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February 25, 2003

According to Kim's Snapple top  of yesterday, Maine has 62 lighthouses.

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.

February 20, 2003

I've never attended a peace rally. Even at Berkeley during the time of the anti-apartheid protests -- which I felt pretty strongly about -- and People's Park riots (which I felt somewhat strongly about) I preferred to watch from the sidelines. Read more...

Rally pics

From the February 13 Wiscasset [Maine] Newspaper: Bravo for Bobsy and Val Thompson [Mom and Dad] on Spring Hill Farm Road. They braved weather, a long crowded bus ride, and some harsh disapproval, to go to the Peace March in Washington January 18, and both have written thoughtful commentary on it in several papers. Loyalty to one's nation should not be measured by a slavish agreement to its policies, but, like King Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia, it is having the courage and generosity to say "nay" when one's nation is in danger of erring. The strength of our country is its willingness to sustain and benefit from its nay-sayers, an uncomfortable prickly lot who should be known as "the loyal opposition." So, another bravo for all the stalwart souls who have held peace vigils on the Davey and Newcastle-Damariscotta Bridges, and all the other bridges, nation and state.

February 14, 2003

Finally some good news: Monarch Butterflies Alive and Well in Mexico

February 12, 2003

Quining the Qualia
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. Hence, the above.

An interesting article in Scientific American, my new fave zine. "To sleep, perchance to file? Findings published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences further support the theory that the brain organizes and stows memories formed during the day while the rest of the body is catching zzz's," begins the article.

I also checked out FEMA's 101-page Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness after the incident on the subway yesterday*:

"If you live in an area prone to high winds, make sure your roof is firmly secured to the main frame of the residence." Damn sound advice.

* After a weekend of hearing about possible terrorist attacks in the NYC subway tunnels, I overslept and yes, had to take the subway to work. And wouldn't you know it, I sit down right next to a guy with a big metal suitcase. Not something you usually see during rush hour. I hate being paranoid. It really sucks.

January 28, 2003

I'm not alone! At least in my preoccupation with yogurt and yogurt marketing. Read this... it's infinitely funnier than my tale of woe.

January 21, 2003

I had a moment the other day when I questioned my sanity and so I tried to remember who the Vice President of the United States is - and I couldn't. Where's Waldo? It got me thinking - and I know I'm not alone in this (or anything apparently) - where the hell is he? I did a quick search and came up with some "recent appearances" that sound pretty suspect to me, I'm sorry: the most recent is a discussion on the economy to the United States Chamber of Commerce. Huh? We need a Chamber of Commerce? I know Bath, Maine does, but the United States of America? Wierd. The other recent event was honoring Margaret Thatcher (surprise, surprise) at the Heritage Foundation (surprise, surprise). Still, I haven't seen his scary visage on the tv for a very long time, so obviously he must be in hiding, kidnapped or ... I was pretty sure I spotted him at the curtain call for the cast of a St. Cloud, Minnesota production of Annie but I could be wrong.

January 17, 2003

I made sushi! Okay, it was just the roll kind but it still consisted of raw fish and sushi rice and nori and wasabi. The rice is the hard part, requiring many rinsings and delicate handling and fanning to cool and religious utterings and Upanishadi prayer rings and the silent promising of first babies as long as it doesn't, god forbid, get mushy. It's supposed to become shiny and not sticky-togethery and then become quietly submissive, which, thankfully it did. The rest was easy; having purchased a totally pointless "sushi kit" that consisted of the essential bamboo rolly-up mat thing and a totally useless "special wooden spoon," I couldn't really miss. I used raw salmon and cucumber and served the whole thing with a large dollop of self-satisfaction and it was all good except for the blood I shed when my newly purchased "chef's grade" knife sliced my thumb half off and goddamnit I don't have any of the swanky new invisible bandaids just sesame street ones.

Braved 60 mph winds (approximately) and face-freezing cold to walk down to the WTC [area] and saw My Big Fat Greek Waste of Money. My personal big fat waste of money. Must have been the hype or I'm hanging out with the wrong kind of people. Not a bad indie-flick, just benevolently one-dimensional. Even with my own mother still wearing Birkenstocks, her McGovern poster still gracing the empty boathouse wall, swearing a blue streak, D.Min. notwithstanding --I uncomfortably related more to the family of the whitebread, sweetly lobomotized groom.

Caught a more complex movie on Lifetime Movie channel starring the ever-lovely odd bird Roseanna Arquette later in the day. Spent the rest of the day and night making CDs including that may or may not propel me to stardom as a DJ/CD-burning wonderkit. Look for me in clubs that cater to nerdy, once-cool, baffled, cynical, cranky and angry but somehow optimistic late late 30-somethings.

I might be late* to work tomorrow.

* mild frostbite

January 20, 2003

This morning's Dannon yogurt (Light 'n Fit Peach) is definitely SMALLER than it was yesterday. I'm dismayed -- what had seemed such a great product and company (see below) not only has not answered my recent email suggesting they institute Key Lime flavor, but now the yogurt is shrinking! I think. Can anyone confirm?

From: "Dannon Consumer Affairs" | Add to Address Book To: "''" Subject: Yogurt Question Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 12:44:38 -0500

January 22, 2002

Dear Ms. Thomas,

Thank you for contacting the Dannon Company, Inc. We apologize for the problem you experienced with our products.

Since our products are foil sealed, pressure can build up inside the cup. If pressure builds up, sometimes the product will squirt out of the cup when the seal is broken. To avoid having the product squirt out of the cup, you may want to puncture the foil top to relieve pressure before you open the container.

Once again, thank you for contacting Dannon. We hope this information is helpful for you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our toll-free number 1-877-DANNON-US (1-877-326-6668), Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. Eastern Time.


Lisa Moore Consumer Service Representative Ref#:410966

January 16, 2003

Bananas and the Bubonic Plague  

Sorry, didn't mean to scare anyone. There is, as far as I know, no link between the two.

"It is one of the world's favorite fruits, but the banana hasn't had sex in years and its days may be numbered," Reuters (London) told us yesterday. Now, I'm not a huge banana fan, and don't think anyone is except maybe some babies until they grow up and realize there's actually food with crunch and texture out there. The banana, in my mind, is a very utilitarian fruit, highly portable, filling, and chock full of vitamins. So. I'm trying to gauge my feelings about the impending extinction of so fine a fruit. Just what the banana-less generations of the future might feel is thus far beyond my ken, though comparing the relative value and attributes of the banana vs. the dodo is instructive.

Yes it was a rollercoaster of a news day, what with the missing and then mysteriously found bubonic plague specimens causing "palpable fear" in the FBI not to mention the rest of us.

December 20, 2002

I had heard that there are very large worms swimming on the bottom of the Hudson due to recent cleanup. Don't know if that's still true or ever was but it alone is scary enough to make my skin crawl. Now it appears they have mapped the entirety of the river and located every boat that ever sank in it! State officials won't tell us where the wrecks are; I guess because we're not to be trusted. But what's REALLY scary is the NYT headline chosen for this most interesting story: "Hudson Shipwrecks Found, but No Loose Lips." Gross!  Loose lips! Large worms! Ewww!

Click here for article if you are registered for the New York Times. If not, here's a snippet:
Scientists mapping the bottom of the Hudson River with sonar say they have found nearly every single ship that ever foundered in the river over the last 400 years or more. Not just some of them, or most of them, but - astonishingly - all of them, except for a few that may have been disturbed by dredging.

December 18, 2002

What is Art?
I don't have the answer, though you know I've pondered it at length. I do know what is NOT art... and now we all do, thanks to one dumb-shit art student who recently managed to terrorize the 14th Street subway station. As Michael Kimmelman writes in the NYT, "Yesterday's loony loner is today's Conceptual artist."
Read more;  and note how Mr. Kimmelman uses the inherently funny phrase "Rancho Cucamonga" to great effect...

"Rancho Cucamonga. Rancho Cucamonga!"   Heh heh heh.

Just finished another interesting Times article which induced my current headache... Lines like this: "The contemporary city is a place of multiple perspectives that occasionally add up to a fleeting fusion of subjective perception and objective truth." Okay. Brilliance? Bullshit? Pretentious hooey? I'm not sure. I like it anyway. Architecture is an endlessly fascinating subject to me and this piece explores the inter-relationship (though not at great length) of language, architecture and possibility while reporting on the complex and delicate process of re-building at the World Trade Center site.

December 16, 2002

Strike, schmtrike. That doesn't sound right. But neither did all the hoopla. I was really looking forward to a little chaos, but no. Of course, the last time I expressed my desire for a shake-up -- I believe my exact lament was "Today was the most forgettable day of my life. Tomorrow better be more interesting" -- was on Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, and look what happened. On a more interplanetary note, I just found this, detailing the remote travels of Voyagers I and II. I especially like learning about heliopauses. Heliopauses. Reminds me of Kim's aunt who is quoted as saying, hinting at a post-menopausal hot flash, "Excuse me, I must go outside, I am having a personal summer." December 13, 2002

Interesting: last week or so I expressed my dismay about Henry Kissinger being named to head up the 9/11 investigation. A week or so later, he resigns the post (no details yet). Then, I expressed my disgust for the fiberglass hero dog outside the fire station in my neighborhood, and a few days later it disappeared.

I would now like to publicly express my utmost fury at my out-of-control student loans that Citibank is currently, inexplicably still holding over my head. There.

December 3, 2002

The downtown creation memorializing the tragic Irish potato famine is such an amazing example of creativity and artistry. I can only hope those confabulating a WTC memorial will have this kind of vision. The Irish Hunger Memorial

December 2, 2002

The dog is gone. [see below, Nov. 21st]. Now I miss it.

Maureen Dowd does an excellent - and very funny - job of summing up why it's insane to have H. Kissinger in charge of the 9/11 investigation

November 21, 2002

Broke my own record for weekend walking. Don't know how far, but do know that I ended up in Brooklyn, just south of Montague Street. Not bad. First I stopped off at the World Financial Center for Annie Leibowitz's [with Amex] Rewarding Lives photo exhibit. Stunning. Seeing them altogether is like eating candy. Once I found my way out, I headed east toward City Hall and over the Brooklyn Bridge. I must have made a wrong turn somewhere because I ended up in the middle of the highway (it seemed) walking for miles (it seemed) in between the two lanes until finally, past Cadman Plaza, there was a way to escape. I then took a tour of my old stomping grounds, Henry's End (not open), that wierd old hotel (the strip club gone), that Italian restaurant on Montague where Eric and I met a mobster once. I walked past my old apt. at 89 Hicks St., my first in New York (not really even mine) and didn't even recognize the lobby interior. Kinda sad. Brooklyn Heights is a bit dark and creepy actually, away from the water.

November 21, 2002

This might explain my weeklong feeling of impending doom. Astronomers Foresee Enormous Collision of Two Black Holes

On another note, I have a confession. I harbor great ill will toward the fiberglass dog outside my local fire department. I'm all for honoring our heroes, two-footed or four, but this is too much. The dog is white and covered with red "kisses." He stands on a thin square of cement (probably too heavy for me to lift, and believe me I've thought about it) looking balefully into middle distance. Occasionally someone will leave a bunch of flowers in his doggy water bowl, which seems to compound my annoyance. I can handle the guy who hangs out outside the station, talking day and night to the portraits of the fallen firefighters. But I can't handle the dog. The station didn't even have a dog, as far as I know. And lest you think I'm anti-animal or something, I was a big fan of the cow project. This dog project seems more than a little derivative. And dorky. And tacky.

November 19, 2002

Managed to miss the entirety of
Leonid, the largest meteor shower of the century.

Apologies for the long delay. A birthday has passed (a quiet one, with lots of unassuming presents like the apron (?) coffee cups (?) apple chutney (!) and Christopher Morley book (?!) from my parents.

Spent last week working at Penguin Putnam in a somewhat ill-conceived employee exchange program. The two most interesting things I did were:

  • Attended a meeting between a self-help author, his silent, supportive wife, and their publicist.
  • Researched a possible cross promotion between some new book about a guy who makes or is attempting to make single-malt Scotch (in America, no less) and well, single-malt Scotch.

    Books garnered during aforementioned week include Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters, High Maintenance, by Jennifer Bell (hilarious), and The Color of Water - A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, by James McBride

    New wishlist item: Man Bites Dog

    October 31, 2002

    Oh great. Now I'm compelled to read Bertold Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui just to figure out if this guy is on the mark. He's writing - scathingly - about a current production starring Al Pacino, John Goodman, my future husband Billy Crudup, Chazz Palminteri, Steve Buscemi, and Charles Durning. Not a bad cast. What went wrong?

    Apparently, nothing. ...a stunning coup de grace."
    Now I'm really confused. [Salon article about John Heilpern whose review began my quest for clarity around a play I'll never see and quite frankly will probably never read either.] I enjoy deconstructing things about which I'm completely ignorant. There's something at once challenging and absurd about it.

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN! And here we go again. I can expect drunken ghouls from the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade hovering on my stoop starting from the moment I get home. I already ran into a phalanx of men in blue on my way to West 4th. They looked cold and annoyed and were probably wondering, like me, why they had to be there so early.

    Welcome to the world, Jacob Noll Lassner!

    October 29, 2002

    Today was a visual day, as opposed to a literary or intellectual day. As a result, I used up a grand total of 86% fewer brain cells and I must say it feels good. For your viewing pleasure... some fun with digital camera. I also took a mighty fine picture of a ruler because I needed one for our website (company site) but simply couldn't find one. I would love to just photograph extremely everyday boring objects for a job. Someone please help.

    October 25, 2002

    A large galaxy absorbed a smaller companion and left behind a bright blue imprint

    October 23, 2002

    Good. It's not just me... Connie Chung bugs me.

    Astronomer sees black hole eat star   Cool.

    Maybe the sniper era is drawing to a close. Last thing I remember from last night was hearing that they arrested a tree trunk. I thought, as I snuggled deeper into the down, that ah, now the world is definitely a safer place. Renegade tree trunks must be stopped so that all freedom-loving Americans can get on with their daily lives and not let the deciduous sleeper cell tree trunks win ... especially the white, male homegrown tree trunks with big egos and credit cards.... This is what I dreamed, and how much sense it made (though you might compare it to the cryptic messages sent from Mr. Moose to the sniper, which seems to make even less). All in all, the world is not making a whole lot more sense now, even in the light of day. To wit:

    [from today's NYT] "While Chief Moose was careful not to label Mr. Muhammad and Mr. Malvo suspects, one federal law-enforcement official, said: `We're not ready to call them suspects, but we suspect them. We want to talk to them. We really want to talk to them."  I'm sorry; that cracked me up. I may just be overtired.

    Had my annual review today. Or, as I call it, the annual self-flagellation ritual wherein I spend some precious work hours inspecting my psyche, examining my work ethic, probing my motivational impulses, detailing my shortcomings, and finally accepting that I'm just not any more than "meeting expectations" which is the box checked, I'm sure, in the vast majority of annual reviews, regardless of whether the person is a bona fide imbecile or a nascent genius workerbee. Actually, in fairness, this company uses "Successful" instead of "Meets Expectations" which is supposed to be enlightened and more motivational but still means a check mark in the damn center box, below "Exceeded Expectations" [read: I have something on my boss} and above "Needs Improvement" [read: you're pretty much a sorry loser whose ass is grass].

    On logging/blogging/flogging: I'm not sure any of this is worthwhile. Who am I sharing with? (Maybe about three friends and two relatives). Why am I sharing? It's not as if I would put my deepest thoughts here, and certainly not any really GOOD writing (I'm not going to waste it on the Web... hello, New Yorker?).

    October 22, 2002

    Bought skates with Kim yesterday afterwork, after much discussion and price-comparisons. Not an easy task. Ladies figure skates have a thirty-five dollar price differential, Modell's to Sports Authority to Paragon (highest, naturally) to Blades at Chelsea Piers (a moderate $109). I think it was Modell's that told me they wouldn't carry women's skates until after the Marathon. Whatever. So Kim and I zig-zagged after work from 46th and Sixth to 23rd and the Hudson River with the finally about-to-be-realized goal of buying skates (with the sub-goal of actually getting around to using them).

    We bought the skates, waited twenty minutes for them to be sharpened, tried to find left-by-the-wayside blade covers that the swag bellied clerk (thanks, told us we could find out by the rink when we whined about the $10.99 blade covers they offered for sale.

    Tomorrow: the search for an affordable ice-skating venue in Manhattan.


    Apparently, I talk about Maine too much, according to Kim, but hey, can I help being nostalgic for it as I live out my days in my tenement cell on King Street with the ever-breaking boiler and the slamming-door neighbors, the strangely studio-cohabitating large plumber and the small Asian man who comes home at all hours? When I can't even afford the daily Naked juice that I'm addicted to (green one) not to mention smokes and sushi.

    Apparently, not everyone feels like I do about the state of Maine...

    Talk about New York, she said. Okay. Um. Hm. It's either that or my cats (which I'm sure nobody wants to hear about and I sure as hell don't want to write about since they wake me up at 4 am for a feeding by dive-bombing my bedroom door and pulling down the curtains in the living room.

    So, New York. Hell of a town. The Bronx is up and the Battery is down. I've reinstituted my weekly weekend super-long walk and here's the route: Down Sixth until it turns into West Broadway somehow, past my favorite store New York Nautical, which I love for its being so old-world and cozy. I told the proprietor, Ken, that he really should have a coffee nook in the back with free espresso but he just looked at me like I was out of my gourd. Oh well. I proceed down past all the trendy restaurants until West Broadway is stopped short just north of the old WTC site. Then I head west across the West Side Highway and peel down the stretch past the World Financial Center, and tell myself it's really time to GET OVER making disapproving faces at the poor souls taking picture of, well, nothing. Literally. Now they peer out of the new window from the WFC, as I had some weeks ago before everyone discovered this new vantage point where you get a great view of ... nothing.

    Then it's out around the new Ritz Carlton (never any superstars when I go by .. unlike what the Post would suggest -- not that I read it.)

    Then it's a long mosey through Battery Park, past the rather shocking proliferation of T-shirt vendors, the dented, poignant WTC sphere, past the people waiting in line for the Liberty ferry, a quick glance at the amazing sight of the Statue of Liberty (I may be jaded but I'm not not human), and then round the bend to the Fulton Fish Market area. I've made it half way across the Brooklyn Bridge, but so far usually head up town behind City Hall and into the twisty Chinatown streets (by the way, by this time I've already had a good workout, walking as fast as I do) and home via either Grand or Broome Streets, west-bound. Phew.

    October 21, 2002

    Had a bad moment walking home the other day, down Sixth Avenue at twilight. A large plane was overhead, appearing extremely low and ominous. Everyone on the street was watching it. This little Hispanic guy caught my eye, and mouthed "So close, no?" I nodded, my heart in my throat. Of course it finally passed, after a small eternity. Later that night I was told it was a C148 or something, some military transport plane, because I described it as more "rounded" than usual and very dark.

    On the same depressing, repetitive note, my sister told me that unpacking in Boston she pulled out the black-covered New Yorker magazine and cried for the first time since. I tsk-tsked a little and then, later, by coincidence while consolidating photo albums, pulled out this long-forgotten photo and felt much the same way.

    October 11, 2002

    Good news for alewives: Fish Now Survive 30 Foot Fall

    October 10, 2002

    Took yesterday off* to listen to many hours of the GAS BAGS that purport to represent us in the US Senate. At one point (being my politically ignorant self) I thought I was witnessing a filibuster and I got excited. Temporarily.

    * "bad back"

    October 7, 2002

    J. and I discussed the relative arguments for and against up and moving to France with the sole motivation being debt avoidance. Decided to table the decision pour maintenant.

    Here is where I'll spend my golden years.

    October 4, 2002

    Happy Birthday, Petra Olton.

    Happy Friday to everyone else. And not a moment too soon. This week elasticized itself. I still don't believe 5:46 will actually occur today. We shall see.

    Bought some fun new storyboard software today -- well, the company bought it "for me" for me to use at "work" for "business reasons" [stupid flash Web site] and so far it's becoming obvious that I have the potential to be the next Martin Scorcese... er... Roger Corman ... uh... Lloyd Kaufman. See for yourself. It's called Storyboard Quick v. 4 from PowerProduction Software.

    Wanted: Used pre-1990 Mercedes Benz in good running condition for the lawyer to whom I read on Saturdays at the Lighthouse. I'm looking through Uncle Henry's, which is almost as much fun to peruse as Craig's List.

    Good question: "Republicans could win control of the entire federal government in November. Why won't the Democrats talk about it?" Read more from the Washington Monthly.

    October 1, 2002

    Rabbit. Rabbit.

    September 26, 2002

    Portland police investigating a report of a burglary in progress Monday, instead found a ram the size of a large dog trashing the apartment of a Danforth Street man. . . ."I am definitely not a happy camper," said Ryan Cyr, a bartender and waiter at DiMillo's Restaurant. "That animal ate my plants, destroyed my carpet and my couch. What didn't that thing do?" you must read more.

    Speaking of Maine, I think this description of activities for Boothbay Harbor's annual Fishermen's Festival sums up quite graphically all (or a lot ) that is good about Maine: "Events include

  • trap hauling
  • a slippery codfish relay race
  • fish fry
  • lobster crate race
  • pancake breakfast
  • fish chowder contest
  • Miss Shrimp Princess Pageant
  • tug of war
  • tall tales contest
  • blessing of the fleet and boat parade."
  • And yes, I have a special relationship to the Miss Shrimp Princess Pageant, as I was a contestant in 1975. I lost, thank you very much, but managed to pull of a hasty rendition of Bach's Minuet in G-major on the piano before fainting internally.

    September 24, 2002

    Made it back from Maine in one piece, despite torrential rain and a missed 6:30 am flight which I could have made but they wouldn't even let me try. "For god's sake, there's a half an hour line up they-uh," said the continental counter lady. "'Half an hour line? 'Half an hour line' - what does that mean?" I asked, knowing full well, but hating her syntax.

    So I had the infinite pleasure of eating breakfast with my parents at Becky's Diner, the only greasy spoon in Portland open at 6:25 am (to my knowledge). Conducted a rogue visit of brother Bruce (the eminent professor)'s new house, and took a picture of a funny sign.

    Other highlights included sailing to Burnt Island. Bear's new gaff rigging is very impressive and elegant. We enjoyed pretty strong winds, though the inclinometer maxed out at 30.

    Also witnessed two otters in the pond, communed with them for hours until Mom came home and actually ordered Dad to call the Game Warden and kill them if necessary (she thought they were eating the trout with which she had personally stocked the pond). That was the beginning of a very tense weekend.

    September 12, 2002

    It's so refreshing to know that virtually nobody reads this. Anonymity is liberating.

    Yesterday, September 11, 2002 was so bittersweet. A mixed sense of both relief and sorrow pervaded the boroughs of New York, and, for all I know that entire world... I spent the day sitting, thinking, and of course watching the somber, relentless television coverage of the day's events and then had to get out of the house. Went downtown on the red line to Wall Street with Stash, who was with me that day and walked me home and saved me from freaking out, probably. He didn't even laugh at me when I insisted we run past tall buildings. Downtown seemed foreign and yet so familiar; really wish I could go back. Visited eChalk and old colleagues at 26 Broadway, which was, as always, a joy.

    My next project: squeeze all those little takeout Heinz ketchup packets and make a full bottle of ketchup for free.

    Things That Happened On My Birth Day

  • NASA realized the first test of "Abort-Test-1" the automatic rescue system of "Apollo" spacecraft
  • Elston Howard of the New York Yankees became the first black player to win the American League's MVP Award
  • "Lucy Goes Duck Hunting" Lucy Show episode airs -- first episode in color
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World had its world premiere at the Cinerama Dome Theatre in Hollywood
  • Fireball observed, shock wave felt, over San Francisco Bay area. Unidentified signal picked up by local radio station.
  • Australian singer Little Pattie released her first single 'He's My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy," which by January 1964 had reached No.2 on the Top 40 charts, held back from No.1 by The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." [found here]
  • Nelson D. Rockefeller announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the presidency.
  • Jazz saxophonist Tubby Hayes released "Night and Day"
  • August 28, 2002

    My backyard in Maine, in winter

    Why are people with cool sounding Web sites like and - two of my favorite words - not only wasting their virtual space but offering up initial glimpses of visual possibilities that ultimately go nowhere...

    Whoa, wait, hold the phone. Apparently it's even worse. Yes, I now see that what I had formerly bookmarked as "velleity" actually takes you to a lovely site where you can look at someone's cats, his mustang (zzz) and his speedboat. Why, why, why?

    " My velleity (which by the way means something like the merest wish, unaccompanied by enough desire to obtain) bookmark actually goes to an inscrutable page and then nowhere... but if you trace it back it gets interesting -- yet another unfinished site, but with most intriguing college course information I've yet seen:

    "This semester, we will breed a mechanic doppelganger, a monster city that lives somewhere in international time-space between New York City, Barcelona, and Taiwan. A constellation of connected dreams. A city comprised of 100 million dreamers, or one dreaming city computing 100 million stories.
    read more...   Sign me up!

    Apparently it's taught by one Ed Keller, who seems like a bright enough guy. I can't quite tell what he teaches exactly but it involves: computer-aided design, film, negentropic architecture, temporal conversion, anamnesis, philosophy, psychology, and complexity theory. One of his courses references more films than I got to study in my entire undergrad film school experience. Watch these films, and you won't have to go to film school. Ever.

    Federico Fellini : 8 1/2
    Hiromitsu Kore Eda : AfterLife
    George Roy Hill: Slaughterhouse Five
    Mike Nichols: Catch-22
    Manckiewicz: All About Eve
    Soderbergh: The Limey
    Raul Ruiz: Three Lives and Only one Death
    Adrian Lyne : Jacob's Ladder
    Bryan Singer: Usual Suspects
    Akira Kurosawa: Rashomon
    Sergio Leone : Once Upon a Time in the West
    Robert LePage: Le Confessional, Polygraph
    David Lynch: Lost Highway
    Milcho Manchevski : Before the Rain
    Alain Resnais : Je t’aime, Je t’aime
    Resnais + Marguerite Duras : Hiroshima Mon Amour
    Wong Kar Wai : Fallen Angels + Chungking Express
    OrsonWelles : Citizen Kane
    Chris Marker : Sans Soleil, La Jetee
    Antonioni: Blowup, Passenger, Red Desert
    Coppola: The Conversation
    Kieslowski: Red, Double Life of Veronique, Blind Chance
    Jarmusch: Mystery Train
    Bros. Quay: Street of Cro iles, Institute Benjamenta
    Bergman: Persona
    Bill Viola: First Dream
    Lars von Trier: The Kingdom
    Maya Deren: Meshes of the Afternoon
    Tarkovsky: Mirror, Nostalghia, Stalker
    Hitchcock: Vertigo, Spellbound
    Wim Wenders: Wings of Desire, American Friend, Paris, Texas
    Bertolucci: Spider's Stratagem, Conformist
    Tati: Mon Oncle, Playtime
    Jean Luc Godard: Alphaville
    Wachowski Bros: Matrix
    Vertov: Man with a Movie Camera
    Hal Hartley Amateur
    Paulo Pier Pasolini : Mamma Roma
    Duras: India Song
    Patrick Keillor: London
    Nanni Moretti: Caro Diario

    Anyway. I was very upset when my subscription to Brill's Content turned into a subscription to Mother Jones but now I'm kinda glad. This month's issue was particularly interesting, with its Diddly Awards, that honor "our rubber-stamp congress whose members have found plenty of time to do SQUAT." Shocking, depressing, and downright hilarious.

    Those Crazy Italians
    Members of the Liguria parliament in Genoa, Italy, banned the use of the word "member" to describe one another because it also means "penis," which "is likely to cause a certain uneasiness among women;" henceforth, members will be known as "components" of parliament . . . more  from Harper's Magazine Weekly Review

    August 27, 2002

    On Blogging, My Salary, and Writer's Block
    Day one. I keep getting asked when I'll have my blog up and I'm sufficiently annoyed to go ahead and do it, although I don't know how, exactly, and never thought sharing my innermost thoughts with god-know-who was a good idea. Plus this guy in Harper's Magazine just referred to blogs as "vanity" Web sites. Ouch. Plus I just developed major writer's block. Which is bad on several levels, including me being a writer at work. Yes, the word is actually embedded in my title, which means, of course, I make no money and have no authority. Which is fine, and why I am writing this at work, to bolster my hourly wage - even though I'm salaried so it doesn't matter anyway, I guess.

    Walking, Pigeons, and Lotto
    I've begun logging miles walked, and including this weekend when I walked up to Union Square (from King Street) and then to my sister's on 33rd and 1st, then over to Chelsea Clearview (we'll call that around 65 blocks) I've now walked 111 blocks since yesterday morning. I was especially triumphant today because I actually walked the 46 blocks to work and it felt good. I've been meaning to do that since 1992. Now I can do it every day and feel so morally superior to everyone around me that I'll probably be insufferable. Meanwhile, I'm compiling my "sidewalk rules" in case anyone cares about do's and dont's and the fine intricacies of slow-paced speed-walking down the streets of Manhattan. The downside of today's walk included getting shat upon by a pigeon, first time really, in my hair although I didn't know it for about forty blocks. Had no idea it was green. Decided to leave it in (sort of melding into my hair on the left side of my head) until it dried and I could brush it out easily without really touching it, and so I showed everyone at work just to gross them out and three separate people told me I had to play the lottery. Which I did, even though I don't know how, really, but with any luck, and that pigeon's ill-timed accident, I'll be in the money soon and out out out of here.

    Web Stuff, Movies, Miscellany
    Still struggling with style sheets and syntax. I'm just way too lazy to learn the right way, step by step, so I write these elaborate style sheets that don't work. At all. Dumb. Still enjoying Homesite, still missing Dreamweaver and trying to wean myself off it. Still not giving a crap about people who insist on using Netscape on a Mac, at least on my personal site. At work I spent a whole day trying to figure out if we could send a graphically enhanced email out to our thousands of employees. The answer: maybe, maybe not. Everyone on a Mac using Outlook will get a crappy looking message. Everyone else should be fine. Mac users constitute 40%. What to do.
    Saw Signs this weekend. Really dumb. Okay, not that bad, but I left with that empty two-hours, ten-dollars-down-the-drain feeling. Nice, scary well-muscled aliens though. Sister-in-law Kim and husband Greg's architectural firm recently relaunced their WEb site, SHoP. Verrrry nice. I'm jealous of all architects, so I don't talk to them much, but they are great people and I occaisonally get to visit them in Noho where Greg makes a mean martini.

    Hit the green market at Union Square and bought some cool green things I now can't identify. In the leafy green family, but with small round leaves that taste lemony. Supposedly it has the most potassium or maybe beta carotene, something, of any leafy green. But what the hell is it? Have been eating a ton of salmon lately, even after bad salmon sushi and really bad (stinky) salmon from Gourmet Garage. I only shop for salmon at Fish, on Bleecker Street now. Found a recipe for "Green Gazpacho" in the Post the other day. Had to buy 100 grapes for it, and was astonished when it turned out I had bought EXACTLY one hundred grapes. Whoa. It turned out beautifully quirky, and I made my friend Stash eat some of it.

    Parents got back safely from their month-long sailing trip on the newly renovated Bear (dad's 38' gaff-rigged, wooden tahiti ketch which he's been repairing for over three years after she sank). They got fogged in around Islesford and spent a lot of time on Cranberry Island, one of my favorite places.