Friday, January 30, 2009

up on the roof

Today, there wasn't a cloud in the sky here, and you could imagine listening to echos on this day 40 years past where...The Beatles perform together for the last time, live, on the roof of Apple's London office....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009



Over 10 inches overnight. Stranded at home waiting for complex to be plowed.

A few daring passersby out on the roads, and one fire truck screaming by kicking up a white mist looks like it's in slow motion.

Coffee and an old book suits me fine.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

damaged goods (short fiction)

I seem to remember now. The Creator was traversing the green Earth, tagging His work, turning every once and awhile to see this faithful creature following shyly at His heels, peering up from time to time inquisitive with head tilted and ears bolted at the ready, and He stops and laments, the poem went something like this, if I remember...

I've left you to the end.
I've turned My own name
back to front
and called you dog,
My friend.

A few Winters ago, on one of the bitterest and frozen mustache nights, I got a call from my beloved elderly Aunt Doris out at her isolated bungalow, scared 'til she almost stopped breathing, about a scratching sound coming from the bedroom side of the cottage where the drifts swept the highest. What scared her most she would tell me later, was when she tried to peer out into the night holding the blazing lantern high and close to the frosted window and only being able to see her own reflection.
"It's just the wind...perhaps a limb against.."
"No...there's...the crying."

I left home with tires spinning and lacking my heavy coat. Out in the country where she lived the roads had not been touched after the latest storm, and gripping the steering wheel I was slightly awed at the dim virgin tracks I was leaving in my rear view mirror. Calming at the familiar belt of Orion in the clear purple sky guiding me, I imagined I was an invincible hunter too.

The cottage was ablaze, fully lit with every lamp my terrified Aunt could light, and with the thin layer of ice sealing the white snow nearest the cottage shining so beautifully, it look like a small boat cast afloat in a vast ocean. I jumped out of my jeep and onto the frozen snow, crunching around to the North side past two uninterested cast iron fawns. Up against the siding, below where my Aunt was fingernail tapping the window, and in the faint blue beam of my key chain light was a little white dog on its side, a retracted hind leg caked in crimson. I anchored my feet into the snow and crouched like a catcher preparing to receive a one hundred and seven mile per hour fastball from a lanky tobacco-spitting farm hand.
"It's a dog!"
"Dog! Dog!"
The light went out at the window, and there was no Moon, but I could see from my key chain light that he was showing his teeth. And I could see faint pawing marks on the wood siding from sill to ground. I rose and backed away a moment, then stooped again.
"Hey boy," I said affectionately, not making eye contact.
"Yessss," I said slowly and lovingly, my voice shivering.
I knocked on the window but I could see it was clamped shut by unyielding ice. Retracing my steps and veering off to the front door, I was met by my Aunt in her ghostly bone clicking white nightgown and pink frazzled slippers, silver hair straight down her back, carrying a pink flannel blanket and an unsteady flashlight. She gasped at first sight of her injured visitor, then recovered nicely and softly sang to slow our hearts and frozen breaths, something about Jesus and The Sweetest Perfume, aiming the white light as I once again crouched and tucked in the trembler, now breathing unevenly but never once taking its eyes off me all the way to the threshold of the sheltering fireplace. There was no singing now. I put my arms around my weeping Aunt, her snow sparkled silver hair tucked under my chin.


In the summertime that followed I was in town one day picking up a supply or two for Aunt Doris at the Whole Goods Market when I heard someone behind me over at the window snicker, 'maybe with that he should be shopping at the damaged goods market'. But I didn't care. After heaving everything into the back of the jeep, and with my limping companion peering up at me with a 'do I want candy?' look, I untied the leash from the tilting parking meter and we both made a bee line to the deli across the street.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Louis Armstrong, 1965.
The trombonist is "Big Chief" Russell Moore. Billy Kyle on piano, Arvell Shaw on bass, Danny Barcelona on drums, Eddie Shu on clarinet.

Monday, January 19, 2009


If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


When I was a boy, and was captivated by this stark painting, and knew of Christina, I wanted to carry her to the house. Now, as a man, I still do, because she was a friend of Andrew Wyeth.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

splash in Hudson

time stops.

an old man and a young woman are standing on the wing of a downed jet airliner and the old man turns to the young woman and asks, 'is this Heaven?,' and the young woman shivering replies, 'no, I think this is Hudson,' and the old man blinks twice and says, 'I suppose a streetcar will come by soon,' and the young woman says, 'yes, I suppose so.' A few moments later the young woman feels a soft loving hand on her shoulder and says to no one, 'I am floating.'

time starts again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

desert island cinema

Sounds like a good name for my new film production company.
But no!
Swiped stolen ripped off borrowed from Aurel's Laurels, it's my own list of the films I would choose of these Legends if a movie projector and white screen washed ashore on my lonesome island...

Cary Grant - North By Northwest
James Stewart - Rear Window
Humphrey Bogart - All Through The Night
Audrey Hepburn - Roman Holiday
Bing Crosby - Welcome Stranger
Katherine Hepburn - Summertime
Marlene Dietrich - No Highway In The Sky
Clark Gable - It Happened One Night

And one more star and film of my own choice:

Greta Garbo - Ninotchka

Go right ahead, Dear Reader, choose films for the stars listed, plus one of your own favorite.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

great moments in cinematography #1

William Daniels conceals a tiny lightbulb in John Gilbert's hand simulating a lighted match illuminating Garbo in Flesh and The Devil(1926).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

year in review

As we head into the last few days before the administration begins of the little man who wants us to send in our economy-saving ideas on the the back of a penny picture postcard, it's time to look back on the resolutions I made that were fulfilled. For your ease, I have highlighted them in brilliant road construction sign holder yellow:
1)invent a new dance
2)eat meals with the same vigor as Curly Howard
3)crack the shell of my terminal shyness
4)start smoking cigars again
5)get published
6)dish out more compliments
7)to kill Bin laden
8)try not crying whenever I see young children
9)get that dream job: juggling on the radio!
10)meet J.D. Salinger
A rounding success!

In other year capping news...
this blog received no awards!

And it seems unanimous!...

"simply not worth noting..that's all!"
...Blogs Of Note

"...and he can copy and paste..whoop-dee-doo!"
...International Blog Community Magazine

"What the Sam Hill!?!"
...Reverend Hugh Betcha

"..ongoing investigation with multiple violations..."
...Arnie C Catchatorie, U.S. Patent Office

Saturday, January 10, 2009

wasn't it you? (redux)

Pat Kirtley's song is the inspiration for a few lines I wrote about a year ago...

following bad love with good
you were right there all the time
as the long night of anger lifted
into a lemon yellow morning
wasn't it you, after all?

wasn't it you
balancing life backwards
like Ginger keeping in step with Fred
graceful as a slow
sleigh ride down
a snow covered pasture lane?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

that final Lubitsch Touch

Cluny Brown is a free-spirited plumber's niece wanting nothing more than to be a plumber. However, her uncle wants to put her in her proper place in life and sends her into service at an English country estate where she meets a freeloading philosopher vagabond, Adam Belinski, who encourages Cluny to find her real proper place.

This superbly acted and directed delightful satire on proper social conventions was Lubitsch's final completed film, and joins the trifecta of his masterpieces on my favorites that 'touch' on the joy of humanity:

The Shop Around the Corner
To Be or Not to Be

Thanks to Robert Osborne for dusting off his copy from the TCM vault and sharing it Christmas Eve.

Sandburg on his birthday

The Road And The End

I SHALL foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.
I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder
Drive the wild processionals of rain.

The dust of the traveled road
Shall touch my hands and face.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year!

My yearly screening of Radio Days is over, concluding with Diane Keaton warming my drafty apartment with Cole Porter's You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To, and now all there's to wait for is the ball to drop in New York City...

Happy 2009, Dear Reader.

Auld Lang Syne
(Jim Galloway And Jay McShann)

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