Late Night with Seth Meyers: “Trump Asked Comey to End Flynn Probe, Gave Russians Intel: A Closer Look” (YouTube)

Late Night with Seth Meyers: “Trump Asked Comey to End Flynn Probe, Gave Russians Intel: A Closer Look” (YouTube)

Seth takes a closer look at the White House playing damage control after bombshell reports about President Trump sharing classified info with Russia and asking the FBI to drop investigations into his former National Security Advisor.


Andrew Tobias: “Seth Meyers: Re-Sign Those Caps”

Donald Trump says Kim Jong-un is a “smart cookie”; James Comey is a “nut job.” Think about it.

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Cart and Whip: Medieval Punishment

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William Andrews 

Medieval Punishments: An Illustrated History of Torture

Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (August 1, 2013)

William Andrews was an English author and editor of dozens of books, including Old Church Lore, and Yorkshire in Olden Times. He published several evolving works on bygone punishments; this is his third and, by his account, definitive statement on the subject. Born in 1848, he died in 1908.


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The Kindest People Who Do Good Deeds: Volume 3 — FREE PDF or EBOOK



“Each of us has within us a Mother Teresa and a Hitler. It is up to us to choose what we want to be.”—Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Snack-Size Portions of the Afterlife

In her book titled I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight, comedian Margaret Cho writes, “I believe that we get complimentary snack-size portions of the afterlife, and we all receive them in a different way.” For Ms. Cho, many of her snack-size portions of the afterlife come in hiphop music. Other people get different snack-size portions of the afterlife, and we all must be on the lookout for them when they come our way. And perhaps doing good deeds and experiencing good deeds are snack-size portions of the afterlife.[1]

A Widely Loved Comedian

Comedian Jimmy Durante was widely loved because he was the kind of person who deserved to be widely loved. When Steve Allen was an unknown comedian, he had a chance to be photographed with the famous Jimmy Durante for some newspapers—good exposure for Mr. Allen. Unfortunately, a group of teenaged fans moved between Mr. Allen and Jimmy, separating them. Jimmy saw what was happening, yelled “Wait a minute,” and then moved to Mr. Allen and grabbed him by the arm so that photographs of him with Jimmy would appear in the newspapers. And when Jimmy’s friend and fellow comedian Eddie Cantor had a heart attack, Jimmy went to the hospital every day even though he knew that Mr. Cantor was not allowed visitors. He simply sat quietly for a while in a chair outside Mr. Cantor’s hospital room.[2]

“You’re Almost So Good I Could Hate You”

Frequently, comedians go out of their way to help and support other comedians. After seeing David Brenner for the first time on TV, Buddy Hackett immediately called the entertainment director of the Sahara Casino in Las Vegas to say, “Did you see this kid? Get him in there—get him on the stage!” Mr. Hackett had never met Mr. Brenner. In addition, after seeing Mr. Brenner’s act for the first time, Jerry Lewis visited him in his hotel room to say, “You’re good—you’re almost so good I could hate you.” And even before Joan Rivers met Mr. Brenner, she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview that she knew of two young comedians who would make it big—David Brenner and Albert Brooks.[3]

“You’ll Pay Him $1,500”

Totie Fields saw Freddie Roman’s stand-up comedy act and was impressed enough to want him to appear in Las Vegas. She called Juliet Prowse’s manager, who needed an opening act for Ms. Prowse at the Desert Inn. She also negotiated Mr. Roman’s salary. She said to Ms. Prowse’s manager, “You’re paying him $1,500.” The manager said, “I only pay $1,200.” Ms. Fields replied, “You’ll pay him $1,500.” He paid him $1,500.[4]

Rewarding Loyalty

For nine years, Edna Purviance appeared in silent comedies that starred Charlie Chaplin in his “Tramp” character. Other movie studios wanted her to work for them, and they would have paid her very well indeed, but she remained loyal to Mr. Chaplin. She retired in the 1920s and appeared in no more movies, but Mr. Chaplin rewarded her for her loyalty by keeping her on his payroll until 1958, when she died.[5]

Rooting for the Acts to be Good

An act of great sensitivity occurred when George Burns and Gracie Allen played the Palace for the first time, in 1928: The audience applauded, and the comedy team was a hit. The Palace Theater on Broadway was important because if a small, not-famous act did well there, it could get better and more important bookings. According to Mr. Burns, the Palace was a “pushover” for acts such as Burns and Allen. Because the audience realized how important their applause was to small acts, they were rooting for the acts to be good. (I like that a lot. It’s similar to the audience on The Tonight Show rooting for a comedian during his or her first TV appearance.)[6]

Entertaining the Troops

When beautiful actress Ann Jillian got breast cancer, several people sent floral arrangements to her hospital room. The “granddaddy”—Ms. Jillian’s word—of all floral arrangements came from comedian Bob Hope, with whom Ms. Jillian had worked on USO tours to entertain the troops. The card was signed in this way: “Hurry up and get out of there; they’re playing our cue. Bob Hope.” Of course, Mr. Hope did good deeds on a regular basis—he certainly spent much time entertaining servicemen and servicewomen, including those who couldn’t be present to see his show. For example, after doing a show at Fassberg Air Force Base in Germany, Mr. Hope went to Fassberg Tower, got on the radio, and started telling jokes to lots of pilots who couldn’t see his show because they were delivering supplies to Berlin. Mr. Hope also took good care of old friends. Dorothy Lamour was a big movie star, but even big movie stars hit a rough patch once in a while. When that happened to Ms. Lamour, Mr. Hope called his friend Joe Franklin and told him to have her as a guest on his show: “Give her a break, but don’t tell her I had anything to do with it.” Mr. Franklin put her on his show.[7]

Encouragement After Bombing

Phyllis Diller’s mentor was fellow comedian Bob Hope, who met her after Ms. Diller bombed in a small club. When Ms. Diller learned that Mr. Hope had seen her bomb, she tried to sneak out by a back way, but he ran after her and encouraged her to keep working in comedy.[8]

Money Versus Civil Rights

African-American comedian Dick Gregory was serious about the Civil Rights Movement. He made lots of money as a comedian, and he lost lots of money by marching in protests instead of entertaining in nightclubs. He once had $18,000 in cash, and his wife recommended that he save the money for their child’s college tuition. Instead, he donated it to the Civil Rights Movement so that buses could be hired to bring hundreds of people to an important demonstration. Obviously, Mr. Gregory was very involved in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, he had a clause put in his contracts saying that he could leave immediately whenever he was needed at a demonstration or a march.[9]

Repaying a Long-Ago Kindness

Sometimes, kindnesses done long ago are repaid. When comedian Red Skelton was an impoverished kid, a vaudeville comedian named Ed Wynn (he played Uncle Albert in the movie Mary Poppins) gave him a free ticket to his show. Years later, Mr. Wynn had a prominent role in the live TV drama Requiem for a Heavyweight. To pay Mr. Wynn back for his long-ago kindness, Mr. Skelton played a small role, without pay, in the drama.[10]

[1] Source: Margaret Cho, I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight, p. 87.

[2] Source: Irene Adler, I Remember Jimmy, p. 181.

[3] Source: Betsy Borns, Comic Lives, pp. 176-177.

[4] Source: Tim Boxer, The Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, p. 217.

[5] Source: Frank Manchel, Yesterday’s Clowns, pp. 54-55.

[6] Source: George Burns, Gracie: A Love Story, p. 80.

[7] Source: Richard Grudens, The Spirit of Bob Hope; One Hundred Years, One Million Laughs, pp. 83, 103, 132.

[8] Source: Susan Horowitz, Queens of Comedy, p. 58.

[9] Source: Redd Foxx and Norma Miller, The Redd Foxx Encyclopedia of Black Humor, p. 181. Also: Gerald Nachman, Seriously Funny, p. 497.

[10] Source: Steve Allen, More Funny People, p. 259.

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The Kindest People Who Do Good Deeds: Volume 2 — Free PDF

FREE PDF. Go to Free Ebooks at the top of the blog.

On Sunday, May 27, 2007, my friend Cliff Craft died in Athens, Ohio. Most people probably thought of him as a homeless scavenger, but people who knew him realized that he was a generous person. He lived in low-income housing, and he frequently allowed homeless people to stay in his apartment. Because of his illnesses, including epilepsy, he lived on a monthly Social Security check and whatever money he found on his frequent walks around town, but he was generous with the money he had. Each month, he deposited his Social Security check at Hocking Valley Bank, but not all of the money ended up in his own account. According to Hocking Valley Bank branch manager Kim Sparks, for approximately two years before Mr. Craft died, he deposited some of his money each month into an account that had been set up to help a girl who had been injured in an accident. Truly, Mr. Craft’s life shows that people don’t need to be wealthy to do good deeds.[1]

“I Have Been Waiting My Whole Life to Pay Taxes”

Lewis Black is a comedian whose sense of social justice propels his comedy. A lot of his concern with ethical behavior comes from his Jewish parents and his grandfather, all of whom condemned Joseph McCarthy during his fight against free speech in the 1950s. During the Vietnam War, his father was so disgusted by the actions of the United States government that he told Lewis, “If I knew it was going to be like this, I would have stayed in Russia.” Mr. Black became very successful as a stand-up comedian and in the “Back in Black” segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. When he started making real money, his accountant told him things he could do to pay less in taxes. Mr. Black’s response was this: “I have been waiting my whole life to pay taxes. This is how it’s supposed to work. This is how we are able to fund the things that make this country work—like roads and schools.”[2]

Repossessing the Teeth

W.C. Fields hired a dwarf named William Blanche to be his valet. One of the presents Mr. Fields bought Mr. Blanche was a pair of false teeth, but Mr. Fields sometimes repossessed the teeth when he wanted something difficult done that Mr. Blanche didn’t want to do. One day, Mr. Fields repossessed the teeth, then ordered two sirloin steaks: one for himself, and one for Mr. Blanche. After watching Mr. Fields savor his steak, while being unable to eat his own, Mr. Blanche said, “OK, I’ll do it, boss. Hand over the teeth.” (Mr. Fields did many kindnesses for Mr. Blanche, and when Mr. Blanche died, Mr. Fields bought him a tuxedo to be buried in.)[3]

Being Cheerful and Funny

Bob Hope did a series of good deeds throughout his life by entertaining so many servicemen and servicewomen in so many wars. Of course, he took along many stars with him on these trips, including fellow comedian Phyllis Diller, and he ended up helping her as well. For one thing, he advised her that she was looking too morose when they visited badly wounded veterans in military hospitals, and that she needed to be cheerful and crack jokes because that’s what the soldiers needed instead of sympathy. For another, she quickly discovered that her material was not suitable for soldiers, although it was very funny for civilians back home. Mr. Hope came to the rescue by having his writers immediately create a brand-new routine for her and him to perform for the soldiers—and Mr. Hope let her have all the funny lines while he played her straight man.[4]

Talking to Non-Celebrities

According to Gracie Allen’s husband, George Burns, Gracie always made an effort at parties to talk to non-celebrities. She realized that big Hollywood stars such as Clark Gable and Robert Taylor would not have any trouble finding someone to talk to, but non-celebrities would.[5]

An Anonymous Gift

Early in her life, Whoopi Goldberg was on Welfare and in great need of money. Someone recognized that fact and sent her, anonymously, $300. She still doesn’t know who it was.[6]

Getting Fontaine Off Drugs

One of the characters Whoopi Goldberg developed in her comedy act is Fontaine, a male drug addict. However, after Ms. Goldberg started to receive letters about the character from 10- and 11-year-old fans, she knew that she couldn’t let the character remain a drug addict because children might think being a drug addict was OK. After all, Ms. Goldberg knows that it is not OK to be a drug addict—many of the people she did drugs with when she was a teenager died before she became really famous. Therefore, she developed a routine in which Fontaine goes to the Betty Ford Clinic and gets off drugs. (Fontaine sometimes wonders why he got off drugs, since the world is so crazy.)[7]

Stopping Harassment

Comedian Jay Leno once noticed a man harassing a woman in a shopping mall, so he went over and pretended to be her boyfriend. The harasser ran.[8]

Friends Who Have Cerebral Palsy

British comedian Benny Hill was friends with some fans who were handicapped by cerebral palsy. Two handicapped women were his special friends: Netta Warner and Phoebe King. He met Phoebe after she attended one of his shows, and he decided to surprise Netta (without knowing she had cerebral palsy) with a phone call after noticing her telephone number at the top of one of her letters to him. He often visited these women for a few days at a time.[9]

“How Come It Doesn’t Cost Anything?”

Some people showed kindness to comedian Eddie Cantor when he was growing up. As a kid, he went to Surprise Lake Camp, a summer camp for slum kids, where one night he suddenly wondered, “How come we’re here? How come it doesn’t cost anything?” Another kid had the answer: “Oh, because somebody’s interested in us kids.” Later Mr. Cantor returned the kindness by raising many millions of dollars for charities, including a camp for underprivileged children such as he had been.[10]

[1] Source: Nick Claussen, “Man who lived scavenger’s life remembered by friends as lover of books, generous soul.” The Athens News. 4 June 2007 <;.

[2] Source: Antonino D’Ambrosio, “Lewis Black Interview.” The Progressive. April 2007 <>.

[3] Source: Robert Lewis Taylor, W.C. Fields: His Follies and Fortunes, pp. 174-178.

[4] Source: Phyllis Diller, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy, pp. 188-189.

[5] Source: George Burns, I Love Her, That’s Why!, pp. 184-185.

[6] Source: Mary Unterbrink, Funny Women, p. 207.

[7] Source: Mary Agnes Adams, Whoopi Goldberg: From Street to Stardom, pp. 22-23, 30, 60-61.

[8] Source: Bill Adler and Bruce Cassiday, The World of Jay Leno: His Humor and His Life, p. 59.

[9] Source: Margaret Forwood, The Real Benny Hill, pp. 82ff.

[10] Source: Eddie Cantor, Take My Life, p. 18.

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Go to Riga. You Know You Want To

Let the Blogger Show You Fancy Riga! (YouTube)


Teacher’s directions (YouTube)

Go on a Journey With a Taxi Driver from Riga (YouTube)

Follow the Priest’s Path! (YouTube)

Rebellious Trip With the Senior (YouTube)

A Wes Anderson-Inspired Tourism Campaign For The Latvian Capital Of Riga (Neatorama)

Whenever a director establishes their signature style other directors are bound to copy it, either because they’re hacks or because they want to channel that director’s iconic style into their own film. The folks from ad agency DDB who created the Wes Anderson-inspired tourism campaign for Latvia’s capital city Riga clearly wanted to add a bit of Wes’ signature symmetry and cool use of color to their production.

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The Kindest People Who Do Good Deeds: Volume 1 — Free PDF


Tipping the Balance—Either Way

According to the Talmud, all of us ought to consider the world as being equally divided into good and evil. That way, we will regard our own actions as important. If we act evilly, we will tip the world onto the side of evil and all Humankind will suffer, but if we perform good deeds, we will tip the world onto the side of good, and all Humankind will benefit.[1]

“Don’t A T’ing Like Dis Make Ya Feel Good?”

Comedians Jimmy Durante and Eddie Cantor were very giving of their time to good causes. On New Year’s Day of 1943, Mr. Durante met Mr. Cantor while taking a walk. “Eddie,” Mr. Durante said, “I’m just thinkin’. This must be a tough time for the guys over there in that hospital. Here it’s New Year’s Day, they’re sick, some of ’em have amputations. What do ya say we go over and entertain?” The two comedians rehearsed for a short time, then entertained at the hospital from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Afterward, Mr. Durante said hoarsely to Mr. Cantor, “Eddie, tell me, don’t a t’ing like dis make ya feel good?”[2]

Stranded in Kent, Ohio

In Kent, Ohio, early in his vaudeville days, W.C. Fields found himself stranded. (At this time, he was still being victimized by tour managers who would abscond with their performers’ salaries.) He had six dollars, sold his coat for two dollars, then went to the railroad station to inquire about the fare to New York. The railroad agent told him that it was just over $10. (Ten dollars in 1894 was the rough equivalent of over $200 in the year 2000.) “Well, I guess I’m stuck,” Mr. Fields said. “I’ve got eight dollars.” The agent asked if he was an entertainer, and on hearing that Mr. Fields was, he said, “People don’t put much trust in you folks, do they?” (At this time, being an entertainer was about as low on the social scale as a person could be.) “We’re used to it,” Mr. Fields said. The agent then gave Mr. Fields $10 and said, “I’ve always wondered what there was to that story. When you get a little ahead, send this back.” That rare act of kindness impressed Mr. Fields so much that he sat on a bench and cried. Two years later, Mr. Fields was finally able to repay the debt. On Christmas Eve, 1896, he sent $20 to the railroad agent ($10 was for “interest”), then he stood in line at a free soup kitchen for a Christmas dinner. After Mr. Fields became a huge success, he looked up the agent, as did other famous show people who learned what the agent had done for Mr. Fields.[3]

Tennis Shoes and a Pink Umbrella

One book that Gilda Radner read and enjoyed was Disturbances in the Dark by Lynne Sharon Schwartz. The main female character in the book remembers that when she was a young girl, she, her sister, and her parents would go to the beach. So that the two young girls would always be able to find the beach umbrella their parents were using, her father tied a pair of tennis shoes to the umbrella. The two young girls felt safe and protected when they saw the umbrella with the pair of shoes hanging from it. The night before Gilda underwent her first chemotherapy after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her husband, Gene Wilder, walked into her hospital room carrying a little pink umbrella to which he had tied some shoes.[4]

My Fellow Bums

While living in New York City, comedian Bill Hicks was shocked by the number of homeless people he saw, and he always left home with change in his pockets to give to the homeless. He pointed out, “I could have been a bum. All it takes is the right girl, the right bar, and the right friends.”[5]

Visiting the Wounded Troops

Comedian Al Franken goes into Veterans Administration hospitals to meet the wounded troops. He thought that it would be very difficult, but he was amazed by how cheerful many of them—including a woman helicopter pilot who had lost most of her left leg and part of her right leg—are. He asked a man with one leg what had happened to him; the man replied, “I came in here for a vasectomy, and when I woke up my leg was gone.” By the way, Mr. Franken says not to thank these wounded veterans for their service to the country—they imitate all the politicians who tell them that. Therefore, Mr. Franken uses humor. When he has a photograph taken with one of these veterans, he writes on the photo, “Thank you for getting grievously wounded.”[6]

“Paid, and Thanks. Danny”

When British comedian Danny La Rue asked fellow entertainer Larry Grayson to entertain at his club while he went on vacation for two weeks, he showed much kindness to Mr. Grayson. First, he showed him his own dressing room and asked if any alterations needed to be made. Of course, everything was excellent. During the first week of Mr. Grayson’s vacation, Mr. Grayson ran up a rather high tab, but when he called for his bill so he could pay it off, he was surprised to be given a bill marked, “Paid, and thank you. Danny.” The next time Mr. Grayson was asked what he wished to be served in his dressing room, he said, “Just a coffee, please,” thinking that he would not run up his tab because Mr. La Rue would pay for it. However, when he was informed that this week he would have to pay his own bill, he ordered what he really wanted: a gin and tonic. At the end of the second week, Mr. Grayson again asked for his bill, and again it came to him marked, “Paid, and thank you. Danny.” Mr. La Rue had known that Mr. Grayson would not order what he wanted and would not run up his bill the second week if he had thought that Mr. La Rue would pay it, so he had left orders for Mr. Grayson to be falsely told that the second week he would have to pay his own bill.[7]

Homeless, Coatless, and Penniless

Before becoming a famous country comedian and star of Hee Haw, Archie Campbell was homeless, coatless, and penniless on a bitterly cold night in Knoxville, Tennessee. After getting thrown out of the bus station where he had fallen asleep, Mr. Campbell started walking in an unsuccessful effort to keep warm. Seeing an all-night restaurant, he went in and stood near a hot radiator. The owner, a Greek named Nick, asked him what he was doing. Mr. Campbell said that he lived nearby (a lie because he had no home), he had forgotten his coat (a lie because he had no coat), and he had dropped in to get warm (not a lie). Nick asked where he lived, and Mr. Campbell answered with the name of the first apartment complex he could think of. Apparently satisfied, Nick invited him to sit in a booth and get warm. Mr. Campbell fell asleep in a booth, and when he woke up, Nick set a huge, hot breakfast in front of him. Mr. Campbell explained that he couldn’t pay for the meal, but Nick said he didn’t have to—he knew that Mr. Campbell was homeless because he lived in the apartment complex that Mr. Campbell had named. After becoming rich and famous, Mr. Campbell made sure to stop in at that restaurant wherever he was in Knoxville.[8]

Comedian and Nurse

Martha Raye was a wide-mouthed comedian who played an important role in Charlie Chaplin’s 1947 black comedy, Monsieur Verdoux. She endeared herself—as did Bob Hope—by performing frequently for United States servicemen. In South Vietnam, her early training as a nurse’s aide came in handy. She arrived on the morning of a day on which there was a big battle. When wounded soldiers started pouring into camp, she put on fatigues and worked as a nurse for 13 hours. After getting some sleep, she worked as a nurse again the next day. For this action, General William Childs Westmoreland recognized her services as both a comedian and a nurse.[9] 

Cold Winters

In Toledo, Ohio, in the early part of the 20th century, a man named John Mockett ran a clothing store. Every winter, he saw impoverished kids on the street selling newspapers, and if they needed an overcoat, he would give them one. One of the boys to whom he gave an overcoat was Joe E. Brown, who later became a famous comedian.[10]

[1] Source: Simon Certner, editor, 101 Jewish Stories for Schools, Clubs and Camps, p. 32.

[2] Source: Eddie Cantor, Take My Life, p. 59.

[3] Source: Robert Lewis Taylor, W.C. Fields: His Follies and Fortunes, pp. 48-49, 61-62.

[4] Source: Gilda Radner, It’s Always Something, p. 104.

[5] Source: Cynthia True, American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story, p. 129.

[6] Source: Terrence McNally, “Al Franken’s Nutritional Candy.” 11 February 2005 <;.

[7] Source: Peter Underwood, Danny La Rue: Life’s a Drag!, pp. 36-37.

[8] Source: Archie Campbell, Archie Campbell: An Autobiography, pp. 47-48.

[9] Source: Steve Allen, More Funny People, p. 213.

[10] Source: Joe E. Brown, Laughter is a Wonderful Thing, p. 242.

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Seize the Day: 250 Anecdotes and Stories


  • Cindy Jones is a nurse who works with cancer patients. In 1996, one such patient was about to die. One of Cindy’s colleagues asked the woman, “What is important to you?” What was important to the woman was being married to her boyfriend, but the two had kept postponing the date. The staff at the hospital got busy. Because the woman and her boyfriend had little money, a fund the hospital kept to help patients was used to buy the wedding license. The hospital chaplain performed the ceremony. The hospital’s medical media department photographer took the wedding photos. A white negligee served as a wedding dress for the woman. Sheets were hung to make the atmosphere less like that of a hospital. The woman was a very happy bride, and she died approximately four hours after becoming a wife. Ms. Jones wrote, “For years I have been wearing a button on my lab coat: ‘Oncology [Cancer] Nurses Say Never Postpone a Pleasure.’ For me, it sums up a philosophy I have developed after nearly two decades in my field. I am constantly reminded to try to live each day as if it were my last and to not have any regrets about things I wished I had taken the time to enjoy.” This kind of advice is, of course, similar to the Latin carpe diem, which can be translated as “seize the day.” So how can we seize the day? Some ways include living a life of wit and intelligence, practicing an art, doing good deeds, paying attention to your soul as well as your body, staying angry at the things that should anger us, and being aware of the fabulous realities that surround us despite the presence of evil in the world. Here are some bumper-sticker condensations of ancient and modern wisdom: Resist Psychic Death, Do It Yourself, Resist Mindless Consumption, Don’t Fear the Reaper, Maintain Maximum Cool, Do Good Now, and Reality is Fabulous.[1]

CHAPTER 1: From Activism to Critics


  • Maury Maverick, Sr., was the mayor of San Antonio, but he was very outspoken for a politician. Once, politicians in San Antonio banned all outdoor eating establishments because they wanted to close down the chili queens operating in the streets. Soon after, Mayor Maverick attended a fancy outdoor garden picnic that was also attended by the politicians who had passed the ban, so he told his host, “You-all know it’s against the law to have outdoor eating places. You bastards passed the law yourself. I’m giving this party 15 minutes to get these tents down and all this food indoors, or the police will be called!”[2]
  • In 2011, the Planet Fitness chain of health clubs decided to go after the market of average Janes and Joes rather than people seeking a true weightlifting workout; therefore, Planet Fitness started using a series of television commercials depicting lunks (its word for bodybuilders and serious weightlifters) straining to do such tasks as tie their shoes. Outraged, the lunks fought back. Lunks joined together and shut down the Planet Fitness YouTube channel by continually flagging its commercials as offensive. Planet Fitness had to start a new channel under a different name.[3]
  • Benjamin Lay was an 18th-century Quaker who preached against slavery. At a Quaker meeting, Mr. Lay waved a sword over his head as he shouted that slavery was just as pleasing to God as abusing the Bible would be. He then plunged the sword through a Bible. Previously, he had inserted in the Bible a packet of red dye resembling blood. The dye splattered people sitting nearby, and Mr. Lay told them that now other people could see the stain of their sin.[4]
  • In 1899, miners went on strike in Arnot, Pennsylvania. Union organizer Mother Jones was there, and when the mining company brought in strikebreakers, Mother Jones organized an army of miners’ wives to drive away the strikebreakers by attacking them with mops and brooms. The battle tactics worked, and in February of 1900, after a 10-month strike, the Erie Company met the union’s demands and began to pay better wages.[5]


  • Some actresses act even when they are not on stage or in front of a camera. Tallulah Bankhead once complained about a young actress who had a bit role in one of her plays. Ranting and raving, Ms. Bankhead strode up and down her dressing room complaining about the actress. The play’s director, John C. Wilson, told her, “We’ve already fired that girl.” Ms. Bankhead replied, “I know that, but for heaven’s sake, let me have my scene.”[6]
  • Courtenay Thorpe was an actor who continued working in his profession with a false limb after his hand was blown off during an accident with a gun. A stage manager once told him that his hand seemed rather wooden when he gestured with it, and Mr. Thorpe replied, “That may be because it is chiefly made of wood.”[7]
  • Before Dick Van Dyke walked into an office to talk over what became The Dick Van Dyke Show with executive producer Sheldon Leonard and producer Carl Reiner, they were wondering how many people he would have in his entourage. They were pleasantly surprised when he came alone.[8]
  • During a rehearsal of The Darling of the Gods, Herbert Beerbohm Tree asked an actor to stand back a little, then a little more, then a little more. The actor complained, “If I go back any more, I shall be right off the stage.” Mr. Tree replied, “Exactly.”[9]


  • For a show at the Aquarama at Flushing Meadow Park in New York, several casting ads in Variety appeared. The first ad said: “Aqua Circus in Flushing Meadow! Beauties wanted. Must be expert dancers and swimmers.” One week later, the second ad said: “Wanted! Girls with good figures who can swim.” Two weeks later, the third and final ad said: “Wanted! Girls with good figures who can swim a little.” When the show was finally performed, the women who had been cast didn’t swim — they paddled around on surfboards.[10]

[1] Source: Jim Kane and Carmen Germaine Warner, editors, Touched by a Nurse: Special Moments That Transform Lives, p. 80.

[2] Source: Maury Maverick, Jr., Texas Iconoclast, p. 16.

[3] Source: Luke O’Neil, “Gym Rat Control.” Slate. 9 May 2011 <>.

[4] Source: Stephen R. Lilley, Fighters Against American Slavery, p. 19.

[5] Source: Judith Pinkerton Josephson, Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers’ Rights, pp. 63- 68.

[6] Source: Maurice Zolotow, No People Like Show People, p. 8.

[7] Source: Gyles Brandreth, Great Theatrical Disasters, p. 55.

[8] Source: Ginny Weissman and Coyne Steven Sanders, The Dick Van Dyke Show, p. 6.

[9] Source: Gyles Brandreth, Great Theatrical Disasters, p. 89.

[10] Source: Sam Norkin, Drawings, Stories, p. 98.

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