Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Take a look at how the tree lifted the sidewalk, making it like a headstone. The upside is that later I saw kids skate boarding off of it. Joy can spring from mourning.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Freud given icy reception at 1896 Convention for Suggesting that Hysteria was Caused by Childhood Sexual Abuse

Seeing Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris reawakened my interest in Anais Nin. Noel Riley Fitch's The Erotic Life of Anais Nin (Little Brown & Co., 1993) not only took me into her life: her tumble of affairs, notably with Arthur Miller, but also led me to awarenesses about Freud that were like kapows! Like this one on p. 151.

In 1896, Freud was booed at a Psychiatric and Analytical conference when he presented a paper about hysteria being caused by childhood sexual abuse based on the testimony of his patients and his own experience. He knew because he admitted "my father was one of the perverts." Unfortunately, he called it "the seduction theory" which implies that the children are somehow at fault. At that time, incest was considered extremely rare. Frued said his reception "was icy by those asses." That paper caused Freud so much aggravation that he was forced to retract it in 1905, shifting the emphasis to the unconscious. In 1906, he developed the theory of the Oedipal Complex in which hysterical children fantacized about seducing one parent and eliminating the other. Neuroses was supposed to arise from the guilt of that fantasy. Oh, what a hindrance to truth!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Brava for Lesley Kagen's newest novel, Good Graces ,

Good Graces
By Leslie Kagen
(Dutton, 2011)

Leslie Kagen’s latest novel, Good Graces, the sequel to her best-selling Whistling in the Dark, is a juicy, hilarious, salty, sexy grown-up version of Nancy Drew. You’ll be drawn in immediately by the O’Malley sisters, Sally and Troo and the whole Milwaukee neighborhood where, beneath the humor and the small town life, you learn, right in the preface, that amidst county fairs and church suppers and childhood play, there will be murder-most-foul. And Kagen writes such a nifty plot that you won’t even be sure who will be murdered until the end when you’ll wish that there were hundreds of pages more.
“The devil is in the details,” Donny O’Malley, Sally and Troo’s father had told them before he died in a car crash. And devilish details you will get. You’ll find out just what the town is gossiping about. Sally, the narrator, is so un-PC that you may hawk a loogie when you hear her goings on about Polacks and Goombas and Homo Henry.
The details also bring us into a time capsule of the fifties where one character throws Dina Shore kisses and the kids eat button candy off of paper strips and chew on jujubes and Snirkle Bars and play Mumbly Peg and watch Senor Wences on the Ed Sullivan show. You’ll be reminded of blouses with Peter Pan-collars and muuu-muus and Evening in Paris cologne.
Kagen has assembled a huge cast of characters, including the town which smelled of cookies from the local factory. But Kagen miraculously pulls all of them together with their individual stories into a big sprawling howl of a book that will make you go back to read Whistling in the Dark and search the bestseller list for her next novel, which probably is already in the works. Since Kagen is an actress, a voice-over talent, a restauranteur, and a mother of two who published her first novel at age 57, you’ll be sure she won’t waste any time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Iconic Affirmation for these Iffy Financial Times

Tom Otterness' cartoon figures are appearing all over parks, subway stations. I ran across this one at The Nassau County Art Museum. Ah, to be tango-ing over a bag of money. Yes!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bernie and the Brooklyn Bridge

Is it any wonder that Whitman, Harte Crane, and Kerouac wrote about the Brooklyn Bridge?