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Friday, April 25, 2014

APRIL 26 -- FATE KEEPS HAPPENING


On this day in 1893 I, Anita Loos, was born.


Anita Loos and John Emerson
by Edward Steichen for VANITY FAIR (1928)

“I've always loved high style in low company.”
― Anita Loos





So of course that rascal, Clemens, suggested I take over today's posting. 

So what dreary dross does he leave me to talk about?


In 1865 on this date,

John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, is surrounded by federal troops in a barn in Virginia.

He ends up dead, although there remains some doubt as to whether he took his own life.

And in dealing with the government, darlings, when there is doubt ... there is no doubt.

Roland wanted me to include this for our friend, David Walston:




On this date in 1986, an explosion and fire at the No. 4 reactor of Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine

results in a nuclear meltdown sending radioactivity into the atmosphere.

And Russia is still making things "hot" for the Ukraine.  At least those boys are consistent!

I joke to blunt my memory of those poor souls who entered the Shadowlands from that terrible accident.

Let us have a moment of silence for those two brave volunteers who jumped into certain radioactive death to prevent an even worse disaster:




In 1989, a deadly tornado destroys all structures in an area of 2.3 sq mi in Saturia, Bangladesh

leaving 80,000 homeless and a reported death toll of 1,300.

And there is simply nothing funny about shattered lives and anguish no matter the distance from your front porch.


In 1982, Rod Stewart, that awful singer who must sandpaper his vocal chords every night,

was mugged in broad daylight in Central Park.  If you are wondering why I am smiling -- I was that broad.




Oh, who am I you ask? 


You darlings are just so wonderful for a dead girl's ego.  I started writing scenarios for D. W. Griffith while in my teens, and eventually worked on over sixty films,


but my most enduring creation is the 1925 novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, reviewed by the Times Literary Supplement as "a masterpiece of comic literature."  (Even if I do the quoting myself!)





The family has always used the correct French pronunciation of our last name which is lohse.

 However, I myself pronounce my name as if it were spelled luce, since most people pronounce it that way and it was too much trouble to correct them ...

And watching them try to say it correctly made them look as if they were on the verge of a seizure!




In his journal entry for this day in 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson describes a pleasant afternoon spent

with Henry David Thoreau, and a lesson learned:

"Yesterday afternoon I went to the Cliff with Henry Thoreau.

At night I went out into the dark and saw a glimmering star and heard a frog, and Nature seemed to say,

"Well do not these suffice? Here is a new scene, a new experience.

Ponder it, Emerson, and not like the foolish world, hanker after thunders and multitudes and vast landscapes, the sea or Niagara."



The two old dears were new friends at this point, Emerson’s nearby journal references to Thoreau just as delighted:

“My good Henry Thoreau made this else solitary afternoon sunny with his simplicity & clear perception.

How comic is simplicity in this double-dealing quacking world."


All I can say is that old Emerson must have been acquainted with the world of agents and Hollywood!


“It isn't that gentlemen really prefer blondes, it's just that we look dumber.”
Anita Loos




Excuse me, Anita, my dear -- but I must interrupt.  I can brook no one else to be chosen for the letter W in authors.

Allow me to introduce myself, readers. 

I am the ghost of Oscar Wilde and the star of the 1895 Egyptian supernatural thriller: DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE.

"Is the story about me? If so, I will listen to it, for I am extremely fond of fiction."
 - Oscar Wilde




 

15 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

I find myself wondering how Anita and Dorothy Parker would have got along. Some similarities, some huge differences.
And I love the ghost of Wilde chucking a wobbly at the thought that anyone except him could grace the letter W.

Helena said...

I know a Ukrainian man whose father was sent in to help shut down Chernobyl; he'd been in perfect health but not long afterwards died of cancer.

I read Gentlemen Prefer Blondes years ago (I've got the old paperback around somewhere), and it is indeed a fun comic novel.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Watched the video - still hard to believe the Chernobyl disaster could even happen.

Robin said...

Lots of good stuff here.

<<<---And in dealing with the government, darlings, when there is doubt...there is no doubt.

Hahahaha. I laughed out loud there. So true.

Chernobyl was a disaster that everyone recognizes now. I am still reading (rarely, but occasionally) about the reactors in China that melted down. The last I read they still didn't have control over them and they were steadily leaking into the ocean. Makes me wonder if we will kill off all our maritime friends before this is done.

Love Emerson and Thoreau. I discovered them via English class in high school and agree with the fellow on the video tape.

D.G. Hudson said...

And I'm extremely fond of Oscar and his witticisms. Much appreciated Roland, to have some Wilde quotes to start my day, as he says much, so well.

Not a fan of Marilyn Monroe, but she was a pawn in many ways. Another sad Hollywood story with a bit of politics thrown in.

I am a fan of Henry David Thoreau, as the person who is an independent thinker always catches my interest.

Warhol is on stage at my blog. Will writers talk about him fondly in another fifty or a hundred years? I wonder.

Inger said...

Reading this I realize how much we all have in common with each other, at least in small ways. I would like nothing better than spending an afternoon with Thoreau. I who pride myself on wanting to buy nothing at this point in my life, find myself yearning for some early editions of Vanity Fair. And I too have given up on correcting people who mispronounce my name, my first name, which has a soft g. Chernobyl was a horrific disaster. I was in Sweden soon after, the country was affected by the fallout. Unfortunately, I think there will be many more heroes from Ukraine before this current crisis is over.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Elephant's Child:
Anita and Dorothy were too similar I believe to do anything but strike sparks off one another -- especially if Dorothy had reviewed one of Anita's books scathingly. On the other hand, should one of them happened upon the other being attacked by a male, a strong friendship could have developed.

Yes, indeed, Wilde will chuck a wobbly from time to time!

Helena:
Chernobyl had many unsung heroes, whose bravery needs a Milton to write of them.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES was praised in Communist Russia and a bestseller -- but Anita wryly noticed that NONE of the royalties ever made it back to her from those sales!

Alex:
The Chernobyl disaster was triggered by carelessness and disregard and ended by stirling courage and epic self-sacrifice.

In that video, the scene where those two volunteers perched atop the super-heated radiotive pool of lethal water really hit me.

When one's hand trembled from sheer terror, the other reached out and took it, giving the man a squeeze of comfort -- and then, they both plunged to their deaths -- but not before they managed to complete their mission and end the disaster.

Robin:
Yes, witht the government, when there is doubt -- there is NO doubt. :-)

It is frightening to think about those Chinese reactors. Sigh. It is in our nature to destroy ourselves ... and much of the world with us.

Emerson and Margaret Fuller are major characters in my historical fantasy, RITES OF PASSAGE and ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM. Sam McCord and Emerson strike sparks from one another during that 1853 voyage through the Bermuda Triangle. Thoreau even saves Margaret Fuller's life in this tale@!

D.G.:
I have a volume of Wilde's complete collection of his letters -- which I manage to get actual quotes to use in my books to stay true to his character.

Poor Marilyn -- she seemed to be a woman caught forever in childhood, never being able to escape becoming a victim.

Thoreau's Walden is one of Wolf Howl's favorite books which he often quotes in THE LAST SHAMAN.

Independent thinkers are often contrary but stimulating company on long dark nights alone with their books.

Warhol may not be remembered 100 years from now, but will JK Rowling or any of us? Best to make most of the time given us -- at least that's what JRR Tolkien advises! :-)

Inger:
Oh, so now you tell me about the soft G! :-)

Spending a spring afternoon with Thoreau in the woods here would be illuminating and enlightening -- and mind-expanding. But he would probably like to walk through the woods, and sometimes I just like to sit by a stream and watch life flow by me!

I miss my early issues of LIFE magazine that my step-father collected as a boy -- they burned up with my home years back. :-(

Chernobyl was more horrific than we will ever know. Man does such terrible things to himself and his brothers.

Good to know that I have a kindred spirit in you. :-)

Chrys Fey said...

This post has a great mash-up! I really enjoyed all the quote videos. I can never get enough of good, interesting quotes. Thank you so much for sharing.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Chrys:
Quotes are great for my attention span these days!! I'm glad you enjoyed today's post.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Roland....

HAPPY W DAY! Just three more. This challenge is killing me. LOL. You're used to writing/posting everyday... I haven's since my first year blogging.

As for today...

Some wonderful tone, words, quotes, and just plain fun!

Wendy said...

I was living in the south of England in 1986 when No. 4 reactor of Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. And may I say, we were 'very' nervous about what would drift across the sea to us.

Excellent post, Roland :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Michael:
Happy Surviving these next 3 days. I may take a rest myself after these little jaunts down my Outlaw Trail. Being an outlaw is tiring!

I'm glad you liked my post of today!

Wendy:
Yes, global air currents could one day take out the entire human race given a limited nuclear war as in that Gregory Peck movie whose name eludes me.

Thanks for the kind words, Roland

DAVID WALSTON said...

Batman the Brave and the bold with Steampunk John Wilkes Booth! That got my Batman fix for the day.
The movie that you were thinking of was 'On The Beach' it had Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire in it.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

David:
I thought you would like that alternate history Batman!

Thanks for the assist on the movie name. It was one of my favorites -- sad but engrossing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Roland .. I was particularly interested in the Mark Edmundson interview - and hope to get the paperback version later this year.

Then I noted the Chernobyl video - having been in South Africa I didn't see much about it .. so I'll be back to look at this ..

Lots of information here - all good stuff .. cheers Hilary