April 29, 2016

Josephine Tey

The late great Josephine Tey

The Den wishes to bestow the highest praise on a writer to whom we have only recently been introduced. Her actual name was Elizabeth Mackintosh (1896-1952) from Inverness, Scotland but wrote under several pseudonyms and is best remembered as Josephine Tey.

I picked up this used book for about $5 including shipping and will be
reading The Daughter of Time this weekend

GSL had the recent good fortune listening via audiobook to two of Josephine Tey's wonderful mystery novels: Brat Farrar & The Franchise Affair both with the superb narration of Carole Boyd. To refer to them as 'mystery novels' may not do them justice but they are, without a doubt, literary works of the first rank.

British actress Carole Boyd's sublime narration provided GSL with 2 literary excursions of the highest order.
I do believe www.audible.com will let you have a free trial and you will thank me later if you choose Brat Farrar or The Franchise Affair with the divine Carole Boyd.

In The Franchise Affair, one fascinating character, Mrs. Sharpe, is said to resemble Whistler's Mother (above) formally known as Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1  by American born James McNeill Whistler. A recent visitor noted it's presently on exhibit in Melbourne.

April 14, 2016

Inflating Beach Toy

Known as Inflating Beach Toy, I see this image is sold online.

Den favorite Rachel suggested I share more back story of this family portrait from my last post.

I love the chippy 1949 caption..

Here is a pic taken during the staging.

Artist Stevan Dohanos adjusting window and talking to grandmother Dodie while Auntie J gives rambunctious Uncle S sisterly scold and father, FRL, topping off convertible with petrol. Gas station owner Walt Brown at far left.

We had to sell the original (in my Uncle L's possession) to help pay Grandmother Dodie's medical care after dementia/Alzheimer's set in. A cruel irony that her charm & beauty, no doubt prompted their next door neighbor enlisting Dodie to pose as subject, was being sold off to cover costs for her last phase of life. Our family never talked of money and when Auntie J and I made the journey down to Naples, Florida to get Dodie (who had been widowed for over a decade) and bring her back to Chicago and placed in a facility for Alzheimer patients, Auntie J mentioned she had only recently discovered there was very little left of what had once been rather substantial financial resources. Nobody knew where the money went. We did discover that a close companion during the last few years, a very nice older gentleman named Art, had received some very significant checks from Dodie and also a car she had purchased and put in his name. Art was nowhere to be found upon arrival in Naples.  I raised the possibility of lawyering up and recovering some of that money but then realized and agreed with Auntie J and Uncle L that Dodie would have never wanted that as her friend Art did give her several years of devoted friendship and Dodie likely was quite generous.

Stevan Dohanos also did this stamp back in 1967.

                    After thinking about dear old Dodie, I decided I needed her in my life every day
                                         so retrieved my framed magazine cover out of storage....

 ....and discovered this pic of my old pup Bandit who is the inspiration for my children's book series.

April 09, 2016

Admen Famous Well Past 15 Minutes

Marilyn by Andy 1962

The two most famous American Artists of the 20th Century are Andy Warhol & Norman Rockwell.
Andrew Warhola was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928 to 2nd generation Polish Catholic immigrants. Andy's father was a coalminer. Andy moved to New York City and became a commercial artist and illustrator. What I found odd is that Andy very famously did a portrait of nearly everybody whose fame went beyond 15 minutes but I don't think he ever did Frank Sinatra...I wonder what prompted this glaring omission?

Andy Selfie

                                                             The future Mrs. Larry Fortensky

The Den loves this one.

Andy did magazine covers too.

I almost forgot Uncle L helped bring this to big screen.

Ironically, it was New York City born Norman Rockwell who became famous for depicting small town America.  His father was a textile executive. Rockwell built his enormous fame in America by illustrating The Saturday Evening Post, which had a circulation of over 6 million and a readership of at least 10 times that figure as the magazine was in every barbershop, beauty parlor, and dentist's office in America. Over 47 years, Rockwell illustrated 323 Saturday Evening Post covers.

Norman Rockwell Selfie

Gramps at the Plate

From 1964 during the Civil Rights movement. An iconic image from that era.

Saying Grace above sold for $46 million back in 2013 as Hedgies are starting to see Rockwell as a prime 'Asset Class'.

  This last one is actually by Stevan Dohanos not Rockwell, from the August 20, 1949 SEP cover. He lived next door to my grandparents. That's my father with the towel around his neck, my grandmother Dodie at the wheel and Auntie J and Uncle S in backseat.

April 06, 2016

Gary Player

Golf great Gary Player from South Africa won 165 professional tournaments worldwide over 6 decades including 9 Majors. His mother died of cancer when he was 8 and his father worked in the mines.

I remember the moment vividly as a boy of about 10 years old.  It was a Saturday morning breakfast and I asked my dad who his favorite golfer was and his reply was: Gene Littler who was a logical choice for a serious golfer due to "Gene the Machine's" perfect swing, then he asked me who mine was and my reply was Lee Trevino because while also a great golfer, Trevino was known as the Tour's wit and then I asked my mother who really wasn't a sports fan and expected, if anything, an obvious choice like Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus but she immediately replied: "Gary Player" which somewhat surprised me as I wouldn't have even guessed she knew who Gary Player was so asked her why and she said: "because he's a gentleman".

The Masters with the Big 3: Jack Arnie, & Gary

We lived on a golf course that hosted a PGA Tournament and every year Gary Player was there and he was always a perfect gentlemen. He would demonstrate his astonishing fitness level for us boys in the pro shop doing all kinds of one-armed push-ups and one-legged squats while holding his other leg straight out during practice days and was always upbeat, approachable, and engaging . The biggest moment of tournament week was during the Pro-Am when Gary Player was introduced and there would be an old blind lady, whose name I forget, seated next to the 1st tee who adored Gary Player with his South African accent and perfect manners and their unforgettable annual reunion was witnessed by the many hundreds that enveloped the tee who were as silent as if Gary were trying to sink a side hill six footer for the win.

This is from 1978 with Gary winning his 3rd Green Jacket.

Flash forward a couple decades to 1996 and my father, who was a nationally ranked amateur golfer, had qualified for the U.S.  Senior Open at Canterbury Country Club in Cleveland. I was caddying for him and we were surprised on the practice green by Gary Player asking if he could join us for the Tuesday practice round. Of course we graciously accepted and my dad was a little nervous to be playing with one of his idols and in front of at least 500 people that followed us all day and the thousands that would surround the 9th & 18th green and a couple others but on we went. Over the next 4 1/2 hours, Gary Player, already a Hall of Famer and wealthy, was a perfect gentleman, approachable and generous with his time for autograph hounds, and nearly every hole would jog over to the gallery ropes along the fairway to greet well wishers that he could see were elderly or wheelchair bound which several were. His demeanor during that 4 1/2 hours never dipped below cheerful and he genuinely pulled for the other 'no-names' in his group and offered helpful pointers knowing he'd never see us again nor had any corporate angle to benefit from. He chatted me up quite a bit and as we walked up the 18th fairway, you could see the crowds start to swell with murmurs of "there's Gary Player", I asked him how he did it all day every day for 40 years and he said he'd been poor growing up and had: "been blessed" so it was the least he could do.

Mothers really do know best.

Hey, did you see an 80 year old "perfect gentleman" make a hole-in-one in the Masters Par 3 Tourney today?

April 04, 2016

A Cut Above

The very first James Bond movie had Joseph Wiseman playing the heavy.
Dr. No from 1962
The first short-fingered vulgarian?
As you already know, GSL just loves a bit of badinage only now with the powerful Whine Merchants Guild (WMG) mass producing indignation, it's hard to get a sharp word in edgewise. WMG helped make de classe teaching children the enormously beneficial life skills of Sticks & Stones knowing that academic departments, daytime telly talk shows, and political movements would collapse if the victim opportunities market suddenly dried up.
Eunice Gayson as the first Bond Girl, Sylvia Trench. A blogger had to be set straight with her justifiable laments over the usual casting of young ingénue with much older man by targeting the 007 series. GSL informed her that, in addition to Ms Grayson,  Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) and Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore in Goldfinger) were also older than Sean Connery.

The Den, as you see in the profile description, is "from the school they tore down before they built the Old School" so we will continue to chide, mock, belittle, disparage, slight, scold, slur, jibe, affront, deprecate, and call-out as the situation warrants.  Public debate has deteriorated into an orgy of operatic hissy fits so there is much work to be done. Targets will be chosen with care, salvos well measured, responses proportional, and escalation of force yearned for.
We don't do snippy.

This is the only setting GSL wishes to see a woman holding a golf club only GSL wouldn't need a gun to bring things to a favorable resolution...and neither did Bond, James Bond.

Today we want to acknowledge two fine examples of our mission by esteemed predecessors.

Canadian born Graydon Carter is Editor of Vanity Fair. GC's hair has always been a source of fascination for GSL. Why do these scanty locks merit so much primp? Does hairdresser require confidentiality agreement? I now admire his zeal in embracing this absurdity after discovering that he and the great Christopher Hitchens were longtime friends.
After Hitch's death, The Den loved how GC & VF paid him due respect.
Back when Graydon Carter was at Spy, he referred to Donald Trump as the "short-fingered vulgarian".
The Den's KGB mole sent us a pic from their Trump file of The Donald before being done up in the morning. Just look at those chubby little fingers.

We have noticed a correlation between under-endowed hands and a quest for global dominance.
American Man of Letters, Public Intellectual, and Feudist par excellence, Gore Vidal.

A young Teddy Kennedy.
Gore Vidal didn't much care for the Kennedys...especially Teddy Kennedy.

The years weren't kind were they. Gore Vidal famously referred to Teddy as "a 300 pound slab of condemned veal".
Leaving a girl to drown in a car you drove off a bridge will bring a future post on this unpunished piece of garbage.
The original 300 pound slab of condemned veal was silent movie star Fatty Arbuckle. Unlike Teddy, this slab had to face justice over a case involving a dead young woman but he was acquitted based on the evidence as apparently the woman died of  a ruptured bladder but Fatty's career was ruined and he had legal bills of over $700,000,,,,quite a sum for 1922.