Friday, April 30, 2010

Messina, Sicily, Italy

Here I am in Sicily. My first time.  I first of this place not through "Godfather" movies or anything bad, but by a rhyme our Scottish grandmother taught us:

The big foot of Italy 
Kicked wee Sicily
Out into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea

A geography lesson sold as a poem. Good way to get your kids to eat their vegetables.


Noon clocktower show in center of town. The lion comes out and ROARS! The kids loved it, as did I.



This little girl was fascinated by the clock show. I was fascinated by her. But not in a creepy way.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Capri

I first heard of this island when my dad bought a car named after it. Of course we pronounced it "Kah-PREE."  Now I am all snobby and Euro and pronounce it "KAH-pree."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roma

I was here at Christmas and saw my good pal David.  What good fortune to be able to see him again so soon. And in a city that never disappoints (unless you actually live here and need any plumbing, electrical or governments services)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Corsica, France

At Christmas I was in Paris and went to Napoleon's tomb.  Very grand.  I surely do not have a Napoleon complex (many others, but at 6"3" not this one) but here we were in Corsica, where the wee man was born.  All I need is to go to Elba where he actually died to complete the set.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Towel Animal

I wish I photographed all my towel sea creatures that the ships' cabin stewards create and leave in your room every evening.  A blog in itself!  I travel the world via ship and photograph animals made out of hand towels!  Will someone fund this?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bingo!


WE played BINGO today.

In my mind you play BINGO when you are very young at camp with your family or when you are very old on a cruise ship.  Wow, I am no longer at camp with my family...

A Canadian woman in line behind me to buy cards said “Are you from California?”   I was thinking, “Tan? Surfer’s body? How does she know?”  I asked and she said she could tell from my accent!!!  I set her straight that I have no accent.  And this from a oot and aboot Canadian.  I have never been pegged by my accent before. Probably because I never had one before.

Sadly, I did not get to shout out in my strong Californian voice, “BINGO!”

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ole, Oh Lay!


Saw this amazing group at the show tonight. “Ole, Ole.”  The were the cruise ship version of the “Gypsy Kings.”  A Spanish outfit who played flamenco guitar.  It was everything you want in this kind of performance on a cruise ship: vapors-inducing sexiness that you don’t tell your 67 year old spouse about.  The men looked like Fabio with their long hair and lithe, romance novel cover bodies and the woman, well, she stopped and gyrated in Spanish costume enough to have the men in need of respirators or cigarettes or both.  It was entertaining.

Oh my God. Ventriloquist tomorrow.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Promenade Deck

My favorite place to be on this ship is the promenade deck. This is the see and be seen place aboard, I suppose, but that is not why I like it so much. It is the one deck where you can walk fully around the ship outside. This is where people promenade or exericise. It is also where those gorgeous wooden deck chairs are laid out to bundle up and read or stare out at the ocean.

I think I love it most of all because it feels timeless. There is little I see on this deck that could not have been there 100 years ago. I feel part of big ships, my mother crossing the Atlantic on the old Queen Mary to the United States for the first time and part of the ocean and thus the world.

There is something about walking and taking in the ocean air and smiling at someone that just makes me feel so at peace.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NY SEA!!!


I want this blog to be about New York and life in it, and not about me. (My 13 readers do a “coulda fooled me” spit take.)

And now that I am not in New York, this is getting harder.  My tie-in for today is, when we did the lifeboat drill I got talking to a gentleman behind me.  He and his wife will be on this ship for 3 weeks and then 2 weeks in Europe and then take the Queen Mary 2 back to New York City to stay with their son for 5 days. Where does he live?   

Around the corner from me!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day U, S, A.

I paid mine and sent them in.  Yay, oh yay!

Even though this has been a rough year financially I still had someone do them.  Next to ironing my own shirts, doing my own taxes makes me break out in hives.  Another fear I should face.   "Get in line, Taxes!!!!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sailing


Sailing on the Atlantic Ocean heading away from New York and the new world towards old York and the old world.  Won't actually hit the old York, but will be in Portugal in a few days.

Not sure what I will do on this blog for this time.  Not interested in keeping a diary/journal.  Have not taken many photos and they take long to upload at $10,000/minute.

Will think of something. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Leaving NYC


It isn't quite like this, but Man.  Hat. In. is once again "disembarking" New York to set sail to far off places for the sole purpose of loving New York upon return. 

It won't have quite like the romance of the above photo as it involves Ft. Lauderdale, but it will be a fantastic voyage. Less wood paneling, but also less rocky thanks to stabilizers. (Can one buy those for personal use?)

Stay tuned.  Be well, NYC!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Brownie Husband

This may be rubbish for a my life in New York blog, but how do you get more New York than Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live and living all alone and wishing you had someone?

This clip is just pure dead brilliant.  And it hits home in many caloric ways!



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Long Island City

My pal Eddie lives in Long Island City, a mythic place for Manhattanites as why would one ever have need to go there? 

Since I have been going there I have discovered it to be quite a place.  There are restaurants and gourmet groceries and Silver Cup Studios, home of "30 Rock" and "Sex and the City." 

The view from his apartment is above. He can see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the United Nations!  Not to mention the 59th Street Bridge to his right.  It is bleedin' spectacular!

Just, if you have vertigo, don't look down.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yossi Milo Gallery Chelsea



Jerry and I met for lunch at Lincoln Center and then walked down the river walk to Chelsea to see the Pieter Hugo show at the Yossi Milo Gallery.  Jerry had volunteered last year in Africa and saw this guy's work. 


It seems after Hollywood and Bollywood, the Nigerian film business is the third largest and called Nollywood. They shoot lots of zombie films, etc.  This show is with actors from this world. The photos seem to be grostesques, but are quite beautiful even if the splash of red is blood coming from a water buffalo's throat.

If you get a chance go to the Yossi Milo Gallery and see this show.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Greeley Square Park - night

Horace Greeley founded the New York Tribune and influenced many when he declared, "Go west, young man, go west."  I seemingly went the other way.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

La Cage Aux Folles


I should have known I was gay when I cried tears of happiness while watching the musical "Annie" with my family at the Curran Theatre when I was 15.  ("It's a Hard Knock Life" etc.)  I tried to shield this with the upward head tilt. (Earlier on I remember asking my mom while watching television why Miss America was crying.  I mean, she just won, she should be happy! My mom explained to me that sometimes people cry when they are happy. I did not know that.  - of course the fact that an 8 year old boy is asking his mom about a wailing Miss America is another clue.)

Tonight I saw Jerry Herman's "La Cage Aux Folles" on Broadway.  I am now at that age when I get to say that I saw the original on Broadway.   (Another chapter in my book that also covers receding hairlines and doctors younger than you entitled "It Just Happens.")

It was a largely gay (and certainly gay-friendly) audience and as sappy and crowd-pleasing as Jerry Herman can be, I found it really moving and empowering. Yes, empowering!  Am I so in need of affirmation?  I am so starved for acceptance? In New York?!!!  Ha!

I really don't know anymore.  I just think there are so many messages out there that "I" am disordered, no good, a pervert, the "real" cause of scandal in the Catholic Church, and an issue bigger than invading Iraq according to the Republicans at the time,  that to see a love story that is about ME and find it so honest and okay, I found really, really touching.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Daily Grind

Ah personal growth. Who has time?  I would love to get abs and speak French, but I have a tail to chase and stuff to think about and Facebook to update.

I have been blogging for over 2 years now and I want to take my writing and on-line life further.  I took a course tonight called "Breaking into Online Writing" at Media Bistro. It was taught by Will Doig, Features Editor for The Daily Beast.

This guy has been writing and working in publishing since he was knee-high to a SEND button.  He was a good teacher and as I was doodling and thinking of taking off on a cruise to Europe, he really made me home in on what I need besides air and water.  And that is focus.  It is all still a little fuzzy in my mind, but that is what I think I heard.

It seems if I want to write for on-line and get paid I have to 1. write  2. pitch and 3. really hustle. The fact that there are 1000s of previously employed Conde Nast and Wall Street Journal writers on the beat should not deter me.  (And why should it not again?)

This course confirmed what I was thinking may be true all along and that is someone is not going to come up to me on a subway platform and say "You look like a really good, funny writer.  Will you come with me to Paris and write full time for a lot of money?" 

It seems, instead, I have to read a lot of blogs and news sites and find where I would best fit in and come up with ideas that they would want and pitch to them.  Oh and accept rejection.   The latter part should not be hard for me at all.  So, ever the optimist, I have half of this already cracked!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scotland my ain other haim...

Tonight I was invited to a evening at the Boathouse in Central Park, the site of my fantastic Easter brunch a few days ago.  It was an event put on by the Scottish Government to promote her (?) business and culture.  What a stunning setting it was and another grrrrrrrrreat event. 

Jim Mather, the Scottish Minister of Enterprise, Energy and Tourism spoke and quoted from Alasdiar Gray's Lanark and I almost wept. I met Alasdair in Glasgow at his home when I lived there and he was just the most interesting guy.  (He wrote his ideas on the walls of his flat.  I loved that. )

And I think I wept because I care about all things Scottish, as embarrassing as that sounds.



There was Scottish food and drink in abudance and music and life. I met a load of people and saw some old friends.  I walked out into the dark of the park lit only by the most lovely turn of the century lamps and felt HOPE and POSSIBILITY once again.

When you feel down and stuck, go to a Scottish party!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Best Comma

I have been noticing loads of people lately signing emails, cards, etc.  with "Best, Phillip" or "Best, Suzie."  Has this been always happening or is there an upswing?

For some reason that I won't fully examine here,  "BEST comma" is like a hair suit for me or, worse, a belly button tattoo.  I hate it.  HATE IT.

Maybe I don't understand from where it derives, etc. but it drips with insincerity.  (And one could fairly argue "Well how sincere is Sincerely, comma?"  And they would have me.) 

But still BEST, argggghh!  What does it mean?  I send you my best, but I am too lazy to spell that out?  And if I do, what best am I sending to you? My best wishes?  Okay, but best wishes for what?  A happy life?  A new throw rug?

Best regards?  And what does that really even mean 100 years after it really meant something?

Clearly "best comma" is used for when you don't know someone well and it is a business-y thing.  But when I get that I feel looked down on or dismissed.  My own issues, I know, but best comma just seems to suggest that you have to hit send fast and get right on to something way more important.   It has a "tag your it" or hot potato quality to it. 

Couldn't we just pull any words out of our asses and sign it that way and it would have as much meaning, but more fun?

Daisy, Pat
Total, Laura
Eggs and Toast, your Bud
Baby formula, Steve
Cows come home, Brianna
Crystal, Crystal
Most, Paul
Nails on Chalk Board, Arthur

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Parading with Ellie and MInnelli



It was a glorious Sunday here in Manhattan.  Fitting for a stroll up the Avenue.  Fifth, to be exact.   Wonderful hats and loads of photo ops.  As someone remarked, it is nice that it is not an actual parade, but just people milling about.  Or "milliner"-ing about!



And the best way to cap this off is brunch with the daughter of the star of Easter Parade.

My friend Ellie hosted an amazing lunch at the Boathouse in Central Park.  It could not have been a better setting.  Her good friend Liza Minnelli came. She was a total delight and we all just had a great time.



Ellie had us back to the apartment after for an Easter egg hunt.

I don't know what it is, but I seem to have special Easters here in New York.  And this was one of them.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tartan Week, New York City

Tartan Week has kicked off in New York City.  I was able to watch some of the 5K race in Central Park  on a BEEE-u-T-Ful Saturday.  What a great day for it.  I got to listen to a folk group jam in the park and just be happy to be alive (and Scottish).



This evening I went with Brad and Sean to a Harry Benson retrospective at a Soho gallery put on by The Scottish Affairs Office.  I didn't know who Mr. Benson was and then I walked into gallery and looked at all the iconic photos around the room including the Beatles having a pillow fight in a hotel room. I was blown away.

Sean, who is a photographer himself,  and I got to speak with him and as I shook his hand I was taken with the fact that this Glasgow-born man was at RFK's assassination, photographed the Queen and Princess Diana and umpteen photos of my beloved Glasgow, plus Mohammad Ali and the Beatles and Greta Garbo and Liz Taylor and just about everyone and here I was being thanked for such kind words from this guy. Wow.  It was incredible.




We had filet mignon hors d'eouvres and mingled with the guests including Betty Buckley who is somewhat of an icon herself.

Friday, April 2, 2010

IPad Eve

The world or at least the US is all a Twitter about the coming of the iPad, the oversized iphone that will change you entire life.



My friend Sean is getting his in the mail tomorrow morning.  I can't imagine he will see much beyond the virtual world for a day.  Here is he looking longingly into the window of the Apple Store like it is FAO Schwartz as the Apple elves prepare for the onslaught.



We spoke with the first person in line at the 14th Street Store in Manhattan.  He has been there since 6pm and it was about 10pm when we spoke with him. Oddly he is all alone, no one else is waiting in line with him yet. We asked him about peeing.  I am sure his new ipad will take of that somehow. iPee!


So apparently the world will not be the same after tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring has come to New York!

It is a shock of color and a shock to the system too see gardeners planting blooms and people not wearing jackets and wearing smiles.  It is a lovely, lovely feeling of renewal hope and possibility. And this from a guy who wanted more snow. But, again, you can't have the thrill of Spring without the chill of winter first.