Mr. Wow Blog
Mr. W Returns–Just Silly Stuff!
7:55 pm | July 11, 2014

Author: Mr. Wow | Category: Point of View | Comments: 59


Healthy Again!

Healthy Again!

Watching, Reading, Worrying and…Cats.  Mr. Wow Returns.  (Don’t get excited—this is all silly stuff!)


Okay, I’ll give you the complain-y part of this first.  Winter and spring were crap.  I had another bout with “a touch of pneumonia” as I did last year.  I just could not shake the coughing, sniffling and lethargy.


But…I recovered.  Now it’s July and while I have not quite re-gained my old get up and go—which to be honest, was never a ruling passion anyway—I’m livelier.  Not quite as corpse-like.  Even during the lowest I kept reading in my compulsive way, watching TV in my manly channel-surfing way, and tortured myself with cable news and the precipitous fall of Barack Obama.   I was never an Obama man to begin with.  I preferred Hillary. (Then, anyway.)  But what the hell, it was thrilling to see the first man of color as president. 


He’s had a hard time, but he hasn’t helped himself much, either.  I bang my head on the wall to see him now, almost giddy with the possibility of being sued by John Boehner, with little sense of the importance of optics, and disaster looming for Democrats in the mid-terms—which will inevitably lead to a Republican president in 2016.  I wonder if he has been driven slightly mad by the intransigence of his foes.   I predict he will be both the most embittered and happiest of ex-presidents, once he free of that terrible job. 


I don’t see him becoming a statesman like Clinton or Jimmy Carter.  He will be silent.  But it won’t be the relieved silence of George W. Bush, who was also very happy to leave Washington.  Obama will be a sad, mad man for a long time.  But he’ll look twenty years younger twenty minutes after he is no longer Commander in Chief. 


Hillary?  I’ve never thought she’d run again for president. Or that she should.   The iffy sales of her book, her clumsy answers and statements while on her book tour, and what has to be her own sense of people’s exhaustion with her and with Democrats at the moment, can’t be encouraging.

   Not that Republicans are riding high, but people want change, starting at the top.  That she continues to play this game, stringing her supporters along, is unconscionable. There are NO viable Democratic candidates.  It should have been her job, once she left her office as Secretary to State to find and build and encourage the aspirations and lift the recognition value of a few worthy Democrats.  It’s almost too late, now.  Joe Biden?  A joke. 


Professional Victim Monica Lewinsky—Please go away.  If it was so humiliating for you, stop talking about it.  (This is revenge or a Republican is paying Lewinsky to vomit out all the crap we already know. Hillary wasn’t your nemesis, honey.  Remember Linda Tripp?) 


I fear the virulence of  the extreme right wing.  I fear a theocracy, which is certainly what many religious extremists hope for under a Republican president, reigning for eight years.  I worry about my Social Security.  I intend to take an early “retirement” (although in terms of a salary, I was “retired” about two years ago.)   Applying for SS at 62 won’t amount to much, but it’ll be something.  Who knows what’ll happen by the time I’m 65 or 66? 


I can’t imagine rebuilding a career at this point.  Writers don’t make much money.  I’m an old-timey writer/columnist without a strong name of my own, never had a byline.  The business has altered so drastically I hardly recognize it.   If I can screw up my courage I’d like to ask my boss—yes, still in the office every day—to use her name, to continue the brand.  My name wouldn’t need to appear.  I’ve never looked for that kind of recognition.  I think the brand could continue and it’s the only way I feel I might be suitably motivated to carry on.  I enjoy certain aspects of what I do, still.    But…I doubt my boss would be sanguine about such a suggestion.  The last time I broached something similar, way back in the day—just my name on the bottom of the column everyday—it was like she discovered hemlock in her tomato soup.   But that was the peak of our popularity.  Times have changed.  Who knows?  


B. has been stalwart and supportive beyond anything I expected.  I underestimated him.  But then, I never believed he could truly love me.  I never believed anybody could.  Who could love me? 


Have you all fallen into a coma yet?


Sorry this isn’t more fun.


  I finally read  Henry James’ “Portrait of a Lady.”  This is a book I have had resting near me for years.  It was part of a goodie bag, when the Nicole Kidman version of the book came out.  Yeah—that long ago.  But, while I was mulling my demise during the worst of the winter doldrums and a hacking cough, I finally settled in to read it.  It’s literature and not of this era, and I’d forgotten a bit how difficult the language and phrases of that time can be.  But pretty soon I was swept up and found “Portrait” to be astonishingly modern and full of remarkable perception about human nature.   I marked up my copy with a pen. 


I also read Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch.”  My best friend gave me her copy and said, “I think you will love this.”  I wasn’t so sure.  Not big on modern fiction unless it’s a thriller.  And I was irritated at the first 30 pages—so much writing.  But as with “Portrait of a Lady” I was soon carried away, not the least because I identified strongly with the fucked-up protagonist, his disordered childhood, and the mistakes that came back to haunt him.  Actions have consequences.  And sometimes one feels incredibly trapped by what one has set in motion.  I loved it.  I cried.  My actions have had consequences. 


I have become re-acquainted with Oscar Wilde. 

B. bought me The Complete Works, which I once had, but in our various moves was lost.  I’d forgotten the power of his  fairytales–so perfect for melancholic children and depressed adults.   And it brought back something wonderful.   One night when I was about 12, my cousin Stephen and I read aloud “The Importance of Being Ernest”.  We screamed with helpless laughter throughout. It is almost surreal in its humor. Reading it alone,  I wanted very much to find someone with whom to share it–and laugh like a child again.   That night with Stephen is one of the great memories of my life.  All about discovery and humor and being far wiser than the adults who pestered us and looked askance at such unseemly hilarity. I miss my cousin so much.




Oh, cats.  For about a month and a half, B. and I have been passing by the local Hoboken vet, mooning over two beautiful, small cats.  Sisters.  A little over  a year old.  Nobody was adopting them!  There was even talk they’d be set “free” if they went un-adopted for much longer.  The two of us had “joke-y” conversations about taking the cats in, but with three already…I mean, come on.  (There was a point in years past when we had five cats but even then we thought we were nuts.)    However, after B. came back from the vet one more time, we had a more serious chat.  Yes or no?  I was concerned about the reactions of our other felines and the cost—litter, food.  I’m not providing much $ these days.  To make such a decision seemed reckless and selfish on my part.    B. assured me the cost would not be so great. 


And now we have five.  The new girls are Sunny and Maude and they are very slowlyadjusting to life outside a small cage and amongst humans.  (They were brought to the vet as feral cats.)  They get on well with Doll and Dude and Tiger, and gradually seem to be trusting us.  They eat and use the litter properly.   But we don’t see them much.  I said to B—“Well, I was worried about having five, but it’s still like we just have three.  Maude and Sunny are phantom cats!”


So, I am officially an old cat lady.  I suppose that means I have to be extra grumpy when I answer the door.  Or extra friendly.  (Hello there, hot Fed Ex boy.)



My skin has cleared up nicely recently (lemon juice!) and I have been trimming my own hair. Doing a pretty good job, except for the back.  It’s kind of mullet-like now.  I need to have it shaped.  Or, I could simply embrace the mullet.  Why not?  I have five cats.  I should be wearing a shawl and orthopedic shoes. 


Watched Elizabeth and Richard in “The VIPs.”  Fun movie, especially Orson Welles, Maggie Smith and Margaret Rutherford.  Taylor wears clothes by Givenchy.  Mistake!  (Audrey Hepburn looked good in a beige knit dress.  Miss Taylor resembled an opulent sofa.) 

    And, right off filming “Cleopatra” La Liz had adopted the paint of the Egyptian queen.  The eyeliner extensions were slightly less extended, but she still tended to look liked a glamorous raccoon.  Having seen ET in person for the first time when she was age 41, and much less made-up, I can assure you, she didn’t need the camouflage.   But again—the movie is fun to watch, and Taylor has one gorgeous outfit, an overcoat with a fur hood, framing her face perfectly. 


Well, friends, I’m afraid that’s it for now.  I apologize for my long silence and the rambling nature of this post.  It has no point.  But, do we need a point?  I myself have been a pretty pointless person, soooooo…..


I won’t be away again for long and when I return maybe I’ll have something more substantial to convey. 


Or not.



Mr. W.

  • Deirdre Cerasa

    Hi, hello, yay!! So great to hear from you. Sorry about the pneumonia and glad you are doing better! When I read The Golfinch last year, I thought of you. I, too struggled with it at first but lived it in the end. I thought I had gotten accustomed to your absences yet find I am really glad to hear from you about nearly anything. The cats sound great, B even better!As for the state of The State, I am generally disheartened…Big Hugs!!!

    8:22 pm | July 11, 2014
    • Deirdre Cerasa

      P.S. The tank top is fetching!! xo

      8:24 pm | July 11, 2014
      • Mr. Wow
        Mr. Wow

        I’m just a fetching guy.

        So happy to be back and hearing from you. (I fear you are the ONLY one I’ll hear from, it’s been so long.)

        But you know, just this one message has cheered me up tremendously.  Thank you.

        How are YOU?   

        8:27 pm | July 11, 2014
  • Mimi

    I’m so glad you’re doing better. You’ve brightened MY day. Just hearing about the cat adoption was wonderful. I’m so glad they are settling in. That’s wonderful. It really is good to hear from you. Thanks for making my evening better.

    8:57 pm | July 11, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Mimi–I glad I brightened somebody’s day!

      I feel  good but really weird about all the cats.  In fact, I have only confessed it here.  A few years ago the cat situation was dire, with illnesses and dying and medications and a phenomenal amount of money spent. 

      But…here we are again with too many but we just couldn’t leave those little girls to languish-or worse, be set free to die, as they most assuredly would, given how they have reacted to the safety of a house!   The idea of them on the street….

      Every time I see one of those damn commercials with the abused cats and dogs I lose it. 

      9:12 pm | July 11, 2014
  • Sheri

    Mr. W, as usual, I am thrilled to see your posts, regardless of what you write.  It sounds like you and Mr. B are doing well with the addition of two more kittens.  There will be less hiding before too long and they’ll be stirring up things with their siblings.  I love cats and would have more if I weren’t on social security (which is a Godsend)…  I took it early out of necessity and couldn’t imagine what would happen if the Republicans have their way…  Anyway, it’s been far too long and please post whenever and as much as you like.  We will be overjoyed.  You are a witty, loving and funny individual.  Bless you and yours.

    9:05 pm | July 11, 2014
  • Susan

    Nay, not so! Some of your fans still wait for your all-to-infrequent posts.  As for the winter doldrums I can relate.  In NZ, where I am, it’s winter RIGHT NOW.  And it sucks as always.  As an American ex-pat I share your despair over politics, but I am still holding out hope that the Republicans will continue with their “alienate everyone but straight white rich guys” with their policies strategy, and will not be the force you fear.  Glad that you are feeling better, and don’t worry about the cats.  I think the crazy cat lady line isn’t crossed until you get at least 9 or 10, and refuse to take care of them properly.  Hugs.

    9:17 pm | July 11, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Are you sure?  9 or 10?  Don’t tempt me! 

      No, the next prez will be Republican and those who don’t like it (like me) will just have grit and bear it. (I won’t grin.)   I do not believe I will see in my lifetime another African American president or a woman prez.  Unless it’s Sarah Palin.  Don’t laugh.  Such an abomination could happen.  I’m terribly pessimistic.  Which kind of works because things never turn out QUITE as bad as I imagine.   So far. 

      9:26 pm | July 11, 2014
  • Mimi

    My aunt had 12 at one time. They were EVERYWHERE! 
    I agree that the next prez will be Republican. But we have made some strides forward. Marriage Eqality will stand. I worry about my SS – everyone does, but with the baby boomers ready to retire and getting sicker, oddly enough I think my kids and grandkids will fight for my right to a somewhat decent income and continued treatment for my very rare cancer. I think a lot of baby boomers are in the same boat. Either our kids help us out with votes or watch their parents perish. 
    I also agree that Hilary won’t be the president. I sure as hell hope we don’t get saddled with Palin. Maybe you should run. You’re smart, good looking, politically savvy – much more so than Obama. 

    10:31 pm | July 11, 2014
  • Jamie

    Welcome Back, Mr. Wow.
    I think it’s fair to say that we all love your posts, any one of them, as your talent lies in your humor and honesty. You draw us in.
    Having read the above post right before falling asleep I dreamt about cats, naturally, and woke up unsettled(?)  I don’t remember if the dream was bad or good but I’m up now at 4:10AM, so thanks for that. :)
    Mr. Wow, I am 55 years old and spent the last 25 years or so living an extremely comfortable and dare I say “well off’  life style with no working skills what so ever. Just ‘mom’ skills.
    I found myself a few years ago in a not so “well off” position–oh what the hell–we lost everything. Our home, our money, just about everything. 
    We gathered what remained (as I’m rambling to myself at 4 in the morning, this ‘life lesson’ is one I would recommend to anyone who has a burning desire to find out what they are really made of.)  As it turns out, I’ve got what it takes to pull us through this mess.
    Hold on, I’m going somewhere with this long, rambling rant…
    We packed our belongings and our dog and moved to a gorgeous seaside community in Southern Florida and I reinvented myself.
    I’m now working full time running a gorgeous little boutique on the beach because I was lucky enough to find a mentor in the owner of said boutique who is teaching me everything I need to know about running a retail boutique. Buying, inventory, P&L, Merchandizing, etc, etc…
    I made my dream happen. I didn’t retire, I rewired. And now, at 55, I have a career.
    Believe me, Mr. Wow, when old friends of mine from my ‘other life’ wander into our shop they cannot believe their eyes. But I wouldn’t change a thing.
    Because when we lost everything of financial significance I learned what really mattered. None of it. When I shed all of the ‘weight’ of my former life style, you know, all the ‘stuff’…I found out who I was and what I was made of and found confidence and blah blah blah.
    I know, I know, enter the harp music and kleenex box and eye rolls….
    But seriously, Mr. Wow. Go for it. Write, write, write, write, write and write some more.
    You have been given a fantastic gift of wit, and something unexplainable that draws us to you.
    Your strength lies within your willingness to be vulnerable.
    In this day and age that is a rare gift. Not many people open up and share and show their true selves and allow themselves to be vulnerable.
    Just keep writing. I’m not making a fortune but I’m working and I’m so happy.
    Approach your boss again about ghostwriting(?) or mentoring you to have your own byline on the WowOWow site or whatever.
    Another thing I’ve learned is that it’s a very rare thing to find a person willing to empower another person, willing to be generous with what they’ve learned and pass the flame, so to speak.
    Hopefully your boss (I think I understand the situation) has learned that by empowering you and encouraging you to hone your talents, (yes, at any age) that will be her ultimate legacy. 
    Because I really do believe that one’s legacy in life is not so much what they’ve accomplished, but who they helped along the way.
    Okay, put your kleenex box away and go out there and have a great weekend.
    And don’t ever stop writing. You are one of the lucky ones. You have a gift.

    4:37 am | July 12, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Jamie–sorry about the cat dreams!

      I realize it’s not over until its over.  And I might find some hidden reserve of ambition and motivation that has till now been elusive.  When I was young I depended on the kindness of strangers.  Later, I depended on the kindness of people who seemed to see something in me that I didn’t (still don’t)   I never made the most of my opportunities, but I felt I went as far as I could.  I saw things, met people, traveled.  There were small accomplishments along the way.  I didn’t long for the big accomplishments.  Or that’s what I told myself–I didn’t have that kind of ego.  I’m not sure I was telling myself the truth.  Fear rules so much of our lives.

      So, whether or not my boss and I come to some common thought, I can’t say she has been un-supportive.  Quite the opposite and moreso now.  Partly guilt because of my salary but mostly out of deep affection and our many years together.   We are alike in many ways, except she had/has a motivating drive to succeed.  If I had just a smidge of that…

      But  if I am to change my life or peruse a further career, I know I have to do it myself.  It’s easy to ask for a favor, and easier still to give up if that favor is considered more than a favor (“excuse me, can I have your name?”)

      We shall see.  61 is not ancient. And I still have half a brain. But I am still applying for SS next year. 

      11:20 am | July 12, 2014
  • Daniel Sugar

    You want mistake? Diane Keaton in “Manhattan Murder Mystery”. The belts make her look like she has a pot-belly. (I love Diane so apologies all-round but really honey, no more belts.)

    9:50 am | July 12, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Dr. Sugar—belts can be problematic.  I’ve never worn one because I have a very short torso.  If I wear a belt or wear my pants where my waistline actually is…it’s not a good look. 

      11:23 am | July 12, 2014
  • Rho

    Mr. Wow, so happy you are back. Glad you are feeling better.

    9:57 am | July 12, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rho…thank you, honey.  And you?

      11:21 am | July 12, 2014
      • Rho

        You are welcome. I am hanging in. While you were away, my godson passed away.  I haven’t been doing too well since.

        12:10 pm | July 12, 2014
        • Mr. Wow
          Mr. Wow

          Rho—I am so sorry.  It’s absurd to say feel better or anything like that.  But we are always reduced to absurdity.  Please try to feel better. 


          Mr W

          9:58 pm | July 12, 2014
          • Rho

            Thank you Mr. Wow. He was much too young.

            9:57 am | July 13, 2014
  • Haunted Lady
    Haunted Lady

    I’m so thrilled to see your million dollar smile, I could just burst. I’m sorry you were sick and hope you will regain better health and enjoy the rest of the summer. I just had my last radiation treatment yesterday and the difference in my outlook is substantial. Feeling well has so much to do with how you perceive things.

    I gave up on politics long ago. The political situation tends to ruin my day and, since I retired and am no longer paid to put up with assholes and idiots, I refuse to mess with any of it.

    As for cats, well, I have had 5 in the past but I’m down to 2 right now. My old girl is in her last days. Her kidneys are failing and I’m not quite ready to let go yet. There are 5 or 6 strays hanging around my back yard and I think one will become a house cat soon.

    When you feel odd about the number of cats you have, think of one of my cousins. At one point, she had 25 cats, most of whom were outdoor kitties. She lives on a 19-acre place but it was still a big financial responsibility. She’s down to about 8 or 9 last I heard.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re back. I love to read your musings and often wish I could sit down over a pot of tea and spend an afternoon gabbing.

    10:02 am | July 12, 2014
  • Mr. Wow
    Mr. Wow

    Dear Haunted One…my lingering colds are nothing.  I’m used to them now.  Radiation?  I doubt my inner resolve  would be impressive in the face of such a drastic procedure.  I’m a physical coward and crybaby. But you sound well and I send my good thoughts and love.

    I try  to avoid politics,  and succeed periodically, but I always get pulled back in.  However, with a new cooking channel and the Create network,  and Turner Classic Movies, not to mention a pile of history books by my bed, I can bypass the endless migraines and hand-wringing I indulge in, and leave Congress, the Senate and all ambitious men and women with no souls to heaven.  I say that today. 

    10:52 am | July 12, 2014
    • Haunted Lady
      Haunted Lady

      If you enjoy history, may I recommend a book? It’s The Manor:Three Centuries of Slavery on Long Island by Max Griswold. Fascinating book. You can almost smell people and plants and such. It’s only about 320 pages or so but so full of information that it takes a little while to read.

      2:41 pm | July 12, 2014
  • lulu

    Welcome back. We all missed you and at times plotted coming to Hoboken and tracking you down even if it meant going to Liz Smith’s office and kidnapping you. Glad to hear with summer things are on the upswing for you, B and your new ‘girls’.

    It is very easy to know, at least for me, when you are writing the Guest Column even if just bits and pieces. In my mind it becomes more interesting and fun to read.


    3:38 pm | July 12, 2014
  • arcadiayarddog
    Jean Smith

    Mr. Wow, your post came just in time. The day started crappy from the second I opened my eyes and went downhill from there. Fortunately, as I’ve grown into my dotage (59 LOLOL) I take things less and less seriously and what would have thrown me into a rage 5 years ago was just kind of “Meh” today. I went home and went back to bed, to swoon or recover, I’m not sure, and there you were. You brighten up my day so don’t ever feel like we don’t need you, okay? Glad you’re feeling better and please, don’t ever hold back. Stay well and say Hey to B and all the kitties.

    5:35 pm | July 12, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Jean…Oh, how I wish I was 59 again!

      XXXXMr W.

      8:09 am | July 13, 2014
  • Pam

    Mr. Wow, Longtime “lurker”, first time commenter. So glad to see you are back! Looking forward to more of your musings. 

    6:59 pm | July 12, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Pam–welcome aboard.  Where have you been lurking? 

      8:23 am | July 13, 2014
  • Jamie

    Mr. Wow,I fear you misunderstood me. I just want you to know (all of us do) how gifted you are.It’s rare. You are a rare jewel. (insert any applicable quote by either ET or RB here)
    You have that elusive quality that cannot be imitated or learned. Combine that with your incredible wit, charm and smarts and you’ve just got it all.
    You don’t have to have ambition or drive. Just keep writing. Even if it’s only for yourself in a journal, don’t stop. You are so great with words.  I was lucky enough to find a mentor, but maybe it’s because I do have ambition and somebody saw that in me.
    Que Sera Sera.  (I’m trying to hard here)  :)

    7:58 pm | July 12, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Jamie…

      Oh, no—I was just trying to explain further that what I want (I think) is awfully presumptuous and indicative of my “let’s take the easiest path” mentality.  I will keep writing, here and…there.  Who knows? 

      Don’t worry about the misspelling.  I’m always confusing Its with It’s. 

      8:13 am | July 13, 2014
  • Jamie

    PSIt’s killing me that I spelled ‘too’ wrong, above. How sick is that?!

    7:59 pm | July 12, 2014
  • Caprese

    Ah, sweet face – welcome back!

    3:38 pm | July 14, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Caprese–thank you! 

      7:40 pm | July 14, 2014
  • TheRudeDog

    Mr. W, I already know what you’re going to say but I’ll post this anyway:  I don’t understand why you’re not getting any kind of salary relative to the work you’re doing for Ms Smith.  She obviously thinks highly of you and values your input; you should be paid what you’re worth.
    I’m sure there are considerations of which none of us are aware, but still…
    At any rate, it’s good to have you back.  I knew Liz’ hint at the end of her column today meant your reappearance!

    5:55 pm | July 14, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rude—There ARE considerations.  And nobody is twisting my arm to stay on.  We make our own own lives, more or less.  Me–more than less. 

      I am fairly content at this point, for a number of reasons.  Next year, or two months from now–who knows?  I have guided my own battered ship for many years. The waters have been stormy or calm or–good grief, no water at all!   Thank you for your good thoughts.  I’ll be okay.  And if not, I’ve only myself to blame.   

      7:38 pm | July 14, 2014
      • TheRudeDog

        Please don’t misunderstand…I certainly trust you completely and am positive you know what you’re doing!  It just seems that you’re doing SO MUCH for her!  You should realize by now that we all are (probably inappropriately) concerned with you and your life and how that life is progressing; we want our guy taken care of!

        8:18 pm | July 14, 2014
  • Mimi

    Rude Dog, 
    You are exactly right. She should respect and pay for the talent and loyalty. We’re talking Mr WOW here! But take your SS at 62. Before it has a chance to go away.

    10:16 pm | July 14, 2014
  • BabySnooks

    Well it’s about time. I was about to either board a plane or out myself via Facebook to ask “the boss” where you were.  I don’t think you need the byline. I think everyone knows you’re one of her arms. The writing one.  She was Cholly Knickerbocker so who knows. You may end up being Liz Smith. She did give you an “attribution” not that long ago. So she’s not exactly hiding you.  Just not ready to hand over the reins. 

    I worry too about where the country is going. Shoved there in a way by Snowbama who has “conciliated” every shred of hope left.  I don’t like Hillary. If Jeb runs and she runs, well, we will have another Bush in the White House either way. 

    One can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many cats.  So glad you are back. 

    12:01 am | July 15, 2014
    • BabySnooks

      I was even trying to decipher my address book to find her number. Never did find it. It’s a mass of names and numbers and arrows going in different directions. An attempt to keep everything orderly. Didn’t work too well.  

      12:06 am | July 15, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Baby–it is so good to be talking to you again!

      I think Jeb will run and probably win.  I don’t like it, but Hillary has worked my last nerve.  Enough!

      On other matters, I am all Gloria Gaynor–I Will Survive.

      How are you?

      8:33 pm | July 15, 2014
      • BabySnooks

        Oh just rolling right along terrorizing those who deserve it and entertaining everyone else as I do.

        11:11 am | July 16, 2014
      • BabySnooks

        Romney is considering running again. So it may be between Romney and Bush for the Republican nomination. I’ll take Jeb. Over Romney or Hillary. He’s really sort of benign for a Bush. No passive-aggressive tendencies like the rest of them. He’s like his mother in that sense.  You at least get a three-minute warning before the aggressive kicks in. Really not like his father.  His approach to Saddam Hussein probably would have been to give him bigger kickbacks. And then asked for a kickback for himself. 

        11:31 am | July 16, 2014
  • Delusional

    What do you think of all the financial pundits (and the gov’t too) advising the Boomers to delay taking SS for the greater amount at 66 or even 70? Do you think a trap is being laid? How is 61 or whatever you are different from 59? I hate to say it, but Hillary will face ageism and not in a small way. I detest people who say 60 is the new 40, 40 the new 20 and so on (Betty White notwithstanding). 

    10:49 am | July 15, 2014
  • Mr. Wow
    Mr. Wow

    Dear Delusional–

    I am so NOT a conspiracy theorist.  I think Oswald alone shot Kennedy and Marilyn committed suicide.

    However, I wouldn’t trust the government on Social Security if my life depended on it.  Oh, wait it does!    Yes, a trap is being laid.  There, I said it.  Do I have to admit that believe in aliens?   (I don’t) 

    8:27 pm | July 15, 2014
  • Mr. Wow
    Mr. Wow

    Tuesday July 15–I got my hair cut and faintly highlighted. 

    I look 12.

     Well, 12-ish.

    OKAY!–61  with a fresh haircut.  You people are harsh. 

    8:37 pm | July 15, 2014
    • Rho

      Post a photo with your new haircut.  You must look great.

      12:51 pm | July 16, 2014
  • Haunted Lady
    Haunted Lady

    I’ve no doubt you look wonderful. Heck, I’d take you out to dinner and a movie if you were anywhere near here.

    9:36 pm | July 15, 2014
  • rick gould

    Hello Mr. Wow– Glad to see you’re getting along.
    Just finished my MFA in June in creative nonfiction. Started sending stories out. Got ideas for new ones. We will see what happens.
    Sad that your boss isn’t game to co-credit or let you continue her byline after she’s gone. Isn’t that how she got her start?
    My Mom and I find “The VIPS” a guilty pleasure. Mom always thought Rod Taylor was a big ole hunk of man. And Maggie Smith got a big break in this one. Rod worked with Liz on Giant, Raintree County, and this one…I bet he’s got some stories! “An opulent sofa”…good one~a friend of mine referred to Liz as volump-tuous! Nevertheless, ET looked stunning…this movie would make a great pairing with “Ash Wednesday”…done a decade later, at the end of the Burtons’ first round. Again, despite the soap suds, Liz is stunning and subdued.
    I enjoy reading Liz Smith daily, to decode how much is you and how much is her! Big hug to you, good to hear from you!

    1:15 pm | July 16, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rick–

      “I hear he’s a very skillful maker of love.  Is he all that much better than me?”

      “I don’t know.  That..hasn’t entered into it yet.”

      “I. Do. Not. Believe. You.”

      “I didn’t think you would.  But it’s true.”

      “Well. if it isn’t sex, what is it?”

      “The words you’ve been using–love, need.”

      I love La Liz’s maddeningly distant perf in “VIPs”  Her look at that point is not to my taste.  She was, IMO, far more beautiful in “The Sandpiper” two years later.

      As for my situation–you must understand that my boss has worked since the day she left college.  She made her name, her own name, herself.  Despite some early ghost-writing.   It’s awfully presumptuous of me to ask for the use of her name.  And I haven’t yet, and likely won’t.  I fell into this job and life.  I should have moved on and made MY NAME a long time ago.  Still…it would be sweet to continue the brand, etc. 

      “Ash Wednesday”–”Look, Mark, look at these breasts.  Aren’t they beautiful?  What more do you need?”     A fab film–she is ravishing, slim, wonderfully dressed and subtle.  (Which makes her big scene at the end so much more powerful.)

      6:50 pm | July 16, 2014
      • rick gould

        Mr. W–
        As many of us have lovingly nagged you about before, your life is a fascinating source of material. But in practical terms, is there much call for freelance writing on showbiz personalities or subjects. You are a wealth of information and have dealt with showbiz folks for decades. I would much rather read you than Truman Capote wannabe Kevin Sessums.
        Totally agree with you regarding Elizabeth in The Sandpiper. Though she is plump, ET still looks radiantly happy, tan, windswept, and lovely. She, the Big Sur scenery, and the lovely Johnny Mandel score make me watch during the winter nearly every year! Of her 60s flicks, this is the one where Elizabeth is still the beauty. And also demonstrates ET vs Burton when facing bad material. Elizabeth always gives it the college try, whereas Burton is all voice and stonefaced.
        I look forward to reading ANYTHING you write Mr. Wow! Rick

        11:57 am | July 17, 2014
        • Mr. Wow
          Mr. Wow


          “I could have you right now and there isn’t a thing you could do about it.”

          Miss Taylor pulls an ax–literally–”You do it, and I’ll kill yooou!!!”  (ET’s blouse has been ripped open, revealing a bikini top, tight pants and a surprisingly taut tummy.)  

          One of the many fun scenes from “The Sandpiper.” 

          And OMG, do we need some fun today–bad news everywhere.   Can’t do a damn thing about the airliner or what’s happening in the middle-east. Can’t do anything about Elaine Stritch, either.  What a woman.  Damn.  I’m gonna have another vodka stinger.

          8:06 pm | July 17, 2014
  • Caprese

    Oh, No!! RIP, Elaine Stritch :-(

    2:34 pm | July 17, 2014
  • rick gould

    I know, I thought of Liz Smith immediately!

    2:40 pm | July 17, 2014
  • Mimi


    3:42 pm | July 17, 2014
  • Rho

    I just heard the news about Elaine. So sad, may she rest in peace. I also thought of Liz.

    3:47 pm | July 17, 2014
  • Rho

    Are you gone again, Mr. Wow?  We miss you.

    10:20 am | July 28, 2014
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      No, honey…

      I’m here.  And with sort of amazing news soon. 

      6:25 pm | August 2, 2014
      • Rho

        Good, can’t wait.

        11:49 am | August 3, 2014
  • NSH

    My Elaine Stritch story:  Years ago, she was performing in Boston in a horrible play called Cake Walk about Lillian Hellman.  One afternoon, I went into a small grocery store and who do I see, but Miss Stritch wearing short shorts, flat ballet like shoes, a white hat and white blouse.  I smiled at her and she smiled back. She was very thin and was pushing a grocery cart with just one item in it:  a carton of cigarettes!

    2:23 pm | July 28, 2014
  • Daniel Sugar

    “Amazing news.” 
    I can’t wait…
    “Teasing’s part of the fun that comes before kissing.” 
    ― Lois LowryMessengert

    8:32 pm | August 2, 2014
  • Daniel Sugar

    Woody Allen: American MasterThe reluctant auteur opens upBy Roger Friedman | 07/30/14 11:13amWoody Allen CREDIT: Emily Assiran/New York Observer

    (Photos by Emily Assiran/New York Observer)

    Would it kill you to know that Woody Allen is just like us? He’s got two teenage girls who listen to pop music on their iPhones. He’s always worried that something bad will happen to them. He exercises every morning but struggles to keep his weight up. (Okay. He’s not totally like us.)

    He’s also 78 years old, has won four Academy Awards, has directed actors to six more wins (18 nominations), and has never missed a year releasing a film since 1977. This past weekend came No. 44, a comedy called Magic in the Moonlight. Whether it’s a hit or not doesn’t matter to him particularly, because it’s done, and there’s nothing he can do about it. He’s busy finishing No. 45 and thinking about No. 46. But so far, so good: in 17 theaters, Magic took in a very healthy $426,000.

    His frequent collaborator, Marshall Brickman, co-author of such classic Allen films as Annie Hall and Manhattan Murder Mystery, tells me: “He secretes movies like honey. It’s an astonishing record. I don’t think anyone’s come close to it.”

    Mr. Allen’s had some problems, but we all know about them. That’s not what this is about. Mr. Allen’s had a life since 1992, when he left Mia Farrow and subsequently married her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. It’s been 22 years. There must be something else to talk about.

    There is: he’s still thinking about life and death, the end of the world, and why we’re all here. All the years with Ms. Farrow, Mr. Allen lived alone on the East Side of Central Park. He wasn’t domiciled until he married Soon-Yi and they started a family. When I meet him at his shambling, low-profile production office off of Fifth Avenue, it’s one of the first things to come up: are the big questions easier now?

    “No, it only becomes more tragic,” Mr. Allen says. He’s dressed like, well, Woody Allen, compactly and neat in a button down shirt and chinos. His feathery gray hair is always a jolt because the Mr. Allen you have in your mind is Alvy Singer. But he’s really, pleasantly, the same as ever. He explains: “Because when you have more loved ones, that becomes their fate. I think these poor kids, they become aware of their mortality. When they become aware of it, it’s life changing and traumatic. I feel sorry for them, but the cold hard facts don’t change.”

    How about his own vulnerability? “I worry not only about me. But that something bad won’t happen to three other people. That my wife won’t get run over, that my kids won’t die in a plane crash. I used to worry about just me and maybe one other person!”

    The children are Bechet, who’s 15, and Manzie, 14. They’re adopted. Each is named for a famous jazz musician. When I met them this past spring at the opening of Mr. Allens’s Bullets Over Broadway premiere, they were incredibly normal teenage girls.  Does he like having two teenage girls in the house? “No! They’re a lot of work. When they hit the teenage years they become more difficult. They’re great before then, charming. But they hit the teenage years and they become like Bonnie Parker.”


    Illustration by Philip Burke

    The girls and Soon-Yi have been with him most of the summer in Providence, Rhode Island, where Mr. Allen has been shooting his next film, a drama. As usual, there’s no title. But the key players are his new “it” girl, Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix and Parker Posey.

    He’s clearly enamored of Mr. Phoenix: “He’s full of emotion and agony. If he says, ‘Pass the salt,’ it’s like the scene where Oedipus puts his eyes out.”

    For years Mr. Allen worked with a close circle of actors who rotated through his movies, from Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts to Ms. Farrow, Julie Kavner, Caroline Aaron and Alan Alda. But then he started to branch out.

    “I’ve been very lucky. I was thinking about this because [Elaine] Stritch died.” The Broadway legend and quintessential brassy New York broad starred in his 1987 drama, September. The two of them used to poke fun at each other: “We were at rehearsal shooting. She would come out in just her body stocking. People would say, ‘Go back inside!’ I would say, ‘No one wants to see you that way because we’re going to eat in a few minutes!’” Rim shot.  “Every time I saw her we used to kid each other.

    “It reminded me that I’ve worked with all these great actresses—Meryl Streep and Maureen Stapleton and Judy Davis and Penelope Cruz and Diane Keaton and Geraldine Page, Gena Rowlands, and Gemma Jones, she was fantastic, now Eileen Atkins. I’ve worked with all the great women—Marion Cotillard.”

    Among the men, one offbeat choice that worked was Owen Wilson, who played the lead in Midnight in Paris, Mr. Allen’s most successful movie ever. “He was completely wrong for it when I wrote it. I wrote the character as a New York Eastern intellectual. And we’re thinking who can do this? There’s no one available, no one right. Someone said what about Owen Wilson? I said, I always loved him, but he’s a surfer in Honolulu. He’s not an Eastern intellectual. And [casting director] Juliet Taylor said, rewrite it and send it to him.’”

    I interrupt him at this point. “Wait a minute! Juliet can tell you to rewrite a script?” Ms. Taylor has been casting director on 39 of Mr. Allen’s projects in a row starting with Annie Hall and including his TV adaptation of Don’t Drink the Water and his segment of New York Stories.

    He laughs. “She can suggest it. She can’t order me to do it. Yes, I’m very close with Juliet. I always run my scripts by her and she’s always giving me feedback.”

    What if Mr. Wilson had turned it down?

    “Then I would have a version rewritten for no reason. But to rewrite it wasn’t so hard. I just had to rewrite it as a Hollywood scriptwriter, a big success but it meant nothing to him, who went to Paris and regretted that he hadn’t stayed there.”

    Woody Allen CREDIT: Emily Assiran/New York Observer

    “He worries that as a filmmaker, he hasn’t influenced anyone. Unlike Martin Scorsese, for example, Mr. Allen says he rarely reads about young directors getting their inspiration from him.”

    Midnight in Paris kicked off a succession of hits that no one, including Mr. Allen, would have expected at this point in his long career. To Rome with Love followed and did very well. Then Blue Jasmine, a drama that captured the zeitgeist of a society confused about money, possessions, wealth and sanity. Cate Blanchett won the Oscar for Best Actress. Mr. Allen says: “I thought when I was writing it if I could get Cate Blanchett I would be very lucky. There aren’t a lot of actresses who can go that deep. She can.”

    Did he give her a lot of direction? “I gave her some direction. But to say you direct Cate Blanchett, she’s one of the great actresses in the world. She and Meryl Streep. There’s two or three, and she’s one of them. I thought it was like when I hired Anthony Hopkins. That I could just phone it in.”

    His method of directing—or lack thereof—is always an issue. Both Colin Firth and Ms. Stone claim they were very much directed in Magic in the Moonlight. When I tell Mr. Allen that, he almost blushes. “Then I was tricking him! You’ve seen Colin like this. I have nothing really to direct with Colin. He is that elegant, handsome Englishman.

    “He’s a very, very skillful actor. You can see it in The King’s Speech. Here he’s a charming leading man. There he’s the mumbling, stuttering king. He’s great in both of them. And she’s”—he indicates Ms. Stone—“a natural movie star. She’s a movie star. She’s beautiful,” he says, “in an interesting way.”

    That brings us to Magic in the Moonlight. It’s set in 1928, when psychics were all the rage. Great magicians like Houdini were deployed to debunk them. That’s the character Mr. Firth plays. Emma Stone is the psychic. Eileen Atkins plays Mr. Firth’s aunt, and almost steals the movie in a scene where she persuades Mr. Firth that he’s in love with Ms. Stone. Magic turns up a lot in Woody Allen movies, starting with Kenneth Mars in Shadows and Fog. Mr. Allen played a magician in the under-appreciated Scoop with Scarlett Johansson. As a child, Mr. Allen was an amateur magician.

    “I bought tricks and did them. I was interested in sleight of hand. I always read a lot about magic. I would do the tricks, put the cigarette in my mother’s silk handkerchief. It wouldn’t work. The guys who do it are constantly practicing. David Blaine, Ricky Jay. David Blaine told me he and a friend went to the card factory and had special decks of cards made with the perfect weight and thinness.”

    Alas, despite magic being a big part of his films, Mr. Allen is realistic. “There’s no magic, unfortunately … And there are no psychics.”

    Woody Allen CREDIT: Emily Assiran/New York Observer

    Modern comics don’t interest him much. He draws a blank when I ask about Jerry Seinfeld. ‘What I’ve seen of Seinfeld and Louis C.K. I’ve liked,’ he says, but TV eludes him other than news and Knicks games.

    As a stand-up comic in the mid-1960s, Mr. Allen could never have foretold that this would be his fate. But he always loved jazz, even then, playing the clarinet. Nowadays he does it with his band on Mondays at the Café Carlyle. There are big differences. Back then, Mr. Allen tells me, he carried at least 20 jazz LPs with him on the road as he made his way from Chicago to San Francisco to Detroit.

    “I’d carry a lot of albums with me for variation. They were always New Orleans jazz, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet … When I got to a town, I’d buy a record player. When I was done, I’d leave it in St. Louis, or wherever … it was too heavy to carry a record player from town to town.”

    Now, he actually carries an iPhone loaded with music. “My assistant programmed into the music thing 120 jazz tunes into it. Now when I go out of town, I put the earphones on and it’s great.”

    The iPhone is only for music and/or making and taking calls. He doesn’t email or surf the web. Ms. Stone, he says, recently showed him how to text. “I’m so untechnical. I don’t have a word processor. I still have my typewriter, the Olympia portable.” When I mention clips of him on YouTube, he shrugs. He’s never seen it. His daughters, however, are appropriately tech savvy. He says, sounding like every other parent, “They’re on their phones obsessively. And their mother catches them at 12:30 at night. It drives her crazy.” What do they listen to? “Something called One Direction,” he pauses, thinking, “and Katy Perry, and Rihanna.” Does he ever listen? “They have earphones. It’s their music, their generation.”

    He rarely wanders out of his comfort zone. And when he does, it’s not always successful. He was ambivalent about turning Bullets Over Broadway into a live stage show. Now it’s closing on August 24 after a disappointing 156 performances. “I thought, it will open, I’ll make money in my sleep!” Is there such a thing? “No, not for me … I’ll never understand why some shows have huge audiences.”

    Mr. Allen says he’s always had trouble drawing a live audience. “Even when I was a comic, I’d be on the Johnny Carson show, I’d take over the Johnny Carson show, I’d host it and promote and promote. The next week I’d go to Vegas, and they’d start moving around the potted plants to make the room look smaller. And they’d move them in so it didn’t look so empty. I’ve never been a draw in my life, in any medium … my record album came out when Newhart, Shelley Berman, Cosby, Mort Sahl, Nichols and May [all had hits]. And I was a hot comic at the time. Very disappointing.”

    The audience thing is not completely true. There was a time when the opening of a Woody Allen film was an event in New York. Fans lined up around the block to see the auteur’s films at the Coronet, Baronet and Beekman theaters in the late ’70s through the mid-’80s. It was a phenomenon.

    “I was aware that in those theaters I did very well. Sometimes, my movies were only playing in those theaters. Then they went to Queens, Staten Island and did okay. By the time they got to Yuma and Tulsa, they weren’t doing so well.”

    Woody Allen CREDIT: Emily Assiran/New York Observer

    He’s still thinking about life and death, the end of the world, and why we’re all here.

    It was Mr. Allens’s halcyon era in New York—playing the clarinet at Michael’s Pub, eating at Elaine’s. “She was a loyal friend,” he says of the late restaurateur Elaine Kaufman. “There was a period when I had dinner there every single night for 10 years. I was loyal to her. I used her place for several movies. I used Elaine’s in CelebrityManhattan, always Elaine’s. And that was a home for a while.” When Kaufman celebrated her restaurant’s 45th year in 2008, Mr. Allen, wife Soon-Yi and daughter Bechet arrived on the button at 8 p.m. and stayed for hours, much to Kaufman’s delight.

    Three years later, Kaufman and her eatery would be gone. And when Midnight in Paris screened in Cannes, people went wild. At the dinner in the Palais des Festivals following its official showing, I asked Mr. Allen if he’d known this would happen. I can still remember him saying, very meekly, “No, it was just an idea on a piece of paper …” He was shocked. There’s simply no way to calculate or manufacture a hit.

    “It’s a complete surprise,” he says, if a film takes off. “And I live with it for a year. Right now I’m shooting a picture with Emma and Joaquin Phoenix. I see them every day, we shoot and reshoot, it’s agonizing work, we edit and do the music and the mix, you don’t know … I don’t know if people are going to say, ‘Are you kidding? This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.’”

    When Midnight broke records, “I was pleasantly surprised. People were coming in abundance. All over the world. I didn’t think anyone would come to Blue Jasmine. I thought that kind of picture would not be popular. A serious picture is an uphill fight. Just like a serious play is a brutal fight on Broadway.”

    He has not worked alone on the 44 films. Besides Ms. Taylor, his closest associates have been the cinematographers: Carlo Di Palma, Gordon Willis, Sven Nykvist—all now deceased—and more recently Darius Khondji. It hasn’t always been easy getting everyone on the same page.

    Woody Allen CREDIT: Emily Assiran/New York Observer

    ‘I worry not only about me. But that something bad won’t happen to three other people. That my wife won’t get run over, that my kids won’t die in a plane crash. I used to worry about just me and maybe one other person!’

    Mr. Allen recalls: “Gordon Willis”—who shot seven of his films (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig) as well as The Godfather trilogy—“worked very differently than I liked to work. But it was not that comfortable. I accommodated him. He was very detailed and meticulous. He’s very professional. He wanted to rehearse so he knew [what was going to happen].

    “Carlo was a happy-go-lucky guy. Carlo was like me, he didn’t know what we were going to shoot until we got there. He was an artist, with a vision. But he didn’t know what he was doing. For Everyone Says I Love You, Carlo had lit everything on the other side of the Seine from Notre Dame—he used every light in Paris. Then you get Sven Nykvist, he’s fast, with no lights, and it’s beautiful. Carlo makes it beautiful with all the lights in Paris. Darius was such a dedicated artist for MIP he researched the filaments and street lights. I said, ‘It looks marginally different.’”

    He worries that as a filmmaker, he hasn’t influenced anyone. Unlike Martin Scorsese, for example, Mr. Allen says he rarely reads about young directors getting their inspiration from him. Only one: Nora Ephron, who wrote When Harry Met Sally. “She said, ‘You always say no one’s influenced by you but what about me?’ But she’s the only one. And that movie probably did better than Annie Hall.” It’s ironic to him, too. “Annie Hall I think was the lowest earning Oscar winning.” Up til then it was.

    As much as Annie Hall makes other people’s best of lists, it barely makes Mr. Allens’s list. When I ask him to name his favorites of his films, his first answer is: Purple Rose of Cairo. He says he likes about 12 of the 45 films, and continues: “Husbands and Wives, Midnight in Paris, Match Point, Zelig,” come out immediately. That’s five. Now what? He adds “Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Blue Jasmine, Broadway Danny Rose.” We’ve got eight. “Annie Hall?” I ask. “Yeahhhh.” Then he remembers the ones he wants: “Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bullets Over Broadway.” He makes no mention of popular favorites like Manhattanor Crimes and Misdemeanors or Hannah and Her Sisters.

    Even though he is regularly nominated for Oscars, and he’s directed many actors to Oscars, Mr. Allen is a not member of the Academy and doesn’t vote a ballot. He’s only attended the Oscars once, in 2002, after 9/11, to promote New York. “I’m not a person who believes in awards. I don’t think it’s a right thing to give awards. I think they could say ‘These are our favorite films.’ Crash is better than Brokeback Mountain?”

    Was it, I ask?

    He replies: “I don’t know. I didn’t see them.”

    He claims never to have watched a DVD screener. The only time he’s seen new movies has been from a print, in his small screening room. He did see Wolf of Wall StreetArgo is a vague memory. How about the Coen brothers? They’re sort of like young Woody Allens gone askew—quirky, Jewish, transplanted New Yorkers. Mr. Allen tells me he didn’t see Inside Llewyn Davis, which vaguely covered a time and place he knew—Greenwich Village, 1960. But he adds quickly, “I thought Fargo should have won the Academy Award and not The English Patient.”

    Earlier this year, in an effort to derail Ms. Blanchett’s Oscar campaign, a couple of anonymous complaints turned up in the tabloids about Mr. Allen not using black actors. He’s horrified when I bring up the subject. We talk about the new generation of wonderful black actors like Viola Davis and wonder if they’ll ever be cast in a Woody Allen film. He doesn’t hesitate to respond: “Not unless I write a story that requires it. You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part. The implication is that I’m deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what’s right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part.”

    Woody Allen CREDIT: Emily Assiran/New York ObserverI ask him why, by the way, Chris Rock appeared in Robert Weide’s PBS documentary about him last year? Are they friends?  “He loved my work. When I got married to Soon-Yi he bought me a wedding present,” Mr. Allen reports, surprised and grateful. “When I ran into him in Rome, we took him out for dinner.” He adds: “I’m friendly with Spike Lee. We don’t socialize, but I don’t socialize with anyone.” There’s a punchline: “I don’t have white friends either.”

    He does have heroes, however. Mr. Allen is still obsessed with Bob Hope, for example. “I just finished reading this wonderful biography of Bob Hope, by Richard Zoglin. For me it’s a feast. Full of funny lines, quotes you can hear Hope saying them. I would love to make a Bob Hope movie, even an homage to Hope called Hope Springs Eternal, but I fear no one would see it. I’m always defending him to people.”

    Modern comics don’t interest him much. He draws a blank when I ask about Jerry Seinfeld. “What I’ve seen of Seinfeld and Louie C.K. I’ve liked,” he says, but TV eludes him other than news and Knicks games. He says he can’t keep up with The New Yorker—“it comes so fast.” But when I mention Paul Rudnick and Andy Borowitz, that he knows. “I find those guys funny definitely.”

    What’s a typical Woody Allen day like? He writes not long after he gets up. He uses a treadmill for exercise. “Exercise trumps diet,” he says. He can brag. “Someone just found my driver’s license from when I shot Take the Money and Run in San Francisco.” That’s 45 years ago. “I’m the same weight. I try and gain weight. I switched from wine to beer 10 or 15 years ago. I heard beer is a fattening drink. I have a couple of beers every day.”

    Traditional New York food? He doesn’t like bagels! And deli? “I haven’t had a hot dog in at least 15 years. I’ve had a corned beef sandwich once every 25 years.”

    His one vice?

    “Chocolate malteds—I make them so brilliantly. It’ll kill you, though. You have to put in quite a bit of malt. More than you think. More is more than the traditional amount. If I make it for you, you will die. I make it with half and half, a certain amount of ice cream—vanilla ice cream—chocolate syrup—but you know, they kill you. I used to have two, three a day with impunity.” And his one health issue? “I had glaucoma in my right eye,” he says. What was it like, I asked this very funny man, a man whose work, whose life, has shaped New York sensibilities for more than four decades, to have had your cataracts fixed recently. “It’s like you moved out of Sweden.”

    Roger Friedman has covered the entertainment industry for over 25 years and is the founder of

    2:14 pm | August 4, 2014
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