Monthly Archives: June 2006

Where have I been?

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Where haven’t I been? The last couple of weeks of school are always crazy. Concerts, dress rehearsals, dance recitals, Father’s Day and on and on and on. Plus work, with trips to New York and a little side visit to a Newark emergency room (not for me). Better you don’t know. Just insane. I took more than 400 pictures at the dance recital, and am slowly posting them here. I took no pictures at the Newark emergency room. But you can imagine.

After a beautiful week, rain is back for the weekend, quashing my desire to find a beach somewhere. Or to take a bike ride, get out the boats, or do much of anything else. I feel like summer’s already over, but I always feel this way at the end of June. I want to get more out of the longer days, but the spring rains (which this year mostly came in May) kinda put a damper on that. My goal for the summer is to spend many evenings playing Frisbee in the street until it’s too dark to see.

Reading Nick Hornby’s “A Long Way Down.” Brilliant. Just brilliant. Listening to the Downbeat Five’s “Victory Motel,” with their also brilliant cover of “Dum Dum Ditty.” First heard it on the Underground Garage on Sirius, and now can’t get it out of my head. Watching everything under the sun — Denis Leary’s “Rescue Me,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” even “Wayne’s World.” And “Howard Stern on Demand.” Funniest stuff on the planet.


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Elder daughter is complaining good-naturedly about the hot, airless dance studio (which really does get kinda murderous this time of year, and Sweaty Ballerina will not be the hot new scent for the season, believe me). But the discussion led me to this realization:

“Honey, you’ve got to suffer for your art. If you didn’t suffer, it wouldn’t be art. It would be crafts.”

What am I listening to?

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Outta left field — a collaboration by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. Their Under the Covers Vol. 1 popped up on iTunes the other day, and as I scanned the track list, I was stunned — covers of “She May Call You Up Tonight,” one of the more obscure songs by the already obscure Left Banke? The Zombies’ “Care of Cell 44”? Are you kidding me? And “Different Drum”? I’m in. I always liked Matthew Sweet’s voice but found his work kinda (very) derivative. What’s homage in a Beck-style setting is just ripping off in any other pop song, and I wasn’t into it. And let’s face it, Susanna’s eye-rolling could really get on your nerves by the four millionth time you’d seen the “Manic Monday” video. But together, on these songs? Incredible.

It’s not too late to make me suffer!

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Yes, once again, the annual American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure is this weekend, and thanks to the endless rain and too many other things to do, I am nowhere near ready to grind out 50 miles (plus) in the rolling hills of Saratoga and Washington counties. So if you really wanna make me suffer, go to my Tour de Cure page and hit me up with an online contribution now, so that I don’t wimp out and do a shorter ride.

Leaving New York

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Leaving New YorkYou might’ve laughed if I told you,You might have hidden your frown.You might’ve succeeded in changing me,I might’ve been turned around.It’s easier to leave than to be left behind,Leaving was never my proud,Leaving New York never easy,I saw the light fading out.Leaving New York, R.E.M.

My back pages

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Phone 02

I’ve been wanting to shoot this little setup for some time now, as that disconnected rotary phone just seemed to be calling to me. It wasn’t until after I’d shot it that I noticed the books that were on the shelf along with it. On the left is “Lyndon’s Legacy.” When I was growing up in Scotia, the bridge that carried the railroad tracks over Route 50 had graffiti that said, across the width of the bridge, “Read Lyndon’s Legacy by Kluckhohn.” My all-time favorite graffiti. It was there for years and years, and there may have been an attempt by two young turks to repaint it for all posterity, which failed when we realized the original painter must have actually walked along the ledge above the roadway. We were crazy, not insane.

This isn’t even my only copy of the book, by the way. I’ve skimmed it. It may have seemed important in 1967.

To the right, my great-grandmother’s copy of Gulliver’s Travels, “In Words of One Syllable.” She was awarded it for excellent spelling skills in the fourth grade, in 1904. She gave it to me when I was about the same age. The hymnary and the Bible I can’t explain, but they’re sure not mine. Daniel Boone and the others were among many circa-1860 books that were in my aunt’s house in Glenville, and I just wish I’d gotten my hands on more of them.

The two “modern” books just left of the phone? “The World According to Beaver,” and Tom Peyer’s “Contra-dictionary,” from back in the days when we were worried about the Iran-Contra scandal. If it weren’t for those two, the telephone would be the newest thing on the shelf.

Victory over nature

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Our little tiny lot has always been heavily treed and dark. We kinda liked it that way — kept cool in the summer, moss doesn’t need mowing, and the neighbors couldn’t see much of what was going on out there. Not that anything was. The downside (if not having to mow is ever a downside) was there wasn’t much room for the kids to play, grass would only grow in select spots, and there was a whole lot of nature out there making noises starting around 3 in the morning. Sleep in the summer is a serious challenge.

But the two once-majestic pines were now just big, sappy needle-droppers that were on their way out, and a maple that had somehow escaped our notice had grown too big to kill by ourselves, and there were some locusts or some damn thing caught up in the neighbor’s power lines. So when we saw Tree Boy up the street earlier this spring, we got an estimate. So, Tree Boy came yesterday, and $1 million later, we’re tree-free along the back line. And, best of all, this morning we were virtually bird-free, too. Quit yer sobbing, the birds will find someone else to annoy. I’ve done my time. It was very weird to wake up, look out my bedroom window and see sun in the backyard. Never saw that before.

Now I’ve gotta plant grass. Then I’ll have to mow grass. But at least I’ll be able to sleep.