Saturday, September 30, 2006


About the self:

“The big self is mondo stable. But the small self — we’re blowing about like dry leaves in the wind.”

About Time:

“It’s going backward and forward, and it’s slippery.”

-David Lynch to the New York Times

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New York New York with Hobblings

Left to right: Fedwren, Emma, Someone Else, Q (front), Lars (back), Rian, Skits, Daisy, Me (back), Keppet (front), Dana, Biped

First a disclaimer: Although I lived in New York city for 10 years I lived way uptown and knew the west side quite well, but rarely ventured to the east side, and rarely went all the way downtown. Plus I lived there 14 years ago, and it was very overcast so my sense of North/South etc way downtown was not good. On top of that my sense of time is... well, impossible.

I intended to leave Ohio as soon as I finished teaching at noon, but I had forgotten that had to give a seminar to the grad students and senior capstone students . After this and that, I was not able to leave work until 4, so instead of hitting the highway at 3:00, I did not get on the road until 7:00, with a seven hour drive to New York City in front of me. It was 2 in the morning when I crossed the Hudson River on the lower level of the George Washington Bridge (aka “Martha”). I saw the Port Authority bus terminal Rising up on the Manhattan side, and remembered it’s white interior, the candy counter with chocolate covered marshmallow bars (“blech “ says Rian) and the perpetual cluster of middle aged Hispanic men around the OTB counter. The memory was so strong, chocolate breaking softly, bright light, careworn faces......

I passed under the station and curled down onto the Harlem River Drive, the road as rutted and narrow as ever, the black water of the east river reflecting city lights. A physical longing for the City grabbed me, twisting in my chest. On some level I was and always will be a New Yorker though I did not move there until I was in my 20’s and do not plan to ever live there again.

Needless to say it was very very late by the time I went to sleep..... in an apartment with no alarm clock. I am a light sleeper, I assumed I would wake up in time to make the meeting place at 11:00 on Saturday morning.

Well, I woke up when I meant to. I had time to get ready and my estimated half an hour to walk from 81st between 2nd and 3rd avenue, through central park and up to 106th, with a stop at Starbucks for coffee of course. (“Of course” says Rian). And, of course, I miss-judged the time it would take. In spite of walking with some speed through the occasional rain it took me 45 minutes. As I passed by the lovely rocks and trees of the North-west side of Central Park I saw a familiar figure in the distance in front of me. Keppet, who I had never met, but who was entirely familiar. She had convinced an old friend to come along, poor friend.

Due to the rain, and the fact that our recent “Accomplice” information required us to be at the South street seaport at 2:00, plans to picnic in Central Park had been scrapped. The new plan was to meet somewhere n Chinatown for lunch. Others of the group had gone rouse Rian and Co. and were somewhere in the middle of Manhattan. Only one member of the group actually currently lives in NYC, although not in Manhattan and she is not a longtime NY resident, so it turned out that I might have the best working knowledge of the island.

I suggested we meet at Canal and Mott in the heart of Chinatown. We took the subway down to Canal street and pressed though the crowd to Mott. I restrained myself from looking at the 10$ knockoff Rolexes and assorted shiny attractive things. I also restrained from stopping for a roast pork bun, a bean cake, or a curried vegetable roll from my favorite Chinese bakeries.

We finally joined up with the group. I had never met Fedwren or Q or Lars or Daisy or Keppet before. The others were familiar from Paris (ah! Paris). Fedwren had scoped out a Chinese (Pan Asian actually) restaurant with plenty of room for us all for lunch. We were crowded around a huge round table with a big Lazy Susan in the middle on which our food was placed. We could spin around to what we wanted to try.

In the restaurant

Outside the restaurant

Thus fortified we headed out to the Southstreet Seaport for our Accomplice event.

I glanced at a map and headed us south, and the streets turned and After a brief glance at a map and a few words with Fedwren, the only current New Yorker of the lot of us, I turned us onto another street and sent us walking in absolutely the wrong direction, through a part of China town I had never been in before.

By the time I figured out our mistake we had quite a ways to backtrack. We were late to the South Street Seaport, and then took a bit to find our meeting place. When we got there a narrow man in a suit slid up to us, said we were LATE and had to go away for a half an hour. So, we did, had a drink and watched a man with dreadlocks and an island accent perform amazing yoga type contortions in black and yellow patterned spandex.

Rian said “I can do that.” and “I can do that too” Then he did something else and she fell silent.

Keppet and Dana

Accomplice was fun, sending us here and there through increasingly inventive means, to a Bra Bar using photographs, to a fountain with a message rolled into a cigarette, to Chinatown (back to Mott and Canal) with a fortune cookie. We found out that handsome live frogs can be purchased in Chinatown, and that drunks aren’t always drunks, and that in spite of the crowds and the San Gennaro festival in little Italy a table with bottles of wine was held for Accomplice participants, complete with drunk (perhaps) Russian, who waved over a plate of appetizers and good crusty bread. Some of the actors were a real surprise. I surprised myself by having fun playing along with the story with the loony red-head outside the church. Thankfully we had the sense not to try to give the frog to the parishoners.....

Keppet and Skit do not appear to take the mobster seriously

The Bra Bar (no that wasn't it's name) with Lars' head oddly sticking horizontally into the frame

Rian tackling Someone Else

The Frog

Skittledog prepares to bike up the Brooklyn Bridge

The Blind Beggar delivers his clues

The Russian offers wine and advice on dating

By the time it was over we just had time to subway uptown to Carmine’s on the upper west side. They still serve their after dinner expresso with a bottle of galliano and a twist of lemon peel. Yum!

Rian's Hidden Talent and Narrisch's lovely hair

I ended my night with Dana and Lars at a nice bar, where I discovered pomegranite martinis.... Mmmmmm. The rest of the Hobblings had faded and gone to bed.

And that was just Saturday.


Watch this site

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Orange Julius's Grandchildren

Here is Julius's daughter Creaky with her five 3 day old kittens. Creaky is a Torbie shaded silver Oriental Shorthair. The daughter with the mark like a flame or a flower on her forhead may be too. If so she with lighten up like her mother did. The little light brown one is also a girl. The other three (two black silver tabbies and a pointed kitten-not old enough for color yet) are boys. Creaky is a good mother. She does NOT like me looking at her kittens though. She hisses and creaks at me.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Birthday of the World

I have been watching a discussion of varied cultures and religions, the advantages and disadvantages of preserving them, and the tendencies of some individual groups to try to change, absorb or convert others.

I think everything changes, but that there is value to be found in all. I guess I am something of a cultural sampler.

In any case, the Jewish high holy days are coming. This Friday is Rosh Hashana. There are some interesting recipes in the New York Times and a quote I quite liked.

"“Rosh Hashana celebrates the birthday of the world. A garden well tended is a small example of perpetual reunion.”

-Rabbi Gendler

I will step outside, take a breath of the air, look at the sky, think of beginnings. I will look at my garden and celebrate it as an example of the world's beauty, renewal, and fruitfulness.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I have many things to catch up on, posts started, not finished. Hopefully I will finish. In the meantime, a personal gripe.


I have earned one, through many years of hard work. It is Dr. It is the only title I use. In real life people call me Dr. or use my first name. I am fine with both, though I emphasize the Dr. with freshman, and try to get grad students to call me by my given name.

Now, on occasion a website or a form REQUIRES a title. A good proportion of the time when this is the case, the choices are Mr. Miss, Mrs., and Ms. Now, each of these titles means something.

Mr. - I am a man

Miss - I am an unmarried woman or a girl who is fine with conventional double standards for women as compared to men and/or I want to make sure you know I'm single.

Mrs. - I am a married woman who is fine with conventional double standards for women as compared to men and/or I want to make sure you know I'm married.

Ms. - I am a woman who thinks it is none of your business to categorize me in an old-fashioned patriarchal way, gender should be sufficient as it is for men.

Now, if you are female your title therefore says something about your opinions and your politics. Men have no such issues. Truly, I wish women generally used Ms. and dealt with their status the way men do, and that there were not other messages about politics or personal lives attached. Married women who want to express that could say so, and talk fondly of their husbands. Unmarried women could mention being single. Women who wish to discuss feminism could and come down on one side or the other but they would not have to. Ms. almost caught on for universal usage but we went backwards, and have returned more to past double standards. At least in the red states, Ms. causes raised eyebrows. A friend assures me that in her town in her blue state, Ms. is still the prefered title for women. That was reassuring.

In the meantime, I have a title I EARNED and that is the only title I want to use. I will not use another, so some things are barred to me.