Measured Extravagance

29 August 2002 - 7:28 a.m.

Hello, darlings. I'm still hibernating until October, but here's a few acorns I can't resist rolling out of the cave:

  • Charley's Crab (5498 Crooks Road - next to the Hilton Northfield) features good seafood and excellent service. I demolished a 1 1/4 lb. steamed lobster and a half-dozen Evening Cove oysters (paired with a glass of Gallo pinot noir and a split of sparkling wine). The server never rushed me, even though, with my late start, I ended up being one of the last people out of the restaurant (well past their posted closing time of 10 p.m.), and he readily answered my request for an additional hot napkin (my hands having gotten very slippery from lobster-cracking). Outrage, I'm thinking it'd be a good place to take your lady for her birthday.
  • Yes, I was in Michigan. No, I didn't try to get together with anyone. Much as I'd love to see all y'all, it was a one-day business trip, and all I wanted to do by the time I got to the hotel was get fed quickly, get drunk quietly and go to sleep.
  • On my way out of the Design Center, I hear an obnoxious rattling. I pull into the next parking lot to inspect the trunk, which is fine, but it turns out the left rear tire is flat. I yell, "Shit!" as it's already 30 minutes later than I'd allowed for getting myself back to the airport on time. The guy happening to take a break outside calmly tells me, "It's Hertz? They'll come pick you up. Just use our phone." The Hertz guy on the phone is great and says he doesn't think he can reach me in time but that I can use a cab and save the receipt and fill out the accident report in Tennessee. The receptionist is fantastic, shouting the address and phone numbers I need to me across the lobby. She also happens to have the phone number of Royal Oak Cab on the top post-it at her desk since one of their visitors needed a cab called for them that morning. The taxi driver is a godsend, seizing shortcuts and thrusting his van into gaps in the rush-hour traffic I wouldn't have had the 'nads to take advantage of for myself. I make my flights; I get to Nashville, and the BNA Hertz people take care of the paperwork and reimburse me for the cab. Do I feel hugely grateful to everyone listed here? You bet.
  • But will that stop me from asking what kind of meshuggeneh spazz designed the traffic lanes in this city - including the airport? I admit it's doubtful I could do better, but I'd really prefer to die in bed rather than in some sideswipe that takes place because I have to change lanes three times within 1/3 mile to stay on the same stretch of freeway ramp. . .
  • Reading recommendations: Emerald House Rising by Peg Kerr (the cover had a blurb from Lois McMaster Bujold; appealingly strong but not superhuman women characters, and some clever touches of humor); Rose Daughter, a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" by Robin McKinley; Parsifal's Page, fourth in Gerald Morris's Arthurian series:

    "All I do is run one little errand, and what happens? I come back and find that you've volunteered to go off on a silly chase, looking for a knight. Shouldn't be hard, should it? He's only one knight and England's only one country. Whatever possessed you, milord?" - Sir Gawain's exasperated squire, in Parsifal's Page

    Other reading: an ancient issue of Opera News (from a used bookstore's "free" box) with Bubbles and Burnett on the cover (and with an obituary of Lotte Lehmann inside); Robert C. Marsh's Dialogues and Discoveries: James Levine, HIs Life and Music; Meryle Secrest's biography of Stephen Sondheim.

    "I am more or less convinced," Szell once observed, "that every standard edition of every standard work contains at least one horrible mistake." To prove this, a wall in his dressing room/office was covered with photocopies of pages from composers' manuscript scores in which there was something of importance missing from the editions currently in use. (This was thirty years ago, and it must be noted that things have improved.

    Characteristic of Szell was that one of the highest priority items when he first took his orchestra to Moscow was to see the manuscript of the First Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto to check one note that had long bothered him. He returned triumphant to his hotel shouting, "It's a B-flat!"

    One year ago, the so-called Justice Department was already making me cross. As usual, when I rant, I make lists: '"fresh basil, grape tomatoes, skim milk, lean turkey, Eskimo Pies and sweet tarts?!" Hah!'

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  • My book!




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