Dick Cavett

Dick CavettI wrote last week about literary smackdowns, and I mentioned Dick Cavett. That made me think to look to see if he has a presence on Facebook. He does. And he was posting about rebroadcasts of his show airing on a network called Decades. Hadn’t heard of that. Turns out that it is a secondary digital channel broadcast on CBS-owned stations. And my television provider offers it.

What a delight. Programs air Monday through Friday. Decades offers shows from Cavett’s ABC program from the early 1970’s, his PBS program from the late seventies and early eighties, and his short-lived series on the USA Network from 1985. Now I admit that I have three box sets on DVD from the ABC show and I haven’t watched all the programs, but how convenient to have the programs right there on my DVR.

As someone with a permanent 1970’s mentality, this is a real treat.

photo credit: Nick Stepowyj. Cropped. Creative Commons License.


Food & Wine

Food & WineI wrote last month about subscribing to Food & Wine magazine. The first issue arrived and it was nice to get. I mentioned that the magazine was published by American Express, but when it arrived I saw that it is now part of Time Inc. How did I miss that? An online search told me that it was bought by Time in 2013. Seems American Express had to sell its magazine group because as a bank (at its core) they are not supposed to be in other businesses.

No matter. It’s nice to be getting the magazine, and they have a rather different take from Cooking Light. Recipes do appear online, so I can add them to my database, but their format is not conducive to copy and paste, so I have to do some reformatting before I can add them.

But still, nice to have that mag around again.


a time of transition

Yesterday was my first time at Good Shepherd since Kathleen’s departure. The Sunday before last was the church’s first Sunday without Pastor Kathleen, but Terry and I were in El Cajon for our nephew Race’s birthday celebration. It was definitely a liminal experience yesterday.

Good Shepherd Hemet logoOur supply priest, Rev. Canon Victoria, filled in during the summer last year, and I really liked her. She very much met my expectations yesterday. I’m glad that she’ll be at Good Shepherd for all of October with the exception of next week.

Yesterday’s service was definitely different. Instead of the elaborate Prayers of the People with music, we used Rite II Form VI with some additions. We didn’t acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, and thanksgivings or do the prayers for travel or other needs, though those were listed in the bulletin.

It’s going to be a long transition, so I had best learn to be flexible.


Sacred Music Friday: O Worship the King

O Worship the King, All Glorious Above, Congregation and Choir of First-Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska.


literary smackdown

There is a column each week in the Sunday New York Times Book Review called “By the Book.” Each week a different author is interviewed with a more or less standard set of questions. Here is an exchange from a recent interview with author Daniel Silva:

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, with William F. Buckley to serve as referee. I think I would set the table with paper plates and plastic utensils to avoid any undue bloodshed.

I posted this to Facebook and commented, “Can we somehow involve Dick Cavett in this as well?” After I wrote this I realized that Cavett had both Mailer and Vidal on his weeknight half hour PBS program in the mid and late 1970s. I don’t recall Buckley ever being on the show, but this was when Buckley was ascendant with his own weekend program in which he engaged in an intellectual smackdown with whomever his guest might be.

In fact, if I recall correctly, Cavett once had Mailer and Vidal together on the same episode, and there was something of a smackdown on that show.

There was some marvelous television in the 1970’s.


my Steve Allen encounter

You no doubt remember the great comedian Steve Allen. He was brilliant and I miss him. Terry and I had the opportunity see him when we were living in Mountain View and he was at the comedy club in next-door Sunnyvale. It was a small, intimate space, which was nice.

Steve AllenSteve was a master of improv, and he engaged the audience. In that show he took questions from the audience. After getting the first question he said, “And what do you do for a living, sir?” The audience member said, “I’m a technical writer.” Given that I was a technical writer in those days as well, I applauded. Steve looked over in my direction. The stage lights were on and the house lights were off, so he couldn’t see me. But he looked over in my direction and said, “Why would someone applaud at the mere mention of the words ‘technical writer?'”

The Steve made phrase “mere mention” a thread throughout the rest of the show. So I was a contributor to that night’s performance.

That’s my Steve Allen encounter.

photo credit: Alan Light. cropped. Creative Commons License.


My Kitchen Year

mykitchenyearMy Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life
by Ruth Reichl
Random House (September 29, 2015), 352 pages
Kindle edition $14.99, Amazon hardcover $19.99
ebook borrowed from the Santa Clara County Library System

Ruth Reichl had been editor of Gourmet magazine for ten years when publisher Condé Nast suddenly decided to shut the magazine down. The shutdown was so sudden that the December issue, already sent to the printer, would not be published.

Reichl’s life suddenly changed. While the rest of her staff was out of work, she still had a book tour to complete for a recently published Gourmet title and a television show on which to put the finishing touches. After that she was at loose ends.

The irony of having been the editor of a food magazine was that she had very little time to cook. She writes:

quoteIt had been so long since I’d had time to really cook. For years I’d been sticking to familiar foods, rushing home from work to throw quick meals together for my family. Now I began roaming New York, exploring ethnic neighborhoods. On weekends I went upstate to our country house and haunted farmers’ markets, coming home laden with unfamiliar ingredients.

My Kitchen Year chronicles the emotional roller coaster of Reichl’s year following the closure of Gourmet. She interweaves accounts of her feelings and activities with recipes she made during that year. I very much enjoyed reading her story. The recipes didn’t grab me so much.

It’s a good thing I borrowed the book from the library rather than buying it.