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  • mistermuse 8:43 am on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: beacon of hope, biography, , David Niven, , , , ,   

    WAR GAMES 

    “War is nothing more than a catalogue of mistakes and misfortunes.” –Winston Churchill

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

    It’s funny– well, not literally funny — how one thing can lead unexpectedly to another. I’m half-way through another biography….but, unlike the others I’ve been reading recently, this one has led to the sort of post I didn’t anticipate writing when I began reading it.

    Its title is THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON (A BIOGRAPHY OF DAVID NIVEN) by Sheridan Morley. NIVEN (1910-83), as you may know, was an American actor who was born/raised in England and came to the U.S. in 1932. When WW II broke out in Europe, he returned to England to serve in the military. In 1941 he wrote a letter to a fellow British-born actor friend back in Hollywood, part of which I quote here from the book:

    Thank God we have now got a real government and in Churchill a real leader at last, but there is going to be a little scalp-hunting when the smoke has cleared off the battlefields. I am unimportant, but besides cousins and relations, I have now lost practically all my old friends, and all in the past few weeks….they need never have been sacrificed if the people then at the top had been doing their jobs as well as they said they were doing them [emphasis mine].

    Sound familiar? Today, with the corona virus, we have a different kind of world war, but the same (and even more lame) kind of sophistry, gas-baggery, and incompetence resulting in unnecessary casualties:

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=trump+coronavirus+down+to+zero&docid=607986001098770809&mid=730D607688499A94FB45730D607688499A94FB45&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

    And so I ask you: How on earth does the most morally corrupt President in U.S. history not belong behind bars or in a mental institution rather than in the White House? How is it, after 3 1/2 years of reigning the swamp, that roughly 40% of the American people either cannot, or will not, see through this pathetic con man of a President — a President who thinks he is not only above the law, but thinks he IS the law, who tries to subvert the law to his own ends? Are his supporters deaf, dumb and blind….or simply incapable/too much in denial to look behind the curtain and see that the mighty Oz is the very hoax he labels all that exposes him?

    Come November 3, we must turn from the dark side to the other side of the moon, or America will have surrendered all claim to being the “beacon of hope” for the world.

     

     
    • Rivergirl 8:51 am on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I have no answers. His appeal to the right, and their unwavering support of him is mystifying.

      Liked by 4 people

    • equipsblog 9:00 am on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Amen. I agree with what Rivergril said.

      Liked by 4 people

    • BACK ROADS AND OTHER STORIES 10:12 am on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It’s mind boggling how this can go on for so long. I hope November will bring change!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 11:51 am on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Hi. Many times on your blog I’ve slammed Trump. I once said this, and it remains true: Trump is an enemy of democracy. Ditto for anybody who supports him.

      Neil Scheinin

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 5:18 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        It is to the Senate Republicans’ shame that it took this pandemic — and thousands of lives — to bring Trump down (assuming he is defeated Nov. 3). If they had voted to impeach him when they had the chance, Pence would probably have become President and, as a former governor, would likely have been more inclined to listen to the states pleas for federal help. Or not.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, Another Blogger 6:06 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink

          Here’s the thing: Trump is evil. This was obvious to me way before he took office. If he wins in November, he will do far more damage in his second term than he already has.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 10:53 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink

          I agree. It was obvious when he was just one of many Republicans running for the nomination that he was evil. More recently, it has become obvious that he is a mental case: a bad man and a mad man rolled into one. God (or fate) help us.

          Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry 12:15 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      One thing I find mighty peculiar is that every post about Trump that I read on WordPress has much the same to say about this obnoxious, egotistical, narcissistic windbag, yet he clearly has many supporters. I guess that there are very few, if any, of his followers on this platform… but that would seem odd.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:53 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe Trump’s followers have too limited a vocabulary for WordPress. They’re more accustomed to the grade school bombast of Trump on Twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry 5:59 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink

          … I nearly said something like that (but more acerbic)… but restrained myself.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Paulie 1:25 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Trump certainly BELONGS behind bars but the system failed. I guess that the framers never saw it coming; a Senate that would, in a brazen act of partisan politics, essentially abdicate it’s responsibility when it came to an impeachment trial. As for the 25th amendment, the reverend Mike Pence would no more move to declare Trump incapable than he would covet his neighbor’s wife.

      As it stands now, the system is too cumbersome and too dependent on politics and will never, ever be changed. I would be shocked to see a new amendment during my lifetime but there has to be some mechanism introduced that can address the crisis of an incompetent president.

      As for the 40%, I’ve stopped trying to figure it out. In 2017 I read three books to try and gain some understanding as to why people voted for Trump and I suppose that I did gain some small insight. Why Trump still has any support beyond 10% (because we’ll never rid ourselves of the tinfoil hat faction) is completely beyond me. I guess I’ll never know because I’ve cut ties with anyone who supports Trump. That’s with the exception of some cousins and I simply don’t discuss it with them.

      In any other occupation, Trump would be fired for failing to do his job and/or creating a hostile work environment.

      Right now we are limping towards January and god knows what Trump will do between November and January as a lame brain (er duck) president.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:03 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I see that Trump’s approval rating is now down to 37% in one poll (Gallup, if I recall correctly). Some of that 40% is apparently starting to erode, but I’m not counting my trends before they’re matched (by other polls)..

        Like

    • Rosaliene Bacchus 3:59 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      As I see it, our minds are very malleable, making us easy prey for those who seek to manipulate and control our beliefs and behavior. We are all susceptible. We are all under mind control of some form or the other, for example, think of our consumption habits. Our 45th president has successfully managed to capture and hold a particular mindset among us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:43 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I think that is true in one sense, Rosaliene, but only to the point (for many of us) where minds become made up and set in concrete for the rest of our lives (like Trump). Meaningful malleability requires an openness to (and weighing of) challenges to what we have been indoctrinated or conditioned to believe….which, I suppose, is just a fancy way of describing GROWTH or MATURITY. All I know is I’m not the same person I was in my 20s and 30s — but that’s another story for another day.

        Liked by 1 person

    • obbverse 4:33 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      His followers are deaf dumb and blind. Even worse, wilfully pig-headedly so.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 5:31 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I like your your word “pig-headedly” — between that and “gas-baggery” in my post, we may be starting a whole new lexicon-ery.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Elizabeth 5:11 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Gov. Cuomo today appropriately called him out for enabling the pandemic. That sadly is too true.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:35 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Gov. Cuomo is almost as good at ‘telling it like it is’ as Trump is at telling it like it isn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Elizabeth 5:36 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink

          He just flat out said “Trump lies.” Very refreshing compared to the toadies around Trump.

          Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 6:53 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      If British incompetency lost a few of Nivens family … we wont try to count the number of Aussies they slaughtered! Landing them in the wrong place eg Gallipoli, etc … we were sent in first sheep to the slaughter …

      He says what they want to hear and fear renders them deaf dumb and blind …

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 11:29 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        When I was growing up, American (and I assume British) history books were written as if our political and military leaders were almost uniformly great and noble figures and our countries acted in good faith in almost all cases. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson and Trump will go down in history as the worst of the worst.

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 3:41 am on July 7, 2020 Permalink

          lol all our history books need rewriting, massive correction … let’s see how your election goes …

          Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 12:43 pm on July 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Niven wrote a book called “The Moon’s a Balloon”. What is it with him and the Moon and Balloons?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:03 pm on July 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Niven’s 1971 memoir THE MOON’S A BALLOON was originally to be titled THREE SIDES OF A SQUARE, but was changed due to a title conflict….and the biography THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON was written after Niven’s death. The only other “moon” connection with Niven I’m aware of is his role in the 1953 film THE MOON IS BLUE, which was considered so risqué at the time that it was refused the seal of approval by the Motion Picture Production Code. I haven’t finished reading the biography, so perhaps there is more ‘moonshine still’ to be uncovered.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mlrover 6:30 am on July 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Haven’t heard about the “Moon” book but read Niven’s Bring on the Empty Horses years ago. I respected him for going home to fight for his country, unlike John Wayne, who wriggled out of the war and later showed his disloyalty to his colleagues by promoting McCarthy. It’s one of those ironic instances when a coward and a gasbag was made into an American hero. A friend of mine made a movie with him and had his heart broken when he discovered the “true” Wayne.
      On another note, I LOVE gasbaggery!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:51 am on July 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      One of the reasons I like biographies and autobiographies is that that they often reveal another side of famous contemporaries the writer knew. Of course, it’s prudent to be aware that opinions of others are only as good as the character and judgment of the writer (who, for example, would believe anything Trump says, good or bad, about anyone?).

      I appreciate that you love “gasbaggery.” That helps me feel better about the dreadful “moonshine still” that I pun-ished masercot with in my reply to his comment. 😉

      Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: biography, , , L:ove Song, , , Mack The Knife, , , The Three Penny Opera   

    A SINGULAR COMPOSER, A TWO-TIMING WIFE, AND A THREE PENNY OPERA 

    “THE ROMANCE of Kurt Weill, the Jewish cantor’s son, and Lotte Lenya, the Viennese coachman’s daughter, changed the history of Western music. Their work on The Three Penny Opera provides a knowing insight into their relationship: Weill was the creator whose work was backstage, unseen. Lenya was the performer who put the work into view. They heard the same unique music, but he gave it form while she gave it life.”
    –from the cover flap of LOVE SONG, by Ethan Mordden

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

    If you like a bargain and biographies, I’ve just read a book I’m about to tell you about, titled LOVE SONG. The “bargain” is hinted at in the subtitle: THE LIVES OF KURT WEILL AND LOTTE LENYA — a double biography, two lives for the price of one. If you’re acquainted with the music of Kurt Weill and the mystique of Lotte Lenya, an individual biography of either would be a bargain at twice  – nay, thrice — the price.

    Kurt Weill was born in Germany in March 1900. As a young man (according to Mordden), “Music was his only interest, in total immersion.” He later fled the Nazi takeover and came to New York, U.S.A., in September, 1935. That month is notable for its namesake song, which may be the most unforgettable of his many memorable compositions:

    Lotte Lenya, twice-married to Weill and many times in bed with other men, was born in Vienna in 1898 and outlived her husband by 31 years. Quoting from the book, “Lenya was quick to adapt to her audience: a performer, but a warm and giving one, quickly intimate with anyone she liked….she could play everything from the merrily heartless Jenny of The Threepenny Opera to the helplessly coquettish Frau Schneider of Cabaret.” Here she sings one of my favorite Weill songs:

    I wish I could give you a front row seat at the real-life opera that is the LOVE SONG of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, for it is not only a love story, but an adventure and a 20th century history ranging from early success in Weimar Germany, escape from war-torn Europe, and finding the fulfillment in America which was cut short in their native land….but I could not begin to get you as caught up in their story as this “meticulously researched and detailed” book does. If you love the music of Kurt Weill, you will love this biography.

    I would love to post clips of such Weill classics as Speak Low, This Is New, and To Love You And To Lose You, but that would perhaps be too much of a good thing….so I’ll bring down the curtain with this Bobby Darin hit from The Three Penny Opera which my fellow seniors will well remember (assuming your memory is sharp):

     

     

     
    • obbverse 12:13 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Era defining, Mack the Knife. Not bad for a song written thirty years and a Second World War earlier. In the parlance of the day- killer track.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:25 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Not bad, indeed….and I dig your “killer track” juxtaposition with regard to MACK THE KNIFE.

        Like

    • calmkate 1:06 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      sorry I must be too young … or the memory is shot, don’t remember any of this!
      But totally love Mack the knife 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 7:06 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Weill I have heard of, but not Lotte Lenya, and I do know the songs and of course Bobby Darin. Great post. I’m sure you could write more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:48 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Ashley. I try to hold my posts to a reasonable length despite the temptation to keep going, as I realize that most of my followers probably have many blogs to follow, but only limited time….and if I go overboard, they may lose interest.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 9:17 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, Bobby Darin. Lost too soon..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:41 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Lost too soon….and forgotten too fast (but not by those who appreciated what a great talent he was).

        Like

    • equipsblog 10:36 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I not only remember the song, I saw Sting play Mac the Knife in Three Penny Opera at (I think) the National Theater in Washington, DC.

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 11:56 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      For some reason I know the September song. My parents liked Bobby Darin so I know Mack the Knife and Beyond the Sea.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 2:19 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I remember a Lenya vinyl album that my parents had. If I recall it correctly, she’s on the cover in a provocative pose, possibly with a cigarette in hand.

      Hello there. Bye till next time.

      Neil S.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:01 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        She lived to age 83 despite smoking and sexual promiscuity, so she must have had good Genes…and probably a lot of Toms, Dicks and Harrys, too.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 2:55 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Bobby Darin was a little before my time but I always like to hear music from that era. Hope things are well with you, mistermuse. Our province has declared an Emergency today and we are now limited to groups of five people; essential businesses/stores open but keeping the 6 ft. Distance in place. So far, we’ve not had a problem with self-isolation as we have lots of projects on the go! I’ll tell ya, watching the grandchildren cavort out on the lawn is preferable to cleaning up inside after they leave!
      And of course one can always listen to all sorts of hits from lovely blogs. . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:18 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Hi, Carmen — long time, no see. Good to hear from you again, and glad that you’re dealing well with the pandemic. I’m doing the same, but there’s no avoiding having to go to the store and/or pharmacy occasionally. Using hand sanitizer or wearing vinyl gloves while shopping helps, but social distancing is impossible in a crowded store, and lately it’s been crowded even at 7 a.m. (I’d go earlier, but I’d have to break in, since they don’t open until 7). 😉

        Like

    • annieasksyou 2:59 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      What a nostalgia trip this was! Haven’t thought about Bobby Darin for a while, but this was a welcome reminder.

      And for the first time, I was struck by the reference to “Miss Lotte Lenya” in Mack the Knife. That was like finding a jigsaw puzzle piece and placing it in its intended home.

      Thank you, mistermuse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:39 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I’m pleased that you enjoyed the post, Annie. Bobby Darin was one of my favorites back in the day, but Lotte Lenya was little more than a name to me until I read the book LOVE SONG and listened to her sing. I highly recommend the book if you’re interested.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Ostertag 8:42 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Many years ago I found a 4 LP set of the original Berlin production of 3 Penny with Miss Lotta in German. And huge program booklet with the English translation and pictures describing the production and the times. What a treasure.
      Weill was a musical genius. His work here in America is some of the best to ever appear on stage. September Song etc..
      Lotta never got as big here as in Germany, but she never got to be one of the most memorable James Bond villians.
      I will have to look the book up.
      PS: As much as I liked the Darin rendition of Mack, my favorite is the Louis Armstrong’s.
      Stay Healthy

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:29 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      There is a discography at the end of the book LOVE SONG which lists a 1930 Ultraphon 78 rpm set of Die Dreigroschenoper (The Three Penny Opera) wherein “Lenya sings not only her opening-night role of Jenny but also Polly and Lucy and even gets a crack at the Moritat. Most listeners learned these readings from reissues by Telefunken on 78 and LP” — which is apparently what you are fortunate enough to have.

      Weill was indeed a musical genius. I hope you can find the book (published in 2012 by St. Martin’s Press), because I’m sure you would find it immensely interesting.

      Thanks for the comment, and you stay healthy as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eliza 10:31 am on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing

      Take care of yourself

      Love, light and glitter

      Like

    • Elizabeth 4:32 pm on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      My grandson learned “Mack the Knife” from me when he was about two. He sang it joyfully.”Look out old Mack is back.” My daughter finally heard the words and was duly appalled that I had taught him such a gory song.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:38 pm on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        How times have changed, Elizabeth — nowadays, that song wouldn’t appall anyone, except maybe the younger generation who would be appalled at how “outdated” it is.

        Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 8:01 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for some lovely old songs, and info on the writers/performers that I did not know. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 7:03 pm on April 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for 2 things:
      1) for the book recommendation, a subject I’ve been long curious about but have made no effort to research; and
      2) for posting Mack the Knife.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:06 pm on April 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I’m pleased to recommend the book because, although I was fairly familiar with Kurt Weill and his work, I too was curious was about Lotte Lenya and the relationship between them. It’s a fascinating story. As for Mack the Knife, Bobby Darin’s version is my favorite, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 9:15 am on April 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent review and show!

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 7:09 pm on April 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Kurt Weill is one of my very favorite composers – along with Brecht…geniuses. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:10 pm on April 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Weill and Brecht were indeed musical geniuses, but their relationship hit some sour notes, mainly because of Brecht (according to LOVE SONG, the book mentioned in my post). Nonetheless, they made beautiful music together.

        Like

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: biography, , David McCullough, , flight, , , , , , , , Orville Wright, , , rhymes, , Wilbur Wright, William Howard Taft   

    LET US TURN BACK TO THE WRIGHT, BROTHERS AND SISTERS 

    PROLOGUE:
    We had to go ahead and discover everything for ourselves.
    –Orville Wright, 1901

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

    Friends, Readers, Countrymen —

    If you have spent many a sleepless night
    tossing and turning ’til dawn’s early light,
    wondering if I’d e’er host another post,
    take such worries off thy plate — they’re toast.

    Yes, Brothers and Sisters, thy long wait is o’er.
    I’m back, and who of you could ask for more
    although I must confess
    that most may ask for less. 😦

    Never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters,
    it is written in the stars that I must return to the scene of my rhymes and other crimes. It’s Kismet.

    Notwithstanding the never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters, I digress.
    I come here not to berhyme the Wrights, but to praise them.

    Thus this follow-up to my May 17 post, THE DAY THE WRIGHTS DONE ME WRONG, because, by ancient axiom, it’s the Wright thing to do (If at first you don’t succeed, fly, fly again). And if this discourse has the unintended consequence of being the sleep-aid you need to catch up on those zzzzz, the added benefit comes at no extra charge.

    But I doubt that will be the case with THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, which, it so happens, is the title of a book I just finished reading (by my favorite historian, David McCullough). It’s no less than you’d expect from a Pulitzer Prize winning author: a masterful biography which (quoting from the dust cover) “draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including personal diaries, notebooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence, to tell the human side of a profoundly American story.”

    The Wrights spent years of trial and air working to construct the world’s first ‘aeroplane,’ but as reader Don Frankel noted on May 17, America paid scant attention even after their successful first flight Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (and Don wasn’t just whistling Dixie in his comment). Finally, in 1906, after numerous improvements (including a more powerful engine) and many test flights, “much of the scientific world and the press [began] to change their perspective on the brothers”, and they started to attract commercial and government–especially French, not American– interest.

    To the latter point, President (and fellow Ohioan) Wm. Howard Taft spoke as follows in presenting the two brothers with Gold Medals on June 10, 1909, in Washington D.C.:

    I esteem it a great honor and an opportunity to present these medals to you as an evidence of what you have done. I am so glad–perhaps at a delayed hour–to show that in America it is not true that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country.” It is especially gratifying thus to note a great step in human discovery by paying honor to men who bear it so modestly. You made this discovery by a course that we of America like to feel is distinctly American–by keeping your noses right at the job until you had accomplished what you had determined to do.

    There are many stories within the story of THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, many twists and turns and mishaps along the way. The Wrights weren’t ‘stick’ figures with no interests and little to commend beyond their mechanical genius. Wilbur, for example, wrote home from France in 1906 of long walks and “the great buildings and art treasures of Paris, revealing as he never had–or had call to–the extent of his interest in architecture and painting.”

    Read this bio and you will surely be taken along for the ride, as was I, by “the human side of a profoundly American story” of two men most of us know only from dry history books.

    So fasten your life jackets and come fly with me.

    EPILOGUE:
    We dared to hope we had invented something that would bring lasting peace to the Earth. But we were wrong. We underestimated man’s capacity to hate and to corrupt good means for an evil end. –Orville Wright, 1943 (during WWII)

     

     
    • Carmen 12:50 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A timely subject, Mr. Muse. . I’m flying from Melbourne, Australia to Halifax, Nova Scotia on Friday. :). Those Wright Brothers started somethin’, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:15 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        It certainly sounds Wright that from Down Under, there’s hardly anywhere to go but up…so have a safe flight home, Carmen. I’ll look forward to reading all about your trip if you post it on your blog.

        Like

    • calmkate 4:31 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      lol love your opening poem and your review sounds interesting but … 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:53 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        No buts about it, Kate — my reviews are always interesting (except when they’re not). 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • calmkate 7:26 pm on June 13, 2018 Permalink

          except the topic holds no interest for me .. but as you wrote it I still read it 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • Silver Screenings 10:12 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Re: Orville Wright’s 1943 quote – ain’t it the truth! As I read your last post on the Wright Bros., I thought, “In a few short years, folks would be arming this marvellous invention in an effort to kill more people.”

      The biography sounds fascinating. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:28 pm on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        You’re more than welcome, SS. As for the quote, “ain’t it the truth” indeed.What an ugly and beautiful mixed bag of a world this is!

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 11:02 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Isn’t that last quote the truth? And the brothers Wright never even heard of Facebook.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Don Frankel 8:49 am on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That’s a great book Muse. I was amazed at all the things they had to develop in order to figure how to take flight. It is an amazing story. But I still can’t get over how they are flying just about everyday in Dayton and the only person who wrote about it was a traveling bee salesman in his little magazine which would be a the equivalent of a blog today.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:29 am on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I’m glad you mentioned the bee magazine, Don — it’s the perfect example of how under-appreciated and almost ignored the Wrights were when you consider the game-changing nature of their accomplishment. The failure to recognize what seems so obvious reminds me of the old saying, IF IT WAS A SNAKE, IT WOULD HAVE BIT YOU.

        Liked by 1 person

    • chattykerry 9:21 am on June 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I am going to work at the airport today and I will consider the amazing achievements of the Wright brothers as I attempt to deal airlines and passengers who think they are riding a Greyhound bus…😁😁

      Liked by 3 people

    • barkinginthedark 6:51 pm on August 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Orville’s regret is too sad…to see your marvelous invention being employed to kill…too sad. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:08 pm on August 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      “We underestimated man’s capacity to hate and to corrupt good means for an evil end.” Today, Orville’s 1943 quote has an even wider application than airplanes, as (courtesy of Donald Trump) democracy itself is being corrupted for an evil end.

      Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bad Day at Black Rock, biography, , , , , , , , , ,   

    What’s In YOUR Toilet? 

    In his incisive biography of Spencer Tracy, author Bill Davidson tells of a problem which arose during planning stages of a Tracy film based on a short story titled BAD DAY AT HONDO. He quotes Millard Kaufman, who was writing the screenplay, as follows:

    Our picture still was called Bad Day at Hondo, when, to everyone’s surprise, there came the release of a John Wayne movie called HONDO. So our title went out the window.

    Davidson continues, “Such coincidental flaps can cause weeks of delays at a studio, while everyone tries to think of a new title. In this case, Kaufman was out in Arizona looking for locations for another picture, when [he] stopped for gas at one of the bleakest places [that] was not even a ‘wide place in the road’, just a gas station and a post office. Kaufman looked at the sign on the post office. The name was Black Rock, Arizona. Kaufman rushed to the phone and called the studio. ‘I’ve got the title for the Tracy picture,’ he said. “We’ll call it “Bad Day at Black Rock.”

    You may be wondering what the foregoing has to do with the title of this post….and the answer is diddly-squat (or just squat, for short). So what’s the deal? Simply to serve as a pun-gent example of a title’s potential to entice you in to a creative work, whether it be film, story, poem or poop. Did the serendipitous (and delay-saving) spotting of the Black Rock post office sign lead to a perfect fit for the title of the movie? Perhaps this scene will tell you all you need to know to answer that question (Tracy plays a one-armed WW II officer, just returned from the service, who goes to a middle-of-nowhere desert town to present a posthumous medal to the father of one of his soldiers):

    But suppose, after chewing it over endlessly, you still can’t come up with a killer title for your opus delicti? Friends, just swallow the bitter pill that there are times indiscretion is the better part of valor, and settle for a title such as this post’s. And what if even doo-doo doesn’t do the trick? There’s still the when-all-else-fails last resort I used when I titled this poem….

    UNTITLED

    This poem’s title is Untitled —
    Not because it is untitled,
    But because I am entitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    If I’d not titled it Untitled,
    It would truly be untitled….
    Which would make me unentitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    So it is vital, if untitled,
    Not to title it Untitled,
    And to leave that title idled,
    As a title is entitled.

    NOTE: This is the Random poem leftover from my previous post

     

     
    • calmkate 12:11 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      ha ha ha love your play on words … and titles do make a difference as to whether something is read or not .. but hey I’ve already done the squat loo post, no peeking 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • geo. raymond 12:23 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great word play. (Excellent movie, too)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Garfield Hug 12:26 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      LOL! I loved your Untitled poem😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:50 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’m just thankful they didn’t title it “Bad Day on the Toilet”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:09 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, you’re entitled to be untitled. But this reminds me of a Country Western song writer named Ray Whitley and he’d written a bunch of songs for Gene Autry and he was told they needed one more. So he sighed and headed for the studio. His wife asked him what was the matter and he told her. She said. “Guess you’re back in the saddle again.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:36 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t know the story behind it, but I remember the song well, Don. Odd that the clip portrays the likeness of Roy Rogers (Autry’s biggest rival for most popular screen cowboy in those days).

        Like

    • christie jones 1:26 pm on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I love the way you play with words! And btw, you have a great blog🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:39 am on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry for the tardy reply to your comment, Christie, but modest fellow that I am, your compliment made me so red in the face that I got a bad case of blisters, which may have improved my appearance, but I still didn’t know what to say. Anyway, now that I’ve recovered, I’m ready to be embarrassed again, whether I deserve it or not. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • christie jones 2:30 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink

          While two-thirds of the words are twisters, I didn’t mean to provoke any blisters. I’m happy you’re now recovered, and hope never again embarrassed. All the best! Christie

          Liked by 1 person

    • Ricardo 11:32 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      May all your titles be short ones, and your un-titleds even shorter, Sr. Muse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:56 am on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        That’s a Capital (One) proposal, Ricardo. It even has commercial possibilities connected to the title of this post.

        Like

    • RMW 1:12 pm on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      As a frequenter of art museums, I am always bemused by the pieces labeled “Untitled.” Worse yet they are titled “Untitled Number 3” or “Untitled March, 1987″… is this SUPPOSED to be ironic and I’m not getting it? Now I think about it, “Toilet Number 3” or “Toilet March, 1987” would work much better… and in many cases, be more appropriate!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:05 pm on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        At the very least, they should title their restroom toilets Number 1 or Number 2 based, of course, on whether you have to go Number One or Number 2. They could even have Number 3 for those who have to do both, otherwise you’d have to move from Number One to Number Two or vice versa, depending on order of priority.

        How this would be enforced I don’t know — I can’t think of everything!

        Like

        • RMW 12:35 am on June 8, 2017 Permalink

          I’m sure North Carolina could come up with an idea to handle it!

          Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Babe Ruth, biography, , , , , magic, , Mexico, , , , , Touch Of Evil   

    A “TOUCH OF EVIL” GENIUS 

    The word “genius” was whispered into my ear, the first thing I ever heard, while I was still mewing in my crib. So it never occurred to me that I wasn’t until middle age. –Orson Welles

    “Come on, read my future for me.”
    “You haven’t got any.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Your future is all used up.”
    –Orson Welles (drunken sheriff) & Marlene Dietrich (fortune teller), in TOUCH OF EVIL

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

    Tomorrow marks the birthday of Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 — the same day Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run). Welles, as you may well know, was “the ultimate auteur” director, co-writer, and star (at age 25) of CITIZEN KANE, considered by many film critics to be one of the greatest movies ever made — and it isn’t even my favorite Welles’ picture (but I will tell of two that are favorites).

    The life story of such a complex, larger-than-life legend is beyond the scope of this post, and could itself make as great a movie (CITIZEN WELLES?) as it made a great biography, aptly titled simply ORSON WELLES (another of my library book sale bargain buys) by Barbara Leaming….which leads me to this Welles quote from her book:

    “I see The Third Man every two or three years — it’s the only movie of mine I ever watch on television because I like it so much.”

    Great minds must indeed think alike, because he and I are of one mind regarding THE THIRD MAN — it is the one Welles’ movie I have watched many times over the years.

    Turning from that “non-auteur” film in which Welles acted but didn’t direct, to films Welles both directed and starred in, my favorite is TOUCH OF EVIL (1958). During the 1940s, the mercurial Welles increasingly didn’t see eye-to-eye with movie moguls and had become persona non grata in Hollywood. Leaving for Europe, he starred in the 1948 Italian film BLACK MAGIC (he, by the way, was a wizard of an amateur magician and member of The International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians), followed by THE THIRD MAN (1949) and several other British and Italian films and radio series into the 1950s. TOUCH OF EVIL was his third film following his return to Hollywood in 1956.

    More Welles quotes:

    Even if the good old days never existed, the fact that we can conceive such a world is, in fact, an affirmation of the human spirit.

    Race hate isn’t human nature; race hate is the abandonment of human nature.

    I don’t pray because I don’t want to bore God.

    I started at the top and worked down.

    Again great minds think alike — I started this post at the top and worked down….and now nothing remains but to go into my disappearing act.

     

     

     
    • Don Frankel 7:56 am on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      “Rosebud.”
      I always wondered if all the genius talk had to do with that first film because it had to do with a larger than life subject Randolph Hearst. Then again maybe it had to do with the fact that he wrote and directed and starred in it. But then Jerry Lewis used to do that too and play a half a dozen parts as well. Oh wait Jerry Lewis is a genius too. At least in France or so they say.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:58 am on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Irrespective of his artistic genius, Welles would have been well served to be a financial genius, as he was constantly short of cash to finance his dreams. In the biography ORSON WELLES, he is quoted as follows re taking the part of Harry Lime in THE THIRD MAN: “I was given a choice between $100,000 or 20% of the picture, and I took the $100,000. Picture grossed something unbelievable. In America it was only a success, but in the rest of the world it was an absolute bombshell. There wasn’t such a hit in 25 years as there was in Europe. I could’ve retired on that!”

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:20 am on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve tormented myself by watching “Citizen Kane” maybe twice, and was never led by that experience into any desire to view anything else the Wells made. I’m sure I’m missing something, but I am an insensitive bastard, at least according to the majority of my exes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 2:06 pm on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        You might want to give THE THIRD MAN a shot, Ricardo. If you don’t like it, I guarantee you wouldn’t like anything else Wells made (especially since Welles didn’t make that one — he was just one of the stars).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 5:11 pm on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      More great quotes from that library mind of yours! I loved the clips, and am inspired to rejoin HULU only if I can watch these films again (no TV for decades now, so computer viewing on my oversized monitor is my only choice).

      My love of black and white films might eclipse even Wells – what a dramatic format (and, also like Wells, even the IDEA of colorizing these masterpieces of cinematography makes me physically ill!)

      Except for the war – lol – I think the 40’s would have been my era (tho’ the 30s appeal as well). You can have the 50s – and NOW, however – especially the politics and politicians. Interesting how cinema flounders when leadership is callow – middle-aged men without wisdom or humanity. (Public education goes belly up as well – duh!).

      But Wells said it best, “Even if the good old days never existed, the fact that we can conceive such a world is, in fact, an affirmation of the human spirit.” Here’s to spirit – and thanks for another great post!
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
      ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
      “It takes a village to transform a world!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:04 pm on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I too love the clips — especially the one in which Bogdanovich talks about The Third Man and Orson Welles. He articulates what makes black and white filmmaking (in the hands of a great director) so compelling: “It’s the lack of distraction” compared with Technicolor films, the focus on the dramatic as opposed to the color of things (though I disagree that there have been no great Technicolor movies).

        “Here’s to spirit” indeed!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 6:15 pm on May 5, 2017 Permalink

          Color is one more element to manage, and in a very different fashion, lighting-wise – but few color films can match the power and sheer cinematic drama of black and white, to my mind. I’m with you on disagreeing that there are no good color films, however.

          Bogdanovich understands good directing, so I found the clip interesting as well – like attending a great lecture back in my college days (which I always adored *almost* as much as participating in the following discussion – lol).
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 3:40 am on May 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’m no movie buff and not really familiar with his work but those are great quotes. Sorry I missed his birthday 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:13 am on May 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s another quote you may like from Welles, who became very obese in the 1950s:
      “My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four….unless there are three other people.”

      Like

    • wildsoundreview 1:32 am on May 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

    • mistermuse 11:40 am on May 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Many thanks. I checked out your blog and liked the first post I read. I’ll have to go back for more later.

      Like

    • Christie 5:42 pm on May 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A couple of weeks ago I was in need of inspiration, and I was thinking who else to ask, other than Mr Muse 🙂 If it’s not too much to ask – and maybe an idea of a new post – could you put a list together with your most favourite movies? I will let you add the numbers, and don’t be shy with recommendations 🙂 Thank you in advance!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:36 am on May 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Christie, I’m not sure what you mean by “add the numbers,” and it would take too much time to elaborate on why I recommend each movie I list, but I’ll be happy to make a list. It will be in alphabetical order rather than in order of preference (I’d only consider doing preference by genres, and even then, it wouldn’t be easy). Finally, the list will consist almost entirely of 20th century films, as I have seen very few new movies since the 1990s.

      Airplane! 1980
      The Apartment 1960
      Atlantic City 1981
      Babes in Toyland 1934
      Bad Day at Black Rock 1955
      The Band Wagon 1953
      Being There 1979
      Bells Are Ringing 1960
      The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
      Blazing Saddles 1974
      Body Heat 1981
      The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957
      Brief Encounter 1946
      Broadway Danny Rose 1984
      Cabaret 1972
      Casablanca 1942
      City Lights 1931
      Dodsworth 1936
      Double Indemnity 1944
      Duck Soup 1933
      The General 1927
      The Graduate 1967
      The Grapes of Wrath 1940
      Great Expectations 1947
      I Know Where I’m Going 1947
      It’s a Gift 1935
      Judgment at Nuremberg 1961
      The Lady Eve 1941
      Lawrence of Arabia 1962
      Lion 2016
      A Little Romance 1979
      Local Hero 1983
      Love Me Tonight 1932
      Lust for Life 1956
      Major Barbara 1941
      Make Way for Tomorrow 1937
      The Maltese Falcon 1941
      Manhattan 1979
      Meet Me in St. Louis 1944
      Midnight in Paris 2011
      Modern Times 1936
      My Dinner with André 1981
      My Fair Lady 1964
      North by Northwest 1959
      North to Alaska 1960
      Notorious 1946
      Oklahoma! 1955
      Oliver! 1968
      One Hour With You 1932
      Paint Your Wagon 1969
      The Producers 1968
      The Purple Rose of Cairo 1985
      Ride the High Country 1962
      Roman Holiday 1953
      Ruggles of Red Gap 1935
      Schindler’s List 1993
      Shane 1953
      The Shop Around the Corner 1940
      Singin’ in the Rain 1952
      Sleeper 1973
      Some Like It Hot 1959
      State Fair 1945
      The Stranger’s Return 1933
      Sullivan’s Travels 1942
      Summertime 1955
      Sunset Boulevard 1950
      Swing Time 1936
      The Thief of Bagdad 1940
      The Third Man 1950
      The Thirty-Nine Steps 1935
      Top Hat 1935
      Touch of Evil 1958
      Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948
      Vertigo 1958
      The Wizard of Oz 1939
      Young Frankenstein 1974

      I’m sure there’s a few more I’ve seen but can’t remember off the top of my head, as well as some I haven’t seen (such as the first two Godfather movies) that would probably be on the list if I saw them.

      Like

      • Christie 10:21 am on May 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much!!! You made my day🙂 I have enough “numbers” now to keep me busy for the next year or so. You didn’t miss anything not watching new movies. I get upset, sometimes (or most of the time), for wasting my time when try to see a new one.
        Rubbing my hands now, I’m getting busy🙂 By for now, have a wonderful day!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 2:18 pm on May 30, 2018 Permalink

          My pleasure. I just remembered one of those movies (“Bells Are Ringing” 1960) I couldn’t remember, and have added it to the list. Happy “busy getting”! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Christie 3:47 pm on May 30, 2018 Permalink

          Awesome, thanks again!

          Like

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