Monday, April 30, 2007

Bye Bye Miss Blueberry Pie

I have been getting a lot of e mails saying there aren't enough mentions of booze and cigarettes on my blog, so here is a nice booze ad for you. Ah simpler times... when we could drink and smoke freely, and every bookshelf had at least one Bartender's Guide in it. There have also been some complaints from the Don McClean fan club that I never mention him either, so now they can shut up.

I would not say no to a slice of truly homemade blueberry pie. What's up with a whole cookbook of blueberry pie recipes? Is this necessary?

"For over 30 years the lyrics of American Pie have been subject to intense scrutiny as people search for the song's real meaning. Analysis continues today on the Internet and in newspapers and magazines worldwide. All interpretations start on the premise that Don McLean never talks about the song and has never provided insight into the meaning of the lyrics. In fact, Don McLean has spent 30 plus years doing little else but talk about American Pie!"-- From Don McClean's website--

Most of verse 3 is about Bob Dylan:

"Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin' stone
But that's not how it used to be
When the Jester sang for the King and Queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
In a voice that came from you and me
Oh, and while the King was looking down
The Jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned."
(and then it transitions to a few lines about the Beatles)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sugar Bear

Back in the day, Sugar Bear was the King of the Pushers. He pushed sugar, and the kids just couldn't get enough of it. They loved Sugar Bear. They screamed and cried at the grocery store when they saw his picture on a big box of sugary crap and their moms said NO. They screamed until their moms caved in and bought what Sugar Bear was pushing. It would appear that Sugar Bear was also pushing his crappy records too, and maybe Doobee bear and Honey Bear were selling things on the side? Shoobee Bear is the original role model for little kids who would grow up to embrace the modern slacker culture.
You never saw any smart bears hanging around Sugar Bear. He only hired weak loser bears that he could control completely.
He was smart and shrewd, and never ate any of the poison he was pushing. He is out there somewhere, still enjoying wealth and success in the business of sugaring kids up.

Friday, April 27, 2007

From Under the Umbrella

It looks like the rain dripping off of my umbrella is watering a daffodil.

Got a very late start this morning, so I had to share my walk with some commuters and schoolbuses. I walked past one of my favorite little garden nooks.

It takes about ten minutes to get to where the action is, if you are a medium-slow walker. I meandered around, taking blurry shots of wet forsythia and so forth, so by the time I got to the river, the camera was full. At least I remembered to bring the camera with me today.

The busy business district of Mytown, U.S.A. is ahead. In the distance you can see our beautiful Russian Orthodox Church. They have an incredible set of bells, a carillon, that are hand-played instead of automatic. It is something nice to watch and hear.

"I stood unwound beneath the skies
And clouds unbound by laws.
The cryin' rain like a trumpet sang
And asked for no applause.
Lay down your weary tune, lay down,
Lay down the song you strum,
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum."
--Bob Dylan

"Summer is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating;
there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
--John Ruskin

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Checking out I saw that the Beatmobile travels from San Francisco to colleges and arts festivals all over the United States spreading the word. This would not be a bad way to spend a few months "On The Road." I was just a little surprised to see Bob Dylan's image on the little trailer that the Beatmobile pulls along.

The students at Saint Mary's were glad to gain access to subversive writings, and welcomed the Beatmobile wholeheartedly.

The little trailer that the Beatmobile pulls is a bookshop on wheels. Even though they sell books, incense, T shirts and trinkets, the owners of the BM still have to ask people for gas money donations. Luxury coaches like this one are not very fuel efficient, and that is why trips across country are carefully planned.

The sad part of this whole story: Most of the time Adam West follows the Beatmobile in an old Batmobile. Sometimes Mr. West thinks they are going to a Superhero & Poetry Convention, and other times he thinks he is trying to "catch" the evil Beatmobile. When the Beatmobile stops to 'gas up' they never know if Mr. West will be pleasant or furious with them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Paris: Habanita in the Rain

My three favorite cities to walk in are Paris, Dublin, and New York. Dublin and Paris have a river running through them, which means many bridges to walk across. All three cities get their fair share of rain, and since I like walking in the rain, it works for me. The fruit and flower stalls look prettier on a rainy day. A piece of fruit tastes fresher when it is eaten in the rain. Walking in the rain clears your head like nothing else, and is so much better than sitting indoors hoping that the rain will stop. A cup of cafe au lait tastes so much better after you have been walking some distance in the rain.

The last time I was in Paris I went out on a cloudy day without a parapluie. It began to rain and I ran into a department store to buy a new one. I decided that as long as I had to buy one, I may as well buy the most unusual one they had, and found a plaid folding umbrella with a brown frog handle. Eight years have passed and I still have this umbrella. (seen in the photo, above) It folds small enough to fit in my handbag, the frog is cute, and it reminds me of all the small details of a particular rainy day in Paris. I wore the smoky warm scent Habanita by Molinard on that rainy day. The early June air was chilly and clean, the streets were uncrowded, the bridges were, for the most part, mine, and every once in a while I would smell the warm smoky peach fragrance escape from the nape of my neck and waft away in the damp breeze.

La Samaritaine, Le grand magasin. One-stop shopping. Although all I bought that day was the umbrella.

Zola wrote a novel about the creation of the first department store in Paris, the lives of the clerks and shoppers. A copy of "The Ladies Paradise" with another Molinard scent, Nirmala, which has hints of mango and musk.

Monday, April 23, 2007

chedwick's blue monday

What makes the wind wanna blow tonight?
Don't even feel like crossing the street and my car ain't actin' right.
Called home, everybody seemed to have moved away.
My conscience is beginning to bother me today.
I need a shot of love, I need a shot of love.
--Bob Dylan

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Weekend

Happy Earth Weekend! There was a Mockingbird singing away in the center tree as I took this picture. If you look closely you can see him on the left side of the tree. The tree is that same type tree as the famed one that grows in Brooklyn.

A rabbit's eye view. Great Lakes Blue Iris, grass, shadows and light.

Stripes of the late afternoon sun. A few mini dafs bloom in our mini pine forest. I noticed a chickadee has set up housekeeping in the birdhouse we put up in the "pine forest region" of our small yard.

Time to get busy. I received a blue wheelbarrow as a gift.
On Saturday we went with a group of friends and cleaned up a woodsy area where people had dumped old tires and junk, making it look pristine once again. The children in the group worked very diligently to get the woods 'back to perfection' and had harsh words for people who dump trash. They were shocked and appalled to see us drag out an old washing machine. We jaded adults were not surprised at all.

This morning was officially Earth Day. We were tired from being outdoors all day Friday and Saturday flexing our muscles, so we decided to have breakfast outdoors and read the Sunday Times before working in the garden. I took some Myrtle and Sweet Woodruff and made this picture.

So far we've celebrated earth weekend in our yard by planting Canadian Explorer roses (Bill Baffin, Louis Joliet, Samuel de Champlain, you get the idea: --explorers.)

But one rose puzzled me. Who was Marie-Victorin? I got a big surprise researching that one. Marie-Victorin was Conrad Kirouac ( Jack Kerouac's cousin (!) and a botanist.) Conrad and I share a birthday, April 3. When Conrad became a Christian Brother he was given the name Brother Marie-Victorin. (and I thought I was looking up a woman explorer!) It was a nice surprise/ Kerouac connection & I had planted "two of him" in the yard unawares. We got a dozen roses and two lilacs planted by 2pm today. Then we collapsed.

We put out some birdseed and just relaxed in the sun with a picnic lunch. I plan on spending the rest of the day lounging around outside. This has been a perfect and complete weekend.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
--John Muir


perfumer Christine Nagel

Chopard: Madness is an elegant fragrance with oriental headnotes of litchee. kumquat, and spices, there is a wild rose in there along with a lot of woodsy and earthy notes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I blame 'Daylight Savings Time 2007' for my lag. I realize the time lag was only one hour, one month earlier than usual, but it had a definite negative domino effect on me.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 gave us certain dates where we could begin and end our daylight time.This act had daylight time begin on the last Sunday in April, and by then we were 'over' all of the "Spring Fever" behaviors. In 1986 they switched it from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday, but it was 1986 so everyone was acting all crazy that year anyway, and didn't notice the loss of an hour of sleep, and the springing ahead.

In 2007, daylight time began on March 11.

On March 11, 2007 (Lag Day) I was posting about Jack Kerouac and reading some of his works. His birthday was March 12. I woke up on his birthday and I was ... Lagged! It only got worse, it was like living under water. But the upside to the weeks and weeks of lag, was the spiritual journey that came along with it. Thanks to all of the Kerouac, and related reading, I became a laggard surrounded by poetry, fresh flowers, and ideas. But all inspiration had to come from the outside. I was flattened and mostly spent my spare time just staring at things. A few weeks after the lag began I had to deal with the convergence of all these religious holidays and get-togethers. I wasn't ready, but had to join in and give the illusion that I was 'on board' and enthusiastic. The point is I wasn't ready or able, and so had to give up trying to fake it, and sat back as an observer. The more events I was forced to attend, the more I seemed to be observing these events in some sort of stupor-like state.

Pretending that everything is fine is a true waste of time and mind.

Being lost in reverie and contemplation turned out to be very productive in some areas. I wasn't brooding or sulking or grieving, (not that those moods cannot be very useful and lead us to profound insights.) I wasn't miserable, it was just that I was out of step and noticing more things in a different way, wondering is this or that significant? Then lapsing back into laggardness. It was a sweeping, sometimes exhaustive lag.

"Feel like a prisoner in a world of mystery
I wish someone would come
And push back the clock for me."
--Bob Dylan

"The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time."
--Abraham Lincoln

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Les maladies que l'on cache sont les plus difficiles à soigner.
The illnesses that we hide are the most difficult to treat.
--Chinese proverb

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Smells of The City

Ahhh...the smells of the city. I rarely notice any vomit smells, but I think those happen mostly on the weekends. The smells of the city do waft together to create that special blend that I would call 'Eau de Subway.' The smells combine in an amazing way. The street vendor sells the sweet French burnt peanuts, and that scent is always present, along with a light but persistant damp moldy smell. The guy who eats from a bucket of KFC on the train, sitting a few seats away from the girl giving herself a full manicure somehow cancel out the odor of Mr. Whiskey Bum and his friend, Mr. Urine Bum who are also along for the ride. I stand crushed in next to a well dressed gent and discover that his coat reeks of mothballs. Mothballs--ugh. Have you ever smelled a mothball? You have? How did you get your head between his tiny legs? (old joke, sorry.) I saved the worst for last. Body odor just chokes me, I have a very low threshold, and human feces? If a bum is shitting way at the other end of the subway platform, I can barely take it -- This has only happened twice in my lifetime, and both times I was grateful that I carried a scented scarf in my handbag. There is no escaping body odor on a crowded subway, and there are many types of B.O. There is the acrid and the fierce, the metallic and the cabbage-y; and there is the freshly showered person who did not get his laundry done, and so is wearing the nastiest B.O. saturated dirty clothing. The smells of the city. Perfume is the least of our worries.

Perfume is not a pervasive smell in the city, (hair products, especially hair spray, along with soaps, and moisturizers often are thought of as perfume) but if you hate 'Polo' by Ralph Lauren, you always seem to get trapped in an elevator with a guy who has bathed in it. Perfume is more an evil inside stink in Manhattan. An ugly office phenomenon that shares space with chemicals like toner, body odor and burnt microwave popcorn. Co-workers who want you to notice and remark on their parfum always splash too much on. An office can become smell hell.

But there is something comforting about leaving a winter cocktail party late at night and digging through a mound of slightly perfumed coats to find your own. That is a perfumed moment that can be almost sensual, with silk linings, cashmere topcoats, leather and fur that hold hints of tobacco and mint, along with a trace of the wearer's perfume or cologne.

On the street blasts of perfume blended with expensive, heavily applied makeup always come with the approach of some ancient tiny lady, walking carefully atop high heels, dressed to the nines to go on some ordinary errand. She may stop someplace for a cup of coffee. You might see her several tables away from you, staring into space, stirring sugar into her coffee, or re-applying her bright red Chanel lipstick. On the street she might 'sort of' blend with the smells of the city, and in a coffeeshop the smells of coffee, pastry and grease neutralize her a little bit. Stand her near Mr. Urine Bum and you are most grateful for her presence.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Last of The Loot

Today the last glass of champagne to celebrate my birthday was raised. It has been two weeks of weird little lunches, coffee dates, and one dinner, squeezed in between, around, before and after all those religious holidays that converged. (Passover, Buddha's Birthday, and Easter) It has been a long strange couple of weeks.

After not wearing perfume all week, I wore L'Heure Bleue today, figuring it was a special occasion worthy of a few dabs of Guerlain.

My friend, Helena, was away for the holidays, so she took me out today for a very belated birthday lunch. I really scored a lot of great loot too, because no one shops better for you than a girlfriend who has known you since you were practically a teenager. She bought me a jacket that I would have never bought myself because I would have thought it too pricey. It fits perfectly and has a Good Steve Irwin Vibe to it, (and I had a major dream about him awhile back.) Also a lovely long wide scarf which is really a sheer shawl, great for summer cocktail parties. (Hopefully there will be summer cocktail parties?! ) This feels like a shopping blog now, but I assure you, this post represents the last of the birthday loot.

Chedwick just loves flowers and necklaces. He loves them like he loves harmonica music and birdwatching. This is the very last of today's loot, a Betsey Johnson necklace and some yellow tulips.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chedwick with Sunflowers

No sunflowers were harmed during the making of this post.

Tuxedo with Sunflowers

If you look closely at the center of a sunflower
you can see that the disk flowers
grow in a mesmerizing pattern
of two opposite spirals.
This is most easily seen either before
the disk flowers
open up or after the seed has set
and all the accessory
flower parts have fallen off.
This is one of the more
interesting patterns in nature.

Bob Dylan's Favorite Scent

Bob Dylan with Shalimar Parfum: Two extraordinary icons.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Water Lilies

When I was growing up, my father told me many stories about his grandmother Nancy, who was a midwife and an herbalist. She had told him stories about her own parents and grandparents. She also lived with her in-laws for many years, and described them in detail; the interior of their home and the prized possessions that traveled with them to America (an ornate clock and an oil painting of Saint François de Sales) My father gave me a living family tree, not just names and dates on a chart.

At nearly eighty years of age, Celestine sat down with her daughter-in-law Nancy, and her grandson's new wife, Lydia, and sewed a quilt. 21 year old Lydia chose the water lily pattern. What linked the three women was my grandfather. He is one woman's grandson, one woman's son and one woman's husband. The women were connected by marriages, not blood ties.They got along very well because they respected each other's positions in the family and they had no time for quarrels of any kind. When I asked my grandfather about these women I could see that he missed them all, that they all played extremely important roles in his life. He had depended on each of them at one time or another, and was absolutely horrified he had outlived his wife, that she had died so young, shortly after his mother had died.

The quilt was given to me in a few years ago. It was amazing to wrap myself in something that was created by these three incredible women.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Looking through my bookshelves, I noticed that many of my books have photographs on the covers. The Penguin classics all have details of paintings, but most of the book jacket designs include photography or one photograph. I was looking for an interesting book jacket illustration, so I gave up and decided to just pull out every book that had the word "Love" in the title, put them on a table and photograph them. That might lead to something interesting, maybe. Looking through all those books, I was very surprised to find only one book with "Love" in the title. And it had an old photograph on the cover. It was a book written by Colm Toibin. I had enjoyed all of his novels, so I bought his book on the lives of Thomas Mann, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin and others.

Last night I rediscovered this book, which I bought in Brooklyn, when I lived in Brooklyn. At the time I knew I'd leave Brooklyn, but I never thought I'd sell my apartment there, so I figured I could always go back. I ended up selling the place eventually, and going back now is bittersweet, and makes me a little depressed, because I will never live in Brooklyn again. The book includes a great essay by Spike Lee, on the making of "Do The Right Thing" and a story by Thomas Wolfe "Only The Dead Know Brooklyn" Wolfe was from North Carolina, but made Brooklyn his home. He understood the place, at least that is the feeling I get from this wonderful short story.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Penguin Situation

I've been reading about the decline of penguin populations recently, and while I am distressed over the plight of the penguins, it has been well documented--

(by scientists who believe that global warming is a myth)

--that penguins are heavy smokers.

Apparently, it all started in the 1940's, when scientists studying penguins offered one of them a few cartons of smokes. The smoking penguin became the 'hip' penguin that other penguins admired and wanted to emulate.

By the 1960's most penguins were smoking, and many even modeled for cigarette ads.

While many scientists blame cigarette smoking for the decline in penguin populations, some say it is because penguins have been consuming far too much whole milk ice cream. Whatever the reason, it would be very sad if we continued to see these wonderful creatures dying off.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Wonder Boys

Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Tom Rush, John Lennon, Clarence Carter, Little Willie John, Neil Young, Bob Dylan...The Wonder Boys soundtrack is a perfect mix of male vocalists. It is worth having just to hear the stunning songs by Tom Rush and Leonard Cohen, but it is also an excellent introduction to Bob.

A blogger asked me which Bob Dylan CDs I would recommend. I suggest sampling and buying Bob songs on iTunes and burning your own mix CD from them. If you want to buy essential Bob CDs, there are many classics that experts say you must have, like Blonde on Blonde and Blood On The Tracks. Some record stores still sell cassette tapes, and that is an inexpensive way to listen and see what you like.I looked at what I have been listening to most, and made a list of the random Bob CDs that are always hanging out next to my CD player.
Blonde on Blonde -1966
Time Out Of Mind -1997
Desire -1976
New Morning -1970
Modern Times -2006
Oh Mercy -1989
Blood On The Tracks -1975
Bringing It All Back Home -1965
Highway 61 Revisited -1965
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan -1963
Planet Waves -1974
Nashville Skyline -1969
MTV Unplugged -1995
Bob Dylan At Budokan -1979
Biograph (3 CD set) -1985
30th Anniversary Album -1993 (Various Artists)
Soundtrack CD Masked & Anonymous (The Magokoro Brothers singing "My Back Pages" in Japanese is one of the great songs on this CD)

This may seem like a lot, but it isn't even half of what is available.

When I was a little kid I really liked the song "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" and it is still a favorite.
I also enjoy "Time Out Of Mind" very much. Some people find it dark and depressing, but I don't get that feeling from it. Though it speaks of lost love, yearnings, and aging, I see these as 'rites of passage' for everyone. The music and lyrics on "Time Out Of Mind" are both excellent.

I like the CDs produced by Daniel Lanois, who also worked with U2. Lanois produced "Oh Mercy" and "Time Out Of Mind" and you can tell Lanois has crafted them. As a producer, he is an artist, and Lanois is a musician as well.
In his book "Chronicles Volume 1, Bob says the following about him:
"Danny himself played a variety of instruments--mandolins, mandolas, cello-looking guitars and other fretted stuff, plastic novelty instruments resembling toys."
"He didn't want to float on the surface. He didn't even want to swim. He wanted to jump in and go deep. He wanted to marry a mermaid."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Music Box

When I was in college I wasn't just a faceless nameless student at a large university: I also had a job and was a faceless nameless employee at a large corporation. At the employee Christmas party, the male employees got some sports related tchotchke, and as the women began opening gifts I saw that 'our' gift was a reddish brown colored musical jewelry box. As the women began winding up all of the boxes, the tune "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" filled the air, and it was nice because the boxes were all going at different moments in the tune, and it was like a staggered twinkly symphony of Rudolph. I didn't bother opening mine, I just took the last wrapped box from the gift table and put it directly into my book bag. I decided to put it under my tree until Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day I unwrapped my Rudolph box, only to be surprised that it wasn't a reddish box at all, but a prettier blue and ebony one. This was odd, since all the boxes at the party had been identical, and I had to smile, because typically, weird things like this happened to me. I was always the 'odd man out' so to speak, even as a little kid. I had waited until just one box was left on the gift table, and took it. Now I was so glad I had done that.

Then I wound up the music box, and to my shock, I did not hear "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer". The blue music box played "Blowing in The Wind" instead. I used to wonder how the odd box got into the batch of 'Rudolphs.' No doubt the shop just ran out of Rudolphs and threw some random box in to complete the order.

The Perfume lounging on the blue box is 'Flower by Kenzo' A light rose scent with violets and sweet spices.

"The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense.
Take what you have gathered from coincidence.
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets.
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue."
--Bob Dylan

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Reflective Art

Green Glass From Alexis by Janet Fish

I've always liked Janet Fish and how she could 'paint glass'. It is very difficult for me to try to paint like that, so lately I've been taking pictures of glass (mostly perfume bottles) and manipulating them. Below are some of my efforts.

Perfume bottles and drinking glasses.

Misc. glass in a metal net basket.

I pushed a crocus blossom into an empty bottle and balanced the bottle on the trunk of a pine tree. Later I rotated it,so it wouldn't be obvious that it was held in place, upsidedown by broken tree limbs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Window

I don't usually take pictures of windows, but this one glowed while the rest of the dwelling seemed invisible. The light went out just after I took the picture, and the scene became less surreal, no longer melancholy.
When taking my early morning walk, I like to be out and back before the village wakes up. The air is fresh and the breezes are sharp, cold and slightly herbal. Most of the windows are still dark, but once I found myself surprised when I glanced at a lit window and saw an elderly woman sitting and reading at her kitchen table. She was absorbed in her book and did not see me slowly pass in the darkness. The lamp on her table illuminated her face, part of the book, and one hand as if she were a painted portrait instead of a live being.
As I walk past sleeping houses, some of them seem to be leaning, propped up by their own night shadows. Little by little the light increases and birds wake up and start to sing, hesitant at first. I turn to walk home. I am back inside my house before the newspapers are delivered, before the dog walking men stumble down the streets, pulled by the leashes, long before car doors begin to slam, and engines turn over, before the weird pools of darkness are erased by morning.