Thomas Beller

All articles by this author

Panhandle Postcard

Panhandle Postcard

The solidarity of evacuation, even if each car was its own small ecosystem of panic, grief, and merriment

This walk at the end of the day was meant to cleanse the palette. But as the sky went from pale purple to deep purple, the roiling Gulf of Mexico disappearing into darkness, we again turned to our phones. First to mine, looking at images of the fallen trees, fallen houses, the map that indicated that power was out in all of New Orleans. Then she showed me her friends’ snaps, the ones who were still in New Orleans, “hunkering down,” in the parlance. “Riding it out.” The snap of water coming into the house, under a door; the snap of the doughy cookies that were in progress when the power went out.

Ugly Donald, from Queens

Ugly Donald, from Queens

His voice has stayed in my ear

He roamed the streets with a television camera, looking for women to proposition. He was somewhere between a talent scout for a modeling agency, a casting director, and a photographer, but he conducted his business not in a studio, or an office, behind closed doors. Rather, he strolled the boulevards of midtown Manhattan, dressed outlandishly. Even though the drama of his half-hour shows culminated—or did not culminate—in revealed breasts, some of which I still recall, the most vivid imagery of the show were the shots of Ugly George himself, a lunatic in hot pants, shirtless in the summer, with a huge camera on his shoulders, strolling through midtown amidst a sea of people in suits.

On Steve Jobs

On Steve Jobs

Downstairs, where the genius bar is located, is packed with humanity. It's something of a shock.

Walking into an Apple store is always a bit awe-inspiring. There is the vaulted ceiling, the feeling of transcendence. The monks all wear blue T-shirts. I am a disciple. I bought my first Apple computer in 1985. Upstairs, the store is austere, pleasant, the tables of iPads untouched like plates waiting for food. Downstairs, where the genius bar is located, is packed with humanity.