BOB'S BITS

Post Reply
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 30 Apr 2013, 07:07

My mate Bob is churning his snippets out. I thought you might enjoy some of them.

It’s music day on the 29th of April, being the anniversaries of Malcolm Sargent and Edward Kennedy Ellington, born an ocean and four years (1895 and 1899, respectively) apart, but both to respectable working class families of a musical bent. Classical music was heard at the Ellingtons, in Washington, D. C., where Edward’s father was a draftsman for the Navy (before Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the civil service). At the Sargents in Ashford, Kent, you were more likely to listen to sacred music, for Malcolm’s dad, a coal merchant, was part-time church organist. In both places and with both boys it was the music that stuck. In careers that would make Ellington a Duke and Sargent a knight, they led some of the world’s greatest orchestras. And although arguably Ellington had the greater challenge of Jim Crow segregation, his chosen métier, jazz, welcomed him like a brother and well before he reached 30 he had his own orchestra and a four-year contract at New York’s Cotton Club. Sargent’s rise was as fast, despite his working class origins winning his music doctorate in 1924 (from Durham) and by then already famous for conducting competence in several genres, mainly classical. Fame followed fame, for Sir Malcolm became known as THE conductor of the BBC Promenade Concerts (“the Proms’), from 1947 to 1967, turning them into a world class event, and more than 30 of the Duke’s compositions have graced Britain’s mecca of classical music, many in a special centenary concert, summer 1999.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 01 May 2013, 04:05

April 30, 2013 is the anniversary of the birth (1877) of Alice Babette Toklas, in San Francisco, to a middle class, Jewish family. After an indifferent education, she settled in as hausfrau for her brothers and father, and but for a long holiday she took in 1907 that might have been that. However, on her first day in Paris (September 8) she met Gertrude Stein, and that was that. The two hit it off immediately and Alice became Stein’s hausfrau instead, confidante, lover, cook, secretary and editor, muse, critic and general factotum. There’s no doubt about it, it was love at first sight for Alice. She was mesmerized by Gertrude’s voice in particular, a deep contralto, so rich it seemed to Alice to be coming directly from Gertrude’s brooch. The two established Paris’s leading artistic salon, entertaining and from time to time housing authors young and old, philosophers, and painters. Toklas was always the figure in the background, but something of Gertrude’s affection can be gleaned from the title of her memoirs, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. When Stein died, she willed her entire property including a very valuable art collection to Alice. Stein’s relatives challenged this in the courts and then literally stole the art while Alice was away on holiday, putting it in a bank vault. Alice never recovered the art and lived out her life in, at best, genteel poverty. She died in her 90th year, 1967.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 02 May 2013, 02:56

An honors college should honor writers, and thus we note the 341st anniversary of the birth (May 1, 1672) of Joseph Addison. A clergyman’s son, Addison was to redefine English political prose. He got there by accidents, the most important of which was his education at Charterhouse, because there he met Richard Steele, with whom his name was to be forever paired. Addison went on to Oxford, became a fellow there on the strength of his Latin, and then entered on the world of politics as a ‘pensioner’ of two prominent Whigs. Changes in government turned him out, but after a sojourn with Swift in Dublin he returned to London found the Kit-Cat Club. It met at the Trumpet tavern, whose owner’s famous mutton pies were called Kit-Cats. The club had some serious objectives, amongst which was to spawn serious writing on politics. From it, Addison and Steele founded The Spectator, whose high aims were “to enliven morality with wit . . . to temper wit with morality, [and] to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries” into the public arena. Although it lasted but three years (1711-1714), this daily publication spawned a great tradition, and Addison and Steele are credited with, among other things, setting in motion the radical whig thinking that would inspire the American revolutionaries of 1776. A sobering thought, that our republic might owe its life to a couple of hacks.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 03 May 2013, 05:26

May 2, 2013 is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin McLane Spock, in New Haven, CT. Born into a railroad lawyer’s family, scaling the pillars of the educational establishment (Phillips Academy, Yale University), winner of a gold medal (rowing) in the Paris Olympics of 1924, Spock turned to medicine after majoring in English. Why? He said it was his volunteer work, summers, at a home for crippled children. After graduation from Columbia Medical (at the top of his class) he chose pediatrics. He revolutionized the practice, “whooping it up” with his patients and adopting plain language in dealing with parents. When his own first child was born (1943) a survey of the literature moved him to begin writing Baby and Child Care. One leading parenting manual at the time (by a Dr. Watson) gave such advice as “Never, never kiss your child . . . never hold it in your lap. Never rock its carriage.” Spock thought such views damaging (at best). Babies were “small ones” who needed help to get towards the big world of adults. Even more, he told the adults (parents) that their best guides were probably their instincts, that nurturing was one of those natural impulses that should be indulged early and often. Much later, by the usual congressional savants, he would be blamed for the 1960s excesses of the baby boomers, but I am glad that my parents did their best to follow the down home advice of Dr. Spock, and only sad that they did not always succeed.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tripps
Senior Member
Posts: 2712
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 14:56

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Tripps » 03 May 2013, 21:10

I like these snippets. Hope there are a lot more.
Born to be mild. . .

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 04 May 2013, 04:59

May 3, 2013 is the 164th anniversary of Jacob August Riis, born in Ribe, Denmark in 1849. His was a very large family, if not a terribly prosperous one, and from it he learned the importance of poverty—and of doing something about it . One of his earliest essays was to give all his money to an indigent local family if they would fix up their hovel. When he told his mother about it, she went round to the slum and helped them. So when he emigrated to the USA, in 1870, on board the steamer Iowa, we might have expected him to take a dim view of our burgeoning poverty problem, as indeed he did. As a new immigrant, he experienced grinding poverty himself, and was occasionally succored by charitable individuals or, on one occasion, the Danish consul in Philadelphia. Eventually he became a journalist and photographer, and in those roles he would provide us with unforgettable documentary evidence of the devastation wrought on people’s lives by (especially) urban poverty. His work brought him to the attention of major reformers like Josiah Strong, and eventually to Scribners the publisher, where his How the Other Half Lives would help arouse the consciences of the nation’s better folk, including Theodore Roosevelt who made Riis part of his police administration in New York City. Somewhat intolerant himself, Riis’s moral concerns and his better than thou attitudes made him perfect for the progressive reformers of his age.

[Jacob Riis' pictures of poverty in NY are wonderful. Have a look at this LINK]
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 05 May 2013, 04:55

Here’s another Medici family story, for today’s anniversary is that of the inventor of the pianoforte, Bartolomeo Cristofori, born on May 4, 1655, 458 years ago today, in (probably) Padua. Almost nothing is known of his early life, although it seems he was better known as an inventor and a tinkerer than as a maker or restorer of musical instruments. It’s even possible he was a clockmaker. In any case, by the time he was 33 he was talented enough to come to the attention of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando de Medici, who brought him back to Florence and installed him in the Uffizi in his work shop (“Galleria dei Lavori”) where for some time Bartolomeo worked alongside about 100 other craftsmen. The pay was OK, and a house came along with it, but Bartolomeo did not like the noise generated by the other workmen. His main productions in the Galleria seem to have been oddly-designed harpsichords and spinets, including one in an oval shape and another that was upright. Exactly when he invented the pianoforte is not known, but we know that in 1700 he called it an “Arpicembalo” (harp-harpsichord), probably because it had two sets of strings, and therefore could be played “piano” or “forte.” The invention paid off modestly for Cristofori, who had his portrait done and moved into his own workshop. Three of his pianos survive to this day, one in the Met in New York City.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 06 May 2013, 04:23

May 4, 2013 is the 149th birthday (1864) of Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, whose life saw the loss of two fortunes (her father’s and then her husband’s) and two stellar journalistic careers during which she proved an innovator, a fine writer, and a woman of courage. You may know her better as Nellie Bly, a name she took from the Stephen Foster song. Her father was a genuinely self-made man, but he couldn’t hold on to money and Nellie took her first journalistic job (at the Pittsburgh Dispatch) to make ends meet. Her tastes ran to investigations, for instance the dire plight of working women in industrial Pittsburgh, but her editors’ tastes ran to fashion and recipes, at least for women writers, so our Nellie (aged only 21) decamped for Mexico to cover a rebellion against the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom she didn’t much like either. She was most famous for two exploits, passing as insane (no easy task but she managed) to write an exposé on New York City’s infamous Blackwell’s Island asylum, and then in 1888 trying to beat the fictional Phineas Fogg’s 80-day outing Around the World. She made it with seven days to spare, not bad going for a girl in a tweed suit. Seven years later she married a millionaire manufacturer, ran his business competently until an employee embezzled it into bankruptcy, and then took up journalism, again, to make ends meet, again. Nellie died, widely lamented, in 1922.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tripps
Senior Member
Posts: 2712
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 14:56

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Tripps » 06 May 2013, 10:26

That's interesting - I thought I knew all about Nelly Bly in the song Frankie and Johnnie, but it turns out to be the wrong song. here's the one I know of - Lonnie Donegan's is outstandingly the best version. :smile:

Frankie went down the corner,
Just for a bucket of beer.
She said, “Mr. Bartender,
Has my lovey Johnny been here?
He is my man,
But he’s doing me wrong.”

“I don’t want to cause you no trouble.
I don’t aim to tell you no lie.
I saw your lover ‘bout an hour ago
With a girl named Nelly Bly.
He is your man,
But he’s doing you wrong.”

Frankie looked over the transom.
She saw to her surprise,
There on a cot set Johnny,
Making love to Nelly Bly.
He was her man,
But he’s doing her wrong.

Frankie drew back her kimono,
Pulled out a little ’44.
A rooty toot toot, three times she shot
Right through that door.
Yes, she shot her man;
He was doing her wrong.
Born to be mild. . .

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 07 May 2013, 03:54

On May 6 2013 we’ll go with Orson Welles, whose huge accomplishments were probably outweighed by his immense potential. Welles was born on this day in 1915 in Kenosha, WI, to parents who promptly divorced, then sank into drink (father) or died (mother). For practical purposes orphaned at 10, Welles lived with a foster family and, aged 10, ran away with the daughter of the house, also 10, to be found singing for $$$ in Milwaukee. He had a yen to act, and was earning enough to survive by age 18 (1933). He got involved with the Federal Writers’ Project, directed the “Voodoo Macbeth” (and acted in it, as Banquo), then helped to found the Mercury Theatre which put on experimental Shakespeare (e.g. Julius Caesar set in fascist Italy) and moved, fatefully the right word, to original radio drama, of which the most famous was undoubtedly War of the Worlds, staged so realistically (in 1938) that many believed an alien invasion had actually occurred. Welles then moved to Hollywood where somehow he wangled a free hand contract with RKO and produced his finest piece, the movie Citizen Kane (1941), not so loosely based on the megalomania of William Randolph Hearst. It is widely regarded as the best American film ever, and you should drop all previous engagements to see it and judge for yourself. Welles would produce much else of brilliance, and act, in a wild, up and down career that lasted until 1985.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 08 May 2013, 06:31

May 7 is Music Day, the birth day of Johannes Brahms (1833) and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840), and the anniversary of the premiere performance of Beethoven’s opus 125, the magnificent ninth (1823). But we’ll go with Brahms, a transitional figure in music history. He had a rough start. Brahms’ father was a none too successful musician, and young Johannes first helped make the family’s ends meet by playing for cash in Hamburg’s seedier waterfront cafés. He was ‘discovered’ by violinist Joseph Joachim and Robert Schumann, cheekily repaying his debt to the latter by falling in (unrequited) love with Clara. Before his mid-20s, he’d won patronage at Detmold, Gottingen, and his native Hamburg, and at 30 Brahms was established in the capital of the music world, Vienna, where he would direct two choruses and the Philharmonic. The first performance of the German Requiem (1868, begun as a memorial to Schumann) established his reputation forever, and he turned his attention to an astonishingly varied output, concerti, chamber music, quartets, lieder, and symphonies, innovating within traditional forms and structures. Seen as unduly conservative by those who preferred Liszt or Wagner, and occasionally irascible, Brahms was respectful of his rivals and capable of real generosity to upstarts like Dvorak and Nielsen. He composed right to the end, which came in 1897, one year after Clara’s death.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 09 May 2013, 05:44

May 8, 2013 is the 87th birthday of David Attenborough, whom you may know as the voice over, and rangy presence, in BBC-originated nature programs, including 253 episodes of Wildlife on One, 1977-2005. Attenborough’s dad was principal of University College, Leicester, and he and both his siblings have had distinguished careers (acting and auto manufacturing in the case of his brothers Richard and John). David took a natural sciences degree from Cambridge into the Royal Navy, whereupon he started editing children’s books. By a rather circuitous route, he joined BBC production, and although he early showed an overwhelming personal interest in natural science programming, he was first best known for producing blockbuster “high culture” series such as Kenneth Clark’s Civilization, Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man, and Alastair Cooke’s America. By 1973, having turned down the chance to be Director General of the BBC, David was fully committed to natural science programming and becoming an expert naturalist in his own right. After Life on Earth (1979), his other classics included The Living Planet, The Private Life of Plants, The Life of Birds, and The Life of Mammals. In 2005, aged 79, he declared that “the endeavour is complete.” But still he goes on, with a continuing series on the environment, and this year he will screen a new series, a review of vertebrate evolution. Happy Birthday, indeed.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 10 May 2013, 07:50

May 9, 2013 is the birthdate (the 163rd) of James Matthew Barrie, who as a writer parlayed an odd, perhaps unhappy childhood into a wondrous world in which children live exciting and sometimes dangerous lives, but always escape for new adventures because they never die and never grow up. Born into a respectable family of Scottish weavers, in 1860, Barrie was ‘mistaken’ by his mother, Margaret, for an older brother who had died. Both entered willingly into this psychological game, and it may have been a source for Barrie’s most famous story, Peter Pan: or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Barrie himself never grew up either, and may have suffered from dwarfism. So this very small person went off to Edinburgh University to study for the Presbyterian ministry but got sidetracked into writing, first for a Nottingham newspaper but increasingly in short fiction, novels, and plays. By 1900 he was well established in London, a professional writer whose circle of friends included G. K. Chesterton, P. G. Wodehouse, and even George Bernard Shaw, who thought Peter Pan (1904) “ostensibly a holiday entertainment for children but really a play for grown-up people.” As if to prove the point, one of Barrie’s close friends would refuse a life boat and go down with the Lusitania (1915) paraphrasing Peter Pan: “why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure that life gives us.” Barrie himself lived long enough to tell stories to the young Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret, and died in 1937.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 11 May 2013, 04:55

The American melting pot gave us Fred Astaire, whose German parents (one Lutheran, the other a Catholic convert from Judaism) might not even have met in the old country. But Omaha, Nebraska worked its magic and there they brought forth two children, first Adele (1895) and then Fred (on this day, May 10, in 1899). Eager to profit from their children’s talents, their parents brought them to New York, put them in a performing arts academy, and changed their surname from Austerlitz to Astaire. There Fred met George Gershwin, not yet a name to conjure with but a talent, and by 1920 Gershwin’s music and the dancing talents of the Astaires made them famous. After 1932, when Adele married an English peer, Fred went his own way (to Hollywood) where after a film audition David Selznick wrote “I feel, in spite of his enormous ears and bad chin line, that his charm is so tremendous that it comes through even on this wretched test.” Indeed. Among Fred’s first credits would be Top Hat (1935), Follow the Fleet (1936), and Shall We Dance (1937). All were with Ginger Rogers, his greatest partner, and no less a critic than Katharine Hepburn summed up their appeal. “He gives her class and she gives him sex appeal.” And so Fred went on, until his last film (1981) and his death (1987), according to George Balanchine “the most interesting, the most inventive, the most elegant dancer of our times.”
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 13 May 2013, 05:14

Today’s anniversary person reminds us that the movies depend not only on stars and their glamor but also upon character actors and their particular skills. She’s Margaret Taylor Rutherford, born on May 11, 1892, 121 years ago today. Margaret would have had a comfortable upbringing (the family was well established English gentlefolk) but for her parents’ mental instability. Her father murdered her uncle, was found innocent by reason of insanity, treated at Broadmoor, and released, whereupon he rejoined his wife and fathered Margaret. Then, when Margaret was just four, her mother committed suicide. Despite all this, or possibly because of it, she was a happy sort of person and, once she hit her stride in acting (not until she was in her thirties) found her metier in comedy, both on stage and on screen. Her big breakthrough came on stage, playing Madame Arcati in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirits. She then did a classic Miss Prism in 1946 and then went one better as Lady Bracknell in 1947. For most viewers of my generation she’s remembered best as the quintessential film version of Miss Jane Marple, Agatha Christie’s busybody, superannuated sleuth, which she liked, she said, because she finally had a role in which she could wear her own clothes. Margaret Rutherford was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1967 and died in 1972.


Every year, May 12 is International Owl and Pussycat Day, because it is the anniversary of Edward Lear, born 201 years ago on this day in 1812. Lear was born into an exceptionally large middle-class family (he was the 21st child) in what was then the village of Holloway, now a neighborhood of London. He was brought up by an older sister, Anne, who encouraged his artistic talents and cared for his many afflictions. She died when Lear was 50, already an established artist (specializing in illustrations of birds and animals), and beginning to be known as an eccentric poet. Indeed, he had published his first Book of Nonsensein 1846. In 1867, bereft of Anne’s care and now settled on the Italian Riviera with his incompetent Albanian chef, he published his most famous work, The Owl and the Pussycat(dedicated to the children of the Earl of Derby). The pussycat in question, named Foss, was another beloved companion for a sickly man whose love life was a series of unrequited passions. But he made up for it with verbal delights, among other things popularizing the limerick. Lear’s nonsense verse is classic, with coined words and rhymes. To Americans it’s best to say he combined the talents of Ogden Nash, e. e. cummings, and Dr. Seuss. Edward Lear died alone, at his Italian “Villa Tennyson,” in 1888, and is buried there beside the pussycat, Foss. The owl, it is thought, went to sea.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 14 May 2013, 07:53

May 13 had better be light entertainment day, the birthdays of Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842) and Stephen Tyrone Colbert (1964). On a whim, we’ll go with the young man born on May 13 1964 in DC and raised in Charleston, SC, the youngest child of eleven. His doctor father and two of his brothers were killed in a plane crash when he was ten, and by his own estimation he became a bit of a nerd, withdrawn, and addicted to Dungeons and Dragons and the fantasy fiction of J R. R. Tolkien. Going away to Northwestern enabled him to reinvent himself, and in Evanston he continued to cultivate a broadcaster’s accent while changing the pronunciation of his name from Colbert to Coalbare. He studied drama at Northwestern but got sidetracked into improvisation, and then sold tickets for Second City. The box office job came with free improv lessons, and soon he joined Amy Sedaris (whom he didn’t like) and Paul Dinello (whom he liked even less) as a Second City team. Sedaris and Dinello liked Colbert still less (“uptight, pretentious, and cold”) but in time they discovered virtues in each other and became a success. After Chicago, Colbert knocked around New York for a bit of this and that before being taken on by the Daily Show in 1997. And the rest, as they say, is news. Colbert’s ego-driven satire is an acquired taste but millions seem to have acquired it, perhaps excepting Bill O’Reilly.

[Colbert isn't well known over here but if you Google him he is a very outspoken TV host who makes a speciality of ridiculing the neo-cons in America]
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 15 May 2013, 05:43

May 14, 2013 is the 116th anniversary of the birth (in 1897) of Edward Flanders Robb Ricketts, one of American science’s more eccentric practitioners, but whose fate and fame it was to become the model of one of John Steinbeck’s more memorable characters, “Doc”, in the novels Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. As a child Ricketts was blessed, or cursed, with an enyclopaedic memory, and irritated his parents and teachers with his tendency to correct them on factual matters. He dropped in and out of college, studying zoology mainly, and finally left without a degree but with an intense curiosity about species and speciation. In 1922 he set up the Pacific Biological Laboratories at 740 Ocean View Avenue, Monterey, California, which is where Ed Ricketts met Steinbeck. Its address is now officially 800 Cannery Row and you can find it on Google Earth. In Cannery Row, the Ricketts character is drawn as an eccentric, intellectual, kindly sort, a friend-confessor of the Row’s low-lifes, including a guy called Hazel, who inhabit The Palace Flophouse and Grill and the working girls who staff Dora Flood’s Bear Flag Restaurant. They all love the Doc, the smartest man in Cannery Row who “would listen to any kind of nonsense and change it to a kind of wisdom. . . everyone who knew him was indebted to him. And everyone who thought of him thought next, ‘I really must do something nice for Doc.’”
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 16 May 2013, 05:02

On May 15, 2013 we remember one of England’s first women of letters, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who also merits a footnote in the history of medicine, born on this day in 1689 into an aristocratic family. Lady Mary was a voracious reader (her father’s library was one of England’s largest) and enthusiastic writer, modeling her first work after Aphra Benn’s Voyage to the Isle of Love (1685). Meanwhile, she rebelled against her governness and then eloped with the wrong aristocrat (her father had wanted her to marry an Irish peer), Edward Wortley Montagu. She next (1716) rebelled against convention to accompany her husband on his embassy to the Ottoman Empire, whence she wrote the letters for which she is most famous. Lady Mary was charmed by Constantinople and its culture, and at the time (as a woman) was one of the few westerners who had ever witnessed the private lives of elite Ottoman females (whom she believed to be freer, and certainly less corseted, than their western sisters). A former smallpox sufferer herself, she reported also on the Turkish practice of innoculation (and her reports were taken up and used in Boston by Dr. Boylston and the Rev’d Cotton Mather). Lady Mary was also famous for her troubles with Alexander Pope, whom she had alienated (in 1718) by writing a sharp parody of one of his more sentimental poems. Thus was initiated one of the Augustan Age’s more notable literary wars. She later offended Horace Walpole (who retaliated in similar fashion), and lived an odd and eccentric life until 1762.
[See this LINK for a biography]
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 17 May 2013, 05:38

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was the eldest of the three gifted Peabody sisters of Salem, and (partly because she never married) the most famous in her own right. Sister Sophia, a painter, is remembered as the wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Sister Mary, a writer, married educational reformer Horace Mann. Elizabeth Peabody was born in Billericay on May 16, 1804, grew up in Salem, and spent most of her working life in Boston and Concord where she associated closely with the Transcendentalists’ American version of Romanticism. Interested in education, she taught in Bronson Alcott’s Temple School and wrote a book about it. She then opened Boston’s West Street Bookstore, which became a meeting place for Transcendentalist women and a focus for discussions about women’s rights. Discussions were generally led by Margaret Fuller, but also taking part were Elizabeth’s sisters (when they were in town), Sophia Ripley, and Maria Lowell. Elizabeth’s association with Fuller continued through their work forThe Dial, the leading Transcendentalist journal, for which (among other things) Elizabeth translated the “Lotus Sutra”. Elizabeth Peabody is best known, however, for bringing the German “kindergarten” to America. Her school, for children from 4 to 6, opened in Boston in 1860. Elizabeth continued to campaign for public education (and a host of other reforms) until her death in January 1894. Her grave may be found in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Mass.
[LINK]
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 18 May 2013, 05:12

Maureen Paula O’Sullivan was born 102 years ago, into a well to do Irish family in Roscommon, on 17th May 1911. She attended English private school with Vivien Leigh, and after “finishing” in Paris she worked in poor relief in Dublin. There she took a screen test, and by 1932 was well established in Hollywood where (among other things) she became a fixture in the expat community and a friend of P. G. Wodehouse. In 1932, she landed the part of Jane to Johnny Weismuller’s Tarzan. By 1942 she’d done six Janes and is today best known for that role (she was a very comely Jane), but she starred in over 60 films. In 1942 she retired from films to raise a family (including daughter Mia) with writer John Farrow. When John died in 1962, Maureen moved the whole shebang to New York and began a new career which now included stage roles of various sorts and a second marriage in 1982. Woody Allen may well have noticed Maureen before he noticed Mia, and it’s generally agreed that Maureen’s role as the mother in “Hannah and Her Sisters” was her finest casting. A modest woman, she attributed her professional success to her ability to act naturally and her success as a parent (her six children were all close to her) to her ability to let her kids go when they wanted to go. Maureen O’Sullivan died in 1987 and is buried in her second husband’s home town, Niskayuna, New York.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 19 May 2013, 05:39

May 18, 2013 is the 141st anniversary of the birth of Bertrand Arthur William Russell, the 3rd Earl Russell, who would move from his aristocratic birth to become a Nobellist (in literature), a great philosopher (among other things the friend and patron of Ludwig Wittgenstein), and a leading left wing proponent of nuclear disarmament. And, oh yes, a rather profound mathematician and sometime political prisoner. His had been an influential political family for 400 years when he was born on 18 May 1872, in Wales, and he probably grew up expecting to be listened to. He had a passel of aunts and grandmothers who were variously free thinkers and (for their day) feminists, and he grew up rather in awe of them and also a devotee of the poet Shelley. He went through Cambridge like a dose of salts and graduated already a brilliant mathematics fellow but got sidetracked into studying, and writing about, European social democracy before he got round to The Principles of Mathematics (1904) which was followed by Principia Mathematica (1908 et seq), probably his most famous work (written with Alfred North Whitehead). Russell wrote widely about politics, philosophy, mathematics, and science (about one book per year from 1950 to 1970). His History of Western Philosophy (1945) remains a classic, and is worth every penny and minute you might spend on it. Bertrand Russell died, full of longing, in 1970, aged 97.

[I read his autobiography and was quite shocked by the way he treated the women in his life. I got the idea he was above such mundane considerations.]
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 20 May 2013, 04:15

On 19th May 2013 Lorraine Hansberry would have been 83 years old and, more’s the pity, she never came close to that. But while she lived she fully explored her potential. Her professional parents battled for civil rights in Chicago and Lorraine grew up sharply conscious of America’s racial divides. Born the youngest of four children, she broke with a family tradition of attending southern black colleges and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin where she changed from art to English (writing) as a major. Thirsty for expression, she dropped out of Madison and moved to New York where she continued her studies at the New School and wrote for Paul Robeson’s Freedom. She married in 1953 but separated as she discovered her Lesbian nature. By 1956 she resigned all other work to write creatively, and her first major production was A Raisin in the Sun (1959). The title is a quote from a Langston Hughes poem and the plot is not too far from Lorraine’s life, about a black family in Chicago struggling for breath and life. It was a success on stage, winning best play for 1959 from the New York Drama Critics Circle, and then on screen, starring a young Sidney Poitier. A Chicago success (a musical) followed, but Lorraine Hansberry was already suffering from cancer and died in January 1965.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 21 May 2013, 04:34

James Maitland Stewart was born 105 years ago today, May 20, 1908, in the town of Indiana, Pennsylvania. The eldest child of a prosperous family—they owned the town’s hardware store—he attended prep school and Princeton, where he took an architecture degree in 1932. But a summer with the University Players on Cape Cod (with, among others, Henry Fonda who became his best friend and liberal alter ego) won him a Broadway role in 1934 and a rave review from Brooks Atkinson (“a minor masterpiece”). He went on to a contract with MGM and, by the end of the 1930s, stardom opposite Marlene Dietrich in “Destry Rides Again.” In the same year his “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” made him a hero as well as a star, and indeed we mostly remember Jimmy Stewart for his idealistic roles, none of them more appealing than the banker George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), where his despair (“I should never have been born”) is disproven by a mischievous angel (Odbody) who runs the tape of the town’s history without George to prove that, with George, Bedford Falls could indeed be a place for heroes. George returns to the living and makes it so. The role resonated because Stewart was a real hero, having led daylight bombing missions in WWII when he won two DFCs and the Croix deGuerre. He starred in many more (and much more varied) roles before his death at 89. I most liked his Elwood P. Dowd, played very gently opposite a very large, very white rabbit, in 1950.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 22 May 2013, 04:56

May 21, 2013 is the 214th anniversary of the birth (1799) of Mary Anning, at Lyme Regis on England’s south coast. Only two of the family’s ten children survived to adulthood, and Mary had a near miss having been struck by lightning when she was just a baby. Nevertheless, she was soon robust enough to fossil hunt with her father, helping him prize the curious things from the Jurassic rocks of the Blue Lias cliffs. These were sold as curios (sea bathing had become popular among the gentle classes) to supplement dad’s cabinet-maker income, but Mary Anning became curious about the curios, and very soon she was a collector in her own right. At only 12, she discovered the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton, selling it for £23 (a considerable sum) to a Norfolk collector. She followed that up with the first complete plesiosaurus (1823), a pterosaur (1828) and other “first” finds, and began to write up her own reports, copying the style (words and sketches) used by leading scientific journals. Although she became quite well known, she never published her notes, and the Royal Geological Society did not admit women until 1904. Still, in 1835 she was awarded a pension by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and after her death in 1847 the Geological Society endowed a stained glass window, in memory of her service to science, “benevolence of heart and integrity of life,” which you can still see in St. Michael’s Church, Lyme Regis. As Charles Dickens put it, in 1867, Mary Anning “won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it.”
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44000
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 23 May 2013, 06:13

May 22nd 2013 is the bicentenary of Wilhelm Richard Wagner, born in 1813 in Leipzig, where his parents and large family lived in the Jewish quarter of the city. His father died shortly after his birth, and young Richard’s theatrical sense was sharpened by his stepfather, an actor and playwright. Indeed Richard aimed first at the theatre, and started music lessons (at age 14) primarily because he wanted to set his first drama to music. Soon, music ignited in him “an almost demonic fire,” a comment which helps us to place Wagner at the heart of two great 19th-century movements, Romanticism and Nationalism. This explosive mix placed Wagner first but not forever in company with German socialists and democrats, for whom the “spirit of the fatherland” seemed to recommend wholesale reform (at the very least) of the German states, churches, and ruling houses, and after the abortive revolutions of 1848 Richard and his occasionally faithful wife fled to Paris with the Mss of Lohengrin in his carry-all, While in exile he conceived and began to write the “Ring” cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen, for which he is justly famous, and which took him 26 years to complete. “The Ring” would eventually include Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung, and is performed annually at the Bayreuth Festival and occasionally at leading houses around the world. They say you don’t know opera until you’ve done the Ring. So do it.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Post Reply

Return to “General Miscellaneous Chat & Gossip”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Stanley