Friday, January 28, 2005

Loki: Two tickets to New Jersey please.
Female Train Ticket Clerk: Sorry, we're sold out until tomorrow.
Loki: Sold out???
Train Clerk (shutting ticket window): Never underestimate the drawing power of the Garden State sir.

Some things about NJ you may not know.

-Thomas Alva Edison, one of our proudest sons invented the lightbulb, phonograph and movies in NJ.
-The first football game ever was played in NJ between Princeton and Rutgers.
-The ice cream cone was invented in NJ.
-The first baseball game was played in Hoboken NJ
-NJ produces 3/4 of the world's eggplant and half its cranberries.
-A New Jerseyan invented the bar code, revolutionizing retail.
-The first boardwalk was in Atlantic City NJ.
-New Jersey is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US located in Elizabeth.
-Les Paul created the first solid-body electric guitar in New Jersey.
-The first drive-in movie theatre was in Camden.
First "condensed" soup
-Mmm, mmm good! The first "condensed" soup was cooked and canned in Camden County in 1897-which became the famous Campbell's Soup.
-First cranberry sauce Elizabeth Lee of New Egypt, a cranberry grower in South Jersey, decided to boil some damaged berries instead of throwing them away. She liked the tasty jelly so much she started a business selling "Bog Sweet Cranberry Sauce." That was the beginning of the Ocean Spray company that still sells cranberry products today!
-Here's to New Jersey-the toast of the country! In 1642, the first
brewery in America opened in Hoboken.
-FIRST STEAM LOCOMOTIVE that actually pulled a train on a track, built by John Stevens of Hoboken in 1824.
-First commercial air service, Atlantic City, 1919.

NJ has a great literary tradition as well: James Fennimore Cooper, Stephen Crane, Gay Talese, Joyce Kilmer, Norman Mailer, Dorothy Parker, Allen Ginsburg, Judy Blume, Peter Benchley, William Carlos Williams

Famous NJ Film, TV and Stage Stars: Jack Nicholson, Danny Devito, Michael Douglass, Susan Sarandon, Mery Streep, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Tom Crusie, Tara Reid, Janine Garofaolo, Joe Pesci, Kirsten Dunst, Jerry Lewis, James Gandolfini, Jon Forsythe, Kevin Spacey, Ray Liotta, Jason Alexander, Brian DePalma, Bette Midler, Andrew and ELizabeth Shue, Christopher Reeve, Frankie Munoz, Christina Ricci, Bebe Neuworth, Roy Scheider, Ethan Hawk, Nathan Lane, John Lithgow, Tea Leoni, Paul and Mira Sorvino, Joe Piscopo, Both Abbot AND Costello, Ed Harris, Alan Alda, I could go on...

Some famous NJ musicians: Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Debbie Harry, Bon Jovi, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Whitney Houston, The Misfits, The Smithereens, Yo La Tengo, Patti Smith, IceT, Paul Simon, Frankie Valley, Connie Francis.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Notes From Underground - Volume 7 ed. 7 -Garden State humor edition.

I love movies. I don't go to many in the theater anymore because its just too much of a time commitment. You have to arrive 20 minutes early to get a seat, then 30 minutes if commercials and previews and then a two hour film. Counting the time to get to and from the theater its almost a 3 1/2 hour ordeal. I would rather rent a film for $4.

Thinking about the movies also got me to thinking what an incredible part New Jerseyans play in the entertainment realm, for such a small state it has produced an incredible number of movie stars. Jack Nicholson, Danny Devito, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, its a HUGE list. Here are some NJ funnymen.

"Please explain to me why John Kerry sounds more dickish telling the truth than Bush sounds when he's lying. How is that possible?" —Jon Stewart

"Bush bragged that more Iraqis say their country is on the right track than Americans say our country is on the right track. Boy, there’s a campaign slogan for you — 'America: More F*cked Up Than Fallujah!'" —Bill Maher

Cardinal Glick: Fill them pews, people, that's the key. Grab the little ones as well. Hook 'em while they're young.
Rufus: Kind of like the tobacco industry?
Cardinal Glick: Christ, if only we had their numbers.
-Kevin Smith, "Dogma"

Sam: Hey, I recognize you.
Andrew Largeman: Oh, did you go to Columbia High?
Sam: No, not from high school, from TV. Didn't you play the retarded quarterback?
Andrew Largeman: Yeah.
Sam: Are you really retarded?
Andrew Largeman: No.
Sam: Ooh, great job man! I really thought you were retarded. I mean, you're better than that Corky kid and he's actually retarded. If there was a retarded Oscar you would win, hands down, kick his ass!
-Zach Braff in his film "Garden State"

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND - The Jesus Mortgage Special

As some of my regular readers know, I am something of a minor scholar on comparative religion and mythology. I am also a spiritual person who has found a path to serenity in part through my study and practice of a wide variety of world myths, philosophy and theology, while avoiding the trappings of organized socio-political-cultural-centric organization.

I am a firm believer in the duality of man. That we are at once rational and scientific and spiritual and emotional. I believe that to consciously exclude either side is to leave yourself wanting in terms of being a complete human.

I also believe (like the elders, sages and wise men of the ancient east that it is not my place to try and convince people of any belief of mine, but to only answer questions when asked). I know there are many who disagree with me on that and staunchly deny the spiritual nature of man and many who see nothing but religion and deny the rational scientific part of humnaity, so I am sure I draw the ire of many on both sides.

Like Walt Whitman said in Leaves of Grass. "I accept all faiths and practice all religions." Like Albert Einstein said, "religion, science and the arts are all branches of the same tree."

My studies and beliefs include the pure Christian ideals of absolute compassion, forgiveness, turning the other cheek and finding heaven not in the afterlife, but here on earth (please refer to Joseph Campbell's "Power of Myth" for more on this idea).

Also Tolstoy wrote an amazing essay on how Governments and Churches has obfuscated and corrupted the pure message of love so that they can excuse their behavior toward individuals and peoples.

A recent re-reading of this essay has left me with a thought about what is being done today in this regard.

Things that are currently being done in the name of Christ that make a mockery of his name.


-The integration of the temporal government with the spiritual.

-God Hates Fags

-California based C28 is expanding its wholesale business of Jesus apparel. Auriello Barretto III, head of the company hopes to be in Nordstroms and Macys soon and his first year goal is to position the NOTW (Not of this World) brand in a "couple of hundred" stores.

-I have received SPAM from "Christian Mortgage Lenders" "Christian Banks" "Christian Retailers" and more. All with the sales picth of keeping it in the "family" and dealing with people you can trust. Say, unlike those Jews and Pagans from across the water.

Feel free to add any others as I am compiling a list for a future purpose.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I listened to A LOT of music over this snowed-in weekend. Among my many choices I listened to U2's October (their second album released in 1982). On the album is a song called "REJOICE" which has the line "I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me" I used this as my high school yearbook quotation.

Ironically I spent the next ten years trying to change the world, until all of the issues I had and my search for serenity hit me square in the face and spent the next 5 changing me, with incredibly successful results. I still do my part to change the world, but I simply do it one person at a time by giving love and compassion to as many people as I can.

If you could change one thing about yourself in the next six months what would it be?

If you could change one thing about the world in the next six months what would it be?

Friday, January 21, 2005


-So, we are scheduled to get 10-17 inches of snow in NYC today. I think that's alright. We haven't had snow yet this year, and I love NYC in the snow. A quiet comes over the city. All the modern noises are muffled, and its not hard to walk around the older parts of the city downtown and relive the NY of the mid to late 19th century. The cobblestone streets, the wrought iron fronted tenements, the grand facades of the townhouses, courts and churches, the twisting lanes of the old city and the Five Points. And Central Park in the snow is magical, words don't do it justice. I think I'll take a walk back in time tomorrow.

-A trend I have been following in almost every media is an extension of the frigid relations between liberals and conservatives in this country. Its the battle of extrapolated facts and statistics. Every day I see a new one. These are real examples.

FACT: 9 of the 10 highest divorce rates in the country are in Red States. Family values my ass.

FACT: 9 of the 10 highest rates of psychologists per capita are in Blue States, see, liberals are crazy and paranoid.

I am sifting through these to make sense of them. But clearly there is a larger picture here. The old prejudices that city and country folk had for each other has gone high-tech, hyper-critical, and is supported by statistics, facts, and lines of reasoning that we have never seen in this country before.

If you have any of these you can share with me in the comments section I would be most appreciative. I plan on writing more about this.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


-I think that Mr. Underhill is f-ing hilarious.

-I think the TALE OF THE SEEING EYE DOG needs to be told. Because I am always amazed at what can come out of people's mouths (mine included) in a momentary lapse of reason.

On a recent afternoon I was on a crosstown bus, 42nd Street to be exact. As we pulled into Times Square, a blind man with a German Shepard seeing eye dog boarded. He made his way to the back of the bus, sitting about three rows behind me.

A few moments later, above the rumbling growl of the bus engine, the laughing of teenagers and the overly loud cell phone conversation of a fashionista, I head the blind man and a woman talking. "He only wears the harness when we are out. When we go home I take the harness off. When he is wearing it he knows he is working" said the blind man. "That's really amazing" said the young lady across from him. "And I have to tell you, he is a beautiful looking dog."

My eyes widened, my eyebrows raised, and I cringed. The next thing I heard was "So yeah, at home without the harness he knows he can rest."

I admired his tact but couldn't help imagining what he was really thinking. "REALLY BEAUTIFUL? I WOULDN'T KNOW, I'M BLIND YOU IDIOT. Want to tell me how amazing the city looks today too?

-I think that everything you ever need to know about human nature, the secular and spiritual worlds and man's desires, caprices and foibles can be learned by reading the complete world of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Pushkin and Gogol. I think that the absolute accuracy of the future of Russia foretold in Dostoevsky's "DEMONS" is eerie beyond description.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


-On January 18, 2000, the satirical (and incredibly accurate and prescient) newspaper, THE ONION, printed this headline and a story on the new President. BUSH: OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE OF PEACE AND PROSPERITY COMES TO AN END. Some highlights from the story.

*During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

*Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."

addendum: If I hear the term "Texas Black Tie and Boots Ball" one more time, I am going to drive to Texas and take a dump on the Statehouse steps in Austin.

-I have learned two things today.


I am not the only one has has occasional dreams in which my teeth fall out. Apparently this is a well documented and ancient phenomenon. It has been written about by the Greeks and Romans and up to the present day. Like brushing my teeth in the shower, I thought I was the only one, until my eyes were opened. Once again proving that there isn't anything I have ever done or felt that hasn't been done or felt by someone else, and only my latent egoism would let me believe otherwise.


The world is split into two distinct groups of people. Those who think that its completely VERBOTEN to ask a woman in a gym for a date and those who believe it is perfectly alright.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Notes from Underground - III

-Last night I was driving back into Manhattan. The bus in front of me had one of those "How am I driving? Good or bad" stickers on it. So, I dialed the number and told the man who answered the phone. "Hi, this is the phoenix, I am entering the Lincoln Tunnel and one of you busses is in front of me. I'd just like to say he is doing a spectacular job of driving. Silence. More silence. Then. "Uhh, thanks, I'll tell the driver you said so." Then, "is this some sort of prank, are you one of those Howard Stern people?" "No sir, just a concerned driver."

-Have you noticed that all of the rallying points and cause celebes of the most virulent and conservative Americans all have to do with sex? Homosexuality, abortion, sodomy, marriage, guns (talk about a phallic symbol of manhood). I think this is an indication of something, I'm not sure what. What do you think?

-I am still amazed that the act of defecating known as "Crapping" comes from the fact that Sir Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet.

Monday, January 17, 2005


"Early morning, April 4, a shot rings out, in the Memphis sky, free at last, they took your life, but they could not take your Pride, in the name of love, what more in the name of love?"


I will make this short, because if I don't, it will turn into a very long, detailed, passionate essay on the history of race, commerce, rights and justice in America and MLK's place in that narrative as explained through his works and life. I could also write another essay on his understanding and use of the best tenets of Eastern and Christian spiritualism and how they compare to what passes for "religion" in America today.

Instead, I will say this. MLK has had a profound effect on my thinking, my beliefs and my understanding of justice, human worth, dignity,courage and equality. He embodied and acted upon the values that most people only pay lip service to.

He was a great orator, a great thinker and brave beyond imagination. Dozens of times he stood face to face with Southern thugs who beat him, stoned him, jailed him, firebombed him and threatened to kill him, which they eventually did. If you could take a moment to google some of his speeches and read what this man said, you will have one of two reactions I think. Your heart will soar, your hair will stand on end and you will feel good about yourself and the hope of the world.

Or, you might be one of those provincial, hateful, pseudo-christian bigots who will be reminded again that because of your fear, ignorance and self-loathing self-loathing you will always hate this man who reminded us that there are still people who believe in the nobility, brotherhood, equality and promise of the human spirit.

That no matter how soul crushing and unjust a cursory reading of the history of civilization is, that in reading between the lines and focusing on the individuals of worth and honor, the best part of human nature has always somehow shined through and made progress and change for the better possible.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of those men. May his soul rest in peace and his words live forever.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Today's Notes from Underground Part deux

-OUCH. Somebody help me! This badger keeps punching me in the privates and I don't know why. The votes are in and you decided to subject yourself to not only the cerebral but aesthetic Phoenix.

-If you are not actively engaged in selling things on Ebay, your are denying yourself some fairly easy money. After expenses I am taking in about an extra $1500 per month from selling on Ebay. My wares generally include antiques, antiquities, rare books, and vintage clothing. I can see this number moving up to about $2500 per month soon.

-The despicable and criminal George W. Bush, in an excerpt from tonight's Barbara Walters interview, actually comes close to admitting a mistake. He said "I watch what I say now. I said some things in the first term that were probably a little blunt. 'Bring it on' was a little blunt. I was really speaking to our troops, but it came out and had a different connotation, different meanings for others," he told Walters.

Right and 1600 troops have dies and 8,000 wounded since he said it.

More recently, guerrillas in Iraq have used the president's words in a propaganda video narrated in English, according to the Reuters news agency. The narrator of the video says, "George W. Bush, you have asked us to 'bring it on.' And so help me, [we will ] like you never expected. Do you have another challenge?" The video then shows explosions around a U.S. military vehicle.

I rally have no respect for most Americans. They reflect Bush and Bush reflects them.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Today's Notes from Underground.

-First we start with a poll. Should I post a picture of me into my profile or not. So many bloggers seem to do so, but I have hesitated. So, vote on it. Yes or no?

-As an update to my two sock posts. Mr. Teacher found this for us. Its the BUREAU OF MISSING SOCKS. Perhaps some of the deeper, darker, existentialist sock questions can now finally be answered.

-An interesting story about China. As you know China is in the news all the time now in regard to its economic miracle of the last decade. Stories about its dynamism and rise to the top of the world's most influential countries abound. Well, my business is in China. I travel there 4-5 times per year and have fallen in love with the country, culture, people, food and its amazing rate of change. It's truly the most fascinating place on the planet today.

A case in point. One of the biggest cities in China didn't exist 22 years ago. The city of Shenzhen (just across the border from Hong Kong) was a fishing village of 10,000 souls in 1982, when it was designated as a "Special Economic Zone" (China's first attempt at Market Economics) by Beijing. Well, it was a rousing success.

Today, Shenzhen is a city of 7 million people, its extremely wealthy and is a powerhouse in world trade. Imagine the scale here. From 10,000 to 7 million in 22 years.

It took New York 300 years to achieve that. If you are not in play in China today you are not in play.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Things I think I think Part VII

-I think that seeing a beautiful woman gives me some inherant right to stare. Its like looking at a piece of fine art or a gorgeous sunset over the ocean. You need to look deep and long, so that you can absorb every part of her beauty, because you must eventually walk away from the art, see the sun finally set and know that the woman will move along. In all three cases one wants to ensure an image burned into the mind that will create a lifelong memory.

-I think I allowed myself to be flattered today and to believe my own press with no shame. Vanity seized me and I held tight in return. Getting on the elevator this morning I joined a woman and her daughter. I said good morning to them both and mom said. "You look like you are on TV." Any particular person I asked. "No, you just have that handsome, rugged, pretty face of a TV star." I did not blush because I have no shame. I said thank you and walked away with a smile and a good start to my day.

-I think I still daydream in a Walter Mitty kind of way about being other people in other times and places (I am 100% happy with who I am and where I am, I just like to use my imagination). Some of my most frequent ones are being a famous writer in Victorian London and being a member of the Garrick Club and being a citizen of Rome in the 2nd century.

I would love to get a chance to use the "Past Lives pavilion" they had in "Defending your Life."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


-I think this is funny. I just talked to a client on the phone. He told me he served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. "Yup three wars and three wives," he said. I asked him which was worse? He said, what do you think?

-I think "24" is still a great guilty pleasure and the only network drama I watch.

-I think Randy Johnson telling a NY cameraman "Don't talk back to me" means he has NO CLUE about the psyche of the average New Yorker. We LIVE to talk back.

-I think I have never been into celebrity, supermodel, glam women. I have always preferred the sexy enticements, beauty and accessibility of real women. But, I have been hit by a triple whammy. Catherine Zeta Jones, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek have completely captivated me. I think about them, lust for them and dream of one night with them. Strange, as all three have happened at once.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Did you know that one city in China produces more than half the world's socks? 9 billion pairs per year.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Strange happenings once again on my wanderings around Midtown East.

On a brisk afternoon with the wind at my back, walking east on 40th street I was looking up at the tall, rectangular, shining blue glass edifice of the United Nations.

Ahead in the distance I could make out the small outline of a man walking toward me. He walked from side to side as if he were bowlegged. And then I could hear him. He was saying something quite loudly but I was still to far away to make it our clearly.

"Rocks. Man. Hear. Rocks"

With each step we took we closed in on each other, closer and closer. Now I could see him clearly. A tall man of about 50, with grey hair, a grey mustache and weathered skin. He was wearing a baggy green army coat, black pants, worn dress shoes and he looked slightly homeless, but not dirty.

He kept moving closer to me and now I could hear him clearly.


Now we were only 5 feet from each other. He was speaking directly to me. "SOCKMAN, FRESH SOCKS."

And sure enough hanging from his fingertips, one in each hand, were two bags of unopened six packs of white tube socks.

"Hello sir, would you like some socks today?" I looked at him closely, admiring his enthusiasm and salesmanship, but alas, I needed no socks that day. Politely I answered. "No thank you, not today."

He looked me in the eye. Silence. A moment passed, then another, then another.

Then his face started to change, the smile was gone, a look of confusion and then...

His face began to twist and contort and screw up into a look of anger.


I was stunned, a little scared and quickly stepped aside and moved on. I kept walking.

I looked over my shoulder and saw him swaying side to side on his way again and I heard him again.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Donde esta el presidente Bush II?

Every sign is subject to the criteria of ideological evaluation…The domain of ideology coincides with the domain of signs. They equate with one another. Wherever a sign is present, ideology is present too.

V.N. Volosinov – Russian Linguist, 1929.

Walking up Lexington Avenue I came to the corner of 38th Street, where the Cuban Mission to the U.N. is located. The building is surrounded by parade fencing, and fronted by a small NYPD booth where one lonely officer seems to be keeping watch for any planned or impromptu demonstrations of political disagreement.

What caught my interest was a street sign on the corner above the booth. In addition to the usual street signs telling you that you’re at 38th and Lex is one of the smaller, blue, commemorative, signs that you see all over the city. (“Tito Puente Place” “Joey Ramone Place and “Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza” are some of my favorites.) Reading this one, I started cracking up. I mean laugh out loud like an escaped mental patient cracking up.

It read: “Esquina Hermanos Al Rescate.”

Directly underneath, it is translated into English: “Brothers to the Rescue Corner.”

Hermanos al Rescate is an anti-Castro, anti-communist, pro-democracy, human rights and rescue organization. The Cuban Mission sits on a street corner named after one of the most vocal and active anti-Castro organizations in the world.

From the Brother’s Web site:
“Brothers to the Rescue is a pro-democracy, humanitarian organization. Our mission is to promote and support the efforts of the Cuban people to free themselves from dictatorship through the use of active nonviolence. An integral part of our effort is to save the lives of refugees escaping the Island and to assist the families of political prisoners.
Brothers to the Rescue was founded in May 1991 after several pilots were touched by the death of a fifteen year old adolescent named Gregorio Pérez Ricardo, who fleeing Castro's Cuba on a raft, perished of severe dehydration.

This is possibly one of the greatest practical jokes of all time or one of the savviest political digs in New York history, or maybe both.

So, it got me thinking. How do these signs end up around the city in the first place? Who is responsible for this one? How do the Cubans feel about it? Curious, I decided to make some phone calls. First, I called the Department of Transportation and asked, “If I wanted to, how could I get my name or somebody else’s name up on a street sign?”

I envisioned “Hammered Heart Way” on the corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street, where a Dutch gal let me know that I was no longer turning her windmill; or maybe renaming a block of the Bowery to "Thephoenix’s Sorrowful Strand,” in memory of some of the shittiest times in my life, most of which involved a bottle of Vodka, a bag of weed, a handful of Vicodin, a 4 a.m. bedtime, and the resulting pain and madness.

Not surprisingly, the good folks over at the Department of Transportation (DOT) were not sure where this could be handled, but they knew it wasn’t in their offices. “We only erect and maintain the signs, Sir.” They suggested I give the Mayor’s Action Center a call. The Action Center’s first response was, “You should call the DOT.” Oh shit, here we go, time to play “Why don’t you call the guy who just suggested you call me game.” I’m still not sure what actions the Action Center performs, who set it up, or what mischief they are up to, but I did finally get my answer from them.

A kind woman named Gladys helped me with unexpected enthusiasm – she set to work, with assistance from her supervisor (must have been a slow day over at the Action Center) on finding me an answer. After 15 minutes of searching, asking, and inquiring, we got to the point.

Here’s how it works.

Governing rule: No Breathing

If it’s a person you’re looking to immortalize, they must be certifiably dead. My dreams of being a star on the Bowery were crushed.

To get things moving you must write a proposal, to be presented to the neighborhood Community Board, detailing the person’s life and why they are worthy of having a block, corner, or street named after them. It seems to help if the person had a strong connection to that neighborhood or block, or were a member of the clergy, a Broadway personality or a politician. Hmm.

From there, the Community Board will vote on whether to accept the application. If the vote is yes, the proposal is given to that district’s city council member, who brings it to the City Council for a vote. If they vote yes, you have your honorary street name. Seems simple enough.

So it was with Esquina Hermanos de Rescate, or so I thought.

My next call was to Community Board Five to get the paperwork and relevant information (despite John Ashcroft and George Bush, we still have a Freedom of Information Act) regarding the presentation and vote regarding Los Hermanos’ corner. They couldn’t help because District Five ends on the west side of Lexington and the corner in question is on the east side of the street.

I then found the good folks at Community Board Six. After a thorough search, they determined that the Board was bypassed; there never was a presentation or a vote on the sign in question. This meant only one thing: a call to the City Council to find out who greased the wheels on this one.

A document and records handler there did me the favor of searching the records of every vote for a street name since 1986 (I knew this was far enough back because Hermanos was not formed until 1991). As it turns out, the matter was never presented by the District‘s Councilman or voted on by the City Council. Apparently somebody had the juice to bypass the two key bodies needed to approve such an addition to the city’s signage.

I placed several calls to the Cuban Mission for comment. None were returned. I also placed several calls to the Hermanos al Rescate headquarters in Miami. Again, no response. So, the mystery remains. How did the sign get there? Whose idea was this?

Whoever you are, I salute you. You created a sublime and witty piece of political intrigue and added to the endless curiosities of New York street-life.

Viva Los Hermanos!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Well, rather than make a list of resolutions, I will just post my year in review. Be thankful for my abundance of good fortune and list some highlights.

1. Excellent mental, physical and spiritual health. I had everything I needed and so much that I wanted. My gratitude is boundless.

2. Great travels. I made it to:

China (twice)

2. Success in my profession. Things in the China trade business have remained hot and work has been exciting, challenging and profitable.

3. Added some spectacular pieces to my antiquities collections including a Roman coin with Claudius minted 60 A.D. and a 3500 year old Egyptian Eye of Horus.

4. Climbed Mt. Vesuvius

5. Hiked on a glacier 8,000 feet altitude.

6. Met leading scholars on Charles Dickens at the Dickens House.

7. Rome, Florence, Naples, Amalfi, nuff said.

8. Saw my friends prosper and build families.

9. Became close again with my oldest and best friend.

10. Saw my family healthy and prosper and saw my sister married.

11. Saw The Pogues in London.

12. Found serenity.