Tag Archives: Venice

nymysteries May 14 —  May 18


I met Ginny and Lenny Fox at Judson Memorial Church. Ginny died the day after Mother’s Day. She hadn’t eaten in years. She drank some stuff that sustained her physically. Intellectually and emotionally, she sustained the rest of us. She and Lenny, her late husband, traveled. He carried her supply of  canned nourishment and they had a ball. At different times, they and I had stayed at the Pensione Accademia in Venice. She and I enjoyed talking about the pensione and Venice (duh). Ginny and I were supposed to have gone to the Remnick-Comy New Yorker interview at Town Hall but she had returned from Greece the day of the event, not well. Her impeccable manners reigned. She emailed me, suggesting I ask someone else. Her daughter posted heartfelt news about her mother who had hospice care at home. This poems will be read at Ginny’s memorial. I looked up Laistrygonians on Wikipedia. They were man-eating giants who ate most of Odysseus’s crew. 

Entrance to Pensione Accademia
A quiet niche at Pensione Accademia
The one and only Ginny Fox




As you set out for Ithaka

hope your road is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.

May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you’re destined for.

But don’t hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you’re old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.

Without her you wouldn’t have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.





Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

New York City Blog — March 5 – March 11

The Frick Sunday concert featured Tempesta di Mare’s A Tale of Two Cities. The music represented the different traditions of Venice and Naples. Vivaldi and Castello represented Venice and Marchitelli and Mancini represented Naples. It was enchanting. The quartet is named after Vivaldi’s eighteenth century flute concerto. The instruments played were the recorder, violin, cello and a theorbo. A theorbo is a stringed instrument of the 17th century resembling a large lute but having an extra set of long bass strings.Thank you, Merriam-Webster. Getting it through customs must be a real treat. The Frick includes brief descriptions of related art works. Do you walk by the bronzes? I do. Therefore I was grateful for the Frick notes gently nudging us to pay as much attention to metal as we do to paint by describing Severo da Ravenna’s Neptune on a Sea-Monster. I went to the West Gallery and looked at it closely, marveling at the action and detail. Frick bought the sculpture from the J. Pierpont Morgan estate. After the concert, we stepped around the corner to Charlot, a charming French bistro on 69th Street.

On March 9th, I participated in a Jericho Walk near Foley Square. A Judson Memorial Church member had to appear before ICE. This person has been in the U. S. for twenty five years, has a family, works regularly and yet there’s a distinct chance that he will be deported to a country he hasn’t lived in for decades. We were instructed not to engage in angry exchanges. In other words, keep your BIG mouth shut. I shouted at a creep who was holding up posters telling immigrants to get out of his country. I was correctly shushed by my pals. A Jericho Walk is a prayer walk by a group. The purpose is to pray for or against something which indeed we did.

Highlights in Jazz was on Thursday evening. After a delicious dinner at Gigino’s we made our way to BMCC. That’s Borough of Manhattan Community College auditorium. Paquito D’Rivera was his usual charming self. The evening was shadowed by the news of Barbara Carroll’s death.

Foley Square Jericho Walk

New York City Blog Nov. 22- Nov. 28

Signs of our times: we went to a 14th Street theatre to see The Martian. It was like an airport. We scaled the complex’s heights on a series of elevators.Then waited in line to have our backpacks, etc. examined. Sir Ridley Scott directed the movie. Internationally we’re joined at the hip so I guess it makes sense for a Brit to direct the all American The Martian. Mars is American, too. Matt Damon, stranded on Mars, grows potatoes in his own excrement, strews the landscape with rubbish, flashes his buffed butt and leaves notes about not destroying a machine because it saved his life. See what I mean about being American? The movie is achingly politically correct. The captain of the team that deserted Matt is a woman with not a hair out of place. Having made the initial mistake of thinking our hero was dead and leaving Mars without him, the captain is the one who, in the last hours of the movie, straps herself into nine hundred pounds of tech stuff and saves him. Matt Damon was perfect and Ridley Scott is a master at building tension. What was pathetic was our American need to be popular, to be loved. Scenes of the Chinese -yes, the Chinese – applauding and the rest of the world holding its breath as our brave astronaut is saved. Will the day come when we Americans applaud others with the same fervor we expect from them? I doubt it.

We went to one of the few old time movie houses in Manhattan to see a documentary about Peggy Guggenheim. Peggy had only five hundred thousand dollars in the early fifties. Poor dear. She picked up her palazzo on the Venetian Grand Canal for a song. The next fifty years were spent collecting modern art, sleeping with artists, getting married and divorced and swanning around Venice with her dogs in the last private gondola. The documentary brought back memories of Venice. Entering the Guggenheim in Venice long ago was like coming very late to a cocktail party. That’s changed. Now, the Venice Guggenheim is well run and packed.
Peggy Guggenheim’s gondola is in the Maritime Museum, a wonderful place that shows how wedded Venice, la Serenissima, is to the sea.

New York City Blog Nov. 2 – Nov. 9

Amnesty International mailed me a 12” by 12” 2015 paper calendar. Is there any more dated symbol of a bygone world? The paper calendar is in the same category as all those deserted malls. Isn’t the internet, or a similar communication device, here to stay? In addition to the expense of producing the calendar, the contents are highly suspect. There are colored photos of pretty dark children smiling in soft focused lighting. We know Panos Pictures did the photos because the credit is almost an inch high and mentioned three times. It’s Project Runway meets the Sierra Club. Some day these shots might be considered vintage. Now they’re only dated examples of another charity spending its money unwisely. What a distortion of human suffering. What a waste of money.

Vivaldi is to Venice what Gershwin is to NYC. I was thinking this while listening to the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato at Carnegie Hall. She was celebrating Venice. In addition to Vivaldi, she sang the works of Faure´, Rossini, Head, Hahn and DeCurtis.It’s all lovely and wonderful to hear, but I favor Vivaldi because he’s a hometown boy and I associate his music with the churches, Santa Maria della Pieta and San Vidal. Who was San Vidal? There’s a Carpaccio painting of him on horseback on San Vidal’s main altar. You can gaze at it and other paintings while listening to gorgeous music – Vivaldi, of course, at the church just over the Accademia Bridge.

Crisis Geography
Have you visited any of the following countries in the last 21 days, followed by a map of western Africa showing Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maps of Vietnam, Irag, Iran, Syria come to mind. Do we have to have a health crisis or declare war to become interested in geography?

Bye until next week
Bye until next week