September 1, 2012
Welcome back to Conrad Black and his hyperbolic, incendiary prose as in The Republicans can end 15 years of stupidity in this country (Financial Times) an historical overview of why we are in the doldrums now…..outsourcing of our jobs, encouraging illegal immigrants to swell the demographic ranks and take what jobs remain, “and inundating the world with trillions of dollars of worthless real estate backed debt.” He’s hard on both parties as it should be.
Television is still inexcusably ghastly, the worst being the daytime garbage that feeds the poor people not able to find work, as in Rachael Ray, the former Lake George, NY waitress who, stupid though she is, valiantly tries to ask questions of people with actual brains. Sad. And know it’s not PC to knock the FAMOUS from Chicago but the Nate Berkus show has not gotten any better however long one has waited.
For first time in many a year we stayed up to dwell awhile in Johnny Carson territory and found it hard to decide who was more dreadful, Leno with the evening’s guest, the repulsive, snakelike Bill Maher or smarmy, sycophantic Letterman chatting with the First Lady who was absolutely charming and very humorous. Why she would appear on such a nitwit program is ….well…….beyond us.
Here’s Newton Minow in 1961: “When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse……. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.”
We do, however, watch Africa Channel (133) not for the funny tri-lingual soaps like Isidingo, but for the news and culture reports. Africa is the new frontier and when the internecine strife settles down (it took us 500 years and two world wars in the West) it will, this may well be the land of the future. By the way, today it ain’t just safaris or tales of starvation and humanitarian aid—it’s a place to earn money in oil, gas, minerals. The Chinese are the new imperialists.
Susie Kealey has a talent for friendship and entertaining, first on Walton Street, now on Kingsbury. In her artful loft she threw a New Roof party and in the renovated Orangery enjoying Mitchell Cobey vittles were John Nelson, Allen Smart, Susie Barton, Stanley Paul, Jim Kinney and Brian White, Harriet Gulis and lots more friends and neighbors. As one ages fewer and fewer friends actually undertake the effort to entertain.
We have reversed our opinionated course and decided RL is really the only place to have lunch. Kind of like Michael’s in NY now mainly literary/PR types unlike the old days when Mortimer’s was king with socialites. Had lunch with Cynthia Olson, a fine animal portraitist by the by, sitting a few tables down from Table 68 where Meta Berger and Margie Korshak were engaged in conversation.
It was an unusually sociable fortnight for us, amiably topped off by dinner with horsewoman from Naples and Chicago Susan Gohl at Quay on East Illinois. We two took that long always funny walk down memory lane (as in decades years ago) and had many laughs about those past and present. No place was smarter and more colorful than Riccardo’s.
The terrace outside Gibson’s in Oak Brook was jumping on a sweltering Saturday night when KJ Reynolds was in town from Baltimore. John Pontarelli the GM accommodating as usual; we remember him from the Chop House. Rather a relief not to be in the mix, jockeying for the attention of an opposite sex or same sex or those in superior positions while one’s had several drinks and don’t remember what was said the next day.
It’s been irritatingly hot this long summer as we looked forward to a cloudy day to write. On yet another flawless afternoon we visited at the darling Beatrix Potterish- home of Lynda and Jim O’Connor in Lake Forest. We share an interest in Africana and was impressed with their library.
The Written Word
Jim Kirk editor -in -CHIEF of the New Sun Times cancelled our meeting via email at the last minute after standing us up the first time when a staffer insisted we didn’t have an appointment though one had been made three weeks before. Dahlink why would one show up with a portfolio in hand otherwise? Do we look certifiably insane? They appear disorganized and confused over there. Insulting.
At least the Tribune is trying to smarten up with the smart Printer’s row book review section. Caution: don’t make it too Midwest- oriented with annoying Our Town Boosterism for the congratulatory consensus. Think New York or London not Omaha or Normal, Illinois.
Cornelia Cochrane Churchill Guest recently had a book signing party hosted by John Demsey. Her’s is another one of those entertainment books by the very rich which gain the rapt attention of those considerably less rich with definitely with far less illustrious families. As if ye shall know them by attending a reception in a restaurant. That ole social climber Ernest Hemingway was the host of her parent’s wedding in Havana.
Avoided arts entertainment this fortnight sticking to TCN reruns like Babette’s Feast. Breathtakingly brilliant, based on Isak Dinesen’s Gothic tale with the sublime Stephane Audran. Crave films made for adults not for preteens. Speaking of preteens this is what a 12 year old looked like in the 50s – no glaring incipient cleavage or belly buttons here. Many are disturbed about the sexualization of the littlest girls. So disgusting. Why is Gloria Steinen so quiet about this?
The Air Show such a bore and when is the city going to stop inflating the viewing numbers? We live high up in the air a step from the drive and can see that the fewer and fewer bother to look up at the gnats in the air.
A Propose of Nothing
Spotted slim Alpana Singh outside of Hash on her cell phone detailing a recipe. We recommend her Facebook postings if you are a food- follower. Speaking of Facebook have you followed the Jonathon and Gail’s Hampton’s Classic Summer? The photos should be published in a coffee table book. Remember those?
Crazy Harry Fiasco. They need to get him out of the line of succession — fast. Who gives a hoot about royals in 2012? No rational person who knows it is all about marketing Britain for the masses, but and a big but they gave us the enlightened rebellious minds that created our Republic. And the language! And the literature! A few maudlin news people shed a 15 year old tear for Diana but we were never fooled by her.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications is a tribute to the hard work of Bruce Dumont. The location is awkward to say the least so the city should pick up the tab for free admission. We’re becoming the city of odd niche museums as in Poetry, etc.
World of Giving
Ken Berger the CEO of Charity Navigator laments celebrity involvement in nonprofits given their penchant for scandal and endless entourages that leach money from the causes. Ken’s also mad about expenses of charity fundraisers with those silly goody bags and endless expensive floral arrangements and….so forth. Lenny and Felicia Bernstein used to serve chili and beer and raised millions.
Adorable rascal Michael Musto, a fellow member of the Commentariat, writes Why I Hate Charity Events, Just write a check already, and save the gown in the Voice. Gigantic tax deductible yawns filled with self congratulations, thank yous and dull speeches where a fortune is spent on room rental, entertainment, food, promotion. He quotes Joan Rivers: “I am so bored with going to a 25 million dollar house to hear a mogul say, “Good news everyone. Tonight we’ve raised almost $12,000 .”
Power Style author Annette Tapert firmly believes one should always dress to impress, dress like it’s your last day on earth, as if you’re Marie Antoinette going to the ball not the gallows — if only to pop in to Duane Read for a bottle of plonk. Our father would don a fedora and tie to go to the corner candy store for a pack of Parliaments.
Oh dear, we note the Public Hotel (i.e. Ambassador East/Pump) has withdrawn the welcome mat somewhat. First the Wall Street Journal was removed, then the good magazines, now there’s the occasional security guard with a cocked eye on the arriving guests. We feel uninvited to the ball.