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Tuesday Notes (Expanded)

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 30, 2013

I know, every generation seems to have its own "Romeo & Juliet." I was in high school when the Zeffirelli version arrived. Younger folk have Baz Luhrmann's. But, while this new version does not come to theaters until October, I am getting somewhat excited about it. Script by Julian Fellowes, for one thing. Juliet played by Hailee Steinfeld, who was so good in the Coens' "True Grit." Worth keeping watch for.

I am getting mail from "NCIS" fans convinced that some kind of conspiracy is driving Ziva off the show, Cote de Pablo having announced her departure. Let the argument end with the widely reported comments from CBS honcho Leslie Moonves during Monday's TCA tour. Here's the version from “We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money, because we really didn’t want to lose her. We love her. We think she was terrific. And we, obviously, were in discussions. And the rest of the cast and the producers were aware what’s going on. And ultimately she decided she didn’t want to do the show. It was purely her decision. We’re, obviously, getting a lot of emails. There’s a lot of Twitter buzz about her, and rightly so. She’s a wonderful lady. Look, NCIS was the highest-rated show on television last year. We don’t like losing anybody. But we did everything humanly possible. We feel like we exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn’t want to do the show.”

Harry F. Byrd Jr., a former U.S. Senator from Virginia, and the son of a political powerhouse, has died. An obit is here. I mention this for two seasons. First, because Byrd lived so long -- 98 years -- that the original author of his obit for the Washington Post had died seven years earlier. (HT to Jim Romenesko for posting a tweet about that.) Second, because in my days as a young newspaperman in Virginia, I once covered a speech by Byrd Jr.

I had covered a speech by the Virginia governor around the same time, and reporters in the crowd were given a copy of the governor's prepared text ahead of time, Of course, he would deviate a bit from the text here and there, and I made notes on the text so as to quote the governor accurately.

The process with Byrd was somewhat different. He was a more free-form speaker, at least on this occasion. Instead of offering a complete text, his representative handed out a sheet with a series of comments which the senator was expected to include in his speech; the representative said the senator would stand behind any of those comments. Of course, I made notes of the entire speech, including the spoken  revisions of the offered comments. I don't recall any other speaker taking that approach, but it seemed to work for Byrd.



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