Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It was good to hear from Mike in San Diego on yesterday's blog. Mike, please do not be offended by my comments on Unitarians! I kid around a lot. The Steinway family, who made the pianos, they were Unitarian. I love my Steinway! It is just that I did have that friend who became a U.U. minister and he did tell me that, about Jesus Christ and the podium. I had to write that. I just had to.

Today is an exciting day. Today is the day I journey to Niagara Falls, Ont., to meet Leonard Pennario's friend Phil who is participating in a bridge tournament and has agreed to meet me before his 7 p.m. round. How I am going to do this in addition to working and getting only three hours' sleep I am not exactly sure. But it will work out. Everything about my book on Pennario works out. This book is meant to be so everything had just better get out of the way.

When Phil called me lastnight he left a message and he said: "Is this the nut in the bathrobe?" I like that about him. I also like that he has agreed that when we meet I can get someone to take our picture for the blog. Thank you, Phil!

This will be a rare opportunity for me to check out Niagara Falls, Ont.

I do not know the last time I have been there! I hear they have a building now that dwarfs our HSBC Center. Either that or it is in the planning stages. I wonder how many hotels and casinos they have now. Then there will be tacky old Clifton Hill with its funhouses and video arcades.

Thanks a lot, Canadians, for messing up our view! Whenever I look at Niagara Falls, Ont., that is what I always think.

I think we should louse up their view, too. We have been too nice to them with our parks and green space. It is good that with our casino with its big light-up feather, we are catching up. Wow, I hate to imagine someone unfamiliar with both Niagara Fallses stumbling on this. Funhouses?? they must be thinking. Light-up feather? How do these things serve to spotlight one of the Wonders of the World?

Maybe we could put up big Golden Arches over the falls. Or get back "Green Lightning." Remember "Green Lightning," that "sculpture" that Mayor Jimmy Griffin had taken down a long time ago? Finally, the perfect place for it!

OK, I am being mean. If I were a Unitarian I would not be talking like this.

One thing nice about Niagara Falls, though, is something my brother George told me: that many of the things you see in the movie "Niagara," with Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten, are still there. Pennario was good friends with Joseph Cotten and even better friends with Cotten's wife, Lenore. I think George said the tourist cabins you see in "Niagara," where Joseph and Marilyn stay, are still around. And of course the Cave of the Winds is not that much different from the way it was over 100 years ago when Tchaikovsky visited. Tchaikovsky did the Cave of the Winds. Think of that this year when you watch "Nutcracker."

I am meeting Phil at the august Brock Plaza Hotel, one of the few vestiges of the old Niagara Falls, Ont. That is the hotel pictured above. I imagine us discussing Leonard Pennario in those chairs visible at the lower right.

An almost-as-exciting thought: Somewhere on the Internet I read that Marilyn Monroe stayed in room 801. I wonder if Phil will get that room!

He might, if he drops Pennario's name.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re Cave Of The Winds & Tchaikovsky: Gustav and Alma Mahler also saw the falls when he conducted the NY Philharmonic while on tour in Buffalo in 1910; she wrote about it in her memoirs. Apparently when he saw and heard the falls he said (in German) "Finally, a fortissimo!" Afterward, they went to a shabby local restaurant where to their surprise they were given excellent service by an old waiter who had served them in a Vienna restaurant.