I have not seen Justin Bieber’s new movie, but I have seen its listing on IMDB – here. It receives 1.1 stars out of 10 – I can’t recall any other movie rated under 2 stars – and that rating is based on more than 22,000 votes, so it’s not just three cranky old people who wandered into “Never Say Never” by mistake, assuming it was a new James Bond.

This movie may well be one of those few that are so bad you really have to see it, like “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”

I couldn’t resist checking out IMDB’s viewer review to see how it could possibly have rated so low. I offer it here in the lovingly light spirit in which I trust it was posted:

63 out of 78 people found the following review useful.
Unjustified cruelty, 15 February 2011
Author: mad_baron_haha from United Kingdom

Although I agree that this was truly an awful, awful film, I do feel that the personal abuse suffered by Ms. Bieber is entirely unjustified. Yes, the songwriting and cinematography is by far the worst I’ve ever seen in a ‘music’ movie, but comments about her possible homosexuality are unjustified and hurtful. There has even been a movement by a cruel organisation of her ‘fans’ suggesting that she is really a boy in a chemotherapy wig. These people don’t seem to realise that Ms. Bieber’s androgynous look is considered very fashionable in the world of modern pop. I hope she stays away from films in the future and I wish her good luck in her career and as for her tormentors, well… all I can say is: haters gonna hate.


Stephanie Meyer: “About a decade ago I was walking through Saks in San Francisco and was stopped in my tracks by clothes that I hadn’t seen before – fresh, original and yet accessible to a middle-age gal. For years the Charles Nolan area was the first place I headed in any Saks and I was never disappointed. When my family visited Manhattan a few years ago I dragged my husband and daughter to the Charles Nolan boutique in the Meatpacking district and was thrilled when he walked in and said hi to us. In my closet many of the best pieces are Charles Nolan, from dresses and skirts to suits and T-shirts. My college-age daughter has made off with several of his sweaters and the tan corduroy jacket she took is her favorite. It makes me sad that the handsome man we saw in Manhattan will not be designing anymore, but I wanted you to know how much his creativity has meant to me over the years.”


I have an enthusiastic relationship to money. Thinking about it, counting it, trying to make it grow.

Charles came at money from a different perspective. He liked having it and spending it and giving it to those less fortunate. He did not like thinking about it. (For one thing, it involved numbers.)

By the time I met him, he was making lots, saving none. Someone was listed as a co-signer on his checking account and had been paying his bills, though by the time I met him she had converted his various monthly bills to “auto-pay” and disappeared – yet for 16 years her name remained on the account. I met her at the funeral. Another friend did his taxes.

Having grown up without money, Charles might have turned into one of those people obsessed with switching off lights when leaving a room. But it was actually I, the privileged kid, who obsessed over such things.

We enjoyed the contrast.

“He’ll eat anything,” Charles would explain to friends when I rescued some perfectly good morsel from imminent disposal (or occasionally – think George Costanza – from the garbage itself). Charles would eat only very specific things, and they did not include leftovers.

For years, Charles would have huge balances sitting idle in his checking account at the same time as he was paying 29.9% plus late fees to American Express. Bad enough that in our first year together he got me “proper notecards” (which I did need) at Cartier (agh!) and that he had spent so much on them I could never bring myself to use them. On top of all that, he paid Amex a 29.9% premium for the convenience of being able to toss his bills into a large pile of unopened mail that only got resolved with each year’s spring cleaning.

There is a book I have always loved (but never read) – from the early Sixties I think – entitled, “Shut Up,” He Explained. My parents had it lying around. It is perhaps the most inspired book title ever.

And it comes to mind because of a similarly definitive phrase Charles would utter from time to time. He would come back from the store with (for example) a pint of heirloom tomatoes and, horrified (because I knew what that store charged for heirloom tomatoes), I would ask . . . “how much were the tomatoes?”

I know something about tomatoes, and will pay up for them, within reason. I love tomatoes. But $8.95 for a small plastic container?

Rather than criticize or confront him directly, I would feign casual curiosity. Perhaps if they were cheap I’d want to go back and pick up some more. “Hey, how much were the tomatoes?”

“I don’t look at prices,” he would explain.

“Sweetness!” I would moan.

But as far as he was concerned, he had provided a fully reasoned response and all the information one could need. “Shut up,” he explained (with his glare).

He didn’t want to be a person who had to skimp. Or had to think about skimping. Or who ate his eggs out of the pan. One properly cooked eggs in a skillet and removed them with a Calphalon spatula, laying them, properly, on china and eating them, properly, with a silver knife and fork and linen napkin. He allowed me my stainless steel, but did not use it himself.

Sometimes the only way I dared try to influence his behavior was through this page. For example – though not a coffee drinker himself – Charles made me coffee every morning. I bit my tongue as – to make that one cup – he boiled an entire kettle of water (wasting water, energy, and time) and used enough coffee to make three cups, two of which each day went down the drain. I posted a column about the virtues of boiling just enough water for the task at hand, but columns like that never interested him. A proper kettle is meant to be filled with water.

I learned not to push it. We were just different. (See the aforeposted Only Relationship Guide You’ll Ever Need.)

Somehow, it’s true, he had an innate sense of fashion economics – which fabrics and styles would yield an adequate mark-up and the yardage and geometry required for an efficient pattern. He helped Ellen Tracy and then Anne Klein make a ton of money. And when confronted with a budget, however small, he never failed to find an eye-popping solution.

But budgets were not his thing. Money was not his thing.

He would empty his pockets at the end of each day and toss the contents into the nearest receptacle. We had little shopping bags of paper money all over the place. This was handy for tipping delivery men, except that a lot of it was foreign currency. He’d come back from abroad, dump the money, and never remember to take any of it back for the next trip – to him it was more like a souvenir or a whimsical decoration than hard-earned, investable cash.

So now, at last, I have aggregated all that money – a task I was born to enjoy – and, with a friend, sorted it by country with a rubber band around each. Indonesian money. Yen. Hong Kong dollars. Remnimbi. Lire (yes, Citibank tells me they will still take these). French francs, Swiss francs. Pounds. Euros. And at least one currency – dihrams – whose monarch and country of origin I could not identify. Moroccan, I’m guessing. All told, it is a four-inch stack. And I have no idea what it’s worth (except for the pounds and the euros, which should fetch about $600).

Charles would have had absolutely no interest in finding out.

I can’t wait.

I had meant to take them to the bank yesterday but had to leave on a trip, so you and I will just have to contain our excitement. For me, at least, it will not be easy.

Okay; I am well past making my point. Charles – sweet, brilliant, wonderful Charles – would have shut this down long ago. So let me leave it at this:

Charles once gave a friend a pile of old magazines. A few weeks later, the friend came by to return a forgotten $5,000 that he had found tucked into one of them.

Can you imagine?


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