Thursday, December 31, 2015

What Are You Doing...

As for us, this year we're with the terrier presented to us by dear Mr. Addams in a rare non-macabre mood. Although I don't think, knowing Our Little Condo as I do, that there will be much in the way of festivities to lure us to the windows.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Onward and Upward with the Arts

I wonder, a lot, if I spend too much time online, to the detriment of filling my mind, such as it is, with better things.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Birthday Girl: Illusions

The extraordinary creature born Marie Magdalene Dietrich was a belated Christmas present to the world some 114 years ago today.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Box It Up - I'll Take It

Sometimes I think it's really on Boxing Day that we ought to be getting presents. Failing the gentleman himself, those fetching little boots might do nicely.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Have Yourselves a Mamie Little Christmas

A very Merry day to all, from Mr. Muscato, Koko, Boudi and me, with a little help from Ike and Mamie's 1960 Christmas greeting - a Café tradition, on and off, since 2009. There's just something about those calligraphic bangs that sends me into gales of giggles.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Redux: Heavenly Peace

I first posted this on Christmas Eve of 2013. As fast away this old year passes, the old world I was raised in feels ever further away - as far away on this warm December evening as a snow-covered lawn all those years ago. What the next year brings us, none of us yet can know, but I still hope for a measure, just a measure, of that himmlischer Ruh.

Another time the year goes 'round; another chance to revisit one of my earliest memories...

Three Little Girls with Three Little Curls

We'll revert to the traditional this evening, but here to get us through this most hectic day of the year, a salutory lesson:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

And Now, a Word from our (Holiday) Sponsor

Hard to believe it's just a couple of years before little Susie there will be demanding cha-cha heels and knocking over the tree.  A sentiment that, on opening her fourth Hoover household appliance, Mum can more than sympathize with.

And what the hell did a Keymatic do?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

'Tis the Season

Well, it's time to kick off the festive season, and with that comes traditions - few dearer to me than starting off each year with this little gem as the first Christmas song I listen to on purpose (as opposed to all the elevator music that's been being pumped out hither and yon since something like the week after Labor Day).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

All My Darling Daughters

So my new office, now that the good people of Golden Handcuffs Amalgamated International have moved our exiguous little unit up closer to the mother ship, as it were, is rather centrally located. Because we are in Our Nation's Capital, it's come as no surprise that one thing that means is that we are near museums.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mother of Exiles

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, 
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; 
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand 
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame 
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name 
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand 
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command 
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. 
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she 
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
- Emma Lazarus

Sunday, November 22, 2015

There and Back Again

Well, if nothing else, we certainly picked a good week to have a news blackout. Instead of dealing with the multiple awfulnesses and idiocies of the past seven days or so, I got to look at Caribbean sunrises. Here's one, in case you need it.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bright Song for a Dark Night

I posted something lighter-hearted earlier today; now that seems inappropriate. Maybe it will come back on a better day.

Tonight there can only be Piaf, the Little Sparrow and her "Hymne à l'amour."  I have to believe, no matter how the awful the moment may be, love will win. It seems a fine and correct coincidence that the film this is from is called Paris Still Sings.

Maybe not tonight, but it will again, and soon. Love wins.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Day is Gone

The great Miss Karen Akers takes a staple of M. Brel and, simply by the way she sings "In Flanders field the poppies die" turns a bittersweet love song into a sweetly bitter song that seems wholly appropriate for this eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Meanwhile, at Work...

Well - the title is close. No hussies this week, but more than enough hissy fits at the office.  We moved, you see, and believe me, there is something about an office move that does not bring out the best in one's colleagues.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Witchy Women

We're having a quiet Hallowe'en this year, but if we were to head to some theoretical costume party, I think I'd like to go as Aunts Enchantra and Hagatha.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ring It Off The Wall

Today, whoever it is who handles Things Digital for Miss Debbie Harry and company decided to startle me by pointing out that this little ditty first thrilled the waiting world 37 years ago today. As is now quite routine, I feel Old.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


An Excellent Woman in her natural habitat, at a jumble sale

With fall coming on - the trees in the landscape beyond our little terrace are turning, and the mornings are increasingly chilly when I go to walk the dogs - my thoughts as usual turn to things cozy and familiar.  As a result, I am rereading Excellent Women.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Miracle of 34th Street

Like most great stars, she had a face the camera loved; even more, she had a coloring that the tricky, fickle Technicolor camera turned into something as rich as cream and as a invigorating as a dose of cinnamon.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Revolting? You Bet We Were

Grainy photographs, pictures of neatly dressed, stone-faced people, walking, signs in hand.  Making history.  I'm reading a great book right now, kids, and I think you should, too.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Meanwhile, in Morocco

This stunning image, Irving Penn's 1951 snap of model Lisa Fonssagrives at a palace in Morocco, appeared in this morning's throwaway free paper, in among the sports scores and banal headlines, and my whole day has been the better for it.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Up to the Glitter

Well, darlings, on the (I'm sure very) off chance that your weekend hasn't turned out to be quite as soigné as perhaps you were hoping, why don't we drop in on Mr. Hefner and see what's happening up at his place?  As it turns out, the marvelous soul queen Carla Thomas has popped by as well, doing something rather magical to "Where do I Go?" from Hair.

Friday, October 16, 2015

"You Get to Live When You are Living"

Orchids and royalty in Mrs. Post's front hall

The end of another week, elhamdulileh, and a busy one it's been, too, with some odd and unexpected ups and downs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In the Garden of Good and Abstract

Canton Palace, Ohio, 1980

One of the little joys of my drudgery work is that it lies within hailing distance of Our Nation's Capital's principal tourist attractions, including the vast and sober museums that line the stately National Mall.  Today at lunch, it being a singularly quiet sort of Tuesday, I went for a walk.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mock Time That Flies

Earlier this week we celebrated National Poetry Week, and while I missed out, here, belatedly, is my contribution: Dame Edith Sitwell intoning her hypnotic "Through Gilded Trellises" against Sir William Waton's evocative, spare music from Facade.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dame Helen Mirren

Here to brighten up what is, at least in Our Nation's Capital, a gray and dreary day, one of the United Kingdom's most distinguished thespians.  And I bet you thought her appearance in Caligula was as far a cry as one could imagine from The Queen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This Much is Tru

Things fall apart.  That may be a title devised by Chinua Achebe, but it's as good a description of the life of Truman Capote as I know.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Brave Little Oysters (Etc.)...

You know, there are a lot of oysters at the National Gallery.  I mean in the paintings; we were there this past weekend, My Cousin the Architect and I, and while we enjoyed our lunch in the Garden Café, sadly the otherwise excellent buffet was oyster-free.  But in the Dutch still lifes, and even tucked here and there amid the Renaissance banquets?  Those bad boys are everywhere.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Splish Splash

As summer gives way to fall, it seems time to indulge in a little fantaisie orientale, don't you think?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ev'rybody Dance Now!

For no good reason other than it's a suddenly autumnal Sunday morning: ladies and gentlemen - the Penguin Dance.  Apparently this was a thing.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Severe Clear

A day so perfect, so crystalline; one on which there's truly not a cloud in the sky.  That's what it was.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Still Reigning

Well, she's done it, and if it the "it" is simply having lived this long, the manner in which she's done it comes as close as I can imagine one human's efforts could to actually deserving the global outpouring of praise and sheer affection that's coming her way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

See the Man

I don't believe I'd thought of Martin Milner, in anything more than the most fleeting of ways, in 20 years, at least until the sad news of his journey to Fabulon came out over the weekend.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Remember, Remember...

...The sad story of poor, ill-fated Juror Number Eight. Fashion's edicts are ignored at your peril.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Home and Dry

I've always liked the duality of this song - the usual glossy Pet Shop Boys beat, here augmented with scenes of arty anomie, contrasted with what amounts, in this context, to a frankly sentimental lyric.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What's My Wednesdays? # 13: Two Curvy Ladies

I don't know about you, but I seem to know a startlingly large number of people who are Jayne Mansfield fans - serious ones, too,  not just glancingly nostalgic ones.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Had to Get Away...

So I pulled a Bueller today.  I decided mid-morning that, given the choice of staying in Cubeland at Golden Handcuffs or heading home, napping with the dogs, and taking a swim in the condo pool (not, perhaps, quite as scenic as the one shown here in a fetching snap by dear Mr. Slim Aarons), and given that it is already the last week of summer, I really had no choice at all.  Off to the Metro it was.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Fine Day for Singing

Over in another corner of the cyberverse, dear TJB has noted that today would have been the 102nd birthday of a now nearly forgotten lady who was once one of the great éminences grises of Broadway and Hollywood, Sylvia Fine Kaye.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Redux: Thar She Blows!

In honor of today, the 132nd anniversary of the eruption of Krakatoa, a cataclysm that killed thousands and had repercussions as far away as Europe and the Americas, this admittedly only marginally related little gem (and accompanying favorite memory) that originally appeared here on August 4, 2012.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Birthday Boy...

...from all evidence in this snap, in his birthday suit.

Happy birthday, Maestro, you sexy thing, you... Like Auntie Mame, he was the pied piper, and how I lucky I was, for a little while, to follow his tune.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sister Act

The late Countess of Snowdon would have been 85 today, and really I rather wish she were.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Marriage of True Minds

Because I have a useless mind, one that retains bits and pieces from the distant past, but not, unfortunately, vital information put before it yesterday, I can tell you that today would have been my paternal grandparents' 95th wedding anniversary.  This happy couple, I should note, is not they, but it might as well have been, for isn't there something almost wholly interchangeable about most wedding pictures?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Damn, Damn, Damn

The news from Bangkok is horrifying.  When you read about the bombing of the Erawan Shrine, with the chaotic pictures taken in the dark of a scene that's impossible, really, to decipher except as the latest in the long and endless string of acts of pointless, horrible political violence that stud the world, I want you to remember this picture.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Once More, Let's Open That Door

I don't usually, magpie-like, post things I run across on other, infinitely more-trafficked sites, but over at his shiny new digs, dear JoeMyGod did us the favor yesterday of spreading the word about this gem, and I can't resist.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hat Check

For no good reason other than it's a dull Tuesday, let's look in on Sra. Peron as she picks a chapeau from her imposing collection.  The year is 1950, and Life is there, in the person of the excellent photographer Gisele Freund (whom I most know from her photographs of Virginia Woolf, which are disconcertingly in color - if only the same were true of these hats!).

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Joy of Dressing Up

Sad news on Seventh Avenue tonight; an era of American* fashion closes with the flight to Fabulon of the one and only Scaasi.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lions in the Garden

With the sad tale of Cecil and the Despicable Dentist so much in the news, I thought it would be nice to check in with a far luckier lion.  This regal specimen lords it over the principal lawn of Hillwood, the resplendent home of the rather-resplendent-herself Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Of Mad Lords and Archaeologists' Wives

Mrs. Marie Beazley, Harry Bloomfield, 1923
Collection of the Classical Arts Research Centre, 
Faculty of Classics, Oxford University.

I seem to be on something of a portrait jag this summer; I do hope you'll forgive me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Things Epistolary

For no good reason except that we both have more than our wont of leisure these days, My Dear Sister and I have taken to writing long letters to each other.  Granted, they're e-mails, but still somehow it feels terribly Edwardian to be communicating in something other than statuses or Tweets...

Saturday, July 25, 2015


...And the livin' is easy.  My goal for the final week of my leave is to be as carefree as an illustration by our dear M. Gruau.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Portrait of a Lady

No, this one I didn't see at the National Portrait Gallery.  But, if the price is right, it could be yours - it's up for auction on e-Bay.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hey, Old Friends.. (and One New, Too)

I had a nice long stroll around Our Nation's Capital yesterday, and I grabbed the opportunity to drop into the National Portrait Gallery and pay my respects to some old familiar faces.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Three Girls Three

As part of my ongoing efforts to share with you lucky Gentle Readers the treasures of Egyptian pop culture, herewith we find the ensemble once billed as the Supremes of the Nile. I don't know that I'd go that far, but they certainly had their moment.  And their hairdos.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

You Want to Kick Them Blues

While perhaps I could do without the twee tots and their proto-Lincoln Logs, I have to say that the product they're shilling certainly would have come in handy around our house last night.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Heaven Much Better

If you're looking for a little diversion for a Sunday (or any other, for that matter) evening, may I recommend the above?  Here, in its glorious entirety, is the video record of the Divine Miss M.'s Depression Tour, which is best known as the basis for her epic double album (remember those?), Live at Last, but which was apparently (and unknown to me) also turned into a cable special called The Better Midler Show.  I just love finding essential pop ephemera that I should have known about during the Carter administration...

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Broken Goddess

I rarely wax dictatorial, but today if you're able, I'd like to recommend you do a good turn for a great lady.

Friday, July 3, 2015

'Neath the Red, White, and Blue

I don't normally approve of ostentatious displays of patriotism - but in this case, I'll make an exception.