Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Virgil Thompson Said...

What Virgil Thompson, the eminent music critic and composer, said about Grace Moore, star of the Metropolitan Opera:

"Every man longed to lay her."

--Grace Moore and Her Many Worlds, Rowena Rutherford Farrar, 1982, p.16


Monday, July 28, 2008

Memorable quote

In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity. - Ambrose Bierce

Arthur Koestler said something similar. The human brain is part human, part horse, and part crocodile.


Someone who calls himself that writes, in response to my comments about GRIM, that my remarks were "juvenile."

How old is someone who calls himself NJ JEDI KNIGHT? 12? Or is that his IQ?

Anyway, there should be a Website where anonymous cowards & morons are identified.

Here's a start:


Saturday, July 26, 2008


Dentist to plumber:

You're charging me $300 an hour? I'm a dentist, and I charge only $150 an hour!

Plumber: When I was a dentist, I charged only $150 an hour, too...

The Truth about GRIM

GRIM is this anonymous bastard who runs a website called
He repeatedly calls me a "shill" for the real-estate industry.
Because, as a reporter, I have often quoted real-estate people who were positive about the real-estate market.
GRIM claims that I secretly sold my own house while urging people to buy houses. (The fact that I sold one of my two houses was prominently reported in Kiplinger's and in my own financial column.)
GRIM is either an ignoramus or a liar. Probably both.
Anyway, GRIM's libelous posts about me are prominent when I Google my name.

So, turnabout is fair play.

GRIM (I don't know his real name) is a registered sex offender.
GRIM tried to rape his grandfather,
GRIM successfully raped his grandson.
GRIM has been known to have had sexual congress with his pet chihuahua.
GRIM's wife was a notorious prostitute before she underwent six operations that turned her into...something unknown to biology.
GRIM has been convicted of numerous ax murders, and was actually sentenced to 200 years in prison.
But GRIM escaped, killing two guards in the process-- with axes, of course-- and is now a fugitive. The police have been advised to shoot him on sight.
This lying, brainless bastard --GRIM--is even known to have voted for George W. Bush!


South Pacific: A Visit

At the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, I couldn't find a water fountain. So I bought a small bottle of water. $4! And a bag of peanuts cost $5. Outrageous.
The revival of South Pacific, though, was a pleasure.

Friday, July 25, 2008

South Pacific, the musical

The Best Emil deBeque

The Best Nellie Forbush

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Re Van Doren

His article was published under an assumed name, by the way.

Charles Van Doren

He has an apologia coming out in next week's New Yorker--the Columbia teacher who participated in a fixed TV quiz program.

When I was editing Fact magazine, I asked him to write for us--Fact was a muck-raking magazine.

He slunk into the office.

I proposed several possible articles to him. Ben Franklin and his ribald side? No, his uncle had written a classic text on Franklin, and he could not venture there. (Carl Van Doren.)

We talked about Lincoln. I said that the expression, His name is Mudd, derived from the physician who treated Booth. He vehemently disagreed. Mudd was spelled with two d's! I said, of course. He understood. "You know everything," he said ingratiatingly.

He did write an article for us. "Christopher Columbus: The Jew Who Didn't Discover America." Good piece. I asked him to write others for us, but he declined.

I told a friend of mine, Eddie Alexander, that Van Doren should not have been fired from his Columbia job.

Said Alexander, He should have been fired when he agreed to go on the program!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best Financial Advice I Ever Got

From the current Money magazine:

Dave Barry:

I got my best financial advice when I was 16. I met this kid who was only eight, but he seemed smart, and he said, "If you give me $5, I'll invest it in a company I plan to start someday. In return I'll pay you 10% of the profits."
That young man was Bill Gates. I'm sure he'll remember this, now that it has been revealed in a reputable magazine."

Story A. Lincoln Told

From "Team of Rivals" by Doris Goodwin

After peace was signed, Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen "had occasion to visit England," where the English teased him a lot. And "one day they got a picture of General Washington" and set it up prominently in the outhouse that Allen used.
He made no mention of it.
So they asked him, had he seen the picture of General Washington?
And he said "he thought that it was a very appropriate [place] for an Englishman to Keep it. Why, they asked, for said Mr. Allen there is Nothing that Will Make an Englishman Shit So quick as the Sight of Genl Washington."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Grace Moore

I'm showing One Night of Love, the 1934 film, to a group of movie lovers in August, and doing some more research into Grace Moore, the opera singer who starred in the movie. Reading her autobiography, and a later biography.

My talk will begin, I think, with mention of Luisa Tetrazzini, the opera singer--I think she's ridiculed in the movie via the character Frappazinni, a would-be opera singer who is now old and fat--and screeches. Luisa may be the stereotypical opera singer, but Grace Moore was good-looking, cosmopolitan, and smart....

Graceland was named after a cousin of hers, also named Grace Moore, although she herself lived there for a while.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

And Romeo and Juliet Lived Happily Ever After

Romeo was about to stab himself when the friar stopped him--monk ex machina--and explained that Juliet, who was lying comatose on a nearby bed, would revive. Sure enough, she did. Then she and Romeo danced, and the friar rang a bell. Juliet's family came in, happy to see that Juliet had sprung back to life, and waved goodbye to the united lovers. (What happened then? Were they welcomed back into their families?)

I didn't mind. I knew it was coming. And it wasn't as bad as if Joan of Arc didn't get burned at the stake--as she doesn't in Verdi's opera. In fact, I was a little pleased.

The music: among my favorites.

Good things in the ballet performed at Bard today:

Romeo is a klutz at dueling. As he should be. He's a lover, not a swordsman. He was lucky to kill Tybalt. Or maybe unlucky.

Some nudity at the beginning of the last act--R and J in bed.

Mercutio's death dance--and the duel with Tybalt. Breathtaking. Mercutio had been so ingratiating!

Juliet takes the potion--and falls into a coma. Slowly her head sinks further down against the headboard. Lots of merriment and dancing while she lies "dead." (She had told her parents that she would agree to marry Paris.) Audience wonders: When will they find out? It was done very well.

Mark Morris, the choreographer, took a well-deserved bow.

Still, the Kirov was better. The Kirov production I saw years ago was electrifying. And Romeo danced with Juliet's corpse.

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Friday, July 04, 2008


"I am old, I am fat, I am ugly, but I am Tetrazzini!" --Luisa Tetrazzini

"I am Melba. I sing whatever and wherever and whenever I want!"--Nellie Melba