Friday, January 30, 2009

Observaciones en Argentina

Female friends, and mothers and daughters of all ages, walk hand-in-hand.

When greeting, men never hesitate to kiss one another. 

Cab drivers in Buenos Aires drive like New York cab drivers on crack.

Like New York, people here love their dogs. However, instead of high-priced purebreds in designer clothes, Argentinians are just as happy dragging their mangy one-eared mutts on the end of a ragged rope.

Since waiters don´t work for tips, you are always welcome to sit for coffee and stay as long as you like.

Cost to use a computer for one hour at an internet cafe, 1 peso.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't cry for me

I'm going to Argentina.

Right now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In my dreams

Night before last, I dreamed I laughed as a physically perfect woman complained to me about her physical flaws.

I dreamed it was nighttime in a swamp, and from a distance I watched a strong and silent man wrap his hands around an enormous snake. Suddenly, the snake transformed into a crocodile, and the man climbed on its back and peacefully rode off under the dark sky.

I dreamed I stood outside, holding a piece of metal. I touched the metal to things around me--a rock, a wall, the ground--each time creating a note, a chord, a sound--I was composing the most melodic and beautiful piece of music I'd ever heard.

I dreamed I was in Málaga Spain, in a shop I'd once purchased my favorite ceramic plates. There appeared to be no one there, and everything in the store was positioned so close together you couldn't move through without knocking things down. I quickly realized it was the store-owner's method of security--alerting them to a visitor only when hearing items fall or break.

The shop owner appeared--a Muslim woman in full garb--and then a customer, a big man with brown skin and a gentle face.

The man carefully looked through a pile of brightly colored scarfs then announced, "I want to wear one for my beloved. I want to be illuminated."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In real time

Woke at 2:30, failed at productivity. Tasting tea, looking for magic in the cup. Back to bed, out loud I'll read Neruda--maybe the sound will sooth me.

How neatly a cat sleeps,
sleeps with its paws and its posture,
sleeps with its wicked claws,
and with its unfeeling blood,
sleeps with all the rings--
a series of burnt circles--
which have formed the odd geology
of its sand-colored tail.

I should like to sleep like a cat,
with all the fur of time,
with a tongue rough as flint,
with the dry sex of fire;
and after speaking to no one,
stretch myself over the world,
over roofs and landscapes,
with a passionate desire
to hunt the rats in my dreams.

I have seen how the cat asleep
would undulate, how the night
flowed through it like dark water;
and at times, it was going to fall
or possibly plunge into
the bare deserted snowdrifts.
Sometimes it grew so much in sleep
like a tiger's great-grandfather,
and would leap in the darkness over
rooftops, clouds and volcanoes.

Sleep, sleep cat of the night,
with episcopal ceremony
and your stone-carved moustache.
Take care of all our dreams;
control the obscurity
of our slumbering prowess
with your relentless heart
and the great ruff of your tail.

Cat's Dream

Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Switched the sidebar selection--it's a repeat, but at the moment there's just nothing better.

On the road to recovery

Thanks for your support.

Sitting at the sidebar

This time, really listen to my friend Jon--really listen to his words.

What a great day.

Messages from the world

I know he won't be a miracle-worker once in the White House--too many odds against him. But I truly believe he will try.

For once, an intelligent president of the U.S.!

~Guillermo Ayesa, Spain

Messages from the world

Finally, George W. Bush will be back to his civil life. I think he'll have a hell of a time.

Cristian René, Argentina

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sitting at the sidebar

I blame it on my Leo nature, because this song came out when I was 13, and the only thing that still keeps me from loving it completely, is that my name isn't Sara.

Ask dog

My boyfriend killed a squirrel when I was over at his place and now I don’t feel as attracted to him anymore. Is this normal?

Click here for the answer, and to see my new favorite website.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sitting at the sidebar

Deep purple--image by runnerfrog.

What she does to me

Me: "Please eat your broccoli."

Annie: "Define broccoli."

Presidenting herself

My brother Danny is taking his family to D.C. next week for the inauguration.

Yesterday his kids--Jack, 8 and Sydney, 4, were playing make-believe, and Jack decided Sydney would be a cripple. He wrapped her leg in a make-shift bandage, then handed her a stick to use as a cane.

Sydney looked concerned.

"I don't want Obama to see me like this," she said.

Just my luck

The moment the water pressure changes in my shower, I must move away from the stream or be burned by scalding water. On the occasions I haven't moved quickly enough--I suffer the burn while reminding myself how fortunate I am to be able to take a hot shower whenever I please.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sitting at the sidebar

I'm not shy in public, I never hesitate to talk to strangers or sing along at the supermarket. But rarely do I find myself in a clothing store, like I did today, dancing as freely as I would in a nightclub--this song playing at full volume.

A little bit of "feel good" goes a long way--just ask me, and just ask Jamie Lidell.

Sour grapes

The current President of the United States said that all the good he has done to turn the economy around, will serve as a nice springboard for Barack Obama and his administration.

A fresh breath

A little over a year ago I was in love with someone. We did not want the same things, so when I knocked on his door, he kept the door closed--when I opened my heart, he said not now.

But he held my hand as we walked at night--he poured my coffee and kissed my lips. He gave me a framed picture of a black bird, and an electric toothbrush just like his.

I'm not in love with him anymore--I don't see him anymore, but I use the toothbrush everyday, and when I do, I think of him.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


On my way outside this afternoon, Tai phoned from her car and asked if I'd been hit by a plane. I assured her I had not, and she went on to tell me of a US Airways flight to Charlotte that crashed only minutes earlier and was sinking into the frigid waters of the Hudson River.

I imagined the pilots, the terrified passengers and those who loved them.

"Maybe everyone will survive," I said, hearing the lie in my own voice.

"Yes," Tai agreed unconvincingly. "Maybe everyone will survive."

I left the apartment and went on my walk--I could see the Hudson River from the corner of my eye. It would have been easy to get closer, go on top of the neighbor's roof and watch the tragedy unfold from the distance--but I didn't want to.

As I walked through the snow, my heart was sinking along with the plane, and I thought of Tai driving in her car, 3000 miles away, feeling the same.

When my feet got too cold, I turned around toward home and my cell phone rang. It was Tai.

"Everyone survived," she said quietly. "Everyone survived."

The story.


I have a pack of turkey bacon that has been in my freezer since last November. It says: Freeze or use by December 8th, 2008. But when I defrost it today (January 15th, 2009), it seems to me, since I didn't use it by December 8th, 2008, and now it is no longer frozen--I must throw it out.

Clarification appreciated.

Sitting at the sidebar

Bring it home to me, by Blue Mitchell.

Junior cook on sax--click the music player to the right and listen.


I'm getting realer.

When you've got nothing

You've always got your list.

Return shirt
Scan pix of Molly
Cold Tea to Marcia
Dentist for Annie
Email Europeans
Resume to Lou
Import DMG Cds
Print brownie recipe
Call Meri
Email Kristian
Email Ken
Email Dalton
Burn CDs for CR's dad
Fix Leo necklace
Buy Jasmine's pillow
Keyboard from car
CD cases


Every time I kiss you After a long separation-
I feel
I am putting a hurried love letter In a red mailbox.

~Nizar Qabbani.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Funny dreams

Today I received a message from my clown friend, Ned.

(pictured above)

"I dreamed of you," he wrote. "A big book of California, tea and stamps."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Waiting to exhale

I can't write but I can eat-
Sugar on brown bread.
I can't blog and I can't sleep-
Or remember what I just said.

I'm ready to go, but stuck right here-
And it's so cold, I lost one ear.
The child she sleeps and the dog she plays-
And even at night I'm just counting the days.

Do I refrain, hold back by force-
Or when I don't speak, is it par for the course?
I can't tell the truth but I won't tell lies-
So I leave my dear readers with this to surmise:

Your Half Note blogger is taking a class-
Evolving 201 and it's kicking her ass.
Awakenings to the left, to the right, from above-
So much bigger than a song, a new dress or a new love.

Please be patient while I roam the streets-
And the alleys of my own mind.
The silence is waiting for the noise to return,
And it will, as always,
In due time.

Secret garden

It's where I've been hiding.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


A capacious full moon called as I walked under an ocean blue nighttime sky. I wished I had my camera, and was glad I didn't.

Sitting at the sidebar

Life can be so sweet.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Half note on the beat

Below, an email exchange that began last summer.

June 17th, 2008

Hello Katie,

My wife is a long time fan of your blog. She loves it. In fact, apart from work e-mail and Alma's Soul Food, she uses her laptop for little else.

We are planning a trip to Manhattan for a weekend in late November. It's my wife's first time (I've been a few times).

I thought - who better to ask than yourself for advice on the matter. We know the options are countless, however I would like to know what you would recommend.

What makes a great Manhattan weekend?



June 17th, 2008

Dear S.,

Wow, what a compliment!

Do you and your wife like music? Jazz? Art museums? Quiet dinners, ethnic food? Do you mind loud places? Are you early risers or night-owls? Do you drink? I am terrible with money and spend it even when I don't have it, so if I'm not careful, I'll keep pointing you in the direction of my favorite expensive restaurants. However, I also know of some inexpensive places that are quiet good.

Please email me back and tell me what sort of experience you and your wife would like to have.

I'm not one to know about the tourist spots, i.e. Statue of Liberty and so on, but I can help if you're interested in the New York less traveled.

Look forward to hearing from you.



June 19th, 2008

Dear Katie,

Money not so much of an issue.

Want to have some great dining opportunities- quiet, dim, love Italian & south Asian, or NY renowned, cold tea maybe?

Yes, Jazz would be good or folksy.

Cafes (with their own unique signature whatever).

Classic Breakfast Diners.

Art galleries (emphasis on film would be good).

If we were to do a touristy thing what would be one highlight that delivers?

We'll probably gravitate to the lower West side.

We're not clubbers but any other night life activities you might think of (late night galleries perhaps or other original happenings).

We want to walk lots - where should we walk, or even a recommended route(s) over 2 days.

Yep we drink! Interesting funky lounge bars would please.

Big Thanks for this!


July 24th, 2008

Dear S.,

I realized I was waiting to send you the information until I had perfected it, but I think it's better I send you what I have now, then I can suggest more as I think of things.



The List:


With few exceptions, I have a real disliking for Broadway theatre. With that said, Patti Lapone just won the TONY Award for her memorable performance in the musical, Gypsy, so you might want to check that out. Unfortunately, Sam Sheppard’s play, Kicking a Dead Horse, will have a limited run and will be closed by the time you get here, but you never know, we should check closer to the time in case they extend it.


Latanzzi is my favorite Italian restaurant. It’s in the theatre district, so you should couple that with seeing a show since there’s nothing else to do in that neighborhood. You’ll need a reservation, ask for the corner table in the indoor patio for more intimacy. Phone: 212-315-0980.

One of my favorite restaurants is The Little Owl. It’s in my favorite neighborhood (West Village) small and very sweet. You’ll need a reservation, and if you can, ask for the corner window table that faces Bedford Street. (The lamb chops are a specialty.)

NY renowned:

River café in Brooklyn is beautiful, up-scale, romantic, situated on the water under the Brooklyn Bridge with a view of Manhattan. You can take a taxi there.

I’ve never been, but The Rainbow Room at the top of Rockefeller Center is supposed to be good for Cocktails, dinner, dancing.


My favorite place to walk is the West village west of 6th Ave around Christopher Street. It’s old New York: Cherry Lane Theatre, homes of Edna St. Vincent Milay, and Walt Whitman. There’s also an inexpensive but very good Turkish restaurant there that I like for lunch called Moustache, just a few doors down from The Little Owl on Bedford Street. No reservation needed there. Other places to walk are the Wall Street area, Trinity Church, Battery Park etc. It’s old NY, great architecture, and of course, Central Park.

Touristy that delivers:

Top of the Empire State Building at sunset.

Katie’s Favorite:

One of my favorite things to do on a date is to listen to jazz at the Blue Note, then walk around the corner to MacDougal Street and have cappuccinos at Café Reggio. After that, we might even head back to West 3rd Street for a “Dollar-a-minute massage.” Ask for “Lulu."


I’m afraid the days of the classic diners are long gone, now there are trendy breakfast places that will keep you waiting forever, or the usual and very average Greek diners.
I’ll keep investigating.

PS: Charlie Haden is playing at the Blue Note in November.

December 2, 2008:

Well Katie with your help, my wife and I had a blast in NY this past Weekend! We agree that it was our best vacation time together ever.

We stayed at The Muse on 46th which was central to all our destinations and though in a garish area, as an introduction it was fun for Christina to see the city in it's loudest form.

The Owl - for lunch, loved it, reminded us of old Montreal, in fact we sat beside some Montrealers.

Blue Note - Dave Brubeck, simply amazing we shared a table with a couple from Long Island (who we laughed so much with we should've been kicked out, we were sitting a foot from Brubeck's back and made a little too much noise) Our new friends even insisted on buying the drinks and dinner - crazy. We will not forget that night.

Grease - My wife, for nostalgic reasons, took me to wittiness the perfection of a NY Broadway production, remarkable timing (good inspiration for editing, it's all in the cut\beat, right?)

Latanzzi's prior to Broadway, we can see why it's your favorite, friendly, warm.

MOMA - saw the night themed van Gogh exhibit (it was in Toronto not long ago but we missed it), excellent and good shopping.

Walked 5th, Saks, Tiffany's and Park Plaza - at Christmas, it delivers.

Walked Central Park and the Mall in the rain, hardly a soul around, also ideal.

Walked Mulberry, this is awfully touristy but we had a decent espresso in an Italian restaurant run by South Americans - lol. All the Christmas lights at night amongst all the original buildings in the rain made it well worth it.

Walked Greenwich, easily our favorite area, (good to see Bleeker Street again, I stayed in an apartment there a few days a few years ago).

Rainbow Room - night, wonderful view and cozy.

River Cafe - it was that foggy Sunday night, perfect lighting indoors and of the view of the bridge (incredible), one of the best meals to date.

So to say the least, this was a perfect intro to the city for my wife, and I can see us coming back frequently. Especially since we didn't make it to all your suggested locations. It amazes me how a city with New York's over-the-top reputation can live up to such mythology and yet it does.

Thanks again for all your help! It would not have been the same without your input.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sitting at the sidebar

Remember this one?

Bad blogger

Until my mind returns to The Half Note, I offer some recent images.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Leo horoscope by Rob Brezsny

Week of January 8th

"Obstacles are a natural part of life, just as boulders are a natural part of the course of a river," notes the ancient Chinese book the I Ching. "The river does not complain or get depressed because there are boulders in its path." I'd go so far to say -- this is not in the original text, but is my 21st-century addition -- that the river gets a sensual thrill as it glides its smooth current over the irregular shapes and hard skin of the rocks. It looks forward to the friction, exults in the intimate touch, loves the drama of the interaction. Sound like a pleasure you'd like to cultivate, Leo? It's an excellent time to try it.

Sitting at the sidebar

I'm in the mood for jazz.

Cluck on the music player to listen.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sitting at the sidebar

Sometimes it's just the lyrics, most of the time only the music matters--but then there are times when it's all about the groove.

Another one by Me'shell Ndegéocello.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Every first Saturday in January, life-long friend Jon Fromer comes from California to the People's Voice Cafe in New York and sings for social change. Following the concert, Jon, his wife Mary and my family, gather old and new friends and head downtown to
Knickerbocker Bar & Grill where we eat, drink, and listen to Bucky Pizzarelli play his guitar late into the night.

Come with us.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Sitting at the sidebar

I just couldn't keep Garth Brooks on the blog for more than a day, so here's something sweet by Narrow Stairs.

Click the music player at the sidebar to listen.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sitting at the sidebar

No googling allowed--guess the singer, as well as the meaning this song holds for me.

A) Timothy Schmit
B) Garth Brooks
C) Kenny Loggins

A) Background song for the first home video I edited of Annie when she was a baby.
B) The song that played at the River Cafe while David proposed marriage.
C) The song I played over and over during the biggest heartbreak of my life.


At the dinner table, my 4-year-old niece Sydney cradles an ear of corn like a baby.

"Don't worry," she says to the corn, "We'll get you a date."


Annie: "Everyone is different so everyone is the same."

Me: "Annie, did you make that up?"

Annie: "Yes, and you can quote me!"