What I See ~

May The Force Be With You

t-shirt-amiga-atari-manga-amstrad-geek-facebook-apple-moi-star-wars-c-3po-z-6po-han-solo-cookies-intel-insideMay 25, 1977: Star Wars Released

Yes fans, it was on this day in 1977 that the film opened to become the world-wide pop culture phenomena that it was and still is. Star Wars earned $461 million in the U.S and $314 overseas totaling $775 million, surpassing Jaws (1975), being the highest-grossing movie until E.T came along in 1983. Now if we adjust for inflation, it becomes the third highest-grossing film in the world. [click images to enlarge]

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Star Wars won six Academy Awards at the 50th Academy Awards:

  1. Best Art Direction
  2. Best Costume Design
  3. Best Film Editing
  4. Best Original Score
  5. Best Sound
  6. Best Visual Effects.

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A Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing went to sound designer Ben Burtt. Additional nominations included Alec Guinness for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and George Lucas for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, which were instead awarded to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.



“What makes the Star War experience unique, though, is that it happens on such an innocent and often funny level. It’s usually violence that draws me so deeply into a movie — violence ranging from the psychological torment of a Bergman character to the mindless crunch of a shark’s jaws. Maybe movies that scare us find the most direct route to our imaginations. But there’s hardly any violence at all in Star Wars (and even then it’s presented as essentially bloodless swashbuckling). Instead, there’s entertainment so direct and simple that all of the complications of the modern movie seem to vaporize.”

—Roger Ebert, his review for the Chicago Sun-Times


Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and announced three new Star Wars films, with the first film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, planned for release in 2015.

Little known Star Wars facts:

Yoda’s face was based on Albert Einstein, and initially his first name was Minch. Yoda’s original voice was done by Frank Oz who also did the voices for Miss Piggy and Cookie Monster.


Skywalker’s original character’s name was Starkiller but Lucas wanted to soften that up some reflecting a more peaceful character.

The iconic poster for Return of the Jedi featured Lucas’ hands. He didn’t trust Mark Hamill to do it correctly so those are his hands holding the light saber.


In The Phantom Menace, the communicator used by Qui-Gon Jinn is a women’s electric shaver.


Darth Vader’s physical presence was played by English actor and body builder David Prowse. He was a bit pissed that Lucas used James Earl Jones’ classic voice for the role and not his. Good call.

David Prowse

David Prowse

Film makers were originally going to use a real monkey for the Jedi Master, Yoda. Thankfully they called on “Muppets” creator, Jim Henson, to help bring the puppet to life.

While filming the first movie few people in the crew knew that Vader was Luke’s father. Lucas had James Earl Jones record “I killed your father” for the big scene so the crew thought that would be the big surprise revelation.


Jen Burtt created the sound of the light sabers by recording the sound of television feedback emitted when he carried a microphone past the TV’s speakers. He combined this with the hum of an old projector which is heard whenever a light saber is active.

Going one step further, he achieved the Doppler effect when characters were swinging the weapons around by swinging a microphone cord back and forth in from of a speaker while playing the hum of the saber.


The Wookiee Chewbacca language was again created by Ben Burtt. He recorded the screams, squeals and moans of camels, walruses, bears, badgers and sick animals. He collected sounds that he felt had emotion behind them.


There is one line featured in all six Star Wars movies, sometimes slightly altered – “I have a very bad feeling about this”



A Steamy Happy Birthday

loreleilee-2009071241011-jfk-originalMay 19, 1962: Marilyn Monroe Sings to the Pres

On this day in 1962 more than 15,000 people attended a fundraiser for the Democratic Party celebrating John Kennedy’s 45th birthday.

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The highlight, Marilyn Monroe, in a gorgeous, sexy, scandalous, skin tight dress sings a sultry rendition of Happy Birthday to the Pres.

Monroe_dress_birthday_1The dress, designed by Jean Louis, was a sheer flesh colored fabric with 2,500 shimmering rhinestones sewn in. It was so tight she had a hard time getting into it. And ah… she wore nothing underneath.

BTW: The dress originally cost $12,000 and was sold at a 1999 auction in NY for over $1.26 million.

Peter Lawford introduces Monroe

Peter Lawford introduces Monroe

This is the only picture of John F Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe together as Bobby looks on.

This is the only picture of John F Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe together as Bobby looks on.


This was one of Marilyn’s last major appearances before her death less than 3 months later.

Oh yes, Mrs. Kennedy did not attend.

American Cubist


Two Birthdays of note today…

One was a part of the Taos art community, the other a lover of the arts. Andrew Dasburg was one of America’s early cubist exponents. Born in Paris on this day in 1887, young Andrew immigrated to New York with his widowed mother in 1892. [above Dasburg’s, Taos Houses – click on images to open in new window]


Andrew Dasburg

Dasburg’s early mentors in New York included Kenyon Cox…

Kenyon Cox - Echo

Echo ~ Kenyon Cox

Kenyon Cox - Blond

Blond ~ Kenyon Cox

… and studying landscapes with Birge Harrison.

Birge Harrison - Late Winter Afternoon

Late Winter Afternoon ~ Birge Harrison

Birge Harrison - Moonlight Over a Pond

Moonlight Over a Pond ~Birge Harrison

He was 22 in 1909 when he traveled to Paris, spending his time in a circle of modernist artists, including…

Jo Davidson

Jo Davidson - Regard

Regard – Jo Davidson


Jo Davidson - Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein ~ Jo Davidson

Morgan Russell

Morgan Russell - Synchromy in Orange

Synchromy in Orange ~ Morgan Russell

Morgan Russell - Synchromist Nude

Synchromist Nude ~ Morgan Russell

Arthur Lee

Arthur Lee - Volupte

Volupte ~ Arthur Lee

Arthur Lee - Lindbergh Triumphant

Lindbergh Triumphant ~ Arthur Lee

Andrew also met and was deeply influenced by Henri Matisse…

Henri Matisse - Jazz Icarus

Jazz Icarus ~ Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse - Musique

Musique ~ Henri Matisse

Gertrude Stein…

Gertrude Stein - Picasso Portrait

Picasso Portrait ~ Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein - Picabia

Picabia ~ Gertrude Stein

… and Leo Stein.

Leo Stein - AutoPortrait

AutoPortrait ~ Leo Stein

While in Paris he was also heavily influenced by Paul Cézanne and Cubism.

Cézanne - Mont Sainte Victoire

Mont Sainte Victoire ~ Paul Cézanne

Dasburg - Landscape

Landscape ~ Andrew Dasburg

Paul Cézanne - Quarry Bibémus

Quarry Bibémus ~ Paul Cézanne

He met and married Grace Mott Johnson during his visit to Paris.

Grace Mott Johnson

Grace Mott Johnson

Grace Johnson Photo

Grace Johnson Photo







Grace was a sculptor focusing mainly on animals. Even to the point of following traveling circuses to better observe their animals. In the 1930’s after splitting with Dasburg she worked as an activist for civil rights, was involved with the art community in Harlem, and was an early member of the NAACP.

Grace Johnson - Hunting Dogs

Hunting Dogs ~ Grace Mott Johnson

Grace Johnson - Grayhound

Greyhound ~ Grace Mott Johnson

Dasburg and Johnson lived apart during most of their marriage and were separated by the time he moved to New Mexico in 1921. The Southwest… New Mexico – Santa Fe and Taos became a popular center for artists during this time.

One inducement attracting artists was Mabel Dodge, a wealthy heiress from Buffalo New York. Mabel ran prominent art solons in Florence Italy, Manhattan NY, and eventually set up her Taos solon in 1917. She invited writers, photographers and artists of all kinds to Taos to be inspired by each other. Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothy Brett, D.H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda von Richthofen-Lawrence.

Dasburg was one of Mabel’s earliest friends. Coming to live in Taos, his cubist style was integrated with the traditional boxy construction styles of New Mexico. Dasburg became a mentor to a group of artists known as the “Taos Moderns”.

Dasburg - Pueblo Village

Pueblo Village ~ Dasburg

Some of Dasburg’s work.

Dasburg - Chantet Lane

Chantet Lane

Dasburg - Portrait of a Cowboy

Portrait of a Cowboy

Dasburg - Poppies


arroyoseco mesa1926

Arroyo Mesa1926

Dasburg - Landscape-1913


Dasburg - Farm in Winter

Farm in Winter

Dasburg - Still Life With Flowers

Still Life With Flowers

Dasburg passed in his Taos home August 13, 1979 at age 92.



American Outlaw

Willie_Nelson-666x670Happy Birthday Willie Nelson

American outlaw, poet, musician, song-writer, activist. Transformative.

(Dedicated to Ron Perrin who introduced me to Willie… thanks Ron, R.I.P.) Willie1-2Willie Nelson was born during the Great Depression today on April 30, 1933. Well at least that’s what the records show. Actually he was born on the 29th, but the doctor recorded it as the 30th.Young-willie-nelson His mother left soon after he was born and his father split and remarried leaving Willie with his sister Bobbie to be raised by his grandparents.

His grandfather bought him a guitar when he was six and taught him a few cords. When he was seven he wrote his first song and later played with his first band, Bohemian Polka.GOO 1965 ____________________________

Willie cut his first record in 1956, a tune he wrote called, No Place For Me. In 1960 Nelson sold his first song, Family Bible, sung by Clause Gray, it netted him $50.00…  … and later that year he wrote, Funny How Time Slips Away, Night Life and Patsy Cline’s big hit, Crazy.

He moved to Nashville and began his slow rise to stardom. Nelson lists his musical influences as Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. It doesn’t surprise me to see Sinatra on his list but Louis Armstrong? 622x350

Everything changed in the early ‘70’s as Outlaw Country started moving in. We see Shotgun WillieNelsonRedHeadedStrangeralbumcoverWillie and Red Headed Stranger along with one of my all-time favorite albums, Wanted! The Outlaws with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser. It became the first Country album to sell a million copies. JenningsNelsonColterGlaserWantedTheOutlawsA total of twenty-five Nelson singles have reached number one on music charts.

The IRS seized Nelson’s assets in 1991 claiming that he owed $32,000,000.00. He discovered his accountants over at Price Waterhouse didn’t pay his taxes for years. 1367590878-irsWillie released a double album, The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? with all profits going to the IRS. He sued Price Waterhouse which was settled for an undisclosed amount and cleared his tax debts by 1993.

For a time Nelson smoked two to three packs of cigarettes a day. He suffered repeated attacks of pneumonia so he had to quit either tobacco, marijuana or both. Nelson decided to quit tobacco. In his autobiography he mentions that he was a frequent visitor to the White House during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. He says that he smoked weed on the White House roof several times. That qualifies him as an American outlaw doesn’t it? WillieNelson_jointNelson is on the advisory board for NORMAL and used to be co-chair.

Did you notice Willie plays a classical guitar? A Martin N-20. He was playing his Baldwin acoustic at a gig in 1969 when some drunken dude stepped on it. He needed something to play in a hurry so picked up the Martin from legend guitar designer Shot Jackson. Shot happened to have it hanging in his shop. trigger_primary It would be an understatement to say Nelson is attached to the guitar. When the IRS was after his assets he hid Trigger away with his daughter so they wouldn’t get it. Oh yeah, the guitar is named Trigger, after Roy Rogers’ horse.


Willie with Annie D’Angelo

Nelson’s had some rough times with marriage. His first wife, Martha Matthews, once sewed him up in a bed sheet and proceeded to beat him with a broomstick. Ouch!

He married his current and fourth wife, Annie D’Angelo, in 1991. They live in Maui, Hawaii, in a largely self-sustaining community where all the homes use only solar power. Their neighbors include Kris Kristofferson, Woody Harrelson, and Owen Wilson. He also owns a ranch near Austin, Texas where he spends half his time.

Songs written by Willie Nelson

  •    A Moment Isn’t Very Long
  •    Ain’t It Funny How Wine Sips Writer: Willie Nelson, Sheb Wooley
  •    Alice in Hulaland (co-writen with Buddy Cannon)
  •    Albania Albania
  •    Always Now
  •    American Dream (co-written With Bob Dylan)
  •    Amnesia
  •    And So Will You My Love
  •    Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
  •    Annie
  •    Any Old Arms Won’t Do (co-written With Hank Cochran)
  •    Are You Ever Coming Home (co-written With Hank Cochran)
  •    Are You Sure (co-written With Buddy Emmons)
  •    Ashamed
  •    Au Jardin De Mes Reves (Albert Babin, rearranged)
  •    Bach Minuet In G (rearranged)
  •    Back On The Road (co-written With Nathan Mackey)
  •    Back to Earth
  •    Baja Oklahoma (co-written With Dan Jenkins)
  •    Band of Brothers
  •    Bandera
  •    Bird (co-written With Robert Braddock, Hal Coleman, Barry Etris, Claude Putman, Jr. And John Bush Shinn III)
  •    Bird Medley
  •    Blame It On The Times
  •    Bloody Mary Morning
  •    Blue Rock Montana
  •    Both Ends Of The Candle
  •    Broken Promise
  •    Bring it On
  •    Buddy
  •    Chain Of Love
  •    Changing Skies
  •    Christmas Blues (co-written With Booker Jones)
  •    Cling To The Spark
  •    Cold Empty Spark
  •    Come On Back Jesus
  •    Congratulations
  •    Country Willie
  •    Crazy
  •    Cry Softly Darling
  •    Crying In The Heart
  •    Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
  •    Darling Are You Ever Coming Home
  •    December Day
  •    Denver
  •    Devil In A Sleeping Bag
  •    Did I Ever Love You
  •    Do Your Thing You’re A Cowboy
  •    Don’t Say Love Or Nothing
  •    Down At The Corner Beer Joint
  •    Dream Come True
  •    Driving the Herd (co-written with Buddy Cannon)
  •    Ehrbares Madchen
  •    El Niño
  •    Electric Horseman
  •    Eleven Dixie Mudcats
  •    End Of Understanding
  •    Everybody’s Baby
  •    Everything But You
  •    Everywhere I Go
  •    Face of a Fighter
  •    Family Bible
  •    Follow Me Around
  •    Following Me Around
  •    Forgiving You Was Easy
  •    Funny
  •    Funny How Time Slips Away
  •    Ghost
  •    Go Away
  •    Goin’ Home
  •    Good Hearted Woman (co-written With Waylon Jennings)
  •    Good Times
  •    Guitar in the Corner
  •    Great Divide
  •    Half a Man
  •    Half Black Half Leopard
  •    Happiness Lives Next Door
  •    Hard Edge Texas (co-written With Kris Kristofferson)
  •    Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall
  •    He’s Not For You
  •    Healing Hands Of Time
  •    Heartaches Of A Fool
  •    Heartland
  •    Heaven And Hell
  •    Heebie Jeebie Blues No. 2
  •    Hej Meddig
  •    Hello Darling
  •    Hello Fool
  •    Hello Wall Number 2
  •    Hello Walls
  •    Hero
  •    Hint Of Song
  •    Hold Me Tighter
  •    Home Is Where You’re Happy
  •    Home Motel
  •    Homecoming In Heaven
  •    Hot Blooded Woman
  •    Hot Time In Music City Blues
  •    How Does It Feel
  •    How Long Is Forever
  •    I Am The Forest
  •    I Can Cry Again
  •    I Can Get Off On You
  •    I Can Still Reach Yesterday
  •    I Can’t Find The Time
  •    I Didn’t Sleep A Wink
  •    I Don’t Feel Anything
  •    I Don’t Know Where I Am Today
  •    I Don’t Understand
  •    I Feel Sorry For Him
  •    I Gotta Get Drunk
  •    I Guard The Canadian Border
  •    I Guess I Ve Come To Live Here
  •    I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye
  •    I Just Don’t Understand
  •    I Just Stopped By
  •    I Let My Mind Wander
  •    I Live One Day At A Time
  •    I Never Cared For You
  •    I Should Have Kissed Her More
  •    I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone
  •    I Thought About You
  •    I Thought I Left You
  •    I Want A Girl
  •    I Want To Be Alone
  •    I Write You Letters
  •    I’d Already Cheated On You
  •    I’d Rather You Didn’t Love Me
  •    I’ll Stay Around
  •    I’m A Memory
  •    I’m Building Heartaches
  •    I’m Falling In Love Again
  •    I’m Gonna Lose A Lot Of Teardrops
  •    I’m Not Trying To Forget You
  •    I’m So Ashamed
  •    I’m Still Not Over You
  •    I’m Waiting forever
  •    I’ve Got A Wonderful Future
  •    I’ve Just Destroyed The World
  •    I’ve Loved You All Over The World
  •    I’ve Seen All This World
  •    If You Could Only See
  •    If You Really Loved Me
  •    In God’s Eyes
  •    In The Car Again
  •    Is The Better Part Over
  •    Is There Something On Your Mind
  •    Island In The Sea
  •    It Could Be Said That Way
  •    It Should Be Easier Now
  •    It’s A Dream Come True
  •    It’s Not For Me To Understand
  •    It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way
  •    It’s Only Money (co-writen with Buddy Cannon)
  •    Jimmy’s Road
  •    Jingle Bells (James Pierpont, rearranged)
  •    Just As I Am (Charlotte Elliott, William B. Bradbury)
  •    Just For The Moment
  •    Kneel At The Feet Of Jesus
  •    Laying My Burdens Down
  •    Laws of Nature
  •    Lear And A Limo (co-written With Mickey Raphael)
  •    Leave Alone
  •    Let Me Be A Man
  •    Let My Heart Be Broken
  •    Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers
  •    Little Old Fashioned Karma
  •    Little Things
  •    Local Memory
  •    Loco
  •    London
  •    Lonely Little Mansion
  •    Looking For A Place To Fall (co-written With Merle Haggard And Freddy Powers)
  •    Makin’s Of A Song (co-written With Max Barnes, Waylon Jennings And Troy Seals)
  •    Man With the Blues
  •    Mariachi
  •    Matador
  •    Me And Paul
  •    Mean Old Greyhound Bus
  •    Message
  •    Misery Mansion
  •    More Than One Way To Cry
  •    Mr. Record Man
  •    My Kind Of Girl
  •    My Love
  •    My Love For The Rose
  •    My Own Peculiar Way
  •    New Way To Cry
  •    Night Life
  •    No Love Around
  •    No Place For Me
  •    No Tomorrow In Sight
  •    Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy
  •    Nobody Slides My Friend
  •    O’er The Waves (Juventino Rosas, rearranged)
  •    Old Age And Treachert
  •    On the Road Again
  •    On The Road Too Long
  •    Once Along
  •    One Day At A Time
  •    One In A Row
  •    One Step Beyond
  •    Opportunity To Cry
  •    Our Chain Of Love
  •    Over You Again
  •    Pages
  •    Part Where I Cry
  •    The Party’s Over
  •    Permanently Lonely
  •    Pet Wrangler
  •    Phases, Stages, Circles, Cycles
  •    Pick Up The Pieces
  •    Pick Up The Tempo
  •    Place To Fall Apart (co-written With Merle Haggard And Freddy Powers)
  •    Precious Memories
  •    Pretend I Never Happened
  •    Pretty Paper
  •    Pride Wins Again
  •    Promises Promises
  •    Pullamo
  •    Rainy Day Blues
  •    Raysha’s Theme
  •    Remember The Good Times
  •    Ridge Top
  •    Right From Wrong
  •    Road Happy (co-written With Dolly Parton)
  •    Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die
  •    Run Jody Run
  •    Sad Songs And Waltzes
  •    Save Your Tears
  •    Send Me a Picture
  •    Shall We Gather
  •    She Always Comes Back To Me
  •    She Is Gone
  •    She Might Call
  •    She’s Gone (co-written With Fred Foster)
  •    She’s Not For You
  •    She’s Still Gone (Shirley Nelson)
  •    Shelter Of My Arms
  •    Shotgun Willie
  •    Sister’s Coming Home
  •    Sit On My Lap
  •    Sitting Here In Limbo
  •    Slow Down Old World
  •    So Much To Do
  •    So You Think You’re A Cowboy
  •    Solidarity
  •    Some Other Time
  •    Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
  •    Someone Waiting For You
  •    Something To Think About
  •    Sometimes She Lies (Harlan Howard, rearranged)
  •    Somewhere In Texas
  •    Songwriter
  •    Sorrow Tearing Me Apart
  •    Sound In Your Mind
  •    Spirit I-iii
  •    Spirit Of E Nine
  •    Stage Coach Score (co-written With David Alan Coe)
  •    Still Is Still Moving To Me
  •    Storm Has Just Begun
  •    Storm Within My Heart
  •    Suffer In Silence
  •    Summer Of Roses
  •    Sweet Bye And Bye
  •    Take My Advice (co-written With David Alan Coe)
  •    Take My Word
  •    Talk To Me
  •    Tell It To Jesus
  •    Texas
  •    That’s What Children Are For
  •    That’s Why I Love Her
  •    The Wall
  •    There Are Worse Things Than Be
  •    There Goes A Man
  •    There Is A Fountain
  •    There Is No Easy Way
  •    There Shall Be Showers Of Blessings
  •    There’s A Way
  •    There’s Gonna Be Love In My Home
  •    There’s No Tomorrow In Sight
  •    There’s Worse Things Than Being Alone
  •    These Are Difficult Times
  •    They’re All The Same
  •    Things To Remember
  •    Three Days
  •    Time Of The Preacher
  •    To Make A Long Story Short (She’s Gone)
  •    Today’s Gonna Make A Wonderful
  •    Too Sick To Pray
  •    Too Young To Settle Down (co-written With Jack Rhodes)
  •    Touch Me
  •    Tougher Than Leather
  •    Truth Will Set You Free
  •    Turn Out The Lights (co-written By Hank Craig)
  •    Twice The Man (co-written With Edwin Griens And Maribeth Murray)
  •    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  •    Two Different Roads (Hank Cochran, Jan Crutchfield; rearranged)
  •    Two Sides To Every Story
  •    Two Stories Wide
  •    Uncloudy Day ( THE UNCLOUDED DAY – Original Lyrics & Music: Josiah K. Alwood, circa 1880)
  •    Under The Double Eagle
  •    Undo The Right (co-written With Hank Cochran)
  •    Used to Her
  •    Valentine
  •    Vir Ewig Is Ek Joune
  •    Waiting Forever For You
  •    Waiting Time
  •    “Wake Me When It’s Over”
  •    Walking
  •    Wanted On Mother (co-written With Harlan Howard)
  •    We Don’t Run
  •    We Look For Love
  •    We Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
  •    What a Way to Live
  •    What Can You Do To Me Now (co-written With Hank Cochran)
  •    What Do You Think Of Her Now (co-written With Hank Cochran)
  •    What Do You Want Me To Do
  •    What Right Have I
  •    When I’ve Sung My Last Hillbilly
  •    When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
  •    When We Live Again
  •    Where Do You Stand
  •    Where Dreams Come to Die (co-writen with Buddy Cannon)
  •    Where My House Lives
  •    Where The Soul Never Dies
  •    Where’s The Show
  •    Whispering Hope
  •    White Cadillac Convertible Blue
  •    Who Do I Know In Dallas (co-written With Hank Cochran)
  •    Who’ll Buy My Memories (co-written With Eddie Noack)
  •    Why Are You Picking On Me
  •    Why Do I Have To Choose
  •    Wilie Tuning
  •    Will You Remember
  •    Will You Remember Mine
  •    Within Your Crowd
  •    Wives and Girlfriends
  •    Wonderful Future
  •    Words Don’t Fit The Picture
  •    Write Your Own Song
  •    Yesterday’s Wine
  •    You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore
  •    You Dream About Me
  •    You Left A Long Long Time Ago
  •    You Memory Won’t Die
  •    You Ought To Hear Me Cry
  •    You Took My Happiness Away
  •    You’ll Always Have Someone (co-written With Hank Cochran)
  •    Your Country Boy
  •  You Wouldn’t Cross The Street

If you can allow me this moment, Willie’s first band was the Bohemian Polka. Well here is Weird Al doing Bohemian Polka, (Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody with Garth and Wayne).

Master of Suspense

6a00d83451f25369e200e54fdc89748833-800wiApril 29, 1980: Alfred Hitchcock Dies

Do you have a favorite Hitchcock film? Rear Window? The Birds? Psycho? North by Northwest? [Above, Hitchcock’s 9 line profile of himself, click to enlarge images]

MTIzMDQ5NjYzNzY5MzgwMzY0Hitchcock directed more than 50 films and pioneered techniques in suspense and psychological thriller films admired and imitated by filmmakers today. He used a camera in a way that mimicked a person’s gaze and forced movie goers to engage in a form of voyeurism. Framing shots for maximum anxiety and fear, his stories often had fugitives on the run following a confused and innocent victim. I always loved his twists in the end.


Cameo from Lifeboat

Hitchcock had a fear of police and an anxiety for being wrongly accused that some account to an early childhood incident. According to Hitchcock, around the age of five, his father sent him to the police station with a note asking the officers to lock him away for five minutes as punishment for bad behavior. As the story goes, this accounted for his movie themes of wrong accusations and harsh treatments.

Cameo from Shadow of a Doubt

Cameo from Shadow of a Doubt

His first published story, Gas, showed up in the first issue of The Henley Telegraph, an in house Henley company publication, in 1919. In it a young woman imagines that she is being assaulted one night in Paris – only to reveal a classic Hitchcock twist in the end.

Gas, Hitchcock’s first published story. Read by Mark Redfield, as Alfred Hitchcock (it comes in at just under 4 min) http://www.poeforevermore.com/poe-radio-gas-hitchcock.html

Cameo from Rear Window

Cameo from Rear Window

Hitchcock’s first films didn’t do well. The first, aptly titled, Number 13, was never finished because of financial problems… they ran out of money. His next, The Pleasure Garden was a box office flop.

Cameo from Rebecca

Cameo from Rebecca

His luck changed in 1926 with his first commercial success, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. It was a Jack the Ripper type of serial killer story with the Hitchockian theme of the wrong man being accused.

Cameo from Lodger

Cameo from Lodger

One of Hitchcock’s signatures was the cameo appearances he made in many of his films. It got to the point where he began making them earlier in the films as he felt audiences were distracted from the story looking for his cameo. The first came in The Lodger, when an extra didn’t show. He appears at a desk in the newsroom with his back to the camera operating a telephone.

Cameo from Blackmail

Cameo from Blackmail

Remember his TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents? It ran from 1955 to 1965 and always opened with some wry humor to introduce the story. The music from the series was Funeral March of a Marionette by Charles Gounod (19-818-1893). You can hear it in the link above with Mark Redfield reading Gas.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The minimalist caricature beginning the show were nine strokes drawn by Hitchcock himself.

Cameo from The Birds

Cameo from The Birds

Hitchcock was famous as a prankster, pulling pranks on his actors and especially on people he thought were boorish. One of his meanest involved a bet between himself and a member of his crew. He bet this crew member that he couldn’t spend the night on the dark and spooky film set they were working on.

Cameo from Family Plat

Cameo from Family Plot

With a week’s salary on the line he chained the member to a camera and in the spirit of good faith offered the man some brandy to help him sleep. Well, Hitchcock spiked the brandy with a strong laxative. In the morning they found the guy just as they left him except he was weeping in a puddle of his own… well, you know.

Cameo from To Catch a Thief

Cameo from To Catch a Thief


  • Number 13 (1922) (unfinished)
  • Always Tell Your Wife (1923)
  • The Pleasure Garden (1925)
  • The Mountain Eagle (1926) (lost)
  • The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)The_Lodger_1927_Poster
  • The Ring (1927)
  • Downhill (1927)
  • The Farmer’s Wife (1928)
  • Easy Virtue (1928)
  • Champagne (1928)
  • The Manxman (1929)
  • Blackmail (1929)x9RssIjUsW1E7bEaYxGBwgJrD2G
  • Juno and the Paycock (1930)
  • Murder! (1930)
  • Elstree Calling (1930)
  • The Skin Game (1931)
  • Mary (1931)
  • Rich and Strange (1931)
  • Number Seventeen (1932)
  • Waltzes from Vienna (1934)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)MV5BMTIwNjAzOTk0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTUxOTM2._V1_SX640_SY720_
  • The 39 Steps (1935)39stepsLobbyCardA
  • Secret Agent (1936)
  • Sabotage (1936)
  • Young and Innocent (1937)
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • Rebecca (1940)HTHYT
  • Foreign Correspondent (1940)
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
  • Suspicion (1941)
  • Saboteur (1942)
  • Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
  • Lifeboat (1944)
  • Aventure Malgache (1944)
  • Bon Voyage (1944)
  • Spellbound (1945)
  • Notorious (1946)Notorious.jpg2
  • The Paradine Case (1947)
  • Rope (1948)Rope
  • Under Capricorn (1949)
  • Stage Fright (1950)Stage-Fright
  • Strangers on a Train (1951)strangers_train
  • I Confess (1953)
  • Dial M for Murder (1954)Dial-M-for-Murder
  • Rear Window (1954)Rear_Window_film_poster
  • To Catch a Thief (1955)
  • The Trouble with Harry (1955)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)The_Man_Who_Knew_Too_Much_(1956_film)
  • The Wrong Man (1956)The-Wrong-Man
  • Vertigo (1958)Hitchcock-movies-alfred-hitchcock-31137532-364-497
  • North by Northwest (1959)hitchcock-north-by-northwest
  • Psycho (1960)Psycho_(1960)
  • The Birds (1963)birds2003
  • Marnie (1964)
  • Torn Curtain (1966)
  • Topaz (1969)
  • Frenzy (1972)
  • Family Plot (1976)
  • The Short Night (1979) (cancelled)

Hitchcock died at age 80 in his Bel Air home of renal failure on April, 29 1980.


Strange Fruit

Billie_Holiday_PortraitBillie Holiday first performed the song, “Strange Fruit”, at Café Society, New York’s first9780252034138 integrated nightclub. Café Society was created by Barney Josephson who some say introduced the song to Billie.

dapper7Holiday said it scared the hell out of her as she feared retaliation but because the imagery reminded her of her father she made it a part of her regular performances. Because of the nature of the song Josephson drew up some rules for her.

billie inside CS

Billie Holiday singing at Cafe Society

First she would end on it, there would be no encore. Second, the waiters would stop all services in advance. The room would be darkened except for a spotlight on Holiday’s face. Powerful stuff for the times as Holiday would sing with her eyes closed almost as if in prayer.


Billie Holiday

Strange Fruit was recorded on this day in 1939 becoming Billie Holiday’s biggest selling hit with over a million copies sold.

Samuel Grafton of the New York Times wrote of Strange Fruit: “If the anger of the exploited ever mounts high enough in the South, it now has its Marseillaise.” In case you don’t know, Marseillaise is Frances’ national anthem. A revolutionary anthem to freedom and a patriotic call to mobilize the fight against tyranny.

The Rest of the Story

ThomasShippAbramSmithStrange Fruit was a poem written my Abel Meeropol, a teacher and writer. The poem was inspired by a disturbing photograph of a lynching. It put Abel over the edge as he was disturbed and sickened by racism in America. He said the photograph haunted him for days, so he wrote a poem about it. As an amateur composer he set the poem to music and played it to a New York club owner, Barney Josephson. Josephson gave it to Billie Holiday.

Strange Fruit ~ Abel Meeropol

Southern trees bear strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.


Pastoral scene of the gallant south,

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,

Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,

Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.


Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck,

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,

For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

The lyrics never mention lynching but the metaphor is painfully clear.

One Other Thing

The Rosenbergs

The Rosenbergs

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for espionage in 1953. It caught America by storm. A married couple busted for spying. It carried national headlines month after month. Now they were both headed to the electric chair. They had two young sons, Robert and Michael, 6 and 10 years old. There were touching news photos of the young boys dressed in suits to visit their parents in prison.


Robert recalls that after their parent’s execution it wasn’t clear where they would end up. Remember it was the height of McCarthism and no one wanted to be associated in any way with the Rosenbergs or Communism. Not even family members.

image 420WhereAreThey_AP.imgcache.rev1271177491892


At a social event, a Christmas party at the home of W.E.B Du Bois1, the boys were introduced to Abel and Anne Meeropol. Weeks later they were living with them, eventually ending up being raised by Abel and Anne.


Anne with Robert and Michael

There is something special about this man who was able to make a loving family out of a national scandal, connecting this and his poem, Strange Fruit. His son Robert said,

“One of the most remarkable things was how quickly we adapted,” Robert says. “He was incredibly softhearted”.


Abel and his boys

A little more from Billie Holiday

1 Du Bois was a Harvard graduate and the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University.

April 13, 1743: Thomas Jefferson Born (featuring Zappa and the Mothers)


Thomas Jefferson: intellectual, architect, philosopher, musician, essayist. He collected and studied fossils, was known to be down to earth, relaxed, unconventional. A common man with a fondness for receiving White House visitors in his robe and slippers. Thomas Jefferson was born on this day in 1743.

T_Jefferson_by_Charles_Willson_Peale_1791_2Jefferson had a monumental role in shaping American politics, not only being our third president but drafting the Declaration of Independence. He worried some would try to model our new nation after a monarchy which we had just freed ourselves from. He denounced oppressive government and was a fierce proponent of the freedom of speech and religion.

Although Jefferson desired the abolition of slavery, he owned human beings who worked on his plantation. In the context of the times he treated his workers well. Historians show that one of his slaves was his lover, Sally Hemings. Sally was a mixed race gal who gave birth to six children the first of which was Eston. They eventually were freed from slavery and went on to live as free people. Jefferson ended the foreign slave trade beginning January 1, 1808. There is much ongoing controversy with historians about the accuracy of Sally, Jefferson and their offspring.

Sally Hemings

Sally Hemings

Jefferson was a widower since the death of his wife Martha in 1782 but was thought to have a relationship with the beautiful (married) painter and musician, Maria Cosway. Jefferson met her while serving as minister to France. The relationship inspired him to write his famed romantic essay, A Dialogue Between the Head and Heart.

A Dialogue Between the Head and Heart.

The Infant Bucchus by Maria Cosway

The Infant Bucchus by Maria Cosway

Maria Cosway self portrait

Maria Cosway self portrait


Ten Jefferson Achievements and Contributions


1. Wrote the Declaration of Independence (1776). Jefferson was responsible for writing the first draft of our Declaration of Independence. He did the first draft within 17 days which was reviewed and revised then presented to Congress.

2. Wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1777). He declared freedom of religion a “natural right” which became the model for the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

3. Advocated for free public education (1779)

4. Served as the first U.S. Secretary of State (1790–1793)

5. Made the Louisiana Purchase (1803). For about $15 million, he effectively doubled the size of the United States.

la-purchase-large6. Launched the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804).  Jefferson appointed his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, who enlisted William Clark, to explore the new American landscape. They left on their journey in 1804 with the goals of learning more about the landscape and the Native American tribes, and of finding a water passage between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.

For More on Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark with Sacagawea and York (man with the gun on his shoulder)

Lewis and Clark with Sacagawea and York (man with the gun on his shoulder)

7. Participated in the founding of the Library of Congress (1815). In 1815, Jefferson sold his personal library, consisting of almost 6,700 volumes, to the federal government. These formed the core collection of the beginnings of the Library of Congress. The current Librarian of Congress, James Billington wrote, “If ever a library had a single founder, Thomas Jefferson is the founder of the Library of Congress.”

8. Founded the University of Virginia (1819). Jefferson believed that universities should educate leaders rather than just preachers and professors. He founded the University of Virginia as the first nonsectarian university in the United States as well as the first to use the elective course system.

9. Popularized macaroni and cheese in the United States

american-history-thomas-jefferson-swscan01215When Jefferson traveled to Europe he became enamored with pasta and the many ways of enjoying it. He would serve mac ‘n’ cheese to his guests at his home in Monticello and even had planes for a macaroni machine. He has been referred to as “America’s First Foodie”. There is even a mac ‘n’ cheese recipe in his own handwriting.


10. Revolutionized gardening and advanced sustainable agriculture. Jefferson was a huge fan of vegetables. He experimented with his garden and loved tomatoes which people thought were poisonous at the time. He also pioneered techniques in sustainable agriculture.

A few quotes:

Future-quote-Thomas-Jefferson Jefferson-quote No-free-man-shall-ever-be-debarred-the-use-of-arms quotes-by-thomas-jefferson spuriousquoteforamerica-300x300 thomas_jefferson_quote_2 thomasjefferson_twoenemies_quote thomas-jefferson-end-of-american-democracy thomas-jefferson-quotes-on-education-11

Jump or Burn


March 23, 1944: Man Falls 18,000 Feet and Survives

Jump or burn. That’s the choice. You are 18,000 feet in the air in a burning plane. Your parachute is on fire and melting in from of your eyes. Things are getting a little warm. What do you do?

That was exactly the choice RAF gunner Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade made after his Lancaster bomber, the Werewolf, was hit by a German fighter plane.


Luftwaffe Ju 88

Luftwaffe Ju 88

Sgt Alkemade was only 21 on this day in 1944 sitting in the tail end of the Werewolf. It was his 13th mission as the Werewolf was flying a raid near Frankford Germany. The plane was attacked by Luftwaffe Ju 88 night fighters when it caught fire and began to spiral out of control.

From his account he now feared for his life. He was surrounded by fire with the heat melting the mask on his face. He saw his parachute was no longer on the rack but burning on the floor of the aircraft. In a later account he describes how he felt:

“For a brief moment I stared while it dissolved before my eyes. It was not so much a feeling of fear, or dismay, or horror, as a sensation, a sort of twisting in the stomach”.

His clothes were scorched and began to burn. He had two options burn or jump. He elbowed the hatch open and fell back. Fell back 18,000 feet. He says that as he fell he could see the burning Lancaster explode, then stars beyond his feet. He gained momentum and breathing became difficult. His account reads:

“Funny, I thought, but if this is dying, it’s not so bad. Then the rushing air, the stars, the ground, the sky, all merged and were forgotten as unconsciousness crept over me…”


Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade

When Alkemade opened his eyes he cautiously moved each part of his body. He was a bit stiff but everything seemed alright. He looked at his watch, it read 3:25. He had jumped just after midnight.

He realized then, as he lay under a pine tree, that it was the trees and snow that had broken his fall. He was cold and unable to move so began blowing his rescue whistle. Alternating between whistle blows and smoking the remainder of his cigarettes he was finally found by a German patrol.

Nicholas was taken to one of the Germans most notorious prisoner of war camps, Stalag Luft III, the one that 76 men tunneled to freedom. The one the blockbuster movie was made of, “The Great Escape”. The one he was sent to the very day after the 76 had escaped.

Of course they threw him into solitary confinement for being a spy.

“Oh sure, you just fell 18,000 feet with no parachute. You just fell out of the sky. Of course we believe you!”

After examining the wreckage of his aircraft, they found the remains of his parachute and were so amazed by his escape, they (reputedly) gave him a certificate in acknowledgment of his testimony.

He spent the next 14 months as a POW.

Crew of the Werewold

Crew of the Werewolf

Babe Takes the Mound


March 20, 1934: Babe Takes the Mound for Philly

March 20, 1934, “Babe” Didrikson pitched an inning of exhibition baseball for the Philadelphia Athletics in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers. She pitched a no hitter allowing just one walk.

bz41Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias is considered one of the greatest female athletes of the century.

In 1932 she single-handedly won the AAU championships, which served as a qualifying event for the Olympics. She was a team of one scoring 30 points, 8 more than the whole runner-up team which had 22 athletes. In just 3 hours she competed in 8 out of 10 events, winning 5 outright, and tying first in the high jump. Oh yeah, she also set world records in the javelin, 80-meter hurdles, high jump and baseball throw.

002155She gained national hero status in the 1932 Olympics when she won two gold medals. She qualified for five events but at the time women were restricted to three events – go figure.


Babe set a world record in the javelin, then set a world record in the 80 meter hurdles the next day. She tied with the declared winner in the high jump and got the silver. The judges disqualified her because they didn’t like her “head first” style (even though she used that style in all her previous jumps). She was named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the first time.


Born Mildred Didrikson on June 26, 1911, in Port Arthur, Texas, hometown people knew she was a special athlete early on. As a teenager she could hit a baseball farther than anyone else in town. Even then she knew her life’s ambition, “My goal was to be the greatest athlete who ever lived”. She said she got her nickname “Babe” by hitting 5 home runs in a childhood baseball game. The reality is that her mother called her “Bebe” from the time she was a toddler.


She made a noticeable impact in basketball at Beaumout High School and was hired by Employers Casualty Company of Dallas to play basketball for their Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team. Of course she couldn’t accept money to play so was officially hired as a “secretary” so she wouldn’t spoil her amateur status. The team won the AAU Basketball Championship in 1931.


Babe took up golf in 1933 and went on to dominate the sport. She won 82 tournaments, winning 21 straight in 1947-48 and 19 in a row in 1949. Eventually she helped found the LPGA (Ladies Professional Sport Association).


Didrikson wanted to play in the USGA, the ruling body of men’s golf. Her play was impressive enough but despite there being no specific rules prohibiting women from playing the guys quickly scrambled to rewrite the rules so only men could enter.


Shortly after winning the inaugural Babe Zaharias Open in Beaumont in April 1953, she learned that she had cancer. Surgeons removed the tumor, but discovered the cancer had spread into her lymph nodes, which were inoperable.


Fourteen weeks later, she played in a tournament. By the next year she had completed an incredible golf comeback, winning her third U.S. Women’s Open – by an unbelievable 12 strokes.

Many sports writers didn’t appreciate Babe, condemning her for not being feminine enough, “It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring,” Joe Williams wrote in the New York World-Telegram.

Clowning with Babe Ruth

Clowning with Babe Ruth

Others were captivated by the 5-foot-5 Babe, who was muscular but never heavy. “She is beyond all belief until you see her perform,” famed sportswriter Grantland Rice wrote. “Then you finally understand that you are looking at the most flawless section of muscle harmony, of complete mental and physical coordination, the world of sport has ever seen.”

Pain in her lower spine, caused by cancer, became unbearable in 1955. On Sept. 27, 1956, Babe died of the disease in Galveston, Texas. She was 45.


Babe Didrikson was named female “Athlete of the Half Century” in 1950 by the Associated Press. One of the greatest female athletes in history, Babe Didrikson Zaharias mastered every sport she pursued and was a defining figure for all women in the world of athletics.

File photo, Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Georgia O’Keeffe


March 6, 1986: Georgia O’Keeffe Dies in Santa Fee

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.”

– Georgia O’Keeffe


Two Calla Lillies

Fig1-lgO'Keeffe-(hands) GeorgiaGeorgia O’Keeffe dies in Santa Fee, NM at the age of 98. She was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in 1887… my Wisconsin connection with O’Keeffe. Growing up in Virginia she first studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. If you’re a fan you know most of her bio, I just wanted to take a moment to remember the artist.

Melting Volcano

Melting Volcano


Oriental Poppies

Regarding Her Art

O’Keeffe was one of the first artists to adapt the method to painting by rendering close-ups of uniquely American objects that were highly detailed yet abstract.




Series No 3


Autumn Leaves

She didn’t follow any of her contemporaries but experimented with abstracts from nature. She often worked in series creating works with high detail or stripping away what she considered inessential.

Rams Head

Ram’s Head

Single Calla Lilly

Single Calla Lilly

She used intense observation of nature and experimented with scale and nuanced line and color. Her art was considered outside the mainstream… as others were exploring non-representation she embraced it.

Rust Red Hills - this is my current desktop image

Rust Red Hills – this is my current desktop image

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE QUOTES “I said to myself ‘I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me- shadows and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.’ I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” SC217551 “It is easier for me to paint it than to write about it and I would so much rather people would look at it than read about it. I see no reason for painting anything that can be put into any other form as well.”


Leaves of a Plant

“Color is one of the great things in the world that makes life worth living to me and as I have come to think of painting it is my efforts to create an equivalent with paint color for the world, life as I see it.”


Grey line with black blue and yellow

“I have but one desire as a painter – that is to paint what I see, as I see it, in my own way, without regard for the desires or taste of the professional dealer or the professional collector. I attribute what little success I have to this fact. I wouldn’t turn out stuff for order, and I couldn’t. It would stifle any creative ability I possess.”


Oriental Poppies

“Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.” okeeffemuseum061 Click on images to enlarge. Top photo: Maria Chabot photographed O’Keeffe and Maurice Grosser on his 1938 Harley Knucklehead

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