Monthly Archives: November 2006

Dartanyan’s alive!

I like Googling former colleagues, and ex-MacWEEK reporter Dartanyan Brown seems to generate the most fascinating entries of any of us.

Here, Dartanyan is identified as the original vector for the Paul-is-dead bug symptomatic of late-stage Beatlemania:

“It’s worth noting, as well, that Tim Harper, author of the first-ever printed story on the hoax, was not the source of any of these clues. In an email interview, Mr. Harper said that at the time he published his article, he hoped that the perpetrators would come forth and admit their part in the hoax; he wrote his article for informational purposes only.

“Mr. Harper says he got his information from a fellow Drake student and Times-Delphic writer, Dartanyan Brown. Mr. Brown told me by email that in 1969 he lived in a rooming house frequented by musicians, and that one of them (he doesn’t recall who) recounted the hoax and said that he’d heard it on the California west coast. Mr. Brown also recalled having read about the hoax in some underground newspapers at the time, though this cannot be substantiated. No published source prior to Mr. Harper’s Times-Delphic piece is known.”

Turn me on, Dart-man!

Peace train

Like myriad Maplewoodians, I take New Jersey Transit’s Midtown Direct train line to and from New York Penn Station every weekday. (Indeed, I’m drafting this entry on my Blackberry en route to the office.)

I’m a big fan of train travel, and I’m delighted with our logistics in the matter: Our house is four leafy blocks from the cute little turn-of-the-20th station, which is also the first stop for many of the outbound trains I take. The trains are pretty frequent, the conductors are pretty friendly, and I can usually take a seat and get to work.

Of course, any routine you follow every day is likely to rub a few spots raw. I don’t dig the cattle call waiting for tracks to be announced at Penn (which really is an ugly place to start and end every weekday). The occasional splash of toilet effluvium when the tracks curve into Maplewood can stink up the station. And while fellow passengers generally seem like amiable sorts, some carelessness about personal space can abrade the nerves.

Being a Type A bunch, this crowd is predictably prone to high-volume cell-phone conversations on topics both commercial and highly personal. On more than one occasion, I’ve been treated to really gnarly medical details — colostomies, suppurating ulcers — suffered by my seatmate’s friend or relative. Tearful breakups are always uncomfortable to witness, as are knotty office politics. I watched one young Master of the Universe regale a friend with a vivid blow-by-blow on the toilet habits of an intern in his office before being shouted down by 20 of his fellow passengers.

One person gets a karmic mulligan from me: the handsome 50-ish woman who often boards my train while talking animatedly to a distant colleague. As best I can make out, she’s a medical professional working for the U.N. or some charitable organization, and she’s raising her voice to get results for sick orphans in remote places: “Yes, the HIV test came back positive … We have to cut the red tape and get the anemia treated now so he’s ready to travel! I don’t care about the visa requirements; this is important!” In my book, this lady can talk as loud and long as she wants, even when the going gets gross.

Farm living is the life

My old colleague and dear friend Sheila Colbert and her family gave us a big treat last weekend: the use of their lovely new vacation house at Woodloch, a swank golf resort in the Poconos. We swam and drove go-carts and shopped in the pretty town of Milford and generally had a lovely time.

Tip for New Jersey travelers: The Chatterbox Drive-In in Augusta is cute as a bug’s ear and serves a mean veggie burger! Eight thumbs up, many of them grease-stained.

Come as you are

There was much rejoicing in Maplewood yesterday evening as Halloween fever overran the village, where the kids get to warm up the booty call by trick-or-treating the local vendors.

Halloween is of course the holiest night of our daughters’ year, and both of them spent much energy and lucre tricking out our front lawn and their own costumes: Lily cutting capers as The Cat in the Hat and Sadie challenging gender stereotypes as a werewolf-princess.

Indeed, the latter costume garnered a prize in the annual costume contest, sparking noisy jubilation on the one hand and fierce sibling rivalry on the other. Toss four pounds of chocolate into the mix and shake!

Where’s Waldo? Nancy and Lily are in the crowd here and here; look for the red-and-white striped hat.