Reading this New Yorker profile of Djokovic, which reprints his daily schedule.  I’ve decided I’m going to copy it, just replacing tennis stuff with writing:

7:30 Wake-up.  Tepid glass of water.  Stretching.  A bowl of muesli with a handful of mixed nuts, some sunflower seeds, sliced fruit, and a small scoop of coconut oil.  Chew very slowly.

8:30.  Writing.  Drink two bottles of energy drink, adding a hydration drink with electrolytes if it’s humid

10:00 Stretching.  Check color of urine.

11:00 Sports massage.

12:00  Lunch.  Gluten-free pasta with vegetables.

1:30 Writing.  Drink organic protein shake made from water mixed with pea protein.

2:30 Stretching.

3:00 Sentence practice.

4:30 Stretching

5:00 Business meetings.

7:30 Dinner.  No Alcohol.  No Dessert.  Protein. Vegetables, but not beets, potatoes, parsnips, squash or pumpkin, which are too high in carbs.

(picture found here, credit Picture: Dita Alangkara Source: AP)

History is crazy

From this review of this book, about an executioner in 16th century Germany.  Being an executioner was, needless to say, a bummer job and here’s how he ended up with it:

His own apprenticeship as an executioner was the result of a catastrophic fall in family fortunes, originating in an episode of almost cinematic vividness. In October 1553, the erratic and unpopular Prince Albrecht Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach suspected three local gunsmiths of plotting against his life. Invoking an ancient custom, he commanded a hapless bystander to execute them on the spot. Frantz’s father, Heinrich, had no option but to carry out the commission and, tainted by the act, no options thereafter but to become a professional executioner.

Q: What is this?

A: crossectional mineral map of kimberlite rock in South Africa.

More Milch

QUESTION: I work for a homeless newspaper, and I encounter a lot of writing by people who are mentally divergent. In your years of self-confessed madness and drug abuse, did you have any moments of clarity?

MILCH: Once I was burying myself in Mexico . I had sold my passport to some criminals, and I got drawn further in by steps, as these things usually happen. There was a lunatic chemist who contracted a stomach ache, and a consort of his named Yum-Yum decided to treat it with an enema. Turns out he had peritonitis and she killed him. We were all down there illegally, so I was digging this guy’s grave, and I tossed the body in. I figured I should grab his ID just in case I eventually decided to do the right thing and contact his relatives, and found my own passport that I had sold six months before. That was a moment of clarity, but thanks to liberal amounts of chloroform, it didn’t last.

(from here, photo from here)

Leadership Shirt

Yeah, I’ll say!

That’s today’s Artwork Of The Day.

Going through my closet to determine which are my leadership shirts.

Nantucket Shark Mystery

From The Boston Globe:

A dead shark was found lying in front of the Sea Dog Brew Pub in Nantucket this morning and removed by the Department of Public Works.

The Department of Public Works assures is this is not a common occurrence:

“It’s not too often we find sharks on land like that,” said John Braginton-Smith, a foreman for the department.

He offers a theory:

“In summertime, someone can get one too many beers in them and think that’s amusing,” he said.

(ht Chestnut Hill office.  Photo is credited to Jimmy Agnew with caption “A fishy mystery.”)

A. J. Liebling

“The pattern of a newspaperman’s life is like the plot of ‘Black Beauty,’ ” A. J. Liebling wrote. “Sometimes he finds a kind master who gives him a dry stall and an occasional bran mash in the form of a Christmas bonus, sometimes he falls into the hands of a mean owner who drives him in spite of spavins and expects him to live on potato peelings.”

(found that today on this New Yorker blog post about Bezos/WaPo.  If I had a business I really loved and I had to sell it, I think I’d be happy if Jeff Bezos bought it?)

Well, that resolved me on spending a profitable few minutes digging out my old copy of The Sweet Science and finding a choice paragraph of Liebling for Helytimes fans (“Heliacs”?).  How about:

By the time the first of the feature eight-rounders came on, the crowd was in fine voice.  It was a neighborhood crowd, except for the concentrated groups of fighters’ friends, and the neighborhood is not tough but hearty.  As it happens, this [Sunnyside Garden at 45th and Queens Boulevard] is the region to which the authentic Manhattan accent has emigrated, according to a learned cove I met at Columbia years ago, who went about making recordings of American regional modes of speech.  The more habitable quarters of Manhattan, he told me, have been preempted by successful inlanders who speak Iowese and Dakotahoman; the inhabitants of West Harlem talk like Faulkner characters, and East Harlem speaks Spanish.  “Just as the anthropologist who wishes to study pristine African culture must find it among the Djuka Negroes of Surinam, who were snatched from Africa in the eighteenth century, I must carry my tape recorder to Queens to study the New York speech of Henry James’ day,” he said.

Remember: he’s writing about a boxing match.  

The Sunnyside Garden no longer stands but it must’ve been around here.

Inside my copy of The Sweet Science, I found a chart I once made.  I was trying to link Lennox Lewis, whose hand I once shook, as far back into the history of boxing as possible by an unbroken connection of people who had punched each other.


Looks like I made it to Jem Mace (1831-1910)

The goal was to get back all the way to Cribb and Molineaux.

I believe I later did this, but I don’t know where that chart is and it’s time to start my day.

Tom Molineaux was born a slave in Virginia, fought Tom Cribb in England in 1810, and “died penniless in the regimental bandroom in Galway in Ireland from liver failure [when he] was 34 years old.”

Difficult Men


I enjoyed this book.  (A sequel about Amy Sherman-Palladino etc.?)  Here are a few items of interest.

David Chase talking about what he learned from Stephen J. Cannell:

“Cannell taught me that your hero can do a lot of bad things, he can make all kinds of mistakes, can be lazy and look like a fool, as long as he’s the smartest guy in the room and he’s good at his job.  That’s what we ask of our heroes.”


“I’m not a mogul, I’m a writer.  I write every day for five hours.  If that doesn’t make me a writer, what does?”

And here’s a good tidbit:

The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood [the book] was finished three years after the project began.  (“Simon was very heavy into fantasy baseball one of the years,” Burns said by way of explaining why it took so long to write.)

There’s some great stuff about how cool Clarke Peters is.

Peters was an erudite, fifty-year-old native New Yorker.  He had left the United States as a teenager for Paris, where there were still the remnants of a great African American expat community.  Within weeks of arriving, he’d met James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and the blues pianist Memphis Slim, among others.

While Peters was running basically a salon in Baltimore, Herc and Carver were playing video games all day and going to strip clubs.

David Milch does not disappoint:

The actor Garret Dillahunt, who first played Wild Bill’s killer and then the character Francis Wolcott, was given and asked to study 190 pages of biographical material about a sixteenth-century heretic named Paracelsus.


Later, talking about John From Cincinnati:

“My understanding of the way the mechanism of storytelling works is [that] any story is constantly appending specific values to the meanings of words, and of the actions of characters.  And the fact that story uses as its building blocks words or character that the audience believes it has some prior recognition or understanding of, is really simply the beginning of the story, but not its end.”

Um, yeah no shit duh. 

Say what you will: for my money, the opening sequence to JfC is the best ever in TV history:

“An undecided creature in a paint-splattered robe”

“Paul may have the genius of a great painter, but he will never possess the genius actually to become one.  He despairs at even the smallest obstacle.”

That’s what Cezanne’s childhood buddy Emile Zola said about him.

Cezanne was sorta slouching toward law school back in Aix like his dad wanted him too.  Zola was having none of it:

Is painting only a whim that took possession of you when you were bored one fine day?  Is it only a pastime, a subject of conversation, a pretext for not working at law?  If this is the case, then I understand your conduct; you are right not to force the issue and make more trouble with your family.  But if painting is your vocation – and that is how I have always envisaged it – if you feel capable of achieving something after having worked well at it, then you are an enigma to me, a sphinx, someone indescribably impossible and obscure… Shall I tell you something?  But do not get angry: you lack strength of character.  You shy away from any form of effort, mental or practical.  Your paramount principle is to live and let live and to surrender to the vagaries of time and chance… Either one or the other – either become a proper lawyer, or become a serious painter, but do not become an undecided creature in a paint-splattered robe.

Shall I tell you something?  But do not get angry.  That’s terrific, Zola.

Cezanne got it together eventually.  Maybe he was inspired by his buddy Achille Emperaire:

Achille was a dwarf and a hunchback, also from Aix.  But he had the stones to go to Paris and hack away at painting.  Wikipedia:

Adamant to make the grade, [Achille] would ask for help anywhere, undaunted by the prospect of living in the streets. He even wrote in his letters, ‘When occasionally I can spend 80 centimes on a meal, it feels like an orgy. […] The rest of the time, to skip a meal, I quell my hunger by eating bread crumbs with wine and sugar.’. Also, ‘Paris is a massive tomb, an unquestionable and awful mirage for most people. While a few get along, most of us fail, believe me.’

Getting those Zola quotes from this book I bought at the Taschen store for $9.99.


Thanks for the good work, Ulrike Becks-Malorny!