Monday, November 12, 2018

Smart Art (Anatomy Edition)

Let's get physical, physical
I wanna get physical

Let's get into physical

Let me hear your body talk, your body talk

 Let me hear your body talk

 Let's get physical, physical
I wanna get physical

Let's get into physical

Let me hear your body talk, your body talk


Let me hear your body talk


Let's get physical, physical
I wanna get physical

 Let's get into physical

Let me hear your body talk, your body talk

Let me hear your body talk


 Let's get animal, animal

 I wanna get animal

Let's get into animal

Let me hear your body talk, your body talk


 Let me hear your body talk

French sculptor Auguste Rodin was born on this day in 1840, about three years after Queen Victoria ascended to the throne (what a difference a channel makes.) Rodin died in 1917, but, as you can see, he left behind an impressive body of work



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Quips and Quotations (Election Day Edition)

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

--Declaration of Independence.

 We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

--Declaration of Sentiments, Seneca Falls Convention

Whoever degrades another degrades me,
and whatever is done or said returns at last to me…
I speak the pass-word primeval--I give the sign of democracy;
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms…

--Walt Whitman

I believe the only way to protect my own rights is to protect the rights of others.

--Dwight D. Eisenhower

 It takes no compromise to give people their takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.

--Harvey Milk

 O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME

--Langston Hughes

A republic, if you can keep it.

--Benjamin Franklin, when asked just what kind of government had come out of that Constitutional Convention. 

Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

--Thomas Paine

Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.

--Eleanor Roosevelt

...government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

--Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fashion Icon

Halloween, 1962: What exactly are we looking at here? A phantom? The Grim Reaper? The Cuban Missile Crises had ended just a few days earlier, so maybe it's some kind of radiation suit, one that comes in basic black. Actually, it's none of those things. According to multiple sources, it's someone dressed as a...

 ...garment bag. You know what a garment bag is. It has a zipper and a hanger, and when you go traveling, it's what you might put a suit or nice dress in so it's less likely to get dirty or wrinkled. I don't know if it works all that well when there's a human being inside, but it's this particular individual's Halloween costume. If nothing else, it's original.

Or maybe not so original, because in this color picture, someone else decided to dress up as a garment bag, though this one was red. The two children in-between the garment bags have relatively more conventional Halloween costumes. The little boy appears to be a skeleton, and the little girl a witch. Anything else to say about this picture? Well, it's a very elegant-looking bedroom.

 Here they are again in the, room? Dining room, maybe? With all that fancy furniture, it's certainly not a rec room.

 Here they are walking down what appears to be a rather large hallway, or a humongous foyer. Look at those big windows. I bet it takes a lot of Windex keeping them clean.

OK, I've kept you in suspense long enough. Let me tell you who these folks are. I'll start with the red garment bag:

It's Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of...

...the then-President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And the black garment bag? According to multiple sources (including the JFK Library) it's...

...none other than First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (I wonder if Oleg Cassini designed her costume.)

As for the two children, the little boy skeleton is Steve Smith Jr., Jean's son, and the little girl witch is Carolyn, the President's and First Lady's daughter. Carolyn's brother John-John may have been too young for Halloween at that point.

However, a year later (again, according to the JFK library), John-John did indeed get into the act (looks like some recycled costuming here.)

It's nice to know Jack and Jackie weren't above having a little fun during their short stay at the White House, but the joke may have been on them, because all these years later...

...they've become Halloween costumes themselves.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Vital Viewing (Street Urchin Edition)

Actor Jackie Coogan was born on this day in 1914 (he died in 1984.) He was only six years old when he shot to motion picture stardom as the abandoned child that Charlie Chaplin reluctantly takes under his wing in 1921's The Kid. In the following clip from the 1970s, Coogan, by then in late middle-age (or early senior citizenship), describes a tearjerker scene from that film. Literally. It's his tears that's being jerked:

Coogan's description of the crying scene reminds me of another child star named Jackie that came along a decade later. In his autobiography, Jackie Cooper claimed a director once got him to shed tears on camera by falsely telling him that someone had shot his dog! Fortunately for Coogan, Chaplin, who directed as well as wrote and starred in the film, was not nearly as devious.


But all this talk about shedding tears belies the fact that this movie is a comedy. And like most Charlie Chaplin comedies, it's often funny as hell (at least it's funny as hell if you don't mind people moving their lips without anything resembling speech coming out.) In the following tribute to the free enterprise system, the Little Tramp and the little boy put their entrepreneurial skills to work:


Like all kids, Coogan's character gets into scrapes (as does his adoptive father):


 After all that violence, you might like a clip that's a bit more homespun:

Pancho Charlie.

But back to Coogan. As I said before, The Kid made young Jackie a star, and he remained one throughout the 1920s. He also made a lot of money, an estimated $3 million, that, as a minor, he couldn't spend. So he waited until he turned 21 (when one legally arrived at adulthood in the 1930s), only to find out his mother and stepfather (who was also his manager) had spent most of it! Coogan successfully sued them for what remained, some $250,000, but after all the legal expenses, got only $126,000. The litigation did make the news, resulting in the enactment of the California Child Actor's Bill, informally called the "Coogan Law", that specified 15% of a child actor's earnings be placed in a trust. Coogan could have used all the specified earnings he could get. As with a lot of child stars, the job offers began to dry up as he aged. It didn't help matters any that, however cute a kid he may have been, he didn't grow up to have leading man looks. So he became a character actor, and, in 1964, landed this arguably immortal television role:

 A clip from The Addams Family:

It's not exactly what you would call Chaplinesque, but Coogan was pretty funny as Uncle Fester. And besides, it's almost Halloween. They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Graphic Grandeur (Tortured Adolescence Edition)

Cartoonist Bob Montana, best known for the comic book and comic strip character Archie Andrews, was born on this day in 1920 (he died in 1975.) A few weeks ago Montana was honored by the town of Meredith, New Hampshire, where he spent much of his adult life:

Now let's take a closer look at this goofy teenage boy, who, for reasons I've never quite understood, is the object of a fierce rivalry between two of Riverdale High's hottest female students:

The above examples are from the 1940s and '50s. The phrase "raging hormones" had yet to be coined, but clearly needed to be.

Though Montana continued to draw the newspaper comic right up to his death, around 1960 or so (dates vary), a very fine cartoonist by the name of Dan De Carlo became the head artist of the Archie comic book line, and remained so for the next four decades (he died in 2001.) His style was a bit different from Montana's, more streamlined, less rambunctious (and the red-headed leading man finally got that overbite taken care of.)  However, the gang of Riverdale teens...

...weren't any less amorous. In fact, they may even have been more so.

Now that I think of it, didn't they start teaching sex education in schools around 1960 or so?