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Take a Cup of Kindness for Auld Lang Syne, Peter O’Toole, and the Librarian on the Bench

“In My Life” started out as a bus journey from my house to town … and it wasn’t working at all …. But then I laid back and these lyrics…

’Tis the Season for Film Noir: Winged Words on a Homeland Holiday

“The bad girls were so much fun to play …. Critics always said I acted best with a gun in my hand.” —Audrey Totter (1917-2013) When actress Audrey Totter died…

Over the Bridge to the Other Side — A Matter of Life and Death

Here we go again, life or death on the dreaded Williamsburg Bridge. I know to stay in the far right lane but as I come to the Brooklyn moment of…

Looking Into “The Cairo Trilogy” Through a Half-Open Window

“You should be serious about serious things and playful when you play. There’s an hour for your Lord and an hour for your heart.” —said by Zanuba, the lute player…

Catcher in the Rain: Reading Rilke and Salomé, Salinger and Esmé

no one, not even the rain, has such small hands —e.e. cummings This column began during one of those steady unthreatening rainfalls when you can imagine you hear the night…

On James Agee’s Birthday: Celebrating New York Beginnings With Grace Kelly and Lou Reed

New York City, how I love you, blink your eyes and I’ll be gone just a little grain of sand. —Lou Reed (1942-2013), from “Nyc Man” If anybody starts using…

Kennedy 50 Years After Dallas: A Sense of History, A Sense of Fate, A Sense of Himself

I used to have the feeling that no matter what happened I’d get through. It’s a funny thing that as long as you have that feeling you seem to get…

“Woman As She Is”: Robert Louis Stevenson and His American Wife

Born on this day, November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, Robert Louis Stevenson was writing The Weir of Hermiston when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage on December 3, 1894, in…

Confessions of a Cardinal Fan: Radio Nights, Tweeting Tortoises, and the 2013 World Series

According to David Waldstein’s story, “Trying to Outrun the Cardinals’ Long Reach” (New York Times, October 29), “the penetrating strength” of 50,000 watt radio station KMOX is said to reach…

A View With a Room: Dreaming of Bristol in Coleridge Country

In Bristol it all happened. I fell apart and found my own little pieces and put them together again …. It is the most beautiful city in Great Britain. —Peter…