Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Salute to Dave Spinelli


It doesn’t matter where you put the accent, but it does matter how you tilt your hat.  Everyone is a Berliner.  Everyone is a pilgrim.  Tying a bow tie is like tying a shoe.
An orca can devour a giant squid.  I saw it in a diorama in a museum.  I saw it in a movie.  I saw it in a dream.
If you are going to walk like a man, come out swinging.  If you are going to talk like a man, make it good.  If you get better than you give, the taste of a split lip is worth it.  War is a kind of poetry, and, needless to say, war is hell.  When a howling commando fights the good fight, he or she earns a medal forged from the alloy of a nation's gratitude.
When you’re bowling candlepins in a private, automated, basement bowling alley on State Street, the champagne factor can go to your head.  When you are rolling the bones on the bar at the veterans' club, the commotion at the shuffleboard table drowns out everything else.  This is what it sounds like when gulls cry.  

You can count bats in the jungle, but you can’t do it after dark.  Sometimes, home ways is best ways, even when the drinks are on the house and you have two on the bar.  Home is where the heart is.
A whale swims deep.  A pilgrim travels far.  Both play for keeps, doubling down on themselves, collecting the winnings, sharing the wealth.  

Fairfield County is one part of Connecticut.  New London County is its opposite.  The geographic center of the Constitution State is in Berlin, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA, the Provision State.  Ever heard of it? 
Whatever swamp or jungle a pilgrim finds himself or herself in, there is a way to go about things.  It is easy.  It isn’t a secret.  It is as easy as tying a shoe.  
Qui Transtulit Sustinet.  Who Transplants Sustains.  Everyone goes where they come from.

Every playboy needs furniture.

Every penthouse needs furniture.

I asked Mike if I could tell the story of the day after he moved into his new apartment in the Highland Arms on Madison Avenue.  He said I could, as long as I gave him a pseudonym.  Did he have any preferences?  “You can call me, Kyle,” he said.  
Kyle moved into his apartment in the Highland Arms on Madison Avenue on Saturday afternoon.  The doorman opened the door when he arrived, and the steward followed him up the elevator, carrying  Kyle’s bags.  The key turned the lock of the penthouse suite, and Kyle was home to an empty flat.
“What am I going to do now?” Kyle asked me.
“Not to worry,” I replied, “Tomorrow's the eighth day of the week.  Good things happen then.”  
“Where will we sleep, tonight?” Kyle asked me.
“The Vanderbilt twins are having a party, tonight,” I said.  “You know Candy is sweet on you, and I think I can sweet talk Amanda.  If we show up, I bet they’ll let us spend the night in their guest room.   Besides, they’re interior designers.  I’ll bet they have plenty of suggestions of what we can buy to make your bachelor pad chic, modern, and freshly sophisticated in a comfortable way.”  
“I’m sweet on both Vanderbilt sisters,” Kyle said, dreamy-eyed.  “I love the South Shore Jumper Twin Mates Bedset they have in their guest room, too.”

The Vanderbilt twins know how to party.
The next morning, Sunday, Kyle and I returned to his new, empty apartment, after a night of talking about furniture in particular, and cutting-edge, yet homey, decor in general.  What we learned from all this talk is that there is one way, the best way, to buy furniture at significant savings with free shipping, and exceptional customer service.  High quality merchandise crafted by professional artisans from around the globe is surprisingly affordable when you know where to look.  Kyle and I spent that Sunday morning at the computer, ordering furniture for his penthouse apartment at the Highland Arms on Madison Avenue in this great city we call home.  There is only one way to shop for furniture online.
The first order of business was barstools, of course.  Then, we selected a dining room set.  It was thirsty work, but we had plenty of espresso on hand.

A floor lamp and media storage cabinet will arrive next Thursday.  The  future is bright with the promises of an occasional table, a sofa, an electric fireplace, and a coatrack conceived and manufactured specifically for the ideal, twenty-first century, bachelor's HQ in what may very well be the most cutting-edge city in the world. 
Kyle has good taste.  So do you.  Live in the home you imagine.  
Shopping online for furniture is an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  When the delivery man arrives, that is another, tangible shot of satisfaction into your home.  The proof is in the living.  Good furniture rewards its owner every day, in many ways.  There is only one way to choose wisely.  Less than eight days later, Kyle’s apartment was furnished just as he imagined. 

If you didn't see the sweet little Ninja motorcycle in yesterday's post, scroll down, gentle reader, scroll down to see a truly beautiful thing.       -WK

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Very Ninja Christmas

2011 Ninja 250 on Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA
We are talking about motorcycles for no reason except that two wheels set a soul free.  The old, littlest Ninja, with its Reagan-era aesthetics, which carried me from Boston to New Orleans, is retired.  You can read about that trip in the sidebar to your left, fourth item down.

On Christmas Eve Day, the new Ninja 250, will be careening past its 3000th milestone.  That's not bad for two and a half months without a scratch.  A motorcycle provides the best view on a bridge clogged with rush hour traffic.  A working stiff doesn't get many hours to ride, but when New Orleans' streets offer an invitation, there is nothing to do but turn, and join the parade.

The old Ninja 250 used to happily respond to the monniker, "The Littlest Ninja in [whatever city we lived in]."  The chitin of the new Ninja 250 doesn't tolerate whimsy.  No stickers.  No scratches.  One attitude: serious.  I always liked the Littlest Ninja on the East Bank of the Mississippi River.  I like the new Ninja 250, too, but it's not as friendly a companion.

Somewhere, along some bend in the Mississippi River, I am going to pause and smoke a pipe, like Saint Nick.  Man and machine will get to know each other, out in the middle of nowhere, over a smoke.

No matter how you spend your Christmas Eve, a very Merry Christmas to you and to yours.  Even a bicycle has a motor between its wheels.  Two wheels set one free.  Seven days without the wind in one's hair makes one weak.  A world without the lazy play of pipe tobacco would be an unhappy world, indeed.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Love's Tinderbox

Even a coward can be a lion.

Have I told you about my anonymous friend who loves his thirty-inch, self-trimming, electric firebox?  You can’t blame him.  She is a beauty.  He’s got a special name for his Dimplex Essex White Electric Indoor Transitional Fireplace.  He calls it Mabel.
My anonymous friend likes to cozy up to Mabel with a good book and a snifter of brandy.  “We’ve spent many romantic nights together, reading John Donne, and Portuguese sonnets, ” he says. 
No man should keep a mistress, but an electric fireplace is the perfect fixture for a modern bachelor pad.  You’ll always find success when it’s a Dimplex, especially the Essex.  Just ask my anonymous friend who has on-demand heat from a thirty-inch, self-trimming, electric firebox.  

That’s Mabel: always able.  Three cents and hour with flame only.  Eight cents an hour for warm flame, hour after luxurious hour.  
The Dimplex Essex White Electric Indoor Transitional Fireplace.  He calls it Mabel.  His wife calls it May Belle.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Think outside the bar

Stylish barstool

Consider the perfect barstool, and think outside the bar.  The perfect barstool looks right, and works right, in every setting.  The kitchen, the family room, the hallway, the living room, a backless barstool adds playful formality to any room in your beautiful home.
Today, like every day, is morning in America.   A sunny kitchenette is a happier place with backless barstools in the breakfast nook.  Kids love to swivel while they eat their cereal, and backless barstools prevent slouching.  
Good posture is improved by the perfect barstool.  Doctors recommend backless barstools for senior citizens, toddlers, day laborers, computer programmers, and surly adolescents who can benefit from better posture.  There are many barstools to choose from, in many, many styles.  There is one barstool that is perfect for you.  You need a backless barstool.  
Scandinavian style
A simple stool fits right into country decor, as easily as it does beside modern, Scandinavian design.  Clean lines, never go out of style.  A simple stool need not be simple.  Modern engineering can elevate a stool to a higher plane.  State-of-the-art, hair-trigger hydraulics combine with frictionless bearings to provide maximum comfort.   Sometimes, you can mess with perfection, and it delivers the same.
When you sit on a backless barstool, you are sitting in style. 
A chrome barstool looks good in the kitchen, for sitting at the counter with a cup of coffee, chatting with a neighbor.  A backless barstool with classic, cherry veneer is at home in the living room, one in each corner for when a guest needs a rest.  A swivel barstool is perfect for parties, where lively conversations come from every direction.  A perfect stool is the center of attention.
Sit here
Wood, tubular steel, and wrought iron are the barstool materials of choice.  Bare seat barstools are made for men made of stern stuff.  Upholstered seats provide just the right amount of cushion, and they are made of a variety of luxurious materials.  Lustrous fabric in a rainbow of colors, or rich leather tanned like mink, there is a fit and a finish that will match your beautiful home, and make it just right. Every day is a party when you think outside the bar.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

An Amazing Second Line in New Orleans, LA

New Orleans: a drinking town.

The night makes a kind of mask.  All cats are gray in the dark.  Terrence Jefferson is making his way down Frenchmen Street, a skip in his step in time with the music pouring out of the bars.  The women look lovely under the streetlights.  
Winter is the kindest time in New Orleans.  The damp cold is bracing.  People are happy to be outdoors.  They are happy to be spared, for a few months, from oppressive heat.  People stamp down their feet when they dance in the street.  People get more romantic.  The ganders snuggle the geese in City Park as lovers stroll alongside starlit lagoons. 
Happiness loves company, and there is no happiness like the kind of joy a brass band brings.  There is a commotion up the street, where Frenchman intersects with Royal Street.  A brass band is coming, with a parade of impromptu marchers in its wake.  Terrence Jefferson joins in, dancing with a beautiful redhead, before switching to a thin-boned brunette with a bob bound by a spangled headband.  When the band stops in the street, playing the whole time, the bars empty out, including the musicians.  They all add their share to the festivity.  
For twenty minutes, spontaneous bonhomie breaks out in Faubourg Marigny.  People dance on their balconies, and throw flowers into the crowd.  Someone is passing out tambourines.  The musicians play all the old standards, and everyone knows the words to sing out as they dance.  When the brass band finally stops, all of them sweating from pouring out their hearts, everyone offers to buy them a beer.  
The stage musicians get back to their gigs.  The bars fill back up with patrons trying to extend the mood from the street.  A young lady with blue hair bumps into Terrence Jefferson.  “Excuse me,” she says.  “You’re kind of cute.”
They go into the Apple Barrel for a drink.  After that, they go to the Blue Nile.  After that they go to the Balcony Music Club.  Then it is a long walk home-ways, up Esplanade Avenue, hand-in-hand.
Terrence Jefferson lives on Barracks Street, in a pale green shotgun he shares with his girlfriend and her two sisters.  The ladies of the house are out tonight, on Bourbon Street.  They won’t be home until tomorrow.  
Terrence Jefferson and the blue-haired young lady stop into Buffa’s for a nightcap, then they cross the street for a tropical drink at the Port o‘ Call.  As they walk past L’il Dizzy’s, they realize they still have a half-mile to go.    
As they cross Claiborne Avenue, the young lady says, “This is the most romantic night, ever.” 
“It’s getting a bit chilly,” Terrence Jefferson says.  He puts his arm around her waist and pulls her close.  She follows his lead as they take a left on North Prieur Street, then a right on Bayou Road.
Where Barracks Street breaks free of Bayou Road, there is a leafy piazza surrounded by some of the most beautiful homes in New Orleans.  Terrence Jefferson and the blue-haired young lady stand in the middle of the street.  They look at a patch of starry sky haloed by oak branches.  She rests her head against his chest.  “This is like a dream,” the young lady says.
They get to North Galvez Street and Terrence Jefferson says he lives on the next block.  “I live that-away,” the young lady says, extending her thumb.  Terrence Jefferson walks her to her apartment just past Kerlerec Street, and he helps her unlock the door.
Terrence Jefferson walks home, alone, with a spring in his step.  He is whistling.  The air is so cold, it looks like he is smoking.  He stamps his feet on the front steps before he opens his front door.  His girlfriend and her sisters are home early, and he is very happy to see them.  He will not be alone.
One of the sisters notices a blue hair on Terrence Jefferson’s lapel.  All the lights in the house are on.  “I was in the most amazing second line,” Terrence Jefferson says.  That explains it all, and they turn off the lights before going to bed.  


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