Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
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A cabinet of curiosities, humor, & literary potpourri for adventurous souls
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
HENRY FORD REVEALS HIS LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY “I don’t like to read books. They muss up my mind.” Henry Ford ** Lawyer: Do you know anything about the American Revolution? Henry Ford: I understand there was one in 1812. Lawyer: Any other time? Henry Ford: I don’t know of such thing. Lawyer: Did you ever hear of Benedict Arnold? Henry Ford: I have heard his name. Lawyer: Who was he? Henry Ford: I have forgotten just who he is. He is a writer, I think. from a cross-examination in an actual court case ** HOW ERIC CLAPTON GOT TURNED ONTO MUSIC “ Well, the first thing that rang in my head was black music – all black records that were R&B or blues oriented. I remember hearing Sonny Terry and Browne McGhee, Big Bill Broonzy, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, and not really knowing anything about the geography or culture of the music. But for some reason it did something to me – it resonated. Then I found out later that they were black; They were from the deep South and they were American black men. That started my education.” GUITAR LEGENDS: CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF GUITAR WORLD. Special Collectors Edition, Celebrating Thirty Years of Guitar World (2010) * I DID NOT TAKE AARON BURR SERIOUSLY When Aaron Burr Asked to borr ow one of my dueling Pistols, I thought he was fooling. ** THE GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL LASTED ONLY 30 SECONDS " Brothers Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan Earp, along with their friend Doc Holliday, served as the law enforcement of the city of Tombstone, Arizona. Together, they sought to disarm a gang of outlaw ranchers called the Cowboys. After an intense 30-second battle that saw 30 gunshots, three Cowboys had died while the Earps survived with only minor injuries. The shootout, which took place outside a horse corral, became one of the most famous legends of the Wild West." Source: O.K. Corral HISTORYQUIZ (MARCH 19, 2023) ** ON THE ELECTION OF THOMAS JEFFERSON in 1800 “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of distress, the soil soaked with blood, and the nation black with cfrimes. Where is the heart that can contemplate such as scene with horror?” The New England Courant Nancy McPhee. The Book of Insults (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1978) ** ENTERPRISING PASTOR “In Milwaukee, the enterprising Rev. John Lewis failed to get the new church he wanted, instead he got one to five year in prison for burning down the old one.” Miscellany. TIME (July 21, 1947) ** REMAINS OF THE 1964 WORLD'S FAIR “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe” was the theme of the 1964 World’s Fair and the New York State Pavilion embodied that theme in the modern design of its buildings. One of those buildings that still stands today is The Tent of Tomorrow, designed by noted architect Philip Johnson. The circular structure once boasted the world’s largest cable suspension roof (50,000 square feet) which supported a dazzling display of multi-colored fiberglass tiles. On the floor, there was a massive 567-panel terrazzo road map of the state of New York." from UNTAPPED NEW YORK website (March 18, 2022) ** THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS “The Battle of New Orleans” appears on the 1959 album "The Spectacular Johnny Horton.” The tune is written as if sung by a soldier participating in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. The song features army chants of “hut-two” and “three-four” during the verses, and lyrics including “fired our guns and the British kept-a-comin’” during the chorus." Source: Genius.com ** ON THE NAMING OF AMERICA AFTER AMERIGO VESPUCCI Amerigo Vespucci "had nothing to do with the decision to name the new continent after him. The mapmakers placed his name along the coast of South America that he had explored in 1499-1500. The name's use was later extended to both the northern and southern continents. The clearest proof that Vespucci had no intention of depriving Columbus of any credit is that they were friends, as shown in a letter in which Columbus describes Vespucci as a 'fine man.'" Consuelo Varela. "Exploring Truth and Lies : Amerigo Vespucci" in National Geographic History (volume 3, no.2) ** AMERICA! AMERICA! In 2023 Ninety-two books were pulled from school shelves in Florida’s Martin County School District 20. ** 1948 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Thomas Dewey To Truman said"Phooey!" To Dewey Truman said: ª@@!W&*%#∂∂¥åªºƒ!@@√√((!" LJP
WHAT DID VIRGINIA WOOLF THINK? or READING THE DIARIES OF VIRGINIA WOOLF "...I haven't often read writers' diaries, but I like the entries. I like knowing what Woolf was thinking about her books as she wrote them and their reception after they came out, and what she thinks of the other writers of her time. It is satisfying to be in her mind: "What is the right attitudev toward criticism? What I ought I to feel and say when Miss B. devotes an article in Scrutiny to attacking me? She is young, Cambridge, ardent. And she says I'm a very bad writer.'" Amina Cain. A Horse at Night: On Writing (St. Louis, MO, 2022) ** FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH A FAMOUS WRITER “’What do you read now?’ the hungry interviewer asked the famous writer, a woman of commercial success in the theater whose autobiography has defined a character of considerable literary sophistication. And the famous author answered: ‘I don’t read novels any more. I’m sorry to say. A writer should read novels. When I do, I go back to the ones I’ve read before. Dickens, Balzac…I find now when I go to get a book off the shelf. I pick something I read before, as if I didn’t dare try anything new.’” Richard Howard. “A Note on Roland Barthes’s S/Z” in Paper Trail: selected prose, 1965-2003 (New York. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004) ** ON VOICES, PLACES "...how are voices like places? They move through us as we move through them. The voices of great writers guide us without telling us where we are going -- except, of course, to the most obvious destinatiion of all. We are guided by ambiguity -- that's the way literature works. And the way travel works as well. We understand it only when we stop moving, sit still and begin to listen back." David Mason. Voices, Places (Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2018) ** A BOOK MEL BROOKS COULD EASILY PUT DOWN In the New York Times Book Review “By the Book” (November 13, 2022) film director Mel Brooks was asked “Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel as if you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?” Mel Brooks replied: “If truth be told, for some reason I never did get around to finishing ‘Mein Kampf.’” ** ROBERT SOUTHEY & WILLIAM WORDSWORTH “The difference between the two men is well illustrated by their several attitudes to books: Southey loved them as objects, whereas Wordsworth had no feeling whatever for them, apart from their contents. De Quincy reports his own and Southey’s horror at the sight of Wordsworth cutting the leaves of De Quincey’s own copy of Burke with a knife that had just been used to butter bread. “ Edward Sackville West. A Flame in Sunlight: The Life & Work of Thomas De Quincey (London: The Bodley Head, 1974) ROBERT SOUTHEY AND HIS WIFE “…Southey ‘lived in his library, which Coleridge used to call his wife’… Edward Sackville West. A Flame in Sunlight: The Life & Work of Thomas De Quincey (London: The Bodley Head, 1974) ** TREVOR NOAH AS A YOUNG BOY GROWING UP UNDER APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA “My books were my prized possessions. I had a bookshelf where I put them, and I was so proud of it, I loved my books and kept them in pristine condition. I read them over and over, but I did not bend the pages or the spines. I treasured every single one. As I grew older I started buying my own books. I loved fantasy,loved to get lost in worlds that didn’t exist.” Trevor Noah. Born a Crime. New York: One World, 2016) ** “He understands at a glance what he reads, reads only what he can understand at a glance.” Bergan Evans. The Spoor of Spooks and other nonsense (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1954). ** ON CHOOSING THE CORRECT PEN NAME The creator of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs sold his first story -- Under the Moon of Mars (1912) –under the name of Normal Bean. He chose the pseudonym Norman because he thought of himself at the time “the average mind in search of average readers.” ** IT IS NOT PEOPLE WHO DIE BUT WORLDS ON READING “There are no uninteresting people in the world, says Yevtushenko in one of his best lyrics; everyone carries around with him his first snow and his first kiss it is not people who die but worlds.” Edward Thomas. London Magazine (November 1967) I read those words over & over. They deliver me, If only for awhile, from myself, My thoughts, my feelings, The shifting ground of my being. I become someone else &, like some licensed physician, Hold out my hand To take the fragile pulse of the world. LJP
For Gregory Abby who would keep all animals from harm **' THE SINGULAR BEAUTY OF A PURE WHITE GOOSE “No night time sight can compare with the singular beauty of a pure white goose, or several, their motionless, luminous contours on dark moonstruck grass that absorbs the light, the contrast of each bird’s brilliance, glowing as if lit from within,” Paul Theroux. “Diary”. London Review of Books (20 June 2019) ** PENGUINS AS PARENTS “Penguins are super parents. When the female provides dinner she doesn’t just reach for the pesto but launches herself into the treacherous, icy depths, returning with a stomach full of half-digested fish to be spewed down the gullet of her needy chick. His Fluffy Eminence, who is then installed in creche so protective it makes the average nursery look like the workhouse in Oliver Twist. Yet, even for penguins, rejection comes after the winter huddling and the pre-ledge commutes, deep dives and the exhausting feeds, the mother will waddle off across the tundra, never to be seen by her children again. Abandonment, we understand, is not the devastating catastrophe that wrecks the child’s system of trust, but the crowning achievement of good parenting.” Andrew O’Hagan. “Off His Royal Tits” in London Review of Books (2 February 2023) ** ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HORSESHOE CRABS “Endotoxins are a worry to medicine. They exist in the cell walls of certain bacteria and can be released when the bacteria break down or die. These toxins can send a patient into a tailspin of fever, chills, septic shock and death. “To keep patients safe, pharmaceutical companies run roughly 70 million tests a year on injectable medicines and implants for the presence of those toxins with a substance called limulus amebocyte lysate. It is an extract of cells from horseshoe crab blood and can identify even infinitesimal amounts of the toxin by reacting with it, No other natural substance is known to work so well. Deborah Cramer. ”When the Horseshoe Crabs Are Gone, We’ll Be in Trouble” in The New York Times. February 18,2023. ** THE WORLD'S OLDEST LLAMA A 27-Year-Old Llama Sets World Record for Oldest of His Species — And He Has the Best Name The Dalai Lama is the highest spiritual leader and head monk of Tibet, considered a living Buddha. Dalai Llama, on the other hand, is the oldest living llama in the world. And he just turned 27. From NICE NEWS (March 2, 2023) ** THE ANAL CATAPULT OF GLASSY-WINGED SHARP SHOOTERS https://arstechnica.com/science/2023/02/watch-these-glassy-winged-sharpshooters-fling-pee-bubbles-with-anal-catapult/ ** SPIDERS & AUTOMOBILES IN THE COLD OF WINTER "A spider can hide out in a barn. Some spiders do survive outside in the cold, relying on the glycol in their blood to keep their cells from freezing, similar to the chemicals used to keep your car running in the winter." Josephine Sedgwick. "Nature is Alive in Winter" in The New York Times (March 7, 2023) ** ON IGUANAS ON THE GALAPAGOS ISLAND "A basalt coastline crowded with large, lounging iguanas looks nothing short of Jurassic. When I first saw these striking creatures in the Galapagos, I was impressed most by their placidness. Unfazed by humans, they spend long, sunny days warming in the equatorial sun like scaly house cats, sometimes in heaps, between foraging missions at sea to feed on marine algae. "Charles Darwin was famously unimpressed with this rare seafaring lizard. "It is a hideous-looking creature,"he wrote in The Voyage of the Beagle, "stupid and sluggish in its movements." Katherine Harmon Courage."Heroes of the Wild" in Smithsonian (March 2023) ** MINK RHYMES WITH STINK "Mink is the name of a water-dwelling weasel. Minks are vicious, bloodthirsty, and evil smelling, and when annoyed, they spray a foul-smelling fluid from glanda beneath their tail. The mink's old sciehtific name, Putorius means 'stinker.' Yet a coat made from the fur of this thoroughly unpleasant animal has long been a synbol of success. And, thanks to its durable, lustrous fur the mink is one most valuable animals in the world." Peter Limberg. What's in the Names of Wild Animals (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1977) ** ELEPHANTS It is mealy, this world with so little substance. Frequently our dreams are not mammoth enough. No more poetry! I shall say it bluntly: I do not wish to live in a world without elephants. Wide-eyed I listen for the click of tusks, Herds of elephants rumbling into the bush. By way of greeting, elephants place their trunks Into one another's mouths. How shall my sons grow Without sensing the imponderable bulk of the world? How necessary it is, even in so paltry a landscape, Ivory-stained, & large enough only for killing, To be reminded of lives larger than ourselves. More than 50,000 muscles in the trunk alone, & Then it happens: a large orange moon trumpets Over woodland; we sense a planet going musth. LJP -- http://louis-phillips.com "
WHAT NORA EPHRON LEARNED ABOUT FILM SCRIPT WRITING FROM TOM HANKS “…I learned from Tom was a thing that’s really important, which is that scene after scene, you have to give the main actor something to play, he can never be passive in the scene, et. cetera, even (or especially) when he’s sharing it with a very cute little boy.” Nora Ephron . interviewed by Patrick McGilligan in Backstory 5: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1990s (June 2007) ** ON THE COWBOY STAR WHOSE HORSE WAS NAMED TARZAN Ken Maynard. “Maynard, born Kenneth Olin Maynard in 1895, began working for circuses and carnivals at 16. As a young man he became a rodeo performer and a trick rider for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. By 1923 Maynard was appearing in movies and became a cowboy star. His horse Tarzan appeared in literally dozens of movies, including The Demon Rider (1925), Overland Stage (1927) , Come on, Tarzan (1932) and Lightning Strikes West (1941)..;” David Lemmo. Tarzan: Jungle King of Popular Culture (Jefferson,North Carolina : McFarland & Company,2017) ** ON WHAT VIEWERS REMEMBER ABOUT THE BIG PARADE “In my own film The Big Parade for years after its first showing and until this day, people speak of the moment the doughboy, played by John Gilbert, removes a heavy shoe from a pack on his back and throws it to his French sweetheart as a desperate token of his affection. Equal to this, they speak of the close-up in which the same girl in a impulsive move to slow the truck’s progress holds to a chain at the rear of the truck that is carrying her lover to war. The film is a mighty panorama of World War I decidedly in the spectacle category and yet the memory is of two close-ups. A hundred airplanes in a sweep over a battlefield is never mentioned.” King Vidor. King Vidor on Film-Making (New York: David McKay Co., 1972) ** FILMS YOU MAKE YOURSELF “Very few films are dreams, configuring and reconfiguring themselves in your mind on waking. These films, I think, you make yourself, afterwards, somewhere in the shadows in the back of your head. The Bride of Frankenstein is one of those dream films. It exists in the culture as a unique thing, magical and odd, a lurching story sequence as ungainly and as beautiful as the monster itself, that culminates in a couple of minutes of film that have seared themselves onto the undermind of the world.” Neil Gaiman. The View From the Cheap Seats (New York: William Morrow, 2014) ** THE QUOTATION EXPERT MARDY GROTHE ON THE TITLE OF THE FILM - THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY "Although the movie made “the year of living dangerously” a widely-known catchphrase, it’s not the origin. Nor is the 1978 novel The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher J. Koch, which the film version is based on. The setting for the book and movie is Jakarta, Indonesia during the chaotic period that led to the overthrow of the country’s long-time dictator, President Sukarno. Author Koch took his title from a speech Sukarno made in 1964. "The President had a custom of giving a special name to each year in his annual “National Day” speech. In the National Day speech he gave on August 17, 1964, Sukarno named the upcoming year “the year of living dangerously.” This reflected the challenges he knew he faced from his political enemies, who included both hard-line Communists and radical Muslims. The multilingual leader’s name for the year was based partly on an old Italian phrase he was familiar with — “vivere pericoloso” (“living dangerously”). Although Sukarno gave the speech in the Indonesian language, he inserted those Italian words after the Indonesian word for year, tahun, to create the name. The year ahead, he said, would be the “Tahun vivere pericoloso.” http://www.thisdayinquotes.com/2022/01/dr-mardy-grothes-new.html ** JOAN CRAWFORD & THE LETTER T “After I divorced Franchot (Tone) I asked my maid to pick out all the T’s in my linens – acres of towels, meadows of bed linens. I don’t know how many hundreds of T’s the poor girl had carefully unpicked when, one evening, listening to the radio, she heard the announcer break in with a news bulletin: Joan Crawford has just married Phillip Terry! The maid threw down the pillowcase she was working on and screamed, “I quit.” Joan Crawford. My Way of Life . 1971 ** NOTES FOR A HISTORY OF FILMS & POLITICS “I saw Reds in Oklahoma where I once witnessed people walking out on Fiddler on the Roof because it was about ‘A Bunch of Commies.’ I saw no one walk out on Reds.” Jim Beaver in Films in Review (February 1982) ** CARTOON CHARACTERS ARE NOT THE SAME AS REAL PEOPLE, SO THEY SHOULD NOT GET ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED WITH ONE ANOTHER Elmer Fudd Fell madly in love with Ashley Judd: "Oh kiss me, Ashley. You're so hot!" "No," she said. "I am real and you are not." LJP
SAINT FRANCIS “Did St. Francis really preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.” Rebecca West ** EMILY DICKINSON & HER LOVE FOR BIRDS “I hope you love birds, too. It is economical . It saves going to heaven.” Emily Dickinson, in a letter to Mabel Loomis Todd ** SOR JUANA INES DE LA CRUZ “There weren't many pathways to success for girls born to unwed parents in 17th-century Mexico, but Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz managed to transcend her origins with a dazzling mind and a deft pen. Largely self-taught, she wrote her first dramatic poem at age eight, studied the Greek classics, and was instructing children in Latin by age 13. A few years later, she joined the court of the Viceroy Marquis de Mancera, where she famously wowed a panel of professors with her expertise in numerous subjects. Sor Juana then entered a convent, where she enjoyed the freedom to pen numerous plays, poems, and carols, as well as the proto-feminist manifesto Respuesta a sor Filotea de la Cruz. A clash with authority figures forced her to abandon her creative pursuits shortly before her death in 1695, but she endures as one of the most important literary figures of the New Spanish Baroque.” From INTERESTING FACTS website. ** AT A PARTY I INTRODUCE THE R &B SINGER SZA TO THE ACTRESSES ZSA ZSA & ZASU PITTS Sza, Zsa Zsa, Zsa, Zsa,' Sza. Zasu, Sza. Sza, Zasu, Zasu, Sza, Zsa Zsa, LJP ** JOHN DONNE'S BROTHER "A year after joining his brother at the Inns of Court, Henry Donne was caught harbouring a priest in his living chambers. He was arrested, jailed, interrogated and no doubt threatened with torture. He swiftly broke. The man he had been hiding, William Harrington, might have have held out against his questioners, but Henry's testimony did for him; in February 1594, he was tried, convicted of treason, and hung, drawn and quartered. Henry himself was already long gone. Transferred to a filthy cell in the jail at Newgate during an outbreak of bubonic plague, he died within days, at the age of nineteen, a lonely and unspectacular and altogether inglorious end. Catherine Nicholson, reviewing Super-infinite: The Transformations of John Donne. London Review of Books (19 January 2023) ** GAEL GREENE I have dedicated myself to the wanton indulgences of my senses. And I shall consider it fitting and divine if on my deathbed my last words echo those of Pierette, the sister of Brillat-Savarin , who died at table shortly before her one-hundredth birthday “Bring on the dessert. I think I’m about to die.” Gael Greene, quoted in her New York Times obituary (November 2, 2022) ** ON THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR OF BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS Capote Kaput. LJP ** HENRY JAMES’S FOREHEAD “…his forehead was more like a dome, it was a whole street.” Max Beerbohm David Cecil. Max (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company., 1964) ** HEDY LAMARR “Thousands of people can speak dialogue competently, but it’s amazing how few can do a really good sex scene. Hedy Lamarr was the Olivier of Orgasm.” Mark Steyn ON A NOTED WRITER OF POPULAR SONGS Edward, Gus – (I know so I do not have to guess) Did not write ”I Can’t Tell You Why I Love You But I Do”. (Gosh! The great stuff I can sneak into a Clerihew). ADLAI STEVENSON Stevenson, Adlai – Democrats wanted very badly For him to be President of the U.S. It didn’t quite work out, I guess. SIGMUND FREUD Sigmund Freud— Did he have sang-froid? Perhaps his super-ego, ego, id Allowed him to keep his feelings hid? LJP
OF LANGUAGE AND THE BIRDS "Our language reflects our disrespect. Something worthlessor unappealing is 'for the birds.' An ineffectual politicianis a 'lame duck.' To 'lay an egg'is to flub a performance. To be 'henpecked!' is to be harassed with persistent nagging.'Eating crow'is eat humble pie. The expression 'bird brain,' for a stupid, foolish, or scatterbrained person, entered theEnglish language in the early 1920's because people thought of birds as mere flying, pecking automatons, with brains so small they had no capacity for thought at all. "That view is a gone goose. In the past two decades or so,from fields and laboratories around the world have flowed examples of mental feats comparable to those found in primates." Jennifer Ackerman. The Genius of Birds (New York: Penguin Books, 2017) ** NOT EXACTLY HUMPHREY BOGART “ boggart is, depending on local or regional tradition, a malevolent genius loci inhabiting fields, marshes or other topographical features. The household boggart causes objects to disappear, milk to sour, and dogs to go lame. They can possess small animals, fields, churches, or houses so they can play tricks on the civilians with their chilling laugh.” Wikipedia –“English Folklore” ** FROM TOKYO Sign in a self-service elevator in a Tokyo apartment house: “Keep your hands away from unnecessary buttons for you.” ** TWO BEAUTIFUL WORDS “The two most beautiful words in the English language are: ‘Check enclosed’. ** 15 WORDS SELECTED BY DR. WILFRED FUNK AS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 1. Amaryllis 7. Jonquil 13.Oriole 2. Anemone 8. Lullaby 14.Rosemary 3. Asphodel 9. Marigold 15. Tendril 4. Bobolink 10. Melody 5. Chalice 11. Mist 6. Chimes 12. Myrrah ** ABOUT EARLY MOVING PICTURE MACHINES SUCH AS THE ZOETROPE & NOMINAL EMBROIDERY “By the end of the nineteenth century, hundreds of variation of those toys abounded, each with its own name, either simple or ornate –Praxinoscope, Choreutoscope, Wheel of Life. All of those stroboscopic toys shared, in addition to the common use of persistence of vision, several traits that were to continue as trends in later movie history. Most strikingmwas the inventors’ passion for fancy Greek and Latin names to dignify their dabblings: Thaumatrope, Phensakistiscope, Viviscope, Zootrope. This passion for nominal embroidery would later dominate the first era of motion pictures – Kinetoscope, Bioscope, Vitascope, Cinematographe –and beyond it – Vitaphone, Technicolor, Cinemascope….” Gerald Mast. A Short History of the Movies (New York: Penguin Books, 1971) ** BLIND DATE WITH AN EDITOR OF WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY Oh my beating heart. O good gracious! Her kisses on my lips were butyraceous. LJP ** MOVIES & VOCABULARY BUILDING Wet-assed hour –(n) Time of trouble or fear “Come the wet-ass hour and I’m everybody’s daddy.” Spoken by Al Pacino’s character in SEA OF LOVE ** WORD COUNT TO TEN STONE CEMENT WORKS WREATH REELS OFF OUR ROOF FIFI VENERATES BLOGS MESSI XEROXES SOCCERS SCORES FREIGHT TONI NEEDS THIS LIST FORGOTTEN ** THE SAXOPHONIST PAUL DESMOND PRAISES DAVE BRUBECK “Desmond, after hearing Brubeck who tended to play ‘way out’ : ‘Man, like wigsville ! You really grooved me with those nutty changes.” “White Man Speak With Forked Tongue” in JAZZ by Whitney Balliett in The New Yorker (Sept. 16, 1992) ** ADJECTIVES USED BY THE NOVELIST SHIRLEY HAZZARD An "administrative smile' An "immoderate sunset" An "infirm chair" in a room of "unconvinced Westernism" Old buildings whose "violated and ghostly elegance" persists from On Shirley Hazzard by Michelle deKretser (New York: Catapult, 2019 FILM DIRECTOR ADJECTIVES “Stephen (Spielberg) and David (Lynch) have a profound kinship as fellow radicals in the world of cinema. I believe In addition to Hitchcockian, the next two cinema names that are now in our dictionaries are Lynchian and Spielbergian.” Laura Lynney. Time Magazine (June 21,2022) ** A SINGLE LETTER CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD Sweetshop sweatshop A single letter Divides them, That & thousands Of lives ruined. LJP
“A human being is nothing but a story with skin around it.” Fred Allen Quoted in Writing Changes Everything , edited by Deborah Brodie (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997) ** IDEAS OF ENDANGERMENT “It’s too much, this being alive. Too heavy , too uncertain, too chronically cataclysmic, too bellicose, too unwell, too freighted with a possibility of the perception of error. The word of the last few years – in American activist and academic circles anyway – has been ‘precarity.’ Which gets at ideas of endangerment, neglect, contingency, risk. Basically, we’re worried. And: we’re worried you’re not worried enough. Like I said: it’s too much.” Wesley Morris. “Beyonce’ Is, of Course, In Control” in The New York Times (August 1, 2022) ** ON FRIENDSHIP “ There are two categories of friendship: those in which people are enlivened by each other and those in which people must be enlivened to be with each other. In the first category one clears the decks to be together. In the second one looks for an empty space in the schedule.” Vivian Gornick. Approaching Eye Level (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996) ** THE STRAIGHT FORWARD STARE “Flaubert said at one point that it’s only by looking down at the black pit at our feet, that we can remain calm (i.e. you’re more likely to panic if you don’t look at it, and the only way to look at it is to look at it with a straight forward stare.” Julian Barnes from Conversations With Julian Barnes, edited by Vanessa Guignery and Ryan Roberts (University Press of Mississippi, 2009) ** on Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer “Singer, prompted by widespread and credible hunger in what’s now Bangladesh, proposed a simple thought experiment : if you stroll by a child drowning in a shallow pond, presumably you don’t worry too much about soiling your clothes before you wade in to help; given the irrelevance of the child’s location – in an actual pond nearby or in a metaphorical pond six thousand miles away—devoting resources to superfluous goods is tantamount to allowing a child to drown for the sake of a dry cleaner’s bill. Gideon Lewis-Kraut. “Do Better” in The New Yorker (August 15, 2022) ** ESCAPE FROM DOUBT “To some people return to religion is the answer, not as an act of faith but in order to escape an intolerable doubt but in search of security. The student of the contemporary scene who is not concerned with the church but with man’s soul considers this step another sympton of the failure of nerve.” Erich Fromm. Psychoanalysis and Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press. 1958) *** WHAT IS CORRECT THINKING? “What is correct thinking? It is to make our little interior model of the outside world as exact as possible. If the laws of our microcosm resemble fairly closely those of macrocosm, if our map represents with relative precision the country though which we must travel, there is some chance that our actions may be adjusted to our needs, our desires, or our fears.” Andre Maurois. The Art of Living (New York: Harpers Brothers, 1959) ** THE PARALLEL WORLD WHERE WE REALLY LIVE “Man lives in the real world; but there’s also a parallel world: a paper one, a bureaucratic one. So the passport is the person’s double in the parallel world.’ The comment comes from a Russian woman in her thirties interviewed as part of a study in St. Petersburg in 2008. She might have been channeling the philosopher Ron Harre’ , who called these bureaucratic doubles ‘file-selves.’” Sheila Fitzpatrick. “Diary” in London Review of Books (22 September 2022) ** ESSENCE OF READING POETRY Socrates contends The essence of knowing Is not knowing. Since that is true, Then the essence Of reading this short verse Is not reading this verse. LJP
“There are no uninteresting people in the world, says Yevtushenko in one of his best lyrics; everyone carries around with him his first snow and his first kiss it is not people who die but worlds.” Edward Thomas. London Magazine (November 1967) ** ON BRAZIL’S FAMOUS POET CARLOS DRUMMOND de ANDRADE & CHARLIE CHAPLIN “The figure of ‘Carlitos’ as Chaplin was known in Brazil, offers perhaps the single key to Drummond’s poetics: the consummate artist who appears not to be an artist at all: the down-and-out clown who manages to stumble along life’s tightrope, forever nearly yet never quite falling off: ‘Carlos, go on! Be gauche in life!” Drummond tells himself in the opening line of his first book of poems, self-effacingly entitled Some Poetry.” Thomas Colchie. Travelling in the Family: Selected Poems Carlos Drummond de Andrade (New York: Random House, 1986) ** ON A FAMOUS NURSERY RHYME “Here we go round the mulberry bush The mulberry bush The mulberry bush Here we go round the mulberry bush On a cold and frosty morning Although this rhyme likely started out using Bramble Bush (mulberries actually grow on trees), historian R. S. Duncan suggests this version came about at Wakefield Prison in England. The facility has been home to an extremely recognizable mulberry tree for centuries, and the theory goes that Victorian female prisoners used to dance around it and made up the rhyme to keep their kids amused. (Back then, men, women, and children were often confined together.) The tree eventually died in 2017, but it was replaced with a cutting from the original.” from INTERESTING FACTS website (OCTOBER 1, 2022) ** “You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose.” Mario Cuomo ** CHARLES SIMIC AND HIERONYMUS BOSCH “’It was the love of…irreverence , as much as anything else, that started me in poetry,’ Simic has said, and he learned from Hieronymus Bosh that ‘there’s no joy like the one a truly outrageous image on the verge of blasphemy gives’”: An old man gave little Mary Magdalene A broken piece of a mirror. She hid in the church outhouse. When she got thirsty she licked The steam off the glass. Adam Kirsch. The Modern Element (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008) ** DELMORE SCHWARTZ & THE POET AS SEER “One of Delmore’s characteristic stances was this insistence on the poet as seer, a medium of truths whose power lay in their independence from the vicissitudes of common reality. His own aspiration was to remain indifferent to the merely visible, choosing like Joyce’s Dedalus, to comprehend life ‘purified in and reprojected from the human imagination.” James Atlas. Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1977) ABOUT COLLY CIBBER "In his Book An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, he not only defended himself against personal attacks from such well-known figures as Johnson, Fielding, and Pope, but also produced one of the most important and indispensable accounts of a vital period in English theatrical history. Cibber accurately chronicles the plays, playwrights, and actors of the day in unstinting detail, affording theater lovers and historians an incomparable glimpse of the beginnings of modern theater. As an actor, manager, and playwright, Colley Cibber was among the most influential members of the London theater in the 18th century.” From https://allpoetry.com/Colley-Cibber. All poetry.com is an important and useful site for\all lovers of poetry. I highly recommend that readers go to it. ** ON COLLY CIBBER Colly Cibber Wrote lots of gibber- ish & horror yet Was named Poet Laureate. LJP **
SHAKESPEARE ON TELEVISION “Every single one of Shakespeare’s plays has an organic rhythm of its own. I do not think he understood the five-act system until mid-career, but he had a practical sense of timing and variation, and he was a perfect story-teller. Therefore no commercial programme can ever do Shakespeare properly, because the breaks are never right and are never filled with the right music.” Peter Levi in The Spectator (August 16, 1986) ** Although William Shakespeare was never appointed Poet Laureate of England, Shakespeare’s godson – Sir William D’Avenant was named to the post in 1637. ** RAYMOND CHANDLER ON SHAKESPEARE Writing to Hamish Hamilton in April 1949, Raymond Chandler, one of the creators of the “tough detective” story, offered the following assessment of Shakespeare: Shakespeare would have done well in any generation because he would have refused to die in a corner; he would have taken the false gods and made them over; he would have taken the current formulae and forced them into something lesser men thought them incapable of. Alive today he would undoubtedly have written and directed motion pictures, plays, and God knows what. Instead of saying ‘This medium is no good,’ he would have used it and made it good. Reprinted in Raymond Chandler Speaking, ed. Dorothy Gardiner and Katherine Sorley Walker (Houghton Mifflin, 1977), p.82 ** SHAKESPEARE’S CHARACTERS LAUGH AT JOKES THE AUDIENCE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND “I have noticed that in plays where characters on stage laugh a great deal, the people out front laugh very little. This is notoriously true for productions of Shakespeare’s comedies .’Well, sirrah,’ says one buffoon, ‘he did go heigh-ho upon a bird bolt.” This gem is followed by such guffaws and general merriment as would leave Olson and Johnson wondering how they failed.” Jean Kerr. Reflections of a Part-Time Playwright ** ** PRINCE HARRY , THE DUKE OF SUSSEX “Harry counts himself among the Shakespeare hordes, ‘bored and confused as a teen-ager when his father drags Him to see performances of the Royal Shakespeare Company; disinclined to read much of anything, least of all the freighted works of Britain’s national author….’I tried to change ,’ he recalls. ‘I opened Hamlet. Hmm. Lonely prince, obsessed with dead parent, watches remaining parent fall in love with dead parent’s usurper…? I slammed it shut. ‘No, thank you.’” Rebbeca Mead. “The Royal Me” in The New Yorker (January 23, 2023) ** SHAKESPEARE AND THE WORD LAUGH laugh occurs 87 times in 238 speeches within 41 works. for example: Isabella in Measure for Measure [II, 2] line 875 Could great men thunder As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet, For every pelting, petty officer Would use his heaven for thunder; Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven, Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man, Drest in a little brief authority, Most ignorant of what he's most assured, His glassy essence, like an angry ape, Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens, Would all themselves laugh mortal. from Concordance of Shakespeare's Complete Works https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org › concordance ** Perfect Film work for Shakespeare -- Line Producer ** READING SHAKESPEARE & MAKING KNOTS The following item appeared in The Saturday Review on September 3, 1949. It was signed by J.L. “There was once an American in a hotel in Iceland who read Shakespeare and discovered ten thousand new ways to tie knots. “When his discoveries were made known, an American reporter was sent to interview him. “Is it true,” asked the reporter. “that the reading of Shakespeare is the reason for your great discoveries?” “ Yes, it is quite true,” answered his fellow countryman. “As I read him, I held a spool of twine in my hand. I followed his rhythms with the twine and the knots were formed.” “Are there any more knots possible?” asked the reporter. “Oh I have ceased reading Shakespeare,” said the savant. ‘ Now I read the comments of different men who have read his works and I haven’t made a solitary knot.” ** IMDB TRIVIA ABOUT THE MOVIE SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE "Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter are married in real life, and in this movie, they played the same role. Staunton played the Nurse off-stage, and Carter played the nurse on-stage." ** EVERYDAY, MY ARIEL Everyday, my Ariel, I put the world behind me, but it shoot back. One generation & the next,' Light as sunlight thrushing As thru the Spanish Cedars flash Cormorants magnific with their hooked beaks, Always a fitful cornucopia To take the breath away. I press my life to the jumping dayshine. What do I demand? More space? More freedom? Freedom to do what? Hungering for magic, I stand on Prospero's isle. Could I have been so wrong about my life? Far out on the ocean, Replenished & green, One anonymous sailor Fastens his shrouds. Louis Phillips from "The Man On Prospero's Isle" a sequence of based upon The Tempest, published in The Time, The Hour, The Solitariness of the Place (Norcross, Georgia: Swallow's Tale Press, 1985)
“Reading was such a wonderful thing that to have made a life around the experience was almost criminal and it was so fortunate.” Elizabeth Hardwick ** THE CREATOR OF THE WIZARD OF OZ PREDICTED THE INVENTION OF THE CELL PHONE "Baum wrote dozens of other novels and short stories, and he had a knack for predicting an impressive number of inventions in his books: the taser, digital calendars, and defibrillators to name a few. In his novel The Master Key, a character even discovers an augmented reality gadget that predates Pokémon GO by a century. But Baum’s most notable prediction comes in Ozma of Oz: "Shaggy … drew from his pocket a tiny instrument which he placed against his ear. Ozma, observing this action in her Magic Picture, at once caught up a similar instrument from a table beside her and held it to her own ear. The two instruments recorded the same delicate vibrations of sound and formed a wireless telephone, an invention of the Wizard." TRIVIA GENIUS December 6, 2022 https://www.triviagenius.com/facts-about-the-wizard-of-oz/XzxcDPaawAAGI7SQ?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1657944838 ** ON THE TITLE ILLYWHACKER Illywhacker is the title of of a 1985 novel by Peter Cary . An illwhacker is a conman or trickster. A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialism says that it is derived from ‘spieler’a ‘teller of tales, swindler.’ ** SAMUEL BECKETT “Beckett’s work is a single holy book, an absolute of poetry and negation by whose light all else in contemporary literature appears somewhat superfluous and unclear.” John Updike ** MARK TWAIN & THE PUBLICATION OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN “Mark Twain took a rival publisher, Estes and Laurent, to court when they printed Huckleberry Finn before his own publishing company could print it. When Judge LeBaron Bradford Colt ruled against him in the U.S. Circuit Court in Boston, the author was so enraged that he publicly condemned Colt. “The judge, Twain said. has allowed the defendant to ‘sell property which does not belong to him, but to me – \property which he has not bought and I have not sold. Therefore, he went on, Under this ruling I am now advertising that judge’s homestead for sale, and if I make as good a sum out of it, as I expect, I shall go on and sell the rest of his property.’” From Mystery Scene Miscellany in Mystery Scene Magazine (November 2022) ** Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.” Groucho Marx THE WORLD’S EARLIEST DATED BOOK “According to the British Library, the Diamond Sutra, printed in China in 868 A.D., is the world’s earliest dated book.” David Lemmo. Tarzan, Jungle King of Popular Culture (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2017) ** AN ENGLISH TEACHER THROWS IN THE TOWEL Great Caesar’s Ghost! 52 yrs old & I’m finally ploughing my way Thru Clark Kent’s secret identity. I’ve had it with cheesy fore flanks Of Lit Crit. Literature is meant to fly. Splatt! Whapp! Wopp! Pow! Time to spatter The streets of Metropolis With finer tints of onomatopoeia. I tell you I am destined To leap a tall bildungsroman In a single bound, Bend Lois Lane’s steel body & her neon mind, In my Daily Planet arms. Time to stick dynamite Up required reading lists! Read me Action Comics, With arch-villain Mr Mxyzptlk Who must be tricked To say his name backwards So he’ll be returned To the 5th dimension For 90 days of rebooting. (How many dimensions Does a man need to survive?) Hamlet, with his cheap poisons, Cannot stop bullets With his bare hands & Is not so moral as all this. Louis Phillips