Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
The London version of Mister Softee is Mr. Whippy. Being too cutesy for words prevails on both sides of The Pond.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The following expressions don’t bear too much analysis; however…. Have complained before about over-used or incorrectly used catch phrases and words, but there are a couple that do amuse me, although I can’t recall using them myself. They are “Kick the can down the road” and “Throw him/her under the bus.” I believe the late William Safire dealt with one or both of these in his much-missed “On Language” columns in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.
A little online research reveals:
Definition of “kick the can down the road”
To procrastinate. "Kicking the can down the road" has been a favorite metaphor politicians have used to describe someone who is postponing a decision or avoiding an issue.
Definition of “throw under the bus”
One is thrown under the bus when made the scapegoat or blamed for something that wasn't one’s responsibility in the first place. A coverup for your mistake. You get thrown under the bus when someone (usually a co-worker) reports some wrongdoing or slacking off to a superior or other influential person. Sometimes used with the suffix "Vrooooom!" to simulate the noise the bus would make as it passes by at a high rate of speed.Lately, there has been a veritable flood of “kick the can” usage in connection with legislative debates concerning national debt. How far that can will be kicked, no one knows. As for the bus, a lot of people are getting thrown under it these days.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The Royal Opera has climbed aboard the HD television bandwagon pioneered by the Metropolitan Opera's highly successful seasons of live matinee transmissions to theaters around the world. This week's live ROH offering was a stunning performance of Verdi's formerly underrated Macbeth, which has come to be appreciated in recent years. Perhaps English speakers and Shakespeare enthusiasts were put off in the past by characters addressed as "Macbetto," "Macduffo," "Banco," and "Il re Duncano." ("È morto e assassinato il re Duncano!") As someone fully conversant with the original text and fairly competent in Italian, I can admire Francesco Maria Piave's adaptation for the libretto, and I even enjoy a full chorus of witches instead of the original three. There were many imaginative touches in the staging, which was never over the top. One such was the delivery of Macbeth's letter to Lady M by one of the witches, who materialized and then vanished. Their supernatural, controlling powers were made evident.
Friday, June 3, 2011
My friend with the great apartment in a great location snapped this late-day view of park and skyscrapers yesterday. Wow! The fact that the summer solstice is near may have something to do with the wonderful light phenomenon.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Despite economic difficulties common to almost all enterprises great and small, Macy’s has continued to delight citizens of New York and elsewhere, especially twice a year with its July 4 fireworks display and spring flower show. This year’s show was somewhat garish, but nevertheless delightful as usual. The ground-floor location, devoted mostly to beauty products and jewelry, is enhanced by the many lush floral and foliage arrangements that reflect the aesthetic intent of most of the merchandise. I saw lots of people like me with their tiny digital cameras, but not too many actually making purchases.
Despite numerous upgrades and its longstanding fame from the film Miracle on 34th Street—and don’t forget the celebrated Christmas windows—Macy’s still isn’t a chic or even a really convenient place to shop. Still, they’ll always get me in there at least once a year to see the blooms.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Free-associating again, I was reminded of a childhood trip to New York City at Easter, long ago. The reason is that I was asked about current April weather, and what the visitor should wear. This made me think of how I nearly froze to death in my then-obligatory camel’s hair coat over what was probably a thin cotton dress. This, even though I wore the hat and gloves considered proper at the time. But the discomfort of the cold was more than offset by my very first Broadway show!
Long a fan of Alice in Wonderland—and long before I was really aware of the objects of Lewis Carroll’s satire (and his fondness for “children, except boys”)—I now realize that Mom had made a special effort for me to see this show, which I enjoyed unreservedly. Also, it starred a young dancer, Bambi Linn, who had received a lot of publicity for her talent and youthful success. A protégée of Agnes de Mille, she had already appeared in the dream ballet in Oklahoma! and as Louise in Carousel. An aspiring ballet dancer myself, I collected articles and pictures of Bambi and other dance notables, and she was one of my heroes.
The show itself used the Tenniel illustrations for its designs, which also made me happy. Although I don’t remember it all in detail, I do remember the great Eva LeGallienne, who also wrote the stage adaptation, flying in on a wire as the White Queen. I was fortunate enough to find this link, which describes the show in detail:
Saturday, March 19, 2011
It is the very error of the moon;
She comes more nearer earth than she was wont,
And makes men mad.
—Act V, scene ii
You can find something in Shakespeare for every occasion. Unlike the "birthers" who don't think President Obama was born in the U.S., or the doubters who don't think men have actually walked on the moon, I'm a believer that he was and they did. And also that the Bard wrote his own stuff, hardworking theater guy that he was.
I'm sorry that this photo of "supermoon" isn't mine; I cribbed it from an online Indian newspaper. My little Canon Powershot just couldn't deliver the goods this evening. I walked down to the end of East 52nd Street (where Garbo used to live, BTW) and joined a few other moongazers, a couple of whom were also trying for shots. Two families brought little children to see the phenomenon of a larger-than-usual full moon at its perigee, something that occurs only once every few years. A clear Manhattan night helped to make this view of la luna right over the landmark Pepsi-Cola sign on the East River especially memorable.
It's easier to worship the moon than it is the sun, because you can look right at the moon without damaging your eyes. And this one is certainly worth a long look.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Owing to some ongoing dental work, I’m temporarily obliged to seek out mushy—or, as I somehow prefer to pronounce it—“mooshy” food until the implant is completed. It occurred to me that gefilte fish, which I enjoy from time to time but actually seldom eat, would be an acceptable choice, being suitably mooshy.
The selection today at my local Food Emporium was not vast: no Rokeach, Mother’s, or Manischewitz, e.g., but only Mrs. Adler’s Old Jerusalem. So, Mrs. Adler made it into my shopping cart. Shortly thereafter, I was accosted by a short, gravel-voiced woman straight out of NYC central casting, who screeched, “Where’d ya find the gefilte fish?” I informed her, and then she asked, “What kind?” I showed her, and she replied, “Oh, Mrs. Adler—I like the other kind.” She didn’t say which this was.
This incident reminded me of the wonderful moment in Woody Allen’s Bananas, where Woody brings the bakery box, correctly tied up with string, as a house gift to the Latin American dictator, played by the immortal Carlos “El Exigente” Montalban. The dictator looks inside and says, not batting an eyelash, “Oh, this is prunes; I like cherries.”
I then made the near-fatal mistake of mentioning my reason for buying gefilte fish, and our New York heroine assured me that once I tasted it I would “get to like it.” She then said that my teeth looked beautiful as they were.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
You have to act quickly to enjoy snow-covered New York City, as the white stuff becomes grey and then black pretty quickly. Thank goodness for instant digital photography! The lovely grisaille-appearing view was taken by a friend from her kitchen window this morning, and the other two are my own.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Fortunately, most of my memory lapses concern trivia, usually movie titles. I’m ever grateful for the existence of imdb.com. (It also comes in handy when you absolutely can’t read the credits when the film is on TV.) Apparently sheer necessity enables me to remember credit card and bank account numbers, but not the name of the stage director husband of the actress I saw yesterday. And he directs a lot of opera, which means that I, especially, should remember his name! AARGH! This also goes for well-known musical selections. Sometimes the answers do finally float to the surface. I call this mental data retrieval.
I often have trouble remembering at least one of a list, e.g., the seventh dwarf or the ninth muse. For me, as a crossword addict, these are essential pieces of information. And, although I have hardly ever patronized any of them, I always forget one of the following three (not that it matters):
Callard and Bowser (former cookie company, now maker of Altoids)
Caswell-Massey (perfumes, soaps, toiletries)
Crabtree and Evelyn (same as above)
I mean, who cares anyway? I’d better make room in my overtaxed head for some really essential information. I guess all information is essential to me, though, relevant or not.