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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Charles de Gaulle, , falsehoods, golf, , , , Julie Andrews, , , LOVE IS WHERE YOU FIND IT, Michelangelo, , , Prohibition, , ,   

    02/20 VISION 

    In the tumult of men and events, solitude was my temptation; now it is my friend. What other satisfaction can be sought once you have confronted History? –Charles de Gaulle

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

    Indeed.  Where else but in my solitude can equilibrium’s vision be sought (much less found), if the following selection of February 20 events from “confronted History” is representative of “the tumult of men and events”:

    1513 Pope Julius II (aka The Fearsome Pope and The Warrior Pope) died and was laid to rest in a huge tomb sculptured by Michelangelo [In those days, Catholic artists regarded such Popes as ‘Patron’ Saints

    1839 U.S. Congress prohibits dueling in the District of Columbia [What a bad idea this turned out to be, given that since then, no one in D.C. has had a clue how to better resolve differences]

    1907 President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, and insane  persons” from being admitted to the U.S. [Unfortunately, there has not been a comparable act excluding such persons from becoming politicians]

    1909 F.T. Marinetti, Italian poet, published the first Futurist Manifesto in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro and in Venice, including the statement “We want to glorify war – the only cure for the world.” [Evidently a utopian exception to “The cure is worse than the disease”]

    1927 Golfers in South Carolina were arrested for violating the Sabbath [Talk about playing a-round!]  

    1933 Congress completed action on an amendment to repeal Prohibition in the U.S. [and “I’ll drink to that!” rang out across the land]

    1942 Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, was born [Coincidentally, the cartoon character Pruneface premiered (in a Dick Tracy comic strip) the same year]

    1996 Gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg acquitted of murder in 1993 shooting of alleged gang member [Draw your own conclusions]

    2002 The Pentagon stated that its recently created “Office of Strategic Influence” would not spread falsehoods in the media to advance U.S. war goals. Office was shut down six days later (Feb. 26) [Apparently the bummed guy in this snapshot was the last to get the message]:

    Love’s labor lost. Lament in SOLITUDE. But despair not. It seems that Love, like the passions and madness of history, is where you — and a buoyantly young Julie Andrews — find it. So don’t be [Venetian] blind, it’s/all around you/everywhere.



    • scifihammy 5:45 am on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Very funny! 🙂
      And what a lovely old recording of Julie Andrews. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:29 am on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      For the foreseeable future, Sr, Muse, despite my wish to honor Snoop Dogg and the repeal of Prohibition, February 20th will be Not My President’s Day over here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:28 am on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Actually, I think all (not just two) of the enumerated events which occurred in history on Feb. 20 are too sacred to profane by celebrating President’s Day on the same day. But not to worry — I expect The Donald to prevail upon Congress to move President’s Day to June 14 (his birthday).


    • BroadBlogs 5:22 pm on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply


      “1907 President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, and insane persons” from being admitted to the U.S. [Unfortunately, there has not been a comparable act excluding such persons from becoming politicians]”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 9:40 am on February 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      As they would say on Game of Thrones Feb 20th was “a day of days”. I think that’s what they say. But I do feel for the guy who got fired there. I was a government employee and trust me no one cared and then you realize it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 2:43 pm on February 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I have no doubt that you could pick any day of the year at random, and that date in history would yield similar “bummer” examples — many even worse than Feb. 20 (by the same token, any date would have many examples of beneficial feats — not to mention hands and other body parts). I guess that helps explain what makes the world go ’round, and why the spin makes us dizzy.


    • D. Wallace Peach 2:49 pm on February 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I love your wry commentary, despite how depressing some of it is. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Art Tatum, , , , , , Johnny Horton, Keystone Kops, Mack Sennett, , North to Alaska, Prohibition, speakeasies, Ward Bond   


    I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” –Gloria Swanson (as Norma Desmond)

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

    How many of these former “big” names do you recognize?

    TEXAS GUINAN (1933)
    GEORGE M. COHAN (1942)
    ART TATUM (1956)
    JOHNNY HORTON (1960)
    MACK SENNETT (1960)
    WARD BOND (1960)
    GUY LOMBARDO (1977)
    FRED MacMURRAY (1991)

    If you’re not into the movies and music of the past, you may remember few, if any, of the foregoing (year 0f death follows their names). Because time drives a hard bargain with fame, they’ve faded away in the rearview mirror….but on this day, we back up to see them BIG again — or as big as such look-backs provide. Why on this particular day? As it happens, the above have one thing in common: they lived but five days into the last November of their lives.

    TEXAS GUINAN, born Waco, TX, 1884. Flamboyant, brassy “Queen of the Night Clubs” in NYC during the Roaring Twenties. Started in vaudeville, sang, and was in silent movies before becoming hostess of Texas Guinan Club and other NYC speakeasies during Prohibition. Famous trademark greeting to incoming customers: “Hello, suckers!” She bade them goodbye November 5, 1933.

    GEORGE M. COHAN, born Providence, RI, 1878. One of the early greats of the Broadway stage as an actor, composer, lyricist, librettist, director and producer. Wrote primarily nostalgic and patriotic songs, including the WWI hit Over There. James Cagney won Academy Award for his portrayal of Cohan in the 1942 film YANKEE DOODLE DANDY:

    ART TATUM, born Toledo, OH, 1910. All-time great jazz pianist, despite being blind in one eye and almost blind in the other. Described by some critics as given to over-embellishment in later career (“played too many notes”), but he wasn’t one to not change with the times (for better or worse).

    JOHNNY HORTON, born Los Angeles, 1925. Popular country music and rockabilly singer known for his “saga songs” such as 1959 hit The Battle of New Orleans. Killed in crash by drunk driver Nov. 5, 1960. Here he sings the title song from my favorite John Wayne film:

    MACK SENNETT, born Quebec, Canada, 1880. Pioneer in  the field of slapstick comedy, famed creator of Keystone Kops in early silent film era. Among famous actors who got their start with Sennett were Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, W. C. Fields and the aforementioned Gloria Swanson. They don’t make ’em like this anymore!

    WARD BOND, born Bendelman, NE, 1903. One of Hollywood’s most iconic character actors, particularly in films directed by John Ford. Bond and John Wayne were members of the USC football team when they were picked by Ford as extras for the film Salute in 1928. The three became lifelong friends and made many pictures together, including The Grapes of Wrath, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache and The Quiet Man.

    GUY LOMBARDO, born Ontario, Canada, 1902. Leader of the most commercially successful and long-lasting “sweet” (some might say “Mickey Mouse”) dance band of all time. Theme song Auld Lang Syne was a New Year’s Eve staple for decades. Slogan: “The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven” (I don’t know what kind of music’s on the other side, but when it’s time to go, I may chance the long way around).

    FRED MacMURRAY, born Kankakee, IL, 1908. Last but least-long deceased (Nov. 5, 1991) of those listed; many of us remember this versatile actor from his roles in such great films as Double Indemnity and The Apartment over the course of a near-50 year career….but I suspect few are aware that he started out as a saxophone player and band vocalist in the early 1930s. Here he is with the Gus Arnheim band in 1930:

    That’s a wrap until November 10. Take five.




    • Don Frankel 8:13 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Never heard of Texas Guinan but I knew everyone else which means… I’m old.

      Ah ha so you’re favorite John Wayne movie is North to Alaska and I didn’t have to google it either. “North to Alaska, North to Russia’s home.” Great comedy with Stewart Granger who was born James Stewart, the absolutely beautiful Capucine, and one of those boy idols of the time I think it was Fabian. Also in it was Ernie Kovacks as the evil, claim jumper.

      Funny how both of our favorite John Wayne movies are ones where he’s not the usual John Wayne character. Your’s a comedy and mine The Searchers where he’s actually the bad guy.

      Oh well I’ll have to go to google now for the song…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:50 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, a great song, and a great rendition of it, bear repeating any day, so I listened to it again (you apparently didn’t realize that Horton sings it on the North to Alaska clip in my post)! As for the movie, I remember how odd some of the casting seemed at the time (Fabian and Ernie Kovacs in particular), but somehow it worked and the movie is terrific.


    • arekhill1 9:58 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Four. Does that mean I’m still middle-aged?


    • mistermuse 11:10 am on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’d say that depends on which four you got. If Guy Lombardo was one of them, you’re definitely on the cusp of old fartdom, as you so elegantly described it (in your own blogpost today). On the other hand, if you recognized Art Tatum, you’re a cool cat with most of your nine lives still ahead of you. If you got both, I don’t know where you’re at, but it sounds like the middle of something – maybe age.


    • Joseph Nebus 6:37 pm on November 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I was able to identify seven, although I couldn’t tell you why I remembered Art Tatum’s name. Texas Guinan once you described I think I remember now from TravSD’s outstanding book No Applause, Please, Just Throw Money and his travsd.wordpress.com blog about vaudeville and performing history.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:43 pm on November 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t read the book you describe, but I do own GANGSTERS AND GOLD DIGGERS, a book about old New York during the Jazz Age, by Jerome Charyn. It tells of Texas Guinan (backed by gangsters Owen Madden and Larry Fey) opening in 1924 the El Fey, one of the first Manhattan nightclubs, “where café society is born, that curious mingling of high and low — sophomores from Yale, chorus girls, crime and sports reporters, impresarios, white jazz singers, bootleggers, millionaires, movie stars, playboys, heiresses, gamblers, politicians, composers, and playwrights. At the El Fey one could find Fanny Brice, Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, George Gershwin, Gloria Swanson, Mae West, Damon Runyon, Walter Winchell, [etc.]. She would arrive at two in the morning, a bleached blonde wearing diamonds and a salmon-colored dress, climb on a chair, blow a police whistle, shout “Hello, suckers!” and the fun would begin.”


    • literaryeyes 9:01 pm on November 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I read about Tex Guinan and the nightclubs of Broadway recently in a book called New York Confidential! Those were roaring times. Of the others I didn’t know Art Tatum.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:07 pm on November 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve found that few non-jazz lovers are familiar with even the greatest names in jazz history (unless they were also big names beyond jazz, such as Louis Armstrong)….so I’m not surprised that you didn’t know Art Tatum. Hey, I know very few names in contemporary pop music, but somehow I manage to have a very fulfilling life! 🙂


  • mistermuse 11:25 pm on October 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Mafia, news events, , plastic surgery, Prohibition, right to vote, rubber,   


    It seems that, unbeknownst to every knownst person I’ve known (including me), October 23 is the #1 big news day in the history of the world….literally beginning with the history of the world. According to irreparable sources, Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Human Primate of All Ireland, James Ussher (1581-1656), established after extensive Biblical and Middle Eastern research that the first day of creation was Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC.

    Highly regarded as a churchman and scholar, the good Archbishop’s calculations were regarded at the time with unquestioning reverence. These calculations included such happenings as Adam and Eve being driven from their garden paradise on Monday, November 10, 4004 BC, and Noah’s Ark touching down on Mt. Ararat on Wednesday, May 5, 2348 BC — undoubtedly a current event of glad tidings to all aboard.

    But not every historical event on this day was of biblical proportions. Here are some lesser  Oct. 23 gigs which are nonetheless gignificant, because I feel like commenting on them:

    425 AD – Valentinian III elevated to throne of Roman Emperor at age 6 (emphasis on elevated)

    1814 – First plastic surgery performed (in England), which seems odd because the first man-made plastic wasn’t patented until 1856 (also in England). Perhaps it was originally called rubber surgery, as rubber was known long before plastic and was first used commercially as an eraser. Makes sense, if you face the facts.

    1915 – 25,000 women march in NYC demanding right to vote. As if Prohibition, in effect Jan. 1920, wouldn’t be enough to suffer through, husbands had to put up with their uppity wives wanting not only to run their households, but having a say in running the entire country. It was enough to make a groan man cry in his bootleg booze.

    1935 -Mobster Dutch Schultz and three associates shot to death in a saloon by Mafia hitmen. Kind of makes one wonder, Can we all just get along?

    Speaking of which, I’ve got to get along  — my better half beckons.



    • arekhill1 8:32 am on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Anybody can, like the Human Primate of Ireland, (Is there a non-human primate? Well, gorillas and such, but they’re seldom found in Ireland) figure out when the world began. It’s figuring out when, and how, it ends that has even the greatest minds stumped.


    • mistermuse 9:19 am on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I confess that the good Archbishop’s title wasn’t HUMAN Primate of Ireland. I added the Homo sapient designation to distinguish him from non-human Primates because, although history records no gorillas among the hierarchy of Ireland (or elsewhere), there has been no dearth of monkeyshines and monkeying around. But who am I to judge – they’re only human after all.


    • Don Frankel 5:44 pm on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It’s good to know when it all began with a bang and it was also the same date that it all ended for Dutch Schultz with a few bangs out there in that Chophouse in Newark.


    • mistermuse 9:59 pm on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Speaking of repulsive characters, Weird Al Yankovic was born on Oct. 23, so the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh on that date. Such is life.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 10:42 pm on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      My husband and I have been married so long, we forgot that October 23 is our wedding anniversary. I did get my hair done and we went to Bob Evans for dinner. We can celebrate officially on Valentine’s Day like we did earlier this year. It’s much more romantic that way.


    • mistermuse 11:37 pm on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      October 23 is also “Valentinian’s Day” (see the 4th paragraph of my post). Both he and St. Valentine were Romans, but apparently Valentinian was no saint. In any case, a belated happy wedding anniversary to you and your Romeo.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 4:10 pm on October 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that interesting bit of information, mistermuse. Also for the good wishes!


    • mistermuse 6:43 pm on October 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome, Michaeline. Actually, Oct. 23 being “Valentinian’s Day” was a bit of humorous exaggeration on my part, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was such a holiday at the time (425 AD). Even a six year old Roman Emperor could probably decree anything he wanted to, including a mandatory celebration of his inaugeration day.


      • Joseph Nebus 12:34 am on October 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        They can decree. Various Roman emperors after Augustus tried to rename the months after themselves — Commodius tried to put a different one of all his twelve names on the months — though they didn’t take.


    • mistermuse 5:32 am on October 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the additional info. With further tongue in cheek, I hereby decree that you’re a gentleman and a (Roman) scholar.


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