Think Pink, Part One

The NY Times tells us that Kay Thompson, the creator of Eloise and general entertainer, is the subject of a new biography.  She had a troubled but exciting and multi-faceted career from author to cabaret singer, movie actress and adviser to other stars.  In her time at least, she was considered magnetic.  In the film clip below, she is immersed in a culture most of us and are readers are happy is gone, and so her power may be hidden.  Nonetheless, the NY Times tries to explain it in this remarkable passage:

The things that made Thompson magnetic are difficult to get across, the society photographer Cecil Beaton observed in 1950. But Beaton’s description of Thompson is shrewder than most. “The facts about her are that she sings and prances in cabaret between Los Angeles and Istanbul; that she is skeletal, hatchet-faced, blonde and American; that she wears tight, tapering slacks and moves like a mountain goat,” he wrote. “The proper language in which to review her is not English at all but Esperanto. Or possibly Morse code.”

Why, we can wonder, did the NYT consider Beaton’s comments as shrewd, rather than shrewish?

In the clip below, Thompson is the fashion editor with the advice, “Think Pink.” 


The clip raises a lot of questions for me about that time.  One of them is whether pink was as omnipresent in girls’ culture as it is now.  Dim memory suggests not.  Another more vivid sense is the horror of the demeanor of these women being a very dominant model for women. 

What do you think?

Those violent protests?

You’ve probably heard about the violent student protests in London last week. Some of us were there, and we can assure that most of the protesters were v. good-natured, and the violence was v. isolated (we saw nothing of it). But I also think there’s something to be said for this take on it:

Focusing on damage to buildings usefully distracts attention from the much more far-reaching and systematic violence now being visited upon our education system and society more widely. It is as if we are being asked to believe that reparable damage to windows matters more than the lasting decimation of the nation’s public property – schools, universities, public transport and hospitals; or that young people in search of social justice will undermine the fabric of Britain more viciously than those who would systematically degrade this country’s welfare system, employment prospects, wages and pensions.

The wilful infliction of injury on human beings is violent and must not be condoned. Hurling a fire extinguisher into a crowd is clearly wrong, but the broken glass and bonfires of Wednesday were more visually spectacular than actually harmful. It is the coalition’s policies that are going to generate bloody mayhem. Cancer patients endure violence as they wait longer for fewer tests. Those sleeping rough in the winter cold suffer violence. As for real destruction and vandalism, let us begin with our libraries, recreation services, public transport and school buildings. As some lecturers at Goldsmiths college in London have pointed out, the “real violence in this situation relates to the destructive impact of the cuts”.

The Sunday Cat goes scientific

Felis Catus is now the subject of a serious scientific study reported in Science, the official magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  That means the data is thoroughly institutionalized and all!

See the discussion at the NYTimes, and view the video below.  It’s all about those precious little cat sips, which turn out to be precise and subtle exploitations of the physics of fluids.

From the NY Times:

Cats lap water so fast that the human eye cannot follow what is happening, which is why the trick had apparently escaped attention until now. With the use of high-speed photography, the neatness of the feline solution has been captured. …

Dog owners are familiar with the unseemly lapping noises that ensue when their thirsty pet meets a bowl of water. The dog is thrusting its tongue into the water, forming a crude cup with it and hauling the liquid back into the muzzle.

Cats, both big and little, are so much classier, according to new research by Pedro M. Reis and Roman Stocker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joined by Sunghwan Jung of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Jeffrey M. Aristoff of Princeton.

Writing in the Thursday issue of Science, the four engineers report that the cat’s lapping method depends on its instinctive ability to calculate the point at which gravitational force would overcome inertia and cause the water to fall.

To some the classiness of cat will be a surprise.  Others have long suspect that cats are physicists.  What else would account their assured sense of superiority?  [JOKE!]