New Woodward Book Lays Trump Bare

New Woodward Book Lays Trump Bare thumbnail

The new Bob Woodward book (Book & Snake publishers, $29.99) has DC a-buzzing. Some of the revelations about President Trump are so fantastic they must be made up. Highlights:

National Security Advisor Byron McCrohn calls Trump “a moron…two pancakes short of a full combination plate…I wouldn’t sell him to my mother.”

quackyAssistant Chief Secretary of Housing Belinda Bree Liddell revealed that the President is so mentally handicapped he couldn’t even figure out how a toddler’s Fisher-Price pull-toy worked. “I put Quacky the Duck on his desk one afternoon when no one was around. Later on I looked in. Instead of pulling the toy around the Oval Office, the President kept turning it over and over, like he wanted to see where the batteries went. It’s a damn pull-toy! It doesn’t have batteries! How stupid can you be?”

Other senior advisers report finding Trump sitting outside the Oval Office at six in the morning because he was locked out and the janitor wasn’t around to let him in. “He tried to lie about it and say he was afraid of ghosts, and maybe it was ghosts who locked the door, as they sometimes do in the Executive Mansion, but the ghost story was just a cover-up.”


Noguchi’s Back, and Garson’s Got ‘im

With two complementary exhibitions, New York’s Noguchi Museum pays tribute to the legendary Japanese-American artist’s innovative lanterns.

(courtesy of Departures)

Noguchi in “Appalachian Spring”

One of the most influential artists of 20th century, the Japanese-American sculptor and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi was widely known for his inventive and diverse body of work—from home furniture (like his 1947 Noguchi table, which was sold by Herman Miller) to public sculptures and gardens in cities like New York and Paris.

This February, New York’s Noguchi Museum will pay homage to one particular strain of the artist’s iconic designs: his Akari light sculptures, or collapsible lanterns made of paper, bamboo, and metal.

Noguchi planning a satellite.

Starting February 28, the museum will host two complementary exhibitions. The first, Akari: Sculpture by Other Means, will include approximately 60 of Noguchi’s lanterns (including 40 individual models), plus archival materials like vintage photographs, advertisements, and brochures; the second, Akari Unfolded: A Collection by YMER&MALTA, will include 29 Akari-inspired lamp designs created by the French design studio. In conversation, the exhibits explore the lanterns’ history, as well as their continued influence on designers.

Read the whole thing here.


Do You Make These Mistakes in English?

Poor grammar not only makes you look stupid—it can get in the way of your career!

Even highly intelligent people with a lot of “horse sense” get mistaken for Big Dummies when they say things like this:

“Between you and I, Aunt Fanny’s gotten a lot more fatter since last picnic.”

“I am quite adversed to money matters and business, in fact I’m quite financial indeed.”

“I never seen a girl get ruined by a book.”

“All my children are real eager to rake the yard every Fall, but somehow Sally always gets less leaves than Bob and Sue.”

Chances are—you’ve said things just like this, every day, and had no idea people were laughing at you behind your back! Read More…


Wally Wood Technique

Early Wally Wood, c. 1949. Impossible to contemplate today without seeing it as some kind of latter-day retro parody.

Some comic illustrators of the 1980s and 90s, notably Charles Burns and “Coop,” painstakingly imitated the zigzag highlights technique you see in the foreground coiffure. Read More…


Restoring the American Girl

The Guardian‘s recent slash-and-burn job on Taylor Swift (see Steve Sailer here, Nov. 25) pointed up a couple of home truths about race discussion in the media. One is that, as Sailer put it, “It’s Not Okay to be White” in such fever-swamp precincts as The Guardian‘s editorial board. The other is that—hate her or love her—the image of La Swift continues to serve as both whipping-girl and icon of traditional American whiteness.

Tenney Grant, with Boyfriend Logan

Consider this. After years of Diversifying its brand into utter meaninglessness, the American Girl Doll collection recently introduced a girl-singer doll into its lineup. Named “Tenney Grant,” and sporting a miniature acoustic guitar and denim-and-lace outfits, this new entry is quite clearly a proxy for Taylor Swift (or at least the country-singing Taylor of a few years back).

“She’s a breakout songwriter finding the heart to be herself,” reads the catalog copy. “Ready for a true taste of Nashville? Tenney Grant is determined to shine by being just who she is.” To round out her character, the all-American Tenney has even been given a boyfriend, Logan Everett. He’s got  brown hair and blue eyes, and is American Girl’s first-ever boy doll. Read More…


Liz Smith Is Dead at 94

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Liz Smith, veteran Broadway and theatre columnist, died yesterday of a drug overdose. She was 94.

Frank Sinatra once famously called her a “two-dollar whore” while shoving a pair of greenbacks into Liz Smith’s old-fashioned glass. But others had favorable memories of the legendary gossip scribe.

An old friend, actor Richard Gere, described her thusly: “Liz Smith was the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my lift.”

“You mean in your life?” a reporter interjected.

Smith in 1945

“No, my lift, my elevator! We lived in the same building on Central Park West. She always had a smile for me,” Gere noted with a shrug.

Elizabeth Penrose Smith was born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1923, a fact that surprised many people who thought she came from Texas. The Texas accent was an affection, acquired during World War II when she worked as a “Hospitality Girl” at the Navy base in Galveston.

Liz Smith in later years, with Iris Love and a young person

Prior to that, Smith had graduated from Ethel Walker, and spent one year at Smith College, dropping out after freshman year. “There were too many lesbians,” Smith explained. “Smith girls didn’t know how to dress or even how to do their hair.”

After the War, Smith landed a job at the world-famous Herald-Tribune newspaper in New York City, where she wrote about restaurant openings, society shindigs, and the Philadelphia World’s Fair of 1948.

That year she married newspaper heir Hogwood Patterson Medill III, whom she divorced in 1962. They had four children, three of whom survive her.

“Hog and I had many of the same tastes,” Smith explained, “but he disapproved of my slumming with celebrities. Which is pretty weird, seeing as he went on to marry Monique van Vooren. Go figure!”

Frank Sinatra

With her background in society reporting and celebrity conviviality, Smith was a logical choice to replace gossip columnist Hedda Hopper when she retired. Smith subtly altered the column’s style, making it “jazzier,” as she liked to say.

In 1965 she was the first to break the news that 50-year-old Frank Sinatra was bedding down 18-year-old Peyton Place starlet Mia Farrow.

“Go buy yourself a new pair of overshoes,” said a drunken Sinatra when he encountered Smith in Las Vegas a few years later. Sticking a pair of banknotes into Smith’s drink glass, Sinatra added that she was “a two-dollar whore.”

Richard Gere

With her children in boarding school, Smith no longer needed an apartment of her own in New York, so moved in with her longtime friend, archaeologist Iris Love.

Smith and Love frequently went on digs together, sometimes accompanied by Smith’s children, or Smith’s close friend Richard Gere. During a 1983 expedition to Great Britain they discovered the jaw of Piltdown Man, which they donated to the British Museum.


Ask the Family Doctor: Can I Give Fish Antibiotics to My Children?

Ask the Family Doctor: Can I Give Fish Antibiotics to My Children? thumbnail

Dr Molmar

with Ferenc Molmar, MD

I am often asked whether it safe and proper for human beings to ingest antibiotics designed for tropical fish. There are two issues to address here. One is that antibiotics for fish have generally been tested on fish, but not on humans. Therefore, although the the chemical structure of the drug may be similar, you can never be certain of what a fish antibiotic will do to one of us higher vertebrates. Read More…

column, Medicins sans frontal-lobes

Ask the Family Doctor: Lepers and Toxoplasmosis

Ask the Family Doctor: Lepers and Toxoplasmosis thumbnail

Dr Molmar

Dr Molmar

with Ferenc Molmar, MD

Q. Our adopted child from a far-off country has been diagnosed with leprosy. The child is under treatment and the condition appears to be stable. However, a clerical employee in our pediatrician’s offices seems to be a bit of a gossip and told a neighbor from my garden club about our child’s illness. Now the neighbors refuse to let their children play with our child, and some are even demanding that our child carry a bell around and ring it whenever approaching other people. We got hold of an old Salvation Army bell, which makes quite a bit of noise, but this has not satisfied our neighbors. Our child’s school has put our child into a “special needs” class isolated from the other children. The guidance counselor is beginning to suggest that we send our child away to a leprosarium school in Molokai or Louisiana. This problem is causing a lot of stress at home, and my spouse is threatening to leave me. (Note: we are not married.)

A. Whoa, whoa. Quite a lot to digest there! First of all, leprosy is generally called Hansen’s Disease today, which is a more appetizing name all around. Your pediatrician should have used that name to begin with. But now the damage is done, and now instead of thinking that your child has a minor eye infection, or a lymphoma perhaps, your neighbors are imagining suppurating sores and fingers falling off. That is the problem right there.

Hansen’s Disease is very treatable nowadays, and unless your child is severely disfigured, there is a chance your child can live a long and productive life. For now, I suggest moving far away and perhaps changing your name. Also lose that bell, and don’t use the L word again!

I cannot advise you on your marriage, or lack thereof. I realize many unmarried people adopt children from far-away lands today, because they cannot adopt them at home, but it was still irresponsible of you to do it. Having unmarried parents puts an extra burden on children, even those who are adopted and don’t have leprosy.


Q. Our elderly aunt died recently of toxoplasmosis, which she may have picked up from the many cats she lived with. The humane society has taken most of the cats away to be put down, except for a litter of three kitties which my five-year-old son sneaked away in a gunny sack. We took these kitties to the veterinarian, and they seem to be “clean,” but I’m not sure it’s a good thing to keep animals from such an unhealthy household. Are we at risk?

A. First of all, I’m a real medical doctor, not a veterinarian, and I’m not here to talk about kittens. But I worry about a five-year-old boy who moons over cats. One day he’s stealing them in a gunny sack (where did he get a gunny sack, I wonder?), and before you know it he’s tying little pink ribbons around their necks and sewing little outfits for them. Is that the kind of life you want for your son? Why don’t you get him a dog? A nice big german shepherd dog? Like Rin-Tin-Tin. Or a boxer maybe.

column, Medicins sans frontal-lobes

Animal Mummies?

This looks absolutely ghastly. These people must be desperate.

Drawn from our renowned collection, the exhibition features choice examples from among the many millions of mummies of birds, cats, dogs, snakes, and other animals preserved from at least thirty-one different cemeteries throughout Egypt. Animals were central to the ancient Egyptian worldview. Most animals had connections to a particular deity. After death, mummified animals’ souls could carry a message to a god.

Brooklyn Museum

Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt

SEPTEMBER 29, 2017–JANUARY 21, 2018

Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 4th Floor


Hugh Hefner and the World of Art

The death of Hugh Hefner at age 91 hurled us headlong back into recollections of the 1960s and what Playboy was supposed to be about.

If you weren’t a Playboy reader in those days—and few of us alive today were, let’s face it, since that would imply you were then a male between 25 and 50 years of age, making you about 90 years old today—you had a weird notion of it, one that came filtered through the schoolyard and MAD magazine. Playboy was a dirty magazine, a skin book. It had pictures of “naked ladies.” Read More…

Art, Commentary

Ask the Family Doctor: Taming the Bed-Wetters

with Ferenc Molmar, MD

Q. My youngest child, now 13, still wets his bed and I would like to cure him before he goes off to boarding school. I remember many years ago when you used to appear on the old Today Show with Jack Lescoulie and you demonstrated a sort of harness that could be used to cure bed-wetting, by strapping the children in at night. Do they still make this, or do you still use this? Read More…

column, Medicins sans frontal-lobes

Noted with Pleasure, in the Manner of Terry Southern

Brooklyn recently went to a Tom Wolfe chin-music recital in New York. And my reaction was: you couldn’t drag me to a Tom Wolfe reading for all the smack in China. Not even if the opening act was a mud-wrestling grudge-match between Erica Jong and Susan Sontag. Read More…