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  • mistermuse 1:25 am on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: autobiography, , , , Jules Feiffer, , ,   

    PIED FEIFFER 

    pied, adj.  of two or more colors in blotches — Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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    Another post, another autobiography (or memoir, going by the book) to review — this one titled BACKING INTO FORWARD, by Jules Feiffer. But I am not so much going to review this 2010 book as pass along some thoughts from it, which, I think, are worth thinking about — relevant, at least in part, to current backward, black and white, regressive times.

    First, a brief introduction: FEIFFER (born Jan. 26, 1929), is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and writer who was born and grew up ‘between a blotch (of angsts) and a hard place’ in the Bronx. Having a controlling mother, little interest in school and no athletic ability whatsoever, “Fear was the principal emotion of my childhood. I hid in my sleep. I hid in my dreams. I revealed myself only in comics, which were the embodiment of my dreams.”

    In his teens, he was influenced by his older sister, whose “crowd was fast-talking, fast-quipping, mischievous, left, meaning far left in their politics, their taste in books, art, movies, and just about everything else.” Marry this influence with his passion for cartoons, and you have the seeds of the man and cartoonist he was to become (the engrossing details of which you will have to read in the book).

    Now for some of those thoughts I previously mentioned and now quote:

    Over the years I have been asked how I came to make certain choices. How did I know? This choice as opposed to that, this direction or that? Much of my life as a young man was spent ignoring or delaying choices. The choices I made were due to running out of time. Backed into a corner, a choice was made because I no longer had a choice not to. Having nowhere to go, I spot the one open window and jump through. Choice to me is much like Butch Cassidy and Sundance escaping a posse by jumping off a cliff. They jumped. And survived. It was the right choice. But when it’s not, you’re dead.

    Up until I was drafted, I had found that I could survive under any circumstance, no matter how unnerving, degrading, humiliating, or demoralizing, if I could understand the unwritten rules, i.e., the culture that was beating up on me. Whether it was family, school, sports, work, sex, I was accustomed to getting knocked down, picking myself up, and starting all over again. But in the army I was on unknown ground. After five months something went terribly wrong. They transferred me to train me to operate and repair radios on the [Korean] front line–in other words, to be killed. Radio repair was indecipherable to me. I saw no good reason [for] this assignment. As Vice President Dick Cheney explained when asked by the press why he hadn’t fought in the Vietnam War, “I had other priorities.” Yes! Yes! Me too!

    It was heartbreaking to watch [Jerome] Robbins go into his HUAC dance. The acting chair of the House Un-American Activites Committee, a somber, ministerial-looking fake, asked Robbins at the start of his sworn testimony what he did for a living. Robbins stated that he was a choreographer. The chair did not understand the unfamiliar word. “A chori–chori–chori–what exactly is that, Mr. Robbins.?” Robbins explained that it was something like a dance director and named shows he had choreographed, from On The Town, his first musical, to The King And I. The members of the committee seemed delighted to have this fancy new word to play with. As each one took his turn questioning Robbins, he took a crack at pronouncing “choreographer.” The point, made to the cameras for the heartland, was that loyal American don’t need highfalutinn words. No! Loyal Americans needed but one thing, fealty to God and country. Loyal Americans wrapped themselves in the flag.

    Called soft on Communism, liberals quieted down about witch hunts and loyalty oaths. Called eggheads, they dumbed themselves down. Displays of wit were repressed as too highbrow. Accused of cowardice in the Cold War, liberals began appraising countries to invade. Vietnam was a liberal war. The Republican Dwight Eisenhower refused to be sucked in. But Eisenhower was a general, a war hero, he didn’t have to prove his manhood. John F. Kennedy, although a war hero, was a liberal Democrat. He had to prove his manhood. Kennedy couldn’t afford to let the Russians think he was incompetent and inconsequential, which they might well have concluded after the Bay of Pigs. The Soviets might move on Berlin because of Kennedy’s perceived weakness. Before they could make such a move, Kennedy moved on Vietnam. As much of a disaster as the war proved itself to be, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, after him, could not get out. To cut and run was not an option for Democrats because it would make them open to attacks from Republicans.

    Enough. Or was/is it? Politics being politics and the American electorate being the American electorate, we now have the grotesquely cartoonish Donald Trump….so let us close with this (for what it’s worth):

     
    • masercot 4:45 am on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      He had a monthly multi-panel cartoon in Playboy. It was almost worth buying the magazine just for that…

      Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 5:21 am on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      lol I can see why you’d be attracted to this character, thanks for sharing him!

      Liked by 2 people

    • magickmermaid 1:31 pm on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’m tired of being a grown-up! I could use one of those. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rosaliene Bacchus 3:08 pm on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I loved your post! Thanks for the introduction to Jules Feiffer. The cartoon video clip about “the grown-up” is priceless 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:05 pm on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Rosaliene. That same set of “grown-up” cartoons is in his book (page 319). I would like to have included more in this post from the book (a chapter titled CLOSET AMERICA is worth a post in itself), but I don’t want to try my readers’ patience, so I try to keep to a reasonable length (an arbitrary judgment, I admit).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 5:50 pm on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      And at the moment the culture police are starting to remind me of the HUAC hearings. No one can be pure enough for some of them. I am not talking about confederate statues, but rather trying to find any earlier American who didn’t have failings. Good luck folks.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:11 pm on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I am not a fan of extremists of either the far left or (especially) the far right. I cut ideologues of the far left some slack because they may have their hearts in the right place, but far right ideologues have nothing in the right place, as far I can see. Unfortunately, with both, it’s “My way or the highway” — that’s simply not going to work in a pluralistic, multi-cultural democracy.

        Liked by 1 person

    • JosieHolford 9:37 pm on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      • mistermuse 10:54 pm on July 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Josie, for sharing that interesting memory and link, which I notice is from 2008 (two years before the publication of his book BACKING INTO FORWARD). I enjoyed your post and gave it a like because….well, I liked it!

        Like

    • waywardsparkles 11:37 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Life often does feel like I’m backing into forward…with a lot of resistance. Ha! Enjoyed this. What an engaging artist! BTW, my grownup eventually shows up when all else fails. She leaves as quickly as possible so I can enjoy life without dealing with too many rules and fuss. Mona

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:44 pm on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I sometimes feel the same, Mona — but, at least, “backing into forward” beats backing into backward, which it appears the whole country is doing under our retrograde President Trump.

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 12:44 pm on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for reminding us the Trumpsters have always been with us, Sr. Muse. They just weren’t always called that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:59 pm on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        To paraphrase what Jesus said 2,000 years ago, “The Trumpsters [by whatever name] we will always have with us.”

        Like

    • Don Ostertag 9:55 pm on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I have always liked Fieffer, but he’s totally wrong about Eisenhower and Nam. I was in the 82nd when Ike the prez asked for volunteers to go to Nam as advisors. Our involvement started with Ike and would have ended with JFK who was going to end our involvement as soon s he got back from Dallas.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:57 pm on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. One of the things I like (and respect) about Feiffer is his objectivity despite being very liberal — as shown by the quoted paragraph in which he castigates JFK, Johnson, and the Democrats for how he views their handling of the Vietnam War. By contrast, few, if any, very conservative Republicans have had the courage and/or character to call out Donald Trump for his handling of the war against the Corona virus (or any other of his myriad failings and corrupt acts, for that matter).

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:00 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: actors, , autobiography, book rview, , , , , , ,   

    THE FIX IS OFF (for now) 

    Something has come up to postpone my out-of-town daughter’s Father’s Day visit until the following weekend ….so my browser problem will remain on hold, and without resolution, until the (offspring’s) fix is in. Meanwhile, back at the rant, I’ve finished reading the outspoken CARROLL O’CONNOR’s autobiography wherein he vents about many things. So, to fill in, let’s take up where my last post left off. After all, it’s All In The Family.

    O’Connor had a very varied pre-Archie Bunker life. Like many in their early adult years, he couldn’t find his niche. “I could not shake off a feeling of foolishnessa man of 26 plodding through the days and months with no plan, no answer for anyone who might ask “What are you going to do with yourself?” The eventual answer, after many dead-end turns, turned out to be acting….and, finally, stardom (which came with an Archie Bunker mentality).

    I — no doubt like most who read autobiographies — do so primarily to learn more about the author, his/her life and times. But I’ll also admit to the guilty pleasure of learning what the author thought of well-known contemporaries — in fact, such opinions may offer insights into other personalities and professions, which broaden (for better or worse) what I thought I knew about them. So, what were O’Connor’s impressions of….

    JOHN WAYNE: “He perceived America as the preeminent hero-nation, virtually a land of heroes in which he himself felt heroic (and actually was, as I knew him) and infused that perception into all his roles as naturally as if it were one of the primary  emotions.”

    JEAN STAPLETON: “Jean’s idea of Edith Bunker was not only original and perfectly suited to the American audience, but very comical and emotionally moving. If ever anything on television changed the country, not radically, not even obviously, it was the performance of Jean and the example of Edith. Did our series effectively attack bigotry and racism? We thought so at the time –”

    HARRY TRUMAN: “Nobody expected Truman to take part in a Korean civil war, if one should begin. His military chiefs had no battle plan; on the contrary, they had a plan for getting out of the way — withdrawing to Japan. I thought Truman was totally wrong — his political vision faulty, his practical leadership unintelligent, his moral justification false. For me, the issue of morality in war– whether or not it is a “just war” — turns on the question of choice. When you wage war because you have no choice you are acting justly. But when you have a reasonable choice and choose to wage war, you can’t call your war just.”

    MOVIE WRITERS, “though marvelously reliable in inventing space creatures — shriveled humanoids and hugely swollen insects — are unreliable in depicting intelligent life on earth.”

    AGENTS “are generally shrewd, knowing, clever people; good company, good friends. They have made my career; they make all careers; they are the most important people in the business.”

    ACTORS: “I shall never forget my first professional play rehearsal at The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, in the spring of 1951 — the immediate cordiality of my new friends the actors: they greeted me like an intimate. Now after all these years I am still unfailingly comforted, encouraged and elated in the company of actors. There is something about the work these dear neurotics do, investigating every kind of human character, that  develops in them an extraordinary tolerance, forgiveness and good humor. I commend their company even to normal folk.”

    ….and I commend this book of Carroll’s to you.

     
    • waywardsparkles 1:50 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Those were the days watching All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Maude! Ya know, I can’t remember a single episode of any of them; but I loved how Archie continued to open up as the show went on. Wait a minute, do you remember the episode when Archie had to get a transfusion? I do remember that episode. That was genius! Thanks for sharing about Carroll O’Connor’s autobiography, MM. Mona

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:42 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I vaguely remember that episode, Mona, but like you, I mainly remember the series in general, as a whole, not for individual programs. The same, I think, applies to MASH, although re-runs appear regularly on local TV and refresh memories of specific episodes much more readily.

        Liked by 1 person

    • blindzanygirl 2:42 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Aww. Sad your fix is off. But this is a very interesting post

      Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 2:56 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      sorry your daughter is delayed, but she will get there!

      So JW was just being himself, explains why he was monotonously the same in everything he appeared in … Carroll’s shares some good insights, particularly about war! Thanks for the review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:56 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Kate. I have several dozen biographies/autobiographies on my bookshelves, and O’Connor’s is one of the best.

        Liked by 1 person

    • obbverse 4:03 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t panic! Help sounds like its on the way. Autobiographies seem to become more interesting the older we get. Something to do with the human condition, or trying to understand it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:08 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I agree, o.v. The ‘search’ for understanding is never-ending (until the end), but to paraphrase an old saying, “’tis better to have searched and come up short than never to have searched at all.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 6:44 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      That book sound very interesting — what a character! Hope you get your fix soon, mister muse! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:57 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I hope so too, Carmen. The problems are getting worse (for example, my computer is increasingly ‘freezing’ on me — usually in the middle of writing a post or comment — requiring that I shut down and re-start). I wonder if it would help if I put my computer outside in the hot weather? 😉

        Like

    • Rivergirl 7:15 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      People always think of Archie when they think of O’Connor, but he really was so much more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:19 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely, Rg. If he were still alive today, it’s not hard to imagine Archie supporting King Trump and O’Connor railing against him as the emperor who has no clothes.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Ostertag 10:44 pm on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I spent a week at Leonard Nimoy’s house which was across the street from O’Connor’s. That entire week, Carroll O’Connor cut his grass. He would finish with the lawn and start over again. I wanted to go and meet him, I heard he was a kind and intelligent person, but I never had the time. The Nimoys said he was a great neighbor.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:42 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Very interesting. The Nimoys must have had the fast growing grass in town. I mow my lawn once a year whether it needs it or not. 😉

        Like

        • Don Ostertag 1:17 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink

          Not the Nimoy’s lawn.., It was Carroll O’Connor cutting the O’Connor lawn.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:47 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink

          Thanks for the clarification — I took “cut his grass” to mean that, because he was “a great neighbor,” O’Connor cut Nimoy’s lawn while Nimoy was away for a week. Out of even lesser misunderstandings, yards have been known to turn into battlefields!

          Like

    • annieasksyou 12:01 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting, mistermuse—especially O’Connor’s takes on Truman and John Wayne. Did he say why he felt Wayne was heroic?

      I don’t think computers like hot weather one whit, but I’m perhaps a tad more tech-adept than you, based on your description, so don’t byte a single bit of info I provide.
      Enjoy Father’s Day. Is this an actual —as opposed to virtual—visit?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:16 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        When he knew Wayne, O’Connor wasn’t as liberal as he later became, so I assume that was how he felt then, before he ‘matured.’

        My daughter’s visit will be “actual” in order to install a new browser, as I am virtually blogging “up a creek without a paddle” on my outdated browser (at least, I assume that’s the cause of the problems I’m having — if not, I’m thinking of drowning my sorrow, and I don’t mean in the creek).

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 9:21 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I hope your daughter rescues you forthwith. If not, I assume you mean drowning your sorrow in a “spirited” manner, to which I say “bottoms up.”
      I switched from Safari to Firefox at WP’s suggestion, only to learn that Firefox, for reasons I can’t comprehend, will not let me grab images the way Safari does. So I do my image search with Safari and my writing with Firefox. I am way beyond creek depth now with no daughter available to paddle me to safe land. Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:18 pm on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        It so happens that my daughter plans to switch me to Firefox. Before she does, I’ll bring your experience to her attention. She’s the head computer technician at the university where she works, but she doesn’t blog, so she may not be familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the various browsers when it comes to blogging. Thanks for the ‘heads-up.’

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 2:35 pm on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome. It happened to me with Google Advanced Image Search, which I use a lot, and with YouTube. But maybe your daughter the pro will be able to show you how to overcome my problem. And then maybe you can tell me!

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 5:20 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I hope you are having a nice Father’s Day!
      There was a Microsoft update this past week in which the new version of the Edge browser was installed. Much to my surprise it’s super-fast!
      I forgot to mention something regarding the “like” problem. If you have your Enhanced Tracker Setting for your browser set for “custom” or “strict”, that prevents “liking” on certain blogs. Just click on the shield icon in the address bar and you can uncheck the tracking. You will then be able to “like”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:08 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I AM having a nice Father’s Day — made all the nicer by my neighbor mowing my lawn this weekend (he is the father of the (no longer) little girl my wife and I took care of years ago while he and his wife worked). Now that’s what I call a good neighbor!

        P.S. I will pass your tip on to my daughter next weekend when she installs a new browser, as I will not be publishing any more posts until then.

        Liked by 1 person

    • josephurban 3:57 pm on June 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Nice article. If you like autobiographies I suggest the Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. I am currently reading it after watching a History Channel 3 part series on Grant. Fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:23 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      This looks like a truly interesting, well-written book with lots of insight. I think I need to find a copy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:42 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, SS. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the book.

      Like

  • mistermuse 8:12 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , autobiography, bigotry, , , the Constitution, woman's intuition   

    IT’S ALL IN THE (HUMAN) FAMILY 

    Surprise, surprise. I’m back before Father’s Day — not because my browser problem has magically been resolved (or resolved itself), but because what I want to share in this post doesn’t require video clips unavailable to me until the “Father’s Day fix” previously delineated.

    Those of you old enough to remember the 1970’s TV sitcom ALL IN THE FAMILY will undoubtedly recall the name Carroll O’Connor, who played the role of bigoted Archie Bunker in that top-rated series:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_O%27Connor

    Ironically, as I began this post this afternoon, I didn’t realize that O’Connor died 19 years ago on June 21, which happens to be Father’s Day (the day I wrongly thought I’d resume blogging). Earlier today, again by happenstance, I’d started reading his autobiography (titled I THINK I’M OUTTA HERE, which I’ve owned for some time), and realized that this was an articulate man who had much to say and said it well. So, to make a wrong story short, some of what he had to say is what I want to share, because it’s even more relevant today :

    “Ruminating in later years on how nations have come under the control of haters and fools, I began to understand that it was only the brilliant foresight of the men who made the Constitution — that insistent clutch of intellectuals, not the ordinary mob of “good” people we praise so fulsomely — [who] prevented the most evil traditions of Europe from flourishing three centuries ago on these helpless shores, already defiled by slavery. And yet even so, the ordinary good people have retained their private benighted beliefs [which] have sickened the life of the country.”

    “I take women very seriously, far more seriously than most men take them, or than I take most men. If a woman disapproves of what I’m doing, I worry, regardless of whether or not her reason makes complete sense to me. Woman’s intuition may be an ancient cliché, but I believe in it, respect it, and sometimes panic in the face of it.”

    “My grandfather, being rich, shared the view of the rich that if private enterprise thrives, so will its dependents, the ordinary people and the poor, except a segment of the poor known as the chronic poor. “Ah, the chronic poor!” exclaimed my father in mock lament. “The rich man looks at the chronic poor and recalls the words of the Lord that they will always be with us, which the rich man understands to mean that he needn’t worry about them.”

    The above quotes come from the book’s first 33 pages, which is as far as I’ve gotten so far.  On that basis alone, I recommend I THINK I’M OUTTA HERE….which, as it happens, is what I am.

     

     
    • D. Wallace Peach 9:13 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      So interesting. He was a smart guy and ahead of his time compared to many Americans who still struggle with basic brain-function. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • obbverse 9:15 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Oh Jeez…
      Very odd how a very liberal man portrayed such a bigoted conservative so well.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:55 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I confess I didn’t know much about Carroll O’Connor before, but I must have heard that he wasn’t anything like the guy he portrayed on TV, or I wouldn’t have bought the book a few years ago. Now that I’ve started reading it, I’m glad I did.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Totsymae 12:14 pm on June 14, 2020 Permalink

          Yes, I’d heard that he was a very nice guy and nothing like the Archie character. You have to think that during that time, there were so many informal ways to learn to be such a character as Archie since so many held those beliefs. If he were to play that same character today, he’d still have an accurate or similar portrayal, looking at the social climate now. He was such a natural, it didn’t seem rehearsed.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 8:53 pm on June 14, 2020 Permalink

          For some reason, Totsymae, I’m unable to “Like” your comment even though I like it (I’m sure that makes no sense to you, but take my word — regular readers of my blog know what I mean). In any case, I appreciate the comment.

          Like

    • calmkate 2:00 am on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      well that gives testemony to his acting ability!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rivergirl 7:56 am on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      He will be forever associated with a bigot from Queens, but in reality was far from it.
      As for the quotes, all you men should panic in the face of our intuition.
      😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 4:32 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I like this a lot, mistermuse. I do recall Archie Bunker’s arguments with his son-in-law, the liberal Meathead, played by Rob Reiner. They were all brilliant, especially Norman Lear, their creator, and I recall being encouraged by the program’s directness in addressing the prejudices that weren’t talked about then.
      Ok: here’s one for you. A few hours before reading this post. I released mine, in which I quoted a COVID-19 sniffing dog in an airport telling a traveler: “You’re outta here!” What are the odds…?

      Liked by 5 people

      • mistermuse 6:24 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Annie. Rob Reiner, as you no doubt know, is the son of Carl Reiner, who along with Sid Caesar was one of the stars of YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS and CAESAR’S HOUR, two of my favorite shows back in TV’s early years. I mention this because Sid (in his autobiography CAESAR’S HOURS) relates that “Carl would often bring his young son, Rob, to watch the show”….as if I needed a reminder that I am even older than Rob!

        I read your very interesting and informative post and left a Like but not a comment, which I hope you’ll forgive, as I didn’t feel as if I had anything interesting or informative to add (I haven’t owned a dog since boyhood, haven’t been in an airport since a trip to Ireland in 1984, and haven’t crossed a border since driving through western Canada to Alaska in 2001). In other words, I felt “outta the loop” relevant to your subject matter!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 8:48 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I had no idea that he was this sort of a man. I am sorry that I so easily confused the actor with the character he portrayed. Thanks for setting me straight.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 10:28 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Some actors (like John Wayne) basically played themselves no matter what character they portrayed. Other actors (like Fredric March) were so good that they were completely believable as the character they played, no matter how different (if you saw him in INHERIT THE WIND and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, for example, you wouldn’t think it’s the same actor). Outside of ALL IN THE FAMILY, I haven’t seen enough of O’Connor to categorize him definitively, but obviously he didn’t play himself in that show….but, like you, I didn’t know that at the time.

        Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 9:32 am on June 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Only a very good actor could play Archie Bunker and still be likeable enough for people to watch. Same with Jean Stapleton. They made it look easy.

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 10:49 am on June 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’m further along in O’Connor’s autobiography, but still haven’t gotten to the Archie Bunker part, which should be very interesting (including what he has to say about Jean).

      Liked by 3 people

    • annieasksyou 12:32 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse: of course I forgive you for not leaving a comment, and I appreciated the “like.” But Doggone it, there was some bad punning going on, and I wished you had pawsed long enough to add your two scents!

      Liked by 4 people

    • mistermuse 3:03 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I shouldn’t have said I haven’t owned a dog since boyhood, as I still own two….but in this hot weather, they stink so much when I take my shoes off that my wife has to put a clothespin on her nose and rub copious amounts of hand sanitizer on my feet. Now my love life has gone to the dogs and the rest of me is in the doghouse.

      Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 3:51 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      TMI😉

      Liked by 3 people

    • annieasksyou 6:56 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Seismically, I’m sure!

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: autobiography, , , ghosts of the past, Jean Negulesco, knowing yourself, , , , , , , The Way We Were   

    THE WAY WE WEREN’T 

    The trouble with turning memories into memoirs is that when one is finished, a sneaky feeling comes along: “Things never were that way, anyway.” –Jean Negulesco (1900-93), Academy Award-winning movie director

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I’ve just finished reading Jean Negulesco’s memoir (coincidentally, he died 25 years ago today) titled THINGS I DID AND THINGS I THINK I DID. The above quote is from that book–as is his reflection on having raised, with his wife, two adopted daughters from war-torn, post-WWII Germany:

    And so it starts, and so it ends. And we see ourselves in them. There is no sense in telling them, “When I was your age….” We never were their age. 

    “We never were their age.” And so it is with us. We’ve never been ‘inside’ them–even our own children. When all is said and done, we’re lucky if we know ourselves–now, then or in-between–which is not to say that, along the way, we were not open to wanting whatever knowledge romance promised….

    They say “You can’t go home again”–even if your old haunts still exist, your past and its ghosts stay with you, not with where you were….not so? So, where do we go?

    Now, I’m as nostalgic as the next old geezer, but as my past recedes further into the past, I look at old photos, see the images of faces and places I knew, and there’s no avoiding the sense that the road between THINGS I DID AND THINGS I WISH I DID leads to a place where the sun sets before we get there.

    Sooner or later, it’s all over but the doubting. It’s the place where (to paraphrase a phrase) OLD GHOSTS NEVER DIE, they….just….fade….a w a y

    Still….

     
    • Lisa R. Palmer 1:05 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Profound thoughts and deep reflection – a wellspring for the humor that is your trademark here at WordPress. For it is only that level of understanding and the wisdom that grows from it that can fuel a true sense of irony laced with compassion…

      Oh, and I’m taking this quote with me, as it moves me to ponder my own deep thoughts: “and there’s no avoiding the sense that the road between THINGS I DID AND THINGS I WISH I DID leads to a place where the sun sets before we get there.”

      Great stuff here, mistermuse!

      Liked by 7 people

      • mistermuse 1:33 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Lisa, for taking time to comment in such a thoughtful way. I wrote this post not expecting it to appeal to all tastes, but a man does not live by humor alone–if I did, my wife would kill me (just kidding–I brought home enough bacon before I retired to keep her fat and happily recumbent most of the time).

        Liked by 2 people

        • Lisa R. Palmer 2:45 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink

          The “happy” part is the only one that truly matters, so whatever you did, or do, to achieve and maintain that state is goodness in itself. Lol!

          Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 3:51 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Agree with Lisa’s comment but fortunately I have few regrets, I tended to do what I wanted when I wanted 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    • Carmen 6:06 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That Annabelle – what a charmer! And only ten! Wow! Can definitely detect a great personality. Apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree, eh? 😉

      Speaking of such things, my husband was at a gathering one time to discuss the passing of a friend. Some comment was made about this guy having ‘climbed the ladder to a better place’. . . Or some such thing. Hubby said, “I figure where I’m going, the only thing I’ll need is a hand sled!” Ha, ha!

      Wherever it is, I’ll worry about it after I get there (although I don’t think there’ll be any ‘think’ left). 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

      • mistermuse 9:42 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Well, Carmen, at least your hubby thinks he’s going SOMEPLACE! 🙂

        As for me: I think–therefore I don’t know what to think. 😦

        As for Annabelle, talent like that needs and deserves to soar. Destination Broadway (I hope)….speaking of which, The Unsinkable Molly Brown was a Broadway show which was made into a movie starring Debbie Reynolds. Here is her “I Ain’t Down Yet” from the film:

        Like

    • Don Frankel 8:13 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “The past is always with us.” Or as I like to say we are the things we did. No getting around it.

      But I do think we experience life in the past, the present and with a slight anticipation of the future. It’s just the way our minds work.

      Liked by 4 people

      • mistermuse 5:09 pm on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Perhaps that’s generally true, Don–but I think with politicians, there’s more than a slight anticipation of the future. No sooner is one election over than they start calculating for the next one, even if it’s as much as six years away (in the case of U.S. senators).

        Like

        • Don Frankel 7:11 am on July 19, 2018 Permalink

          Muse, at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold.

          Liked by 2 people

        • mistermuse 8:36 am on July 19, 2018 Permalink

          Don, I’ve already got the pot, and even if I get the gold at the end of the rainbow, I can’t take it with me where I’m going.

          On second thought, I’d better mend my ways so I can go to the other place — who wants to spend eternity roasting with the boasting Orange Man?

          Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 8:18 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Always there are two sides to every story. Sometimes there is no glory!! You shared it so well!!

      Liked by 3 people

    • scifihammy 11:05 am on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A very thoughtful post – thank you. 🙂
      It doesn’t bother me if I’m not remembering something ‘correctly’ because the memory is what I have now. And I never go back to old places, preferring my memory of them as they were. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    • arekhill1 12:00 pm on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I always thought Hardy’s words meant your home has changed from the way you remember it, so it is never the home you left, but your interpretation works as well, Sr. Muse.

      Liked by 4 people

      • mistermuse 12:51 pm on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I take “You can’t go home again” to mean that, though your old home may still be there, what you left of yourself there is gone forever….and one goes “home again” hoping in some amorphous way to recapture a piece of it. That may be ‘a bit much,’ but I prefer to think (without knowing) that it’s close(r) to what Hardy had in mind. In any case, I’m at home with your interpretation as well, Ricardo.

        Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 3:40 am on July 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I like that quote too., and I like you being thoughtful. Often when I write posts such as yesterdays I wonder if I’m being really truthful, if I’m giving the ‘right’ impression, and if indeed, I know what the ‘right’ impression is. This can go on and on, can’t it? I’ve often thought of writing Dad’s story but reporting it accurately worries me. And no, we can’t go back but I loved that film… 🙂 🙂
      Mam was a wise old bird and she used to say ‘can’t put an old head on young shoulders’.

      Liked by 4 people

      • mistermuse 9:42 am on July 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Jo, your post yesterday rang true to me and, I’m sure, to everyone who read it. I hope anyone who reads this will go to it and see for themselves.

        Thanks for quoting your mam’s wise words. It’s been a long time since I heard that quote, and it was good to hear it again.

        Like

    • katsobservations 1:54 pm on July 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Very powerful post. For me though, nostalgia represents not appreciating the past instead of wishing I did something differently. I guess nostalgia has a different meaning for each person.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 7:11 pm on July 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Well put, Kat. Perhaps one reason for a ‘different take’ on the past by another person would be if that person had one or more bitter experiences as a child that would make revisiting his or her childhood haunts a return to mixed memories. As you say, different meanings for different persons.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel McAlpine 5:58 pm on July 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      When those moments arise the best I can do is to tell myself I did the best I could with the me I was at the time. And don’t worry, your memoirs will be “corrected” by those who disagree. My friends write their own memoirs in revenge,

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 12:35 am on July 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Rachel, there is much wisdom in your first sentence. No one is the same person they were when they were young–or if they are the same, they haven’t matured–and therefore, you have to let go of the regret you feel that you would do something differently if you had it to do over again.

        Regarding memoirs, I don’t plan on writing any, so there won’t be any to correct….and as for my friends, I plan on outliving them. Good luck with that, right? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 1:26 pm on July 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 5:14 pm on July 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Once again I am in your debt, sir. I shall REMEMBER you in my prayers (in lieu of in my will). 😦

        Like

        • moorezart 5:17 pm on July 24, 2018 Permalink

          Wonderful post sir, consider all debts cancelled in payment for being gifted by your lofty thoughts.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 11:11 am on August 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That girl, from the video you posted, is a true entertainer!

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 11:42 am on August 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I just watched the video again, and she’s just as good as the last time I watched her! 🙂
        But seriously, that is one talented girl, and I hope she grows up to reach her full potential.

        Liked by 1 person

    • etiliyle 11:31 am on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      💞❤💞

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , autobiography, , Broadway, , , , HORSE FEATHERS, , , MONKEY BUSINESS, , , ,   

    GROUCHO AND M(US)E 

    Although it is generally known, I think it’s about time to announce that I was born at a very early age. –Groucho Marx, Chapter I, GROUCHO AND ME

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    As long-time readers of my blog know, I’m a big fan of Groucho Marx/The Marx Brothers, so it should come as no surprise that one of the first books I read from my used book sale haul (see previous post) was Groucho’s autobiography, GROUCHO AND ME. And who, you ask, is the ME in that title? (Hint: it’s not me).  It’s none other (says the back cover) than “a comparatively unknown Marx named Julius, who, under the nom de plume of Groucho, enjoyed a sensational career on Broadway and in Hollywood with such comedy classics as Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup [and] A Night at the Opera.”

    Julius Groucho Marx (1895-1977) wasn’t just a comedian — he was a wit who appreciated wit in others and “Gratefully Dedicated This Book To These Six Masters Without Whose Wise and Witty Words My Life Would Have Been Even Duller: Robert Benchley / George S. Kaufman / Ring Lardner / S. J. Perelman / James Thurber / E. B. White.”

    I already owned several Marx Brothers books (written by others) and had at least a whit of an impression of Groucho’s résumé before sinking my teeth into this book….but there’s nothing like an autobio for getting it straight from the Horse’s mouth (Feathers and all). At least, that’s what I thought until I got to page 11, where Groucho wrote:

    “This opus started out as an autobiography, but before I was aware of it, I realized it would be nothing of the kind. It is almost impossible to write a truthful autobiography. Maybe Proust, Gide and a few others did it, but most autobiographies take good care to conceal the author from the public.”

    Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. This is a different kettle of soup. You pay coal hard cash for an autobiography, and what do you get? A bit of Cash back, another day older and deeper in debt.

    Well, two can play that game. This opus began as a book review of GROUCHO AND ME, but Groucho’s bait-and-switch gives me no choice but to turn it into a GROUCHO AND me thing (sorry, readers, no refunds) by invoking the Sanity Clause in my contract….

    As I started to say before me was so rudely interrupted, you will have to be satisfied with some suitable quotes from Groucho’s book, which left me in stitches:

    My Pop was a tailor, and sometimes he made as much as $18 a week. But he was no ordinary tailor. His record as the most inept tailor that Yorkville ever produced has never been approached. This could even include parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx. The notion that Pop was a tailor was an opinion held only by him. To his customers he was known as “Misfit Sam.”

    They say that every man has a book in him. This is about as accurate as most generalizations. Take, for example, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man you-know-what.” Most wealthy people I know like to sleep late, and will fire the help if they are disturbed before three in the afternoon. You don’t see Marilyn Monroe getting up at six in the morning. The truth is, I don’t see Marilyn getting up at any hour, more’s the pity.

    Recognition didn’t come overnight in the old days. We bounced around for many years before we made it. We played towns I would refuse to be buried in today, even if the funeral were free and they tossed in a tombstone.

    After we hit the big time on Broadway, naturally our lives changed. Each member of the family reacted differently. Chico stopped going to poolrooms and started to patronize the more prosperous race tracks. After he got through with them, they were even more prosperous. Zeppo bought a forty-foot cruiser and tore up Long Island Sound as though to the manner born. Harpo, a shy and silent fellow, was taken up by the Algonquin crowd, at that time probably the most famous and brilliant conversational group in America. The quips flew thick, fast and deadly, and God help you if you were a dullard!

    I am not sure how I got to be a comedian or a comic. As a lad, I don’t remember knocking anyone over with my wit. I’m a pretty wary fellow, and have neither the desire nor the equipment to know what makes one man funny to another man. My guess is that there aren’t a hundred top-flight professional comedians, male and female, in the whole world. But because we are laughed at, I don’t think people really understand how essential we are to their sanity. If it weren’t for the brief respite we give the world with our foolishness, the world would see mass suicide in numbers that compare with the death rate of the lemmings.

    And so ( just between Groucho and us) it seems that there is a Sanity Clause after all. 🙂

     

     

     

     

     
    • D. Wallace Peach 10:50 am on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It sounds like an autobio to me, just seen through Groucho’s lens, which is shaded with humor. I get the impression that you enjoyed the book 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 11:34 am on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I did indeed enjoy the book. I think Groucho made his autobio-denial with tongue in cheek — as he does with most of the anecdotes in his book, which makes his autobio much different than most I’ve read. And what’s not to like about making (in many instances) serious points with insightful wit!

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 4:22 pm on December 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad to say I’ve read every author on Groucho’s list, Sr. Muse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:39 pm on December 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I shall take up your defense against anyone who ever accuses you of being listless, Ricardo.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 10:44 am on December 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Some people say this never happened and others say it was why he got kicked off TVr. But a little research showed he said it on the radio and they just cut it out before it was aired.

      Sounds real to me. But either way he was a classic.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 11:42 am on December 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      In those days, even Groucho couldn’t get away with that one — classic though it was. Thanks for digging up that clip, Don.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 7:18 pm on December 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sure am glad film was invented by the time Groucho came around.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:57 pm on December 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You said it! And so did the movies, in converting from silent to sound just as Groucho and his brothers came to Hollywood from Broadway in the late 1920s.

      Like

    • linnetmoss 7:15 am on December 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I adore Groucho! And S. J. Perelman too. Surprised to find that Wodehouse was not on his list 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:09 am on December 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m surprised that Dorothy Parker wasn’t on his list, as Groucho seemed partial to members of the Algonquin Round Table (with which Harpo “was taken up by,” according to one of Groucho’s quotes) — she, Benchley, Kaufman and Lardner being ‘charter members.’ But Wodehouse spent much of his life in New York and Hollywood (as did the Marx Brothers), so I can only guess that P. G.’s humor was a bit too droll for Groucho’s taste.

      Like

    • restlessjo 2:10 am on December 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      We have a boxed set of the Marx Brothers. Thanks for reminding me 🙂 They used always to be on at Christmas. Wishing you a joyful time!

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 7:42 am on December 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, and have a great Christmas!

      Like

  • mistermuse 8:52 pm on November 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: autobiography, Best Years of Our Lives, , , , Heart and Soul, , , , Lazy River, , , , To Have and have Not, Young Man With A Horn   

    THE AUTOBIOGRAPHIES OF HOAGY CARMICHAEL (Book Review) 

    On this, the 114th birthday of Hoagy Carmichael (11/22/1899 – 12/26/1981), I daresay you could mention his name to 100 random people under age 60, and 99 (maybe all 100) would say, “Hoagy who?”  But why waste time lamenting the fate awaiting almost all “celebrities” sooner or later? Fame is indeed fleeting — perhaps now more than ever — and relative few are the songwriters, actors and singers (for Hoagy was all three) who will be remembered on their triple-digit birthdays by succeeding generations. So it is with Bloomington, Indiana’s Hoagy — but his star shines on, nonetheless, for those who appreciate the timelessness of creative magic.

    For this occasion, I have pulled from my bookshelves a 1999 Hoagy double-autobiography which is a republication of The Stardust Road (1946) and Sometimes I Wonder (1965), with a new introduction by John Edward Hasse. I’d read this volume a few years ago, and it’s as good a way as any to re-visit Hoagland Howard Carmichael, a man whose music and film roles I’d known since my youth in the 1940s. As Hasse puts it in his introduction:

    Hoagy Carmichael was a true American original. First of all, there was his name…. Then there was that singing voice–the flat, Hoosier cadences–and that laconic public persona, impossible to mistake for anyone else’s. And there was his unusual career path–from law student, lawyer, and Wall Street employee to hit songwriter and celebrity via records, motion pictures, radio and television.
    But most original of all were the songs Carmichael wrote, songs that typically sound like nobody else’s.

    I love the way Hoagy begins The Stardust Road:
    The phone rang and I picked it up. It was Wad Allen. “Bix died,” he said
     (referring to Hoagy’s close friend and legendary early jazz trumpeter, Bix Beiderbecke).
    Wad laughed a funny laugh. “I wonder if it will hurt old Gabriel’s feelings to play second trumpet?” Wad asked.
    I could hear Wad’s breathing, then suddenly, but gradually getting clearer, I heard something else.
    “I can hear him,” I said. “I can hear him fine from here.”
    Over and around the sound I heard Wad’s voice.
    “Sure,” he said shakily. “So can I.”
    “I guess he didn’t die, then.”
    And so it went back and forth, until Hoagy said, “Call me up again,” I told him, “when somebody else doesn’t die.”
    But Wad had hung up. I tilted back in the chair before my desk and felt tears behind my eyes.  

    These are the kind of personal reminiscences you can only get from those who experienced them. If you’re a true lover of classic jazz and the Golden Age of popular music, you will find Hoagy’s autobiographies irresistible. THE STARDUST ROAD/SOMETIMES I WONDER combo is available on Amazon.com, AbeBook.com and elsewhere.

    And speaking of combos, let’s close with two versions of Hoagy’s immortal Star Dust, the first by Louis Armstrong, whose incomparable 1931 rendition still sets the standard after all these years, and the second, by Hoagy himself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r94-7nJt-WM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2fbOAyNOpM

     
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