Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23rd Birthdays:

Emil Jannings (1884-1950) actor - first one, in fact, to recieve the Academy Award for Best Actor (The Way of All Flesh)(lost film) and for The Last Command. He was the attendant in The Last Laugh, and the Professor in The Blue Angel. It's best not to ask what he did during WWII...

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) - author, serious drinker.One of the best openings to a story I've ever read:"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge." Raymond Chandler (Red Wind: A Collection of Short Stories)

and then there's his way with a line:'

"I don't mind your showing me your legs. They're very swell legs and it's a pleasure to make their acquaintace. I don't mind if you don't like my manners. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter nights." Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep)

"It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in." Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep)

"Dead men are heavier than broken hearts." Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep)

"You talk too damn much and too damn much of it is about you." Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye)

"I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard." Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe's Guide to Life)

"Tall, aren't you?" she said.
I didn't mean to be."
Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her."
Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep)

Harry Cohn (1891-1958) - President of Columbia Pictures. Not very well liked. For good reasons. One star went to his funeral "to see if he was really dead". Another commented on the large crowd: "It just proves what Harry always said. Give the people what they want and they'll turn out for it".

Daniel Radcliffe - actor/Harry Potter
He sure growed up nice.

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22 Birthdays:

William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) Oxford Don - absent minded professor, had a tendency to mix up words. The linguistic effect became known as a Spoonerism, weather intended or not. i.e. "The weight of rages will press hard upon the employer"; "bass ackwards", "you can lead a whore to water but you can't maker her think", “this vast display of cattle ships and bruisers.”

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) poet, multi-lingual, called for a Jewish homeland 13 years before Herzel. Translator of Jewish poets to English. Taught immigrating Ashkenazi Jews English and technical knowledge. Died at 38. Best known for her sonnet "The New Colossus", which appears on the pedestal of the Statue of

click to enlarge

Frederick William Rolfe, better known as Baron Corvo. Often used Fr. Rolfe to seem a member of the clergy. Also called himself 'Frederick William Serafino Austin Lewis Mary Rolfe'. In his only written comment on his sexuality, he wrote a friend, 'My preference was for the 16, 17, 18 and large'. His book "Hadrian VII" is a great read. I saw the Broadway adaptation in what, the late '60s? In it, an eccentric chain smoking Englishman rejected for the priesthood suddenly becomes Pope. The character is, of course, himself. It's a work of genius, and quite a hoot.

click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) – artist

Click to enlarge

James Whale (1889-1967) Theater and film director known for Franenstein, The Old Dark House, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and what is considered to be the definitive "Show Boat". The last months of his life were the basis for Christopher Bram's The Father of Frankenstein, the basis for the movie Gods and Monsters. Whale neither hid nor flaunted his sexuality, which was fairly daring in the 1920's and 30's.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890-1995) – matriarch of American royalty. Considering everything, she had to have been one hell of a strong woman. (She was medicated, and lived to 6 months shy of 105.)

Amy Vanderbilt (1908-1974) – etiquette expert

Happy 70th !!!
George Clinton – musician/P Funk 


click to enlarge
Bobby Sherman – teen idol


Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21st Birthdays:

Paul Julius Freiherr von Reuter (Baron De Reuter) (Israel Bere Josafat) (1816-1899) German entrepreneur, converted to Brit. Created the Reuters News Agency using telegraphs and carrier pigeons. Set policy of objective news reporting. IPO in 1984. Bylaws for the Corp. restricted private ownership of more than 15% of stock (Rupert Murdoch was forced to sell off a bunch...) In 2008, Reuters merged with Canada's Thompson Corp.The real business of Reuters was financial reporting and data. News reporting now comprises 10% of the Corp. income.

Sam Bass (1851-1878) Train robber and outlaw of the Western Frontier. Passed into legend when betrayed at Round Rock Texas. Gang member Frank Jackson, 20 years old, helped a mortally wounded Bass esape. Bass gave Jackson his money, weapons, and superior horse. He insisted Jackson flee, and died on his 27th birthday. Jackson was never captured, the money was never found, and rumors of sightings do abound.

C. Aubrey Smith (1863-1948) English cricket player turned character actor. Often the Upper Class English Gentleman and/or Officer.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) - author / Papa. Grew increasingly paranoid that the FBI and J.Edgar were out to get him. He was treated at the St Mary's clinic, alledgely for hypertenion. Then the Mayo clinic. Secrecy surrounds his stay at the clinic, but it was later determined that he recieved electroshock therapy at least 15 times. And 11 times at  St, Mary's. Three months later, he committed suicide. On July 1st, 2011, his good friend A.E.Hotchner published an op-ed in the New York Times. A Freedom of Information request had confirmed intense FBI survelience of Hemingway. Hotchner now believes his friend may not have beem going mad, and that the survelience contributed to Hemingway's suicide.

Hart Crane (1899-1932) – Perhaps the most influential poet of his generation. Onboard a Mexian steamer headed for New York, he was badly beaten after making sexual advances to a male crew member. He jumped overboard in the Gulf of Mexico. His body was never found.

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) - communications and media theorist and author. The medium is the message. And the massage. This being his 100th Birthday, hopefully his work will be rediscovered. Here's a special tribute:

Mollie Sugden (1922-2009) – actress/Mrs. Slocombe/have you seen her pussy?

Kay Starr - singer


Don Knotts (1925-2006) - actor / Barney Fife / Mr. Furley/Mr. Limpit

Helen Merrill – singer with a 4am smokey bar room kind of voice.

Kaye Stevens - actress and singer. Became popular after subbing for one night for Debbie Reynolds in Las Vegas. Went with Bob Hope to entertain the boys in Vietnam. What she saw was so disturbing she became an alcoholic, wasn't able to clean up for 20 years.

Janet Reno – former Attorney General of the US. Authorized FBI assult on Branch Davidians at Waco, Tx. Brought anti trust suit against Microsoft. Oversaw capture & conviction of the Unabomber, the Oklahoma City bombing, 1st World Tade Center bombing, etc.

John Negroponte - 1st US Director of National Intelligence. Very questionable and slimeball dealings in what we used to call Latin America, etc.

Paul Wellstone (1944-2002) US Senator, progressive, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Against both Iraq wars. Was making noise about investigating the Bush administration's election and possible 9/11 involvement when he was killed in a questionable plane crash, days before his potential re-election which would have kept Democrat control of the Senate. In documents released in 2010, the FBI admitted to wiretapping the Senator - allegedly to protect him from death threats. The documents also showed FBI interest dating back to a 1970 anti-war demonstration.

Edward Hermann – actor/Gilmore Girls

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just Birthdays for Today

July 20th Birthdays:

This sculpture was said to be the closest likeness to Alexander


AAlexander the Great (356BC - 323BC) King of Macedon, Hegemon of the Hellenic League, Shahanshah of Persia, Pharaoh of Egypt and Lord of Asia. Quite a lot for a guy who died at 32. His grief over the death of his lifelong companion, General, and Bodyguard, Hephaestion was so great, it was said to have unhinged him. He died 8 months later. Aristotle (Alexander's teacher) wrote the the two were like "... one soul abiding in two bodies".      

Portrait of Hephaistion based on a bronze bust in possession of the Prado

George Llewelyn-Davies (1893-1915) the main inspiration for Peter Pan. Killed at age 21 while fighting in WWI.

Jimmy Kennedy, OBE (1902-1984) Irish songwriter of whom few have heard. Mostly lyrics to music. 2000 songs. 200 worldwide hits. Here's a few reasons why I felt I had to list him: Red Sails in the Sunset, South of the Border, We're Going to Hang Our Washing on the Siegfried Line, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), Harbor Lights, The Hokey Pokey (in England "Cokey Cokey").

Cindy Walker (1918-2006) – singer s
songwriter of "country" tunes. Bob Wills recorded over 50 of her songs. Her biggest hit was "You Don't Know Me" written for Eddy Arnold. Ray Charles, Elvis and many others have all had hits with it, too. The Great Eddy Arnold version can be found here (clicky).
Here's the version I'm feeling these days:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From the pages of my almanac

On this date:

July 19th, 64 Common Era - Rome - starting in the market district, fire consumes the city. If Nero played his fiddle, it's because he was a very happy Emperor. Huge swaths of the city would need to be reconstructed. He probably owned the land. He probably took, er, taxed top dollar from buidling tradesmen, materials suppliers, etc. And guess who just happened to have a stunning redesign for the city available? And he gets to blame it all on those pesky christians!

July 19, 1692: In Salem, MA, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good and Sarah Wildes were hanged at Gallows Hill.

July 19th Birthdays:

Samuel Colt (1814-1862) inventor and industrialist. His patents and company popularized the revolver. As a kid, he was an indentured farm servant, worked for his father's textile plant, was sent to learn a seaman's trade, became a sort of snake oil barker touring the country giving demonstrations of laughing gas. Then, at the age of 18 patented his design for the revolver. Dead at 38, he left an estate of about $15 million - and that in 1862 dollars... Look at this eyes - he was a demon....

Edgar Degas (18
34-1917) - artist who thought his were works of realism. He never married, ended up broke, nearly blind, restlessly wandering the streets of Paris.

Lizzie Borden (1860-1927) - took an axe, and gave her father 40 whacks... hey, if the axe handle don't fit you gots to a-quit. First off, she did her Step-mother first, with 18 or 19 whacks. And her cheap son-of-a bitch father (so cheap he wouldn't spring for indoor plumbing) was second and got only 10 or 11 wacks. With plenty of suspects and evidence hanging around, the jury took one and a half hours to return a verdict of not guilty. Lizzie stayed in Fall River, and had at least one long affair (with actress Nance O'Neil). Well, that little bit of gossip changes things don't it? Little Lizzie was a butch dyke, I just know it. Yeah, she could'a done it.

Harold Egbert Camping (born July 19, 1921) president of Family Radio, which is in about 150 markets in the US. Predicted that the world would end on May 21, 1988. And September 7, 1994. Then May 21, 2011. Next up: Oct. 21st, 2011.