Oliver Stone and Lincoln


October 15, 2012


Charity Watch

According to Bloomberg Markets, Americans give $300 billion a year to charities and over ¾ never reaches its destinations but rather lines the pockets of telemarketing armies, those irritating paid telephone solicitors. The American Cancer Society enlisted InfoC for ten years to raise $5.3 million and apparently nothing, not one penny, went to fund cancer research or help patients. Who else uses InfoC? American Heart Assoc, American Lung Assoc, MS, and many others of course.

The controversy over how charities value noncash gifts such as medicine continues to attract attention!  Drugs and other noncash items can mislead the public into assuming a nonprofit is doing more to help the needy than it actually is and can give inaccurate impressions of its revenue and overhead. The IRS slapped Food for the Hungry with a $50,000 fine for overvaluing the medicines it distributes overseas.


Kimberly and Vonita, Service Club Honorees

These problems usually occur with huge national charities which act like corporations or dense bureaucracies and what we used to call “poverty czars”   and not  local ones. One such local charity is exemplary. The Service Club is celebrating past Gala chairs on November 2nd at the Ritz, appropriately called With Gratitude.

Le Shopping

We popped in to Tiffany’s to buy the usual crystal decanter or porcelain coupe for a wedding present and were dismayed that it has turned into yet another  jewelry store (we have enough of those on Oak) with decidedly unpolished salesgirls which would have been unthinkable under Steiner or Christ.

Well we found something suitable in Neiman’s for John Scher and Betsy Stover who were married last week in a gorgeous transparent tent with the October sunset shining thorough in Lincolnshire. Rabbi Ted Gluck led the guests in singing It Had to be You before the vows. Cheryl and Monty Scher threw a lively celebration party at the Marriott and we danced like St. Vitus to Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan.

John and Betsy Scher

Memorandum to clothing buyers: thiMk about it darlings, why do the small sizes pile up? Because no one but Southeast Asians can wear them! Why not stock sizes American women can wear? It is all so tiresome and makes shopping a nightmare if you are over 50. Those ladies who can afford Brooks Brothers or Escada cannot squeeze into them and all the larger “styles” are in maroon and brown and look like grotesque garbage sacks.

In a recent interview for WSJ Ian Schrager, a fellow Brooklynite, says his favorite restaurants are Peter Luger, Nobu and 15 East. He loves the ballet and hates hotels and eateries with white gloves and epaulets.



John and Zoe at Volo

“Dined” at the Brauhaus on Lincoln with John, Zoe and JR; unfortunately it has become far too crowded and noisy to enjoy in October…..or any other time for that matter. We love the schmaltz and zithers but pas encore. Then we popped into Volo’s Orientalized garden on a cool night for some good expensivo vino.

It’s about time Anthony Bourdain retires from the little screen. His program has become a predictable bore and all the bad boy pose sounds false. In 2003 we met his handsome self at the James Beard awards in NY (when we were nominated for writing) and he was authentic not the buffoon television created.



Congratulations to TCW on its 30th anniversary. It has always taken the high road without being smarmy and its longevity proof of its successful formula. Where were you 30 years ago? We were working in Artemisia on Hubbard Street where all the avant-gardish were and where Al Friedman was just starting out in real estate.

Hideous neologism: Glamping, presumably for Glamor Camping. Just when one wanted to escape designer soap, spas, infinity pools and (disgusting) foie gras croutons for truffle soup they go ahead and stick them in Zambia and Tanzania game reserves. No thanks.

We’ll spend discretionary income in Africa only when ivory is truly banned and there is serious legislation to stop poaching and slaughter of the Big 5. Over 25,000 elephant were murdered last year.

Megan McKinney’s book The Magnificent Medills,  America’s Royal Family of Journalism During a Century of Turbulent Splendor was recently awarded the 2012 Spear’s Book Award for Family History of the Year. Spear’s is one of Europe’s preeminent wealth management brands and has rewarded books that distinguish themselves as the best in several categories.


The photogenic golfer Luke Donald appears everywhere in print these days because he lives in a Chicago suburb and not the UK. Ahem.

The Ryder Cup’s corny (the cows were enough) painted golf balls are still lingering around the malls and avenues here. Friends who attended never saw a live golfer and had to wait hours to get into the Pro shops for souvenirs.


Sitters and Runners

We love hotel lobbies; our mother Lucy would sit in them for hours smoking Chesterfields and drinking Oolong, or if after 5, gin Martinis. This was of course the age when only Jackie Kennedy could afford good wine. Now everyone in the United States has a niece or granddaughter who’s a sommelier.

The favorite lobby of the time was the “Fountain Blue” in Miami. Here in Chicago the Peninsula is cold and uninviting; the Ritz used to be wonderful now is blahsville; the Four Seasons never disappoints and we have a special feeling for the homely old Marriott on Michigan with its ghastly décor, hundreds of seats and total anonymity.

Huff Puff

Those brave seekers, all 45,000 of them, who ran, or walked, the Chicago Marathon are an enigma since most looked to be suffering in some sort of Cotton Matherish Puritan ether. Not so the East Africans however who have millennia of Masai blood in their veins.


Oh Boy. What worries John Bogle, Vanguard’s founder? “ the coming train wreck in the financial system”. A 401K was never meant to be a retirement plan as is now touted and soon 70% of Americans will rely on Social Security to live. We are on SocSec and it’s just enough to buy a couple of dinners out. One couldn’t live for a week on it.

One suspicions that the clever Romney’s 47% “blooper” was all staged. We were after all awfully shocked to learn the percentage of those who do not pay taxes is half the bloody population and sure you were too. Of course don’t watch debates outside the Oxford Union but caught Biden looking like Walter Matthauish in crazy old man mode.

Here’s a fine quote from Wait for Me by Deborah Mitford:  Eddy the Duke of Devonshire told his son Andrew, her husband, who was running for some office or other: “There is something you should ram home and you cannot repeat it too often. No government has any money of its own, the only money it has to spend is what it gets from you and me in taxes.”

Cannot resist gossip from this delightful book regarding Wallis Simpson who’s housekeeper revealed that she would only employ blondes at the Chateau de la Croe; the footmen, housemaids, the kitchen workers were all fair haired. Then again she and former HRH rather did like Hitler which makes their continuing popularity completely incomprehensible.

 Hugh Clayton Lowther, 8th Earl of Lonsdale  has been married three times which creates rather a sticky wicket in the dynastic game. With his first wife he has one adopted son born by artificial insemination, who thus does not stand in succession to his father’s titles. Ahem. The Hereditary Peerage Association, explains the procedure of entering one’s name on the Peerage Roll : “A child born as a result of egg, sperm or embryo donation is incapable of succeeding to a peerage.” Yoicks


Au Revoir


We are truly saddened at the passing of Joe Boden who we were lucky enough to know. Joe was a B-17 fighter pilot in the War and a true hero.

Writer and journalist JeAnne Ingersoll, a witty, classy and original gal. With her highly skilled journalist talents she created  accurate, factually important news releases and information.

Dorothy Fuller who we worked for briefly at AIBI; she wanted to go to Dubai to promote Chicago fashion. Another grand dame gone.

Lionized historian Eric Hobsbaum, who we often met at economic history conferences years ago when Socialism was all the Rage has joined Trotsky and Lenin in the sky; unfortunately he rationalized Communism and defended the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Academics are so out of touch.



Facebook is such a bore — all pretty skies and fancy sandwiches though we’re a sucker for the cute animals –and the BIRDS.  Twitter is too evanescent for people with things to actually do in the world– just for pollsters and stat guys

Ultimate Hilarious Snobbism: those who won’t join the Daughters of the American Revolution but salivate at becoming a Colonial Dame because to join one’s ancestor had to have been mayor or senator or dog catcher.

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