What are we afraid of?
"Be Safe! Simple Strategies for Death-Free Living" by Melissa Heckscher; Quirk ($10.95)
America is lately a fearful nation, they say. But are we afraid of the right things? "Kitchens are about four times more germ-ridden than bathrooms, with the average kitchen sink several times dirtier than the average toilet," writes Melissa Heckscher, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture sources.
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be deadly to dogs, so make sure your medicine chest is paw-proof, and go with buffered aspirin the next time Fi needs a pain-reliever, Heckscher suggests. (Kitty will have to bite the bullet, because "even small doses" of human painkillers cause feline fatalities, she says.)
Always take the spread off your motel room bed (germs again). And use the gym's elliptical machine rather than a stair-stepper or stationary bike (fewer injuries). The safety patrol covers sushi (tuna is judged safest) and other foods and drink, sports and entertainment, travel, the outdoors and miscellany. Next time you buy a car, remember that lime green is the safest color. And then forget it.
Shaw efforts didn't work
Artie Shaw had tried to tell his life story in other ways besides his 1,900-page novel. His friend Lyle Stuart sat down for two three-hour taped interviews with Shaw on his marriages to Ava Gardner and Lana Turner, but nothing came of it. Author and playwright Aram Saroyan worked on a similar project around 1989 that withered on the vine after Shaw rejected a six-figure advance for still-murky reasons. With Shaw's death, Saroyan said, he hopes to convert the project into a one-man play.
Saroyan still doesn't have a clear understanding of why the initial project died.
"With Artie, you got into a project and roadblocks happened," said Saroyan, whose parents, the writer William Saroyan and Carol Marcus (who later married Walter Matthau), were introduced by Shaw. "He was a great raconteur and he had some real Hollywood parables."
But Shaw also found his own life fascinating and in an excerpt from the Saroyan project that ran in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine in 2000, Shaw talked about the sense of distance he felt from himself as his fame grew.
"I was this little, insecure kid. Nothing I did could have been much, because I did it. I was the outlander who was suddenly let into the magic kingdom. It was an education. I had to learn what the world was. I was a naive little Lower East Side Jewish kid whose name became Artie Shaw. But I was Arthur Arshawsky living in there, and I didn't know what I was doing."
Saroyan said Shaw's fictional memoir sought to explore that cave.
Vindicator wire services