Thursday, August 26, 2010


Two men were taken off a plane in Chicago and charged with suspected terrorism...the reason being that one of them was carrying seven thousand dollars and a cell phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle.

The seven thousand dollars is easily understandable. I mean, have you flown recently? By the time you get charged for your overweight luggage (anything over 10 ounces), the use of an overhead bin, food, water, the carryon you have under your seat, use of the toilet, and, quite possibly, the color of your shoes...well, you actually do need that seven thousand bucks just to get where you're going.

Now the cell phone taped to the Pepto-Bismol bottle is a bit more problematic. One could give the gent the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he has terrible diarrhea (look! I can spell diarrhea!) and feels that he needs his cell phone right there so he can call his doctor while he swigs.

Mainly, I think we're dealing with idiots. I will certainly concede the point that perhaps someone deeply clever would adopt this pose to lull one's suspicions, but really...a cell phone taped to a bottle of Pepto-Bismol? Right there on board with him? I think the terrorists are running out of recruits. They must be getting a little suspicious about that 72 virgins bit, and the recruiters are really scraping the bottom of the barrel now.

However, far be it from me to complain about safety on planes. The food I'll complain about (or the lack/price thereof), but safety, never.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I am no longer sure I want to be an American.

I have spent my whole life being proud to be an American, because I am far closer to my immigrant forbears than most people my age are. My father was a naturalized citizen from England, my grandmother (on my mother's side) was a naturalized citizen from Ireland. My grandfather on Mother's side was only second generation in this country.

But I am now completely ashamed of my own people.

I just came home from a lovely evening at Sarah's bar to find on my local news site the story of a 21 one year old man who got into a taxi early this evening, asked the driver whether he was a Muslim, and upon hearing an affirmative reply, slashed the man with a knife.

I cannot live with this kind of behavior. This country was founded BECAUSE of religious freedom, and FOR religious freedom. And yes, I was downtown on September 11th, and yes, I had to walk home, and yes, I was covered in ash and grit and, quite probably bits of human beings. For that matter, I was also in Grant Park in Chicago in 1968, dragging bleeding reporter friends out to take them to the first aid station my roommate and I had set up in our apartment. I have (quite by an accident of birth) been basically in the middle of a fair number of monumental occurrences in our history between 1945, the year of my birth, and now.

But I have NEVER seen anything like this. This snarling, blind, uninformed, slavering pack behavior. This is more frightening than anything ever in my life. I am terrified of my own countrymen.

What on earth has happened here? Unfortunately, I do understand...much more than thoroughly...that one of the firelighters was our election of a black president. This was the thing, I think, that started the dogs howling. There are a lot of people who simply cannot stand the notion of a black Kennedy, which is, of course, what Obama is. The parallels are inescapable. This young handsome man, with his handsome wife and his two adorable daughters...this is the stuff of every commercial everywhere. Except...THEY'RE NIGGGERS! Yeah. Made you look, didn't I?

I'm sorry. Not like it's a term I would ever use. But that's the truth as it is told in way too much of the United States at the moment. There are a LOT of people who think exactly and precisely that.

And I think somehow that when this country did the right thing, the proper thing, that what happened is we said, "Cry havoc! And unleash the hogs of war!" Huh. The quote is, of course, unleash the dogs of war. That was a typo. But perhaps my fingers knew more than I did.

Please. I am reminded of the title of a book by Alan Paton (it's actually about apartheid in South Africa)...Cry, The Beloved Country.

Oh, my America, my new found land...what has happened to your brave flags and your smiling democracy?

Love (and please let us find it again), Wendy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nothing Doing

Really, I know I should keep up with this blog better, but frankly, do you really want to hear that I took a nap and read a book?

The only thing I've done was go to a party for Sarah's birthday at our friend Al's last Saturday, which was just great - he and his wife have a roof, so a whole bunch of us of all generations (my favorite kind of party) got out there and partied hearty and ate and drank up a storm. It was great. And I even got to my own bed. No, no, I don't usually go home with random people or pass out at my hosts' place - it's just when I'm well and truly blitzed I have this awful tendency to curl up under the kitchen table.

Honestly, there's a perfectly good reason for this. Oh, all right - I think it's a good reason. It's that damn spiral iron staircase of mine. If I'm altogether out of it, I have a deep seated belief that I'm not going to be able to make those stairs, so I gently slide out of the kitchen chair onto the floor and have a nap until I'm ready/able to navigate. This makes perfect sense to me, but it looks a little odd. However, all was well...totally smashed, yes, but incapable, no.

Today, however, I got an interesting phone call. Someone named Const called me out of the blue to day that Richard, who was in my bipolar show with me, had recommended me to do a reading with them on Thursday. I think this was nice, and I'm definitely going to do it...the play is A Delicate Balance, and I love Edward Albee...and it also has another of my cohorts from my play, nice Maggie. I must say I'm slightly wary of the group, though. It seems to be very experimental, which isn't much to my taste, and Const was going on about exploring the vocals of the play, and I have no idea what that means. Well, how would you DO a play without a certain amount of vocal exploration? Unless, of course, you happen to be Marcel Marceau. Luckily this is a one-time only (so far) reading, deep in the bowels of the old B. Altman building (which is now a business library) with no audience. So what the hell? I might as well check it out and get a little workout.

Parenthetically, I'm rather curious about Const...I went to the web site and discovered that I can't tell exactly what sex Const is (even with a picture - it could be Constance or Constantine), and the voice gave me no particular clue. It's not much of a factor in anything, because who cares, but there seems to be an intentional ambiguity which is interesting. I do know I'm reading a woman's role, so evidently whatever the group is sticks to that convention at any rate.

Meanwhile, the house now has a down payment in escrow, and I think I may be about to apartment hunt! This is deeply exciting...I have my mind full of decorating ideas and an itch to throw more things out, which is definitely a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

Now I'm going to watch TV, eat something, and go to bed, because tomorrow I have to go buy a copy of this play.

I will most certainly report on the reading...and try to stay off the kitchen floor.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, Good Heavens

So there I was, wandering around the site because when I get this house sold, I really, REALLY need a new sewing machine, and I decided to take a look and see what new cookbooks were out.

I never got past one of the first ones on the list: The Joy of Hospitality: Fun Ideas for Evangelistic Entertaining.

Does that seem like a contradiction in terms to anyone but me?

Love, Wendy

Monday, August 16, 2010


We finally got an actual thunderstorm! I'm so thrilled. I sat out on the balcony and watched the whole thing and listened to all that lovely thunder. Of course, it's now a total steam bath outside, but, given this summer, what else is new?

I went and did my open call, which was predictably dull and cost me at least a million new split ends what with the teasing and spraying of my poor hair. But I got to say hi to a couple of my Boardwalk pals and get a new picture in Grant Wilfley's files, so it shouldn't be a total loss.

And finally, as promised a while back here, I will tell you about my new favorite book. It's called Entertaining Is Fun! by Dorothy Draper, who was one of the great American interior designers of the 1930's and 1940's. The book was originally published in 1941 and was re-issued, completely without any kind of editing, in 2005 (I think).

You MUST read this book. I haven't had this much fun in years. Just opening it at random, I come across Miss Draper's description of a Tyrolean party, where all the men came in liederhosen (those little leather shorts) and all the ladies in dirndls. There was, among other delights, a procession by candlelight from the "cocktail room" to the dining room, and Miss Draper had managed to find and hire "an amateur Austrian band consisting of Austrian workmen and shopkeepers", who brought their wives or girlfriends with them and demonstrated "some of their gay,elaborate folk dances for us." They even allowed the guests to do some of the simple ones, which I think was sweet of them. Well, think about it. When you're doing the time honored traditional dances of your homeland, it's really awfully nice of you to let a bunch of clodhopping New York socialites join in. Miss Draper was also in costume, of course - "I had a headdress of cornflowers with silver and great long diamond peasant earrings..." Um, what? Personally, I haven't seen a lot of peasants wearing long diamond earrings, but, you know, maybe things were different in 1941. My favorite piece of this report is a line which reads: "Elsa Maxwell, I remember, came dressed like a man, in leather shorts and an embroidered white shirt and flowered suspenders." This is just sort of casually tossed off..

I could go on and on about this book, because I am hysterically in love with it, but I must leave you with two of her more inspired flights of fancy, the first of which is that in her lists of what you must have for entertaining (which are a trip and a half), she includes "A pair of candelabra. To stand on the piano or the buffet when you entertain." Of course.

But the best thing in the book is one of her descriptions of someone making do with what they have. To give her all credit, actually all of the suggestions in her book are just as workable now as they were then, regarding things like, if you don't enjoy your party, no one else will; do the best you can with what you've got; and so forth. However, she tells the story of a young bride in the damnedest circumstances I ever heard of.

Seems this young lady started her marriage in a freight car drawn up at a siding in the wildest part of Idaho. I hasten to add that this was because her husband was a railway engineer who had to be on site to do whatever it was he did, and her only alternative was to live alone in a hotel 100 miles away and see him rarely.

Well, you'll just have to read the book, but "Ultimately (and in remarkably short time, too), the freight car was transformed into what closely resembled a cottage in the Bavarian Alps."

By the way, Dorothy Draper was truly one of the American greats, and the next time you think of decorating with a red rug and lavender walls, you may bow to her, since it was she who shook Americans out of the hideous Victorianisms and all beige homes that were still persisting in her time...her interiors were GORGEOUS. And there is still a Dorothy Draper Inc. decorating company, now run by Carleton Varney. So there.

But the book is a HUGE treat.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Old Friends

Dinner tonight with my old pals from Chicago; lovely as always.

And oh, my God, I might actually have this joint sold! We're on buyers number three at the moment, and the appraiser is actually coming on Tuesday, which means we just might be on our way...which would be lovely, since my entire personal fortune at the moment stands at 1.47 in the bank and 16 cents in my purse. Thank God the gals always insist on buying my meal...

And I would like to make some deeply personal and highly unprintable remarks about the damn subway which, in its wisdom, decided NOT to go to Christopher Street tonight, but to go directly from 14th Street to Chambers, thus leaving me a much longer walk home. This wouldn't normally be a problem, but A. it's raining (for which thank God) and B. I had three beers with dinner. Growl. (No, no, I didn't go to Chambers Street, but I had to get off at 14th, which adds six blocks to my walk home.)

Now I have many other things to talk about, but I'm leaving them for tomorrow evening, because right now I have to go and drench my hair with setting lotion and put it up in big rollers and pin curls. This is not something I'm doing purely out of boredom (I can imagine doing, and in fact have done, many terribly odd things out of boredom...both of my marriages, for instance...but never anything involving rollers and pin curl clips). No, it's because Grant Wilfley (you remember, my usual casting agency) has an open call tomorrow for, among other things, 1960's secretaries for Men in Black III. I have a wonderful '60's style pinstriped black sheath dress, I have the obligatory pearls that go with it, and I have the four inch spike heels...all I need to do in the morning (after the rollers, etc.) is tease the head out of all recognition and beehive myself to death, add a LOT of black eyeliner and red lipstick, and I'm good to go. Luckily I'm used to some odd looks on the subway...and anyway, this being New York, nobody really pays much attention. Hey, with any luck, they'll think I'm Dita Von Teese!

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spangles and Sequins and Feathers, Oh, My!

I do love La Cage Aux Folles. I've followed it since its inception as a French movie with subtitles, which I saw first run at the Paris Theatre here in NY, then the original stage show, then the American film version (The Birdcage) and now this pared down version, and I've loved every single one of them.

This version has half the cast of the Broadway original, which doesn't make a damn bit of difference to came from London, the Donmar Warehouse, I think, but don't quote me...and the sets are pared down like the cast, but it does very nicely. And it's still got all its glitz and silliness. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I mean, face it...when a bunch of drag queens swoop out on stage in silver sequins carrying enormous feather fans and wearing silver roller skates, what's not to like?

And it had an added attraction which I thought was just marvelous...when you get to the theatre, as you're milling around on the sidewalk outside, there is a seven foot drag queen in a black cocktail dress acting as greeter and mixing with the crowds. This is just wonderful. The seven foot height comes in because between the fact that the lady in question looks to be about six feet to start with, and the hair and the spike heeled feet, easy. Anyway, it's a wonderful bit, which sort of prepares the audience for what's inside.

We ate at Smith's where the food is fine but the service is bizarre...I ordered a Reuben sandwich on rye with onion rings and received a Reuben sandwich on white with fries. I was going to go with it, but Sarah insisted on bringing this to the waiter's attention. He promptly took my WHOLE plate and disappeared for 15 minutes, eventually returning with some really good onion rings and returning my sandwich...but you know, he could have brought a plate of rings while I ate more of the sandwich. However, $41 for two including tip and drinks for a pre-theatre meal in midtown is nothing to be sneezed at.

And there is actually news on the house front. Our original buyers can't get the mortgage, and neither can the second set, so we evidently got the THIRD set of buyers to sign a contract, and now we cross our fingers. Seems like they're the ones Richard the real estate person thought would be best anyway. The offer is a little less money, but still over a million. Given that my personal fortune now stands at 34 bucks in the bank and about 40 in my wallet, I'm not going to quibble over the little things.

To bed. I never got to the cleaning today because...well, I just didn't. So sue me. But tomorrow I don't have to get dressed or anything, and I can scrub my little heart out. Maybe.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Killing Time

Yes, well, it's Tuesday, which means Rescue Me, but that's not on until 10 pm, and it's now only 8:05 pm. There are several things I could profitably be doing, but since most of them revolve around things like getting down on my hands and knees with a scrub brush...yeah. No. That sort of thing is for the daylight hours. I clean at night ONLY if someone is arriving from an airport or something at 6 am.

The damn house is STILL on hold...I wish to hell my buyers would either get the damn mortgage or give up on it.

Sarah and I are going to see La Cage Aux Folles tomorrow...yay! And thank you, Vicky. I don't know where we're going to eat beforehand...neither of us can afford Tout Va Bien, damn it, so I suppose it'll be Chinese at Ollie's or burgers at Smith's. Actually, I like Smith's...since our favorite place (the name of which I can't remember at the moment) for cheap before theatre meals closed, Smith's is about it. The place was a stagehand's bar on 8th Avenue, and had really, really good scallops wrapped in bacon, which I just loved. Oh, well.

Then one of my temp agencies called, and I have an actual job for 3 days next week, which I am probably going to hate, but I need the's one of the seminar things. I think I've worked it before, or something like it. This is the one where I float here and there, helping out with this and that...registration, floor assistance (although what a floor would need assistance for, I do NOT know). I remember (presuming it is the same one) that last year one of my jobs was making sure no one but seminar attendees snuck into the buffet lunch. Well, it's an extra 200 bucks or so that I wouldn't have otherwise, so what the hell. Also, it's actually convenient to get to - 6th Avenue and 53rd. And with any luck, they'll feed me...

I'm also submitting for every movie/TV thing that comes down the pike, but so far no luck there. But, as I have a house full of food, that's not quite such a worry.

And tomorrow I shall leap out of bed rejoicing, looking forward to a day with my scrub brush! Doesn't that sound exciting? No, I didn't think so either...but at least I get to eat out and go to the theatre.

Love, Wendy