Lascaux Caves

 

May 17, 2013

The Old Friends Luncheon at the Racquet hosted by Susan Wunderlich, now living in California, and Genny Plamonden was a tableau of The Right Stuff Lake Forest style. Here’s an on the spot photo; Susan is in the middle. Judy Bross, Vicki Jackson, Maureen Smith, Helen Applegate, Sugar Rautbord and Faye Peck were also there.

We made a quick trip to our alma mater the University of Wisconsin in Madison which New Yorkers used to attend en masse. The object was to consult a tome only available in the whole USA at the Memorial Library in Madison, our old refuge from football games. The little city on the lakes never changes too much; we saw it from Greeks to Revolutionaries to well whatever it is today with its shabby student look. We prefer the pleated skirts and matching sweater sets to the teeny shorts and tight tank tops of today’s “coeds”, or the unshaven rather slovenly young men who in our day wore Brooks Brother to class. The Rathskeller is now a Laptopia and there is silence where once there was debate and conversation.

Old Friends

We did manage to get to the Field Museum for The Lascaux Caves and the best part was the all room recreating the interior of the actual caves. Rather wonderful  and thought provoking. It was a wet day and we had to park half mile away to avoid the $$$$$$$$$ parking lot and the museum mainly foreigners. We had a chance to look at Soldier Field from the front steps – Good Heavens – who approved that renovation?

Tom O’Gorman’s paintings get better with each exhibit at Kiki’s. The 18th century Dublin Georgian houses are rendered in vibrant impasto. Always un plaisir to see Cynthia Olson an aficionado of Julian Fellows and the only other person we know who’s read his uproarious masterpiece Past Perfect.

Sangria!

Friends gathered on Cinco de Mayo on Hutchinson for Joe Winjum’s birthday party, the start of a weekend of festivities. Jonathon Wells made a walloping sangria and Mexican pot roast, enjoyed by Kim Gleeson, Sharon LePere, Tom Cooney, Richard Dormer, Heather Jane Johnston and beaucoup d’autres.

We feel obliged to “weigh in” on Rachel Shteir’s NYTimes book review Chicago Manuals in the April 21st issue in which she says Chicago suffers from “bloviating boosterism.” Well let’s face it – it’s true. We have for decades hurled a barb or two at the persistent Our Town syndrome, Sherwood Andersony small town pride as in whenever persons with a reputation that exceeds the Greater SMSA appears in print they always are preceded by the inevitable Our Town’s Harrison Ford or Our Town’s Saul Bellow or Our Town’s Michelle Obama.

Yolanda Lorente

Shteir’s daring review of a boostering new book about Chicago, no party line here, The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja caused quite a bloviating stir. The NYT gave Our Town’s Scott Turow a chance to review the book too and he objected to the title which he thinks patronizing and then wrote yet another encomium to his hometown. (We immediately thought of The Mosquito Coast). Anyway the usual Fabulous Architecture and black Blues music are the ultimate cultural connections in the Dyja book which throws in Hugh Hefner and Burr Tillstroom. whom we had the grand pleasure of knowing a bit, Nelson Algren, the Daleys, and a full shopping list of all the usual suspects of 20th century Chicago nonpolitical history. We think this Booster Book makes Chicago look even more provincial which Our Town’s Scott Turow would obviously not agree with.

Besides who needs boosterism today when New York is the Third World of Tacky Stars. The New York of our youth when it was the sophisticated capitol of the universe is gone with the wind. The Met Gala is now the preserve of RAP stars, ball players and soap opera persons. Jane Wrightsman or Jackie O where art thou? Let’s face it a paradigm shift has occurred in the past ten years and it is now officially The 21st Century.

Tom O'G

We did love it that the Number One golfer Tiger Woods got looped playing the role of the reluctant boyfriend forced to accompany his girl, the Number One skier Lindsay Vonn, to a BLACK TIE. Haven’t we all been there? Well Arpad Busson says no more galas. He has scrapped Ark’s annual multimillion moneymaker as being an inefficient way to raise money. Smaller fundraisers are usually more effective anyway.

The International Antiques Fair at the Mart was really staggeringly beautiful but alas the opening night party for Rehab Institute was poorly attended though we did see King Harris, Lisa Malkin, Jim Kinney and Brian White. When the elevators opened after the VIP reception the masses swooped in.

The Dutch monarchy called “publicly subsidized performance art” of mind boggling absurdity did replace one puppet with another last week when the Queen stepped down in favor if her son, but we don’t recommend it for the Brits. In the first place they more than pay their own way and make money for the republic….and the entertainment value priceless as in the Greenwich CT’s English Speaking Union bloviating over Prince Harry the least likeable of the royals.   He takes the heat for his brother and like Pippa feeds the crazed press some Cheerios, poor sods.

At the Fair

Have you read Paul Theroux’s latest travel book The Last Train to Zona Verde? The lovably sourball 70 year old traveled alone on foot from Cape Town to Angola and the picture more excoriating than Dark Safari. A poor continent getting more miserable by the hour due partly to the mammoth increase in population. When Westerners go on safari it is not Africa they see but an animal theme park not reality. While you’re at it read V.S. Naipaul’s’ Mask of Africa another frightening book which makes us renew our vow to never go east of Vienna or south of Gibraltar.

We don’t want to pick on the President at this sensitive time but did you know he removed the bust of Churchill in the White House? Kennedy had it placed there when he granted the great warrior honorary American citizenship. That Churchill shared the prevailing opinions of his time regarding the East etc. seems to have eluded the administration which does not appear to know much about history.

The Art Business can make you quite ill. Another mass Black Tulip inflation of prices in the latest Christie’s sale. Thus a bland Barnett Newman sold at auction for 43 Million. Then again we were always wary of the so called ”conceptual art movement” of the 80s. Even Sol Le Witt …well never mind.

Stadium

Howzabout the money laundering and gambling operation masquerading as the Helly Nahmad Gallery in the Carlyle? Huge bidders at Sotheby’s and Christie’s the family is now the FBI’s domain. One always had the suspicion that many art businesses were excuses for tax write offs or other illegal activities.

See portrait painter Eric Fishl has now focused his East Hampton ambition on writing..…as in a new memoir Bad Boy. The Unsinkable Mary Boone probably cooked up that idea to get even more name recognition.

Gatsby

Fair Warning! Just when you thought Hollywood couldn’t get any worse! Would some Structuralist please deconstruct the difference between the suave Redford Gatsby and the ghastly Luhrman Gatsby, the beautiful pastel version versus the dark electronic games version. DeCaprio’s squeaky voice and bartender ambiance always ruin a movie since you cannot suspend your disbelief. Kewpie Doll Carey Whatever looks like Daisy’s maid not a Long Island deb.

0

Lord Chesterfield’s Letters

 

 

April 21, 2013

 

We delayed writing because we had nothing to write about. Think Waugh in Abyssinia or Greene in Macau. Well in the absence of some thing new or some place new we’ll have to settle for more opinions.

F. Scott Fitzgerald lamented 75 years ago that the radio had the power to clutter the mind of his daughter Scotty, creating a bird’s nest of confusion. He also foresaw the future of a child who  “may live in a communist state or marry a girl from Mars or sit under an electric fan in the North Pole.”1926.

A Daughter’s Tale is the new memoir of Mary Soames the youngest child of Winston Churchill and the only one to escape the curse of a busy, famous father. Why were his children such a disaster? Diana committed suicide, Randolph and Sarah both died young of alcoholism. The common thread was the almost total absence of their mother Clementine; throughout the book Winston’s wife never seems to have been around her children in their formative years, preferring five month cruises or accompanying her husband on the world stage. A mother is usually the measure of the family as we all know.

This book could be a prequel to Downton Abbey revealing how glorious a privileged Edwardian childhood was –at least on the surface. Birth advantages are as you know 90% of our lives. Oh dear! So much for all the claptrap promoted about dreaming your way to the top even if you’re poor and illiterate. Inane.

The Company You Keep showing at the eerie time warp Century Landmark is the usual slowww ponderous Redford offering but lacking the visual beauty of his other films. What happened to his eye?  The story about Weathermen Underground radicals in old age is evocative enough but the script is a real clunker and RR looks so old. Julie Christie   has The Mask and Puffy Lips Look.

Cliff Dwellers

Margaret Thatcher is still stirring up controversy in death. We left England just when she became PM but think she had many right ideas like taking on the unions that had become potentates. They did their job after the grotesque excesses of the Industrial Revolution and bravo to their memory; we do wish that demeaning movie of her last years portraying her dementia had never been made. Ghoulish Hollywood. Simon Schama wrote a fine encomium in the FT and notes her inadvertent ecologism by forcing coal mining to move out of Britain to wreck the earth in foreign lands.

There is little doubt she was treated a tad differently because she was a woman, which must gall Hillary since America still hasn’t stepped up to the gender plate for the Big Job.

Who (ill) advised FLOTUS to do another cover of Vogue? She looks pretty enough but remember the Desiree Rogers flap? Her fashionable posing in MAGS was not  help her career. We know the fashion industry is big biz but it never ultimately helps women — only financial independence does. And why bother to be even more attractive to men? They only want us to look like putains

Spotlight Days

Roger Ebert was heavily promoted by the Sun Times as having a Pulitzer. Well so have many of our friends and acquaintances but they were never so lionized. Brilliant Thea Flaum started the juggernaut with that public TV show with Gene Siskel.

Advertising affects every word that appears in print, actual print, these days. At least the quid pro quo is out on the table, honestly, in the open. When we were at Spotlight in the 90s it was all a hidden agenda, a pretense of objectivity.

We saw Maria Tallchief dance Swan Lake many times in our youth and what a thrill to meet her years later in Chicago. Here is a photo of the board of the School of Chicago Ballet when we were involved with fundraising. We once introduced Maria to actor Tom Selleck (Magnum PI) – she thought he was delightful and handsome and he had never heard of her.

 

Bob Irsay's Wedding

Crain’s reports it costs 16K to obtain a seat on the comme il faut Joffrey Board. In olden days there was no upfront ante for boards as there is today just a willingness to work hard and perhaps co-chair an event.

Madewell is a new clothing store on Rush where the old Starbucks was once far more happily situated. Unfortunately all the clothing sizes are for preteens. So over to Brooks Brothers for some ladies’ shirts –you would think buyers would know that women who can afford the prices just might be a bit larger than the Wallisites. No Sale!

In 1950 the population of the United States was 127 million; in 2013 it is 315 million. Along with automation one doesn’t have to look far to see why there are no jobs. A radical paradigm shift in thinking is necessary to address this problem.

Cannot believe Argo won the top prize, rather more like a made- for- TV movie with so many of the plot items were borrowed from better flics like No Way Out.

Beautiful Augusta

What did you think of Hilary Mantel’s comments on Kate Middleton as a plastic clothes hanger with a personality formed by a committee? Classic bitchy academic barbs.

Maureen Dowd must have an army of stringers to churn out all those columns each week. She is always always politically correct and predictable and tres verbose; we prefer plain writing that gets to the point without too much overt cleverness, which is considered so middle class in England.

It was always good sport to decide what was U (as in upper) and non-U in Old Blimey, obsessed with class which you can never ever escape because an indelible accent tells the whole story. Even Brits in America are branded by the Tyranny of Voice and Vowels. No Way Out.

After lunch at the Cliff Dwellers which was jumping and still lively with the best views in the city, we popped across the street to the Art Institute. It was almost empty. Picasso in Chicago a yawn. Where are the blockbusters of years past? The museum scene so moribund these days. They have priced themselves out of the market.

Mary and Jonathon

We are however most anxious to see the Lascaux caves at the Field Museum but rue the hassle not to mention the cost of parking on the “campus” (speak about ill-advised ideas) which with the entrance fee and the cost of lunch makes it a C-note day.

We were at RL twice in one week, for lunch which is still a crowded people – watching carnival and at dinner which was –ahem- decidedly not. Prices high, “Amish” chicken tiny, excellent wine, salad drowning in dressing, and service swell enough. New York Noise.

Remember Hans Williman the GM of the old Four Seasons who created the number one hotel in the entire world? Well ain’t no more.—waiting for friends in the lobby we noted crumb filled tables and inordinately loud RAP music; when we suggested Debussy might be more the ticket no action took place so off to the Peninsula.

RIP to Pat Derby (a descendant of Percy B. Shelley) who said “I was born in love with all elephants”. Her book The Lady and the Tiger is a plea against keeping animals in captivity. Next time you’re at a zoo think about the fact they should be converted into managed game parks.

Did you read Lean In the pseudo-feminist opinions of an unconscionably privileged woman (whose family friend was the president of Harvard, not bad for a jump start!). We prefer Camille Paglia or Germaine Greer to burnish our consciousness every now and then. A propos of which we agree with Helen Schubert that Diane Sawyer did the best round the clock reporting of the Boston Marathon disaster. But alas she’s getting older and there are reports the network wants her out! Ladies get out your placards.

 

 

0

The Space Coast

March 1, 2013

February in Florida

Au revoir to the Moon! The private enterprise SpaceX Falcon  rocket just blasted off from Cape Canaveral to deliver cargo to the International Space Station; NASA has been gone for three years from the “Space Coast”, Titusville to Melbourne on the Atlantic. During our recent sojourn there we noted the landscape was still military, industrial, with fuel storage tanks, gigantic white cylinders, mechanical forms dotting the sky, and a curious lack of population.  The staff of mostly NASA are gone, and Port Canaveral has lost 95% of its staff in the past five years.

Over on Merritt Island the Kennedy Space Center is now a missile museum though we declined to pay the $75 admission fee for a look at space capsules and an interactive learning center always a phenomenal bore.

Kennedy Space Center

After the Civil War freed slaves and the occasional Confederate colonel came to this area of central Florida and it remained remote and moribund until the 1950s and 60s when the lunar quest ignited it; Cocoa Beach became a city where NASA personnel lived until it closed down in 2010. Today the 60s Pier is in disrepair, the scores of 90s condos on the beautiful sandy beaches seem largely uninhabited and in the middle range “gated” communities nothing much seems to be happening. Ron Jon surf center and others wait for the surfers to come but we did not see a one in the February high season though we were invited to a presentation by the Ron Jon Caribe Resort a development by one Joseph Zilber from Milwaukee who has created a village of time shares now called ”vacation ownership”.

Port Canaveral Dusk

We stayed in Cocoa Beach at the exact moment in time the drama of the stranded Carnival Triumph was being played out live…….everyone knew that the damned thing could have been back in a Mexican port a day after the fire but was towed to Alabama because it was cheaper than flying everyone home from Cancun. Still, yes still we saw thousands more wedged into the floating Super 8 Motels, the Disney and Norwegian cruise “liners” lurking menacingly at Port Canaveral.

This is Real Florida – not quite Everglades City or Lake Okeechobee—but still the UnNaples or UnMiami where Astronaut Boulevard had Cheaters, and Lido strip joints and biker eateries called La Cantina and hundreds of booze stores. You can still smoke in outside restaurants, really rather fun, such as Milliken’s Reef on The Cove in Port Canaveral. The music, the sheer number of talented bands, and singers and musicians in Canaveral, Cocoa, and Melbourne is very notable. Every dingy little bar has a talent or two singing and strumming away. At Heidi’s Jazz, Corky Siegel was singing away and we liked singer Paul Christopher alot.Check out his website.

Only Imagine!

The drive to Melbourne past Patrick Air Force Base recalls the military atolls in Guam with scores of seemingly empty condo buildings on the shore side of the highway. Who built all these? Who could ever afford them? Where did they expect the numbers to materialize? This is what Dubai must be like. More than 12,000 civilian Air Force workers at Patrick Air Force Base and other Florida military installations faced furloughs of up to 22 days because of sequester this week. This saved the government $94.5 million and the Defense Department $46 billion from its fiscal 2013 budget. Whether we get bombed by North Korea or Iran before September 30th is anyone’s guess.

All Aboard

Though Melbourne was also founded by freed slaves one wonders where their descendants went since it is all lily white today. At the Eau Gallie Fish Fry one Saturday we could not help but note how homogeneous the population is in this curious backwater. By the way at the Bay Tree Country Club in the city when we mentioned Chicago everyone chimed in “Murder Capitol of the World.” Rahm should really hire a damage control company to address this. Or even better try to come to serious terms with the problem.

Selby Library

We escaped and drove west to Sarasota trying to avert our eyes as we passed Orlando so as not to see the pink and blue goofiness of the skyline as we imagined dumb hordes waiting in line. We never have, even as a youth, and hopefully never will have to, do anything to do with Disney’s democracy- in- action theme parks. Though born in Chicago (2156 N. Tripp) Disney was from Missouri, conservative middle America, and he could put his juvenile stamp on American culture for all time because he lived at the right time when the Country Was New.

Orlando has third highest foreclosure rate in America and is also the country’s “most financially stressed city” (Ocala number one and Miami number two). In Sarasota the foreclosure nightmare was said to be abating as New York investment firms are buying up SW Florida residential properties to rent indicating rental is the future of the foreclosed properties.

Buffalo Creek

We stayed in a gorgeous condo right in front of the V- Day kissing couple obviously from same “sculptor” as the Monster Marilyn, overlooking Sarasota Bay, Jack’s Marina and the suave bridge to St. Armand’s Circle with its expensive fish restaurants. Not inclined to do anymore sightseeing we spent time in the Selby Library designed by architect Eugene Aubry and opened in 1998,( the previous one in the 70s designed by Walter Netsch apparently in the shape of sails.)  It is located in downtown “historic” Sarasota across from Starbucks and Whole Foods and far from the blistering social problems of the rest of the sprawling city. Each morning busloads of the homeless settled into the library for free coffee and made the library so odiferous it was almost unusable. The sweet shufflers pretended not to notice.

A few observations

Sarasota Sunset

Deltona is the real Florida, poor white people with WASP surnames living in what appear to be shacks or trailers. Windows in cars are blacked out, no one wears motorcycle helmets. Lutheran, Methodist , Baptist, Church of Christs abound. You are in the South.

A great shortage of doctors in Florida is a big problem if you’re thinking of moving there. Slapdash Urgent Care centers are the temporary solution though care there spotty at best.

On the upside Florida is very aggressive in protecting the environment which is of course the livelihood of the state. Some 68 python were found in the Everglades in a contest to find as many of the invasive species as possible. Invasive plants are also snuffed out.. From water quality to land acquisition of environmentally important land recalls Jeb Bush’s Florida Forever campaign.

On the drive back to Chicago we stayed in foreclosure capitol Ocala presumably horse country but all we saw was La Quinta and Outback Steak, typical of highway driving routes all over the country.

Georgia must be the only state that permits thousands of billboards,  nonstop gigantic overhead advertising, mainly touting truck stop hookers, along the interstate. At the Magnolia House stop along the way you can buy pecans or T-shirts with the confederate flag.

Then overnight in Chattanooga where there is some local industry in the beautiful southern Appalachian setting —  VW, Coca Cola Bottling, Wrigley’s Altoids and Life Savers and McKee’s Little Debbie are all made there. Two tone mesh baseball caps on local guys running around in packs of three or four at the chain Logan’s Roadhouse.

There are scores of stray house cats all over Florida, as well as omnipresent cheeky vultures and wild peacocks, brown hens and resplendent blue males.

0

Travel Photos

December 25, 2012

A Visual Year in Review. Truly appreciate your reading Lucia’s Symposium. Best to you all.

Lucia

ENGLISH GARDEN

 

 

THE BEAR WOODSTOCK, OXFORDSHIRE

 

VENICE FLORIDA

 

ANTIETAM

 

WILLIAMSBURG

 

EVERGLADES

CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDENS

 

ROYAL LYTHAM ST.ANNE’S GOLF CLUB

 

 

 

PAT BOONE AT ADRIAN COLLEGE

 

RIELVAUX ABBEY

BLUE RIDGE HIGHWAY

 

 

CONISTON WATER

 

DALI MUSEUM ST.PETERSBURG

 

SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS

JAMESTOWN

 

YORKSHIRE MOORS

AMISH PLAYGROUND INDIANA

 

GRAZING IN GRASMERE

CASTLE HOWARD

SARASOTA

CHAINSAW SCULPTURE, INDIANA

LONG ISLAND CLASS REUNION

 

BALTIMORE HARBOR

0

Northern England O !

November 1, 2012

N.Yorkshire Moors

We returned to the royal throne of kings, the sceptered isle, after three decades to find that even in late October its cities and historic towns were overwhelmed with tourists. And so many from The Orient!  Our England is always the countryside, the counties, the gardens, the foliage, the farms, the fells and dales and moors, the sheep and ravens. The North.

We bolted out of Manchester straight up the M6 to Lancaster and the row house where we lived on St. Mary’s Parade in front of the Castle. Not much has changed in this gritty county town but the University which was muddy roads and two colleges in 1968 is now vast, unrecognizable with a –GASP—huge sports complex and 20,000 students, half foreign born.  The manager of the Horse and Carriage Hotel where we stayed on St. George’s Quay was however the son of the pub masters in Lonsdale College where we spent much time.

 

St. Mary’s Parade

Waking to what the locals call “filthy” weather where the black clouds seem a few feet from your head we remembered why we left years ago; continuing north to the Lake District. Then the preternatural gloom lifted, gloriously revealing a perfect autumn day in the high fells with Cumbrian mountains cloaked in muted colors reflected in the still lakes. The sky with its swiftly changing clouds and fluorescent surreal lighting sets this landscape apart from all the others in the world.  Right out of a Pre-Raph painting.

Grasmere, Ambleside, Hawkshead, Coniston, Keswick all have a few too many tea shoppes and Beatrix Potter outlets but commerce cannot ever ruin the staggering natural beauty that lured the poets and painters. We made the pilgrimage to Brantwood John Ruskin’s estate on Coniston Water which we tried to save from the wrecking ball and the University of Texas, successfully so it seems. The English off handed indifferent attempt at commercialism and being (depressingly) children friendly was much appreciated.

At Brantwood

Since The Toffs still rule the roost in old Albion where snobbery and class consciousness are as profound as ever, fancy restaurants are the costly alternatives to chippies. At The Samling on Windermere localism was at its self-conscious height and for 50 quid sans vin one et Morecambe Bay Crab, Cartmel Valley Quail and Salt Marsh Lamb. We didn’t make it this time to Sharrow Bay or Dungeon Ghyll or Miller Howe for there was too much to see and we wanted to move on.

We headed from Penrith to the North Riding of Yorkshire past Barnard Castle and Bowes Museum, both dark and dingy decades ago but now fully restored, then stopped at Eggleston Abbey where the first look at the expanse of North Yorkshire was breathtaking. This is why you come to England. Gorgeous countryside with picturesque ruins of castles and abbeys. Dreamlike, resonant.

The city of York a casualty of demographics, local and foreign, crowded, traffic clogged, ugly and dirty and so different from the beautiful walled town we remember. We attended a long Evensong in the choir of York Minster looking for carved gargoyles under the seats then repaired to The Hole in the Wall for local bitter and steak and ale pie. The option was a free bottle of plonk with two orders from the grill. So WC!

Castle Howard

It was a profound relief to escape just fifteen miles north to the Vanbrugh masterpiece Castle Howard the setting for all those films about the fictional Flyte family from Waugh’s novel Brideshead.  As in 1972 we sat on the great lawn, strolled the thousand acres of Capability Brown’s landscape genius and searched for Hawksmoor’s Temple of the Four Winds, still Gothically untended, blackened and crumbling.

Castle Howard

A quarter million visit annually but apparently not in late October and we had the house to ourselves with workmen who were setting up the outdoor stages and tents for a family celebration the following week. The Castle is inhabited by Simon Howard, his wife Victoria Barnsley, head of Harper Collins UK, and their children Octavia and Martin. According to The Telegraph they expended 250K pounds to entertain guests on the grounds, 200 seated, 200 for a buffet (can hardly imagine the social jockeying here.)

North Yorkshire

Since we had booked no rooms in advance and having sworn off B&Bs forever (shudder) we searched for local hotels. At the quintessential Yorks village Pickering we were advised to try The Feathers in Helmsley. Now that was jolly good luck. Located in Ryedale at the end of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and in the very centre of the medieval market square it was perfect, especially since our stay coincided with the weekly farmer’s market and the opening season of pheasant hunting. Local squires in Wellies and green tweeds and shotguns at the ready congregated on the square in the morning and in the pubs after a day’s shooting. Up Carlton Bank were the best views of the heather moors with a staggering number of pheasant families, alas with some casualties along the road that the hounds missed that morning.

Rielvaux

Close by was Rielvaux Abbey at the valley on the edge of the moors where 900 years ago the first French Cistercian abbey in northern England was established. Monks and geese still walked the grounds of the ruins in the light fog. What more is there to say? Land of abbeys and castles and glorious ruins!

Cambridge

Off we went to Lincoln for a night at the Queen Charlotte Hotel, dark and forbidding with a loud local wedding party — very Breughelesque.  Finally the object of our quest, Cambridge. Cambridge. For thirty years we dreamed about our magical year reading Roger Fry’s papers in the King’s College Library with Quentin Bell who was also sifting through the papers of his teacher. Well in 2012 we were just another tourist, grabbing a beer at the absolutely mobbed Eagle where once we had supped with Sir Geoffrey Elton and now ……..oh never mind. One couldn’t visit old haunts since colleges were closed for half term graduation ceremonies. Punting has become a common activity for the plebes.

Actors in Oxford

Oxford

Well at least Oxford didn’t have as many memories beyond the drinks in the digs of Richard Cobb at Bailliol or the annual stay at Lawrence Stone’s house in Woodstock. The bloody city was, however, like Cambridge, so swarming with people it was distracting and irritating, a year round tourist trap jumping with film companies and noisy hordes………oh dear.

We chose to stay inWoodstock in the Oxfordshire part of the Cotswolds which reach into six counties with beautiful villages in that honey colored Jurassic limestone. Each county jealously guards its piece of the pie like little chauvinistic principalities.   The Bear an inn in the old part of the town was a good choice and you could see Blenheim out the back door.  Though we were tempted to see another Vanbrugh masterpiece. where the 11th Duke of Marlborough still lives, the tour buses approaching at seven in the morning for a day on the grounds was discouraging.

Thence to Chipping Norton deemed a Set with residents like that creepy phone hacking journalist Rebekah whatever her name, the Prime Minister and other self made millionaires is an an upper crust town where the local tea shops offer excellent coffee and no bacon butties but fresh spinach and goat cheese eggs.

The Feathers

We raced past Stratford on Avon so quaint those years ago and now a logistics nightmare driving straight to Warwick Castle which had become more Disney than Disneyland, a theme park for thousands of children in Halloween mode, the worst single example of ersatz commercialism in England, tacky, over the top, absurd. We fled.

Then the weather let us down completely and the dark skies glowered for the last three days so no hope of seeing the Shropshire and Cheshire countryside which vanished in the mist. Burton on the Wold was barely visible in the white fog which lifted a wee bit at Moreton-le-Marsh an ancient market town with wonderful 18th century townhouses now housing fine shops. We bought some Wensleydale cheese and chutney for lunch then viewed the  Celia Lendis Gallery with Steve Mitchell’s paintings far more sophisticated than anything in River North and furniture stores to rival Manifeso.

Helmsley Hunters

Chester

Inching closer to Manchester we stayed in Shrewsbury in despair at having utterly mistaken that it was Ludlow and the Feathers where we wished to visit not this dowdy old town with the Prince Rupert Hotel right out of a 50s Tyrone Power flic.Oh well Chester was like Lancaster and Cambridge– largely unrecognizable. Located on the Welsh border and undecided whether to drive to Conway Castle we settled for thousand year old  Chester Cathedral and a walk along the roman walls then had lunch at the Chester Grosvenor a respite from the shoppers and the loud live music outside.

 Royal Lytham St.Anne’s Golf Course the site of  British Opens and a private club did not allow entrance to the clubhouse because of our friend’s sneakers and athletic pants.

Located near St.Anne’s a windy Irish Sea “resort” town, really a mini Blackpool or Morecambe with the early Beatles melancholia of lost working class lives, silted over sands on the beach, eternal fish and chips and bitters.

Lakeland Fells

Enfin

England always resonates with us as with every literate person on the planet, because of its language and literature. One cannot imagine life without the Written English Word from Beowulf  to James Herriot from Thirsk, Yorks. We took Churchills’s  African Journal from 1908 along for reading on the long uncomfortable flight (never again to coach seating) and was overwhelmed by the beauty of his prose.

Love the Times, the Telegraph with their judicious blend of news and gossip, not to mention the Court Circulars.The big story was the dead entertainer Jimmy Savile’s purported pedophilia, rather ghoulish finger pointing at the BBC who Penn State like knew and did not tell.

Downton Abbey not as popular as in America though we saw upcoming episodes due here next year. A hundred years ago those Howards and Marlboroughs employed over 1/3rd of the English population so the life of service hits rather too close to home in England.

Piers Morgan a “transatlantic chatshow host” who has hung himself with his book The Insider revealing knowledge of hacking apparently.

Conrad Black the “tricky Teflon coated fraudster” unable to escape the “fragrant” extravagant wife and looking flabby and truculent, determined to return to the House of Lords, which is silly anyway.

Premier of the Bond flic with Chester lad Daniel Craig sour and churlish with the fans.

The Middleton family’s Party Pieces doing 007 theme parties and a general Hands Off Kate and Wills in the press.

The hard working royals helicoptering all over the counties all the time as in Charles at a Shropshire art gallery amused that his wife bought a painting of a chicken (yes, she loves them!) and quipping that he simply cannot control her.

Some Photos

Blenheim

St.John’s GradBuskers

 

Temple of the Four Winds

 

Portrait of Simon Howard

 

St. Oswald’s Church

Herdwick Sheep

 

 

J.Atkinson’s, Lancaster

 

Chester Cathedral

Rob at Horse & Wagon

 

 

Ruskin at Brantwood

2

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.

 

Litteraire

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.

Megan

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.

Economies

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

Joe!

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.

 

Etc.

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.

0

Wadsworth Wetlands

September 21, 2012

A little late due to Comcast router problems which held us up for a week.

 

Expo Chicago thrust the city back on to the serious international art map. Suave, sophisticated and easy to negotiate with dashing interior design and the subtle lighting it was mercifully free of gimmick and garbage that masqueraded as art in ArtChicago et.al. Tony Karman dodged trendy landmines and created a gorgeous global event. Evocative representational art exceeded the decorative wall covering of most abstraction.

The large scale photography breathtaking and loved Brian Bess’ use of video HD monitors behind wall mounted, framed pictures. The sketchy catalogue gives little idea of the scope of the talent. Chicago artists like Ellen Lanyon and Paschke seemed surprisingly provincial, too much “affect” if you know what we mean.  And though Douglas Dawson is our favorite gallery in the city, the18th and 19th century sculpture and artifacts a tad incongruous, as in this precious Japanese hare.

Rauschenberg

We made on our annual pilgrimage to Walworth, Wisconsin riding the back roads from to Union to Marengo, Huntley, lovely downtown Harvard, Illinois, crossing the state line to Sandy’s Upscale Consignment Shop which ain’t so upscale anymore. Gather the Lake Geneva ladies not unloading their wares much anymore. Along the way we observed the devastation of the hot summer in mile after mile after sad mile of scorched unpicked corn.

Trump is one of the great comical characters of all time like Shakespeare’s Falstaff or Tilleulenspiegel and whatever folkish character his Swedish forbears had. His inflated, imperial style evident in the extreme hotel/ tower which has the monumental intimidating scale of  Berlin or Dusseldorf between the wars.

Susan,Ed and Hazel

Tres Seizieme Arrondissment. Susan and Fred Gohl’s apartment was designed by John Regas and believe us the Duchesses of Windsor or Devonshire would feel right at home here with its haute European style. A late summer soiree included Ann Gerber, Barrington horse people,(remember Flying Dutchman Farm?)  Mamie Walton, Cynthia Olsen, Father Ken Velo, Cookie Cohen, Lynda Silverman listening to Cole on the Steinway and enjoying the views from one of the endless number of balconies.

The Paul McGrath Memorial at Riccardo’s brought back memories to many from the Jane Byrne era when Paul was chief of staff and Noreen McBride the decorum chief. A wild and woolly time with Jose’s very stiff drinks and free leftover lasagna verde consumed in view of the sepulchrous Ivan Abright painting of Mrs. Bloch. If you lasted long enough you could boogie to Clarence Peterson’s clarinet or argue with Don Rose about capitalism. Today 437 Restaurant on this hallowed space is homogenized, pasterurized, denatured, declawed like everything else in 2012.

Yon and Cheri

When did the world become a copy of the world we know? When did it become inauthentic? Well, friends, it’s called commercialism, raiding the past to sell something we don’t really need or probably even want.

The Astor Street al fresco street pahty was a faintest reflection of others, with numbers significantly down and one noting who was not there rather than who was. No Hermans and Malkins, no Leslie and Bill and no sightings of any aldermen. We always however enjoy saying bi annual howdee do to George Weeks, John Valentine, Bill Daley,  and those circling the bounteous table of Heather Johnston, this year’s host also Kimberly Gleeson.

We did spy Shia Kapos interviewing Police Chief Garry McCarthy surrounded by les flics and looking dour. We still don’t fully comprehend why every morning we read of murders and shootings galore in Chicago. Surely something can be done though there’d be the usual caterwauling about police state and such.

Chief McCarthy and Ms.Kapos

The Newberry’s 125th  Anniversary exhibition is worth a look even if you cannot actually read books or see the maps in the dark rooms; we can plop things down on Mars but cannot invent a light that will not damage paper? If you squinted and looked hard enough you could read the Dill Pickle Club’s “Night in Bohemia” program booklet, which took place on October 16, 1916 with Chicago’s “radical elite” including Darrow and Sandberg attending. (Do we have any more of these? Doubt it). Or the 1588 map of the USA which ends right on the Florida /Georgia border or the 1692 French contract for beaver pelts from Michilimachinac. If you have any historically important documents give them to the Newberry for posterity.

How to ruin a Farmer’s Market. Allow some street person to stand on the corner of Division and State with the largest imaginable boom box amped up to loudest count and massacre the classical music station while the too- polite vegetable eaters gamely endure it and the local shrugs as says it’s just fine because he’s got a permit.

At Expo

Pleasant  surprise to find an idyll in Vernon Hills Illinois namely Opa Estatoria – you know dolmades and mousakka on the banks of a river. Do go, a restaurant is after all 80 percent ambiance. Celebrating a seventh decade on planet earth we dined at Mon Ami Gabi  where so many tables were jammed onto the patio outdoors we could actually hear strangers chewing.  The food French such a relief from ubiquitous Italian which is basically so peasanty.

At a First Thursday lunch at the Peninsula we met witty Doreen Rogers board member of the Juvenile Protection Association which helps at risk vulnerable school children through counseling and therapy. Love Shanghai but the waitstaff too solicitous buzzing around with questions and the continuous filling of water glasses.

Schneider Family

En route to Kenosha Country Club (OK so it’s not Greenwich CT) over Labor Day the motorway passed by the endless Wadsworth Wetlands Preserve in Lake County. Before restoration work began in 1983, the land had been drained for farmland, mined for sand and gravel and then abandoned and most of the original wetlands  destroyed. Today, prairies have been restored, and the wetlands are again functioning to provide flood control and improve water quality. Worth a visit.

Errant Thoughts

When did the “Mother” universally become the childishly familiar “Mom”? The first lady calls herself Mom- in- Chief  recalling that ghastly character four years ago calling herself Soccer Mom.

We also loathe the word “amazing” which has replaced “awesome” in everyone’s increasingly limited vocabulary. And the ubiquitous “arguably” when you don’t have the conviction of what you are saying.  It either is or it isn’t. Wait a minute — when did “way” become a substitute for “very”?  To say something is way this or that is to….well never mind.

Canoe Birch, Harvard

You’ve got to read Nell Casey’s article in T&C, Me, A Love Story about those who’s egos are bigger than their talent as in that overbearing Huffington woman, (Mother would say she has “too many genes”)  or artist Julian Schnabel or the Loonies Gaga and Lohan.  BTW lucky Texan Dr.Phil. had a hilarious exchange with Dina Lohan who appeared to be a tad medicated and made fun of his shoes and tie. That’s good TV.

Now that the above glossy had the article on the Chicago Rockefeller, ChiMag quickens up the pace and ordains that her novel a Number One Must Read. Decidedly NOT the way to establish a literary reputation.

We spent what seems like a lifetime hating the National Review but today we must admit we like the prose and attitude, the sophisticated writing of an actual educated adult. As in “John Lennon’s juvenile paean to debonair nihilism, recently featured at the closing ceremonies of the XXX Olympiad,,,” .or Helen Gurley Brown’s many facelifts that ultimately left her “mummified.”

Who, one wonders, is the intended audience for the SunTimes SPLASH feature? So low brow it has everyone raising their’s in disbelief. The news is something someone doesn’t want published but in this case no one would care it is so blandly innocuous.

Books and Blokes

Goodbye East End Summer

It’s Time the British royals rethink their ridiculous anachronistic Pax Britannica ceremonies. The poor souls in the Firm will never get a rest no matter how many lawsuits are out there. The time is right now to put in place the Scandinavian model of “monarchy” (even the word is bizarre).

The Journals of novelist Anthony Powell (has anyone actually ever read Dance to the Music of Time?) are surprisingly replete with many I knew or met such as Rosamund (real name “Peggy”) Bernier at the old and much missed Arts Club when she lectured on Proust for two hours, never drawing a breath.

Powell wonderfully catty — Nancy Mitford a self conscious bore, Waugh a relentless and shameless social climber like so poor people were and are, Debo the current Duchess of Devonshire much the nicest of the lot. She is still extant and recently collected some essays into a new anthology All in One Basket. She said she buys her clothing at agricultural shows though no doubt lets out the seams of the old Mainbocher for special occasions. Love it when the aristos try to be democratic.

Almond's,Bridghampton

A propos of which we just saw the usual preposterous Hollywood drivel The Duchess ( of the same Devonshire clan) set in 18th century and completely ruined by the spastic untalented Kiera Knightly who was only ever good as a Cockney teenager in Bend it Like Beckham.

 Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is an exotic memoir of living with a dysfunctional , often drunk (English) mother in Africa in the 70s. Charming though we still recommend Elspeth Huxley’s books for a take on the earlier period which has an abiding allure for us.

 

 

 

0

Conrad Black

September 1, 2012

 

Patriotic Kid in Montauk

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.

At the O'Connor's

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.”

Susie's Loft Party

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.

Fraternization

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.

On the Roof

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.

A Fifties 12 year old

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.

KJ and Friends

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?

Airplane Spotting

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?

Looking South from the 23rd Floor

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.

Lunch on Chicago Avenue

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.

 

 

0