Monday, May 26, 2008

Does he prefer Sir Paul or Dr. Paul?


Paul McCartney can now add one more honor to the numerous awards, accolades and the knighthood he has already received. The ex-Beatle on Monday was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Yale University.

In granting the honorary degree to McCartney — Sir Paul McCartney since he was knighted in 1996 — the university said no one compares with the legendary songwriter.

Yale said the 65-year-old McCartney awakened a generation, giving a fresh sound to rock, roll, rhythm and blues.

A toast to a versatile artist

Sydney Pollack died today, reportedly of stomach cancer. He was 73. I loved his work.

He directed my all-time favorite movie, The Way We Were. His work behind the camera also included big hits like Tootsie and the Oscar-winning Out of Africa. For someone as rough and tough as Pollack seemed, he worked beautifully with actresses as formidable and diverse as Fonda and Streisand and Dunaway and Nicole Kidman.

If Sydney Pollack was involved, it was always a quality piece of work. Recount, the HBO movie about Florida in 2000 that just premiered this week, was produced by Pollack, as was Michael Clayton.

He was a compelling presence onscreen, too, playing Clooney's challenging and ethically-challenged boss in Michael Clayton and Will's warm and wonderful (but still flawed) dad on Will and Grace.

Even more impressive than his filmwork is the fact that Mr. Pollack is survived by his wife, Claire, whom he married in 1958. A half-century together. That's an almost impossible feat, even for couples who aren't in Hollywood.

My own Moment of Rememberance

At 3:00 at Wrigley Field -- and at all MLB parks -- a Moment of Remembrance was observed. It was a sweet and gentle reminder that today is about more than the beginning of summer and an opportunity for me to chill out on the sofa. I was especially moved by the sight of a quartet of young sailors, in uniform, at the ballpark and enjoying the game but obviously ready to go off to fight … and die. I was reminded of a later verse of "America, the Beautiful," and my Memorial Day prayer is for those who are responsible for sending our young people off to combat do so wisely:

O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self the country loved,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine.

The Memorial Day 4 day/4 bag challenge

My packrat tendencies overwhelm me at times. That's why, for this weekend, my best friend issued the following challenge: come up with 4 bags to donate to Goodwill -- 4 bags/4 days. I am proud to announce that I did it! I parted with 7 pairs of shoes, a new pair of slippers, 3 t-shirts, 4 pairs of shorts, 2 sweaters, a purse, 2 eyeglass cases, 2 makeup pouches, a music box, a pair of umbrellas, 5 hardcover books and 4 paperbacks. C'mon, everybody, let's give this Gal a big "atta girl!"

Of course, this still doesn't address the various and sundry papers scattered about my dining room table, but 4 bags in 4 days (3 days, actually!) is still quite an accomplishment.

I also pampered myself with breakfast out and, even better, a massage right here in town. I deserved it because I was such a good girl, rising to the Memorial Day Challenge. Also she does a very nice job, paying extra attention to my palms and shoulders, adding reflexology to the basic Swedish massage.

Naturally there was Cubs baseball, too. But it's best not to dwell on that.