10. X. Ten. Dix. Diez.

Last month this blog celebrated its 10th anniversary. 10 years! The totality of my 11-year old’s life. Most of my 16-year old’s. Half my marriage. I didn’t notice the blessed event. It passed by like a rainy Tuesday. I can only surmise that it didn’t matter to me. If it had, I’d have seen it coming and made a big deal out of it.

10 years ago I suppose I had some vague notions of minor fame and financial gain but they were crushed pretty quickly. At one point, I gathered my journal entries into a “book.” 75,000 words! I paid to have it professionally edited. The editor said the good news is that I might have some raw talent. The bad news is that there’s no narrative. She said I needed a plot thread to tie all the entries together. I’ve always been cursed with a fatal lack of ambition and an anemic work ethic, so I made her grammatical edits and sent the thing out to a dozen agents. The response was a deafening silence. Glad I got that out of my system.

Once I started posting I couldn’t stop. I’ve tried to quit several times, fearful that my daughters would stumble upon the dark and embarrassing secrets in my journals, but I can’t. It’s the only creative outlet I have. And I use the term ‘creative’ in its most broad sense. I crawl the theaters, galleries and museums as an audience member. That’s all I’ve ever been. The audience. But this idiot blog allows me to be a participant.

I guess this is a genuine addiction. It could be worse. It could be whiskey and whores. And gambling. Some guys go that route. But anniversaries? They don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that swing. Doo wah. Doo wah.


Taken from my office, Friday, April 20, 7:30 a.m. The Lincoln Tunnel bus conga line.

Only the rush hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race

That tiny hole in the upper left corner of the pic is the Lincoln Tunnel entrance. It spits out into New Jersey. These are Thoreau’s men (and women) who lead lives of quiet desperation.


There are some agonizingly long plays this season on Broadway. Where is the line that separates artistic vision from overindulgence? For instance, Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane headline in a revival of Angels in America. It’s one story, but two plays. Part 1: Millennium Approaches is 3:30. Part 2: Perestroika is 4:00 From entry, through intermissions, to the end you’re in the theater for eight solid hours.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened last night and it, too, is one play in two parts. Part 1 is 2:40. Part 2 is 2:35. I took my daughter and we were there for six hours. It was super but, honestly, it didn’t need to be that long.

You can see Angels and Potter on consecutive evenings or see both parts in one day on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can’t see Part 1 of either and not see Part 2. Part 1 of both ends with a cracker of a cliffhanger. In this way, they charge you DOUBLE because you have to buy a separate ticket to each part. Clever. Insidious.

Denzel Washington is starring in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. 4:00. Four hours! At least it’s one shot. You don’t have to purchase two tickets. In a NY Times fluff piece, they asked Washington about the grueling demands of a four hour play.

“Listen, this is what I love: acting on stage. And I don’t have to do anything else. Just be in this play. So, don’t feel sorry for me compared to most workers in America.”


Feline pin-ups of the week. I make no apologies for posting cat photos. I’m going to continue to insist they have genuine artistic merit. Like reality TV. Or overstuffed theater.

80 thoughts on “10. X. Ten. Dix. Diez.

  1. Congrats on your blog’s 10th! I enjoy your art outings vicariously. And after reading the length of some of those plays, that will be vicarious as well. It seems the stage equivalence of a convoluted novel – the joy is in the badge of honor for making it through to the end and not necessarily the content. I’d need to bring a travel pillow.

    • Thank you very much for your congrats! Remember, going on 10 years and still never a fee.

      If the New York Times thinks acting for four hours is grueling they should try sitting through one of these. Sometimes, it’s no picnic for the audience either. Eugene O’Neill was not famous for his brevity.

  2. love your blog, the medium enhances the message, plots and narrative threads are for novels, most truths revealed in moments don’t weave in so readily, they only become apparent in the patterns left by tatters of memories. Love your art “reviews” too and their juxtaposition to the journal entries… happy anniversary

    • Thank you, very kindly. I believe this is your first comment? Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It’s 10 years later I’m still surprised and humbled when someone does that.

      I guess from a purely commercial standpoint you need that thread in order to make it marketable. I think my journal entries are interesting in bite-size nuggets but 75,000 words can’t support their weight. It’s no matter what. I enjoy doing it and that’s where the rubber meets the road.

      • is it really my first comment? in my mind I’ve left many 🙂 and i provably would have more often if my phone screen weren’t busted and my autocorrect so un-intelligent making even emojis an arduous task, though it has helped spare me a regret or two. I look forward to the next 10 years.

  3. Glad you’re here, friend. I just passed 6 years this spring. Most of those blogs I followed faithfully have given up the ghost. I can’t remember when was the last time I followed someone new and then actually followed through. Settled in my ways. Yours is one I most look forward to reading.

    I’m in a play right now: Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire. It’s a cursed production. We just lost our 3rd cast member to a family/medical crisis and we open in 3 weeks.

    • Thanks, pal. You make an interesting point. I, too, haven’t started following anyone new in quite some time. One man’s rut is another man’s groove.

      Abair is an interesting playwright. Fuddy Meers is an unusual choice. Do you get a say in what production is mounted or do you just go with the flow? Sorry to hear about the complications. It’ll make it that much sweeter when it all comes together.

      • Well, it’s a weird situation, in that we’re a new non-profit company taking over for an old one, which was private but community-based. So, in this case, it was the director’s choice. But moving forward, we’ll likely have a reading committee. In this case, I don’t think the director knew what she was getting into with this play… There’s much more to this story, too long for the comment section.

  4. Time keeps on tickin, ticking…
    Great piece and congrats on 10 years! Like the Lincoln Tunnel photo and Police lyrics too. Saw all those shows advertised when we were just there, funny. Bill

    • I was wondering who’d name-check The Police. So, did it give you a proper ear worm?

      Seeing all three shows BY YOURSELF would set you back +/- $1,000 depending on where you sat. Multiply that if you want to take your bride.

  5. Ten years and still sharing your cool peculiararities. Way to go, my friend. I feel fortunate to see and feel the Big Apple’s current state through your prism. You get me thinking, sir. Job done.

    Just think of how different those people on the buses feel when they’re lined up going in the other direction every day. Relieved? Frustrated? Exhausted? Better or worse than when they were on the way in?

    • Thanks, pal. What’s the endgame here? Why do we do it? We must need the eggs.

      Each bus is packed with people, each of whom have a story to tell. Who’s to say which end of their commute is the better of the two? An interesting supposition.

      • I know I do it because I truly need the act of doing it, Mark, if you get my simple explanation. The act of taking the pictures and choosing which ones to post and what to say about them keeps my head in the game.

      • It’s a tedious process! Why do we like it so much? It’s time consuming, for sure. It’s not just the photo editing. I’ll write a post in the evening, leave it to germinate overnight, go back the next morning and cut, cut, cut. And I *still* find grammatical gaffs all the time. I want to spare my readers as much as possible.

  6. Well done you and congratulations on 10 years! One of the things I want to do in NYC or LA (whichever comes first) is attend the theater. I miss the excitement and anticipation of a live performance. These days we’ve settled for streaming productions on Netflix which is a a poor substitution.

    I dearly miss having cats, so your photos are a safe alternative. (I make no apologies for the grandkids photos either! BTW, there are some new ones up right now!) ;~) xoxo

    • Thanks. If you work for 10 years at my company you get a glass globe with the company logo etched on it. No such reward here. Just an itch scratched. That’ll have to do.

      I’ve said this in the past and it bears repeating; I’ll take a night of bad theater over a night good television any day.

      Grandkids > cats.

  7. Whiskey and blogging sounds like a doable combination though …

    Many happy returns on your 10th. I’m just hitting 5 this week and feeling like the addiction is not altogether benign. We shall see. I can only think of your 10 and go “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”

    Party on, Garth.

    • Drunk blogging. Now, why didn’t I think of that? I’ll bet I can come up with a pretty interesting plot thread for those journal entries if I was hammered.

      Five years is a good run. Some don’t last five months.

  8. I owe thanks to weblog for leading me to your blog…and I appreciate the entry into a world which differs from my own, as it is now.
    Nothing would drag me to anything concerning Harry Potter…I could do the Eugene O’Neill I think, but eight hours for the Angels in America would be too much…especially having to pay for each part..Scots blood forbids it.
    Congratulations on your ten years….blogging at its best seems to be the art of the ephemeral – capturing the thoughts and experiences of that particular moment – so not suited to the novel form as the only ‘narrative’ is the writer. I have been blogging for some nine years now under one name or another but turning the material into yet another book about immigrant life in other peoples’ cultures is beyond me….probably luckily.

    • Weblog?! What the heck is that? This world I walk around in on a daily basis is a lot different than what most people experience. That’s both good and bad. There are aspects of my grind that would drive some folks over the edge. Some of it is quite nice, though.

      I doubt I would’ve seen the Potter thing on my own but my daughter really wanted to see it. And she’s such a great kid. Never gives me a problem. So she deserved it. I liked it! Great theater trickery. I saw the original production of Angels when it opened in 1993. That’s enough for me.

      Blogging is so immediate. Press a button and you’re published. If someone had accepted my manuscript a few years ago, I’m betting it STILL wouldn’t be published. Publishing is not for the impatient. Blogging feels like less of a slog. But they pay is terrible!

      • Sorry about the Weblog…it should have read More Idle Thoughts Weblog…but my computer has a habit of swallowing words and I forgot to check before pressing send…

  9. Ten years blogging is awesome. There have been so many bloggers I’ve known who gave up after only a few years. I guess they weren’t as addicted as the rest of us. May you entertain us for another ten years!

    • Thanks for your kind words. Blogging slipped away like *that*. I’ve slowed down considerably–just three, maybe four posts a month–but I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon. The only thing that would cause me to pull the plug is if I catch one of my daughters reading. Then, all bets are off.

  10. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. I think your blog is great and I really enjoy how you break your posts into chunks. Quite different from most blogs. I particularly like your journal entries (too bad you didn’t hook a publisher’s interest, but that also doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed as a work) because they are so accessible – I’ve been in similar head spaces.

    Splitting a single narrative has a long history on tv and more recently with such movies as The Hunger Games. But four hours in a theatre? Buying two sets of tickets? There are always new approaches to making more money.

    Don’t stop with the cat pictures – I love them.

    • Thanks for saying so. I like doing posts that have little bits and bites of everything. That way, if the subject matter isn’t so your liking, just keep reading. It’ll be over in a paragraph or two.

      Regarding the journals, I’m so lazy that I kind of always hoped someone with the power to make Important Decisions would stumble across those entries and contact me to make something of them. I’ll do the work but I’m too LAZY to go on the hustle. Success will have to find me. But, after 10 years of silence, I think the publishing world has taken a pass on me.

      There’s so much money out here right now that people can slap down that kind of dosh for Broadway plays. It’s obscene. It means the regular folks (i.e., ME) can’t see the really popular stuff and have to sit in the back of the theater if we do. It’s an economic monarchy out here.

      Cats are so photogenic. Like blogging itself, I couldn’t stop taking pics if I wanted to. Nice to see you here, as always.

  11. Ten years is like 100 years in blog years. Congrats on your staying power! I, for one, am glad you keep it up. Where else would I see crazy modern art that sells for millions? And cat pics are always welcome. Always.

    • I wish I had a fraction of your drive and success. You’ve got a few books under your belt. It’s admirable. As I told you in the past, most people just talk the talk (me), but the rare few do something about it (you). Huzzah.

      • Thank you, but I’m fortunate and grateful to have the time now. Not everyone has that. When I was working full-time, it took me a decade to get my first book finished and find a publisher, so I know how difficult it is to make progress on things when the day job ties us down. So don’t beat yourself up. I’m thrilled to be able to focus more on writing now.

  12. I totally love your blog!!!! You are talented and interesting!!!! I am hooked! Can’t believe they weren’t interested in publishing your work! I lived in NYC for ten years. Miss Broadway, hotdogs from the corner vendors, the hustle , the bustle and all the rest! Congratulations on Your 10 year anniversary! Here’s to another 10 years of your amazing posts!!!! 🥂

    • Wow. Thanks. I’m still gobsmacked when someone says they come here because they find this stuff interesting. I have no self-esteem to speak of, so I just assume everyone is being kind. It’s not right but that’s what’s in my head. Am working diligently to expunge it.

      What years were you in NYC? Did you like it? What plays did you see? Most people stay five, maybe ten years and then decided it’s no way to live. In order to REALLY love and appreciate this place, you need a lot of cash. Cash = fun.

  13. Twelve years! I’ve been in this ether party for twelve years!
    How did I “meet” you? I don’t remember, but probably followed you home from Nurse Myra’s or Kyknoord’s one night/day (we’re in different time zones, remember?)
    You have made me laugh and ,sometimes, weep. I’m your blog-limpet.

    As to the cat pics. Well, you know where I stand!

    • You are correct! We are the product of a Nurse Myra/Kyknoord cyber meet-up. I met her once. She came to New York. All the way from the other side of the planet! She was ovely. Everyone I’ve met in person via this blog turned out to be a lovely person, yourself especially. It’s lucky for me a live in a place that a lot of folks want to visit. A happy byproduct.

  14. Congratulations for making it to 10 years. Most people stop blogging after 2-3 years. Love the cat pics. The first one is quite good since you were able to get your cat’s expression and gaze almost a replica of the figurine cats. I collect figurine cats and have most of mine in a large glass and mirrored curio cabinet. I can not keep any out or they would have been broken years ago, Yours are large and sturdy so they should last.

    • Nice, round number, isn’t it? 10? I think my first attempt to stop might’ve been after 2-3 years. You see how that worked out. Regarding the cat pic; she was sitting next to those wooden figurines. I got down on the floor and had my daughter jingle her keys so she’d look up. I took the pic in a hurry before she looked away.

  15. Congrats on the 10 years! It must be almost as long ago when I first visiting via Kyknoord! Still look forward to reading your posts. Love your cat photos as well!!

    • Holy smokes. Val from Cape Town. You’ve been poking around her for a long, long time. 10,000 thank-yous for hanging in there. I am humbled and grateful. I wonder what happened to our pal Kyknoord? I exchanged a few emails with him years ago. Nice guy.

  16. I don’t remember when I started reading your very entertaining and informative blog. Maybe 5,6,7 years ago. You have that magic formula to keep us coming back. Looking for another 10 years, then I will be 77. Also my 25th wedding anniversary today, another milestone. Thank you Mark.

    • First and foremost, happy anniversary. 25 years is pretty good. A lot of folks don’t make it 25 months. You showed them how it’s done. And thank you for your kind words about my blog. It’s nice coming from people I know but it’s even more satisfying coming from virtual strangers. You’ve got no skin in the game.

  17. First timer here!! i came for the cat pics but stayed because i enjoyed reading what a wreck you were as a young(er) man… keep up the good work 😉

  18. I am also ten this year! Actually I’m really twelve, but my first blog had no audience. There are a few of us turning ten this year. 2008 was a good year for bloggers! Congratulations.
    You used to turn up on my Blogspot Blog and question why I got so many comments… which used to make me feel awkward… especially when I’d published nothing more than two sentences and a picture of my handbag… though I might have shown my knickers a couple of times. Happy days!!
    I’m glad to have you on my blogroll, and I love your sense of humour.

  19. Congrats on making it 10 years! Your blog is always entertaining and you are a helluva writer. Whenever I stop by, I can usually count on juicy memoirs, cool art, or cat pics. What more does a reader need, really?

    • That’s a nice thing to say. It means a lot to me. Thanks. You were directly responsible for getting me Fresh Pressed. That counts for plenty. I don’t think we go back the entire 10 years, but it’s pretty far back. Thanks for sticking around.

  20. Remember the early years when we all knew, and celebrated, that we’d been blogging for one year, two years, three years, probably up to about five and then we forgot to remember. Ten years is a milestone worth mentioning, I’d say, and I’m so glad you’ve kept going. I think I found you through Scarlet, and the pair of you have been my most consistent blog friends, for which I’m very grateful.

    • What?!?! Of COURSE I’m accepting congrats! What kind of prig would I be to not?

      The picture is frightening because of the height or because of what people go through on a daily basis? Both scare the hell out of me.

      • Long commutes bewilder me. No matter how nice a home you have, to put yourself through DAILY anguish in order to keep it isn’t worth it. And statistically speaking, most of those people probably hate their jobs on top of that. Ugh.

      • Here’s a not-so-fun fact: my monthly bus pass just went up. I pay $430/month. That’s a lot! That’s liked a car payment without the car. And not a shitty Geo or something like that. You can get a pretty decent car for $430/mo. A Lexus or some such.

      • Pish. 63 people in Afghanistan were just blown to bits because all they wanted to do was register to vote. A expensive bus pass is a First World problem if ever there was one.

  21. I love your journal entries! I read them all while looking for clues to a how-I-met-your-mother narrative (terrible show, great concept). I’d buy it if you self-published.

    • Miss Milk, you are new here. 10,000 thank-yous for taking the time to read and comment. Sometimes it feels like I’m shouting into the void then someone like you pops out of the ether to say nice things and it restores my faith. So, thanks.

  22. Happy 10th anniversary! The 10th anniversary symbol is tin so go out and buy yourself a nice can of soup to celebrate or a Guinness!

    You had your whisky and whore days and now you write about them! That’s the way it goes and I love your journal entries.

    First cat pic is hilarious. I insist you really go to town with your creativity and imagination on future pussy pics.

    • I’ll take the Guinness over the soup any day and twice on Sunday.

      Several people have complimented my journal entries. To be perfectly honest–and I’m not fishing for compliments (this time)–I kind of thought the journal entries were becoming kind of dull and played-out. I thought folks were tired of reading them. I’m surprised to hear they still entertain.

      That first cat pic was a one in a million shot. She was sitting next to those wooden cat figurines and I had my daughter jingle her keys so that the cat looked up.

  23. What else can I say, happy X anniversary!
    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to handle a 7.5 hour long theater play. I can barely hold my attention on a 5 minute Youtube video, and these are free.
    P.S. I can see you really like Bukowski.

    • An anniversary made for your moniker. It’s a shame you can only use it once.

      If the acting is good enough, the story compelling enough, the pacing moves enough and the seats comfortable enough, you can do it. You’d be surprised how lost you can get in live theater.

      Bukowski is my main man. That’s not my only shelf of his stuff. But there’s lots of Raymond Carver, too. Graham Greene. etc. etc.

  24. Happy anniversary, and here’s to the next ten.

    Writing’s a great addiction — the single dependency for which one is never criticised.

    (By the way, I got the same advice about publishing a blog. The structure doesn’t sell. Diaries aren’t something that appeal, unless the author’s a politician or celebrity or pop star. So, I was told: it can be a collection of short stories (very hard to sell), or turn it into a novel (hard to sell 🙂 )

    • You are correct, sir. It *IS* and addition. I do it much less now than I used to. Certainly at the time I was writing those journals. That was almost daily. But I’ve never abandoned it entirely. I doubt I could. It’s cheap therapy.

      I gave up any ephemeral fantasies of cashing-in years ago. It became clear very early on that I’d have to work much, much harder than I was capable and willing to.

  25. Happy 10 year anniversary, it is a milestone. I enjoy reading your blog, you are a creative wordsmith. Love the observations on the art world and keep those cute kitty pictures coming.

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