Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gershwin's Ghost: the return

 “George even passed the most acid of tests for great leadership by remaining a presence to his followers even after he’d left the planet. Ann ‘Willow Weep for Me’ Ronell told me some half century after his death that she still ‘saw’ Gershwin regularly in the crowds of the Upper West Side, looking as if he’d just walked out the door. And on that same day, Burton ‘How About You’ Lane testified to an even more precise epiphany. Lane had recently been to a concert of Gershwin’s newly-refurbished piano rolls being played on a baby grand pianola in a pool of spotlight. And as the notes began to go mechanically down and up, ‘There was George for a moment,’ he exclaimed, ‘playing away. I almost passed out.’”

- The House that George Built, Wilfrid Shed

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"IT!. . . COULD!. . . WORK!" - famous movie quotes #387

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Gene Wilder is the sexiest man alive

Failure quotes

 Failure Quotes and Sayings

FAILUREisonly atemporary chantionetoustraightoryournextsuccessOnly thosewho dareto fail greatly caneverachieve greatlyur busineinlife is nottosucceed, but toontinue tofail ingoodpirits.If thereexists nopossibility offailure, hen victory is meaningless ailuri aman hasblunderedbut is notcapable fcashingin on the experience.Remember, noman is afailure who has friends.One mustbegod to be abl to tell uccessesrom failureswithout makingamistakeExperience is simplythenamewegive ur mistakes.Success
 isgoing from failure to failurewithout losingnthusiasmThe only real failure in life is the failureto tryThere ar noecrets to succes resultof preparation hard workand learningrom failureLife’seal faile is whenou donotrealize how close yowere tsuccesswhen you gave up.Success builds character, failure reveals iThere are no ailures just experiences and your reactions to themFailure is the tuition you pay for successA man may allmany times, but he won’t be a failure until he says that someonpushedhim.Failure is notfalling down but refusing to get upYou cannot do wrong without suffering wronHe who failto plan, plans to fail.Defeat is not theworst of failures. Not to have tried is the truefailure.Notice thedifference betweenwhhappens when a man says to himself, “I have failed three times,” and what happens when he says, “I am a failureI have not failed. I’ve just found 10ways thatwon’t workNeveconfuse a single defeat withainal defeat.

Monday, April 27, 2015

George Gershwin: the graceful ghost

A few more intriguing bits about Gershwin’s work, indicating he must have had a deep interest in Jewish mysticism:

In Jewish mythology, a dybbuk (Yiddish: דיבוק, from Hebrew word meaning adhere or cling) is a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person.

A migrant soul?! And perhaps Ira, raised in the same tradition, was subconsciously thinking of the same thing, his soul merging with his brother’s.  I don’t see GG as a dybbuk at all – he was a gentle soul and everyone loved him, though I also think he was extremely lonely and was completely disoriented after his death. And yet, if you strip away the evil connotations, a dybbuk is just an unhappy camper like a ghost, frustrated or feeling incomplete or not listened to. This is why Chanon in the story is “reduced to practicing evil rites,” because he felt so powerless.

I am very surprised, but perhaps I shouldn’t be, that the writer of I Got Rhythm and Rhapsody in Blue could be so interested in dark Jewish ritual, but he did after all grow up bilingual, i. e. speaking Yiddish, so the stories were there.  You look at this and think: George Gershwin? Mysticism, migrant souls, WHAT? Then you dig up all this stuff. Instead of developing The Dybbuk (the rights were tied up), he wrote Porgy and Bess which was also about a marginalized and powerless black community. There is a chilling song in it called The Buzzard which is about a vast dark bird waiting to  swoop down and feed on Porgy’s flesh:  he tells it, “Ain’t nobody dead this mornin’!” This is like something out of classic myth.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

49 Everyday Phrases by William Shakespeare!

Shakespearian phrases we use every day!  Try to have a conversation without them.

Illustrated by my best friend, father, brother, uncle, cousin, and all-around mitochondrial chimera, William Shatner.

(There were supposed to be 50 of these. I don't know what happened to the last one.)

- "Dead as a doornail" - Henry VI, Part II

- "Not slept one wink" - Cymbeline

- "The world's mine oyster" - The Merry Wives of Windsor

- "Obscene" - Love's Labour's Lost

- "Bedazzled" - The Taming of the Shrew

- "In stitches" - Twelfth Night

- "Addiction" - Othello

- "Faint-hearted" - Henry VI, Part I

- "One fell swoop" - Macbeth

- "Vanish into thin air" - Othello

- "Swagger" - Henry V

- "Own flesh and blood" - Hamlet

- "Zany" - Love's Labour's Lost

- "Give the devil his due" - Henry IV, Part I

- "There's method in my madness" - Hamlet

- "Salad days" - Antony and Cleopatra

- "Spotless reputation" - Richard II

- "Full circle" - King Lear

- "All of a sudden" - The Taming of the Shrew

- "Come what, come may" - Macbeth

- "Fancy-free" - A Midsummer Night's Dream

- "Lie low" - Much Ado About Nothing

- "Send packing" - Henry IV

- "Foregone conclusion" - Othello

- "A sorry sight" - Macbeth

- "For goodness sake" - Henry VIII

- "Good riddance" - The Merchant of Venice

- "Neither here not there" - Othello

- "Mum's the word" - Henry VI, Part II

- "What's done is done" - Macbeth

- "Eaten out of house and home" - Henry IV, Part II

- "Rant" - Hamlet

- "Knock knock! Who's there?" - Macbeth

- "With bated breath" - The Merchant of Venice

- "A wild goose chase" - Romeo and Juliet

- "Assassination" - Macbeth

- "Too much of a good thing" - As You Like It

- "A heart of gold" - Henry V

- "Such stuff as dreams are made on" - The Tempest

- "Fashionable" - Troilus and Cressida

- "Puking" - As You Like It

-  “Green-eyed monster” – The Merchant of Venice

-  “As good luck would have it” – The Merry Wives of Windsor

-  “The be-all and end-all” – Macbeth

-  “A sorry sight” – Macbeth

-  “Fair play” – The Tempest

-  “Good riddance” – The Merchant of Venice

- “In a pickle” – The Tempest

- “Love is blind” – The Merchant of Venice

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Bentley on the Bed (with Mummy)

Dating famous dead men (or: who could ask for anything more?)

Margaret Gunning and George Gershwin
Numerological Compatibility

Compatibility level: 25% - A relationship that presents frequent challenges and requires much compromise.

This match combination is particularly interesting. The different natures of Margaret Gunning's Life Path number 3 and George's 7 make for a relationship that either lasts for about two weeks before going up in flames, or remains exciting and powerful for a lifetime. If their relationship has existed for quite some time and can be considered stable, Margaret Gunning and George Gershwin may well be soul mates for life. If the relationship started recently and has already experienced considerable ups and downs, they should be prepared to let go. It is also quite common for this combination to turn from romance into deep friendship immediately after a romantic fall-out.

Margaret Gunning has a restless, energetic, unconventional mind that happily explores the boundaries of creativity and originality. Like a kaleidoscope, Margaret Gunning's mind changes colors and shapes and enchants those around it. George has a much more serious, but no less unconventional way of looking at life. George is an untiring seeker of truth and understanding. George gets great satisfaction out of quiet moments of contemplation and soul searching. In fact, George thrives on the clarity and realizations that come from such moments and from moments of spiritual enlightenment.

Margaret Gunning and George have very different approaches in the way they think. But, on the other hand, they have in common the fact that they both are unconventional and not afraid to wander off the beaten path. Although they have different needs and they find their happiness in very different ways, such ways are not incompatible. It is precisely their uniquely different intellects that make this relationship lively and interesting. Margaret Gunning and George complement each other. They give each other something they would not be able to give themselves. Margaret Gunning brings sunshine and an intuitive faith to George, while George offers margaret gunning a taste of the beauty found in exploring the depths of life itself. Like the sun and the moon, they supply light and comfort. Although on opposite ends of the spectrum in some ways, Margaret Gunning and George bring light and comfort to each other’s life and, as long as they do not compete for each other’s space, they can live in great harmony.


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Numerology Compatibility | Margaret Gunning and George Gershwin

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Knit one, squirrel fail

This is one of those examples of false advertising in knitting patterns. Knitting a squirrel has become an obsession for me ever since I found out I can't freaking  DO it. I must have tried out seven different patterns, all of which looked fairly easy. The above pattern, NOT knitted by me, is an illustration of a famous pattern called Knit One, Squirrel Two. Looks very squirrel-esque, doesn't it? But it's knitted in the round, a technique I can only partially do. I can knit in the round on two needles (a technique called Magic Loop), but I can't work with three or four. This thing had SO many twists and turns, backing up and re-knitting various rows and picking up stitches where there are none, etc., that the squirrel's head ended up on backwards. 

I didn't keep my results but gutted it in dismay, disappointing a little girl who wanted a squirrel for her birthday.

Then I find this in Google Images, and the last thing I want to do is to criticize someone else's knitting, but this is what Knit One, Squirrel Two looks like, knitted up by an experienced knitter. This is the actual result from someone who actually GOT a result and didn't need to gut the little bugger. You tell me. How much of a resemblance do you see ?

There are various other examples of false advertising in knitting patterns, in which even if you do it right, it just looks wrong, or, worse, plug-ugly.

This is the adorable little rackety-coon from Kath Dalmeny's World of Knitted Toys, a rather basic pattern book which generally speaking yields poor results.

This is the rackety-coon as knitted, and not by me. You can see how out-of-proportion it is, though it's obviously neatly-knitted and nicely stuffed and sewn together. In fact, this photo was actually displayed as an example on an Etsy ad for buying the pattern. You tell me: does this look like a raccoon, or a paraplegic anteater?

This is the one that all the kids wanted, an adorable panda that looks much more naturalistic than the teddy pandas of  most patterns. This is another Kath Dalmeny optical illusion.

And again, let me reassure you that this is a well-knitted piece (though not by me).  I'm not criticizing anyone's knitting. But this is not a panda. The legs are like stilts. The nose is far too pointed, and the shape of the body is more piglike than pandalike.

This was the pattern I used for the poor panda that I stabbed to death with scissors before gutting it so I could recycle its stuffing.

And I could go on, but I'm giving the squirrel another try, using elements from three different patterns: the arms and legs from Knit One, Squirrel Two; the feet from a pattern called Tweed Toads (which worked out for me:  I have a Tweed Toad sitting on a knitted lily pad on my printer);  and the body from a nice little Santa Squirrel thing, minus the red outfit. I don't yet know how I am going to make the tail.

The ghost in the workroom: George appears to Ira


Quite a long time ago I wrote in my diary, “George is a spook”. I wasn’t quite sure what I meant by that. Then, in one of the better GG bios, I read this:

“As Ira grew older, he became not less but more obsessed with George. When he was in his eighties, Michael Feinstein, who had become something of a surrogate son to him, heard him talking to George in his sleep. These were, according to Feinstein, “lengthy conversations” that were “often filled with anger, centering around Ira’s desire not to stay here on earth and George’s insistence that he stay”. Just before Ira’s death in 1983, he revealed to Feinstein in a hushed voice something he had never told anyone else. Shortly after George’s passing, he had looked into his brother’s workroom upstairs at 1019 North Roxbury and seen him “sitting on the sofa, smiling and nodding to me. It terrified me. I wasn’t drinking. I wasn’t drunk. But I saw him.”

This may have started the whole thing for me, because I had consciously forgotten it. George died in 1937, Ira in 1983. It looks like maybe the one who was “stuck” was Ira, and George was trying to help him get unstuck. Ironic, since GG went far too soon, and because of the horrific manner of his dying, didn’t really know what was happening to him. Ira was a very practical, down-to-earth businessman who just happened to be a genius lyricist, and this wasn’t some