Saturday, December 31, 2016

Here We Go Again

As if there could be any other star, this New Year's Eve. Hollywood's sweetheart, with so much about which she has no idea at all ahead of her, and as much a trouper in the stills gallery as she was everywhere else.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sweet Songs, From Now On

Some things defy credulity, the workings of the human heart among them. In the end, they were each other's lucky star. And that's a very sweet song, indeed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Birthday Girl: Nothing Like a Dame

In this grim season, it is heartening to celebrate a birthday, and especially one of such a bracing and acerbic superstar. Seen in here in period splendor (and quite convincing at it, too), all hail Dame Maggie!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

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 gray December evening as a snow-covered lawn all those years ago. Perhaps more even than usually, what the next year brings us, none of us yet can know. Still, I hope for a measure, just a measure, of that himmlischer Ruh for all of us.

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

Muddle Through, Somehow

Well, every year, sooner or later, it has to be faced, and for this year today was the day.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Gift Suggestion #3

This Christmas? Give little Bobby the gift of steel - perfect for your hellscape holidays! Just look how thrilled the dear little tot seems to be as grinning Satan-Dad prepares his spawn for the uncertain comfort of that oh-so-convenient folding step-stool.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tout Passe...

And so we live in a world suddenly Gaborless. It seems a fitting ending to this wretched, dreary year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Holiday Gift Suggestion #2

This Christmas, I think what someone needs to give Midge is a new best friend - her current one is clearly a classic Mean Girl frenemy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Gift Suggestion #1

Over in his fabulous corner of the InterWebs, Il Duce has come upon a serious contender for Toy of the Year, but for the past couple of years, whenever I've needed a little sure-fire pick-me-up, this treasure has been my go. Just the thing for the tot one wants to scar for life!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Just Peachy

Our ongoing efforts to ignore the sordid reality all around us continue. Mr. Muscato and I are off on an all-too-rare weekend minibreak.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Funny That Way

A remarkable little treasure turned up today in The Guardian; I'm genuinely shocked I'd never heard of it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Neither More Nor Less, or, Beware the Jabberwock

I've been trying to read more, as well as trying to read things that will take me out of what passes for reality these days.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Once Again - 'Tis the Season

Over the years, this little gem has become the way we usher in the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and while I'm still having a few doubts as to how wonderful this one's going to be, here goes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Birthday Boy: Everybody Dance Now


In honor of the great man's 121st birthday, let's spend a few moments in the unsettling company of Mr. Busby Berkeley.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Morning Will Come


Happy 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Still think you can control them?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Just Do It

Consider this a red, white, and blue reminder from the Café to all our Gentle Yankee Readers that one has a civic duty to perform today. Vote.

And just think of all the smutty "Old Glory" lines this intriguing image could inspire...

Monday, November 7, 2016

Redux: From Ocean to Ocean

I first put this little number up on July 4, seven years ago. I still think it would make a nifty anthem, and today I kind of feel as if I need a dose of its solid, splendidly kitschy Klezmerische good cheer. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Shady Dame Sings a Song

Because I am spending this weekend doing everything possible to avoid thinking about politics in any way, shape or form, here's a rich little gem from Peggy Lee, going Latin with a vengeance.

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Flame That Flickered

The Rialto - what's left of it, corporatized, Disneyfied, and be-Lion Kinged - gleams a little less brightly tonight, for tonight one of its longtime, long lost leading ladies bade farewell.

Monday, October 24, 2016

As the Heart Grows Older

Spring and Fall

to a young child 

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie; 
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
 Now no matter, child, the name:
 Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
 Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
 What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
 It ís the blight man was born for,
 It is Margaret you mourn for.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Friday, October 14, 2016

Birthday Girl: The Girl for Life

She would have been 123 today, Miss Lillian Gish, which means it's nearly a quarter-century since she left us. Hard to believe.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Reality, Or What Passes For It

As so often in troubled times, my dears, this last little while I've more than once had need of a Garbo Moment. Here we see her displaying a smile that, for me, rivals the one attributed to that Signora Gioconda about whom we hear so much.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Teacher, Teacher

Is it just me, or does Clark not look particularly thrilled to be there? Not his brightest shining hour...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Years On: The Hour of Lead

All these years, and still I think Miss Barry, and Miss Dickinson, said it best. Fifteen years, remembered, if outlived.

Friday, September 9, 2016

What is Aleppo?

Ah, this silly season, when the oddest things can suddenly set the blood aboil. This week's tipping point was the tiny little faux pas committed by someone who, for whatever reason, appears to believe he's qualified to lead this benighted country...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Canine Update

As promised, here you go: a rare, unfiltered, utterly candid snap of the Café's bewitching blond, the one and only Koko. If you can't tell, he's waiting for treats.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Autumn Arrives

Rarely have I observed such a clear division between the seasons; the last day of August was fine and hot, and the first of September a dreary gray with a definite, well, perhaps not quite chill, but at least distinct coolness in the air. Here we go...

Monday, August 29, 2016

If You Truly Wish To Be

I'm sorry. Some things I refuse to believe. He couldn't have been 83. That stunning, mad, sparkling mind couldn't have been extinguished even before he boarded the Great Glass Wonkevator this last time. Not that one more thing, right now.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Run Ragged

So this week has featured a houseguest, and at the moment, I feel nearly as weary as poor Miss Mary Cassatt here...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Family Plot

Well, kids, it turns out I'm not immune to friendly (read: highly aggressive) persuasion.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Shameless Monday Camp Explosion: So Special

Thus, the Camp sensibility is one that is alive to a double sense in which some things can be taken. But this is not the familiar split-level construction of a literal meaning, on the one hand, and a symbolic meaning, on the other. It is the difference, rather, between the thing as meaning something, anything, and the thing as pure artifice.
- Susan Sontag, Notes on Camp

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ordinary People

It's amazing how, in a time of general confusion and - to steal a word in the news earlier this week - pure malarkey, a simple, solid dose of decent behavior and common sense can resound like a bell. Ghazala and Khizr Khan gave that, and more, in their appearance at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday..

Monday, July 25, 2016

File Under "Commercial Establishments, Unfortunately Named"

O, Egypt. I do love you, but how I wish your entrepreneurs would occasionally invest in a native-language proofreader.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

...*والآن رسالة من المعلن لدينا

A little Bondische derring-do, featuring a rather unusual protagonist.

* More or less "And now, a word from our sponsor.".. for all you non-Arabophiles out there.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Soon, Says the Whisper...

I'm aiming to be more cheerful this weekend, but for the moment I'll just leave this here. Not particularly original at the point, but what else is there to say?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Current Mood

Courtesy of Miss Minnelli, keeping it together quite admirably in 1986. At the moment, I really don't want to know.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Life, Infinitely Rich and Beautiful

I think that these difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.

- Karen Blixen, letter to her brother, April 1931

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weekend Update

A quiet weekend at home, and herewith few random notes on life chez nous, at least a part of which will explain the choice of dear Mrs. Mortenson Baker Monroe DiMaggio Miller indulging herself in a little treat...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What's My Wednesdays: Mystery Gamine

It's been far too long since we checked in on the gang over at What's My Line?, and here to do something about that are regulars Mr. Cerf, Mr. Daly, and Miss Kilgallen, joined by Mr. Linkletter and the enchanting Miss Betty White.  They do well against some stiff competition, not least from a Mystery Challenger who was, indeed, to me a total mystery.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Run It Up the Flagpole

Here's to a happy Fourth of July to all the Café's Yankee Gentle Readers; I know you'll join me in appreciating this dear boy's very obvious, um, patriotism.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Centenary Star

So she's 100 today, this dewy-eyed ingenue. I suppose it's hindsight, but it seems to me that even here, at the very earliest end of her long journey, there's more to her than meets the eye. Now, some 80 years later, it's indisputable: Miss Olivia de Havilland is very much the real thing.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

So Long, Farewell...

Of course, we're really more dog people, but these traveling cats are just so twee I couldn't resist. Consider them an artist's impression of my early evening.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's Indescribable

Although the celebrations worldwide now spread hither and yon across June and beyond, this weekend - if only because it is so celebrated in our two cultural homelands, New York and San Francisco - is somehow the Most Official Pride Weekend of them all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One More View

Just in case I've left the impression that I don't really approve of anything in Our Nation's Capital, herewith a prospect of Mr. Lincoln's Memorial. It's a bit of all right, if you ask me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Walk in the Park

My summer commute is turning out to be rather pleasant. I start the morning - albeit at a truly ungodly hour - strolling down Our Little Condo's driveway, where one day recently I ran into this unexpected neighbor. She really oughtn't be there, for the area bordering the building is less a real forest than a narrow copse, but she seems to have set up housekeeping there, complete with a fawn who's just off camera.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

All the Sluts and the Saints

For no good reason other than it was released forty years ago today, let's spend a few minutes with Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band and their curious semi-hit, "Cherchez la Femme."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Birthday Geniuses

Two of American music's most towering figures celebrated birthdays this week; let's hear one perform the other, just about as perfectly as can be imagined.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Woman, or "There's a Word for You Ladies..."

Clare Boothe Luce is the half-forgotten Zelig of American public life, twentieth-century division.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Travelogue - Here's Grace (and Oscar, and Oysters and...)

So I'm home, much to the relief of two little terriers and one sizeable Egyptian, and while it was a lovely adventure (interspersed with a sloggy lot of work, of course), it's awfully nice to be back looking out from our own little balcony, apparently none the worse for wear.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

City by the Bay

Except for the hills, it turns out that what San Francisco reminds me of is Alexandria (the real one, not the DC suburb, of course). Both are cities profoundly shaped by water; both feature scads of fabulous Beaux Arts architecture (although San Francisco's are in rather better shape on the whole) juxtaposed with a dizzying array of other styles; and both seem to feature a disproportionate number of deeply attractive - and an equal number of deeply outlandish - people.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Adieu, Enfant de la Patrie

It wasn't a grand career - but it did include one of the most stirring moments ever put on film. I hope that Madeleine LeBeau - gone this weekend to meet Rick over at his new place in Fabulon - knows what she meant to all of us who love Casablanca.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Open Your Golden Gate...

Well, the Powers That Be that guide my life (at least in its 9-to-5 variations) certainly are puzzling.  Having decisively put me, last year, into a quiet corner where I can do no harm, they've suddenly decided to release me once more out into the great wide world...

Monday, May 9, 2016

One Man Band

 The last time we checked in with musical prodigy Alaa Wardi, he was turning the semi-dross of Lorde's "Royals" into something rich and strange.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Redux 2016: M is for...

M is for... first appeared on May 10, 2009 and has become my Mother's Day tradition. Once, again, Happy Mother's Day, Mother Muscato, wherever you are...

Friday, May 6, 2016

Luncheon is Served

The retirement lunch (artist's impression)

My office can sometimes seem like a bit of a backwater; oh, we're busy enough, but one way or another, many of us are not exactly the hard-charging Type-A types one thinks of as minions of a busy multinational. What it can seem like, from time to time, is like a prelude to life in a well-run sunset home. And in general, that suits me fine.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Toy [Not] in the Attic

She was marketed as a character from the recent Disney Cinderella, one played in the film by Miss Cate Blanchett. As for me, though, I can't get past thinking of her as Lillian Hellman Barbie. Photos don't really do justice to her expression, which is something between peeved and not-suffering-fools-gladly - a feeling with which I suppose one really must feel some empathy...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

R.I.P.: Sculptress Superstar

The misty shores of Fabulon have gained a major dose of Pop glam this week with the passing thence of the artistic enigma once world-famous, like Madonna or Cher (or, for that matter, Charo), by only her first name: Marisol.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Birthday Girl: The Wisdom of Eve

I suppose it says something about me more than anything else, but my feed over at Facebook just plain lit up with the news that yesterday was the birthday of the heavenly Miss Eve Arden.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


It's an auspicious day, my dears, and I thought we all deserve a little eye candy. Meet Mr. Mohamed el Bably, who apparently ranks among "8 of Egypt's Top Male Models, at least according to online rag CairoScene.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Birthday Girl: The Big Nine-Oh

Herself, as seen by Mr. David Bailey

There is, I think, very little that can be written about the woman that is in any way new or particularly insightful. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Color Me Green

Yes, I fear I'm having the slightest - the very slightest - bout of envy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Birthday Girl: It was a Party

We need a little cheering up hereabouts, and who better to take on that daunting task than today's birthday girl, the heavenly Miss Ann Miller?

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Very Fond Farewell

Oh, my dears, it's a sad day hereabouts. We got some really rather dreadful news this morning.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Friday, April 8, 2016

Notes from the Office

Do you ever get distracted at work?  I'm afraid I did, this morning, perhaps just a little.