One of my neighbors has outdoor speakers, and is enjoying them now. I’d never before noticed how lame the great American songbook can sound when given the full attention of a certain sort of cocktail pianist — the kind who plays as though paid by the note. “Someone to Watch Over Me” is a lovely song, but less so when you can practically see the performer energetically tickling the ivories. Every one of them. In glissando.
Oh, well. It beats the Shirley Bassey/Barbra Streisand/Steve and Eydie compilations I sometimes hear coming from that direction. I didn’t know Shirley Bassey had a career beyond singing the “Goldfinger” theme until I met one of my boyfriend’s mothers, who was exactly the sort of woman Mike Myers immortalized in Linda Richman. She loved Shirley Bassey. So do many people, evidently. Something I didn’t know before today: She’s Welsh, like that other great interpreter of James Bond movie themes, Tom Jones.
Welcome to the week, after a lovely weekend. Saturday was stiflingly hot, but I guess I’ll take it. And yesterday was better, but Sunday is really the beginning of my work week, so meh. I did take a little time to run bike errands. Went to Lowe’s, in the mall near beb’s and CrazyCatLady’s house, which Grosse Pointe mom-scuttlebutt says is LIKE TAKING YOUR LIFE IN YOUR HANDS OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WENT THERE. Two years ago, I got an email with approximately 7,000 forwards in the address field, from a woman who claimed she had her purse snatched there. I don’t doubt it; it happens. Someone else had added, along the way: “And I know there are frequent forcible rapes in the parking lot.” This I do doubt, but what can you do? People will believe anything if it confirms already-existing fears. But I needed some Dishwasher Magic, and it wasn’t going to buy itself. It’s a straight, bike-friendly shot west from my house, through Harper Woods, a middle/working-class suburb, and the route takes me down a street with towering oaks and deep, enormous lots, even though the houses on them are fairly modest. You can get a glimpse, here and there, of fabulous gardens and, yes, the occasional above-ground swimming pool. (I always want to ask if that’s the InstaRust model or the Skeeter Breeder.)
Then there’s the mall, and Lowe’s had Dishwasher Magic, as well as one of the local police chiefs, dressed in weekend shlump-wear, with no apparent sidearm. He must feel safe there. But as I was already warmed up and in the mood, I rolled farther down Old Homestead Road, to St. Sabbas the Sanctified, surely one of the weirder things to sit smack in the middle of a middle-class residential neighborhood around here. I’ve written about this Russian monastery before, part of the “patriarchal Bulgarian archdiocese of America, Canada and Australia,” although I haven’t been back since. I was interested to see whether the brothers have expanded their footprint at all — I think they’re on about six lots now. Couldn’t tell. It being Sunday, I assume they were at prayer. A hired tree guy was taking down a sizable maple limb wrenched loose in a recent storm. I remembered my main takeaway from my first visit — women must cover their heads, lest they arouse demons — turned around and pedaled home.
Some bloggage today, much of it excellent:
Brian Dickerson on the Kevorkian problem, i.e., yes, he did it wrong, but how often does the clumsy person who does it first ever do it right?
For “Game of Thrones” fans, a map of Westeros. Click to enlarge.
Don’t think that just because this story is about how Anna Nicole Smith met her elderly husband, you don’t want to read it. I was hooked here:
It began—all of it, really—when an old, sad man decided to give his life one last go.
J. Howard Marshall II was sitting in the backseat of his Mercedes sedan one afternoon in Houston in October 1991. He was 86 years old and in the throes of a terrible mourning. He was, his staff worried, suicidal.
Dan Manning, Marshall’s friend and personal driver, was particularly concerned.
“J. Howard,” Manning said, looking up at him in the rearview mirror, “I’ve been thinking.”
There was a pause. “Go ahead.”
“I’ve been thinking maybe it might be time for a new young lady.”
J. Howard looked at Manning in the mirror. He said, “You might be right.”
The GOP’s unyielding orthodoxy — no new taxes. An examination of what it’s gained and lost.
And is that it? I believe it is. Time to take the morning’s breakfast out of the oven — a spinach-and-garlic frittata — and see if it was worth the trouble. Happy Monday, happy week, all.