Sunday, January 31, 2021

7th Day Surprise: Do you get it?


And sadly, some of us never learn our lesson.

Saturday, January 30, 2021


Half & Half
If you're like me then you're a quivering
mass of extremes. All of which are kept
in balance by whoever is patient enough
to share their lives with you. Inevitably
yin and yang are diametrically opposed.
Most of us attempt to somehow balance
our individual dichotomies. Some might
consider frequent flip flops indecisive.
Yet swinging both ways enables one to
enjoy the best of both worlds. Which is
why it's a mistake of label others based
on face value. When in reality, it might
be wise for us all to turn the other cheek.
Runs hot and cold
As you may recall, Frank's nickname for me
is "two temp." In other words my individual
climactic control is anything but temperate.
Depending on whatever I'm either boiling or
freezing. Which inevitably requires adding
or removing multiple garment layers. Hence
when it comes to our home - I also tend to
run in extremes. During the winter we keep
the thermostat at the mid seventies. Whereas
when we lived in Dallas the air-conditioning
was set at sixty five and we wore sweaters.
Which confirms that I'm only comfortable
when I'm in full control of my environment!
A cut above
If anything I am a man of strong opinions.
One of my strongest suits has always been
what some define as a taste level. Deep in
my gut I can instantly discern what is right
or wrong aesthetically. Given this skill -
most of my career was spent saying yes
and no. Or to be honest, picking the best
of the litter. Within said selective realm
there is no room for mediocrity. Especially
when it comes to interior decorating. So
while that golden oak sideboard from great
granny has sentimental value - it's NOT
going into the room but on to storage.
Boys & Girls Club
Given I'm naturally attracted to those of the
male persuasion one may assume that I don't
like the ladies. Nothing could be more wrong
given my nearest and dearest friends are girls.
For many reasons I tend to consider females
the more attractive of the sexes. That is at
least when it comes to building long lasting
relationships. Whereas beyond Frank - my
one and only - I have few other boy friends.
In part that may be due to sexuality. Given
recent controversy, many men struggle with
separating co-workers from fuck buddies.
So why temp fate? Let's hear it for the girls!
Off track vetting
Each of us is an amalgam of extremes. We
all make mistakes and fortunately some of
us actually learn from them. While life is
never easy, every high and low fuels our
future steps. However in order to get from
here to there one must start from ground
zero. Next we have a choice as to where
we go from there. Along the way there are
detours. Or it could get bumpy. One might
even have an accident. Yet in the end we
ultimately reach our final destination. The
key to happiness is balancing our past,
present, and future. Better late than never!

Friday, January 29, 2021


Creative services
For most of my life one of my favorite haunts
has been the Cafe des Artistes. Located at One
West 67th just off the park. Said affinity being
not for the amazing Howard Chandler Christy
murals of nubile lasses alone. But because it
was one of only spots where one could order
a steaming bowl of marrow bones. Back then
George Lang - a charming Czech owned the
joint. After his death it closed. Later to reopen
courtesy of the successful owners of another
favorite - Il Gattopardo. Thus before Covid 19
(and hopefully after) - The Leopard at des
Artistes continues to feed discerning souls.
Home sweet home
Since it's opening in 1917 - the Hotel des
Artistes has been an elegant yet bohemian
enclave on the upper westside. Designed as
seventeen floors of duplex artist studios it
immediately attracted generations of artists,
innovators, and performers. Who came and
went as fortune would have it. Hence it's no
surprise that the cafe's murals were created
to pay off one resident, Mr. Christy's bar tab.
Recently a new book was published which
chronicles all of its famous residents. One
who I was lucky enough to know. Robert
Baranet. Artist, bon vivant, and charmer.
Picture this
"Barry" earned his living painting portraits
of celebrities, society divas, and politicians.
His studio in the Hotel des Artistes allowed
them to come and go as they pleased. Plus
it was convenient to his Connecticut home.
For years his clients, family, and friends all
frequented said elegant digs. Including his
young daughter who occasionally ordered
room service and a bottle of Dom Perignon.
from the cafe downstairs. To this day the
Hotel des Artistes is home to an amazing
melange of simply fascinating people. And
now that legacy is recorded for posterity.
Artistic license
Author Robert Hudovernik first learned of
the Hotel des Artistes while he was writing
a book about photographer Alfred Cheney
Johnston. There in his studio he shot many
Ziegfeld girls and jazz age beauties. Further
research led Robert to discover a century of
residents. An amazing array of America's
brightest creative leaders. Along with a few
ghosts along the way. Not only is said tome
a good read - it's an inspiring homage to an
architectural and cultural icon. So even if
we can't go home right now, we can travel
there vicariously as we read all about it. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021


Going to pot
Recently I was digging through the depths of
our deep freeze when I came across a forgotten
"arm roast." Having rarely if never cooked such
a cut, I consulted with Julia Child and assorted
experts for advice. The culmination of which
was the admonition "slow it down." Giving me
free reign to do what I do best which is braising.
Nothing draws out flavor like drawing out the
cooking process. Hence tonight after five hours
at three hundred we'll dine upon a tender yet
economical feast. Which is more than proof that
the best comes to those who wait. Or even better
yet - that in fact patiences makes PERFECT.
You're getting warmer...
We're all so busy these days. Hence we don't
take the time to smell the roses. Or invest an
proper amount of time and planning needed
to prepare delicious meals. It's tough enough
to remember to defrost something let alone
plop it in a crock pot at dawn. Yet if one just
takes some time-  invests a bit of effort - the
rewards far outweigh any forethought. I'm
at the point in life where I'm willing to defer
gratification ONLY if it's worth the wait. And
at least in the case of many culinary pursuits -
instant gratification rarely matches the joy of
a proper and lengthy investment of time.
The soupçon
Sometimes one must put off the inevitable.
Consider homemade soup. One can't argue
that it's better the day after. Mostly because
a lengthy span of commingling brings out
the best in everything. In my opinion the
same applies to pasta sauce. I'm as guilty
as the next speed demon in doctoring up
the jarred variety - But it's still even better
after twenty four hour hours in the fridge.
Just like the French classic Coq au Vin.
Only a fool serves said dish on the same
day as preparation. That's because magic
happens when you push the pause button!
Free as a bird
Given I'm a control freak - I avoid compromise.
Especially when it comes to flavor. My natural
inclination is to go for the long haul. The French
give their pot roast a bath in a bottle or two of
red wine for days before. Then braise it. The end
result being a decadently rich slab of protein that
has a depth of flavor only time can provide. The
tough job is planning ahead in order to yield the
best results. In the case of chicken, I find that it's
best to let your bird hang out before you pop it in
the oven. So early the morning of, I strip it down
and let it chill naked for a few hours in the fridge.
In the end I assure you... a dry bird roasts better!
Easy does it
The majority of quick fixes simply cannot
compare to a long term investment. When
caught in a bind - adding something old to
the new can enhance the outcome. That's
why I keep a supply of homemade beef
and chicken stock on hand in the freezer.
While said brew takes many hours to make
it's frozen incarnation instantly adds depth
to any dish. And while such things require
forethought - that doesn't mean they have
to take up too much of your precious time.
So why not think ahead? Invest the time
and effort that insures a successful meal.


Wednesday, January 27, 2021


Sixth sense
Ronnie was the sixth floor receptionist at the
MacMillan Publishing building on Sixth. A
redhead with a temper to match - she'd once
ruled the roost at the Copa, Stork, and Colony
clubs. Decades later she held sway over her
elevator bank with an iron fist. Her beehive
and six inch heels only adding to her stature.
As an intern "boy Friday" I regularly haunted
her premises. Soon we became friends while
I bided my time until the next car going up.
Ronnie sharing tidbits based on lessons she'd
learned from a life more than well spent. She
was not only entertaining but incredibly smart.
See you later
One day I was down in the dumps. Post being
ill treated by a mucky muck I shared my tale
of woe with big red. After patiently listening
she looked me up and down. "You want me to
tell you like it is kid? I nodded my head in the
affirmative and so she continued. "What goes
around comes around. But it never happens
when you want it to." Then she paused, smiled,
and said "Just remember that you never know
what goes on in their bedroom. Or... NOT."
Making her point by raising her pinkie and
wiggling it. A lifetime later I've found that
Ronnie was more than smart. She was right.
Southern exposure
Some have said that power corrupts. However
I beg to differ in that some fuel their zeal for
power out of weakness. Over compensating
for all that they lack. Like all bullies - they
enjoy inflicting pain on others. Yet ultimately
karma is if nothing else a vindictive bitch.
Lying in wait for the opportune moment to
set things straight. Said retribution's purpose
to return the disfavor that some freely spew.
And hopefully teach them a lesson or more.
Hence while some worry that a gentleman
in Palm Beach can still wreak havoc. Others
know that his time is yet to come. Patience!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


Here and now
Maybe it's me. But the older I get - the more I'm
certain that nirvana isn't as elusive as one might
think. Can there really be just one perfect spot?
A single point of fulfillment? The manifestation
of pure paradise seems futile to me. Sans pain
there is rarely gain. Hence I find that every day
is filled with moments of heaven. When time
stands still and all is good. This morning I took
out  the trash. Stopping to take in a deep breath
of the fresh winter air. Basking in the sunlight
beneath a crystal blue Montana sky. Now if that
isn't nirvana then I don't know what is. Could it
be that heaven is within reach on a daily basis?
Hope springs eternal
The truth is that throughout each day there are
moments of glory. When it all seems right. Like
the thrill I get each morning when I look over
to find Frank at my side. Or the random video
chat with my teenaged grand daughter. Both
proof that there must be a God who balances
life's bad and good. Proof that life itself is just
a balancing act. One in which we deftly adapt
to whatever comes our way. The yin and yang
of such things provides impetus to keep going.
Offering glimpses of paradise. Enough to tide
us over when life itself is hell on earth. Subtle
assurance that ultimately things will get better.
Golden opportunity
In her later years my Mother was all gloom
and doom. Angry over the challenges she
faced as my Dad sunk into Alzheimer's hell.
Finally after years of fighting she accepted
the inevitable. In her beloved's final hours
she climbed into his hospital bed and held
him. Drifting off to sleep. Then suddenly
Dad's belabored breathing became quietly
calm. Soon thereafter the room filled with
what can only be considered a golden glow.
And suddenly in our darkest hour I saw the
light. Which made saying goodbye all the 
easier. That day we saw heaven on earth.

Monday, January 25, 2021


Just one of those dreamers
It's rare that I can't think of something to opine
about. Yet post changes in Washington I've lost
my frequent source of fodder for any stream of
consciousness. Hence nothing exciting, hurtful,
or of interest to share. Which is exactly what
I dreamed of. But as the trusted adage suggests
one must be careful what they wish for because
it just might happen. In my case - the calm post
Trump's storm forces me to now take a step or
two back. To a time when I enjoyed life rather
than worried that stress was going to kill me. 
So as always... change is good. And all that we
hope and dream almost always comes true.

What's new?
They say you can't go back Yet sans the endless
drama of Trump's administration - CNN holds
little allure. Therefore I find myself reverting to
life as it was five years ago. When I rarely tuned
into the news. Focusing instead on the Style,
Real Estate, Arts, and Obits sections in the NY
Times. Things that not only interested but also
gave me pleasure. So in essence I'm becoming
to the man I once was. A bit older and wiser -
but I can't help but wonder what I will do with
myself. Along with whether all of my political
angst was for naught. Did I just waste a chunk
of my life on a painful exercise in futility ?
My just desserts?
Ultimately I had to learn my lesson the hard
way. Which is that time is precious. And that
life is what we make of it. Hence from now
on I plan to live and let live. So rather than
attempt to fight the world, I'm going to focus
on my tiny sphere of influence. To tell the truth
I should have known better. In that in the end
the only thing one can control is themselves.
Now I've come full circle. Which means I'm
calling the shots. The only question is whether
I polish the silver, bake a cake, or take a nap.
Obviously all of the above won't cure cancer.
But they all make me very happy. Imagine that.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

7th Day Surprise: NOTHING

What's wrong?

While the above statement
obviously isn't true
our world sans Trump
makes me feel that way.

It's as if a veil has been lifted.
And suddenly
a new world is revealed.

Of course one might become
easily bored sans drama.

Obviously we still have
And many are struggling
because of it.

However simply having
our President acknowledge it's threat
makes it easier to deal with.

And so we go on.
And at least for now...
having no one to fuss about
feels quite glorious.