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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 9, 2010 3:26 AM. The previous post in this blog was Have a great weekend. The next post in this blog is Snake bites again. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Walrus and me

I saw John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the street once. It was around 1971 or so, in New York City. My girlfriend and I were walking along Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village, on the east side of the street between Eighth and Ninth Streets. We had just come out of the PATH train station on Ninth, and it was early on a weekend evening. Our night was just getting started, but it was dark.

In those days, Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street was the central intersection for us hippie wannabes who hung around in our bell bottom jeans and Army jackets trying to be part of the counterculture scene. It was a place where, one might have thought, John Lennon would never set foot, because if he had, his adoring fans would have torn him apart. As far as the thousands of kids who passed through that intersection every day were concerned, he was the Pope. No, that would be putting it too mildly -- as he himself once acknowledged, he was bigger than Jesus.

Anyway, we're walking along southbound on Sixth when out of the doorway of an upstairs Japanese steak house comes a short Asian woman in hot pants, a black beret, and a belt made out of bullets. I turned to my girlfriend and remarked, "Wow. That woman is doing an amazing Yoko Ono imitation." As we turned around and looked back at her, there was a guy in a cap standing beside her.

Holy moly.

And so we walked back a little ways to watch. They were standing in the doorway of the hibachi place waiting for their limo. People walked right past them -- people who, if they had just bothered to look, probably would have stopped dead in their tracks. The only other person who made the i.d. was a young guy who got a handshake and then ran off, no doubt to tell his friends.

We were too paralyzed to get close. The limo pulled up, and the couple stepped out of the doorway and made a quick move across the sidewalk to the car. But as the driver got out and opened their passenger side door, several shopping bags fell out into the gutter. One was from Azuma, an import store over a block or two on Eighth, where we teeny boppers used to hang out all day looking at soaps and incense and candles and Buddha statues, and dreaming that some day John Lennon would walk in.

Lennon and Ono climbed over the spilled bags and got into the car. The driver closed the door and got busy stashing the purchases somewhere else -- I can't remember whether it was the front seat or the trunk. But anyway, that gave us an extra 15 seconds or so to get a better look. My friend and I dared to get a little closer and peer through the open car window from about four or five feet away.

I waved at John Lennon. He waved back.

And then the limo pulled away. My girlfriend and I looked at each other in astonishment at what had just transpired. Except for that one brave fan who shook his hand, nobody else had noticed a thing.

Comments (15)

My roommate in college saw John Lennon coming out of a coffee shop in Chicago many years ago. He was surrounded by security and ironically didn't get coffee, but just a danish.

Great experience....

First you hit us with the anecdote about seeing George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh, and now this?
Could you at least discuss the tax code 'til the envy starts to wear off?

Being a teenager in the New York area certainly had its advantages.

What, no mention of Gray's Papaya down the street?

Great story. Happy 70th birthday, John!

And now theres a Qdoba.......

Very cool. That's just a few blocks from where, in the '80s, I saw Ric Ocasek at the grocery store and (another time) Billy Idol in an apartment building elevator. Somehow those don't have quite the same ring to them, do they?

I remember a friend seeing Grace Jones in Manhattan in the late '80s or early '90s... she said being sure of the celebrity ID was easier than usual, since in addition to her striking physique, she was topless.

As for Gray's Papaya... as a wide-eyed Baltimore hick, I was basically tutored in all things New York by my Greenwich Village college boyfriend in 1984 or so, and I was under the impression that branch was sort of new then.

I don't really miss living in New York and can't imagine raising my kids there, but I wish I still had friends there, and money to visit them. It was a fun place to be a young, broke adult -- most of the time.

I once asked Jerry Garcia if he knew where my friends could get some pot. It's a long story. Age 14, Egypt, 1978, in the garden of the Mena House hotel, before the concert at the Sphinx.

I have this rather hazy recollection of his enormous frame sitting on a patio chair, and his rather furry head balanced on it, with dark glasses. Mostly, I remember his simple reply.


Later in college this story commanded me some minor celebrity amongst deadheads, which I never understood, having never clued in to their greatness. In fact, when I was invited to the concert I had never heard of them. My more worldly pothead Norwegian girlfriend had, and she played me one of their records. I sniffed. "Not nearly as good as Led Zeppelin", I opined, in true teenage form.

Ha! And you were RIGHT, Gaye!

JB, have you gotten in touch with your "girlfriend" of that epoch and reminisced about this memorable West Village event and ruminated upon the vagaries of celebrity? Perhaps listened together to "Imagine?"

One never knew, during the late '60s-early '70s, who might be encountered on Bank or Bleeker or positively 4th St. And one never knows who, today, here in the Great NW, might be encountered who was there at that moment.

Great story, archived Lennon interview audio today on NPR Morning Edition.

Whenever I think of either Lennon or Morrison lyrics,. I'm put in mind of the lyrics Orlando posted in the forest of Arden in As You Like It.

And now theres a Qdoba.......

I think the Japanese restaurant was upstairs from where the Bagel Buffet is now.

These stories bring to mind a few experiences I had growing up and living in New Orleans.

I shopped at a record store on Magazine Street and used to see Aaron Neville in there all the time. This was the late 70s and he had a very distinct way of dressing and he was and stiLl is a very cool man. You have not lived until you've seen him and the Funky Meters do a killer version of Midnight Rider!

We'd see Dr. John around town when he was visiting or playing gigs. Professor Longhair and Lee Dorsey were present and just out and about living like New Orleanians.

Irma Thomas and Ernie K-Doe seemed to be in my orbit too as I often found myself working in their neighborhoods and eating at neighborhood restaurants they frequented.

The older I become the more I realize how fortunate I was to grow up in a city populated by so many creative, talented singers and musicians. That place just oozes very raw and very real soul and funk.

And talk about the local music scene. It was mind blowing and thankfully still is...


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to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
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Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
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Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
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Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
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Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
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Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
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Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
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Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
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Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
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Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
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Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
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King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
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Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
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Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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