We’ve been having some terrible restaurant luck lately. The last couple of Easters, we have been meeting Alan’s sister for a meal halfway between our places, i.e. Toledo. The place we went last year went out of business, and this year’s choice, a boîte in the hipster district called Manhattan’s, should do the same. I hope they serve a great cocktail, because their brunch was an overpriced festival of disappointment. Fortunately, Toledo has a fine zoo, and that’s where we spent the afternoon, looking for the meerkats but not finding them — their exhibit was being remodeled. We did see the baby elephant, whose name is Louie. And the usual complement of beasts large and small. Alan was in search of the monkey house of his childhood memories, and we finally found it. It had been renovated into a food court, and the old cage-type setup is perfect for housing junk food-eating people, if you ask me.
Maybe Manhattan’s should investigate a rehab.
Otherwise, a fine weekend. One of my Facebook network, a professional photographer, posted a socko picture he took early Saturday morning, one he said he’s been trying to capture for four years. If you live around here, you know this weekend was exceptionally clear, and the moon was full Friday night. Another one.
That was a hell of a “Mad Men” last night, ain’a? I’m impressed by how well they’re conjuring the ’60s so far this season. Say “the ’60s” and it’s easy to default to hippies. It’s much more, and we forget how the drumbeat of urban violence really began to get loud around this time. Discuss, if you’re so inclined.
As many of you know, eight years ago I was fortunate enough to be a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, a sabbatical year for mid-career journalists. The fellowship was named for its major benefactors; the Knight was the foundation, and the Wallace was Mike, who died this weekend. He came to town every year, to meet the fellows and hobnob around his alma mater, where he was much-loved and respected. He didn’t come our year, however. Charles Eisendrath, the fellowship director, apologized on his behalf: “The bad news is, Mike had to cancel. He’s crashing deadline on a story. The good news is, he’s 86 and crashing deadline on a story.”
And so I didn’t lay eyes on him until a few years later, when he came in for a reunion to celebrate some milestone or another. I didn’t talk to him, as he was the sort of guy who is surrounded by people clamoring for his attention, and what do you say to Mike Wallace? That was great, when you nailed that guy that time, maybe. I haven’t watched “60 Minutes” in years, and when I have, I’m struck by what a throwback it is, but the fact remains, it’s a classic, and classics don’t change because everything else does. For many, many years, it was the gold standard, and Wallace was the most important reporter they had. I’m sure, in the days to come, some bold gnat will sneer about his early days as a pitchman for Fluffo shortening, or some vapid actress interview, but the fact remains, when it counted, he cast a long, long shadow.