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Showing posts from February, 2011

Morning Photos

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This sculpture, titled Sister and Brother, was chiseled by an Italian-American sculptress named Denise DiSanto in 1984. We were a romantic item at that time, and I have carried these pieces with me ever since. They rule over my foggy, vine-covered back yard. Warm thoughts to Denise, wherever she is now. Almost every morning, I ride my bike by the ocean.  In winter, I sometimes get to see a full moon, descending into the sea. These are the ruins of the Sutro Baths, where San Franciscans once played in the water. On a holiday last month, I took my son Max on a train to Fremont, CA. Max doesn't care about the destination, as long as he's on a train.

Heroes: Al Bowlly

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For heroes, I pick the people I need. I admire people who overcame difficulties with style, especially if they had to reinvent themselves to fit their situation. The singer Al Bowlly did all this to an extent that was truly shocking.  When I first heard a recording of Al Bowlly singing, I pictured W. Somerset Maugham at the microphone. His burnished voice sounded intensely English to my ears. He also sounded very old, his voice concentrated like an aged cognac. Both of these impressions were false.  Al Bowlly was born to Lebanese and Greek parents and he grew up in South Africa.  When he was young, he attempted to get started as a musician in the far east, and after several false starts and long day-to-day poverty, he made a strong career in England and American during the 1930s. During this period, English dance band singers did their best to sound American, because Jazz came from America.  His singing invokes a world of elegance, where everyone dressed well, smoked incessantly an