our television for septemberT.V.O.D.  for September 2001

Hello and welcome back to the diary pages.  After eight months of trying out a magazine style format, I have decided to try a daily diary again.  Only this time, you may not find out as many personal details as before.  The intention is to highlight the best parts of each day while highlighting cultural and culinary items of interest.

yes, that's bryan ... yes, he's gorgeousSaturday, September 1 begins right at midnight with the late night viewing of “O” which is a modern-day interpretation of Shakespeare’s Othello and perhaps the worst movie of the year.  A private high school in the south is the setting and the names are updated in the worst way possible (e.g., Iago is Hugo and underplayed by Josh Harnett).

Sunday, September 2 and the movie is “Rat Race.”  So bad that Bryan actually leaves to go home to bed, leaving me to suffer to the end.  Monday, September 3 is Labor Day and a quiet one for Bryan and Tony; little do they know what the month will bring.  Tuesday, September 4 and back to work for the both of us.  Wednesday, September 5 and we prepare the house for one final day of quietness before our world changes forever.

tony says good-bye to the carThursday, September 6, I enter the apartment at 6 PM and yell out, “Anyone named Martinez here?”  Two hearty replies confirm that Bryan’s mom, Pam, and her husband, Lee, have arrived for a ten-day stay with us at our apartment.

They’ve barely been able to get their bearings before Bryan takes them for an afternoon walk all the way to the West Side Highway; when I get home, everyone has just arisen from naps and we take off again.  This time it’s pizza and beer at John’s Pizzeria on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.  Yes, it is the same place that I once saw Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman work on the characterizations that eventually became Annie Hall.  By the time we walk home, it’s midnight and we call it a day.

view from westchester aptFriday, September 7 and it’s a road trip to Washington DC.  I’d gone to pick up my mother’s car the day before as our Infiniti I30 is about to be returned to the dealer.  Yes, its lease is up and besides we hadn’t been using it for months.  Anyway, after a breakfast at the Lunch Box (remember, we take all our important guests there), we hop in the car and we’re on the road by 11 AM.

pam + lee with bonnie + clydeBy 4 PM, we’ve found a parking space at 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, right at the Federal Bureau of Investigation where Lee was hoping to get a tour.  Unfortunately, they were under-staffed and had stopped the tours early but Lee was still able to buy a baseball cap to add to his collection.

tony + bryan with pretty boy floydSo after a brief walk we headed for our lodging at the Westchester Apartments near the National Cathedral.  My colleague Sean and I had stayed there in January 2001, if you’d like the details.  They are really guest apartments of the building owners and are quite huge; ours overlooked the Potomac River with views of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.

the white houseAfter a short rest, we two couples rejoined and went to visit our “connection” — Diana English — who fortified us with drinks and delightful conversation before our cab ride to Dupont Circle and dinner at Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse (1609 Seventeenth Street, NW).  Bryan and I had been there before but had forgotten how gender specific it was!  Indeed, Pam was the only woman there with the exception of one of the two maitre d’s!  Nonetheless, the steak there is incredible and we had a great time.  Afterward, we walked around quite briefly before returning to our rooms around midnight.

lee, pam + bryan at washington monumentSaturday, September 8 and we’re up at 7 to get ready for our tour of the White House!  Bryan had gotten tickets from our senator, Hilary Rodham Clinton which was somewhat ironic.  Nonetheless we were looking forward to the tour.  But when we got there, we found out that because of a state function, the tour had been postponed until 11 am.

pam, lee + bryan at lincoln memorialThis gave us a couple of hours to waste, which we did by walking to the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial before getting back only to wait in a very hot line for almost an hour before getting into the White House around noon.

But all was forgiven once we were inside.  None of us had ever been inside and there is no way of disguising the fact that it’s quite impressive!  We were shown a variety of the public rooms and at one point the tour was actually redirected because the First Family actually uses the house while tours are being conducted.

tony, bryan + lee wait for laura bushAfter the tour we decided to walk around DC, first heading down Pennsylvania Avenue (remember, the White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania) with a quick stop at the Warner Bros store which is closing.  Then to the Supreme Court (take the virtual tour), behind which was a book fair out on the lawn outside the Library of Congress.  What we didn’t know at the time was that Laura Bush, the First Lady, was there.  It’s my guess that she actually passed within a few feet of us at her home!

the capitolWe had planned to see the inside of the Capitol; when Bryan and I were there a few years ago we just wandered around inside, unaided and without restraint.  This day there were tours and we just didn’t want to wait in another line.  So we headed down the steps and over to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum which was rather interesting.  It should be noted that most of the public attractions in the town are free, as they belong to the American people.

By 5 pm, we were hot and tired and took a cab back to the apartments to change for dinner.  We decided to be a bit low-key and so ate at the Cactus Cantina, just a few blocks away at 3300 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, for Tex-Mex.  Our verdict?  Huge portions, good and clean food, but no spice.  Not even the green chile sauce that Lee and I ordered had any bite!  Still, it was quick and easy and just right for our next step — a driving tour of the monuments at night.

jefferson memorial at nightThis may be the appropriate time to complain about the lack of signage in the area.  One would think as the home of all Americans they might make it easier to find things!  The roadway system is confusing enough as it is but the lack of signs to direct you makes it impossible to find some things, frustrating when you do.  For instance, we drove by the Iwo Jima monument but couldn’t find any way to get there.

So, deciding that getting lost in Virginia wasn’t the best idea, we headed away from the Arlington National Cemetery and back to the Jefferson Memorial.  Some monuments are meant to be seen at night and this is obviously one of them.  Just beautiful.  Then a quick drive down the National Mall, around the Capitol and over to Union Station and up Massachusetts Avenue to Dupont Circle so Bryan and Lee could buy some books.  By midnight, we were home and in bed and ready for the morning.

ok, so it's hard to see the pandas behind lee, pam + bryan!Sunday, September 9 and time for the zoo.  I had intended to attend the 11 am worship at the National Cathedral but timing was of the essence so we headed off to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to see the pandas.

This is an older zoo and is in need of, well, political correctness.  Nonetheless, we had a great time and by noon we were on the road again.

shrine of the immaculate conceptionBefore getting on the main road, we passed by one of the seats of the Roman Catholic church in America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  And, yes, the church is as big as its name.

tony, mario + emily, pam + lee, bryan in cranford, njBut then we needed to get back up north to have dinner with my parents, still living in the home in which I grew up, in the suburb of Cranford NJ.  (You can check out the autobiography pages for full details.)

bryan helps dad pick figsMom made her famous ravioli, Dad stuffed Lee full of figs from the tree in the backyard, and Bryan and I got the satisfaction of seeing our “in-laws” getting along.

Around 7 pm, Dad and Mom drove the four of us back to the city and after a quick martini we were all in bed.

Monday, September 10 … let’s play ball!  Yes, it’s an evening baseball game, the NY Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox.  I haven’t seen the Yankees play since I was a little boy with my Uncle Emil.  As for the Red Sox, Bill Abbate and I would check out the games at Fenway Park when were in radio together in the 80s so it’s been awhile.  But Lee is a big baseball fan and we’ve arranged these tickets well in advance.

They’ve been relaxing for most of the day, checking out the Farmer’s Market in Union Square and walking around but by 4 pm they’re ready for the subway and the stadium.  I have to work, so take a separate train to meet them later.  But who would have known that this would be the one day of their trip that would be rained out?  Yep, we spent more than three hours in Yankee Stadium watching the rain come down before the game was finally postponed.  So it was a subway trip back home and late night pasta before a midnight bedtime.

Tuesday, September 11 and what should have been a boring Election Day turned out to be one of the memorable days in US history.  A day that in one moment would supercede the Oklahoma bombing many times over.

As everyone knows now, two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center which later collapsed, followed by several more buildings as an after-effect.  I received a call from Bryan just as I arrived at work at 9 am, informing me of the incident, but I really didn’t think much about it, imagining the sight of an airplane stuck in the side of the building like the Empire State Building incident decades ago.

bryan took this picture down university placeNothing could prepare us for the eventual outcome.  Bryan and his folks went out towards the area, getting phenomenal photographs from near Washington Square Park, before returning to the apartment around noon.  Not knowing what else to expect, I stayed at the office while they stayed at home.  It seemed the cautious thing to do.

Around 5 pm, I walked home, only seeing heavy smoke down Fifth Avenue as I approached the apartment.  At home, there was an eerie silence punctuated only by the sounds of sirens and alarms.  True New Yorkers, we went out for dinner!  Because everything had been cordoned off, however, there had been no deliveries and so most places were closed or only open for drinks.

We had planned to have dinner at Pangea but only the owners, Stephen Shanaghan and Arnoldo Caballero (yes, this is the first time you’ve seen their last names), were there; so we had double martinis!  Afraid of finding nothing open, we headed out only to find In Padella, the Italian restaurant two blocks south, open and happening (albeit with somewhat slow service).  Food here is somewhat irregular with some entrees being superb and other recipes just not hitting the mark.  Tonight we must have ordered correctly, though, as everything we had was sublime.  By midnight, we walked home and were in bed, sleeping fitfully only because of disturbing dreams about the day.

brooklyn bridge taken by bill abbateWednesday, September 12 and we awake to an eerie silence as the city begins to understand the previous day’s devastation.  I call into work to find the offices closed, no surprise really.  However, no one other than residents were being allowed below 14th Street.  My friend Bill Abbate sends me one of the final photos taken from the top of the World Trade Center from when he was there with his son Zack.

And so, as Americans moving on, the four of us decided to take a walk in the city.  Obviously, all the monuments were closed and off-limits, so we walked up Fifth Avenue (most of the stores were closed also), through Times Square, stopping at St. Patrick’s Cathedral as they are all Romans.

check out this architectural siteIn one of those surreal moments, I also found a pair of wonderful Italian Max Azria shoes in the new bowling shoe style for fifty bucks, marked down from $180.  As I said, we move on.  We eventually made it all the way to Central Park by 4 pm and, being exhausted, took the subway (which was working surprisingly well) back to the apartment and a long nap.

Around 6 pm, awakening to no new news of the perpetrators, we prepared a pitcher of pina coladas and at 8 pm went to the best Thai restaurant in the area, Holy Basil.  Outside, other than being a large pedestrian mall, the East Village seemed to be functioning normally.  How they got the deliveries below 14th Street, I don’t know.

Pam and Lee had never experienced Thai food and Holy Basil was a great way to begin with steamed mussels in a spicy sauce for me, and spring rolls and duck rolls for them followed by the restaurant’s specialty, crispy duck, and a couple of other dishes.  By 10 pm, though, we were all ready for bed.

Thursday, September 13, some morning confusion but otherwise the city is coping well.  I return to work while Bryan plans a walking tour with Pam and Lee, as the tours all seem to be called off.

go to the oyster barWe had intended to have lunch at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal but a bomb scare has forced an evacuation of the area, although nothing was ever found.

Bryan had intended to make lasagna for dinner, but I think that we should all trundle off to Pangea for comfort food.  The idea is immediately endorsed and they finally have the chance to sample the spaghetti bolognese.

Friday, September 14 and we awaken to a day of pouring rain which, besides hampering rescue efforts, puts a grim face of reality over everything.  As for the parents, they’ve spent the afternoon shopping for ingredients to make Bryan’s famous lasagna (for a full recipe, see the entry for Saturday, August 26, 2000).  I pick up a couple of bottles of wine to go with it, a pinot grigio and a 1998 Beaulieu Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon which has served well in the past.

read about the cathedral of ysSaturday, September 15, I’m up at 8 am and in the office until almost 2 pm.  While there, WQXR plays Claude Debussy’s La Cathedrale engloutie (“The Sunken Cathedral”) followed by Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.  It’s one of the few times this week that I allow myself to be overcome with emotion.

Bryan and the folks have a mediocre brunch at Rock Around the Clock just off Third Avenue at Ninth Street; when I rejoin them, we decide on a long walk down Lafayette and Broadway, just south of us, as the weather is just amazing (as opposed to the rainy, gray day before it).

97 orchard streetIn our continual expansion of their cultural database, B and I take them down through the remains of Little Italy (now barely four blocks of Mulberry Street) and Chinatown, passing the Brooklyn Bridge before swinging up through the original tenement, 97 Orchard Street and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.  If the origins of your family are from any place in Europe and entered in through this area, this is a must-see.

From 6 to 8 pm, we four, exhausted bodies rest before going out for Mexican.  I know our regular haunt is MaryAnn’s on Second Avenue, but we’ve been re-discovering El Cantinero on University Place.  Besides which, the food really is better and the noise levels much lower.  Particularly good this evening are the mussels baked in a green chili sauce.

Sunday, September 16 and I’m off to St. Bartholomew’s on Park Avenue for their 11 am service.  Because of the tragedy, the worship service has been rearranged as a requiem centered on the great work by Gabriel Fauré.  Upon leaving the subway, and with only minutes to spare before the service, I run directly into Bobby Armstrong, an old friend of David Littler.

The church itself is filled to over-flowing; we originally were standing downstairs before being led to an upstairs gallery.  Even the chapel was pressed into service with a live video feed.

As many of you know, I plan to have the Fauré Requiem set into the liturgy of my own funeral, when and if that ever happens.  If I may quote from the ending of the movie, Star Trek: GenerationsJean-Luc Picard says to Commander Riker, “Remember, Number One, we’re all mortal.”  To which he responded, “Speak for yourself, sir; I plan to live forever.

Anyway, back to the service, which besides the Fauré also includes the sublime Calvin Hampton setting of There’s a wideness in God’s mercy (#469 in the 1982 Hymnal) and The King of love my shepherd is (#645) which I remember singing in the Trinity, Cranford choir under Jim Lenney.

Speaking of Jim, there’s a man toiling in the backfields of the Lord without recognition nationally.  His interpretation of the Requiem should be required learning by conductors; it’s unfortunate that such a great work should be so stultifying under the hands of some!  I will particularly note the way he punches up the “Dies illa, dies irae” section of the Libera me.

Because of the crowd, the Eucharist is served in situ (there’s just no way for everyone to get out of their pews) and who should be serving me but Mary Haddad+.  You may recall her ordination at St. Bart’s in January of this year.

Finally, the end of the service heads straight for the patriotic as the congregation sings a couple of verses of “We shall overcome” followed by the National Anthem (My Country ‘tis of Thee) and the Star-Spangled Banner.  After the orchestra finishes with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, everyone breaks into applause for over ten minutes before finally going home.

In paradise may the angels receive them;
at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee,
and bring thee into the holy city Jerusalem.
There may the choir of angels receive thee,
And with Lazarus, once a beggar, mayst thou have eternal rest.
- In Paradisum, Fauré Requiem

Back at the apartment, we all decide to go to Virage (118 Second Avenue at Seventh Street) for brunch.  Certainly serviceable, the only thing I can really point out is that the bellini isn’t a patch on Harry’s Bar in Venice.  After a quick walk down St. Mark’s Place to see the students in full regalia, it’s nap time before a quiet evening at home, watching television and eating leftover lasagna and grilling hot dogs before bedtime at midnight.

Monday, September 17 and it’s back to work for Bryan and another week of the clerical directory for me.  Pam and Lee go off exploring on their own and are rewarded by picking up tickets for the evening’s taping of the Late Show with David Letterman!  Unfortunately for Bryan and I, the taping starts at 5 pm and we simply aren’t able to get out of work early enough.

And it is doubly unfortunate when I find out that the guests were Dan Rather and Regis Philbin.  OK, not for the Rege, but Rather’s appearance was said to be particularly moving with him being brought to tears by last week’s incident.  Might I say that I have always respected Mr. Rather as a journalist of the first order and a worthy successor to Walter Cronkite; you are welcome to your own opinion as usual.

I finally return to the apartment close to 8 pm and we’re off to one of our final dinners together — the Old Town Bar & Grill at 45 East 18th Street behind Union Square.  Famous for its burgers (it barely serves anything else), it’s been around since Tammany Hall days.

On the way back, we find Union Square is filled with a candlelight vigil.  It’s part of the dichotomy and richness of America.  We mourn our dead, we’re outraged at the attack, we want our “revenge served cold” as the Koran says, and we still go to work and out to eat and shop and love.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, indeed.

Tuesday, September 18 and Pam and Lee have a final day to … well, relax really.  They had decided not to try and do any last major touring and instead take a walk downtown to see how close they could get to the World Trade Center.  But they’re only able to get within seven or eight blocks before they’re turned away.

After work, B and I return home to take them out to one final dinner, of course at Pangea, where we stick with comfort foods (fried calamari, spaghetti bolognese, that sort of thing).  After dinner, my exhaustion finally catches up with me and instead of going out for a last drink with them, I return home to sleep on the foldout couch for the last time (yes, we’d given them the bedroom for the duration of their stay).

dr ross with his artWednesday, September 19 and it’s time to say good-bye to Pam and Lee Martinez as they return to Riverton, Wyoming via the Amtrak train and Denver.

By 2 pm, they are safely on their way home, Bryan heads straight to bed, and I continue working until after 6 pm when noted artist and staff editor Johnny Ross invites me out for drinks at Dick’s.  Well, getting on the train, who do we see but our colleague Sean Scheller!  So it’s a threesome for drinks until almost 8 pm, discussing the specifics of Church Publishing and the more general state of the Episcopal Church.

Then it’s back home for sushi and sashimi at Mie.

Thursday, September 20 and the evening holds an address to the nation by President George W. Bush.  I find it better than W’s previous efforts.  I did think that his demand to the Taliban needed specific response times but overall I appreciated his call to religious unity in our country and respect for all peoples:

I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here.  We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them.
Finally, I noted the many references to Tony Blair, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, but barely one to Jacques Chirac of France, both of whom were in the audience.  My favorite part of the speech regards the leaders of terrorism; I quote:
They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century.  By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of Fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.
Friday, September 21 and we awake to a rainy day and work again.  Some of the morning is taken up in two discussions, one with Frank Hemlin (our retiring Publisher) and the other with Bryan, about my favorite subject — moral bankruptcy and the lack of shame in modern society — and the appearance we as a nation project to the poor of the world.

After work I join Bryan and his co-worker Ethie (yeah, it’s short for Ethel) for margaritas.  We’re back home before 9 pm in order to catch some of the cavalcade of stars (that might even be the name of it) but, well, to be honest I couldn’t care less about hearing Bruce Springsteen sing whiny songs and George Clooney try to tell uplifting stories of heroes.  So it’s off to Virgin Records (check out the August page for details) and then a very late night dinner at Odessa, the Russian diner on Thompkins Square Park.

logo for paul v's tvodSaturday, September 22 and if I may send some props out, please check out the site of one of my namesakes, Paul V. out in Los Angeles.  He took over from me as the Saturday night dj at Spit in Boston over a decade ago and has been doing incredible things out West (I’m sure many of you have already heard of Dragstrip 66; he has also re-invented Spit and T.V.O.D. as well as some other parties).

A few months ago, three new restaurants opened up on the ground floor of our apartment building.  One is a rather upscale bistro which draws the yuppie crowd, another is a rather bland burrito shop (although the chips are good), and then there is Friend House.

They’ve done a beautiful job at designing it with a very Zen-like atmosphere (who here remembers Alan Watts?) and falling water on the façade; the cuisine is a mix of Japanese (mainly sushi) and Chinese.  Our verdict?  Yech.  It might have been forgiven if it were simply another storefront Chinese, but we’d expected more; particularly from a restaurant with Peking Duck on the menu!  I hate to say it, but more than half of it wound up in the garbage.

Sunday, September 23 and we take the opportunity to call Matt and Paul, our friends in Brixton, near London.  They seem more affected by the bombing of the World Trade Center than we were; particularly as they were supposed to go to Morocco to do the flowers for a party for Sting which gets cancelled due to the fear of terrorism.

I ask about the Divine David, a wild performance artist who seems to have retired but was one of the great attractions of gay Britain, but he is still around; also, there is an interesting piece in Salon about pot smoking in Brixton.

Monday, September 24 and we’re both at work; Bryan prepares a bolognese sauce for dinner.  At night, I watch The Ellen Show, which is the new Ellen DeGeneres vehicle (Martin Mull and Cloris Leachman are welcome additions to it).

lyndon harris+Tuesday, September 25 and the two-week anniversary of the World Trade Center attack.  The NY Times runs an article about some suggestions for memorials to the victims.  Included is one by the Rev. Lyndon Harris, formerly curate at Grace Church near my apartment.  I’ve mentioned him before in these pages and I quote from the article by John Tierney:

In designing a memorial to the World Trade Center's victims, we could learn from the Rev. Lyndon Harris, the pastor of St. Paul’s Chapel, the Episcopal church next to the trade center site.  He is planning a memorial using a sycamore in the church’s cemetery that was uprooted on September  11.

“The tree pretty much saved the church by absorbing the power of the blast,” Father Harris said.  “We're thinking of using part of the trunk to make a baptismal font.  We have to remember what happened and grieve, and we have to look forward, too.  We would use the trunk to make a memorial to the dead juxtaposed with the new life of baptism.”

st paul's before + after from the ny timesThe primary elections, which were to have taken place two weeks ago, have been re-scheduled for today.  In the evening, we watch the season premier of Frasier, which is amusing more for fans of Kelsey Grammer’s previous sitcom Cheers.

This is due to guest stars Bebe Neuwirth and Shelley Long playing his two former wives from that show.  Plus the addition of Jean Smart as his current love interest.

Afterward, Bryan and I decide not to cook at home and go out for sushi; we find ourselves one of the only two customers at Mie!  I hope it isn’t because of the downturn in the economy.

Wednesday, September 26 and since it was a quiet day I am going to offer you a few websites to peruse.  First, two former staffers for XY magazine have taken their old car and headed out for the hinterlands of America looking to see how gay kids get along outside the gay ghettos; you can follow along at their website, Young Gay America.

I read about it in the current issue of Out magazine; please check out their new website.  Out is now owned by Liberation Publications, the people behind The Advocate.  Which reminds me that the have a section featuring websites; I wonder if they’d be interested in this one?
cast of enterprise
Finally, in the evening, Bryan and I catch the series premier of the latest Star Trek franchise, Enterprise, starring Scott Bakula as the captain.  This is set only a hundred years after our time and we’re pleasantly surprised to find out how much we like it already!  Well, except for the theme music which sound like something from Radiohead.

Thursday, September 27 and for us watchers of television, it’s the season premier of “Must See Thursday” on NBC with all of our favorites.  And who said the networks would fall to cable? Friends is a bit on the week side although we notice that Chandler Bing is looking a bit fuller in the face.  The new show that follows, Inside Schwartz, isn’t as bad as most that NBC tries to foist on us every year in that time slot.

Will and Grace is as perky as ever (and we just love Rosario!); Woody Harrelson’s recurring character is a very good addition.  Just Shoot Me has a fun cameo by Snoop Dog but we still wish someone would just shoot David Spade.  And ER is more subtle than the teasers have led us to think; it’s still one of the best shows on the air.

curtisFriday, September 28 and for some reason this day just ran smooth as silk, no problems, no drama.  Serendipity continued as, shock of shocks, MaryAnn’s had a booth ready and waiting for us.  It continued with margaritas made with Anejo (which is cured in old Jack Daniels oak barrels).

take this link to mod worldThen, on the walk home, a stop at It's A Mod, Mod World brings another addition to our family of Ken dolls re-created by the store’s owners and designers, Rick Smith and Keith Yip.  This one is not actually a Ken, but his African-American friend (I think his name is Curtis).

Nonetheless, it’s still in the B&D theme that all of them have.  Now, before you go all weird on me, please note that these creations have been featured in Newsweek and are truly art.  Then it’s back to the apartment and pulling up the drawbridge over the moat.  We’re in for the evening.

Saturday, September 29 and at the apartment it’s obvious we’re keeping the Sabbath day holy by doing nothing, no, not one thing.  I read Q magazine (they have a new address for their website, by the way) while Bryan watches tv in bed.

Speaking of which, the season premier of Saturday Night Live opens with Paul Simon and band returning to his Simon + Garfunkel roots, performing “The Boxer” while a large group of NY firefighters and police watch (actually it was somewhat embarrassing for us to watch them, as they looked liked they would have preferred being back at the disaster).

Then Rudy Giuliani opened the show with a few words, the most interesting which occurred in the exchange between him and producer Lorne Michaels.  Lorne asked Rudy if it would be ok if SNL could still be funny; Rudy replied, “Why start now?”  And we wondered why the show didn’t choose a host from the past, someone like Steve Martin or Bill Murray instead of Reese Witherspoon.  It just didn’t fly when she kept talking about “we” — c’mon, she wasn’t even born when SNL started!  Nonetheless, the show continued its tradition of not being funny.

interior of ascensionSunday, September 30 and a new church.  Well, not new as the Church of the Ascension was originally incorporated in 1827, but new for me.  I’m at the 11 am service in my continuing exploration of the Episcopal churches of Manhattan; this one is just a fifteen minute walk away, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Tenth Streets.  The rector, Andrew Foster, was celebrant (assisted by their new curate, Tanya Wallace, and a cute, new seminarian) and I was very impressed with his exuberant style.

Just before the readings, he has a Children’s Greeting where he sits in front of the altar rail with the children of the parish before they go off to Sunday school.  He spoke to them about the bombing and read from cards that other children from around the nation had sent to them.  Possessed of a fine singing voice, he even sings with the choir during one of the anthems.  And that’s no mean feat considering these are the acclaimed “Voices of Ascension” led by Dr. Dennis Keene who celebrates his 20th anniversary with them this month.  Along with the hymns, sung by the congregation, and an anthem, they also sing Mozart settings of the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin from the Missa Brevis in C.

l'ile rousseOnce back at the apartment, Bryan and I go off to the Lunch Box and then trek to the wilds of Brooklyn for ABC Carpet and Home’s yearly sale and then a walk down Brooklyn’s historic Atlantic Avenue.  We’ve done this walk before; I’m not so sure about the historic part, but there certainly enough antiques dealers to keep Bryan happy.

Art galleries are the new addition to this street; one in particular, Axelle Fine Arts at #314, catches our eye because of a huge landscape by contemporary French artist Jean-Daniel Bouvard.  In particular, L’île rousse (an acrylic on canvas that you see here) is stunning.  It’s also $17,500; well, it was just painted this year and will just have to wait!

Dinner is at a new restaurant, across the street from Grace Church on Broadway, the Evergreen Shanghai Restaurant which is an off-shoot of the one in Chinatown.  And I think we might finally have a winner in our search to find a slightly more upscale restaurant with decent mai tais.  Even Eric Asimov, restaurant critic of the NY Times says, “most authentic.”  The service is attentive and educational; yes, our waiter gives us tips on how to eat dumplings and even makes Bryan’s moo shu pork wraps for him.  Even the little things are done right; the hot chili paste is made from dried chili peppers and has a warm and smoky taste.  I think the next time we will go all out and try their Peking duck (no, not Beijing).

nyc at nightAfterward, we forget to watch the season premier of “The Practice” … we don’t watch it because we’re big fans but because Dylan McDermott is always in our building.  Instead, we watch the latest installment of Ric Burn’s New York: A Documentary Film on PBS and then it’s off to sleep.

And so ends September.  I hope you enjoyed the return to the diary style and hope that you took advantage of all the hyperlinks.  There is a wealth of information and entertainment that you just will not get anywhere else.  Just remember to come back here when you are done!

Wearing feelings on our faces when our faces took a rest.  Supper’s Ready … Genesis

go to church publishing

At work:  I am the Software & Online Services Editor at Church Publishing Inc., the publishing arm of the Episcopal Church (directly in charge of the Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal among other liturgical, theological and spiritual materials).  Specifically, I am Editor of the Episcopal Clerical Directory and for the next few months I will be involved in the development of the latest addition to The Rite Series, The Rite Stuff, a liturgical tool for planning worship services.  When completed, it should be one of the most advanced software products on the market.

Di-ek eni awik kher ka-ek
Shesepi su ankhi yemef
I ashek reni er heh
Ben hehif em rek
Give me thy hands, holding thy spirit,
that I may receive it and may live by it.
Call thou upon my name unto eternity,
And it shall never fail.

From a love poem found in a royal mummy of the Amarna period, from Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, translated by Sir Alan Gardiner

Take me home   Remind me of what Tony was talking about last month    Take me to October

yes, rosebud is still sleeping


Feel free to write to Tony or Bryan for further details; or just to say hello.