A reader writes:
I must thank you for listing Dance in America: Acts of Ardor in your top five. I just finished watching it and was overwhelmed. I really did enjoy it. I am a relative new comer to art appreciation and I have been somewhat skeptical about whether I would enjoy dance. That show definitely changed my mind and to think it was on the same day that I received your book The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken
in the mail. I am sure I will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
I sure hope so. The pleasure is all mine. And for those of you who missed Acts of Ardor, some stations are replaying it. (In New York, for example, it’ll be shown again next Tuesday at 12:30 a.m. on Channel 13.) Click on the Top Five link for more information.
Another reader writes, apropos of my Wall Street Journal piece about the Lake Shore Limited:
experience with trains was last March, when I traveled with a friend from
Chicago to Tucson on the Texas Eagle, a three-day trip. The wonderful
thing about a train trip is that you can’t possibly do anything else except
eat, drink, and socialize. We spent afternoons in the lounge car, grumbling
that we were behind schedule (as train passengers are obliged to) and
exchanging rumors that the conductor had told someone that there would
be a smoke break in St. Louis, or that we would make up time after San
Antonio. At 4 o’clock, the dining steward walked through to take dinner
reservations. My friend and I were always seated with two other people, so
as not to waste space at the tables (which, happily, are still appointed with
fresh flowers). One evening, we dined with a delightful older lady named
Margaret, who, upon hearing that coach passengers were not provided with
a shower, invited us to the use the one in her sleeper car–“if the steward
tries to stop you, tell him your Aunt Margaret is traveling in the sleeper and
said you could use it.” In the evenings after dinner, we sat in the lounge
until 1 or 2 o’clock drinking bottle after bottle of dreadful Amtrak
Cabernet, talking about philosophy and staring out at the Texas night.
While I never experienced the grand old days of really first-class train
service, I believe it is still the most civilized way to travel. It was nice to
read about your experience and your other reader’s train memories on the
I’ve been getting other nice letters from people who remember their own train rides, past and present, with great fondness. Thanks to you all for writing.
Finally, this wildly amusing speculation:
I have to admit, there was a period of time in which I thought Our Girl
was just Joseph Epstein having a little fun pretending to be a woman.
All that gushing about Henry James… But your recent statements
concerning Our Girl looking ravishing (or something like that) while
listening to Johnny Cash (and not Schubert’s “Trout”) have been poking
huge holes in my thesis. Either that, or your blog is no longer
grounded in reality.
I may tune in to your radio appearance and miss all those cool
Super-Bowl commercials just to hear my best guess as to Our Girl’s
identity smashed once and for all.
Fond as I am of Joe Epstein, he isn’t nearly as pretty as OGIC. And she’s taller, too.