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. "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, […] Read More


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

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. More importantly, the medical community has invested long years and lots of money in gaining their professional status, and it is important to give us your support. How do you think your professional auto-mechanic would feel […] Read More

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Ask the Family Doctor: Lepers and Toxoplasmosis

Ask the Family Doctor: Lepers and Toxoplasmosis thumbnail

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 […] Read More

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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 […] Read More


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." Nobody said "porn." Porn did not exist, at least in the general consciousness. Porn was something you might […] 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? A. To be honest, I have no idea what you are talking about. After the passage of many decades, even the great Jack Lescoulie is but a dim memory. As for the harness contraption you […] Read More

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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. Don't get me wrong. I think Wolfe is a fantastic writer. He's fab & gear & smack-a-delic to the max. I love the way he teased Marshall McLuhan for McLuhan's cheezy clip-on tie. With the little plastic cheaters sticking out of the collar. The kind of goofy cheez-artifacts that they used to have hanging from those rotating racks at Rexall drug stores. (Marshall McLuhan. Now […] Read More


Huntington Hartford Museum, 1964 Cartoon

This Esky cartoon is pretty inscrutable today, but Mr J D King points out that the Plaid Stamps sign is an allusion to the Pop Art fad of the period. Mr Huntington Hartford was a much-married playboy and philanthropist who succeeded in running through his entire inheritance (A&P supermarkets) before he died. He pissed a few million away on an entertainment magazine, and then wasted another hundred million by building a modern-art museum on a traffic island by Columbus Circle—then a down-at-the-heels part of town. A&P were the main providers of Plaid trading stamps. Plaid was a distinctly second-tier brand, the high-end competitor being the Beinecke family's S&H Green Stamps. Just before the bottom fell […] Read More


Ask the Family Doctor

with Ferenc Molmar, MD Q. My 5-year-old son has a very large purple cyst in the middle of his forehead. It does not interfere with his activities, but it looks a sight and makes people not notice what a handsome child he is. Lately he has begun to pick at it, and I think its presence distresses him. Should we take him to a dermatologist and have it removed, or just hope that my son outgrows it? A. Healthy children normally engage in rough-and-tumble games, and it is not unusual for them to have bruises and scars and facial lesions. In your son's case the cyst appears to be benign and naturally […] Read More

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Remembering Stuart Davis

Around the time of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, Stuart Davis was one of the most famous American painters . . . (to be continued) […] Read More


Rauschenberg: Review of Reviews

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Thing about Robert Rauschenberg is, it’s not at all clear what he really ever did, other than hang out with art-pals . . . and experiment with various mixed media . . . and mountainous junkyards of techno-gadgetry that get set up and oohed over in “installations.” I guess they call them installations because you need six Bekins men and assorted appliance guys just to install them. For my money, there’s nothing more spoiled and indulgent than a big art installation, something nobody can really buy and show off in the parlor. They are doomed to a life of roadshows, even when they have a nominal home such as the Beaubourg in Paris, […] Read More


The Polo Shirt, Rediscovered

margot darby

For years I shunned polo shirts because the standard cotton-piqué type (Lacoste, 1970s) was always just a little bit too heavy, and the cut of the women's style was somehow too restrictive. (Something to do with the armholes, you know.) Of course you could always buy a larger size, but that was like wearing a men's: baggy, totally unbecoming. And the good ones were always so expensive. I remember how in the original novel Jaws the chief remembers how badly he wanted a Lacoste shirt, like the ones the summer people at Nantucket wore. But his mother sneered, called the Lacoste polo a "two-dollar shirt with a ten-dollar alligator," or something like […] Read More