Sunday, January 22, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

message in a bottle


Imagine it is the 1930’s. 
You are a young German Jewish girl in your teens. 

The Nazi’s are coming.


There were half a million German Jews in 1933.

 

But legal repression and physical violence is increasing. 

Your parents are frightened.


Arrangements are attempted but America strictly enforced immigration back then. 

Crossing the border into France appeared the only option.

The Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935 making it nearly impossible to bring your money with you.


Then Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass in 1938 made clear you had to go.


Jews found themselves persecuted at home and unwanted abroad.

But some, like our young heroine Ellen Backer, 
made it safely into France.

She spent years growing up there, becoming slowly French, picking up the accent, and memorizing local French recipes.


By 1939 the remaining 200,000 Jews were rounded up, packed into trucks and murdered in concentration camps.


But Ellen made it safely to New York. I met her in 1978.


She introduced me to Bill Cunnningham at an artist party in her home on east 74th street.



She’s gone now, passed away.


But I loved her and I loved her kitchen,
and she loved me for that,
and she taught me everything I wanted to know.


I still make her salad dressing.

Funny how those we love so much can live on in oil and vinegar.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

and no doubt, a heart of gold


General Willliam Tecumseh Sherman died in 1891,
5 years after our ClockTower was built.


He left the legacy of a fearless and fearsome leader of Union troops, taking over our military after General Ulysses S. Grant was elected president.


Famous for his “scorched earth” war campaigns, his brutality earned him this statue at 59th and Fifth since 1903.


It’s gold leaf over a large bronze casting,
by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.


Sherman was wounded twice in battle,
and had 3 horses shot out from under him.


The woman before him represents victory.

The palm branch in her left hand represents peace.


Not that Sherman cared about peace all that much.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2:46 of why Sammy Davis Jr. was the bomb


Bally’s Casino Resort in Las Vegas October 1988

What kind of fool am I
Who never fell in love?
It seems that I'm the only one
That I have been thinking of.

What kind of man is this
That would not see?
What could be seen by everybody else but me?

What kind of lips are these
That lied with every kiss?
That whispered empty words of love
That’s left me alone like this?

Why can't I fall in love
Like any other man…
And maybe then I'll know what kind of fool I am.

What kind of (violins enter) clown am I? (horns enter)
What do I know of life?
Why can’t I cast away the mask of pain and live my life?

Why. Can’t. I.  fall in love?
Till I don’t give a damn.

And maybe then I’ll know what kind of fool I am.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

not mutually exclusive


A pointless fight with John Lewis has led to our Congressman annnouncing he will sit out the inauguration.


“Joe Pepper” is a political bulwark in our 15th District. 

For 27 years José Serrano has been reelected with never less than 92% of our vote.

When Trump screws up bigtime he may look smart
 and prescient and dignified.


But Trump will probably get some good stuff done, too.
So Serrano may in hindsight look peevish and small.


Both could be right.