Category: General

On The Erie Canal 3: The Saints That Guided Us

Posted August 26th, 2017
On The Erie Canal 3: The Saints That Guided Us

The more we travel, the longer our list of patron saints becomes. When our divinities—not all of whom, we believe, have made themselves known– bestow grace, we appreciate our good fortune. When they are cranky or generally feeling punitive, appeasement is not an option. Prominent among them are: Saint Accomode (not to be confused with…

On The Erie Canal 1: History, Boats and Changes

Posted August 21st, 2017
On The Erie Canal 1: History, Boats and Changes

I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal Fifteen years on the Erie Canal She’s a good old worker and a good old pal Fifteen years on the Erie Canal … Low bridge, everybody down Low bridge cause we’re coming to a town And you’ll always know your neighbor And you’ll always know…

The Mouth In The Oval Office: Boss Tweet

Posted July 5th, 2017
The Mouth In The Oval Office: Boss Tweet

As I write this, Donald John Trump has been President of the United States for 161 days—not quite 24 weeks. He has been, as he tweets it, “modern-day presidential.” I can’t even begin to parse that; obviously such presidential qualities as dignity, humanity and patriotism are utterly unknown to this Know-Nothing Nativist and portly, “short-fingered…

DISCARDED

Posted July 2nd, 2017
DISCARDED

In the course of making some point or other, I asked the high-school age students in my summer workshop what their favorite books were. Any book, I said, it could even be a picture book you read with your parents. Not one of the eight mentioned a book. Finally, a lad allowed as how a…

Based in Batignolles 6: Architecture and Arrondissements

Posted May 31st, 2017
Based in Batignolles 6: Architecture and Arrondissements

“Alistair Horne, Vivid War Historian and Onetime British Spy, Dies at 91.” The headline in today’s New York Times would have caught my eye any morning. Right now, however, I am up to page 306 of Horne’s Seven Ages of Paris, engrossed in his narrative of the years leading to World War I. It’s a wonderful…

Based in Batignolles 5: Same Dish, Different Preparation

Posted May 30th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 5: Same Dish, Different Preparation

We once taste-tested lobster rolls in Maine and coastal New Hampshire. Somewhat to our surprise, the most famous joint did not provide the best. A few days into this trip, we realized a similar project was underway. Having shoehorned ourselves out of those coach-class seats on American Airlines and fidgeted for two hours in gridlock…

Based in Batignolles 4: Love Locked Down

Posted May 19th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 4: Love Locked Down

The novelist Federico Mocci (b. 1963) published a story in 2006 called Ho Voglia di Te (“I want you”), some variation on the star-crossed lovers theme, in which a doomed pair affix a lock to the Milvian Bridge in the northern suburbs of Rome as a symbol of their eternal devotion, and toss the key…

Based in Batignolles 3: Beyond the Pale

Posted May 13th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 3: Beyond the Pale

Apparently, our neighborhood does not exist. Consult a tourist guide like Eyewitness Paris and there is an empty white space where one might expect to find Batignolles.  The teal-green blob of Montmartre floats in a void separate from the colors that identify the other quartiers of the city. There is the 8ème and not much of…

Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Posted May 10th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Gounod’s Faust was the first opera I ever saw, and I saw it at Palais Charles Garnier in Paris in March 1970. As we ascended the massive stair forty-eight years later, studied Marc Chagall’s rainbow of a ceiling and gazed out over the loggia outside the ornate Grand Foyer, it all came back. I was…

Based in Batignolles 1: A Good American

Posted May 9th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 1: A Good American

What good American doesn’t dream of a pied à terre in Paris, especially now that we have elected Donald Trump president, lying, ignorant bully that he is, and the French opted for the rational and articulate Emmanuel Macron over harridan of the Far Right, Marine Le Pen? Not that real estate is cheap. We perused…