Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Where the Music is Bright

I suppose one occasionally does miss things not watching (non-Arabic) television, so I'm grateful that the YouTube gods conjured up this lovely profile in my Recommendations this morning.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Redux: Heavenly Peace

Another year! How quickly they pass. This is a damp, gray Christmas Eve just outside Our Nation's Capital, but here at home it's warm and still. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Christmas Eve She Lit the Candles....

Well, not technically a holiday number, I suppose, but it's candy-colored enough to pass for one, and it does remind us of the importance of fire safety whilst celebrating...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Meanwhile, on Pennsylvania Avenue

Just so you don't think I've gone too soft-hearted about this whole Holiday season...

(Courtesy of the ever-startling Deven Green; if you've not yet been Welcomed to Her Home, well.. you're in for an experience.)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cloud and Majesty and Awe

Perhaps, just a little, I'm getting a sense of the season. As is so often the case, art helps; in this case, the ineffable and magisterial art of Miss Leontyne Price.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Go the F*ck to Sleep (in Heavenly Peace)

I'm having trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year; somehow, this little gem sums up it all up nicely.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hey, Old Friend...

It can be a tricky thing to revisit an old haunt, but sometimes it works out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Notes from the Road

We're here. Well, not there, actually, in the sense of this snap - our own cosy flat is distinctly more modest - but in dear old Cairo.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rendez-vous sur le Nil

The weather's gotten cold and dank; the general scene is equally dismal. Mr. Muscato and I are escaping.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

One Year

Walking out of the office that cool Tuesday afternoon, this is something I saw. Heading home, it seemed like such a good omen.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

That Girl, Those Clothes

(Warning: this post is kind of a GIF-fest)

You know what we need right now?  I would never have guessed it myself, but having stumbled on it, I now know what just might be the greatest panacea for tired nerves one can imagine.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Next Stop, Miami Beach!

We may not have bacchanales on the scale of yesteryear on tap today, but I'm still indulging in a favorite Hallowe'en treat...

Monday, October 30, 2017

Life in a Northern Town

Amid all the political brouhaha (which, I have a sinking feeling, will only continue if not expand and worsen), the Mister and I took a rare road trip this past weekend...

Friday, October 20, 2017

Birthday Girl: The Delightful Star

In this low world, it's increasingly vital to hold on to precious things; for me, that very much include the memory of a woman born on this date 110 years ago.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Things Concatenate

The riches available on the Youtube (however shadily, rights-wise) continue to astonish me. I had heard about this film, S*x by S*ondheim (obfuscating the title slightly in case any spiders are trawling to see if it's online - and in this case it even make is seem intriguingly improper, no?) when it came out, but having only Arabic-language satellite-TV at home, hadn't had the chance to see it. If by chance you haven't, grab the opportunity now. If you did, watch it again. It's worth it.

Monday, October 9, 2017


...Columbus! I hope you've had a very pleasant weekend; it's the holiday I generally think of as "Oh, that's right - we have a day off on Monday" 'round about 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Sad, Sad Tale of Some Lonesome Frails...

Feel like getting a jump (possibly quite literally) on the upcoming season of scares? Herewith a little bit of Hollywood Hallowe'en, courtesy of the endlessly inventive Mr. Ed Cachianes.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Gallimaufry

I'm retreating ever further from what passes for the real world - with very good reason, given its state, if you ask me - and finding ever more consolation in taking pictures that keep my mind off the headlines. Herewith, a late-summer iris from August, recalled today, which has seemed like our first real day of Autumn.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Redux (and an Obit): Up to the Glitter

Word that Hugh Hefner has shuffled off this mortal coil at 91 seems like news from a vanished era. I ran this marvelous clip from 1969, of soul diva Carla Thomas at a televisual Playboy party, a couple of years ago, and it seems right to revisit it today.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Who Could Ask For Anything More?

As our national discourse continues to descend (with the man who in other circumstances would be Leader of the Free World now basically spending his time sticking out his tongue on social media), a little escapism seems in order...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blossoms, Dearie

So I've been taking pictures of flowers lately, and I've decided to inflict them on you. No special reason, really, but looking at things like this have been one of my ways of coping with mad times, and I thought you might like them, too.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Redux: Severe Clear

[I wrote this in 2015; with every passing year it recedes a little. It will never really fade. The sky so blue...]

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

Saturday, September 9, 2017

News of the Rialto

So Miss Peters is set to succeed Miss Midler as Mrs. Levi.  It seems a fully respectable, but somehow deflatingly predictable, sort of choice.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Beautiful Dreamer

Birthmark, 1980

One of the unexpected boons of the sometimes-plague that is Facebook is the chance to catch up with all kinds of onetime crushes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Very Fine People"

Yeah, I know it's a cliché, and I've run it before. But Jesus Christ. The President of the United States, in his golden tower, defending a mob of torch-bearing fascists. To paraphrase Miss Vicki Lester, in a mood that now to me feels strangely familiar: "How do we live out the days?"

And then there's that thudding, nerve-shattering last line: "Still think you can control them?"

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Redux II: Mother of Exiles

I already reposted this once this year, but it's never too soon to be reminded of what we're really all about. Or at least the country I knew and loved was...

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, July 30, 2017

Man About The House

At some point in the last four years, I've realized, I've turned into a thoroughly domesticated husband, almost along the lines of this game if rather puzzled-looking Kennedy-era paragon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Broadway Melodica of 2017

Just to show that it's not griping 24/7 hereabouts, something that's been making me exceedingly happy over the last day or so.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Is a Puzzlement

Because there's never a bad reason to get a good look at Yul Brynner,
nearly shirtless. No Puzzlement there...

Over in the FaceBookVerse, dear Cookie has come up with a list of 10 Things He Doesn't Understand, and he's challenged his Gentle Readers to do the same. Some dares I can't resist, so herewith, just that number of cultural phenomena that leave me cold:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Journal Entry

Well, here's a gent who's clearly taken to heart the old saying - one variously attributed to a formidable trio of ladies, either Margot Asquith, Lillie Langtry, or no less than Mae West herself - "Keep a diary, my dear, and someday perhaps the diary will keep you." I don't know about you, but I'd certainly keep him...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dreaming On Our Dimes

What, exactly, is the work of Ed Cachianes? Every now and again, he puts forth a short film. These might reductively be called mashups, as they’re composed primarily of clips and bits and bobs that obviously result from decades of voracious immersion in American pop culture (and beyond). But that’s like saying, possibly, that early Cubism was obsessed with headlines because its artists used scraps of newspapers.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Playground Update

"Oh, it's true - I heard Mommy talking to that awful lady!"

"The one she calls Mrs. Prowler?"

"That's her. And she says Stephen Haines is stepping out on Little Mary's Mamma!"

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Stars for a Summer Afternoon

For no other reason than it's just so damn pretty, here are Messrs. Ronald Reagan and John Payne having a casual chat on some fine, long-forgotten Hollywood day. I'm finding Mr. Payne's thigh postively mesmerizing.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Why Don't You...

... Spend a few hours on this lovely Independence Day learning at the feet of that unlikely domestic goddess, Miss Joan Crawford? Here she is, reading from her 1971 magnum opus, My Way of Life. She's a complicated lady, Joan, and the book is alternately great fun and totally bonkers - sometimes in the course of a single sentence.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


"He said to me, 'What do you want out of life?' And I thought, what an extraordinary question."

"And I said: 'I would like respect for difficult work, well done.'"

That she has - and, as shown in the last day's headlines, she's determined to keep it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Random Notes for a Summer Sunday

- For whatever reason, even though this year's roses are ragged and untidy, it's turning out to be quite a season for hydrangeas. They're a flower that always amuses me, for one immediately thinks of Miss Ciccone's vocal dislike of them. For me, as well, that then makes me think of Mother Muscato, as it turns out to be one of the vanishingly few things I think those two women would have had in common. She thought hydrangeas, for reasons unknown, to be terribly common; I'm quite sure that the annual success of our neighbor Miss Lowrie's compared to her own had nothing at all to do with it.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


... Dame Olivia de Havilland. In a week that sorely needed some good news, we learned that this edition of the Queen's birthday honours included none other than the Café's longtime muse and everyone's favorite doughty centenarian. She started out a Maid (Marian) and has played everything from a tragic heiress to a terrified school principal, with an empress (and, as above, even a queen-empress) or two thrown in for good measure, but now the title is real, and entirely deserved.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Redux: Now We Know How Happy We Can Be

I wrote this two years ago. Yesterday was Loving Day, and the fiftieth anniversary of that momentous decision. It's a complicated day, though, June 12, and I'm still unpacking what I think it might mean - if anything at all - that it's also the birthday of Anne Frank; the anniversary of the death of Medgar Evers; and, since last year, the day when we will long remember the hopes and dreams of 49 people who went out one night to dance and never came home. It's not a simple world, but with all the madness, I do still believe there's a place for simple songs. And hope. We have to hope. "That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."

Yes, it's two cute boys singing a ukelele-based cover of the Monkees' immortal "Daydream Believer." Just in case you don't think we're up on all the hipster trends here at the Café.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Dinner Then and Now

I suppose because it's Ramadan, or perhaps that it's because I'm once again looking to reduce a little (or perhaps because Peenee has been so grocery-obsessed of late), but things food-related have been much on my mind this week.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Redux: Decoration Day

I wrote this in 2012. Today, the quiet, green hillside is still there, but there are, I fear, no geraniums. When we went to bury my father last summer, the little blue cottage across the street still served as the landmark by which we found mother's side of the family. The cemetery may stay more or less the same, but life moves on; I suppose a day like this helps us appreciate both the sameness and the change.

This is a holiday that always makes me just a little blue.  If you've read Ask the Cool Cookie's excellent meditation on the subject, you'll more or less know why. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ramadan Kareem!

I suppose this isn't the most appropriate image one might choose to celebrate a month of fasting and sacrifice, but - can anybody with two eyes blame me?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Goodnight, Lady

Ever since the sad news yesterday - that the lovely and gracious Miss Dina Merrill has sailed for Fabulon - I have been looking at and thinking about this picture.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Redux 2017: 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...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Desk With A View

Really, this is the most picturesque city. Above is the view in which I've been rejoicing from the office for the last ten days, and it's a measure of the beauty of the place that it's really not all that special a view.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Now We Are Nine

So I was digging around for something a couple of days ago and realized with a start that, as of yesterday, the Café has been around for exactly nine years. Insert profound thought about time flying here. Kay Francis (who has been something of a mascot hereabouts) has stopped in to say hi, looking more glam than one generally thinks of her in the '40s.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Light, Fantastick

If you're looking for a little escape, even for a few precious moments  - and in these parlous times, whom among us is not? - I really can't recommend anything better than the latest fantaisie from the prodigiously talented Mr. Ed Cachianes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Birds, Bees, Finns, Eels... and Eartha

This gem recently popped up on my feed over at the FaceBooks, and not having seen it previously, I was even more than usually transported than I generally am by the insinuating charms of Miss Eartha Kitt.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

In Her Easter Bonnet

A very happy Easter to all, from me and from this week's birthday girl, the original Star Lady herself, the inimitable and much-missed Miss Ann Miller. Who else would have gone along with this gag, let alone carried it off?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

In Which We Receive an Unexpected Gift

Well, it seems sometimes that if one moans one's little moans about life's bothers and annoyances, the Fates - or a good friend - intervenes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

(Belated) Birthday Boy: Egyptian Delight

Well, it'a day late, but I've never let that stop me from appreciating one of my favorites; the dashing Mr. Omar Sharif would have been 85 yesterday.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Let Every Voice

You'd never know it now, but in my youth (and well past it, in bits) I was really a rather churchy little thing.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Mood: Indigo

"'I,'" said my Grandmother Muscato, regularly, "is the dullest word in the English language."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Working Girl

Like a great many people all of a sudden, I find myself these past few days thinking about Joan Crawford.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Going Hollywood

Just because we've lost Robert Osborne, who sailed off to Fabulon yesterday, and because the bedraggled old world is weighing me down, I think we need a good, heady shot of adrenaline, courtesy of the YouTube genius saraismyname.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Woman of the World

I was thinking that it was about time for a Garbo moment, but then I heard (thank you, TJB!) that this remarkable creature would have turned 85 today. What better reason for an Elizabeth moment?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

That Happy Feeling

This has popped up hereabouts before, but it appeared in my Facebook feed today and I decided it was just what I needed, and perhaps you do, too. A light in bleak times, the Merm...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor!

Another fine consumer product in the people's paradise. Estée Lauderovna, now available in all the fashionable new hues for 1975 - dun, dung, dim, dank, and mauve.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book 'Em

Over in her curious corner of the cyberverse*, the esteemed Mistress MJ has requested a glimpse at her Dear Readers' bookshelves, and I feel compelled to oblige.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

You've Got My Heart

Just in time for Valentine's Day, herewith the latest from Egyptian superstar Amr Diab. The subtitles go with "You Own My Heart," but literally the title - "Maak Alby" - is "My Heart is with You."

Once More, With Feeling

We've done it before and, God willing, we'll do it again. It's a little tradition hereabouts in fact, and so I welcome the chance once more to wish all the dear Café regulars (along with any other stray visitors - welcome!) a very happy Karen Valentine's Day, with great good wishes from Mr. Muscato, Boudi, and me.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

O Patria Mia

I'm home. While I was away, Miss Leontyne Price turned 90. Here she is in 2001.  I don't know about you, but hearing her, singing that, now, well...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Redux: Mother of Exiles

Did we dream that it could all change so quickly? Has it ever felt so surreal? How did we get trapped in an Isherwood story? I'm horrified, frightened, angry, and sad. I feel far from home, not because I'm traveling now, but because I'm not sure, today, where my home can be.

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