Category Archives: London

Oh, What a Night!

Standard

The song, “December, 1963 / Oh, What a Night” leads me to

believe we all have wonderful memories of particular musical

artists for each period of our lives.  We may think of songs

which are sad and mournful, when we wish to ‘wallow’ in our

sorrow. Then there are the songs which transport us out of

ourselves to special places, soaring above or out of this world.

“Oh, What a Night” refers to new love found in 1963, but it

also stands for a different timeline in my own life. . .

I felt transfixed during each of the musical numbers in “Jersey

Boys.”  I felt that I was there in the midst of tragedy when one

of the members lost his daughter. I felt excited when another

of the members of the band  wrote a new song, one that had a

unique beat and message. Some of Frankie Valli and the Four

Seasons’ playlist, was like lining up memories of my own life,

where I was when I heard this one, who I danced with while

the other song was played by a small local band at a wedding.

If you have grown up in the fifties, sixties or even, seventies,

you may be a ‘fan’ or a fond listener to Frankie Valli and the

Four Seasons. I had heard the songs but didn’t really know

the way the group’s story began, nor what happened to the

members, causing them to ‘stall out’ for about 24 years.

Only to meet again at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Induction performance.

The director, Clint Eastwood, is known for wishing details

to fit the situations and fulfilling the character of the times

the movie is supposed to be set into.  A perfect example of

NOT following the book was when he filmed the movie

version of the famous book, “Bridges of Madison County.”

It is about an Italian homemaker and her adventures over

one weekend, while her children and husband are at the state

fair. Robert James Waller has the homemaker wearing jeans,

(possibly to emphasize her figure) while Clint explained in

an interview, he felt this woman could have been his own

mother, so she would wear a common house dress. There

are more examples in many of his movies, some where

the music takes a big part of the film and others where it

is just the background sound behind the story. I liked

finding out during the credits his son, Kyle Eastwood

was a musical assistant and helped with the soundtrack.

Also, Clint’s daughter, Francesco Eastwood plays one of

the wives in the film.

Frankie Valli’s character was played by John Lloyd Young,

who portrayed and sang on Broadway.  In “Jersey Boys,”

(up close and personal in the movie) he captures your

attention and his voice is very similar to Frankie Valli’s.

If you saw the musical play, you may know the characters

each take turns talking directly to the audience. It is a

very interesting technique for telling their individual

stories.

I felt sympathy for the way the real man became  part of

the underbelly of his neighborhood, by being  pulled into

the mob and illegal dealings by his friend and eventual

member of the band, Tommy.  You realize his gambling,

drinking and other vices, such as trying to trade with

stolen goods, would eventually ‘catch up’ with Tommy.

As a viewer, you may possibly worry about his pulling

his good friend, Frankie down.  Their musical career

eventually helps them to get out of their neighborhood

but they could barely escape the ties.

The raw emotions of a death and funeral of one of the

member’s children, still just a teenager, rocks their

group to the very core.

Christopher Walken’s scenes as the ‘benefactor’ and

supposed friend among the mob members ‘steal the

show,’ at times. He is a versatile and fine actor.

The executive producers are Frankie Valli and Bob

Gaudio. The slow building of the band, its members

and their story unfolds and is beautifully portrayed

with the songs many of us loved, sang and danced to.

In a semblance of order, illustrating the sequence and

growth of the band’s body of work is shown in this list

of songs,

“Who Loves You, Pretty Baby?”

“Big Girls, Don’t Cry”

“Walk Like a Man”

“Dawn”

“Rag Doll”

“Sherry”

“Bye Bye Baby”

“You’re Just Too Good to Be True”

“My Eyes Adored You”

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”

and repeating the title song,

“Oh, What a Night.”

The members of the band, Nicky (Massi), Tommy

De Vito, Bob Gaudio (writer/lyricist) and Frankie

performed at the R and R Hall of Fame, after 24

years apart.

* They were inducted in 1990 into the Rock and

Roll Hall of Fame.

They joked,  saying singing together came natural,

even after all the years. They only had to lower the

octave and sing in a lower key.

*They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of

Fame in 1999.

*In 2012, they performed together in England at

the Royal Albert Hall, honored for their body of

music which included 29 Top Ten (on American

music award charts) Hits.

This brief ‘sketch’ of the musical movie, “Jersey Boys”

which came out in 2014 is to persuade you to celebrate

someday soon, by listening to one or more of Frankie

Valli and the Four Seasons’ lifetime of songs. They grew

up together on the streets of New Jersey, sang and lived

quite fantastic lives.

The movie captured it nicely. Too bad it didn’t win any

awards for “Best Soundtrack” or “Best Song.” Tough year

and competition.

What is your favorite song from this group?

Which is one you played the most?

If you never really liked their music, did

one of your family members enjoy them?

You know, “You’re just too good to be true.”

Rolling with Laughter

Standard

Coworkers are my source of humor and constancy in my daily routine.

We tend to miss each other over weekends, sometimes I feel it is due

to our being ‘displaced’ from our lines of preferred professions. All of

my fellow table mates at lunch and break were in other jobs before they

came to work at the warehouse.

When Melvin went off to Massachusetts, the week seemed to drag

forever.

 

This week, just the first three days already, have been hysterical. He

regales us with tall tales of lobster 3 or 4 times eaten daily. He is also

teaching us more and more about the Army life he led.

 

You may remember a long ago post about Melvin being raised by

parents from an island. By the time they came to America, they had

chosen Massachusetts as their home. I think the link, “cous cous” may

connect you to that story. . . We feel this is an interesting ‘thread’ that

connects the two of us. Since my Mom’s parents were both immigrants,

meeting on a street corner in New York City, but choosing to live in

Connecticut. My Grandpa’s father had chosen Massachusetts, where

my Grandpa went to school and his sister lived there, once adults.

Grandpa had moved away from there to go to the engineering or

‘technical college’ in New York City. He knows we both like many of

the New England specialties, too.

 

Melvin had been a good student in school. He decided to go into the

Army to get a ‘free education.’ Instead, he found his true interest or

“calling” in cooking. He did not go to culinary arts institute. He went

to Germany while in the Army, where he had an amazing time learning

about German food preparation. Then, he followed this with his next

tour of duty being spent on the Army base in Hawaii. Where native

fresh fruits are part of the daily Army diet. He excitedly described to us

at break today, they are also cut specially into shapes like lotus flowers

and birds, presented on the platters as ‘garnishes.’

We pursued this culinary specialty subject awhile, “Not in Officer’s

Club, but Mess Hall grub has garnishes?”

“Yes,” Melvin intoned then elaborating, “The different things you

can create varies from vegetables to fruits. A large melon, zucchini,

radishes or apples you make sliced criss-crosses, blanch them in

boiling water and quickly place them in icy water. The hot water gets

them to open up like a lotus blossom.”

He added, “Did you know that the Army never adds new amounts

of a food to an older dish?” (You know how while at a buffet or a

salad bar, they add more potato salad to the old? Nope, this NEVER

happens in the Army dining room!)

 

So, Melvin brought me the delicious German wine last year, which

he mentioned that in Germany at Christmas, the shops downtown

have little tables of treats and ‘shot glasses’ of drinks. They also warm

their wines and give out tastes of these. He contributed to my sense

of ‘culture’ while I shared this with my Mom and family last year.

Mom said a toast in German, which was one about health and love.

(My Mom’s mother was born in Germany. She told me to thank

Melvin. He had bought this on the Rickenbacker Air Force base,

as a gift to me. So thoughtful, you can see why he is a ‘keeper,’

when it comes to friends!)

 

Another morsel he shared with us was of an Army skill he acquired

while in Germany. He informed us they would bring in huge blocks

of ice and there would be one skilled ice sculptor who would create

lovely centerpieces for Army banquets at holidays. He apprenticed

and learned this amazing skill.

Again, we asked Melvin, “Do you mean ordinary Army enlisted men

would have banquets with carved ice decorations on their tables?”

We were incredulous. I am hoping there may be some enlisted men

from the past, who will confirm this outlandish ‘story.’

Really, please let me know. . .

“Yes,” Melvin looked and sounded like he had the Bible and would

“solemnly swear that this was the truth, the whole truth, so help

him God.”

Melvin then proceeded to tell us about mountains, ski cabins and

other etchings in his German ice sculptures. Then, he decided to

mention how he created elaborate Hawaiian ice sculptures with

volcanoes, trees and ocean waves along beaches. He had learned

how to, sculpt detailed floral arrangements out of ice. We wished

he had photographs but we believe his stories.

 

So, when Melvin got back from Massachusetts, we listened to how

he and his ‘my lady’ had lobster omelets, lobster rolls and lobster

linguini. He emphatically repeated this annoying part (we were

jealous, that is why we were annoyed), “I ate lobster 3 or 4 times

a day!” Upon repetition,  we still did not roll our eyes, since he was

entertaining us quite brilliantly. Never a dull moment at the good,

old warehouse with Melvin around.

 

Melvin’s accent had changed over his one week “Back home, out East.”

He vocalizes the sound of his “r’s” to “h’s” so his car was a “cah.” You

could close your eyes and imagine a Kennedy speaking. He sounds so

“cultured.” We tell him he should take his “lady friend” to England

and get their full ‘edification.’ Come back with a British accent. Then,

being the dramatic ‘ham’ that he is, he put his little pinky out and

pretended to hold a tea cup and saucer. He attempted an imitation

British tea party, exclaiming “Cheerio, my deah ones, we need to

order some crumpets and scones.”

 

Melvin told us how offended he was McDonald’s thinks “frappes”

sound like “frapays” while most New Englanders know “frappes”

rhyme with “wraps.” The real ‘frappes’ are delicious old fashioned

milk shakes made of real ice cream and whole milk, with flavors with

real chocolate syrup or real whipped cream. It makes me think of the

rants that began with this funny question, “Don’t you understand the

words that are coming out of my mouth?” from the two movies, with

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in “Rush Hour’ (one and two.)

 

Whenever Melvin opens his mouth, we laugh. He is full of spirit, likes

to tease and pull your leg. There is always a chance,  at any moment,

for his voice to  become high-pitched and indignant about something.

This is what he calls his “Ohio homey’s” slang and attitude.

 

The story Melvin finished with was about his days of being the Head

Cook at the Marysville Penitentiary. He claims that at any point in

time, you could run into a sister of a male inmate, while she is in

the female cellblocks. Or a mother! There was a special occasion,

where the Warden had arranged for a comedienne named, Monique,

to entertain the inmates. She is a known African American stand-up

comic, who uses ‘blue’ (vulgar) humor in her sketches and anecdotes.

Melvin smiled wide, snorting while remembering some of the skits

or jokes she told.

Melvin finally stopped laughing and  said, “The Warden got up from

his seat in the front of the room, apparently unaware of her type of

humor, with a bright red face, looking down as he walked to the back

of the room, quietly exiting. Everyone clapped and hooted, encouraging

this Monique to ‘carry on,’ with her crass jokes.”

 

I had a chance to change the subject at second break and told my

good friends that yesterday was the 51st anniversary of Push Button

Telephones. (I had already decided to post about the serious subject

of Malala and her Nobel Peace Prize.) So, you are finding this fact

out a day later than my coworkers!

 

ATT first presented these new phones to Pennsylvania residents on

November 18, 1963. The original Push Button phones had only ten

buttons, while in 1968 they added two more buttons (#) and (*). This

squared off phone replaced my favorite old fashioned  rotary phone.

Going along with the raucous humor and our improved mood, since

it was our Melvin’s long-lost return, we used our fingers to squeeze

our noses, to make our vocalizations to sound nasal and together

we imitated one of the greatest comedians ever, Lily Tomlin, by

chanting:

“One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy” and so forth, making the funny

character of the old time operator from variety shows of the 60’s

of “Ernestine,” come back alive. Tammy and I were rolling while

Melvin, who is a great imitator of voices, was pretending to be

the character.

 

In honor of Melvin, though, I will tell you his favorite singer is not

who you would expect. If you remember my post, “Someone Saved

My Life Today,” you may remember Melvin loves Elton John, so

does his girlfriend. The songs he says are ones that get him up and

dancing are:

“Honky Cat” and “Crocodile Rock.”

Melvin is one ‘hep cat’ who knows how to ‘jive!’

 

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Standard

When things are going well, you may have heard and used the expression,

“Everything’s coming up roses.” Right? As I wished to look up the history of

this expression, I found out from Google “Search Engine,” that the more

frequently used slang expression is, “Everything’s coming up Milhouse.”

Did you know this? Where in the world did this one come from? It came

from the animated, long-lasting television show, “The Simpsons.” There

is a positive character who is always thinking life is just ‘swell’ and his name

is Milhouse.

Why isn’t the song, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” at the top of the list of

expressions? This was Ethel Merman’s song from the 1959 musical, “Gypsy.”

The musical play was loosely based on the life of Gypsy Rose Lee. When asked,

my oldest daughter calls this guy, “Milhouse,” a “Goober-head.” Also, she

pointed out that the first choice of things is based on searches, while the movie

and song may have been popular, more people are familiar with the Simpsons.

 

I ask my oldest daughter why is “Milhouse” a “Goober head?” As soon as she

starts to explain what a goober head is, I think of the character named “Goober”

from the television show, “The Andy Griffith Show.” Where did this slang ‘word

set’ really come from? In my mind and memory, my  first impression evokes the

character, “Goober,” who was a goofy character.

 

She says it does not have anything to do with the historic and iconic show. It also

doesn’t have anything to do with the chocolate covered peanuts, also known as,

“Goobers.” Two generations try to figure out where the expression, “Goober-head”

came from. Did it just evolve from the Andy G. show or is it entirely “new” as the

weird expression, bringing up this Milhouse, is to me?

 

A person you call a “goober” is a “kindhearted, slightly oblivious person” who

also is considered a “lovable goofball.” An example of a “goober head” is “one

who puts an empty carton of milk into the refrigerator.” I thought this was a

teenager!

(This may be found online in the “Urban Dictionary.”)

 

There is no reference to “Goober” Pyle, who is from the show, “The Andy Griffith

Show,” if you look “goober head” up. But when you type the word in to look up

“Goober,” you will find out more about him. Goober was played by the actor,

George Lindsey who read for the part of Gomer Pyle, but was instead chosen to

play the less featured character, Gomer’s cousin. I always liked both Jim Nabors

who was chosen to play Gomer. Did you know both of these likeable and humorous

character actors came from the state of Alabama? Jim Nabors sang on variety shows

and albums, too.

 

N0w, off on another ‘wild goose chase,’ where one strand of thought or while using

one internet pathway takes you off to discover that peanuts are indeed called,

‘goobers.’ Along with these extra facts explaining there is a song about “goober

peas”‘ and another called, “goober grapes.”

This helps you to finally understand why there are two kinds of jars of mixed

peanut butter and jelly made by Smucker’s. They are called, “Goober Jelly.”

Each one features peanut butter and either strawberry or grape jelly contained

within its own jar creating ‘stripes of flavors.’  My own personal taste trial of the

Smucker’s brand of vertically layered PB & J, determined the texture of peanut

butter is kind of mushy and not as tasty as if made from separate jars. I happen

to like the crunchy peanut butter jars, anyway.

 

So, for a brief fun chase, we went from my heading off to write about roses, since

I really do like to ‘stop and smell the roses,’ outside the Sara Moore Nursing Home

and also the rose bushes by the Lutheran Church, while walking to the library.

 

Then, spontaneously writing out the old 1959 title of the song whose lyrics were

written by Stephen Sondheim for my post’s title. I needed to look the song up to

verify its history and origin, finding it was written in collaboration with Jules Styne,

who wrote the  music for “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”

 

The most disconcerting part of all this ‘research’ was you cannot be totally

reassured that the song or the expression came first.

Also, while typing “Everything’s coming up…” another way to finish this

expression goes,  “Like a rosy garden.”

Hmmm….

 

Have I lost you yet? I had to reread this, changing it a bit just to prevent

my own self from getting totally lost!

 

By the way, the internet location called, “The Free Dictionary,” gives this

definition of the words, “everything’s coming up roses,” as an ‘idiom’ that

means “someone is having a successful career or day.”

 

I like my world sometimes to be viewed through rose-colored glasses,

while listening to some old songs like,

1. “My Wild Irish Rose” was written in 1899 by Chancellor Olcott for a musical

production. The version I am more familiar with is from the 1947 movie with

the title, “My Wild Irish Rose.” We used to sing this in school and my Mom

loves it so, since her name is “Rosalie.” It is a sentimental song and can also

be heard in a Celtic version that is so sweetly sung.

 

2. “A Rose and a Baby Ruth,” sung by George Hamilton, IV (1956).

3. “Sweet Kentucky Rose,” sung by Kitty Kallen (1955).

4. “Two Dozen Roses,” sung by the group, “Shenandoah.”

5. “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” sung by Johnny Desmond (1955).

6. “Roses Are Red, My Love,” written and sung by Jim Reeves became

most popular in the Bobby Vinton version of this song, (1962).

 

 

Newer songs,

1. “The Rose,” sung by Bette Midler is fantastic as a duet with Ashley Judd.

“The Rose” was both a movie and a song, 1992.

 

2. “Bed of Roses,” sung by Bon Jovi, (1993).

3. “Cracklin’ Rosie,” sung by Neil Diamond, (1971).

 

 

 

Hope you have a rosy week and keep your outlo0k rosy, too.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” comes from Shakespeare’s

play, “Romeo and Juliet.” It is discussing the two families names, who are

sworn enemies, along with the two young people who are star-crossed lovers.

 

Tomorrow, more about roses and no sidetracking on the internet!

 

Hope you have a “rosy” week!

Try to keep your outlook, “rosy” and maybe, everything will come up roses for you!

 

Cleveland R & R Hall of Fame: Musical Notes

Standard

Oh, how my brothers and I wished we could have gone to the excellent musical

tribute to the Everly Brothers on October 25, 2014. It was called, “Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame’s 2014 Music Masters.” There were so many famous musicians and

music industry ‘captains’ there that it would have been so amazing to listen to

the tribute for this iconic sibling combination who inspired everyone that followed

them.

Revelry included a large group of musicians from the genres and roots of blue grass,

jazz, country and rock and roll legends. I will give you part of the ensemble list here.

Emmy Lou Harris who paired up with Alfred Lee (Everly’s lead guitarist) to sing the

trademark song which is recognizable across the world, with memories mentioned

by British icons and Irish singers, too: “Bye, Bye Love.”

What brought the audience to tears, Chuck Yarborough of the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

mentioned in his article and the evening news the next day also repeated, was Don

Everly, aged 77, coming up on stage to join them in harmony.

Who else was there, you may ask? Graham Nash, Keb’Mo’, Ledisi, Peter Asher, Waddy

Wachtel, Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, Alison Krauss, J. D. Souther, Bonnie

“Prince” Billie and Dawn McCarthy.

The lovely song, “Lonely Island,” was given a special tribute from the Secret Sisters,

Laura and Lydia Rogers all the way from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. T-Bone Burnett,

musician and record producer had insisted they include this song in their most

recent record.

Keb’Mo’ and Ledisi performed, “Let It Be Me,” which meant adapting the vocals

to their unique talents.

Vince Gill and Graham Nash, (Nash started out in the duo, The Hollies but is more

known and recognized for his contribution in another ‘combination’ band, Crosby,

Stills, Nash and Young.) They sang a great duo together.

Rodney Crowell (musical director) and Keb’Mo’ sang “Wake Up, Little Susie,” which

is an Everly’s favorite. Keb’Mo’ has included this memorable song on one of his albums

and spoke about his affection for the warm and friendly Everly Brothers.

Greg Harris, Rock and Roll H. of Fame Pres. and CEO, mentioned when he toured in

Ireland in the 80’s everywhere he traveled, when a guitar was pulled out to play,

whether in a kitchen with a grandfather and grandson, along with Pubs, Everly Brothers

were being played.  He mentioned a tribute to Phil Everly who had passed away earlier

this year, just days before he would have celebrated his 75th birthday. It was a moment

of bittersweet memories, allowing the audience to again mourn the loss of a ‘brother.’

Emmy Lou Harris’ soprano voice joined Rodney Crowell’s in a poignant song, “Love

Hurts.”

The night of duets continued with Peter Asher (who had been formerly part of the duo

“Peter and Gordon,” which is still considered a great part of the British Invasion)

and Graham Nash soaring voices in harmony in “Hard, Hard Year” followed by

“Claudette.” Wow!

Peter Asher later paired with J.D. Souther in the song, “Crying in the Rain.”

Are you like me? Do you remember the continuous variety of the Everly Brothers’

song and playlist?

When Vince Gill joined Graham in Everly’s huge (most sold songs) “Cathy’s Clown,”

both using their natural tenor voices to blend into a beautiful tribute to the Everly’s

I would have loved to be there but I bet Youtube has captured this. I will hope to

find a disc of this fine duet.

Vince Gill and Allison Krauss performed together, “When Will I Be Loved?” The song

is one I could sing all the words to, since it is a classic and never to be forgotten. It

has been sung by musical artists everywhere, including a few of my college buddies.

 

This is the point I wish to make, there are few people who have not been moved,

touched and honored to have listened to an Everly Brothers song.

 

Just a side note:

Did you notice that Jack Bruce passed away over the weekend?

The days when ‘rock and roll were young’ include Cream band,

where Jack Bruce was ‘big time’ in the 60’s and 70’s in England

and the U.S.

Cream had its own sound, a psychedelic combination of blues,

rock and part of the “Flower Power” age.

Jack studied music while a child in Scotland, became a cellist

and symphonic musician before he turned to rock and roll.

Jack Bruce’s solo albums, after Cream ‘broke up’ were covered by

everyone from Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald.

“Sunshine of Your Love,” is one of the many Cream and Jack Bruce

songs that come to my mind. On the album, it featured Eric Clapton

playing the guitar, while Jack Bruce played the bass and sang along

with Ginger Baker on drums. Worth checking out, if you were not

part of this generation, or worth listening to, just to have that

wonderful flooding of memories that may be associated with thie

period of music.

“Wheels of Fire” spent time on the Top Ten Best Songs for quite

some time, Cream sold 35 million albums in two years. It became

the World’s First Ever, Platinum disc! Wow!

 

As a soloist, Jack Bruce developed a combination of blending

jazz, rock and blues, with less of the psychedelic renderings.

He was successful and toured from the 80’s until 2005, when

Cream came back together to tour and help those who were

part of the generation of “Flower Power” to reminisce, dance

and sway along to the music.

 

One Cream song, “I Feel Free,” will be one that makes me smile,

since Jack Bruce, aged 71 succumbed to cancer, is probably part

of that Heavenly Band, feeling free of the pain he suffered in his

later life.

 

Wild West Wednesday

Standard

Thanks to “Pookie,” my Mom’s best friend in California, we have a prairie

joke to laugh at!  She wrangled up a ‘good one,’ for us to chuckle about and

get in the right frame of mind for our mid-week relaxing time. Oh, go ahead

and grab something cold to drink, too!  There was a swear word included in

this story,  which my Mom thought was ‘A.O.K.’ but I used a little imagination

and substituted it with an actual possible western term. The manila envelope

she received in the mail, Mom had culled and decided upon which ones were

‘blog worthy.’ So glad I have this outlet for her to feel she is my ‘editor’ and my

fellow blogger while I publish this story and future other ones.

The funny story included two illustrations, one depicting the two main characters

in the humorous story and the other of a photograph of a black sky, with stars and

the moon in it.

 

Let’s take a little ‘break’ from my essays. Pull up a chair, put on some music

and enjoy. . .

To get into the western theme, you could put on Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”

song,  which I enjoy very much. Or find that classic song, “Wild, Wild West”

by the British group, The Escape Club. Promise, you will recognize it! I happen

to love that version of the 1988 song, including the line, “wild, wild hair,” in

the lyrics, referring to the female love interest’s hair.  If you are into rapping

considered ‘hip hop’ version) and I do like Will Smith, there is a different song

without the comma in the title, “Wild Wild West” to hear. This went with the

“Wild Wild West” movie that came out in 1999. Kevin Kline and Will Smith

were the two main actors, in this attempt to capture the television series.

Oh, how I used to enjoy the crazy antics and adventure in the original show!

It was televised from 1965 until 1969.

 

Do you have a favorite western movie or television show?

What music do you prefer to listen to while unwinding after a hard day’s work?

 

I enjoy writing but sometimes am happy to just ‘coast along,’

for a day. I will ‘parcel’ the jokes out, once a week for awhile. . .

 

Here’s one for all of those who love the outdoors and the “Lone Ranger:”

 

The Lone Ranger and Tonto were camping in the desert. After they got their

tent all set up, the men fell sound asleep.

 

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says,

“Kemo Sabe, look towards the sky, what do you see?”

 

The Lone Ranger replied, “I see millions of stars.”

**********************************************

“What do they tell you?” asked Tonto.

 

The Lone Ranger wiped his sleepy eyes, looked up into the heavens and

pondered. Then, after a minute he explained how he felt about the sky,

“Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and

planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo’s radius. Time-

wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning.

Theologically, it indicates that God or Mother Nature is all powerful and

we are just small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have

a beautiful day tomorrow.”

 

The Lone Ranger turned towards Tonto in the dark and asked,

“What does it tell you, Tonto?”

 

Tonto replied,

“You’re dumber than buffalo chips.”

 

The Lone Ranger was hurt and wondered why Tonto was showing

little respect for what he thought had been “Profound Thoughts.”

“Why would you say this to me, Tonto, my friend?”

 

Are you ready for the punch line?! I bet you may guess it. . .

 

Tonto retorted. . .

“It means someone stole the tent, you idiot!”

 

(I think even Silver, The Lone Ranger’s trusty horse would have

snorted. . .)

 

Smiles for sliding down the slippery slope towards the weekend!

“Be still, my heart”

Standard

Stop, breathe and exhale! I am almost ‘breathless’ in anticipation…

for the new Pierce Brosnan movie to come out: “The November Man.”

I can say that he is happily married, so I won’t try to be too silly about

my ‘crush’ on him. I never would dream of trying to take away a happily

married man.  Nor could I! Since his wife Keely Shaye Smith is simply

gorgeous!

She has been his wife for over 13 years, the mother of his two younger

daughters. They live on a tropical island in Hawaii. Their life style is

what he considers a calm, simple life. He claims that he and his family

are content to just bask in the sun, swim, boat and lead their ‘out of

the limelight’ life.

I believe him. He and his wife are rarely seen, except during Academy

Award shows and other special events.

They don’t seem like ‘party-goers.’ It makes him even more special

to me! Also, additionally positive about this couple, Keely and Pierce,

is that they are environmentalists, supporting many causes for the

natural world.

 

Oh, and that expression, Be still, my heart!” comes from a shortening

of a phrase, in some resources. The original one was, “Oh, be still,

my beating heart.” This was from Victorian days, where a person

may be describing or thinking of someone who took their breath

away or made them, “swoon.” It also can be traced back as early as

when Virgil in 1697:

“When from the Goal they start,

The youthful Charioteers with beating heart,

Rush to the race.”

Sting (the musician) wrote a song, “Be Still My Beating Heart,” and

gives Shakespeare credit, but not sure of the source. One source,

gives a passage from “The Tempest.”

 

I don’t talk about my birthday very often, and don’t mention it on

my blog, as in ‘today is my birthday (it’s not!)’ But this man, Pierce,

who has my Scorpio birth month’s name in the title of his next movie,

is simply, extraordinary.

Since he hit the scene of television, on “Remington Steele,” he has

been in my vision and dreams. No offense, ex-boyfriends and

ex-husbands!

I would like to share some facts that I have acquired from a few

sources. No, I have not been stalking him!

Pierce is over 60, he looks like 45 or 46, tops. His birthday is May 16,

1953. He is a wee bit older, by only 2 years, than I am. He is a Taurus,

which is compatible with my sign. How do I know? Well, there was a

period of time, where he was a widower with three boys. I was a

single mother with two girls and a boy, at around the same time.

Back to some of his childhood experiences. Pierce admits to being

teased as a child. He was raised by a single mother who took him

from his birthplace. He was born and lived a short time, along the

River Boyne, in Ireland. His father left his mother and him when

Pierce was only 2 years old. It was tough on his mother, since the

Catholic Church ‘shamed her’ due to her divorce. She chose to move

to where her parents lived, in England.

Once there, Pierce was called all the mean words for Irish immigrants,

“Mick, “Paddy” and later, “Irish.” If you can find a photograph of him

while a young child, you will see a sweet boy who was a little more

husky than his present lean self, displays now. His mother was taking

nursing classes, quite busy and unable to afford child care. So, she

chose to leave him full time with his grandparents.

Pierce’s first love was for drawing and painting. He loves art still and

continues to practice painting in the back yard of his island home. He

wanted to be a graphic artist, his dream and ‘escape’ from some of the

name-calling and torments of his childhood.

Once Pierce entered high school, he was drawn to the drama department,

where the theatre students embraced him. It was such a wonderful, new

experience. A ‘change’ from being an ‘outsider,’ helping him to become

more confident. He left ‘comprehensive school at age 16, ‘ still seeking

education in the field of commercial illustrations.’ Once he determined

there were other options, he did change his interests back to what he had

followed in high school. Pierce studied acting at the London Drama Centre

for three years after his stint with drawing.

Interestingly enough, in an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, (8/10/14),

mentioned his first movie he ever saw was James Bond’s “Goldfinger.”

It was a thrill for him to see the character of ‘007’ played by Sean Connery.

It also was a fortuitous, possibly foreshadowing, event of his life.

Pierce had his ‘first call’ after drama school for the movie, “The Long Blue

Friday.”

Try-outs for the casting of this movie, meant they suggested for the male

leading role to bring a bathing suit. He jokingly says in his interview, that

he showed up in a Speedo and got the part. He played a killer/assassin and

this role made an impact on the studios.

Another interesting fact is that his first wife, Cassandra Harris, was in a

Bond movie, with Roger Moore cast as ‘007.’ They had three sons together,

along with her daughter. They shared acting as one of their interests, as well

as their desire to keep their personal lives out of the tabloids. Unfortunately,

Cassandra developed cancer, dying at the age of 43.  Another sad event in his

life years later, his close step-daughter, who he had raised with Cassandra,

died also of  cancer, at age 42. It was hard on Pierce, reliving the tragedy of

the loss of his wife and then, later someone he considered to be, his oldest

daughter.

It took many years for Pierce to get through the stages of grief. I think this

is why he seem devoted and grateful for his present wife, Keely and their

serene family life.

As part of a spy agency, with the assisting role that Stephanie Zimbalist

played, Pierce Brosnan came into our homes, as”Remington Steele.” The

television series lasted from April, 1982 until October, 1987. This was a

form of escapism, since my first child was born in 1980 and my last one

was in 1985. Television, once the children were asleep, kept me engrossed

in the interesting plot twists and guest stars.

Pierce became a popular name and more familiar to all audiences. This

role of being the suave and debonair spy, led directly to his being cast

as ‘007’ in his first role as James Bond. Along the way, he was cast as

a thief, in the remake of “The Thomas Crowne Affair.” The original

characters were played by Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

One of the many humble comments that Pierce Brosnan mentions in

CBS Sunday television interview was that he is ‘grateful’ and is filled

with ‘gratitude’ for his wife and family, his mother, grandparents and

being cast as the famous character that Ian Fleming created. He was

in four popular James Bond movies.

He also mentioned that his life has been ‘easier, more relaxed’ since

he met Keelley. He has acting in his ‘blood,’ always thinking about

the next movie, whether he may produce or direct it, too. A man of

many talents, who has still the quiet presence of a kind man.

The most ‘fun’ movie I ever saw Pierce Brosnan in was “Mama Mia!”

I enjoyed the singing, the way the plot twists went, with Meryl Streep

playing a woman who could potentially have three prospects for

her daughter’s father. The daughter invites, without informing her

mother, all three of the men to her wedding!

Which man of three is her father? I’ll never tell!

It has ABBA music throughout, lots of atmosphere on a beautiful

Greek island, with the sweet voice of Amanda Seyfried. There is also

the British actor, Colin Firth, as one of the potential fathers. The

third possible choice is played by Stellan Skarsgard. Seeing Pierce

Brosnan belt out, “S.O.S” with Meryl Streep filled me with an

inexplicable joy.

Pierce mentioned in the CBS interview, that his two younger

daughters got ‘sick’ of him singing it everywhere he went, trying

to practice while listening to his Ipod with ear buds in. If you

just want to enjoy a carefree, musical movie, this will be one of

your favorites, trust me on this!

Another lighter movie that Pierce made was, “Mrs. Doubtfire,”

with Sally Fields and Robin Williams; now 22 years ago. He

has posted recently and spoken about who he considered the

great and close friend’s death. I enjoyed seeing Pierce Brosnan

“lose” in the movie, to Robin Williams, in the battle for Love.

If you ever want to see a unique plot and interesting character,

check out Pierce Brosnan in the film, “The Tailor of Panama.” He

is a tailor who is asked to be a British spy, based on the novel by

John Le Carre. The other actors in this movie, Jamie Lee Curtis

and Geoffrey Rush are fascinating in their roles. I have watched

this film more than once, high praise indeed!

Coming Soon! . . .

“The November Man.”

Is it your kind of movie?

Will you watch it at the movie theater, rent it or skip it?

A Flower Cart Vendor and a Queen

Standard

Today, May 20, 2014, we honor a character from a musical play and a

Queen of England! (Okay, maybe a day late for her!) Yesterday, May 19,

2014 was a federal statutory holiday called, “Victoria Day,” in Canada.

On my home calendar, they accidentally had it on the 20th! This extra

special day first came about for the celebration of Queen Victoria’s 35th

birthday.

That historic day had begun at midnight, with a ‘gun salute.’ I wonder

now if it was to wake everyone or maybe the party goers cavorted all

night and were already awake?

Annual celebrations included ‘pre-dawn serenades,’ athletic contests

or competitions, ‘torch-light processions,’ picnics and all-out 19th

Century revelry. This Canadian Patriotic Holiday makes it sound like

the United States’ Fourth of July celebrations!

There were two names listed, both French for Quebec’s celebration of

“Victoria Day:”

“Fete de Dollard” which lasted from the period of the “Quiet Revolution”

until 2003 and “Fete de la Reine,” (party for the Queen) which continues

to this day.

Also, there is another fascinating woman who really is ‘featured’ today:

“Eliza Doolittle Day!”

Both these notable women could be considered ‘heroines,’ of sorts.

One who was the creation in the imagination, originally, of George

Bernard Shaw in his play, “Pygmalion.” In 1938, a film adaptation of

the original stage play was produced.

When it was revised to become a musical, in 1956, Lerner and Lowe

had collaborated on the lyrics and plot line. It became a very well-

respected and beloved Broadway musical. It still circulates among

high schools, colleges and independent acting theaters.

When in 1964, Lerner and Loew’s musical was transferred into movie

form, it “shone” with the star, Audrey Hepburn. I think that I may

have written in a former post, awhile back, that Julie Andrews was

dismayed not to have been asked to be in either “My Fair Lady” or

“Camelot’s” film versions. Both had directors who chose ‘non-singing’

female leads in Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn.

Just for your information, Marni Nixon was the young woman who voiced

all of Eliza’s songs, in the 1964 film adaptation, “My Fair Lady.”

I love how she delivers the song, “Just You Wait (Henry Higgins).”

Audrey Hepburn, as an innocent waif, did an excellent and well-received

portrayal of the character simply described as ‘the flower girl.’ Her

name was Eliza Doolittle.

So, this is the character for whom we celebrate today!

The male lead, playing the character of Professor Henry Higgins, is Rex

Harrison.

The part of Colonel Hugh Pickering, was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Another fine actor and singer was Stanley Holloway portraying Eliza’s

father. He belts out the song, “I’m Getting Married in the Morning”

in his full blown version of a ‘cockney’ accent.

The songs are lovely memories for me, hopefully for some of you.

The whole concept of the transformation of Eliza, ‘the flower girl,’

into a fine lady of ‘high society’ in Edwardian London came from a bet

or a ‘wager’ between the two men, Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering.

They happen to be ‘phoneticists’ or linguistics. They study phonics and

dialects.

Higgins is the one who thinks he can change Eliza by using phonetics

and recordings to eliminate her ‘cockney’ accent. She is able to complete

this transformation into a refined and formal lady by a set time, to

attend a Ball. She falters as a stilted, yet genteel, lady at the Ascot

Racecourse.

I remember, at age 9, going to see this “breath-taking” movie at the

theater with my family. It really enchanted me with the way the whole

story went, along with the costumes that were lovely. Not only for the

Ball, but the race track, too. My brothers and father did not complain,

it is funny, thinking back to that time. Sometimes, I think about the

many action movies we would go to where I would not say that I didn’t

really want to go. As a sign of the times, there were less choices

and one did what their parents ‘told them to do!’

Another amusing thought is that if “Eliza Doolittle” met the Queen

Victoria, what those two minds would have come up with! Especially

with one who was considered one of the longest reigning Monarch’s

of the British colonies and a simple ‘street urchin’ who had spunk

and a feisty nature indeed. I imagine there may have been some mutual

admiration for their strengths of character.

Now go on!

Celebrate with birthday cake and British tea or have a glass of wine to

cheer these women on!