TT: Almanac

“I am drawn to stories about people who really, really want something. That helps you to sing in ways that really matter to an audience. If your desire is big enough, then singing seems natural.”


Adam Guettel, interview, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Jan. 28, 2006)

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TT: Another old friend

A reader wrote, apropos of this posting about an alleged quote of mine, to reassure me that I really did say what the Web says I said. The quote, he gleefully informed me, came from a review of The Cat Who Went to Paris and Particularly Cats…and Rufus published in the
Washington Post in 1991. It appeared in the first paragraph:

“This broadcast,” Harry Reasoner once said at the beginning of a television show called “Essay on Women,” “was prepared by men, and makes no claim to being fair. Prejudice has saved us a great deal of time in preparation.” Perhaps I should start with a similar disclaimer: This review was written by the owner of an 11-year-old cat
named Blossom. Not surprisingly, I have strong opinions about cats. Some are favorable, others merely resigned. I love Blossom, but I also know the limits of our relationship. He does what he wants, and I do what he wants. Most cat owners are like that. They understand that
life with a cat is in certain ways a one-sided proposition. Cats are not educable; humans are. Moreover, cats know this. If you’re not willing to humor them, you might as well stick to dogs.

Blossom died in my arms several years ago, but I still remember him (yes, he was a him) with slightly exasperated affection. A framed picture of him shares one of my bookshelves with the selected works of Willa Cather, Raymond Chandler, John P. Marquand, and Tom Wolfe

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TT: Lost in the ozone

A friend writes:

I bought a cat calendar that featured a quote from you, so I had to write. You said: “Life with a cat is in certain ways a one-sided proposition. Cats are not educable; humans are. Moreover, cats know this.”

This e-mail amazed me. It sounds very much like something I might have said

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TT: Almanac

“A molehill man is a pseudo-busy executive who comes to work at 9 am and finds a molehill on his desk. He has until 5 pm to make this molehill into a mountain. An accomplished molehill man will often have his mountain finished before lunch.”


Fred Allen, Treadmill to Oblivion

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TT: Almanac

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.


Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said.


Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.


Stevie Smith, “Not Waving but Drowning”

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TT: Almanac

“The images on the screen are patterns of light, not living actors. They are not affected by applause or hissing. They will be the same in a packed house or an empty one. And they will be the same every time the movie is shown. This affects the audience. Occasionally, movie audiences applaud or hiss or walk out, but for the most part they are passive. No social bond between the audience and the actors can exist.”


O.B. Hardison, Entering the Maze: Identity and Change in Modern Culture

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TT: Old home week

I just got back from the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, where the Mark Morris Dance Group has been dancing a mixed bill in its own 140-seat performance space. To see a dance company in so small a venue is an amazingly intimate experience, one not so far removed from watching a working rehearsal. It happens that tonight

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