Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Rerun: An acute triangle

One day, it's Liv Tyler, and then it's Paris Hilton, or Ariana Grande, and who knows who the current "It Girl" is in American pop culture? It changes almost every day, and it's always the same: a young woman, blessed with looks and sometimes a certain amount of talent, is suddenly all over the place, famous for being famous.

Imagine how it was when the mass media consisted of daily newspapers, and no "Entertainment Tonight" or E! channel or Instagram to make the unfamous famous overnight.

Evelyn Nesbit was the It Girl of the early 20th Century, a young lady from Philadelphia blessed with a gorgeous face.  She became a model in the very early days of mass advertising, and performed in Broadway musicals, where she caught the eyes of Harry K. Thaw and Stanford White.  White was a very well-known architect, a man who designed many famous buildings of the day (including the Lovely Lane Methodist Church in downtown Baltimore.) White both created beauty and appreciated beauty, and he took up with young Evelyn, becoming both her lover and her generous benefactor. They never made it to the altar, though.

Harry K. Thaw sounds more like a man of these by inheriting a ton of moolah, leader of a dissolute lifestyle, an avid drug abuser, and severely mentally deranged.  Thaw liked the ladies too, and to his voracious sexual appetite, he added the fillip of being into bondage and whips and so forth. So when he fell for Evelyn, she refused his hand in marriage for four years, since she knew that he valued chastity in the women he sought to debauch and defile.

But they later married, when his ardor overcame his puritanical weirdness.  That was in 1905.  The top of Thaw's head probably would have come off had he known that his dream girl had done the hibbidy-dibbidy with others besides White, most notably John Barrymore, the greatest actor of the time, and Drew Barrymore's grandfather, to connect this sordid tale with today.                   

Thaw's obsession with the man who had "ruined" (his term) the lovely Evelyn overtook his life, and at the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden on June 25, 1906, during a performance of a musical called "Mam'zelle Champagne" (as the cast sang "I Could Love A Million Girls") Thaw approached White, brandished a pistol, and fired three shots at White, killing him instantly, while Thaw hollered  "You've ruined my wife!"

The trial that followed was that century's Trial Of The Century, and Thaw was found to be insane.  He wound up in a mental institution, until he escaped in 1915 and paid off enough people to get a new trial, at which he was adjudged no longer insane. In the 1920s, he moved to Clearbrook, Virginia, lived on a farm and  joined the local volunteer fire company, dying in 1947 of a coronary thrombosis.

He was insane, all right.  He was crazy about old Evelyn.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Saturday Picture Show, February 17, 2018

Maybe it was the fact that the generator out in back of the store was drum shaped that gave someone the great idea to paint the protective uprights like Ludwig drumsticks, and then they figured, let's paint cartoon Ringo all up in here, the image from The Beatles cartoon show, which ran from 1965- 1969 here.
I always wondered how they got the real Napoleon to stick his hand inside his uniform; getting "Little Nap" here to do the same must have taken a ton of begging. Is this why they call formal wear a "monkey suit"?
The best advice I ever got for talking to teenagers is to remember to act the way you would have wanted adults to act toward you when YOU were a young 'un. The worst advice I ever heard was to try to dress like them, talk like them and act like the. They're already doing it better than we ever can.
Speaking of teenagers doing things better than anyone else can, I think we will see lots of Chloe Kim, the amazing snowboarder, in future competitions and advertisements.  And why not? I think she's charming, and I'll be flabbergasted if I ever see anyone fly through the air just as well as she does. And isn't it nice to see her friend give Alfred E. Neuman a little love?
Well, you did say you wish there was someone who would deliver some Wild Turkey...
This is the week when America's pizza chefs are all undergoing heart tests. And then they deal with orders like this: 1/2 saus/pep, 1/2 chs.
Their 50th anniversary comes up on March 1. Here are Johnny Cash and his bride June Carter Cash, scion of one of the founding families of country music, as they tied the knot. Years later, a British poll voted a love letter he wrote to her ("You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You're the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence.") as the greatest love letter of all time, which must have come as quite a surprise to others famous for writing lovey-dovey epistles, such as Ernest Hemingway (to Marlene Dietrich), Napoleon (Josephine), Oscar Wilde (Lord Alfred Douglas) and Donald Trump (Donald Trump).
Oh! These crazy kids and their dolls and their FaceSwap apps...

Friday, February 16, 2018

Stevie Nicks a wallet

Image result for Steven Patrick MacGilvrayThat happy smilin' fella you see at right is named Stephen Patrick MacGilvray. Smilin' Steve has been recently employed as a defense attorney down North Carolina way, but now, like a mechanic whose car breaks down, he needs a defense attorney his own daggone self.

Now, let me be clear. First of all, I have many friends who are lawyers, and some of them are even judges.  So I'm not one who is dead set against the legal profession.

And I also know enough to know that SPM might be totally innocent, but it sure doesn't look like he is. 

Enough preamble. Here's the story from WRAL TV, showing the video from the Wake County Courthouse in which a guy is seen dropping his wallet after going through the security screening.  Then we see MacGilvray pick up the wallet, look around furtively in the time-honored manner all people have when they're making SURE no one is watching what they're up to, and slinking off.

We even see him getting off the elevator upstairs and looking at the wallet.  Later, according to the county sheriff, Donnie Harrison, MacGilvray went to another security station in the building and turned in the wallet.


The man who lost it was there to pay off a court-ordered debt, and he was of course unable to do so, what with his money being in other (improper) hands.

It didn't take long for Harrison's crack detectives to crack the case and take MacGilvray into custody Tuesday morning in a courtroom, where he was representing a client.

That has to be embarrassing, when your lawyer gets arrested while he's in court representing you.

Stevie Mac was released Tuesday afternoon after posting a $3,000 bond.
Image result for attorney bill young raleigh nc
Remember when lawyers
wore ties?

So here comes his attorney, one Bill Young, (pictured at right) saying, "It is more complicated. He is cooperating, and we expect there will be a resolution that is favorable for everyone involved."

Young went on to say, "As damning as that information looks, it’s only part of the story. It’s probably the smallest part of the story. There’s a much bigger part."

The rightful owner of the money was supposed to have it back two days ago, and MacGilvray, an associate with the Coolidge Law Firm in Raleigh, will be back in court in March.

David Coolidge, owner of the law firm, had no comment. I think it's telling that Mac G hired Young, from the firm of Hatch, Little & Bunn, and not one of his own coworkers.

I do have a comment.

Assuming that MacGilvray is found guilty - and that is a big assumption - he should be disbarred and not able to practice law again.  But his attorney, Young, told another station some sob story about how "we're expected to manage everyone's life trauma and problems without any effect on ourselves, and we'll have a lot more to say about that in the near future."

I guess he is trying to establish a legal precedent in which it will be all right for attorneys who are exposed to the seamy side of life through their clients' misdeeds have the right to get a little dirt on their hands as well. "If it please the court," as they say on tv law dramas, then it will be acceptable for chefs who are exposed to people eating to gobble as much food as they want to in the kitchen, and for police who see a lot of people speeding in their cars to drive 135 miles an hour on the way home from work.

Mr Young? Mr MacGilvray? Might I suggest you both admit it was wrong to steal the money from the wallet, take the punishment like men, and stop coming up with the sort of nonsense that makes people really not like lawyers?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Another great one gone

Someone once said, “Vic Damone is the kind of performer who comes along once in a lifetime. Fortunately, he came along in our lifetime.”

Show-biz hyperbole aside, I am glad that was around during the days of classic entertainers such as Vic Damone, who died the other day at 89, and Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr., Perry Como and Matt Monro.

These were men who came from the tradition of dressing up a little nice for an audience (ya listening, Keith Urban?) and singing the songs of the Great American Songbook for appreciative audiences on radio, television, and in live performances and movies.

One show-bizzy tradition that seems to be dying is people changing their name to something more mainstream.  For instance, Damone was born Vito Farinola, and think about that one second. Those two words sound like what a smooth crooner such as he would sing to warm up before a show..."VEEEEEEEto FaaaaaarinOOOOOOOOOla!"

Show business was good to old Vic, taking him down many roads, and down the aisle to the altar five times (two notable brides: Pier Angeli and Diahann Carroll).   

Hit songs like “In the Still of the Night,” “You’d Be So Easy to Love,” “Swingin' Down The Lane,” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” put bread and butter on his table for years, and yet, there was something else he wanted to do, besides get married all the time and be a handsome singing idol.

Image result for vic damoneYou see, his father had been an electrician, but young Vic had to drop out of high school to support the family when his father became disabled. He got a job as an elevator operator and usher at a theatre in his native New York City, where he once gave Perry Como a lift in the lift, and Como reciprocated by giving Damone an endorsement.

He won on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts show, which was sort of like "The Voice" back in the day, except the judges didn't look like they had just come in from mowing the lawn.

He also got a boost from Milton Berle, and became the singer for the Stan Kenton Orchestra before going solo for records, club dates and TV shows.

Two years of service in the Army during the Korean War did not slow him, and he came back to greater success, and stayed at or near the top of his profession through the multiple marriages, an unpleasant encounter with a mob boss who thought it unwise for Vic to break up with the mobster's daughter (and dangled him out a hotel window until capo di tutti capo Frank Costello intervened), giving up Roman Catholicism to convert to the Bahá'í Faith, and a final marriage to the woman who founded the ladies' clothing firm Jones New York.

But remember, he had had to drop out of Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, and it always got under his skin that he had not finished high school, so in 1997, at the age of 69, he completed his course work and earned that high school diploma.

Just to remind us all, it's never too late.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


This took place in Ohio, but it could have happened anywhere where two parents, father and stepmother, seem to hold a grudge against a child's mother, and that seems to be universal.

None of the stories I found online mention the age of the child involved here, but at any age, this is no way for a young person to be treated. 

The story: Christin Johnson treated her teenaged daughter to highlights in the daughter's long hair as a birthday gift.

Next weekend, she spent with her father and his wife, and they chopped her hair off as "punishment for getting highlights."

And yes, this took place in 2018, in the United States of America, a land in which people are guaranteed the right to life, liberty and so on.

So Christin went to Facebook: 

“This is what my daughter looked like Sunday when I took her home and the other two pics is what happened today before she was brought to me… all over me having highlights put in her hair for her birthday!” she wrote.

If you guessed that 34,000 people reacted to her post with more than 1,200 comments, you'd be right.

“Kelsey, you are a beautiful young woman. Do not let the actions of these two monsters ruin your confidence. If they cannot accept that you are beautiful and can express yourself in this way, then they do not deserve your consideration. I hope you are feeling loved and supported,” read one comment.

“This is outright child abuse. What is wrong with these people? I would not leave my child alone with these people again,” said another.

Fox 8 News says that the Haskins (OH) Police Department is treating this as a case of child abuse. Police Chief Colby Carroll, says his officers, along with Wood County Children's Services, are investigating.

"I've been doing this since '92 and I've never had a case I would say that's like this," said Carroll. "Mom was upset with how her child was being cared for -- lack of better terms."

I mean, one day she had hair like Marcia Brady, the next it's like Tom Brady, and not by her own choice.

I can't say this for sure, but it would seem that the father and stepmother don't care for the mother very much.  And the sad thing is, the young lady had to pay the horrible price of losing her lovely long hair  - which was her choice of hairstyle - and now marches around school and the neighborhood with that chopped-off look.

I am ashamed to see that people who use a teenager as a pawn in some stupid revenge game happen to be volunteer firefighters, and I hope the fire company sends them packing.

And I hope that the young lady will be able to move on.  Big Daddy and Cruella would be locked up until every inch of her hair grows back, if I were the judge out there.

Have you ever read the short story "Haircut" by Ring Lardner? It's an American classic, and you can check it out here while we discuss this tonsorial stupidity.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shoe Fly

Don't look for me on the red carpet at any of those Grammys or Mammys or Tonys or whatever other awards shows you might see. You know the deal, quarter-celebrities stand around asking half-celebrities, "Who are you wearing?" as the Hollywood glitterati bound out of limos and head into the shindig.

First of all, they should ask "WHOM are you wearing," and second of all, the only two "fashion designers" I need are Mr. L.L. Bean and Mr. Eddie Bauer.

L.L. Bean has had a long history, selling Bean Boots for foul weather, jeans, barn jackets, and a million other items we need. They have always prided themselves on being an honest firm, selling top quality merchandise at fair prices. And they have always had an unlimited return policy, a lifetime guarantee.

Theoretically, this means that if you buy a barn jacket from Bean, and five years later a button falls off and the corduroy on the collar is pulling away from the canvas, they would fix it or give you another jacket.

Image result for bean bootsFair enough. But there is always some schmuck willing to take advantage of someone else's fairness, and the company has been forced to curtail that fairness.  They say they have updated their return policy to give customers one year to return purchases, with a receipt. 

"Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales," the company wrote in a letter to customers.

They did go on to say that if a product is defective, they will "work with customers to reach a fair solution."

Just like the people who think they are entitled to take home cutlery and the salt, pepper, sugar and syrup dispensers from the diner, Bean customers who think they are entitled to free lifetime supplies of shoes in return for buying one pair of shoes have managed to mess things up for everyone else.

"Our guarantee is not a liability, but rather a customer service asset — an unacknowledged agreement between us and the customer, that always puts the customer first and relies on the goodwill of our customers to honor the original intent of the guarantee," spokesperson Mac McKeever told Business Insider.

L.L. Bean was an outdoorsman from Maine who developed that prototype boot  - a hunting shoe with leather uppers and rubber bottoms - and built a nationwide business from that starting point. He invented the shoe in 1911, and some clown probably bought one of the first pairs and still wants them replaced every year because he wore them.