LET’S CALL IT A DAY

Half the world doesn’t see how the other half can see anything funny in what it laughs at. –Evan Esar

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As if there isn’t enough funny business going on in the world, today is INTERNATIONAL MOMENT OF LAUGHTER DAY. I don’t know who came up with this day (actually, I do…. but he’s not famous, so let’s let him rest in peace, even if he’s still with us). My point is, what is this world coming to if anyone and their Aunt Charlie can proclaim a DAY (an INTERNATIONAL day, no less) and expect it to be recognized? Well, I have half a mind to proclaim a DAY myself, which certainly makes me qualified. INTERNATIONAL HALF-WIT DAY, that’s what I’ll call it. I wonder if The Donald, if he hears of it, will deny it’s in his honor.

Meanwhile, back at the wench, it’s time for those poems I promised last time:

BUSYBODY BERATES BUSY BODY; BEELZEBUB BLASÉ

“Say, have you been, sir, to Kathmandu?”
“Nay, but I have sinned, sir, in Timbuktu.”
“A tale of sin, sir? What did you do?”
“Sailors would blush, sir, if I told you.”
“My lips are hushed, sir — how ’bout a clue?”
“Maidens of sin, sir, were none too few.”
“May God rescind, sir, the sins you knew.”
“I do not pray, sir, those sins to rue.”
“Then may you pay, sir, the devil’s due!”
“Satan would say, sir, c’est entre nous!”

THE ORIENT EXCESS

One fine night in old Hong Kong,
White-skinned lady meet Mr. Wong.
Mr. Wong say, “You fine missy.
Let me favor you with kissy.”
White-skinned lady say not to bother —
Wong old enough to be her father.
Mr. Wong say, “But I got money.”
White-skinned lady say, “Kiss me, honey!”
Well, one fine thing lead to another;
Next time, Wong bring older brother.
This time, lady draw line tight:
“You know two Wongs don’t make a white.”

And with that, ladies, what do you say….

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A “TOUCH OF EVIL” GENIUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Welles quotes:

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

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

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

I started at the top and worked down.

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