An evocative photograph of the de Villiers family arriving in May 1967 at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Dublin 4 for their annual three-month stay. Surrounding their Rolls-Royce from left to right we can see Hugo de Villiers, the patriarch of the family and soon to be arrested on gambling charges in Monte Carlo, his delightful and vivacious wife Gina, shortly to die in a round the world yacht race, their two daughters Tammi and Tina, who later pursued a storied career as cabaret entertainers, and last, but not least, Allister de Villiers. It would take more space then we have to fully tell this man’s story. Night-club owner, lion-tamer, quiz show host and all round bon viveur his feet could usually be found at the bar-rail of the most elegant establishments in Europe and North America. Bouncers fought for the privilege of throwing him out and he didn’t seem to go to bed at all for the first thirty-five years of his life. Then came the accusations of untoward happenings in the old family home – Westlands. Details are stil suppressed but the image cracked never to return to its former brilliance. The last person in the photo is of course Barker – the de Villiers’ faithful retainer for fifty years. Rumours abound that he has finally relented and agreed to the writing of his reminiscences. Their publication should warm up even the traditionally cool Irish summer.
Archived entries for Uncategorized
First published in 1952 in The New Yorker.
Every now and then, seeking to rid my mind of thoughts of death and doom, I get up early and go down to Fulton Fish Market. I usually arrive around five-thirty, and take a walk through the two huge open-fronted market sheds, the Old Market and the New Market, whose fronts rest on South Street and whose backs rest on piles in the East River. At that time, a little while before the trading begins, the stands in the sheds are heaped high and spilling over with forty to sixty kinds of finfish and shellfish from the East Coast, the West Coast, the Gulf Coast, and half a dozen foreign countries. The smoky riverbank dawn, the racket the fish-mongers make, the seaweedy smell, and the sight of this plentifulness always give me a feeling of well-being, and sometimes they elate me. I wander among the stands for an hour or so. Continue reading…
From an interview with Kurt Vonnegut in the November 1995 issue of Inc. Technology. Vonnegut was asked to discuss his feelings about living in an increasingly computerized world.
“I work at home, and if I wanted to, I could have a computer right by my bed, and I’d never have to leave it. But I use a typewriter, and afterward I mark up the pages with a pencil. Then I call up this woman named Carol out in Woodstock and say, “Are you still doing typing?” Sure she is, and her husband is trying to track bluebirds out there and not having much luck, and so we chitchat back and forth, and I say, “Okay, I’ll send you the pages.” Then I go down the steps and my wife calls, “Where are you going?”
“Well,” I say, “I’m going to buy an envelope.” And she says, “You’re not a poor man. Why don’t you buy a thousand envelopes? They’ll deliver them, and you can put them in the closet.” And I say, “Hush.” So I go to this newsstand across the street where they sell magazines and lottery tickets and stationery. I have to get in line because there are people buying candy and all that sort of thing, and I talk to them. The woman behind the counter has a jewel between her eyes, and when it’s my turn, I ask her if there have been any big winners lately. I get my envelope and seal it up and go to the postal convenience center down the block at the corner of Forty-seventh Street and Second Avenue, where I’m secretly in love with the woman behind the counter. I keep absolutely poker-faced; I never let her know how I feel about her. One time I had my pocket picked in there and got to meet a cop and tell him about it. Anyway, I address the envelope to Carol in Woodstock. I stamp the envelope and mail it in a mailbox in front of the post office, and I go home. And I’ve had a hell of a good time. I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.”
The hitherto unknown story of how John Milton dictated to a typewriter. As imagined by Eugene Field in 1889 in the Chicago Morning News.
It befell anon that Mistress Milton grew grievously aweary for the labour wherewith her father taxed her, for there is none that shall not comprehend that the labour of transcribing doth presently vex the brain and weary the hand. Therefore, on a day whiles the birds made merry music in the boscage without, and the young folks were at diverting play, Mistress Milton leaned her head upon her hand and heaved a sigh that bespoke uncomfortableness within.
‘Marry, dochter mine,’ quoth old John Milton, ‘I see that you are aweary.’ He spoke after the manner of his kind, for, truth to say, he colde see not at all, in that he was blind, but, as all men knowe, they that be blind speake continually of how that they see when they do not see, their sight being, as I you tell, of the understanding, and not, as you might think, of the visual organs. Continue reading…
The Pan-Am building in midtown New York used to run a seven-minute flight to JFK airport that left from the rooftop helipad. This service was offered from 1965 to 1977 by New York Airways. It ended after a major accident that killed five people.
On May 16, 1977, about one minute after a Sikorsky S-61L landed and its 20 passengers disembarked, the right front landing gear collapsed, causing the aircraft to topple onto its side with the rotors still turning. One of the five 20-foot blades broke off and flew into a crowd of passengers waiting to board. Three men were killed instantly and another man died later in a hospital. The blade sailed over the side of the building and killed a pedestrian on the corner of Madison Avenue and 43rd Street.
“He had heard these things said to him so often that for him there was nothing original about them. Emma was like all other mistresses; and the charm of novelty, slipping off gradually like a piece of clothing, revealed in its nakedness the eternal monotony of passion, which always assumes the same forms and uses the same language. He could not perceive – this man of such broad experience – the difference in feelings that might underlie similarities of expression. Because licentious or venal lips had murmured the same words to him, he had little faith in their truthfulness; one had to discount, he thought, exaggerated speeches that concealed mediocre affections; as if the fullness of the soul did not sometimes overflow in the emptiest of metaphors, since none of us can ever express the exact measure of our needs, or our ideas, or our sorrows, and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, when we long to move the stars to pity.”
Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
William Shatner curls toes at the 1978 Science Fiction TV Awards by singing
Elton John’s Rocket Man.