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A nonstarter

September 8, 2014
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IN THE 1960s, when the Hancock people wrote to the longtime Casino president, Doris (Mrs. John) Winterbotham, asking to buy the club property so they could have not one but two high-rises in their project, she tossed the letter into a desk drawer, where it was found after her death years later. She had never replied, and the developer decided to leave well enough alone.1

1. Michael Kilian, “For Members Only: Once Bastions Of Exclusivity, Chicago’s Private Clubs Have Become Open To Change-well, In Some Ways,” Chicago Tribune, April 21, 1996, accessed September 8, 2014,

Back to school

September 2, 2014


The beach

August 22, 2014


O beautiful for spacious skies

July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July.

Fourth of July, Childe Hassam, 1916.

Fourth of July, Childe Hassam, 1916.

Nothing fancy

June 22, 2014

Just a summer Sunday dinner.


Exemplars, XXII

June 19, 2014
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John Harney (1930-2014). USMC. Cornell. Master tea blender.

Mr. & Mrs. John Harney in Bermuda.

Mr. & Mrs. John Harney in Bermuda.


June 13, 2014

BELOW, one of our people reveals the limits of a stereotype. Re-posted from the unlikeliest of forums: Yahoo Answers.

mayonnaiseACTUALLY, it is an old stereotype: “white people eat white bread, mayonnaise, and American cheese (or Velveeta).” I’ve heard it from my husband’s relatives, who apply it exclusively to WASPs like me — so it’s not a stereotype of whites (not of Italians or Hispanics, for example) in general but rather of a certain type of white — a person of Anglo-Saxon heritage who supposedly loves to drink alcohol but never serves any food at social events, like weddings.

In fact, it’s all ridiculous.

The mayonnaise thing is particularly ridiculous, since plenty of white Europeans — Catholic French and Italians, Catholic and Protestant Germans, eastern European Jews — have always loved mayonnaise. The difference is that they have always made their own; they’ve never eaten Hellmann’s or (God forbid) anything like Miracle Whip. I grew up in a WASP family, but our mayonnaise was always homemade, according to a French recipe passed down by a great-great grandmother, and my parents sneered at commercially produced white bread. And Velveeta would never have been allowed over the threshold.

As usual, generalizations like these reveal far more about the limited intelligence, experience, and sophistication of the people who make them than about the targets of them.


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