Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Saddest Song

When in New York two weeks ago, I went to the musical revue, "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" at The Triad on W 72nd St. (More about that in another post.)

Afterwards when I congratulated the show's director (and tenor) Bill Daugherty, he gave me a CD of his previous production, "When the Lights Go On Again." It's a lovely compilation of WWII songs, some of them little-known, with fantastic harmonies.

I was listening to the CD in the car this morning and this song wrung my heart--so much that I listened to it twice. Change just a few details and it could apply to many refugees today.

My Sister and I
Lyrics by Joan Whitney Kramer & Hy Zaret
Music by Alex Kramer

My sister and I remember still
A tulip garden by an old Dutch mill,
And the home that was all our own until ...
But we don't talk about that.

My sister and I recall once more
The fishing schooners pulling into shore,
And the dog-cart we drove in days before ...
But we don't talk about that.

We're learning to forget the fear
That came from a troubled sky.
We're almost happy over here,
But sometimes we wake at night and cry.

My sister and I recall the day
We said goodbye, then we sailed away.
And we think of our friends that had to stay,
But we don't talk about that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Degree of Shock

"It's been a long time. How are you doing?" my old (actually young) osteopath in Charlottesville asked me at his office this morning. He hadn't seen me in more than three years.

"I'm alive," I said.

He chuckled. A few minutes later, after he'd looked over the many pages of reports detailing the injuries I suffered in May 2006 and the many surgeries since, he said, "You're lucky to be alive."

"Yes," I answered. "It's been bad, but at least I'm here."

A few minutes ago, I read the news that 45-year-old actress Natasha Richardson died today from an unspecified head injury suffered when she fell during a ski lesson on Monday. According to the Quebec ski resort's spokeswoman, quoted in the NYT, “It was a normal fall; she didn’t hit anyone or anything. She didn’t show any signs of injury. She was talking and she seemed all right.”

In early August of 2005, I was in London and went to the theater with my long-lost cousin Larry. I'd gotten tickets to see "The Home Place" with Tom Courtenay, who'd acted with my father in the mid-1960s. I'd bought the cheapest tickets, but through some fluke was upgraded to mezzanine seats.

There were very few people in the mezzanine, so Larry and I moved up to the first row, by the railing. A couple of minutes later, he nudged me and gestured to the section to our right.

"Who are they?" he whispered.

I looked over to see a very glamorous couple getting seated. He was tall and craggy-handsome, with light-brown hair. She was gorgeous: blonde, tan, impossibly thin and dressed in impossibly spotless white from head to toe. Very L.A., I thought.

"You can tell they didn't take public transportation to get here," I muttered. (Larry and I had arrived via Tube.)

Then I looked a little harder.

"Oh, my God," I said. "That's Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson. Her father Tony directed my dad in 'St. Joan of the Stockyards' in this theatre--or one just like it--in 1964, and in 'The Loved One' in 1965."

"Wow," breathed Larry.

After the play, we went backstage to see Courtenay, whom I'd been in touch with beforehand. Who else should be there but Richardson and Neeson, so I had a little chat with her. When I approached, she looked grim, probably thinking I was a fan, but warmed up when I told her of our connection. We exchanged names and everyone shook hands all around, greatly impressing Larry.

I then had a little chat with Courtenay, especially admiring the kiddie-print pirate sheets on the twin bed in his dressing room. Then the three famous people got into waiting limousines, and Larry and I walked to the Palms of Goa restaurant, where we ate cheap (for London), spicy food and marveled at our brush with the stars.

And now today Natasha Richardson is dead from a seemingly minor head injury, and I'm alive after a major one that left me with a concussion, PTSD, broken facial bones and nerve damage. The "family statement" to the news media from Liam Neeson came via Hollywood publicist Alan Nierob, who announced my father's death nearly 15 years ago.

It's all too close for comfort. But at least I'm here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quote of the Year...and It's Only March

"The one regret I have is we ended up losing money."

--Ronald G. Insana, back at CNBC as an "analyst" after failing as a hedge fund manager. Quoted in the NYT: Back on TV, and Back in the Black.

Brava, Booksquare!

Kassia Kroszer at Booksquare offers a devastating critique in New Think? Not So Much, beginning with:
Nutshell analysis of the “New Think for Old Publishers” panel at South by Southwest 2009: there was a not a single new think in the room.
She ends with advice for publishers that works just as well for authors seeking to promote their books:
Might as well address the blogger question. It’s quite simple. Find the bloggers big and small in your various genres, develop a relationship with them, understand their tastes, like, dislikes, deadlines, lead time, preferred method of communication, preferred formats for books.... Treat the bloggers with respect — you need them more than they need you. And note, the publishers [and authors!] who are already doing this well are leaps and bounds ahead of you.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Darling Husband got a Blackberry and yesterday sent his first message--to the Boy Wonder, in real English, with whole words & punctuation--saying that he was no longer a dinosaur.

BW's response, from his cell phone:
OMG lrn2txt :(

After DH & I nearly died laughing, he answered:

Friday, March 06, 2009

Odds & Sods

Too occupied with consulting, editorial work (I'm done with Maine & on to editing the Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses Map now), sore arm (don't ask) & being knocked out at dentist today (ditto) to write any coherent blog posts.

So here are some tidbits I picked up during free moments at Twitter, plus a BONUS! photo.
  1. Clich├ęs cluttering your manuscript? Sweep them away with Clich├ęCleaner.
  2. It's cyber Titania & Oberon: Robot Programmed to Love Goes Too Far.
  3. Jason Pinter decodes Blago's book deal and Phoenix Books publisher Michael Viner's HuffPo column about reaction to said deal.
  4. Headline of the day: Octopus gets inside lunchbox at Boston aquarium. Takeaway: A 7' long, 30-lb octopus can slither through a 2" hole.
Best of all, a photo taken in my backyard yesterday, where it was 70+F:

My little apricot tree started blooming today. But this being Denver, there's talk of snow in the foothills tonight, with a high of 40 on Saturday and a chance of rain. We sure could use it, the ground is dry as dust.