Monday, August 31, 2009


Back to the flame for me. I went to another gathering of "The Moth" tonight. This is an evening of live storytelling told by people from the audience. Delicious, right? I had been once before in the East Village and was rocked. And frightened. Like a moth to a flame. I know I must do this.

This time it was held at The Bitter End in the Village. This famous nightclub has been around since the early 60's and everyone from Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce and Bob Dylan has performed here. And someday maybe ME!!!

Each time a theme is given in advance and you can show up and put your name in a hat to tell a story on that theme. Tonight's them was COINCIDENCES. There are judges and you get an Olympic-style score. Nyyyyonpointfive, Nyyyyyonpounteight....

Like a sunset, I cannot put into words how massive the line was to get into this tiny joint. They were beyond fire code it seemed to me to handle the demand for The Moth. Wow, in my own ego-filled mind and I both titillated and terrified.

I went with my friend Sam who is an actor and stand up comic. It was a good hang and we heard some good stories and them some okay ones. This made it all the more "doable" for me. What a thrill to have "done" The Moth in New York City. I still have that ho-dad excitement about such things as if every other person who performs is a seasoned native New Yorker raised on storytelling by their bongo-pounding parents and then there is me in my boater hat and suitcase just in from the prairies and a possum-hunting festival.

The next Moth is Tuesday, September 8th at The Nuyorican Poets Café and the them is "Outlaw" which should be easy for me since I was a wanted felon...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My own "fashion" shoot

The day after Sean and I saw "The September Issue" we went out on our own photo shoot with Sean as producer, photographer, creative director, and fashion editor. I was the talent, the model. The way it should be.

I am putting together a website to get some piping gigs here in New York and we thought it would be fun to shoot with some iconic NYC backgrounds to promote this idea on the blog. Today was our first day out and Sean thought it would be good to shoot at the Brooklyn Bridge. Being dumb and beautiful, I just went along. It was a good idea and a lot of fun.

A few shots and some outtakes:

People were DANCING on the bridge!!
Fiddler meets Brigadoon! This cute kid's mom wanted him to take this photo.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"The September Issue"

First there was the song now there is the issue. September gets SO much!!

Sean and I went to see "The September Issue" the documentary about Vogue magazine and its notorious (?), illustrious (?) editor, Anna Wintour. Hey, it wasn't shallow or campy, it was an DOCUMENTARY!

We loved it. It was really well done and quite interesting. Now Sean has been so hot on seeing this film. He practically had a one-man campaign on his Facebook page. Me, no. But I am glad I went with him. He used to work in this world and was fashion editor for German GQ so he knew a lot of the people in the film and it made it even more fun to see it with him knowing that. The boy is talented himself.

I think Ms. Wintour came across very well, but it was her long time collaborator and creative director, Grace Coddington, who stole the movie. This woman who is, I believe, 68 has every wrinkle of her age on her face which we are not used to seeing in fashion or anywhere and she is simply lovely. She used to be a model and when you see her photos in the film from her young modeling days it is astonishing. Yes, she looks old. And she was once young. That is that.

Grace Coddington then...

And now...
You really get a sense from the film what an amazingly creative person she is and how she enjoys life. That is infectious...the enjoying life part - the creative part, well, we all don't get that. Having said that, I think Anna Wintour comes off just fine and you feel that Vogue needs an Anna as well as a Grace to make it all happen.

Viva the two of them I say.

And Sean!

Anna and Sean.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New York Fringe Festival

I caught Mattie Van Buren before the show and asked her to pose for a photo. Very obliging. I had no idea I would fall in love. (Notice the tennis shoes! A girl would die!)

Went to see "Devil Boys from Beyond" in the West Village as part of the New York Fringe Festival. I like to say I knew to seek out such outre theatre, but it was Sean's suggestion and all I did was show up and buy a ticket. It was a sold out show and had many famous (not to me) drag queen actors in it. A lot of Charles Busch and Charles Ludlum's The Ridiculous Theatrical Company legacy here.

The play is a drag take on old melodramas, love triangles and 50's sci-fi films.

I have to say the stand out for me was Paul Pecorino as "Mattie Van Buren." S/he really knocked this camp, Crawford, eyeballs a-swaying, back and eyebrows an-arching role out of the park. Very funny.

The other stand outs were the costumes and especially the inventive staging. I am a sucker for inventive staging and storytelling. (See "39 Steps") Here the scene changers really added to the show. A scene takes place on a plane in flight. There is a storm. This was conveyed by way of silver tinsel hung from a shower rod shaken behind a small blow up plane dangled in front as the two standhands moved along the stage. Simple, funny, and excellent.

The New York Times blogged about the show here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


New York City is a city of very busy, crack-addicted people. I am one of them.

And everyone has his or her own drug of choice. Or non-choice as the case may truly be.

The one lately that I could end up destitute in the gutter and whoring myself for two bits over just to get the funds to shoot up is Trader Joes "Frosted Maple & Brown Sugar Shredded Bite Size Wheats." That is a mouthful to gasp when you are on your last breath and need a fix, but I am powerless. So powerless I am working on an acronym to spread into the lexicon so I will be able to act faster when needed.

As many readers know, I have a huge ice cream problem. Sweet, creamy goodness is such a mother/lover replacement that its results on my waistline have kept me from at least the latter.
My methadone for this has been non-fat yogurt with raisins, walnuts and, okay, honey. Not much of a methadone, but it is in the right direction.

Then I housesat for my friend Sean. He stocks boxes of this Trader Joes pure rock maple/brown sugar drug. One night I tore in like I was taking pills from grandma's cabinet. The first spoonful (with non-fat milk, of course) made my eyes light up like there had been something missing all these years. I was hooked. It was if he were my dealer and I was given a personal-sized box for free in the playground. The rest was gonna cost.

I plowed through his two boxes and went to TJs just to get replacements so he wouldn't notice. (As part of my attempt at recovery, I told him about it.) I swore I would bring none of this filthy downtown drug (TJs is only on 14th Street in Manhattan) into my Upper West Side abode.

Then Sean, who turns out to be no friend at all, but my dealer slips me a box as a "gift." Since the night he swathed the vein on my arm with rubbing alcohol and gave me this stuff, I have kept it on my shelf and tried to keep it out of my mind. But it knew it was in. I was a goner. Today I broke in. If the photo above looks crooked, it is because I tore with such vigor that I ripped open the plastic bag like The Hulk would his t-shirt and the cardboard box split down the side. I was IN. There is maple sugary residue around my lips and my head is spinning.

I have no idea what I am writing. I am not accountable for my actions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


My friend Amy Robinson writes for a blog called "Fierce and Nerdy" where she wrote a piece about "funemployment." She and her husband are both out of work in Venice, CA so understandably they like to do free things and here she talks about working out/exercising for free since they have dropped their gym memberships.

I love the term "funemployment" not because it is a way to be in denial and keep myself "out there," but because it is a way to remember that even if you are not working, you have to take time to enjoy life away from the dread and rejection and tumbleweed lack of response from the powers that be.

Sue and I took a little funemployed, staycation today and had a picnic in Central Park. It was a beautiful day and she had a picnic backpack and I had a picnic blanket and we both had time so it was a no-brainer.

Of course the wolf is never far from the door or the picnic so we had to bring our list of topics as we often do. Here were today's:

Panic Timeline & Milestones


Time Management

Judgment of Others


US Open


Fear and rigidity




Getting old

Fooling yourself

Job hunting updates


All in all a great and affordable feast with some joy and some action items! Thanks Sue for such a great funemployed, staycation banquet and chat!!

New York Revue

My friend Brad who lives in LA used to live in New York and just did a post on a farewell review he did in NYC before moving out west. It has some excellent (and funny!) quotes and great links to You Tube vids, etc. I wish so much I could have seen it. I feel the same way, Brad!

Check it out: "Showscript"

And check out his blog: Criticlasm

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In a Lonely Place

I remarked to Ellie that going to the movies during the day always seemed "very New York" to me. She remarked, "That is maybe because other cities don't have movies during the day."

Very astute dame that Ellie.

We went to see Noir classic "In a Lonely Place" starring Humprhey Bogart and Gloria Grahame at the Film Forum in Soho - the sort of cinema that if you are going to see a film during the day in New York, this should be your place: very art house, very Soho. And like minds! We were not alone. The film itself is the kind of film you duck in from the daylight for as well: dark, of a time, pure escape.

Except we didn't like it!

Humphrey is a screenwriter and Gloria lives in his apartment complex. He is a suspect for murder and she falls in love with him. Classic right there. There is suspicion, violence, and fear. I guess lately I try to avoid those things and thus did not like this film very much. Quelle sacrilage! Hey, Humphrey, whether he did it or not, is an angry, egotistical violent a-hole so I didn't care a fig about him. I just wanted Gloria to GET OUT!! I think domestic violence is hardest for me to take in films; it just makes me squirm.

It was fun to see Los Angeles and hear UCLA, my alma mater, mentioned.

Even though we both didn't like the film, we loved the experience. Ellie and I just had a great downtown adventure complete with delish burgers and excellent ambiance and service at Lucy Browne's on Varick. And a fun subway ride on the F train which neither of us ever takes. All in all this Upper East Side broad and her West Coast malcontent had a great time playing hookie in Gotham.

Monday, August 24, 2009

3 Dot Journalism: Miep Gies...The Cossack...and the Colonoscopies

Went to lunch with Ellie, Mary and Jonathan to Cafe Greco on 2nd Ave and 72nd on the Upper East Side...Ellie and I had the seafood salad which is fantastic here...Ellie had no calamari, I did....Jonathan and Mary both had turkey on pita...Jonathan finally caved to taking Mary's recommendation of having the Russian Dressing. We decided this was because Jonathan had Cossack blood and his body craved it against his will....This came about because Jonathan is of Russian Jewish descent and he explained that any blonds have resulted only because someone was messing around with (or more likely messed upon by) some Cossack....I was the only gentile at the table. Three Jews and me...I explained that they didn't know what it was like to be in the minority...I was the only West Coaster among three New Yorkers (love that!!!)...Mary, Ellie's daughter, is down from Rhode Island so they could go for Mother/Daughter colonoscopies in Manhattan the way other moms and their female offspring go shopping or get their nails done ...I thought it was VERY Californian...Some Californian must have messed around along their line like a Cossack. (Actually they lived in Beverly Hills for a bit so all is making sense.)...(Ellie and Mary said I could report on their dueling colonoscopies...Maybe it will help bring other mothers and their daughters closer?)...Mary told this amazing story about how she corresponded with Miep Gies who helped hide Anne Frank and her family. Miep is in her 90s. Mary was working on a play and wanted to ask her some questions. Mary told Miep that she runs a community theatre and kids of all ages from 5 to 75 are in the shows. Miep wrote something like "So 75? That means I could not be in your play?"...I paraphrase the whole thing, but Miep is a hoot!...Jonathan and Mary know a lot of people in common through the theatre...We got separate checks.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Games People Play

Surfing the net I came across this guy on the Upper West Side who was looking for people to play games. Not mind or Olympic or Highland, but stuff like charades and Cranium and Password.

This was the perfect storm for me: I LOVE to meet new people and I LOVE to play games. Wow.

I e-mailed him and he gave me his number and I called him and he explained that it was just that, game playing. No sex, no drinking, no smoking. Well, I immediately wanted to hang up (kidding!), and thought "Perfect!" He told me they would try me out and I would try the group out. I felt like it was fraternity rush in college all over again. (But without the sex, drinking and smoking of course!)

I went to his apartment and there were about 8 guys my age in the middle of a raucous game of Scatagories. I introduced myself, put on my name tag and waited for them to be done. Immediately we delved into Catchphrase. OMG, I loved it. Bill the burly guy was brill at this game. (In fact he was brill at all of them.) I did well, but screwed the pooch on "Science and Technology." Some horrible word held me up and my vertigo brain just could not seem to act around it. Okay, I am blaming vertigo. It has to be good for something.

Our team won. Nonetheless.

There was a pause for drinks and then we each had to tell an up to 3 minute story from our lives. It was not therapy or anything like that. People talked about what they did this summer, someone else talked about working at a jewelry store. I told the story of my days as a security guard at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in the eighties with Crazy Eddy, the famous hotel thief with the straight razor, Diana Ross, Danny Kaye, electrocution and the French bag lady who carried a globe and did her hair in the Bulgari mirror in front the the hotel. It went over well. And what an amazing parlor game to get to know people, not just through content, but through style. Fantastic.

Next we played charades. I am aces at this game. I tried to keep my competitive side at bay, but it didn't seem to matter as all were equally into it. I got 6 right. Enough to come in 2nd place, but not enough to beat burly Bill!

What fun it was and I walked out into the hot summer air of a New York evening feeling all chuffed with myself for having gone.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New York This and That

Another thing I love about New York is that you can set out for a day and come back at 1 in the morning having just been all over and completely stimulated and inspired or you can have done the most mundane tasks and just had the most amazing backdrop to do them in front of!

I set out from my beautiful, leafy Upper West Side pad at 10:30 this morning to go to Afro-Jazz class at Lincoln Center. I am hooked on this workout as it challenges this 6'3" puffy white boy to get down and let it rip. I love this class and hate to ever miss it. I then did pilates right after. The combo nearly killed me. But in a good way.

Then it was downtown julie brown to see my friend Jonathan at his place in Soho. He had me over to lunch and we had a great gab fest over roast chicken and spinach. He lives right by the beautiful Puck Building and next door to David Bowie and Iman! After our pranzo we took a walk and crashed into his friend who is on One Life to Live and her friend after they got out of a Brazilian art house film at Film Forum. So Woody Allen New York! We embraced goodbye and I crossed the street into Noho.

Sean returned my call as I was on Bond Street and marvelling at the architecture. We decided to rendezvous at his place in the West Village for dinner and a movie. I brought ice cream and cookies (Whole Food's own as I figured ORGANIC is never unhealthy) and we ate dinner and gorged on sweets and watched a film.

I got home around 1:15am! What a fantastic New York day!!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I got back to NIA class tonight. This is a dance/movement technique that isn't religious or political, though like everything else lately, it feels like it could go that way sometimes. But truly it is time away from health care rage, and the president is a Nazi, etc. If I may, I think the US is no longer about free speech, but about rage. And this class is time away from rage. For me it is therapy both physical and mental + joy. Mixed in with another craze, perhaps. But what the heck, it is fun and a good workout.

I had never heard of NIA before I was told about it at the Y. I see it as groovy, Berkeley hippie chick dance, but it is really defined as this:

Dancing Through Life: The Nine Movement Forms of Nia

Martial Arts: T’ai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido
Dance Arts: Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance
Healing Arts: Yoga, Alexander Technique, The Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais®

My teacher, Jayne, is amazing. She just has the goods and the kindness and the groovy energy that gets everyone going. I find that it is hard to "let loose" in public, but she just "allows" you that and I have been a devoted follower ever since! (Oooh, there is that word "follower"!!)

She even took extra time with me because of my vertigo and gave me some yoga techniques to try.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Filming on Amsterdam between 80th and 81st.

My friend Nicole got Shakespeare in the Park -"The Bacchae" tickets. Yes, I know it's by EURIPIDES and not Shakespeare, but that is the way it is. She could not go and I was the lucky last minute recipient. I called my friend Pat and we went to Shake Shack on Columbus for DELISH BURGERS and then to the play.

Spontaneity happened this night in New York City. I had planned to be alone in the gym and instead I was dining with a friend and off to the theatre. I thought it was a good metaphor for life as in --do not assume the way things are going to be.

Anything can happen in Gotham!

Muggy as it was in the park, it was good to see the play. And as bloody as our hamburgers.


This is one play I had never seen before. And by a one-named celebrity long before one-named celebrities like Cher or Madonna.

Uncast raccoons took to the stage throughout. Charming.

Afterwards I walked to get some seltzer and Amsterdam was lit up as they were shooting what seemed like a big movie at Jake's Dilemma.

I remember in LA people used to like to remark how put out they were by filming on their block. And I hear people in New York say it too. I am sure it can be true, but I find this kind of "put outness" to be a pose. Personally, I am excited always by filming. It never ceases to excite me. Go live where they rarely film and you will die to have a honeywagon in front of your door.

Well maybe not a honeywagon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Identity

Did you know in the United States after you have moved states like I did from California to New York "you must apply for a driver license not more than 30 days after you become a resident'?

I had no idea and immediately looked outside myself for blame as if there should be a whole welcome packet presented to me and a government agent assigned to me to insure that my transition into east coast life goes smoothly.

So after almost 24 consecutive 30 day periods in New York, I finally got around to it.

I had to go to the License-Express Office at 34th and 8th. Sort of a DMV drive-through. Very slam bam thank you ma'am which works fine in cases involving oneself and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

This was all fine, but I just had not thought of the emotional damage that would be done. I am totally committed to living here AND staying here, but I did not realize how tied I was to my driver's license which one has to "surrender."

Today I surrendered the license I have had since I was 16 years old. Not the actual license, but I have had that "N906......." number on a CA license since then. And I had to say goodbye to it so unceremoniously and publicly like a pet about to be put down or a left behind area code.

I will soon be a New York Driver's license holder in a city that I have never driven in because it scares the living headlights out of me.

I will NOT be sad to see my former photo go as I was -- let's be kind here-- "chubby" and "swollen" in it. And I feel having a NYS license furthers my commitment to my adopted city that I love.

Goodbye sweet prints...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thunderstorm - New York City

Met Craig and Grace and Fran in the West Village and we walked along Bleecker on this warmest of summer nights to have pizza at Pizza from Naples, this place they had discovered a few days prior on Carmine Street. It was really, really good. I would go back.

The calm before the storm. College pals Craig and Pat try subconsciously to recreate the photo from 25 years ago in Umbria.

Craig's much younger cousins, Fran and Grace. So belle they are! The last time I saw Fran she was 3. And the last time I saw Grace she was like 18 because it was about 2 days ago.

We had a lovely time dining al fresco until it got too fresco. The sky just lit up and lightening and thundering commenced as if a light show had been ordered. We saw some major streaks of lightening mixed with the booming puffs of glow that you normally get. But the streaky lightening looked like movie lightening to me, this California boy. Golllllly!!

And then the rain began. It came down in sheets like Hollywood rain. We were under an awning, but had to duck inside as it was no real cover for this kind of weather. The wrap-around-the-block queue for the ice cream place katty corner quickly dissipated as if getting charred was not worth the $5 scoop of Burnt Sugar Pecan that was within ones grasp.

There was no where to go so the wait staff served us (them) wine gratis. It was lovely and surreal, the whole experience. I think I loved it.
Fran, Grace and Craig with our Milanese waiter who went to the Roberto Benigni School of Style just outside of Roma.

An amazing photo shot from the Upper West Side of the storm by Melissa Hersh:

Monday, August 17, 2009

East Village Cool Down

Craig and I were in the East Village and I saw a bunch of people cooling down with the aid of an open fire hydrant. This is a quintessential New York scene even though this is the first time I have seen it in the two years I have been here!

Don't know if "Dead End" is symbolic or just a cigar.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hunter Mountain International Celtic Festival

(Not my band as I was playing, but a competing band in the same contest. Notice the ski lift in the BG.)

One of the cool things about living in New York City is getting out of it. BUT...only because you know you are going to come back.

My lip from my virus seems to have almost healed so I am able to play bagpipes again. The band I play with had a competition today at Hunter Mountain for the International Celtic Festival. It is about a 2 hour drive with about 45 of that up a mountain. (In the winter this place is a ski resort!).

A beautiful, but HOT day up there. Lovely wildflowers and weathered barns - all of what you would expect from picturesque upstate New York.

For some reason my vertigo kicked in big and I was in a kilt in ghillie brogues wobbling on a slanted mountainside playing bagpipes in a contest. It was like a Japanese reality game show. And I was really self-conscious of walking around as I thought everyone would think I was drunk. Oh the ironies!! And at a Celtic fair I can't imagine it would be too noticed, but still, I didn't like it.

But I played well and then had to sit out the rest. The guys in the band were great. It all was fine and we got home at 1:30 in the morning!

But... the coolest thing about this festival is the Massed Bands at the end. Since I couldn't really balance, I sat this out so I was able to see it. It made sound "dorky" but it is really an impressive effect. The bands are bussed to the top of a ski slope where you cannot see them. The crowds gather along the sides of the slope as if they were going to watch a slalom event. Then "out of nowhere" this feather-bonneted drum major appears with this Wall O' Bagpipers playing down the ski slope into the village for the end of days speeches and competition results. Excellent.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The World Pipe Band Championships in New York City?

That's right. I watched the World Bagpipe Band Championships LIVE from Scotland in the comfort of my own New York City pad. Live. This was the ultimate of Old meets New. Old World/New World. Old tradition brought to millions through New technology.

Here I was on the Upper West Side with coffee and my computer plugging into live streaming of BBC Scotland's coverage of the championships. BBC Scotland has never released the broadcast outside of the UK and this was the first time. It was like being there. The coverage and sound and picture quality were that excellent. You can still go to the link above and click on "Grade One Bands" and hear the competition set. The future and the past are HERE!

I also had my Facebook and Twitter open as well as Bob Dunsire's "Beer Tent" chat room for all things bagpipes going. I was watching live and making live commentary with other folk around the world. This was truly a global, digital, connected moment. Fantastic.

Today, I know I want to be part of this "digital age" somehow. And today I was.

Friday, August 14, 2009


During these tough times of hunkering down, doing without and reusing ziploc bags, it is a blessing to be in New York City where there are loads of free things to do.

Tonight I went to SummerStage in Central Park to see Dance Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company with guest Martha Wainwright. I had never seen this dance company before, but the opportunity to see dance for free is not one I want to pass up.

I queued up early to make sure I got in. My mistake is I involved other people in my life! Sometimes I have a tendency to want to do things alone because then "you" are never disappointed! Scary lesson to learn. And now I am very alone! But my friend from London and his cousins wanted to join so I said "SURE! The gates open at 7pm so be there by then and I will be in line with a picnic blanket." They showed up just before 8 and did not get in save for Sunny. I could feel my lip curl in frustration as I have a problem when I get an image of "how things are going to be" and then they don't turn out that way even if I think I have crossed every T and dotted those I's.


What to do? I watched a bit, wasn't too rocked by the dance company and then picked up my toys and left. In the dark with vertigo and a bag. Managed out and there was a whole renegade contingent of picnickers who did not get in, dining on a knoll just south of the venue in the park. I joined my tardy team there and we had a great picnic with Martha warbling (she does it wonderfully) in the background. I did not get to see the dance, but we had a GREAT time sitting there under a street lamp on the grass. What a laugh.

Sometimes things are not as I think they should be, but they are always how they are meant to be.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Met the boys from Boston tonight who are down on business. Always great to see them. We met at Deacon Brodies on 46th St. in the heart of the theatre district. Danny is from Glasgow and seems to like this pub as it has Scottish bartenders. Nathan and I just follow along.

They took me to dinner at Becco across the street which was really very good.

This block of 46th St. between 8th and 9th called "Restaurant Row" though right in midtown really has this small town, "Pirates of the Caribbean/New Orleans Square" feeling. Touristy, but fun and intimate as well.

Great evening.

Danny and I have been friends since 1986 when I lived in Glasgow. That is a LONG time I think.

And here in 2009 we are sitting in a restaurant in Manhattan talking about old times.

Our mutual friend Tricia (from Lietrim) e-mailed us both this joke saying it reminded her of the two of us:

Two men were sitting next to each other at a bar in New York. After a while, one guy looks at the other and says, 'I can't help but think, from listening to you, that you're from Ireland .'

The other guy responds proudly, 'Yes, that I am!'

The first guy says, 'So am I! And where about from Ireland might you be'?

The other guy answers, 'I'm from Dublin , I am.'

The first guy responds, 'So am I!'

'Sure and begorra. And what street did you live on in Dublin ?

The other guy says, 'A lovely little area it was. I lived on McCleary Street in the old central part of town.'

The first guy says, 'Faith and it's a small world. So did I! So did I!
And to what school would you have been going'?

The other guy answers, 'Well now, I went to St. Mary's, of course.'

The first guy gets really excited and says, 'And so did I. Tell me, what year did you graduate'?

The other guy answers, 'Well, now, let's see. I graduated in 1964.'

The first guy exclaims, 'The Good Lord must be smiling down upon us! I can hardly believe our good luck at winding up in the same bar tonight. Can you believe it? I graduated from St. Mary's in 1964 my own self!'

About this time, Vicky walks into the bar, sits down and orders a beer.

Brian, the bartender, walks over to Vicky, shaking his head and mutters, 'It's going to be a long night tonight.'

Vicky asks, 'Why do you say that, Brian'?

'The Murphy twins are pissed again.'

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


(Worst picture he has ever taken in his life, but it is the only one I have from tonight!)

Craig was one of my best, closest friends in college at UCLA. And after. We were tight. I even lived with him in New York and we travelled together in Italy and Mexico and both lived in San Francisco where I helped him build his cafe at 3rd and Market and went through the earthquake of 1989 together. He knew my parents and siblings well and I knew his.

Then we didn't speak for 11 years. I saw him in Heathrow airport for an hour. After 11 years. That was about 5 years ago.

And now today.

How does this happen? Time passing, not talking, separate lives. He got married and had twins. He had his appendix out. As did I. We didn't know. He had another cousin born. So did I. We didn't know. I met his tonight. She is 18 and lovely. I have never met his wife or his kids. They live in London.

But tonight was good. We had a good chat and a good walk and that was good. Incredible to be in Manhattan together again. We lived in Murray Hill together over 25 years ago. What a different city it was then.

Our birthdays are a week apart and in 1984 we celebrated them at Cafe Luxembourg which is just celebrating 25 years this year!

Wow. So much time. So much water.

So much bridge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Saw this Ang Lee film last night. With Ang. Genial fellow always. I am a fan.


I hate film titles that begin with-


And maybe even -Taming and Bowling and Falling

Why? Because they sound so self-important to me.

Perhaps this is one for the couch. If I ever get there.

Ang should have asked me for my opinion and I would have said "Ang. baby, kill the 'Taking' and go for something in the vein of "Dude, Where's My Car?"

"Taking" the film is okay. I think Demitri Martin and Imelda Staunton are stand-outs. It is a Chinese food movie however.

And not because you feel stoned.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Times As They Are in New York

Unemployment is huge everywhere. Foreclosers, closed shops, crowded gyms. It is the new moda of being. In an odd way I say it will effect fashion, recipes and back to school!

This morning I got up and called the unemployment office because I needed to ask a question. Of a person. I was told by the auto-man voice that it would be about a 20 minute wait. Lately I think "lemonade" in place of "rage" so I practiced my bagpipe music with my phone earphones in waiting for the moment when I could speak to a live one. It all worked out great.

I then cut off a UPC code label from some feta cheese package and sent it in with my register receipt circled to get $3.00 back like 6 months from now.

I was on a roll.

I then mailed in my final check for my balance due on my cancelled cable. I am going total web. So jazzed.

Now it is time to find out about who needs movie extras in the Big Apple. I have time and can use the cash. I googled that.

Sometimes bad things can expose us to good things: I eat at home, I walk more, I don't watch TV and I read more.

Sometimes bad things can expose us to bad things: I eat more, I am on-line more, I Facebook more, and I panic secretly more.

But all in all I feel like it will all work out. I have no idea how or when, but it just will. I wonder what other people like me in New York do with their days and minds?

I better get to bed so I can get up and clean my middle drawer and google "Rutherford B. Hayes" and "free dental."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The World Bagpipe Band Championships

For the first time ever BBC Scotland is going to broadcast the the World Bagpipe Band Championships live on-line worldwide. This is so exciting for all of us around the globe who cannot be in Glasgow for the event.

I have excitement for this event like I do about the US Open Tennis and Wimbledon. Many of my friends will be there and competing. I have been on You Tube looking at different bands, following news on Twitter. This is truly getting to be a global, modern event.

I think even if you are not into bagpipe band competitions this is a well done video for on-line because it capture the excitement and anticipation very well. What do you think?

Saturday, August 8, 2009


New Yorkers drink a lot of seltzer. It has become my favorite drink. I am becoming a New Yorker? I used to be a big San Pellegrino guy, but selzter is like 69 cents a bottle and tastes great. I have made the switch. It has no sodium and it just spritzes everything up. And it is especilly wonderful during these hot summer months. What is not to like?

Oh my God! I feel like I just wrote a last minute book report on seltzer.

I clearly have nothing to say. Sigh.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Evening with Two Hunks.

Across from this most famous of icons lies this most famous of underwear and socks purveyors: JC Penney's.

JC Penney's has just opened in Manhattan. And though it did not thrill me on the level a Target opening in Manhattan or another Trader Joe's would, I was kind of happy. I have a fondness for the place. I worked there when I was a young lad and am really grateful for all the experience I gained. I learned about earning my own money. I cut yardage, sold shoes and worked in layaway. I became an Employee of the Month even.

And all these years later, I am middle-aged and shopping there alone on a Friday night. And it was FUN! Odd though because once inside you have no idea you are in New York City, you are just in another mall. I found that sad as I think no place in New York City should ever feel like being a mall. That is what we have the rest of the states for.

Oshay was my key salesperson. He helped me with pillows. I saw the newspaper add for "buy one at regular price and the 2nd for $1." I had to go and see for myself. There are lots of pillows and I settled on the "The Hunk." That's what the pillow is called. I got two hunks. Someone told me if you have enough pillows in your bed it feels like someone else is actually in there. Money well spent, I say.

I'll have 4 hunks, please. But I got myself down to only two; I do not need a boudoir, I need a good night's sleep without feathers poking me in my skull.

And of course, I needed jeans badly and they were on sale and some underwear. I forgot a coupon for $10 more off and sweet talked the sales clerk into coughing one up for me by playing the sad and needy "I used work here, I know how it works" card.

I left and it was nightfall. My Friday night with two hunks, some underwear and some button fly jeans.

Did you have a racier evening?

A Twinlke-Toed Fairy Tale

My friend Lisa saw this advert on Craigslist and kindly sent it to me. It was entitled "FILMING in Manhattan, Need 100's of Background Scene Actors." Why NOT do extra work whilst looking for a perm gig, I thought. They shoot all over this town and I have the look for something I am sure. I can play bland Manhattanite well.

So I called.

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring. Then hold music. What company is this?

Finally some guy gets on the phone and I tell him why I am calling. He begins to read a script that is lifted from the text in the Craigslist posting save he tells me "up to $300/day" and the ad says "up to $500/day."

And all I need to do is send in the application they will send to me PLUS $99.98 which I will get refunded if I don't get booked in 90 days.

I said, "I don't want to pay to work." And I waited for the sales pitch, but instead I got a refreshing "Well, that makes you a twinkle-toed fairy." I said, "What?" "YOU are a twinkle-toed fairy. Think about it." I spent half a second thinking of a really angry, but self-actualized retort with a "that showed him" dismount, and the second half of that second just hanging up gently.

This twinkle-toed fairy will prance into greener pastures elsewhere.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


As I recall this bench was rusted and dappled with different colors. I couldn't get closer on the iphone, but where it was was just so peaceful amidst the chaos that is New York. It doesn't look like much here, but it was calming.