Tagged: Dorothy Parker Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Dorothy Parker, , , Harpo Marx, , Paul Simon, , , silence is golden, silent films, , The Sound of Silence,   


    You sure you can’t move? –what Harpo Marx “said” to the tied-up hero (Richard Dix) before punching him in the 1925 film TOO MANY KISSES (fortunately, the film survived)

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    Italicized above are the only words ever “spoken” (but not heard) on film by the man whose birthday we note today, HARPO MARX. The audience didn’t hear those five words because the film was a “silent” — “talkies” didn’t come on the scene until 1927, two years before the first of thirteen Marx Brothers movies (1929-49). Harpo spoke in none of them.

    But why, oh why-o, should I try-o to “bio” Harpo, when here-o you can click on the official thing from his offspring:


    Because Harpo associated with Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and other wits in the famed Algonquin Round Table repartee, I expected to turn up a number of witty Harpo Marx quotes for this piece. No such luck — I found only one I enjoyed enough to post here (both the “she” referred to in the quote, and who it is addressed to, are unknown):

    “She’s a lovely person. She deserves a good husband. Marry her before she finds one.”

    One quote being three quotes short of a gallon, I shall return to giving you “the silent treatment” with a quota of four quotes of silence said by forethoughtful others:

    “Listen to the sound of silence.” –Paul Simon, American singer, songwriter, and actor

    “Silence is golden unless you have kids, then it’s just plain suspicious.” –anonymous

    “If nobody ever said anything unless he knew what he was talking about, what a ghastly hush would descend upon the earth!” –A. P. Herbert, English humorist, writer, and politician

    “I believe in the discipline of silence and can talk for hours about it.” –George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and critic

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    Since I didn’t give Harpo the last word, I’ll let him give his audience the last laugh….and though he doesn’t speak, you’ll hear captivating sounds escape his lips 2:42 into this clip:

    Bravo, Harpo!

    EPILOGUE: Listen — 90+ years after the “silents” ended*, you can still hear….

    *with the exception of two Charlie Chaplin masterpieces in the 1930s, CITY LIGHTS and MODERN TIMES

    • calmkate 4:24 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      wow Harpo is actually playing that harp! Love his whistle 🙂
      SnG’s song is a real favourite … thanks for the memories!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:25 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You’re welcome, Kate. I too love Harpo’s whistling in the Marx Brothers Musical clip, and I can’t imagine anyone not loving Simon & Garfunkel’s THE SOUND OF SILENCE (except Trump, who is incapable of appreciating the sound of silence if you paid him).

        Liked by 2 people

        • calmkate 5:09 pm on November 23, 2019 Permalink

          doubt he even knows what ‘silence’ means … not much between his ears except fluffy hair!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Don Ostertag 8:40 pm on November 23, 2019 Permalink

          When i am in a funk I watch a Marx Brothers movie or listen to a favorite song like Sound of Silence.

          Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 7:47 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I’m a HUGE Marx Brothers fan.

      Harpo adopted several children because he and his wife couldn’t have any of their own. His aim was, in his words, when he got home he’d have a child looking at him “from every window”…

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:35 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Likewise about the Marx Brothers. If they had made no other films than A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and DUCK SOUP, they would still be remembered forever (I hope).

        Liked by 2 people

        • masercot 8:32 am on November 24, 2019 Permalink

          My favorite, not to be contrary, is A Day at the Races. Why? The great jazz number in the middle of the movie as well as the Tootsie-Frootsie Ice Cream Scene…

          Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:01 am on November 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Although Races isn’t my fav Marx Bros. movie, I’m always up for a jazz number, though this one has a very brief “bug-eyed” shot or two that might be regarded as racist today:

        Liked by 1 person

        • masercot 10:15 am on November 24, 2019 Permalink

          I agree with that but I’ll put up with a little light racism to see a wonderful performance by a jazz artist who died far too young…

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:40 pm on November 24, 2019 Permalink

          I assume you’re referring to vocalist Ivie Anderson, whose gig in this film was one of her rare appearances apart from the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Her performance here (as well as on the many recording she made with the Duke) was indeed wonderful.


    • Rivergirl 8:46 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      My father loved the Marx brothers and I grew up on all the films. Thanks for the memories!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:41 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Rg. Now I know (at least part of) why you grew up to be who you are (that’s wholly a compliment, btw).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 9:07 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Amazing to see and hear Harpo playing the harp. Captivating! So much talent!

      Liked by 2 people

    • D. Wallace Peach 9:19 pm on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      “Silence is golden unless you have kids, then it’s just plain suspicious.” So true! Lol. Fun quotes and clips and a beautiful song from Paul Simon. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:49 pm on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        “Fun quotes and clips and a beautiful song” — three for the price of one! Who says I don’t offer bargains? Thanks for the testimonial, Diana!

        Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 3:31 pm on November 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Another big Marx Brothers fan here! Classic laugh fest!

      Liked by 1 person

    • tref 9:43 pm on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Harpo playing the song “Alone” in night at the opera the very height of cinema. I could never grow tired of watching it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:25 pm on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        That is one of many great moments in the movie that I never tire of watching, such as the stateroom scene. The 1930s was truly the height of film making.

        Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 3:57 am on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Priceless MM. Priceless. continue…


    • mistermuse 9:49 am on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. I’d give your comment a Like, but it doesn’t “take” when I click it.


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dorothy Parker, Henry James, , old song, , ,   


    One must never miss an opportunity of quoting things by others which are always more interesting than those one thinks up oneself. –Marcel Proust

    The idea for this post was born of the mating of the above quote (which came from a book I’m reading about Marcel Proust) with a play on words from the title of this old song:

    The next step was to come up with nine quotes based on the above premise. Almost by default, I chose quotes about quotes. I hope the result isn’t born stillborn — if so, de fault is yours (or mine, if you want to be petty about it). Let’s begin and see how it works out:

    Those who never quote, in return are never quoted. –Isaac D’Israeli

    Pretty things that are well said — it’s nice to have them in your head. –Robert Frost

    I have made it a rule that whenever I say something stupid, I immediately attribute it to Dr. Johnson, Marcus Aurelius or Dorothy Parker. –George Mikes

    Asked to describe his most recent play, a playwright (who Dorothy Parker felt had been copying her) said, “It’s hard to say — except that it’s a play against all isms.” She replied, “Except plagiarism.

    I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking. –Dorothy L. Sayers

    To be amused at what you read — that is the great spring of quotation. –Charles Edward Montague

    While reading writers of great formulatory power — Henry James, Santayana, Proust — I find I can scarcely get through a page without having to stop to record some lapidary sentence. Reading Henry James, for example, I have muttered to myself, “C’mon, Henry, turn down the brilliance a notch, so I can get some reading done.” –Joseph Epstein

    If you want to be quoted, say something you shouldn’t say. –Evan Esar

    I really didn’t say everything I said. –Yogi Berra

    So that makes me a quoter of nine, unless one counts the opening Marcel Proust quote, which doesn’t count as ten unless you’re keeping count, in which case, count it instead as a bonus which would only count if you don’t count Yogi, who said he didn’t say what he said if he didn’t say it (but don’t quote me on that).



    • K. A. Bryce 12:07 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice, though I was disappointed you didn’t have something by Wilde. Nothing comes to mind offhand and my own book of quotes is in no way organized, but I would have guessed he’d be one of your first. I’m sure he said something scathing about quotes, or at least one would hope so. Smiles>KB

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:08 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I own a book titled THE WIT AND HUMOR OF OSCAR WILDE which contains many Wilde quotes, but nothing “scathing about quotes.” However, Paul Sunstone came up with a Wilde quotation quote in his comment which follows….and then there’s this from my book, which isn’t too far off course: “I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time and prevents arguments.”

        Liked by 4 people

    • Paul Sunstone 12:14 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” — Oscar Wilde

      Liked by 6 people

    • Richard A Cahill 1:31 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Any post that mentions the immortal Ms. Parker twice gets a star on my refrigerator, Sr. Muse.

      Liked by 5 people

      • mistermuse 8:25 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        One of my favorite wits as well, Ricardo. When I’m at wit’s end, I can always count on her to restore my faith in humility (as in ‘humiliating putdowns’).

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 6:20 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “Quote, unquote and quote”

      “How many quotes is that, Jameson?”

      “Three, sir”

      “Three? Add another quote and make it a gallon”

      Groucho Marx – Animal Crackers

      Liked by 5 people

      • mistermuse 8:39 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Groucho was such a wise cracker that one would think he would be the Marx Brother at the famous Algonquin Round Table (where Dorothy Parker was ‘queen’), but instead it was Harpo.

        Liked by 2 people

        • masercot 8:45 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink

          I’ve heard that Harpo could be pretty funny. Actually, I heard the same thing about Zeppo. Some biographer talked about how ungodly slow Zeppo Marx drove and the author of the book just got lulled and FELL OUT OF THE CAR. It was probably going about twenty miles an hour at the time…

          Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 6:30 pm on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      lol gave me a smile, nice to see a post other than about him … 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • restlessjo 3:22 am on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I love it! I even remember the song 🙂 🙂 Original thinking is pretty hard, and I may have to spend the rest of my life quoting George Mikes.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:34 am on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Jo. That song was actually made popular by Al Jolson several decades before the Bobby Darin rendition, but I chose the Darin clip because he was one of my favorite singers. As you may know, he died tragically young, otherwise he may have given Sinatra a run for his money.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:15 pm on September 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Fabulous quotes, and am very glad to see Dorothy Parker honoured here.

      Also: Bobby Darin was the ultimate in Cool.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:06 pm on September 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Did you know that Dorothy Parker was also a song writer? If you’ll click on “Dorothy Parker” under “Tags” (right hand column near the top) and scroll down to my June 7 post EXCUSE MY DUST, you’ll come to a clip of I WISHED ON THE MOON, to which she wrote the lyrics.

        Liked by 2 people

    • markscheel1 3:37 pm on September 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply


      Dare I disclose the following? A story of mine, I’ve just been informed, is a finalist in a Dorothy Parker writing contest where entrants are required to take the first line and last line of her “A Telephone Call” story and write their own story seamlessly in between. Furthermore, a little bird landed on my window recently and tweeted that you (and yours) are due for congratulations–and you know what for. So, by golly, congrats!!!!! And many more. 🙂


      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:14 pm on September 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Congrats on being a Dorothy Parker writing contest finalist, Mark — here’s hoping that your story wins (and, if so, that you post it). Also, thanks for the “you know what” congrats; I’m glad the tweet came from a little bird, not from you know who. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • rivergirl1211 4:59 pm on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Well said, or quoted as the case may be.

      “I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.”
      George Bernard Shaw

      Liked by 3 people

    • barkinginthedark 6:20 pm on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      tonite, the stars’ll twinkle and shine, this evening…about a quoter of nine. continue…

      Liked by 3 people

    • barkinginthedark 6:22 pm on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      actually i wrote that before i even knew what the Darin clip was. great minds. continue…

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:54 pm on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        In a way, that’s similar to Trump — he writes tweets before he knows what he’s talking about.

        (Just kidding — that comparison was a terrible one to make!)

        Liked by 1 person

    • smbabbitt 10:53 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Just ran across this (from LOVE’S LABOURS LOST) in an old advertisement for a new book of quotations:
      Moth. [Aside to COSTARD.] They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.
      Costard. O! they have lived long on the almsbasket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.

      Liked by 3 people

    • smbabbitt 10:56 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry, should have been LABOUR’S


    • mistermuse 11:45 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 8:25 pm on September 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Dorothy Parker, , , , ,   


    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).

      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 August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dorothy Parker, Edgar Guest, , , , ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, , , ,   


    I’d rather be a great bad poet than a bad good poet. –Ogden Nash

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    Today is the birthday, not of Ogden Nash, but of Edgar Guest (Aug. 20, 1881). And who, you might ask, was Mr. Guest, and why is he my special Guest for this post? (Sorry about that, but to paraphrase Will Rogers, I never met a pun I didn’t like.) Though he is all but forgotten today, in his day Guest was a poet so popular that he was known as the People’s Poet. Unfortunately for him, this lofty regard was not shared by more discriminating appraisers such as Dorothy Parker, who is reported to have declared:

    I’d rather flunk my Wassermann test*
    than read a poem by Edgar Guest.”

    *a test for syphilis

    Were his poems really that bad? Here are a few examples; you be the judge:

    Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
    Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ living in it.
    –from his most famous poem, titled “Home”

    When you’re up against a trouble,
    Meet it squarely, face to face,
    Lift your chin, and set your shoulders,
    Plant your feet and take a brace.
    –from “See It Through”

    Now, I’m not saying I’d rather flunk a syphilis test than read a poem by Edgar Guest, but August 18 was/is BAD POETRY DAY, and one wonders why that date was chosen rather than August 20, which would have coincided perfectly with the birth date of the critics’ poetaster child for BAD POETRY DAY. Of course, it’s possible there are worse poets than Guest, so perhaps neglected candidates for the honor would have raised a stink (as opposed to raising a stinker, like the parents of a certain GOP candidate for President).

    But I digress (the devil made me do it). Back on message, your humble host is more than capable of vying for the honor; as proof, he submits the following for your disapproval:


    It was a dark and stormy night
    On the day I left to stay.
    The sun was shining brightly
    On yon shadows afar away.

    I be starting on a journey
    Just as soon as I know where.
    I’ve packed a lot of nothing
    To unpack when I get there.

    They say the spirit’s willing,
    But the flesh is weak as sin;
    The former is my future —
    The latter is where I’ve been.

    So come, sweet spirit, raise me
    From the heap o’ living dead.
    I surrender — set me free from
    My behind to look ahead.

    And should I meet up with trouble,
    I’ll meet it squarely and not duck;
    I’ll shoulder my chin, a face lift face,
    And just show all-around pluck.

    And if that doesn’t take me
    Beyond that unbending bend,
    I’ll just declare this is where
    Both journey and poem end.

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

    Back to Mr. Nash. I opened this opus with his “great bad poet/bad good poet” quote. There was a method to my badness: he was America’s preeminent writer of humorous light verse from 1931 until his death in 1971, a favorite of mine, and, apropos to this post’s focus on an August 18-20 time frame, he was born Aug. 19 (1902). So Happy Birthday, Ogden Nash — a wit as a light versifier and, I might add, no twit as a lyricist; witness his words to this tune composed by Kurt Weill, as sung by Eileen Wilson (lip synced by Ava Gardner) and Dick Haymes in the 1948 Hollywooden film version of the play ONE TOUCH OF VENUS:



    • renxkyoko 12:11 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I like it.

      I like poems that are direct and to the point, thus , easy to understand and appreciate.

      Liked by 1 person

    • painkills2 12:20 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Poetry is in the eye of the beholder. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michaeline Montezinos 12:31 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I also like your poem. It reminds me of the one I wrote as Artemus Bumpkin on SWI.

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 2:41 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think people can be snobs about poetry like they can about art. If you like something, does it matter if the critics think it is good or not?
      I like your poem, and you’re amusing as always. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:07 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks (to all four of you) for your comments. My take on the excellent points about the kinds of poetry you (or anyone, for that matter) like and poetry being “in the eye of the beholder,” is that this is TRUE OF MANY THINGS, but is internalized by too few people. Being unable to accept and appreciate that we all see things from our own vantage point (based on our upbringing, culture, religion, maturity, etc.) is, in my opinion, the primary reason why this is such a violent, “my way or the highway” world. Antagonism is no substitute for empathy and gets us nowhere but where we are. We need to get to a better place.

        Liked by 2 people

    • linnetmoss 7:45 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “Set me free from my behind”? I am going to be laughing all day over this one. I also like “Hollywooden.” But Dick Haymes actually had a good voice.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:21 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It may be hard to believe now, but in the 1940s, Dick Haymes was Frank Sinatra’s biggest rival as the bobbysoxers’ favorite crooner. In my opinion, Haymes had a better voice than Sinatra at that time, although of course Frank went on to reach the heights, while Haymes slid into near-oblivion. His story is a sad one in many ways, and makes for interesting reading for anyone interested.


    • Cynthia Jobin 9:12 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds like that particular dark and stormy night—of all dark and stormy nights—was a most auspicious one, and whether you have a bandage or a banjo on your knee in future, things are looking good for your liberation from your behind. And since your poem is a delight, neitherr I nor Susannah will cry for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:54 am on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve always liked Stephen Foster’s songs such as OH! SUSANNA (from which I borrowed the title of my poem), CAMPTOWN RACES, BEAUTIFUL DREAMER and JEANIE WITH THE LIGHT BROWN HAIR. For those who aren’t familiar with OH! SUSANNA, it goes like this:

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 12:05 pm on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think your poem is too clever to qualify as bad. 🙂 Loved it!

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 12:13 pm on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you (I only hope Stephen Foster isn’t turning over in his grave)!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 6:43 pm on August 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I like the way Guest sets his chin up. It would make it real easy to land a left hook or a right cross or both. He may not be the worst poet but he’s got to be pretty close.

      Is Dick Haymes trying to sound like Sinatra or is that his natural voice? I know from comments Sinatra made that he couldn’t stand the guy.


    • mistermuse 9:00 pm on August 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, that Haymes’ natural voice, but I think he shows it to better effect in the DON’T THROW COLD WATER ON THE FLAME OF LOVE clip in my previous post (SAY WHAT AGAIN?).
      Also, both his voice and his acting ability are better displayed in the 1945 version of the film STATE FAIR, with great Rodgers and Hammerstein songs like IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING and IT’S A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING.


    • BroadBlogs 9:15 pm on August 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Happy birthday to Ogden Nash! I say great bad poets have a lot of soul.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:47 pm on August 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      His body of work isn’t bad either! 🙂


    • arekhill1 12:26 am on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Both my parents would quote Guest when Mom made one of her cherry pies. “As I wend my way to Heaven, I’ll be full of cherry pie,” they would laugh between forkfuls. Didn’t make me like them any better, but I didn’t let it destroy my taste for cherry pie.


    • mistermuse 8:34 am on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Neither of my parents had any interest in poetry, so I wasn’t subjected to similar experiences at an early age. If there’s a creative writing gene in my family background, it must come from my mother’s Irish ancestors.


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Battle of the sexes, , Dorothy Parker, , , , , , , , , , ,   


    To a romantic girl, all roads lead to Romeo. –Evan Esar

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

    August is ROMANCE AWARENESS MONTH. I’m not sure why a month is needed to raise awareness of romance (a week, or even a day, seems more than sufficient to awaken all but the most world-weary of libidos)….however, if it must take a month, I suppose August will do as well as any other. But then who needs Valentine’s Day  — enough is enough!

    That may sound tantamount to telling Cupid to take a hike, but before you Romeos and Juliets go Roman off in a huff, be aware I have nothing against romance so long as it doesn’t get out of hand….which, as it happens, makes the title of my previous post (DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD) appear as if I’d simultaneously had today’s post in mind. Alas, I am not that far-sighted, but as a killer of two birds with one stone, and as a preview of coming attractions, I must admit the title was prescient (and I assure you that the two birds killed weren’t lovebirds).

    Anyway, what can I say about romance that hasn’t already been intimated by many others? Not much, I’m happy to say, because it comports with my creative energy level in these dog days of August. Therefore, I shall turn to those others who have already waxed eloquent about puppy love and the like, and relieve myself of further arduous cogitation:

    Love is the emotion that a woman always feels for a poodle, and sometimes for a man. –George Jean Nathan

    Romance has been elegantly defined as the offspring of fiction and love. –Disraeli

    Marriage is a romance in which the heroine dies in the first chapter. –Cecelia Egan

    This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, Doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. The doc says, Well, why don’t you turn him in? And the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that’s how I feel about relationships. They’re totally irrational, crazy and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs. –Woody Allen

    Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties. –Jules Renard

    The realist always falls in love with a girl he has grown up with, the romanticist with a girl from “off somewhere.” –Robert Frost

    Fools rush in where bachelors fear to wed. –Evan Esar

    Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. Women have a more subtle instinct: what they like is to be a man’s last romance. –Oscar Wilde

    By the time you swear you’re his, shivering and sighing,
    And he vows his passion is infinite, undying —
    Lady, make a note of this: One of you is lying.

    –Dorothy Parker

    Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy. –Henry Kissinger

    In as much as we began this romantic excursion with several punning allusions to Rome, it seems fitting to close with scenes from one of my favorite films, the Audrey Hepburn-Gregory Peck romantic comedy, ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953):

    • arekhill1 10:56 am on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “You can tell if you’re in love if all of your emotions can be described exactly by the lyrics of popular songs.”


      • mistermuse 11:54 am on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know who whose quote that is, but perhaps the last person you’d think it applies to was the acerbic satirist Dorothy Parker….and yet she wrote the lyrics to this love song sung by Billie Holiday, backed by the great Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra:


    • Don Frankel 6:47 pm on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great quotes and a great clip of Roman Holiday. Love that Song too.

      Acerbic one minute dreaming the next, sounds like maybe somebody was in love.


      • mistermuse 8:39 pm on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. It sounds as if you’ve seen ROMAN HOLIDAY, but if not, I highly recommend it — it’s a great movie.
        Dorothy Parker was married to her second husband (Alan Campbell, a bisexual) from 1934 to 1947, so when she wrote I WISHED ON THE MOON in 1935, she may well have been in love, even though (according to Wikipedia) she said he was “queer as a billy goat” (or maybe she just had a fondness for goats).

        Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 8:44 am on August 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Love these, especially the Oscar Wilde quote 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jane 9:44 pm on August 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve always been a bit of an Audrey Hepburn fan (OK, maybe a big fan) and I’ve watched Roman Holiday many times. Gregory Peck is a favourite too. I can’t help being sad at the end of watching it though. Love, responsibility…it’s not easy. A lot in life is all about compromise. Romance is delightful. Real life gets tricky. I think the Dorothy Parker quote probably struck a chord with me most! Now that I’m approaching 50, I think I appreciate Joni Mitchell’s song, “Both Sides Now.” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:57 am on August 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Jane, your well-observed comment deserves a more complete response than the rather hasty one I dashed off last night. I agree (although many politicians sadly think otherwise) that “A lot of life is all about compromise.” And I equally agree (my humorous/satirical post to the contrary) that “Romance is delightful” and there are few better movies that exemplify that than ROMAN HOLIDAY. Real life indeed gets tricky, as is so bittersweetly depicted in that film.

        And speaking of “delightful,” your thoughtful reply certainly qualifies. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jane 7:23 am on August 7, 2016 Permalink

          Thank you, Mistermuse, for the equally thoughtful and delightful responses. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:05 pm on August 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You can’t go wrong with a Dorothy Parker quote. I written about her and/or the Algonquin Round Table (of which she was a big part) several times, and may do so again before long (she has a birthday coming up on Aug. 22).

      Liked by 1 person

    • inesephoto 9:11 am on August 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great post, and I love the quotes and the video – Italian cinematography is exquisite.

      Liked by 1 person

    • inesephoto 9:22 am on August 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well, half of my comment just got posted, but I haven’t finished yet 🙂 Audrey Hepburn is an exquisite actress, and she fits in Italian settings like no one other non-Italian actress. Still, my favorite romantic movies are Italian, and I love the music from these movies. Old timer I am 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:40 am on August 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Another romantic American film set in Italy that you might like is SUMMERTIME (1955), starring Katherine (rather than Audrey) Hepburn as an American on holiday in Venice, co-starring Rossano Brazzi. 🙂


    • D. Wallace Peach 10:16 pm on August 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Pretty funny. Who knew Kissinger was such a wit! Happy romancing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:37 am on August 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. We’ve both spoken of Kissinger in the past tense (“WAS such a wit”), but he’s still alive at age 93. Let’s hope people don’t speak of us in the past tense when we’ve seen better days! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach 8:27 am on August 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Well, he was a wit when he said it. Didn’t mean to imply he was dead. Hopefully, he’s still just as sharp-witted today. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 9:35 pm on August 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It seems strange to need romance awareness month, and yet we do have February 14 as a day devoted to romance. And I always wished there were nicer weather for that day. I guess now there is — for a whole month!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:16 am on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Where I live, August is too much of a ‘nice weather’ thing (heat & humidity). I vote for May (meeting halfway between Feb. & August) to celebrate both Valentine’s Day and Romance Awareness Month.


  • mistermuse 10:40 am on June 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dorothy Parker, I Wished On The Moon, , When You Wish Upon A Star   


    Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, time stays, we go. –Austin Dobson

    Busy weekend. So much to do, so little time. What can I post that will take little time? Maybe if I wished upon a star for all the time in the world….but When You Wish Upon A Star, your dreams are but dust — unless you’re Pinocchio, and Walt Disney is pulling the strings. No, that song is a lie. Perhaps my chances would be better if….

    Yes, that’s it. I’ll Wish On The Moon. I’ll wish for a dream or two. I’ll Wish On The Moon for Billie Holiday to be with us still, singing songs with lyrics by Dorothy Parker. Yes, Dorothy Parker wrote I WISHED ON THE MOON, and Billie Holiday was one of the first to sing it. But Billie was born exactly one hundred years and two months ago today, and Dorothy died today, June 7, in 1967….leaving this epitaph on her tombstone: EXCUSE MY DUST.

    • Michaeline Montezinos 1:00 am on June 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I enjoyed this great story and the pictures behind it, thanks mister muse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 4:53 am on June 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      We’re all tying to make some sense out of this mess. We struggle with our words trying to grasp onto something and we fall down all over the place but Billie Holiday just glides. She is the best. And, she can sing too.


    • mistermuse 6:51 am on June 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
      “My consolation is in the stardust of a song.”

      That about sums up “this mess” for many of us. The first quote (Bette Davis) is a popular misquote – it actually ends with “bumpy night.” The second quote is of course from the lyrics of STARDUST by Hoagy Carmichael.


    • arekhill1 9:47 am on June 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Any excuse to mention the immortal Ms. Parker fine by me.


    • mistermuse 3:04 pm on June 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I thought about doing a whole posting on Dorothy Parker, but I’ve already been there and done that, so I settled for taking a Holiday along with Ms. Parker.


    • Silver Screenings 6:32 pm on September 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Well, I didn’t know Dorothy Parker was a lyricist too.

      The lyrics to this song are lovely and haunting. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 8:51 am on October 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Clare Booth Luce, Dorothy Parker, , , , , , phrase inversion, Samuel Johnson, ,   


    I’ll bet you don’t know what the above title is an example of….I mean, besides an example of a title.  And far be it from me to intend it as an example of an insult, or an insult of an example. It’s called chiasmus, which is defined as a rhetorical inversion of two parallel phrases. Friends, is this blog an education, or is this education a blog, or what?

    Truth be told, I likewise had never heard of the word until I bought a book with the fascinating title NEVER LET A FOOL KISS YOU OR A KISS FOOL YOU, by Dr. Mardi Gras (my “made-in” name for Dr. Mardy Grothe — sorry about that). Of course, I’d read chiasmus for years not knowing what they’re called. As Dr. Grothe points out, profound thinkers and great wits have long been masters of the form: Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker and Anonymous, to name more than a few.

    No doubt you too are familiar with some of the following chiasmus, but with the likes of these, if familiarity breeds contempt, you may have contempt for the familiar….or, more likely, I’m guilty of stretching a chiasmus / making much ado about nothing. Or something.

    I wasted time, and now doth time waste me. -Shakespeare (King Richard II)

    The desire of the man is for the woman, but the desire of the woman is for the desire of the man. –Germaine de Stael

    I find Peale appalling and Paul appealing. –Democratic Governor/Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson (comparing conservative Minister/author Norman Vincent Peale and the Apostle Paul)

    In the bluegrass region / A paradox was born: / The corn was full of kernels / And the colonels were full of corn. -John Marshall

    I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. -Randy Hanzlick

    When you have nothing to say, say nothing. -Charles Caleb Colton

    Don’t worry that other people don’t know you; worry that you don’t know other people. -Confucius

    A fool often fails because he thinks what is difficult is easy, and a wise man because he thinks what is easy is difficult. -John Churton Collins

    Friendship is love minus sex plus reason. Love is friendship plus sex minus reason. -Mason Cooley

    No woman has ever so comforted the distressed — or so distressed the comfortable. -Clare Booth Luce, on Eleanor Roosevelt

    Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. -Dr. Samuel Johnson, to an aspiring writer

    Boy meets girl; girl gets boy into pickle; boy gets pickle into girl. -Jack Woodford, on typical plot of Hollywood movies 

    That’s all for the present. I thank all present, and recommend the book as a present to all.


    • Joseph Nebus 8:55 pm on October 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I didn’t know the name for that kind of sentence structure but am glad to know it.


    • mistermuse 10:33 pm on October 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’d be surprised if anyone but a few knew. Who knew? Maybe the new gnu in the zoo knew, as gnus travels fast there (they’re a kind of antelope, you know).


    • arekhill1 10:04 am on October 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It sounds vaguely like a disease name, so no wonder only the truly erudite such as yourself are bold enough to use it.


    • mistermuse 10:30 am on October 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Ricardo. A muse has to do what a muse has to do.


  • mistermuse 4:55 pm on August 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dorothy Parker, , ,   


    Today, I’m in the mood to quote that great wit, Dorothy Parker. Actually, I was in the mood to do so yesterday (her birthday), but my computer wasn’t. No big deal —  better great than never, I always never say.

    I’ve quoted Dorothy Parker (Aug. 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) on several occasions, including in a Speak Without Interruption post of 6/7/12 titled DAYS OF THE ROUND TABLE, which, like yours truly, has somehow managed to survive to this day. I also recall writing a related SWI article on the ALGONQUIN HOTEL/ROUND TABLE (the group which included Dorothy Parker), but I don’t know if it’s survived. I haven’t the heart to search and find it missing.

    Anyway, for those interested, a Google search will reveal much more on the Algonquin, so without further ado, I give you Dorothy Parker:

    Asked to describe her Bucks County farm in two words: “Want it?”

    “That woman speaks eighteen languages and can’t say ‘No’ in any of them.”

    “It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.”

    “You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks.”

    “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

    “How can they tell?” – on hearing that Calvin (“Silent Cal”) Coolidge had died.

    Epitaphs she suggested at various times for her tombstone:




    One of the three made it. Care to guess which?
















    • lawrencethorogood 5:02 pm on August 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love your work. It would mean the world if you checked out my cartoons and to give your opinion? Thank you so much


      • mistermuse 7:33 pm on August 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Lawrence, thanks for the kind words. I’ll be glad to check out your site and comment there tomorrow, though there appears to be at least 50 years difference in our ages, so I may not be an appropriate “critic” for your cartoons.

        “See you” then.


    • arekhill1 5:12 pm on August 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t attempt to guess anything which can easily be Googled anymore, Sr. Muse, lest my vast store of native knowledge be questioned. My personal favorite quote from the late, great DP is “You can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think.”


    • mistermuse 7:38 pm on August 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I also love that DP quote, Ricardo. As for the epitaph guess, I’ll save all my millions, if not billions, of readers the trouble of looking it up – the answer is EXCUSE MY DUST.


    • allthoughtswork 8:17 pm on August 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Google just told me I guessed right. I’m so awesome.


    • Don Frankel 5:04 am on August 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I knew I could google it but that would have ruined all the fun. I guessed door number 3 and I was wrong. Are there any parting gifts?

      “Beauty is only skin deep but ugly cuts to the bone.”


      • mistermuse 6:21 am on August 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Don, I gave you that Harry Carey Jr. book in anticipation of your guessing wrong here. I’m so clairvoyant!


    • Joseph Nebus 11:46 pm on January 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I keep feeling like I ought to read Dorothy Parker but somehow I’ve not found my way into any of her works.


    • mistermuse 7:48 am on January 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      For me, she was the undisputed queen of the quick-witted put-down. Example:

      As one who did not appreciate playing the celebrity, she once replied (when asked “Are you Dorothy Parker?”), “Yes, do you mind?”


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