Random Selections from the Blog

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Trick or Treat!

Posted October 31st, 2010
Trick or Treat!

Hallowe’en, as I remember it anyway, was all about the good stuff: popcorn balls, caramel apples, enormous chocolate-chip cookies, and all of it homemade. There was a lot of candy, of course.  Too many Dum Dum lollipops and too few Tootsie Pops, an overabundance of Mary Janes and Necco Wafers and an insufficient supply of…

Book # 19 in 2018: “Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore” by Matthew Sullivan

Posted May 20th, 2018
the Bright Ideas bookstore

The Bright Ideas Bookstore is named for the former lightbulb factory in a slowly gentrifying section of Denver, Colorado, its founders have transformed into a sort of bibliophile’s fortress. It provides a quiet and contemplative environment for its patrons, rather like an old-fashioned library; comradeship in arcane interests for staff and users alike; and, literally,…

Copper Pots and Dad

Posted July 17th, 2016
Copper Pots and Dad

Dinner time in Cleveland Heights was always a well-orchestrated event. Ma had dinner well in process by the time Dad arrived. My sister and I set the table. After dinner, while my mother wrangled my brother into bath and bed, my father washed the dishes, which is to say he washed and P and I…

The Last Day of Christmas

Posted December 29th, 2013
The Last Day of Christmas

How quickly we get from first to last. As I lay abed last night, contemplating the imminence of 2014 and anxious about what the New Year might bring, I thought about taking down the tree and packing away the decorations of the season. Then I fell asleep. When I awoke I said to My Dear…

The Dallas-Austin Axis 2: A Wild Food Chase

Posted January 18th, 2015
The Dallas-Austin Axis 2: A Wild Food Chase

You’d think finding a meal wouldn’t be all that hard. My Dear One keeps a small notebook for notes on restaurants he likes the looks of when those eateries are featured on one of the food programs on television. I take that list and poke around the various wikis like TripAdvisor. I include restaurants along…

WWI: Belle Skinner’s Passion

Posted October 26th, 2011
WWI: Belle Skinner’s Passion

The visitor’s guide to Hattonchâtel opens with a discussion of geology established 150 million years ago as rivers cut down through soft strata leaving limestone bluffs to tower over the plain, a perfect natural fortification and a position that provides gorgeous views to each of the compass points. Its “modern” history dates to the ninth…

Book #2 in 2018: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Posted January 4th, 2018
Book #2 in 2018: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

I had read David Grann’s article in The New Yorker, “The Marked Woman,” last March so the outlines of this appalling story were familiar to me.  The completed book, however, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Doubleday, 2017), includes a dark coda that reminds us that all…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…

Christmas Letter 2015

Posted December 29th, 2015
Christmas Letter 2015

Dearest all, whoever and wherever you may be: Newscasts from Paris in November would cut to Brussels and all we could think was, “We were just there in April.” We recognized streets, buildings, monuments. We thought about our little apartment on rue Potagère (Warmoesstraat) in Saint-Josse not far from the Botanical Garden, our Halal butcher…

The Sounds of Almost Music

Posted July 14th, 2011
The Sounds of Almost Music

I remember playing the guitar as a teenager. I don’t know where it came from. Had my mother bought it? During her lengthy residence at McLean Hospital, several members of the Taylor family, most notably James, and Ray Charles all sought refuge there. She became quite the authority on music in the 1960s. I am…