Monday, June 18, 2018

Two Unbuilt Projects In The American West

There were two West Coast real estate projects that never saw the light of day.

In the mid-1980s, a gay interracial couple planned to establish a gay resort in a Nevada ghost town called Rhyolite. I was asked by a friend to interview them for a publication he was involved with. For whatever reason, the interview never happened.

The second project was announced in the New York Times in a two-page spread (no doubt costing a small fortune). It was to be called Beverly Springs and was going to be a city in California built exclusively for the rich and the super-rich. The person behind the project was a young black man who had been a professional football player.

After all these years, I'm still wondering why these two projects never materialized. Did they have trouble finding investors? Were they poorly conceived ideas? Was too much government red tape involved?

One day I hope to find the answer to those questions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Happy Pride Month 2018

I hope everyone has a happy pride month.

I'm looking forward to Stonewall 50 next year when we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in Greenwich Village.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, A Man Worth Knowing

R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain (1956-2018), chef, author, journalist, TV host.

After reading articles about Anthony Bourdain online and in print, I regretted not having the opportunity to meet him. Or interviewing him about the restaurant business for a newspaper or magazine article. It would have been a thought-provoking, possibly life-altering, experience.

Now I intend to read his books as well as look on YouTube for episodes of his television programs. (I love watching food shows.)

I do recall hearing Bourdain being interviewed by talk show host Leonard Lopate on New York's WNYC-AM when his restaurant tell-all book, Kitchen Confidential, came out in 2000. Maybe that interview, and others, are also on YouTube. I hope so.

Sarah J. Jackson, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston, in an article she wrote for the Sunday New York Times (June 10, 2018) stated that Bourdain "was not just curious about food and the world. He was aware that injustice and inequality are systemic issues, and he never shied away from pointing that out."

Another writer, Jonathan Gold, a restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, reported in that paper (June 8, 2018), that "Bourdain was most interested in the intersection of food and culture, and a shot of a fish on a plate would usually be preceded by an exploration of the people who had cooked it, sold it in the market or landed it on their boat."

Such a man was worth knowing and being given our full attentions.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018

JFK The Reader And Donald Trump The Non-Reader

Examining the reading habits of the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the free world, gives us some insight into the quality of his thinking, his comfort level with complex ideas, and the depth of his curiosity about the world around him.

"Send me a man who reads," was the slogan for a print ad for the company International Paper in the 1960s that I remember seeing in Reader's Digest, underscoring the need for literate, thoughtful, and broad-minded individuals in the business world as well as in politics and the arts.

Reading about the reading habits of John F. Kennedy and Donald Trump in two recently published books, I became aware of the sharp contrast between the two men.

In Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian by Richard Aldous (Norton, 2017), JFK is described by Aldous as a man who "maintained a keen interest in history throughout his life." His wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, is quoted as saying that Kennedy"would read walking, he'd read at the table, at meals, he read after dinner, he'd read in the bathtub."

"Jacqueline," writes Aldous," [recalled] how Kennedy each Sunday would circle the new books in the New York Times Sunday Book Review that he wanted to read."

Contrast that image of Kennedy with that of Trump, who, writes Michael Wolff in his book,Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Holt, 2018),  "didn't read. He didn't really even skim. If it was print, it might as well not exist...Some thought him dyslexic;certainly his comprehension was limited. Others concluded that he didn't read because he just didn't have to, and that in fact this was one of his key attributes as a populist. He was postliterate--total television."

His lack of interest in reading may explain the numerous spelling and grammar errors found in a letter he sent to a former South Carolina English teacher, Yvonne Mason, who posted it on Facebook, which went viral, and sent it back to the White House with corrections in purple ink. "If it had been written in middle school," said Ms. Mason, in a news report (Metro New York, May 30, 2018), "I'd give it a C or C-plus. If it had been written in high school, I'd give it a D."

In summation, a tale of two presidents: one who immersed himself in books and one who doesn't.

Friday, June 1, 2018