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[personal profile] mallorys_camera


This house.

Hideous, isn’t it?

Of course, it’s a Livingston mansion.

Well.

Sort of a Livingston mansion: It dates back to the late 1800s, a renaissance period for truly hideous Gothic architecture. It replaced a Livingston mansion called Massena, built in the late 18th century, that was renowned for its classical lines.

Massena was acquired by someone called John Lloyd Aspinwall who had no genealogical connection whatsoever to the Livingstons. Mrs John Lloyd Aspinwall ordered up the replacement. When she saw it for the first time, she hated it so much that she fled to Europe, never again to return to American shores.

I stumbled across the house on my Steely Dan nostalgia tour of Barrytown yesterday.

###

Barrytown is a deeply weird place.

After hiking for an hour or so around the grounds of Massena – which is now owned by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church (talk about deeply weird), I drove slowly down Barrytown’s main drag. Past decrepit 18th century houses that would not look out of place in some horror movie about swamp monsters in the bayou except that Bard students were sitting on their crumbling porches.

Then I saw this red brick early 19th century Federal-style house with a big sign – For Sale By Owner – and thought: Valerie! In case the Bennet Road property doesn’t work out. I got out to take pictures of the property:



And I decided to explore.

I walked down along a bend in the road, past the Red Hook marina – small; unprepossessing – and came to a series of tall box hedges with a gate. The gate was open, and through it, I glimpsed a table set with a white linen cloth, bowls of vividly hued dahlias and glittering brass objets d’arte

How could I resist?

I walked through the gates, and…

OhmyGAWD!

Edgewater!

This was Edgewater!

Gore Vidal’s old Hudson River Estate!

I’ve been trying to find Edgewater for ages and ages and ages!

Gore Vidal sold the house in 1969 after losing a race for the 29th Congressional District in New York. In public, he shrugged the loss off, but clearly it rankled since it precipitated his flight to Europe. Just like Mrs. John Lloyd Aspinwall before him!

Close friends Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward maintained that it was this move that caused Gore Vidal’s life to fall apart, and I can see it: The magical terroir in these parts is very strong and very… protective.

Some garden party was going on at Edgewater, a lot of men in suits and ties, a sprinkling of women in cocktail dresses.

I, of course, dress like a bag lady on practically all occasions so there was no question of trying to blend in with the crowd and cop free alcohol.

I just stood there and gaped
.
Nobody noticed me. Or everybody pretended not to notice me.

I felt a little bit like Rip Van Winkle stumbling into the magical dwarves’ bowling party.

After a minute or so, I stumbled out.

Edgewater is another Livingston mansion. Built in the 1860s or so by the original owner of Massena as a wedding gift for his daughter.

Architectural trends in the 1860s were far superior to what they would become 30 years later:



Railroad tracks run almost parallel to the property. While I was standing there, an Amtrak train went by.

And it dawns on me that the real reason why millionaires may have stopped building Big Old Houses in the Hudson Valley and started building them instead on Long Island has much more to do with the construction of that railroad track than any preference for the island. Who wants those types of disruptions at their cocktail parties?
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
But honestly, I'm not sure I want to. It's harder to cut felt than I realized!

(Is "logo" the right word? Should I say "sigil" or "symbol" or "shield"?)

********************


The Bad Hair, Incorrect Feathering, and Missing Skin Flaps of Dinosaur Art

When growing their penises for the season, ducks bend to social pressure

The Hobbit Was Almost Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Growing Up Neanderthal

The Banned 1910s Magazine That Started a Feminist Movement in Japan

Millions of new genes in human microbiome

Present-Day Devices as Props

These jellyfish don’t have brains, but still somehow seem to sleep

The mysterious group that’s picking Breitbart apart, one tweet at a time

Getting emotional after failure helps you improve next time, study finds (Who'da thunkit?)

Gene editing of human embryos in UK reveals new fertility clue

How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food

Women Are Spending Years In Prison Because Wyoming Won’t Let Them Into Its All-Male Boot Camp

Views among college students regarding the First Amendment: Results from a new survey

How Canada has been secretly giving asylum to gay people in Chechnya fleeing persecution

Thousands gather to protest arrests over Catalonian vote

Spain to send extra police to try to halt Catalan referendum

Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (but Don’t Know It)

Lightning storms triggered by exhaust from cargo ships

Washington Just Sued a Giant Private Prison Company for Paying Immigrant Workers $1 Per Day

These Women Are the Last Thing Standing Between You and Nuclear War

In Battle Over Tax Cuts, It’s Republicans vs. Economists

174 Television Stations Are Being Forced To Air Trump Propaganda Disguised As News

Some forcibly arrested in St. Louis weren't protesting

'Repeal and Go Fuck Yourself' Is in Full Effect

How a federal agent got away with terrorizing his Brazilian ex-girlfriend — even as she repeatedly begged the US government to stop him.

Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For

Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far (Wow. And yet, so not surprising....)

Too late, China and America see North Korea the same way
Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:35 pm

Too hot

flemmings: (Default)
[personal profile] flemmings
Had a lymph drainage massage today. Made me overwhelmingly sleepy.

In light of the recent additions to the Points series, I now find the Marlowe sections of The Armor of Light much more Astreianty than before. Not exactly a sketch for Eslingen, but a less positive version of same.
Tags:
Sep. 26th, 2017 01:18 pm

As always, my reach exceeds my grasp

conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I spent an inordinate amount of time arduously sewing together a Batman logo - only to find at the end that I'd miscentered it!

Welp, it's for a pre-k student, I'm not redoing it. He'll neither notice nor care.

****************


Leather, Grown in a Lab Without Cows

These hermit crabs shack up inside living coral instead of mere shells

The Split Pants That Are China’s Alternative to Diapers

Children of today are better at delaying gratification than previous generations

A Brainless Slime That Shares Memories by Fusing

Hot chicken was the Prince family legacy — then Nashville transformed it into an icon, and now everybody wants a piece

Ultra-light aluminum: Chemists report breakthrough in material design

'Family Matters' House Will Be Demolished, Replaced With Condos

How Books Designed for Soldiers’ Pockets Changed Publishing Forever

Why Did India Have Ten Million Fewer Childhood Deaths Than Predicted?

By ganging up, HIV antibodies may defeat the virus

Conversions From Islam in Europe and Beyond

Black, Jewish And Avoiding The Synagogue On The High Holy Days

Earthquakes are even harder to predict than we thought

Mexico City’s People Power

Broad swath of US deemed environmentally suitable for mosquitoes that transmit disease

Why Wages Aren’t Growing

Governments turn tables by suing public records requesters

4 Disabled People Dead in Another Week of Police Brutality

The Persistent, Wide Racial Gap in Attitudes Toward the Police

Federal government notifies 21 states of election hacking

Trump's 'election integrity' group is waging war on the right to vote

Puerto Rico Puts Its Prisons Near Flood Zones. After Hurricane Maria, thousands of families await news. (Seriously, look at that map!)

Failing dam creates new crisis on Puerto Rico amid flooding from Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico's power system is "basically destroyed", the US Virgin Islands are under a 24 hour curfew

Why Do Border Deaths Persist When the Number of Border Crossings Is Falling?

Border Patrol Arrests Parents While Infant Awaits Serious Operation

The Economic Costs of Domestic Violence

Thousands rally in Philippines, warn of Duterte 'dictatorship'

For Decades, Nazis Have Been Germany's Shame. But Is That About To Change?

Southeast Asia's Rohingya Refugee Crisis Reaches a Terrible Peak (Photos)
Sep. 23rd, 2017 05:03 pm

The rain hath rainedeth every day

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

But nonetheless there has been sightseeing.

I already mentioned Rynek Underground.

The Mehoffer House, which is an artist's house, pehaps more interesting for the interiors than the art, but with an ace cafe, the Meho Cafe.

The National Museum - there are lots of branches, we went to the main building, which seemed mostly arts and crafts + the Lady with the Ermine.

There is probably more to see than we saw at Wawel Hill, but we did the State Rooms and the Royal Private Apartments of the Royal Palace, and the cathedral. Must remark that dwelling in marble halls, or at least spending several hours walking/standing on floors of that substance, does my lower back thing no favours.

We did an organised tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mine: very impressive. (Much more spectacular than the one in Cheshire which is now an archive store.)

Today we went to Kazimierz, which on reflection, was not, being Saturday, the ideal day to do so - had intended going earlier in the week but ran out of time/energy.

There have also been visits to a number of churches, which after a while tend to run together - lotsa baroque.

Sep. 22nd, 2017 09:51 pm

Underground again

oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Which, given the weather - today was persistent drizzle rather than yesterday's chucking it relentlessly down - was a good idea. Salt mine, to be precise.

However, has been a long day - only just in from a Mahler concert - so any more detailed reports on touristic activities may follow at some later season.

mallorys_camera: (Default)
[personal profile] mallorys_camera
Dreamed that I was deeply, passionately in love with a brilliant architect, but he would never love me back because he was a dwarf, and at 5’10”, I was simply too tall.

I suppose the dream’s status detail is borrowed from the Celeste project, but it’s interesting the way it took something that many people, myself included, would view as an advantage, my height. And turned it into a disability.

###

I scraped yesterday’s English lesson with Samir in favor of helping him hammer out a business plan.

He seems bound and determined to transfer operations to New York City.

I think that plan is beyond awful, but I don’t get to make his decisions; I am but a tool for actualizing his goals, etcetera, ad nauseam.

“You know, there are an awful lot of people repairing phones in New York City,” I told him.

“Yes, but there are an awful lot of broken phones,” he said.

I suppose.

We sat in the library making up numbers:

Rent, New York City: $1500 for office; $1200 for living = $2700

Versus

Rent, Poughkeepsie: $1200 for office, $500 for living = $1700

Etcetera.

Samir, for whatever reason, is just bound and determined to have a physical address from which to run his smartphone repair empire.

I think that’s cray-zeee.

True, I know nothing about the commercial real estate market in New York City, but it seems to me that even if his rent guesstimate is correct – and I suspect it’s way low – it sticks him with a 12-month operational expense that would be a cement block around his neck if the business didn’t take off.

And he wants it to take off in three months.

Six months, Samir,” I said. “You want to have enough cash in reserve to tide you over for six months.”

“No, no, three months,” he said adamantly.

I think the ideal business model for him would be a mobile phone repair operation, which he could do in conjunction with his current admittedly awful job. (Not only is his current employer exploiting him, now his current employer is refusing to provide him with a reference! Because he doesn’t want to lose Samir!)

As the mobile repair biz gained traction, he could cut down on hours at the bad job.

He could do the repairs out of the back of his van. He could start off by parking the van three days a week alongside the Vassar campus.

(“But students,” said Samir. “They have no money.”

“Oh, trust me,” I said. “Vassar students have money.”)

He could paper the campus with fliers: Phone fixed while you wait! He could do the car wrap thing! Maybe his van could play a little jingle like an ice cream truck!

I sang the little jingle for him: “Oh, don’t you weep and don’t you moan, for Samir is here to fix your phone. La-la-la!”

Samir laughed.

“Really, you have to think in terms of your long-range plans, Samir,” I said.

Samir looked at his hands. “I want to marry my girlfriend. I want to bring her to the U.S. But, you know, in our culture, wives do not work. I do not want my wife to work. I want to make the house for her, and she will make me the home.”

Start-up costs for a mobile phone repair business should be considerably less than for a stationary phone repair business since he already has the tools he tells me, and presumably, word of mouth would be his chief marketing channel. So let’s say $5,000 for a van and another $1500 for a generator so he can sauter motherboards when necessary. If the business goes kaput, hey! he still has capital in the form of equipment that has some resale value.

I’m looking into crowd-sourcing platforms.

But how do I make Samir stand out from all those other worthy candidates vying for your Beneficent Bwana dollars?

###

First day of autumn. Wow! This summer went fast.

Hoping to drive to Barrytown and Annandale-on-Hudson this afternoon for a kind of Steely Dan nostalgia tour. But that will depend upon what my masters at the Scut Factory have in store for me.
Sep. 21st, 2017 06:57 pm

Better late than never

flemmings: (Default)
[personal profile] flemmings
So now we're having the summer weather we didn't get in July and August. Mellow warm clear days without a hint of rain, sun hot in the afternoon but not unbearable, cicadas singing out of season, nights what August would call cool- 16, 17- but I still use the window AC, even set at 20C. It's as much for the dryness as to avoidance allergens (bad year for those) as well as the skunk that has its sights set on being king of the block. Gratefully, I can afford this luxury because the property tax increase rebate came through to the tune of 750 dollars.

Can also afford dinner at Pauper's Pub, excellent meatloaf and a frozen margarita, out on the patio under the yellow and falling leaves of the pumpkin trees.

The Indian gardener's son has gone with grass on his front lawn. Foolish foolish Indian gardener's son. Look at your next-door's unavailing attempts to have greenery. Only one house on this street has decent grass, and bets are taken as to whether it's the real thing or an expensive kind of astroturf. Sensible people go with ground cover.

Last April's mouse was invisible except for the magically vanishing bait in the untipped tip-trap. No gnawed bread in the bread bag, no poo on the counters. But I always had a feeling that it was still around somewhere. And thus, when I carelessly left half an unpalatable green-tea mini-mooncake on the table last night, perhaps no surprise that I found much of it demolished this morning, accompanied by large (for a mouse) mouse turds. Tip-trap is now baited with mooncake, and we shall see if mouse has become any porkier since the spring.
Tags:
Sep. 21st, 2017 08:41 pm

Oh dearie me, this guy's got form

oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin

Back in 2008, Gandhian pilgrimage that ended at Calais.

And his present (surely it is the same guy) simple life agenda has crossed my horizon heretofore.

My dearios, I give you I live a healthier life now I’m free of the trappings of modernity.

O, lucky old you, a healthy bloke with sufficient resources to undertake this project and pontificate about it. You are not just lucky to be 'born without any serious long-term health issues' - this is due to various factors including maternal nutrition and antenatal care, vaccination against common childhood diseases (even if he didn't get these, and I bet he did, he would have benefitted from herd immunity), i.e. the benefits of modern medicine and sanitation.

Also, I have no time whatsoever for anyone who dismisses other people's experiences of pain: there is a man who, we must suppose, never sat an exam while doubled over with period pain, or suffered a migraine. Not at all rare conditions. Your body is not 'always aiming for balance and health'.

And we observe that he has had a vasectomy... because one of my questions (among the many stimulated by the thought of all the technological advances that have made women's lives so much less arduous, which I remarked on when his bogosity first impinged upon my aghast gaze), wot abaht contraception?

Perhaps we might introduce him to the notion that being regularly flogged with a large codfish is a cure for pretentious woowoo?

(And do we think that his simple austere life is 'more work for other people', like the process that gets his handwritten ms - written on tree bark in berry juice, we wonder? - from his simple cabin in the woods to the Guardian website?)

conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
and then some!

*****************


German Shepherd Mom Tires Out Her Pups In The Most Adorable Way Possible (It is adorable! She alternates between bouts where they can't possibly catch up to her and bouts where they can, clever doggie!)

Scientists Invent a Pen That Can Detect Cancer in Seconds

For Centuries, People Celebrated a Little Boy’s First Pair of Trousers

“Do Sign Languages Have Accents?” (Video, or you can read the transcription)

Is there a single food that you can survive on forever?

The island people with a climate change escape plan

Here’s why you should pay attention to this weekend’s German election

There is meddling in Germany's election — not by Russia, but by U.S. right wing

What A Doctor Calls A Condition Can Affect How We Decide To Treat It

When the Idea of Home Was Key to American Identity

Parents Who Pay to Be Watched (OMG.)

Colombia partners with locals in order to stop cocaine production, US warns it may not be enough

Behind the scenes, Zimbabwe politicians plot post-Mugabe reforms

Iraqi Kurds set to vote on independence, panicking neighbors and Washington

What is behind clashes in Ethiopia's Oromia and Somali regions?

Facebook’s war on free will

Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’

The basic physics of climate change have been known for more than a century, but it is in recent decades that the fundamental science of global warming has solidified

The Minuscule Importance of Manufacturing in Far-Right Politics

Stop acting surprised, America: Donald Trump is a white supremacist

In Month After Charlottesville, Papers Spent as Much Time Condemning Anti-Nazis as Nazis

The Republicans Aren't Even Pretending This Is About Healthcare Anymore

Christians in U.S. Military ‘Serve Satan’ If They Tolerate Other Religions, Air Force Chaplain Says

Making war illegal changed the world. But it’s becoming too easy to break the law

Anatomy of terror: What makes normal people become extremists?
Sep. 20th, 2017 10:48 pm

And now we're back

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[personal profile] flemmings
This is the crazy time of year when new babies start one per fortnight: which, yes, is better than one a week. But we're getting little babies, five or six months, and they teethe and fall sick and hate their bottles and cry piteously because the Boob has gone and everything hurts oh oh oh. Thus I spend my days patting their backs and rocking them to sleep and am sometimes paid for my labours, and come home knackered.

Possible the fatigue causes brain rot, but in fact I'd had it in mind for a while to call the gas company to ask if I'd booked my furnace check-up and if so, for when. Came home last night from two Long Island Ice Teas and a salad, to several calls on the machine. First from the gas guy to ascertain if I was at home that morning, which I wasn't; then to say he'd have to cancel because his car had broken down; and a third silence, which might have been him or, equally likely, some call centre. Dodged a bullet there, whichever. And now I *must* call the dentist to ascertain if my appointment is Oct 10 or Oct 19, because both are marked on the calendar.
Wednesday )
Sep. 20th, 2017 10:07 pm

(no subject)

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[personal profile] flemmings
Internet connection went down, though for some reason I'm still connected to the Addiction Solitaire site. For which I am grateful, you understand, but still. I hear there are people who use two thumbs to write on their phones. If *I* do that not even auto correct can guess what I mean. It's middle finger typing all the way, for me.
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Sep. 24th, 2017 07:58 pm

Wonderful news!

conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Today I was combing Callie in the bathroom, and Finn came in and didn't bark or growl or jump at her AT ALL - and this despite the fact that she hissed at him and then growled the whole time he was there! (And I don't blame her.)

He's gotten a lot better at being in the same room as the cats without freaking out, and even a little better at not barking and lunging at the familiar cats we see on our walks. (Not as good as with his own roommate cats, but you can't have everything.)

This is great because, with winter coming, Callie wants to go back to being an indoor-outdoor cat, emphasis on indoor - she doesn't like cold weather!
Sep. 20th, 2017 09:19 pm

Wednesday went underground*

oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Boys will be Boys, which was still very familiar although it is many years since I last read it. Wonder if Turner would really have liked to be writing something a bit more serious about matters of popular culture; and would have liked to be nerdish in the archives of the publishing companies, because there are sometimes wistful asides about the mysteries that might be solved thereby. Pretty sure this is where the very youthful [personal profile] oursin first acquired that apprehension that each generation disses upon what the young of next are consuming (whether print or radio or more latterly other media) as A Road to Ruin (I wish I could locate my copy of his Roads to Ruin).

Also finished The Witch of Syracuse: worked well, did not have that sense one so oft has when scattered short stories on a character/s are brought together of 'fix-up', but that it worked as a narrative arc. Also thought it worked well on the historical contingencies, nature of the deities, etc. (Very unfluffy Hellenic/Punic goddesses.)

Being somewhat smitten with travel angst, read various short things, comfort re-reads, etc.

Did read the novella Suradanna and the Sea by Rebecca Fraimow (2016): very good, even though I couldn't remember why or when I'd downloaded it.

On the go

Finally began Victoria Bates, Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England: Age, Crime and Consent in the Courts (2015) - very good so far.

Also currently in medias res, Patricia McKillip, Kingfisher (2017) - very good, but my bar for riffing on/mashing up Arthuriana is set very high with Naomi Mitchison's To the Chapel Perilous.

Up Next

Dunno.

*Among other sights seen today, Rynek Underground.

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:09 am

Fucking Mick Jagger

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[personal profile] mallorys_camera
All morning long, I’ve been musing over poor Evelyn Waugh who died of a broken heart because some B level pal told him he was boring.

I suppose I’m boring.

That’s because I’ve always been much more interested in books, and ideas, and the swoop of people’s lives, and those strange, uncategorized floaters of unencapsulated memory that seem to pop up at the oddest times, than I am in sex, celebrity, status detail that’s grounded in marketing trends rather than personal style.

I mean, if – for example – I decided to write about my sexual history over five decades, this could be the most popular blog on the Internet, right? Mick Jagger: Uncircumcised. His dick was maybe five and a half/ six inches. Very lazy! You had to crawl on top of him and grind! Celebrity spoils the mutuality ethic. It was a lot of work getting him off in fact, so much work that very little concentration was left to get myself off. But, hey! Mick Jagger.

Etcetera.

###

Actually, that description of Mick Jagger would bore most readers, too. Celebrity spoils the mutuality ethic, they’d think. Huh? What does “mutuality” mean? What’s an ethic? Why didn't she give him a score between 1 and 10?

Maybe I just can’t write anything that interests anyone other than me-e-e-e!

###

Strange, unsettled day. Tropical Storm Jose safely out to sea, but the winds are high and dense with moisture here in the quaint and scenic Hudson Valley so that walking any distance at all, one gets the sense of displacing one’s own weight.

One project, I need to finish; one project, I need to start. But you know me! I’m all about the meh.

I really need to have a long transcendental conversation with someone. That would get me back on track. I’m not isolated, but there’s practically no one in these parts who likes to have long, transcendental conversations. But those are catalysts for me. Plus they ground me in my own non-boringness. [Insert wistful smiley.]
Sep. 20th, 2017 08:45 am

(no subject)

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthdsy, [personal profile] sharpiefan!

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