Furlaud ornaments do float away — into listeners’ fond memories

I know more than a few public radio listeners who, while admiring the news reports on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, reserve their most ardent enthusiasm for what Bob Edwards once called “ornaments” — short, revealing commentaries scheduled between the “important” stories. A master of the form, Alice Furlaud, has been supplying commentaries for nearly as long as NPR has been broadcasting, first from Paris and more recently from her home on Cape Cod. Like another of my favorite NPR commentators, the psychiatrist Elissa Ely, Furlaud is a uniquely gifted, acerbic writer with a New England plainspokeness that adds considerable authority to what she says. Furlaud and Ely make no effort to disguise their exceptional intelligence. If you believe, as I do, that intelligence adds abundantly to attractiveness, you may concur that they are very sexy stylists.