Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Those violet eyes

Every year on the day before my own birthday I am reminded of another, that of Academy Award winning actress Elizabeth Taylor who was born on February 27, 1932, making her almost exactly one month younger than my mother. Rather than the Liz of today, who is oftentimes confined to a wheelchair, I reminisce about the Liz of yesteryear. Truly, the years have not been very kind to the supremely beautiful lady who first came to America from England as a youngster to film "National Velvet." Yet, when I think about her classic beauty -- her seemingly perfect skin, hair and makeup -- I am drawn to those piercing violet eyes. Yes, they are violet and they are most impressive. Violet eyes are a very rare occurrence in nature, but they do happen occasionally. How appropriate that Liz, by most accounts one of the best actresses in Hollywood during the 50s and 60s, should have a rare set of violet eyes to accentuate her ample talents. In all my life I have only met one person who had violet eyes, and hers were also quite compelling. I also find it interesting that the two biggest sex symbols of their time, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, both converted to Judaism in order to marry. Not that it means anything, but on the day before my birthday, it does give me pause. So, if anyone is seriously thinking about what I want for my birthday tomorrow, I'm thinking it should start with violet eyes, although green eyes might do in a pinch.
William F. Buckley (1925-2008): I was sad to read of the demise of a true political icon, the brilliant William F. Buckley of TV's "Firing Line," who died in Connecticut at age 82. Buckley was acknowledged as a great editor for "The National Review," which he founded in 1955, as well as a formidable debater, a novelist, a trans-oceanic sailor and a harpsochordist among his many talents. He was a true renaissance man and oftentimes the biggest voice for conservatism in this country. I was fortunate to hear Buckley speak once at a journalism seminar in 1981 at the University of Hartford. He was glib and spoke with eloquence. His well-chosen opening lines recalled a supposed meeting in a Louisiana men's room between arch segregationist Judge Leander Perez and eventual three-time Governor Earl Long. "'What do you think we're going to do now that the feds have themselves an a-tomic bomb?"' Buckley said. The crowd responded with peels of laughter. The fact he was using my home state to illustrate his point was not lost on me. Buckley will be missed by all well-read individuals who may have disagreed with his points, but admired the style and felicity of his expression.

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