THIS POST IS A DRAG

Having been a ‘square’ since round one of my life, I’ve never been too interested in the affairs of those of various and sundry sexual orientations. There are lots of ‘different’ people who aren’t on the same wavelength and/or don’t meet with other people’s approval, but I can’t help that — I’ve got my own problems. My mantra has been: To each his own. Live and let live. Whatever rattles your cage. Etc.

You may think the reason I’m writing this is because I have just experienced a sudden conversion and intend to become a zealot for the causes of the transsexual, transvestite, transgendered….etc. Not so. I’m still an old-fashioned, “You go your way, I’ll go mine” kind of gay — er, guy. But issues surrounding the foregoing have come increasingly to the fore in recent years, so I’m finally taking the trouble to educate myself a bit. How much time can it take to see if you can put yourself in the other guy’s/gal’s/gay’s shoes for a moment? They may not fit, but food for thought won’t make you fat.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/what-difference-between-transsexual-and-transgender-facebooks-new-version-its-complicated-271389

Then there is the biblical story of the prodi-gal son (forgive me, Father, for I have punned) as a reminder that sexual duality is nothing new. It’s been around since long before Commodus was commodious and Nero fiddled around. Would they have not been tyrants if they had been straight arrows? Isn’t that like saying a magician would not be an illusionist if he had one less rabbit in his bag of tricks? (I just pulled that one out of the hat — no doubt you can come up with a better analogy.)

And on that venture into the androgynous zone, I will close with this:

There’s a gender in your brain and a gender in your body. For 99 percent of people, those things are in alignment. For transgender people, they’re mismatched. That’s all it is. It’s not complicated, it’s not a neurosis. It’s a mix-up. It’s a birth defect, like a cleft palate.” — Chaz Bono

Who is Chaz Bono? Click on this 2009 video clip, then click where it says Watch on YouTube:

 

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U CAN’T BLAME ME FOR MESSING WITH U

I need to take liberties with U girl, because U girl songs are scarcer than u might think. There is a song titled URSALA (from the Latin ursa, meaning bear)….but it’s not an oldie, so I’m going to pass on Ursala. Bear with me as I try to make it through the pass before my puns become unbearable.

Our first song, UTAH WE LOVE THEE, is a reach, but a few girls have been named Utah in Utah, so I’m of a state of mind to go with it. Georgia On My Mind, eat your heart out.

Next is an even bigger reach, as I’m going with a Lady called Ukulele:

Isn’t Ukulele Lady lovely? Who’d ever guess that gal is 92 years old (‘born’ 1925) and can still do wicky wacky woo…not to mention inka dinka doo? It’s all good in the moonlight.

This brings us to the biggest reach of all — but the season is right and the singer is a U, even if the song isn’t:

IT’S T TIME

It’s T time — time once again to take to the links and “T” off. Our first link, as I post this in the wee small hours of the morning, is a tune that goes through a roll call of maids-in-waiting. As you will hear, Frank’LL TAKE TALLULAH. (It dawns on me that come the Don, Frankel take her too, or I miss my bet*):

*referring to our friend Don Frankel, fellow unofficial member of the Frank Sinatra fan club

Four years after the above 1944 recording, another T came into Sinatra’s life:

As you may know, Tina is the name of Sinatra’s ‘other’ daughter (Nancy being the older and more celebrated of the two). So how did Tina really feel about her famous father?

We started with a WW II era song from a movie, and we’ll close with another: Johnny Mercer’s TANGERINE, from THE FLEET’S IN (1942). The orchestra this time is Jimmy Dorsey’s (brother of Tommy, who took Tallulah aboard Ship Ahoy in the first clip):

If the last clip, in particular, shows its age and looks/sounds quaint to us today, remember this is what your parents or grandparents listened and danced to in their day ….and you would have done the same in their place. Truth be told, aren’t most of us captives of the culture we’re in? I may be spitting into the wind, but it strikes me that we’re stuck in shallow water if we think there is only ‘now.’ Why so many have so little interest in where we came from is beyond me. It might tell us how we got here. It might even help tell us where to go (not that I would ever do such a thing).

 

LIKE WISE

Noble goal like chasing rainbow — beautiful while it lasts.

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

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

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

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

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

But enough about me. Here’s Charlie!

 

CERF’S UP

In his comment to 20/20 BEHINDSIGHT (my May 20 post which contained a look back at TWENTY QUESTIONS), long-time blog buddy Don Frankel mentioned WHAT’S MY LINE? (another old TV game show). It so happens that one of the regulars on that show, humor writer and publisher (co-founder of RANDOM HOUSE) Bennett Cerf had chosen the 25th of May (1898) to be born; thus, today I honor his birthday by posting a selection of favorite Cerf puns and quotes (and high time I returned the favor, considering that lo, some twenty-plus years ago, RANDOM HOUSE published several of my poems in THE RANDOM HOUSE TREASURY OF LIGHT VERSE).

But first, let’s take a look back at one of the WHAT’S MY LINE? programs from the same year as the TWENTY QUESTIONS clip shown in my previous post:

There is little question, I think you’ll agree, that WHAT’S MY LINE? was a step up in class compared to TWENTY QUESTIONS…..so it’s time to hit the Cerf (as beach bums refer to the swells) and ride the wave….to wit:

Gross ignorance is 144 times worse than ordinary ignorance.

The confused young man couldn’t decide whether to marry Kathryn or Edith. Try as he might, he just could not make up his mind. Unwilling to give up either, he strung them along far too long. This indecision continued until both women tired of the situation and left him for good. Moral of the story: You can’t have your Kate and Edith too.

Then there was the young female comic who was promised good roles in a hit TV show. All she had to do was divide her favors between the star and the producer. But it was just a sham; she never got any air time at all. You might even say she was….shared skit less.

There once was a student named Bessor
Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.
It at last grew so small
He knew nothing at all
And today he’s a college professor.

The Detroit String Quartet played Brahms last night. Brahms lost.

I shouldn’t be surprised  — it was four against one.

And on that note, I bid thee a fond fare well.

 

 

 

GANGSTER WRAP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s a wrap.

 

 

IT’S ABOUT TIME AGAIN

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations. –Faith Baldwin

A year ago today, I published a post titled IT’S ABOUT TIME which, as it happens, was about time. That post featured songs about time, such as TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE (which is all about time playing the role of an impatient gadabout). For this year’s edition, with Daylight Saving Time coming up this upcoming weekend, I thought I’d save myself time by posting quotes, like the Baldwin above, that carry on the time theme (which almost rhymes with crime scene, which is a site where it is suspected a pun has been committed in bad Faith). So, without further ado, it’s time to get down to cases:

Things money can’t buy: Time. Inner peace. Character. Manners. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Dignity. –Roy T. Bennett [almost identical with ‘Things on Trump’s Top Ten Never To Do list’]

I have no faith in human perfectibility. Man is now only more active – not more wise – than he was 6,000 years ago. –Edgar Allan Poe [man “more active” in Poe’s time? Of course he was — humans had yet to become Couch Po(e)tatoes]

Throughout history man’s inventions have been timesavers — then came television [100 years post-Poe]. –Evan Esar

I’m afraid of time…I mean I’m afraid of not having enough time — time to understand people, how they really are, or to be understood myself. I’m afraid of the quick judgments or mistakes everybody makes. You can’t fix them without time. –Ann Brashares

It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning. –Vincent Van Gough

I am almost a hundred years old; waiting for the end, and thinking about the beginning. There are things I need to tell you, but would you listen if I told you how quickly time passes? –Meg Rosoff

The past is never dead. It’s not even past. –William Faulkner

It takes a lifetime to die and no time at all. –Charles Bukowski

And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit. –Martin Amis

Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead. –Hans Christian Andersen

Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time. –Jorge Luis Borges

Over the silent sands of time they go/lovers come/lovers go/and all that there is to know/lovers know/only lovers know. –“Sands Of Time” lyrics, from 1955 film KISMET