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the duke

May 10, 2010

Reruns of Mad Men are on TV, and Mad Men makes me want to have a bourbon.  Ellington At Newport is on the record player and that, too, drives me to the glass.  It was summer a few weeks ago, and now it’s not, but summer deserves a pour.  So I sip bourbon and listen to The Duke with Mad Men on mute.  Don and Betty Draper are in Rome.  They arrive in the morning and don’t leave the hotel.  Betty visits The Hilton’s beauty parlor and afterward looks stunning, after dark, at the hotel piazza bar outdoors, wavy blonde hair up high over her head, black dress, shoulders exposed to the night.  The Drapers pretend they don’t know one another.  Two Italian men make crude remarks to Betty, Don sits down, orders a whiskey neat and acts as though he doesn’t know his wife.  They play this game for awhile: “May I join you?,” “What brings you to Rome?,” “Are those men making fun of me?,” “I’m only in Rome for a night and don’t plan to leave broken-hearted.”  They awake the next morning washed in sunlight and Don Draper kisses his wife like he never has before, and like he never will again.  The Duke scales up slowly to the high notes on his piano, then dances low, down lower, holds and then silence.

No. 239: 5/9/2010

His point is simple: censorship captures the imagination, but the
process of creation might be even more destructive.  In order to write
a story, and create meaning out of events, you deny other possible

– Peter Hessler, Oracle Bones

No. 240: 5/8/2010

Clarke’s on Damen     

No. 241: 5/7/2010

No. 242: 5/6/2010

Everything takes more time, money,
and effort than you think it will
Plus something you could never imagine,
until you’re completely immersed.

– Paul Madonna, All Over Coffee

No. 243: 5/5/2010

No. 244: 5/4/2010

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