Category Literature

Joy Barlow

It is difficult to imagine life without Joy Barlow. In The Big Sleep (1946) she played the cabbie who gave Philip Marlowe a lift, and the exchange between Barlow and Humphrey Bogart is the stuff that dreams are made of. (She said, “Listen, if you ever need a ride again…” “Day or night?” “Night. I […]

My Desert Island Library

Updated April 20, 2012 These are the people that I, as a reader, watcher and listener, have come to treasure. I place them here in alphabetical order, because it would be too hard to rank them, and, after all, this is not a race. Plus, the alphabet provides some amusing pairings. Some writers are special […]

Polo, Yale and Flash Gordon

Yale graduates who have excelled at polo include J. Watson Webb; Winston Guest; Lewis E. Stoddard, chairman of the U. S. Polo Association (1922-1936); Tom Buchanan of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925); Flash Gordon of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon comic strip which began in 1934, and the movie serials with Buster Crabbe; William […]

Clues to the Meaning of Beer

To learn who made beer, and what they made, you can open any of a number of histories. But to find out what beer really meant to people, how it fit into a culture, it can be very helpful to turn to other areas. Literature, film and less overtly historical works can offer surprising clues […]

Boom Boom Mex Mex

The next time I get married, I’m registering at Boom Boom Mex Mex. Forget the china, the silver, the crystal; I want tacos. And maybe another t-shirt, because they have great t-shirts; I have seven. But I’m getting ahead of myself. A long, long time ago, Tom Bryan walked away from journalism and photography to […]

Dear Roland,

March 21, 1986 Dear Roland, Her screams and the sound of shattering glass were so close together I couldn’t tell them apart. Crouched behind the counter now she was still screaming, right in my ear, her hands tearing at my jacket as if she wanted to force her way inside, and the glass was shattering […]

The Daddy Who Could Not Talk

In 1986, my friend Cheri Bladholm, an illustrator, called with a question. A publisher wanted to see what she could do with a story. It could be any story, just not one they’d seen a hundred times before. Did I know an obscure fairy tale that hadn’t already been illustrated many times? I didn’t, but […]