Browsing Archives for June 2011

The Bucolic Plague written by Josh Kilmer-Purcell recounts the purchase of a beautifully restored 1802 mansion on a sprawling estate in upstate New York. Kilmer-Purcell purchase the house along with his partner Dr. Brent Ridge (an employee of Martha Stewart Omni Media)  for a country get-away.  But soon both men find themselves in the grips of an unrelenting love affair with their new home and attempt to find a way to give up their day jobs in Manhattan and find a way to ‘live off the land’ at their new home. So they start to make soap from goat milk to sell and their adventure begins.

At first I was mildly irritated by the book. Although I am a steadfast devotee of all ‘country life books’ I found Kilmer-Purcell’s story to be a bit too tidy at first. They painlessly grow heirloom vegetables in raised beds that they constructed in a cheerful haze of farmy delight while a thousand contented goats frolick in the background. Their village teems with cheerful, helpful souls who love nothing better than to invite the new people to fabulous parties where everyone drinks and eats and helps each other to succeed. And then Martha Stewart invites the new gentlemen farmers onto her show and overnight they sell out of their stock of goat soap.

Oh brother!

But then about halfway through the book, there is a shift. A decidedly rancid shift. The relationship between Brent and Josh begins to reel. Their finances falter. The goats sicken and die… Okay. The goats don’t really sicken and die, but a few things do start to go wrong and that is when the story started to have a bit more mirthless ire while maintaining a mirthful undercurrent which (sicko that I am) began to perk my interest. I also found myself enjoying the story more whenever Martha Stewart showed up.  She is always a fascinating character and hearing employee gossip about her is even better!

If you like stories where the houses are one of the main characters, of people trying to live off the land, of big city gossip set inside a New England hamlet, you might enjoy this book. I spent a bit of time on the Beekman Boys website after I finished it. They also have a television show now. I have not seen it, but may try to catch it at some point.  There are better back to the land books out there, but because of it’s social media aspects, it’s Martha Stewart cameos and the fact that it is a gay couple rather than the same/old same old hetero couple learning how to raise poultry, make cheese and can tomatoes, it makes an interesting addition to the ‘country life’ genre.

The Surfing Doctor

June 28th, 2011

This is Doctor Blank.  His name is not really Doctor Blank.  His real name is Doctor Something Else, but it is not actually Doctor Something Else either.  He does have a funny name for a doctor.  It’s along the line of Doctor Bloody Hands or Doctor Searing Pain or Doctor Freelove.  I actually know a Doctor Freelove.  His wife reads this blog sometimes.  Hi Doctor Freelove’s wife!  But the doctor pictured above will remain anonymous to preserve a modicum of his privacy because I am now going to tell you everything I know about him.

He is a surfing doctor.

A surfing doctor who lives in Kansas.

Which as you can imagine, makes his life very hard.

He is passionate about surfing.

He grew up in Kansas, went to school in Colorado and he loves to surf.

No one around here really understands this.

And sometimes he feels very alone.

He lived in New Zealand for a year.

And he surfed everyday.

And then he came back to Kansas.

And he is in pain everyday.

Pain from not surfing.

He is a character.

And his wife is long suffering.

And we all feel sorry for her.

But we are glad they are here.

And we hope they stay.

This is the surfing doctor’s baby.

He is extraordinarily good-natured and laid back.


It could be the surfing genes.



Or perhaps the alcohol.

Picnic

June 28th, 2011

This is Ethan.  He is my second son.  Under normal circumstances he is a peace loving teenager with a penchant for books, a love for soccer and a beautiful (according to his mother) singing voice.  But these are not normal circumstance.  Nay.  These are very trying times.  For we are sitting on the dock that the CD is currently building (story to follow) eating a simple meal of pizza and Pepsi and enjoying a short break between ballgames and other summer spasms when along comes…

Drew.

Drew is my third son.

He is known for his deep and passionate love of baseball, his wizardry with a movie camera and his (according to his mother) striking good looks.  Unfortunately Drew is also a pest.  He’s that little brother.  The one that likes to keep his siblings in a state of near constant aggravation.  It’s hard to explain, because as an onlooker, I frequently fail to see exactly how Drew is being so maddening to his siblings.  But he is.  He drives them crazy.

And that is why Drew is looking back over his shoulder.  Ethan has just left the picnic area.  He’s headed back to the house because he’d had enough of Drew and his abilities to aggravate, but Drew couldn’t stand the site of his brother’s back walking away from him.  He needed Ethan. He needed Ethan bad.  He had to get him back.

Here’s Drew getting Ethan back.

And here’s Ethan coming back.

And giving Drew exactly what he was hoping for?

Here’s Drew begging for help from his mom.

But his mom’s not going to give him any help.

Why?

Because she’s old.

And tired.

And she just wants to eat her pizza and drink her Pepsi in peace.

So maybe if Ethan silences Drew – she will finally get some peace.

And also because she know that on some primal level that she can’t really understand, Drew wants this to happen to him.

He wants his brother to beat on him a little.

It must mean something to him.

Because Drew provokes this response over and over and over and over and over and over and over AGAIN!

This is Jack watching Drew get pummelled by Ethan.

And this is me.

Watching Jack watching Drew get pummelled by Ethan.

When the screams reach a fever pitch I will tell Ethan to stop.

To keep the neighbors from calling the cops and because I can only take the screaming so long.

And Drew will raise his bruised body off the grass and turn towards the departing figure of his brother…

And the cycle will start all over again.

Summer.

Such an idyllic time.