EAST IS EAST AND WEST IS BEST?

Hat-check girl in Mae West’s first film: “Goodness, what beautiful diamonds.”
Mae West: “Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Some actors and actresses (and I don’t mean this pejoratively) basically play themselves in their films, while others are so believable and natural in varied roles and genres, they completely inhabit whatever given character they portray. An example of the latter, going back to Hollywood’s Golden Age, is Henry Fonda (if you think he played only serious parts, you haven’t seen the classic 1941 comedy, THE LADY EVE, in which he co-starred with Barbara Stanwyck — another of the most versatile players of that era).

Mae West was of the first category, very much the Diamond Lil character she created. Today being her birthday (8/17/1893), it’s her day to sparkle:

It has been said that “Mae West literally constituted a one-woman genre.” Basically playing herself, she was one of the country’s biggest box office draws in the 1930s, despite being almost 40 years old when offered her first movie contract (by Paramount) in 1932. Previously, she’d appeared in a number of rather risqué plays, including Diamond Lil and her first starring role on Broadway (appropriately titled Sex), which she wrote, produced and directed. As with all the plays she wrote and performed in, there was much controversy and publicity, and it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling.

Her first film (see opening quote) was NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, making such an impression that co-star George Raft reportedly said, “She stole everything but the cameras.” Her next film, SHE DONE HIM WRONG (1933), featured Cary Grant in one of his first major roles, and was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. It was such a big moneymaker that it saved Paramount from bankruptcy in the midst of the Great Depression.

West went on to make six more movies in the 1930s, but in 1934, the Production Code began to be strictly enforced, and censors doubled down on her double-entendres. By today’s standards, such censorship seems ludicrous, but those were moralistic times, and after her last ‘naughty’ picture for Paramount in 1937, they thought it best to terminate her contract if they knew what’s good for them. She did manage to make one more hit movie, co-starring with W. C. Fields in My Little Chickadee for Universal Pictures in 1940.

Unbawdied and unbowed, when asked about puritanical attempts to impede her career, West wisecracked, “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” Not for nothing was one of her nicknames “The Statue of Libido.” She died in 1980 at the age of 87.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Coincidentally, August 17 is also the birthday of my mother, who passed away 17 years ago. Happy Birthday, Mom — YOU WERE THE BEST.

PRESIDENTIAL JOKE DAY

If you love your country, you must be willing to defend it from fraud, bigotry and recklessness — even from a President. –Dr. DaShanne Stokes, author & sociologist

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tomorrow, August 11, is PRESIDENTIAL JOKE DAY (but then, isn’t every day?). The joke has been on us since the November election, though pundits continue to poke pitchforks at America’s joke of a President (to no apparent effect). The point is this: such a President only comes along once in a very long lifetime (thank the Lord). Therefore, with dark days looming ahead, it is incumbent upon us to hang in there, to make hay while the sun shines/while the birdies sing. Are you ready?

Let’s all sing like the birdies sing
Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

Let’s face it, friends: the President may be a joke, but it goes without tweeting that he has become a very tiresome joke — and if there’s one thing I can’t stand….

Well, fellow losers, it seems like we’re going to be Singin’ in the Rain ’til the bitter end of his reign, so we might as well Send in the Clowns and make the best of the imposter (or is it Send in the Imposters and make the best of the Clown?):

 

DOGGING IT

In my last post, I noted how politics has gone to the dogs. In this post, I’m thinking about how to retrieve dogs from such uninvited tie-ups and (with WORK LIKE A DOG DAY coming Aug. 5) work toward putting them in respectable company. Given the base point (and I do mean base), you’d think this entails no big feat, but it does give me paws….

Since there are already more blogs about dogs than you can shake a stick at (including a — dare I say — fetching one by a regular follower of this blog), I don’t want to be a copycat. That would be barking up the wrong tree. So, to give you a different kind of doggy post, I’ve been doggedly digging up old dog doggerel, similes and sayings….but I’ll start young:

What are little boys made of? Snakes and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails — that’s what little boys are made of. What are little girls make of? Sugar and spice and everything nice — that’s what little girls are made of. 

It’s a dog eat dog world.
It’s raining cats and dogs.
Time to rest my dogs.
Crooked as a dog’s hind leg.
Dog days of summer.

Dog and pony show.
Every dog has its day.
Gone to the dogs.
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Mean as a junkyard dog.

Sick as a dog.
That dog don’t hunt.
When you lie down with dogs, you’re going to get fleas.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
It’s a two dog night.

So, let’s call it a day with two high-class dog songs:

 

POLITICAL ANIMALS

Friends, if you think that a dog was elected U.S. President in the last election, you should live in Rabbit Hash, KY, where, in January (the very month Trump was sworn in as Pres), a PIT BULL was ‘indawgurated’ as the town’s fourth canine mayor since 1998:

The Rabbit Hash election may have been the pit’s, but there’s no denying the popularity of the dog mayor. As town historian Don Clare said last week, “People are tired of the political climate of lying. I think humans are finally coming to their senses after all we’ve been through in the last seven months. You just can look at a dog’s face and know that he is true blue and not trying to fake you.”

Long-time followers of this blog may recall that I’ve hopped on down the bunny trail to the nearby town of Rabbit Hash and posted in the past about the former mayor (border collie Lucy Lou)….but now I come to find that Rabbit Hash isn’t alone in having animal mayors. At first, this may get your goat, butt hang in there; at second, it’s the cat’s meow:

There have also been animals elected to political office in several small towns in Washington state, Minnesota and elsewhere, but alas, it seems that most voters aren’t as enlightened as their Rabbit Hash counterparts, and continue to elect less deserving humans (though it must be admitted that some have been jackasses). But then, as H.L. Mencken pointed out: Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise than religion has made them good.

I will close with a few ass-inine quotes as examples of why humans leave a lot to be desired as political animals:
Once you’ve seen one ghetto, you’ve seen them all. –Spiro Agnew, former Maryland Governor and U.S. Vice President
[On my commission, I have] every kind of mix you can have. I have a black, I have a woman, two Jews and a cripple. –James Watt, former U.S. Interior Secretary
The President has kept all of the promises he intended to keep. –George Stephanopolous (when he was an aide to Bill Clinton)
As for yours truly, I haven’t posted all of the quotes I intended to post, but as they say of Trump’s tweets, enough is enough.

 

IT PAYS TO BE IGNORANT

On the dubious theory that you can’t get too much of a good thing, I’m going to follow up I’VE GOT A SECRET and TO TELL THE TRUTH (my last post) with a take-off from another old radio (1940s) and TV (1950s) panel show called IT PAYS TO BE IGNORANT. Never let it be said, however, that I don’t have standards. Thus, I found 1940s-50s IGNORANT clips to be a bit beneath my readers’ level of sophistication, so I have opted instead for an updated 2013 spoof of the original program (the word “Alawite” in the clip refers to a religious sect in Syria):

Now, friends, we’ve all heard the old saying that ignorance is the sincerest form of flattery (or something to that effect). Therefore, in order to showcase certain public figures, past and present, in the revealing light of their own words, let us take a look at some of the more outstanding (though not necessarily funny) examples of why it pays to be ignorant (except when it doesn’t):

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the dumbest of you all? –Anne Robinson, British TV host, who “asked for it” when she left herself open to the answer on her own show:

Adolf Hitler was a Jeanne d’Arc, a saint. He was a martyr. Like many martyrs, he held extreme views. –Ezra Pound

Rural Americans are real Americans. There’s no doubt about that. You can’t always be sure with other Americans. Not all of them are real.Dan Quayle, former U.S. V Pres

My fear is that the whole island [Guam] will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize. –Hank Johnson, Democratic Congressman from Georgia

Everything that can be invented has been invented. –Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Patent Office, 1899

Hurray, Boys! We’ve got them. We’ll finish them up and then go home to our station. –General George Armstrong Custer, before battle at Little Big Horn

I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. –John Wayne

Son, looks to me like you’re spending too much time on one subject. –Shelby Metcalf, former Texas A&M Head Coach to one of his players who got a D and four F’s.

Saving the most classless and gratuitous example for last, this comes with our best wishes for a full recovery from brain cancer for the object of this quote:

 

 

 

 

TRUTH BE TOLD

When in doubt, tell the truth. –Mark Twain

Truth be told, I just found out that July 7 was TELL THE TRUTH DAY.  Better late than never?  That may or may not be true, but today I’m in the mood to post, and at this “late” juncture, truth is doubtless as good a thesis as any (if you believe Mark Twain).

Friends, I don’t claim to be in the same league as such legendary and current truth-tellers as Pinocchio and Donald Trump, but I am (almost) always in favor of telling the truth. In fact, one of my favorite TV quiz shows back in the day was TO TELL THE TRUTH. But before we go there, I need to set it up with a clip from a quiz show I featured in a previous post (I’VE GOT A SECRET)….the reason being that one of the panelists on the latter program (a humorist who is little-remembered today) plays a big part in the surprise ending of the TO TELL THE TRUTH clip, and it helps if you know he was once famous.

Assuming you can abide a bit more truth-telling, I will close with some quotes on the subject:

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and simple. –Oscar Wilde

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. –Aldous Huxley

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor. –Albert Einstein

Beware of a half-truth: you may have gotten hold of the wrong half. –Evan Esar

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. –Charles Spurgeon

All men are born truthful and die liars. –Luc de Clapiers

Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move.
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
–William Shakespeare

 

POST TIME

When last we met on June 30, I left open whether my future posts would be on an every-ten-days schedule or on a when-the-spirit-moves-me non-schedule. Seeing as how most of us live in a democracy (not to be confused with a demagogracy?), I decided to put the matter to a secret vote. My fellow Americans, base supporters, and gulliblites everywhere, I hereby and now and forever proclaim that the outcome is in!

Yes, friends, the results are in, and doubtless you are on tenterhooks, dying to learn the winner — as well you should be — but kindly hang in there. After all, I’m trying to build up a little suspense here.

DRUM R-O-L-L, please. It is my dis-stinked honor and privilege to announce that 100% of the eligible voters, consisting of me, myself and I (in cahoots with Charlie Barnowl — who? — let’s stop for a spell: it’s Barnet), have opted to vote for….

I confess that Barnet, being deceased, could vote in spirit only. But spirits are flighty, to say the least. Will the spirit stick around, pushing me to act when inspiration is at a peak to post? Other-wise, my frequency of posting will most likely depend on….

However, if my mood is down in the dumps, that doesn’t mean I can’t soar. You see, although I brook no Prohibition on drowning my sorrows — easy for me (not to mention myself & I) to speak — there are times….

Until next time, then — whenever that may be (ye know not the day or the hour) — me leaves myself and I with this reminder:

“The higher a drunk feels in the evening, the lower he feels in the morning.” –Evan Esar

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *