Sleep has become erratic. Someone not long ago asked me if I watched Charlie Rose, to which I replied that I am usually getting up for the first time when Charlie Rose goes on the air. I fall off to sleep readily enough, but two or three hours later I usually wake, often to invent impressively labyrinthine anxieties for myself to dwell upon for an hour or two before falling back into aesthetically unsatisfying dreams until six or so in the morning. Very little distinction in this, I have discovered by talking to contemporaries, especially men, who all seem to sleep poorly. But this little Iliad of woes is pretty much par for the course, if such a cliché metaphor may be permitted from a nongolfer. That I have arrived at 70 without ever having golfed is one of the facts of my biography to date of which I am most proud.
Robert Altman, director of one of my favoritest films, Nashville, has passed away.
Laura Erickson remembers her Ph.D. advisor Gary Duke and explains her really interesting dissertation research.
While I was rehabbing birds in the late 80s and early 90s, I had started puzzling through why nighthawks have brown, messy, smelly droppings once a day, much different from normal bird droppings.
Shunning invasive procedures to get to the bottom of nighthawk digestion, Erickson and Duke radiographed three birds while barium-laced food traversed their entrails.
So long to Rollo, from guest blogger Charlie. Rollo was a good dog, and he learned early on that I wasn’t the one who was going to give him a treat.
One of the last of the burlesque comics, Red Buttons, has passed. Born Aaron Chwatt on the Lower East Side, Buttons had a TV show up against Milton Berle in the 1950s. He went on to have an impact in action films and dramas like The Longest Day and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
We drove out to the Eastern Shore yesterday to say goodbye to Marlie, who died last week in a traffic accident induced by the heavy rains we’ve been experiencing.
“Boisterous” is perhaps the first word that comes to mind when I think of Marlie. She was always having a hell of a good time, and wanted to make sure everyone else was, too. Her idea of a backyard cookout was to arm all the guests with Super Soakers; we would then all take a turn racing around the lot with her Jack Russell Terrier, Indiana. It was her idea to heave a plucked chicken carcass onstage for our production of a prison drama-fantasy called Crocodile.
I can think of only one time that I got the better of her.
Some years back, Marlie and her husband John came to my house for a birthday party for me. She invited herself upstairs to the TV room/bedroom, and started rummaging around in the (closed but not locked) cabinet under the TV. “What’s this?” she said, as she pulled out a copy of Student Sorority Nurses Do Detroit, Part 2, or some such title. “Hunh” was my clever rejoinder. I bustled her downstairs, probably opened the CD changer and slapped on a copy of the classic “go home now” music Carmina Burana. Anyway.
Then some time after that, Leta and I met during a show that John was directing. Now, I can be a little fastidious and anal retentive at times, I own Dawn Upshaw recordings, my decorating senses are not completely stubbed out, and I hadn’t dated anyone for several years, so it was generally suspected among the theater community that I was gay. When Marlie learned that Leta was interested in me, she said, “It’s okay, I checked, all the porn in his house is straight.”
So Leta told me this, probably in a crowd at Barnaby’s. And losing only half a beat, I said, “All of it that she found.”