Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Bit from the LRB

Another bit from the current (Nov. 3) London Review of Books. This from an essay by James Meek:
"The lightness of the ebook medium, literally and figuratively, holds a terrible allure and an insidious threat to the heavily booked-up among us. How many marriages, seemingly held firm by the impossibility of moving several hundredweight of vinyl or CDs out of a family-sized home, have already foundered post the digitisation of music? How many more will break if apparently inseparable and immovable matrimonial libraries become something that anyone can walk out with in their pocket?"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Materialism: Then and Now

Mary-Kay Wilmers reviewing Joan Didion's new book Blue Nights in the London Review of Books:
"Three months later he rang Didion and her husband to say he’d just delivered ‘a beautiful baby girl’ to a mother who was unable to keep her: were they interested? After they’d been to the hospital and looked at the baby and made up their minds to have her they called on Dunne’s brother and his wife in Beverly Hills for a celebratory drink (‘only when I read my early fiction, in which someone was always downstairs making a drink and singing “Big noise blew in from Winnetka”, did I realise how much we all drank and how little thought we gave to it’). Lenny, Didion’s sister-in-law, offered to meet her at Saks the next morning to buy a layette (in the 1960s people still talked about ‘layettes’); if she spent 80 dollars Saks would throw in a cot – a ‘bassinette’.
I took the glass and put it down.

I had not considered the need for a bassinette.

I had not considered the need for a layette.
It’s hard to imagine that happening now, when having a baby and having the stuff seem to be inseparable parts of the same enterprise.

Monday, October 03, 2011

For the IMLDB

Another entry for the IMLDB, the Internet Movie Liturgical Database (like the IMFDB mutatis mutandis).  In the 2nd episode of the new TV series Pan Am, from which this screenshot is taken, this is a Catholic Church in 1963 in Paris, France:

Which it's obviously not, but actually Riverside Church in New York City.  They haven't even bothered to dress it to look like a Catholic Church in 1963 (6 candles, sanctuary gates, tabernacle for starters).

Addendum: in the a street scene set in NYC in the first episode, I spotted a Muni Meter, first installed in 1999.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Homer Nods

The New Yorker is famous for its fact checking "et idem indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus."  Here's Rebecca Mead writing about Daphne Guinness (subscription only) in the September 26, 2011 New Yorker (my emphasis)
[Guinness] often wears a veil: "What's great is tying a bit of net around your face, and everything looks like it's in Super 8. It gives a bit of grain to the world." Even before J.K. Rowling came up with the idea, Guinness dreamed of wearing a cloak that would render her invisible.
What? Anyone over 25 with a bit of D&D in their misspent youth—or anyone who's read some Tolkien—knows that J.K. Rowling didn't invent the cloak of invisibility. Here's a version from Emily Watson's book Fairies of Our Garden
This book was published in 1867.  That's a few years before Rowling could have "c[o]me up with the idea."

Saturday, October 01, 2011

There Is No Mafia

The New York Post reports on some religion news:
“Family” health coverage has proven pretty pricey for one high-level mobster.

The third-ranking member of the Colombo crime family is facing an 18-to-24-month prison stint after pleading guilty yesterday to a shakedown scheme designed to cover another mobster’s medical bills after a stabbing.

Richard Fusco, 75, admitted that he joined in a health-care reform “sit-down” of Colombo leaders.

At the meeting -- which was secretly taped by a mob turncoat -- it was agreed that the Gambino crime family would pay the injured mobster’s bills because a Gambino had done the stabbing.

Most of the $150,000 tab was to come from the Gambinos’ illegally skimmed cut of proceeds from the annual Figli di Santa Rosalia celebration on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors said.
One of the indictments that led to the arrest of more than 120 alleged NY and NJ mobsters last January has more details on the alleged mob involvement.
81. It was a part of the scheme that, on or about May 27, 2010, a “Preliminary Income Summary Statement” was submitted on behalf of the Figli di Santa Rosalia, in which the defendant ANGELO SPATA falsely stated that the estimated gross income from vendors’ fees at the 2010 Feast of Santa Rosalia (“Gross Income”) was $51,000, and thus the estimated payment to the City of New York, at 20 percent of the Gross Income, was $10,200, significantly understating the estimated gross income and the estimated payment due. It was a further part of the scheme that following the 2010 Feast of Santa Rosalia, a “Final Income Summary Sheet” was submitted on behalf of Figli di Santa Rosalia, in which a conspirator falsely stated that the Gross Income was $43,000 and the total payment to the City of New York was $8,600, significantly understating the actual Gross Income and the total payment due.
The annual festival didn't happen this year.