A scene from one of my favorite films, The Awful Truth. It's very sweet and funny - so a good way to end a year and begin a new one.
The couple played by Irene Dunne and Cary Grant have precipitously decided to get divorced, but still love one another. Here, Dunne attempts to torpedo Grant's new romance with a wealthy heiress, by pretending to be his sister.
Coincidentally, a few years after the movie came out, Grant really was married to an heiress named Barbara - Barbara Hutton - one of the world's wealthiest women - though a deeply troubled person. The press called the couple "Cash and Cary", though Grant had stipulated in the pre-nuptial agreement that he sought no money from her. The marriage didn't last but they remained friends.
Paul Krugman, in his Christmas day column discussing the health-care bill, talked about why various factions were opposing it.
"But, with few exceptions, the fiscal scolds have had nothing good to
say about the bill. And in the process they have revealed that their
alleged concern about deficits is, well, humbug. As Slate’s Daniel
Gross says, what really motivates them is “the haunting fear that
someone, somewhere, is receiving social insurance.”
But let's get more specific about who the someone/somewhere might be, like Rush Limbaugh did back in May, giving the hornet's nest a good kick:
"This is the objective. The objective is unemployment. The objective is
more food stamp benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits.
The objective is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to
take the nation’s wealth and return to it to the nation’s quote,
“rightful owners.” Think reparations. Think forced reparations here if
you want to understand what actually is going on."
Rather, it's the feeling that someone is getting something they don't deserve, haven't worked for, etc. Now, that's crazy too - but racism, except for the real Aryan Nation types is rarely just about skin color. It's mixed up with class, economics, etc. It's pretty hard to separate out the different colors of Play-Doh once you mash it together, and the Republicans have spent the last 40 years making sure of it.
It's all about resentment and fear and politics as a zero-sum game. The feeling they were clinging to the ladder at least one rung above the other guy, even if both of them were under water. But in these tough times, with you-know-who, who's a-you-know-what as President...
FYI, I remember reading somewhere that the young white woman shown in the picture up top yelling, several years ago had the opportunity to meet the black student, and apologized to her.
NASA's New Horizonsspacecraft has passed the milestone of now being closer to its destination - dwarf planet Pluto, than it is to Earth. How far is Pluto? Well, the spacecraft is traveling 750,000 miles per day - equivalent to circling the Earth more than 30 times, and yet it still has 5 more years to go. The Sun appears from Pluto only as a particularly bright star - nothing more.
Since blast-off almost 4 years ago, New Horizons has already traveled 1.527 billion miles, and is now halfway between the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. It has 1.526 billion miles to go. It left Earth at over 10 miles per second, the fastest speed ever by a man-made object.
Above is an artist's rendition of what Pluto might look like. The haze is an atmosphere that Pluto gets in its summer; its moon Charon is also portrayed. Below, is the best picture we have for now.
It was New Amsterdam. Here’s a very cool map from when the Dutch ran things and windmills were also hip.
Though Manhattan has been extended by landfill, things are recognizable. Prince Straet, the one with the canal, is today’s Broad Street. De Heere is Broadway. The street along the water is (surprise) today's Water Street, which is now several blocks inland. Smee Straet is William, and of course, the street with the wall, is Wall Street. Click here if you want to hear the Dutch pronunciations.
For comparison, I’ve put in a (clickable) map of lower Manhattan today. Castle Clinton, which you see today 'embedded' inside of Battery Park, was originally an island, and about two blocks west of where Fort Amsterdam stood (pretty much where the Customs House is today).
Saw this advertisement in the back of the British magazine Word.
I’d rather eat a Sno-cone’s worth of polonium than touch this. The drug has not been invented that could have me write the copy in this ad. If someone killed someone because they got it as a gift, I’m not sure I could serve on the jury.
Karl Rove, a man who made his political "bones" by fostering hatred and seeking to deprive people of their rights, has gotten divorced - again. So much for the “sanctity of marriage”. Sometimes I can’t bear to waste even electronic ‘ink’ on people like this, so I’ll let Glenn Greenwald speak for me.
As for the former Mrs. Rove #2, – to quote both Singles and Goldfinger, (though neither in context),
“What took you so long?”
I guess though, if you look like Grima Wormtongue, but fatter and with a comb-over, it's got to give you hope. If Rove could manage to get married twice, there’s hope for anyone. OK, it was just too much of a softball.
I was out in Forest Hills the other day and scanned some pictures from my bar mitzvah. January 14th, 1978, many moons ago - but I remember it pretty clearly. The day before, there was a blizzard and a good camp friend of mine from Toronto was supposed to fly down but all the airports were closed. I recall the night before being quite upset.
The temple part of the thing went well; I don't think I screwed up too much. It was a 'shared' bar-mitzvah with another kid, so my haftorahportion wasn't very big. It was probably the last time I said 2 sentences of Hebrew in a row. (I can read/write the alphabet, but only know the meaning of about 20 words.) The party was held at my house, after the service. The hired photographer took these pics.
On my left, my best friend, M.
My framed commendation cards were a big source of pride.
Dig the 3-piece corduroy suit!
My parents were active in Queens Democratic politics and Mr. Cuomo was a long-time friend. A few months before, he had lost the very bitterly contested Democratic mayoral primary race to Ed Koch.
My recollection is he spent most of the party in the basement, where most of my friends were hanging out – no doubt to avoid the grown-ups. He wrote on the poster, “To the Kaufmans, they can do anything but pick a winner! Affectionately, Mario".
My paternal grandparents. My grandfather came from Russia/Poland, grew up on the Lower East Side and owned a garment business.
I only learned it after he had passed away, but he knew a lot of the Jewish gangsters of yore - he had grown up with them. On my right, is his older brother, who I don't recall ever hearing speak.
On the left, Judge O'Dwyer, niece of the late City Council President Paul O'Dwyer, and the late mayor, William O'Dwyer. On the right, Mrs. Zaccaro, aka Geraldine Ferraro. Both Forest Hills neighbors.
The Times had an article about how some Korean parents have been enrolling their kids in "growth clinics" in an attempt to make them taller than they otherwise would be. The kids are placed in rack-like contraptions, get stuck with needles, and even receive hormone shots.
First, there's no proof any of this works, and South Koreans have been getting taller anyway, as their diets have improved (North Koreans remain shorter). It's one thing to be drinking deer antlers and ginseng, but hormone shots? That is some dangerous craziness.
도대체? - that means "What the hell?" (Bing also suggested 어떻게 된 거냐 - "What the deuce is the matter?" Their programmer must have gone to Harrow).
Parents are spending up to $850/month for treatments for each kid, but they better also be socking away money on a won-for-won basis for the shrinks their kids are inevitably going to need. While I am sure this in part motivated by a sincere desire for their children to be "successful", I also have no doubt this is also motivated by some kind of shame, and it will be picked up on by some of these kids.
If a child doesn't grow tall "enough" - will some children think did something 'wrong', that they somehow 'failed'? You bet.
For what it's worth, I'm 5'8", and my 'little' brother is 6'. He's been taller than me since I was about 14.