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  • mistermuse 8:12 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bigotry, book review, , 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 2 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 2 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.

          Like

        • 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 2 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 4 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 3 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 1 person

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

      TMI😉

      Liked by 2 people

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

      Seismically, I’m sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , book review, 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 8:25 pm on September 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: book review, , , , , , ,   

    LIKE WISE 

    Noble goal like chasing rainbow — beautiful while it lasts.

    If the above quote sounds familiar, you have the memory of an elephant. It — the quote, not you or the elephant — appeared in my previous post as a Charlie Chanism which I made up after a trip to the latest local library book sale where my returns are becoming re-nowned and their books are becoming re-owned….and one of my new buys was titled CHARLIE CHAN — The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History, by Yunte Huang.

    If you’re an old movie buff like me, you’ve probably seen a number of 1930s-40s Charlie Chan films (based on the 1920-3os novels by Earl Derr Biggers) in which Charlie chanted such gems of wisdom as these:

    Hasty deduction, like ancient egg, look good from outside.
    Mind, like parachute, only function when open.
    Trouble, like first love, teach many lessons.
    Facts like photographic film — must be exposed before developing.
    Advice after mistake like medicine after funeral.

    You will find these, and many more, Chanisms in Appendix I of the book. But that’s just a bonus — the real story of this book is “The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective”…. a story I can’t tell you because either I would have to kill you (leaving no clues), or it would spoil the story and leave you without a motive to buy the book. But I will tell you that the fictional Honolulu detective Charlie Chan was based on real-life Honolulu detective Chang Apana, who was a character in his own right and whose career included jobs ranging from gardener to gumshoe. So get the book, plant yourself in your favorite chair, and enjoy the read.

    Speaking of flowery characters, Earl Derr Biggers was no shrinking violet. Before turning novelist, Biggers (a Harvard grad)) was an outspoken newspaper columnist and drama critic. In one of his columns, he wrote of “a citizen of Mingo, Okla., [who] whipped out his trusty six-shooter the other day and shot the mustache off another citizen. We sincerely hope that the gentleman who lost the mustache appreciated the fact that he had a mighty close shave.” Shades of such baldfaced punsters as Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde and mistermuse! (The latter includes himself in such company on the grounds that the dead can’t object.)

    But enough about me. Here’s Charlie!

     

     
    • linnetmoss 8:26 am on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hahaha! Is that Tim Conway?
      What cracks me up about the Biggers story is the name “Mingo, Okla.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:17 am on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, that is Tim Conway, and that clip is like a scrambled egg — it breaks me up. 😦

      “Mingo” reminds me on “Mongo” in BLAZING SADDLES — which also breaks me up. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ricardo 10:32 am on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      One of the Facebooks groups I belong to has the parachute quote on its home page, Sr. Muse, only they attribute it to Frank Zappa. Since Chan preceded Zappa in the popular canon, it’s probably a misattribution. However, let’s face it–the fictional Chan never thought of it, either. It sprang from the brain of a now-forgotten writer. Such is the eventual fate of all we scribblers.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:21 pm on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe I should have that “Noble goal like chasing rainbow” quote etched on my gravestone, Ricardo, so at least one of my scribblings survives long after I’m gone.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:36 am on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I went looking for a Charlie Chan saying for this case. “Blond hair can be obtained from a bottle – or wig maker.”

      I also semi-remembered something about Number 1 son. Looked that up too. He was played ,many times by Keye Luke who went onto to be in a ton of movies. He might best be remembered by TV fans as the old master in Kung Fu the TV show..

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:37 am on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Don, here’s a bit of trivia for you. As you know, the best Marx Brothers movie is generally considered to be A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935). The best Charlie Chan movie (according to film critic Leonard Maltin) appeared a year later: CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA (1936).
      Coincidence?

      Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 4:37 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I love the wisdoms in Chan, so concisely put. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 8:49 pm on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve never seen a Charlie Chan movie, I hate to admit! I’ll have to check it out sometime.

      Funny Carol Burnett sketch!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:08 am on September 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Charlie Chan movies were fun when I was young, but I must admit that most of them don’t age well. Of the few that do, I’d recommend CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA.

        Liked by 1 person

    • eliza rudolf 1:15 am on September 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice post❤💖❤💖

      Liked by 2 people

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

    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 12:01 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: book review, , , flim noir, gangster movies, , , , , , , , , The Naked Gun   

    GANGSTER WRAP 

    I trust that you remember my March 30 post titled HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE. If not, maybe you could use a nudge from Police Lt. Frank Drebin to refresh your memory:

    Maybe now you remember: my March 30 opus delicti distinguished between film noir (theme of that post) and gangster movies (this post’s theme), while allowing for crossover in films like WHITE HEAT (classified as film noir in one book, and gangster film in another). To anyone not ‘into’ such films, these thorny details may strike one as nothing more than a distinction without a difference….but I’ll assume you aren’t “anyone,” because I’ve got a job to pull — I mean, a post to write — and the subject ain’t roses.

    That’s odd. I could have sworn the subject was not roses.

    Wait a shrouded minute! Now I remember — the subject was supposed to be gangster movies. My bad. Sorry for the hold up.

    In the introduction to his book CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS, by (appropriately enough) Robert Bookbinder, he writes: “The gangster film has always been one of the staples of the American cinema. Though there were several motion pictures with a gangster theme produced as far back as the silent era, the genre did not really begin to flourish until the thirties, when it reigned throughout the decade as one of the public’s favorite kinds of “escapist” entertainment. Depression-era audiences responded strongly to all the action, violence and romance, and were more than willing to get caught up in the on-screen exploits of Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. In a sense, the movie gangster, with his rebellious breaking of society’s rules and regulations, and his aggressive drive to “get somewhere” regardless of consequences, became something of a hero to filmgoers of the period.”

    It is worth noting that, although the gangster film by no means passed completely out of the picture, its most productive period (1930 to 1941-42) led to the era of classic film noir (1941-59)….which began with THE (never-surpassed) MALTESE FALCON. The above three stars were equally without rival in both genres.

    Bookbinder’s book binds together the above transition, providing a fascinating look back at 45 gangster films (several overlapping into film noir), complete with credits, cast, commentary, photos and synopsis for each film, ranging from LITTLE CAESAR in 1930 to BONNIE AND CLYDE in 1967 and THE BROTHERHOOD in 1969. Of the latter, Bookbinder states: “It was not especially successful, and it has been almost completely overshadowed in film history by the more expensive and elaborate Godfather films of the early seventies. The picture deserves a better fate….what a truly entertaining gem it is.”

    Now, I will admit that, in general, I am not as big a fan of gangster films as I am of film noir. I have an affinity for the more tangled and convoluted plots (in most cases) of the latter, compared to the more macho and less sophisticated gangster films….but then, “sophisticated” is not a term one normally associates with gangsters — so, by Sam, let’s call a spade a Spade. It’s not a bum rap.

    But there is one bailiwick in which gangster films win hands down — I mean, hands up! (ha ha) — and that is in gangster film spoofs such as the all-time classic, SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959), which lost out to (would you believe?) BEN-HUR in practically every Academy Award category for that year. Oh, well — nobody’s perfect. 😦

    And that’s a wrap.

     

     

     
    • linnetmoss 7:14 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      According to Variety, Liam Neeson is on board to play Sam Spade in a new movie. He’s not the actor I would have thought of, but I’ll give him a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:49 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Haven’t seen much of Neeson since SCHINDLER’S LIST (I don’t keep up with the current movie scene much anymore), but unless he’s aged really well in the last 24 years, he seems a bit long in the tooth for Sam Spade. I, on the other hand, would be perfect for the part of Methuselah if they decide to make a movie about him.

        Liked by 2 people

        • linnetmoss 6:43 am on April 11, 2017 Permalink

          He has aged well, since he’s still playing action roles in his 60s, but I agree that it’s a bit of a stretch.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:35 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The Gangster films live on of course and some were even funny. Not ‘Some Like It Hot’ funny but still funny. Funny how you might ask?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:59 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Good one, Don. Another Don (Rickles), who just died four days ago, couldn’t have played it any better

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:48 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Has anyone ever done a gangster film in total “Airplane” style? Bet it would be a hoot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:12 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I hear that plans for such a film are up in the air right now, Ricardo, but we can always hope (just like you can always hope that most of my puns don’t fall flat).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 12:08 am on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Groaned my way down through the comments to “Leave a Reply” primarily to make sure I said thanks for the HOT clip. One of my favorites. The only possible reason it lost out to Ben Hur was that the Academy voters were “not very bright” that year! (always love MM – another severely under-rated talent, IMHO)

      I vote with you on Noir vs. Gansta’ btw. 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 educate a world!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mél@nie 2:27 pm on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      @”Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart…” – holy Molly!!! THE Dream-team, by excellence… 🙂 btw, Edward G. Robinson was born in Romania, like me… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:51 pm on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Speaking of three-member Dream teams, how about Edward G. Robinson, you….and Bela Lugosi, all born in Romania!

        Like

    • mitchteemley 5:15 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I never get tired of watching Some Like it Hot.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , book review, Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Allen Poe, , , , Howard Hawks, , , , , movie poster art, , , Raymond Chandler, , ,   

    HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE* 

    The film noir of the classic period (1941-59) is normally associated with the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood and its aftermath. In truth, the creative impetus for its most influential literary content dates back a full century.
    In April 1841, Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia published the first detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe and thus, mystery fiction was born. –
    -Lawrence Bassoff, CRIME SCENES

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

    In my 11/30/16 post titled BOOKS RIGHT DOWN MY ALLEY, I wrote of finding a large cache of old movie books at a local library’s used book sale. One of those books was CRIME SCENES (subtitled Movie Poster Art of the Film Noir), from which the above quote is taken. How could I resist buying such a book, given that Film Noir has long been one of my favorite film genres, which includes such classics as THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), MURDER MY SWEET (1943), DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), LAURA (1944), THE BIG SLEEP (1946), SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950), and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951). The introduction states it “is the first genre retrospective collection of movie poster art on the topic ever published in book form.”

    Bassoff writes that in the summer of 1946, ten American films whose French releases had been blocked by WW II (including the first five of the above) arrived in Paris theaters to be viewed by “new product-starved French filmgoers”….films based on American novels the French called “Serie Noire” by such authors as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The term “film noir” (first attributed to Frenchman Nino Frank in 1946) literally means “black film” for the “often low key, black and white visual style of the films themselves.”

    And what great films they are! Even after having seen some of these films more than once, I could return to the scene of the crime once again;  no doubt you could too — assuming you’re a film noir buff, which it would be a crime if you’re not. The test? Can you name at least half of the directors and stars of the above films? Answers (directors in CAPS):

    THE MALTESE FALCON — JOHN HUSTON (making his directorial debut), Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet
    MURDER MY SWEET — EDWARD DYMTRYK, Dick Powell
    DOUBLE INDEMNITY — BILLY WILDER, Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
    LAURA — OTTO PREMINGER, Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
    THE BIG SLEEP — HOWARD HAWKS, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
    SUNSET BOULEVARD — BILLY WILDER, William Holden, Gloria Swanson
    STRANGERS ON A TRAIN — ALFRED HITCHCOCK, Farley Granger, Robert Walker

    Moving on: if Basssoff’s book were not confined to Hollywood film noir, no such list would be complete without THE THIRD MAN (1949), a British-made classic directed by Carol Reed, starring Orson Wells and Joseph Cotton. And of course there are many other Hollywood tour de force classics worthy of being kept alive, including such killer-dillers as:

    WHITE HEAT is considered by some to be in the gangster film realm rather than film noir, but there’s no law against crossover — in fact, WHITE HEAT is classified as film noir in CRIME SCENES and gangster film in CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS (the latter being another used book sale find, which I may review in a future post). Meanwhile, I highly recommend the former — as Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) said of the bogus Maltese Falcon: It’s “the stuff dreams are made of.” And nightmares.

    *HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE is a play on the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. I heard on the grapevine that the site was a ranch, and then a lemon grove, until 1903.

    20161005_Hollywood_and_Vine_historical_marker

     

     
    • linnetmoss 7:03 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Good fun–I will never forget the creepiness of seeing Fred MacMurray in “Double Indemnity,” after growing up with him in Disney movies like “Son of Flubber”!

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 7:41 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Now that you mention it, I recall thinking the same thing the first time I saw “Double Indemnity.” And I can’t think of a better way to characterize these ‘bad’ movies than as “good fun” — seriously!

        Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 10:29 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Living la vida noire out here on the Left Coast, Sr. Muse. Did you see that the head of the European Union was going to start advocating for US states to leave the Union in retaliation for Trump promoting the dissolution of the EU? Ohio was specifically mentioned. Hopefully, I won’t need a passport to visit you if I ever get the chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:24 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I hadn’t heard (or seen) that, Ricardo, but I think the best place to start would be to advocate for Trump to leave the union….better yet, leave the planet (though I can’t imagine that the inhabitants of any other world would be gullible enough to fall for Trump’s con job).

        Like

    • BroadBlogs 4:28 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      My mom loves old movies. She’d love this list!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:22 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Prudence dictates keeping my posts to a reasonable length, or I’d have listed many more movies. Sometimes I wish Prudence would mind her own business! 😦

        Like

    • Don Frankel 5:04 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great movies of course I’ve seen them all and more than once. They did a remake of Out Of The Past called Against All Odds with Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods. In a bit of smart casting they also had Jane Greer in there.

      But White Heat is one of the all time any type of movie you want to call it and no mention of it would be complete without…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:20 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        These movies had it all: great writing, atmosphere, directors, stars, supporting casts — the works. I’ve only watched WHITE HEAT once or twice, but I’ve seen MALTESE FALCON and THE THIRD MAN at least 5 or 6 times each, DOUBLE INDEMNITY and SUNSET BOULEVARD probably about 3 times.

        Like

    • Mél@nie 11:00 am on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I did watch them all… just like you, I may have seen “Maltese Falcon” 4-5 times! 🙂

      • * *

      @film noir – en français dans le texte, SVP… 🙂 MERCI, Monsieur Muse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:34 pm on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Mercy me — I fear my very limited French fails me in getting the gist of the sentence before “SVP” (which I understand stands for “s’il vous plait”). If you please, please translate into English. Merci!
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mél@nie 3:25 am on April 5, 2017 Permalink

          SVP = s’il vous plaît = please… 🙂 you’re too modest, Sir… my very best and respectful regards, Mélanie Bedos

          Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , book review, 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 12:00 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: book review, Darwin, evangelism, , , human rights, , rationalism,   

    DO IT…BUY THE BOOK 

    Among the books I’ve owned for some time and not found time (until now) to read is one which convincingly illuminates how America has evolved (some might say retrogressed, in the case of our politicians) over the years.

    When I say “evolved,” most people (at least, those who don’t regard it as a dirty word) think of it in the Darwinian sense as gradual development from primitive to more adaptive or advanced stages….as, to take a human example, from very brutish to veddy British — or, from restive barbarians to festive Bavarians. But one would have to be blind not to see that human evolution isn’t a straight forward, rising-tide-lifts-all-boats proposition. In other words, what you sea is what you get (even my puns have their ups and downs).

    Then there’s the history of rights withheld, an early example being what American colonists determined to address. The British, loathe to let go, weren’t there yet…and neither are many of us there yet when it comes to the rights of others — speaking of which (for illustrative purposes), here’s a clip with reference to California’s 2008 ballot Proposition 8 denying same-sex couples the right to marry (an issue of no concern to me whatsoever except as it pertains to ‘affairs’ which some people — especially religious conservatives — can’t bear the thought of, even though it’s no skin off their nose):

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/c0cf508ff8/prop-8-the-musical-starring-jack-black-john-c-reilly-and-many-more-from-fod-team-jack-black-craig-robinson-john-c-reilly-and-rashida-jones?_cc=__d___&_ccid=dcac2697-3ae0-4cc9-b7fc-b87fad7ada17

    Coincidentally, 2008 is the same year the book I referred to at the start (THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON by Susan Jacoby) was published. Here is a review of that book:

    http://www.dialoginternational.com/dialog_international/2008/05/i-admired-susan.html

    Though I’m in tune with that review for the most part, I take issue with the reviewer’s belief that “Jacoby is overestimating the role of religion in America in the decline of Enlightenment rationalism.” Furthermore, the reviewer states that “the number of true fundamentalists is probably not that significant: she [Jacoby] conflates fundamentalism with evangelism” — a contention which leads me to question whether the reviewer did more than skim through Chapter 8 (THE NEW OLD-TIME RELIGION), which takes pains to differentiate between the two — including such distinctions as The main difference between fundamentalists and evangelicals….is that not all evangelicals regard the Bible as literally true but all fundamentalists do. That chapter, detailing the role of evangelism and fundamentalism in America past and present, is alone worth the price of erudition….eminently readable erudition, I might add.

    If you want to add to your understanding of the forces and factors that have created THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON, do it….buy the book.

     

     

     
    • painkills2 2:28 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Gay marriage cannot save the economy. But, it might save the institution of marriage. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:20 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That reminds me of the old joke “Marriage is a wonderful institution….but who wants to live in an institution?”

      Liked by 2 people

    • linnetmoss 6:38 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about the fundamentalist/evangelical distinction. Too many in the media have no idea what they’re talking about and use “evangelical” as a euphemism for “fundamentalist.” That said, there seem to be far fewer socially liberal evangelicals than in the past. Either that or they are far less vocal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:57 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Good point about the media, which comes in for its fair share of criticism in Jacoby’s book; e.g. “the simplistic slogans of junk thought are perfectly suited to modern mass media, which must fixate on novelty in order to catch the eyes and ears of a public with an increasingly short attention span.” And that was written 8 years before Trump’s campaign for the GOP nomination!

        Liked by 1 person

        • linnetmoss 4:09 pm on June 10, 2016 Permalink

          I think this problem dates to the advent of television (or was made worse by it). Even today, I notice that radio news is much more nuanced and detailed. But ‘click bait’ has also been around for the long time, in the form of sensationalist tabloids.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:49 pm on June 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know how much I love polls. I wouldn’t say they make these things up as they go because that would sound like a conspiracy theory but they make these things up as they go. Besides people have been writing about the decline of America since well the place started. You can look it up.

      But accepting the fact that it’s all over, well what can I do but once again quote Riddick from the Chronicles of Riddick. “It’s gotta end sometime.”

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:01 pm on June 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Not to worry, Don. If America meets its end when and if The Donald becomes President, “IT’LL BE GREAT” (he has promised everything else he does will be great, so why should that be an exception).

      Like

    • Don Frankel 5:18 pm on June 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Muse maybe it won’t be so great but it will be YUUUUGGGEEEE and spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 12:36 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting post. I agree that fundamentalist and evangelist have become almost synonymous in the media, though politically they don’t seem to be that far apart when it comes to social reforms and politics is where the “news” focuses today. Prop 8 – The Musical was great. Now they need to make one for the Great Bathroom Debate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:24 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Now that (the Great Bathroom Debate) is a royal flush of a great idea, Diana. I hope it comes to pass, because I would buy a front row stool to see that one….not to mention #2 (the sequel).
        I could go on, but I’ve got to get back to work on the post I’m working on for tomorrow. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: book review, , dogmatism, fanatics, , holy wars, human history, Middle East, Quakers, , secular humanists, tribalism, tribes, ,   

    TRIBES AND TRIBULATIONS 

    tribal, adj. Of the nature of, or relating to, a tribe.
    tribe, n. 1. A unit of sociopolitical organization. 2. A political, ethnic, or ancestral division of ancient states and cultures [such as] a. the three divisions of the ancient Romans. b. the 12 divisions of ancient Israel.
    –Webster’s New College Dictionary

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

    If anything seems clear from the seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, it is that tribalism and religion are at the heart of the madness. This is not to suggest that tribalism is confined to the Middle East (far from it), or that other forces haven’t played a part. But buried beneath the overlay of foreign intervention in the region (or meddling, if you prefer) are roots with a “history as old or nearly so as that of humanity itself” –Edward O. Wilson, biologist, naturalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

    In his book THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE, Wilson posits that tribalism and religion are inextricably bound together by what he calls “the instinctual force of tribalism in the genesis of religiosity. People deeply need membership in a group, whether religious or secular.” In a chapter titled simply “RELIGION,” Wilson states:

    The great religions are inspired by belief in an incorruptible deity–or multiple deities. Their priests bring solemnity to rites of passage through the cycle of life and death. They sacralize basic tenets of civil and moral law, comfort the afflicted, and take care of the desperately poor. Followers strive to be righteous in the sight of man and God. The churches are centers of community life [and] ultimate refuges against the inequities and tragedies of secular life. They and their ministers make more bearable tyranny, war, starvation, and the worst of natural catastrophes.
    The great religions are also, and tragically, sources of ceaseless and unnecessary suffering. They are impediments to the grasp of reality needed to solve most social problems in the real world. Their exquisitely human flaw is tribalism. It is tribalism, not the moral tenets and humanitarian thought of pure religion, that makes good people do bad things.
    Unfortunately, a religious group defines itself foremost by its creation myths, the supernatural narrative that explains how humans came into existence. This story is also the heart of tribalism. No matter how subtly explained, the core belief assures its members that God favors them above all others. It teaches that members of other religions worship the wrong gods, use wrong rituals, follow false prophets….

    Food for thought — but thought that leaves questions to chew on: if “love makes fools of us all” (to quote Thackeray), does it follow that tribalism makes blind fools of us all? Are we unwitting tribalists to the siren song of political/religious saviors, some of us to the extent of becoming tribal or religious fanatics? Are tribal/religious fanatics born or made (nature vs. nurture)? And, given that all religions are invented by man, does that entitle Wilson to tar them all with the same brush?

    For example, Wilson regards it as a mistake to fold believers of particular religious and dogmatic ideologies into two piles (moderate versus extremist), because “The true cause of hatred and violence is faith versus faith, an outward expression of the ancient instinct of tribalism.”  While that may be true, I question the notion that all religions/tribes wash out equally. For example, in pre-colonial times in North America, there were both peaceful and warlike Native American tribes. And so it is elsewhere. Aren’t secular humanists equally guilty of bad faith who don’t recognize/won’t separate the wheat from the chaff/laissez-faire from doctrinaire? Who and what have incited and fed religious wars and persecutions throughout history? It’s not the likes of the Quakers, nor is it directives from the heavens.

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

     

     

     

     

     
    • Midwestern Plant Girl 8:33 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This was a great read!
      I play my drum to a different beat and prefer to not be part of a group or religious. I like to read about these topics tho, as I want to understand it. I don’t feel left out, but sometimes don’t understand why people do things. Maybe it’s my O- blood? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:09 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I concur, but though I don’t seek to be part of a group, there is one group I can’t help belonging to: the human race. In that sense, we’re all in this together, which is why all the ongoing political and religious extreme dogmatism is a plague on all our houses.

        Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 1:49 pm on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well put, Sr. Muse, and undoubtedly true. I’m an agnostic myself, thank God.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 2:45 pm on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Growing up Catholic put the fear of the Lord in me, Ricardo, so I’m still too chicken to be an agnostic. Some people may think I’m an egghead, so perhaps I’m now an egg-nostic. At least that would solve an age-old question: the chicken came before the egg-nostic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Duffey Writes on Things 10:06 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is the first blog of yours I’ve read, Mistermuse. I feel like there is a LOT more I will be learning from you! Bravo – you have opened this reader’s eyes to a much broader playing field!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:35 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I usually write in a more creative, humorous vein, but my art-ery takes a serious turn every once in a while. I only post every fifth day, so your eyes shouldn’t get bloodshot from over-learning! 🙂

        Thanks again.

        Like

    • Don Frankel 10:50 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good stuff Muse. A little heavy but sometimes we have to do heavy. I haven’t read Wilson so I wouldn’t want to characterize his stuff but if his basic premise is to blame it on Tribalism well it sort of a non-starter for me. It doesn’t matter what the Tribe says or the Government says or even and this may be heresy but even what the Supreme Court says. You make your decisions in this life and then you have to live with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:46 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        You make a good point, Don. We tend to think of tribalism as something uncivilized, something they do “over there” — but all you have to do is look at our own politics to see mindless tribal followings (albeit with a modern veneer).

        Liked by 1 person

    • John Looker 2:12 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I have a great deal of sympathy with your analysis. Tribalism does appear deep rooted in the human condition — perhaps it is inescapable until societies can find ways of evolving appropriate forms of government. I found myself writing a group of poems on tribal loyalties a year ago. They might not interest you but, just in case, they can be found on my own (poetry) blog at: https://johnstevensjs.wordpress.com/category/looking-at-life-through-work-series/tribal-loyalties/ They also had a place in a book of mine published a year ago, but that’s another story. Congratulations on raising this in a thoughtful way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:01 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your comment and like your tribal poems, especially THE DAWN RAID. I tend to think that the perversion of tribalism (mindless, dogmatic allegiance to its worst forms), more than tribalism itself, is the main problem….and one (skeptic that I am) that I believe will probably always be with us.

      Like

    • John Looker 5:53 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Yes. In any society there is going to be a reassuring sense of belonging to a familiar homogeneous group, but it is dangerous (or perverted as you put it) when there is no imagination about or empathy towards others. Such a pressing issue for our times! Glad you’ve raised it in the manner you do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:29 am on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Religion is like science–not evil or good in itself, but depending on the use we make of it. (Although Christopher Hitchens made a pretty comprehensive case against it in “God is not Great.”) IMO science has relieved much more suffering than religion ever did. (And of course has caused its share.) As to tribalism, I don’t see much benefit in it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:11 am on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for more “food for thought.”

      I suppose, given that “People deeply need membership in a group, whether religious or secular” (as Edward O. Wilson wrote), one could say the same of tribalism–“not good or evil in itself,” but depending on the ends pursued (and the means used to pursue them). Another thought: how widely or loosely to define, or think of, tribalism. In a sense, fraternities, sororities, sports teams — such as the Cleveland Indians 🙂 — any group banded together for common cause, could be considered tribes.

      I own Hitchens’ GOD IS NOT GREAT, but haven’t read it in a long time — though I’m familiar with his arguments in general. It’s too complex to get into here, but I’ve written a few posts on these things before and will probably do so again.

      Like

    • literaryeyes 1:39 pm on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      H.L. Mencken ripped apart the basic foundations of religion in his book, Twilight of the Gods (I think that’s the title, or maybe that’s a movie-I plead senior memory). Religion started early when tribes were the social construct, so it’s plausible they are inextricably and at this time, irrevocably, intermixed. But to put a little humor in, here’s a quote purportedly from Mencken: “For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.” In other words, the improbable, in his opinion. I’m not as pragmatic as Mencken, by far, and believe we have an inherent spiritual nature that’s connected to our physical selves, and possibly to something outside ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:30 pm on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well said. Neither the god(s) of religion, nor the concept of creation without a creator, is convincing to me. To quote from WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST (by Jim Holt):
      “A scientific explanation must involve some sort of physical cause. But any physical cause is by definition part of the universe to be explained. Thus any purely scientific explanation of the existence of the universe is doomed to be circular. Even if it starts with something very minimal–a cosmic egg, a tiny bit of quantum vacuum, a singularity-it still starts with something, not nothing.”

      Like

    • restlessjo 3:05 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sadly, I don’t have an argument. I simply wish it were otherwise, but wishing will never make it so.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:03 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The good news is that with a creator, there remains the possibility of life after death for us. The bad news is that with a creator so above all the suffering it has deliberately made the lot of its creatures, what would that bode for our next-life relationship with such a creator? Sadly (to say the least), it’s enough to make thinking people careful what they wish for.
      But, for now, I wish for the best for you and everyone reading this.

      Like

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: attitude, book review, , coping, drudgery, early retirement, human relations, , , jobs, lost souls, unemployment benefits,   

    TAKE THIS JOB AND CAN IT! 

    And to think that you can turn on the television any hour of any day and find a politician railing against the outsourcing of these manufacturing jobs, as if this is any great loss at all. The outsourcing hasn’t gone nearly far enough if you ask me; we should be outsourcing these factories to the ninth circle of hell, outsourcing them into oblivion! It’s not work fit for a human being….  —Franklin Schneider

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

    If you think my last post featured jobs that stink — stink again. Franklin Schneider, author of CANNED (subtitled How I Lost Ten Jobs in Ten Years and Learned to Love Unemployment) has held every type of job — briefly. He’s detasseled corn in Iowa, served time at a doomed Internet start-up, and for one shining moment became the “Most Successful Telemarketer in America.” But his search for a fairly compensated, fulfilling position free of pointless drudgery taught him one thing: Such a job does not exist. And if it did, his boss would  probably be an a**hole [quoted from back cover].

    CANNED is a book with an attitude you’ll probably either loathe or relate to. As I read it, I found myself doing a bit of both, because, although Schneider tells it like he sees it, I was left feeling — well, more or less like a combination of these reviews/reviewers:

    “For the majority of you reading Canned, a feeling of contempt will wash over you toward the writer for exemplifying the worst in Americans. Others will read these words and show some form of remorse for the author and his ill-conceived notions as to what he is ‘entitled’ [collecting unemployment benefits while deliberately ducking work]. In either respect, I am sure that every one who is not a Marxist can agree, Franklin Schneider is the type of person this country can do without.” –Charles Signorile

    “[It’s] a caustic celebration of the loser life, a ranting jeremiad against the working world and all its slavish pieties. It’s like watching Thoreau hand out tokens at the mall arcade, Melville grind his teeth in an Aeron chair at a media portal startup, or Bukowski lose his mind in an MCI telemarketing carrel: a twisted kind of fun.” –Tom Lutz

    “Franklin Schneider’s writing is smart, energetic, funny, illuminating, outrageous, painful (in the best possible way), quirky, distinctive and wildly entertaining.” –Josh Emmons

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

    I view CANNED in the broader context of a roiling world of differing individuals, groups and classes who can’t put themselves in the other guy’s place, unable (or averse) to consider there may be a happier way to run a steamboat. The late comedienne Joan Rivers put it like this: “Can we talk?” The answer: Apparently not really (unless by “talk,” is meant moving our lips and making sounds). No wonder many of us just don’t “get it.” Sometimes it seems that only kids make allowances.

    Like fellow lost-soul Schneider, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was young. Unlike him, I wound up falling into a thirty year career with one company while I “found myself.” It was a career in which I take neither great pride nor lasting prejudice (in other words, I worked to live, not lived to work), from which I was able to retire early and end up doing what I came to want to do. Was it worth putting up with all the “slavish pieties” one must observe along the way? Given the cards we’re dealt, I never felt as if I had a choice.

    It’s easy to envy those who have the good fortune to earn a living doing what they love to do, but even some of them go off the deep end, unable to cope. For the everyone else of us, Franklin Schneider cites this quote: This is how the hero of our time must be. He will be characterized either by decisive inaction, or else by futile activity.* Perhaps so. In any case, I rest his case.

    *from A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov

    P.S. And what was it “I came to want to do?” Well, since you asked:

    http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2016/01/24

     

     
    • Midwestern Plant Girl 6:53 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I may have to read this book! I work to live right now, but would love to live for work. .. with the right job. I have never been on unemployment b4, but wouldn’t be ashamed to be now. I want to take classes to change careers, but have no time to go while working! Catch 22. 😯
      I need to change the way I feel about responsibility… why feel guilty about changing jobs when this is my life and I have only a short time to enjoy it!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 9:01 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My 25 year career as a Civil Servant was at times exhilarating, challenging, boring, annoying, stressful, boring, fun and did I say boring? But it was, well, life.

      The best thing is to own your own business which I got to do as well. Now, I follow my passion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:33 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        As the pig said in the PEARLS BEFORE SWINE comic strip, “BEING LAZY IS NOT A PASSION!” (Just kidding, Don — I couldn’t resist!) 🙂

        Like

    • arekhill1 10:36 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Still working here. Never been on unemployment, disability or workman’s comp in my life. Find time to write, too, in addition to carving out time to sit on the couch and drink beer. How does it all get done? Saving time by skipping personal pronouns helps.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:09 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      Like

    • literaryeyes 12:06 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is a subject we don’t want to talk about, but many people are stuck in drudgery, and even worse, what they do has no lasting positive value. Most know it, but it’s easier to say, I’m doing it for my family, and I’ll “live” outside work. I love that you quoted Lermontov’s A Hero of our Time (some say a precursor to The Stranger); he was WAY ahead of his time. Worthwhile occupation may not bring you the same monetary compensation, but what is your sanity worth? I made little money doing what I believed was helpful to others, and in the process have a wealth of experience (if I modestly may say so!).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michaeline Montezinos 12:16 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Worked and or went to school from the age of 6. Schooling is work where you can only learn what your professor teaches. Finally had time to sit on the couch with my fourth daughter and loved every messy minute spent having babies and watching them grow. Not sure if marriage falls into any one of these categories . Maybe it has a passionate beginning and then the work begins. But it is a career you must want to pursue without selfishness and with devotion to responsibility. So I finally married the man who inspires me to do both.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:05 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I can think of no job more important than being a stay-at-home mom (or dad, for that matter), but of course, that depends on the family financial situation and requirements (which shouldn’t put acquiring luxuries ahead of giving one’s kids the love, time and attention they need).

      Like

    • Todd Duffey Writes on Things 6:21 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hear hear! I’ve been an actor in cult films and TV shows, and yet I’ve also been on the government teat. If you’ve ever found something you absolutely love to do, nothing else will bring you the satisfaction of that thing. To those who haven’t found it, the point is moot. To those who have, they tax us for just such the occasion that, should we need it, it is there. Not to live off of. Simply to get us to the next opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:34 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Wouldn’t it be heaven if everyone could earn a living doing what they love to do, whether it be digging ditches, writing the Great American or Great Armenian Novel, or sitting on the couch drinking beer (preferably craft beer). With all the promises politicians make, I don’t know why no candidate has promised that.

        Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 6:27 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

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