TV: Talking Marilyn Monroe on the Insider

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Marilyn Monroe died 50 years ago last Sunday, and researching this Lonely Planet piece on Marilyn Monroe sites a couple weeks ago, I surprised myself by becoming fascinated. Here was a poor illegitimate girl raised by a dozen sets of foster parents, while her mom live in a mental institution — she dreamed of Hollywood and became the ultimate star. It’s quite a … Read on

New York City’s Bowery in 1949

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Been watching videos of US cities in the 1940s. Fun seeing how so much has changed, and sometimes not changed. (This TWA ‘travel video’ of San Francisco in the early 1950s — the heading of the video wrongly calls it the ’40s — pretty much runs along the same Top 10 list most give the city today; cable cars were touristy even then.) … Read on

Top 50 Rolling Stones Songs


So the Rolling Stones are 50 years old, some of them have been remarkably great years, though most mediocre. Still they are the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world for all time, for creating that bag-o-bones sound that stutters to keep standing then gels into something so obvious and simple yet beyond what any other band could possibly do. The Stones changed my … Read on

NYC Fact: David Lee Roth Walking Tour!

It’s a great walk. Beginning where David Lee Roth, way after leaving Van Halen, was busted trying to buy a $5 bag of pot in 1993, and ending at historic Cafe Wha?, two blocks south, where a reunited Van Halen played in January 2012. Cafe Wha? is owned by Manny Roth, David’s uncle. Whole thing takes about four minutes. You’ll love it. See … Read on

NYC Fact: Melville was a Terrible Travel Writer

Herman Melville is New York City’s greatest writer. He was born here, at 6 Pearl St (now indicated by a plain gray wall and a plaque tucked behind a towering skyscraper in Lower Manhattan) and died here after three decades of obscurity. Before he wrote “Moby-Dick,” he was desperate for “tobacco money,” so he turned to travel writing, capped in his 1849 book … Read on