Category Archives: history

Inspiration for My Papal Archival Hat

Speculum_Sophicum_Rhodostauroticum

As we await artist Tom Sale‘s election to the papacy as Pope Pinky I, the design for my Papal Archivist’s hat proceeds apace. This image, courtesy of friend Ian, offers the inspiration and foundation for my papal archival hat.

A kind of cylindrical Advent calendar is what I envision.

As archivist to Pope Pinky I, I vow to stress style over substance.

Post-Game Analysis

Baltimore is cool, like, because of John Waters and all. And Randy Newman’s song.

Also, ravens are way cool. I never met a corvid I didn’t like.

They’re clever. And they play in the snow.

Plus, The Ravens was the name The Kinks had before they were The Kinks.

Leonard Smith

Leonard_Smith_MED

My grandfather, who passed away before I was born in the late Fifties, is the subject of these passages from my father’s recollection of our family history:

I’m sure you already know that Grandpa Smith traveled the RKO Keith vaudeville circuit during the 1920’s as part of a Hawaiian music troupe featuring his then wife Princess and her supposed brother, Willie. Dad was a sideman, providing ukulele rhythm accompaniment for the act.  Back in the day, he was a petty decent uke player. He developed a stroke that was unique in that it infallibly controlled the tempo during a song. He helped cement the musical sound of the entire group. The several times I heard him play were long after he’d lost most of his chops. It was obvious, however, that at one time he was certainly quite good. Continue reading

She’s not there (She’s still here)

From a letter penned in 1993 by my friend Lee, who can now scarcely find words at all.

Steve & I saw Indochine last night. Horrors! I’ve lost the ability to sit still that long even for La Deneuve. When I left the movie I was saying to Steve that it was remarkable how they handled the time in the movie and this blah blah metaphor for the blah blah relationship between France and Indochina and how leaving the Japs out compressed the blah blah and effectively blah blah. This morning I woke up still thinking about it — or seeing it, really — and there on the screen of my mind was the word SONY. No wonder they left out the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Well, I loved it anyway. A French Gone with the Wind. [April 1993]