Archive for January, 2010

Tell ‘Em Groucho Sent Ya…

January 26, 2010

Grouchy_Marks

Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx was born on October 2, 1890 in New York City.  His mother Minnie worked as a promoter for her brother, Julius’s Uncle Al Shean, a famous vaudeville comedian (“Absolutely, Mr. Gallagher” “Positively, Mr. Shean”).

Groucho was willing to give up performing and pursue a dream of becoming a doctor, but Minnie organized Groucho, his younger brother Gummo, and a girl named Mabel O’Donnell into a vaudeville act called The Three Nightingales.

Before long, Groucho’s older brothers Chico and Harpo joined the act, which eventually metamorphosed into The Six Mascots (Minnie and the boys’ Aunt Hannah rounded out the sextet). The Marx Brothers changed overnight into a comedy group.  Later blacklisted from vaudeville by E.F. Albee, the Marx Brothers made their fame and fortune in the movie industry beginning in the late 1920’s.

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(To read a witty and sarcastic letter that Groucho Marx wrote back to Warner Brothers, who warned him of possible infringement of WB’s film “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, as the Marx Brothers were making a comedy called “A Night in Casablanca.” …click here).

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Groucho certainly was grouchy.  At times, he was difficult to get close to. He suffered from depression but he was truly an American original.  Woody Allen praised him by saying, “”Groucho Marx was the best comedian this country ever produced. He is simply unique in the same way that Picasso or Stravinsky are.”

A famous French witticism states “Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho.”; “I’m a Marxist of the Groucho variety”.

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My favorite all-time Groucho Marx quote is:  “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”

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~ Say the secret “woid”, win a hundred dollars!!!! * quack quack *

Duck_Soup

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The Fictional Sinking That Preceeded The Titanic

January 22, 2010

titanfutility

American author Morgan Robertson (1861-1915) published in 1898 the short fictional novel called “Futility” in which a British passenger luxury liner named the “Titan” hits an iceberg and sinks on her maiden voyage from New York to London without enough lifeboats in the month of April in the North Atlantic.

Ship-to-Ship Comparisons:

Chart

Too eerily similar to be coincidental. Possibly prophetic? How could Robertson have written such a tale fourteen years prior of its real-life counterpart coming true? Was he a psychic visionary?

Mailboxes Are Disappearing

January 18, 2010

Where have all the mailboxes gone?

Have you noticed?  Many mailbox drop-off locations are disappearing. Quietly and unassumingly, the United States Postal Service has been removing postal drop-off mailboxes from street corners because the demand for mail has declined in many cities throughout the United States.

Email and the Internet has much to do with this trend as many people send e-greetings, text messages and/ or pay online instead of via “snail” mail as their high-tech preference over the postage stamp.

This is very concerning because how is the post office expected to pay government pensions to all those retired postal workers (hide your guns, folks!) if business is markedly down?

Stay tuned… the check’s still in the mail!

Mary Had A Little Turkey

January 17, 2010

So what does the famous children’s nursery rhyme, “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” and the holiday of Thanksgiving have in common?

None other than Sarah Hale.

Sarah Josepha Buell was born on October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire.  While working as a schoolteacher in 1811, her father opened a tavern called The Rising Sun in Newport; she met David Hale the same year. The couple married at The Rising Sun, on October 23, 1813, and had five children together.

She became the editor of American Ladie’s Magazine and, later, Godey’s Lady Book.  She enjoyed writing and was the creator of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

Mrs. Hale was also credited with persuading President Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving into a national holiday.

She died on August 30, 1879 at the age of 90 when her “fleece” was white as snow.

And that’s no turkey!