BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: MOVIES # 7

GRACIE ALLEN

“The well-known radio, TV, and  movie star one year ago was voted Hollywood’s most intelligent actress by
Southern California psychology students. She ran for
President of the United States n 1940 on the Surprise
Ticket. As a painter she exhibited her paintings at a
Manhattan gallery (one of her paintings is called –
Eyes Adrift as Sardines Wrench at Your Heartstrings.

”

Current Biography 1940



**
ON THE CASTING FOR BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S

It’s hard to imagine any other actress besides Hepburn bringing Holly Golightly to life on the silver screen. But her casting faced some strong opposition from the book’s author. Capote had envisioned Marilyn Monroe in the role. He later stated, "Paramount double-crossed me in every way and cast Audrey. She was just wrong for that part.

CARY GRANT ON FILM ACTING

"He talked about a simple thing like mixing
a drink in a scene. You had to mix the drink
correctly or someone in the audience would
be sure to notice and complain, but at the
same time you also had to make sure to hit
your marks and remember the dialogue. If you
dipped ice cubes in the glass 'you had to do
it gently,so the sounds of the ice hitting
the glass wouldn't make a distracting sound.
He made it sound like a six ball juggle."

Scott Exman. Cary Grant: A Brilliant 
Disguise {New York: Simon and Schuster,
2020)

**

CRUEL REVIEWER AT WORK

When the film Smash-Up, starring Susan Hayward and
Lee Bowman, was released in 1947, Life magazine  
said he played his part with all the enthusiasm of 
a stuffed moose.”


Beverly Linet. Susan Hayward: Portrait of a 
Survivor  (New York: Atheneum, 1980)

**

THE UNA MERKEL TRILOGY




UNA MERKEL

Merkel, Una –
Did you ever see her on a

Bucking  horse?

(The 3rd line came close to being extremely coarse!)

**


UNA MERKEL (2)

Una Merkel,
Decided not to audition for Dr.Jekyll
 
& Mr. Hyde.” She sighed. “I’m done

When they want me to play 2 roles for the price of one.”



*

UNA MERKEL (3)


Una Merkel –
Almost any cinema-loving jerk’ll
Tell you that Una was in DESTRY RIDES AGAIN.
In Greek terms, she was involved in the Agon.


Louis Phillips




BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: THE JOY OF READING #3

“The 75th anniversary of the publication of Le
Petit Prince in France is commemorated  by a single 1.08 e stamp available in a sheet of 15. First available in the United States in 1943, it was banned by Vichy France and not published until after the liberation. The novella was written by writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery and is the story of a young prince who visits various planets and learns about ‘loneliness, friendship, friendship, love, and loss.’ “

William Silvester. “New World Issues” in The
American Philatelist (September 2021)


**

ON THE BEST SELLING NOVEL --THE DOGS OF WAR --AND  A SUCCESSFUL INVASION TO OVER THROW A REPUBLIC

‘There need only be five rules, Strike hard, strike
fast, and strike by night. Come unexpected and come
by sea. Parenthetically, the eventual book was 
imitated twice. In 1975, the French mercenary, 
Bob Denard attacked and took over the Comoro Islands, 
at the top of the Mozambique Channel.
   “He was acting with the knowledge, assistance, 
and on behalf of the French government. Amusingly, 
as the French mercenaries came up the beach in the 
predawn darkness, they all carried a paperback edition 
of Les Chiens de Guerre (The Dogs of War) so that they
could constantly find out what they were supposed to
do next. Denard succeeded because he came by sea.”

Frederick Forsyth. The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue.
(New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015)

**

ON DISCOVERING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IN LIFE

“I discovered poetry as a soldier during World War II.
In 1943, my unit, having finished Basic Training in
Miami Beach, was boarding a troop train for a slow journey of several days across the country to an unknown destination, when a Red Cross worker handed us a bag of necessities for the trip, a toothbrush, comb, candy bar – and a paperback. My book was, fatefully, a Louis Untermeyer anthology of a great poems of the English Language, which I devoured on the tree. Three days later when I got off that train I knew what I wanted to be – a poet – in spite of, at the age of eighteen, never having written a line.”

Edward Field. The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin, 2005)
**










SHOULD YOU BECOME A PUBLISHER?

On December 21, 1950 in a letter to Burroughs Mitchell of Scribner’s , Norman Mailer declared that
The title to James Jones’ great war novel –From Here to
Eternity –was  an “awful title.” If you agree or disagree with Mailer’s assessment give yourself 150 points. If, however, you are asking: Who is James Jones? Who is Norman Mailer? What was Scribner's? What war is being referred to? – then perhaps publishing is not the best choice for a profession for you.
**
A QUESTION TO WHICH I RARELY RECEIVE A REPLY

if John Keats


ONE OF THE STRANGEST BOOK DEDICATIONS

    Dedicated 
    to all the
    skeletons
     in your
    Closet and mine.

Walter Winchell. Winchell Exclusive: “Things That Happened to Me – and Me to Them” (Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc. , 1975)
**
ON ALTERNATE HISTORY

I purchased Wings – The Spirit of St. Louis
By Lindberg, Charles.
As I read I wonder what if
Lindberg flew not to Paris but to Arles?

*&*

If John Keats
Had sailed with Geats,
Wd he have written Beowulf?
Hey!I thought of this question all by myself!


Louis Phillips




BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: FILM #6

EVELYN KEYES ON DETAILS IN GONE WITH THE WIND

" It was certainly a super-production. But
I wasn't impressed by Selznick's attention
to each stitch, design, color, shoe buckle,
down to using thorns for fastening clothing
during the Civil War period (when buttons
would have disappeared) and importing Georgia
red dust to stain our shoes and skirts. "

Evelyn Keyes. Scarlet O'Hara's Younger Sister
(Secaucus, N.J Lyle Stuart, 1977)
**
GONE WITH THE WIND BANNED IN IRELAND

...Gone With the Wind, which, you remember
was banned in Ireland because, it is said,
Rhett Butler carried his own wife, Scarlett,
up the stairs and into bed, which upset the
film censors in Dublin and caused them to ban
the film entirely."

Frank McCourt. Teacher Man (New York:
Scribner, 2005)
**

DENMARK'S ANSWER TO LAUREL & HARDY
FROM AL JAFFE

"To this day, my favorite comedians are one of 
the world's first film comedy duos, the tall 
and short slapstick Danish team of Pat and
Patachon, the models for Laurel and Hardy, and
Abbott and Costello."

Mary-Lou Weisman. Al Jaffe's Mad Life (New
York: HarperCollins, 2010)

Pat & Patachon
 
The comedian duo "Pat & Patachon" was the most famous 
couple in the silent movie era and created a kind of 
couple like Laurel & Hardy or Abbott & Costello in 
later years. In contrast to Laurel & Hardy, who 
appeared in suits and bowlers, the outfit of Pat 
& Patachon reminded to vagabonds, who run around 
in torn clothes or used an old rope as a belt.
Pat was the tall guy, Patachon the small one. Together 
they presented the Danish stronghold of the international 
movie in those days (together with the legendary Asta 
Nielsen, who established the movie as art). The two 
celebrated huge successes in whole Europe and became 
famous in countless countries - in Germany and Austria 
as "Pat & Patachon", in Scandinavia as "Fy og Bi", 
in the Netherlands as "Watt en 1/2 Watt", in France as "Doublepatte et Patachon", in Great Britain as 
"Long & Short", in Hungary as "Zoro & Huru", in the USA 
as "Ole & Axel", in Italy as "X & Y" or "Pan & Patan", 
in Finland as "Majakka & Perävauna and in Sweden as "Telegrafstopen och Tilhengern." The film history doesn't pay enough attention to this duo..."
by Thomas Stadeli (see his site, Pat & Patachon) 
 
Carl Schenstrom (1881 - 1942) PAT
Harald Madsen (1890 - 1949) PATACHON



**

MUSSOLINI & SHIRLEY TEMPLE
"When Benito Mussolini watched the first 
screening of Little Miss Marker in all of
Europe, the first thing he noticed was
Shirley Temple's legs. "She has legs like
one of the lions," he said. Four lion cubs
slept outside on his terrace. Mussolini
watched a movie every night and had become'
fanatical over Greta Garbo. Upon learning
that Shirley Temple had replaced Garbo as
America's top box office draw, he told his
cultural minister that he absolutely had to
see this new little girl star."

Jimmy Breslin. Damon Runyon (New York:
Ticknor & Fields. 1991)
**
PLAYING THE MUG'S GAME

"Choosing the greatest movie ever made is a
mug's game, but still the choice reveals a
critic's tastes. For me two films are tied
for first place, and they couldn't be more
different: 200l: A Space Odyssey and The Rules
of the Game. Renoir's film is humane, funny,
and grandly touching, reassuring in its dignity
and ease. Kubrick's 2001, static and sublime,
is none of these things: it goes beyond the '
human and courts uncharted spaces."

David Mikics. Stanley Kubrick: American 
Filmmaker. (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 2020)
**

MY! HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED

"Fellini was no stranger to controversy. 
When 'La Dolce Vita' hit the screens in
1960, it caused a national scandal,including
a parliamentary debate and the scathing
reaction of the Vatican's official newspaper,
The Osservatore Romano,which called that film
'disgusting.'(Times have changed. In August
The Osservatore Romano published a glowing
review of the (FELLINI) Museum.

Elizabeth Povoledo. "A Fellini Museum as Lavish
as His Films" in The New York Times (Sept.1, 2021)
THE FIRST MAJOR AMERICAN COMPOSER TO WRITE
PRIMARILY FOR FILM

Harry Warren (born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna, 
December 24, 1893 – September 22, 1981) was an 
American composer and lyricist. Warren was the 
first major American songwriter to write primarily 
for film. He was nominated for the Academy Award 
for Best Original Song eleven times and won three 
Oscars for composing "Lullaby of Broadway", "You'll 
Never Know" and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the 
Santa Fe". He wrote the music for the first 
blockbuster film musical, 42nd Street, choreographed 
by Busby  Berkeley, with whom he would collaborate 
on many musical films.

Over a career spanning four decades, Warren wrote 
more than 800 songs. Other well known Warren hits 
included "I Only Have Eyes for You", "You Must Have 
Been a Beautiful Baby", "Jeepers Creepers", "The 
Gold Diggers' Song (We're in the Money)", "That's 
Amore", "There Will Never Be Another You", "The 
More I See You", "At Last" and "Chattanooga Choo 
Choo" (the last of which was the first gold record 
in history). Warren was one of America's most 
prolific film composers, and his songs have been 
featured in over 300 films.

from WIKIPEDIA
**
TWO CLERIHEWS

  IRENE DUNNE

  Irene Dunne,
  Reading the film script of Dune,
  Sd: “I’d much rather
  Star in Life With Father.”
**

     MICHAEL RENNIE

   Michael Rennie –
   I wonder if there are any
   Other poems about him. If not.
   Then this is the only one he’s got.

Louis Phillips



  

        

BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: WORDS,WORDS, WORDS #3

WORDS, WORDS, WORDS

I do not believe in words, no matter if strung together 
by the most skillful man; I believe in language, which 
is something beyond words, something which words give 
only an inadequate illusion of.  Words do not exist 
separately, except in the minds of scholars, 
etymologists, philologists, etc. Words divorced from 
language are dead things and yield no secrets. 
A man is revealed in his style, the language which 
he has created for himself.

Henry Miller. “Reflections on Writing” in The 
Creative Process, edited by Brewster Ghiselin 
(NY: A Mentor Book, 1955).
***

NOT EXACTLY ACCURATE ETYMOLOGY 

“Looking ‘spiffy,’ then, is quite a compliment, 
and one whom does is liable go be dressed ‘to beat 
the band,’ a turn-of-the-century expression that 
originated from the custom of  attacking with clubs
any symphony orchestra whose conductor smiled 
during Berlioz.

Woody Allen. “Slang origins” in The Insanity 
Defense: The Complete Prose of Woody Allen 
(New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007). 

**

CIRCUS SLANG: FIRST OF MAY

"Now a 'First-of-May' is what circus people call
a new trouper. The name comes from the fact that
all the shows except the ones wintering in the
Deep South or the warm states of the West begin
their touring season on or about that date.'

Emmett Kelly. Clown by Emmett Kelly with F.
Beverly Kelley (New York: Prentice Hall, 1954)
**





WHAT IS ANAPHORA?

As a rhetorical device, anaphora is the repetition of a word of phrase.

But the same word is used in grammar circles to describe AVOIDING repetition.

To avoid using the same proper name over and overt, you can use a pronoun,

such as he, she, it, or they, to avoid repetition.

AMORAL –Without morals

AMOREL – Without mushrooms

**

THE COMFORT OF WORDS IN A CHEKHOV SHORT STORY

 

***

GESUNDHEIT –The height of a sneeze

THE COMFORT OF WORDS IN A CHEKHOV SHORT STORY

” It seemed to her that she had been in the lumber business for ages,

that lumber was the most important, the most essential thing in

The world, and she something intimate and touching in the very sound

of such words as Beam, log, batten, plank, box board, lath, scathing, slab….

Anton Chekhov. “

The Daring” translated by Avrahm Yarmolindsky in The Portable Chekhov.

SPEECH & THE UNSPOKEN CLASS SYSTEM

"The line "What we've got here is failure to communicate" 
was voted as the number eleven movie quote by the American 
Film Institute. When Frank Pierson wrote that dialogue to 
be delivered by an uneducated, redneck prison guard, he 
worried that people wouldn't find it authentic. So he 
wrote a biography of the guard, explaining that in order 
to advance to a higher grade in the system, he had been 
required to take criminology courses, thus exposing him 
to the kind of academic vocabulary that would justify 
him using the "communicate" phrase. But as it turned out, 
no one questioned the line, nor needed to read the 
fictional account."

See ImbD "Cool Hand Luke" Trivia

**
THE DICTIONARY ON STAGE
 "I had a duet with Rose Marie, our comedienne 
titled "A Word a Day." We filled in each other's 
gaps by defining long-tailed words, with the aid 
of a dictionary. 
   Example:
           Rose Marie: "What's a proselyte?"
           Me (singing) "Has to give the madame most
                         of the dough."
   In the Philadelphia opening, that little song 
stopped the show."

    Phil Silvers on the show "Top Banana" in The
    Laugh's on Me: The Phil Silvers Story, with
    Robert Saffron (Englewood Cliffs,NJ: Prentice-
    Hall, 1973)
**       

LINGO 
In carny lingo 
the tunnel of love 
is a wet dark ride. 

Whatever love is 
that definition will do 
for a long long time. 

Louis Phillips 

BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE:THE JOYS OF READING

UPRISINGS

I saw a book titled UPRISINGS and, thinking it was a 
nonfiction account of revolutions and rebellions, I
purchased it. It was only after I got the book home
did I realize it was a book about baking with yeast.
    One book title I never got right was Willy
Sutton's Memoirs of a Bank Robber. When Willy was
asked why he robbed banks, he repli4d "Because 
that's where the money is.' Thus, I assumed
the title of his memoir was Where the Money is.
The actual title is Where the Money Was. That
makes much more sense, since once Willie Sutton
left the bank he took the money with him.
   A very strange title is MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY by
Charlie Chaplin. What other person's autobiography 
was he planning to write? 
   But then there is 
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by  Jenn Shapland| Tin Househttps://tinhouse.com › book › was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award in Nonfiction, and was long listed for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal.
**

SEAN CONNERY TELLS ABOUT THE BIG BREAK HE RECEIVED
WHEN HE WAS 5 YEARS OLD

See the AFI honors Sean Connery. 
About 5 minutes into his speech.



MICHAEL HERR & STANLEY KUBRICK

Lately he (Kubrick) had been thinking of
making a movie about the Holocaust. Kubrick
bugged Herr every few weeks to read Hilberg,
until finally Herr said, "I guess right now
I just don't want to read a book called
The Destruction of the European Jews." "No,
Michael," Kubrick replied, "The book you
don't want to read right now is The Destruction
of the European Jews, Part Two."

David Mikics. Stanley Kubrick: American 
Filmmaker. (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 2020)
**
POP QUIZ
!.Who was the first American author to earn
a million dollars through his writings?

2. Henry David Thoreau called this poet
the greatest Democrat who ever lived. To
whom was he referring?

3. Only two presidents of the United States
published books of poetry. Who were they?

4.what great American novelist received a
patent in 1873 for a self-pasting scrapbook?

5. What Nobel Prize winning author wrote for
his high school newspaper under the byline 
Ring Lardner, Jr?

(Answers below)

**
EDMUND SPENSER


Edmund Spenser

Was not much of a fencer. Hence, sir,

He wd with pen & ink prefer to toil,

Dispensing with epee, saber & foil.
LJP

**

THE ACT OF READING

(The characters in Flaubert are like recipes
in Escoffier, we are surprised to see how much
is left out.) We read about Carbourg in Proust,
and are unprepared for what we find when we 
actually get there. The act of reading is always
a matter of a task begun as much as of a message
understood, something that begins on a flat surface,
counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped
and blended until what we make, in the end, is a
dish, or story, all our own.

Adam Gopnik. "Cooked Books" in The New Yorker
(April 9, 2007)
**
THE LOVE OF READING

" I was a voracious reader. I loved the library.
I loved bookstores. My mom had to kind of limit
on it because I was flying through books so quickly.
I love, love, love books."

Gabrielle Union, author of the memoir You Got'
Anything Stronger, quoted in "By the Book" (The
New York Times Book Review (September 12, 2021)

**

ANSWERS TO THE POP QUIZ

L. JACK LONDON
2. WALT WHITMAN
3. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS and JIMMY CARTER.
A reviewer in The New York Times wrote of
President Carter that"...the very qualities
that helped cripple him as a politician are
also the qualities that make him a mediocre
poet."
4.MARK TWAIN
5.ERNEST HEMINGWAY
***


THOMAS HARDY


Thomas Hardy—
When he laughed wd go har-dee
Har-hah, 
followed by a sorrow-filled sigh.
Deep down he was a very serious guy.


Louis Phillips

BITS &a PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE:NATURE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE SPAN OF  THE
BOWHEAD WHALE

The extraordinary life span of the Bowhead whale is 
in excess of 230 years! “Bowhead whales have perhaps 
the world’s strongest immune system. Cardio vascular 
disease, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, are unheard 
of in these exceptionally long lived creatures. Bowhead 
whales are enormous, second only, but not by much, 
to the blue whale, the largest animal that has 
ever lived. Bowhead whales don’t migrate. They live 
in the Arctic seas. "

THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATE THERAPIES
(August 2021)

**
BEES GET BUZZ FROM CAFFEINE
"It's not just humans who get a jolt from their 
morning coffee --bees also perform better after 
a dose of caffeine. That's the conclusion of a 
new study aimed at improving rates of pollination, 
reports The Guardian (.U.K.) Previous research 
had shown that bees will regularly return to 
flowers laced with caffeine, but it was unclear 
whether the caffeine had boosted the insects' 
ability to remember a food-rich site or they were 
simply craving the stimulant."

The Week (August 20, 2021)

**
SAFFRON IS EXPENSIVE

“Harvesting saffron is extremely laborious hence its
high cost. Saffron comes from the Crocus sativus plant,
which produces two flowers, each one with three stigmas 
(saffron threads) . The delicate flowers are
harvested by hand in the fall and must be picked in a
matter of hours each morning before they wilt. The 
stigmas are then hand-plucked and dried,. It takes 
about 200 flowers to produce one gram of saffron."

Naz Deravian. “Just a Little Saffron Can Go a Long
Way” in The New York Times (August 18, 2021)

**
LANGUAGE OF WEAVER ANTS

Scientists have likened weaver ant communication 
to a type of language with primitive syntax. 
Urban planners examine the organization of ant 
societies. Mathematicians draw upon analyses of 
ant behavior to devise parallel computing formulas 
(where multiple problems are solved simultaneously).  
Ants serve as models in all kinds of studies aimed 
at figuring out how big, complex jobs get done 
with small parts and a minimum of instruction."

Mark Moffett. “Sisterhood of Weavers” in National
Geographic (May 2011).
**
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
U.S. STATES HONORING MICROBES

“ I thought we have a state bird,” (NCAUR biochemist 
Neil) Price says. “Why not a state microbe?” Illinois
is only the third state to take this step, joining the
ranks of  Oregon (which similarly honors Saccharomyces erevisiae, or brewer’s yeast) and New Jersey , 
whose state microbe, Streptomyces griseus also 
produces an antibiotic. 
   Some efforts to designate official microbes have
faltered: Wisconsin failed to pass legislation 
honoring Lactococcus lactis in 2010….”

Jim Daley. “Bacterial Bi partisanship” in 
Scientific American (September 2021)
**
THE ANTARCTIC ICE BLANKET

" The Antarctic ice blanket is on average about
a mile and a half thick -- at its thickest it is
more than two and a half miles, about twelve
Empire State Buildings stacked atop one another.
And even though the surface temperature averages
-50 to -60 degrees Fahrenheit over the year, at 
the base of this ice pile, the temperature is warm
enough to melt the ice. The heat comes from deeper
within Earth, and although it is only a trickle of
heat compared to what the Sun supplies, over time
it has been enough to melt the base of the ice."

Henry Pollack. "On Thin Ice" (2010) in Lapham's
Quarterly , XI (Summer 2018).

       **
THE SEASONS

Winter is getting ready to drop
One more gut-bucket-honky-tonk cruel oil
On somebody's lid.

Let roots freeze
& the small crib of the moon
Hold delicate shadows

Of long ago sorrows.
I've got enough summer in me
To last a long time.

Louis Phillips

BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: PROFESSIONS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
PROFESSIONS I DID NOT CHOOSE 

LION TAMER

Isaac Van Amburgh --

The first lion tamer to make it big 
in the UK was Isaac Van Amburgh. Born in 
Fishkill, New York State, Van Amburgh 
toured Europe between 1838 and 1845 and 
achieved notoriety for his performances 
with big cats.

**

"Methods of training wild animals vary, 
although there are certain basic principles 
that all trainers observe. I now use jungle-bred 
animals almost exclusively. Having trained beasts 
born in captivity, I am cured of any further 
desire to make performers of such specimens. 
In an emergency I sometimes have to fall back on 
cage-born ‘raw material,’ but if possible I avoid
 doing so.
         I am taking up the point early in this 
chapter because one of the popular fallacies 
concerning my profession is that the trainer 
can make his job easier by using animals born 
in captivity.

Clyde Beatty, with Edward Anthony. The Big Cage.   
(New  York: The Century Company, 1933)
**

WALKING TOWELS
Flashback: Minsky occasionally would book into the
 Gaiety legit  dance acts known as ‘walking towels.’
They cooled off the heated men between the strip
acts. One of them was a tall, engaging,loose-limbed
tap  and softshoe man, Dan Dailey.

Phil Silvers. This Laugh Is On Me, with Robert 
Saffron (Englewood, N.J. Prentice Hall, 1973.
**

FILM PROJECTIONIST

Cinemactor Ronald Reagan gave from the heart
in introducing a reel of excerpts from Oscar 
winning films of yesteryear: “This film embodies 
the glories of our past, the memories of our 
present and the inspiration for our future.” 
When the film came on, it was running backwards.’

TIME (March 24, 1947)
**

PIRATE

“Contrary to the popular usage,which was
 originally promoted by European governments 
actively seeking to cast pirates unfavorably, 
they were actually, often surprisingly good dudes.
They’d attack slave ships and offer a life of 
freedom on the seas to captured Africans. They 
disrupted the very nature of colonialism. 
and people liked it. The pirates had a lot of 
fans, especially in the colonies, where they 
were viewed as exciting and liberating heroes 
of the common people. Which makes sense, especially 
when you know that these mariners were much more 
about stealing from the rich (slave owners, 
colonialists) and giving to the poor (themselves) 
than about causing senseless chaos.

Sam Maggs. Girl Squad: 20 Female Friendships
 That Changed History (Philadelphia: Quick Books,
2018)
***

SPY

Mildred Harnack was an American spy during 
World War II. Along with her husband, Arvid Harnack, 
she led a resistance organization in 
Berlin, risking her life to leak information 
from Germany’s Ministry of Economics, where he worked,
in  hopes of defeating the Nazis. Despite nearly 
escaping she  was executed by guillotine in 1943 
on Hitler’s direct order.

Kate Dwyer. “One Writer’s Obligation of Blood”
in The New York Times (August 13, 2021)
**

ATOMIC BOMB TESTER

“Shortly after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, Maj. Leslie R. Grove of the U.S. Army,who
directed the making of weapons, told congress that
succumbing to their radiation was ‘a very pleasant
way to die.”

William J. Broad. “The Truth Behind the 
News” in The New York Times (August 10, 2021)

**
GYMNAST

“The Wolf Turn has been around for decades,
but recently it’s become a favorite in balance 
beam and floor routines. A gymnast will get 
into a squat position with one stretched out.
She’ll then stretch out her arms and wind them
up.Once she finds her balance, she’ll start 
spinning. Finally, she’ll stop and return to her
original stance."

Antonella Crescimber. “Why the Wolf Turn is such a 
big deal’ on VOX (August 9, 2021)
**

JOURNALIST

NEW YORK NEWSPAPERS IN THE 1920s

The newspapers, the Journal and American, later 
combined,were dedicated to ”noise in the news”
and had an editorial view of the world from
inside a bedroom, or at the rail of a police desk
at night. These tales were printed in newspapers
that practiced bribery, extortion, calumny, also
known as slander, and two kinds of lies, bald-
faced and by omission. Anybody on the staff
who performed an act without malice was 
regarded as a dreadful amateur. There was
great confusion in the office, for sometimes
the sins being committed at typewriters 
were greater than the ones being written about. 
There was no situation so bad that a fresh
edition of the morning American or evening
Journal couldn’t make it worse. Yet the working
conditions were the best in the history of the 
business, for nobody died at an 
early age of the worse of maladies, seriousness.

Jimmy Breslin. A Life of DamonRunyon 
(NY: Ticknor & Fields, 1991)

**
THE PROFESSION I CHOSE

Stuttering & studying
Luminous poets
As if they were chums,

Better than coin-changers,
Money pushers & 
Entire universes
 
Of 9 to 5 drizzle
Soaking into souls
That so thoroughly 

Absorb the dead & dying,
To skylark 
With freewheeling melodies

Of human hearts
Keening with mysteries
That keep all of us alert

& on edge.


Louis Phillips






BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: MOVIES #5

from The "The Latin Lover" and His Enemies by Gilbert King
Smithsonian Magazine (June 13,2012)

Born in Castellaneta, Italy, in 1895, Valentino arrived 
at Ellis Island in 1913, at the age of 18. He lived on 
the streets and in Central Park until he picked up work 
as a taxi dancer at Maxim’s Restaurant-Caberet, becoming 
a “tango pirate” and spending time on the dance floor 
with wealthy women who were willing to pay for the 
company of exotic young men.

Valentino quickly befriended a Chilean heiress, which 
might have seemed like a good idea, but she was unhappily married to a well-connected businessman named John 
de Saulles. When Blanca de Saulles divorced her husband 
in 1915, Valentino testified that he had evidence that 
John de Saulles had been having multiple affairs, 
including one with a dance partner of Valentino’s. 
But his refined, European and youthful appearance 
at the trial had some reporters questioning his 
masculinity in print, and John de Saulles used his 
clout to have the young dancer jailed for a few days 
on a trumped-up vice charge. Not long after the trial, 
Blanca de Saulles shot her husband to death over 
custody of their son, and Valentino, unwilling to 
stick around for another round of testimony and 
unfavorable press, fled for the West Coast, shedding 
the name Rodolpho Guglielmi forever.

***
WATCHING MOVIES (Circa 1915) IN SOME SMALL 
FARM TOWNS IN THE UNITED STATES

Sometimes we would go to the Airdrome,which
was nothing but some benches facing a big
white screen inside a galvanized iron enclosure
and, at the back, a motion-picture machine that
an operator turned with a hand crank. In the
wintertime, there were movies in the D.A.R.
Hall, but it was too hot there in the summer
months. The heat in the hall wouldn't have
been as bad the mosquitoes in the Airdrome,
but we were too thrilled by The Perils of
Pauline, The Trey of Hearts and The Girl and
the Game to notice the bugs. I even enjoyed
the lantern-slide advertisements.

Emmett Kelly. Clown (New York: Prentice Hall,
1954)

 MOVIE SLANG=-Circa 1940s



Footlight Serenade, My Gal Sal, Coney Island, Diamond
Horsehoe, Where Do We Go From Here? among others.
They symbolized a whole decade: beautiful women, 
healthy men, clean love and just enough sex to
Make it look real (a ‘touch of the muff’ they 
called it.

Phil Silvers. This Laugh Is On Me, with Robert 
Saffron (Englewood, N.J. Prentice Hall, 1973.


THE PRISON SET FOR THE FILM “COOL HAND LUKE”

While passing by the prison camp set, a San Joaquin County

building inspector thought it was a recently constructed migrant

workers’ complex, and posted “condemned” notices on the buildings

for not being up to code.

from Trivia about COOL HAND LUKE (ImdB)

BUSTER KEATON WRITES ABOUT HIS FACE

Down through the years my face has been called
a sour puss, a dead pan, a frozen face, The
Great Stone Face, and, believe it or not, 'a
tragic mask.' On the other hand that kindly
critic, the late James Agee, described my face
as ranking 'almost with Lincoln's as an early
American archetype, it was haunting, handsome,
almost beautiful.' I can't imagine what the 
great rail splitter's reaction would have been
to this, though I sure was pleased.

Buster Keaton,with Charles Samuels. My Wonderful
World of Slapstick (Garden City, New York: 
Doubleday & Company, 1960)
**
ON THE PERILS OF OVEREATING

“Marco Ferreri’s “La Grande Bouffe” is to gastronomy as “The Exorcist” is to “Song of Bernadette,” which is to say eat before you go, you won’t be hungry afterward. 
                                        ROGER EBERT
**
  ON THE CREATION OF SAX ROHMER'S DR.FU MANCHU 
  
   "The Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the century
had aroused fears of a 'Yellow Peril," and Rohmer
recognized  that popular literature was ready for
an Oriental archcriminal. His research for an
article on Limehouse had divulged the existence of 
a 'Mr King,' an actual figure if immense power in
the Chinese district of London. His enormous
wealth derived from gambling, drug smuggling, and
the organization of many other criminal activities.
... One foggy night, Rohmer saw him-- or someone
who might have been him -- from a distance: his
face was the embodiment of Satan. This was Fu
Manchu, the Devil Doctor.

Chris Steinbrunner and Otto Penzler. Encyclopedia
of Mystery and Detection (New York: McGraw Hill,
1976)  
   
GARY COOPER IS ASKED IF HE KNOWS YIP
HARBURG, THE MAN WHO COMPOSED THE
 SONGS 
FOR THE WIZARD OF OZ


   

Yip?
   
Yep.




Louis Phillips

BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: PHILOSOPHY

For MAC BICA

SPINOZA

Spinoza
Knows a
Thing or two
About separating false from true.
**

Any day above ground is a good day.
                          Bob Dylan
**

SIMONE WEIL ON RIGHTS & OBLIGATIONS
 
“We should not focus on rights, she (SIMONE WEIL)  
argues, but on obligations. Obligations (devoirs) 
precede rights; rights are situational and relative, 
obligations are metaphysical, absolute, and eternal. 
How do I know what my obligations are? An obligation 
arises from the very fact of encountering another 
human being. If I encounter a starving human being, 
I  am not in doubt: I offer food. (Food and eating 
are the chief metaphors she uses to describe what 
it means to respond to a need. For me, these metaphors 
become a reminder that the woman who wrote this was 
slowly dying from starvation.”

Toril Moi. “I Came With a Sword” (a review of The 
Subversive Simone Weil: A Life in Five Ideas by 
Robert Zaretsky (Chicago: Chicago University 
Press,2021)
***

OPINIONS ARE NOT THE SAME AS IDEAS

“An how terrible it is not to have any opinions! 
You see, for instance, a bottle, or the rain, 
or a peasant in a cart, but what is the bottle 
for, or the rain, or the peasant, what is the 
meaning of them, you can’t tell, and you couldn’t, 
even if they paid you a thousand rubles.”

Anton Chekhov. “The Daring” translated by
Avrahm Yarmolindsky in The Portable Chekhov.

**

“If God dropped acid, would he see people?”
                              George Carlin
**

“You’ve gotta love livin’, baby! Because dyin’ 
is a pain in the ass!”
                               Frank Sinatra

**
FLIES & THE THINKERS OF ANTIQUITY

To the thinkers of antiquity, a fly’s life had 
cryptic origins. With scant knowledge of how 
flies metamorphize from larvae into adults, some 
classical philosophers reasoned that the insects 
emerged through ‘spontaneous generation ‘ out of 
fires, rotten meat  and organic refuse; life 
springing forth from  nonliving matter.”

Rebecca Giggs, reviewing Super Fly: The Unsuspected 
Lives of the World’s Most Successful Insects 
by Jonathan Belcombe. The New York Times Book Review
 (Sunday, July 11, 2021)
**

STRANGE THINGS I WONDER ABOUT

I wonder 
of a map decided to go somewhere –
Wd it follow itself?

Louis Phillips

***

OCCAM’S RAZOR

 

The principle of Occam’s razor suggests that 
the simplest hypothesis is usually the correct one 
- - or as the character Gil Grissom in “CSI: 
Crime Scene Investigation” succinctly puts it, 
if you hear hoofbeats “think horses, not zebras.”

    
Michiko Kakutani.  New York Times (February 16, 2010)

**
TO BE OR NOT TO BE -- THAT IS THE QUESTION

The 1982 novel “Deadeye Dick” by the popular author 
Kurt Vonnegut mentioned the following piece of 
graffiti:
“To be is to do”—Socrates.
“To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Do be do be do”—Frank Sinatra
**
 
EPISTEMIC OPACITY 

“Whether or not people actually understand where 
their fruits and vegetables come from, Levinovitz 
says, we think that we do -–and are disturbed when 
that changes. The philosophical term for this is 
epistemic opacity. “When you imagine you know how
something works, or where it comes from,
that’s  comforting,” he added. “So when you 
hear that an apple was genetically modified,
it’s like, What does that mean? It’s alienating.”

Jennifer Kahn. “Learning to Love G.M.O.S “ in
The New York Times Magazine (July 25,2021), 
quoting Alan Levinovitz, a professor of  
religion and science atJames Madison University.

AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, WISDOM PASSED ON FROM
ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT

"...what person over the age of three would want
to wet his pants in public? This is why you will 
never forget these words, which were the last words
which were spoken to one of your friends by his
dying father:'Just remember, Charlie,' he said 
'never pass up an opportunity to piss.' And so the
wisdom of the ages is handed down from one 
generation to the next."

Paul Auster. Winter Journal (New York: Henry Holt
and Company, 2012)


BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: NEW YORK,NEW YORK, #2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ON NOT BEING AFRAID OF THE NUMBER 13 IN NYC

"The idea of a Friday the 13th club, or of a club 
devoted to all forms of triskaidekaphobia, is not 
a new one. It seems to have originated in New 
York City on January 13, 1882, when the thirteen 
members of the Thirteen Club gathered in room 13 
of the Knickerbocker Cottage at 454 Sixth Avenue 
(4+5+4=13)  from 8;13 P.M. until 1 A.M. (the 13th 
hour) . The club's initiation fee was $1.13, 
monthly dues thirteen cents, a lifetime membership 
thirteen dollars. Members dined on the 13th of 
every month, toasted the health of Hermes Trismegistus (legendary hermeticist who was said to have been 
"the thirteenth son of a thirteenth mother") 
spilt salt, walked under ladders, and broke mirrors."

Jonathan Cott. Thirteen: A Journey Into the Number 13 (New York: Doubleday, 1997)

**

CBS IN GRAND CENTRAL STATION iN 1939

“Hidden away above Grand Central’s main waiting room, CBS

had set up their first television studios in 1939, when a

shift from radio to the new medium was beginning to

look inevitable. Sidney’s studio was a room 40 feet by

60 feet, and its were visible below the statue of Mercury

that stands atop the southern facade of Grand Central.”

Maura Spiegel. Sidney Lumet:A Life (NY: St. Martins Press, 2019)

****

SCOTT JOPLIN IN NYC

"In January 1917, he was hospitalized  and
subsequently transferred to a mental institution,
where he died four months later. Joplin was
buried in a simple grave at St. Michael's
Cemetery in Astoria, New York. As you enter
the cemetery his grave is well-marked with a
historical plaque on the right-hand side,
fifty feet from the road."

Scott Stanton. The Tombstone Tourist: Musicians
(New York: Pocket Books, 2003)
Broadway had reached uptown to the southeast
corner of 41st Street, where a place called
the Metropolitan Casino was thrown up to 
house great concerts and comic operas. The
joint busted out and the building at night
with gas cans. One of them is dousing the
joing with gas and the other is reading the
insurance policy. They are about to have a
candlelight ceremony when the owner reading
the insurance policy clutches his chest. They
don't have a dollar's worth of fire insurance.
They turned it into a roller rink.

Jimmy Breslin. Damon Runyon: A Life (NY:
Ticknor & Fields, 1991).

GROWING UP IN THE BROWNSVILLE SECTION OF BROOKLYN

When I was eight I sang at a stag coming-out-
of-jail party for a local hoodlum named Little
Doggie. In the middle of my number, a man was
shot dead at my feet.
  The Brownsville section of Brooklyn was a
tough neighborhood in the 1920's, so I didn't
think it was too strange. My first reaction
was, is the program going to pay me my $3?

Phil Silvers. This Laugh Is On Me: The Phil
Silvers Story (with Robert Saffron, Englewood,
New Jersey:Prentice-Hall,1973)


from "THE TOP 10 SECRETS OF THE NEW YANKEE STADIUM"
by BELLA DRUCKMAN in the blog "Untapped New York")
"Gino Castignoli, a devoted Red Sox fan, helped 
construct the new Yankee Stadium. However, 
he did so with suspicious intentions. On his only 
day working on the stadium, Castignoli buried 
designated hitter David Ortiz’s jersey behind 
home plate under feet of cement. However, other 
workers caught him before it was too late.
   The New York Post published a story about the 
incident that prompted an “excavation ceremony” 
to search for the shirt. After employing jackhammers 
to get the job done, the Yankees administration sent
 the jersey to Boston. Rather than drive the rivalry 
further, they turned this fiasco into good by 
auctioning off the jersey to raise money for the 
Jimmy Fund, an organization that raises money for 
cancer. The scandal attracted a lot of attention 
and the Yankees donated $175,000 to the charity."

**