Times are rough, but Mary Alice has it worse

Remarkably good weather just now. Highs in the 70s, humidity at 40. Sunny with 5-10 winds. Must run, maybe ride too. Governors Island tomorrow morning, ferry terminal and marshaling. After this a long blank period till early August. Heavy schedule Aug-Oct.

It’s on my mind that perhaps I could be a cyclist for nruns. I think they are looking for some. I hold back because I haven’t been cycling and I don’t have a proper road bike. Cannot ride Moki’s because the crossbar is too high, and my lovely old Cannondale mountain bike may not really be the thing. If I got another bike, I would not have room to keep it here unless I got rid of Moki’s, which is a pointless accessory at this point. Has been for years. It was over five years ago he brought it back from the AC and stood it in the foyer. We were going to inflate the tires. He never did, I never did (because I didn’t understand presta). Then Jeffrey came over and we did a lot of tina for a few days. This is when I was obsessed with Orwell and the Marshall Plan.

My last on Orwell, a few days ago, was just a listicle about the Angry Young Men. I have two or three more substantial essays in me, maybe already partly written. And there’s the book.

Money. I have about zeroed out the Citi accounts, once the rent goes through, and now think about the $700 in the duck and the £1200 in London. A little in USAA. Did I pay Amazon card? I don’t remember.

The J-word. After Brian died, Moki urged me to get a job. Kept reminding me. I looked and had some pretty sorry prospects. Briefly hired by Google but that sank like a stone within a few days after I made a jokey email. A few months after that there was the mysterious Gatestone affair. For a few hundred here and there I felt strangely prosperous. At this point, nruns and nuggets from essays for CC and elsewhere are not going to make it for me. Over the next mountain range I have the VCF award awaiting, mainly, but I know enough not to expect that or anything else.

Sling. Must cancel it today, tonight. I am watching the postmortems on Fox News about the Trump-Biden debate last night. They say Biden was a disaster, but Biden was just being Biden. This sort of thing on Fox News is the only reason to hold onto Sling. What else do I get with Sling? Nothing, really. This was a $20 trial, but it goes to $45, I think, if I don’t cancel. That wouldn’t kill me, but add it to the Verizon ($80-$90) and we’re halfway to the disastrous level we were at with Moki.

Con Ed is threatening to turn the lights off if we don’t send them $1000. Or $300. I’ve tried to call them. They have no humans in their phone queues or chat lines. I actually got an email with a human name at the end yesterday. Probably a bot.

Did not go out at all yesterday. Was going to run in the afternoon, then evening, then not at all. Got caught up in fiddling with the old Pismo. If I start on the Clare drive (internal) there’s a working copy of Word, and I think Photoshop. Currently it’s running off the Firewire Pismo drive, which has PowerMail and lots and lots of iTunes. I was just listening to one of a number of Ricky Gervais Shows. Why would I have those? I think Steve Cottrell gave those to me, and similar stuff, way back around 2007.

I added the wide-screen ViewSonic monitor, partly just to get it out of the bin so I can put the stolid 3:4 monitor in there instead. The ViewSonic has ports for both VGA and the other thing, but the Pismo only has a VGA port. In the back of my mind I’m getting an inexpensive Mac Mini, and that will be its monitor. At that point I might be able to retire the poor old Pismo, finally, which is useful mainly because it still can run OS 9 thus is a nexus between current OSX and my old 68k/PPC machines.  Moki had this weird big-letter USB keyboard in his desk bottom drawer, and that works. As does a shiny, unused Apple mouse, which probably came with the iMac. So I could actually sit there in front of the Metro Shelving and write on Word. I have the internet connection figured out, too. I think. It wasn’t connecting for a while because the ethernet cable wasn’t being recognized. Anyway, it’s now leading from the Pismo to the Apple Express router. That router is of course attached to the Verizon extender.

I moved the wire shelving that Moki had next to his bathroom (and which he fell down with numerous times), and I moved beside his night table a couple of months ago, to the liv rm, in that corner niche right of the sofa and to the left of the armoire. When I did this I was thinking of putting the Verizon extender router on one of the shelves (there’s a long loop of coax there) but practically speaking that extender belongs at the far end of the room.

Track lighting. Very far down on my list of priorities. Cleaning up the Con Ed bill should be our first thought when talking about lighting. How and when exactly did Moki assemble this motley collection? Surely there should be at least another couple of light fixtures up there. He liked a dim space. I mean, it seems to have been designed with sex parties in mind. Back in the Seventies when he had his swinger groups. And later on, he had hooks put into the bedroom ceiling so he could hang a sling from them. The hooks are still there.

Another thing I did last night: I put the two matted-but-unframed Cruikshank engravings I’ve been sitting on for 25 years, into frames and hung them in the hallway. Today I added the Cruikshank “Scorpio: The Slanderer” below them. But I made a mess hammering in hooks and nails and ended up having to spackle and  paint. The picture hook remaining up top once held Judge Burns’s portrait. I should put up my Yale diploma or maybe Moki’s Holy Cross one. Meantime I found the Willie Rushton photo and framed it in the frame I was using for Moki and me, November 2012. That now hangs beside Claude Chabrol, who also has a new frame, as I used his glass 5 or 6 years ago to replace the shattered glass that came with the framed photo of Brian with Donald Trump and Melania.


North American Precis Syndicate. That’s what Sharlene worked for for years before she went with O’Dwyer. I never researched it at all. Yesterday I searched it. Brave browser has a terrible, annoying AI thing that gets in the way. It seems they produce bumf for filler, formerly for newspapers, now more for content farms. Written by yoomins, but almost indistinguishable from bad AI.

Sym@sk0. A hand-written, actually neatly printed, card from P3t3r Sym@sk0 yesterday, “signed” by him and his wife. After condolences about Moki’s death, we move on to talking about Maria’s sister. Maria is apparently Peter’s wife, someone I’d never heard of. In fact, I couldn’t tell you what Peter’s connection to Moki and me was, other than someone we met at the funeral reception in Winchester after Danny’s burial at Mount Auburn. Well it turns out that it’s a Kirby connection. Maria is the youngest, or one of the youngest, of the Kirbys. Her older brother Paul married Liz Burns, Danny’s elder daughter. Max Kirby, the arrogant blond snot I met back in 2015, is Liz’s son, the eldest of four. Liz died of cancer back in 2016, I think after obstinately insisting on going ahead with another pregnancy. (I get that from her younger sister Mimi.) There was also a Kirby girl whom I took to be the youngest in that generation, and she worked at the Jockey Club. So this is the full extent of what I knew about the Kirbys till a few days ago. Except I didn’t know about Maria. Anyway, Maria and Peter are now asking me if I have any help or suggestions about what to do with Maria’s sister Mary Alice. Mary Alice C00k3 has been though a disastrous divorce and is destitute. Has been living in one of their houses but the house is being sold. So can I find her a place to live? She wants just a bedroom, an attic maid’s room, whatever, for which she will do cooking and cleaning. While she finishes the book she’s writing.

Whoa, whoa. This is too much at once. The only possible option I can think of is A.T. She’s got those awful ignorant caretakers who tell me I’ve called the wrong number. But I have to talk to her and her mind is pretty far gone, according to Jamie. And I’d have to talk to Mary Alice too. An utter stranger. And even if it seemed right, I’d have to sell the idea to Alicia and Jamie. Another backup solution is with her niece Mimi, but that’s in a remote corner of Bucks County, so not quite the Falmouth/Southampton kind of venue she’s looking for.

Until this, the Kirby branch of the family tree pretty much ended with Paul. Paul and the late Liz, and their three or four sons. Paul’s antecedents and siblings were a mystery, apart from that young sister from the Jockey Club. So I persevered and finally got something. Not by Kirby-hunting which was always fruitless, but by finding Liz’s wedding announcement in the New York Times, back when she was a manager at Manny Hanny back in 1985.

Another joker in the deck here: Christopher Paul Kirby. Nowhere else do I see him called this. So Paul was son of Dr Francis A. Kirby and the former Mary Alice Mullins. (There’s your Mary Alice; we’re on the trail.) Then Francis’s and Mary Alice’s obituaries gave us some offspring names. One was Mary Alice Cooke. Very little substantive on her, other than addresses in Connecticut, Washington State, and Massachusetts. So finally I enter that name in a search engine, and I find a nightmare of litigation and bankruptcies going back at least till the early 90s. She had about four kids. And she has brothers and sisters. Peter (and Maria) say she can’t get help from her marriage family (divorced, and I guess alienated from her kids). Also she hooked up with a guy in Washington state for a while, and that’s where some of the kids are. I suspect other relatives live far away. I also suspect Mary Alice needs company and wants to live in some kind of busy town or habitable suburb. I imagine most of the Kirbys living in Florida, where everyone ends up.

So the obvious source of succor has to be what she’s had so far, which is her birth family. I suspect the reason she’s been with Maria and Peter. As a backup solution, I’m going to suggest to them that they buy her a house, a modest fixer-upper, which she can redo and then set about selling for a small profit. This will take a couple of years at least.

I go to Ancestry and it prompts me with this item from someone I’ve never heard of, but is distantly related to a distant relation of mine:

Born in 1898, and seemingly still alive when whoever it was posted this on Ancestry. Except he really died in 1947 in his vacation house in Madison NC. A dentist. Brother in law to Kitty Staples who was once married to the Father of Prostatology, Oswald Swinney Lowsley.

Raced in once.

eBay tells me it’s sent $105 to my bank account. That means they took quite a haircut on the original $135 for the two pairs of tartan Mayflys. Actually $125 since I paid $9+ for postage.

New in box, but there’s no bag here. I put the bag from the others in here and gave the other shoes a blue Mayfly bag.

Over $20 in fees. Because two transactions.

I am hardening to the idea of scratching Asbury Park. I have just enough time to get into 5k shape. Am in far better condition than I was three months ago, but I doubt very much I could run even a mile without stopping. Extra weight is a problem, but also the basic cardiovascular thing. But the big thing is money. It’s like $300 getting a hotel room for one night. I could conceivably reserve or even pay with the Moki Apple Card. That would truly be criminal if I ran up charges, even if I eventually paid. I ought to try one payment with that, just as a test. Say we buy some crypto. Then we hold it, watch what happens (we could just buy fiat with some of it), maybe cash out, pay back. The idea is attractive for its fiendishness alone. May also be a good incentive for pursuing the J-word.

I wonder why Joe Biden is holding a rally on Fox News, then I realize this is live. He’s building back better after a disastrous performance at the sole debate last night. How does he get an audience? How do they paper the house like that? Two dollars and a box lunch?

Downloading Cold Fusion from Adobe. Did I ever work with this at all? I must have. There were all sorts of deploying tools left over at F&W and T+L. One called Conan and one called Red Sonja, which I always heard as Retsona, like it’s a Greek shellac wine.

Drank a Resin the other night, decided I can’t drink much beer anymore. Counterproductive. Can’t lose weight drinking superbeers. Especially when you down it with a Marie Callender’s turkey pot pie. So bought a pint of Pinnacle last night with the $9 cash i had on me. That didn’t last long. I got very hungry late at night and cooked up spaghetti with the last of some jar sauce that’s been in the fridge since around Christmas. I smelled it. It was okay, and it wasn’t past its use-by date. I didn’t remember the spaghetti at all till I went to the kitchen and saw, along with five days’ worth of unwashed dishes, the red colander with a few dried strands inside. (I just found out I do not know how to spell collander. Collender? Collander? It’s colander.)

Was thinking of writing a piece for the Lothrop Stoddard birthday, but I’ll pass on that. It would be so forced. I did one good piece on him, and that was on a rather eccentric entry in the Stoddard corpus. I have other things on the back burner. The Charles Stuart case, oopsie! JPK, the wronged man. Why Toynbee tanked.