THE CONNOISSEURS

the best thing about us is the people we know
Emily lived just down the hall from me on 3rd Pinkney, during my senior year and her freshman year at St. John’s College (the Annapolis campus). I was her RA, but other than seeing her in passing or watching her play the fiddle in the old-timey band, I didn’t know her well.
I graduated, and she transferred to St. John’s Santa Fe campus for her sophomore year. After taking a year off, she embarked on junior year.
“That didn’t work out.”
Emily grew up in York, Pa. She started riding horses at 5, and was professionally grooming by the time she was 14. In and out of college, she has groomed horses in various places around Santa Fe.
The last place she was at, the horses were beautiful but the people were terrible. This, though, is not the case with Nord Stable. And that makes all the more sense when Karen, the owner, arrives. She brings a pair of jodhpurs (is that what they’re called?) for me…they’re amazingly comfortable, like yoga pants but with a lot more give, and a reinforced crash-pad type thing through the crotch.
She also brings her birthday apple pie…made, she vouchsafes, with real lard. I am more than happy to please her by taking way more than my share.
She’s always trying to make everyone fat, Emily tells me in an undertone whose depth matches her stormy grey eyes. I realize then that what I always took for shyness in both—her voice and her eyes—was in fact a keen observation and a dry sense of humor.
The things we miss, when we’re not looking closely.
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Emily lived just down the hall from me on 3rd Pinkney, during my senior year and her freshman year at St. John’s College (the Annapolis campus). I was her RA, but other than seeing her in passing or watching her play the fiddle in the old-timey band, I didn’t know her well.

I graduated, and she transferred to St. John’s Santa Fe campus for her sophomore year. After taking a year off, she embarked on junior year.

“That didn’t work out.”

Emily grew up in York, Pa. She started riding horses at 5, and was professionally grooming by the time she was 14. In and out of college, she has groomed horses in various places around Santa Fe.

The last place she was at, the horses were beautiful but the people were terrible. This, though, is not the case with Nord Stable. And that makes all the more sense when Karen, the owner, arrives. She brings a pair of jodhpurs (is that what they’re called?) for me…they’re amazingly comfortable, like yoga pants but with a lot more give, and a reinforced crash-pad type thing through the crotch.

She also brings her birthday apple pie…made, she vouchsafes, with real lard. I am more than happy to please her by taking way more than my share.

She’s always trying to make everyone fat, Emily tells me in an undertone whose depth matches her stormy grey eyes. I realize then that what I always took for shyness in both—her voice and her eyes—was in fact a keen observation and a dry sense of humor.

The things we miss, when we’re not looking closely.

Read more.

The automotive mausoleum of Lyle Van HoutenClarence, Mo.
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The automotive mausoleum of Lyle Van Houten
Clarence, Mo.

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Phoenix is: 
Gelled hair
Fruit cocktail trees
Haboobs
Copper City bourbon
Valley fever
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Phoenix is: 

  • Gelled hair
  • Fruit cocktail trees
  • Haboobs
  • Copper City bourbon
  • Valley fever

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Roosevelt and 1st
Phoenix, Az.

In my dreams I am always saying goodbye and riding away,   
Whither and why I know not nor do I care.
And the parting is sweet and the parting over is sweeter,   
And sweetest of all is the night and the rushing air.

In my dreams they are always waving their hands and saying goodbye,
And they give me the stirrup cup and I smile as I drink,   
I am glad the journey is set, I am glad I am going,
I am glad, I am glad, that my friends don’t know what I think.

In my dreams I am always saying goodbye and riding away,
Whither and why I know not nor do I care.
And the parting is sweet and the parting over is sweeter,
And sweetest of all is the night and the rushing air.

In my dreams they are always waving their hands and saying goodbye,
And they give me the stirrup cup and I smile as I drink,
I am glad the journey is set, I am glad I am going,
I am glad, I am glad, that my friends don’t know what I think.

In the springtime of America’s cultural life, its itinerant folk artists took to the road to record the life and times of a people. Perhaps never again will we have an artistic record created in such direct and unassuming terms.

—Winthrop Rockefeller
at a 1962 exhibition of American folk art at the US Embassy in London

Who wants to make a website header?

Big, big things.

My homies at Storybyte (in Scottsdale, Az.) have redesigned The Connoisseurs site. It’s ever so fancy, in that comment il faut minimalist kind of way. I can’t wait to show it to you—I’m just silly with pride over it.

The only thing that the site needs, prior to being unleashed upon the world, is a cunningly drawn header. 

For this, I thought it would be fun enlist you kids. Because you’re creative types. 

I’m looking for a legible handwritten scrawl that says “The Connoisseurs.”
It’ll be laid over the landing page slide show, smack in the middle of the screen, for all the world to see.
It’ll also show up in the top corner of the navigation bar.

This, friends, is your chance to be Barbra Streisand, through your work—the whole world will look at it and be stunned.

Now that I’ve got your competitive interest, contact me and I’ll send you some design inspirations and the specs from Storybyte about how it needs to be formatted, etc.

The winning design will get more than just a hearty thank-you and credit on the website. I’ll also interview you for The Connoisseurs…I promise, you’ll like it…and feature you and your stories within our hallowed halls of extraordinary folks who live seemingly ordinary lives.

He knew that a very important part of his well-being came of staying a few minutes away from home, very quietly, in the dark, listening to the leaves if they moved, and looking at the stars…

—James Agee, “A Death in the Family”

The Old 97s 

at the Castle Theatre
Bloomington, Il.

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My answer to “Don’t you get lonely on the road?”

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Hey, kid- Find your way up to 395 one of these days. You have the Sierra wall on your west, always a source for contemplation of Everett Reuss style transition. Death Valley on the other side, bringing to mind the advice of others here about really knowing your car. And the land- you don’t want to be reckless there. But that’s what it’s all about. Lone Pine is a heck of a place to pause and contemplate. I go into the Alabama Rocks just to figure things out. When it’s time to roll, there’s south to SoCal, for me only if necessary and when there’s a good landing zone. North towards Reno is a better bet.

There’s always East. See you along the way.

—Nataqua, from the Salon comment thread

What you’re hearing…is me completely bonding with that person, as if they have all the answers. I just want to connect. I just want to connect emotionally, and feel like I am soothed and excited by the life of somebody else. I want to feel their life, because it makes me feel safe and happy. …I *guess* that’s interviewing.

Marc Maron
WTF podcast
Episode 525