No joke, &c.

Mick Jagger


Wanna have some sports and music? At one of the championship games between the Heat and the Spurs, a fan walked by Nicklaus. He said to Nicklaus, “Hey, you’re Arnold Palmer!” “No,” said Nicklaus, “but close.” (To read about this, go here.)

I’m going from memory, but here’s the story as I recall it: Leontyne Price (the great soprano) was in a department store in New York. Someone said, “You’re Joan Sutherland!” “No,” she answered, “I’m Beverly Sills.”

The other week, I was e-mailing with Jonathan Foreman, the noted Anglo-American journalist. (Son of Carl Foreman, the screenwriter and producer.) He was talking about the Beatles song “Taxman.” He suggested it ought to be the Tea Party’s anthem.

To hear the song, go here. The Taxman says — among other things — “If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street. If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat. If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat. If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.”

Sounds almost like Dr. Seuss — Hayekian Dr. Seuss.

I wanted to say something about Jean Stapleton, who passed away a few weeks ago. I knew her a little. (Remember, she was the actress best known for Edith — Edith Bunker, Archie’s wife — on All in the Family.)

When her face was in repose, it was ordinary. Even a little homely, you might say. When she smiled, that smile was dazzling, and she looked absolutely beautiful. She looked like a star, when she smiled. I have never seen such a contrast between a face in repose and the same face smiling.

Once, I was out on the street with her (Manhattan). A woman came up to her and said, “Are you Edith?” Instead of being peevish or something, she thought for a second and said, “Yeah” — a confirming, kind of drawn-out “Yeah.”

I loved her.

In a Paris Journal earlier this month — here and here — I told a couple of Buckley stories. These were stories about William F. Buckley Sr., father of our friend WFB Jr., and nine other sparkling kids. One of the tales involved Chantilly cream.

As I remember — and I may be misremembering — Bill told me that WFB Sr. imported Chantilly cows to his estate in Connecticut. He liked the cream, and he wanted to have it authentic. Problem was (according to this telling), the cream did not taste the same in Connecticut: because of the grass the cows were eating.

I have contrary testimony from one of Bill’s brothers, the senator and judge James L. Buckley. I will leave you with Jim’s letter, below — and I’ll talk to you soon.

Dear Jay,

In correcting the record on crème Chantilly, I do not intend to cast a shadow over brother Bill’s reputation for absolute accuracy. I merely point out that our father’s importation of cows and love of this cream all date back to years when Bill was ages four and six — too young to get all his facts straight. I am the reliable chronicler as I was almost three years older.

For reasons exotic, our family moved to Paris in 1929. Even though this was the home of Pasteur, pasteurized milk was unavailable there at the time. As a result, we were condemned to drinking a miserable powdered substitute called “KLIM” (the real thing spelled backwards). After watching his children suffer for almost a year, our father traveled to the Isle of Jersey, where he purchased a disease-free cow for importation to Paris, where it was stabled in a garage. The cow remained in France when we returned to the United States a couple of years later.

(While in France, my father did fall in love with fraises des bois slathered over with crème Chantilly. On returning to Sharon [Connecticut], he imported fraises des bois seeds, not a cow. Although in time the seeds produced reasonably tasty fruit, he was never able to recreate a proper crème Chantilly from milk produced by our American cows.)

As you can see, our father was a perfectly normal American parent, not exotic at all.

Respectfully yours,


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