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Showing posts from December 27, 2009

The Handsomest Man in Cuba: Who's picture is it anyway?

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I got an interesting letter from someone today:


Hi,

Seeing that the Cubans are so poor and that dear old man has worked so hard everyday did you, will you or have you given him any money for using his picture?I was back to Cuba this past March and gave him a picture I took of HIM!!! I wonder what he would do if he saw himself on your book? I'm thinking there is something wrong with this ... Sandra

It's a reasonable question: should I give the man on the cover of my book money? More to the point - just how much?

This reader feels I am somehow taking advantage of this man - profiting from by having his face on my book. Here's my reply:

Thanks for writing. I appreciate your thinking on this - though you're making a baseline assumption that he is poorer than me. In many ways, he's probably better off. He charges $1 for 2 little photos he processes in that bucket in a prime tourist location. He makes more money in a day than many Cubans do in a month. He's probably …

NY Eve in NYC

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New York never fails to redeem itself.

A clinically certified New Yorker keeps quoting "either E.B. White, ('Here is New York') or Joan Didion ('Goodbye to all that'). Actually, he now claims can't locate that passage anywhere in the above two writings, and I suspect in his rabidity about his domicile of 25 years, he made it up himself.

No matter - how this blow in from Downunder spent New Year's Eve upover in 2009, is a testament to it.

And I was nowhere near the mirrored ball in Times Square.

Instead, I spent most of the day sheltering from the snow, working on a newsletter for Bike Friday.

At 4pm I  wrapped myself up in everything Smartwool I own, pulled rubber rainboots, unfolded the Speeding tikitand pedaled uptown. The snow and ice were thick, with mirror-slick patches requiring careful negotiation in the icy bike lane.

First, I arrived at Caroline Fu's office to take delivery of more Traffic Cone Bags to fulfil the orders that have been piling…

Warmest wishes for the New Decade ....

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Occasionally it's nice to get an unsolicited gift in the mail - even if only snailspam. In this case, a rather cool cardboard "Eiffel Tower party hat" from St Germain, maker of the classy elderflower liqueur of the same name.

I stumbled across this addictive concoction at a Dr Ruth Westheimer book launch at BottleRocket and must have tipsily given them the GPS coordinate of my bunker.

The enclosed classy instruction sheet, resembling a menu from one of these places, asks recipients to take a shot of themselves with it - presumeably expecting overexposed snaps of the tower teetering atop boozy, high-fiving party animals @ some velvet roped club or midwestern garage BBQ or other predictable composition.

No such luck from the Galfromdownunder, who, with no such luck of a St Germain-fueled party invite, came up with this: a David Weekes Hanno climbing the St Germain Eiffel Tower with Manhattan's London Terrace in the background!


Now setting up such a shot wasn't so ea…