Chamblee54

The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 14, 2019

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Around this time 155 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire Scarlet O’Hara flees, in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress

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About this time every year, there is a post about the burning of Atlanta. One of the sources is a lecture by Marc Wortman. If you have an hour to spare, this talk is worth your time. One of the stories told is the tale of Mr. Luckie.

“According to folklore, two stories abound as to how Luckie Street was named. The first is that its moniker came from one of Atlanta’s oldest families. The other, probably closer to the truth, regales the life of Solomon “Sam” Luckie. Luckie, as it turns out, wasn’t so lucky after all. When General William Tecumseh Sherman first came marching through Atlanta in 1864, Luckie, a free Black man who made his living as a barber, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown talking to a group of businessmen. A burst from a cannon shell wounded him; he survived, but later died from his injuries. Folklore suggests that he may have been one of the first casualties of the assault on Atlanta. Luckie Street, an extension of Auburn Avenue, was later named in his memory.”

Marc Wortman wrote a book, The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. The one star review, and comments to that review, are unusually detailed. Here is a selection.

“…People forget – or were never taught in school – that most Confederate soldiers descended from Revolutionary War patriots or were up-country poor sons of farmers. Many Confederate soldiers were relatively recent new arrivals to the U.S., semi-literate dirt poor immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who’d never had the chance to own even an acre of their own land in Europe. In the mix were well-educated, elite merchant business owning French Huguenot refugees of the Catholic Bourbon genocide of Protestants. These immigrants had nowhere else to go, 9 times out of 10 never owned a slave, and fought for the CSA to keep what little they’d hardscrabble carved out over a decade of arrival into the U.S.”

The War Between The States continues to be a source of controversy. After the Charleston church killings, many comments were made about the Confederate battle flag. (If you can’t talk about gun control or mental health, you talk about a symbol.) This led to discussions about the war itself. There were ritual denunciations of slavery, assumed to be the sole cause of the conflict.

The notion of autonomous states in a federal union was novel when the United States Constitution was written. The debate over federalism versus states rights continues to this day. States that want to legalize marijuana may be the next battleground. (Few are expecting secession over bong rights.) Many in the CSA saw the Union as being a conquering army, and fought to defend their homes. While slavery was certainly a factor in the creation of the CSA, it was not the only Casus belli. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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Turn Turn Turn

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on November 12, 2019

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The word Ecclesiastes has a poetic tingle. It’s place in the Old Testament is between the poetry of Proverbs, and the enticements of the Song of Soloman. Richard Brautigan counted the punctuation marks in Ecclesiastes, and found no errors. Ecclesiastes 3 was even the lyrics for a top forty song.

Turn Turn Turn is taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger wrote a melody, and added a line. “There is a time for peace, I swear its not too late”. TTT became a hit for the Byrds in 1965, as the escalation of the Vietnam war was in full bloom.

TTT is about the dualities of life, and how there is a place for all these things. When PG was collecting rocks from destroyed houses, it was a time to gather stones together. TTT can serve as a companion to the vibrations of day to day living.

Pete Seeger died January 27, 2014. PG first heard of him when he was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was during Vietnam, and Mr. Seeger did a song…”Waist deep in the big muddy”… about how “The big fool said to push on, push on”. The CBS censors did not allow this the first time he appeared. Many thought he was talking about Lyndon Johnson.

“Pete Bowers” was a stage name for a young Pete Seeger. This was to avoid making trouble for his father. The band he played in, the Weavers, popularized a gullah spiritual, “Kumbaya”. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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November 11

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 11, 2019






Veterans day was originally Armistice Day. On November 11, 1918, at 11 am (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) a cease fire went into effect for “The great war”. Officials of the major armies agreed to the ceasefire at 5 am (European time). There were an estimated 11,000 casualties in the last six hours of the war.

At 11:59 am, U.S. army private Henry Gunther became the last soldier to die in World War I.
“According to the Globe and Mail this is the story of the last soldier killed in WW1: On Nov.11, 1918, U.S. army private Henry Gunther stood up during a lull in the machine gun fire and charged the enemy. “The Germans stared in disbelief,” says the Daily Express. “They had been told that morning that the fighting was about to stop; in a few minutes they would stop firing and go home. So why was this American charging at them with his bayonet drawn? They shouted at him to stop and frantically tried to wave him back but… he hadn’t heard anything of the ceasefire.” A German gunner released a five-round burst and the soldier lay dead, at 10:59 a.m. In his recently published Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour, U.S. Military Historian Joseph Persico notes that Private Gunther had previously been a sergeant but was demoted after an Army censor read his letter to a friend back home, urging him to steer clear of the war at all costs. Gunther, who was in no-man’s land when the ceasefire news arrived, had been trying to prove himself worthy of his original rank.”
This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.






Veteran’s Day is a bad day for a cynic. I appreciate living in The United States. Even with all of her flaws, I have a good life here. The role that Veterans have played should be honored. On the other hand, those who profit from war often exploit Veterans, for political mojo. Many of these people did not serve. Those who profit from war, without serving, deserve our scorn.

Veterans are often not treated well after their service. It is estimated that a quarter of the homeless are veterans. The services offered to wounded veterans are shamefully lacking.

Hugh Pharr Quin CSA was my great grandfather. He served with the Georgia State Troops, in the War Between the States. I prefer the USA to the CSA, or whatever would have followed a Confederate victory. The Union army had to prevail, over the various Confederate Armies, for this to happen. Do I dishonor my great grandfather by saying, we are better off that the other side won?

Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. This was the day, 101 years ago, when the War to End All Wars ended. World War I was a ghastly bloodbath, in which millions died. It affected many of the problems that plague us today. I would be willing to bet that not one person, in ten thousand, knows what World War I was about. And yet, the men who fought in that conflict (I don’t think they had women soldiers then) deserve the same gratitude as those who fought in any other conflict.

The soldier…many of whom are drafted…doesn’t get to choose which war to fight in. The sacrifice of the World War II soldier was just as great as the Vietnam fighter, but the appreciation given was much greater. I grew up during Vietnam, and saw the national mood go from patriotic fight, to dismayed resistance. By the time I was old enough to get drafted, the Paris accords had been signed. For better or worse, there went my chance.





Wrestle With A Pig

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on November 9, 2019

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This is a repost from November 9, 2008. This was written after the 2008 election. This election saw a mixed-race man become President. It also had the passage of something called Proposition 8. This was a California ballot initiative banning same sex marriage. Prop 8 was made obsolete by a SCOTUS decision, on June 26, 2015, legalizing same sex marriage.

The fallout from Prop 8 is what this post is about. The links to much of the content here no longer work. What is still true today is the wisdom of an old saying: Never wrestle with a pig. You will get dirty, and the hog will enjoy himself. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

This blog battle started with the passage of Proposition 8 in California. PG was not surprised at the result. Nor was he surprised that an estimated 70% of black votors opposed the measure.

Some people in LA had a protest outside a Mormon facility. The Mormon church financed a large chunk of the ad campaign supporting Prop 8. At the rally, according to reports, some protesters expressed their displeasure at black people to some African Americans in attendance. The n-word was heard. (The correspondent to the linked report was not at the rally. He is depending on people telling him what they heard.)

PG first heard of this at a local blog. He left this comment: “Two wrongs do not make a right. The African American Jesus Worship Church has been spewing out hatred of Gays and Lesbians for years. They were a big factor in the passage of proposition 8. This does not justify what allegedly happened at that rally. I say allegedly because I was not there. I take what Jasmyne Cannick says with a grain of salt. While a handful of people shouting the n-word is too much, I can’t help but wonder if it was really as bad as these reports say.” PG thought he would hear more. He was correct.

Mr. Pink (not their real name) has butted heads with PG before. Mr. Pink pulled out the rhetorical artillery on this one. The rally was a “glorified klan rally” with “pink robed cross burners”. There were comments about the “Gay Mafia”, why Prop 8 lost, and a lot of other things. The conversation was on Live-Journal. It is difficult to link to in 2019.

The one comment that caught PG’s eye was “Operation: Blame The Negroes rages on as gay leaders continue to scapegoat blacks for the passing of Prop 8 in California. Among those leading the charge are columnists Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage.” PG was curious what Mr. Sullivan had said, and who Dan Savage was. The commentary by Mr. Pink did not have links back to the comments by Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Savage. PG went wading through Mr. Sullivan’s blog, which was quite a chore. Andrew Sullivan posts a lot of material. Finally, PG found a reference to a column by Dan Savage. It turns out Mr. Savage writes a sex advice column for a Seattle Gay Newspaper. PG wonders who appointed him a community leader.

PG made a comment, using the name Chamblee54. The first comment listed the links to Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Savage. He added “As for the rally in Westwood, what I am reading sets off my b.s. detector. While shouting race slurs is wrong, I was not at the rally. I have to take the word of the reports on the internet. Frankly, I don’t believe the race baiting at that rally was more than a few fringe performers. I could be wrong, and there is really no way to find out for sure. The point is, you cannot believe everything you read. You should do a bit of research, and not just paste in verbatim from other sources.”

Mr. Pink was not amused. ”First of all, what happened in Westwood has been covered extensively by everyone from Jasmyne Cannick to the Huffington Post. Those people aren’t making up what happened….Fourth of all don’t f*****g tell me about researching my sources just because you don’t want to hear the truth that the gay community is filled with some bottom-feeding bigots. It’s that blind-eye mentality which is why shit is so f****d up now. Next time you tell somebody to do more research, take your own f*****g advice.” He did not offer any more links.

PG replied “If you are going to say that “Among those leading the charge are columnists Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage,” then you should supply links so we can say what they said.” He also asked for a link to a post at the Huffington Post about the rally in Westwood. PG went looking at the HuffPo, but could not find anything about the rally in Westwood with the race baiting. PG did find a report of a rally in San Diego, where the crowd protested the passage of Prop 8 without apparent incident.

Mr. Pink replied “And once again, still full of fail. Go read Racialicious to read Savage’s bigoted comments blaming black people for the passing of Prop 8. Because we’re all homophobic and we’re all racist…I’ve got the links and I’ve done my research but since you’re so hellbent on defending these bigots regardless, you can look it up yourself as you’re going to believe what you want in spite of what the facts say.” When you lose your cool, you lose the argument.

PG replied ”I am paying you a compliment by paying attention. When you quote someone, or accuse them of “leading the charge”, it is not too much to ask to provide a link so the reader can see for themselves what was said.”

This is no longer about protesters shouting racial slurs at African Americans. He does not doubt that it is possible, while suspecting it was a tiny part of the overall crowd. To PG, the issue is basic journalism. When you say someone is “leading the charge”, you should provide a link to the original comments. The reader can judge what the person says. The reader can also decide whether to get upset, about the musings of a sex advice columnist.

The final reply was by Mr. Pink. He said “fair enough”, and listed a series of links. There was not a link to Huffington Post.

The moral of this story is that you should not believe everything you read. And, when you go telling tales on the internet, it is easy enough to show links to the source of your information. You should do it. If you give a teacher a term paper, you are expected to use footnotes to show where you got your information. When you go posting on your blog, you should use the same standard.

PG condemns the use of racial slurs, including *racist.* PG also condemns the branding of bystanders as bigots, because someone in the same crowd uses a racial slur.

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November 7, 2019

Posted in History, Library of Congress, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on November 7, 2019













November 7 is just another day. It is three weeks before Thanksgiving. It is a slow day for celebrity birthdays, except for 1879 – Leon Trotsky, 1918 – Billy Graham, 1943 – Joni Mitchell. Chamblee54 has posted material every day for a while now. November 7 has had many topics over the last eleven years. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

Nanowrimo is celebrated in November. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, or 1,666 words a day. PG took up the challenge, and produced 58k unreadable words. 110708 was three days after the election of St. Barry to the White House. It was a simpler time.

What Drunk Author Are You turned up in 2009. Facebook had a quiz, and google supplied non-proprietary versions. … Yes, this post is going downhill in a hurry, and you are still reading it. The next stop on this downward spiral is Things to do in Chicago When you are Drunk! This feature sinks to giving advice, like “don’t try to save your marriage with orgies!” and “don’t get drunk and buy drugs by yourself in the hood when you are white!.” … A facility called Wikinut chimes in with Writing While Inebriated (or, How to Be a Drunk-Writer) . This feature has a coupon for a product called Nylabone, a chewable merchandise that is designed for dogs. The headlines include “Keep alcohol on hand, Pour yourself a drink and minimize distractions, Allow inspiration to kick in ” and “Ignore the naysayers“.

Stage Names is about entertainers having creative names. Often, the name is more enjoyable than the performance. The red paragraph features: SheLia Twatt ~ Anne Tissipation ~ Sharon Sharalike ~ Bertha DaBlues ~ Dee Boner ~ Sue Nahmi ~ Amanda Hugankiss ~ Amanda Shagg ~ Davida Loca ~ Unita Muzzle ~ Cincy DeFlesh ~ Kay Keenitet ~ Lucy Lastic ~ Phyllis Steen ~ Shelita Hamm ~ Dale Neverknow ~ Natalie Attired ~ Gladys Overnow ~ Dora Jarr ~ Eileen Dover ~ Emma Roydz ~ Helen Wait ~ Helen Wheels ~ Jenny Tull ~ Anita Dump

The Rose And Bret Show is about an appearance by known idiot Rose McGowan, on the Bret Easton Ellis podcast. The episode is currently in paywall purgatory. Miss McGowan has a number of opinions, and shares them generously. This feature is illustrated by a poem. The text is copied out of the Psalm 51. “in sin did my mother conceive me, behold thou desirest truth, in the hidden part thou shalt, make me to know wisdom purge me, with hyssop and i shall be clean, wash me i shall be whiter than snow.” Party on Garth.

Esoteric And Pedantic are autological … words that describe themselves. PG once wrote a poem using autological words.If you don’t know what esoteric means, count yourself lucky.

The first time PG heard esoteric was life changing. A D.H. Lawrence story, The Rocking Horse Winner, was read in tenth grade English. Many wondered why they had to read something this boring. Finally, one girl asked why anyone would write something this esoteric. The teacher had never heard the word esoteric, and was charmed.











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Arlo Guthrie

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on November 3, 2019

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This is a rerun post, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The original post was half about Arlo Guthrie, and half about Ralph Reed. Today, only the part about Arlo Guthrie will be shown. If you absolutely must read about Ralph Reed, you can follow the link above, or read Lisa Baron And Ralph Reed TMI.

The entertainment today is about Arlo Guthrie . Thanksgiving is intimately connected to Mr. Guthrie. Unlike the turkey, Mr. Guthrie has gone on to have a flourishing career. He probably will not come down with Huntington’s Disease, which killed his father Woody Guthrie.

The video that goes with this text was the first time PG saw Arlo Guthrie. This was broadcast January 21, 1970. PG was an unhip fifteen year old, who had not heard Alice’s Restaurant, seen the movie, or been to Woodstock. He did see the Johnny Cash show this night, or at least the part where Arlo Guthrie did the motorcycle song.

To quote the digital facility PG is borrowing from:
” Born Arlo Davy Guthrie on July 10, 1947, in New York, NY; son of Woody (a folksinger) and Marjorie Mazia (a dancer; maiden name, Greenblatt) Guthrie; married Jacklyn Hyde, October 9, 1969; children: Abraham, Cathyalicia, Annie Hays, Sarah Lee.” Abraham and Sarah Lee play in Arlo’s touring band.
The Alice’s Restaurant Masacree is a part of Americana now. There are two bits of knowledge, that are as true as anything told to a Persian king. When trying to dispose of some garbage, and finding the city dump closed, Arlo found some litter by the roadside, and made a value judgment…One big pile of garbage is better than two little piles.

The second is about the draft, and the business of choosing people to fight our wars. There is a regulation today that says that Gays and Lesbians are not supposed to be soldiers and sailors. In the tale of the thanksgiving dinner, it was litterbugs. (There was also a draft, and a different war. Lots of Americans were coming home in boxes.) The bottom line: Mr. Guthrie is confused about not being considered moral enough to kill people, because he was a litterbug.

A few years into his career, Arlo Guthrie had a hit record called “City of New Orleans”. It was about a train, and said “Good Morning America”. “City of New Orleans” was written by Steve Goodman, who is no longer with us. Mr. Goodman also wrote the perfect country and western song .

PG heard a story about Steve Goodman.
“The songwriter is Steve Goodman. He gave a show at the Last Resort in Athens GA, that a friend of PG attended. Mr. Goodman tells a story about performing on a train, during a series of concerts supporting Hubert Humphrey. It seems like Mr. Goodman had to use the restroom on the train. Now, in those days, the trains did not use holding tanks, but just ejected the matter by the tracks as they rode by. Mr. Goodman was told, do not flush the commode while the train is in the station. Mr. Goodman forgot the instructions. Mr. Humphrey said ”I am going to give the people of this country what they deserve”, Mr. Goodman flushed the commode, and sprayed the crowd. PG is not sure if he believes this, but it is a good story.” ( A biographer of Mr. Goodman said said that the candidate was Edmund Muskie. He also says that David Allen Coe had nothing to do with the last verse of the perfect country and western song.)
As previously noted, this is a repost from a few years ago. In that time, the policy against gay people serving in the military has been dismantled. The Ralph Reeds of the world are more upset about the concept of gay marriage, than by gay people killing Muslims. Vietnam is a peaceful country, and is enjoying economic good times. The draft is something old fogies remember. The current fashion is to support war by demanding a tax cut.

Arlo Guthrie continues to make music. USA Today had a feature recently, Arlo Guthrie celebrates 50 years at ‘Alice’s Restaurant’. Arlo Davy Guthrie has a twitter account, @folkslinger, and a full head of white hair. His wife of 43 years, Jackie Guthrie, died Oct. 14, 2012. The Lenox Square theater was torn down to make way for a food court many years ago.

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Oscar Wilde

Posted in History, Library of Congress, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 19, 2019

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October 16 is Oscar Wilde’s birthday. On that day in 1854, he appeared in Dublin, Ireland. He is one of the most widely quoted people in the english language. Some of those quotes are real. Since he was a published author, it should be easy to verify what he really said. This birthday celebration is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

One night in 1974, PG was talking to someone, and did not know who Oscar Wilde was. The conversational partner was horrified. PG became educated, and learned about a misunderstanding with the Marquess of Queensberry. Soon the “Avenge Oscar Wilde” signs made sense.

Mr. Wilde once made a speaking tour in the United States. One afternoon, in Washington D.C., the playwright met Walt Whitman. Thee and thou reportedly did the “Wilde thing”.

The tour then went to Georgia. A young black man had been hired as a valet for Mr. Wilde on this tour. On the train ride from Atlanta to Augusta, some people told Mr. Wilde that he could not ride in the same car as the valet. This was very confusing.

After his various legal difficulties, Oscar Wilde moved to Paris. He took ill, while staying in a tacky hotel. He looked up, and said “either that wallpaper goes, or I do”. Soon, Oscar Wilde passed away.

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Pauline Kael, Gina James, And James Broughton

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Poem, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 18, 2019

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Pauline Kael was the rockstar film critic. James Broughton was the radical faerie poet laureate. They were lovers, and had a daughter, Gina James. Pauline and James were not married, contrary to what some naysayers would tell you. This is a repost.

Much of the information in this feature is taken from online reviews of Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, a 2012 biography written by Brian Kellow. Gina James, also known as Gina Broughton, was not interviewed for the book. Neither did she participate in the making of Big Joy, a movie about James Broughton. (A wig store, Gina Beauty Supply is located at 25 W Broughton St, Savannah, GA 31401.)

Pauline Kael was born June 19, 1919, Petaluma, CA, died September 3, 2001, Great Barrington, MA, and stood 4 feet 9 inches tall. James Broughton was born November 10, 1913, Modesto, CA, and died May 17, 1999, Port Townsend, WA. Neither one had a middle name. Both used their birth name throughout life. Both had lives, before meeting in the late forties.

When she met James Broughton, Miss Kael was living what would later be called the bohemian life. After moving to New York, and being dumped for composer Samuel Barber, Miss Kael moved back to California. “Returning to the Bay Area with her tail between her legs in 1945, Pauline became involved with the incredibly effeminate avant-garde filmmaker James Broughton. He managed to impregnate Pauline but threw her out as soon as she told him, whereupon she moved to Santa Barbara to give birth to her daughter, Gina, in 1948″

“Like her early career, Kael’s personal life was also fraught with failures. Kellow says “she had a habit of falling for gay men” earlier in her life because “they tended to share her passions and enthusiasms.” She had a daughter … with one of them, experimental filmmaker James Broughton.”

“For a time, during the 1940s, he lived with future film critic Pauline Kael. She encouraged his filmmaking endeavors but their relationship ended after she got pregnant. … Pauline Kael thought that Broughton made the biggest mistake of his life when he turned down a studio film after winning the prize at Cannes.” (Apparently Mr. Broughton was from a wealthy family, and could afford this attitude. Regarding his movie The Bed, Mr. Broughton said “It was the only film I created that ever made any money.”)

“Which brings us to the strange tale of Pauline’s only child, Gina James. … In 1948, at age 29, Kael got pregnant after she “talked her way into moving in” with James Broughton, a bisexual poet living in Sausalito. By Kellow’s account, Broughton was furious at the news of Kael’s pregnancy; he felt trapped and tricked by her. One of Broughton’s friends reported that he kicked Kael out of his house. She moved to Santa Barbara to have the baby. The birth certificate listed the father as “Lionel James, a writer”. It is one of the disappointments of the book that Kellow shines little light on Kael’s passion — or whatever it was — for Broughton, on how she processed that cruel rejection and on whether Broughton ever recognized Gina as his daughter.”

James Broughton moved on with his life. He made experimental films, got married, and fathered two more children. At some point he met Joel Singer, and began the romance that would last the rest of his life. It is tough to say whether he was genuinely bisexual, or whether he was playing the role society expected of him.

This review of Big Joy continues: “But interviews with Singer, waxing poetic about his years with the artist, are balanced by reminiscences from Broughton’s ex-wife and his abandoned son. Rather than only celebrating silliness, I found it admirable that the directors didn’t gloss over the pain he caused his wife and children. After all, when you think about it, he spent all of his life unable to decide if he was gay or straight; leaving a lot of broken hearts in his wake.

We learn from Kael that he flirted with everyone he met. “He rode off into the sunset with some guy,” his wife, Suzanna Hart tells us. “That was very sad for me, but not for him, which was…very irritating.” In her segments, Hart keeps her emotions in check but you can clearly read the sadness and anger in her face. The son doesn’t have much good to say about his absent father and the two daughters (the first by Kael and the second by Hart) both refused to be interviewed for the film. Singer has a lot to say about their blissful decades together, but he also comes off a bit heartless when he shows no guilt over breaking up what he calls Broughton’s “loveless” marriage.”

The baby daddy leaves, and the struggling writer becomes a single mom. “… Kael’s relationship with her actual daughter was something out of a Tennessee Williams play, and not in a good way. Kael home-schooled Gina and, as the girl grew up, kept her close, as a typist, projectionist, driver and right-hand man, and she banished any friend who actively encouraged the young woman to break out on her own. Though she was in many ways a loving and committed mother, helping to raise Gina’s son and always living nearby, one senses a Gothic selfishness in her mothering.”

Gina James declined to talk with Kellow for his book, but the author says Kael and her daughter had a sort of symbiotic relationship. “Pauline did not type, Pauline did not drive — Gina performed both those functions for her. And Gina was a very good critic of Pauline. She got to see Pauline’s copy before anyone else did and she often had very, very important and influential things to say. But Pauline really wasn’t wild about the idea of Gina breaking away and having her own life apart from her, and she didn’t do anything really to encourage her in that direction as far as I can see.”

Amazon one star comment: And her poor daughter – what a fate – TYPING all that. Poor Gina, — I can see her – Kellow described sitting silently in some coffee shop while her mother raved on and ON with her pet directors.

An affair with the experimental filmmaker James Broughton produced a child, Gina, whom Kael raised by herself, Mildred Pierce–like, heroically supporting them with a number of odd jobs, including running a laundry. Gina’s heart condition required expensive surgery, and Kael ended up enticing Edward Landberg, the owner of a local art-house theater, Berkeley Cinema Guild. They had begun as co-programmers. As Landberg tells it: “One day, when I was over at her place, I happened to graze her breast with my hand, and she kind of looked up and said, ‘What have you got to lose?’” Their marriage proved a fiasco, but Landberg agreed to pay for Gina’s operation, which Kellow suspects had been Kael’s motive all along…. Kellow shows more independence in assessing Kael’s treatment of her daughter Gina, whose ambitions to become a dancer or a painter she did little to encourage, preferring to keep her on “a silver cord . . . she had also grown accustomed to the steady, dependable role that Gina played—as secretary, driver, reader, sounding board—and she was loath to give her up.” Gina, for her part, was mistrustful of the dynamic she witnessed between Kael and her acolytes.“

“The closest and longest-lasting partnership of her life was with her daughter, Gina James … James considered speaking to Kellow, but finally declined, leaving a blank space at the center of this otherwise vividly detailed biography. Gina lived with her mother till she was over 30, typed up her reviews after Pauline stayed up all night writing them in longhand, and gave up both college and a shot at a dance career to serve as her mother’s caretaker, companion, and driver….

Kellow cites the text of the breathtakingly passive-aggressive eulogy that Gina delivered at her mother’s funeral in 2001: “My mother had tremendous empathy and compassion, though how to comfort, soothe or console was a mystery that eluded her … . Pauline’s greatest weakness, her failure as a person, became her great strength, her liberation as a writer and critic . … she turned her lack of self-awareness into a triumph.”

One more chapter remains. “Gina lived with Kael well into her thirties … That she married and had a child, Will, seemed to catch Kael by surprise, though she ended up adoring her only grandchild, someone with whom she could watch action movies with.

Kael died in 2001, when Will was about 19. Unfortunately, and Kellow made no mention of this in his book whatsoever, there’s a horrible postscript, one that may well have been the reason for why Gina declined to be interviewed for the book. On October 6, 2007, Will, then 25, went hiking in the East Mountain State Forest in the Berkshires. He was an avid hiker, not to mention a devoted martial artist. He had a girlfriend. He never came back. Gina reported him missing, but his body wasn’t found for more than week, on October 15. … “authorities found camping equipment nearby and while cause of death has not been determined, foul play is not suspected.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. UPDATE These two comments were made to the original post. Anonymous said, on June 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm Your piece on Kael and Broughton is rife with misinformation and judgements galore and unbelievably badly written. Get a life and stop spreading falsehoods. And next time you put your fingers to a keyboard do your due diligence! James’ son was NOT ABANDONED! He lived happily with the two of us after the divorce. You fail to recognize that James’ ex-wife was a classic fag hag who had been married to another gay man before her relationship with James. She had been in psychotherapy for years before they got together and for many years after they split up. James certainly did not spend the rest of his life uncertain about his sexuality. Read his autobiography COMING UNBUTTONED and you’ll discover how misinformed your take on him is. You have done a great disservice to your readers by publishing such homophobic nonsense. Joel Singer ~ Sterling Wilson said, on August 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm Curious about this autobiography, I found the following from a Publishers Weekly review “Broughton forsakes introspection for literary gossip and name-dropping: Kenneth Rexroth, Pauline Kael, Dylan Thomas, Anais Nin. The birth of a daughter is dispensed with in two sentences. Broughton’s insistence on making himself the center of attention increasingly intrudes.”

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Tom Paine

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on October 2, 2019

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There is a meme floating through the innertubes. “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” Thomas Paine English-American political activist, writer and revolutionary. A drawing of Mr. Paine lurks to the left of the text.

The quote is from the first paragraph of a pamphlet written by Mr. Paine, The American Crisis: LANCASTER, March 21, 1778, TO GENERAL SIR WILLIAM HOWE. It was part five of a series, The American Crisis. The tract was intended to inspire the war effort against the British. The full sentence: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”

Four Principles of Quotation was written in 2002, before the rise of meme culture. The salient principle for today is number four, “Only quote from works that you have read.” The tract by Mr. Paine is 6956 words of revolutionary era purple prose. Today’s facebook expressionist does not want to go to that much trouble.

The American Crisis V has some interesting passages. It would be considered politically incorrect today. The British labelled is “the encourager of Indian cruelties,” and accused of “the unchangeable name of meanness.”… “The particular act of meanness which I allude to in this description, is forgery. You, sir, have abetted and patronized the forging and uttering counterfeit continental bills. … shows an inbred wretchedness of heart made up between the venomous malignity of a serpent and the spiteful imbecility of an inferior reptile.”

The text is directed at General William Howe. The war was not going well for the British… “They resemble the labors of a puppy pursuing his tail; the end is still at the same distance, and all the turnings round must be done over again.” General Howe resigned April 4, 1778, fifteen days after The American Crisis V was written. The purple prose might have been a factor.

“Your master’s speech at the opening of Parliament, is like a soliloquy on ill luck. It shows him to be coming a little to his reason, for sense of pain is the first symptom of recovery, in profound stupefaction…. who is daily decaying into the grave with constitutional rottenness. There is not in the compass of language a sufficiency of words to express the baseness of your king, his ministry and his army. They have refined upon villany till it wants a name. To the fiercer vices of former ages they have added the dregs and scummings of the most finished rascality, and are so completely sunk in serpentine deceit, that there is not left among them one generous enemy. … She is the only power who could practise the prodigal barbarity of tying men to mouths of loaded cannon and blowing them away. … If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of wilful and offensive war. … We leave it to England and Indians to boast of these honors; …”

Mr. Paine has a good reputation today. This was not unversal during the revolution. “In 1777, Congress named Paine secretary to the Committee for Foreign Affairs. The following year, however, Paine accused a member of the Continental Congress of trying to profit personally from French aid given to the United States. In revealing the scandal, Paine quoted from secret documents that he had accessed through his position at Foreign Affairs. Also around this time, in his pamphlets, Paine alluded to secret negotiations with France that were not fit for public consumption. These missteps eventually led to Paine’s expulsion from the committee in 1779.”

After the war, Mr. Paine went back to England. He soon got involved in the French Revolution, and was imprisoned. He continued to write, and get in trouble. Mr. Paine was invited back to the United States by Thomas Jefferson. He “died in June 1809, and to drive home the point of his tarnished image, the New York Citizen printed the following line in Paine’s obituary: “He had lived long, did some good and much harm.” Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

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Was Mae West A Real Girl?

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 27, 2019

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August 17 is birthday 124 for Mary Jane “Mae” West. Of course, she died in 1980, so the party is off. PG saw a note on facebook, and made the comment “She was rumored to be a man.” One right click google search later, this post started to take shape. This is a repost.

There is a blogspot site, maewest.blogspot.com. It is still published, with a birthday post today. Five years ago there was a post, Mae West: Penis Rumors. It seems as though Miss West liked to say, to the press, “When I die, you are going to be very surprised!”

A hollywood gossipmonger had a story, Was Mae West…A Man?! Much of her information comes from the tasteful findadeath site. The story here is that Mae West died in 1950, and the death was kept quiet. Her brother made appearances in her place, until the final death in 1980. This would have been quite a feat, considering that John Edwin West died in 1964. That doesn’t stop people from talking.

“…the real Mae West died somewhere around 1950, give or take a couple years, and rather than let the show stop, it was announced that not Mae, but her brother, died. Of course, the brother then became Mae West and carried on until November 1980. If you look carefully at photos from around 1950 on it definitely looks like a different person not to mention the big hands and masculine features, bone structure, etc. I may not have all the details 100% correct but I would almost put money on the fact that the ‘Mae West’ ‘who died in 1980 had a weenie!!”

The hands were mentioned by Raquel Welch. The two were in Myra Breckinridge, the first movie Miss West had made in 27 years. (Miss West appeared on Mr. Ed in 1964.) Miss Welch appeared at a film festival in 2012, and had stories to tell.

“When I went over to say hello to her (one day) I said, ‘Hi, it’s Raquel, remember?’ She sort of extended her hand to me and I went to kiss the ring and one false fingernail painted silver fell to the floor. I looked at the hand and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m getting a vibe.’ I really think she’s a man! At this point in her life all bets are off and you’re not going to be able to doll it up that much. I would say it’s pretty accurate that she resembled a dock worker in drag.” …

“I had this beautiful dress and it was black with a big white ruffle around the neck and a black velvet hat … Apparently Mae got wind of the fact that I was wearing this exquisite dress and I went to the studio that day for our scene together. I got coiffed, got my hair done and went to the closet to get the dress and it wasn’t there. I asked my dresser what happened to the dress and she said, ‘It’s been confiscated. Mae does not want you to wear that dress. You can wear the red dress that you wore in the last scene!’ … Welch was so outraged that she stormed off the set and refused to return until the dress was back in her closet. … “For the scene, we never appeared in a two-shot together. She left after she did her lines and I had someone off-camera reading her lines and I had to pretend she was there.”

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.


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Seven Brilliant Quotes

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes by chamblee54 on September 25, 2019











There is a little graphic floating around, Seven Brilliant Quotes. Some find these sayings to be inspirational. PG smells a rat. Here are the seven quotes:

William Shakespeare – Never play with the feelings of others because you may win the game but the risk is that you will surely lose the person for a life time.
Napoleon Bonaparte – The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.
Albert Einstein – I am thankful to all those who said NO to me. Its because of them I did it myself.
Abraham Lincoln – If friendship is your weakest point then you are the strongest person in the world.
Martin Luther King Jr. – We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.
Mahatma Gandhi – The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Abdul Kalaam – It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone.

If nothing else, research into the veracity of these quotes should provide some amusing text to go between the pictures. When you go looking in the land of google, there is no telling what you will find. During this expedition, the first page rule will be in effect. Only results on the first google page will be considered. The NB quote has 1.7 million results, which is too much work.

Lets begin with Willie the shake. Did he really say “Never play with the feelings of others because you may win the game but the risk is that you will surely lose the person for a life time.”? Or, as they say in the Yahoo village, Does anyone know where this Shakespeare quote comes from?

hugeshantz Does anyone know where this Shakespeare quote comes from? I’ve seen this quote all over the internet, always attributed to Shakespeare, but I can’t find a legitimate source of where it comes from (i.e. a specific sonnet, play, speech, etc.): “Never play….” Can anyone help me out here?

Dude the Obscure This is 20th/21st century psychobabble. Shakespeare never wrote anything remotely resembling that. Please never trust any of these idiotic “internet quote sites.” They are all, all, all crap. I can’t believe that any intelligent person could think for a minute that this was written by Shakespeare. Really. Get some critical-thinking skills, child.

The next quote is by Napoleon Bonaparte, not Napoleon Dynamite. “The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.”

Before we consider the veracity of this quote, lets consider two things. NB did not speak english, so there is likely to be translation confusion. Second, the wars NB started caused widepread suffering. Little of this suffering was caused by the silence of good people.

The sources on page one do little except show the quote, usually with the credit going to NB. No one shows when or where he said it, or in what context. Brainyquotes doea not show it on the NB pages.

Number three is from Albert Einstein.” I am thankful to all those who said NO to me. Its because of them I did it myself.” According to Shelly Winters, Marilyn Monroe did not say no to Dr. Einstein. Google has a doozy of a forum, Misquoting Einstein?.

Jimmy Snyder says the quote has been attributed to Dorothy Parker, Yogi Berra, William Shakespeare, The Bible, Benjamin Franklin, and Groucho Marx. This is a clue that the quote is bogus.

zoobyshoe’s I just found this an another wiki page discussing the quote page: “I am thankful …” This is being attributed to Einstein on the Internet, but it appears to come from Wayne W. Dyer’s book You’ll See It When You Believe It, page 54, according to Google Books. Dyer does not attribute it to Einstein, but mentions Einstein in the same paragraph. “In my office I have two framed posters. One is a picture of Albert Einstein, beneath which are the words “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” The other poster is made up solely of words: “I am grateful to all those people who said no. It is because of them I did it myself.” Great thoughts!”

Ryan_m_b’s “Never believe quotes you read on the internet” – Winston Churchill zoobyshoe’s His actual words were: “The internet has nothing to offer, but blood, tears, toil, and misquotes.”

It should not be surprising that Winston Churchill finds his way into this discussion. He has a taste for the spotlight, even 47 years after his demise. He is an example of how truthiness is sometimes all you need. His most famous speech was a radio address during a bad part of World War Two. The speech was read by an actor. England was inspired, and went on to win the war. Why should anyone worry if an actor gave his speech for him?

This is enough fun for one day. There will be a part two soon, and it will probably be full of number two. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.











Welcome to part two of the Chamblee54 due diligence report on the Seven Brilliant Quotes. In part one, we checked out the first three. At no time was a source for the quote found. All three are suspect, with “misunderstanding” indicated in the Albert Einstein quote. It is amazing how quickly accepted these sayings are by the inspiration hungry public.

Getting back to business, did Abraham Lincoln say “If friendship is your weakest point then you are the strongest person in the world.” There are lots of links to this quote, in a variety of fonts and colors. Some have spectacular photography in the background. However, none of these links has a source for this quote, or any indication of the context.

Wikiquotes has 43,444 words about Abraham Lincoln. PG copied these words, and did a search for the word “friendship”. The quote from the poster was not found. The meme is missing. This wikiquotes test has been very useful for checking out quotes. It is not authoritative, but is a good place to start.

This type of research can be frustrating. Being inspired by beautiful words can give you strength and purpose. It can also make you feel foolish, when the lovely words are revealed to be lies. Being a cynic gets lonely. Children of all ages don’t like to be told that there is no Santa Claus.

The good news is that number five is for real. Martin Luther King gave a speech at Western Michigan University in 1963. There is a probably his standard speech, given many times. The second section of the speech is “Call for action.”

“The world in which we live is geographically one. Now we are challenged to make it one in terms of brotherhood. Now through our ethical and moral commitment, we must make of it a brotherhood. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools. This is the great challenge of the hour. This is true of individuals. It is true of nations. No individual can live alone. No nation can live alone.”

“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. [W]e’re challenged after working in the realm of ideas, to move out into the arena of social action and to work passionately and unrelentingly to make racial justice a reality.”

“[W]e must never substitute a doctrine of Black supremacy for white supremacy. For the doctrine of Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy. God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men but God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race, the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers.”

PG has written about the problem of quoting Mohandas Gandhi before. Supposedly he said “I love your Christ, but I dislike your Christianity.” PG thinks this is a fabrication.

The quote on the poster is “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Wikiquotes has a link to Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Online. The next stop is page 302 of this section. Mr. Gandhi gave an “Interview to the press” in Karachi, on March 26, 1931. A freedom fighter named Bhagat Singh had been executed by the British three days earlier.

Do you not think it impolitic to forgive a government which has been guilty of a thousand murders?
I do not know a single instance where forgiveness has been found so wanting as to be impolitic.
But no country has ever shown such forgiveness as India is showing to Britain?
That does not affect my reply. What is true of individuals is true of nations. One cannot forgive too much. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

The bottom line is from Dr. Abdul Kalam. (The name is misspelled on the poster.) The phrase is “It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone.” Many viewers have no idea who this person is. Once again, Wikiquotes comes to the rescue. “Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (born 15 October 1931) Indian scientist and engineer; 11th President of India; generally referred to as Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.” The quotes are from Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam.

A search for the word “defeat” did not show results. A search for “win” shows a few, but not the poster child. The phrase on the poster is also credited to John Keats. There is also the story of the student who argues with an atheist professor, and ultimately wins. The student is sometimes said to be Albert Einstein. In this version, Argumnent : What, Who is GOD?, the coda is “This seems to be a true story, and the student was none other than APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India “.

The research for part one consisted of entering the quote into a search engine. It was not until the Lincoln investigation that the method of copying wikiquote, and searching for a key word, was discovered. Out of a sense of fairness, the first three quotes will be investigated using this method.

For William Shakespeare, the search word was risk. There were no results. For Napoleon Bonaparte, the search word was violence. There was one result. “There is no such thing as an absolute despotism; it is only relative. A man cannot wholly free himself from obligation to his fellows, and not the one on the poster. For Albert Einstein, the search word was thankful. There were no results.

So, there are seven quotes in the motivational poster. Only two of the seven have a apparent source. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost. This version is edited, out of concern for the attention span of the audience.










091119

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on September 11, 2019


This is my 911 story. I repeat it every year at this time. If you saw it last year, it has not changed. Every year I say this will be the last time. The wars started after 911 are still going on. This year, 91119 is a palindrome. Sarah Palin is getting a divorce. Few knew who she was in 2001.

I was at work, and someone called out that someone had run a plane into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, until I heard that the second tower had been hit, then the Pentagon, then the towers collapsed, then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

I focused on my job most of the day. There was always drama at that facility, and concentrating on my production duties helped to keep me saner. This was roughly the halfway point of my seven year tenure at this place.

One of the other workers was a bully for Jesus. He was a hateful loudmouth. After the extent of the damage became known, he shouted “They are doing this for Allah,” and prayed at his desk. The spectacle of the BFJ praying made me want to puke.

I became alienated from Jesus during these years. Once, I had once been tolerant of Christians and Jesus, as one would be with an eccentric relative. I began to loath the entire affair. I hear of others who found comfort in religion during this difficult time. That option simply was not available for me.

Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. “This item is part of a collection of images of downtown Atlanta streets that were taken before the viaduct construction of 1927 – 1929. Some of the covered streets became part of Underground Atlanta.”