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two fish tiles, each 7,2 x 14,4 cm, from a set of three, made by firma wessel ,ca.1900
from the collection of christian-albrecht gollub
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march 28, 2018
it's been a while. today gus, the perfect dog, left us to be with sophie, ernie, mimi, and

june 17, 2011
cleo, the last of the jack russells and a dear, sweet child, may you rest in peace. you
brought joy to our lives.

january 31, 2011
my mother died today.

may 2, 2010
ernie, my little boy, rest in peace

september 20, 2007
sophie, the first of the jack russells and mother of mimi, cleo, and spot, may you rest in

june 28, 2006
a month ago today ....

may 28, 2006
mimi, daughter of sophie and our sweet little girl, may you rest in peace.  mimi was able to
smile from the tip of her wet nose to the tip of her constantly wagging tail and always
brought a smile to our faces.

march 20, 2006
a very special happy birthday to the talented, lovely, terribly charming, and always
amusing miss viola diva.

february 8, 2006
hey, jeanette, how's it going? when are we going to get together with natalie?

february 7, 2006
hey, natalie, how's it going? when are we going to get together with jeanette?

january 23, 2006
When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal With Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound
 by Jan Yager, available at, is a great read,  and i highly recommend it.  
make sure you have it with you when you're sitting on an airport bench all night long
because there were no hotel rooms to be had and because your "friend" couldn't be
bothered to come and get you.

september 26, 2005
in an email of september 24th nentsi of switzerland writes, "I keep checking your blog, but
there's no new news. What is the new news?" this tells me that someone is actually reading
my blog and is expecting updates.  lordy, the pressure! all i know is: don adams died.
that's the new news for now.

september 23, 2005
well, folks, bus riley's back in town, and autumn will be heating up.  you have been
warned! (or is that warmed?)  by the way, michael parks rules. does anyone out there even
know who michael parks is?

august 3, 2005
if you think everything is moving forward according to plan, then you haven't been paying

july 15, 2005
i fully agree with michele cooper: this site lacks garlic and red pepper. perhaps this fall
we'll be able to spice it up a tad. until then i'll leave you wondering who michele cooper is.
if you don't know, then you've never had a literary lunch cum programming pow-wow at
the ocean's edge in newport. michele tells me that she's considering a web site of her own.
if she actually pursues the idea, i'll create a link, and you'll be able to find out more
about her.  in the meantime, acquire a book by herbert woodward martin and bask in the
brilliance of his language. trust me -- it will all become clear very soon ...

june 21, 2005
i try to take life just one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once.
happy first day of summer. i think.

june 20, 2005
does peggy know i'm thinking of her?

may 29, 2005
a most splendid birthday to my rellies gabi in berlin and lisa in california. on my list of
favorite relatives, they're way at the top!
i recently saw gabi at paul's birthday and our family reunion. i haven't seen lisa in ... well,
it's been entirely too long! how about it, lisa? we need to get together for a good, long
visit. all the best for the coming year to both of you. let's talk soon.
hey, lilo weingant, it's your birthday as well. where are you, and why aren't we in touch? in
case you read this, at least you'll know i'm thinking of you. have a happy!

may 27, 2005
this friday's shout-out goes to claudia blank and irene dieckmann, both of whom are
celebrating a birthday today.  claudia and irene, may all of your wishes come true! keep in
touch ...

may 26, 2005
okay, i'll admit it: i watched the finale of
american idol  last night.  a bland blond country
chirper from oklahoma won.  a long-haired rocker from alabama came in second. although
millions of people supposedly call in to vote for their favorite singer, nobody in my circle
of friends admits to
idol  fandom.  who then is making these millions of calls?  and who
voted for carrie, the blond chirper, i.e., the new american idol?  i would not have voted for
her.  reason: she's hit or miss in the carry-a-tune department, and she has about as much
personality as my left shoe. she sang a duet with country group rascal flatts' singer Gary
LeVox (yes, that is indeed his name -- shades of russell watson?).  it was vaguely pleasant
... if you didn't look at gary.  sitting beside carrie, he came across as tired and appeared
paunchy, bloated, and old.  most likely in an effort to project a younger and rad image,
he had combed his hair using an electric outlet.  definitely a case of mousse abuse! the
man did not look happy at all.  because he had to share the stage with carrie?  who
knows. who cares.
at the end of the program, after carrie was announced as the winner,  she sang her
soon-to-be-released smash single "inside your heaven."  can we say out of tune and all
over the map? maybe she was nervous. maybe she was having a moment. but it was awful,
truly awful. and it had been equally awful (at least she's consistent) the night before, the
first time carrie had massacred the song. (oops, britney, i did it again! i'm admitting that i
watched the penultimate
idol show as well; oh well, nobody's perfect. right, carrie?) on
that previous night america got to decide and to vote for the winner. apparently people
can't hear straight. are they are blinded (deafened?) by the blandness? i guess so.  inside
your heaven? inside whose heaven? not mine. that's one cd i won't be buying.
take pleasure!

may 11, 2005
after spending much of april and the beginning of may in transit, i have finally returned
home to unpack and to regroup.
last eve i sat in front of the television in an effort to numb my senses. the programs i
watched proved tedious (what a surprise). of greatest interest was an anti-smoking
commercial with a mouthy teen spouting platitudes about second-hand smoke in
restaurants. at the tail end of the commercial a tag line appeared on the screen,
something to the effect of:  
"a smoking section in a restaurant is like a peeing section in a swimming pool."  
how true but ... oy!

march 28, 2005
this evening i spoke with katherine ott,  the author of
fevered lives and a friend of many
years, who is excessively clever
and very learned.  katherine works at the smithsonian in washington, d.c., and is currently
putting the finishing touches
on an exhibition that she curated which marks the 50th anniversary of jonas salk's polio
vaccine.  to find out more
about the exhibition -- it officially opens on april 12, 2005 -- go to
katherine is brilliant.  i am certain the exhibition will reflect her talent and her intellect.
today is also my mother's birthday. such timing (see march 26, above).

march 26, 2005
two years ago today my father died. how time flies. and i haven't even been having fun.

march 18, 2005
this friday's shout-out goes to deb and alan steytler, two friends i don't see nearly often
enough. deb is a talented artist and teacher, alan a management consultant with an
impressive list of clients.  last saturday deb, alan, and i went to a local turkish restaurant
for an amusing eve of food and chat.  to find out more about them and what they do,
check out their web site at
deb and alan are fun and clever folk.  if you have a chance, you should get to know them
and their work.

march 9, 2005
today on the evening news, mark johnson, our local weather rube, stated: "like a good
depend, we're going to try and keep you dry tomorrow."  little did i know that we have a
stand up comedian as a weather person.  so maybe next year he can host the oscars?  he
couldn't be any worse than chris rock.

march 7, 2005
does somebody out there know something about me that i don't know?  the only -- and i
mean only!  -- junk email i get is for watches.  someone named josephine just sent me the
following email:   "I desire to render you utterly unexampled model of Zenith
wrist-watches.  Unique offer for you. Travel my website.  I offer fantabulous prices and
multitude of tradenames in sight, for instance Zenith, Vacheron Constantin and
Cartier."  i'd love to write back,  to correct her grammar and punctuation, and to adjust
her style and word choice, but maybe she's a friend of the grocery store cashier, and we
know that relationship has only just begun ... thank you, karen carpenter!
btw, i don't even wear watches, so why is josephine offering to sell me one?  i don't buy
what i don't wear.  besides, watches are highly overrated.  who needs them?  clocks are
everywhere.  every room in my house has at least one clock somewhere.  my computer and
my cell phone tell time.  why wear something totally superfluous that leaves a white stripe
on your wrist?  and if you're going to pawn fake designer watches via email, get a better
name than josephine.  then again, i did tell zephyr that my name was joe.

february 24, 2005
please explain to me why i always find the strange ones.  or perhaps i should say why
they find me!??!  yesterday at the supermarket -- the name of which will remain unwritten
(no free advertising here!) -- i encountered chatty cathy at the checkout.  as i was loading
my groceries onto the conveyor belt, i noticed that this particular cashier was gabbing
non-stop with the customers ahead of me.  based on her comments and their responses,  
i assumed she knew them.  how wrong was i?  wrong!  when my turn finally came, she said,
"and how are you today?" the way she phrased it, the way she emphasized the are, both
implied that we knew one another.  believe me when i tell you that i'd never seen this
woman before in my life, so the cosy verbal  intimacy while she fondled my instant oatmeal
struck me as misplaced and misdirected.  
in response to her query i said, "just fine. and how are you?" i stressed the you, not the
are.  variety, spice of life, you know what i'm talking, right?
"oh, i'm blessed," she said.
based on recent experience and without skipping a beat i said, "you'd probably be even
more blessed if you were at home
and not here ... "
"oh, noooooooooooooooooooooooo," she said. "i loooooooooove it here. i wouldn't want
to be anywhere else right now." all the while she zipped the product bar codes across the
scanner and placed my groceries ever so gently into the shopping cart. (this should give
you some clue as to the store, but i'm still not giving you the name.) "i know i know you,"
she continued, "but tell me your name again." she scanned a box of tissues and popped
them into the cart.
"joe, " i said.  
"you sure about that?" she asked. "i don't remember your name being joe.  you don't look
like a joe."
"well, actually, it's joseph." two seconds, two lies! why did i feel compelled to lie to this
women?  then again, who was she to get chummy with me at the grocery store?
"my name is zephyr," she said. "but i'm sure you remember that from last time." she
tapped her name tag. i looked at it, and plain as day it said
hello i'm dreama. dreama?
what kind of name is dreama? then again, what kind of name is zephyr?
next time somebody asks me my name, i'll make up something more imaginative. nothing
against the name joe, but it can't possibly compare with zephyr. or dreama. don't you

february 18, 2005
friday's shout-out:  today i'm sending a shout-out to my friends nancy and urs in
switzerland.  they're good people, and i thought i'd take this opportunity to tell them how
much i appreciate their friendship.  hey, nancy!  hey, urs!  people like you don't come
around very often.  would that the world had more of you!

february 15, 2005
if you haven't looked at yesterday's entry, you might want to read it before you continue
with today's bit of wisdom.  same friend, new day, thoughtful message:  "i fear the
universe is going to give up on me soon..... then where would i go?"

february 14, 2005
today, on valentine's day, a dear friend sent me the following statement:
"i feel the universe is trying to tell me something, and i'm just not getting it."
to protect the innocent -- or not, depending on your definition of innocent -- i'll not
mention her name, but she knows who she is!  (let's just say she spent the weekend in
p-town and couldn't find fat jacks!)  her remark caused me to laugh out loud, and i
immediately felt a bumper sticker coming on.  so rarely do we laugh out loud at the
silliness of it all.  if we did so more often, perhaps we'd know what the universe were
trying to tell us.

february 11, 2005
death of a playwright
today i read that arthur miller died yesterday at the age of 89.  his death affected me
personally and brought back a wealth of memories.  in august of 1975 i had the
opportunity to interview mr. miller and found him to be personable and enjoyable.  at his
home in roxbury, connecticut, we sat around his kitchen table while he ate (although he
offered me lunch, in the presence of a legend i wasn't very hungry).  i'm sure he'd been
asked the same old same old countless times,  but he allowed me to tape our conversation
and responded to my questions as if he'd never heard them before in his life.  he was
most cordial and forthcoming.  although we spoke about numerous aspects of his work,
our focus was his highly underrated and much maligned play
the creation of the world
and other business
(1972), a humorous and clever look at the story of genesis.  my
interview with mr. miller was subsequently published in the spring 1977 issue of
quarterly review
and is now even available online or in matthew roudané's conversations
with arthur miller
(university of mississippi press).  i also met mr. miller's wife, the
photographer inge morath, and they signed some of the books they'd worked on
together.  what a day then, what a day today.........  

february 8, 2005
"have a good one!"
"catch ya later!"
these days platitudinal farewells are so overused that nobody listens to them anymore,
but yesterday i had an ear-awakening experience at the post office.  after i took my
receipt from the friendly and helpful postal employee, i mumbled the inevitable "thanks.
have a nice day" and was ready to shuffle off to buffalo.  pathetic and pedestrian, right?  
i'll admit it.
a big set of perfect teeth smiled and replied, "take pleasure!"   yes, i even heard the
exclamation point.  she had quite clearly issued an imperative. "take pleasure!"  
i stopped and countered, "i will!"  also with an exclamation point.  i turned on my heel and
strode toward the exit.  a cape would have been effective at this point, but i wasn't
wearing one.  on my way to the parking lot i thought about what she had said.  take
pleasure?  take pleasure in what?  i felt like going back and asking for a more precise
context.  what exactly did she mean by her command?  any suggestions?   take pleasure!  
sounds good, no?  sounds, well, pleasurable.   i wondered -- when was the last time she
had "taken pleasure?" and what was it that she had taken pleasure in?  or with?  next time
i'll ask.  maybe.  (okay, okay, i won't ask. it's just like the cape idea. even if i had been
wearing one, i wouldn't have pulled a zorro. i can dream, can't i?)
you really should give her "take pleasure!" a try sometime.  i haven't had the nerve.  yet.  if
you use it, let me know what happens, let me know the response.
whenever we get a non-conformist farewell -- which so rarely happens, right? -- we stop
and think.  today the cashier at one of those big box stores sent me on my way with a
flimsy blue plastic bag and a "be blessed."  no exclamation point.  just a plain old "be
blessed."  i stopped briefly.  had i misunderstood?  had i sneezed and not noticed?  what
does one say to that?  yes, bless you as well ...  or thank you ...  i smiled and said nothing.  
he had gone the extra mile and delivered the unexpected, but he had left out the
exclamation point.  he had probably sized me up as one of those banal farewellers who
couldn't handle the additional burden of histrionic punctuation.  i should have told him to
stop by the post office.  after all, that's where i was headed.
until we read again, take pleasure!
                               my  5¢