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  • The Mystical Nature of Baseball

    Baseball fans know California Angels pitcher Tyler Scaggs died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 27. On Friday, in their first home game since Scaggs’ death, the Angels threw a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners after Skaggs’ mother threw out the first pitch.

    The no-hitter is eerie enough, but then look at some other facts unearthed by The Atlantic and see if this does not give you pause.

    • This was the 11th no-hitter in Angels history. Skaggs wore No. 11 at Santa Monica High.

    * The Angels scored seven runs in the first inning and finished with 13. Skaggs’ birthday was 7/13.

    • The second combined no-hitter in Angels history was the first thrown in California since July 13, 1991 — the day Skaggs was born.

    • Mike Trout, one of Skaggs’ best friends, swings at the first pitch just 3.1 percent of the time. Since his debut in 2011, only nine players have done it less (and only four are still active). On Friday, with Skaggs’ No. 45 on his back, Trout smashed a first-pitch fastball 454 feet with an exit velocity of 111 mph. Wearing his friend’s jersey, he took 28 seconds to round the bases, the longest he ever has after hitting a home run.

    • Dee Gordon, the Mariners second baseman on Friday, played for the Florida Marlins in 2016 and hit a home run on the first pitch in the team’s first game after pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a tragic boating accident.

    “I got one thing to say, and I said it three years ago, and I’m going to be done with it,” Gordon said. “If you don’t believe in God, you might want to start. I said it three years ago when I hit the homer for José. They had a no-hitter today. Y’all better start. That’s all I got.”

    Works for me.

  • The Death of Elvis

    Forty-two years ago today, I was sitting in the lobby of a hospital in Tyler, Texas, swatting at flies. My grandfather was hospitalized with the emphysema that eventually would kill him, and my parents were in Los Angeles, looking again for a way to treat the chronic disorder that would contribute to my dad's death some three decades later.

    It was a typical, sweltering East Texas day in August, which was one reason the flies had moved indoors. I had ridden in the car some 30 miles from Longview with my grandmother and my aunt, hoping to see my grandfather. That was doubtful. Hospital rules prevented 12-year-olds from visiting patient rooms and he was not in any shape to come down to the lobby.

    So I sat there, bored out of my mind, killing flies.

    At some point late that afternoon, news started to spread that shook me to my adolescent core: Elvis Presley was dead at age 42.

    Adolescents in the mid to late 1970s were not supposed to be Elvis fans, and I certainly did not get any cool points from my peers. “Fat Elvis” had become a parody, a bloated yet hollow shell of himself even for those immersed in the 1950s Happy Days-Laverne & Shirley nostalgia of the time.

    But my peers didn’t understand what Elvis meant to me. At the time, I don’t think I understood why he meant so much.

    My dad and aunt were teenagers when my grandmother discovered Presley in his first appearance on the Louisiana Hayride. A year and a half later, on Dec. 15, 1956, my grandfather drove my grandmother (then 51) and my dad (then 16) the 60 miles east to Shreveport to see Elvis’ concert at the Hirsch Youth Center at the Louisiana Fairgrounds.

    I still have the program from that show, which remarkably was taped and released on one of the hundreds of Presley compilations in 2011. Listening to the low-fi affair still brings a smile to my face, knowing they were both there.

    My first rock and roll record was Elvis’ first album, bought by my dad in a record store on Ninth Avenue in Texas City. I remember sitting with my parents watching Aloha from Hawaii, the first show televised around the world via satellite. My first concert, at age 6, was an Elvis show at Hofheinz Pavilion. My second, at age 9, was his performance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

    In a weird way, Elvis felt like a member of my extended family, although I was woefully short on accurate information. I hadn’t liked his last few albums, not knowing they were cobbled together by his label because he no longer enjoyed recording. I didn’t understand why he had not been able to recover from his divorce, not realizing it was in large part because of guilt over self-inflicted wounds. I didn’t connect the dots when my parents returned from a trip to Las Vegas in 1975, having been disappointed in Presley’s concert because he looked and sounded “bad” — code, as it turns out, for overweight and stoned out of his mind.

    All I knew, at age 12, is that people aren’t supposed to die at 42 unless they are at war or in some type of accident. People don’t die while sitting on the toilet in their bathroom, especially when they’re only five years older than my dad and six years older than my mom.

    We left the hospital that day and went to Gibson’s, one of those catch-all department stores not far from my grandmother’s house. My grandmother bought me “Moody Blue,” Presley’s last studio album that came in blue vinyl, and I played it on my aunt’s turntable that night.

    Today, in the words of music writer Bill Holdship, Elvis has “now been gone as long as he was here.” And I have remained an Elvis fan, albeit one who — with the benefit of information — is more discerning and less a blind member of the cult. While I separate the schlock from the sublime, I remain in awe of his talent and charisma. I also am grateful for the way he brought my family together on a common subject for a lot of years.

    In retrospect, I also can thank Elvis for introducing me viscerally to the concept of mortality at what now seems like so young an age. I didn’t realize it then, but Presley’s death was the first time I understood life can be more fleeting than you imagine. And it taught me, not for the last time, that you just have to appreciate what you’ve got.

  • RIP to a Friend

    More than 5 years ago, I spent the day taking photos of Karen Loss. We had been teammates on a co-ed softball team for a number of years, and she had been diagnosed with Stage IV inoperable lung cancer.

    The day was so inspiring and memorable that I wrote a lengthy essay about it. I sent it to Karen, who wrote a beautiful note back to me.

    We continued to correspond via email as I and a host of others followed her journey. I sent her tickets to a couple of Nationals games that she was able to attend, receiving a couple of funny notes in return that our seats were "not lung patient friendly."

    Karen passed away yesterday, having fought long and valiantly against this horrible disease. RIP, my friend.

  • RIP , Dr. Z

    When I was a kid, my uncle would let me read or give me his old copies of Sports Illustrated, a magazine I devoured because of the quality of its writing. Paul Zimmerman, aka Dr. Z, was one of SI's best — that's saying a lot — and one of the first bylines I looked for while dog earing a back issue.

    Zimmerman died yesterday at age 86, so I thought I'd share a sample of his work and humor by quoting from a piece on quarterback Dan Pastorini, the former quarterback of then woeful Houston Oilers.

    "A bright young quarterback on the worst team in the NFL. He’d get sacked five or six times a game, get his nose broken, teeth knocked out and wrists and fingers mangled—and the crowd would boo him.

    “It’s like being in a street fight with six guys," Pastorini said, "and everybody’s rooting for the six.”

    RIP, Dr. Z.

  • Eulogy for a Writer

    “As a writer I believe that all the basic human truths are known. And what we try to do as best we can is come at those truths from our own unique angle, to re-illuminate those truths in a hopefully different way.” — William Goldman

    If you took away all the writers I’ve met and seen over the years, all the novelists, essayists, screenwriters and playwrights I’ve admired, and left me with just the work of William Goldman, I probably would be OK with that.

    Goldman died today. He was 87, with a six-decade career that saw him pen acclaimed novels and essay collections, win two Academy Awards, and have his plays produced on Broadway. To sum up, his life was not a bad gig.

    He may not be a household name, but chances are you’ve seen or read his work — the original screenplay to “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid”; the adaptations of “All the President’s Men” and “Misery”; the novels and screenplays for “Magic,” “Marathon Man,” and “The Princess Bride.” His books on writing for the movies — “Adventures in the Screen Trade” and “Which Lie Did I Tell?” — are indispensable.

    This is where the professional summation ends and the personal one begins. What I liked most about Goldman was his sense of humor, in large part because it was so similar to my dad’s and (hopefully) my own.

    I distinctly remember seeing “Butch Cassidy” with my father when I was a kid. One of his favorites, he could quote many of the punchlines, and “Think you used enough dynamite there Butch?” always brought a smile to his face. This was in the pre-cable days of mid-1970s, and network censors failed to fully take out Robert Redford’s “Ohhhhh … shiiiiiit!” during the waterfall scene.

    I turned to my father with the, "Did you just hear what I just heard?" look and he smiled. It's the first time I remember hearing profanity in a movie.

    In 1999, a special edition came out on DVD for the movie’s 30th anniversary. Even though I didn’t have a DVD player at the time, I bought it and watched it on my computer. It took me back to those days of sitting on my couch late at night with my dad, and I called him the next day to excitedly tell him about the “extras” on the DVD. 

    Several years later, when Ben was 8 or 9 and just getting into acting, the first “adult” movie I showed him was “Butch Cassidy.” The mix of humor and action helped turn him into a third-generation movie fan.

    Another memory: Ninth-grade World History class, taught by Mrs. Selman. At the start of the year, she told us she would read a book to us on Fridays. Many in the class rolled their eyes as she opened Chapter One of “The Princess Bride” and started acting out all the parts of Goldman’s cheeky fairytale; by the end of class, we could hardly wait until the next Friday.

    Years later, I don’t remember a thing about World History, but I will never forget Mrs. Selman reading that book, or seeing the tagline on the back jacket of her tattered paperback: “What happens when the most beautiful woman in the world meets the handsomest prince in the world, and he turns out to be a son-of-a-bitch?”

    It still is one of my best memories of high school.

    As these things can do, the news of Goldman’s death sucker punched me as Jill and I drove to Pittsburgh to see Emma. Our youngest daughter is performing this evening in an unofficial kickoff — or continuation, depending on your opinion — of the professional and familial tilt-a-whirl that doesn’t slow down until Nicholas gets married next February.

    With our kids now (almost) fully grown, we’ve been trying to simplify. We’ve gotten rid of or stored most of the things from our old house in moving into our empty nest. Kate, now a big movie fan herself, has most of the posters that were up in our old basement.

    The one movie poster in the new house — “The Princess Bride.”

  • RIP to Billy's Grandma

    I loved watching Carole Shelley, in a single song, “give them the finger” and provide a master class in acting to a bunch of boys and girls every night in "Billy Elliot."

    She died last night at age 79. RIP.

     

  • More on McCain, SImon

    Two more notes with regard to Neil Simon and John McCain:

    • And now for the latest segment of ESPN's "C'mon Man!" Or, as the White House calls it — Monday.

    If you feel like the Toddler in Charge has been correct in his classless handling of McCain's death, feel free to unfollow me now. I disagreed with McCain politically on many issues, but his status as a hero who fought for his country and his beliefs should not be questioned, let alone stepped on.

    • In my view, Neil Simon was peerless when it came to the punch line. Example #1: In "The Odd Couple," Oscar criticizes Felix for his endless notes.

    "'We're all out of corn flakes. F.U.'" (Pause.) "Took me three hours to figure out F.U. was Felix Ungar!"

  • Ragtime's 'Our Children'; RIP Marin Mazzie

    Such a beautiful song. I will never forget seeing Christiane Noll and Robert Petkoff perform this the night that Ben made his Broadway debut in the Ragtime revival. It brought — and still brings — tears to my eyes. Wish I had seen Marin Mazzie and Peter Friedman do this in the original production. RIP, Ms. Mazzie.

  • The Bandit's Summer of '77

    As a 12-year-old overweight, socially awkward kid, I spent most of the summer of 1977 in a movie theater. My dad’s illness — spasmodic torticollis and dystonia — was at its peak four years in, and my parents continued to go from place to place looking for someone to help him.

    My parents spent a month that summer — the summer of “Star Wars” and Elvis’ death — in Los Angeles, where my dad was getting treatment. That meant that my sister and I went to Longview, where my parents were raised and where my grandparents still lived.

    Like many, I used movies as an opportunity to escape my woes, especially during those tumultuous middle school years. I saw “Star Wars” — who didn’t? — shortly after the movie was released at the end of May. But another film released that week captured, and kept, my attention, despite being shot in only 16 days on a $4.3 million budget.

    It was called “Smokey and the Bandit.”

    My dad was a big Burt Reynolds fan, as were a lot of people in those days. Reynolds was riding a streak of hits — albeit with the occasional flop — that made him the top actor at the box office for seven straight years. And he was a popular guest host on “The Tonight Show” that my dad — and mom, when she could stay awake — watched religiously.

    With shades of Three Stooges slapstick, “Smokey and the Bandit” is not art, but it hit my then-12-year-old self squarely in the demographic. Anyone could see the chemistry between Reynolds and Sally Field, my summer of 1977 crush. And it had other “classic” elements: Jackie Gleason’s “sumbitch”; Jerry Reed admonishing his basset hound, Fred, while providing the movie’s theme song (“East Bound and Down”); and the Trans-Am, which my dad was later inspired to buy in his first non-Cadillac move.

    I watched “Smokey and the Bandit” 15 times that summer, either at the Cargill Cinema in Longview or at the Tradewinds in Texas City, where it played on one of the theatre’s two screens for eons. For a long time, one of my prized possessions was an original one-sheet from the movie.

    Reynolds continued to do some interesting work after “Bandit,” which was the second highest grossing film of the year behind, well, you know. By the mid 1980s, though, the hits stopped coming. With minor exceptions — TV’s “Evening Shade,” the Oscar-nominated “Boogie Nights” — his career went on a slow fade to black.

    Today, Reynolds died of a heart attack at age 82, half a lifetime from the movie that made a 12-year-old boy laugh and laugh at a time when I really needed it. Thanks, and RIP.

  • Barbara Bush: Balls and Class

    Things have been so busy over the past week that I haven’t had the opportunity to properly say something about Barbara Bush.

    I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Bush when she toured NASA’s Johnson Space Center with her husband and India Prime Minister Rajiv Gahndi in June 1985. It was just a brief handshake and eye contact; security was extremely tight because Gandhi was under constant death threats. (His mother was assassinated in 1984; he would be killed by a suicide bomber in 1991.)

    Thirty-three years later, what I remember is that her handshake was firm, as you would expect. I remember telling someone it was firmer than her husband’s. And I appreciated that she looked me in the eyes.

    Today, reading Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column while waiting for some work to be done on our soon-to-close house, I saw this anecdote that brought me back to that day:

    When their son, George W. Bush, was visiting his parents during his presidency, he put his feet up on a coffee table at their home, and his mom sternly told him: “George, get your feet off my table!” George Bush the elder said: “The guy is president of the United States! Give him a break!” She said, “No! He knows better!”

    Finally, surfing pages on Facebook, I saw the image below on a page devoted to Jason Isbell, one of my favorite songwriters. Isbell won a Grammy this year for “If We Were Vampires,” one of the most devastatingly beautiful songs about love and mortality I’ve ever heard. The person who posted the photo noted that it was truly a “Vampires” moment, and I could not agree more. (Photo from the Associated Press.)

    RIP, Mrs. Bush, and deepest sympathies to your husband and family. The tributes over the past week have served as a reminder that we were once kinder and gentler toward people we disagreed with, and I appreciate the chance to pay respects to a woman who had both balls and class.

  • RIP, Tom Wolfe

    As one of the founders of New Journalism, Tom Wolfe was one of those writers who managed to enthrall, entertain, and generally annoy the hell out of anybody who was in his line of sight (or pen/typewriter/computer). If you put a group of journalists together in a room (or a bar), the mere mention of his name brought equal amounts of praise and scorn.

    Wolfe’s death, yesterday at 88, was the same type of blow felt by previous generations when Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Kerouac, or pick ‘em passed away. Literary giants, the ones whose published works resulted others spilling mass amounts of ink and type across multiple forums, just don’t come along that often.

    You can say you were a fan — or not — of Wolfe, described aptly in a New York Times appreciation as “a kind of label-maker on wheels.” But chances are you’ve used one of the phrases he coined: The Me Decade. The Right Stuff. Masters of the Universe. Radical Chic. Social X-rays. Pushing the Envelope.

    And my personal favorite: Good Old Boy. Here’s hoping, in this fractured forum we call writing, that Wolfe is not the last of his kind. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if he is. #tomwolfe

  • RIP, David Cassidy

    RIP, David Cassidy, aka Keith Partridge. My wife, Jill, and countless others are mourning your passing.

    In honor of "The Partridge Family" star, here's one of my favorite covers by one of my favorite artists: Paul Westerberg's version of "I Think I Love You."

    And here's another I found while looking for the Westerberg cover: Cassidy and his brother, Shaun, doing a duet from the Broadway show "Blood Brothers." Wish I'd seen this one.

     
  • RIP, Fats Domino

    Since I was out of town yesterday, I didn't get a chance to pay homage to Fats Domino, one of the pioneers of rock and roll who died yesterday at age 89.

    Like many people my age, I grew up on "Happy Days," and my first exposure to Fats' music was seeing Ron Howard do "I found my thrill..." on the show. Soon after, my dad played me the "real Fats" on one of his treasured, beaten up 45s that were stacked in the giant home stereo that could have doubled as a buffet stand.

    Reading through various tributes this morning, a Facebook friend noted Fats' connection to Elvis Presley, which led to an interesting discussion on race and music. Presley was never a songwriter, but an interpreter of "all kinds" of music — white and black.

    Because the music charts were segregated (like everything else in the 50s), white musicians such as Pat Boone, Fabian and Ricky Nelson (among others) covered songs that were moving up the R&B charts. A long list of black musicians who wrote these hits (Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats) were often screwed out of royalties — and other things — that should have been given to a song's author.

    Presley, however, was different. He was quick to point to his many influences, especially black artists, and Domino was at the top of the list. I picked up the following quotes in reading the tributes to Domino.

    “A lot of people seem to think I started this business,” Presley told Jet magazine in 1957. “But rock ’n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that music like colored people. Let’s face it: I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that.”

    In 1969, at a news conference to announce the resumption of Presley's live concerts in Las Vegas, Elvis interrupted a reporter who called him “the king.” He pointed to Mr. Domino, who was in the room, and said, “There’s the real king of rock ’n’ roll.”

  • Glen Campbell Memories

    Random memories after hearing the news of Glen Campbell’s death: Small snippets of his variety show on my parents’ TV. Seeing his albums in my dad’s record collection. Hearing of his friendship with Elvis, who covered many of Campbell’s biggest tracks, and his association with the fabled Wrecking Crew.

    Telling people that I wasn’t named after him, noting that my first name had two n’s and not one. Thinking it was a big deal that Galveston, just a few miles away from Texas City, was immortalized in a song. True Grit, Rhinestone Cowboy, Southern Nights. And of course, Wichita Lineman and Gentle on My Mind.

    The demons and drugs that bedevil so many artists, leading to his four marriages, eight children, and DUI arrests. The Alzheimer’s diagnosis that, like ALS and other diseases, rot your mind and/or rob your body.

    The poignancy of his final years. A biography that would make a great country song.

    RIP.

    ••••••

    As many of you know, I’m a huge Paul Westerberg and The Replacements fan. Campbell’s last album — Ghost on the Canvas — is named after a Westerberg song that he covers. I’ve shared the video, in which Westerberg appears, at other times. But it’s appropriate to share again.

  • RIP to "The Greatest"

    Here is one of my favorite photos, and one that never ran anywhere, all because I could not get the little boy’s name at the time. I was assigned to take photos and write a story about an appearance by Muhammad Ali at a Texas City hotel, where he spoke briefly and signed copies of “Prayer and Al-Islam” in 1985.

    Ali, who had been diagnosed the previous year with Parkinson’s Disease, was starting to show signs of the disease that would rob him of his rapid-fire speech. But he shook hands, visited and listened to everyone who was there, in awe of his aura. He also kissed a few babies, including this one.

    Running around taking pictures, I didn’t think to get the name of the baby, and went back to the newspaper to develop the film. When I I knew who the police officer was (Willie Mitchell) and figured that I wouldn’t need it. My boss disagreed and refused to run it, choosing instead what I still consider to be an inferior photo.

    Several days later, I took a copy of the photo to Mitchell and told him I was sad that it hadn’t run. “I wish you’d called me,” he said. “I could have told you who that was. It’s Thomas Carter’s grandson.”

    Carter was a city commissioner in my hometown and an English teacher at College of the Mainland. I took him a copy of the photo when I went to a commissioners’ meeting later that year. At some point, I went by his office at COM and saw it on his desk.

    So I guess it went where it was supposed to go.

    RIP: Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest.”

  • (Not) Getting Married Today

    Beth Howland's death was announced today and, due to her wishes, it was almost six months after it happened. That's a remarkable feat in today's 24/7 news world, but nothing compared to the prospect of performing this song eight times a week on a Broadway stage. You might remember Howland as the ditzy waitress on the long-running show "Alice," but she also was an original cast member of "Company."

  • Another RIP: Guy Clark

    Guy Clark leads an all-star cast in a performance of his "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train" on the Letterman show. Clark, the de facto songwriting leader of so many people I like, died Tuesday following a long illness.

    And the world just got a little smaller ... again.

  • Another Week, Another RIP

    For some reason, I’ve been having trouble writing about the death of Prince. So many words have been said and so much purple ink spilled that there really isn’t much more that I can contribute.

    But damn, that dude was talented. All you have to do is watch his Super Bowl halftime show.

    No matter what you thought about Prince, he was a visionary in the music world. Like David Bowie, he mixed fashion, androgyny, funk, and throwback rock and roll into an always fascinating stew.

    The results pushed the entire music industry in directions it did not anticipate; who would have thought he could almost turn Tipper Gore into a Republican? (If you don’t believe me, look it up.)

    ••••••

    I wish 2016 would just let up when it comes to the deaths of people I’ve admired and appreciated as a fan of music and the performing arts. If I was a popular performer in the 1970s and '80s, I'd be more than a little scared. (Unless my name was Keith Richards, of course.)

    ••••••

    Here are some excerpts from a Rolling Stone interview with Paul Westerberg after Prince’s death. The two were acquaintances who played the same clubs in Minneapolis; Westerberg also recorded at Prince’s studio, Paisley Park, after The Replacements broke up.

    • He was like a ray of light in a very cautious place. He was a star. He made no bones about it. He was glitz to a place that wasn't used to it. I remember a little scuffle broke out in front of the stage one night and Prince said, "Stop fighting, you'll mess up your clothes."

    • People like to paint him as a reclusive this or that; I think he was genuinely truly, truly shy. But one thing says a lot about him: I was there making a solo record a few years later, and I got a message that said that my friend had just died. I was truly rattled, and the next time I went back into the studio, he had filled it up with balloons. Now I'm gonna cry.

    • I've spent more time with Bob Dylan, and I've got to say that I was more in awe of Prince. I can't think of anyone better – an all-around composer, musician, guitarist, star, showman, the whole package, anyone better. If Elvis wrote all of his songs and played guitar, it still wouldn't quite be there.

    • When I got word today, I was trying to write a song. I put it down. I found myself walking up to the store, and I bought myself a handful of colorful clothes. I was just drawn to do something that he would have done.

    ••••••

    My favorite post on this topic:

    Dear 2016,

    If you give us back Prince, Merle Haggard, David Bowie and Alan Rickman we will gladly give you the top 4 presidential candidates in return.

    Sincerely,

    Everyone

    ••••••

    An appropriate song, given the type of year we’ve been having.

     

  • Patty Duke & Helen Keller

    Patty Duke was an outstanding spokesperson for mental health awareness and the first celebrity to make public her struggle with bipolar disorder. Like many actors, she also was a great storyteller.

    Here's one from the day she met Helen Keller, who Duke won an Oscar and a Tony nomination for portraying in "The Miracle Worker." Telling the story, Duke did an imitation of Keller's speaking voice.

    “She said, ‘I went to the doctor the other day and he told me I have to cut backon my martinis. And I said to the doctor, ‘Why? What will happen? I’m 80 years old, I’m deaf and I’m blind!’ ”

    Sadly, Duke herself did not make it to 80. Earlier today, she joined a list of celebrities who have died this year at the all-too-young age of 69.

  • Daily Photo: February 17, 2015

    Lesley Gore performs "Out Here on My Own" at Born for Broadway — New York City, May 2010. The singer known for the mid 1960s hit "It's My Party" died this week at age 68.

  • A Marian Seldes Story

    Chance encounter: Ben and I went to a tribute to Terrence McNally in New York a few years ago, hosted by Angela Lansbury with performances by a who's who in New York. I felt lucky to sit high up in the balcony.

    Ben, who has been fortunate to perform in two of Terrence's shows (Ragtime and Golden Age), decided to run downstairs and say "Hi" to Terrence and Tom Kirdahy before the show started. Gracious as always, Tom introduced Ben to the woman he was talking to, an older woman with an elegant stature. As I walked down to get my then 12-year-old son to return to our seats, the woman gave him a hug and extended her hand to me.

    "She was very nice," Ben said. "She asked me all about acting."

    "Do you know who that is?" I asked.

    "She said her name was Marian. She said I could call her Marian."

    RIP, Marian Seldes. Thank you for being nice to my son.