It Was a Gas Leak All Along!!

I called Con Ed and asked them to come back and check the gas again, and sure enough, they found a gas leak in my apartment. The cats and I have been sucking gas for three months. That can’t be good. Also, even though they turned off the gas, it still seems to be emanating from the spot I told them to check, and where they found the leak. I’m calling them back today. Ugh.

Meanwhile, remember the other day I posted about the old entrance to the country club my family once belonged to? My brother Peter took me there on Christmas Day so I could get a shot. This is about half it. But you get the idea. It’s lovely, right? The road itself is starting to collapse in. I wonder what causes that. This is in Huntington.

I was going to write a piece about the club, in fact I’d still like to. It started out as a men’s athletic club in Brooklyn, and then they bought space out in the “country,” the estate of someone named Roy Rainey (who I hadn’t researched yet).

From the September 8, 1892 New York Times: “Fine play and plenty of it marked the club handicap tennis tournament of the Crescent Athletic Club, Brooklyn, yesterday afternoon. The entry list was unusually large. Handsome prizes for firsts and seconds were offered in singles and doubles.”

Save the Chimps, Please

Alison.jpg I just took down the post I put up this morning because I remembered I wanted to post about Save the Chimps. I started donating to them last year, but this year the Arcus Foundation is matching donations up to $500,000 up until December 31st. So, if you give $100 it’s like giving $200, but it’s only for a couple more days. If you’d like to donate, click here.

It’s heartbreaking, the lives they’ve led, which you can read about on their website, if you can stand it. I know people are suffering, children are suffering, but their suffering isn’t any less. We need to help everything that lives, I think, and try not to grade each species in value. Pain is pain and one only has to look into their eyes to see they are feeling it just as we do. (And fear. There’s one touching photograph on their website of a chimp holding onto the cage, afraid to let go and be free.)

Pretend You’re Having Fun

It’s almost a fitting title, given the assassination of Benazir Bhutto yesterday. God, the world we live in. I sometimes think that I’m a very fearful person, and then this happens and I realize, not even close. I’m not even on the same planet in terms of intensity of fear compared to someone who could do that. Although it’s more complicated than that, of course. Actually, how does someone get that fucked up?

This is a short film of my brother Douglas getting us all together for a family photograph. Notice how at the end when he tells me to put my camera down I immediately obey.

And it Only Gets Worse

Munching.jpg I got a new bag for Christmas and left the one I brought with me out on Long Island. It had my camera in it, among other things. But this is a picture I took a few days ago of Finney quietly munching on my arm. You have to realize that I reached over, picked up my camera, turned it on and took the picture and all the while he was quietly munching away. Look at that contentedly evil face. Evilness!

I’m finishing up my final draft and delivering to my editor mid-January. I’m also going to be actually showing it to some people, like the daughter of the head of the Lab I’m writing about. So yeah, that’s going to be scary. It’s very very weird showing your book to people who know more about the subject you’re writing about. I went through this when I showed my last book to the detectives I wrote about. Here I am writing what is supposed to be a definitive book about unsolved murder and handing it over to the guys who have been living that for the past 20 or 30 years. Not a secure feeling. And now I get to feel that again! Woohoo!

Merry Christmas with a Sad, but Beautiful Angel

Angel.jpg Howard sent me a link to a Time Magazine article about this photographer. His name is Alex Kirkbride, and he traveled to each state taking photographs underwater. He’s represented here.

This was taken at Sunset Lake, Linton, Indiana. From the Time Magazine article: “A mysterious stranger erected this statue at the bottom of the lake in 2001. Local lore has it that the angel channels the spirits of two children who drowned there in the 1920s.” It’s so beautiful.

I’m going out to Long Island in a couple of hours, to spend Christmas with my family. Should be nice except for the getting there and back on the Long Island Railroad part, which is always a little depressing. Speaking of depressing, and sad stories, when I was growing up my family belonged to a country club called the Huntington Crescent Club. That sounds more privileged than we were, although clearly we weren’t poor. The entry to the club was a long country road where the trees on either side were made to grow over the top of the road like a canopy. It was an enchanting effect, and I always loved driving into the club because it felt like we were entering a magical land.

For some reason it was decided to close off that entrance and create a new one off a side road off 25A. It’s been decades since then, and there are now buildings and development in front of that old, magical drive. It’s still there, but completely overgrown, and you have to concentrate to see the effect of that tree canopy, which has blended into the rest of the vegetation.

I bring it up because it represents my childhood to me, and whenever we drive by it I strain to see what’s left of it. It makes me sad, but I want to see. It brings back Halloweens, Christmases, parties at the club, walking to school, my mother when she was young, all of us when we were young, the stores of my childhood, the shopkeepers of my childhood, my grandparents, long dead. I try to remember that every day I am living a new memory that will be this bittersweet later, and above all remember to live, live, live, but still. It’s sad. Because I can’t help remembering that every day I have ever lived is gone.

Ha! Not so much with the merry. Sorry!