Sunday, September 20, 2009


Cory & Sean got married in Asbury Park over the weekend, an occasion so momentous that even the New York Times marked it. It seemed that we, the guests of all sorts, filled up the town, with people you know and love appearing everywhere you look--the boardwalk, the hotel lobby, the restaurants, the big bed & breakfast where the boys stayed with their family.

I had forgotten how people's families look. Do you know what I mean? Gay people have always separated themselves from their biological families--in various profound and not-so-profound ways--and at occasions like this, weddings, funerals, graduations, the whole myriad of people who inhabit the electron shells of the central atoms are pulled from all corners of the country to celebrate a moment. Frankly, I would die--having to juggle all of that. But maybe, perhaps, if you're getting married, you've gotten past all that stuff that I haven't. Just a thought.

We all gathered on the boardwalk, in our fancy shoes and ties, some of the gals in fancy dresses, Mike Z's dog bounding around our feet--and then trekked down to the beach, where the ceremony was held, just south of the Paramount Theater. There were some people there still on their towels, dusting themselves off, looking over at our wedding party, looking off into the distance. As Cory & Sean were walking down the aisle--which was just an area that the crowd created by standing on two sides of the same sand--I could see a few tears, the kind that burst out of you when you feel overwhelmed.

In that moment--the small choir of friends singing, the indifferent fishermen out on the wharf behind, the ocean pouring itself against the beach in quiet waves--I was thinking about the concentration of energy, what it feels like when everyone is focused on you, actually beaming all their love and hope and memories and happiness into you. I'm not sure what marriage is--if it has something to do with this kind of concentration, or if something as focused, as bright and hot like that, would fizzle it out. I wonder if marriage is something slower, a little bit of faith and a lot of work. Or the other way around.

Whatever it is, nobody deserves all the good promises marriage holds more than these two. Actually, thousands of people deserve those good promises equally as much as they do, if you hear what I'm saying.

Sean & Cory, I adore you. Congratulations. I hope I can keep this ivy alive.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Hero

It's so rare to see a man talking about his girlfriend like this:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pizza Dough

Now that the seasons are changing, and the nights are becoming cooler, I've found myself in the kitchen again. Each year I attempt to get really good at something that I think people should know how to make well, quickly, and at home, with few ingredients. Last year it was "cheese," in general. (Although I managed to get two or three cheeses down to subtle, ethereal perfection--I'm not shy about this--I don't have the equipment, time--or patience--to make the kinds of cheeses that really blow me away: this one, this one and this one, are my favorites.)

So, the new project is pizza dough. I am certain that I have come about 80% of the way there.
Here's a good recipe that will make you 3-4 skillet-sized pizzas, which you can top however you like.

-1 package active dry yeast
-a spoon full of honey
-1 cup of warm water
-2.5 cups of flour (bread flour if you have it, but AP will work fine, too.)
-1 teaspoon salt
-olive oil

--Stir the yeast, honey and water together and let them sit about 5-7 minutes. It should foam a bit and look like a creamy miso soup.
--Then add the flour and salt, working the dough with a spoon until it wants to come out of the bowl and be worked by hand.
--Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes, flouring as you need so it doesn't stick, until you have a lovely soft, bouncy-back dough.
--Let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Now, I don't like to heat up the whole oven if I'm just cooking pizza for myself--particularly in the summer--so I started cooking the pizza in my cast iron skillet, which turns out beautiful, soft, spotted-black crusts.

Cut your dough into three or four pieces, and roll one out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Lightly brush the bottom of your skillet with olive oil, and then lay one circle of dough on the heat. Pop the air bubbles if they happen, and about 3-4 minutes later, peek under the edge and see how done it is. When you are ready to flip--making sure you have all your toppings ready in advance--flip the dough over and start with your sauce, cheese, toppings, what have you. Put a lid on the skillet so the cheese melts beautifully. The second side won't need as long, and you can adjust the heat if you find it's cooking faster than you like--peek when you need to, so it doesn't get too black. Although, I find that I like a little spot of carbony crust every now and then.

This dough tends to be very soft, almost like Indian nan, so if you want a more traditional, crunchy-edge kind of pizza, then, of course, do it in the oven. You can also run the whole thing under the broiler if you want to crisp up the prosciutto or whatever you put on it--but I promise this, as is, will do you right.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Excerpts in Limbo, Vol. 10

“I saw your mom’s work the other day. In a magazine.”

“Hmm,” Daniel said. There was a speck of dust on the snout, a tiny white dot on the field of lacquered black. He pressed his fingertip against it and then brushed it off onto his pants.

“What does ‘hmm’ mean? She’s good.”

“Do we have to talk about her?”

“Just making conversation.”

“Can we make it about something else?”

“How’d you get here?”

“I drove and slept in the car.”

“You didn’t.”

“Most of the way. I took a train to Omaha and then bought this piece of junk.”



“That must have cost you a fortune.”

They looked at each other for a moment. Daniel spent money as if he had it; Jackson made him feel guilty about spending it—particularly if it meant he was spending it on him. “It wasn’t much. I worked all summer.”

“Did you get here today?”

“Last night.” Jackson arranged a bunch of mallets on a table. He caressed them, seemed to love them, like hand bells.

“How’s the neighborhood?” Daniel said.

“Everyone is moving out. When I say ‘everyone,’ I mean white people. They want sprawling lawns and away-sloping driveways.” Whole blocks were boarded up, with barren streets, entire zip codes reassigned to governances of pigeons and smudges of humid weather. A lot of Memphis looked like this. A lot of America looked like this.

Monday, September 07, 2009

What Can Come True

Kip made this photo of us several years ago; I found it this evening while going through a bunch of old emails. Funny--that three years later we actually would end up at the Parthenon, and would actually sit around the top of the Acropolis. Granted, not in sailor suits.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What Reviewers Have to Say About the South Williamsburg Post Office

--"I just moved to the area and I ship hula hoops folded in half, never had a problem.. until this horrible place."

--"She completely gave up on me."

--"After a 2 hour goose chase, My package did NOT get sent and I left the post office in tears."

--"Long lines, incompetent staff... I'd rather just take the packages to China myself."

--"This really is the worst post office ever. to top off every bad experience i have had there (and they all have been) they were closed an hour early this evening for no reason.

--"Avoid this post office at all costs."


--"This place is hell, they never have forms, is filthy, and they blast trash TV to "distract" people from their mess."

--"I almost got jumped by two women in this post office about 4 years ago, now I cannot get them to forward my mail to a new address, it must be in a gigantic pile there somewhere."

--"This post office is THE WORST."