In Impromptus today, I talk quite a bit about the Nobel Peace Prize — specifically, the award this year to Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident (who sits in prison, almost needless to say). A few days ago, I published a letter from a reader who said he wanted a Liu T-shirt, similar to the Che Guevara T-shirt. If we have T-shirts for totalitarians, why not for anti-totalitarians? Let me share with you what a reader sent yesterday:
“Mr. Nordlinger, your readers can go here and download either a black version or a white version of Liu Xiaobo’s image to have printed by a T-shirt printer of their choice. The file type is EPS, so not everyone may be able to view the images, but I guarantee it’s the best file choice for any T-shirt printer. There is also a JPG showing what the T-shirts would look like.”
What a beautiful service. I believe this reader did this just for us. Thank you.
Also in today’s Impromptus, I have an item on Dame Joan Sutherland, the great Australian soprano who passed away over the weekend. More specifically, I write of a talk I had with Marilyn Horne earlier this week: The great American mezzo was a dear friend of Sutherland’s, and a frequent stage partner. Ever see “Joan ’n’ Jackie” in action? (“Jackie” is Horne’s nickname.) That was something. There are many videos on the Internet, and I link to one in my column. Such things remind us: There was a reason for the fuss.
In my Tuesday column, I had another item on Sutherland — an initial item. And I mentioned that it was interesting that two legendary sopranos had come from Australia, a very big place with a very small population. The first legend, of course, was Dame Nellie Melba. And a reader wrote me, “I know there are three dishes named after opera singers: peach Melba, turkey Tetrazzini — and for the life of me, I can’t think of the third.”
Well, first of all, there’s not just peach Melba, but Melba toast, too. Both are named in honor of Nellie. Second, I’ve always heard “chicken Tetrazzini,” but what do I know? Tetrazzini is probably a matter of style, not meat. And third: I can tell you that, here in New York, the celebrated chef Daniel Boulud created La Diva Renée, a chocolate concoction named for Renée Fleming. That’s stardom, baby: when you have a dish or dessert named after you.
In fact, that may be my aspiration: a Nordlinger Knockout at the Dairy Queen or something. Frankly, I wish Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch were named for me. There’s an inspired creation. (Never mind that they’re Communists.)