The Breakfast Table

Beware the Light-Fingered Louies

I’m getting to like you more and more, especially as it becomes clear that your show-biz knowledge, accomplishments, and connections are all I’d heard and hoped they were, so I’m sure you won’t take it as any sort of slight or nagging or manipulation–sitting at a very late elevenses, as we are right now–if I say that I just happen to be wondering if the (by me) aforementioned Catherine Zeta-Jones might have by any chance been one of the other guests at that celeb’s hacienda and, if she was, whether she had any sort of interest at all in doing a book. Just a notion.

And back to the Times, which, if you use it correctly (before putting it down, all pool-towelesque, in the dog’s favorite micturition sites, as we must at home), provides you with a running commentary on your own daily experiences. In this case, in the “Arts” section, the front page has a story about a rash of art burglaries in château country in France–1,478 last year, as compared with only 688 in l997. This a) validates my wife’s and my decision to auction off that Browning book I mentioned yesterday, not that we live in a chateau that has so much woodland around it as to be unguardable, but we do give an occasional book party, and who knows what sort of light-fingered Louie or Louis might show up on “commission” from a dodgy rare-book dealer, crash the party, and make off with the one or two books of value that we possess, including the Browning and a handsome but genealogically very questionable volume called Grace Family Traditions, from my mother’s side, which traces my lineage, well, half of it anyway, back to William the Conqueror, and b) makes me wonder also if you cadged any mementos–a Picasso, say, or merely a few clean pool towels, etc.–from the celeb’s hacienda.

Hey, don’t take offense. You asked me if I wanted to score some Restoril from you, right out here in the middle of the e-restaurant, so I can ask you if you ever indulge in guest pilferage. But seriously, no, I don’t take sleeping pills per se, but let’s not look too deeply into the old “per se,” but I do pop a St. John’s Wort a couple of times a day, I confess. My wife feels it may have done little for me except improve my digestion–turns out it’s a mild laxative (hey, you started the toilet talk here).

Also, back to the “Science Times,” today’s issue features not only exquisitely sensitive bug antennae but a story about psychological lie-detection as well. Both bear on your question about incognito-stealth-wannabe-theater-director sensors, and all three make me wonder whether we’ll ever know what other people are really up to.