Skip directly to content

The Things I'd Carry


There is a finite number of things that I possess and love. "Love" may be too strong a word. The objects I refer to please me. They do a significant job and do it well, they have lasted a long time, and most of them, it turns out, didn't cost very much. Some months back, I wrote about my Merrell Jungle Mocs (which, by the way, are still going strong). I propose to regularly feature some of these things in this space; I welcome comments and suggestions.

First up is something whose manufacturer and brand name I can't tell you. I have had it so long (ten years?

Merrell Jungle Mocs and Other Things I'd Carry

By no means outweighing the bad effects of Hurricane Sandy, but heartening all the same, was some outstanding journalism. While the hard-news coverage stood out, there was also some amazing feature stuff, much of it marked by a single trope: if you had to suddenly abandon your home, what would you take? Michael Winerip, one of my favorite journalists of all time, had an outstanding example of the genre in the New York Times. Winerip was actually covering himself: his home town of Long Beach, N.Y., was especially hard hit, and he wrote a moving column about the unexpected stuff, including his

Old Cary Grant Fine

I was leafing through an old paperback copy of Pauline Kael's When the Lights Go Down, when out popped a yellowed New York Times clipping. It was apparently on page B16 of the Times, but there is no date or byline or even a proper headline: just the rubric "NOTES ON Fashion." As I scanned it, I remembered the piece well. It was an interview with Cary Grant, identified as 77 years old (thus answering the timeless question "HOW OLD CARY GRANT?"), and the objective correlative of its meaningfulness to me were the 37 separate pinholes at the top. In other words, I had tacked it to a whole lot of bulletin boards a whole lot of times.

If both Wikipedia and the article are to believed, the article appeared between January 18, 1981, and January 18, 1982. And sure enough, a search at reveals that it was published on March 31 of that year and was written by John Duka, whom I remember as a writer I admired and who was described this way by one of his editors: ''He was a remarkable writer, superb at seeing through everything. He understood people and situations instantly. This made him, frankly, a dangerous reporter.''

The occasion for that appreciation was a Times obituary for Duka.