Back from five days in Virginia, where we visited Staunton, the town where Woodrow Wilson was born; Monticello, where I was struck by the modest scale; the campus of the University of Virginia, where we saw the dorm room of Edgar Allan Poe; and Veritas Vineyard, where my niece was married on a gorgeous afternoon.

While in Charlottesvile, we strolled the mall, which reminded me of Lincoln Road in Miami Beach except that the sunglass shops were replaced by used bookstores and the models by people with degrees.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Travel

Instead of mouthing cliches ("He went out on top," Charlie Rose), the morning talk shows could have noted the large number of people who will no longer be watching late night talk shows.

By Thomas Swick • Category: media
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geo woes

05/20/15 08:49

An answer last week on Celebrity Jeopardy was: "A statue of William Tell stands in this Swiss city."

The first celebrity said, "Vienna." The second one said "Stockholm." The third one kept silent. Which led me to wonder: Had she said "Geneva" would they have given her the money for at least getting the country right?

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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poor dave

05/19/15 09:23

I don't often feel sorry for people in show business, but watching Letterman come out for his monologue last night I thought: It must be hard to say goodbye to applause.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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the end of cereal

05/18/15 08:57

For most of my life, I thought my lack of enthusiasm for cereal was tied to the fact that I don't like milk. I would always add the minimum amount, just enough to moisten the dried whatever in my bowl.

Then rice milk and almond milk came along and convinced me: My lack of enthusiasm for cereal has nothing to do with milk. It has everything to do with cereal. And I decided that, at the age of 62, I no longer have to begin my day by eating something I don't like.

It was the only food I ate out of a box. One of Michael Pollan's rules for eating is: Don't shop in the middle of the supermarket (where the cereals and other processed foods are); shop along the periphery, where you'll find the fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Eating breakfast out I never ordered cereal. Who does, when there's bacon and eggs and pancakes and French toast? The presence of cereal in virtually every American cupboard is the greatest achievement in the history of marketing.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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comma knowledge

05/15/15 09:27

Catching up on my reading I finally read the piece by Mary Norris, long-time copy editor at The New Yorker, in that magazine's 90th anniversary issue, and learned that the comma was invented in Venice around 1500 by a printer named Aldo Manuzio.

I immediately wrote about this to my friend Luisella, who is a tour guide in Venice. She wrote back saying that she was currently writing an article about Manuzio.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized