Beautiful weather, hair done, bills almost paid up, steak and drinks with Dottie

The other day my Forerunner 410 slipped off my wrist and I couldn’t find it. It turned up near the coat-rack (I’d been taking my keys off the chain, as I was going out for a run in a while; though I didn’t go for long). In the meantime I identified the blob on the bedroom radiator as my missing Craft running gloves, which were wet and freezing back on Sunday the 12th, the rainy day on Gov Is. Thought they’d tumbled out and got lost in the lavatory at the culture center.

Mailed some new VCF papers at Radio City Station just before ten, then to Gracey at Timothy John’s for color and cut. I needed both. As it was my third visit, I got a “free” deep-conditioning treatment. Put $224 on the WF card and $27 cash in the little envelope. Then to Whole Foods, where I thought I might buy some flour to make bread. Instead I bought bacon and English muffins and avocados and sardines and salad greens and a Resin beer. Stole a cheap honey because the bar code did not scan on first pass. Washed some dishes at home, made myself two bacon-avocado sandwiches (filled me up for the day), drank most of the beer, took a nap mid-afternoon. Watching a Marg of Arg series with Claire Foy. It’s supposed to be Season Two of A Very English Scandal, and I stumbled into it because I found myself watching the final part of the Hugh Grant/Jeremy Thorpe thing from 2018. This is not nearly as good as that Season One story line. According to the credits, this is actually a standalone called A Very British Scandal.

Check to Con Ed and autopay to Verizon went through this week, and those with Gracey took up most of my funds in the Wells Fargo checking account. Rather magically, this had got to about $800 a week ago thanks to payments via Gusto last Friday and two weeks earlier. Money from home. But the first of the month is tomorrow and I won’t see another Gusto deposit until the beginning of July, and that will not be large. Very little nruns work coming up. Must write write write every day.

The other day I decided to try Sling TV. Back in 2012 or 2013 something called Slingbox was inquiring of me about a job. I didn’t get it, and it sounded flaky anyway. But it’s turned into Sling, one of a number of “streaming tv” products that act as a substitute for cable television. Not much different from Amazon Prime, except that Sling and Roku and the others offer you a variety of actual channels, not just an assortment of movies and TV series. So I have a trial deal for a month for $20. Twice that if I go on and subscribe. (Still a lot cheaper than what we were paying Verizon for unnecessary bandwidth and full-range cable.)

What attracted me was getting Fox News, and maybe Newsmax and OAN for a little more per month. Mr. Trump had the jury go against him on 34 (count ’em) felony charges yesterday, and while these will undoubtedly be thrown out in the coming weeks, the election season is shaping up into some interesting coverage. The sheer viciousness of these New York nigger judges and prosecutors amazes and appalls the world.

A fly in the ointment with Sling is that it does not work on our Samsung Smart TV. That device dates from 2011 or 2012, does not have the Sling “app.” This is a common complaint. There are workarounds. One is attaching a Roku box or Amazon Fire Stick. I bought a cheap “refurbished” version of the latter. Due to arrive in a couple of days. After clicking, I realized the thing may not work with my hardwire ethernet connection. Fire Stick et al. assume a wifi connection, though there are ethernet dongles as well.

Or would wifi work for us now, I wondered? Late 2020 our cable kept cutting out because it was riding on wifi. I thought to buy and attach a long RJ45 cable, and all has gone swimmingly since then, apart from the fact that I recently deep-sixed all the TV usage apart from what I could still get through Amazon Prime.

But, again, what about now? I recently downsized from 1gb mbps to 300 on Verizon, rather than severing it entirely and switching to Spectrum and paying nearly as much for all services, and meanwhile the 300 seems fine for everything. It even seems fine when I detach the ethernet and try the wifi again. A new router was put in, with extender box, on February 6, and this arrangement now proves more powerful on wifi than what we had a few years ago. Yesterday I disconnected the ethernet and connected the TV with the main Verizon router in the foyer closet, which is the closest signal we have. (There is also a ten-year-old Apple router running as a slave nearby that Verizon extender by the liv rm windows.) And it works fine. Strong signal. So the Fire Stick should get me Sling on our Samsung TV.

That 20′ ethernet cable from the TV will be useful when I am lying abed and writing and drawing on my old 13″ Mac Air, which has had a weak and wonky Airport connection ever since I zapped the machine with soup on 2014, and can no longer works with a USB wifi dongle because I foolishly deleted its extension a week or so ago, and the other ones I installed don’t work. I bought two more dongles on eBay last week. They work fine on the little, anemic 11″ Mac Air, which doesn’t really need one.

I made another batch of the lemon-orange-ginger-carrot-mint smoothie I did a couple of weeks ago, this time adding a bit of honey and ACV and rather more water than last time so it’s not all sludgy. Went out to Duane-Reade for some TP and paper towels and chocolate milk, and then to Shirley’s for a pint of vodka. Svedka this time. Have not had vodka in a week. Or more.

Last Saturday Dottie and I had an early Memorial Day celebration on her rooftop and in her apt. She got two kinds of steak and grilled them on an hibachi-sized Weber-type bbq grill. They were good, as were her lima bean and mushroom stroganoff side dishes. My contribution was $50 worth of Cointreau-type liqueur and quality tequila, with some limes from the big Wegman’s there (which Dottie absolutely swears by). She had ice and Himalayan salt and a blender, and I made margaritas.

 

Going down the escalator at Wegman’s, having just spent a half-hour in a nearby Dick Blick’s, looking for ink cartridges (they didn’t have ’em), I reflected on how my neighborhood used to have everything, now it has nothing…unless you go way the hell over to 9th and 10th Avenues, or east of Lexington, where again houseware and hardware shops abound. We lost a Best Buy and Bed Bath and Beyond around 62nd St and Broadway in the past year. But my old neighborhood, down along Third and Fourth and Second Avenues, Cooper Square, Stuyvesant Place…truly a delight.


 

Billy Flesch liked my Substack memoir of Cuffe. Looking forward to sequel. (FB comment.) I made a false start a few days ago, telling about how when I got back to NYC everyone was dead. That by itself is okay, but I have to get into Cuffe and Fehhrrgus Slloaan right away. And Gino. It was at Gino Restaurant (itself a good story of a couple hundred words) that Fergus, who always ordered the tricolore pasta salad and osso bucco, would tell stories about Cuffe and Gail Donovan. He didn’t think much of Sharlene Spingler, and he pranked us both. This should have led to endless enmity, but we got over it. That prank is the meat of the story.

Sharlene with her nutty Clark Rockefeller stories on the more obscure precincts of cable news, some 12, 13 years back. Sharlene with her immense mastiff mutt, bigger than her, taking up most of the oxygen in her tiny Tudor City apt. When she was prematurely old and dotty she’d show up at the Tap Room of the NYAC in a lopsided top hat that was out of 1950s Dr. Seuss. Looking through her FB account I see she collected funny hats like this, wore them to her Kentucky Derby parties. She was really sort of fashionable in her way. Back in 1998 worked for a hole-in-the-wall place called North American Precis Syndicate, which was just that. The kind of auxiliary-journalism outfit that thrived back in the 20s, when Haddon and Luce were founding Time. Thousands of papers, they had space to fill, here are your comics, your columns, your crazy out-of-town stories. NAPS must have gone under around 2004, because then she was at some place called O’Dwyer’s, a public relations firm of sorts.

After we became rather friendly we discovered through exchanges on Facebook that we’d both grown up or at least spent part of our minority in the Village, near Julius’ back when that was still at least a part-time family hangout.

It was after a bibulous lunch at Gino that Gail Donovan fell down on the sidewalk, I believe, and Cuffe said to leave her there. “Well she’s a real gobble and go,” he’d say of a doxy who ate a meal but didn’t do much else. After collecting a few of these stories, with Cuffe safely dead, I shot a proposal to Chris Buckley for FYI but he was mystified. “We provide service.”


 

COMIC IDEA for that old Hatlo parody notion I had 30-odd years ago, “There’s One Born Every Minute!” (Or maybe Minnit!)

Panel 1: Lefty lady telling well-armed Fashy lady, “How will you defend yourself with Armalites and AK-47s when the government has big tanks and jet fighters?” Tanks and jet planes in bg.

Panel 2: People with bags on their heads, gags, bound wrists, one holding newspaper with headline (TODAY’S NEWS), Fashy lady on oversize walkie-talkie like phone: “We’ve taken your whole family hostage. Maybe you’d like to test out your tanks and fighter planes?” Corner image of Lefty lady in cartoon shock.

 

 

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Eighty degrees out there and I have not yet run.

Eating cheese and crackers instead. Drinking coffee all day. I’ll go out in an hour or two. I don’t think the cheese and crackers will cause a problem unless I shit in my drawers. Prone to a lot of leakage these days. I’m going to have to go to the disposable diapers I bought for Moki a couple weeks before he died. Never used them.

This morning was back at rearranging the books. I decided to put the Brian/DJT picture and his big green books on the upper right shelf on the south side of the living room. I had all the banking and financial books there. Moved them to the north side. Miscellaneous books on bottom shelves from now on.

Back in 2012 Grimm arranged one narrow red shelf of mine as a display of Telegraph obituary books, adored by ceramic sheep and a Dresden tableau of 18th century billiard players. That is gone now, full of finance and business books.

A discovery I made while clearing out some shelves: the C. Brown book, paperback memoir, A Life in T—. Not a good book at all, but it was not available on Kindle and I was curious how she presented her apologia. I don’t think she got many buyers. I bought it last year (June 19, Amazon says) and wrote a vague review. Mine was the only one. A month or so ago I took it down. Did not want my name associated with a thing like that. And it’s a bad book. Amazing how ham-handed most people are when giving their life stories. They begin by relating the versions they habitually tell others, and fill up the gaps with rationalizations.

A question came up with comments on my Tom Wolfe piece, relating to Jerzy Kosinski. I excitedly wrote a long shaggy-dog answer about my own slight run-ins with him. This morning I thought better of it and struck out half of what I wrote.

I have not picked up the mail in 3 or 4 days. I’m always dreading something. I see the London Review of Books is in the pigeonhold. That’s not what I dread. I dread something legal about that judgment. Seizing all my bank funds, pitiable as they are. How could they find them all anyway?

Voicemail from Paul B. this morning, which I returned. Somebody from the Marc J. Bern office, that colored girl I spoke to last week, is contacting him to verify what I told her, and to let him know that he’ll be getting abbreviated transcripts to sign and return. I remarked that no one has ever used me as a referent for one of these things, at least no VCF claim attorneys have contacted me. Paul said Woodley might have. Woodley’s claim has been held up because he was treated (prostate) at St. Vincent’s Hospital, which no longer exists. The records are locked up in an Iron Mountain facility in New Paltz.

Finished listening to Shelby Foote’s The Civil War, Volume III, this morning. Need something new.

Blair Sabol makes me think of New York magazine. I once did a typing test typing up a nearly unintelligible draft by her. I read only one real article by her, a terrible thing uncharacteristically appearing in Esquire, in which she did a stint as an Ikette in the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. A few years ago the New York Social Diary guy got her together with photographer Harry Benson. She’s older. She was 18 in the Courreges dress and boots.

Was looking through my brother’s FB page last night. First time I’ve done that. His current profile pic isn’t bad. Some group shots are surprising. He’s got one from about 2010 or 2012 with his three sons, wife or ex-, and my sister, who really looked prematurely decayed. I shall have to download that and make a copy for my albums.

Oops, it’s dated Christmas 2019. McSorley’s. Still my sister looks terribly dessicated. How does that happen? Bonnie looks good. And who is this Avital? I think perhaps Avital took the shot.

Drink a lot of that amino shit, take some B complex, D3 and mag orotate, slip on harness and 410 watch, and go out in the heat, preferably in something tech and sleeveless.

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Warm day, high HR, a sudden trip downtown

I took a Con Ed bill (check for $147) to 51st Street to mail, after stopping off at the Donnell Library to return a Tom Wolfe book (Hooking Up) and Moki’s Elizabeth Hardwick collection, which I kept out when I returned his other ones in December and January. I had the idea I’d be interested in reading these old reviews from NYRB, but I never really got around to it. Something to fill idle moments when you’re stuck on a subway train.

Before getting out onto the street I slapped on the Forerunner 410 after holding it at the window to gain satellite reception. I was already wearing the HR monitor band. The 410 is the most complicated and irritating Garmin watch I’ve ever had. It was on deep discount when I bought it through the track team back in 2012. I immediately realized it was a dog and I should have bought something newer. However, there are still instructions online, so I was finally able to figure out why it was giving the wrong time. It was set for Central Time Zone. Why? A frequent complaint about the 410 is that it’s very easy to touch the bezel accidentally and change a readout or setting. But pressing both buttons locks the thing, so I’m not having a problem with that now. Also, when I have the chestband on and the satellites in gear, I can switch very easily from clock time/running time to HR, back and forth, until I lock it at one display, usually the HR. Astoundingly my heart rate was at 110-120 when I was out on the street. Why so elevated? Too much caffeine? Or the monitor is faulty? Eventually I switched back to the clock and pressed my carotid artery. 18-19 beats in ten seconds, which just about matched what the HR display was telling me.

I thought I’d go over to Staples to see if they had ink cartridges. They did not of course. If everyone doesn’t want it, nobody gets it. Then to the Art Students League art shop, a tiny little warren. They not only have no cartridges, they have no fountain pens (no Rotring ArtPens) and not much in the way of ink. Little bottles of Winsor Newton, and Sumi brush ink. Reaching Seventh Avenue I decided to head downtown to the Dick Blick place across from the old HRC on 13th Street. So down to Union Square on the Q train, and then a search-around for where I thought the old HRC was. It’s a bit farther west than I remembered, toward Fifth, and the navy HRC canopy is still there, though the club isn’t. But across 13th St, on the north side, there’s no Dick Blick. I walk over to Sixth to find that Indian stationers, Kooby & Looby or something, but they’re gone too. So back uptown on the F train.

I was thinking while going down the steps at West 4th St, I hardly ever leave the house now. That’s what nruns was good for. Could not escape subway and ferry rides to far, far away. If they don’t can me soon (the sort of thing always on my mind) then I’ll have a few more starting in a month.

These days I go out of the apartment mainly to buy booze or milk or maybe a snack at the drugstore. This morning, for the second time this week, I went to the drugstore for a quart of milk and two (2) little packages of Entenmann’s crumbcakes. Yesterday evening, when I should have been out on a run, I decided to try out a Chinese restaurant across 56th St. Blue Willow, so discreet I never noticed it. It has rave reviews. I ordered sesame noodles and a pork belly appetizer. Both excellent but this cost me $26. Can’t do that often. And then I bought the Tito’s at Shirley’s, came home and gave my Tom Wolfe piece a once-over before filing it. Checking Proton today I see Greg returned it because of an egregious typo toward the end. Last-minute changes are so fatal.


 

So now I’ve gone out for a beer and a Healthy Choice dinner from Klein’s (chicken marsala). No running just now. I got in my two or three miles of walking today. I’ve stuck my 410 in its charger and will be removing the chest strap.

Greg guessed the error, and fixed it, but I made a further alteration and have pasted it in. I can now start in on the Colin Wilson thing.

Lovely warm weather today. Manhattan is looking clean and tidy again. There’s a feel of 2015-2016 in the air. In fact, everywhere you go, including here in the bedroom, hearing traffic out the window, somebody is playing Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. I hear “Shake It Off” about three times a day, and a little while ago someone out on the street was playing “Blank Space.” Could be the pedicab people. So why not “Welcome to New York”? And what was the song where she wore the black Ava Gardner wig in the video, set in a Mogambo type of Africa?

Dick Blick, it seems, is all over. They moved their 13th St location around the block, to 12th St and 4th Avenue.They have an old Utrecht shop at 20th and Sixth as well. Someday, someday.

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Ill and worried, brooding over MP

I have to promise to pay back charges to Con Ed, about $900 or so, and send them something. I sent them about $70 last month, but they still have us on disco notice. (Oh! I get a couple hundred on Gusto in two days, Friday. Will ease my pain slightly.)

Sunday evening, after that half of Pinnacle, I went out to the Chinawoman’s and got another half, this time of Platinum. Felt pretty wasted on Monday morning. Monday evening I just had a big Resin beer. With a big Marie Callender’s pie. I had a gaggy, overfed feeling yesterday (Tuesday) morning.

Spent most of Monday meaning to get out to the Park and run with the 410 and HR monitor again. I did not. Nor did I Tuesday, yesterday. Instead I did some book shelving, put away the mousetraps that have been here for six weeks, and moved the Color Classic over by the Moki desk. And managed to write, to finish the long piece on Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word. Gawd how I hated writing that. I don’t even recall sending it in last night, since I was probably halfway through a pint of Tito’s I bought at Shirley’s. It is now after eleven a.m., I should go check.

I am wearing the Chucklehead t-shirt, which I put on yesterday when I meant to go out for a run. I am wearing the Forerunner 235, which never seems to give me heart rate. An advice forum says it will pair with the HR chest strap, but I’m not getting it. I shall go out again with the 410, perhaps.

I keep returning to the MP pictures and videos I discovered a few days ago. GDS, one of the few classmates not to have turned into an unrecognizable whitehaired blob (with his salt-and-pepper hair and beard he actually looks much better than when he was 17), tells stories that are new to me and rather fanciful. He did JV baseball freshman year? He went to football camp in ’68 because Roback wanted him to? And embarrassingly tried to use the varsity locker room, to his eternal shame? He talks about what a good friend Brian Ameche was. At MP and in the early months at college. Now, that last bit is truly fanciful, as George only lasted a week or ten days at Yale, before feeling so alienated that he packed it in. Perhaps he met Brian there once, but in his recollection he’s got himself spending a full term or so in New Haven. Then there was the production of “Life with Father” senior year. At one point we were going to do Oklahoma! at Gilligan’s behest, partly directed (choreographed?) by Eileen Pohl, but it was too much for her so we went for a popular straight play from the same era. Bob Finlan, who looked like a cross between Wally Cox and a turtle, was director. George apparently played the William Powell (title) role. I can’t remember that at all. I think the younger Marlowe boy was one of the Day boys, the one who read The Youth’s Companion. And Kip was Clarence, Jr. And George as the father, seriously?

“Whatever thy hand findeth to do, King Solomon said, do thy damnedest.” I can hear that in George’s voice, but anyone could say it. Anyway George tells a story that most people were clowning around in the last two weeks of rehearsals but he was dead set on doing the play right. And so people tried to figure out ways of teasing him. During the dinner table scene, instead of prop food they put worms on the serving dish. I’m certain that I’d remember this if it happened. I mean someone would have told me, at least. Could it be that I was so distracted by thoughts of Yale (just accepted; fat envelope when I got home from one rehearsal in April) that nothing made any impression on me? I do remember putting red henna in their hair since they were all supposed to be redheads. I think they did it in the sink backstage, or in a lavatory. Gilligan said that when they put on Life with Father (was this college, or MP many years ago?) they all dyed their hair, literally dyed it red, professionally, everyone but the non-family members in the play. That would be Stephanie Tagye (long black hair) and some other girl. But hair dyeing simply was not on for us. Too drastic. And where would we go?

PJD appears a few time, plump and mustachioed and unrecognizable. It’s funny how these guys mostly disappear into a generic old-guy look when they get old. And they’re not that old. Smooth, clear skin, no wrinkled. Just fat and white-haired. Anyway PJD mentions Kip, as partner in mischief with McDonald. McDonald gets mentioned throughout these videos, and his photos are everywhere. But Kip! One of the towering figures of the class, and now completely vanished from memory, almost. A couple of pictures. And this one mention. Deaths of McDonald and Brian and others are mentioned, but no one mentions the mysterious Kip. I suppose we should be grateful for that.

Some of the participants are barely memorable, even as names. Abell? Who was Corcoran? Fickinger I remember because he was in sixth grade, along with Ameche and Sullivan. A good-looking blond-haired kid, I remember, floppy forelock. The old-but-fit (and unrecognizable) version tells a tale at the 2021 dinner of drinking warm cold duck with Steve Kreider and someone else. Kreider doesn’t like the bubbly so they persuade him to buy a six pack. They’re at some game, some championship being held at Villanova, and they hear there’s a liquor store up by Valley Forge Military Academy where you can just say you’re 21, and they’ll let you buy. And so Kreider does. And they get really drunk, Kreider drinks most of it, and Fr. Breslin nearly catches them. (Breslin, would have been a mostly offstage presence during this period, maybe 1970ish. He’d transferred to Villanova where he was “Dean of Men,” i.e., chief disciplinarian. He’d had a similar role at MP during their freshman year. Known as The Mouse because of his fondness for sneaking up on guys stealing a smoke down in the basement lavatory; also because he was a bit rodent-like in appearance. Breslin eventually defrocked himself, left the order, and became president of Drexel Institute of Technology. Some kind of scandal attached to his name there, or the next institution he ran. Have to look that up.)

Kreider was widely regarded as a tool, a butt of jokes, but at the dinner he’s remembered affectionately. He died in 2010 or 2011. Melanoma. Down at Avalon or Stone Harbor he’d burn himself to a crisp every summer. Then the skin cancer came on in middle age, and he’d have it cut off (Paul F gestures to his shoulders and back) but it got him in the end.

And then there’s Beebe. Doesn’t look anything like the GB of 55 years ago. Bald now, with white goatee. Cheerful and good natured.

A lot of the yearbook pictures were taken during the semi-vacation period between end of classes and graduation. I visited, probably to see GDS and McDonald. Here’s a photo of Eileen and Bill and Gilligan in the cafeteria. Bill is wearing the same striped t-shirt he wears in another yearbook picture or two, so I guess they gave their cameras a good workout that day. We had a professional photographer for many of them, but I think this may have been a McDonald. This one was a candid.

Everyone who mentions him eulogizes McDonald, but he could be a real stinker. He loved to tease and deride Kip, bring him close to tears. They were all supposed to have access to the darkroom (yearbook staff) but McDonald commandeered the keys, wouldn’t let Kip get in there. Kip did get in there once or twice, with George. Once complained to George about his mistreatment. George said, “Oh you should see the way he treats Joe Olsen.” Kip was suffering from brain fog, partly due to his ongoing condition, and

 

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Things on my mind; and a Better Attempt at ‘Running’

I have bought myself a half pint of Pinnacle for four dollars, at the Chinawoman’s, from Numbah Two Son.

I hope this will not leave me where the half pint of Smirnoffs left me three or four days ago, with an impossibly agonizing headache on the left side, that would yield to neither aspirin nor caffeine. (In the early 00’s I found that codeine and pseudoephedrine together were a foolproof specific, but I have no codeine these days.)

I have tried to sleep half the time lately, mainly listening to Grover Gardner reciting Shelby Foote’s The Civil War. I may still be exhausted from the last few weeks of nruns. But why? Why? Well I think it’s because I wasn’t in such good shape then. We’ll see when work heats up again in a month. Regarding which, I’ve had the inevitable sneaking worry that nruns is going to shelve me. Why? Because bottom-line analysis says half the paid part-timers have to go, and I’ll be in there. So instead of getting my $200-$800 per month, I have nothing.

I’m washing dishes in the sink, and will bring the houseboys up to fix the electricity by and by. I ordered some under-counter battery-operated lights the other day. We’ll see how they work. I’m getting by.

Odd things on my mind lately:

Moki’s USAA debit card. In Spring and Summer last year he’d always send me out to get him a sandwich or vodka (seldom both in the same errand). So I kept the card in the back of my mini-purse, along with the punch-card from the deli counter that gave you your tenth sammich free.

But then he’d go out to the Chinawoman’s for a liter. A liter of that nasty Vesica stuff with the metal top that often refused to open. And he didn’t have his card. Because I had it. This also happened when he went to Morton Williams, the grocery we usually called Norton Simon. In the case of the Chinawoman she’d let him write a check (if he had his checkbook); for Morton Williams I once went up myself and retrieved his bag of groceries. Somewhere along the line, possibly in June, I forgot I was using his card at Morton Williams. Entered my own PIN number three times, after which USAA blocked the card. It took some weeks before we got a new one, reactivated.

After Moki took to his bed permanently (this would be around August, though I managed to pull him out once or twice to show the newly cleaned kitchen floor, or a newly caught but not at all dead mouse), the card became a moot point. I continued to use it for a couple of weeks after he died—for vodka, for Verizon, for groceries—until USAA got the Veterans notice of death and deep-sixed it. I think it was December 8 that I got back home from the gym to return a phone call offering sympathy, but also the news that his accounts were now cut off. I’d written myself a check, which went through, but a later one did not, and I found when trying to pay for a pizza and salad at Mangia that this USAA debit card would be forever declined. I was ready for that.

Scaring Tom Wolfe. I don’t know when this was, exactly, sometime between 2006 and 2010 would be my guess, but I had some kind of appointment in the Grand Central area. The quickest way to get there is to cut across 56th or 55th St to Park, then parade down. On this afternoon, however, I was furious with my track coach or my husband or some family member, and was reading them all the riot act. Except I bumped into Mr. Wolfe who no doubt thought I was reading him the riot act. I remember the setting. It was that building on Park around 54th St. with the square pillars. Mr. Wolfe was resplendently dressed as Tom Wolfe. Anyway, I was colossally embarrassed, just as TW was alarmed.

Victor Faralli. For many years an orthopedic surgeon in Lebanon, PA. I found this out years ago and now he is semi-retired. He stands and talks exactly the same as when he was eleven. When I first discovered Vic was in Lebanon—many years ago, as I say—I thought, Holy Smokes! But I’ve since familiarized myself with the place, thanks to Colin. And that’s exactly where I’d like to go, or hide out. Fastnachts for everyone. And if I had ended up in medical school, I think orthopedics would be one ethically safe place to be. Why didn’t I go to medical school? Too complicated.

BUT TODAY I spent the morning sorting out Moki’s books. Pacific War books on one shelf, rivers and water policy on another, literature on another, banking debacles on another. Everything bball goes on bottom shelves.

I resurrected my Garmin 410, which seemed a bad purchase back in 2012, but today at least worked far better than the  235. With the chest strap it gave me my HR, which was perpetually elevated, from 61 to 159, as I moped about reshelving books,  and then going for a walk/shuffle/jog/run of perhaps 5.5 miles up the bridle path and around the Reservoir. Picayune, but more than I’ve done in maybe years. Afterwards I tried using the watch on a walk down to StP’s for mass, but again I can’t figure it out. The Garmin 410 had a short life, was soon discontinued, and I was most happy (late 2015, early 2016?) to move on the the 235.

Something else I did today was clean up start-up tasks on the old MacAir 13. The Monoprice usb wifi dongle no longer functions because I threw out a working driver. I am writing this on the crippled AirPort wifi, which was never fixed in October 2014 after I spilled soup on the computer.

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Too Sick for Gym

So I went to the gym and drank a Celsius and felt ill so packed up and went home. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Need to walk/jog/run all days. At least 20 miles in there. I have postponed my hair appointment at Timothy John’s till the 31st, and by then should look great, in splendid shape…

You know, I have no shifts at nruns till mid-June. This is the time to write a lot and look for another job, perhaps a real job. Also draw, with a begging bowl. A few one-offs, otherwise Uncle Bill and Iggy.

Bought a half pint at Shirley’s on return from TMPL. That one little half, drunk in two goes, left me with a headache upon waking six hours later. I have to write the Tom Wolfe now but am thinking I am hungry and want to finish off the salmon and some of the spinach, but with rice. Some of the nice risotto in the cupboard. May do that. And coffee, to get the sinuses eased.

I put that heavy burnished aluminium lamp on top of the microwave today as a stopgap replacement for the nonworking fluorescent fixture.

I have given up on the dishwasher. Will wash by hand for a little while. Get the houseboys to fix the fluorescent fixture first.

Somebody from Marc J. Bern phoned me in the afternoon. Just preliminary information on the 9/11 business. I thought we were well past that. Will ring again in the morning at 11. At least that was my suggestion.

I need to phone MSK again. Couldn’t get through to a working human last time. I need my records from the dermatological oncology clinic. Supposedly that will speed things up. But perhaps the Bern concern has already submitted the request with HiPAA form? I’ll ask, but not expect a clear answer.

Heard back from that distant relative of LR on Ancestry. She knows nothing, less than I do. I have however confirmed that LR and brother Irwin were living in Conshohocken in the 1940s, something that does not come up independently on Ancestry, since they were in Florida for the 1940 and 1950 censuses. Found her 1971 book online, downloaded it in PDF. She mentions Irwin’s name and that her mother died rather recently (1967). The cringey gushiness of this “diary” no doubt is genuine but must have been reworked many times. I recall sending comments to Z about it years ago; suggesting that the LW doctor was Wollman, and another one was Rish or Wesser.

Found a wonderful MP 1971 site, with slides, photos from the yearbook, and videos. It’s funny how everyone who showed up in 2021 looks pretty much the same. Still in their 60s yet they’re mostly whitehaired, out of shape if not downright fat, often mustachioed. Except for VF I couldn’t possibly have recognized any of them.

Thinking about Marybeth McGurl. I thought I had blocked her on MD Twitter, but no I never did. Died in March 2020. Covid? Who knows? Sick enough to move back to family from Savannah. What a nasty piece of work. I found a drunk&disorderly arrest mugshot of her a few years ago, Savannah, but can’t find it online now. No doubt I saved it, perhaps screenshotted it, will stumble across it someday and wonder what it is.

At high school in Maine, 1976.


 

I keep a running list of dead people, listed my my discovery of them rather than death chronology. Last few run:

14 may 2024
dick foote
1 may 2023

28 feb 2024
Rob Dinsmoor on Feb 23

20 feb 2024
David Irving dead (oh no he’s not)

jan 31 2024
hoff

jan 1 2024
Mitchell Lash Adams
died 2020

sept 12 2023
David Springer, d. 2007
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2007-06-22-0706211018-story.html

sept 11 2023
Bob Slaughter (died in June)

timothy O’donnell (d. 2018)
teresa (terry) o’donnell plummer (d. 2020)
Mary Jane Bowersock d. 1993?


 

I affixed both bikes to the little vertical stands, late morning. Inspired to do this while checking the rain out the window. One stand was simple enough; you stick a wheel of the bike inside two metal frames that grip it. Ideally you use the back wheel, but I used the front. That’s Moki’s custom bike. The other stand mystified me initially. I decided a pedal crank (not the pedal itself) probably slid into the rectangular chamber, and that’s indeed how it works. There’s a vertical cut in the chamber so the pedal bearing slides down through that. Put my old Cannondale mountain bike in it. And there we are! They’re over by the liv rm window.

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I Didn’t Do a Blessed Thing

I didn’t do a blessed thing on Tuesday, which was sunny. Didn’t leave the house. Now it is Wednesday, and you hear the cars driving in the rain outside. Rain for most of the next few days. OK, fine, I’ll just spend a couple hours at TMPL every day. I’m not really in shape for serious running anyhow. A half hour on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the C2, all preceded perhaps by a few minutes on the stationary and a good long 25 minutes on the elliptical, as in the old days…can’t beat that. Followed by some dumbbells and weight machines on odd days. Stretch.**

What I did do was wash some dishes and drink the rest of Monday’s smoothie, which was easily 16 ounces. Didn’t eat anything for the rest of the day, but woke late at night and cooked salmon (delicious) which I ate with some baby spinach and a new batch of the cilantro lime dressing from the Power Foods cookbook. Email to Zagria. Revised Hoff comment. She asked if I had an info on Lyn Raskin and someone else. I had in fact looked up LR in the past, but her end is ambiguous.

After eating the salmon a little while ago I picked up the big quadrille diary Michael kept in 1987-88 in France, which has been sitting at the foot of the bed since maybe December, when I was sorting through his personal files and tossing out trash. Tension with Anne-Marie because he’s not doing anything with his life. He was feeling like a real loser when he left. A-M’s caviling against him were similar to mine in roughly the same period. Someday I must type up that diary and any other diary-like thing Moki left behind. Very touching.

A big time-waster at the start of the day (Tuesday) was compiling a dossier on one Abram Henry Rosenfeld, the lead attorney in some of the Nuremberg-style cases in Germany, 1946-48. He was nearly impossible to track down in newspapers and Ancestry items, because he’s given a variety of names. Sometimes called Albert, sometimes Abraham, sometimes A.H. Rosenfeld. Married a Mary O’Neill from Philadelphia, at Fort Bragg in 1942. A nasty piece of work as a prosecutor, wanted all the Malmédy SS men executed. Other Americans were alarmed at his vindictiveness (quite a few Jews in that party, in addition to him) so Yockey was hardly alone. And eventually the Malmédy thing led to a Senate investigation with Joe McCarthy, in the days just antecedent to McCarthyism. Why did the Jews pile onto McCarthy so? It wasn’t the anti-communism. It was his defense of the SS men.

I compiled this dossier because R was one of three Jews mentioned in the Bolton book on Yockey and Greg asked if I could find out background details. I tracked down the other two easily enough but R was elusive. As per usual, I had to go around and around, chasing false leads, till I found that the R from Mt. Holly, NJ fit right into the rest of the jigsaw puzzle. I even got his death certificate from Alexandria VA and his marriage certificate from NC.

Coming up on the groaning board: Must do the Colin Wilson book (The Angry Years), comparing it in passing to Allsop’s The Angry Decade and also to Colin’s Lost in Soho (or something like that)*. Also a quickie on Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word. (My library pback copy got soaked in my gym bag on Sunday during the rainy Gov Is venture; I’ve dried it out by sticking it on the liv rm windowsill above the radiator, betwixt two stout doorstops of books.) And 150 years of The Truth Seeker, with special attention to the Smith and Johnson years, and Robert John’s little book. I think RJ’s book should get a little review for itself, since it’s quite an easy read, short, and out of print. I can simply paraphrase and summarize most of it…while noting how he steps around hot-button issues the TS people wouldn’t care to endorse.


*Adrift in Soho. I couldn’t have remembered. And it’s a novel.

**No vodka, not even wine the past two days. I felt horrendously flabby yesterday. Ashamed to go out and try to run, really. This must be the result of six helpings of my vegan chili with a whole bag of the flour tortilla chips bought at WF on Monday.

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Successors of Granato

A bumpy ride sleeping the last few days, what with little sleep on the weekend even with benefit of alcohol. (A half pint on Saturday, red wine on Sunday.) Did not sleep at all between Friday noon and Saturday evening; then perhaps two hours, and awake through late Sunday afternoon. Two shifts on Gov Is, one on a bright, breezy, sunny day, and then on a cold and wet one where my gloves got so soaked and cold I had to take them off to warm my hands up. Someone gave me a pair of sporting grip gloves, and I still have those, though my own—the Craft gloves—may now really be lost for good. Perhaps took them out of the pocket when in the john at the Cultural Center.

Little work on Saturday, mainly chivvying runners near the ferry terminals. By contrast, I finished up on Sunday by riding a rattling truck and helping to pick up perhaps a hundred orange cones, or “delineators” as they are known. This took us on a thoroughgoing tour of the island, with view of a mysterious cruise liner, thirty stories tall, docked in Brooklyn, and a tent encampment on the south side of the island. While marshaling, or ‘athlete experiencing’ a few blocks west of the Gov Is terminal, I snapped some shots of an overcast day and the lower tip of Manhattan.

All grey except for the SI Ferry.

I’d decided to locate and wear my CPTC rain pants for Sunday (rain predicted, as we all knew) but when I found them (in one of the Miele suitcases) I found I could barely get them on over my abdominal bulge. They leave me with a real muffin-top. I saw that belly-bulge coming in as far back as 2012, 2009 even, but it was slight. Now I can’t wear anything I wore then, if it has a normal waistband. Gym tomorrow, maybe run tomorrow (Tuesday) too. Wednesday looks rainy, as does much of the next week.

I’m thinking of doing the dishes in the morning then going to TMPL, from whence I’ll jog over to the river and then all the way up into Riverside Pk. We’re talking a serious 600-1000 cal loss every day just to be able to run normally again, let alone fit into clothes. I can’t brace the idea of weighing myself.

But I was talking about the broken sleep cycles… During one of the longer bouts in dreamland, I had a recurrence of that incompleted-college-class type of dream. This one involved the sc dragging on and on for years, even worse than it really did. Here I’m going to see Granato after five years or so, because for some reason I need the knife again. Apparently the job was never finished. His office has moved to a large hospital or clinic building, but his obese mystery-meat assistant is still in attendance. (Note: this does not reflect any actual aide, and may be coloration from the nogs and mystery-meats one encounters at nruns.) Some anxiety about whether my paperwork is in order. I barely see G. He is being succeeded by a younger surgeon I’ve never met before. I despair of being treated as though this were my first approach to the cycle, a cycle I thought I finished long ago.

I once told Emily S. about these recurrent dreams and she thought they sounded absolutely horrible.

For some reason, instead of hunkering down and dashing off that Truth Seeker piece, or the one about The Angry Years, I became determined to make myself a ginger-orange smoothie and some vegan chili, so that took up much of the midday and afternoon. The kitchen is still lightless, and now I’m pretty sure the dishwasher is gone for good.

Watched part of Foreign Correspondent today via YouTube. There is no credit for Vincent Sheean, though he wrote the original book. A batch of screenwriters winged it and turned it into a suspense comedy. Robert Benchley has a walkon as a dipsomaniac journo in a homburg.

I have not sent in a rent check. Tomorrow.

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Return of the Bicycle Rack

In the interest of carrying on the Moki tradition, yesterday afternoon I resuscitated that bicycle rack. He actually owned three. One, a simple wheeled stand that you stick your back wheel onto (instead of leaning your bike against something), another is a T-shaped stand into which you insert the seatless downtube, perhaps (I don’t know), and then the last one is one he never used at all. It has splayed legs like an ironing board, with a slanted bar contraption onto which you attach your diagonal tube and crank/gear assembly. You can’t imagine it, so maybe I’ll take a picture. He was quite excited about buying it, from a guy out in Woodside, or one of the other -sides in Queens. We went out there on a drizzly grey day, the Saturday before Labor Day or perhaps the Saturday after (it was around my birthday). The guy lived in an apartment on a nice residential street, and brought the pieces of the rack out to us. Moki put them into plastic bags, bin bags I think. Then we had lunch. There was a nice pub/restaurant a block or two away. As it was my birthday or thereabouts we called it my birthday lunch and I had an $18 lamb hamburger which was excellent. Moki astonished at the price. I mean, here we were out in Queens. But it was a gourmet lambburger. Then we walked to the subway in the drizzle.

This was during one of the periods when Moki was again getting excited about bicycling. We’d gone out to the bike expo in Red Hook (formerly downtown, around Pier 17) the previous May, or perhaps the May of the previous year (2018?) and Moki spent $180 on a lighted bike helmet with turn signals, which I don’t think he ever used. He showed it off to Wojeck the doorman who was much impressed. After Moki died Wojeck asked if he could have it. That sounds very forward of him, but he wanted it to be put to good use. So I found it, along with the USB attachment and instructions. Wojeck said he knew how to use it. He’d looked it up and found the price had gone way down.

I am confused about the date, something that doesn’t often happen. When I last looked, the trip to Queens for the bike rack wasn’t in any diary or datebook. I’ll look again. But from emails in late August 2019, it appears Moki found it on Craigslist around then. Surely if we had bought it a year before, he wouldn’t be looking for another rack. By this point we’d settled the bikes in the foyer. In the spring (2019) we pumped them up. But we never took them out. Around the time we were getting ready, Jeffrey Brando came by and smoked some tina with us. So that day was blown. I remember he was going through some problems at work. He was a highly paid specialty nurse but he worked through an agency and right now his wages were being garnished. So he didn’t have much moolah. And then he lost his job or was suspended for reasons I don’t recall. Possibly Moki made notes in diaries or email or text messages. It was around this time that Jeffrey disappeared from Moki’s life. I know he came by once in December 2019 and we smoked a little tina again, one last time. I was a bit ill, and then developed a sore throat and felt iller. I went to the bank and on the way back could barely stand. I had to grip scaffolding along 57th Street to get home. Later I decided this weird sickness was early-adopter COVID-19. It didn’t last long, because a few days later Greg and Jef and Cyan and Spencer and I had dinner together at the Playwright and at that point I told them I had just recently been ill.

The bike rack hung around, unassembled, for a few months. Moki didn’t know how to put it together. There were no instructions. Online I checked out every bike rack i could fine until I found one with a similar conformation. Then I put it together. And I left it assembled until I moved the coat rack from the corner opposite the foyer to the west side of the living room, by the rubberwood table. Needing room, I took it apart and folded it, and that was that for the next couple of years. I don’t know what possessed me yesterday to assemble it.

Because I seldom left town or did anything memorable, 2018-2019 is a very foggy period for me. I wrote a few pieces for Splice in late 2018; that I know. I also had a couple of pieces in the Reader. Two in AmRen in 2019. Saw Colin and Jared in June 2019. In July, I think, Moki and I had dinner on Travers Island with his bicycle tycoon friend, the one who explained the Ashtabula Crank (strange one-piece assembly used by Schwinn and some cheap American bikes). RG sent me on an interview at Spence-Chapin, an adoption agency whose stock in trade seems to be mostly niglets. Met Cyan and Pepper at Time-Warner in July or August. We ate at Chick fil-A and went to Trump Tower. She’d parked the big SUV nearby. Early September I went to election-poll training of a sort on West 19th St, which led nowhere. I never even got paid for the hour or two of training I was supposed to get. The following spring I was assigned to show up at a location in Chelsea in the wee hours of the morning. I walked all the way down but couldn’t find the address.

In August and September 2019 I thought I had some translating work, but it turned out to be a total scam. They sent a fake check and asked for most of it back in a rebate while the bad check was waiting to clear. They were foreigners, deep foreigners, not good with English at all. Someone named Savannah (fake name), forever sending me txt msgs. I wrote a long eulogy for George Mitrovitch that was finally published by the Reader in December.

I chased down some horrible jobs in October 2019. End of the month, I think, I ended up with the strange Robert Brooks thing. He did not have a true office, worked out of a rent-a-cubicle in the East 40s. Not much to do. I started some websites, not much progress. He called a halt to the job after a few days when he went to a conference in Florida for the scammy business of getting aliens work visas. Robert had been tracked for a career in biomed but became a lawyer instead, and not a particularly successful one.

In early 2020 we were hit with COVID. The city shut down, the gyms shut down. I signed up for another horrible job: Census2020. But instead of beginning the work in April or May, we were postponed to late July and August and beyond. One blessing was that I mainly canvassed my immediate neighborhood, basically Park Avenue over to Eighth Ave, in the 50s. Later on as the list grew thinner I had oddball addresses way the hell over in Hells Kitchen. By early October it was all finished. My boss was a theatrical fellow named Larry. I remember once when I slipped up, or he thought I slipped up, he gave me a warning, telling me that the way I conducted myself might determine the course of my future career with the Census. Career? You mean I might actually make a career of this, get a real job? No, that’s not what he meant at all, he was giving me bureaucracy-speak that I might lose the job that was going to end in a couple of weeks anyway. He was not a bad fellow withal. I just wondered why he got to be boss and I didn’t. Oh probably because he’d been an “enumerator” (what I was) at least once before.

Moki was jollier than usual during the Census time. Because I was working, sort of. Talking to Brian a lot on the phone. I had a pleasant chat or two with him. Moki would tell him I was working the Census, or I was down at the gym (NYHRC was gonzo but I’d rejoined Chelsea Piers). Moki decided to try bicycling again in September, so took my bike out on a Sunday afternoon. It was crowded in the Park, he fell down near Fifth Avenue, I suppose near Grand Army Plaza. Someone helped him up. He never took the bike out again. That was curtains for Moki and bicycling.

In early summer 2020 we went for walks in the Park. The squirrels were aggressively friendly, running up to everyone and begging for nuts. Moki was pretty weak on our walks, had to stop and sit every time he saw a bench. Often we entered near Grand Army Plaza, walked past the Thomas Moore bust and down under the archway, past the stone pillars, and then up past the ball fields and the Ballfield Cafe. We sit on a bench at the north end of that loop. it was hot and muggy, and we were chronically fatigued, but we enjoyed those little walks. Often he would stop at the Chinawoman’s for a liter on the way back.Later on, in 2021 and 2022 he was much stronger on these walks. Though mainly we just made our  way up to Tavern on the Green and had a couple of bloodies.

During the deep-Covid-lockdown of 2020 I noticed that a few places over on West 72nd and Columbus Ave were opening up in July, at least with outside tables. I told Moki and we found us a very pleasant place on Columbus around 74th St, across from the shabby Key Foods supermarket. Went there at least twice. Moki didn’t trust himself to walk home one time so we took a cab.

Very sluggish recently, no exercise. Finding it hard still to get up from a squatting position. 1/2 pt last night, I think a bottle of red wine the night before, and probably two half pints the day before that. I need to pay rent. One month’s rent only won’t do the trick. Looking for extra shifts on Deputy. Fortunately I still have a free week ahead of before the back-to-backs on Gov Is.

I finally got the D. Macdonald piece in a couple of mornings ago. A rich and sprawling thing, and I scarcely said anything about the smaller essays in the book. I wanted to say something about Cozzens, but instead went on and on about DM and Tom Wolfe (important) and DM and Orwell (not quite as important, but I have to get that in there). The Cozzens omission may be useful later on if I do my piece about Appointment in Samarra, now 90 years old. “Appointment in O’Hara.” Begin with DM and Cozzens and how that devastating review killed Cozzens’s career. Cozzens says in the Time article (Sept 2, 1957 cover) that he’d been working on the book (By Love Possessed) for eight years, but I find this unlikely. It smells of the lamp and overworkings, and I think he worked on for over twenty. Anyway my theory is that By Love Possessed is bad because Cozzens was trying to do an O’Hara, specifically something like Appointment, but with more cerebrality and less drinking and violence. Both are in small towns in Pennsylvania, both seem to happen in the 1930s (Cozzens was Hap Arnold’s speechwriter and communications officer during the War, but no war intrudes upon the characters of his novel), both concern events that quickly collide upon each other in the space of a couple of days.

Also still out is the Birchers review, the Dallek book, which I wrote a month ago and am sitting on. Then we do The Truth Seeker. Only angle I can arrive at there is that its obsession with atheism now seems to be free-floating, with no purpose. With Smith and Johnson, it was a useful duckblind for all their other dank business, such as publishing Imperium. I have the story of my encounters with TTS, and Ian Hutton, whom I was searching for last August. The Blessing of the Fish in Santa Barbara. Ian Hutton, Storyteller. That would have been Feb 1988. Then in late 1991 there he is again, at the door of The Truth Seeker, downtown near the SD library. The Cartos got to know JHJ back in the 60s when TTS was distributing Imperium. Stayed in touch, WAC expected a bequest, didn’t get it. Elisabeth said how disgusting the guy’s ear was. Decomposing, full of pus. Then Dr. John, that mysterious, yeasty polyglot of Armenian, French, Scots background, born in the French Riviera, raised near London, trained as lawyer at Inn of the Middle Temple, but never practiced. Got medical degree (much easier in England than in America; after university and legal training he could probably complete it in two years). Somehow with this he then transferred to New York. Without an MD? Didn’t really do clinical work. Some kind of psychiatric administrator on Wards Island. (British physicians seldom have MDs or PhDs unless they are in some sort of an academic role or intend to build a private practice. In the main, medical training is largely designed to provide the NHS with an ample supply of bottom-feeders, generic GPs and physicians to staff Accident & Emergency rooms. After secondary school you do six years of combined undergraduate and graduate school and end up with a B.S. in medicine. (Also a B.S. in surgery.) Anyway, Robert John too wanted a piece of the James Hervey Johnson legacy, and after much beseeching he got $600,000, a portion of which was used to publish a paperback book that gently supported race realism and eugenics.


 

POSTSCRIPT: So it was May 15, 2020 that I somehow discovered the RAD Easy-Fold Bike Stand and sent the PDF flyer to Moki. I suppose I assembled it within the next day. We never got any use of it, after all that.

FLYER DISCOVERED 15 MAY 2020

I found a gastropub in Sunnyside Gardens named The Dog and Duck, and that looks like the nearby bistro where we had lunch on that drizzly day. But unless I find some receipts I’ll never be able to nail down the exact date. And the pub no longer exists. A casualty, possibly, of Covid the following year? I don’t know that this is it, but the NE corner location is what I recall.

 

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Sad Clowns and Bad Pipers

I think it was when I was listening to Sally Bedell Smith’s George VI and Elizabeth that I heard of a wedding celebration where 100 bad pipers were in attendance. I figured out it was really “bagpipers” but the notion of recruiting bad pipers was enchanting. First of all, the bad pipers would be pipers, but not bagpipers, who are quite bad enough to begin with, without any skylarking or incompetence to excuse them. These pipers would be more like the Pied Piper, or the Eleven Pipers Piping in the Christmas song, or the piper in the “Spirit of ’76” painting.

If you recruited a lot of pipers, it could be a mix of all types, maybe with a classic flautist or piccolo player amongst them. Could you get 100? No, I’d be happy with Eleven Bad Pipers Piping. The reason they’d be bad pipers is that they never rehearsed together and they don’t follow the same music. The pitchpipe would give them the key for some song they all presumably knew (say, “My Pretty Redwing”) and let them go to town.

This would be great entertainment by itself, much funnier than a passel of clowns, but what if you built a story all around the desperate search for 100 bad pipers for an affair of state. The word comes down from Master of Protocol: we need ten sad clowns and a hundred bad pipers to entertain the visiting King of Ruritania next month. And the showrunner for this spectacular has taken ill, so the job falls to her assistant, a frightened gal who runs the Autopen to “sign” official correspondence. It occurs to her that the order may be garbled, and the Master of Protocol certainly must have dictated “100 bagpipers,” but the Master’s office huffily insists that the order is correct, and so she must set to work. She remembers a couple of flautists who play in the band at church, and some neighborhood kids who play a practice instrument called a Flutophone, a cheap plastic toy intended to give six-year-olds an introduction to woodwinds. So there she has four, five, six pipers, or a sort, whom she can try to recruit. But she needs more and is desperate.

She learns there is a budget for the event, so is authorized to place an ad in various papers around the country:

100 PIPERS
NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!
Incompetence No Obstacle!

Entertainers are being sought for major high-class entertainment next month.
Can you play, or pretend to play, a flute, a recorder, a hornpipe, a fife,
or the sort of thing the Pied Piper played in the poem by Robert Browning?

Piccolos and krumhorns will be considered.
Respond to Box 336.

The sad clowns are easy to recruit, for there is a retirement home for sad clowns nearby and several of them can even play a wind instrument.

Just to be on the safe side, our heroine hires 15 sad clowns and 115 pipers and they foregather at the event with very little in the way of rehearsal. Many of the pipers turn out to have no instruments at all, so some hair combs are obtained which with bits of paper will be used as kazoos…

I don’t know how the story ends, but I suspect it will not be pretty. Some of the dignitaries will be killed, and the Autopen girl goes into hiding in a foreign country.


 

From 11:55 am on Saturday until about 3 pm Sunday, I did not sleep at all. I got out to McCarren Park much too early and wandered around the neighboring blocks a bit. Williamsburg at night is very attractive and impressive, full of bars and boîtes and avant-garde hotels and apartment buildings.

Williamsburg at night. It was far darker. This strange structure in the vicinity later proved to be the William Vale hotel.

Finally ran into an ancient, crooked-gaited negress in the uniform jacket, and she was searching the other way. I had found the headquarters tents when I first arrived (no one there but some negroes from Apex security) but now I had wandered around for a mile or so and I was a little lost. Finally, around a quarter to two (a.m.), I found the HQ tents again where we had a small but critical mass of staff gathered nearby. We started to finish the raising of the three small tents at the headquarters area. After a few minutes I realized I hadn’t clocked in yet so did so. Our leader J eventually appeared and took us on a tour of the overall site, including the Start Village. The Village was a fenced-in lot of about two acres, now lined on both sides with portapotties. My first task was to cut the zip-ties on those. Usually this was easy. Sometimes though people tie the zip-ties too tight and it’s hard to get the shears inside the loop. Then we set out water cups and the “water monster” urns in the lot.

One side of the lot was for Waves 1 and 3, the other for Waves 2 and 4. As we expected, many of those in Wave 1 came by right after the security gates opened at 5 am, an hour and a half before they could get to their corrals, and two hours before their race.One tall bearded fellow who arrived around 5:15 was confused and asked me what the route was, was it just loops around the park? Obviously he had done no research; the route was an out-and-back. His corrals would not open for over an hour. Most of the questions I got were similar. Are there any more pins around? (Safety pins. Yes, over on the table there.) If I’m Wave 1 can I run with my friend in Wave 2? (Yes.)

My other job, besides directing the 20k contestants and answering questions, was picking up discarded clothing. There seemed to be tons. We had lots of hirelings and volunteers to pick them. Few receptacles though. The clothes were strewn along the ground and by the corrals. Easily a hundred large bags full of tossed clothing. Not all were meant to be discarded. There was a finisher who wandered by when we were loading the trucks, looking for the jacket he had dropped by the big tree beyond the Village exit. Alas, it had been gathered up with the other discards. If and when we do a postmortem, we need to make a note of this problem. Our manic announcer Lynn talked up everything else during her three hours of emceeing by the Start, but said nothing about clothing discards.

By the time I started for home my feet hurt and so did my hips. It finally occurred to me what had been going on with my feet all this time: it’s plantar fasciitis. I hadn’t had it in so long, I just didn’t remember. The hip problem is just a variant of my old sciatica friend. When I got home I waited for noon, and went out to the Chinawoman’s for cheap wine. She actually had a bottle good California red stuff, which I slowly drank over the next day. I bought Triscuit, prosciutto and Entenmann’s crumbcakes at the drugstore, and that was my nourishment for the day. I dropped off to sleep, sometimes watching parts of Breaking Bad Season 5 (only one I own on Prime; I bought it back in 2013), and, going for three to six hours at a time, slept through till about nine today, Monday.

The internet suddenly cut out just before three pm, as I lay here in bed, playing with Twitter. My first thought was Verizon has fucked up again. They turned off my juice in spite of all. Checking my WF account now on the mobile app, I see there’s still over $300 in there, which means Verizon hasn’t taken out the authorized payment (about $88).

Intended to run and/or go to the gym. I believe it will be a jog/walk in the evening, just to stretch the legs, just for form’s sake, and to do the sort of downward dog and other stretching I need to cure the plantar fasciitis.


 

Mr. Grimm sent me a birthday present a week or so ago, thinking it was my birthday. Apparently I had put April 20th down as my b-day. A joke when I was drunk, perhaps. I finally retrieved it from the concierge yesterday, on my way back with the wine from the Chinawoman’s. A not terribly attractive Muppet-like puppet of a white-haired bearded man. With some modifications it could be a bearded Moki. Take a photo of it with glasses and an NYAC Founders cap. On the pillow with the other three and maybe the frog puppet as well.

After this, I put all puppets away except Moki Mouse.

I discover that Moki’s “television glasses” have just about the diopters I need for reading glasses. I clean them off and am trying them out. A bit strong, maybe. Use them for precise drawing or when my eyes don’t seem to focus at all in the morning.

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