Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thanks Techies, A Quotable Quote and A Perfect Dream ...

BRAVO, INDUSTRIAL TECHNICIANS!!! I don't know if you have noticed, but it seems to me that those clever science guys finally solved the mystery of the correct adhesive-to-protective-paper ratio. Opening a box of breakfast cereal no longer contorts my features, breathing like a woman in labor as I struggle to open the heavily-glued strip designed to keep my Wheaties fresh and crunchy. There I'd be, snarling, getting red in the face and cursing in the most colorful language, a verbal tirade directed to all employees at Kellogg's, Post Cereals and General Mills, not to mention the entire population of Battle Creek, Michigan. No more, thank goodness.

The same grateful acknowledgement to the people at THE NEW YORKER pressing plant (wherever it may be) who have accomplished a similarly significant break-through, allowing me to gently peel the subscriber label on the front of my favorite magazine without destroying the cover's integrity. We are so glad to be rid of these frustrations. At my age, they were becoming life-threatening.


Two responses to the question "What are you currently reading?" brought jazz journalist Doug Ramsey's reply that he is deep into "The Maltese Falcon", Dashiell Hammett's famous third novel published in 1930. Doug confessed that the images of Casper Gutman, Joel Cairo and the perpetually clammy Wilmer leap out from every page.

My friend Paul Mikos wrote that he is enjoying all the works of Eudora Welty. I recommend "One Writer's Beginnings", a collection of autobiographical essays, to any unfamiliar with her work. The book is based on three lectures she delivered at Harvard University in April 1983. The three essays are entitled: Listening, Learning To See, and Finding A Voice. Acclaimed by critics and fans alike, the slender volume was on The New York Times bestseller list for almost a year. And here she is, in a 1929 photograph, very much reminding me of Dorothy Parker.



An item on a local tv newscast featured the story of a young woman who had overcome colossal odds to obtain her college degree: poverty-level conditions at home, caring for siblings while studying, and working a minimum-wage job to help support her family. Everything seems to have been deliberately structured to prevent a less tenacious individual from moving forward. Then, with the help of her keenly intuitive teachers who nurtured and encouraged her, she not only achieved her goal, on television she appeared to be less worn and tired than positively radiant. At the end of her story, she smiled and said: "I'm the person I hoped I'd be." Begs the question: Are you the person you hoped you'd be?



I came off the stage one night after a performance in the beautiful Royal Room of The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, and was immediately confronted by a woman who began an eloquent riff about my performance. Glad as I was that she enjoyed the show, I could hardly concentrate on what she said because I was so mesmerized by her appearance. She personified the term "High Maintenance". She was groomed to perfection, hair and make-up flawless, a Chanel suit, beautiful jewelry, perfect nose, pearly-white smile, standing in a cloud of very expensive perfume. Her words were drifting up and away as I thought of only one thing: If I ever win the Lottery, I too will maintain A Large Staff, dedicated to pamper me and cater to my every whim. To just be there.

Lest you think me some sort of parsimonious Scrooge-ette, IF I won the Lottery, I would of course write many checks for large sums to arts and research foundations (a couple of big ones for those science guys, of course), establish trust funds for the grandchildren, endow a new wing at the hospital and plan a year-long, first-class-all-the-way journey to glamorous world capitals. ("A week in Paris would ease the bite of it", sort of itinerary).

After those lengthy consultations with lawyers and accountants and travel agents, I'd be exhausted, retreating to the spacious lawn of my ocean-front, modest, 12-bedroom cottage on Nantucket Island. Steady balmy breezes ... reading a great book, sipping chilled Veuve Clicquot. Members of my staff would be positioned unobtrusively behind the potted begonias, poised to fetch anything I desired at the moment of my desiring. Talk about High Maintenance.


I have added several new web site Links for the jazz pianist Bill Mays, the beloved Clark Terry, and jazz photographer/journalist Ken Franckling, all addresses located at the bottom of this page. Clark's site is extensive, describing his life at present, some of his time involving interaction with many visitors with whom Clark happily shares his vast knowledge and history of jazz and his participation in it. You will find much to interest you. Ken Franckling's work reflects his love of jazz and the people who play it. His pictures are outstanding. Ken also writes about the very healthy climate for jazz in Southern Florida where he resides. Take a look and enjoy.


HELLO SPRING! .... Sure kept us waiting long enough ...


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