Friday, October 31, 2008


A collection of things I loved this month.

: Dear Old Love (My younger self would have spent a considerable amount of time mooning around here. My present self still finds it irresistible.)

Book: THE RED LEATHER DIARY: RECLAIMING A LIFE THROUGH THE PAGES OF A LOST JOURNAL, Lily Koppel (I think I'll always be jealous that it was Koppel---and not I---who stumbled upon Florence Wolfson's wonderful chronicle of life in 1930s Manhattan, but I can't deny the book Koppel crafted from it is great.)

Song: "Beloved One," Ben Harper (Our good friend Alex---that's him in the linked clip---performed this at our wedding. He's ruined it for me now, but in the best possible way.)

Poem: "I'm Perfect At Feelings," Brenda Shaughnessy (From her second book, HUMAN DARK WITH SUGAR. The last two stanzas wreck me completely.)

Image: "My Love(ly)" (There's a line in Nancy Garden's classic novel ANNIE ON MIND that's always made me think of Audra: "[H]er eyes had a special, soft look in them I've never seen in anyone but Annie's, and only in Annie's when she looked at me." This photo captures that gaze exactly---that immensely warm, immensely fond, immensely tender gaze.)

TV show: Mad Men (We don't have cable, so I wasn't ever able to catch an episode of this terrific, award-winning show until the final night of our honeymoon. When I finally was able to see it, I became instantly infatuated. We're now working our way through the first season on DVD.)

Movie: Soldiers of Conscience (This documentary about veterans of the Iraq war who chose---while still on active duty---not to engage in combat helps to renew my faith in humanity.)

Product: "Berries Necklace," created by Julie Joliat of Puffluna (I wore this gorgeous, understated piece with my wedding dress and got many, many compliments on it. If I could buy every single thing for sale in Julie's Etsy shop, I would---some I'd give away, and some I'd keep.)

Restaurant: The Painted Lady Café (Two words: cinnamon chantilly.)

Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, via AllRecipes (I would have carved a hundred pumpkins if it allowed me to keep eating these.)


"[T]here are still plenty of people who will tell you that the most evil thing about Karl Marx was what he said about religion. He said it was the opium of the lower classes, as though he thought religion was bad for people, and he wanted to get rid of it.

"But when Marx said that, back in the 1840s, his use of the word "opium" wasn't simply metaphorical. Back then real opium was the only painkiller available, for toothaches or cancer of the throat, or whatever. He himself had used it.

"As a sincere friend of the downtrodden, he was saying he was glad they had something with which they could ease their pain at least a little bit, which was religion. He liked religion for doing that, and certainly didn't want to abolish it, OK?

"He might have said today as I say tonight, "Religion can be Tylenol for a lot of unhappy people, and I'm so glad it works." --- Kurt Vonnegut, ARRMAGEDDON IN RETROSPECT (Proving that one can still be outrageous and insightful, even in death.)

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