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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , George Eliot, , , October, , , ,   



    In the unscheduled post which appeared here on my birthday (October 18th), my youngest daughter let the cat out of the bag — her old dog of a dad had just turned certifiably ancient, though I didn’t feel more than a day older than I did on October 17 as a young pup of 79. More’s the pity. Some say age is only a number….but it goes without saying that October is autumn. Yes, if you look at the calendar, September and November lay claim to autumn as well, but let’s be clear — nobody does autumn as well as October. So this will be a post of poems and quotes about aging and autumn, in that order (age before beauty).


    What passed for time
    Before time was invented?
    Before there was time,
    How was time prevented?

    If time had a beginning,
    When did time start?
    When it’s time that time end,
    How will time depart?

    Why are there times
    When time frustrates and vexes….
    And last, why must time
    Do its thing to the sexes?


    While passing through,
    I noticed that
    this world is too much.
    What big teeth it has.
    What big eyes you need.
    What big talk is heard.
    Speak to me.
    But not big.


    If you think
    I take life
    too seriously you

    are either

    a night and
    day younger than
    I am or

    I do.

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

    I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. –L.M. Montgomery

    Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves;
    we have had our summer evenings, now for October eves.
    –Humbert Wolfe

    Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day. –Shira Tamir

    The tints of autumn … a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter frost. –John Greenleaf Whittier

    For anyone who lives in the oak-and-maple area of New England, there is a perennial temptation to plunge into a purple sea of adjectives about October. –Hal Borland  

    Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower. –Albert Camus

    Spring is too rainy and summer’s too hot;
    fall is soon over and winter is not.
    –Evan Esar

    Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. –George Eliot

    Autumn sunsets exquisitely dying. –Langston Hughes

    Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt. –William Allingham

    NOTE: There have been many recordings of AUTUMN LEAVES over the years; I chose the French chanteuse Edith Piaf’s version because it was originally a 1945 French song titled “Les Feuilles Mortes”  (“The Dead Leaves”), and because October (1963) is the month Edith Piaf died and drifted by the window.





    • painkills2 1:43 am on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I searched and searched the internet for just the right Happy Birthday video. Enjoy 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • D. Wallace Peach 8:38 am on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Happy Birthday. Autumn is a wonderful time of year and life. 🙂 Enjoy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 11:18 am on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      ‘Tis the season of big talk, Sr. Muse, so one of your efforts is well said and particularly well-timed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:55 am on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I can’t wait for the voters to turn the biggest talker into the biggest loser. But of course The Donald hates losers, so rather than admit he lost, he’ll claim (as he’s already doing) that the election was rigged. What a guy!


    • Don Frankel 10:05 am on October 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The Fix is in Muse. The Fix is in. Nothing we can do about it except squeeze every last drop out of it.
      BTW your daughter did a helluva job there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:59 am on October 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        All the more “helluva job” when you take into consideration that she has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, an incurable disease by which physical and/or mental exertion cause extreme fatigue and ‘knock her for a loop’ for several days.

        As for the “Fix is in,” The Donald’s antics would be laughable if they didn’t exacerbate an already over-polarized atmosphere in this country. The immediate aftermath of the election could be very interesting, to say the least.


    • Mél@nie 11:53 am on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      mille merci for Edith Piaf… ❤ here's the most popular version performed by Yves Montand who first recites Jacques Prévert's famous poem:"les feuilles mortes…"

      Liked by 2 people

    • Cynthia Jobin 12:58 pm on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Prévert est un poète que j”aime bien…

      “…Et la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment,
      Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit.
      Et la mer efface sur le sable,
      Les pas des amants désunis…”

      merci bien d”avoir présenter ce “video”….


    • Mark Scheel 7:31 pm on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      Wonderful tribute–and most educational–by your daughter. And you certainly outdid yourself with the punning poems. Well, that’s your forte. Oh, and yes, belatedly here’s a very happy birthday wish. 🙂



    • mistermuse 10:23 pm on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks to all for your comments. May you all age as beautifully as the autumn leaves. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • inesephoto 6:33 pm on October 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Happy belated birthday! I am sure nothing changed two weeks later 🙂
      Love the song Autumn leaves.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:02 am on October 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Just as an aside, the English lyrics for AUTUMN LEAVES (originally a French song) were written by Johnny Mercer, who you no doubt know from his many hit songs such as MOON RIVER, DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, and BLUES IN THE NIGHT (which gave me the idea for the title of my latest post, BOOS IN THE NIGHT).


  • mistermuse 12:06 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , George Eliot, , , King of Hearts, Middlemarch, , , Philippe de Broca, , That Man From Rio, , Zarah Leander   


    It’s March 15th, and with it come two ides-of-March birthdays I’d like to note — but first, a note about the post’s title, which came to me from an 1874 novel I had heard of, but never read: MIDDLEMARCH, by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans). It turns out that MIDDLEMARCH has nothing to do with the middle of March; it’s the name of a town in the Midlands of England (the novel’s setting). But let’s forget that I told you that. What’s the harm in letting it seem as if I made an educated choice for the title of this post?

    In any case, what this is leading up to is a selection of George Eliot quotes, which I daresay you will find to be an oasis of reflective relief in America’s desert of bombastic hot air:

    What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?

    All meanings depend on interpretation.

    No story is the same to us after a lapse of time; or rather we who read it are no longer the same interpreters.

    A toddling little girl is a center of common feeling which makes the most dissimilar people understand each other.

    What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?

    Adventure is not outside man; it is within.

    Now, as to those two birthdays, I expect that neither of the persons (both deceased) I am about to introduce is known to you (for which you are forgiven, but don’t let it happen again). But all is not lost — I remember them well. Their names: Philippe de Broca and Zarah Leander.

    DE BROCA, born March 15, 1933 in Paris, was a French film director from 1959 to the year of his death in 2004. Of the 30 full-length feature films he directed in his career, I have seen only two….but those two are among my favorite movies of all time: THAT MAN FROM RIO (1964) and the cult classic KING OF HEARTS (1966). Here are three short clips from the former and one from the latter:

    LEANDER, born March 15, 1907 in Karlstad (west of Stockholm), was a Swedish singer and actress who achieved her greatest success in Germany in the 1930s-40s. The German film industry had been seeking a new Marlene Dietrich since Marlene left for the U.S. in 1930. Leander made a name for herself in the same homeland as had Swedish screen diva Greta Garbo, which (beginning in 1936) led to starring roles for Leander in German language films in the hope of filling the void. In her memoir, Leander tells of her initial difficulties dealing with the German Ministry of Propaganda, since “Goebbels was highly displeased that the leading lady should be a foreigner. The fact that the mighty Third Reich could not produce its own Greta Garbo seemed to him an admission of inadequacy.”

    For years, I exchanged correspondence with an elderly German first cousin (on my father’s side) who had remained in Germany until her death a decade or so ago. In one of my letters, I mentioned that I had a number of Zarah Leander recordings in my record collection and liked her voice. My cousin informed me that “The German soldiers were infatuated by her songs during the war.” Perhaps this clip will help you understand why:


    • ladysighs 5:48 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      First met George Eliot in high school “Silas Marner”. Just another boring book. 😦
      Later on she became one of my favorite authors. “The Mill on the Floss” is my favorite.
      Some books to be read and reread. 🙂 You know the ending but somehow hope another reading will produce another ending.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:58 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I love how you end your comment; if I re-read it, I hope it doesn’t change. 🙂


        • ladysighs 8:09 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink

          I had to return and reread what I wrote about re-reading.
          Many times after posting a comment I have wished I could rewrite it ……… or just delete it. lol

          Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 3:31 am on March 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        @”First met George Eliot in high school…” – same here, lady dear… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:23 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Is that Zarah’s voice? Very reminiscent of Dietrich! I found another by her on Youtube (Bei mir bist du schön) and the voice was not quite so low and androgynous.
      I loved “King of Hearts” but have not seen “Rio.”–Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:35 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Zarah was 70 years old when she sang the song in that clip, and her voice was indeed lower and huskier than in the 1930s & 40s. I have in my collection many old records of Zarah, and there are other clips of her in later years, so I can confirm the difference you well noticed.
        As for “King of Hearts,” ditto. I think you would also love “Rio” — not to mention its good-looking star, the insouciant Jean-Paul Belmondo!

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:59 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I know the feeling, ladysighs. I can’t tell you how many times that something I wrote didn’t come across the way I intended, and I could kick myself for not catching it before I posted it. But at least I’m still limber enough to be able to kick myself, even at my age. 🙂


    • Cynthia Jobin 9:25 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Please don’t kick yourself….I always also confuse George Eliot with George Sand. After all, what business have those ladies calling themselves George? Mary Ann Evans was George ELIOT and Aurore Dupin —pal of Frederic Chopin—-was George SAND. Tough for a lady author in those days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:30 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for noticing….after my confusion of the two, I join you in asking what business those ladies have calling themselves George! 🙂 Nonetheless, I will correct the error in my post forthwith!

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:11 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sr. Muse, I always mean to thank you for posting on subjects I am too young to comment on, because it doesn’t happen much anymore. I did see “King of Hearts” once in my extreme youth, however.


    • mistermuse 10:44 am on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate that, Ricardo, but I think that only makes us even, because there are times I feel too old to comment on some of the subjects you post on your blog. But at least your posts are often accompanied by pix of scantily clad young women, which I hope never to be too old to appreciate.


    • BroadBlogs 9:07 pm on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Love those quotes from George Eliot! Hard to say which is my favorite.

      The Ides of March meets Super Tuesday. What’s up with that?

      The assassination of Julius Caesar. The suicide of the GOP — at least at the Presidential level?

      It’s weird year.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:40 pm on March 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about the George Eliot quotes. Can you imagine Donald Trump saying, “What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?” Me neither.
      Speaking of Trump, it appears that Kasich winning Ohio will leave The Donald short of the number of delegates he’ll need to win the Republican nomination going into the GOP convention four months from now. Look for a lot of fireworks in Cleveland in July.

      Liked by 1 person

    • inesephoto 7:13 am on March 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you so much for this post! I remember these movies very well! France and Italy have a whole constellation of brilliant movie directors.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:48 am on March 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You’re most welcome! Some movies are so “right” and have a certain magic about them which makes them so unique, you never forget them. RIO, and especially KING OF HEARTS, are two such films.


    • Don Frankel 1:14 pm on March 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “A toddling little girl…” Great quote. I never heard it before. I did have to read Silas Marner in high school. Maybe this makes up for it. Funny though we both used the Ides of March this week which could mean great minds think alike or well it was the Ides of March were in the offing.


    • mistermuse 3:36 pm on March 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “A toddling little girl” can melt the heart of any man (whose heart is capable of being melted). Come to think of it, a big girl can do pretty much the same. 🙂

      Usually at this time of year I do a St. Patrick’s Day post, but this year a little green man by the name of Leprechaun told me my Irish Stout jokes were getting stale, hence the ides of March instead. Nonetheless, I wish you a very happy (& not too tipsy) St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, Don.


    • Mél@nie 3:33 am on March 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      wow, “l’homme de Rio”…”o tempora, o mores!” btw, Jean-Paul Belmondo is 83!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:44 am on March 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to hear Belmondo is still with us. I notice that Philippe de Broca would also be 83 if he were still alive.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:00 am on March 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Happy St Patrick’s to you too Muse. I didn’t have a drink but I certainly enjoyed the day. It’s a very special day here in New York.

      Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 2:54 am on March 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for reminding me that I haven’t read it either. I really should. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sharron 10:58 pm on April 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Your posts are so “different”. I’m learning a lot. Loved the photos and song from Zarah. I had never heard of her. Thank you for the introduction.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:53 am on April 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate that, Sharron. You are kind and gracious….which is wonderfully different than “kind OF gracious” by a (s)mile! 🙂


  • mistermuse 6:42 am on January 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , George Eliot, George Orwel, , , , , Lewis Carol, noms de plume, , Rufus T. Firefly, , , ,   


    Rufus T. Firefly: And now, members of the Cabinet — we’ll take up old business.
    Mistermuse: I wish to discuss my previous post, GNOME DE PLUME.
    Firefly: Sit down. That’s new business. No old business? Very well — then we’ll take up new business.
    Mistermuse: Now, about GNOME DE PLUME.
    Firefly: Too late. That’s old business already. Sit down.


    Old business or not, I owe it to my royal leaders — I mean my loyal readers — to give them the correct answers to the quiz in my last post, and I’m no longer going to leave them (my loyal readers) hanging, which is too good for ’em  anyway (my royal leaders, that is) . Besides, I have no new business to write about, so it’s either this or nothing (and no, you don’t get to choose). So sit back, have a nice bowl of hot Duck Soup, and enjoy seeing how many of the following noms de plume you didn’t get right, you ignorant Sylvanians!

    ARTEMUS WARD / Charles Farrar Browne
    GEORGE SAND / Aurore Dupin
    GEORGE ELIOT / Mary Anne Evans
    LEWIS CARROLL / Charles Dodgson
    SYLVIA PLATH / Victoria Lucas

    GEORGE ORWELL / Eric Blair
    ISAK DINESEN / Karen Blixen
    ANATOLE FRANCE / Jacques Anatole Thibault
    SIDNEY SHELDON / Sidney Schechtel
    O. HENRY / William Sydney Porter

    ANNE RICE / Howard Allen Frances O’Brien
    AYN RAND / Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum
    C. S. FORESTER / Cecil Smith
    VOLTAIRE / Francois Marie Arouet
    DANIEL DEFOE / Daniel Foe

    Hail, hail Fredonia!

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on January 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , George Eliot, , Goerge Orwell, , Lewis Carroll, , nom de plume, , , pen names, pseudonyms, , , , Tom Thumb, Voltaine   


    Mistermuse, having come up just a tad short of becoming a world-famous author himself, thought his real self and I would write a post about pen names of other reputed writers, including a quiz about how many real names of pseudonymous authors you can identify, such as the one everyone knows: Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens.

    But in the course of doing a little research, we came across the Nom de Pun of a legendary wee person of English folklore, Tom Thumb, who (though not an author) is the subject of many an author’s works, starting with The History of Tom Thumb, first published in 1621. Two-plus centuries later, showman P. T. Barnum took advantage of that famous character’s name by featuring “General Tom Thumb” (dwarf Charles Sherwood Stratton) as his star attraction …. which led us further down the sidetrack of character names of famous dwarfs, such as “Tattoo” (Herve Villechaize) of Fantasy Island fame and “Mini-Me” (Verne Troyer) in The Spy Who Shagged Me.” But enough about Mini-Me (and Tattoo and Tom Thumb), and back to the business at hand: pen names of renowned writers.

    Following the famous nom de plume of each author (in caps below) is the real name of another author on the list. How many of these mismatched names can you re-match correctly?

    ARTEMUS WARD / Eric Blair
    GEORGE SAND / Charles Dodgson
    GEORGE ELIOT / Aurore Dupin
    LEWIS CARROLL / Victoria Lucas
    SYLVIA PLATH / Karen Blixen

    GEORGE ORWELL / Cecil Smith
    ISAK DINESEN / Mary Anne Evans
    ANATOLE FRANCE / Francois Marie Arouet
    SIDNEY SHELDON / Daniel Foe
    O. HENRY / Charles Farrar Browne

    ANNE RICE / Sidney Schechtel
    AYN RAND / Howard Allen Frances O’Brien
    C. S. FORESTER / William Sydney Porter
    VOLTAIRE/ Jacque Anatole Thibault
    DANIEL DEFOE / Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum

    But what about the real name of mistermuse, you ask. Are you ready for the big announcement?


    Sorry for the typo — I meant “pig announcement.”

    • Don Frankel 9:12 am on January 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      We can see why people born Howard might want to change their name. Especially when they are are a girl. Of course back int he day of George Elliot and Sand women couldn’t publish. Also if you’ve been in prison, I guess you’d rather be O’Henry then your real name. But then so much of writing is an ability to assume other identities even if you use your real name.


    • mistermuse 10:34 am on January 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      For those who couldn’t match the real name Don referred to (Howard Allen Francis O’Brien) with the right pen name, it’s Anne Rice (I confess I didn’t know it myself, as I’m not a Gothic fiction fan and haven’t read any of her books). It certainly makes one wonder why her parents would name their baby girl “Howard” – it sounds like they were hoping for a boy and refused to change the name they’d pre-chosen. In any case, if she lived back in the day of female authors George Eliot and George Sand, she wouldn’t have needed a pen name – Howard Allen O’Brien would’ve worked just fine.

      As for O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), Don, many readers know about his imprisonment, but there are also interesting stories about how he came upon his pen name. One has it that he called his girlfriend’s cat “Oh, Henry” because the cat would respond to no other greeting, but Porter spun a number of such tales, so who knows?

      Th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!


    • Ricardo 1:32 pm on January 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I always thought O. Henry was the way that author’s sex partners addressed him. Are we to take it that your given name is Leon Schlesinger, Sr. Muse?


      • mistermuse 2:37 pm on January 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Re O. Henry, a very penetrating deduction. Taking it up a logical notch, Ricard-O, God must have the spiritual equivalent of sex partners (just sayin’). It might help explain a lot of stuff that goes on in the universe (starting with the Big Bang Theory).

        As for my given name, it so happens that “Leon” is part of it, but unlike Looney Tunes producer Schlesinger, I’m still living….or should I say, animated.


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