Monday, October 5, 2015

My Favorite After Action Report Involving Commie Raccoons

Raccoons have been documented by PBS as very wily critters:

I was cleaning out my cardboard boxes in a vain attempt to avoid dying in an avalanche of debris like my long lost Collyer cousins, from Maggie's Farm Sunday, September 6. 2009 post on "The Collyer Brothers"

My grandmother's maiden name was "Collier" spelled w/ an "i" and not a "y", but we assumed we were somehow related to the New York Collyers since everyone on my Dad's family were/are pack rats.

One of my old boxes contained an after action report from obvious Soviet moles cleverly disguised as rabid raccoons sent to destroy USAF space launch facilities.

Killer raccoon with his KGB handler:

"The People's Cube" 1/31/2014 post "New NSA Scandal !!" confirms that nefarious organizations are training raccoons for odious purposes:

A basic timeline delineated in military time, so 0720 HRS = 7:20 AM and 1200 HRS = 12:00 PM

RIS = Titan Space Launch Vehicle solid rocket motor [SRM] storage facility. CSD = contractor that manufactures solid rocket motors, described in Charles Chase 28 July 2010 AIAA article "Pioneers in Propulsion-A History of CSD, Pratt & Whitney's Solid Rocket Company"

The timeline concludes with the death of of the poor rascally [possibly rabid] raccoon:

In case you're wondering, golly, what's the big deal about setting off some smoke bombs in a solid rocket motor facility, a fully stacked Titan SRM is nearly the length of half a football field:

The memo, which I find hilarious from beginning to end:

You might wonder whether there really is such a job as a base entomologist, and the answer would be, yes, there is, from the 25 JANUARY 2012 30TH SPACE WING INSTRUCTION 32-7001

"This interim change revises SWI 32-7001 by changing Chapter 23 “Apiary Hobbyists” so that bee keeping is no longer allowed on Vandenberg AFB. This change is being enacted to comply with federal law and per recommendations from AF entomologist/Pest Management subject matter expert advising against apiaries on AF property."
The memo concludes:

The whole report is highly entertaining, because, ultimately, all's well that ends well [except for the poor raccoon], but a couple pull quotes:

"It was unanimous at the meeting that the proper personnel were not involved in the decision making."
and, do NOT feed the wild animals!!!!!

"The guard did not admit to feeding the animal."

"The People's Cube" 1/26/2011 post "13 Bears, a Big Dog, a Raccoon, and a Pot-Bellied Pig Busted" cautions readers neither to feed or weed with wild animals otherwise you'll end up with a Rasta bear:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Interpretive Cake is better art medium than Interpretive Dance

Two European guys dancing to Frank Sinatra singing "My Way"

In case the above link breaks: a clip from Classic Arts Showcase:



I think it is safe to say that all humans, if given the choice between consuming a modern interpretive dance performance and the delicious creations of the Cake Boss  will be much more entertained by the latter.

In fact, I think most ppl, if given the chance, would always choose cake, unless it was some sort of health conscious concoction like this:

The Cake Boss Sinatra clip:

and the complete Cake Boss episode:

In fairness to dancers, Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing to Twyla Tharp's choreography more closely expresses the emotion of Arlen Mercer Sinatra song

In case the above link breaks, some kludgy videos from "Classic Arts Showcase"



A quick google image search illustrates that lots of people, not just chubby guys from New Jersey, like Frank Sinatra cakes:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Joe Biden needs to watch #TheGoodWife Sexual Harassment training video

Joe Biden needs to watch "The Good Wife" sexual harassment training video shown at the end of "Executive Order 13224" episode:


Narrator: Sexuality, it's a significant part of our culture. Depicted in movies, magazines, and TV. But in the work place, sexuality can easily become sexual harassment.
Narrator: When an authority figure becomes involved with a subordinate, is that sexual harassment? Workplace dynamics can ... become upsetting, even hostile....even if the gesture isn't intended to be sexual in nature, it could be misinterpreted as such...but unwelcome sexual contact can also be verbal. Even an intended compliment can create an uncomfortable work environment.  

Compilation of Joe Biden being creepy towards women:

It's not surprising that a Republican paper would criticize Joe, from Byron York's 2/17/15 "Washington Examiner" article "Joe Biden's woman-touching habit"

"Assume that all of Biden's gestures were entirely innocent, just Joe being Joe. Still, in today's society, sexual harassment complaints have been lodged for less. Biden's behavior gives critics plenty of ammunition and puts supporters in a difficult position. Why is that kind of stuff OK when the vice president does it and cringe-making when it's the overly-friendly guy in the office?"

or that a Democrat publication would defend Joe, since as I posted wrt another subject, Dems stick together no matter what:

from Nico Lang's MAR 1, 2015 "Salon" article "John Travolta, Joe Biden and why men touch women’s bodies without asking:Viral videos of the vice president and "Pulp Fiction" star belie our troubling tolerance for sexual harrasment" goes through the trouble of coining a new word "mantouching" in order to avoid having to describe Democrats as sexual harassers:

"Mantouching operates in a similar way. It’s an assertion of one’s masculinity, at the expense of the personal comfort of those around you. When a man touches a woman without asking, he’s doing so because he feels entitled to access to her body. For him, it might feel like a meaningless or friendly gesture. After all, what’s the matter with touching the small of a woman’s back? It’s not like you’re sexually assaulting her."

but it is surprising that a formerly Republican publication coopted by Democrats criticizes Joe. I originally thought article was written by a Clintonista, but the author is a token Republican on their staff: "She has worked on GOP campaigns in four states". Karol Markowicz's Feb. 18, 2015 "Time" article "America Shouldn’t Tolerate ‘Biden Being Biden’" points out the Democrat media hypocrisy and double standards:

"His defenders claim he’s from a different era, the equivalent of the kissing host on Family Feud. Except this isn’t the 1970s and these women aren’t on a game show. Others find the humor in sexual harassment in a way they likely wouldn’t if Joe Biden didn’t have a (D) after his name. NBC’s Capitol Hill Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell joshed Biden was “multi-tasking” when he had his arm wrapped around a teenager while swearing in her mother, Senator Joni Ernst. Biden also told the teen “I hope mom has a big fence around your house.” Today co-host Matt Lauer wise-cracked that this was Biden’s way of “welcoming” the families of the new Senate class. Even PBS found “Biden being Biden” just so adorable."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Judy Garland "The Man that Got Away" in #AStarIsBorn

Point - counter point - counter counter point wrt "The Man that Got Away"

Point: Singer Judy Garland's POV:

From the "American Masters" PBS documentary "Judy Garland: By Myself" , she specifically trash talks Hugh Martin accusing him of wanting her to sing in her old MGM style:


Narrator: The heart and soul of 'A Star is Born' is found in the musical number acknowledged to be one of the greatest ever filmed
Director George Cukor: For that number, I wanted the camera to follow her, always in front, all in one take. It isn't easy for an actor or an actress to carry a long take. You have to be strong. I wanted to do it with Judy because she could sustain it.
Judy Garland: Hugh Martin wanted me to sing this in my MGM style. I told him, 'I can't sing in that voice anymore. Can't you see? I'm a woman now.'

According to random ppl on imdb, allegedly Hugh Martin stormed off the stage because of artistic differences and was replaced by Roger Edens:

Hugh Martin, who was hired as vocal arranger, stormed off the set after a row with Judy Garland over her interpretation of "The Man That Got Away". Garland's mentor and MGM vocal arranger Roger Edens replaced him.

Even tho Judy slammed Hugh, he still called her a genius in the documentary:


Narrator: Once again gripped by fear and self-doubt, Judy at times was immobilized and unable to perform.
Hugh Martin: She was terrified. She thought of this as her last chance to get in pictures. (laughs) This marvelous genius, terrified of not making it in a comeback.
Director George Cukor: I said to Judy, 'Why? You're so accomplished and you're so good. What the hell are you worried for?' She said, 'I'm always afraid that this is the time they're going to catch me.'
Counter point: Song writer Hugh Martin POV:

On the dvd commentary for Astaire and Rogers film "Shall We Dance", Hugh Martin talks about his experience on "A Star is Born." He still insists that he thought Judy should have sung the song in an "after hours voice" vs "MGM style".


Kevin Cole: There was rumors after these three Gershwin films this one [Shall We Dance], A Damsel in Distress, and The Goldwyn Follies that once [his brother] George Gershwin died that Ira was just going to retire and hang it up basically. He certainly didn't. Of course he missed George and there was nothing to fill the loss. But you know that is was 1940 [year the stage play premiered vs 1944 for the film] when Lady in the Dark came out. Hugh, when you worked on 'A Star is Born', did you meet Ira?
Hugh Martin: I did. They took me to his house and I heard the score there. And he didn't say a word all evening. I think he was depressed. He had depression certain nights and I, unfortunately, hit a night when he was very low.
Kevin Cole: To be around Ira Gershwin and Harold Arlen with that marvelous score.
Hugh Martin: I was lucky with Harold, he came to my apartment and sang the whole score....And when I returned from Hollywood, I called Harold and I told him that I had fought with Judy. And he said, 'Why?' And I said because she belted 'The Man that Got Away' and I didn't think it should be belted. And he said, 'You're absolutely right. It should not be, it should be contemplative...and should be very introverted, and low key, after hours kind of thing' So I felt vindicated that Harold thought I was right [or so he told you...snarky snark snark]   

All the principles in the film were deceased by the time the dvd commentary was recorded and it seems Mr Martin was chosen in a 6 degrees separation from Kevin Bacon logic. The Gershwins wrote the music for "Shall We Dance". Ira wrote lyrics for "A Star Is Born", and Mr Martin worked on a "A Star Is Born" with Ira.

Counter Counter Point: Production Assistant Gene Allen POV:

Conversely,  Richard Glazier  in "From Broadway to Hollywood" said "The Man that Got Away" was filmed three different ways. Glazier doesn't specify, but presumably it was filmed Judy's, Hugh's and the director Cukor's way:


Glazier "begs the question", as lawyers would say, stuffing quite a bit of expository into his interrogatory, but the production assistant, Gene Allen still manages to wander off script and not offer very many specific insights into Miss Garland's performance except that she made the camera grips' jobs challenging:

Richard Glazier: Talk a little bit about "The Man that Got Away" which is of course one of Judy's iconic numbers in her entire career and I understand that the scene was shot three different times with Judy wearing three different outfits and the camera work was done three completely different ways and the set design was even different...ah could you comment on that a little bit?
Gene Allen: Yeah, it was such a key moment that beautiful song ... pull those notes out, you've got a hit. And that's what it was. And it was so much fun to work on it. What Cukor wanted he always liked to do is something new when you've got somebody singing with an orchestra with instruments around. So in that he tried to have the movement always where it would do this [moves hands across screen] I would work with that where the camera is at any given moment and what trombone comes in and what goes around. So we worked that all out. And I always give credit to the grips with the camera dolly. They do two things: they move back and forth and the camera goes up and down. Well, to shoot a number like that with Judy and you never knew what she was going to do [raises arms above head] and suddenly you're in too close or back too far. So we had marks on the stage floor where we had rehearsal, all morning, no shots the first day. And then Judy does it don't...artists like that don't have a routine...some people know when you just do this I know where I am...with Judy [waves arms around] it was from the heart and soul of whatever she was doing but Cukor only wanted certain things in the film so when you look at the total thing it's sort of a ballet of Judy and the instruments.
How the song finally ended up in the film after all this Sturm und Drang Mishegas:

Friday, September 11, 2015

WTC in old films

It's nice to know that I'm not alone in still being infuriated watching 9/11/01 attack footage:

"It still makes my blood boil to see footage of that stuff."
and that others still find it jarring to see the WTC in old films

Case in point from Classic Arts Showcase clips from Joshua Bell playing "Maria" from "West Side Story"



Less than a month after 911, Joshua Bell reprised his performance in Central Park for PBS Great Performances Joshua Bell: West Side Story Suite from Central Park (10 Oct. 2001)

The WTC appears frequently in the background of the 1991 film "The Bone Collector", a title which also evokes the excruciating recovery process for victims' remains.


Whether shot during day or night, WTC still induces painful nostalgia:


Even reruns from "Welcome Back Kotter" sitcom  become discomforting with just a brief reference in their title montage



I suppose I feel the same sentiment of loss and regret  expressed by the characters in the WWII film "The Were Expendable" over the sinking of the USS Arizona:

"This really is the most human of all the late-era WWII films, minus much of the blatantly propagandistic speeches that mar so many movies from that era. Rather, the dialogue is beautifully understated. Robert Montgomery's 'looking for the Arizona too' comment to Wayne sums up the feelings of its time much more than a five minute speech on how important it is to win the war could ever do."
I don't share imdb hipster poster's waha99 snarky attitude about "propagandistic" patriotic speeches, or Glenn Beck's call for humility:

and certainly don't agree with imdb's schmoes characterization of MacArthur expression of fortitude as "crazy":

Sometimes clarity and resolve are important.

Monday, September 7, 2015

#TheLawrenceWelkShow Homage to Big Band Leader Ted Lewis

Lawrence Welk Show paid homage to big bands where ppl who are now probably dead honored another dead guy, a tempus fugit thought on mortality which creeps some folks on twitter out:

This slightly morbid sentiment is also expressed by Alena Graedon in her novel "The Word Exchange":

But back to The Lawrence Welk Show, the singer, Jack Imel, mentions the name of the guy they are honoring, Ted Lewis, at the end of the his performance.


Apparently, Lewis shtick was wearing a top hat and tag line was, "Is everybody happy?"

illustrated by a video uploaded by Desdemona202

Ted Lewis sans hat but with tag line "Is everybody happy?" @2:30 in his recording of "When My Baby Smiles at Me" uploaded by boyjohn

But as the Ted Lewis recording of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" uploaded by On & Off the Airwaves with Those I Love... illustrates, Lewis didn't mono-maniacally employ his tag line:

A dvd extra on "The Gay Divorcee" included the cartoon "Shake Your Powder Puff" created by ppl also now dead spoofing the same dead guy that the Lawrence Welk band honored:




Personally, I think this cartoon would've been more appropriate as an extra on another Astaire Rogers film "Follow the Fleet" since the Astaire Rogers Hermes Pan choreography for the Irving Berlin song, "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket": 

seems to emulate the scrunched up shoulder routine of the cartoon dancing goats:

and plus, the cartoon musical revue includes a singing sailor chorus:

like the Berlin "We Saw the Sea" song:

The complete "Eggs In One Basket" Astaire and Rogers routine uploaded by Gregory May:

and in case the above link breaks:



If you wondered why you can only see the back of Ginger's head for the first part of the song, it was because poor Rogers didn't get along with the director of the film, Mark Sandrich, at all. In her autobiography "Ginger: My Story", Rogers complains that from the get go, Sandrich gave her the unsolicited and demotivational feedback that she couldn't sing, act, or dance and he basically considered her a waste of space who should've carried a plant around to reconvert carbon dioxide back into oxygen. 

Things seemingly came to head on the set of the 1935 film "Top Hat" when Sandrich partnered with Astaire to criticize the feather dress Ginger designed for the "Cheek to Cheek" dance number.

I doubt "The Green Mile" John character would have describe Rogers' character as an angel if she had not insisted on keeping the dress she designed in the film.

Astaire managed to forgive, if not forget, but Sandrich seemed to hold an indeligible grudge. Apparently, Ginger snitched to the producers, which prompted them to write a letter of reprimand to Sandrich, described in a clip from "Astaire and Rogers: Partners in Rhythm" documentary:


Sandrich's passive aggressive response was to then try and block Ginger out of as many shots as possible in all future films they made together.

And the proverbial Final Curtain Call to this blog post:

Friday, September 4, 2015

#ClassicArtsShowcase Dvorak Copland Smorgasburg

A clip from The Joy of Music in which Diane Bish gives a brief bio of Czech composer, Antonín Leopold Dvořák. Bish points out Dvorak's Dad was a butcher and a professional zither player vs just an amateur farm league zither player:


"His father was a butcher, innkeeper, and a professional player of the zither. Dvorak studied music in Prague's only organ school."
Question: Do cities typically have more than one organ school?

Bish continues:

"Throughout his life, Dvorak was taken with Czech's folk music and many of his compositions were built on these beautiful themes."

Another composer who also enjoyed building his compositions on traditional folk music themes, Aaron Copland, had his music for the ballet "Rodeo" included in the Classic Arts Showcase rotation:



A link to the American Ballet Theatre 1973 "Rodeo" performance sans "Hoedown" uploaded by David Coll:

put Dvorak  family butcher history + Copeland dancing cowboys = beef what's for dinner old TV ad:

And, in case you wondered what a zither sounded like and were in the mood for some surf and turf, Traditional Chinese Music: "Fisherman's Song at Dusk," uploaded by NTDonMusic