The cherry on top.

Or, as the straightforward folks at Oxford Dictionaries explain it, “a desirable feature perceived as the finishing touch to something that is already very good.”

Oodles of lessons and hours of practice and the drone of the metronome.

Ah, but that cherry. 

PLAYING the piano at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.

Looking on: Patience and Fortitude, the famous stone lions named by Fiorello La Guardia.




Thanks, Luke Jerram, for this random act of music.


So. What’s the finishing touch In your life?


Toni 7/25/16


The entire poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by the wildly abstract Wallace Stevens remains a mystery to me.  Pick any stanza.  Let’s say, V.

IMG_0253 (2)

Is it a stretch to say that Stanza V opposes two types of beauty? (Probably, but Ben Huberman’s post led me here. A complex and divergent literary trip, to be sure, not unlike the one through this poem.)



How will-o’-the-ˈwispy Stevens can be. Those opposing beauties?  2116646_orig

Might he mean one distinct and the other suggestive, that the blackbird’s whistling is there to illustrate?






No matter. Just click here to read about the Wallace Stevens Walk in Hartford, CT.    You may even feel compelled to write a ‘Thirteen Ways’ koan. (BTW, a central theme of many koans is the ‘identity of opposites’.)  Have a go, be inscrutable like Wally and his blackbird.  Zen-like, even.

If two wings flap and there is a sound, what is the sound of one wing flapping?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Toni 7/5/16



In Italy, everyone loves pasta, il primo piatto.  North, south, rich, poor, it’s a shared gastronomical religion.  Each region stakes its claim to a distinctive design. ( I know, I’ve tried them all.)  When I stayed in Trappani, I devoured the local handmade pasta called busiate, Sicily’s most famous pasta lunga. Knobs of dough are formed into ropes and rolled around a ferretto, or thin iron rod, something like a knitting needle.

image image


The curves hold the pesto Trapanese, one of Sicily’s traditional sauces, that soars with the flavors of garlic, basil, and almonds.

busiate trapanesi con pesto ai capperi

In Sicily, point your car in any direction and you’ll find pasta, it’s such a part of Sicilian life.   As I hiked across the island, I read through Andrea Camilleri’s mystery series. His fictional detective, the astute Montalbano, is always in a state of silent ecstasy while enjoying a dish of busiate.

Sound marvelous?  It is.


What’s your favorite pasta?

Toni 6/24/16