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Monday, May 31, 2021

MEDIA MONDAY / VANITY FAIR REPORTS FROM THE FRONT RE: MEDIA'S COVERAGE OF TRUMP WORLD, PART 1, PART 2


GUEST BLOG / By Bess Levin, The Levin Report Daily Newsletter via Vanity Fair and Conde Nast
--One of the most annoying things about Donald Trump is the fact that for basically his entire life, he’s escaped any and all consequences for being what the law defines as a “scumbag piece of shit.” Whether it was allegedly stiffing hundreds of Trump Organization contractors, shadily raising tenants’ rent, or siccing a mob on the Capitol, the guy has somehow avoided repercussions, save for some basically meaningless financial settlements. But that luck may soon be running out and not just for the ex-president but for certain members of his family as well. 

Bess Levin

On Tuesday, the New York attorney general’s office said that its investigation into the Trump Organization, which was previously a civil inquiry, is now a criminal matter. Obviously, that should be deeply concerning to the Queens-born real estate developer, but even more worrisome, in terms of avoiding staying out of prison, is the news that A.G. Letitia James’s office is reportedly now working with that of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office obtained eight years of Trump’s tax returns earlier this year, a development Trump responded to like a man who knows he’s committed all manner of fraud and is about to get caught. “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the company is no longer purely civil in nature,” Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan D.A. We have no additional comment at this time.” 

As The Washington Post notes: The attorney general’s decision appears to have increased the legal risk that former president Donald Trump faces in New York, where the parallel investigations run by James and Vance had already delved more deeply into Trump’s byzantine finances than any law enforcement authorities ever had. Previously, the danger posed by James’s investigation seemed to be merely financial—the kind of lawsuit Trump had faced from New York attorneys general before over his Trump University and his charity. Those cost him money but didn’t threaten his liberty. Now, however, James could also seek criminal penalties. 

Trump and his representatives have repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying the investigations are baseless and politically motivated. 

According to the Post, James’s office informed the Trump Organization’s attorneys of the shift in April, and suggested that “criminality could apply to actions by current and former company executives and employees if the investigation finds wrongdoing.” Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are of course longtime executives of the family business, so obviously they could find themselves in very serious trouble. But it may be Ivanka Trump who has the most to worry about. 

Last November, shortly after her father lost the 2020 election, The New York Times reported that both James‘s and Vance Jr.’s offices had expanded their probes of the then-president and his businesses to include suspicious tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees, some of which, according to a Times investigation, appeared to have been paid to Ivanka. That investigation—which revealed Trump paid little to no income tax in the last two decades—showed that the “very rich” real estate developer had managed to reduce his taxable income by deducting approximately $26 million in fees to “consultants” as business expenses between 2010 and 2018. While the consultants’ identities were not listed on tax records, some of the fees definitely looked like they’d been paid to his favorite child. 

As the Times wrote: On a 2017 disclosure [Ivanka Trump] filed when joining the White House as a presidential adviser, she reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The subpoenas were focused on fees paid to the firm on her disclosures, TTT Consulting LLC, and represented just a portion of the $26 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The name of the firm appears to be a reference to Ms. Trump and other members of her family. Ms. Trump was an executive officer of the Trump companies that made the payments, meaning she appears to have been treated as a consultant while also working for the company. While companies can deduct professional fees, the Internal Revenue Service requires that consulting arrangements be market-based and reasonable, as well as “ordinary and necessary” to running a business. 

The examination of fees apparently paid to his older daughter is likely to arouse even more vitriol from the outgoing president. And it raises questions about whether the payments were a tax-deductible way for him to compensate his children, or avoid gift taxes he might incur from transferring wealth to them, something Mr. Trump’s father had done through legally questionable schemes uncovered by the Times in 2018. 

Responding to the news on Twitter at the time, Trump’s eldest daughter fumed: “This is harassment pure and simple. This ‘inquiry’ by NYC democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity, and rage. They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless…. This fishing expedition is very clearly part of a continued political vendetta.” 

Ivanka does not appear to have personally commented on the news of the new criminal probe, though presumably, she’s not thrilled. In a 909-word statement posted to Trump’s blog (“From the Desk of Donald J. Trump”), the former president offered his characteristically unhinged thoughts on the matter, claiming, without a hint of irony, that James ran for office pledging to take out her “enemies” (something Trump would never do!); that the criminal investigation into him is “is something that happens in failed third world countries”; and that “the District Attorney and Attorney General are possessed, at an unprecedented level, with destroying the political fortunes of President Donald J. Trump and the almost 75 million people who voted for him, by far the highest number ever received by a sitting President.” 

PART 2: 

By now you've likely heard that the fantasy held by millions of seeing Donald Trump live out his last days in prison, where he’ll be reduced to telling guards “they used to call me Mr. President,” and require Don Jr. and Eric to smuggle contraband in on visiting day via their ass cheeks, has gotten one step closer, with the news that the Manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury to hear evidence against the ex-president. 

According to legal experts, this is a major development in Cyrus Vance Jr.’s criminal investigation; as former assistant district attorney Rebecca Roiphe told the Post, it’s unlikely that Vance’s office would have taken such a step without believing it can prove Trump, the Trump Organization, or a Trump Organization executive committed a crime. “The prosecutors are convinced they have a case,” Roiphe said. “That’s at least how I read it.” As former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara told CNN, “It’s significant…they must have come across some evidence as to somebody’s state of mind. 

That the misconduct they were investigating does not seem to be the product of negligence or recklessness or mistake but intentional criminality.” And as a result, people surrounding the ex-president are said to be more than a little freaked out, as they probably should be! 

According to Politico Playbook, which spoke to members of “Trump world” after the news came out, “There’s definitely a cloud of nerves in the air.” One adviser told the outlet that while Trump is no stranger to legal issues, this situation feels different, in part because prosecutors are pressuring Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who’s described himself as Trump’s “eyes and ears” at the company, to flip. “I think the Weisselberg involvement and the wild card of that makes the particular situation more real, because there’s no sort of fluff and made-up fictional circumstances around the guy,” an adviser told Politico. “The fact that they’re dealing with a numbers guy who just has plain details makes people more nervous. This is not a Michael Cohen situation.” 

According to Politico legal affairs contributor Josh Gerstein, the grand jury “is expected to go beyond assembling records by hearing live testimony from various witnesses—which will give prosecutors an opportunity to present a narrative that could persuade jurors to return an indictment in the coming months. Coupled with [New York] Attorney General Letitia James’s recent decision to team up with Vance and Vance’s hiring of veteran mafia prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, the move to a new grand jury suggests a steady progression towards criminal charges against some person or company in the Trump orbit.” 

Of course, despite the fact that Trump may very well be privately shitting himself over the news, his public response was a typical meltdown and rehashing of things he’s said in the past—namely, that all of this is a “witch hunt” and that he’s a saint beloved the world over. In a statement, he wrote, or more likely dictated to some poor scribe: “This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. It began the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower, and it’s never stopped…. This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors. New York City and State are suffering the highest crime rates in their history, and instead of going after murderers, drug dealers, human traffickers, and others, they come after Donald Trump. Interesting that today a poll came out indicating I’m far in the lead for the Republican Presidential Primary and the General Election in 2024.” 

As for Trump’s actual political aspirations, he will undoubtedly tease another White House run until the very last second before making an actual announcement, though aides have claimed to Politico that “he’s missing being president terribly,” and supposedly gets angry when people question if he’s serious about running again. He’s also inserted himself in the 2022 midterm elections, despite the fact that his endorsements are actually the kiss of death. Per Politico

With an eye toward winning back the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections, former President Donald Trump has begun crafting a policy agenda outlining a MAGA doctrine for the party. His template is the 1994 “Contract with America,” a legislative agenda released ahead of the midterm elections in the middle of President Bill Clinton’s first term. And, as a cherry on top, he’s teaming up with its main architect—[Newt] Gingrich—to do it. 

In recent weeks, Trump sat down with the former House speaker as well as his former chief of staff Mark Meadows and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) at his private Mar-a-Lago club to begin crafting the document, according to a source familiar with the meeting. The group is still just beginning to hammer out the details of what a Trumpified Contract might look like. But it is likely to take an “America-First” policy approach on everything from trade to immigration. The source described it as “a policy priority for 2022 and beyond.” 

Presumably, anyone looking for Trump’s endorsement would have to sign the Trump Contract in blood, though according to an analysis by Bloomberg, candidates hoping to actually win a seat might want to avoid the ex-president’s stamp of approval. While his endorsement helped Republicans win primaries in 2020, 40 of his 183 endorsed candidates lost, and in 2018, the GOP could have picked up at least 11 more House seats and four in the Senate had Trump stayed on the sidelines.  

Sunday, May 30, 2021

SUNDAY REVIEW / DISCOVERING FRANZ KAFKA’S SHORTEST STORY


AN IMPERIAL MESSAGE 

By Franz Kafka

The Emperor—so they say—has sent a message, directly from his deathbed, to you alone, his pathetic subject, a tiny shadow which has taken refuge at the furthest distance from the imperial sun. 

He ordered the herald to kneel down beside his death bed and whispered the message to him. He thought it was so important that he had the herald repeat it back to him. 

 He confirmed the accuracy of the verbal message by nodding his head. And in front of the entire crowd of those who have come to witness his death—all the obstructing walls have been broken down and all the great ones of his empire are standing in a circle on the broad and high soaring flights of stairs—in front of all of them he dispatched his herald. 

The messenger started off at once, a powerful, tireless man. Sticking one arm out and then another, he makes his way through the crowd. If he runs into resistance, he points to his breast where there is a sign of the sun. 

So he moves forward easily, unlike anyone else. But the crowd is so huge; its dwelling places are infinite. If there were an open field, how he would fly along, and soon you would hear the marvelous pounding of his fist on your door. 

But instead of that, how futile are all his efforts. He is still forcing his way through the private rooms of the innermost palace. He will never win his way through. And if he did manage that, nothing would have been achieved. 

He would have to fight his way down the steps, and, if he managed to do that, nothing would have been achieved. He would have to stride through the courtyards, and after the courtyards the second palace encircling the first, and, then again, stairs and courtyards, and then, once again, a palace, and so on for thousands of years. 

And if he finally did burst through the outermost door—but that can never, never happen—the royal capital city, the centre of the world, is still there in front of him, piled high and full of sediment. 

No one pushes his way through here, certainly not with a message from a dead man. 

But you sit at your window and dream to yourself of that message when evening comes. ##

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Czech novelist and short story writer, Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924), is highly regarded by literary critics and praised as one of the most influential twentieth-century authors. 

His most famous works are The Metamorphosis (translation from German: "Die Verwandlung"), The Trial ("Der Process"), and The Castle ("Das Schloss"). Featuring themes of parent-child conflict (he had a strained relationship with his father), mysterious transformations and transfigurations, and psychological struggles, The Metamorphosis is the most emblematic of Kafka's writings. 

After being trained as a lawyer, Kafka took work at an insurance company. He was a prolific letter writer, expressing resentment that he lacked the time for his real passion-- writing-- because he had to spend so much time at his "day job." 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / TIJUANA COFFEE HOUSES

Beachy. Cafe Red Playas, Avenida del Pacifico next to the border.


What are some popular coffee houses in Tijuana? For an answer, we asked good neighbor Geoff, who spends a lot of time crisscrossing the international border between Tijuana and San Diego for his vehicle insurance agency: Baja Bound. 

He came up with five and a half: 

Location, Location. Location: Nativo Coffee Community, Jose Maria Larroque 271, Empleados Federales 22010 Cross border co-op. Walking distance from the border. Grab a cup walk back to the US to avoid hours-long car lines. 

Drive-Thru: Cru Coffee Roasters, 11120 Plaza Domino, Blvd. Salinas. Col. Aviacion Locals love it here. 

Gen X: Electric Coffee Roasters, Av. Hipodromo 9-A, Hipodromo. Sleek. Excellent coffee. Neighborhood. 

Third Wave: Caffe Sospeso, Joaquin Clausel 10342, Zona Urbana Rio Detail: Drive up; take out only. Locals can also go to Mexican Fine Mixes and Coffees to pick up Caffe Sospeso roasts. 

No Computer Geeks: Container Coffee, Av. Revolucion 1348, Zona Centro, 22000 Sad to report this popular spot is temporarily closed for covid concerns. Located on a lively street. Shipping container turned coffee house. No outlets for laptop lollers. That’s a plus. Hope they come back.  

Friday, May 28, 2021

AMERICANA /BREAKING NEWS/ GOP SENATORS DROWN BIPARTISAN COMMISSION PROBE ON WHITE HOUSE ATTACK

Security officers brace to defend Congressional chamber from Trump-fueled rioters' deadly attack. E.W. Scripps image.

GUEST BLOG / By Chris Marquette, reporter, RollCall.com-
-Republican senators on Friday drowned the hopes of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, gathering enough members of their own conference to block legislation to establish the panel. 

Though it received overall majority support in the chamber, the procedural vote, or motion to proceed, to the legislation fell short of the 60 votes needed, 54-35. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Rob Portman of Ohio were the only Republicans who voted to proceed to debate on establishing the commission. 

The vote, which had been expected on Thursday, was delayed after some Republican senators, including Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, consumed floor time that brought the chamber to a painfully slow cadence and culminated at around 3 a.m. Friday morning. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said he struck an agreement that ensured the commission vote would happen “in the light of day” and not in the early morning hours. 

On Thursday, the family and colleagues of a Capitol Police officer who died shortly after defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 met with several GOP senators to try to convince them to vote for the commission. 

But even the pleas of fallen officer Brian Sicknick’s mother, Gladys, as well as Sandra Garza, his companion, and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone, who were among the cops who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6, were not enough to garner the 10 Republican senators needed to proceed to debate on the measure. 

“Although we respectfully disagreed on the added value of the proposed commission, I did commit to doing everything I could to ensure all their questions will be answered,” Johnson said in a statement Thursday after meeting with Sicknick’s family and colleagues. 

Johnson has said the Jan. 6 insurrection was overall a “peaceful protest” with the exception of “agitators” who incited the crowd and breached the Capitol. In addition to the death of Sicknick and four others, approximately 140 Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers were injured in the pro-Trump Capitol attack. 

Gladys Sicknick, center, mother of late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Harry Dunn and former Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., address the media Thursday before a meeting with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to urge Republican senators to support a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call).

Gladys Sicknick met with Johnson Thursday morning and said GOP opposition to the commission is a slap in the face to officers “because they put their lives on the line.” 

Republican senators who sank the hopes of a 9/11-style commission cited similar reasons their colleagues in the House did, including that the commission would be duplicative of ongoing investigative efforts by congressional committees and the Department of Justice, and that the scope is not wide enough. 

“There’s no new fact about that day we need the Democrats’ extraneous commission to uncover,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said, adding the DOJ is undertaking criminal investigations in which hundreds have been arrested and charged. 

Sen. Charles E. Grassley said he wanted to see a “wider scope.” “Well, it ought to include anything where there’s terrorist activities and particularly what happened last summer,” the Iowa Republican said, apparently referring to Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. 

Sen. Richard C. Shelby said it would take a lot to get him to support a commission. “Go back to the drawing board and show us the need,” the Alabama Republican said. “Have some hearings and show the need for a commission and do it in a real bipartisan way so that way we get 100 votes, okay.” 

Another consideration for Republicans is how former President Donald Trump would retaliate against them if they supported such a commission. The panel could have exposed more information about what Trump was doing as rioters ransacked the Capitol. The day before the House was set to vote on the commission, Trump called it a “Democrat trap” and said he hoped McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy were listening. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham has previously said there is a need for a 9/11 style commission to investigate Jan. 6: “We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again.” But on Thursday, the South Carolina Republican said he thinks the 1/6 bill is not a viable option: “I don't think it will ever work. It’s too partisan” — what has become the GOP leadership’s standard talking point about the commission. 

Some senators didn't have an answer for what they would need to see in order to vote for the measure. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, used his staff to shield him from questions about the commission. Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming, when asked about what he needed to see in the bill to support it, simply said: “I’m a no vote on cloture.” 

Tim Scott, R-S.C., when asked the same question, called it a “good question,” adding, “I don’t have the answer to that.” 

“I just can’t think of anything,” Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., said, and noted he thinks the motive of the commission is to “string this out politically.” When asked if the 9/11 commission was a success, Inhofe referred to a member of his staff and said he needed to think about it. 

Democrats criticized Republicans as blindly loyal to Trump and scared of his potential political wrath. “I think it's just a fear of Donald Trump that is just ridiculous and makes no sense at all,” Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said. 

The plan for a 9/11 style commission was crafted in a bipartisan manner in the House before arriving in the Senate. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and ranking member John Katko, R-N.Y., composed the plan that would issue a final report by Dec. 31, 2021, with findings on the facts and causes of the attack and recommendations to prevent future attacks. 

The commission would have subpoena power that would require agreement between the chair and vice-chair or a majority vote of the 10 member commission. Commissioners would be appointed by congressional leaders and would be equally split: five Republicans and five Democrats. 

Those on the commission would have expertise in at least two areas of the following: law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, the armed forces, law, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity. 

But that measure — despite Katko's acknowledgment that Thompson made concessions to come to an agreement with Republicans — drew the support of only 35 House Republicans after GOP leaders recommended a “no” vote. One of those who voted for the panel, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, was recently removed from her leadership position of conference chair for acknowledging Trump did not win the election and pushing back on other lies about election fraud. 

Before the House passed the commission bill 252-175 on May 19, the family of Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, who died by suicide days after the insurrection, called on Congress to act. “We believe a thorough, non-partisan investigation into the root causes of and the response to the January 6th riot is essential for our nation to move forward. Howie’s death was an immediate outgrowth of those events,” the Liebengood family said.

FIX IT FRIDAY / MAKING GREEN TEA TASTE BETTER


Y
es, green tea has a reputation for being a miracle in a cup (see chart above) but that doesn’t mean it tastes terrific. 

Here’s a super simple way to make sipping green tea easier. 

Add vanilla extract to taste. 

You lose the green tea after taste and at the same time, the green tea cuts the vanilla sweetness. 

Thank you to PillartoPost.org executive chef Zorenzo Ziti for his tasty insight. 


History of Vanilla. Click here.  

History of Green Tea. Click here. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

THE FOODIST / ITALIAN SAUSAGE PUTTANESCA RECIPE

Vincent Van Gogh's "The Brothel"

GUEST BLOG / By Karen Levin, Cooking Light magazine-- If you're in the mood for something spicy rather than creamy, this is it. For a little less heat, use mild turkey Italian sausage instead of hot. 

Spaghetti alla puttanesca is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid-20th century and made typically with tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers, and garlic — with vermicelli or spaghetti pasta. 

Puttanesca has prostitution nuances in Italian. Making a Puttanseca dish means using the most common ingredients found in a pantry. Skimpy but tasty. Of course, prostitution has different connotations around the world, but there's only one place where it's inspired a sauce. That place is Italy and the stuff is puttanesca, which translates roughly to "lady of the night." 


Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta 

8 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage

1 cup chopped onion 

1 cup chopped green bell pepper 

3 garlic cloves, minced 

Cooking spray

2 (14.5-ounce) cans no salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped 

½ cup halved pitted kalamata olives 

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 tablespoon capers, drained

1 teaspoon anchovy paste 

½ cup (2 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese 

Directions 

Step 1--Preheat oven to 400°. 

Step 2--Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well. 

Step 3--Remove casings from sausage. Place sausage, onion, pepper, and garlic in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; sauté 8 minutes, stirring to crumble. 

Step 4--Add tomatoes, olives, tomato paste, capers, and anchovy paste to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add pasta, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 482 calories; calories from fat 30%; fat 16g; saturated fat 4.6g; mono fat 6.9g; poly fat 2.6g; protein 24.7g; carbohydrates 63.3g; fiber 6.1g; cholesterol 42mg; iron 4.7mg; sodium 983mg; calcium 231mg. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

DESIGN OF THE TIMES / WHAT IS 3D PRINTED CONCRETE?

Compared with traditional methods, 3D concrete printing results in little to no wastage of resources, as no framework is required during the building process. 
Simply put, 3D printed concrete is a special mix of concrete, specifically prepared to flow with ease through the nozzle of the printing equipment. The structures built with 3D printed concrete are created on the fundamentals of layering, with each layer deposited on a previous layer of pumped concrete. This technique is repeated until the preferred structure emerges. 

Eliminating the need for casting concrete into molds or framework, 3DCP is a cost-effective building method. The curing time of such concrete can be as low as three days, and complete structures can be constructed within hours; making it a relatively quicker and cheaper alternative to conventional construction methods. 

The ingredients of the concrete mix are similar to those found in other concrete mixtures: water, cement, and aggregates like sand or stone. The success of the recipe lies in the texture and consistency itself. A workable consistency lowers the chances of pressure buildup that can block the nozzle or damage the printing equipment. Hence, for building purposes, the consistency is kept similar to that of aerated dough. 

According to a previous study, almost 80% of the total waste in the world is created by the construction industry as it relies on conventional building techniques that require formwork. Compared to traditional methods, 3D concrete printing results in little to no wastage of resources, as no framework is required during the building process. The process also excludes the need for intensive labor – what’s more, complex geometric structures can be created within a tight schedule. Safe to say, 3D concrete printing offers endless potential for efficiently building bridges, houses, apartment complexes, and even barracks in active war zones--By Specifyconcrete.org

NEW 3D PRINTED CONCRETE HOME IN NETHERLANDS via CNN.

Elize Lutz, 71 and Harrie Dekkers, 67 have been given the digital key to the gray, boulder-shaped building in the Bosrijk neighborhood of Eindhoven, in the southern Netherlands. Project innovators call it the world's first commercial housing project based on 3D-concrete printing. 


The single-story home has more than 1,000 square feet of floor area, with a spacious living room and two bedrooms. Vesteda, a real estate investment firm will rent out the five homes. Homes were designed to resemble a boulder to fit into the surrounding landscape. 

The house is the first in a series of five from Project Milestone, a joint construction and innovation project from Eindhoven University of Technology, the local municipality, real estate investor Vesteda and three sector specialists: construction company Van Wijnen, building materials maker Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix and engineer Witteveen+Bos. 


The Dutch couple replied to an advertisement seeking tenants for the new 5-home project.  They will live there for six months. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

LIGHT SHOW / LIGHTHOUSE SERIES CONTINUES: HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA

Rising 93 feet above Calibogue Sound, the Harbour Town Lighthouse and museum is in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It is now a major tourist attraction charging $4.50 to climb the 114 steps to the top. 

Located between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston SC, the Hilton Head area is part of the low country region of South Carolina. The building of Harbour Town Lighthouse was started in 1969 by Charles Fraser and completed and lit in 1970. 

It is an octagonal column with a red observation deck or gallery below the lantern. The column is stucco on a metal lath over plywood with alternating red and white bands.

Monday, May 24, 2021

MEDIA MONDAY / NEW YORK TIMES COMPLETE LIST OF TRUMP’S TWITTER INSULTS (2015-2021)


In case you missed this! No intro is necessary except to praise New York Times staffer Kevin Quealy for packaging the list of the Orangeman's twitter insults. CLICK HERE

Sunday, May 23, 2021

SUNDAY REVIEW / ORIGINAL SAN FRANCISCO SHORT FICTION


MISTER METER MAID 

A San Francisco Story 

 By Thomas Shess 

Outside, the rain continued from the night before. North Beach smelled of slick asphalt mixed with wafts of roasting coffee from Graffeo’s Wholesale Coffee on Columbus, near Filbert Street. 

Under a stolen umbrella, bodyguard Tom Gresham walked the one block over to Powell Street, where he had parked the Chrysler in the perfect spot next to Powell’s Bar & Grill. 

The mayor needed a 7:30 a.m. pick-up. If traffic was a mess en route because of the continuing rain, then he was going to be late. Tired, but not hungover, he climbed in the sedan. He was glad he didn’t do cocaine with Bliss (Aero Capricorn), who brought her own powder, and Rafferty (Aer Lingus), who showed up unannounced holding a bottle of Schramsberg by its throat. 

A booze hangover he could handle. The wipeout he had after being blitzed on coke was not something he decided ever to repeat. So far that promise to himself was going on five years. 

Serendipity or no, there had been only a handful, who he allowed to stay in his bachelor flat once he left for work, but last night’s duo he trusted with his flat and his heart. He hoped to hell that they’d still be there when he returned back to his flat. 

He doubted it. 

By tonight they’d literally be worlds apart. 

And there was no need to count the silverware because none of the pieces matched. 

 The Chrysler roared to life on the first try. Oversized wipers splashed water off the windshield like a shaking dog. Gresham eased it into gear. He was lodged against the curb. He put it in reverse. It still didn’t move. 

To his left, one of the City’s Finest traffic enforcement scooters stopped next to him. Mr. Meter Maid—dressed in a yellow rain slicker and hat--was motioning for Gresham to roll his window down. 

“You’re parked in a red zone, pal. You got a boot slapped on your left front wheel. You gotta be blind not to have seen it.” 

Gresham instantly picked up, the Santa Claus-sized bureaucrat had a very smug look on his face. “You’re kidding. No one boots the mayor’s car.” 

“Well, go look for yourself.” 

He didn’t have to. Fellow citizens at the bus stop nearby were nodding sympathetically. 

“Is that funny to you?” Gresham screamed. “What the hell did you do that for?’ 

“Shit happens, pal when you park in a red zone.” 

“What’s your name?” Gresham barked. He had never seen the traffic agent before. 

 “Eddie Peabody. And just so you won’t forget, you’ll see my signature on the ticket.” 

“What ticket, Eddie Peabrain? There was no ticket on my windshield,” Gresham hollered. He was red-faced. 

“Must of blown off in the storm. Trust me, you got one. I’ll see that you get a copy mailed to you, pal.” 

“STOP calling me, Pal. And this happens to be a city vehicle. And it happens to be Mayor Joe Martin’s limo.” 

“It could be King Tut’s chariot for all I care. It still gets a ticket and a boot for being in a red zone.” 

“You’re an idiot,” Gresham realized. “I’m sorry that’s not accurate—you’re a fuckin' idiot!” 

“I’m not the Bozo that parked it in a red zone. You’re lucky I didn’t have it towed.” 

“So, this is better?" 

 “Have a nice day, pal.” 

 “I told you not to Pal me. Screw you. Get back here and undo the god damned boot—you fat ass!” 

Mr. Meter Maid shut the scooter’s engine. “What did you say to me?” 

“You heard me. This is His Honor’s car. I need to pick him up and take him to City Hall. You’re interfering with a city official and impeding his ability to conduct his duties.” 

“That’s not what I heard?” “You probably heard me say fuck you, Eddie.” 

 “Yeah, that’s the part you’re going to have to explain to the patrol officer I’m going to call.” 

“Save your breath, dipshit, I’m a cop and you’re the last call I would respond to on a day like this.” 

“You sonofabitch,” Eddie said and jumped off the scooter seat. “Get out of the fucking car so I can level you.” 

“You got shoe leather for brains, Peahead. I think you better unlock that wheel if you know what’s good for your career.” 

“Go to hell! The lock stays. You figure it out, pal.” 

“Look, you fat ass scooter fleabrain. I don’t’ have time for this—unlock the damn wheel.” 

“I should slap you around,” the badged scooter jockey said. “What kind of jerk are you?” Mr. Meter Maid bent over and shouted: “Show me where it says anywhere on this car that it’s the mayor’s limo. I don’t see any special plates. You show me?” 

Gresham leaned up off his seat: “This car is part of a security detail; what kind of security do you think we’d have if we plastered Joe Martin’s name all over it? You tell me, scooter boy?” 

Mister Meter Maid was chewing gum, “Looks like you’re gonna have to do some explaining to His Honor and that’s what that ferret-faced, bleeding heart liberal gets for hiring you—ain’t that right, hotshot?” 

Gresham yanked for the door handle. 

Eddie Peabody leaned into the door. 

Gresham was stuck behind the wheel. “I’m not explaining shit.” 

“Tell your sad story to the tow truck driver because you’re gonna have to wait for him and when he gets here, you’re gonna have to pay him or we start this silly dance all over again.” 

Both peace officers were close enough to smell each other: Mr. Meter Maid’s stale coffee and Gresham’s toothpaste. 

“Fuck you.” 

“No, fuck you.” 

“You are the stupidest man alive,” Gresham shouted. 

“I’m not the asshole who parked this car in a red zone overnight. The sign is printed in English just for you, you Irish sonofabitch. And the curb is red as your neck.” 

 “What are you a limey?” Gresham’s forefinger was half an inch from the meter maid’s face. 

“So, what’s it to you?” 

Gresham pounded on the steering wheel. “This is truly outrageous,” he mumbled to himself as he reached for his wallet to show his ID that identified him as a special City Hall security agent. As he opened it, four tickets to the Chargers/49er game on Sunday, a gift from His Honor landed on his lap. 

Grabbing the tickets, he stuck them in Mr. Meter Maid’s face. “Eddie, you sot, I’m asking you for the last time. Unlock the goddamn boot off of this car."  

The meter agent yanked the tickets from Gresham’s hand. “These better not be cheap seats.” 

“Top of the line seats. Mayor’s box on the 50-yard-line.” 

Eddie Peabody feigned surprise, slapped his forehead with his hand and shouted loud enough for the bystanders to hear him, “JESU, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME SOONER IT WAS A FUCKING CITY EMERGENCY?” He bent down and unlocked the red boot off of the limo’s left front rim. “Next time, you Irish dickhead, you ain’t gonna get off so easy.” 

Either man changed expressions. 

 Gresham did notice a couple of thumbs up flashed in his direction from the bus stop crowd as he pulled the limo out into traffic. 

In his rearview mirror, Mister Meter Maid was putting the heavy yellow boot into the trunk of his scooter. 

They were both exhausted.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / FRENCH CAFES RETURN TO NORMAL


It’s a grand day for the French as cafes reopen across the country. Customers sit at a café terrace in the Montmartre district of Paris. Café and restaurant terraces reopened this week after a six-month coronavirus shutdown, which deprived residents of the essence of French life—sipping coffee and wine with friends. CLICK HERE for the AP article. 

 Associated Press photo Rafael Yaghobzadeh 

All photos on this post are of Le Relais de la Butte in Paris: Google photos below:






Friday, May 21, 2021

FACULTY FRIDAY / LIFE LESSONS FROM GRAD SPEECHES PAST


GUEST BLOG / By Daniel Potter, Grammerly.com
--It’s graduation season! As so many bright and hard-working grads shift their tassels from right to left in graduation ceremonies live and virtual, we’re celebrating—and reflecting on life lessons communicated in commencement addresses. 

Some universities attract big names to offer words of wisdom at graduation ceremonies, including literal rock stars, journalistic luminaries, and even former presidents. Indeed, some of their most memorable and powerful remarks have become timeless. 

We share a few of our favorite pearls from graduation speeches below. 

Michelle Obama (2020) “In an uncertain world, time-tested values like honesty and integrity, empathy and compassion—that’s the only real currency in life. Treating people right will never, ever fail you.” Speaking to a broad virtual audience during a time of upheaval and confusion, the former First Lady acknowledged that people can and do sometimes get ahead by being inauthentic and simply refusing to own their shortcomings. But she argued that taking that route foregoes meaningful connections and work, as well as “the chance to leave this world a little better than you found it.” 

Amy Poehler, Harvard, 2011 “You can’t do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. . . . No one is here today because they did it on their own. OK, maybe Josh, but he’s just a straight-up weirdo.” Peppering her remarks with a slew of jokes, the comedian and Parks and Recreation star underscored the value of collaborating and building alongside others. It’s a key tenet of improv comedy, as Poehler noted, which also teaches the value of taking risks, saying “yes,” and living in the moment—all lessons that apply not just to improvising on stage but also to life in general. 

Robert Krulwich (Berkeley, 2011) “Think about NOT waiting your turn. . . .Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. . . . Think about turning to people you already know . . . and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it.” Addressing journalism grads during a tumultuous period for jobseekers, the Radiolab co-founder urged aspiring storytellers not to wait to somehow earn permission to follow their calling, but instead simply start doing it. They should trust that by placing a big bet on themselves meaningful dividends would ensue. 

John F. Kennedy (American University, 1963) “Our problems are man-made—therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” Speaking about the pursuit of peace less than a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy pushed back against the fatalistic notion that humankind has the power to doom itself but not to save itself. It was a trenchant point amid the Cold War backdrop and holds up impressively more than half a century later. 

Oprah Winfrey (Stanford, 2008) “In order to be truly happy, you must live along with and you have to stand for something larger than yourself. Because life is a reciprocal exchange. To move forward you have to give back. And to me, that is the greatest lesson of life. To be happy, you have to give something back.” Oprah emphasized to Stanford grads the importance of a career serving something much bigger than oneself. The preeminent mononym’s remarks were especially weighty because Stanford was founded by two parents doing exactly that: creating the school as a memorial to their late son, who died of typhoid at fifteen. 

Zadie Smith (The New School, 2014) “It feels good to give your unique and prestigious selves a slip every now and then and confess your membership in this unwieldy collective called the human race.” The award-winning English novelist reflected on the tension between individual pursuits and working collectively—and on not being afraid to take part in things bigger than oneself. Indeed, despite the solitary nature of writing, Smith said the most valuable moments of her life have often been those that got her out of her head and actively doing something with the crowd—even something as simple as passing out slices of cake at her mother’s birthday party. 

John Green (Kenyon College, 2016) “All these so-called horrors of adulthood emerge from living in a world where you are inextricably connected to other people to whom you must learn to listen.” The novelist and YouTuber earnestly warned newly minted grads that the grind of adulthood can at times be nightmarishly tedious. But he argues many conversations that at first seem painfully banal are, if we’re alive to it, really about humans trying to find ways to muddle through life together. In other words, they’re extremely worthwhile. 

 Green ended his deftly brief address by quoting a beloved professor who told him: “You’re a good kid, but you need to learn when to stop talking.” It’s sage advice—and with it in mind, we’ll hush now. PS: If that’s your mortarboard up in the air, congraduations congratulations and good luck! 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

THE FOODIST / A RESPONSE TO A LETTER FROM A TOP LONDON RESTAURATEUR

Jeremy King with morning coffee at The Wolseley with
Lauren Gurvich (spouse) and a copy of The Financial Times.



Dear Jeremy: 

Your Disraeli Gears mention in your most recent newsletter last has inspired a response from our daily online magazine style blog pillartopost.org. Your latest effort is brilliant and a highly entertaining read (like trying to find a straight line path from your Wolseley to our hotel near Oxford Circus). 

For Jeremy King’s monthly newsletter about to be discussed: CLICK HERE. 

We are fond of the writing style and content of one of the UK’s top restaurateurs, a point that US editor Graydon Carter agrees. 

While our blog seldom delves into the love life of others, but in Mr. King’s case we make an exception. The man is totally in love with his country, for better or worse, and his profession the hospitality industry (namely how to invent, staff and operate high quality restaurants. 

King’s newsletter today, no doubt dashed off in one sitting, kaleidoscopes from pillar to post, a title of this blog. Its tangential style is lively, spontaneous, erudite and his readers are well rewarded for sticking to it. For example, we became reacquainted with the aforementioned Graydon Carter, who sayonara-ed from Vanity Fair to another excellent publication: this time Air Mail, an online effort that pours Madeira sauce over the mundane. Thanks for that. CLICK HERE.  

Also, the co-owner of The Wolseley and other fine UK restaurants, delves into the unknown, the mysterious in a word: huh? For example, how on earth did he know, we yearning masses are crying to know the true meaning of Disraeli Gears, the 1967 album title recorded by Cream (Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker). 

 Immediately, we sent our publication’s crack team of researchers (worthy of Bletchley Park kudos) to learn the following from Wikipedia

What’s with the name? Disraeli Gears is the second studio album (left) by the British rock band Cream. It was released in November 1967] and went on to reach No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart. and No. 1 on the Finnish charts. The album was also No. 1 for two weeks on the Australian album chart and was listed as the No. 1 album of 1968 by Cash Box in the year-end album chart in the United States. 

The album is considered by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. The album features the singles "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love,"as well as their respective B-sides "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "SWLABR". 

Cream Drummer, the late Ginger Baker recalled how the album's title was based on a malapropism which alluded to 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “... meaning derailleur gears...We all just fell over...We said that's got to be the album title,” recalled Baker. 

Obviously, Cream band members were well acquainted with bicycle operations and perhaps, a certain weed. “Hey, Ginger did you ever get your bike fixed? I will. Something to do with the Disraeli gears…” 

Nonetheless, the title is attached to what Wikipedia and so many others world wide call the best album ever recorded. CLICK HERE.  For the 1967 album Disraeli Gears, the band Cream consisted of Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, and Jack Bruce. Also, Jeremy King mentioned an “agree to disagree” essay in the Times (for those on the Left Coast of America we immediately thought of the Costco warehouse Times or perhaps the Molokai Island Times, a frequent vacation stop for staff. 

Now, we know (sad provincial minds corrected) that the Times is of course, The Times (CLICK HERE) and is published in London, which of course we confuse with the Financial Times, but we digress. If The Times published baseball scores on a timely manner as the Los Angeles Times doesn’t, we’d be lifelong subscribers…draining the last of the inheritance to get the subscription across the damn pond. 

Back to Agree to Disagree as a term, we discovered it also appears in the lyrics of the same title by singer, composer, lyricist Susan Ashton from her album Susan Ashton. 

Standing on this battlefield of strong opinion 

Among the verbal brush and briar 

Plenty of weaponry and ammunition 

We say ready aim fire. 

So you argue points of logic until I'm put in my place 

And I argue my convictions until I'm blue in the face but. 

We just keep on going round in circles 

Lost, found, life is such a mystery 

We search and we find opposing answers 

Maybe we should just agree to disagree. 

 Can we meet on neutral ground 

For surrender 

And carve a path for restitution 

Because my love for you is surely strong enough 

To find some kind of resolution. 

 Cause we can have our differences 

And that won't change the way I feel 

About you and about me and about 

God And His whole deal but. 

 We just keep on going round in circles 

Lost, found, life is such a mystery 

We search and we find opposing answers 

Maybe we should just agree to disagree. 

Cause we are getting nowhere fast 

When the concrete and the supernatural clash 

So we will stand at other ends with all this stuff 

But can't we find a common thread in love. 

And in our thirsting quest for knowledge 

Maybe one day we will find 

That I finally see it your way 

Or you finally see it mine. 

We just keep on going round in circles 

Lost, found, life is such a mystery 

We search and we find opposing answers 

Maybe we should just agree to disagree...

Finally, and foremost please CLICK HERE for a roster of the highly praised (for good reasons) Corbin and King restaurants.  

Oh, for a suitable ending to this, if you are keenly interested in Derailleur gears CLICK HERE for a primer.

END. 

PS: FYI 100% of pillartopost.org staff has worked in a restaurant at one time or another. 

 

The Wolseley in Piccadilly, a restaurant-cafe that is the
epitome of Viennese-style Euro brasseries.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

DESIGN OF THE TIMES / EURO COLORING BOOK FOR 2021-22


Design brand Brabbu’s Trend Book 2021-2022 is available CLICK HERE as a moodboard for the latest in interior design inspiration. This link showcases 12 color trends with suggestions on how to apply them to interior design projects. 

See more on Brabbu on YouTube. Click here. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

RETRO FILES / BEYOND A GLIMPSE OF STOCKING: FRENCH POSTCARDS REVEALED

 Taken by Alexandre Jacques Chantron in 1913
at his Paris salon, the image is titled
“Les Nymphes s’amusent.” It was made into
a popular French Postcard.

Be careful what lurks around the corner when exploring those ancestry research sites. Take for example a Franco-American staffer on this blog, who recently discovered a great-grandmother (we’ll call her Polly to avoid being raided by the still existing Society for the Suppression of Vice), posed scantily clad in a risqué French postcard. 

Word, albeit a now dusty one, has it that Polly, who married into the family from France) is the third dancer from the left in the photo above. Written on the back of the postcard: “I cannot be sure with all those sturdy thighs one gets confused but it looks remarkably like her.” 

We assume that was written by GG Millard. According to family lore, however, the marriage to Polly was annulled (apres coup), as grandfather was only 18 when he visited France before college. In his later years, Poppa Millard was heard to mumble into his Cream of Wheat “…they took my Polly, they smashed the marriage, but, damnit they’ll never take my memories of the our lune de miel…” (honeymoon). 

All of this begs the question:

WHAT IS A FRENCH POSTCARD? 

A French postcard is a small, postcard-sized piece of cardstock featuring a photograph of a nude or semi-nude woman. Such erotic cards were produced in great volume, primarily in France, in the late 19th and early 20th century. The term was adopted in the United States, where such cards were not legally made. 

The cards were sold as postcards, but the primary purpose was not for sending by mail, as they would have been banned from delivery. The cards sometimes even depicted naked lesbians.

French street vendors, tobacco shops and a variety of other vendors bought the photographs for resale to tourists. —Wikipedia 

VIVE LA GRAN MERE 

The French magazine, La Beaute was a major early source for nude pictures. They sold photographic based images of poses in the nude that were marketed for the use of artists, but these cards became greatly coveted by the general public. Though made in Europe their largest audience was in the United States. 

These types of cards were most popular in the 1870’s but they had been manufactured as soon as technology provided a convenient way to reproduce photographs in printed form. Most of their backs are completely blank without any postal markings making them difficult to precisely date. They are only referred to as postcards because of the similar size as they were illegal to mail. Actual postcards with nudes on them only appeared around 1900.-- Metropostcard.com 

THE GREAT FRENCH POSTCARD MASSACRE [SACRE BLEU] 

On March 3, 1873 at the urging of the N.Y. Society for the Suppression of Vice and the Y.M.C.A. the Comstock Laws were passed prohibiting obscene material from being sent through the U.S. mail. It was not only nudity (see postcard image, left) that could cost a sender ten years at hard labor, but the posting of any sexually related material. This law was also used extensively for censorship. Works by Balzac, James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy, and Walt Whitman were labeled smut and banned from the mail. Almost 18 million postcards were destroyed under this law (talk about indecency). 

Although the restrictions relating to birth control information have since been dropped, it should be noted that this law is still on the books and the U.S. Postal Service is allowed to seize your mail when suspected of containing indecent material. Few today are imprisoned but postcards with nude or suggestive imagery continue to be intermittently confiscated at the discretion of Post Masters. -- Metropostcard.com 

Monday, May 17, 2021

MEDIA MONDAY / TRUMP’S INNER CIRCLE AWAITS FATE


Actually, we’ve been enjoying endless sunny days (unless it rains) here on the Left Coast. What’s particularly joyful is know every day isn’t filled with the lying sack of orange one filling news pages and TV screens. But, to sandbag such tranquility, we couldn’t resist reminding you of Vanity Fair Magazine’s latest political article that’s headlined “Anyone know a Good Lawyer? REPORT: TRUMP’S INNER CIRCLE IS TERRIFIED THE FEDS ARE COMING FOR THEM NEXT. 

Click here for the article.  

Cannot wait for the heads to roll. Starting with His DisHonor, the Mayor Rudy G. Nice work Bess Levin, Vanity Fair’s politics correspondent. Beth Levin has a daily report via Vanity Fair. Click here to sign up. 

 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

SUNDAY REVIEW / CREEPING MADNESS, A SHORT STORY

THE YELLOW WALLPAPER

By Charlotte Perkins Stetson

First published in the New England Magazine, 1892

It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer. A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity—but that would be asking too much of fate! 

Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. 

Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted? John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage. John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures. 

John is a physician, and perhaps—(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)—perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. 

The author.

You see, he does not believe I am sick! 

And what can one do? 

If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do? 

My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing. So I take phosphates or phosphites—whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again. 

Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. 

But what is one to do? I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal—having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition. I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad. So I will let it alone and talk about the house. 


The most beautiful place! It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village. It makes me think of English places that you read about, for there are hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of separate little houses for the gardeners and people. There is a delicious garden! I never saw such a garden—large and shady, full of box-bordered paths, and lined with long grape-covered arbors with seats under them. There were greenhouses, too, but they are all broken now. 

There was some legal trouble, I believe, something about the heirs and co-heirs; anyhow, the place has been empty for years. That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid; but I don’t care—there is something strange about the house—I can feel it. I even said so to John one moonlight evening, but he said what I felt was a draught, and shut the window. 

I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition. But John says if I feel so I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself,—before him, at least,—and that makes me very tired. I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! 

But John would not hear of it. He said there was only one window and not room for to beds, and no near room for him if he took another. He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction. 

I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more. 

He said we came here solely on my account, that I was to have perfect rest and all the air I could get. “Your exercise depends on your strength, my dear,” said he, “and your food somewhat on your appetite; but air you can absorb all the time.” So we took the nursery, at the top of the house. 

It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playground and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls. 

The paint and paper look as if a boys’ school had used it. It is stripped off—the paper—in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life. 

One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin. It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate, and provoke study, and when you follow the lame, uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide—plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard-of contradictions. 

The color is repellant, almost revolting; a smouldering, unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others. 

No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long. 

There comes John, and I must put this away,—he hates to have me write a word. We have been here two weeks, and I haven’t felt like writing before, since that first day. 


I am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, and there is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I please, save lack of strength. 

John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious. I am glad my case is not serious! But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing. John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him. Of course it is only nervousness. It does weigh on me so not to do my duty in any way! I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already! 

Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able—to dress and entertain, and order things. 

It is fortunate Mary [nanny] is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous. I suppose John never was nervous in his life. 

He laughs at me so about this wallpaper! At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies. He said that after the wallpaper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs, and so on. “You know the place is doing you good,” he said, “and really, dear, I don’t care to renovate the house just for a three months’ rental.” 

“Then do let us go downstairs,” I said, “there are such pretty rooms there.” 

Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose, and said he would go down cellar if I wished, and have it whitewashed into the bargain. But he is right enough about the beds and windows and things. It is as airy and comfortable a room as any one need wish, and, of course, I would not be so silly as to make him uncomfortable just for a whim. 

I’m really getting quite fond of the big room, all but that horrid paper. Out of one window I can see the garden, those mysterious deep-shaded arbors, the riotous old-fashioned flowers, and bushes and gnarly trees. Out of another I get a lovely view of the bay and a little private wharf belonging to the estate. There is a beautiful, shaded lane that runs down there from the house. I always fancy I see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. 

So, I try. I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me. But I find I get pretty tired when I try. It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work. 

When I get really well John says we will ask Cousin Henry and Julia down for a long visit; but he says he would as soon put fireworks in my pillowcase as to let me have those stimulating people about now. I wish I could get well faster. But I must not think about that. 

This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had! There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside-down. I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breadths didn’t match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other. I never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before, and we all know how much expression they have! 

I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store. I remember what a kindly wink the knobs of our big old bureau used to have, and there was one chair that always seemed like a strong friend. I used to feel that if any of the other things looked too fierce, I could always hop into that chair and be safe. 

The furniture in this room is no worse than inharmonious, however, for we had to bring it all from downstairs. I suppose when this was used as a playroom, they had to take the nursery things out, and no wonder! I never saw such ravages as the children have made here. The wallpaper, as I said before, is torn off in spots, and it sticked closer than a brother—they must have had perseverance as well as hatred. Then the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed, which is all we found in the room, looks as if it had been through the wars. 

But I don’t mind it a bit—only the paper. 

 There comes John’s sister. Such a dear girl as she is, and so careful of me! I must not let her find me writing. She is a perfect, and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession. I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick! 

But I can write when she is out and see her a long way off from these windows. There is one that commands the road, a lovely, shaded, winding road, and one that just looks off over the country. A lovely country, too, full of great elms and velvet meadows. 

This wallpaper has a kind of sub-pattern in a different shade, a particularly irritating one, for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then. But in the places where it isn’t faded, and where the sun is just so, I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to sulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design. 

There’s sister on the stairs! 

Well, the Fourth of July is over! The people are gone and I am tired out. John thought it might do me good to see a little company, so we just had mother and Nellie and the children down for a week. Of course I didn’t do a thing. Jennie sees to everything now. But it tired me all the same. John says if I don’t pick up faster he shall send me to Dr. Weir Mitchell in the fall. But I don’t want to go there at all. I had a friend who was in his hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, only more so! Besides, it is such an undertaking to go so far. I don’t feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for anything, and I’m getting dreadfully fretful and querulous. I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time. 

Of course I don’t when John is here, or anybody else, but when I am alone. And I am alone a good deal just now. John is kept in town very often by serious cases, and Jennie is good and lets me alone when I want her to. So I walk a little in the garden or down that lovely lane, sit on the porch under the roses, and lie down up here a good deal. 

I’m getting really fond of the room in spite of the wallpaper. Perhaps because of the wallpaper. It dwells in my mind so! I lie here on this great immovable bed—it is nailed down, I believe—and follow that pattern about by the hour. 

It is as good as gymnastics, I assure you. I start, we’ll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion. I know a little of the principle of design, and I know this thing was not arranged on any laws of radiation, or alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I ever heard of. It is repeated, of course, by the breadths, but not otherwise. Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes—a kind of “debased Romanesque” with delirium tremens—go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity. 

But, on the other hand, they connect diagonally, and the sprawling outlines run off in great slanting waves of optic horror, like a lot of wallowing seaweeds in full chase. 

The whole thing goes horizontally, too, at least it seems so, and I exhaust myself in trying to distinguish the order of its going in that direction. They have used a horizontal breadth for a frieze, and that adds wonderfully to the confusion. There is one end of the room where it is almost intact, and there, when the cross-lights fade and the low sun shines directly upon it, I can almost fancy radiation after all,—the interminable grotesques seem to form around a common centre and rush off in headlong plunges of equal distraction. It makes me tired to follow it. 

I will take a nap, I guess. I don’t know why I should write this. I don’t want to. I don’t feel able. And I know John would think it absurd. But I must say what I feel and think in some way—it is such a relief! But the effort is getting to be greater than the relief. Half the time now I am awfully lazy and lie down ever so much. John says I musn’t lose my strength and has me take cod-liver oil and lots of tonics and things, to say nothing of ale and wine and rare meat. 

Dear John! He loves me very dearly and hates to have me sick. I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day and tell him how I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia. But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there; and I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished. 

It is getting to be a great effort for me to think straight. Just this nervous weakness, I suppose. And dear John gathered me up in his arms, and just carried me upstairs and laid me on the bed, and sat by me and read to me till it tired my head. He said I was his darling and his comfort and all he had, and that I must take care of myself for his sake, and keep well. He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me. 

There’s one comfort, the baby is well and happy, and does not have to occupy this nursery with the horrid wallpaper. If we had not used it that blessed child would have! 

What a fortunate escape! 

Why, I wouldn’t have a child of mine, an impressionable little thing, live in such a room for worlds. I never thought of it before, but it is lucky that John kept me here after all. I can stand it so much easier than a baby, you see. 

Of course I never mention it to them anymore, —I am too wise, —but I keep watch of it all the same. There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will. Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous. And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. 

I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wish John would take me away from here! It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so. 


But I tried it last night. It was moonlight. The moon shines in all around, just as the sun does. I hate to see it sometimes, it creeps so slowly, and always comes in by one window or another. John was asleep and I hated to waken him, so I kept still and watched the moonlight on that undulating wallpaper till I felt creepy. The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out. 

I got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move, and when I came back John was awake. “What is it, little girl?” he said. “Don’t go walking about like that—you’ll get cold.” 

I thought it was a good time to talk, so I told him that I really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away. 

“Why darling!” said he, “our lease will be up in three weeks, and I can’t see how to leave before. “The repairs are not done at home, and I cannot possibly leave town just now. Of course, if you were in any danger I could and would, but you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know. You are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is better. I feel really much easier about you.” 

“I don’t weigh a bit more,” said I, “nor as much; and my appetite may be better in the evening, when you are here, but it is worse in the morning when you are away.” 

“Bless her little heart!” said he with a big hug; “she shall be as sick as she pleases! But now let’s improve the shining hours by going to sleep, and talk about it in the morning!” 

“And you won’t go away?” I asked gloomily. 

“Why, how can I, dear? It is only three weeks more and then we will take a nice little trip of a few days while Jennie is getting the house ready. Really, dear, you are better!” 

“Better in body perhaps”—I began, and stopped short, for he sat up straight and looked at me with such a stern, reproachful look that I could not say another word. 

 “My darling,” said he, “I beg of you, for my sake and for our child’s sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when I tell you so?” 

So, of course I said no more on that score, and we went to sleep before long. He thought I was asleep first, but I wasn’t, —I lay there for hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the back pattern really did move together or separately. 

 On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind. The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well under way in following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream. The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus. If you can imagine a toadstool in joints, an interminable string of toadstools, budding and sprouting in endless convolutions,—why, that is something like it. That is, sometimes! 

There is one marked peculiarity about this paper, a thing nobody seems to notice but myself, and that is that it changes as the light changes. When the sun shoots in through the east window—I always watch for that first long, straight ray—it changes so quickly that I never can quite believe it. That is why I watch it always. By moonlight—the moon shines in all night when there is a moon—I wouldn’t know it was the same paper. 

At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be. I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind,—that dim sub-pattern,—but now I am quite sure it is a woman. By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me quiet by the hour. I lie down ever so much now. 

John says it is good for me, and to sleep all I can. Indeed, he started the habit by making me lie down for an hour after each meal. It is a very bad habit, I am convinced, for, you see, I don’t sleep. And that cultivates deceit, for I don’t tell them I’m awake,—oh, no! 

The fact is, I am getting a little afraid of John. He seems very queer sometimes, and even Jennie has an inexplicable look. It strikes me occasionally, just as a scientific hypothesis, that perhaps it is the paper! I have watched John when he did not know I was looking, and come into the room suddenly on the most innocent excuses, and I’ve caught him several times looking at the paper! And Jennie too. 

I caught Jennie with her hand on it once. She didn’t know I was in the room, and when I asked her in a quiet, a very quiet voice, with the most restrained manner possible, what she was doing with the paper she turned around as if she had been caught stealing, and looked quite angry—asked me why I should frighten her so! 

 Then she said that the paper stained everything it touched, that she had found yellow smooches on all my clothes and John’s, and she wished we would be more careful! 

 Did not that sound innocent? But I know she was studying that pattern, and I am determined that nobody shall find it out but myself! Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was. John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a little the other day, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wallpaper. I turned it off with a laugh. I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wallpaper—he would make fun of me. He might even want to take me away. I don’t want to leave now until I have found it out. 

There is a week more, and I think that will be enough. I’m feeling ever so much better! I don’t sleep much at night, for it is so interesting to watch developments; but I sleep a good deal in the daytime. In the daytime it is tiresome and perplexing. There are always new shoots on the fungus, and new shades of yellow all over it. I cannot keep count of them, though I have tried conscientiously. It is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. 

But there is something else about that paper—the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here. It creeps all over the house. I find it hovering in the dining-room, skulking in the parlor, hiding in the hall, lying in wait for me on the stairs. It gets into my hair. Even when I go to ride, if I turn my head suddenly and surprise it—there is that smell! Such a peculiar odor, too! I have spent hours in trying to analyze it, to find what it smelled like. It is not bad—at first, and very gentle, but quite the subtlest, most enduring odor I ever met. In this damp weather it is awful. I wake up in the night and find it hanging over me.It used to disturb me at first. I thought seriously of burning the house—to reach the smell. 

But now I am used to it. The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell. There is a very funny mark on this wall, low down, near the mopboard. A streak that runs round the room. It goes behind every piece of furniture, except the bed, a long, straight, even smooch, as if it had been rubbed over and over. I wonder how it was done and who did it, and what they did it for. Round and round and round—round and round and round—it makes me dizzy! I really have discovered something at last. 

Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out. 

 The front pattern does move—and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over. Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard. And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads. They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside-down, and makes their eyes white! If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad. 

I think that woman gets out in the daytime! And I’ll tell you why—privately—I’ve seen her! I can see her out of every one of my windows! It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight. I see her on that long shaded lane, creeping up and down. I see her in those dark grape arbors, creeping all around the garden. I see her on that long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides under the blackberry vines. 

I don’t blame her a bit. It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight! 

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight. I can’t do it at night, for I know John would suspect something at once. And John is so queer now, that I don’t want to irritate him. I wish he would take another room! Besides, I don’t want anybody to get that woman out at night but myself. I often wonder if I could see her out of all the windows at once. But, turn as fast as I can, I can only see out of one at one time. And though I always see her she may be able to creep faster than I can turn! I have watched her sometimes away off in the open country, creeping as fast as a cloud shadow in a high wind. 

If only that top pattern could be gotten off from the under one! I mean to try it, little by little. I have found out another funny thing, but I shan’t tell it this time! It does not do to trust people too much. 

There are only two more days to get this paper off, and I believe John is beginning to notice. I don’t like the look in his eyes. And I heard him ask Jennie a lot of professional questions about me. She had a very good report to give. She said I slept a good deal in the daytime. John knows I don’t sleep very well at night, for all I’m so quiet! He asked me all sorts of questions, too, and pretended to be very loving and kind. As if I couldn’t see through him! Still, I don’t wonder he acts so, sleeping under this paper for three months. 

 It only interests me, but I feel sure John and Jennie are secretly affected by it. 

 Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John is to stay in town over night, and won’t be out until this evening. Jennie wanted to sleep with me—the sly thing! but I told her I should undoubtedly rest better for a night all alone. That was clever, for really I wasn’t alone a bit! 

As soon as it was moonlight, and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help her. I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper. A strip about as high as my head and half around the room. And then when the sun came and that awful pattern began to laugh at me I declared I would finish it to-day! 

We go away tomorrow, and they are moving all my furniture down again to leave things as they were before. Jennie looked at the wall in amazement, but I told her merrily that I did it out of pure spite at the vicious thing. She laughed and said she wouldn’t mind doing it herself, but I must not get tired. How she betrayed herself that time! 

But I am here, and no person touches this paper but me—not alive! She tried to get me out of the room—it was too stubborn! But I said it was so quiet and empty and clean now that I believed I would lie down again and sleep all I could; and not to wake me even for dinner—I would call when I woke. 

So now she is gone, and the servants are gone, and the things are gone, and there is nothing left but that great bedstead nailed down, with the canvas mattress we found on it. 

We shall sleep downstairs tonight, and take the boat home tomorrow. I quite enjoy the room, now it is bare again. 

How those children did tear about here! This bedstead is fairly gnawed! But I must get to work. I have locked the door and thrown the key down into the front path. 

I don’t want to go out, and I don’t want to have anybody come in, till John comes. I want to astonish him. I’ve got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find. If that woman does get out, and tries to get away, I can tie her! But I forgot I could not reach far without anything to stand on! This bed will not move! I tried to lift and push it until I was lame, and then I got so angry I bit off a little piece at one corner—but it hurt my teeth. 

Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! 

All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision! I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try. Besides I wouldn’t do it. Of course not. I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued. 

I don’t like to look out of the windows even—there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did? But I am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope—you don’t get me out in the road there! 

I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard! It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please! I don’t want to go outside. I won’t, even if Jennie asks me to. For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow. But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way. 

Why, there’s John at the door! 

It is no use, young man, you can’t open it! 

How he does call and pound! 

Now he’s crying for an axe. 

 It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door! 

“John dear!” said I in the gentlest voice, “the key is down by the front steps, under a plantain leaf!” 

That silenced him for a few moments. Then he said—very quietly indeed, “Open the door, my darling!” 

“I can’t,” said I. “The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf!” 

And then I said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it, of course, and came in. 

He stopped short by the door. “What is the matter?” he cried. “For God’s sake, what are you doing!” 

 I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder. “I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane! And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” 

Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!