Friday, September 14, 2012

Lasting Relics , Temporary Tones

 A long drive through the hot California country to visit large-scale agri-business.  I love how the airport codes on my baggage claim remind me to eat well and exercise.  Sioux Gateway Airport's FAA code is still my favorite: "SUX".

Back home in Boston...

On Charles Street, the local market always offers some great oddities in their freezer.

 "Excuse me, is your turtle meat free-range?  It is?  Great.  I trust that the rattlesnake is also?"  Yuppies are predictable.

.- -. -. --- -.-- .. -. --. / .- -. -.. / .--. .-. . -.. .. -.-. - .- -... .-.. .

A drug store that lasts several generations is hard to find these days.  The owner told me that the only reason they survived is because they stretched themselves decades ago to buy the building.  Like our local hardware store, it paid off.  I had to reglaze an ancient window when I replaced the rotted sash-cords.  The locally owned hardware store did the panes for under $30 and delivered the window.

My neighbors, a husband and wife duo are both surgeons, and they seem to be "on-call" every weekend that I break out the saws, hammers, and planers.  Somehow, the sound of me hand-planing a window stay is always too loud for them when they are trying to sleep on a Saturday afternoon.  One of these days, I'll stand outside the operating room and shout at them to keep the noise down.

Family-owned and operated since 1939.  They deliver as well.  No minimum.

 At a dinner with Mrs. and two dear friends, the waiter handed us this.  I love it.  We need more people like this.

An early stroll across the bridge to Cambridge as the sun rose.  Some days start and end perfectly.

A lobstah olive spear for my martini in Portland, Maine.  Hat-tip to the old stomping grounds of friend-of-the-blog JKG.

Taken in the final hours of Labor Day by the longest-enduring cocktail party guest for the night.  A final hurrah for white pants in the continental US until 2013.  Notice the shoes.  

  September 3, 2012

As autumn slowly pulls up the driveway, the altered reality of summer bliss winds out.  The salt sea-air of the summer/autumn 'tween decks is strangely sweet and perfect, but it has the half-life similar to the flawless tone from a tuning fork.  As soon as you comprehend the its pleasure, it's gone.  Walking past an open window in the city hearing a voice practicing its aria, or a piano or cello, sweet and unseen several floors above the sidewalk, the surprise moment lasting only three or four strides.


  1. Annoying and predictable, .-. .. --. .... - ..--..

    I haven't been to Locke Ober in far too long. Good fall restaurant.

  2. It always makes my day when I come across a "survivor", a business that has continued in existence without giving up its traditions. They are getting rare, and I am going to start to record the ones I find in Taiwan.
    --Road to Parnassus

  3. I cannot express how much I prefer a career waiter to a smart-ass college kid passing through, always taking care to make sure everyone knows he is really too good to be doing this. Our country does not tend to honor those who excel at their jobs when their jobs are not high-paying or do not require years of education. And that's too bad.

  4. We recently lost our local pharmacy but thankfully still have our hardware store, now run by the third generation. They too own the real estate and are always my first stop. High rents are putting so many local shops out of business. Very funny labels, by the way.

  5. *Patsy: Right! Locke Ober is great year round. They once offered memberships there.

    *Parnassus: They are rare, because we tend to no longer value longevity. Current MBA business dogma has tricked us all into thinking that unless you trade up every five years, you have failed or become complacent.

    *Anonymous: Very well said. When we do find those people, we should reward them.

    *Lady Aldrich: The high rent issue is the killer in all of it. There are competing theories concerning this, and I stand with the French urban model: when you find a tenant to rent the shops on the first floor, find one that you like and give them a break with the rent, especially if their business is interesting or has easy desirability (coffee shop, cafe, bookshop, flowers, boutique, antiques, etc.). If all the building owners cooperate and do this, an extremely desirable neighborhood develops at the retail level on the sidewalk shops. Then, the residential rentals above the shops become highly competitive, and the market will demand high rents. Protect the businesses on the sidewalks, and the higher rents from the apartments will more than make up for the break in rents given to the shops. Usually though, greed and needling rental brokers interfere with this balance, and the only businesses to make the margins are the chains. With long-term thought and cooperation, owners of poly-zoned real estate could increase profits and build a great cultural or aesthetic location.

  6. Thanks for the shout-out. I (we) do miss Portland -- the martinis not least of all. It's an embarrassingly well-endowed city for food and drink, all of which you can walk to (and stagger from).


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