After all, there’s that sign in the variety store that sits atop the pyramid of schlocky plastic vegetable slicers: AS SEEN ON TV! Just being seen on the tube . . . it’s gotta be good.

Commercials are not the only exposure that obesity gets on TV. It is by no means a rarity on the wonderful Judge Judy’s show when both plaintiff and accused all but literally fill the screen. I guess a nice person would not point out that Jerry Springer’s guests and audience frequently bring to mind (particularly for those of us from western states) a herd of heifers. But there it is. I’ll try to be nicer.

Television comedy, in particular, has become an equal opportunity employer of the gigantic. It seems as if nearly every sitcom has a requisite fat, sassy black lady (or man) or a fat, avuncular white Uncle Jim large enough to absorb the scripted fat jokes. I have yet to see one of those Comedy Central shows with multiple standup comics that doesn’t include someone the size of the Hindenburg. Frequently the comic is black or Hispanic — the two groups, according to many studies, currently bearing the brunt of the obesity plague.

These comics’ routines invariably center on their weight vs. their erotic life — the abundance of former and lack of the latter. When being huge is a jokester’s bread and butter, remaining so becomes a professional necessity as well as an encouragement to over-inflated young would-be performers eager to emulate them. They see that fat is funny. And funny is money.

(Fat jokes, of course, have long been standard in comedy: When you get on a scale, does a card come out saying, ‘Please, one at a time?’” Long ago, that sort of thing risked offending only a few.)

When I was a kid in Nebraska and the eagerly anticipated (and wildly politically incorrect) freak show came to town, it starred such favorites as The Cone-Headed Savages; He Has Two Noses; Alzora, The Turtle Girl (if you’re still out there, Alzora, please write to me!); The Pig Man; and, for an extra quarter and behind curtains, something called Is It A Man Or A Woman?

And, of course, the ever-popular Fat Lady. Dora, in this case. The idea that Dora’s rotundity would be a novelty rare enough that one paid to look at it is sad. (Today, in a two-block walk, I can safely predict seeing at least one woman who could put Dora out of business.)

In the playground, did you too have the nasty little ditty beginning, “Fatty, Fatty, Two by Four”? In Nebraska, we had the song – but no one to torment with it. No one was fat. Sounds incredible now, doesn’t it, in the midst of our current tragedy.

More recently I found myself in Tiananmen Square, and a Chinese guide pointed to a bus unloading what seemed to be half a mile away.

Americans, he said.

How can you tell from here? I naively asked.

Fannies, he said, making the wide gesture with both hands.

Every summer Irish girls come to Montauk, L. I., to work. Some years ago, when obesity was getting into surge mode, I asked two of them if they noticed any difference in America from year to year. They sort of giggled and conferred, not sure if they should say it, but then they did: “You are so huge!”

But it’s no longer true that Europe and Asia can point to America and smugly sing, “Fatty, Fatty.” We’ve exported our revolution with our fast-food chains. Japan now has obese children for the first time in its thousand-year history. Mad for anything American, young Japanese have made McDonald’s (charmingly: “ma-ca-do-naru-doz”) their second – if not first – home, partaking there more than once a day.

But fear not: we still have the lead. And in a future column, perhaps, we can explore just why an ever-growing portion of America’s population treats the body as if it were a Strasbourg goose.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hymenocallis Amaryllidaceae

Many years ago, we grew restless while staying with a friend on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. A lady whose husband owned a nursery suggested we go to the island of St. Bart's. Her sister owned a hotel there. Her phone call got us a room and getting a flight was surprisingly simple. A day later we were in paradise among the many Parisians who had made this island their secret tropical playground long before Hollywood types discovered it.

The hotel, Le Petit Morne, was high on a bluff overlooking both the beach at Flambards and a Rockefeller estate. Our suite had an open-air kitchen/dining room. ($90 a night!) Every morning the housekeeper changed the flowers in the bedroom. Some of them had a scent that was indescribably sweet. I asked about it and she called it a chocolate lily, and that is just what it smelled like. They grew wild in all the craggy places on the island, sometimes wedged in rock crevices that got sprayed by the ocean but mostly a safe distance from the waves.

We drove all over the island in one of those glorified golf carts called "mini-mokes". In the delightfully seedy port town of Gustavia, we drank at a bar called Le Select which was shared by everyone and anyone willing to get along with everyone and anyone. The Swedish navy sailed into port one evening. They all looked like C, but twice as tall. I stood among a gorgeous forest of them while a French woman could not stop swooning over my eyes. "Les Yeux! Oooo Les Yeux!" she kept shrieking, for I was wearing opaque violet contacts, newly invented that year and quite startling.

On our way to the Gran Saline beach where one tumbles about in the violent surf nakedly, I purchased a chocolate bar called "Copaya". It is by the Suchard confectioners. It was "Chocolat Blanc A La Noix De Coco." The most wonderful thing I have ever consumed. I ate the whole bar while C drove. It made me literally higher than anything I have ever smoked. I made C turn the moke around so I could buy every bar in that store. I saved the wrappers. I wonder if it is still available. Surely it is illegal.

As we packed to leave St. Bart's, I pried a small lily bulb out of the ground and hid it in my suitcase. Several years later it bloomed for us and produced five green three-valved capsules the size of filberts. I placed these on a marble credenza in the sun and was surprised when a tiny white tendril poked out of each one. I potted them and they grew for a few years next to their fat-as-a-grapefruit old mother who has bloomed reliably every summer and has produced other bulbs from her roots but has never again made fertile seed pods.

The plant is commonly called a spider lily. (Hymenocallis Amaryllidaceae). There are about twenty-five varieties, all of them fragrant.

Jeff recently mentioned his desire for a plant that can withstand a broad spectrum of circumstances and occasional neglect. We gave him one of the babies and warned him that it might not bloom for a few more years. Surprisingly, it sent up a flower stalk as soon as he got it home and into some dirt. Here it is, thriving in foster care.





It has four siblings who are still with us and need good homes. I would be willing to give one to anyone who is willing to pick it up in New York. The price of adoption? One bar of Copaya. That's right. I'd trade my babies for another hit of that stuff.

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