Coffee beans grow by the billions
I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Coffee beans grow by the billions
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Come listen to my lore. Essential to my fabric. My faith. My life. Entwined within me. From earliest days. Causing love. And shame. Change. And growth. Action. And peace.
Not "better". But mine.Come listen to my lore. A lore of life. And love. That causes me to make and send these notes.
A blessing/ananda/dana/baraka/b'rakha. From me and mine. To you.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Dressed in Holiday Style ...
There is no doubt about it. New York City during the Holidays is magical. Any time I visit during December I cannot keep my favorite songs of the season out of my mind. Not that I try. Silver Bells is my personal soundtrack for stolling about Manhattan this time of year. The photo above is my stylized view of New York silver bells. Actually, I have no idea what it is. Probably a shop window as "interpreted" by the mysterious workings of my camera. On my most recent visit to New York I set out to just take a few shots that would try and convey my continuing love affair with the town during this time of year. So I could give a bit of that love to you.
A magnificent office building display of lit trees:
Of course, the tree at Rockefeller Center. Gorgeous even in driving rain:
This store had a dozen or more golden trees illuminated by soft little lights...
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Photos courtesy of Caswell-Massey.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I returned last week for lunch between meetings. There were more diners at noon. The menu replete again with classic French cuisine. As it was raining buckets outside, I opted for the full "cold weather" menu. Onion soup. Cassoulet. Both perfect. Glasses of very nice French Cabernet. Good, strong coffee. And yes, in case you even had a shadow of a doubt, the now-Epic Rum Parfait. The meal was fabulous. One might describe it as Trad. So far, so good. Two very good meals within two months at different times of day. Well fortified, I sallied forth into the blowing rain. There was only one thing left to do.
At precisely the same time the following day I again presented myself at Le Veau D'Or for lunch. Much better weather outside. Again, a decent crowd. And in the interests of science I ordered the same meal. With the exception of Beaujolais nouveau during the (again) lovely meal. And a Calvados or two during and after the Creme Caramel. To smooth the airways for my upcoming flight home. I felt just the same as during my first visit. I did not want to leave. Ever.
The greatness of Le Veau D' Or is established by scientific method. In my business though, we are not bound by such rigors. We can establish facts by circumstantial means. I am actually quite good at it. To this end, I close this addendum with a few random comments I heard from diners during my second lunch last week...
"I come here to sit at the bar, drink Cognac, and ruminate the world away in gracious company..."
"My wife and I were married forty-five years before she passed away. We always came here. I still do. It was our very special place."
"Every year on our anniversary my husband and I come here for a meal. Every year we pray this restaurant will still be here." Leading to the reply of the owner's rather marvelous daughter..."Madame...we have to be here".
Indeed. Dining with the fine folks of Le Veau D'Or is like playing a role in a very good independent film. Come cast yourself in a role as well. You won't be sorry. When the scene starts, I'll be the fellow at the little bar with a glass of Calvados. Ruminating.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Secret bars flourished during Prohibition. As did bootleggers. One source estimated that Al Capone made $60,000,000 in one year during Prohibition when the average American laborer (like my Grandfather) earned $1,000.00. And the workers couldn't even have a legal drink after work. One wonders how the residents of northern climes made it through the sixteen winters of Prohibition without dying out altogether.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
After concentrated study, I determined that the essence of The Summit consisted of friends, work, play and great environment. First, the location. There are certain towns people love. Or hate. No middle ground. New Orleans. Key West. Las Vegas. I happen to love all these places. But Vegas was the only place for The Summit. I am recently returned. This is my report of what happened. None of which will stay there.
Frank would say "first and foremost--friends". I was attending a conference with some of my best friends. Who happen to be my best clients. A nice combination if you can get it. Pretty rare in my business. Maybe in any business. Plus, my friends do not tend to be shrinking violet types. Fun in abundance is guaranteed. So it was a good bet that I would have the friends, work, and play elements of The Summit well covered. Which left the proper environment. Abundant in January of 1960. Not so easy in Vegas circa 2008. Post the failed attempt to convert a perfect playground for grownups into Disney Orlando. Luckily, a failed attempt. But many vestiges remain to be avoided. I have nothing against Orlando. Love going there. But when you want Las Vegas you don't want Orlando. And there is no recorded instance of The Summit breaking out in Orlando. Case closed.
Plus, for my purposes, it was the perfect physical location. Occupying as it does the spot of the original Summit. The Sands Hotel was taken down to build the Venetian. In fact, if you come up the escalator to Tao restaurant in the Venetian, you are where the Copa Room used to be. The actual ground of the Summit. The campanile at the right of the photo is just about exactly where the sign for The Sands stood when these pictures were taken:
So this was it. There was no better place for me to be.
The sunken living room of my room, that is. The bed room (unmade bed unfortunately...I tried putting pillows under the covers like in the spy movies to look like someone else sleeping there but then thought MUCH better of it):
A very, very cool bureau in the bed room (the white center panel lit up when you touched a small switch on the side):
A dimly lit view of the sunken living room taken from the bed room:
As ought to be the case, you had a remote control next to the bed that opened the drapes and blinds. VERY Summit-worthy. Finally, to prepare for the evening a well appointed bath is a MUST:
Do I have to add that the robes and towels are perfect? I thought not. As if all this were not enough...they always park my car right up front...
What WAS the thing to do was to make the scene at the Playboy Club. With the unanimous agreement of my Summit pals. Off to the Palms Casino we went and up to the only such establishment left on Earth. Gorgeous bunnies. Gorgeous view. Nice intimate casino, in-house. Good music. A very cool fireplace stretching the length of one wall in the lounge. Just about perfect. After this, the show at the Fontana Lounge at Bellagio. A great, intimate showroom of the old style enhanced by the 180 degree view of the legendary Bellagio lake and fountains.
The first highlight of the next day was a cocktail in Havana. Or as close as Las Vegas can bring you. Casa Fuente is a fantastic little bar and cigar club where the atmosphere is warm and inviting, the drinks very good, and the air system so advanced you can enjoy yourself in perfect comfort even if you are not smoking one of the top flight cigars from their walk-in humidor. Take a look for yourself:
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I walked home from school then. After a month or so, evening came early. Snow began to fall. The street I traversed was illumined by lamps that cast a golden glow rather than the usual glare. Too diffuse to make a pool of light on the sidewalk. Perfect for refracting against the million facets of a snowflake.
One such evening in the afternoon, I turned the corner onto this avenue and saw Kim for the first time. Walking toward me. Short jacket with a fur collar. Dusted with snowflakes. As were her eyelashes. In that pale, golden light. I have never been accused of being a wallflower, but I was incapable of speech. Just attempted eye contact. Which was returned. A flicker of a smile on her face. I never spoke to her of course. When you are fifteen, just putting your toe into the social swirl, and you encounter a girl like this under circumstances that would be a great movie scene, there is no hope. Especially when you live where it snows. A lot. And you are a lot more romantic than is good for you. I needed soul music badly. The locally popular "Beer Barrel Polka" was no longer sufficient. Unfortunately, it would be a few more years before I knew what soul music was. I saw her pretty often on that street after that. Always the fleeting eye contact. The cute half smile. I never spoke to her.
Years pass. I am sitting up late at night feeding my infant son. Watching "Midnight Love" on BET. A video came on with a singer named Will Downing. Unknown to me. A very mature, smooth, sophisticated baritone. And the song. "Drowning in Your Eyes"....
I'm drowning in your eyes
I'm floating out to sea
Helpless on the restless tide
That flows between you and me...
It may have been exhaustion. Or just this fabulous song. Plus Mr. Downing's voice. And the time of night. But I thought of a freshman girl's eyes for the first time in over twenty years. And exactly how I felt every time I saw them. I went out the next day and bought the album "Sensual Journey", pictured above. If you like great soul music you should have this disc in your collection. They do not call Mr. Downing the "prince of sophisticated soul" for nothing. But be careful. You may rediscover some fundamental emotions. Formed when your world was young. That is what great music does. And all great art.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The use of the poppy was inspired by the poem "In Flanders' Fields" by Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McCrae. Perhaps the most famous of the many poems of the era. All but forgotten now. Of course. High time we all remembered again...
If you look very, very hard, you can find that some good things came even from this era. Stirring poetry. Great novels. And the escapism of a young British communications officer stationed in this trench system: