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Cynthia Grenier: An American Beauty; An American Treasure

October 13, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Gun Deck

USS Constitution Last night at the Center for Military Readiness Celebration, Charmaine and I had the honor of having dinner with our dear friend Cynthia Grenier. Alert Readers will know her as a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard. Many will remember her interviews with Faulkner, Moshe Dyan, Ingmar Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney and Hugh Hefner. And many of our Alert Readers will have actually read her many articles in Playboy… where she made her reputation as a gifted writer. As an ink-stained wench. Not the normal career path for women in that organization.

Yes, she interviewed Faulkner.

We remember her husband Richard who passed on and is still deeply missed, but his many works live on. His eulogy was given by Senator D. Patrick Moynihan. Richard is proof that good did once come from Harvard. He buried in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from my dad. One of Richard’s books The Marrakesh One-Two is Cynthia’s all-time favorite.

Anyway, Your Business Blogger was still processing the rich background of Cynthia Grenier (pronounced “Gren-yeah”) when I found this email in my box this morning. It was about a recent ceremony to acknowledge Medal of Honor awardees; and Cynthia Grenier writes,

Am impressed and touched to read of the ceremony aboard the USS Constitution. The CONSTITUTION is the vessel my great-grand father Mad Jack Percival commanded on its first round-the-world voyage April 1845 to September 1846. He was quite a character, and one with whom I am deeply proud to share some DNA.

Cynthia Grenier is an American Beauty, an American Treasure.

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Cynthia Grenier

WorldNetDaily.comHugh Hefner would agree.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The Marrakesh One-Two is available from Amazon.com.

From WND, Cynthia Grenier, an international film and theater critic, is the former Life editor of the Washington Times and acted as senior editor at The World & I, a national monthly magazine, for six years.

23 Nov

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3 Comments

Christmas Book-Buying

November 23, 2005 | By | 3 Comments

Welcome National Review Online readers . . .

I love nothing better as a Christmas present than a good book. (Unless, of course, the present sparkles.) After all the paper has been ripped apart, discarded, and finally cleaned up. . . to sit down with a cup of tea, ignore the kids (who are fighting, hopefully, playing happily with new toys) and lose yourself in another world. . .That’s Christmas cheer for me.

If that’s you, or someone you love, then National Review has the list for you! Kathryn put up today NRO’s annual Christmas book-buying guide.

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There are some terrific suggestions from Ralph McInerny, Michael Novak, Victor Davis Hanson, Mary Ann Glendon, and, well, me.

My own suggestion is The Thanatos Syndrome, by Walker Percy. First, it’s just a great story. But with Percy, there’s always two more layers. He’s such an unusual craftsman with words, that it’s a joy to read him, technically — to sit back and just watch the words march across the page. It’s almost like watching Percy play.

More importantly, however, I called this novel “subversive” because it’s not until the end of the book that the full import of the story becomes clear. He subtly pulls the reader along for a ride, then weaves a pro-life message into the book’s wackiness.

I was bemused at the end — I remember turning to Jack and saying, “Wow, how did he do that?” The book won a National Book Award!

Did I mention the underlying pro-life message??

What a hoot.

I think this Christmas, I’ll reread it.

* * *

Now it’s your turn. What else should I be reading this Christmas??

Cross-posted at Zeitgeist.

16 Oct

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3 Comments

Weekly Standard Book Review

October 16, 2005 | By | 3 Comments

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I’ve got a piece in the Weekly Standard reviewing a book by Kent Greenawalt, Does God Belong in Public Schools?

04 Mar

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Gilgamesh is gross!

March 4, 2005 | By |

I recently read the epic poem Gilgamesh for an upcoming Liberty Fund conference, organized by Frederick Turner, in Austin. (Fred is the renowned poet and author of a modern epic, Genesis, about the settlement of Mars.)

In my ongoing attempt to expand the Penta-Posse’s literary horizons beyond the Adventures of Captain Underpants, I snapped up an audio reading of Gilgamesh when I saw one at the library. On our next road-trip to see Jack’s mom, I felt like quite the uber-mom when the Penta-Posse became engrossed in the story of Gilgamesh, the ancient king of Uruk and his friend Enkidu, a wild man who lived among the beasts.

Problem: a key element of the story is Enkidu’s transformation into full humanity . . .through seduction by a harlot.

The print version read that they “lay together” and she “taught him the woman’s art.” That probably would have gone over their heads. The audio version, however, translates her “welcoming” him pretty explicitly. We’re riding along enjoying the story and all of a sudden we hear, “she spread her. . .” Total brain freeze! I looked over at Jack and I could see his brain racing, “Where is the off button, where is the off button?!!?

Then, that particular phrase turned out to be a refrain in the poem. No, no! Where is the off button??!!

Finally, the story moved on to tamer things.

Total silence in the back. Jack and I were still not quite breathing.

Then, suddenly, we hear the Diva: “EWWW! That’s gross!”

So, it’s official: Gilgamesh is gross. On the other hand, maybe this could be a new, more classic, approach to sex ed in the schools . . .or not.

For the record, the Dude did think that Gilgamesh’s fight with the ferocious Humbaba of the seven terrors, was “tight.”

03 Mar

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Gandalf and audacity

March 3, 2005 | By |

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The Dude (with the help of the Diva) discovered that Gandalf has something to say about audacity on PlayStation 2. They worked very hard to get the quote for mom’s blog. And it’s perfect:

For ourselves there is no hope. This is our final act to give Frodo time — time to end the evil that marshalls before us.

We now give witness that the day of men faces the final test. The eye of Sauron will be upon us, mistaking our audacity for power.

We must hold his gaze long enough for the unthinkable to become real. For hope to conquer all.

At first, the Dude gave me only the part of this quote about audacity — that evil would mistake it for power. And I was disappointed. Where is the inspiration in that?

But it’s all in the context: sometimes we are powerless; sometimes we do confront circumstances and opposition that are overwhelming. I loved Lord of the Rings for the reminder that it is a great honor to give your all on the side of good, standing against evil, even if it costs you everything. And even the weakest among us has a part to play.

You just have to go with Gimli! “Certainty of death! Small chance of success. . .What are we waiting for?” There’s audacity!

(Thx for LOTR transcript.)