October 14, 2007
The joys of generous conversation
I am a member of the, as my former partner used to say, the
somber Tombers, and am an individual who has never
really learned to guffaw though am somewhat attuned to the
ironic. We tend also toward work alcoholism or, as my sister
says, Were good Catholic compulsives.
Recently, over the last few years, I have been making efforts
to get away from that to choose to be more social.
So it was that when my friends Dick and Dena Moran invited
me for dinner I felt it was too special an occasion and decided
that, come what may, I wanted to be there. Dinner parties
are a great opportunity for real conversation. This dinner
was such an example. We discussed what was happening with
us in the here and now.
We talked of the beauty of the weather, a summer that seems
intent on making us remember that it was here. We have had
a series of late summer days that have been brilliant and
beautiful, poised between summer and fall with summer refusing
to let go without reminding us consistently of how beautiful
she has been and how much we will miss her.
Against this beautiful backdrop we reviewed the weeks
First of all, the Emmy Award Show.: General consensus: it
was lousy. Personally, I thought it was more watch-able than
any of the last few years though I was definitely in the minority.
Ryan Sechrist did seem to me an aging high school cheerleader
struggling to whip up enthusiasm for a team that was behind
by eighteen points. The circular set was probably better for
viewing at home than at the Shrine. And what was up with cutting
off Sally Field? Are we that afraid of hearing goddamn
over the air? I guess so.
Next up: O. J. Simpson. Okay, what were you drinking, smoking,
imbibing? What were you THINKING? Has media attention become
so necessary to your being that youd throw your life
away for another media mad trial? General consensus over the
dinner table: this is a person who cant quite figure
out the meaning of the word consequences.
We talked of the quality of the programs on television, agreeing,
after some disagreement, that if you include both broadcast
and cable networks [I was surprised that anyone still made
that differentiation but some people do] there are actually
so many good dramas on television today that we might, in
the future, call this a golden age. Look at this
list: DAMAGES, GRACE UNDER FIRE, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, MONK,
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, MAD MEN, the ending
of THE SOPRANOS, BIG LOVE, ARMY WIVES, NIP/TUCK, and RESCUE
ME not to mention such mini-series as OUT OF THE WEST.
As such an evening can, this will linger in my memory for
a long time a delightful mixture of people and wonderful
food [by the way, if you find yourself in the Hudson Valley,
stop at Dick and Denas shop, OLDE HUDSON, on Warren
Street in Hudson they have the very best cheeses, meats
and other sundries]. These are the things that make life special.
Along with our dinner conversation, there have been other
interesting events this week to note. AOL is moving its executives
to New York to be more in tune with the beat of the media
And as AOL is moving to New York, Blackwater is being asked
to leave Iraq. Dont know Blackwater? Its a private
company that has been supplying security in Iraq.
It flies as much as possible under the radar but if you believe
some reports it has as many men in Iraq as the U.S. Army.
There was a shoot out last week near Baghdad; civilians were
killed. The Iraqi government is not amused and is asking them
to leave and the shooters to be judged by Iraqi courts. That
is not amusing to the U.S. government who, I think, has guaranteed
Blackwater that that wouldnt happen.
The news is full of things that can, and probably should,
be gist for dinner conversation. Put together some good food
with good people and let the events of the day be verbally
bounced around. We learn things that way.