Don’t tell the turtles

Hi everyone,

Saw BEAUTIFUL night before last and wound up the evening with bread and wine at a sidewalk table. Young men and women paraded by our table in some pretty incredible Halloween costumes. Some were having fun; others looked like hookers advertising their wares. My M.O.W. allowed me to look just a little.

Yesterday it was lunch at Tavern on the Green. It rained without stopping all day. We waded through water that soaked shoes. The NYC Marathon (in a downpour) caused all sorts of mischief with traffic. Many streets were blocked off so everybody got to walk. We went to the MoMa but rain had driven so many people inside the museum that we gave up waiting in line and walked with our umbrellas to Ticketron for more play tickets. Last night we saw CATS for the fifth time, including London, New York, and elsewhere.

The rain isn’t supposed to stop before noon today. I’m sure I’ll get wet again as I move from editor to editor, but there’s not much I can do about that. Tonight it’s BROADWAY COMEDY CLUB. More later.

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Chef Harrison

Hi everyone,

While we were in Kansas City we spent the night with good buddy Elaine Fry. After the funeral and visit to the Nelson, we relaxed at her house and topped off the day with oven baked veggies and steak on the grill. I was still in my dress shirt so Elaine found a oversize shirt to cover it plus an apron. The steak turned out about right, which is always a miracle.

My desk accessories

Hi everyone,

Every day I sit next to two fabled animals from the distant past: replica skulls of the short-faced bear and the sabertooth cat, gifts from Jeff and Sandy. Here they are.
Yesterday during a school visit to Eugene Field Elementary in Springfield I answered questions about how writers find their ideas. I didn’t use my skull pals as an example but I could have. The bear inspired this poem among others.

The Bear

She pads on silent paws
into the cave,
into the dark,
moving slowly,
sniffing the air but unworried.

At a wall she stands erect,
stretches high,
wags her massive head,
slashes the clay
to mark her territory.

She turns to her task,
scooping out a hollow nest
for twins that will come.

Like an afterthought she lifts her head,
crushing jaws agape,
tongue like a red warning flag
flicking between her teeth,
and roars.

Echoes like shockwaves
roll down black halls.
She roars and roars
and roars.

(c) by David L. Harrison, all rights reserved

As for the saber tooth cat, although it was a serious hunter in its day, sometimes I find myself treating my subjects with less respect than they probably deserve.

The Truth About the Saber-tooth

The saber-tooth enforced the law
With giant canine, leap, and claw.
Victims whom he gnawed and chewed
Agreed he was a handsome dude.
No one thought the saber mean,
Just a perfect eating machine.

But vision dims as time passes.
Soon he needed eating glasses.
One day when he went to roam,
He forgot his specks at home.
Nearsightedly he lost his mate,
Who, by accident, he ate.

For months he moped about his loss
Without the will to bathe or floss
Until at last his stink was linked
To how the saber went extinct.
With rotten teeth and rancid breath,
The saber stank himself to death.

(c) by David L. Harrison, all rights reserved

Art museums

Hi everyone,

Over last weekend Sandy and I drove to Kansas City to attend a funeral. Later we went to see the Picasso exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which is, we think, one of the great museums in America. We started talking about the wonderful museums we’ve been privileged to see in the United States and elsewhere and out of curiosity Sandy looked up the ten top museums in the world. Right away we discovered that top picks vary according to who is making the list, but one of them listed the following.

Smithsonian Institution, Washing, D.C.
Le Louvre, Paris, France
The Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece
State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
The British Museum, London, England
The Prado, Madrid, Spain
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
The Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Italy
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

We were surprised that we’ve visited all but three on that list: State Hermitage, The Prado, and Rijksmuseum. We’ve also been to three others that appeared on a different list: Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York City, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, NY; and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. There are many, many other fine museums here and abroad that we’ve visited and loved. Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas is a good example. That one recently featured an exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s incredible glass sculptures.

Thank goodness for museums. The big ones keep and protect the evidence of our past, the geniuses and anonymous artisans whose creative work has graced the lives of every generation. The Smithsonian alone houses 137 million objects.