January 19th, 2024
After four weeks scrambling up towers and steps in Italy and India, UD did an age-concession number and ordered a wheelchair at JFK airport yesterday.

The flight home began in Delhi, continued through Rome, staggered on through NYC, and then finally ended in DC — hours and hours of flying, security, customs, security again, security again, passport control, long, luggage-laden terminal hikes, etc.

On the plane to NY, UD admitted that her feet (never her best feature) were giving out, and Mr UD ordered the chair.

Although certifiably old, UD ain’t the wheelchair type, has never been pushed around in one… I mean, after all, she had just done a creditable job (though only creditable) of maintaining a relentless month-long physical pace in Venice, Florence, and Rajesthan.

But ok all of that took a toll and as she exited the plane she was happy to see the chair, along with the nice woman in charge of (who knew?) wheeling her to the very front of every single hellish airport line. Although fundamentally since birth insanely privileged (visit India if you want to know how global inequality goes), UD has never occupied the First Class, Business Lounge, Priority Seating, Preferred Client world at all, so being whisked ahead of the crowd felt weird, wonderful, and guilt-generating (do my feet really hurt so much that… ?).

Au fond, it was obvious to your blogeuse, in the event, that she did need this help, and though the general solicitude (“Anything else? Can I check your blood pressure?” asked a Rome-JFK crew member. “Are you comfortable?” asked the woman pushing me.) made her feel uncomfortable, she also began to glimpse a world in which people don’t idiotically, stoically, refuse various forms of assistance.

December 22nd, 2022
UD’s with a buddy in Manhattan…

at Tea and Sympathy.

October 6th, 2022
La Kid, just back from LA and SF, and, this AM…

… on Acela for business meetings in Manhattan. UD thinks all the madcap travel and jet lag has caught up with the child. Grumpy.

September 11th, 2022
‘A man who as mayor bought his suits off the rack at Bancroft for $299 grew addicted to luxury, ultimately purchasing six homes and 11 country club memberships.’

[His current legal disasters] reveal a corruption of character, triggered by a succession of moral compromises over the years undertaken to maintain the power and money that he’d grown accustomed to after Sept. 11... His political power has evaporated, and his riches have been almost exhausted — he’s been selling personalized video greetings for $325, and he dressed as a feathered jack-in-the-box for the Fox show “The Masked Singer” this spring.

I dunno. I mean, yes, for Giuliani the hoariest cautionary tale ever (Radix malorum est cupiditas) pertains; but UD has long felt that for Giuliani, Trump, Madoff, and other famous New York maniacs, some city-specific mental illness is also at play, as if the ultimate urban fever that is NYC’s speed, greed, hallucinatory arrogance, Kafkaesque removal from common grounded life — propels these people so far from anything real that they actually become clinically nuts. I think that in his novel Cosmopolis DeLillo was trying to get at this… Just as, from his title on, Tom Wolfe tried the same thing years earlier in Bonfire of the Vanities... Something about the ultimate urban cauldron that sets a soul on fire…

August 30th, 2022
When it’s a “sudden, unexpected, illness.”

The death, in New York, of a young, successful, recently engaged, outrageously beautiful actress was, her rep has announced, due to – well, there it is in my headline.

It’s an awkward formulation. Sudden and unexpected go with an accident, or with an incident like a heart attack (think of the shocking death of skater Sergei Grinkov); they do not go with illness.

This is the vague, confused, type of formulation that arises in the traumatized hours and days after a totally out of the blue death; typically, the family is overwhelmed with an impulse to protect the complexity and vulnerability of the person from the world’s cruel and prying eyes. They therefore describe an elusive and odd turn of events… Which of course achieves the opposite of their intent, since everyone loves a mystery, and now people are speculating like mad.

Here are the possibilities, if you ask ol’ UD. From most to least likely.

Suicide. The People article I cite quotes her alluding, recently, to “one of the hardest times in my life,” and, by featuring that statement, People is already sort of going there, already implicitly wondering if this woman was troubled and self-destructive.

Drug Overdose. Substance abuse is endemic to the world in which this woman moves. Her loved ones may not be ready to disclose this about her.

Chronic, controlled condition that suddenly goes out of control. Maybe she was, say, epileptic, but drugs had handled it for years. Until they didn’t; and she died of a grand mal seizure.

Actual mystery. People die for unknown reasons more often than you think. It’s not impossible that a coroner could conclude that no discernible organic reason for a death reveals itself.


Update: Looks as though I’m wrong on every score. Might have been an overwhelming viral infection.

July 26th, 2022
Joanna Soltan …

… paints the exterior

of her country house.

May 8th, 2022
La Kid takes her front row center seat this very moment…

…. to watch Beetlejuice on Broadway. She is – as her photo indicates – inches away from the madness.

August 10th, 2019
Don’t know if this is for real…

… but it looks as though Epstein has indeed succeeded in packing up his troubles.

Suicide, which people famously call a permanent solution to a temporary problem, was in Jeffrey Epstein’s case a permanent solution to a permanent problem. As his fellow suicide, David Berman, put it, “the dead know what they’re doing when they leave this world behind.”


Confirmation by the New York Times.

A rather less than satisfactory outcome to his personal eugenics/eternal life scheme.


I guess this is what they call Suicide Watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Maybe at the Correctional Center “Suicide Watch” means you watch inmates commit suicide.

Here’s an immensely important witness/criminal who apparently tried to hang himself not at all long ago, and now presto? Really?

So either incredible neglect at the jail, or he bribed a guard, or he was killed (way unlikely, but conspiracy buffs will put this one forward for sure)…


Will this take the pressure off Dershowitz, Richardson, Mitchell, Prince Andrew, Ghislaine Maxwell, Les Wexner, Glenn Dubin, Ehud Barak, and all the other cronies, pimps, and playmates? Chais pas, mes petites; chais pas.

But franchement, I kinda doubt it. Epstein’s lurid fate has intensified the global light being shined on him and his buddies.


And away we go!

Or, as Lady Bracknell might put it: “To fail to kill yourself in a federal lockup may be regarded as a misfortune; to succeed mere weeks later looks like carelessness.”


[S]tatistics show far and away, more likely to commit suicide are pretrial detainees and within the first few days or weeks of their detention … And that’s exactly where Jeffrey Epstein was. It’s only been a couple of weeks, if that, since he was held without bail. Since he had his bail hearing and bail was denied, but far and away, detainees, people awaiting their trial, and particularly people charged and convicted of sex offenses are at high risk of suicide, more than prisoners who have been convicted and serving their sentence, at supermax or minimum security.


Bernard Kerik is gobsmacked JE was in solitary; his opinion piece strengthens my suspicion that Epstein paid off a guard.

June 22nd, 2019
Sheep down the lane from our house in Upstate NY.
Taken by Joanna Soltan.
May 12th, 2019
Lunch with my sisters yesterday at the Otesaga Hotel…

… in Cooperstown. A beautiful rainy late afternoon.

View near our table overlooking Glimmerglass Lake.
Rather mystical feel to it all.

Photos, Barbara Roberts.

May 10th, 2019
In Oneonta, NY…

… doing family things. Back to blogging in a couple of days.

March 2nd, 2019
UD’s Saturday in New York City…

… featured a very exciting performance of Fille du Regiment at the Met, with Javier Camarena hitting all those high C’s, and even giving us an encore of the famous aria. The audience went absolutely wild.

To add to the thrill, our performance went out live to theaters . And this was a first for ol’ UD – at the end of the performance confetti machines up in the rafters rained the stuff down on us.

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