Friday, October 31, 2008

Flyin' to New Orleans

I went into the bank this morning to cash a check. In honor of Halloween, all the bank employees were in costume--except for the managers, who were wearing standard manager garb. They reminded me of Dave's college buddy who liked to show up at Halloween parties in a blazer and tie, and say he was a capitalist.

The choice of costumes among the non-capitalists at the bank included an angel, Sarah Palin, and prison stripes. The convict look was very popular--at least three people were wearing it. The lady in line ahead of me said she wasn't sure about people handling her money pretending to be criminals. I told her it was okay, it's the ones who aren't in jail you have to worry about. She agreed that was probably right.

One of the faux jailbirds, a chubby white lady, was wearing a big black Afro wig. While I stood there marveling at her, a black employee--the only one in the bank, I think--walked by. She's a very pretty woman, and she was wearing a gown and a jeweled headdress, a la Cleopatra. She looked fabulous. I wondered what she thought about the Afro.

The Sarah Palin wannabe's up-do was perfect. Her glasses weren't quite right, but a bank teller would be hard-pressed to afford the pricey frames the real barracuda wears. While Sarah was counting out the twenties, a pair of oversized TV screens behind her were treating us to the uplifting AM programming of Fox News. They were interviewing some author, who was saying Gee, he hoped race wouldn't be a factor in the presidential election, but we have to acknowledge that racism exists. As I listened to him, I looked around at the pretend Palin, the Afro lady, the black Cleopatra,the loafing bank bosses--and thought, This is the weirdest fucking Halloween moment I have ever had. I got my money and fled.

Fortunately, we have a fun weekend ahead to put all that out of my mind. Our friends Robert and Jean* in New Orleans are celebrating their 25th anniversary, and we've been invited to the bash. In addition to the party, the NOLA agenda includes seeing Prospect .1, and of course, visits to Bourbon French and Hové, where I plan to do my bit to stimulate the economy.

Dr. Michael White, a great traditional jazz artist, is going to play at the party. It should be a treat. I found this nice video of his band on Youtube. White is the one on clarinet. He's got a fine solo about halfway through.

*Shameless friend promotion: Jean makes the best pralines on Earth, and you can buy some here, just in time for the holidays!

Samhain is here

Whether you're chaperoning trick-or-treaters, casting a circle with your coven or scrying in solitude (my personal preference), I wish you all the magic and dark beauty you are prepared to receive.

Landscape with a Graveyard by Night, Mathias Withoos, (1627-1703). Image from Web Gallery of Art.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A couple of good articles

When I was on the plane to California a couple of weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between two women in the seats behind me. One of them was a soldier who had completed her tour in Iraq and was on her way to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. The other woman asked what she was going to study, and she said "Russian, 'cause, you know, they just had a war over there." I thought, Well, good for you, honey, to have escaped a second trip to Iraq--but what a fucking shame that we have a government that does nothing to encourage people to learn a second language, except in the service of wars, cold and otherwise. *sigh* I remembered that young woman today when I read this article by Mark Ames about The New York Times' gross distortion of the Russia-Georgia conflict. It's a bit of a rant, but seems right on target.

On another front, Johann Hari had an excellent column in The Independent today about what's fueling the war in DR Congo. It's another conflict that has been very poorly explained in the mainstream news media. Hari does a good job of connecting the dots here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Turkeys, leaves, etc.

I came across a flock of turkeys this morning, feeding in a little hollow filled with pine trees. They were scattered across the trail, so I actually waded right in among them. In typical dim-witted turkey fashion, they were very slow to react to my presence. If I’d been a hungry coyote, I probably could have taken one down before they even had the sense to start running. I felt sentimental about them as I watched them flee. There’s something endearing in the awkward stupidity of a panicked turkey. But the predator was alive in me, too, and thought about giving chase. ...(more)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another five questions

It's been a busy day with no time for blogging. I think the couple of hours before bed are going to be devoted to violin practice, and to making some headway on a couple of fine books I'm reading: Ghada Karmi's In Search of Fatima, and Far Tortuga by Peter Matthiessen. I'm halfway through the Karmi book, which is a first-rate memoir, but terribly sad. Dog lovers with tender sensibilities should approach it with caution. Far Tortuga was a gift from a kind friend of the blog. I had hoped to read it on the California trip, but I found it required more concentration than I could muster while packed into an airplane with a hundred fretful people.

While I'm reading and torturing the pets with my violin, I invite you to consider these five questions I can't answer. Feel free to help me out with any or all of them.

1. What are the odds we'll turn on the Sunday morning talk shows in a couple of years and see Cheney and/or Bush offering their sage observations on Obama's pursuit of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, etc.? (Remember, even Nixon rose from the ashes.)

2. Why does anybody listen to Colin Powell after his disgusting role in promoting the invasion of Iraq? (I'm kinda glad they do, actually, but still...)

3. Why do pro-life voters flock to support a guy who keeps reminding them that he once enjoyed dropping bombs on people?

4. Do any of the candidates read poetry, and if so, whose work do they read? (The King James Bible does not count.)

5. If the Republicans snatch this election, will there be violence in the streets? Would it be bad if there were?

Universum (The Flammarion Woodcut), 1888. Colored by Heikenwaelder Hugo, 1998. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Sentence Perfume Review: Belle Chasse, Hové

The fantasy love child of Joy and Bellodgia.

My guess at the notes: Carnation, Rose, Jasmine, Violet, Heliotrope, Sandalwood, Musk

Luxury Line fragrance page at Hové

Die Freundinnen, Gustav Klimt, 1916-1917.

Eye candy

The Guardian website has a beautiful slide show of entries to a landscape photography competition. Click here to see it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

There's a post for mushroom lovers

...over at Turn Outward.

A message from Pearl

Folks, I'm worried. Everyone around here has gone crazy for that Obama guy. Dave is even wearing an Obama button. What do we really know about Obama? Where does he stand on key canine issues? Does he even have a dog?

And what's all this "Vote for Change?" business? Change is bad. Just look what happens every time Mom brings home a new dog. Everything changes, and never for the better. Back in the good old days, when I was the only dog in this house, we had peace and prosperity. Then we started sharing the wealth with that mad bitch Kobi and Nio the doofus. This place has been going to hell in a handcart ever since. What we need is a return to traditional values. Put Pearl first!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"This is the one song..."

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

From "Siren Song" by Margaret Atwood. Complete poem, and a recording of Atwood reading it, at The Poetry Archive.

The Fisherman and the Syren, Frederic Leighton, c.1856-58

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"I hear his hand on the latch..."

I hear his hand on the latch, and rise from my chair
Watching the door open: he flashes bare
His strong teeth in a smile, and flashes his eyes
In a smile like triumph upon me; then careless-wise
He flings the rabbit soft on the table board
And comes towards me: ah, the uplifted sword
Of his hand against my bosom, and oh, the broad
Blade of his hand that raises my face to applaud
His coming: he raises up my face to him
And caresses my mouth with his fingers, which still smell grim
Of the rabbit's fur! God, I am caught in a snare!
I know not what fine wire is round my throat,
I only know I let him finger there
My pulse of life, letting him nose like a stoat
Who sniffs with joy before he drinks the blood:
And down his mouth comes to my mouth, and down
His dark bright eyes descend like a fiery hood
Upon my mind: his mouth meets mine, and a flood
Of sweet fire sweeps across me, so I drown
Within him, die, and find death good.

From "Cruelty and Love" by D.H. Lawrence, 1913. Complete poem at Poetry Foundation.

Game and Hunting Gear Discovered by a Cat, Jan Fyt, c.1640. Image from Web Gallery of Art.

(Companion post at Turn Outward)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sex in Crisis

I've got a review up at the Scene for this book by Dagmar Herzog--a fascinating, if somewhat blinkered, look at the Religious Right's sexual propaganda, and how it has fucked with all our heads, so to speak. Herzog makes a very broad claim and doesn't quite back it up, but the book is still a good, thought-provoking read. Her depiction of evangelical sex culture is a little sickening, but very funny. The review is here.

While you're at the Scene's website, go to the book page and check out Lacey Galbraith's review of Nashville Music Before Country by Tim Sharp, as well as a fun piece by Wayne Christeson on the new John Darnton novel, Black and White and Dead All Over.

I try not to indulge in too many outrage posts,

but honestly, this is almost more than I can take. The incident itself is bad enough, absolutely sickening in every way, but the fact that the authorities are writing it off as "just a prank" is even worse. Of course it was a threat to Obama, and of course it was racist. Who are they kidding? I was born and raised in the South, and spent 2 years working on a North Carolina college campus. Trust me when I tell you there is no other explanation for this event. Even if you credit part of their story ("We just found that dead bear. Really.") there's no way a bunch of Southern kids wouldn't have understood the racial implication of dressing the carcass in Obama signs and dumping him on campus.

For the record, I take a pretty dim view of laws against hate speech. If the students violated game regulations in shooting the bear, then by all means prosecute them for that, but I don't think there should necessarily be any legal action for the threat to Obama. Offering the culprits an official exoneration, though, is truly outrageous. I can't imagine what that chancellor thinks he's accomplishing by giving this viciousness a pass.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reading around

No time for a real post today, because I've let a deadline creep up on me--again. If you are in need of distractions from your own work (and who isn't?), here are some interesting morsels I've come across recently:

Joann Wypijewski has a clever column at The Nation, all about sex and the economy.

Electronic Intifada has an edifying article by Adri Nieuwhof about the fundamental racism of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.

And, thanks to Counterpunch, I have discovered that there really are Mormons with radical politics. Who knew?

Bookplate from A World History of Art

Monday, October 20, 2008

Don't you just hate tourists?

We sure do--except, you know, when the tourists are us. This is Dave posing for the required "Look how damn big this tree is" pic during our visit to the California redwoods. Isn't he cute? For more pics (but no cuteness), click over to Turn Outward.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another plug for the book page

There are some interesting reviews up at the Scene right now, including Michael Ray Taylor's wonderful piece on Skydog: The Duane Allman Story by Randy Poe. Click here to read it.

Also, check out Wayne Christeson's review of Cain's Version by Frank Durham, which can be found here. This novel is definitely on my "must read" list.

Oh, and there's a new one by me, too. I reviewed Are You Famous? Touring with Alaska's Fiddling Poet, a memoir by Ken Waldman--who is, yes, a fiddling poet. He's also from Alaska, but don't hold that against him. His last book was a poetic assault on George Bush, so I feel fairly certain he is not a Sarah Palin fan. My review is here. (With all due respect, I enjoy Waldman the fiddler more than Waldman the writer. You can sample some of the tunes off his most recent CD here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Something pretty for Sunday

Attributed to George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) at Historia del Arte Erotico.

Tag lines

Okay, here's my not-entirely-compliant curtsy to the kind attentions of Lucy at Indieperfumes and Perfumeshrine at, uh, Perfume Shrine.

The Rules

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself (as if you need to know any more about me.)

4.& 5. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. (I'm ignoring these rules and breaking the chain, just because most of the very fine personal blogs I frequent have already been tagged by someone else. Instead, I've linked to a few sites you might find interesting.)

6. Let the tagger(s) know when your entry is up.

Six Random Things About Me:

1. I love language, but I stink at word games of all kinds. A bright 10-year-old could easily beat me at Scrabble.

2. When I was a kid, I fantasized that there was a magic doorway in my closet that led to a beautiful pool where I would be able to swim underwater without ever needing to come up for air. Occasionally, I would actually prowl inside the closet looking for the door.

3. Although I hate the idea of being too feeble to care for myself, I hope I live to be very old. I'm curious about the future, and I want to see it, even if it sucks.

4. I was horse-crazy when I was little. One summer our family (2 parents, 3 kids, 1 grandmother) drove from Tennessee to Colorado in a very crowded Ford Galaxy. I hollered "Horse!" every time I saw one, for all 2000 miles of the round trip. (And yet I'm still alive to write this. Very tolerant family I had.)

5. I continued to believe in the Easter Bunny long after I had given up on Santa Claus.

6. I love to eat unsweetened baking chocolate, and tomato paste right out of the can.

Here are some blogs and sites I encourage you to check out. Most of them are not palsy or personal, but I think they're interesting. I don't comment on any of them, but I do lurk on all of them at least semi-regularly.

1. To Miss with Love: Musings of a London schoolteacher.

2. wood s lot: A place to go and give your brain a workout. This guy trawls the ocean of thought and puts the best of what he finds up on his blog.

3. Johann Hari's posts at The Independent's "Open House" blog: I really enjoy Hari's commentary, though I disagree with him about half the time. His entries at "Open House" often link to his columns, but include other scribblings as well.

4. Red State Rebels: This is actually a book promo blog, but unlike most of that species, this one is kept up to date with new posts. Splits its attention between the evil deeds of the powerful, and honest-to-god resistance by little folk, along with an occasional excellent musical interlude.

5. Inside Iraq: A blog by Iraqi journalists working for the McClatchy news organization. Firsthand accounts of daily life in Iraq.

6. Susie Bright's Journal: You probably already know Susie Bright, but if you don't, click over to her site for some of the best sexy feminist snark you'll ever read.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm almost back

First of all, many thanks to Perfumeshrine and Lucy for the tags. I'm honored to get the nod from such top-notch bloggers--and I feel a bit embarrassed to be included when I've been so random with my posts lately. I got back home from California on Wednesday, and I'm still scrambling to catch up with domestic chores. I'm hoping to get back in the blogging groove this weekend. I've got lots to say about the trip, which included a visit to the Tall Trees Grove in Redwood National Park, where I took the photo above. I'll post more over at Turn Outward, as soon as I can get my act together.

Meanwhile, for the perfume contingent, check out this nice little line of solid perfumes made in Humboldt County, CA--Ohana Organics. The scents are good quality, true to their floral sources, and the texture of the base is not too dry or greasy. I love the Gardenia Amber.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bring Out Your Dead: Yardley Lotus

Anybody who knows me from Perfume of Life knows that cheap, obscure Yardley Lotus is one of my all-time favorites. If you've never had the pleasure of meeting it, you have missed out on one of the best mass-produced drugstore scents of all time. It's long dead now, sad to say, though bottles do show up on eBay from time to time. Imagine a softer, drier version of Ava Luxe Lotus, and you'll have an idea of what it's like. I've got a stash that should be sufficient to last my lifetime, and I'm sure I'll wear it until I'm ready to exit the planet. In fact, I'm considering leaving instructions that my carcass be lightly spritzed with it at my funeral. It's the perfect funeral perfume, as I discovered when my father died a few years ago.

My father had been sick for years and showed every sign of enjoying a long, lingering decline, but in his usual contrary way, he surprised us. He fell ill one evening, and died alone in a hospital bed two days later. (We had a funny/sad/excruciating final encounter, which you can read about here.) Things were a little confused and hectic after his death--I supposed that's always true--and I never gave a thought to what to wear to his funeral until it was time to get dressed for it.

My father had an infuriating habit of passing harsh judgment on women's looks. No female, including me, was exempt from his snide comments. Standing in front of my closet, pondering my options, I briefly considered wearing something shapeless and comfortable, just because he would have disapproved. My inner adolescent felt the need to have the last word. Then I thought better of it. Humoring the dead is a much better strategy, since you can feel magnanimous without actually providing any satisfaction to your opponent.

I chose a black silk skirt, a dark blue velvet blouse and black suede pumps. I added an antique silver necklace and a pair of faux jet earrings, Victorian drop style. I looked nice. Dad would have thought so, too.

I surveyed the perfume shelves. This was a much tougher choice than the clothes. Not because of Dad--he had no particular opinion on perfume, or at least none he ever expressed around me. The problem was that I really wanted something familiar and comforting to get me through the next few hours, but I knew that whatever I wore would be permanently joined to my memories of this day. I'd be altering my relationship to the scent forever.

My eye fell on the bottle of Yardley Lotus. I knew the fragrance would be perfect: feminine, calming, subdued. It would make me feel better, and likely have the same effect on the people around me. I picked it up, then put it back. Only a fellow perfume nut could understand why fear made me dither. I imagined years ahead when I would never be able to smell that sweet, mild scent without flashing on my father's corpse in the coffin, the sound of my mother crying, the tense tedium of Catholic death ritual. I would be surrendering my uncomplicated pleasure in the scent to all that sadness.

The little sacrifice seemed necessary and inevitable, so I reached for the bottle. It was, in a way, a gesture of reconciliation to my father. Even though it would have meant nothing to him, I felt I was offering him something I valued, a farewell gift.

The funeral passed in a blur. I sat next to my mother, who didn't speak at all, except to say, "He was so tormented." There was a large spray of yellow roses on his coffin, which I had arranged because he liked yellow roses, but they looked ugly to me against the gray casket and I wished I had chosen something else. The priest came over to us and said something I can't recall. The burial was in the tiny cemetery next to the church, and seemed to take forever. We had to brace ourselves against the wind, which was blowing violently out of the south.

The perfume was there through it all, wafting up to me like a consoling friend. I had never thought of it as a spiritual scent, but it was spiritual in the midst of all that ceremony. There was a subdued, warm light in the church, and the perfume became golden to me--a quality it retains to this day.

I was right about the fragrance being permanently marked by the sadness of death. It's scarred now, imperfect, but no less beautiful. It has a richness for me it never had before. There was a time when I might have outgrown it, moved beyond it, but that won't happen now. It's inscribed with a piece of my life.

Illustration from Flora de Filipinas, Francisco Manuel Blanco, circa 1880. Image from Wikimedia Commons,

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A change of scenery

I had every intention of making good on my teaser below for a "Bring Out Your Dead" post, but thanks to some ordinary craziness, including a missing pet (now recovered), I haven't had time for writing. Now I'm leaving early in the morning for beautiful Humboldt County, CA, to spend a few days with Dave. I may blog a bit while I'm there, depending on how much fun I'm having. In any case, I'll be back here after October 15, and tell you all about it. 'Bye.

Photo of Little River in Humboldt County by Greg Kidd, from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Here's a hint

 let you know what to expect for my next Bring Out Your Dead post, which will be up shortly. Meanwhile, there's a new post today at Turn Outward.

Photo of white lotus by Adriano from Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Eagles find solace in the far glow of towns..."

3. Do they dream of this world or of another?

The prairie lies open like a vacant eye, blind to everything but the wind. From the tall grass the sky is an industrious map that bursts with rivers and cities. A black hawk waltzes against his clumsy wings, the buzzards grow bored with the dead.
A screendoor flapping idly on an August afternoon or a woman fanning herself in church; this is how the tails of snakes and cats keep time even in sleep.
There are sudden flashes of light to account for. Alligators, tormented by knots and vines, take these as a sign of grace. Eagles find solace in the far glow of towns, in the small yellow bulb a child keeps by his bed. The lightning that scars the horizon of the meadow is carried in the desperate gaze of foxes.

From "Four Questions Regarding the Dreams of Animals" by Susan Stewart, Yellow Stars and Ice (1981). Complete poem at Poetry Foundation.

Illustration of a Golden Eagle from Wikimedia Commons.

(There's a companion post at Turn Outward.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Sentence Perfume Review: Sans Nom, Bourbon French Parfums

Youth Dew in disguise, wearing a crinoline dress and peau de soie slippers.

Notes (my best guess): Bergamot, Lavender, Cinnamon, Rose, Clove, Jasmine, Amber, Vetiver, Musk.

Website of Bourbon French Parfums

Photo of embroidered crinoline dress, 1850-60, from The Costumer's Manifesto/

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What I Did On My One-Day Vacation: The Unabridged Version

No, I didn't behead anyone. I went to the Art Institute, where this painting by Guido Reni caught my eye--no doubt due to the influence of Mary's most recent Strange Girls post. The Art Institute is all ripped up at the moment, undergoing a major renovation, and some of the best stuff is in storage, but I still managed to spend several hours wandering there. I always leave feeling as if I've had too short a visit with an old friend.

Speaking of same, before my art outing I spent a good chunk of the morning with Nancy, a dear friend since my Mount Holyoke days. Her boyfriend/now husband, Ben, was Dave's roommate at Amherst, and that's how I met Dave. (No Carnal Knowledge jokes, please.) Ben and Nancy have lived in Chicago since they left college, and Dave and I lived within a few blocks of them during all our various Chicago sojourns. Our old neighborhood, Hyde Park, is just south of Kenwood, where the Obamas reside. Until yesterday, I had no idea that the Obama house is right across the street from the synagogue Nancy and Ben attend. She tells me that worshipers now have to get past an army of Secret Service agents to enter the temple. In fact, Obama's protectors keep everybody out of the area who doesn't live there, or have formal clearance to enter. Sounds irritating as hell, but Obama is pretty much a local hero, so there's little complaining--least of all from Nancy, who is volunteering for the campaign. As much as I hate the idea of omnipresent police, all the protection seems prudent. Sad to say.

Being back in Chicago is always a bittersweet experience. The best and worst times of my adult life have happened there. I meet a memory around every corner, and after a few hours of wandering I feel as if I'm lost in a time warp. Actually, just being in the commercial center of a big American city is an unsettling experience. I stayed downtown all day, much of the time along the opulent corridor of Michigan Ave., and the glut of luxury stores made me feel a little queasy. Not that I hate luxury, mind you (I'll discuss my own consumer lust below), but when it completely dominates the environment, it creates a weird camouflage over real life. I mean, walking along Mag Mile, it's easy to get the idea that everybody is rich. The handful of panhandlers and muttering homeless seem like alien beings, dropped on Planet Luxe by mistake. The mass of people trudging along the street, by contrast, all seem to be natives of this peculiarly glossy world, all partaking in its "culture."

But of course, that's not true at all. There are wealthy people cruising the street, but the poor (or relatively poor) are not absent--they're just rendered invisible by the fact that nothing is really designed to accommodate them. I thought about that yesterday as I made a pilgrimage to the 4th floor ladies lounge at Neiman Marcus. The fancy ladies room was my lunch hour refuge when I was a drone at the Northwestern Law Library a couple of blocks away. On payday I'd go to Walgreens or Woolworth's and indulge in some new makeup, then take it up to NM and play in front of the vanity until I had to go back to work. A new mascara was a major splurge for me at the time. The lounge, not surprisingly, has since been remodeled. It's much less comfortable now, and the pretty marble vanity is gone. I suspect there were too many riff-raff like me hanging out there.

I was so freaked out by all the excess that I didn't buy anything all day except some half-price note cards in the museum shop at the AI, and package of very pricey, hard-to-get coffee for Dave. There was a woman panhandling in front of the coffee place. I walked past her on my way in, and was about to pass her again on my way out, but something made me turn around and hand her all the bills I had in my pocket. It amounted to maybe $8-$10, at most; not much money, but a lot more than most people routinely hand over in these encounters. It wasn't guilt that motivated me. I'd already ignored a few dozen appeals through the day. It was more of a panic response to the crazy economics of the street: A beggar standing outside a shop that sells coffee beans for $1.75 an ounce--I cannot wrap my head around that.

Needless to say, all this did not put me in a great mood for perfume hunting, but there was no way I could resist sniffing altogether. Since Macy's captured Marshall Field, the cosmetics department of the State Street store has been glitzed up. It's loud, bright and aggressively young, a la Sephora, so I moved on without sampling. Neiman Marcus is still its old, staid self, and a very persuasive male SA talked me into testing Quelques Fleurs Royale, of all things. The list of notes I've linked to seems dead-on to me. QFR is really quite pleasant, characterless but well done. It's just the sort of thing I would like if I liked that sort of thing: A hint of grapefruit in the opening, some very soft flowers, and a muted vanilla-musk base. A 17-year-old boy would find it incredibly sexy.

There's a L'Artisan boutique at 900 North Michigan, but I confess I didn't even go inside. I just wasn't up to the boutique experience, and anyway, I am not the greatest L'Artisan fan. Instead I went to Bloomingdale's, where I sampled Creed Royal Scottish Lavender, which seemed nice if a bit thin; in other words, a classic Creed. I spotted a display of Miller Harris and hurried over to see if they had Jasmin Vert, which I love. Alas no, and it's nowhere online, so I suppose it's a goner. Too bad. I think I found a new love, however, in Noix de Tubereuse. If you click on the link you'll see very mixed reviews, but I endorse the post that says if you hate Carnal Flower and love Fracas, you'll love Noix de Tubereuse. NdeT is essentially the wild floral shriek of Fracas softened with a healthy dose of tonka and amber. It is very sweet, but in a clean, nutty way. You will not think you've doused your wrist in butterscotch, or some other sticky horror.

By the time I'd taken a quick sniff of EL classics (and admired the venerable Estee), it was time to head home. I took a cab to Midway, wrist to nose to block the diesel fumes, and marveled at the passing scenery. Outside of Daley's spiffed up downtown, Chicago is still its gloriously rusted, shabby self. I got a window seat on the plane, and watched the thin sliver of waxing moon slowly drop below the horizon.

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, Guido Reni, 1639-40