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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Burns and Allen, , , , Gracie Allen, , , , Robert Burns, ,   

    THIS POST IS FOR THE BURNS 

    My last post was published on the birthday (Jan. 20, 1896) of GEORGE BURNS. This post is being published on the birthday (Jan. 25, 1759) of ROBERT BURNS. The former lived to the ripe old age of 100, the latter to age 37; a punster might say (0f the disparity) that they Burns the candle at both ends (of course, I would never say such a thing).

    Some of you no doubt remember George Burns as God in the 1977 hit film OH, GOD!, and as the Academy Award winning Best Supporting Actor in THE SUNSHINE BOYS (1975), but we geezers best recall him as straight man to wife Gracie Allen in the comedy team of BURNS AND ALLEN. After she died in 1964, he immersed himself in work, remaining active for another three decades in TV, movies, and as author of ten books.

    Here are Burns & Allen with Fred Astaire in two fun scenes from DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (1937):

    http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/374102/Damsel-In-Distress-A-Movie-Clip-Stiff-Upper-Lip.html

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

    Many of you probably do not remember ROBERT BURNS (aka RABBIE BURNS). Even I, ancient as I am, do not recall him. But history tells us he was known as the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire (Scotland), and as a pioneer of the Romantic movement. Regarded as the National Poet of Scotland, in 2009 the Scottish public voted him the Greatest Scot, evidently as a belated promotion from Great Scot! Among his best known poems are “Auld Lang Syne,” “A Red, Red Rose” and “To A Mouse” (said to have been written when he accidently destroyed a mouse nest while plowing a field). I suspect the mouse would have preferred if Burns had restored the nest, but nonetheless, the poem was a mice gesture.

    In closing, it might be nice to see what the Burns boys had to say in their own words (George’s quotes are in italics, followed by Robert’s in what I take to be post-Old English):

    Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

    Nice to be here? At my age, it’s nice to be anywhere. (Tell me about it!)

    First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up, and finally, you forget to pull it down. (Don’t tell me about it.)

    When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.

    It takes only one drink to get me drunk. Trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the 13th or 14th.

    Oh wad some power the giftie gie us / To see ourselves as others see us!

    Gie me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire, / That’s a’ the learning I desire.

    An’ there began a lang digression / About the lords o’ the creation.

    Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, / O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

    The best laid plans o’ mice and men Gang aft a-gley.

     
    • New England Nomad 12:41 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Interest that you should mention Robert Burns. Funnfact: there is a statue of him in my home city. It seems kind of random to see it since he never resided in Massachusetts and I’m not sure he ever lived in the states. To make a long story short, a Scottish heritage group, called the Scottish clans of America in honor of all of the Scottish people who had settled in the area.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:26 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for that interesting info. I wonder if there is a similar statue in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, which was a Scottish colony for a brief period in the 17th century.

        I don’t know if you watch JEOPARDY!, but if so, perhaps you’ve noticed that Rabbie (Robert) Burns turns up relatively often as a question (answer).

        Thanks again for commenting.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 6:06 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I am bat-sh*t crazy about “back in the day” tap routines — but would you believe that I either didn’t know (or had totally forgotten) that Burns was a tapper? And an excellent one too! I mean, anyone who can keep up with Astaire is NO slouch!!!

      I had to watch this 3 times, putting my attentional spotlight on each of them. BRILLIANT routine! Such lightness in their execution – and CLEAN as a whistle taps.

      I also think that G. Burns was one of the few (besides me, of course) who really appreciated Gracie’s comic genius – in addition to his being able to set her up perfectly – one of the best straight men in the biz.

      Bobby, on the other hand, is my personal guru of oh-well. I am a repeat winner of the Bobbie Burns award, having ganged oft aglee more times than *anybody* can count!

      Thanks for another great post.
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:12 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about George Burns. He, like most entertainers back in the day, started out in vaudeville and could do more than one thing. Astaire, for example, was not only a great dancer, but an actor, singer (I personally love his way with a song), choreographer, percussionist, and even wrote a few popular songs. In those days, you had to have talent — you didn’t get to be famous for being famous.

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    • Don Frankel 9:05 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, I remember the TV show from when I was a kid. While Gracie and Harry Von Zell would be plotting, George would be upstairs in his den watching it on TV. I thought that was the coolest thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:01 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Although George wasn’t my favorite comedian, George and Gracie as a pair were “the coolest thing” indeed. If I recall correctly, at the end of the show, he would tell Gracie, “Say goodnight [meaning ‘to the audience’], Gracie.”….and she would repeat, “Goodnight, Gracie.”

        Like

    • arekhill1 10:21 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      To return to your favorite subject, Sr. Muse, if God is going to get started with giving out the gift of perceiving how others see us, He could start with Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:40 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        You got that right, Ricardo. Even when he does perceive how others see him, it’s through the lens of his megalomania. Talk about a legend in his own mind!

        Like

    • milliethom 4:18 pm on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      A great post, told in an appealingly humorous way. I remember Gracie Allen well. I was a teenager when they were on TV quite a lot and my mum loved them. George must have done something right to live to a hundred … perhaps he always ate his greens or something. Lol The tap scene is amazing. All three are wonderful dancers.
      In a comment above, you wondered whether there was a Robert Burns’ statue in Nova Scotia. I looked up about statues of Burns around the world, intending to add some to my post, and I know there are a few in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I think there’s one in British Columbia and one in Halifax in Nova Scotia. I didn’t get as far as looking to see whether there were any in the USA. I intend to do another post about Rabbie, this time about his life and poetry. I thought I’d talk about the many statues then.
      Thank you for connecting to my post. I enjoyed reading yours.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:12 pm on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the kind words. Anyone who’s interested in more info (along with some very nice pix) about Robert Burns should check out your Jan. 25 post by clicking on your name above.

      Like

    • eths 10:57 pm on January 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      When I was a kid, my family and I listed to Burns and Allen weekly. Loved them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 1:20 pm on August 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:57 pm on August 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      George Burns thanks you, Robert Burns thanks you, and I thank you (if you don’t believe me, ask them!). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , James Jones, John Steinbeck, , , Robert Burns, , , , Willa Cather, ,   

    TELLTALE TITLES 

    How much time and thought do you devote to coming up with just-the-right title for your story, poem or article? If you take writing seriously, the answer is probably: as long as it takes to nail it — which could be almost no time at all, if it comes to you in a flash — or, more time than a less intense writer is willing to allot.

    Ernest Hemingway, for one, evidently wasn’t the latter type. Case in point: in writing his definitive Spanish Civil War novel, he didn’t settle for less than a killer title that would encapsulate ‘the moral of the story,’ eventually finding it in this passage from a 1624 work by the poet John Donne: “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    As a writer of (mostly) humorous poems and posts, I’m inclined to go for witty and/or wordplay titles. Many times, the title to a particular piece all but suggests itself, but more often, no such luck, and I’m stuck — until eventually (as with the title of this post) a eureka moment rewards my resolve….or a poem resists my labeling efforts, and I just settle for:

    UNTITLED

    This poem’s title is Untitled —
    Not because it is untitled,
    But because I am entitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    If I’d not titled it Untitled,
    It would truly be untitled….
    Which would make it unentitled
    To the title of Untitled.

    So it is vital, if untitled,
    Not to title it Untitled,
    And to leave that title idled,
    As a title is entitled.

    Moving on, suppose we try a title quiz based on the Papa Hemingway model (sorry, those of you who’d prefer the mistermuse model). Here are five passages from classic original works from which later authors lifted titles for their novels. Can you name the five later works and pin each tale on its author (ten answers total)? If you name all ten correctly, you win the title (with apologies to Cervantes) of Donkeyote Of All You Survey.

    PASSAGES FROM ORIGINAL WORKS:

    Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree/Damned from here to Eternity/God ha’ mercy on such as we/Ba! Yah! Bah! –Rudyard Kipling

    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley/An’ lea’e us naught but grief an’ pain/For promised joy! –Robert Burns

    By the pricking of my thumbs,/Something wicked this way comes. –Wm. Shakespeare

    Come my tan-faced children/Follow well in order, get your weapons ready/Have you your pistols? Have you your sharp-edged axes?/Pioneers! O pioneers! –Walt Whitman

    No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr’d,/Nor is Paul’s Church more safe than Paul’s Churchyard./Nay, fly to altars; there they’ll talk you dead/For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. –Alexander Pope

    TITLES (WITH AUTHORS) FROM  ABOVE PREVIOUS WORKS:

    FROM HERE TO ETERNITY –James Jones
    OF MICE AND MEN –John Steinbeck
    SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES –Ray Bradbury
    O PIONEERS! –Willa Cather
    WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD –E.M. Forster

    How many of the ten titles/authors did you get? That last title, parenthetically, became part of Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to this 1940 hit song composed by Rube Bloom:

    And now I fear I must tread on out….before something wicked this way comes.

     

     
    • Cynthia Jobin 10:29 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If there were an award entitled “The Best Poem about Title-ing An Untitled Poem” you certainly would be entitled to it. I recall a creative writing teacher who was a stickler about titles; she said leaving a poem untitled was lazy and a refusal to finish your poem properly. In the history of Literature it seems even the use of Numbers—Sonnet 24—has been acceptable, and often the first line or phrase of a poem is used as its title—-“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night….”.

      I liked the quiz. Pour moi it was a piece of cake. Just this past month I used a line from a Shakespeare sonnet for one of my titles: “Love’s Not Time’s Fool.” Thanks for an enjoyable post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:21 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Cynthia. I believe the exception to the ‘poems must be titled rule’ is the limerick, which should never be titled (if one were to follow the rules, which apparently exist to curtail my fun, so I have occasionally titled a few of mine).

        Congrats on getting 100% on the quiz. I hereby award you the title (in deference to your gender) of DONNA-KEYOTE OF ALL YOU SURVEY! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:14 pm on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I got all the titles but sad to say did not know the last three authors off the top of my head. I guess I get a 70. But of course I knew the song.

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    • mistermuse 9:05 pm on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, you know how much I dig great old songs, so I’m giving you 30 bonus points for knowing FOOLS RUSH IN (WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD). That brings your score up to 100, which wins you the DON(FRANKEL)KEYOTE OF ALL YOU SURVEY AWARD….and well deserved, I might add!

      Like

    • arekhill1 10:32 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      AUTO REPLY: I’m on vacation. Any quizzes will be taken when I get back to my office.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:07 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I auto wish you a great vacation, but no doubt you’re having one anyway. Safe trip home.

      Like

    • inesephoto 5:55 pm on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Love your poem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 11:20 pm on June 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I got the titles but didn’t know all the authors. This was really interesting. Your poem made me laugh. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • JosieHolford 5:19 pm on November 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I got all but the Rudyard Kipling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:21 pm on November 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Well done, Josie. I had forgotten about this June 2016 post, so (if I do say so myself) title me PLEASED to ‘re-discover’ it, thanks to you.

        Liked by 1 person

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