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I am a fountain pen.
Interests: What? There's something else? This isn't all about me?
Recent Activity
Actually, Per Diem has been moved. All posts here since February 2002 (it's actually been ten years; some earlier posts were written earlier and posted later) have been moved to the archives of my new blog: 1SD has been up and running for over a month, with a new format. It also has somewhat different editorial "policy," the subtle differences of which are perhaps only detectable to myself and my most dedicated readers. If... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at Per Diem
[started on 30 September 2006 / completed and posted on 27 December 2006] This entry, at this writing, for Per Diem (in September) for the first time in about a month, deserves a brief preface. Having just read that one-page interview they do in every issue of the The New York Times Sunday Magazine, this week with Warren Beatty, I am reminded by his light way with the irrepressible Ms. Solomon to lighten up myself.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2013 at Per Diem
Sundown on Christmas Day, about 5pm. Why is it so green? That's winter wheat, which is planted in autumn in this climate. It will be harvested some time in very late spring. The first real stirrings of spring occur in February. About the middle of that month, we'll see blossoms on the almond trees—the ones that are left. Almost all of the almonds in this region and further north were eliminated in time. It used... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2013 at Per Diem
To some people one thing that emerged from the recent major product announcement by Apple that was of the utmost interest and importance was a new version of the operating system, OS X, now called Mavericks (after one of a whole series of challenging surfer beaches on the California coast). The mainstream press mainly concentrated on the reduction of the cost of this nominally major upgrade to zero. That is, Apple has said that anyone... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2013 at Per Diem
Water and air, almost nothing and virtually nothing at all, can, with constant motion, wear away rock or reduce it to sand and silt. In an eon surely, but at times in minutes, perfectly natural forces can alter the land irreparably. With an outer crust as well that is perpetually unstable, shifting and tearing, the earth has been formed for constant change, even as Man moving about the surface beguiles himself with dreams of permanence.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2013 at Per Diem
If events of the past six years, or 25... 50... 100 or even 200 years have taught us anything it is that it doesn't matter how well you have informed yourself as a nation. Or armed yourself. Or how rich you are. Even a very small band of individuals determined, or inspired, or desperate enough can bring you to your knees, sometimes by the simplest of means. Sometimes one person, with enough grit and spontaneity,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2013 at Per Diem
I've just published a book of photos, called sitting, consisting of photographs in France and America and to be thought of as a meditation on the title subject. It's a premium design: case bound with archival materials, salon quality paper and printing technology. For a limited time it's available at the actual cost of on-demand production (each issue is printed to order), a significant discount over the retail price marked. It's fully registered with the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2013 at Per Diem
(inspired partially by Satchel Paige’s advice on “How to Keep Young”) Everyone moves at his or her own pace. You might as well do the same. No one is slowing down or speeding up for you, I assure you. They’ll get out of your way, if you’re polite about it. The corollary, even in the dead of night, in the middle of a village, is do not ever just step into the roadway to cross.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2013 at Per Diem
Flattened Preferences and Decaying Judgment Like it or not, many of us are spending non-trivial amounts of time on-line using social media, most likely Facebook, but whatever. I’ve decided the time’s long past due for having a way to choose with greater subtlety exactly what we get to look at once we log in, and for as long as we can tolerate being there. I think most of us are aware there are ways to... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2013 at Per Diem
Have you done or said or thought anything that you’re not sure you’d be ashamed of? Presumably, the way to find out, or to rid yourself of the nagging bit of your conscious mind we used to call having a conscience, is to disburden yourself of said thought, or utterance, or an account of said action by posting it on Facebook… While you’re at it, make sure you have all your personal data up to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2013 at Per Diem
Jack, I did write the Gettysburg Address... When I got done, I had titled it the Gettysburg Phone Directory. The man was a genius for editing, but couldn't write an original word to save himself. Fortunately, as always, I overwrote (he didn't tell me he had another two speaking engagements that day and was short for time...), and he thereby was the beneficiary. He got the Emancipation Proclamation and the Second Inaugural Address out of what he cut from my Gettysburg. I agree with you about female movie actresses. Those male poseurs in drag are awful. I also agree about Swedes. Especially Lena Olin, whom I'm surprised to see you don't mention. I think you may have misread any implied assessment of Ms. Portman, as she is a fine actor, or actress (I await her first cross-dressing role). As for Henning Mankell, again I agree, especially if we are talking about the adaptations of the novels slowly being filmed with Kenneth Brannagh as Wallender (I prefer them to the Swedish series versions, which are more than good enough, but not nearly as dark or neurotic or angst-laden... you know I get weak in the knees for angst). I mean we read the novels in English translation--at least i speak for myself; I have not the Swedish--so why shouldn't the BBC do a better job? If Lasse Hallstrom had left it at My Life As a Dog, I would agree, yet a third time, with you. Its always a mistake to try to make anything timeless and enduring out of any of the literary monstrosities penned by John Irving, who makes Stephen King look positively impoverished imaginatively in the realm of the perverse. Thanks for the inspiration, Jack... xo HD
I like to make regular and passing allusion to my tendency to write at great length about just about anything. Friends and loved ones (inevitably one and the same) obligingly and conscientiously acknowledge what is possibly a character flaw, by skirting around what might easily be interpreted by someone as thin-skinned as I can be at times as a personal injury. They point out that not many people can write, never mind spontaneously respond, as... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2012 at Per Diem
This past Black Friday I wandered into the local branch of the Macy's department store chain. It's a small outlet in this neighborhood, in the semi-revitalized town of Ardmore on the Main Line of Philadelphia. The store is located in what has come to be called Suburban Square, a largely upscale suburban mall, built on the design I've come to call the Pennsylvania Model. There are, I've learned since moving here permanently a little over... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2012 at Per Diem
The following is an essay I wrote, or began, some time in 2002 as nearly as I can tell. This blog didn't exist then, and apparently I intended it for some other purpose. Some of the biographical information is out of date, for example, I am no longer on the board of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and have not been for years. Like Groucho, I would not like to join a club that would... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2012 at Per Diem
1. Yes. As a matter of fact I did. Why do you think I ended up buying property in France? 2. I was careful not to mention either mass, gravity or rate of fall (never mind velocity, acceleration, or Isaac Newton). If we restricted ourselves to the understanding you imply I should have shown, parachutes should drop like stones... I think--what am I saying?--I know the point was made. (sigh) I can never depend on even my most steadfast and careful of readers to read everything close enough. Another wise guy. 3. From the Webster I got my notion of the fallibility of making assumptions. Words never gave me anxiety. 4. I dont worry about it. I knew my father. xo HHD ps Thanks!!
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2012 on Anxiety | A Manual at Per Diem
Part One I’m coming clean with this, and right up front. I am an anxious person. I wake up most days filled, not with dread, but simple fear, behind a layer or two, a mask, of calm. It’s a kind of fraught expectancy. On the worst days, I pop a pill. It’s probably always been this way. Not quite always. I recall, on the frontiers of early memory, being a more or less fearless child.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2012 at Per Diem
I've felt free in the past four years or so to speak out on political matters in a kind of back-row, mumbling way. It's been longer than that actually, and my opining has been public enough and, I suppose, audible enough, because it has always appeared in public places, like this blog, or my other blog (I know, you didn't know: it's here: the 02138 blog). As for the "mumbling," that's my idea of endearing... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2012 at Per Diem
Under the rubric of "even brains won't save you from stupidity" comes this classic opening from today's New York Times story about fleeing the stock market for investment, spurred on by what another article, featured in "The Week" magazine, referred to as the "Facebook debacle:" The excitement surrounding Facebook’s initial public offering was enough for Alex Tsesis, a law professor, to give the stock market one more try. But after the company’s stock encountered technical... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2012 at Per Diem
[Somewhat freely adapted from a contribution of mine of February 24, 2001 on a listserv that was called the PhotoArt forum. Among the illustrious participants was my friend, Jack Fulton, whom I was introduced to on this forum, and who, purely irrelevantly and coincidentally, had the unknowing ignominious distinction of informing me of the dire events the following late summer. On a trip to San Francisco, in part to meet Jack in the flesh, he... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2012 at Per Diem
I've spent my entire life bemused (when not enraged) by the extravagances of language, including hyperbole, unfounded generalizations, and a host of other pernicious and misleading rhetorical devices by my more agitated brethren and sisters of the Left. There seems to be another epidemic of the same disease at work, now, as the Occupy movement actively seeks to find a center (in more ways than one) and a way to be politically effective in a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2011 at Per Diem
Pretty women... Fascinating… Sipping coffee, Dancing… pretty women. Pretty women Are a wonder. Pretty women! Sitting in the window or Standing on the stair Something in them cheers the air. Pretty women Silhouetted… Stay within you, Glancing… stay forever, Breathing lightly… Pretty women, Pretty women! Blowing out their candles or Combing out their hair, Even when they leave They still are there. They’re there. —Stephen Sondheim, from "Sweeney Todd" It’s always been my fortune in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2011 at Per Diem
The U.S. stock markets have been in a state of wobbly uncertainty for so long, it seems masochistic even to think, never mind worry about it. Today, they look like they collectively are looking for the momentum to sink another 3%. The problem is, what strategies the remaining investors seem to have are all simply predicated on wanting a sure thing. They're pessimistic today because the "super committee" of Congress has forecast dismal failure at... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2011 at Per Diem
Freedom, of course, is restricted to no sovereignty or boundary. I might say, if I were in a particularly lofty mood, that freedom itself has dominion. In itself and of itself. We can look for it, somewhat paradoxically, in any location. No doubt, one of the greatest instances I personally witnessed of a sense of freedom occurred in France. It was on the deuxiême étage, the third floor under the eaves, of my house in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2011 at Per Diem
What a strange race we humans are: on a micro basis, disaster strikes—anywhere, no questions asked, heaven and earth are moved: miners trapped 2 miles down... we rescue them. On a macro basis, with disastrous global implications foretold, economic or climatic, and we dither, argue, bitch, cry, but do nothing remedial...countries or banks in debt? Screw them! Beats the shit out of me. Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2011 at Per Diem
I have been opining for a few weeks now in the confines of Facebook. This means only 156 of my self-defined nearest and dearest (who else, then, could one call a "friend;" Facebook, as a kind of postmodern egalitarianism allows no other designation) get to see these pearls. I mean them to be entertaining at best, I suppose, and thought-provoking if they are to satisfy even my very few deepest desires. Instead I get a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2011 at Per Diem