San Miguel de Allende, Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Writings

Happy anniversary, ‘Jaws.’ But let me tell you the tale of my legendary duel with Moby Jaws

The summer that “Jaws” came out, I was sailing very poorly on a tiny wooden platform called a Sailfish off the coast of South Chatham on Cape Cod.  

Mind you, I had never sailed before.

We were rigged with a larger than normal sail, which under normal circumstances would have made for easy gliding on a sultry summer day.

Continue reading
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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for May 29: A podcast fest, shopping in-person & online, someone likes my blog, Lovett & Hiatt sing, and summer job memories

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After a wonderful dinner in a friend’s backyard last night, I felt the gentlemanly thing to do is walk Moppit this morning. It was a reunion of Casa de las Poetas former residents. John & Linda and Jimmy & Gina moved elsewhere in town.

Then the pandemic hit. It was good to sit around a table again, outside, and safely distanced.

I had my first fake-meat burger — whatever they are called. It was quite satisfactory and if I ever go vegetarian, I will order a case.

So, Rose usually walks Moppit in the morning and I take the early evening shift. Today, I hoped she would sleep in for once. Naturally, she was preparing her yoga mat before we even hit the street. Dedicated. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

‘We arrived at the Dam in tattered cut-off jeans — covered in sweat, sawdust, and dirt’

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The modern Matson Lumber Co. looks a lot more streamlined, automated, and efficient than in my day. But stacking lumber is still the name of the game. (Photo: Matson Lumber)

“What did you do on your summer vacation?” I bet the answers in 2020 are going to be a lot different from those in 1966. 

A newsletter for ex-newspaper folks (specifically those bred in the incubator known as The San Diego Union-Tribune) recently spooled out a thread on summer jobs. The question was neutral but the recollections quickly veered toward the worst, hardest, most humiliating.

Well, those are usually the most memorable, aren’t they? Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Read it first: Origins of ‘Dark Pastry,’ the most successful horror/baking reality TV show ever

imageedit_11_5838111086A lot of you have been asking me, “Bob” you say, “how did you come up with the award-winning and fabulously successful reality TV cooking show “Dark Pastry.”

To date, my natural gift for modesty has kept me from spilling the beans on the cooking/horror reality show but so many urban legends and out-and-out lies by a very jealous POTUS have forced my hand.

Is it my fault that my reality show has been so much more-fabulously successful than his ever was?

Yes.

Yes, it is my fault. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 13: Hey, brother, can you loan me a dime for a ride into the mystic?

IMG_1672Oh, this day has begun all right — an All-Music Morning for Wednesday.

#1  “The Girl In Byakkoya,” Susumu Hirasawa,  from the animated film “Paprika.” This is the music that gets you up and moving. Check out the movie, too — anime magical surrealism at its finest. A mad enormously ballooning parade that absorbs everybody, everything — all energy  — as it progresses. Who can stop it? And how?

#2  Delbert McClinton channels his inner-Tony Bennett and sings about “San Miguel”! (Even mentions San Francisco in the first line … (Thanks for the tip, Robert Cooksey.) Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Sequestration meditation: Walk among the trees, with the thoughts of Hermann Hesse

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Text by Hermann Hesse: “Trees,” from “Wandering: Notes and Sketches”
Photographs by Robert J. Hawkins

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.

IMG_1628 And even more, I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs, the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 8: First Lady documentary ‘Becoming,’ Alice Walker, Dylan, Prokofiev

IMG_1617FARM-TO-TABLE LINKS & ANNOTATIONS, RAISED HUMANELY IN DIGITAL INCUBATOR:

#1 Dog walks are meant for podcasts. Longer walks mean even MORE podcasts:

a) Fresh Air: Chef Tom Colicchio talks about what it will take for restaurants to survive.

      b)  NYT The Daily: Arrival of the murder hornets and The Chinese Lab theory.

c)  NPR Up First: Unemployment numbers.

d) NYT Sugar Calling: Cheryl Strayed talks with Alice Walker. “Whatever we have, we have to work with it.” (Strayed’s weekly podcast has hosted writers Amy Tan, Judy Blume, Pico Iyer, Margaret Attwood,  and George Saunders.

#2 VISIT: The talk with Alice Walker sent me to her website. Filled with commentaries and poems and nods to essays of others. The first two lines of her poem “True Success” really got me: Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 7: Full Moon & she goes full werewolf, 2 break-ins, (unrelated) 2 blog posts

IMG_1614#1  Full moon — Neighbor went into full werewolf until about 1:30 a.m. Howling, screaming, ranting. Somebody was trying to talk her down, not very successfully. At the same time she was smashing up a lot of stuff — sounded like wood slats — one after another, after another.

#2 Miguel and Mercedes at Rinconcito said the two businesses next to them on Refugio were broken into, possibly right after the werewolf crashed for the night. Miguel was helping the shop owners cut back the trees that were climbed to get inside. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

That time Romeo proposed to Juliet? Well, yes, but it wasn’t quite as we remembered

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Davit Karapetyan’s proposal to Vanessa Zahorian came at the end of their performance in “Romeo and Juliet” with the San Francisco Ballet. We may or may not have been there to witness this amazing moment …

Last night, Rose and I watched the streaming performance of “Romeo and Juliet” by the English National Ballet. It was an exuberant performance of the Rudolf Nureyev production with the music of Sergei Prokofiev.

Alina Cojocaru and Isaac Hernández are the young lovers of Verona. The ballet was filmed in October 2015 at the Bristol Hippodrome.

Quite by coincidence, it was exactly 10 years ago — to the day — that we attended a performance of “Romeo and Juliet” by the San Francisco Ballet at the stately War Memorial Opera House.

Like I said, to the day. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Come, walk with me, through the magical door and into the garden of stone angels

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Let’s enter the garden through this secret passageway.  You can only see it when you truly need to escape from the world to a place where you can be safe and relax while time around you stands still. The real magic is this: The more you need to get away, the easier it is to open this door. Right now it seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? That’s good. It means you are doing just fine.

You can’t call it a back yard. When I think of a back yard, I think of a decent swath of green grass — enough for a few kids to at least play catch or toss a football — and maybe a garden.

No, it has none of that. But it is quite beautiful. If you were to look for a retreat, a place to hang out for a day and just sit and think, this would suit you well.

Not quite a back yard but bigger than a typical patio. Not a piazza, but maybe a courtyard (If you don’t immediately think of a Motel 6 courtyard).  A courtyard that feels like an atrium. That will do. Continue reading

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