Friday, November 17, 2017

Quote of the Day (Calvin Trillin, on Skyscraper Restaurants)

"I never eat in a restaurant that’s over a hundred feet off the ground and won’t stand still.” —American journalist, humorist, and gourmand Calvin Trillin, American Fried: Adventures of a Happy Eater (1974)

(Photo of Calvin Trillin taken at a discussion at Dartmouth College, February 2011.)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Quote of the Day (Anthony Trollope, on How a Mind Is Made Up)

"A man's mind will very gradually refuse to make itself up until it is driven and compelled by emergency."— British novelist Anthony Trollope (1815-1882), Ayala’s Angel (1880)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quote of the Day (Nathaniel Hawthorne, on ‘Autumnal Sunshine’)

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."—American novelist/short-story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), Oct. 10, 1842 notebook entry, The American Notebooks (1875)

(I took the photo accompanying this post nine years ago in the Ramapo Mountain State Forest in northern New Jersey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Quote of the Day (John Oates, on the Origin of ‘Philly Soul’)

“Philadelphia was the first major city north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and the first place that many African-Americans settled in. They brought their experience from the deep south, and it combined with the Anglo-Saxon, classical tradition from Europe that was already in the city. So that is how you come to get that sound, of these lush string accompaniments playing alongside an incredible rhythmic groove, which is the soul of the music.”—Singer-songwriter John Oates, quoted in Peter Aspden, “The Making of Philly Soul,” The Financial Times, Oct. 14-15, 2017

Peter Aspden’s interview with John Oates and musical partner Daryl Hall allows those two genre-benders to speak, articulately and passionately, about the whole arc of their careers, including, as here, their formative influences. But I wish the article could have explored in greater depth the producers and musicians who made such an indelible contribution to the music of the 1970s.

So, I’ll take up the task, in a list that is probably woefully incomplete: Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell, the Spinners, the Stylistics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, Lou Rawls, Jerry Butler, Phyllis Hyman, Patti Labelle, and Billy Paul (whose “Me and Mrs. Jones” was covered by Hall and Oates in a barn-burner of a live performance in 2003).

(John Oates is pictured right with Daryl Hall, in this photo taken and pasted on Flicker by Gary Harris, Oct. 1, 2008.)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Quote of the Day (James Thurber, Parodying the Femme Fatale)

“Then she came into the room. She was tall and thin and had a white frowning forehead and soft eyes. She wasn’t much to look at but she was something to think about….She leaned over the chair where I was sitting and bit me in the ear.”—American humorist James Thurber (1894-1961), “Hell Only Breaks Loose Once” (written after reading James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice), in The Middle Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)

(The image accompanying this post is from the original film adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. Needless to say, the smoldering Ms. Turner was far closer to the conception of Cain’s femme fatale than the woman in Thurber’s hilarious parody.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Quote of the Day (Tyree Daye, on God ‘Soft-Spoken’)

There are moments you can hear God
say things soft-spoken, the sun
settling between thin pines."—Tyree Daye, “Tamed,” in The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 4, 2017

I took the picture accompanying this post a year ago, in Allison Park, in my hometown, Englewood, NJ.