"DON'T KILL the messenger," wrote Sophocles in "Antigone."
• Holding the actual New York Times these mornings and reading it in bed, I finally decided I know now why newspapers and printed hand-held material are being banished. There is so much disastrous around-the-world bad news to consider, that people have come to appreciate reading on the web because they don't have to pay so much attention and they can quickly bypass the bad. (And get to the bizarre stuff which one can hardly imagine.)
But I was sad to hear that the important and lively New York magazine is set to now print only every other week.
I was thinking of the thrill in the year 2000 of finding myself on the cover of New York magazine when my memoir "Natural Blonde" was published. Thirteen years ago, things were very different. And I didn't exactly "pull the trigger" in the photo by Nigel Parry and the article by Lisa DePaulo. ( I wonder if they remember me as I remember them? )
• The gun I'm holding in this photo makes me think of the late Ann Richards and her classic comment when asked if Texans should be allowed to carry concealed weapons to be used when in danger? Ann conceded it was a great idea because what Texas woman, indeed what woman in all the world, could ever find a gun down in the bottom of her purse?
• Aside from that, there's a big book out and it's a giant gem, suitable for anyone who admired, worshipped or was even jealous of the writer Nora Ephron.
Her friend, the unique Bob Gottlieb, has worked on Nora's output and has put together for Knopf publishing "The Most of Nora Ephron" and this collection is just a wow. Mr. Gottlieb, almost the last of the giant distinguished workers in the literary vineyard, has finished a project he was doing in concert with Nora when she left us suddenly last year. He says Nora saw this big book containing the bulk of her work as a memorial of sorts, realizing while gathering it that she might not be able to finish it.
Her capriciousness, her honesty, her humor, her prescience is almost too sensitive now to believe we didn't catch on. I guess it doesn't include absolutely all of Nora's work but it does offer a good measure: "Heartburn" is here and "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and many of her creations. She comes across as the journalist, advocate, novelist, playwright, director, screenwriter, foodie, blogger that she was and there is a lot of personal stuff too. Her hits, her errors, her changing ideas are all here, as well as one of my favorites of her rare non-hits, the movie "Michael." (It is about a dirty minded angel played by John Travolta.) And better still and funnier and more flattering is an essay on me and our experiences long ago in the dim past when I wrote a column for a little paper called The Palm Beach Pictorial. Nora and our "crowd" -- when we were young -- liked to live vicariously and viciously above the lives of the Palm Beachers whose social lives were depicted therein.
I had forgotten completely my pre-New York newspaper column days and Nora nailed it in spades -- the pretentiousness, posing, preening and silliness of that particular social scene. (I might repeat it here one of these days if I think all the protagonists have gone to their rewards.) Anyway, this new Nora collection is full of Nora-isms and would make a nifty Christmas gift for anyone who cares about the life and times of a contemporary writer who is sometimes compared to Mark Twain. (Her memorial was so star-studded, with Meryl Streep, Mike Nichols, Tom Hanks, Martin Short, and others of that ilk speaking that I just assume a lot of people care about Nora's legacy.)
Incidentally, there is a Vanity Fair documentary being put together by Nora's son, Jacob Bernstein, but my pick for the one person to write the real story of Nora's life is the astute columnist Richard Cohen of The Washington Post and New York Daily News.
He loved Nora as a friend and she loved him and he would be a wonder at dissecting what she meant to the world.
Mr. Cohen is the man it was revealed recently who has been escorting the good-looking Patricia Duff (once Mrs. Ronald Perlman) around town with romantic intent. But I wrote that last summer, so it wasn't exactly a scoop in these turbulent days. But you are all welcome to claim the item as yours.
• So many people chimed in about the wonders of the Automat and how they wish it would come back that I offer this as a solution to anyone wanting to please old-fashioned New Yorkers.
I can remember the good old days when my brother Bobby and I counted out how many pennies it would take to get us home and then to work the next day as we made a meal on free crackers and ketchup in the Automat. Robyn Roth-Moise writes that she also misses Chock Full O Nuts and Rumplemeyers. I miss Stouffers myself and the Woman's Exchange.
But life changes and many people are downtown paying thousands of dollars for bottles of champagne and tequila. We were only wishing then that we could afford the macaroni and cheese.