Bulwer-Lytton 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on August 10, 2014














It was an overcast saturday morning. The good vibes of the cool morning more than made up for the lack of sunshine. PG made the yard sale run, found an autobiography of Jane Fonda, and said he might be back later to negotiate other items. He didn’t go back.

Returning home, PG saw the 2014 Bulwer-Lytton winners on the innertubes. These were copied into a document, and transferred to the laptop. A pot of coffee was made. The operation moved to the plastic table in the backyard. Life is good.

The wifi connection here is weak. This eliminates the temptation to check in on facebook and twitter. Real progress is possible in a world without interruptions. Like yesterday, when the man in the next cubicle said “how would you like to hear my most embarrassing story from junior high?”

Chamblee54 has written about the BW contest in 2010, 2012, and 2013. There is no telling what went on in August 2011. Here is a description of the contest.

To paraphrase Ru Paul, the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest is. A function of the english department of San Jose State University, in California, the contest awards “a pittance” to the winner. The idea is to submit the opening sentence to a horrible novel, and give the winner to the worst of the worst, the scum of the the skimmer, the Milhous of the Nixon. Email entries are accepted, preferably in Arial 12.

The award is named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton . Mr. B-L was the model for Monty Python’s English Upper Class Twit. The opening words of his novel “Paul Clifford” are “It was a dark and stormy night”. Entrants in the contest are discouraged from saying ” It was a stark and dorky night”.

So the BW plot continues. No, bitchy waiter, this means Bulwer-Lytton. The first run through is to read everything, and make a note of the ones that might be post worthy. Or anyone from Georgia, no matter how indifferent the prose is.Alas, no one from the peach state made the cut. It doesn’t have to be purple prose … chartreuse, magenta, mauve, or taupe work very well. Fifty Shades of Teal probably would not have been as popular. Sometimes you can be too creative.

A value added feature of the chamblee54/Bulwer-Lytton partnership involves the names of writers. While PG is reading the entries, he makes a list of amusing names. This has nothing the do with the quality, or lack of same, in the written entries. The 2014 Best Bulwer-Lytton Contest Names are: Amelia Kynaston, Las Vegas NV, Cat Clerkin, Greensboro NC, Clark Snodgrass, Huntington Beach CA, Damian Alabakoff, Vancouver WA, Eva Niessner, Cockeysville MD, Jim Biggie, Melrose MA, John Holmes, St. Petersburg FL, Karen Arutunoff, Tulsa OK, Kelben Graf, Milwaukie OR, Kevin Hogg, Cranbrook BC, Shalom Chung, Hong Kong, Talha bin Hamid, Karachi, Pakistan, Terri Meeker, Nixa MO, Wendy White Lees, Ho-Ho-Kus NJ, Zachary Bezemek, West Bloomfield MI

After copying the best names from the BW site, Shalom Chung was chosen as the winner. PG was going to give him/her a pass, based hilarity of the handle, but the Hongkonger made the cut with terrible writing…
His ex-wife’s personality was like chocolate – not the smoky, tangy, exquisitely rich and full-bodied type, but the over-sweet, tooth-cracking, factory-processed, made-with-vegetable-oil kind that leaves one with diabetes and an aneurysm the size of a grape. — Shalom Chung, Hong Kong
Then there two entries, in a row, about Lizzie Borden. …
With her interest in dime-store cowboy novels finally fading and Christmas just days away, little Lizzy Borden sat quietly in the corner and crossed “tomahawk” off her Christmas list, writing instead the word AXE, carefully in her best penmanship, which made her mother and father so proud. — Frank McWilliams, Telford PA … It was a bright and cloudless day, as young Lizzie hummed a cheerful tune to herself, whilst drying and replacing the last knife on its hook, and reminiscing how Mother and Father Borden (lying bleeding in their respective pools of blood upstairs) had been so inappropriately cross with her, such a short while ago. — Carl Turney, Bayswater, Victoria, Australia Christmas was coming. Lizzie Borden needed something to cut away deadwood. What to ax for?
The contest winner got a few extra entries posted. Maybe this person is dating the proprietor of the contest. One of these supplemental offerings deserves further comment…
Gerald Raisonette, whose perhaps foreseeable fate it was to be pelted by candies of a similar name throughout his childhood, eventually avoiding the cinema entirely, claimed towards the end of his life that he had taken a photograph of his soul, which appeared in fact to resemble a dried grape, but there were of course doubters and the expected snickers. … When Gerald does pass away, he will go to raisin hell.
Ok Ok. The battery symbol is showing more gray by the minute, the life giving blue base shrinking all the time. The list of BW entries is finally scrutinized. The standards got more rigorous as the bottom of the list got nearer. There is a collection of further entries by the winner, which just doesn’t seem fair. The editor is tired of coffee, and made the inevitable switch to water. It is time to go inside.

There will be more quotes from this contest. This post is enough for one day. PG is working five days a week, and needs all the content shortcuts he can get. Pictures for today’s misadventure are from The Library of Congress. They are early color photographs, from the Farm Service Administration.














Fly On The Wall

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 22, 2014








search engine items for chamblee 54 today:kenneth anger babylon interview gossip, violence of bad people silence of good people, colostomy bag for cats, was franklin d. roosevelt’s funeral open casket?, is having sex with a horse legal in michigan, doc watson. ~ what about failyour and failyou’re? ~ There may be small errors in this transcript. ~ What about bad breath? ~ Celebrity Gossip, Relationship Advice, Beauty and Fashion Tips ~ are comments about so called negative attitude a form of acceptable prejudice? ~ How did the camptown races turn out? ~ vimeo runs for a second or two, and then gets stalled for half a minute this is similar to the “peace process” ~ Is that a remake of a song by the Doors called “The End”? ~ Remember this letter when the Jesus worshiper tells you that you are a terrible person, and that you are going to hell, unless you agree with certain ideas about Jesus ~ As long as it is not a clockwork orange. ~ maybe it is internet activism ~ virtue of your style inscribed in your contempt for mine joni mitchell ~ i would like to be a fly on the wall if joni mitchell had an argument with toni morrison ~ there are some author interview radio/tv shows with big online archives. I have heard a few with Toni Morrison that are terrific. In the ones that I have heard, race is not mentioned. Finding the full interview with Charlie Rose is on my to do list. Often, a spicy quote makes it’s way onto youtube, and is lost without the context. ~ BTW, I read the linked article. It was a bit too academic for my taste. ~ what about oralytical? ~ Syria is routinely condemned as a terrorist nation. To a certain degree, the reputation is deserved. However, Syria take in refugees. Over a million refugees from our war in Iraq were taken in by Syria. Many of the women are now sex workers, so it is not all rosy. (How many Iraqi refugees did Israel take in?) Syria has also taken in Palestineans and Aremenians. ~ “Who determines what is best for the collective?” The person yelling the loudest. The baddest bully. The most radical. The “community builder.” ~ In a community that is 90% white gay men, how do you determine this? ~ When you give a shit, do you gift wrap it? ~ Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. ~ selah









The Church Of The Big Chicken

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 9, 2014








PG was listening to a podcast about atheists and religion. There was a comment about how prayer … the concept of talking to G-d … is often self aggrandizing. Duh. Why should the creator of the universe care about the budget problems at your church? One thought led to another, and soon PG remembered a series of brief conversations.

For those who are new to this blog, perhaps a bit of explanation is in order. PG is a recovering Baptist. He suspects that G-d does exist, even though the world would probably be a happier place without her. Whatever her status, G-d does not write books, or engage in real estate transactions. Jesus was killed because he was a troublemaker. The reputed exit from the grave has nothing to do with what happens to people when they die. PG is under no obligation to discuss any of these items.

At the time of these conversations, PG was in his last round of working for Redo Blue. He was based in Cobb County, making pickups and deliveries. As a mobile person operating in Cobb County, PG had frequent encounters with the Big Chicken. There is speculation that future civilizations will consider the Big Chicken to be an object of religious significance. PG decided to test the hypothesis.

When this story took place, PG enjoyed the “privilege” of making comments at PyroManiacs. One of the Pyros, Scent, was mean to PG. One day, while waiting at a red light on the Cobb Parkway, next to the Big Chicken, PG looked over at the sheet metal bird and said “G-d, what should I do about Scent?” “You should forgive him.”

A week or so later, PG was waiting at the same red light. Across the street from the Big Chicken was an “adult fantasy store” named Tantra. This combination of extra crispy poultry, and eastern sex magick, led to the next question. “Why does Jesus hate me?” “I don’t know.”

By and by on the four lane, the light turned red. PG turned down the radio. A traffic report was underway. “Hey G-d, whats happening?” “Don’t worry about me, listen to the traffic report”.

All parties must come to an end. One day PG asked a more serious question. “Are mom and dad ok?” There was no answer. PG began to feel sad, until he realized that this whole thing was becoming too serious. Even if Jesus worshipers obsess over the lifestyles of the dead, you do not need to imitate them. Just keep you seat belt fastened, and watch out for the nut behind the wheel.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.









A Summer Memory

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on June 13, 2014








It is 3:15 am in a midtown office building. PG is spending his dinner break in an unused cubicle, almost out of speaker range for the break room tv. A flourescent light fixture is hard at work, playing an essential role in the drama to follow.

Thirty seven years ago, Truman Capote spoke in Athens GA. Before taking questions, he read “A Christmas Memory.” There was a line, with the words oh, and carnage, that got a big laugh.

Wednesday afternoon had been the first time to turn on the window AC unit. Outside, it was over ninety, with the Georgia humidity doubling the effect. The next two months will be miserable.

During this early morning dinner, after the first day of summer megaheat, PG is reading “A Christmas Memory”. An old lady, and the seven year old cousin she calls Buddy, are going to make fruitcakes. They need to buy supplies.

The previous summer, someone gave Buddy a penny for every 25 flies he killed. “Oh, the carnage of August: the flies that flew to heaven”. It is now 3:28. In two minutes, it will be time to go back to work. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The fruitcake lady was the aunt of Truman Capote. This is a repost.








Why We Call Football Soccer

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on June 1, 2014

The World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world. They play football (futbol), not soccer. The World Cup will happen soon. This repost deals with why Americans say soccer, instead of football.

In the 19th century, the english wrote the rules for something called association football. This was different from rugby football. Somehow, soccer, a nickname for association, became the name of this new sport. When the pastime spread from the upper crust schools to the working class, it became known as football. It made sense, being a sport where you kick the ball with your feet.

In the USA, there was another sport called football. It involves beer and steroids. The ball only gets kicked when it is time for a commercial. For some reason, when association football became popular here, the name soccer stuck.

PG thinks soccer is a terrible word, for a pretty good sport. All those guttural noises sound bad in the mouth, like something caught in your throat. Maybe, if the sport had another name north of the Rio Grande, it would be more popular. As it is, soccer is popular as a kids game, but strikes out as a spectator sport, in the lower 48.

I Sing The Body Electric

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on May 31, 2014

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
The love of the body of man or woman balks account,
the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.

The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees,
dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.

The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women,
the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street,
the contour of their shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through
the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls
silently to and from the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats,
the horse-man in his saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles,
and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child, the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hosing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six horses
through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty,
good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sundown after work,
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle
through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again,
and the listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck
and the counting;
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother’s breast
with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line
with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons,
And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers of sons.
This man was a wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person,
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard,
the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes,
the richness and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also,
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were massive,
clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome,
They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him,
They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal love,
He drank water only, the blood show’d like scarlet
through the clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail’d his boat himself,
he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner,
he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved him,
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish,
you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang,
You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to sit by him
in the boat that you and he might touch each other.

I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

This is the female form,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor,
all falls aside but myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth,
and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it,
the response likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused,
mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling
and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love,
white-blow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.

This the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, man is born of woman,
This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the outlet again.

Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest,
and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.

The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,
She is all things duly veil’d, she is both passive and active,
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters.

As I see my soul reflected in Nature,
As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness,
sanity, beauty,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see.

The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place,
He too is all qualities, he is action and power,
The flush of the known universe is in him,
Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him well,
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost
become him well, pride is for him,
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul,
Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing
to the test of himself,
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail
he strikes soundings at last only here,
(Where else does he strike soundings except here?)

The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred,
No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the laborers’ gang?
Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf?
Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,
Each has his or her place in the procession.

(All is a procession,
The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)

Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight,
and he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float,
and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?

A man’s body at auction,
(For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch the sale,)
I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his business.

Gentlemen look on this wonder,
Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough for it,
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without one animal or plant,
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll’d.

In this head the all-baffling brain,
In it and below it the makings of heroes.

Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in tendon and nerve,
They shall be stript that you may see them.

Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,
Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh not flabby,
good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.

Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations,

(Do you think they are not there because they are not express’d
in parlors and lecture-rooms?)

This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers
in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics,
Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments.

How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring
through the centuries?
(Who might you find you have come from yourself,
if you could trace back through the centuries?)

A woman’s body at auction,
She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the mothers.

Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man?
Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations
and times all over the earth?

If anything is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more beautiful
than the most beautiful face.

Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body?
or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.

O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women,
nor the likes of the parts of you,
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul,
(and that they are the soul,)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems,
and that they are my poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s,
young man’s, young woman’s poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking
or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders,
and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger,
finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round,
man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body
or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping,
love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand
the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips,
and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow
in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;

O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!

Text for this adventure is from the Project Gutenberg.
The text was reformatted by Chamblee54.
“I sing the Body Electric” was written by Walt Whitman.
An audio version of this poem is available from Librivox.
Reposted May 31,2014, Walt Whitman’s 195th Birthday.

Anita Aretha and Elton

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on March 25, 2014









In the early nineties, PG had too much free time. On March 25 of one year, he looked in the fishwrapper, and found a list of famous people with birthdays.

There was an unlikely trio celebrating that day. This would be (in order of appearance) Anita Bryant (1940), Aretha Franklin (1942), and Elton John (1947). All three have been paid for singing. The three have a total of five husbands, with Miss Bryant and Mr. John currently attached (Not to each other). Miss Franklin has good taste in hats.

Several other people have arrived on planet earth on March 25. They include , in 1911, Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald (d. 1967) (They don’t say alleged when it was on live TV). 1918 produced Howard Cosell, American sports reporter (d. 1995). Flannery O’Connor (d. 1964) arrived in 1925. 1934 gave us Gloria Steinem. In 1937 Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos pizza, arrived. (The delivery was nine months, and twenty nine minutes, after the order was placed.) To make room for all this talent, Buck Owens died March 25, 2006.

March 25 is after the spring equinox, and has been Easter. A few noteworthy events have gone down on this day. In 1894, Coxey’s Army departed Massillon, Ohio for Washington D.C. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers in New York City. In 1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli becomes Pope Pius XII, to the delight of Adolph Hitler. 1955 saw the United States Customs seizes copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” as obscene. In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

HT and applause to wikipedia. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.










The Trial Of Lenny Bruce

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 21, 2014






Towards the end of his Booknotes chat, Nat Hentoff talked about censorship. As a journalist, his views were predictable.

Mr. HENTOFF: Any words at all. Words are–I mean, there is a great–there was a great scene in New York once when Lenny Bruce, who was a friend of mine, was on trial for his words. And Richard Cue, the assistant district attorney, was making a name for himself trying to blast all of the witnesses for the defense. And he got Dorothy Kilgallen, who was a very famous then syndicated columnist, a devout Catholic, a conservative and a great admirer of Lenny Bruce. And he con–he strung together, Cue did, all of the words in Lenny’s monologues that could be considered terribly offensive, and he hit her with them. It was a barrage. `What do you think then, Ms. Kilgallen?’ `Well,’ she said, `they’re words. They’re words. That’s all. Words.’ That’s the way I feel.

When PG heard this, he remembered reading about this trial. With the aid of Mr. Google, a transcript turned up. If you like to read about lawyers saying dirty words, this is the place for you.
Dorothy Kilgallen was, to put it mildly, a piece of work. She wrote for the N. Y. Journal American, and stepped on more than a few toes. A biography, Kilgallen, tells a few of the tales. Today, Miss Kilgallen is best known as one of the original panelists on “Whats My Line?”
The People v Lenny Bruce (Cafe Au Go Go Trial) was tried June 16, 1964 to July 28, 1964 in New York City. The Per Curium Opinion of Judge John Murtagh sets the tone.
“All three performances of the defendant, Lenny Bruce, were obscene, indecent, immoral and impure within the meaning of Section 1l40-a of the Penal Law. While no tape is available as to the first performance [past midnight, March 31-April 1], this monologue, according to the testimony, was essentially the same as that of the second [April 1, after 10:00 p.m.] and third [April 7, after 10:00 p.m.] performances. In the latter two performances, words such as “ass,” “balls,” “cock-sucker,” “cunt,” “fuck,” “mother-fucker,” “piss,” “screw,” “shit,” and “tits” were used about one hundred times in utter obscenity. The monologues also contained anecdotes and reflections that were similarly obscene.
Dorothy Kilgallen was called as an “expert witness”. In lawyerly fashion, the prosecutor claimed she was not a genuine expert. After her credentials were established, there were questions like
“Will you tell us what the artistry, or the social value, or the merit, or the good is, in the Bruce story of sexual intercourse with a chicken?” After the testimony described by Mr. Hentoff, Miss Kilgallen talks about something that does offend her.
Q. I wouldn’t take much time, but we did discuss before Lenny Bruce’s use of the words ‘mother fucker’ at his audience. Can you tell me when James Jones or Norman Mailer or Arthur Miller has called his audience ‘mother fucker?’
Mr. Garbus: Your Honor, may I object? We are talking about books against monologue. It’s completely an irrelevant question.
Judge Murtagh: We will allow it. Objection overruled.
A. I can’t tell you anything verbatim from the books, because I read them a couple of years ago or more. I would imagine–this would be my best guess–that they did not call their audiences anything. There’s another book called The Naked Lunch which I couldn’t even finish reading, but it’s published, and I think the author should be in jail and he used–
Q. Unfortunately we can’t do everything at once, Miss Kilgallen. Are you judging the non-obscene quality and the artistic quality of Bruce by the fact that The Naked Lunch is a book which, as of this date, is sold in the community?
A. No, I’m not. I just mentioned it because you asked me for some books.
Q. And The Naked Lunch is a book you found impossible to read, is that correct?
A. Yes, I found it revolting.
Q. What was revolting about it?
A. Just the way it was written.
Mr.Garbus: Objection, your Honor.
Judge Murtagh: Objection overruled.
A. It seemed to use words for shock value, not for any valid reason, and I object to that.
Q. And when Lenny Bruce–I ask you to turn to the April 1st tape . . . and read the portion starting–‘tits and ass, that’s what is the attraction, is just tits and ass and tits and ass’–and goes on all through the page, and ask you if you find some shock value in that?
A. No, I don’t think it’s particularly shocking, it’s just a word.. . .
Q.. Do you, in your column, use the words tits and ass?
A. Never.
Q. You know exactly what Lenny Bruce was talking about?
A. Yes. . . . I think there he’s being critical of the monotony of what is on view in Las Vegas.

Dorothy Kilgallen died November 8, 1965. Lenny Bruce died August 3, 1966. Kilgallen biographer Lee Israel was convicted of selling forged celebrity letters. Nat Hentoff was laid off from the Village Voice. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These images are Union soldiers from the War Between the States. The spell check suggestion for Kilgallen: Millennial. This is a repost.






War Between The States

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 29, 2013

It is a truism that history is written by the winner of the war. This seems to apply to the naming of a horrific armed struggle in North America between 1861 and 1865. The most common name is Civil War. To many in the South, it is the War Between The States. To PG, WBTS is a better name.

In fifth grade, PG had to write an essay about the Battle of Atlanta. The essay was a device for teaching grammar. The contest was sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy . The phrase “Civil War” was not permitted. The acceepted name for this conflict was War Between the States.

In many ways, this conflict started as soon as the United States became independent from Great Britain. The South was an agrarian society, with slaves to work the fields. The north was becoming an industrial society, with a need for an independent work force. The north wanted high tariffs to protect her industries, while the south wanted to sell it’s cotton to Europe. There were plenty of ways for this conflict to manifest.

Slavery was an important issue. The south wanted to keep “the peculiar institution,” while many in the north were horrified. There were numerous compromises over the years, as Congress struggled to keep the Union intact. This ties in with a central dilemma of the american experience … how much power to give to the states, and how much power to give to the federal government.

In 1861, eleven states left the United States of America. These eleven states formed a Confederacy, of more or less independent states. Between 1861 and 1865, the Confederate States of America fought a brutal war with the the United States of America. Very little about the conflict was civil.

Pictures, of Union soldiers, are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Bowel Games

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 25, 2013

The story below is a repost from 2011. The Dawgs had a bad season, and will be going somewhere. They have a large, wealthy, fan base, which is greatly loved by bowl game organizers. The pictures are from The Library of Congress .

The Georgia Bulldogs beat somebody’s Aggies in Shreveport, Louisiana last night. The affair is something called the Independence Bowl. The Fishwrapper has an ad for a casino-hotel-spa. The link no longer works. Athens can go back to creating a school the football team can be proud of.

This is the season of bowl games. A few years ago, any town with a stadium, and a chamber of commerce, could get a bowl game. Any school with .500 season could go to a bowl, many of whom now had grafted on corporate names. There was, literally, the poulon weedeater bowl holiday classic.

What follows is a story PG read in Sports Illustrated when he was a kid. There is no source, and there is a slight possibility that it is not true.

In the sixties, NBC had a new years day triple header of bowl games. The sugar bowl was followed by the rose bowl was followed by the orange bowl. Hangovers and national championships were fixed in one day. NBC made handsome profits.

An Olympic committee had a meeting one day, to determine who would telecast the upcoming games. The man from NBC went in, with charts, and promises of money for the amateur athletes. The presentation from NBC centered on the january first triple header, the sugar bowl, the rose bowl, and the orange bowl.

Another network won the bid to telecast the games. After the meeting, an Olympics official had a private conversation with the NBC man. The committee felt that their emphasis on the bowel games was in bad taste.

The Rudolph Story

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 5, 2013

The story below is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. There is an appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. Betty was a merry soul.

Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.

In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.

Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten. Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one. The booklet was released. It was a big hit with shoppers.

Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story (which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.

Gene Autry had a radio show, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch”. He created the “cowboy code”. Number five gets our attention today. Under this code, the cowboy must:

1. never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. always tell the truth.
4. be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. help people in distress.
7. be a good worker.
8. keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
9. respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
10. be a patriot.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all time. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”. You just can’t get away from race.

Fifty Years

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on November 22, 2013








Fifty years ago, John Kennedy went to the oval office in the sky. Did Marilyn Monroe greet him?

The bullets hit Mr.Kennedy at 12:30. He arrived at the hospital at 12:37. He had a faint heartbeat on arrival, but quickly succumbed to his wounds.

In Georgia, PG was nine years old. He was in Miss Mckenzie’s fourth grade class. There was going to be an assembly soon, and the class was going to perform. There was a rehearsal in the cafetorium, and some of the kids were acting up. They went back to the class, and PG thought they were going to be chewed out about the misbehavior in the cafetorium. Instead, Miss Mckenzie came into the room, and told the kids that President Kennedy had been shot during a parade in Dallas Texas. She did not say anything about his condition. One kid cheered the news.

School let out at the regular time, and PG walked home. His mother and brother were crying. He was told that the president had died. The cub scouts meeting that afternoon was canceled.

Later that night, a plane arrived in Washington. The tv cameras showed a gruesome looking man walk up to a microphone. He was introduced as President Lyndon Johnson. This may have been the worst moment of that day. Pictures by “Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.










Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 227 other followers