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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Movie groupings. Group Three.

Harry and Tonto (1974), Larger than Life (1996), and Duck (2009) are grouped together because all feature older men with animal companions. Themes of loneliness, masculinity, aging, and a sense of place pervade all three films. 1. Art Carney (famous as Ed Norton on The Honeymooners) travels west with his orange tabby cat, Tonto, in Harry […]

Jack Kerouac and Jack Mormons at the Beatnik Cafe

It was an unassuming storefront with a killer name, Albion Beatnik Cafe, and an unassuming drizzly morning watched a couple of American drowned rats enter the premises. The Beatnik Cafe was the kind of place to peruse, pursue, and, hopefully, purchase for the pleasure of language. Our eyes swept the cubby shelves of literary wonders […]

Art, art, art, art, book

The artist on vacation is not necessarily constantly sketching. I’m not Jack Kerouac with his small notebook, pulling it out, writing it down, stuffing it back into a jeans pocket. Oh, artists observe all right, and we may take photos for future use. The Midlands of England have perhaps every single tint, shade, hue, and […]

Elliot Rodger, gaucho . . . and vengeful shooter

So his name was Elliot (not Elias) Rodger, and he was a junior at UCSB (mascot: the gaucho). I’m sure there will be interviews and comments coming from students and professors. Would his choice of major have given us any clues? Will Americans say, “At least he was a Brit and not one of us.” […]

Scraping off UCSB’s number 1 party school veneer yet again

My alma mater is in the news again. A few months ago is was a drunken fraternity “Deltopia” orgy of setting fires, overturning cars, and 100 arrests. This time, May 23, it’s mass murder. Elliot Rodger chose Isla Vista, the “student ghetto” west of the University of California Santa Barbara campus, as a target for […]

St. Pancras Station, Part 2. The statue.

Paul Day’s sculpture is big (over 29 feet tall). It’s garish (its hugeness doesn’t help). But let’s talk about public art. Give anyone anywhere anytime a chance to criticize art, and they will. I was at the Tate Britain yesterday, and there was some absolute schlock–terrible, miserable, ugly, huge misshapen blobs of grossness. But it […]

St. Pancras Station, Part 1. The pianos.

My small hotel in London is close to St. Pancras Station, which, together with King’s Cross Station, organizes certain trains, underground lines, and the Eurostar. Not St. Pancreas. If it were St. Pancreas, I might cross Euston Street everyday, bouquet in hand, to seek release from diabetes. But Pancras himself was a Roman who converted […]

Thelonius Monk and the polka dot scarf

First days in Paris, dazed in Latin Quarter sunshine That’s when I first noticed the polka dot scarf Wrapped around an elegant French neck An icy white background with orange, red, black, and navy spots Evoking the film star on location, the carefree woman I’d like to be. My son and I at a jazz […]

Amtrak, clickity clack

Green River Station. 7 AM Just down from Ray’s Tavern Padlocked, in hock, dry docked on Broadway Historic function mocked, doors locked, platform pocked with age and inattention Misery clocked year by year, maybe a beauty in its day A building now socked in the historical jaw. No place to sit except for a splintery […]

Looking for love in Moab

Part One. Looking for love in Moab is a little like trying to make a left turn on Main Street during Jeep Safari Week I’m sure it’s possible, doable, if you wait for the yellow or the red If you have your turn signal on and plenty of gas If everybody follows the rules and […]