Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Leap to be Veep

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida ("Little Marco," as Donald Trump dubbed him) has declared he would "do anything to help" Trump be elected President of the United States.

Translation: "Please, Mr. Trump, let me be your running mate! And those bad things I said about you in the primaries? I was only joking, sir. Really. Ha ha. Can I get you a latte?"

Friday, May 27, 2016

Stars Come Out for Trump

A recent note in The New Yorker reported on a small gathering of film industry folk who identify as Republicans. That is, however, the only way they wish to be identified, as being Republican in Hollywood is a sure way not to get cast in a movie by Stephen Spielberg or Ron Howard or George Clooney.

There is, however, a handful of major players who will continue to get work, even though they bear the Republican brand. Leading this renegade lot are Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer.

What this means is that Donald Trump can count on the support of Dirty Harry, Midnight Cowboy and Sideshow Bob.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Miles Ahead at Ninety

Either May 25 or May 26 was the birth day of Miles Davis. There is disagreement. But either way, he would be ninety years old this year, give or take a day.

"Hard to imagine Miles at ninety," said Freddie Freeloader, as we were sipping some Bitches Brew and waiting for les Filles de Kilimanjaro to turn up. "Some," Freddie continued, "might say So What, but I treasure the days when Miles was Cookin'."

Meditating In a Silent Way on Miles making those Seven Steps to Heaven and going Solar, I have to admit I felt Kind of Blue.

But still, with all that music, with Trane and Cannonball and the rhythm section and Gil Evans, we're all Miles Ahead.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Napoleon and the Tortoise

Because it was also Victoria Day, it may have escaped notice that May 23 was World Turtle Day. Friends of turtles and tortoises were urged to wear turtleneck sweaters or turtle green. Turtle soup was not on the menu.

While re-reading "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "Yertle the Turtle," we were surprised that there was no mention of Jonathan, the Seychelles giant tortoise who lives on the island of St. Helena. Jonathan is about 185 years old, and shared residency on St. Helena with the exiled Napoleon.

Several attempts over the years have been made to interview Jonathan to get his slant on the deposed Emperor. But, to no avail. No one, it seems, has mastered turtle talk. Either that, or Jonathan is holding out for a larger fee.

Or he wants to meet Megyn Kelly.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Music for Victoria Day

It has to be Mendelssohn.

Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, were musical cognoscenti; both played keyboards and both sang. Victoria wrote of Albert on the day of their engagement "singing to me some of his own compositions, which are beautiful, and he has a very fine voice. I also sang for him."

The Royal couple's musical idol was Felix Mendelssohn, who became a friend, and a frequent visitor to Buckingham Palace. There are period illustrations of the three of them, sometimes Mendelssohn at the piano, sometimes Albert at the organ.

And sometimes Victoria sang (once the pet parrot had been taken out of the room; the bird liked to join in). Mendelssohn said of the young Queen, "she sang quite faultlessly and with much feeling and expression. I praised her warmly."

Would that there were recordings. But still, on Victoria Day, you can play Mendelssohn. The Queen would approve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Hair Summit

Donald Trump, the presumed Republican Party nominee for President of the United States, has said that if elected, he will meet with North Korea Chairman Kim Jong-Un. We bring you a preview of this historic encounter.

Trump: Nice hair, Chairman Kim.

Kim: And yours. Very handsome, President Trump. Much nicer than Mrs. Clinton's.

Trump: Thank you. It was a close election. I like to say I won by a hair.

Kim: Ha ha.

Trump: Ha ha.

Kim: Best hair I have seen on an American since we were visited by Dennis Rodman.

Trump: You mean Supreme Court Justice Rodman.

Kim: An excellent appointment. He and Justice Gary Busey will restore dignity to the court.

Trump: I have brought you a gift from my country, President Kim.

Kim: Really? How wonderful! I love gifts! What is it?

Trump: It's a tube of Brylcreem, the Cognac of hair creams. A little dab'll do ya.

Kim: A little dab will do it--like a little dab of enriched plutonium.

Trump: Ha ha.

Kim: Ha ha.

Trump: Well, I guess that wraps it up.

Kim: Wasn't there something else you wanted to talk about?

Trump: Can't remember. You know, hair today, gone tomorrow.

Kim: Ha ha.

Trump: Ha ha.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Triskaidekophobia. The one seven-syllable word almost everyone knows.

And that's because almost everyone has it. Triskaidekophobia--morbid fear of Friday the 13th.

Or 13 in any form. You won't find a Floor 13 in any high-rise.

Okay, how come? Why this irrational fear of a number? The most common explanation is that there were thirteen persons present at the Last Supper, and that led to very bad news.

But we don't know there were only thirteen in the Upper Room that fateful Passover. And the number thirteen has no recurring significance in either the New Testament or the Old. The numbers that seem to have meaning are three and forty, sometimes ten and certainly twelve.

Three is still big--three on a match, three times lucky, three strikes and you're out.

But only thirteen has a song written for it. And the song is, of course--"Triskaidekophobia."

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tyson and Cheney for Trump!

Republican heavyweights, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, both former Presidents Bush, Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney, have voiced discontent at the apparently unstoppable run to the nomination of Donald Trump.

But Trump can take comfort in receiving support from former Veep Dick Cheney. If Mr. Weapons of Mass Destruction is for you, how can you be wrong?

Also on the Trump bandwagon: Mike Tyson, John Daly and Dennis Rodman. If Trump makes it into the White House, expect to see them in his cabinet. His liquor cabinet.

Meanwhile, Candidate Trump has announced that not only is he going to have a wall built along the border with Mexico, he is going to have a ceiling built over the entire country--"to keep those extraterrestrials out."

And who's going to pay for it? "The Martians are going to pay for it."

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dining Out in 1976

The other day, digging thru our collection of cookbooks and writings on food, from Len Deighton's "Action Cookbook" to Barbara-Jo McIntosh's "Tin Fish Gourmet," we came across a 1976 copy of Nathan Divinsky's Dining Guide.

Nathan Divinsky--"Tuzie" to his chess- and bridge-playing buddies--was a professor of mathematics at the University of British Columbia, but among his avocations were dining, and writing about his restaurant experiences. He published at least four editions of "Divinsky's Guide to Dining," and they still make entertaining reading.

What stands out in the 1976 guide is his note on restaurant prices, based on the cost of a three-course meal. "Inexpensive" meant less than five dollars; "moderate" was five to ten dollars; "expensive" was ten dollars or more.

I can hear Professor Divinsky now--"What, you spent twelve dollars on dinner? Are you out of your mind?"

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sumer is Icumen In

Okay, feel that heat? So pull on your Speedo or bikini, slather on the +45 sun screen, mix a Campari and soda, and join in singing the oldest known song in the English tongue:

Sumer is icumen in,
Loude sing cuckou!
Groweth seed and bloweth meed,
And springth the wode now.
Sing cuckou!

Ewe bleteth after lamb,
Loweth after calve cow,
Bulloc sterteth, bucke verteth,
Merye sing cuckou!
Cuckou, cuckou,
Wel singest thou cuckou:
Ne swik thou never now!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Yorker values

There are many of us who would subscribe to The New Yorker for its cartoons alone--twelve or fifteen in each week's issue.

The surprise in the April 25 New Yorker: every cartoon is a Donald Trump gag, beginning with one by (the now, sadly, late) William Hamilton. It shows a middle-aged man--one of Hamilton's typical upper class characters--trying to tease his hair into a Trump forelock

The drawing could be seen as a metaphor for what is happening within the Republican Party--the establishment attempting to bring itself around to embrace their (in Trump's words) "presumptive nominee."

Many funny cartoons.

Of course, if Trump did barrel ahead and become President, the laugh would be on us. And U.S.