September 17, 2015

Carly STILL Rising!

Carly Fiorina won going away last night in the Republican Primary Debate watched by an estimated 30 million; the largest audience in the history of CNN.

Did you see Carly taking names last night! GSL has been beaming with a prophet's pride all day. I just got off the phone with my buddy Dutch who is now claiming HE was out front on Carly. Sorry Dutch, the soothsayer had his prophesies time stamped in earlier posts. Just comb through the archives Dutch and have a look as way back in April, GSL was trumpeting how Carly was the class of the field.  Pitch perfect and not overplaying the female card either. A page out of the Iron Lady's playbook.

Trump is working out perfectly for the emergence of Carly. He actually is bringing a focus on sound policy reforms such as the previously verboten idea of having the very wealthy pay more taxes, immigration sanity (although his ideas are too extreme),, and Social Security reform. These would never be even talked about without Trump and he is dragging the party in his direction. Ultimately, the contrast of Trump's over the top bluster will only make Carly seem like the only serious heavyweight. 

Dutch despises Trump but I said look how he introduced 30 million viewers to Carly The Great. Jeb Bush sure as hell wasn't going to do that.  I can't but wonder what all those Republican Establishment Types must be thinking as they gave Jeb a $120 million War Chest and have been busy mulling over which Ambassadorships to take. Not so fast boys.  The other great service Trump has provided is bodyslamming those Republican Fat Cats.  He has come out for raising taxes on the wealthy, discussed making Social Security (old age government pensions) means tested, and was the only one up there to slam the Iraq War. My opinion differs there but Trump was saying this way back in 2003 when very few were.  Trump is making all the other guys look like opening acts and leaving Carly to look like the only serious heavyweight.

Joe Biden wisely sitting tight as Hillary can't stop the bleeding. He needn't get in now as he can just wait as the email revelations continue to pile up. He'll be desperately summoned as a savior later in the year with his hands still clean. 

Ohhhh how I'd looove to see Carly debate Hillary; but Hillary won't make it that far.  Joe Biden is sitting tight and not declaring. Smart move says GSL.  To really take command of the Democratic primary; he'd have to start loudly pointing out what a duplicitous phony Hillary is thereby alienating her most ardent supporters. Even middle class white women (like my dear mother) are abandoning her in droves according to Andrea Mitchell of NBC News.  Why get dirty when he can wait and let the FBI take her out. It's going to happen and even before then, people are starting to figure out that even though Hillary doesn't want to share those 30,000+ emails she deleted; they might prefer not to have Putin read them aloud to her live at a Summit meeting....or more likely and true to his KGB upbringing, have his Ambassador pay her a White House visit and present her with a sampling quickly followed by blackmail negotiations in the form of US standing down across Eastern Europe while Putin has his Army retake lands previously in Soviet hands. Yes, all those communiques involving Benghazi, the implosion of Libya (which was her brainchild and was angling to make her great triumph), the Clinton Global Initiative conflicts which her staff moonlighted at and The Curious Case of El Sid Blumenthal.  All of these kinky shenanigans would make Richard Nixon look like Abe Lincoln is what the smart money is now saying.

Does anybody really think Vladdy's boys didn't intercept those Hillary private server emails?!?! You know, those little trifles regarding her yoga classes, Chelsea's wedding,,,,and maybe her activities during those missing 5 months and pre and post Benghazi and her doings during the Libya collapse, and the cozy arrangements she was setting up with her Foundation that are dripping with conflicts of interest and forbidden by the White House as a condition of her employ.  Even if she sent 1 email with classified info, she's toast.

As was previously alluded to on news programs, I'd hate to be the Intel chief in Beijing or Moscow and have to explain why you DON"T have Hillary's emails collated, leather bound in gold leaf,  and tied up with a pretty little bow.

September 15, 2015

To Russia With Love

Don't miss this masterpiece. Shot in 1 take in The Hermitage. An astonishing cinematic achievement.

I'm posting this on Moscow time where it is already September 16th. The Den ever mindful of our vast International audience likes to put out an occasional Special Edition and we wish them to have a full Den day of acknowledgement for their significant contributions or inspiration to The Arts with today's focus on Cinema.

I'll second the "Superb! Intimate and Epic!"
Russia has always been my land of enchantment.  As a boy I was something of a Kremlinologist at least as far as Time Magazine and an occasional New York Times or Washington Post article could brief me. Today seemed like the right day to pay proper respect. Here are a few cinematic gems that have Russia at least as a theme.

Excellent cast delivered on this treatment of Tolstoy's last days.

Another stellar cast featuring the vastly underrated and underutilized Lee Marvin. I often mistake the lead actress for...

The Den's Official Snake Charmer Nastassja Kinski

Den devotees are already well aware that Dr Zhivago along with Casablanca and The English Patient
are GSL's Cinematic Holy Trinity.
Sean Connery is well represented.
One of the very best James Bond movies

Also, due to the Cold War we often had non-Russians playing Russian heavies.
Colonel Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) of Soviet Counter-Intel agency SMERSH.. GSL has no intentions of ever playing footsie with Comrade Klebb

Based on a great John LeCarre novel of the same name. I read it thinking well before a movie was planned that Sean Connery would be perfect as protagonist Bartholomew Scott Blair. What really surprised me was how good Michelle Pfeiffer was as 'Katya'....even the name Katya has enchanted me ever since.
Happy Birthday Katya! Even Colonel Klebb can't match wits with The Den's Intel Apparatus.
Katya, this one was Trushka's idea. She thought she might not be in attendance so gave me very specific instructions.
We hope you like it.

September 13, 2015

An Affair...Part III:..."you WILL go to the ball !!! "

The evening was October 13, 2010. The venue was Chicago's magnificent Civic Opera House. The production was Carmen. My active duty military service having just ended (I used over 60 days of accumulated leave to take an early exit), my plan was to immediately reawaken my soul with the stimulating energy only a major cultural center can provide. So, about 6 months prior, once my departure date was set in stone, I purchased 4 tickets to our wonderful Opera company on consecutive nights as a jumpstart back into civilian life. I contacted Tiffany to see which production she preferred. She chose Carmen so Terry Drama accompanied me to Macbeth the previous night.

I made the unfortunate discovery that my entire woolen wardrobe had been devoured by moths while in storage so had to wear my only unstored dress pants & navy blazer to look presentable. I looked good and felt better. I arrived at Tiffany's Gold Coast high rise via taxi, entered lobby, and had the doorman summon my date. If his brass name plate affixed his navy blazer was accurate, 'Clarence' dialed the code and chimed into the phone: "He's here....OK...." and as he hung up announced: "Miss Tiffany will be right down" with a big toothy grin. I surmised Clarence either knew GSL by reputation or the young lady's excited manner the previous few days informed him that this was a Red Letter Day for Miss Tiffany. GSL is an old pro at greeting dolled up gals entering lobby from lift as it sets the tone for the entire evening. I'm not one of those schmucks that has a line locked and loaded either...GSL dictates scripts; he doesn't work from them and the high literary quality that can blush cheeks, buckle knees, and take breath away is dictated by what is beheld. The vision I then beheld in that lobby was so sublime only "Wow!" involuntarily escaped my lips. I could see her eyes going misty so in our reunion smooch, canvassed her elegant silhouette with the shocking discovery that Tiffany was in "FLATS!!!" I, of course, refrained from any signature profanity that still keeps Fort Bragg abuzz and simply said: "Oh these won't do....everything above the ankle is off the charts spectacular... and you're wearing FLATS???....Jesus were wearing sexy heels at the Saddle & Cycle and now FLATS for the Opera?, these won't do at you take me for a candy-ass who needs concessions?!?!"

By now Clarence's barrel-chested laughter was coming on like a freight train so I wheeled around and said: "Clarence, hold that cab....Miss Tiffany needs a wardrobe adjustment...."  His laugh was entering the station while picking up steam but he gathered himself up enough to keep that taxi staged. We took the lift up to her apartment and her pup, Murray, was also glad to see me as I had her grab 3 options and come stand before her tall mirror as she took off her trench. I suggested those chocolate brown pumps would be perfect with her fab very form fitting A-Line revealing she had spent considerable time at the gym prepping for her GSL. The A-Line was a print with small rectangular waves about half the size of a domino in the colours of a  perfect lime green and a blue halfway between navy and cobalt. I've never seen one similar before or since and it was absolutely gorgeous and fit like a glove.

I had her stand sideways before the mirror as I stood next to her and said solemnly: "Beauty too often doesn't acknowledge it's responsibility. It's power is so seldom well utilized. Listen my dear Tiffany, there will be people attending tonight's performance who are going through tough times and need something to lift their spirits and the performance will do some of it but I'm sure you know how stimulating a crowd of highly intelligent, well turned out people sharing an enriching experience can be and the people watching is never better than at one of these high-toned productions when our souls are reaching for greater heights.  Tonight, during the intervals you're going to be that stunner that turns everybody's head and brings a warm smile to the elderly who still get joy out of seeing a beautiful girl all gussied up so let's make your contribution to tonight's festivities as good as it can be." It was the chocolate pumps she left in and while saying my goodbyes to Murray, snatched those FLATS off the floor and tossed them his way with the order: "chew beyond recognition!".....

Part IV follows

September 08, 2015

An Affair to Remember Part II

I don't remember the precise circumstances of Tiffany and I being introduced at that Saddle & Cycle Club Gala but do vividly recall being engaged in intense conversation soon thereafter and didn't let up until wait staff slipped past us pushing a dolly with stacked chairs. We were talking politics and the Arts, and were of similar minds and she really became amused by my ranting against that ridiculous show Sex and The City and how it ruined a generation of women...her generation. She was in complete agreement. I have only seen about an hour and a half of SATC at the insistence of a former girlfriend, who had a boxed set (natch), and it was exactly what I expected.
Probably the worst television show ever aired...has already ruined one generation of women

We were the last to leave the gala and I saw her to a cab. I remember thinking how much I liked her and if not leaving for the Army just knew we would quickly at least become close friends.  The following morning around 9am, I got the usual post-gala call from my friend 'Terry Drama' dishing all the juicy tidbits he gathered from the previous evening. Terry, as always, had been there holding court but 9am is zero-dark-thirty in terms of Terry Drama post Gala. With his voice so animated and the hour so early, I thought something deliciously scandalous was forthcoming. Well don't you know, that all the juicy gossip had to do with that little GSL and 'Goody Two-Shoes' Tiffany with Terry reporting having already received 4 separate calls imploring him to get the dish and disseminate ASAP! I had never heard Terry Drama in such a state and hated to douse the juicy tidbitting with the boring news that I only saw to it that Miss Goody Two-Shoes was placed in a cab, without me in tow, and likely was at her 7am spin class fresh as a daisy only hours ago. Terry was crestfallen knowing he'd not have tales to tell his swans of headboard thumps (GSL's fave percussion instrument), morning sessions, and walks of shame. Miss Goody Two-Shoes would live on to add further chapters to her scandal free life. Well, Terry said Tiffany probably wasn't at her 7am spin class as she'd been working the phones all morning trying to gather intel on this GSL. All of Terry's swans logically surmised GSL must have given her far more than a few hours of convo supreme.

My friend 'Terry Drama' resembles Truman Capote in every way except when holding a pen. Terry was crestfallen at not having any juicy tidbits to pass along to his 'swans'.

After having revived the deflated Terry Drama's spirits, I asked him to please give me Tiffany's phone number which he had to get from another friend as he and Tiffany had also only recently become acquainted.
Minutes later, Terry passed along her number and I called Tiffany immediately, as upon reflection, I know it must have seemed unusual for us to have talked so long and gotten on so well and I didn't even ask for her number or allude to getting together. I needed to tell her why and how much I liked her. When I rang, I just said I needed to see her that day and what time would be convenient. She was getting her hair done up in my neighborhood so we could meet at the Starbucks on the corner.  She looked fantastic walking in the Starbucks and I ushered her over to a quiet corner and then hit her with my Army story and how I was leaving in 2 days for 4 1/2 years and if I wasn't would love to take her out.  I said a beautiful girl like her needed to find a nice guy and start a family and was going to fix her up with The Good Doctor telling her he's the best man I know and one of the very few men I've ever met worthy of her.  This is when she began to cry and said: "I can't believe I finally meet a nice guy and he's leaving for 4 years to join the Army". Tiffany worked for JP Morgan Chase and I informed her another very close friend of mine, Ash, who hails from New Delhi, was going to look in on her at Chase. (A few weeks later The Good Doctor did take Tiffany out to Dinner but treated it as a caretaking exercise and, while always a perfect gentlemen, he tends to preside over all conversations and came across as patronizing since he thinks of me as a little brother, he treated her like his little brother's girl. It made it back to me,natch via Terry Drama, that she didn't have a good time and I hit the roof with the clueless Good Doctor, in retrospect, conceding his manner could have come across as patronizing.  Tiffany was furious that it made it back to me that she didn't have a good time but only that while the Good Doctor was a perfect gentleman, she wasn't interested in him romantically)

Before leaving Starbucks, I told Tiffany that in 4 years, after completing my Army enlistment, I wanted to take her to our magnificent Civic Opera House and even if she was then happily married with young child, she would just have her hubs babysit and patiently wait for her return as this date cannot be broken for any reason.

Sean Connery as James Bond in Doctor No, the very first Bond movie. My friend Ash looks like an Indian version of Connery; only with a thick head of hair and impeccable manners.  I often refer to Ash as the most handsome man India has ever produced and soon to be cast as Bollywood's 007. His darling wife, Aparna, just rolls her eyes and blames me for Ash acquiring all these fancy gadgets although at her desperate urging was able to talk him out of acquiring one of those fancy motorcycles that go from 0-200 mph in about 3 seconds.
After coffee, I stopped by Tiffany's apartment later that afternoon to leave a going away present.  The only thing I have ever possessed of any value, and I mean real value, is my book collection. I had been collecting the Easton Press leather bound editions for years and had an impressive library and hated the prospect of having them sit in storage for 4 1/2 years collecting dust and not out on display inciting interest in Literature.  Adding great sentimental value to these books is that I have been to the Kingsport Press, in Kingsport, Tennessee, where they have always been made and toured the bindery and spoke to the craftsmen who took such pride in their work just as my father and grandfather had before me. I'm sure the real antiquarian collectors sniff haughtily at these Easton Press books as showy trophies purchased by the yard for display but I loved getting my monthly subscription thru the mail, reading the forward, and thinking about when I'd read that classic. I decided to give my books away and chose with care who got what. I donated to the Illinois Saint Andrew Society, on whose Executive Committee I served, my King James Bible, easily the most impressive looking book I have ever laid eyes on,  for The Scottish Home (an old folks home we have been operating for over a century) and The Federalist Papers to The Scottish Law Society. The Good Doctor's parents aka The Magnificent Ambersons were given, fittingly, to Judge Amberson: Idylls of the King by Tennyson and Matriarch Amberson that delightful comedy by Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer (of course she loved it! and regaled all within earshot of its significance). In all, there were about 20 bequests distributed by The Good Doctor after my departure for boot camp. But I personally delivered to Tiffany, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon since I had referenced The Fall of Rome when issuing my scathing assessment of SATC.

to be continued....

September 07, 2015

An Affair to Remember Part I

Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember.

Before I started this blog I always knew I'd write this post. I just didn't know how it would end. Don't you love the movie with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr? Me too and well remember referencing it at Starbucks on August 12, 2006 to a beautiful brunette sitting across from me crying her eyes out. I was making a date with that crying brunette four years hence at Chicago's Lyric Opera as: ".... I was going to get the best seats in the house even if I had to use my ski mask and  pistol...and damn it Tiffany I need you looking just as beautiful as you do right now. What's this guy's name who just did your hair? Walk back over there right this minute and lock him up long term because that gorgeous mane needs to be looked after by only the best and either he just got lucky or is the best there is ...oh that's right you said he's been doing your hair for years but still go lock him up long term before word gets out that he does the hair of GSL's girl. His phone will ring off the hook and he'll triple his fee and you'll never again be able to see him at 10 on Saturday....4 years from now, I need you looking just like this only wearing your best outfit and we'll make a Bogie & Becall entrance at the Civic Opera House and I'll just wear a nice suit, not my dress uniform heavily laden with those ribbons and medals for courage under fire you'll be reading about in a few months.....don't worry sweetheart, your adored GSL will be coming back in 1 piece...remember me telling you how much I liked your smile but I liked your laugh even more and here I've turned you from a blubbering mess back into that beautiful laughing girl I was enchanted by last night. I'm good at this, I only need a beautiful girl to perform for and I'm the best there is...the best there ever was...maybe....but not nearly as good as I'm gonna be once I get 'on my way'...and this Army thing is how I get my start....Now let me walk you to your car because that's what guys like me do...and just because you've been such a good girl I'll let you give me a smooch on the cheek so you won't be beating yourself up over the next 4 years for forgetting....and just like I told you watch 'An Affair to Remember' and try not to think about me and how Cary Grant couldn't shine my shoes....that Hollywood lightweight needs a writer, director, cameramen, and five takes to be half as good as me just looking at a beautiful girl....and I'm getting better in the highly unlikely event I haven't found you the Mr. Wonderful of your dreams by then.... I'll be on you like a cheap suit...and you won't stand a chance....God has never made a single woman who can resist me when I'm at my best and now having met you I'm starting to get close..."

Remember this scene? Cary Grant is often referred by movie critics as "a poor man's GSL".

That date 4 years from that day happened on October 13, 2010 but I first need to fill in some backstory. I had only met Tiffany the previous night at a gala held at the tony Saddle & Cycle Club. I was tagging along with several friends who had an extra ticket. Tiffany was also a friend of my friends and oddly enough we had never met although I did hear her mentioned usually in the disapproving context of her always leaving early on nights out with the girls and her never joining in those monthly boozy brunches I occasionally attended with an entanglement or two as a result. Tiffany was always sniffed about as a 'goody two-shoes' although all spoke highly of her character. The date of that party we met was August 11, 2006 and I was leaving for the Army on Monday, August 14th. Of my friends, only The Good Doctor and Estella knew about my enlistment and had only told my mother the previous week. I had planned on slipping out of town without the going away parties people would have felt compelled to put on or attend. I didn't want to put people out or have them worrying about my emotional state, as I'm wound tight as a banjo string and I would have gotten emotional once the girls got the tears going.

The night of the party, I felt completely at ease with my pending enlistment at the ripe old age of almost 42 (the new cutoff age announced only on June 22, 2006 due to dire troop shortages during the worst part of the Iraq War).  At the party was a romantic interest that I had a couple of dates with but nothing in recent weeks. I was hoping she had designs on somebody else so as to free me up. She did thank goodness. I finally did meet this tall brunette (at least 5 foot 10 in flats) named Tiffany as our social circles had considerable overlap.  We hit it off perfectly from the start. I always do well with tall women as they are at their best when not preoccupied with hoping to be asked out and trying to make a favorable impression towards that end.  She didn't have the slightest interest in me as a potential suitor and with my  4 year enlistment looming, I certainly wasn't looking for a romantic fling.

Tiffany is on the left be continued