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.