31 March 2008

You've Never Seen Anything Like It In Your Life

Pushmi-Pullyus are remarkable creatures.
Of all God's animals they're the cleverest!
They develop these remarkable features
Running up and down Mount Everest!

Running up and down a mountain
Gives them very nimble feet.
And this extreme agility
Betgets a rare ability -
Shared only with the mountain goats of France -
The Pushmi-Pullyu loves to dance!

30 March 2008

Voice From Another World

When you list the events of any given year, all of them turn out to be pretty interesting. Certainly 1860 was packed with items from the tragic to the frivolous. In France a woman opened her mouth to sing an old folk song, "Au Claire de Lune". If you put that entry into You Tube, there are several people singing it, but one version just made its appearance a day ago and is already number one on the world wide hit parade.

The Mercury News will tell you about the science: Magical Song from 1860 Knocks Edison Off The Chart, and then you can hear her for yourself: Au Claire de Lune.

This restored disk is the oldest known recording of the human voice made 147 years ago. At the time this recording was made:

White settlers massacred a band of Wiyot Indians at the village of Tuluwat on Indian Island near Eureka, Ca.

The US Pony Express mail system began between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, Ca.

Navaho Indians attacked Fort Defiance.

James Barrie, author of Peter Pan was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland.

Republican convention selected Abraham Lincoln as their presidential candidate.

Lizzie Borden famous 1892 murder suspect, was born.

Joseph Carey Merrick, "Elephant Man," was born.

Queen Liliuokalani of Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) arrived for a visit in NYC.

Annie Oakley (d.1926), sharp-shooter and entertainer, was born in Darke County, Ohio, as Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee (Mosey).

Jane Addams was born. She is known for her work as a social reformer, pacifist, and founder of Hull House in Chicago in 1889, and as the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1931).

The 1st US aerial photo was taken from a balloon over Boston.

Grace Bedell of Westfield, N.Y., wrote a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, suggesting he could improve his appearance by growing a beard.

Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, was born.

Former Illinois congressman Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th president. He defeated three other candidates for the U.S. presidency. He won the US presidential elections with a majority of the electoral votes in a 4-way race. Following his election South Carolina seceded from the Union followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Hannibal Hamlin was his vice-president.

South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.

George Eliot, aka Mary Ann Evans, wrote her novel "The Mill on the Floss."

Charles Dickens wrote his novel "Great Expectations."

The martini drink cocktail was invented.

Golf balls began to be made of guttal percha, a tree sap.

The British Open was 1st held at the Old Course in St. Andrew’s. The prize was a red leather belt with a silver buckle. The belt was retired in 1872 and replaced with a silver claret jug.

The Woodlawn Vase was created by Tiffany & Co. as a trophy for the Woodlawn Racing Assoc. in Louisville, Ky. It was buried during the Civil War and by 1917 was associated with the Preakness.

Sam Brannan, California’s first millionaire, bought the spring grounds at Indian Springs and built a lavish resort. His name of Calistoga is the combination of California and Saratoga, a famous New York spa.

A mattress on the floor of the Tremont House Hotel in Chicago rented for $2.50 per night.

In Britain Queen Victoria decreed that men who chose to remain unmarried would not be welcome in Her Majesty’s Rifle Corp. She held that "normal married life improves a man’s marksmanship."

Thomas Huxley was asked by Bishop Samuel ("Soapy Sam") Wilberforce whether his ape ancestry resided on his father’s side or his mother’s side. Huxley responded that he would prefer descent from an ape rather than from a man of keen faculties and wide influence who employed his gifts to ridicule science.

English inventor Frederick Walton made "linoleum" out of linseed oil.

During the excavation of Pompeii, Italy, Giuseppe Fiorelli got the idea of pouring liquid plaster into the spaces left by decomposed bodies in the beds of ashes.

The 1st French gendarmes arrived in Vietnam.

A tribe of 1000 Paiutes of Owens Valley, Ca., were forcibly relocated to Fort Tejon in the Tehachapi Mountains by the US Army.

Kuala Lumpur ("muddy confluence") discovered at the confluence of the Kelang and Gombak rivers.

The Maori Wars broke out in New Zealand over issues of land ownership after colonists flooded the islands.

Lewis Carroll took photographs of Alice Lidell, his inspiration for Alice In Wonderland.

The Saud family moved to exile in Kuwait when the Ottoman Empire conquered much of Arabia.

And that was the year that was.

28 March 2008

Think About History

As most of you know, I am a history addict. One of the fun places to go is the "This Day In History" Think About History Game

You can either just play on your own, play with family members or submit scores to the web. There are multiple levels with each level being higher than the last. The game categories frequently include videos. So gather the kids around and have a go at competing while picking up a lot of knowledge while playing the game.

26 March 2008

Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead

As with most people, our household is in the ongoing process of replacing all videos of favorite movies with DVDs. Last night my son brought home "The Wind and The Lion" one of the truly entertaining movies of all time and who could ask for a better cast than Sean Connery as Raisuli, Candice Bergen as Eden Perdicaris, and Brian Keith as Teddy Roosevelt. In this political season, it is good to remember that virtually everything in this "historical" movie is either a tall tale or never happened.

Let's start with Eden Perdicaris with two children, one boy and one girl. First, Mrs. Perdicaris was named Ellen. Second, she had four children by a previous husband, C. F. Varley, whom she had deserted for Ion Perdicaris, and third she was never kidnapped. It was her husband Ion Perdicaris and one son, Cromwell Varley, who were kidnapped on May 18, 1904.

Did Teddy Roosevelt actually say, "Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead"? Well, yes he did - To the attendees of the Republican convention, who up to that point had been rather lukewarm towards Roosevelt. The delegates went wild at this remark. One Kansas delegate exclaimed, "Roosevelt and Hay know what they're doing. Our people like courage. We'll stand for anything those men do." This famous catchphrase quickly caught on, and helped Roosevelt secure his election.

Did the Marines land in Morocco to rescue Perdicaris? Not so much. All that bang bang up on the screen really looks good and certainly the Marine hymn does mention that they had invaded "the shores of Tripoli" a hundred years before to take on the Barbary pirates. This time the only Marines to actually land were a small force of a dozen men, carrying only side-arms, who arrived to protect the Consulate, Ellen Perdicaris and the other three children.

Roosevelt was advised on June 1 that Perdicaris was not a U.S. citizen. That he had given up his American passport for a Greek one many years earlier; but Roosevelt thought that since Raisuli thought Perdicaris was an American citizen, it made little difference. Roosevelt tried to get Britain and France to join the U.S. in a combined military action to rescue Perdicaris, but the two countries refused. Instead, the two powers were covertly recruited to put pressure on the Sultan to accept Raisuli's demands which he agreed to do on June 21. This led to the peaceful release of the hostages.

One thing in the movie is true. Perdicaris came to admire and befriend Raisuli. Perdicaris later said: "I go so far as to say that I do not regret having been his prisoner for some time... He is not a bandit, not a murderer, but a patriot forced into acts of brigandage to save his native soil and his people from the yoke of tyranny."

So there you have it: Real vs. Reel and another example of when politics are involved, don't believe everything you hear.

25 March 2008

Many Happy Returns

For years I have been bemoaning the death of the movie musical. Finally Hollywood has come to its senses and we are getting them again. Moulin Rouge, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray and Enchanted among others have hit the theaters and coming this year two major movies: Mama Mia in the summer and Wicked in the fall.

Today In History, March 25

Today is the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Both the linked website and the video are worth reviewing as this fire and the deaths that resulted from it, led to major improvements in work space safety regulations, though it was many more years before unions were able to bring about the conditions we take for granted today.

24 March 2008

A Day In The Death of Joe Egg

If your mood is very sunny side up this morning, you may want to move along to another Manic Monday contribution because the very first thing that came to mind was a very dark, hilarious, and blisteringly moving play by Peter Nichols and movie: A Day In The Death of Joe Egg.

The story is about a couple who are trying to save their marriage while trying to raise their child who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, is confined to a wheelchair, and is completely unable to communicate. It is an honest look at what it takes to deal with a special needs child by dipicting the extreme of that condition. Taking care of her has occupied nearly every moment of her parent's lives since her birth, and has virtually destroyed their marriage.

While both parents are committed to Josephine (nicknamed Joe Egg), Sheila, her mother, gives her as much of a life as she can. Her father, Bri wants the child institutionalised and has begun to entertain chilling fantasies of killing himself and Josephine.

In order to deal with the complexities of Joe Egg in their lives, Sheila and Bri invent conversations between themselves, their daughter, and even the audience with a running commentary on the struggles, the causes, the humor, and ultimately the destruction of their marriage. The dialogue is intense, revealing, and uncomfortable as you find yourself laughing and then coming up short against the tragedy. In the end as with most great plays it reveals the strengths and weaknesses in the human condition as we fall, rise, and triumph only to fall again as new challenges present themselves.

The play was nominated for four Tony awards in its first visit to Broadway and has been revived twice as well as being made into a motion picture.

21 March 2008

It Might As Well Be Spring

Easter is early this year. Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20).

This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. Based on the above information, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) and that is rare.

Here's the interesting information. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above).

None of us alive today have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now).

2) The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

3) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now).

4) The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!


I've been fortunate enough to watch her when she was still in college and performing at Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater in Fresno, CA. Of course that was several Tony's ago. Here she is with "It Might As Well Be Spring" and "It's Lovely Up Here".

20 March 2008

Chicken with Tzimmies

This main dish is courtesy of one of the best cooking sites on the web Steal This Recipe

Berkowitz's Grandma's Roasted Chicken With Tzimmies

3 1/2 lbs whole chicken
2 Tsp olive oil
2 tsp Herbs d'Province (can substitute Italian seasoning)
2 tsp seasoning salt


1. Rub chicken with olive oil, then thoroughly coat with seasoning mix and salt
2. Roast chicken in 350-degree oven until golden brown, about 1 hour (internal temperature should be around 150 degrees)
3. Start basting with honey glaze every 10 minutes for the next 30 minutes, until internal temperature is around 180 degrees
4. Remove chicken from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to settle the juices
5. Cut chicken and serve

Note: We suggest removing the chicken skin before eating for a healthier alternative.

Honey Mustard Glaze


1 cup honey
2 oz spicy brown mustard
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp jalapeño jelly
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Honey Mustard Glaze Steal This Recipe® step-by-step Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly; set aside until ready to baste Chicken.


2 Russet potatoes
1 sweet potato
1 onion
3 carrots
1/2 cup fresh apricots, chopped
Juice from one lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper


1. Cube and slice potatoes, onions, and carrots and combine with apricots in 9x13 baking pan
2. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper
3. Cook in 350-degree oven for approximately 1 to 1.5 hours until tender

Note: To cook the Tzimmies with the chicken, place the uncooked chicken on top of the uncooked Tzimmies and cook together; follow the above method for chicken.


Serve this sweet fruit melange on the Seder plate for Passover and as a side dish.


4 Granny Smith apples
Juice of one lemon
1 cup fresh mango, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Port or sweet wine


Peel, core, and dice the apples and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Place the apples, mango, pecans, cinnamon, honey, and wine in a food processor.
Pulse once or twice just to break up. Let sit for the flavors to meld.

Serve on the Seder plate and as a side dish.

Yield: About 4 cups

This can be made year round as a wonderful sweet topping for ice cream, cakes, puddings, or stirred into yogurt ... be inventive as it tastes wonderful.

It is the first day of Spring. Easter will be early this year and the Passover First Seder will be the night of Saturday, April 19. For those curious as to why Passover comes after Easter this year, here is an easy explanation. It's all the Roman's fault.

That gives me a lot of time for the recipes for the Seder and traditions of Passover, but lets kick it off with a truly wonderful brisket suitable for both celebrations.


4 to 6-lb (2 to 3 kg) beef brisket
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) paprika
2 tsp (10 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper
4 large onions, sliced
1/2 cup (125 mL) red wine, broth or water

Cooking Instructions

In a bowl or small food processor, combine the minced garlic, brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper. By hand, rub this mixture all over the brisket, wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

Lightly grease a roasting pan with vegetable oil cooking. Place the brisket in the pan and add the sliced onions. Pour the red wine or other liquid and cover the roasting pan very tightly with heavy duty foil (or the lid, if there is one). Place the pan in the oven and roast, undisturbed, for 3 hours. Uncover the pan and continue to roast for an additional hour, basting occasionally with the juices from the pan.

If you want to serve the brisket right away, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before slicing. Arrange slices on a platter, skim off any fat from the pan juices and spoon some over the meat. Serve the remaining pan juices separately.

If you are cooking this a day ahead of time, let the brisket cool completely, then refrigerate without slicing (it’s easier to slice the brisket when it’s cold). Skim off any congealed fat from the pan juices, slice the brisket thinly and arrange in the baking pan. Cover tightly with foil and reheat in the pan juices at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until heated through.

Servings: Yields 8 to 10 servings

14 March 2008

From This Day On

On this date in 1947, the Lerner and Lowe musical, Brigadoon opened on Broadway. For anyone who has seen a stage production, the movie just doesn't quite live up to those images. If all you have ever seen is the movie version with Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly, you should know that you have missed more than half of the songs from the original show. Whether this was for matters of time or the fact that two dancers rather than two singers were cast in the lead, I don't know.

Missing from the motion picture are:

My Mother's Wedding Day
Come To Me Bend To Me
There But For You Go I
From This Day On

All of the videos on You Tube were incredibly bad and I wanted you to hear good versions, so here is the link to the original cast album from Rhapsody.

From This Day On is my favorite of the missing songs even though it is one of the shortest, because it is the one that brings Tommy back to Brigadoon and pulls the town back out of time so that he can return to Fiona. It is a love song for everyone who has left some of their heart behind and there is no way to get back to where they left it.

You and the world we knew will glow, till my life is through;
For you're part of me from this day on.
And someday if I should love, it's you I'll be dreaming of,
For you're all I'll see from this day on.
These hurried hours were all the life we could share.
Still, I will go with not a tear, just a prayer
That when we are far apart, you'll find something from your heart
Has gone! Gone with me from this day on.

If you ever get to see a production of the original musical. Don't miss it.

11 March 2008

A Long Time Coming

Last night the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored the inductees for 2008 in ceremonies at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Hall of Fame Foundation President and CEO, Joel Peresman, stated, “From poetry to pop, these five acts demonstrate the rich diversity of rock and roll itself. We are proud to honor these artists and celebrate their contribution to rock and roll’s place in our culture.”

The performer inductees are:

Leonard Cohen
The Dave Clark Five (Dave Clark, Lenny Davidson, Rick Huxley, Denny Payton and Mike Smith)
John Mellencamp
The Ventures (Bob Bogle, Nokie Edwards, Gerry McGee, Mel Taylor, Don Wilson)

Now I danced to The Dave Clark Five and The Ventures, listened with delight to Mellencamp, and have often been amazed by the constant reinvention of The Material Girl, but my heart belongs to Leonard Cohen. As a poet, writer, and musician he speaks to something tender, beautiful, sad, and sometimes edgy and dangerous in the human spirit.

So many years ago I can't exactly remember when except that it was in the sixties, I first heard Suzanne, bought the album and played it into the ground. Just last year a friend mentioned that the title of one of his songs Dance Me To The End of Love was the same as a favorite painting. The voice was older, the face craggier in the video, and the poetry still reminded you of something hidden in the soul that demanded attention because of the tears in your eyes. His work often explores the themes of religion, isolation, sexuality, and complex interpersonal relationships.

His webpage has an extensive biography from his birth in 1934 to the present that you can read at your leisure. Check into it for his books of poetry and novels to add to your reading list, and make a list of his albums. If they aren't already in your home, go shopping then return home, pour a glass of wine, put on the CD or open a book and indulge yourself in the company of a wonderful man who has now received a long overdue honor.

09 March 2008

Yes You Can Can Can

When Mo declared that today's word was "CAN", my comment was, "Drat you've done it to me again! If you say "can" twice, you end up chasing your tail all over the internet to come up with Offenbach, The Merry Widow, Toulouse-Lautrec, August Renoir, Jean Renoir, Moulin Rouge, La Goulue, Jane Avril, and movies in 1952, 1954, 1960 and 2001. A little narrowing down may be in order."

Well I narrowed it down. When you say "can can", you are talking about one dance in one place in one city performed by two women painted by one genius. The can can was first made famous at the Moulin Rouge in Paris as performed by La Goulou and her successor Jane Avril both of whom were imortalized by Toulouse-Lautrec. Since then there has been a broadway play at least four motion pictures: Moulin Rouge 2001, Moulin Rouge 1952, French Can Can by Jean Renoir 1955, and Can Can the 1953 Broadway musical and 1960 motion picture. The Renoir film is the most accurate as to the history of the can can and its place in the history of art and society.

La Goulue or "the glutton" (Louise Weber, 1870-1929) was the dancer who first brought the then scandalous dance to the Moulin Rouge nightclub. Born in poverty in Alsace she moved to Paris with her laundress mother, but at 16 became the ruling talent of Montmartre, often without underwear under her ruffled skirts. Her favorite partner was Jacques Renaudin who was known as Valentin le Désossé, literally translated as "Valentin the boneless."

She fell in love with the painter Auguste Renoir (father of Jean Renoir who made the movie listed above), who introduced her to a group of models who posed nude for many artists. Through these connections she found her way to increasingly more fashionable clubs. When Joseph Oller met her, he immediately engaged her to dance at the Moulin Rouge.

Some of her famous moves included dancing on tables, displaying the heart embroidered on her drawers, and removing gentlemen's hats with her toe. Her earnings from her appearances and touring the countryside made her wealthy woman with a home in Montmartre. In 1895 she resigned the Moulin Rouge to set up her own business as a belly dancer. She believed her audience would follow her, but La Goulue without the Moulin Rouge was a failure. She lost the rest of her fortune in foolish investments and evenually became a homeless alcoholic. She returned to Montmartre in 1928 selling peanuts, cigarettes, and matches on the streets near the Moulin Rouge where she died in 1929, telling a priest that she was "La Goulue."

La Goulou was replaced by Jane Avril as the Queen of the Moulin Rouge, again imortalized by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec through his paintings. She was born Jeanne Beaudon in the Belleville section of Paris, the daughter of the passing mistress of Count Luigi di Font who was never involved in her life. Her alcoholic mother often beat her and when she ran away from home the authorities declared her insane and she was sent to Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital. Under kind care, she improved and started dancing for the hospital employees.

At the age of 16 she was released from the hospital and began working during the day and dancing at the Latin Quarter at night. Using the stage name Jane Avril, she built a reputation that eventually allowed her to make a living as a full time dancer. In 1885 she was hired by the Moulin Rouge to replace La Goulue and became a star of the cafe concerts in the area. The popularity of her can can was so great that Jane Avril travelled to perform in London.

Jane Avril gave a more graceful and quieter version of the can can of La Goulue. She became one of the most recognizable names of the Parisian nightlife, and remained a star for many more years. At 42 she entered into an unhappy marriage and exhausted her savings. Without any financial support following his death in 1926, Avril lived in near poverty on what little was left of her savings. She died in 1943 at the age of 75, and was forgotten until portrayed by Zsa Zsa Gabor in the 1952 film and reborn in a fictional form in 2001 played by Nicole Kidman.

So there you are from movies to movies and real to reel. Now that you know about a dance done by two women who were loved by Paris, I'll end with a pretty Cole Porter song from Can Can.

07 March 2008

You Light Up My Life

Mary The Teach at Work of the Poet has presented me with a lovely award.

First I just love the image she chose. You can't help but smile and then since she knows me so well, she knew the wheels would start turning. Now I will spare you Debbie Boone singing "You Light Up My Life", but the composer who wrote it, wrote another song about the love that got away that you hope against hope just might turn up again some day. It comes from a movie of the same name, If Ever I See You Again. The tagline to try to bring folks to the theater, "Call someone you loved and lost a long time ago and ask them to see a movie. Maybe it's not too late."

This has to go into the "chick flick of all time file" of pure schmaltz and you don't care because at the end, you go awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. So be sentimental and click on "Play".

Top Ten and Counting

This is a retread from way back before there were many regular readers. So who would you add to the list or what historical figure has an impact on your life.

Atlantic Monthly Magazine has put together a compilation of lists by historians to come up with the top 100 Americans who have influenced (some good, some not so much so). It is well worth viewing and joining in on the conversation.

They Made America

Who would you rank in the top ten?

The Top Ten from Atlantic Monthly are:

1. Abraham Lincoln

He saved the Union, freed the slaves, and presided over America’s second founding.

2. George Washington

He made the United States possible—not only by defeating a king, but by declining to become one himself.

3 Thomas Jefferson

The author of the five most important words in American history: “All men are created equal.”

4 Franklin Delano Roosevelt

He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then he proved it.

Alexander Hamilton

Soldier, banker, and political scientist, he set in motion an agrarian nation’s transformation into an industrial power.

6 Benjamin Franklin

The Founder-of-all-trades— scientist, printer, writer, diplomat, inventor, and more; like his country, he contained multitudes.

7 John Marshall

The defining chief justice, he established the Supreme Court as the equal of the other two federal branches.

8 Martin Luther King, Jr.

His dream of racial equality is still elusive, but no one did more to make it real.

9 Thomas Edison

It wasn’t just the light bulb; the Wizard of Menlo Park was the most prolific inventor in American history.

10 Woodrow Wilson

He made the world safe for U.S. interventionism, if not for democracy.

06 March 2008

Nagging Again

This 1888 photo released by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston shows Helen Keller when she was eight years old, left, holding hands with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, during a summer vacation to Brewster, Mass., on Cape Cod. A staff member at the society discovered the photograph in a large photography collection recently donated to the society. When Sullivan arrived at the Keller household to teach Helen, she gave her a doll as a present. Although Keller had many dolls throughout her childhood, this is believed to be the first known photograph of Helen Keller with one of her dolls. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Thaxter P. Spencer Collection, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society-Boston)

As you all know, I keep going on about how important it is to save your photos, keep a journal, make some sort of record to pass along to children, because history not saved is history lost. Today just such a collection turned up an unexpected treasure: The earliest known picture of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. You can read the whole wonderful story HERE of how it was saved and came to light many decades later through a gift to the Boston Genealogical Society

05 March 2008

Want Act II

As most of you know, I'm slightly crazy about musical theater. Mo had us do the word "Want" for Monday. Well what I wanted for the birthday was a new window card for the wall. These are the posters used to advertise a broadway show, and one of the best places where you can find them (as well as motion pictures) is Triton Gallery. If you like posters, it is a great place to find just about everything. They also have a fine art section where you can go dreaming as well. For a birthday two years ago, the best son in the whole wide world got me Barnum for my birthday. This year the best son in the whole wide world got me The Boy From Oz.

The Boy From Oz is the Tony Award winning musical is a biography of Peter Allen using the music he wrote to tell the story.

Peter Allen as Peter Allen singing "I Go To Rio". The night I went to see him in Los Angeles for his revue "Up In One", he did the number fairly plain only throwing on multi colored carnival sleeves and wielding a mean pair of maracas.

Now I have to start working on the best son in the whole wide world and the best daughter in the whole wide world for a trip to see the place that Peter Allen made everyone homesick to see: I Still Call Australia Home

Savage Chicken

One of my favorite web cartoons is by Doug Savage of Savage Chickens. Today's is a truly nice commentary on "It isn't getting any smarter out there."

Click on the link above to see more of Doug's very creative work.

03 March 2008

My First President

On March 4, 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. Since he hung on to the job through the depression, through Pearl Harbor and World War II. Finally, even thought very ill was elected for the last time in 1943. As a result, Roosevelt was the President in 1944 when I was born. In all honesty, I didn't notice his death the following year, but I do remember when Truman won the election on his own in 1948 after filling out the remainder of Roosevelt's term. The Democratic reign came to an end in 1952 when everybody liked Ike.

Now the fact that the Democrats had managed to hang on to the White House for twenty years with only two Presidents rather upset the Republicans, so they pushed through an Amendment to the Constitution limiting the President to two terms, something they were only able to get around at a later by using the old system of electing relatives. The Democrats looked at this method and said, now that might be something we should try. Welcome to 2008.

The clip above is from "Yankee Doodle Dandy" with James Cagney recreating George M. Cohan as Franklin Roosevelt in "I'd Rather Be Right", a 1937 musical by one of the greatest teams ever to write music for the musical stage: Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. Unlike many of their musicals, this bit of fluff produced only one standard: "Have You Met Miss Jones"

Now there was one other song in the show that has a certain poingnancy considering the current state of the economy that it was first sung more than 70 years ago: "We're Going To Balance The Budget". It's amazing how politicians used to promise the silliest things.

I Want That!

Anyone who has ever dealt with a small child in a shopping cart screaming, "I want that!" at the top of their lungs knows how hard it is to say, "No!" Most of us never completely outgrow the "I want that" urge. There is even a wonderful place on the web where almost everything makes you say, "I Want That!" for your home which can lead to a huge accumulation of STUFF. So here is George Carlin talking about all the STUFF you wanted, had to have, and now don't have enough room to store.

Language warning for sensitive.

02 March 2008

Where's The Miller's Son?

I can no longer sing "When I'm Sixty-Four" with the Beatles, but at least Paul got here before me. Today, I have arrived at the 32nd anniversary of my 32nd birthday.

Fortunately, if I stay away from mirrors, the lady below is still very much alive and doing well. Life may be what happens while you are making plans, but there is a great deal of joy in the meanwhile.

I shall marry the miller's son,
Pin my hat on a nice piece of property.
Friday nights, for a bit of fun,
We'll go dancing.

It's a wink and a wiggle and a giggle in the grass
And I'll trip the
light fandango,
A pinch and a diddle in the middle of what passes by.
It's a very short road
From the pinch and the punch
To the paunch
and the pouch
And the pension.
It's a very short road
To the ten
thousandth lunch
And the belch and the grouch
And the sigh.
In the
There are mouths to be kissed
Before mouths to be fed,
And a lot in between
In the meanwhile.
And a girl ought to celebrate
what passes by.

Or I shall marry the businessman,
Five fat babies
and lots of security.
Friday nights, if we think we can,
We'll go

It's a push and a fumble and a tumble in the
And I'll foot the highland fancy,
A dip in the butter and a
flutter with what meets my eye.
It's a very short fetch
From the push
and the whoop
To the squint and the stoop
And the mumble.
It's not
much of a stretch
To the cribs and the croup
And the bosoms that droop
And go dry.
In the meanwhile,
There are mouths to be kissed
Before mouths to be fed,
And there's many a tryst
And there's many a
To be sampled and seen
In the meanwhile.
And a girl has to
celebrate what passes by.

Or I shall marry the Prince of Wales,
Pearls and servants and dressing for festivals.
Friday nights, with him
all in tails,
We'll have dancing.

It's a rip in the
bustle and a rustle in the hay
And I'll pitch the quick fantastic,
flings of confetti and my petticoats away up high.
It's a very short way
From the fling that's for fun
To the thigh pressing un-
Der the
It's a very short day
Till you're stuck with just one
Or it
has to be done
On the sly.
In the meanwhile,
There are mouths to be
Before mouths to be fed,
And there's many a tryst
And there's
many a bed,
There's a lot I'll have missed
But I'll not have been dead
When I die!
And a person should celebrate everything
Passing by.

And I shall marry the miller's son...

01 March 2008


Just cute stuff to tide you all over while I'm writing. Have a great weekend.