In a perfect world, I’d have a weekend cabin home on a lake that would look like this or that.

I’ve been toying around with the idea of opening up an old world nostalgic barber shop in Brooklyn - something of a fantasy project really. There is a perfect tiny storefront located just one block from my apartment and on the walk to the subway. The space which is perfectly sized for a two chair operation has been sitting for many years unused and off the market. I just noticed that there is now a sign indicating that the space is available for lease. I also happened upon two other old world shops in the past week which are both eerily similar to the kind of place I want to open. While Tommy Guns is really more of a hair salon dressed up as a fancy barber shop, Freeman’s Sporting Club is something of a men’s lifestyle company which offers clothing and tailoring in addition to their grooming services. Aesthetically speaking, both shops are absolutely intriguing and would make for a fine film set. However, the shop I’d like to open would not only be quaint and modestly priced, but would also boast the skills of elderly gentlemen who have spent a lifetime perfecting their trade. And of course, they would be uniformed in a proper white collared barber’s coat with their names embroidered. Maybe I’m onto something.

There was once a time when skateboarding was considered counter-culter in the US. This was while I was growing up. No skating signs were posted just about everywhere. The image of a teen with a skateboard came to represent a punk ethos. Times have changed. I remember reading a few years ago that in the US more children own skateboards than baseball bats and gloves. I probably shouldn’t be surprised to see that skating has seeped into cultures of underdeveloped nations like Uganda. Check out these fantastic photos documenting an East African skate park.


(via WMIG)

I’ve just returned from some R&R in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The island and people are simply beautiful. The mellow town is painted with colors that are muted from the sun’s persistent baking. Stray dogs and cats are never too shy to beg for scraps. Iguanas bask in the heat, but would prefer to go unnoticed. The otherwise quiet town hums with the buzz of mopeds. Often families of four or five can be seen getting about that way. At night, front doors are left ajar and people can be seen sitting on curbs talking or huddled around TVs that have been placed outside to watch the football game. Sol cerveza and Coca Cola cool the blistering heat.

Nadav Kander is a photographer who shoots both people and places. His diverse body of work includes portraits of people ranging from Obama to Kissenger and Pele to Bertolucci. He has photographed the the Yangtze River, the Arcticle Circle, Chernobyl and explored the human form as a landscape.

The BKLYN Yard on the Gowanus Canal is kicking off their season opening with an event today called Parked. Several of the cities best food truck vendors will be present. Earlier in the week. I eyed up the gourmet ice-cream truck and it looked rather fantastic. And I know for sure that the huarache vendor is drool worthy.

While everyone else worries about swine-flu, I’ll be taking advantage of the discounted travel costs. If Conde Nast Traveler thinks Hotel Secreto is one of the 50 best hotels in the world, I’m more than pleased to spend a week in Isla Mujeres.

As some of you may already know, my very dear friend and an exceptionally talented poet, professor and father, Craig Arnold, has gone missing on the small volcanic island of Kuchino-erabu-shima while on a creative exchange fellowship. An independent expert search and rescue group is on the island looking for Craig until the 9th, but the official search by Japanese authorities has been called off. They believe that military assets would make the search very efficient and effective, and we hope the consulate will move forward with the possibility of engaging local US military/DOD assets in the search at this stage. Please help us contact your local Congressional delegation and encourage them to support the consulate in this effort. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE CONSULATE OR EMBASSY - THEY ARE BUSY WORKING VERY HARD FOR US AND WE NEED THEM TO BE ABLE TO DO SO, WITHOUT DISTRACTION. THEY HAVE BEEN EXCELLENT PARTNERS IN THIS PROCESS. PLEASE CONTACT SENATORS AND CONGRESSPEOPLE.

WE NEED EVERYONE’S HELP contacting their local congressional delegation and asking their assistance in encouraging the Fukuoka consulate to engage local US military/DOD assets on the ground in Japan. They have been thinking about it and we respectfully request them to move forward with that as quickly as possible. (To donate to the fund, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/cofj63)

Right now, what we need most is for everyone to contact your state Senators NOW:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Calls and faxes are most efficient, e-mails are important too.

When contacting your Senators:

Please include a request for US military assistance from the local bases.

An example of a letter and of the kinds of things one might say over the phone are included below. Feel free to edit, but please take care not to give out inaccurate information. Thank you so much for your help.

Dear Senator _______,

I am writing to you to express my concern for an exceptionally talented American poet, Prof. Craig Arnold. He has gone missing on a small volcanic island in Japan called Kuchino-erabu-shima while representing his country on a U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission’s U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship. Craig, an experienced explorer of volcanoes, never returned to his inn after leaving alone to visit the island’s volcano for the afternoon. As a concerned constituent, I respectfully request that you please contact the U.S. consulate in Fukuoka and the U.S. Embassy in Japan and urgently request that they continue the search for University of Wyoming Professor Craig Arnold using local U.S. military and D.O.D. assets, specifically those on Okinawa.

Prof. Craig Arnold has made a profound, significant contribution to American arts and letters. He is also an inspiring and deeply caring father, brother, son, and much beloved by his family and his partner of six years, Rebecca. He is a generous and devoted friend and teacher to many. We have reason to be hopeful, as the small independent search-and-rescue team on the island has picked up Craig’s trail, and a little bit of rain has given us hope that he might not be too dehydrated. But time is of the essence. The island is small enough that an extended search performed by experienced searchers WILL lead to Craig’s discovery, but we understand that more searchers on the ground are needed immediately.

Will you please keep me informed of action being taken to continue the search? Thank you.

Sincerely,

Please join this facebook group to support the search effort.
Here is more on what you can do:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=73877053262&ref=nf

Here you can read Craig’s travel blog that he had maintained until the evening he went missing:

 

 

I’ve long suspected that many of the store-front fortune tellers scattered throughout NYC might actually be facades for brothels to those in the know. These ragtag little setups almost always are run by young women whose ages seem to range from their teens to early thirties, but never older. Often, the entrances to the setups require a trip through a seedy stairwell. The ones at street level usually seem to utilize only a fragment of a larger space which is curtained off to the public. Within a few blocks of my brownstone are several of these spots. The first real indication that the palm reader around the corner might be a prostitute was that she would persistently ask me if I wanted my fortune told, day in and day out. Patterns began to emerge. She would only attempt to indulge me in her services if I walked by alone. Then came the pregnancies. Every nine months or so it was clear that she was yet again an expecting mother. She has now been pregnant so many times that I’ve lost count. Last night on my way home from dinner, I noticed the detail that would certainly substantiate my suspicions. Parked in front of the storefront was a glitzy candy-apple red Bentley. Two large goons dressed in suites flanked the entrance to the building. Almost as if I were watching a slow-motion scene in a movie, a large figure also dressed in a suite appeared from the gaudy vehicle and stepped through the doorway.