Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sleepily, from the vaults

There seems to be a change underway. I start nodding off around 8 to 8:30pm these days, waking up once or thrice until I finally go to bed. If I'm not falling asleep, I alternate between feeling overly warm on the verge of sweating (or sweating slightly) and occasional chills. I've put weight on. It's winter and I suppose I'm really seeking to hibernate. There's lots of rational reasons for all of this, from starting work at 6:45am one day, and working afternoon and evening until 8pm or later the next, having to keep the thermometer set high so that my neighbor on the same heating circuit gets enough heat, aging, etc. I now wake up and get up around the time I used to go to bed - well, after a rather successful night anyway. I find it all fairly annoying.

As I go looking for various files whose names I no longer remember (if indeed I ever knew them) I find some things that I'd saved and forgotten. Like the text of the poem, "When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple". Like the following. It's been on my computer since last May. I just found it again. And maybe it's because I'm starting to yawn and beginning to nod off, but I find myself laughing a little bit as I read it. Maybe Laura sent it to me (but I don't see anything like it in her emails from last May), or maybe I just picked it up somewhere. Whatever.


TEXTING for the Older crowd

Since more and more over 50's are texting and tweeting there
appears to be a need for a STC (Senior Texting Code). If you
qualify for Senior Discounts this is the code for you.
ATD: At The Doctor's
BFF: Best Friend Fainted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair

BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CGU: Can't get up
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was

FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk's On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
ROFL... CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing... And Can't Get Up
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?

WTFA: Wet The Furniture Again
WTP: Where's The Prunes?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil
GGLKI: (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In)
SDO: sorry, dosed off….zzzzz


Over at Austanspace, Laura has written a nice little piece about recent unfortunate trends in horror stories,   films, and characters. The following is for her. Hey, I find it scary....


Sunday, January 29, 2012

The flood this time - continued

All in all, I spent over 6 hours yesterday dealing with cleanup from the mini flood in the building's basement. The box of DVDs that was sitting on the floor absorbed enough moisture that the box itself had to be thrown out. But the contents were, by and large, dry. The DVD box for The Chronicles of Narnia pt1 suffered some damage. I'm not sure how that disc even got into my collection - it must have snuck in with some of the review copy DVDs I got when I was running the video store. I've never seen the movie(s). And I guess I should confess that I've never read the books. It's just as well, if I had them, they'd probably have been lost in the flood, too.

Which is my way of noting that I have had several storage places over the years. All of the Vermont ones (with the singular exception of a friend's barn which amusingly enough has holes in the roof) have had water damage to my stuff -damage to the privately printed complete Richard Burton translation of the Arabian Nights was the real heartbreaker. I had my copy since my days running a very big bookstore in New York City, the Bookmasters store across 33rd Street from Madison Square Garden, and across 7th Avenue from the Statler-Hilton Hotel.

The last time I saw that set of books for sale was in Boston in the late 1980s or early 1990s. (I'd get lost in time if I tied to come up with the right year...) and it went for $1,000.00 I think my copy is currently in storage in my friend's barn. I don't remember what all I sold when I first went flat out broke a few years ago. Sigh. Sold all the Edward Gorey books, a lot of the Roman and Greek classics I never got around to reading, the resource materials I had for all that "in a timeline as written" reading that I never got around to (ancient maps, books of architecture and costume, etc.) Ah, well. Semi-retirement's coming.

Oh. That Bookmasters store.

Yes, that's me somewhere around November 1977.
The books and promo materials were delivered in an ambulance.
I have a picture of it around here somewhere. I'll look.

Madison Square Garden was built on the former site of the Pennsylvania Station, NYC's great transit terminal. By my day, the station had been torn down, moved underground and had the Garden built over it. The loss of the old building used to be regarded as one of the great architectural tragedys of the modern world. I never got to see it. I do remember the old Whatchi ma hootziz over on Lexington there, you know , ah ---- Grand Central Station. So, I can sort of suss out from the photos how Penn Station looked and must have felt. Sorta.

These pics from the wonderful Shorpy site give a good idea of the sheer size of the place...

These give a good idea of the atmospherics:

So, that's what used to be across the street from the store. Across the street on he 7th Avenue side was, as I mentioned, the Stater-Hilton Hotel. Which had previously been The Pennsylvania Hotel. Which just celebrated its 93rd Birthday 4 days ago. Inside the Main Entrance, to the left of the lobby, walled off and unused, is a huge old dining room/supper club. The room has two raised wings for a total space of 58 feet by 142 feet. The ceiling is 22 feet high. It used to be the Cafe Rouge. Although its had several uses over the years, including an ignominious turn as a souvenir shop (with the old dance floor showing underneath the worn linoleum), I've read that it's all still there, the fountain and everything.

It was the premier night club in New York City in the late 1930's and early 1940's. Artie Shaw played there. During his engagement in November of 1939, he quit the business there. Benny Goodman played there. Duke Ellington played there. Basie played there. Most of the big bands did. And for about three years at the beginning of the 1940's, it was home base for Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. Miller hired a couple of the unemployed Shaw musicians, including Shaw's main arranger, Jerry Gray. While with Miller, Gray came up with "Pennsylvania 6, 5000", which became a huge Miller hit. It's the hotel's telephone number, said to be the oldest number in continuous use.

There were broadcasts from the Cafe several nights a week, and on weekends there were even broadcasts in the late afternoons - it was also the site of many of Miller's "Sunset Serenades" USO shows. There were also broadcasts from the hotel's cellar club., around the corner and slightly down the side street, the Madhattan Room. For a couple of seasons it was the home base of Benny Goodman from the days when Harry James and Ziggy Elman were in the trumpet section, and  Gene Krupa was the drummer, when Swing was was becoming king.

Over the years, the Hotel fell on hard times, and its once great reputation nearly destroyed. The current owner bought it in 1997 with the intention of demolishing it for a new high rise. A group formed to save it, but their attempts to get landmark status for the building and for the Cafe failed. Last December the owners suddenly changed their minds and say they now intend to renovate it.