Archive for Stemware

Heck, yeah

Now and then, I go through the work box and try to organize the 8300 or so tracks located thereupon, and occasionally this effort produces a question. This time it was “How the hell did I get so many Ingrid Michaelson songs?” They show up in the iTunes “Purchased” folder, so I must have bought them at some point. So I decided I should look up the lady in question, just to see if I could figure out why. I did learn that she has a degree in theater from Binghamton University, and sang with the school’s a cappella group. And she has two RIAA-certified platinum singles despite never charting higher than #37 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ingrid Michaelson is indeed a woman in music

Ingrid Michaelson is indeed a woman

Ingrid Michaelson in a promotional tee

This latter garment was issued in 2016 to promote a single:

Which I didn’t have, so I guess I’ll have to go buy it.


Meanwhile in Jakarta

It’s not that we’ve never written about an Indonesian pop star before. In fact, we have; but it’s not easy to climb onto the radar here, awash as we are in pop stars from all over the place.

Sheryl Sheinafia Tjokro was born on this date in 1996, and was by all accounts a fairly accomplished musician in her teens. Blessed with an abundance of Teh Cute, she found herself in demand for TV and film; her most recent acting role was in The Underdogs (2017), a tale of “4 friends who tried to become famous by being Youtubers.” Like that ever works.

Sheryl Sheinafia and her guitar

Sheryl Sheinafia sitting on the stairs

Sheryl Sheinafia goes totally orange

Perhaps the high point in Sheryl Sheinafia’s life up to now was meeting John Mayer:

And I am quite fond of her 2017 single “Sweet Talk,” the video for which looks for all the world like they shot it on a smartphone:

Inevitably, this had to happen:

“Why Georgia,” indeed.

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Meanwhile in 2719

One of the more bearable aspects of Twitter is the opportunity to get exposed to a wide range of music. I don’t recall the context, but a chap I’d known from the BBS days — we’re talking 25-30 years or so — sent me a link to this:

Intrigued, I went looking for more, and learned about Cindi Mayweather, created as a fembot, who exceeds the technical specifications by falling in love with a human — the punishment for which is “immediate disassembly.” I knew little or nothing about Janelle Monáe, but I figured, if she could engage at this level of world-building, she’s one up on about 95 percent of popular music. Maybe more.

Janelle Monáe shows up at the Golden Globes

Janelle Monáe in black and white, as always

Janelle Monáe in a fabulous gown

Later, she explained what Cindi Mayweather was all about:

“The Archandroid, Cindi, is the mediator, between the mind and the hand. She’s the mediator between the haves and the have-nots, the oppressed and the oppressor. She’s like the Archangel in the Bible, and what Neo represents to the Matrix.”

Janelle Monáe is thirty-three today, and she’s been singing for almost the whole time:

On the 6th of December, she will be presented with the Trailblazer Award at the annual Women in Music event.

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Bond, Samantha Bond

English actress Samantha Bond, fifty-seven today, these days is perhaps best known for portraying Lady Rosamund Painswick, sister to Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey, but she’s had a remarkably diverse career on the British stage, and some of us remember her as Miss Moneypenny of MI6 from the days when Pierce Brosnan was James Bond (no relation).

Samantha Power on the red carpet

Samantha Power takes a sip

Samantha Power stars in a balcony scene

Some of her thoughts on wrapping up Downton Abbey:

Samantha is married to actor Alexander Hanson, though they’ve seldom worked together:

To be honest, it’s been mostly a matter of logistics that has kept us from working together until now. We’ve got two teenagers, and although we had proper child care until they were about 10, since then we’ve tried for only one of us to be in the theater at a given time. Otherwise there’s no one at home.

They did, however, appear together in a West End revival of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband in 2011. And as to why she didn’t continue as Miss Moneypenny:

It’s not that I didn’t want to do it with Daniel [Craig], but I felt when I was first offered the job that I would play the role with Pierce [Brosnan], and that was that. It’s a funny thing: Moneypenny was sort of a double-edged sword. It finished Lois Maxwell’s career, and I didn’t want to be that person however many years on.

And the next James Bond film turned out to be Casino Royale, in which Moneypenny does not appear at all.

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Checking in with Queen Ramonda

Few actors inhabit a character the way Angela Bassett does; whether she’s playing Betty Shabazz or Tina Turner, you get up from your theater seat thinking that you’ve just seen an exceptionally well-researched documentary. At sixty, she’s at the top of her game; the remarkable thing is that she’s been there since her twenties.

Angela Bassett can wear orange

Angela Bassett gets Stella's groove back

Angela Bassett as Desiree Dupre

In three seasons of American Horror Story, she played three wildly disparate characters. In our third photo, she’s Desiree Dupre.

Most recently, she was Queen Ramonda in Black Panther. In an interview around the premiere date, she made a few observations about the production:

That Jamaican lad from How Stella Got Her Groove Back would be about forty now. I’d like to imagine that they’re still together after all these years.


Unexpected election byproduct

She Politico, the YouTube channel that spends a couple of minutes zooming in on still photos of the legs of women in, or adjacent to, politics, went silent for rather a long time. I assume they were out of subjects, and the thumb reaction to their last video, featuring then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly, was largely favorable but decidedly sparse, with fewer than 2500 views in two years. Only Karen Pence, wife of the Vice President, was less of a draw.

Anyway, after long silence and a glance at the election results, they’re back; last week they presented Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and this week Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ). I’m hoping they get around to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

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Conclusions having been jumped to

I have about a thousand hosiery ads in Ye Olde Archives, and I don’t spend a whole lot of time looking at them — when it’s warm out, anyway. Once it turns cold, and we had actual, if not substantial, snowfall this past week, I have more reason to thumb through the folder. I’ve had this one for about five years, but it never made it to the front of my mind. For one thing, the poor model here seems a bit, um, undernourished, and I don’t think it’s all photomanipulation. (See Joe Tex, “Skinny Legs and All,” 1967.)

Advertisement for Pretty Polly Sideria tights

The de-clincher, if you will, was what I thought was a reference to Siberia. But dyslexia can warn without striking, and eventually it dawned on me that this was in fact “Sideria,” which, I am told, is a “bicomponent yarn” produced by Japanese manufacturer Kanebo, and it’s specifically intended for — wait a minute, did that say 5 denier? Five? If I remember my technical jargon, “5 denier” means that 9000 meters of this fiber — that’s a little over five miles — weighs all of five grams.

Maybe Taylor Swift, none too chubby at any point, could wear these. And these are the components:

    Polyamide (Nylon) — 59%
    Lycra — 5%
    Polypropylene — 34%
    Cotton — 2%

And at fifteen bucks a pair, it helps if you have Taylor Swift’s budget.


Wielder of a mighty pen

One can write about only so many TV hosts before things start to get repetitive. So this time we’re looking at an actual print journalist, Carolina Neurath, business writer for Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish Daily News) in Stockholm, who turned 33 today; she’s married and has one child.

Carolina Neurath and baby, circa 2014

Carolina Neurath deals with a Stormtrooper

Carolina Neurath in seriously tight pants

Like many a print journalist, she’s tried her hand at fiction:

Carolina Neurath's first novel

She’s apparently not venturing far from the door to her wheelhouse: Speedblind is about a young female finance journalist who attempts to uncover the business of shady financiers.

Oh, and that Stormtrooper up there? In 2014, a band of not even rebellious Swedes made a 110-minute fan film called Star Wars: Threads of Destiny. Neurath, billed second, played Princess Arianna Ad’lah. The timeline is somewhere after Return of the Jedi. The whole film is on YouTube, albeit scrunched-up badly. But here’s a trailer:

The production reflects, among other things, the production cost, which was somewhere around $6,000.


Daly motion

Ireland’s TV3 is no more, having been acquired by Virgin Media Television, which despite its name is not a significant part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire. Rebranded as Virgin Media One — Two and Three also exist — the network combined its Saturday AM and Sunday AM series into Weekend AM, presented by Anna Daly, who at one time was TV3’s marketing manager.

Anna Daly on the couch

Anna Daly with the network credo

Anna Daly on a different couch

A fashion feature from this fall:

And, inevitably, a commercial:

Daly, 42 or 43 — sources differ — is married with three children.

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, now streaming on Netflix, is about as far as you can get from that staple of ABC’s TGIF, Sabrina the Teenage Witch; the character names, as before, are straight out of Archie Comics, but the plot complications are right up there with the sulfurous years of Buffy.

Which is fine with star Kiernan Shipka, nineteen today, who’s already spent much of her life as a character nearing the edge, as Don and Betty Draper’s daughter Sally in Mad Men. I mean, how bad can creatures from the very bowels of Hell be, after years of dealing with the ad biz?




There’s a second season (at least) of Sabrina to come. Awaiting release is the deadly-serious film The Silence, based on Tim Lebbon’s novel about an invading species that hunts down whatever creatures they can hear.

Scary stuff evidently doesn’t get to Kiernan Shipka.


Knickers made of mistletoe

Well, no, they aren’t, not really. The BBC satirical program — wait a minute, this is British — programme Dead Ringers has often made fun of BBC news presenter Fiona Bruce, and that’s one of the milder things they’ve said about her. She’s been with the Beeb since 1989, when she was hired on as a researcher at Panorama.

Fiona Bruce confined to a corner

Fiona Bruce finds a box to her liking

Fiona Bruce sings it

This last shot is from BBC’s annual Children in Need telethon, in which Bruce is a regular performer. An example:

This got her a walk-on in an actual stage revival of Chicago. It helps that Fiona is, as Jeremy Clarkson, “agonisingly gorgeous.”

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For all you Luvvers out there

Nineteen sixty-four, and we’re watching Ready Steady Go:

“Shout,” the single, was credited to Lulu and the Luvvers, and thereafter no one referred to the wee Scottish lass as Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie. (Even “wee” was at least slightly arguable; I remember at least one set of liner notes claiming she was 5’2″ or so, which was a stretch by an inch, or perhaps by 2.54 cm.) The Luvvers were an actual band, but they had little reason to go on being an actual band after Lulu went solo and changed labels.

Lulu resplendent in green

Lulu after giving up her bangs

Lulu on British TV in 2018

This last photo dates from March. March 2018. (Today, she turns 70.)

“Faith in You” was the lead single from Making Life Rhyme, the 2015 album that brought Lulu back to Decca Records, fifty-one years after her debut.

Roger Green, whose sense of chronology is even more highly developed than mine, has a bio and a bunch of song links in this week’s Music Throwback.

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Pretty and little

But is she a liar? Probably not; Mona Vanderwaal, rotten to the core, is still just a fictional character, and I have no reason to think Janel Parrish, who played Mona in the original Pretty Little Liars series, has anything in common with her,

Okay, she can freaking sing.

Janel Parrish in a red bikini

Janel Parrish floats on

Janel Parrish is the Teen Choice

Oh, and she’s five foot two, and as of today thirty years old. And yes, she can freaking sing without Mona:

Two years ago, she met a chemical engineer named Chris Long. They were engaged a year later, and got married this past September.


Burke’s law

Simply put: “Brooke Burke rules.” The cameras all agree: they adore her. And at forty-seven, she takes them in stride. We don’t remember where we saw her, but we know we saw her somewhere. (For instance: she won Season Seven of Dancing with the Stars, and co-hosted the series for several years after.) Even her book seems designed for maximum exposure:

Cover of Brooke Burke's The Naked Mom

See what I mean?

Brooke Burke wearing something on the beach

Brooke Burke, demure suburban mom

Brooke Burke again wearing something on the beach

For a while, she hyphenated her last name, becoming Brooke Burke-Charvet, but she and David Charvet split earlier this year. She has four children, two by Charvet, two by her previous husband.

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What could be crueler?

Selma Blair, picture of youth. I first saw her as Cecile in Cruel Intentions, circa 1999; I realize that this was 19 years ago, and she was already 27 then, but the numbers inside my head don’t add up.

Selma Blair, sitting in the back seat

Selma Blair, taking a swim

Selma Blair, modeling something or other

But then there’s this:

The BBC reminds us:

There is no cure for MS, but treatment can help manage symptoms. This may include painkillers or drugs to reduce nerve inflammation, physical therapy to ease muscle stiffness, or medication to slow the condition’s progression.

Then again, life itself might well be an incurable disease of sorts.

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She belonged

English singer Kathy Kirby, born on this date in 1938, gave off a distinct air of “What if Marilyn Monroe could actually sing?” Same shock of wheaten hair, same pin-up curvature, but seriously high-quality pipes, sort of a Brit version of Doris Day. In fact, Kathy’s biggest hit, in late 1963, was a Doris Day cover, an amped-up version of “Secret Love”:

“Secret Love” made #4 on the official UK charts, helped by pristine Peter Sullivan production and guitar work by Jimmy Page. In 1965, she took “I Belong” to the Eurovision Song Contest, where it came second to the entry from Luxembourg; after that, the hits dried uo, but she continued as a television personality.

Kathy Kirby, singing pinup

Cover of Kathy Kirby's Vol. 2 EP, 1964

Kathy Kirby, sitting just offstage

None of Kathy’s hits made it across the Atlantic, but her late-1965 flop “The Way of Love” got some American airplay and landed at #88 in Billboard:

Most of us who bought it back then, I suspect, found it on the 1967 London/Parrot Records compilation The Greatest Hits from England.

Kathy Kirby went into seclusion after retiring from show biz, and died, reportedly of a heart attack, in 2011. She was seventy-two.

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No more Wish Books

I’m not a Gen X’er like Tam, but we share some common experiences:

If you’re a Gen X’er, like me, Sears loomed large in your childhood. They sent out this huge catalog that was full of cool stuff. When I was home sick from school, I wasn’t allowed to watch TV (being sick wasn’t supposed to be fun) and so I’d while away my time in bed with a calculator, a note pad, and catalogs, “spending” a million dollars. Sears got a lot of that imaginary money, because they had everything.

One of my earlier projects was trying to find out about Mr. Roebuck, and why Mr. Sears hardly ever mentioned him. Turned out that Alvah Roebuck had asked Richard Sears to buy him out, circa 1895. But he didn’t quite stay gone:

After several years in semi-retirement in Florida, the financial losses he suffered in the stock market crash of 1929 forced Roebuck to return to Chicago. By 1933, Roebuck had rejoined Sears, Roebuck and Co., where he largely devoted his time to compiling a history of the company he helped found.

In September 1934, a Sears store manager asked Roebuck to make a public appearance at his store. After an enthusiastic public turnout, Roebuck went on tour, appearing at retail stores across the country for the next several years.

And Roebuck was the one survivor of the Old Days: Richard Sears had died back in 1914. Roebuck died in 1948, and was mentioned only once after that, in Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell”: “They furnished off an apartment with a two-room Roebuck sale / The coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale.”

I have, of course, my own memories of the Softer Side of Sears:

Sears hosiery ad

That side, too, is gone now.

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Talk about Inna

The last time we looked in on Romanian pop singer Inna, she was haunted by a Photoshop dialog box. But that was seven years ago; now, at 32, she’s probably Romania’s biggest pop star, and she’s added a ™ to her name. In ten years she’s released five albums, none of which made much noise in the States.

Inna on the port side

Inna and a friend go for a walk

Inna takes it easy

That fifth album, Nirvana, came out last year. This was the first single therefrom (not including those two 15-second ad slots):

Not especially cerebral, but you can definitely dance to it.

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Stainless steel

Tisha Campbell-Martin was born here in the 405 exactly fifty years ago today, grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and has been working for forty-four of those fifty years, starting with a one-shot appearance on Big Blue Marble on PBS when she was six. She’s been busy ever since.

Tisha Campbell-Martin on the red carpet in 2008-09

Tisha Campbell-Martin for ABC-TV

Tisha Campbell-Martin at PaleyFest 2016

For five years she played Gina on the series Martin; she wound up suing Martin Lawrence over sexual-harrassment matters. The outcome was remarkable:

She returned to the series March 21 [1997] but only, say sources, after wresting an unusual agreement from Martin’s producers: Whenever Campbell was taping scenes, Martin would not be allowed on the set of his own show. It was, perhaps, a Hollywood first — and definitely a challenge to the show’s writers and editors, who, for Martin’s final, one-hour episode that aired May 1, had to make the pair seem like a loving couple though they never stood in the same room.

Tisha made a few records in the 1990s, but dropped out of the music scene, only to return in 2015 with the single “Steel Here.”

The back-story: at the age of three, she was sexually assaulted; the predator subsequently wrote her a letter of apology. In the video, the words to that letter are written across her body. This is, if you ask me, forgiveness at an epic level.

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Class of 59

Annika Sörenstam is actually 48 today. And retired. She decided on the life of a professional golfer in 1992, and two years later joined the LPGA tour; by the time she put down her wedge in 2008, she’d won 72 LPGA events, including ten majors, and had pocketed over $20 million in prize money.

As slinky as Annika Sörenstam gets

Annika Sörenstam sets a record

Annika Sörenstam addresses the ball

That score card she’s holding in the center photo is unlike any other in the history of the LPGA: it’s the standard form, all right, but she’s shot 13 under par (par was 72) for the round. A fifty-nine. No one had done it before in the LPGA; no one has done it since.

How fierce was the competition that weekend? For the tournament, she shot 65-59-69-68=261 — and won by only two strokes.

And oh, yes, she did play in a men’s tournament in 2003, but just missed the second-round cut. You can’t have everything.

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That blue-beat girl

This is where you know Millie Small from:

The song, written by Bobby Spencer of the R&B group The Cadillacs, had made some chart noise for singer Barbie Gaye in 1956; producer Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, played up the similarities between Gaye’s R&B jump and jive and Millie’s ska-based pre-reggae bounce, and they were repaid with a #2 hit in Britain, where she was billed simply as “Millie,” and in the States. She continued to record for several years before retiring.

Picture sleeve for German issue of My Boy Lollipop

Publicity photo of Millie Small

Cover art for Millie's 1970 album Time Will Tell

Two questions still linger.

“Did Rod Stewart play harmonica on ‘My Boy Lollipop’?” Rod says he didn’t; Millie says he did.

“Can she still sing?”

On the basis of this video, shot 6 October 2015, her 69th birthday, I conclude the answer is Yes.

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And yes, a fine girl

So I’m reading that Brandy (surname “Norwood,” which we’d all forgotten) has sold something like 70 million records, and my first thought was “Whatever happened to her, anyway?” After that car wreck in 2006, she seemed to disappear. She didn’t, of course; it’s just that some of us weren’t paying attention.

A very young, schoolgirlish Brandy

Brandy and er mirror mess with your head

A very grown-up Brandy

She had plenty of acting chops — see any episode of Moesha — but the emphasis was always on the music, and this 2016 single, based on a John Lee Hooker riff, serves notice that any time she wants back on the charts, she knows where to call.

Shug Avery, though, was not available for comment.

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Very little is known about North Korean First Lady Ri Sol-ju, including whether that’s always been her name; the first official mention of her by DPRK officials contained that name and the disclosure that she was married to Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. She’s twenty-nine, or she might be thirty-three; she might have sung with a musical group before assuming her official duties. And she has three children, maybe.

Ri Sol-ju at some official function

Perhaps an official portrait of Ri Sol-ju

Ri Sol-ju at some other official function

Those lovable cut-ups at She Politico have obtained seemingly every photo of Ri in proper First Lady garb and spliced them into two and a half minutes of video:

Kim apparently does know how to pick ’em. (Or Kim’s dad does; at least one report claims that Kim Jong-il arranged this marriage for his son after suffering a stroke.)

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Foresti primeval

From last week: “In 2006, actress Florence Foresti played Mme [Ségolène] Royal as an unrepentant sexpot on the talk show On n’est pas couché (“We are not lying”).”

Florence Foresti as Segolene Royal

Foresti, then thirty-two, was considered an Up and Coming comedian in those days, and while she’s never become a superstar, she’s close enough to a household word to merit some further mention here.

Florence Foresti is slightly ruffled

Florence Foresti is very clean

Florence Foresti is weirdly shod

From 2009 to 2011 she did a show with the unlikely title MotherFucker, a title she says she stole from Madonna.

And here’s that infamous talk-show appearance we mentioned at the top:

Yes, that’s a weird set.

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Royalty of a sort

In this barely post-Bernie world, we haven’t quite caught on to one of the more fascinating aspects of polarized existence: there will always be a demand for photogenic socialists.

And so the French offer up Ségolène Royal, very easy on the eyes at sixty-four, and very, very capital-S Socialist. She served several terms in the National Assembly, ran for the Presidency in 2007 (losing to Nicolas Sarkozy in a runoff), and has been the Minister of This or That or Whatever at various times. She has four children by former President François Hollande; they were never bourgeois enough to get married, or even tied together in a civil union.

Ségolène Royal pays attention

Ségolène Royal smiles for the camera

Ségolène Royal climbs the stairs

A recurrent plank in her platform has been an increase in the minimum wage. It’s currently €1498 a month, assuming the default 35-hour week; this is €9.88 an hour.

And nobody complains that the male of the species might gaze upon her. In 2006, actress Florence Foresti played Mme Royal as an unrepentant sexpot on the talk show On n’est pas couché (“We are not lying”). About the same time, some lovesick individual put together this shrine:

She’ll be around for several years yet, I suspect.


Veddy British indeed

According to the anonymous Wikipedant, Tara Fitzgerald is currently appearing at the Globe Theatre as Lady Macbeth. Makes sense to me. (Also at the Globe, she’s played Hermione in A Winter’s Tale.) Now fifty-one, she has an enormous string of credits, and occasional portraits therefrom.

Tara Fitzgerald in black

Tara Fitzgerald in blue

Tara Fitzgerald as a redhead

In the States, you may remember her as Selyse Florent over three seasons of Game of Thrones.

A look at herself, from the Guardian, a few years back:

And she played Topaz Mortmain, Cassandra’s seemingly self-absorbed stepmother, in Tim Fywell’s 2003 film of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, which pretty much demands that she be here somewhere.

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My First Epilator

A local Facebook friend tossed this one out for our consideration:

Ladies, at what age is it appropriate to start shaving legs?

Our 5 year old’s legs look like Sasquatch.

“How bad can this be?” I thought. I mean, she’s five, fercryingoutloud.

A memory from my past then burst in, unbidden:

I remember one girl from high school who apparently had been forbidden to so much as look at a razor, and she wasn’t even slightly blonde. What’s more, she was growing the stuff even faster than I was, and the prescribed school uniforms insured that it was always on display. If it bothered her, though, she never said so, and I never considered it my place to ask.

And this is where things get tricky. It’s not the peach fuzz I remember, exactly; it was the fact that this stuff was growing on one of the nicer pair of stems in the class of ’69, deployed with as much sub-Dietrich skill as any to be seen in those days.

Still, she was sixteen or thereabouts; the parental proscription would presumably be lifted before too awfully long. This is not the sort of predicament that obtains when you are five.

And there’s something a bit offputting about the idea of a beauty ritual being foisted off on someone whose age is still in single digits.

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And never, ever dull

Classical music, says Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, is “far from boring”:

It has all the blood, energy, the sinister dark side, rhythm that rock music has, and all the refined, subtle sensuality that one can ask for.

Just outside Yuja Wang's dressing room

Yuja Wang sits on a piano

Yuja Wang gets down on Friday

“Sinister” used to mean “having to do with the left side,” which brings us to Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961), who lost his right arm in the Great War; he subsequently commissioned several works he could still play, including a piano concerto by Maurice Ravel, which premiered in 1932. Purists — the major exception, perhaps, was Alfred Cortot — still play it with five fingers only. For her part, Miss Wang plays the notes with her left hand and works the iPad with her right.

If you’re keeping score, she’s 31, and this is the eighth time I’ve found Rule 5 space for her.

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The original Money Honey

Back in the 1990s, when Maria Bartiromo was working for CNBC, she managed to get onto the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, a place no woman had ever before been. That “Money Honey” stuff started around then; in 2007, she filed a trademark application for the phrase, to be used on a collection of money-related learning materials. Now that’s astute.

Maria Bartiromo in a fuzzy sweater

Maria Bartiromo on a CNBC desk

Maria Bartiromo takes a seat

Maria Bartiromo ruins a perfectly good shoe

Today she turns 51. Her biggest fan ever might have been Joey Ramone (!), who put down his feelings in song:

This does not sound like a man who wants to be sedated, if you know what I mean.

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Smashingly so

Marguerite Chapman may be unique in this regard: at the time she was “discovered” and pointed toward a career in modeling, she was working as a telephone switchboard operator. Weird things can happen to operators — I was once married to one, and apparently Roger Miller, dang him, apparently tried to pick her up — but usually not that weird.

Arriving in Hollywood in 1940, Chapman, then twenty-one, managed to snag a few small roles before Republic Pictures signed her for the female lead in a twelve-part serial. Spy Smasher was released in 1942, with the nation only just getting used to being at war, and it was a big hit, though high costs prevented it from turning much of a profit. The Smasher himself (Kane Richmond) got top billing, of course, but Chapman, as his fiancée, was billed second. For the rest of the Forties, she was booked for A-list roles. Her last appearance in a major motion picture was in 1955’s The Seven-Year Itch, as secretary to the woolgathering Tom Ewell, who spent his time crushing on Marilyn Monroe. She did one more film, Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1960 El Cheapo semi-SF tale The Amazing Transparent Man; weirdly, it was her second Invisible Man film. (The first? The Body Disappears, in 1941.)

Marguerite Chapman wrapped in a whole lot of nothing

Marguerite Chapman in a standard studio portrait

Marguerite Chapman does the backstroke

We return to 1955, with Ewell basically paying no attention to the Chapman charms:

Then again, it may have happened only in his mind.

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