Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kiddie Rides, the poem

I awakened and longed with desperation
To return to Brooklyn.
I wanted to ride until dawn on a creaky
Ferris wheel left behind by a carnival and
To visit the still standing luminous
Chartreuse home of my grandmother.
Memories behind stained glass windows
Beckoned like some naked amnesiac
Who struggles to reach home.

In the air, I could still smell the fullbodied scent
Of burnt potato pancakes that wafted through that
House and I often glimpsed the ghosts of ancestors
Lurking and sucking juice from the backyard peach tree.
I longed with desperation to return to old Brooklyn.

At 5 P.M. I slipped into my car
And drove south through Manhattan streets.
Streets at night eternally bathed
In disconsolate orange moonlight...
Trapped in an endless maze of mirrors.
The pink sun soon sizzled on the Hudson River
And set, to my right, in bright blazing Technicolor.
In the distance, one kittiwake
Seemed to have found the way.

I headed for the elixir of the spinning
Teacups: the kiddie rides at intoxicating
Coney, the most haunted and
Haunting of places: Brooklyn. ©

by Marjorie Levine, registered WGAE December 10, 2004
as part of material titled "Naked Amnesiac"

Coney Island then

... and now? "Going to bed early."

Kiddie Rides, the poem: another version

Last night, the streets were eternally
Bathed in disconsolate orange moonlight and
Seemed trapped in an endless maze of mirrors.

In the morning, I longed with desperation
To return to that luminous chartreuse home
Where ghosts of ancestors,
Sitting on the moss of invisible oaks,
Offer kind words of encouragement
Adding seconds to midnight
When dreams turn to film noir.

At dusk, I scraped and scraped the bottom
Of my dish, searching for one last drop.
Memories behind stained glass windows
Beckoned like a naked amnesiac
Who struggles to reach home.

On the highway, the pink sun sizzled and set,
To my right, in bright blazing Technicolor.
And in the distance, one kittiwake
Seemed to have found the way.
I reached colorless sands and a creaky Ferris wheel
Reminded me of the sweet elixir of spinning
Teacups: intoxicating kiddie rides
In the most haunted and haunting of places. ©

by Marjorie Levine, registered WGAE December 10, 2004
as part of material titled "Naked Amnesiac"

Two Days

One hot sunny Sunday, in July, at Long Beach:
An amnesiac sat on the boardwalk watching
A strolling lady who was carrying a pearl-handled parasol.
A handsome soldier passed holding a love letter that was
Written on a faded lace white doily and a lonely spinster
Stared at vague images in the sand...
Lines soon to be scattered by an insouciant breeze.

An innocent, guileless, sienna-haired child
Paddled to shore in a teacup.

This is what happened on a hazy sunless Sunday,
In mid-August, at Westhampton.
A spiritual man, who once posed as an amnesiac,
Conducted past life regression sessions
In an old chartreuse theater and
A tattooed director, with wild cinematic aspirations,
Filmed the event in shades of mysterious gray.

Later, I rested on sands
And watched one lost kittiwake fly
In circles overhead while an organ played
Music from an invisible carousel.

I listened to the ocean and
Imagined mermaids swimming painlessly
In peaceful and seductive warm waters.

A sienna-haired child
Stepped out of a floating teacup,
And walked with sea legs
Along colorless sands.

Sometimes before twilight,
I think of those two days. ©

by Marjorie Levine, registered WGAE December 10, 2004
as part of material titled "Naked Amnesiac"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Night Tide"

I went today to see my first film of the TFF: "Night Tide." It is a terrific and haunting film. Dennis Hopper was the surprise guest and I sat right behind him. After the film, he did a Q & A. I love the Tribeca Film Festival.

TFF: "Night Tide"

I was able to get a ticket for "Night Tide," which is being shown as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. V.A. Musetto discussed this film in "Cine File" in yesterday's New York Post.:


"Curtis Harrington's "Night Tide" (made in 1960 but not released until 1963), (has) Dennis Hopper in his first leading role. In the days before he was typecast as a weirdo, Hopper plays an innocent, baby-faced sailor who ventures into the Blue Grotto, a basement jazz club in Venice, Calif., and meets a dark-haired woman in a fetching white dress. For him, it's love at first sight. She's Mora (Linda Lawson), who lives in a funky apartment above a merry-go-round (with a view to die for) and earns a living in a seafront side show (admission 25 cents) as Mora the Mermaid, "the strangest creature in captivity - half woman, half fish." In a plot twist that recalls the Val Lewton-produced "Cat People" (1942), Mora thinks she's a descendant of the mythic "sea people" and has no choice but to kill during the full moon. In fact, her last two boyfriends drowned under mysterious circumstances."

Going today.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"It comes with sunlight and serenity"

Serendipity 3 unveiled their $25,000 dessert with much media fanfare. "The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate mixes top-grade cocoa from 14 countries, spiced with 5 grams of edible gold and shavings of a multithousand-dollar truffle. It is served in a goblet dressed with a golden band dripping with 1 carat of white diamonds. It is eaten with a specially made spoon, encrusted with 3 carats of diamonds. Chefs need two weeks' notice to prepare it. The ingredients have to be flown in specially from around the world," the NY Daily News proclaimed.

Whatever happened to the Good Humor man? I remember those days of long ago when at about 7 PM on summer nights we would hear the music and bells of the truck and we would go running outside to the street screaming for him to stop. We were happy with orange popsicles, vanilla pops, and chocolate sandwiches. The ultimate splurge was an eclair bar. Even Breyers was a special treat when served after dinner.

The fancy candies that are sold in Godiva or Lazar's don't interest me at all. Give me some Necco Wafers, Chuckles, or Button Candy and I am grinding that shit into my teeth like I am married to a dentist. A couple of Dots and I swallow my caps.

The treats seem to reflect the times. It's all fancy schmancy now. Sort of like million dollar condos that are really worth no more than 125 thousand dollars. It makes me think of "A Stop at Willougby."

"Willoughby? Maybe it's wishful thinking nestled in a hidden part of a man's mind, or maybe it's the last stop in the vast design of things, or perhaps, for a man like Mr. Gart Williams, who climbed on a world that went by too fast, it's a place around the bend where he could jump off. Willoughby? Whatever it is, it comes with sunlight and serenity, and is a part of the Twilight Zone."

I just heard something. A menu was slipped under my door.

a semi

... a glimpse of fat toches and all

Me and My Baby Teeth

Dentists are always surprised when they examine my teeth and find I still have three baby teeth. They just never fell out. There may be no permanent teeth under them which might be the reason they are still in my mouth. I love them. I have had them for sixty years.

I fear I may have a huge cavity in one of my baby teeth because it has been sensitive and it hurts. It was explained to me that the tooth cannot be refilled with amalgam because very little of the tooth structure remains. They cannot do a root canal on a baby tooth and it cannot be capped. It might have to be extracted. My fear is exacerbated.

Nobody ever guesses my age. I look much younger than my years. For real. I am also very puerile and immature. I have the joie de vivre of a much younger woman. Are you with me here? Are you following this? You got it.

I fear that when I lose my baby teeth, I will rapidly age. A few short days after my baby teeth are extracted, I will look like Hecate; all wrinkled, bent, and wizened. And my youthful sense of self-deprecating humor will disappear.

I allude to a Biblical story. Samson's hair is what made him so strong. Delilah found out it was because his hair had never been cut. When his hair was cut, he lost his strength. Also think: "The Picture of Dorian Gray," but not quite...

Yes, my baby teeth are my Fountain of Youth. They keep me young. They may in fact contain Botox. They may drip collagen into my system. Maybe they even produce a quickly absorbed Retinol. But what concerns me most about the loss of my remaining baby teeth is that my blogs will morph to boring, droll, and trite pieces. No longer will my fans be sweatin' Da RaPpIn' EDuCaTor. They will be reading the prose of Mrs. Odettes.

"Well, that's my Little Margie."


I saw the film "Atonement" yesterday. Before the film even began, the theater reeked from a combination of feet, farts, and garlic. I always carry a small bottle of my favorite perfume, Clinique Elixir, so that in situations like that I can spray some onto my wrist and take quick hits when I get nauseous. I never put my head back on a high theater seat. It's a good way to catch pediculosis. I drape my coat over the back of the seat and rest my head on that. The guy in front of me in the theater had a raging case of dandruff and I felt bad for the person who would follow him into that seat.

I also have taken to going to the movies with a hefty bag. I am not a bag lady and I do not sit there wrapped in it while I mumble comments to the characters in the film. I use it to cover the seat. I find it gross to sit in an upolstered theater seat that somebody sat in (for over 2 hours) just 20 minutes earlier. I notice on buses when people get up the seat is sometimes moist from toches perspiration, but on a metal seat the moisture evaporates... maybe leaving a toxic residue, but what can you do? In an upolstered seat, all that toches perspiration gets absorbed into the seat. I do not want to sit in that hot mess, so the hefty bag serves as an extra measure of protection. Then when the film ends, you gingerly pick it up and throw it away.

The film was long and I had to leave to use the bathroom. How come women who stand to pee do not lift the seat? They spray all over it and then they do not follow the rule: "please be neat, wipe the seat." It is uber-gross if you are a sitter and sit down on a wet seat.

I was riding in a cab yesterday and an inch from my left shoulder, on the outside of the taxi window, was a load of fresh bird shit.

Oh, and never send food back in a restaurant. I heard they spit in it. I once saw a chef in a restaurant blow his nose on his shirt collar and then proceed to make a salad. Once I ordered lean corned beef on rye in a diner with an open kitchen. The chef coughed into his hand and then proceeded to let the the beef he was slicing drop into that same hand.

Have you ever strolled the city sidewalks and stepped in gum, spit, or dog shit? I have. I have thrown away many brand new pairs of shoes due to that disgusting stuff. Once, I was walking on West 45th Street and I was wearing sandals. I was talking and laughing and stepped in a fresh pile of horse manure. It happened when I was still teaching and I ran back to the school and the custodian hosed off my foot in the school playground. I threw the sandals away (changed into a spare set of mocassins) and a teacher took the sandals out of the trash and kept them and wore them the next day! Can you believe her habits?

When I was an active teacher, a kid spit on the staircase bannister, and I hold onto that railing as I walk down the stairs. I caught a handful of fresh saliva on my way down to the gym.

Once on the bus I had just come from the hair salon and a person sitting directly behind me sneezed right onto the back of my head. I touched the back of my hair and it was wet with sneeze residue.

How come in apartment houses residents use the laundry carts to take down their dirty laundry? I don't want to remove my clean laundry from the dryer and use one of those contaminated carts. I saw a guy washing his sneakers in one of those machines! And his dirty underwear, spread out on the table, could have first used a nice cold water hand soak.

Now we have to worry about bedbugs when we travel! This is a new hazard! Good grief!

My habits are impeccable, but I see many people do not follow common rules of sanitary behavior. It is very disconcerting and gives me pause for thought on this Monday night.

Friday, April 25, 2008

for the "baby boomers"

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Life-changing and transforming.
This from:
A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes,
Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension
by Michio Kaku
"Michio Kaku's Hyperspace explores the notion that there are a number of dimensions beyond the four commonly accepted ones of space and time. This is the invisible universe, the world of geometry and space-time, also known as supergravity.
Hyperspace theory studies the convergence of natural laws across varying disciplines. The book is divided into four parts: the history of hyperspace, the theory, extensions of the theory, and suppositions about how to harness the power of hyperspace.
Part I includes a review of laws of nature and how these become simpler and more elegant when expressed in higher dimensions. Kaku likens this phenomenon to how different the surface of the earth looks from the perspective of a person standing on its surface compared to the person's viewing the earth's surface from outer space.
Part II the discusses the possibility of unifying all known laws of nature into a single theory.
Part III extends the theory, developing the notion of the bubble universe, positing that our definitions of space and time are meaningless outside the bubble we occupy.
Part IV explores how we might harness the power of hyperspace theory. If everything we see are vibrations in hyperspace, as suggested by the theory, the job before us, if the theory remains robust, is how to harness the theory's power."

Michio Kaku's official website:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quest for Meaning
I have read many books on the subject of quantum mechanics in theoretical physics. The book that impressed me the most was "The Self-Aware Universe" by Dr. Amit Goswami. Dr. Goswami believes that consciousness, not matter, is the basis of all existence. He writes that the universe is self-aware, and that consciousness creates the physical world. You can read more about his ideas at the above links. I had the opportunity to hear a lecture by Dr. Goswami at The Open Center. I also attended a discussion at the 92nd Street Y with Dr. Brian Greene, who wrote "The Elegant Universe." He spoke about string theory in plain language and made the search for the "Theory of Everything" understandable.
I will be attending more lectures at The Open Center:
I am thinking about:
Mystery Architecture of Ancient Greece Part I
Steve Bass, MA
"Building on the heritage of Egyptian and Mesopotamian sacred building traditions, Greek civilization set the tone and pattern for the West. The Greeks synthesized the architectural form of the temple and its associated elements, known as the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian "Orders." In these two presentations. architect Steve Bass will explore the concepts of sacred and symbolic geometry as the background for the archetypal Greek architectural forms. These will be illustrated in the context of the Eleusinian and Samothracian mystery religions. Aspects of sacred geography, metrology and observational astronomy will also be related to the architecture of the period."

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It was a glorious day up at 1000 Fifth Avenue. The sun was shining and the museum was not too crowded. My first stop was the Gustave Courbet exhibit.
"This is the first full retrospective of the French artist Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) in thirty years, presenting some 130 works by this pioneering figure in the history of modernism, from his seminal manifesto paintings of the 1850s to the views of his native Ornans and portraits of his friends and family. The exhibition also includes a selection of nineteenth-century photographs that relate to Courbet's work, especially his landscapes and nudes. The works are drawn from public and private collections in the U.S. and abroad."
Then: Jasper Johns: Gray
"The exhibition examines the use of the color gray by the American artist Jasper Johns (b. 1930) between the mid-1950s and the present. It brings together more than 120 paintings, reliefs, drawings, prints, and sculptures from American and international collections. Johns has worked in gray, at times to evoke a mood, at other times to evoke an intellectual rigor that results from his purging most color from his works. This exhibition is the first to focus on this important thematic and formal thread in Johns's career and includes some of the artist's best-known works, such as Canvas, Gray Target, Jubilee, 0 through 9, No, Diver, and The Dutch Wives, as well as works from the artist's Catenary series and new paintings never before exhibited."
Then late lunch at Jack: Pumpkin Sage Ravioli sage ravioli filled pumpkin, served with a citrus reduction and toasted walnuts. I would have been just as happy with Chicken McNuggets.

Nap Time

At dusk, a dream through stained glass:
In a hazy deciduous forest, I am almost naked-
Pristine gown clinging like translucent second skin,
Chartreuse satin slippers, cheeks pale porcelain rose,
And humidity turning my hair burnt sienna.
The scent of dried lavender drifts through trees-
“Alone in nature, by nature,” ventriloquists murmur.
Bejeweled spiders, resting on carefully crocheted cobwebs,
Melancholy widows, eyes green tourmaline,
A soldier seduced by indifference...
Haunted beauty washed forever in soft pink light.

A fading fragrant French cologne-
Earlier a sweet intoxicating elixir- melting and melted.
An elusive black-throated warbler,
Pausing on a great oak, bears witness:
An icon is shedding mellifluous silver tears,
Reflecting my grandfather, wrapped in his tallit
Stirring, turning, saying, “You look very familiar to me.”

A clammy breeze passes through Manhattan.
I awaken this time, awakened last time,
Acquiescent and still, not knowing
If it is evening... or morning. ©

by Marjorie Levine, registered WGAE 2002

An Ode to OCD

I catch a subtle whiff of dried lavender
As our director, a wiry-haired widow,
Lights a cigarette and with a simple single
Gesture flicks the ashes into the palm of her
Fashionably tattooed and manicured left hand.
"There is no need to state your full name;
Just speak of the fear, the constant fear," she coaches.

Behind us, the steady swing and flutter of
Gold diaphanous curtains as a clammy, familiar breeze
Passes through the old chartreuse theater.
We describe strange, tormenting, ritualistic behavior:
Washing, checking, hoarding... mental anguish so
Exquisite the weariest sheds mellifluous tears:
"I've shared ambrosia with gods;
At midnight, demons turn my terror to film noir."

That evening, I dream of solitude
And the transmigration of souls...
One lonely soul wishing to return
Washed in amnesia, hypnotized and untainted.
When I awaken, it is still dark-
Down below, the street is eternally bathed
In disconsolate orange moonlight...
Trapped in an endless maze of mirrors. ©

by Marjorie Levine, registered WGAE 2002

Monday, April 21, 2008


The Colonial Letters of Abigail Levy Franks

"While the HBO miniseries on the lives of John and Abigail Adams has revived interest in colonial American history, we thought it timely to bring to readers of "American Jewish History in Images" an account of colonial American Jewry's own Abigail - Abigail Levy Franks. The AJHS owns 32 letters penned by Abigail to her son Naphtali between 1733 and 1748. The letters provide the most complete picture of daily life for New York's Jews during this period. A grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), has enabled the AJHS to digitize these letters and make them available both in their original form and re-formatted into typeface on the AJHS website."
You can read the story about Abigail Levy Franks and then click on the link at the end of the story to read her letters in their original form if you go here: from:

"Gossip Girl?" for real?

I should have added that I would much more enjoy reruns of "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." Dobie, Maynard G. Krebs, Zelda Gilroy, Chatsworth Osborne Jr., Thalia Menninger and Milton Armitage, played by Warren Beatty... now THOSE characters were totally "awesomely awesome." Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar do need to visit the MT&R, ASAP.
"I gotta kill that boy. I just gotta..." Herbert T. Gillis, now HE was a role model for all parents! lmao

re: "The Genius of Gossip Girl"

"New York" magazine, 4/28/08
Best. Show. Ever. the cover proclaims. And inside: "But there is no shame in a love of 'Gossip Girl.' After all, it is (and we have come to this conclusion honestly) the most awesomely awesome show ever." I guess these two who wrote the piece never saw "Playhouse 90." Or "Naked City." Or "East Side, West Side." They give a reason No. 3: "Because 'Gossip Girl' is changing the very model of a successful TV show." It is? Time to toss the flat screen.
Oh, Reason No. 6: "Because, against all odds, it offers profound social commentary." It does? For who? I would rather watch reruns of "Leave it to Beaver" or "Dobie Gillis." And leave the social commentary to the pundits on MSNBC.
Chelsea, where I live, is very congested and filled with throngs of people. I see pedestrians walking around with those "Sidekicks" or "Blackberrys" attached to their ear. They are totally oblivious to their surroundings. They are babbling away over nonsense. I worry about their health. It cannot be good to have that phone on their ear for so much of the day. In time, a report will come out that documents the dangers of cell phones. Cell phones will be to this generation what cigarettes were to mine. Why did I reference cell phones? It's a different world. In every school in which I worked, when teachers wanted to make a call we had to wait on line during our lunch hour to use the rotary pay phone. And if two writers could think this show is great TV, I extend an open invitation to take them to the MT&R.
Yes, "Dobie Gillis."

Great perks

My friend Roz just called me and told me she finally took advantage of the free legal we get as retired teachers. And what did she have them do? Draw up her will... for free! The woman is a million laughs. They will also do at no cost a Health Care Proxy and Living Will. Such naches in aging!
A great perk of being a retired teacher is that we get free legal or services at greatly reduced fees. That includes unlimited telephone call advice and unlimited letters written on our behalf. I might have them write a strongly worded letter to the decorating commitee that recently renovated this building. Who puts down a geometric green carpet with brown trim and then paints the doors a bright yellow? I am detaching a retina everytime I exit my apartment.
Another heads' up perk, from "Script Registration is one of the most popular services offered by the Writers Guild East. We register the creative material of thousands of writers each year." You may register lyrics, poems, books, concepts, treatments, proposals, art, animation.... actually anything you can fit into the envelope they provide. It serves as proof that any written material that you created existed on a certain date. Stick it in the envelope, pay the $22. and done.
About fifteen years ago, I registered a whole 3 page comedy set. I performed it later that year in a contest at Stand-up NY comedy club to find "NYC's funniest teacher," and I won.
Registering that set did not protect it. Carolyn M. stole my OCD joke and says she had been doing it for 5 years. I got even. I stole her dentist joke. Life can be wicked in the world of comedy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

About Face

The Maja Oeri and Hans Bodenmann Painting and Sculpture Gallery
Focus: Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko
Quote: "This installation, drawn from the Museum's collection of paintings by Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko, focuses specifically on the fertile years between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, during which each artist identified the style and format that would engage him for the rest of his career. Reinhardt's and Rothko's ideas about form and color challenged and reconsidered European artistic traditions and philosophies, giving rise to a unique American sensibility in art in general, and particularly in painting. Their paintings were characterized not by the grand, expressive gestures and brushwork of their Abstract Expressionist colleagues, including Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, but rather by subtleties in color, form, and composition. Both Reinhardt and Rothko ask viewers to look closely, allow their eyes to adjust, and experience the interior space of the picture."

It was a glorious day today in Manhattan. MoMA was bustling with people and the streets were filled with shoppers. After the exhibit, I stopped into Saks to purchase Jo Malone wild fig and cassis cologne. I love it. Then I had dinner at my ultimate favorite French restaurant in Chelsea: Le Singe Vert. I had as an appetizer Le Päté De Campagne Maison followed by L'onglet De Boeuf Sauce Marchand De Vin.

When I first retired, I traveled a great deal. I went to Charleston, Savannah, San Antonio, St. Louis, New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta, and Florida (Orlando and Miami). Europe, too. I was in an off-Broadway play called "Mishkins's Paradise." I had a volunteer position at The Museum of Television and Radio. I was doing plenty of stand-up. I belonged to The Single Gourmet and met wonderful people who also loved to experience new restaurants. I wrote many major pieces on education that were published in a fine NYC newspaper. I will add parts of the articles later. My most well-received was: "The Stepford Teachers."

I have a car, even though I live in Manhattan. I keep it in a garage under my building. I was driving all over the place. I visited Kykuit, Duke Farms, Oheka Castle, Lyndhurst, Tee Ridder, and so many other historical points of interest. I was constantly driving out to the Hamptons. Recently, I toured the newly restored Eldridge Street Synagogue.
from, Quote: "The Eldridge Street Synagogue is the first great house of worship built on the Lower East Side by East European Jews. From its opening in 1887, the building has been a symbol of the religious freedom and economic opportunity sought by so many immigrants to America."

I am thinking of flying to Pittsburgh this weekend. Yes, Pittsburgh. I want to see "Fallingwater," the house designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I will see how I feel later in the week.

So why do I recollect all this? Duh! Because now I sit around all day watching paint dry... waiting for the next "ban" to roll in. I am licking my chops. I might make the Guiness Book of World Records. This is the hell that is my life! LMAO ROFL LOL and all that jazz. Damn, I wish Long John Nebel was still around so I could do a call-in later...

Old-Time Radio

Friends of Old-Time Radio 2008 Convention -- October 23-26, 2008, Holiday Inn-North, Newark, NJ
And for old-time radio fans, these are the best sites on the internet:

Brad Crandall, Long John Nebel, Candy Jones, Lee Leonard, Dick Summer, Pegeen Fitzgerald, Alan Burke, Joe Pyne, Barry Gray, Barry Farber, 1970's Bob Grant and Sally Jesse Raphael.... it just doesn't get any better. Well, Art Bell sometimes comes pretty close.
We all have a death sentence. If you get the right tests and recommended procedures, you can get a stay of execution. It's all about holding onto every last minute. I want to hold on so I can attend those great yearly Old-Time Radio Conventions.