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The Hersch

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  1. I've left this unanswerd far too long. Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas were 2nd- and 3rd- rate crooners, respectively, who managed to stumble into TV careers, Griffen achieving astonishing financial (but not artistic) success. Between them, they left a legacy of "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" and "The Man in My Little Girl's Life", for which they should pobably share a cell in Hell. Johnny Carson was one of the great American comedians of the 20th Century.
  2. The part of the 1910 law that really puzzles me is the section containing all the specific exceptions, provisos, setback requirements, and authorization for approval of a building 180 feet tall, all with explicit reference to the property once known as Dean's Tract and also as Temple Heights, where the Washington Hilton and the Universal North and South buildings now stand. This is the site where Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to build a massive complex known variously as Crystal City or Crystal Heights, but I don't think there was a whiff of that in the air as early as 1910. It appears that none of the provisions of this section of the law was ever used.
  3. Unbelievable that that bastard Bud Selig is going into the Hall before Mike Mussina. Mike was a thing of beauty on the mound, not only throwing pitches of surpassing grace and loveliness, but he was also one of the best-fielding pitchers ever to play the game. Moreover, during his hey-day in Baltimore, he was the handsomest man in baseball.
  4. I'm not sure what's so hard about it, but judging by how few people can do it, there must be something pretty hard about it.
  5. I just noticed to my horror than neither I nor anyone else ever started an Otis Redding thread. Well, now I have. Let me say up front that I don't like, and never have, "Dock of the Bay," Otis's biggest hit which was released just weeks after his death in a plane crash. The plaintive tone of the song and the fact of the singer-songwriter's recent death are what propelled the song to the top of the charts in 1967. I think it's really a ho-hum piece of material, and it has never ceased to bother me that, contrary to what I was taught at home, it uses "dock" to mean "pier" or "wharf" --an eternal no-no, like calling "foot and mouth disease" "hoof and mouth disease", or calling Welsh rabbit "Welsh Rarebit", or saying "My name is Mr. Browne". ("They call me Mr. Browne" would be perfectly acceptable, but "Mr" is part of no one's name.) If someone cares to link to "Dock of the Bay" they may go ahead and do so, but I won't. But among my favorites:
  6. Johnny Carson's monologues were among the most brilliant things ever shown on American television, just for the record. I think David Letterman was occasionally funny. I don't recall Jay Leno being funny, no not once. Fallon and Kimmel I haven't seen enough to get any sense of them or whether they're funny. Remember before Jay Leno became the future host of the Tonight Show, that position was long held by Joan Rivers, till she stabbed Carson in the back and set up shop in competition with him, without even mentioning to him, a supposedly close friend, what she was doing. They never spoke again, I hear. I never thought she was funny either.
  7. You capitalize pronouns in titles because the Chicago Manual of Style tells you to. There can be no more compelling reason than that. However, in your title, "his" in "His Knowledge and Wit" is a possessive adjective (note how it modifies rather than replaces a noun), not a pronoun, and you capitalize that also because the Chicago Manual tells you to. This is really orthography, not grammar, by the way.
  8. All of my grandparents were born in the 1890s, although I think they were all born after 1896. The last of them, my father's mother, died sometime in the 1980s, I believe, probably about ten years after my father, who died age 55 in 1975, to the relief of all. My father and his mother hated each other (he often remarked that she was too mean to die), and of course all of my father's children hated him, and were not particularly fond of his mother either. My father's mother and her younger (gay) son moved together to Hawaii (from California) sometime in the late 1960s, I believe, and ended up hating it there, mostly because of the large non-white population, which tells you a bit about what kind of people they were. Some time in the early 1980s, I think, her other son having presumably been taken out of the picture by himself dying, my mother got a horrifying letter from my father's mother in which the old dame proposed planting herself on my mother permanently. I remember my mother saying something like "that's it; my life is over". I advised her simply to ignore the letter, which she did, and I don't think she ever heard from the old bat again. Ah, family! (My mother's parents were lovely people.)
  9. I don't think I watched the Oscars after Johnny Carson's last stint, which I can't be bothered to look up. On a related note, I never saw a James Bond film that didn't star Sean Connery, and I didn't even see all of his. I best remember the late Roger Moore as the Mavericks' English cousin.
  10. International Square is two conjoined buildings, one fronting on the southern side of the 1800 block of I St NW (just above one of the entrances to Farragut West Metro Station), the other fronting on the north side of the 1800 block of K St NW. It is not an attractive edifice, although it offers many thousands of square feet of office space, a great deal of which is rented by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, along with another building on the other side of K St., where I believe Dr. Yellen now delivers her perorations, while the Martin Building (one of the three buildings the Board actually owns) at 20th and C undergoes a massive remodeling (I'm afraid nothing they can do to it will make it pretty).
  11. I'd like to put in a word for Shanghai Lounge, a sort of hidden treasure next-door to Bistrot Lepic on Wisconsin. I got take-away from there this evening, and had to wait at least ten minutes for my order. Everything I saw coming out of the kitchen looked good. The "dry pots" were plentiful, and still not on the English menu. The main dish I ordered, called "Spicy Fish Broth" and described as "fish filet and veggie cooked in Sichuan spicy broth. Hot and spicy." was the best Chinese-restaurant dish I've had in several years. And there was a lot more fish than broth, so with a starter it could easily have served two people, and was gently priced at $14.95. ETA I also don't find any xiao-long-bao or "pork soup buns" on the English menu.
  12. Johnny Carson was a whole lot better than Bob Hope. He was, actually, the best. (At practically everything he did. Johnny, we hardly knew ye.)
  13. You don't have to sell me on how great Obelisk was. There was a period of a couple of years when I would gladly have named it the best restaurant in the world. We have nothing like that now.
  14. I've been running a little experiment for the last 2 or 3 weeks. Chalin's (downtown) is now on GrubHub,and their "Chinese" menu sections are clearly marked online. I've been ordering the "Chinese" stuff every few days, and I must say what I've received (as a GrubHub punter, no telling what a Chinese diner might get) has been food of unrelieved mediocrity. The "boiled chicken in chef's spicy sauce", or whatever it was called, was the only dish actually served in the gelatinous brown glop that almost all American Chinese food comes swimming in....I had envisioned chicken boiled simply on the bone, with a spicy dipping sauce, but what I got was the typical slivers of boneless, skinless white meat swimming in the familiar brown glop with the obvious vegetables. While none of the other dishes came in brown glop, none was worth eating. For what it's worth.