Resist Psychic Death: 250 Anecdotes — Free Kindle Ebook

Introduction

  • In Bikini Kill’s early songs, vocalist Kathleen Hanna tends to repeat lines many times. She had a reason for doing this. The sound equipment Bikini Kill played live with was very bad, and she worried that no one would understand the words, and so she repeated them over and over so that the audience would hear them. Some of the lyrics deserve to be heard over and over — for example, she repeated these lines from the song “Resist Psychic Death” over and over: “I resist with every inch and every breath / I resist this psychic death.” By the way, near the end of his life, the heart of Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco grew weaker, and his cardiologist, Dr. Ignacio Chávez, recommended that he stop the strenuous work of painting huge murals and instead concentrate on the less strenuous work of creating easel paintings. However, Mr. Orozco refused to take this advice. Instead, he remarked to his wife, “I’m not going to do as the doctor says and abandon mural painting. I prefer physical death to the moral death that would be the equivalent of giving up mural painting.” So how does one resist psychic death? Some ways include 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.[1]

CHAPTER 1: From Activism and Activists to Comedians

 Activism and Activists

In 2007, while standing in line in Victoria station in London, a man named Gareth Edwards, who describes himself as a “big, stocky bloke with a shaven head,” noticed a well-dressed businessman cutting in line behind him. (Apparently, Mr. Edwards is so big that the businessman did not want to cut in line ahead of him.) Some people politely remonstrated with the businessman, but the businessman ignored the protests. So Mr. Edwards asked the elderly woman who was behind the businessman line-cutter-in, “Do you want to go in front of me?” She did, and Mr. Edwards then asked the new person standing behind the businessman line-cutter-in, “Do you want to go in front of me?” Mr. Edwards did this 60 or 70 times, so he and the businessman kept moving further back in line. Finally, just as the bus pulled up, the elderly woman whom he had first allowed to go ahead in line, yelled back to him, “Young man! Do you want to go in front of me?”[2]

In November of 2010, tens of thousands of students protested in England over cuts in funding for education and higher fees for tuition that could keep them from getting a university education. Some students in London even attacked a police van, but a group of schoolgirls stopped the attack by surrounding the van and linking hands. Guardian journalist Jonathan Jones wrote, “Some who were at the student protests this week accuse police of deliberately leaving a solitary van in the middle of the ‘kettled’ crowd to invite trouble and provide incriminating media images of an out-of-control mob attacking it.” (According to <en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kettling>, kettling is “The practice of police surrounding a hostile mob (usually of protesters) and not letting them disperse.”) By stopping the violent students from attacking the police van, the schoolgirls helped prevent negative publicity about the student protests.[3]

In 1977, future punk critic Steven Wells and some other punks wanted to go to a Mekons concert. However, the student rugby player who was at the door did not like the way that the punks were dressed and so refused to let them inside. The punks formed a picket line and informed everyone who came by what had happened and asked them not to cross the picket line. No one did. Twenty minutes went by, and the person who had organized the show came outside to find out why no one was going inside. The punks explained to him what had happened. The organizer then fired the rugby player and the punks enjoyed a good concert. (Rugby in England is class conscious. In the South, Rugby Union is played by the posh. In the North, Rugby League is played by the working class. The Mekons concert happened in the South.)[4]

In 1969 at Akron University, activist, artist, and musician Paul Mavrides and some of his activist friends announced that they were going to use their own homemade napalm to burn a puppy to death. Of course, this was a protest against the use of napalm to kill human beings in the Vietnam War. They planned to announce to the crowd that they had no napalm and no puppy, and then they planned to say, “How can you people justify showing up to save a dog, when there’s an actual war going on and this napalm is being used on real people?” Unfortunately, the crowd that showed up was so angry that Mr. Mavrides and his activist friends had to be rescued by Akron University police, who smuggled them through underground tunnels to get them safely away from the angry crowd. And the use of napalm in Vietnam continued.[5]

Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) was forced to take an examination in order to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper at the University of Glasgow because the Lord’s Supper was restricted to those deemed worthy to take it. After passing muster, participants were given a metallic token to present so they could partake of the Lord’s Supper. Mr. Campbell, however, felt that the Lord’s Supper should be open to all. Following his conscience, he declined to join the other participants, and he cast his metallic token into the plate as it was being passed round. The metallic token made a sound that echoed throughout the church.[6]

Birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger looked shy and quiet, but she was tough and determined. Someone once asked her to take some time off for rest and relaxation, but she replied, “I am the protagonist of women who have nothing to laugh about.” In 1916, she spent 30 days in jail after her birth-control clinic was shut down and she was charged with “illegal activity.” After the 30 days were up, the police wanted to fingerprint her, but she did not want to be fingerprinted. The result: She emerged from jail exhausted and bruised — and triumphant.[7]

Saul Alinsky, an activist in Chicago, was upset when Station WGN decided not to show a film about Martin Luther because it was opposed by the archdiocese of Chicago. Mr. Alinsky tried to persuade Edward Burke, a monsignor of the archdiocese, to withdraw opposition to the film. Mr. Burke remained opposed to the showing of the film, so Mr. Alinsky said that it ought to be shown “with one proviso, that they show it backward so that Martin Luther will end up as a Catholic.”[8]

A notable act of activism occurred in Berlin when some activists painted some barrels to look like nuclear waste containers, filled them with sand, and then drove into Berlin and dropped them off in a place where they would be noticed. The news was filled with descriptions of the dangers of exposure to nuclear waste, and workers in Hazmat suits worked to remove the barrels. The activism created awareness of the risks of moving nuclear waste through populated areas.[9]

Advice

 Professor Ernst Schneidler taught many artists and illustrators, including Eric Carle, who creates books for children. He was able to motivate his students to do their very best work, perhaps because he was so gifted at doing those things he taught. Actually, he did not spend a lot of time with the students, simply looking over their work every so often and pronouncing judgment on it. Usually, he merely said “Dumb” or “Not dumb.” When he said, “Good,” which he rarely did, it was exceptionally high praise. He also spoke to the students on occasion. Professor Schneidler was gifted at determining what his students should do and what they should avoid doing: He knew his students’ talents. When Mr. Carle tried to do calligraphy, Professor Schneidler told him, “Herr Carle, not so good. Dumb. Don’t do that anymore. Anyway, we don’t need any more calligraphers.” But when Mr. Carle created some linoleum cuts, Professor Schneidler told him, “Good.” However, Professor Schneidler added, “That’s good, all right. But, ah! You don’t even understand why it’s good.” This Mr. Carle interpreted as meaning, “Go and find out why it’s good,” which Mr. Carle considered and considers very good advice.[10]

[1] Source: Jannika Bock, Riot Grrrl: A Feminist Re-Interpretation of the Punk Narrative, p. 75. Also: Bárbara C. Cruz, José Clemente Orozco: Mexican Artist, p. 101.

[2] Source: Oliver Burkeman, “Politeness enforcement tactics.” The Guardian. 28 August 2010 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/28/change-your-life-politeness-enforcement>.

[3] Source: Jonathan Jones, “Student protests: the riot girls.” The Guardian. 25 November 2010 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/25/student-protests-tuition-fees-schoolgirls-definace>. Also: <en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kettling>, accessed on 26 November 2010.

[4] Source: Steven Wells, Punk: Young, Loud, and Snotty, pp. 68, 78.

[5] Source: Andrea Juno and V. Vale, publishers and editors, Pranks! Devious Deeds and Mischievous Mirth, p. 134.

[6] Source: J. Vernon Jacobs, compiler, 450 True Stories from Church History, p. 70.

[7] Source: Frederick S. Voss, Women of Our Time: An Album of Twentieth-Century Portraits, pp. 28-29.

[8] Source: John Deedy, A Book of Catholic Anecdotes, pp. 43-44.

[9] Source: Andrea Juno and V. Vale, publishers and editors, Pranks! Devious Deeds and Mischievous Mirth, p. 135.

[10] Source: Leonard S. Marcus, Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book, pp. 44-47.

Free at this website:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/97267

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Beethoven’s Ode of Joy played with pistols (YouTUBE)

Beethoven’s Ode of Joy played with pistols (YouTUBE)

Chief of the Russian shooting society Vitaly Kryuchin performs some popular melodies using Glock pistols, shooting bullets on steel plates, while accompanied by an orchestra and two singers – he “plays” Ode to Joy by Beethoven, and Russian traditional song “Murka.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8hL2Ml9WHo

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Reality is Fabulous: 250 Anecdotes and Stories

Activism

  • In 1993, members of the Barbie Liberation Organisation fought against the gender stereotyping of such dolls as Barbie and GI Joe. They bought Barbie and GI Joe dolls and switched their voice boxes and then returned the dolls to the stores. Barbie now said such things as “Troops, attack that Cobra tank at the command post” and “Vengeance is mine,” while GI Joe now said such things as “Want to go shopping?” and “I love school, don’t you?” and “Will we ever have enough clothes?” Unsuspecting customers bought combat-ready Barbie dolls or effeminate GI Joes. In a comment posted to the Barbie Liberation Organisation YouTube video, AnimePRFury wrote, “Man, I wish I had gotten a fixed Barbie! All mine sounded stupid and stereotyped.” The Barbie Liberation Organisation believes that Barbie wants to learn math and science and wants equal opportunity.[1]
  • When British American Tobacco New Zealand set up an official Twitter account, some anti-tobacco New Zealanders asked tough questions: 1) “Do you consider that the thriving marijuana industry poses a threat to cigarettes?” 2) “WHEW! Huf. Huf. I have to go and catch my breath with one of your delicious products. Gasp. Huf. BRB. [Be right back.] Cough.” 3) “I quit smoking cos my kids cried that I’d die (like my dad did). How can I smoke without them finding out?” 4) “So, your product is natural, organic and low-fat. You recommend it as a health supplement?” 5) “Do men at tobacco companies have beards — or can they look at themselves in the mirror long enough to shave?”[2]
  • Lori Garbacz, a professional golfer, disliked slow play. She once brought a folding chair and a newspaper to the Mazda LPGA Championship to protest the slow play (and to catch up on the news while waiting for her turn to play). At the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open, she was so annoyed by the slow play that she went to a pay phone, ordered pizza for herself and her group, and had a pizza party during the tournament.[3]

Actors and Acting

  • Michael Caine’s shortest audition occurred for a movie that starred Alan Ladd, who was short for a leading man. Mr. Caine walked into the audition and immediately heard “Next!” He asked, “Can’t I audition or do something?” The casting agent said, “No, look at your left.” To Mr. Caine’s left was a mark on the doorway. Anyone who was taller than that mark was immediately rejected for the role. Mr. Caine says, “It was my shortest audition. You had to be shorter than Alan Ladd.” Mr. Caine knows what it’s like when two actors are mismatched in height. He says, “I did a picture with Elizabeth Taylor, and she stood on a box for the whole movie to be level with me, and for three years everybody thought I was 5-feet-6 because everybody knew how short Elizabeth was.” Movie critic Roger Ebert says, “Alan Ladd spent his whole career on a box.” When Mr. Ladd made Boy on a Dolphin with Sophia Loren, one scene showed them walking on the beach. A trench was dug in the beach, and Ms. Loren had to walk in the trench during the filming of the scene so that she and Mr. Ladd were matched in height.[4]
  • At a schools’ matinee in 1974, actor Nicol Williamson gave an impressive performance in Macbeth. Unfortunately, the chattering of the schoolchildren in the audience annoyed him, so he stepped out of character and told them, “Shut up!” He then said that he could be making a fortune as a motion picture star in America, but that he had chosen to act in a great play by a great playwright in a great theater — so they could d*mn well be quiet while he acted. Furthermore, if the noise continued, he said he would start the play again from the beginning, and he would keep on starting the play from the beginning until he had gotten through it in absolute silence. The schoolchildren kept quiet after his outburst.[5]
  • Over 100 years ago, Charles Fechter asked fellow actor Samuel Phelps to appear in Hamlet. Mr. Fechter wanted Mr. Phelps to play the Ghost, but he did not make that immediately clear. Mr. Phelps asked, “Who is to play the Prince?” Mr. Fechter replied, “Myself.” Mr. Phelps wanted that role for himself, and so he roared at Mr. Fechter, “D*mn your impudence!” The two actors did not appear together in Hamlet.[6]
  • Jim Backus acted with movie tough guy and star George Raft. He says that Mr. Raft was always a gentleman, always showed up on time, and always knew his lines — and everyone else’s. Mr. Backus asked why he was always so professional and why he didn’t show up late like a lot of other movie stars and why he memorized the entire script. Mr. Raft explained, “I have to. I don’t have any talent.”[7]
  • When comedian Jack Oakie (who played the Mussolini character in Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator) was pleased with his acting in a movie scene, he used to say, “That was some pretty good pretendin’.” By the way, Mr. Oakie once saw actor Fredric March wearing the Mr. Hyde makeup for his movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Mr. Oakie asked, “What part are you playing today? I never read the book.”[8]

Alcohol

  • Monty Python member Graham Chapman was an alcoholic, but for a while even the other members of Monty Python didn’t know how bad his problem was because for the most part he was a gentlemanly drunk. However, they learned of the extent of his alcoholism while shooting the sketch “Upper Class Twit of the Year.” The Monty Python members needed to check something in a script, but no scripts were readily available, so Michael Palin opened Mr. Chapman’s briefcase in search of one. He found a half-empty bottle of vodka and looked stunned. Someone asked him what was the matter, and he replied, “That was full this morning.” Mr. Palin found the half-empty bottle at 10:15 a.m. Remarkably, Mr. Chapman quit drinking without the aid of Alcoholics Anonymous, and within six months he was in better shape than any of the other members of Monty Python. Before he quit drinking, Mr. Chapman fought alcoholism for a few years. This is an undesirable habit for a comedian, because he kept forgetting his lines. Once, it took him 24 takes to get his lines right. When he finally succeeded, the studio audience cheered. However, the cheer was unfortunate, because the audience watching the filmed product hears the studio audience cheering, but doesn’t know what it is cheering for.[9]
  • Currently, many people don’t want to be thought of as tourists, so if they hear that something is just for tourists, they don’t go there. Henry Morgan, however, advises that if you hear that something is just for tourists, then you should definitely go there. Once, Mr. Morgan ran into comedian Eddie Cantor in Paris, and Mr. Cantor asked him what he had done all day. As it turned out, Mr. Morgan had gone to the flea market, taken a trip on the river, lunched in a wine cellar, dined at the Table du Roi, and seen lots of naked chorus girls. This caused Mr. Cantor to sorrowfully admit that he had been to Paris 11 times and all he had seen were “three restaurants and this hotel.” By the way, while traveling in France, Mr. Morgan went to a vineyard where he saw a workman whose job was to grasp bottles of wine and give them a quarter of a turn. This was the workman’s entire job, and he had done it for 31 years.[10]

[1] Source: “Barbie Liberation Organisation.” YouTube. 15 September 2010 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eMHMf9y-27w>.

[2] Source: Ana Samways, “April 27: The hot tub.” Sideswipe. New Zealand Herald. 27 April 2012 <http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sideswipe-with-ana-samways/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503050&objectid=10801660>.

[3] Source: Don Wade, “And Then Arnie Told Chi Chi…,” p. 68.

[4] Source: Roger Ebert, “Michael Caine’s Just Eating It Up.” Chicago Sun-Times. 6 December 1998. <http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19981206/PEOPLE/212010326&gt;.

[6] Source: John Rankin Towse, Sixty Years of the Theater: An Old Critic’s Memories, p. 79.

[7] Source: Jim and Henny Backus, Forgive Us Our Digressions, p. 145.

[8] Source: Victoria Horne Oakie, compiler and editor, “Dear Jack, pp. 34, 130.

[9] Source: David Morgan, Monty Python Speaks, p. 87-90.

[10] Source: Henry Morgan, Here’s Morgan!, pp. 177-179.

https://www.amazon.com/Reality-Fabulous-250-Anecdotes-Stories-ebook/dp/B008R1SOU2

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Maximum Cool: 250 Anecdotes

Activism

  • On March 26, 1904, during a strike by miners in Colorado, union organizer Mother Jones was arrested on the orders of governor James P. Peabody, put on a train, taken to the border of Colorado, dropped off, and told never to return again. She took the first train possible back to Denver, then wrote Governor Peabody, “Mr. Governor, You notified your dogs of war to put me out of the state. … I wish to notify you, governor, that you don’t own the state. … I am right here in the capital … four or five blocks from your office. I want to ask you, governor, what in Hell are you going to do about it?”[1]
  • Maury Maverick, Jr., a lawyer and columnist, was a politician for a while and served in the Texas House of Representatives in the 1950s — the time of Joseph McCarthy, who used fear of Communism to censor people and keep them quiet. When a bill was introduced to invite Senator McCarthy to speak to the Texas legislature, Mr. Maverick introduced another bill that invited Mickey Mouse to speak — on the grounds that “if we are going to invite a rat, why not a good rat?”[2]

Actors

  • Some actors are modest about their success. When he was asked about the secret of his success, Alfred Lunt once replied, “I speak in a clear voice and try not to bump into the furniture.” Claude Rains, one of the wonderful supporting actors in Casablanca, once said, “I learn the lines and pray to God.” According to Boris Karloff, whose most famous role was Frankenstein’s monster, “You could heave a brick out of a window and hit ten actors who could play my parts. I just happened to be on the corner at the right time.”[3]
  • When Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell were invited to put their footprints in concrete outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Ms. Monroe noticed that Jimmy Durante had left an imprint of his famous nose and Betty Grable had left an imprint of one of her famous legs. Thinking of what she and Ms. Russell were famous for, she suggested that she sit on the wet concrete and that Ms. Russell lean forward and allow the front of her sweater to make an imprint. Unfortunately, Ms. Monroe’s suggestion was vetoed.[4]
  • Occasionally, actors do miss cues. Hugh Manning once found himself alone on stage after an actor missed his cue. The only available props were a piano, which he didn’t know how to play, and a vase of daffodils. He sat at the piano, ran his fingers along the keys, then smelled the daffodils. Not knowing what else to do to entertain the audience until his fellow actor appeared, he ate a daffodil. The audience laughed, and for the rest of the run of the play, Mr. Manning ate a daffodil on stage each night.[5]
  • When Honor Blackman, who played Mrs. Cathy Gale, left the TV series The Avengers, Peter Graham Scott directed the auditions for her replacement. He had met Diana Rigg, who became Mrs. Emma Peel on The Avengers, earlier at a New Year’s Eve party. The party was crowded, someone knocked a plate of sandwiches from his hand, he bent over to retrieve them, and lying underneath the piano was Diana Rigg, who said, “Hello. How are you?”[6]
  • Mrs. Patrick Campbell was very capable of being insulting when she disliked something, even while on stage. During the famous screen scene in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s School for Scandal, Mrs. Campbell felt that Fred Terry and William Farren were acting too slowly. Despite being on stage behind the screen in the role of Mrs. Teazle, Mrs. Campbell suddenly shouted, “Oh, do get on, you old pongers!”[7]
  • In 1940 at the Old Vic, Harley Granville-Barker unofficially directed King Lear, meaning he did the preparatory work but would not allow his name to be announced as director. John Gielgud played King Lear, and he read through the entire play for Mr. Granville-Barker. After hearing the reading, Mr. Granville-Barker told Mr. Gielgud, “You got two lines right. Now we will begin to work.”[8]
  • After Jackie Chan became a big movie star in Hong Kong, he went “Hollywood.” He wore a different Rolex watch for each day of the week, and to show what a big star he was and what he could get away with, he walked into an elegant Hong Kong hotel — wearing only his shorts.[9]

Ad-libs

  • The late-night talk-show hosts are frequently witty. When Johnny Carson failed to properly make a pretzel out of a length of dough, the lady leading the demonstration handed him another length of pizza dough, saying, “Try this piece. I don’t think yours is long enough.” Johnny replied, “Yes, I think I’ve heard that before.” Michael Jordan once appeared with David Letterman after the NBA had banned his black-and-red Air Jordan basketball shoes because they didn’t have any white. David quipped, “Neither does the NBA.”[10]

[1] Source: Judith Pinkerton Josephson, Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers’ Rights, pp. 101-102.

[2] Source: Maury Maverick, Jr., Texas Iconoclast, p. 64.

[3] Source: Leslie Halliwell, The Filmgoer’s Book of Quotes, pp. 3, 4, and 111.

[4] Source: Michèle Brown and Ann O’Connor, Hammer and Tongues, p. 154.

[5] Source: Gyles Brandreth, Great Theatrical Disasters, p. 105.

[6] Source: Patrick Macnee, The Avengers and Me, pp. 62-63.

[7] Source: John Gielgud, Distinguished Company, p. 17.

[8] Source: John Gielgud, Stage Directions, p. 51.

[9] Source: Joe Bob Briggs, Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History!, p. 208.

[10] Source: Joe Garner, Made You Laugh, pp. 49-50.

https://www.amazon.com/Maximum-Cool-Anecdotes-David-Bruce-ebook/dp/B003VP9W46

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Don’t Fear the Reaper: 250 Anecdotes

Introduction: Notes Left Behind

  • In August 2007, six-year-old Elena Desserich died of a rare form of brain cancer known as brainstem glioma that afflicts mostly children. Her father, Keith, said, “They told us at the very beginning that she had 135 days to live.” As the brain tumor progressed, Elena lost the ability to speak, but she retained the ability to draw and to write notes to her parents and to her younger sister, Grace, to say, “I love you.” Her mother, Brooke, said, “That was her way to [let] us know everything would be OK.” After Elena died, her family discovered that Elena had left notes hidden in the house for them to find. Keith said that “they would be in between CDs or between books on our bookshelf. We started to collect them, and they would all say ‘I love you Mom, Dad, and Grace.’ We kept finding them, and still to this day, we keep finding them.” Elena was clever in choosing hiding places for the notes. Keith said, “She would tuck them into bookcases, tuck them into dishes, china you don’t touch every year and you’d lift it up and there’d be a note in it.” Each parent has a sealed note that has never been opened. Keith explained, “We always want to know that there’s one more note that we haven’t read yet.” Keith has written a book titled Notes Left Behind: 135 Days with Elena about Elena’s notes. It includes the journal that he wrote during Elena’s last days so that her sister Grace would have something to remember her by. Profits from the book go to the Desserichs’ cancer foundation: The Cure Starts Now. Keith said, “They [readers] should take the time to listen and not get caught up in the day’s rush. […] I’ll never forget that lesson. Wish I would’ve learned it earlier.”[1]

Activism

  • In February 2011 protesters massed in Madison, Wisconsin, in response to Wisconsin’s union-busting governor, Scott Walker, a Republican, who gave massive tax cuts to businesses, then declared a fiscal emergency and tried to make ordinary employees be the ones to pay for the tax cuts. His way of doing that was to remove the collective bargaining rights of many public employees. According to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, some public employees — the kind who tend to be Republicans — would still retain their collective bargaining rights. Being a protester means staying on the scene for long periods of time, and of course protesters get hungry. Ian’s Pizza in Madison, Wisconsin, received a request at 3:30 a.m., asking if it had any leftover pizza. It did, and so the hungry protesters got fed. Word got around that Ian’s Pizza had gone above and beyond what an ordinary place of business would probably do at 3:30 a.m., and soon orders flooded in from people who wanted to order pizzas to be given to the protesters — a way of showing support for them. On Saturday, February 19, Ian’s delivered more than 300 pizzas to the protesters. The calls to order pizzas for the protesters came from both near and far. The far places included Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the UK. Ian’s Facebook page thanked the people who wanted to feed the protesters and added, “Believe us when we say we are not really accustomed to getting pizza orders from the entire country (let alone internationally!)”[2]
  • Riot Grrrl Suzy Corrigan was bullied in high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fortunately, some punk girls came to her rescue by telling the bully, “If you have a problem with her, then we have a problem with you.” Many of the girls in her high school were annoyed when a man started passing out anti-abortion propaganda just outside of school grounds. A few girls asked him why he was creeping around schoolgirls who were way too young for him. Many girls discovered that the propaganda could be chewed up into spitballs, which they launched at him with McDonald’s straws.[3]
  • When Joan Baez was 23 years old and already a successful folk singer, she publicly announced that she would no longer pay in federal income taxes the 60 percent that went to armaments. Of course, the federal government sent tax collectors to each of her concerts to get money to pay for its war machine, but at least Ms. Baez had made the government aware of her beliefs. (The government also had to spend money to collect the money — money that would otherwise have gone to armaments.)[4]
  • Feminist and riot grrrl Red Chidgey performed a notable piece of activism one Valentine’s Day. She set up a table as if for a dinner party complete with plates and silverware settings. On each plate she had written two things: 1) a myth of rape and 2) a reality of rape. The activism was successful: Many people worked their way around the table, reading each plate.[5]

Actors

  • When Bette Davis — not widely regarded as beautiful — first arrived in Hollywood, the official greeter did not meet her. Oh, the official greeter was at the train station, but as he explained later, “No one faintly like an actress got off the train.” By the way, Ms. Davis wanted to rise to the top of whatever field she was in and to be the best she could be. She once said, “If Hollywood didn’t work out, I was all prepared to be the best secretary in the world.”[6]
  • Comedian Bert Lahr worried about other actors trying to steal a scene from him, so when he was a star other performers were under orders not to move when he was speaking. Once, he complained to a theatrical producer that a certain actor had been moving, but the producer denied that. Mr. Lahr said, “You’re wrong. Tonight he was moving his facial muscles.”[7]
  • When Audrey Hepburn appeared as Eliza Doolittle in the movie version of My Fair Lady, she was made to appear dirty as the flower girl Eliza. Her costume was made to appear dirty, and it even appeared that she had dirt under her fingernails. However, Ms. Hepburn always insisted on wearing perfume although she was otherwise in character.[8]
  • Sometimes Tallulah Bankhead had a weak grasp of reality, as when she said, “Cocaine isn’t habit-forming. I should know — I’ve been using it for years.” At other times, she had a firm grasp of reality; for example, in her later years, when a fan asked if she was really the “famous Tallulah,” she replied, “What’s left of her.”[9]
  • While Bob Hope was filming The Road to Hong Kong, he met Zsa Zsa Gabor, who told him, “Bob, darlink, I understand that there is the most vonderful part in your picture for me.” Mr. Hope replied, “There sure is, honey. We’ll have it written tomorrow.” Then Mr. Hope told his writers to create a part for Ms. Gabor.[10]

[1] Source: Karin Johnson, “Family Finds Letters From 6-Year-Old After Cancer Claims Her Proceeds From Book To Go Toward Cancer Research.” WLWT.com. 10 December 2008 <http://www.wlwt.com/health/18248330/detail.html&gt;. Also: “Girl’s ‘Notes Left Behind’ Made Into Book: Elena Desserich Left Parents Notes Before She Died.” WLWT.com. 28 October 2009 <http://www.wlwt.com/family/21429609/detail.html&gt;. Also: “Young Artist Loses Fight With Rare Brain Cancer.” WLWT.com. 13 August 2007 <http://www.wlwt.com/news/13882934/detail.html&gt;.

[2] Source: Paul Krugman, “Wisconsin Power Play.” New York Times. 20 February 2011 <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/opinion/21krugman.html?_r=1&ref=paulkrugman&gt;. Also: Ian’s Pizza by the Slice. Facebook. <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ians-Pizza-by-the-Slice/72866932924?v=wall&gt;. Accessed on 22 February 2011.

[3] Source: Suzy Corrigan, “Art, Politics and How One Grrrl Joined the Feminist Riot,” pp. 154-156, 158. Collected in this book: Nadine Monem, editor. Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now!

[4] Source: Roxane Orgill, Shout, Sister, Shout!, pp. 77-78.

[5] Source: Red Chidgey, “Riot Grrrl Writing,” p. 101. Collected in this book: Nadine Monem, editor. Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now!

[6] Source: Leslie Halliwell, The Filmgoer’s Book of Quotes, pp. 47-48.

[7] Source: Darryl Lyman, The Jewish Comedy Catalog, p. 142.

[8] Source: Stanley Holloway, Wiv a Little Bit O’ Luck, pp. 210-211.

[9] Source: Leslie Halliwell, The Filmgoer’s Book of Quotes, p. 15.

[10] Source: Bob Hope, The Road to Hollywood, p. 91.

 

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Smedwick: “I continue to be struck by the irony of a man who was selected because he ‘tells it like it is’ needing an army of people to tell us what he really meant to say.”

Irony

RECOMMENDED READING:

Dahlia Lithwick: How the President Obstructed Justice (Slate)

Why legal scholar Laurence Tribe believes Trump committed impeachable offenses in his firing of James Comey.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/05/did_president_trump_obstruct_justice_in_firing_james_comey.html

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William Shakespeare’s 38 Plays: Retellings in Prose

This is how I spent a few years of my retirement.

 

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