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November   1

He's Our Neighbor

Alito Say what you will about Judge Scalito Alito. He's also an Outer Baristaville guy. From today's New York Times, a long profile, which paints the Supreme Court nominee's current abode in Sopranoesque terms:

Judge Alito owns the newest, most impressive house on a modest block in West Caldwell, N.J. It sits atop a hill and stands out from the surrounding jumble of ranch-style homes with brick faces.

Alito_home_2 Alito's daughter is the girl next door, captain of Caldwell High's swim team, and his wife is a Sunday school teacher in Roseland. So let's keep the debate civil, guys. We might need to go over and borrow a cup of sugar. (WCBS-TV story here.)

November 1, 2005 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (45)

Enter at Your Own Risk

The_real_world The Barista has been kicked out of Eden* (shouldn't have talked to that damn snake) and returned to the real world, that is, Baristaville, responsibility, kids, hundreds of miscreants ringing the doorbell demanding candy, e-mails asking for this, that and the other thing. In other words, being a Barista again. You want that latte with skim or regular? Decaf or full-throttle? Bring it on. We're back, we're rested, we've got 100 pages of a new novel under our belts, and we've got the our VCCA travel mug brimming with coffee...

*The Virginia Center for Creative Arts

November 1, 2005 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (4)

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October  23

The Controversial Miss Manners

Miss_manners The Barista has a special soft spot for Miss Manners, aka Judith Martin, the sharp-tongued etiquette maven and writer. After all, we're pretty sure that our habit of referring to ourselves in the third person came from her, even if it was a bit of unconscious thievery. So we were amused and delighted to learn that Sweet Briar College, the institution of higher learning affiliated with the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (where the Barista has been for the past two weeks), had snagged the fabled etiquettist for its commencement next spring.

And we were just as quickly dismayed to see an article criticizing the choice. You see, Sweet Briar is an all-girls school, and if you go to its website, you'll see that it's colored in Barbie Pink. And so, as senior Kelly D. Crist reasons, "There is something in me that still balks at the idea that Sweet Briar, a college still struggling against a finishing school reputation, would ask the foremost authority of etiquette to speak for graduation."

Miss Crist, we don't know what you're studying at Sweet Briar, but even if you're studying something as serious as, say, creative writing, we can't imagine that any of your professors could possibly top Miss Martin, both for pith and for her acuity in reading human relations. Consider her response in this recent column, in which the querent writes that she was invited to a wedding, can't attend, had planned to send a gift anyway, and then learned that the bride intended to send form-letter thank you notes.

GENTLE READER -- How thoughtful of your colleague to notify you in advance that she is an ingrate. You will be relieved to hear that the one possible reason for giving such a person a present -- that you believe it to be good manners -- is an error.

An invitation is not a bill of notification that a present is due. The rule is that if you care enough about the person to attend, you should care enough to give a present. And if you care about the person but cannot attend, you should probably want to give a present anyway. If you don't care -- and who could care about the bride you describe? -- and don't go, you're off free.

That, we submit, is the writing of a genius. And, finishing school or not, Miss Crist, you're damn lucky to get her. Don't be an ingrate.

--From Virginia, fondly, the Barista

October 23, 2005 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (12)

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October  16

Letter from Virginia: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Debbie_in_virginia  The Barista is happy to learn that the rain up north finally stopped, and will try not to rub it in that it's been sunny and beautiful here for almost a week. We are happily tap-tapping away on our second novel, tentatively titled, "The Art of Channeling Wind and Water," and having a wonderful time taking long walks and hanging out with painters, filmmakers, composers and other writers. We hardly get any news at all, so it was interesting that the one newspaper headline that caught our eye this past week was "911 calls reveal police havoc," a big whoop-de-doo about New Jersey cops s'pposedly behaving badly in Virginia, on their way home from helping out after Katrina.

Out-of-state police convoys that raced through Virginia on their way home Sept. 18 from New Orleans did more than blow past inerstate speed limits, 911 dispatch tapes and interviews show.

For nearly 200 miles, New York and New Jersey police also wreaked havoc from morning until night by forcing motorists from their lanes as well as by tying up traffic.

Of course, the Yanks looked at it a little differently.

Why was Virginia the only state that failed to provide a police escort?" [Joseph Occhipinti, executive director of the National Police Defense Foundation] asked, arguing the convoys were vulnerable to possible terrorists attacks.

Luckily for the Barista, there's no anti-Jersey backlash at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, where half the fellows are from the New York area anyway. But we're wondering: are you hearing that story up there? A quick search of the Star Ledger yielded nothing.

That's all for now. Back to the fictionizing. Meanwhile, you nawtheners, behave yourselves. And listen to Liz.

October 16, 2005 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (9)

daily dish

August  24

Have You Seen Gizmo?


I know your site isn't meant to be a "lost pet" site, but since so many of your readers are in Montclair, I was hoping you could help us out. We were having work done on our house over the weekend and one of the contractors left the door ajar, letting our (previously indoor) cat Gizmo out. Gizmo is a great cat, and my 2 year old son adores him (as does the rest of the family.) He's incredibly friendly and gentle and we miss him terribly. Because he was an indoor cat we never thought to put a collar on him.

Gizmo is a tan cat with dark stripes. He was last seen at Alexander Avenue and Park Terrace. If anybody has any information, please call Lisa at 973-809-7662.

UPDATE:  8/28 - Gizmo is home thanks to an alert neighbor.

August 24, 2005 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (15)

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August  23

Lifeguards Needed ASAP

Somehow, we don't think they're having this problem at the Maplewood Pool. But here in Baristaville, it's the season when a lifeguard's fancy turns to something other than sitting by the pool. Some Montclair lifeguards are bailing and need to be replaced, and the mayor hopes interested parties will step up and dive in.

As often happens near the end of the summer, many of those who signed up to be lifeguards at the three town pools bail out early, some to go back to college. Because of this, we might have to close one or more of the pools before Labor Day. We are looking for teens and adults who have lifeguard/CPR training and who can start immediately. Interested folks can contact Pat Brechka, Director of Recreation at 509-4215.

Ed Remsen

If this happens every year, maybe we need to do something to entice guards to staying through the season. Better pay? Lobster rolls?

August 23, 2005 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (19)

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December  10

You Are Now Entering DeCamp Hell

Decamp_bus 6:25 pm: After procuring replacement for cancelled babysitter, arrive at Watchung Plaza for 6:35 DeCamp bus to make 8 pm curtain for Mario Cantone's one-man Broadway show "Laugh Whore"

6:40 pm: Still no bus.

6:50 pm: Call to Decamp from cell phone yields the following response "the driver's having trouble, but he'll be there."

6:55 pm: Fellow DeCamp rider mentions cryptically that yesterday, the same bus didn't arrive until 8 pm (on a day with no rain).

7:06 pm: Panicked call to Montclair Taxi for ride to the city. Quoted price of $57 plus tolls. Car will be there shortly.

7:09 pm: Run to ATM machine in liquor store to get money for exorbitant cab ride.

7:10 pm: Exit liquor store to see bus driving away.

7:12 pm: Spy a cab crossing Plaza intersection; frantically pull it over. Hop in.

7:14 pm: Exit cab after driver says "I can't take you, I'm supposed to be picking up a fare on Harvard Street."

7:15 pm: Back at the Plaza, see what looks like a cab driving towards Watchung train station. Make a run for the cab.

7:16 pm: Jump in cab; find out that the dispatcher quoted the wrong price. Cab fare will be $67 plus tolls. Tell driver to get me to Manhattan by 8 pm.

8:05 pm: Reach 48th Street; run half block to Cort Theatre. Miss opening number, but settle in for what turns out to be a great show. Spend intermission cursing DeCamp and plotting revenge.

Post your Unhappy DeCamper story here; tale that beats this one, gets a Barista mug and a pack of chocolate Twizzlers.

December 10, 2004 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (13)

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November  17

Don't Leave Home Without It

Baristamtns_2_1 Our pal Soprano Sue, who never travels anywhere without her Barista mug, went on another trip last week. First person to correctly identify the backdrop wins a Barista mug. Otherwise, you'll have to buy one online.

UPDATE: Lex wins, correctly guessing Yosemite as the place that Soprano Sue visited last week, Barista mug in tow. But since he's using a fake e-mail address, he'll have to write back with real contact information in order to claim his prize.

November 17, 2004 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (3)

daily dish

November   6

Gone Fishin'

The Barista is tired and, truth be told, a little mopey. We don't know what all those people were doing in Brookdale Park on Friday, and frankly we don't care. Nor do we have an investigative scoop on why the Occupational Center failed to pick up paper recycling in the south end of Glen Ridge.

We're going to take the weekend off. Chances are, nothing monumental will happen. The rakers will rake and the blowers will blow. People will do the normal suburban things they always do: yard sales, parties, Bar Mitzvahs. A few people we know are taking high school juniors off to visit colleges. The Sunday papers, with all the post-election coverage, will be interesting. But not as interesting as last Sunday's papers.

We suggest you check out "I Heart Huckabees" and "Sideways" if you haven't already. And playing cards with your kids is an underrated pleasure.

Have a nice weekend. If you really need a barista, go to Starbucks. See ya Monday.

November 6, 2004 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (8)

daily dish

September   8

Dot's Back

dottie_smallDot Frank, aka Dorothea Benton Frank, is back from flogging her bestselling novel, "Shem Creek," during a four-week Southern book tour. During that time, she weathered three hurricanes, Charley, Gaston and Frances, and was holed up for two days during Gaston at the Fripp Island house of novelist Pat Conroy. Despite making the New York Times Bestseller List for three straight weeks, Frank says the storm really cut into sales; half the book's inventory is in the Southeast, and retailers there were closed for three weeks running due to the storms. It's hard to find readers, she points out, when "everybody is glued to the Weather Channel."

September 8, 2004 in Where For Art Thou? | Permalink | Comments (0)

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