Anthony Algernon

This might be the first (or the only) in a series to be called “Ideas and Opinions that No One Asked Me For.”

If you are a human being named Anthony and for whatever reason, possibly under the influence of precocious exposure to Mr Wilde’s masterpiece, you prefer to be called Algernon, well then, Algernon it is. If, however, you are a writer of novels and you want your main character to be called Algernon, for whatever reason, why on earth would you name him Anthony and then tell us that everyone calls him Algernon for no reason at all? I mean, he’s a fictional character, call him whatever you like but don’t try to insinuate that Algernon (“unabbreviated” or otherwise) is a normal nickname for Anthony.


Gold and purple.

Gold[ie] and [Cherokee] Purple are so, so close.

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The Bunch of Tomatoes: A Tale of Suspense

The first Kumato [? — I am dubious] bunch, as babies — note the slow-drop shape:IMG_20200630_082147




Almost! (but wait, weren’t there five?):IMG_20200729_104202



The survivors offer themselves to me:



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roadway rests. 3.2

The enclosure at Hadramout on Atlantic, seen in the previous post, has already been improved with a marquee.


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Roadway restaurants three

They’re changing and regularizing already. A few more from earlier in the month, starting with Atlantic Avenue Middle Eastern classics:

These two from different ends of my extended neighborhood: Red Hook and Gowanus.

Jaunty blue umbrellas at President and Court, and a rather more raucous use of the same blue at Smith and Sackett.


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Roadway restaurants, addendum

A few more I happened to see last evening. First is actually an action view of one I showed, empty, yesterday, the Longshoreman bar just a block from my house, on Columbia Street. Kind of a horse-country vibe with the white cross-gate fences and the potted plants.IMG_20200702_174105

Then a few from Court Street, heading south. You can see that the Frankies folks have colonized a long stretch of the block with an aggressively rough-hewn look, right opposite the smaller red-framed and -topped space.

IMG_20200702_175833And more along Court. This first one has country-house detailing, for those of us taking our summer vacation on asphalt. The benches let them use the sidewalk too.

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Roadway restaurants.

I’m interested in the ad hoc, quickly installed enclosures local restaurants have made to set up tables and chairs in the road, while indoor dining is still forbidden and presumably while and when it is restricted. The program, called Open Restaurants, allows a restaurant to claim space on the sidewalk, if it’s wide enough, or in the public road. (The program is run by the NYC Department of Transportation; the description is here. Restaurants do have to submit an application, but they’re allowed to certify themselves without inspection.) I am sure that within a few months these will be professionalized; I hear that the Upper East Side ones are already fancy. I saw these on a walk through Carroll Gardens, along Smith Street to Atlantic, west on Atlantic and back home—nothing scientific, just a slightly extended neighborhood stroll.

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Haruspex Day, COVID-19 edition

One hundred years ago on my birthday. From NYPL Collections via DPLA

DADA program, 3/27/1920

Here it is the Ides of March again and let me say I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING as of, say, December. I mean I knew things would be awful, because they have been awful for 3 1/2 years plus, and I foresaw the political season getting worse and worse (although maybe since we’re used to the pain it would be duller? We’ll see). But not a world-wrapping disease. Ach, you can hardly get good sacred bull liver nowadays.

So I thought of another mode of scrying. For the last ten days or so I’ve been following @dictionarish on Twitter. This is a neural network trained on the OED that tweets out a word or phrase (sometimes real, sometimes invented) and a definition, complete with IPA pronunciation and etymology, several times a day. They are frankly surreal. I’ve been cutting out a phrase or two and re-tweeting some of them. I took all my snipped phrases and put them together and meditated on the result.

Perhaps we have to blame not bats but camels, chickens, tigers, and trout? No, the animals are not the specified thing.

Or it’s that first man to prove tigers, somehow sorting the country’s angular plates.

But this is meant to be prophecy. So. I predict: that things will be very confusing, even surreal. That many of us will pass through what seems like a different world, strangely collectively. That some appearances will soothe our fevers, judged by the feeling of mercury. That we may — or alternately may not — be able to bear. That some possibilities will vanish.

I don’t believe in the universal incuress. I do believe I am tune-spined, miserabouring, rendezvouring by the tiger’s teeth, with rope, flour, and fish. I hope for a method of following, of solving the algebrait of the city, of passing opposite the brightest crossing to the winning season.

A poem of camel / a specified thing / Fever is a second world
in the winning season/ and chickens
Chosen to or above or down
the first man to prove tigers
four money / miserabouring
opposite brightest crossing / strangely collectively / spat or bottom
to the country’s angular plates
(ripes) that travelling from a building / sorted with alternate them / able to bear
the universal / incuress
analgesic appearance /with seasoning in the first size
A hasty little more / this underdriving bearer
a method of following /the algebrait of the city
withdraw a possibilitie /put an opponent to press
A feeling of mercury
Rope / flour and trout
a rendezvouring actor

Some loaves, with bonus