Category Archives: New York City

A skeleton argument

Spot the word that had me puzzled:

And here it is, from the Oxford English Dictionary, no less:

Etymology: Of uncertain origin; perhaps shortened < skeleton n.
U.S.slang.
In New York: a homeless person or derelict, esp. one who sleeps in the subway system.
To which we can add — since Montauk Harbor is some 110 miles, and three hours on the Long Island Railroad from Grand Central — this term has travelled a bit from its origin.The OED gives five citations, all specific to the vocabulary of the NYPD and New York’s Finest.
Oh, and The Dock is well worth the visit. Manspreading, mansplaining, and general chauvinism part of the “atmosphere”.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City, Oxford English Dictionary, pubs, travel

A story for our (Sunday) Times

There used to be an anthology we used in lower-school English classes.

It included this, by Jules Thurber:

The Little Girl and the Wolf

One afternoon a big wolf waited in a dark forest for a little girl to come along carrying a basket of food to her grandmother. Finally a little girl did come along and she was carrying a basket of food. “Are you carrying that basket to your grandmother?” asked the wolf. The little girl said yes, she was. So the wolf asked her where her grandmother lived and the little girl told him and he disappeared into the wood.

When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother’s house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

(Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.)

Problem: one would have to explain “Calvin Coolidge” — arguably, the most buttoned-up American President of all time:

Of whom there were more anecdotes than he deserved. But, I’m sure, if the class was dragging, I’d have woven in a few.

Repeat:

Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.

On which note, there’s this advice to all sweet young things venturing on a  career in politics:

 

3 Comments

Filed under New Yorker, Quotations, Sunday Times, US politics

“Estimate $4,000,000–6,000,000”

The art-work that Norman Rockwell did for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, edition date 4th November 1944, is up for auction at Sotheby’s in New York:

cwb8rfoxgaagj7u-jpg-large

There’s an essay on the subject, with consideration of other Rockwell comments on elections, by Lisa Pisano on line here. She says:

Occurring in the midst of the Second World War, the election dominated the national discourse as Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican governor of New York, challenged the longstanding Democratic incumbent president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for the office. Though the war had turned in favour of the United States by late 1944, Roosevelt faced considerable hostility from those who disapproved of his signature domestic and foreign policies. Rumors concerning the President’s failing health also surrounded his campaign. For the first time in over a decade, more Americans than ever had to ask themselves, “which one?” […]

In Which One?, Rockwell depicts a resident of Cedar Rapids, Iowa standing in a voting booth, poised to cast his vote for one of the two candidates. Indicated by the array of political pamphlets that line his pocket and the morning newspaper he holds, the voter has clearly attempted to educate himself on his choice, yet the bemused expression on his face reveals that he remains stymied by the task and he continues to weigh his options on this rainy November day.  

I’ve also just seen a piece by  for The New Yorker‘s Cultural Comment, niggling at Rockwell’s constant theme: little crises of American experience

Consider “Which One? (Undecided Voter; Man in Voting Booth),” from 1944—the last year, before the present one, in which a Presidential election was contested by two New Yorkers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey. […]

The undecided voter is a smartly dressed middle-aged gent, inviting demographic speculation. When younger, he must have been something of a dandy. When still younger, he may have come from nothing much—rising in the world, as Americans, or at least white Americans, frequently did back then. He likely works in upper-middle management somewhere—no higher, one suspects, given a self-conscious raffishness that’s a bit incongruous at his age. He holds out against conformism.

So: a cinch for F.D.R. in past elections. But now, in 1944, the man wonders whether Republicanism might be better styled for his enhanced station in life. (You know he belongs to the country club.) […]

Being conscientiously informed on “the issues,” as evidenced by the Cedar Rapids Gazette that the man holds and by the brochures that protrude from his coat pocket, doesn’t settle anything. Does it ever? Aren’t our votes always episodes of autobiography, not about what we know but about how, and as what, we opt to see ourselves?

In 1944, as today, once the Primaries are out of the way, Iowa receives minimal attention from Presidential candidate. That’s because the State has just six votes in the Electoral College, of the 270 to guarantee a victory. It was a whit more significant in 1944: ten Electoral College votes of the necessary 216 majority. It is, however, a “swing state”, going for the winner some three-quarters of the time: Obama in 2008 and 2012, Bush in 2004, but Al Gore in 2000.

Iowa went for the Dewey/Bricker ticket in 1944, one of the dozen states that defied the lat FDR steamroller.  It was a 547,267  (51.99%) to 499,876 (47.49%) split.

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, New York City, New Yorker, Norman Rockwell, United States, US Elections, US politics

Be sure your s(k)in will find you out

Those years sitting as a boy-chorister in the stalls of St Nicholas, Wells-next-the-Sea, laid their marks upon me. For one example, I know this is from the Book of Numbers. Admittedly, I had to check to find the precise reference:

Then Moses said to them: “If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war, and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies from before Him,  and the land is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you may return and be blameless before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LordBut if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out. Build cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep, and do what has proceeded out of your mouth.” [Numbers, 32, 20-24]

There’s some decent guidance there for a modern political campaign:

  • don’t go in too early, but choose your time;
  • but do strike when the opportunity is timely;
  • and then get on with exploiting your expected victory and building the new society.

Now let’s consider the current state of Trumpery

My, my: the man has some problems —

Conceivably, by the end of another day he will have added more to the charge sheet.

Meanwhile Hillary seems to have jumped at least five opinion-poll points, and even her “unfavourable” numbers aren’t significantly worsening. While Trump’s could and should well be.

Shameless?

Last Sunday’s Observer had a piece by Gaby Hinsliff, Twitter Wars. It includes this:

The chilling thing about Trump isn’t just the casual racism and sexism, the breathtaking indifference to whatever is stirred up. It’s the niggling worry that he’s lighting fires under American life not because he can’t stop himself, but as a coldly calculated means to an end. Lacking an established political machine behind him or a war chest for TV advertising, Trump has been reliant on saying ever more incendiary things to keep his name in the news – which may be why the real jaw droppers have a knack of surfacing when he most needs free publicity.

“The norms have completely gone,” says a US strategist who has worked on the last three Democrat campaigns. “I remember in 2012 we’d try and call Mitt Romney a liar for basically telling lies and David Axelrod [Barack Obama’s chief strategist] would say: ‘Change that to falsehood.’ Trump doesn’t have any of those rules whatsoever. I mean, ‘Delete your account’ was pretty much outside the limits of what Hillary would have done four years ago, but you can’t even compare that to someone who’s retweeting white supremacists and Nazi memes.

“To get free media, he has to say stuff that’s reportable, and the level of extreme language is directly linked back to that. They took a conscious decision to make a remark about Mexicans being rapists for his launch to throw a spanner in the works of the other launches. I suspect he doesn’t even particularly have a worldview; it’s driven by a need to feed this publicity machine.”

All true and good. But I note in that the even more “chilling thing”. The Trump campaign has gone beyond pushing the acceptable limits of political discourse out of “indifference”. There is a “coldly calculated” intent to coarsen the debate, in the same way an aerial bombing campaign deliberately demolishes, degenerates and dislocates enemy infrastructure before the land-based assault. If Trump can reduce the political dialogue to his gutter level, he has won.

News management

Tim Fenton, the Guru of zero-street, was yesterday puzzling over the last item of that above bulleted list: why has Melinda Trump’s “modelling” career come to the attention of the New York Post at this precise moment? Except Tim sees it in a broader perspective:

Has Murdoch Abandoned Trump?
Trump still has one formidable backer in the shape of Rupert Murdoch, who has stood by while Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) has been The Donald’s main cheerleader, with hosts such as professional loudmouth Sean Hannity falling over themselves in their efforts to grovel before The Great Man. Then came the forced resignation of Fox News head man Roger Ailes. And that may have changed things.
That Rupe may be experiencing buyer’s remorse is hinted at as the New York Post, a Murdoch tabloid with the same subtlety level as the Sun, splashed an old photo of Trump’s current wife Melania on its front page yesterday. She used to be a nude model. The caption could have come from Kelvin McFilth himself: “THE OGLE OFFICE … Exclusive Photos … You’ve never seen a potential First Lady like this!” Yeah, phwoar, eh?!?!?
One argument the other way is: that was then, this is now. After all, wannabe UK royal princesses can now be papped in degrees of déshabillé and the world keeps turning. The ubiquitous camera/mobile phone ensures that no public embarrassment, no “wardrobe malfunction” can escape the likes of a Daily Mail‘s “sidebar of shame”.
In the matter of Mrs Trump I noticed that, as the New York Post were unveiling the object of the Donald’s affection, the man himself was going all coy and demure. Betsy Woodruff made her play for The Daily Beast:
Playboy Cover Model Donald Trump Pivots On Porn, Signs Pledgetrump-playboy

Businessman Donald Trump posed on the cover of Playboy. GOP nominee Trump has a very different take on porn. 

A day after his team praised the nude photos of his wife that the New York Postpublished, Donald Trump promised to be tough on internet pornography.

The mogul signed a document called the Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge, bemoaning “unfettered internet access by youth.” In signing the pledge, Trump also promised to “[g]ive serious consideration to appointing a Presidential Commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families and the American culture and the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in the digital age.”

Wheels within wheels?

I find myself deploying a nano-second, factoring in the “other who and why”.

Who and why pointed the NY Post in this direction? After all, the Post — especially at week-ends — is not an obvious reserve of investigatory journalism.

So something very odd going on.

After the plagiarised speech, there was the sudden taking-off (there’s a lot of it going on, in this context) of the claim from the lady’s own web-site that she had a degree in design and architecture, earned in Slovenia. This claim appeared in the Republican National Convention program.

Whoops! On 19th July CBS demolished this, and asserted that Melania Knav (afterwards, that became “Knauss”) had dropped out after just one year of the course. The soft-core backstreet snappers of Milan and getting-her-kit-off offered a quicker a better, quicker deal for “Melania K”.

For a summary, I defer to Martha Ross, mross@bayareanewsgroup.com, and this — please note — in the “Local Sports” section:

Trump’s sanguine response raises more questions: notably, whether he or someone in his campaign helped make sure the photos were published.

After all, the photos were published in a newspaper that has endorsed him and might be inclined to gain some P.R. leverage.

And, what would Trump himself have to gain?

Gawker and the Huffington Post have some theories. A.M. Mitchell with the Huffington Post believes the publication of the photos was timed by Trump or his people to “plant a red herring into our political news cycle.”

Mitchell drills down on the timing. The photos went online after the Republicans had a pretty disastrous convention the week before and after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday … And after Trump this past week incited outrage over his various comments about NATO, Russian hackers sabotaging Clinton, Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine … And after he launched his controversial and lacerating criticism of the Muslim-American parents of a slain army captain.

What’s disturbing, Mitchell said, is that by publishing the photos, “Donald Trump and the Post are hanging Melania out to dry in a culture which is still, at its core, puritanical. … They are counting on her being retributively shamed by liberals who are hungry to avenge sexist slights against Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to gain what? A couple of points in the polls?”

She continues: “Donald Trump is complicit in allowing a publication which has endorsed him to victimize his own wife. If there is any story worth talking about here, that is it.”

Trump’s sanguine response raises more questions: notably, whether he or someone in his campaign helped make sure the photos were published.

After all, the photos were published in a newspaper that has endorsed him and might be inclined to gain some P.R. leverage.

And, what would Trump himself have to gain?

Gawker and the Huffington Post have some theories. A.M. Mitchell with the Huffington Post believes the publication of the photos was timed by Trump or his people to “plant a red herring into our political news cycle.”

Mitchell drills down on the timing. The photos went online after the Republicans had a pretty disastrous convention the week before and after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday … And after Trump this past week incited outrage over his various comments about NATO, Russian hackers sabotaging Clinton, Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine … And after he launched his controversial and lacerating criticism of the Muslim-American parents of a slain army captain.

What’s disturbing, Mitchell said, is that by publishing the photos, “Donald Trump and the Post are hanging Melania out to dry in a culture which is still, at its core, puritanical. … They are counting on her being retributively shamed by liberals who are hungry to avenge sexist slights against Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to gain what? A couple of points in the polls?”

She continues: “Donald Trump is complicit in allowing a publication which has endorsed him to victimize his own wife. If there is any story worth talking about here, that is it.”

Cue Mrs Merton:

You know what comes next:

Let’s imagine the aftermath of the Trump/Knauss encounter at the Kit Kat Club, 124 W 43rd StNew YorkNY 10036,  (no relation), in 1998:

  • “So, the Donald, what first attracted you to the pneumatic (and subsequently enhanced) Miss K?”
  • “So, Melinda, who first attracted you to a billionaire, a quarter of a century older than yourself?”

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City, sleaze., smut peddlers, US Elections, US politics

Persistent mondegreen

I had to check on the term’s origin. Sylvia Wright in Harper’s, November 1954, gets the credit (this by courtesy of the OED):

When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy’s Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

If you can’t get past the pay-wall for that, you’ll find it’s also related — very wittily — by  in a back-copy of the New Yorker. She notes that “mondegreen” is itself a recursive mondegreen.

Her definition continues:

Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way. What’s less immediately clear is why, precisely, that happens.

The simplest cases occur when we just mishear something: it’s noisy, and we lack the visual cues to help us out (this can happen on the phone, on the radio, across cubicles—basically anytime we can’t see the mouth of the speaker). One of the reasons we often mishear song lyrics is that there’s a lot of noise to get through, and we usually can’t see the musicians’ faces. Other times, the misperceptions come from the nature of the speech itself, for example when someone speaks in an unfamiliar accent or when the usual structure of stresses and inflections changes, as it does in a poem or a song. What should be clear becomes ambiguous, and our brain must do its best to resolve the ambiguity.

I find that good stuff. My attempt would be a mondegreen is the acoustic equivalent of the way we bewilder ourselves with optical illusions:

image

The difference, of course, is that such images are deliberate, whereas the true, the blushful mondegreen is self-inflicted and unwitting embarrassment.

What prompted this today was — as so often — iTunes in the background. And I found myself grunting along and, five years later, doing it again.

My Irish Leaving Certificate French, barest Pass, and already a couple of years ossified, only ever parsed that lyric from AM radio or off the Dansette. So, back in days of starry-eyed romanticism, I sang along with Françoise Madeleine Hardy:

 Tous les garcons et les filles d’ Montmartre …

Only later (as a previous blog-post confessed), aided by modern technology and now a decent pair of AKGs, does the full truth re-emerge:

Tous les garcons et les filles de mon age
Se promenent dans la rue deux par deux.
Tous les garcons et les filles de mon age
Savent bien ce que c’est d’etre heureux,
Et les yeux dans les yeux,
Et la main dans la main —
Ils s’en vont amoureux.

What has got me —

(in a way that Salvador Dalí would understand, as a persistence of mistaken memory)

dali

— is I’m still mumbling along with the mondegreen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, New Yorker, Oxford English Dictionary

Cui bono? (As if you couldn’t guess)

The New Yorker, of all places, has a piece on Hillsborough — The Legacy of a Soccer Tragedy, by Ruth Margalit:

Margalit-HillsboroughSoccerTragedy-690

  • it comes prefaced by one of the most poignant images (see above) and one I cannot recall seeing before;
  • and, as befits The New Yorker, comes quite sophisticated with it.

After a predictable human-interest opener, Margalit attempts a swift survey of how we arrived at caging people at Hillsborough —

  • the Heysel Stadium disaster, blamed here on:

rioting Liverpool supporters at a match in Brussels had triggered a stampede that caused the collapse of a stadium wall, leading to the death of thirty-nine people, most of them Italian fans of the soccer club Juventus.

Let us not bother to harp on whether a wall that collapsed was the fault of a “riot”, or whether a stadium should be organised to prevent such a “riot”, and not have walls that collapse.

  • the baleful influence of Margaret Thatcher, concerned not essentially with human suffering but with public image:

“We have to get the game cleaned up from this hooliganism at home and then perhaps we shall be able to go overseas again.”

Margalit then does a quick flit past Nick Hornby and Jason Cowley — both valid sources — before arriving at the key point:

Luckily for those of us who love the “beautiful game,” the culture did change. The most immediate and lasting changes were prompted by the publication, a few months after Hillsborough, of a damning report by Lord Taylor of Gosforth, later England’s Lord Chief Justice, criticizing the soccer industry’s poor treatment of supporters. The report led to a complete overhaul of stadium-safety regulations, and to the requirement that every spectator have an assigned seat.

And with that came something else:

the new seating requirement also contributed to a change in demographics. A mostly working-class fan base gave way to a middle-class and upper-middle-class clientele, the only people still able to afford tickets: adjusting for inflation, ticket prices now cost at least three times what they did in 1989, and, increasingly, clubs offer perks like champagne-on-tap V.I.P. boxes to their most deep-pocketed fans. Money coming in from TV rights has also skyrocketed, from a revenue stream of about twenty million dollars a year in 1988 to more than five billion dollars a year in 2014. Next year, the English Premier League is expected to overtake the N.F.L. as the highest-earning sports league in the world.

Time for a small declaration of interest. My Pert Young Piece, saving for her gap year, had a good thing going. Alternate Saturdays, she was on the catering/waiting detail for those V.I.P. boxes at White Hart Lane (and its American Express black cards) for the football and Harlequins for the Rugby.

So what has happened to the mostly working-class fan base?

Those who have been priced out of those “safer” stadia now frequent sports bars. [Don’t get me started on these soul-less and depressing joints, fuelled by fizzy imported beers.] The numerous screens will, inevitably, be tuned to the Sky Sports feeds. This from 2013:

Pub landlords say the cost of screening top level sport is becoming so expensive it is making them switch off from showing the likes of Premier League football and the Ashes.

One pub and restaurant owner in Tunbridge Wells said he had to call time on the satellite service after Sky wanted a staggering £2,400 a month for him to show Sky Sports in his pub.

The cost of showing Sky Sports channels in public venues varies, but the national average is said to be around £400 a month for pubs.

I can easily spot what Jerry Hall sees in her octogenarian squeeze.

Leave a comment

Filed under Britain, culture, Murdoch, New Yorker, pubs, sleaze., social class

The joy of … whatever

It’s called serendipity, making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident. In itself, a serendipitous word — a “sleeper”, like one of those books, pieces of music or any other cultural trivia that emerges into wider appreciation after long hibernation.

Horace Walpole coined it — and we can date that with unusual precision, because the first OED citation is one of his letters, 28th January 1754. Only in the 20th century did the term achieve general currency. Joyce’s Shem is a semisemitic serendipitist [page 191].

My serendipity is finding good writing at random. Oddly enough, those fillers in the travel and property-porn pages often rise above the chuck-away stuff regurgitated by wannabe journos. And the ultimate “filler” is the Sunday supplement, usually worthy articles to space out the prestige advertising.

Which is my case in point, here.

510eVzWc4wL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_The New York Times Magazine is the gold-medallist among Sunday supplements. It provides a regular piece, Letter of recommendation, which is a direct descendant of the essays of Addison, Charles Lamb, or even of Montaigne, the form’s true inventor.

This week’s was Avi Steinberg on Squirrels, 900 words of well-hewn prose. I recognise Steinberg from two earlier, longer, works: Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian and The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Kansas City, Missouri. Steinberg might readily be approached through an online Harvard Magazine profile. he’s well worth the effort.

Steinberg on squirrels:

… regardless of how you answer the Squirrel Problem, the key just might be its perfectly ordinary premise: It assumes proximity between human and squirrel, and it also assumes that this close relationship means something. And why not? Because our daily paths are inevitably crossed by running squirrels, shouldn’t squirrels run through our philosophical questions too?

… we are a party to an unusual social contract with the squirrel. She is the only mammal who lives free and works in open, direct contact with humans. Rats and raccoons hide in the shadows. Coyotes lurk on the periphery. The deer and the bunny might as well occupy a kingdom of thin air. Dogs and cats, noble souls though they are, have been turned into a class of indentured clowns.

Squirrels, though, are right there with us. They live on our level and toil on the same schedule as humans, in every season. They share our approach to life’s problems: They save and plan ahead, obsessively. They make deposits and debits (of nuts and seeds, mostly); build highways (returning to well-known routes in and around trees); manage 30-year mortgages (they can inhabit a single nest for that many years); refrigerate their staples (in their case, pine cones); and dry their delicacies for storage (mushrooms, as we do). They work the day shift and live in walk-up apartments. And like stock traders, they gamble in the marketplace. While most animals breed as food becomes available, squirrels have developed the ability to predict a future seed glut and reproduce accordingly, like bullish investors.

I differ from Sternberg in two essentials. First:

Squirrels are scarce in literature, but the few appearances they have made are telling. Herman Melville identified the flying squirrel as the fiction writer’s model for a realistic character: The creature is exactly as weird and incongruous as an actual person. One of Kafka’s most unsung creatures was a squirrel whose “bushy tail was famous in all the forests,” and whom he describes, in a jot in his notebooks, as “always traveling, always searching.”

Shakespeare — only the once, but nevertheless in a well-known context — had a squirrel. It lurks in the Queen Mab speech:

O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.

That speech, by the way, (and I suspect because of the Prick’d) is where the school internet porn-filter cuts in. Then, I’ve long argued that, were the Powers-That-Be aware just how filthy — filthy I tell’ee!Bill Shagsper can be in the classroom of a dissident teacher, the whole oeuvre would  instantly be proscribed.

And who, with any sensitivity, could overlook the Greatest Squirrel escapologist of them all — Squirrel Nutkin:

10-color-drawing-of-squirrel-giving-owl-a-flower

The other issue is red versus gray.

The prime culprit is — but of course — a banker. In 1876 Thomas Unett Brocklehurst, a Victorian banker decided to ornament his estate at Henry Park, Cheshire, by releasing a pair of American gray squirrels (which is why I eschew “grey” in this context). Other landowners found this charming, and copied Brocklehurst. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The British — and Shakespearean — revenge was and is the common starling.

Again, we can name and shame the villain: Eugene Schieffelin, who was a drug millionaire and a Bard-nut. In 1890 he released into New York’s Central Park five dozen starlings. The fool was inspired to reproduce in America every bird-species mentioned by Shakespeare.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, New York City, New York Times, Shakespeare, United States