Today is Dorothy Parker’s birthday, and that is one of most famous quotes.

She was born in 1893, and died in 1967, and is probably if not the greatest wit of all time, at least she’s in the top five!

Parker

She was a writer, poet, screen writer, and wit.  She’s also one of my favorite historical characters.

Here are some of the things she left for us:

“Their pooled emotions wouldn’t fill a teaspoon.”

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

“Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style.  The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re still happy.”

“I’d like to have money.  And I’d like to be a good writer.  Theses two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money.”

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

“The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘cheque enclosed’.”  (This quote is attributed to Parker is a paraphrase.  In 1932. The New York Herald Tribune asked her for a list of the most beautiful words.  Dorothy said, “To me, the most beautiful words in the English language is cellar-door.  Isn’t it wonderful?  The ones I like, though, are cheque and enclosed.”

“There’s a hell of a distance be wise-cracking and wit.  With has trughtin it;wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.”

“One more drink and I’ll be under the host.”

“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”

“When asked if she was going to join Alcoholics Anonymous: “Certainly not.  They want me to stop NOW!”

“Money can’t buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.”

“I don’t know much about being a millionaire, but I’ll bet I’d be darling at it.”

When she was offended by the amount of money a producer offered her to write a script:  “You can’t take it with you, and even if you did, it would probably melt.”

“Better be left by twenty dears

Than lie in a love-less bed;

Better a loaf that’s wet with tears,

Than cold, unsalted bread.”

“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.”

“It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.”

“Excuse my dust.” Parker suggested that this be used as an epitaph on her tombstone – and it was!

A Gift

I love it when my readers send me things.

I don’t mean “things” as in “stuff”, but thoughts, ideas, possible posts…things like that.

My cyber-friend, faithful reader and commenter Lynn, after a moment of inspiration sent me this in an email.

Hi Paul — From the beginning, I’ve felt there was something more connected
to the death of Robin Williams…and as it ends up, there was. Last night
this poem just flowed from my pen and I wanted to share it with you. ~ Lynn

*God Said Yes*

You who lifted our spirits,
gave us belly-laughs and
brought us to tears…

You who pushed the boundaries
and stayed-the-course,
who took on roles of challenge
and revelation…

You couldn’t bear what you
believed lay ahead, beyond
the ‘early stages’, could you?

You didn’t see any way to be
who you were under diminishing
abilities and I understand that.

Your prognosis was bleak, to you.
Your time was gone (in your mind)…
and now, it truly is.

May you be laughing with angels,
surrounded by loved-ones and
blessed to be at peace, at last.

 

I hope this gift to me and her gift of poetry touched you as much as it did me.

Trampsky and Hutch

If you’re a Downton Abbey fan (I just lost Jan), I’m sure you’re jonesing for a fix.

So, here goes.

Harken back to season four when “Lady” Rose goes clubbing after spending 2 hours in the sack with a married man…

Lady Rose

…are you there?

Ready?

Well, the Jack Ross character is based, like many of the characters, on a real historical person.

jack Ross

I know, I was surprised too.

Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson (1900-1969), was a terrifically talented black singer who acquired a pile of money as a cabaret singer and piano player, all the while working his way into the stratosphere of high society in London and Paris.

Jutch

Tooling around London in a chauffeur driven Rolls, he lived a life of extravagance and luxury.  From his grand house in the tony Hampstead district to club after club and party after party, he became one of the “in-crowd.”

Talented, yes; there are other sobriquets as well.  Philanderer, seducer, gigolo, and pathological liar come to mind.

Handsome, charming, talented, a bisexual with a voracious sexual appetite and allegedly HLAH*, he was on every one’s guest list!

His rise may have been meteoric, but his fall was epic.

From Cole Porter and Ivor Novello to Tallulah Bankhead and Merle Oberon to English aristocrats and royals, Hutch, played the field and sowed his oats.

His affair with the equally – if not more so – promiscuous “Lady” Edwina Mountbatten was the magic act that pulled the rug from his feet.

She would go on to have an affair with Jawaharlal Nehru helping to secure a smooth transition from the British Raj to Indian independence.

Eddie and Jaw

Edwina was the wife of Lord Louis, uncle to Prince Phillip, great uncle to Prince Charles, etc.

Once Lord Beaverbrook figured out what was going on, he banned Hutch’s name from his papers, his parties, and his house, and Hutch’s professional and social careers were all but over.

A multi-racial native of the island of Grenada, born a British subject, Hutch was afforded a top notch education, and music lessons.  Defined as a piano prodigy as a child, he was packed off to Nashville, Tennessee to study medicine at one of the few schools that admitted black students.

He didn’t stay.  Stealing away to Harlem, he garnered success as a pianist. Paling around with Fats Waller and Duke Ellington, he met the club hopping Vanderbilts, who hired him as their personal pianist for their never-ending social functions.

It was all very Great Gatsbyish.

After a brief five years in the USofA, he headed for Gay Paree!

Stalling there, he crossed the Channel for London, where in the late 20s and 30s, his career took off.

He was the King of the Cabaret Singers, and became the all time fave of HRH, The Prince of Wales – you know, the one who gave UP the throne for the broad from Baltimore that looked like a guy.

Leaving the wife and kid at home – yes, he had them – Hutch fathered seven more children by six different women, all of whom were pasty white UPper class Englishwomen.

The boy got around.

Blowing through his fortune like the Prodigal Son, his financial opportunities plunged with his fall from grace resulting from Edwinagate.

After WW II, musical tastes changed but Hutch didn’t, resulting in a declining income.

He was often broke, generally in debt, let himself go, quit the gym, you know the drill.

He died in 1969 from pneumonia, 42 people showed UP for the funeral, which, oddly enough, was paid for by Lord Mountbatten.

Go figure.

Click here to hear what all the fuss was about.

And Keep Calm, Downtown Abbey’s only five months away.

 

*…think about it, you’ll get it.

Katy Mixon Is Wrong

You can’t do Shakespeare with a Southern accent, honey.

Katy Mixon

Now, Katy’s no dummy, she’s a Southern gal from Pensacola, Florida, and in case you’re wondering, Pensacola might be in Florida, but it’s really in L. A.

Lower Alabama.

Katy, one of the stars of the CBS comedy “Mike & Molly”, is a graduate of The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.

Like I said, she’s no dummy.

But, she’s wrong.

And of course, I’m off track.

Darn that ADD!

I read an article in the newspaper last week about a new book, CD, and seminar by some Yankee from Michigan of all places, who’s moved to Marietta, Georgia, and wants to change the place.

Or at least what she hears.

Soutern Accent

She says you MUST say goodbye to your southern accent.

It got me to thinkin’.

Now, I don’t really have a Southern accent, or any accent for that matter although I’ve lived south of the Mason Dixon for the last 37 years, and spent the first five years of my life in a valley in Virginia that was so off the beaten path you had to pipe daylight in!

Listening to my dad preach and growing UP in Ohio apparently washed the Southern off my tongue.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I can fake a Southern accent as well as anyone in Atlanta.

And believe me honey, some of them are fake.

This topic came UP while at dinner on Saturday.  Of the six people at the table, four of them had real-live Southern accents.

Beautiful ones.

Jeff Foxworthy can say he shaves 100 IQ points off anyone with a Southern accent all he wants, but it’s just not right.

Southern does NOT equal stupid.

Here are some examples.

Carson McCullers.

Carson M

William Faulkner.

Faulkner

Harper Lee.

Harper Lee

Tennessee Williams.

Tennessee

William Styron.

Styron

Bill Clinton.

Fessing UP

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King

Jimmy Carter.

Carter

Margaret Mitchell.

Mitchell

Rosa Parks.

Parks

Lyndon Johnson.

LBJ2

Muhammad Ali.

Make fun of the way I talk, will ya'

Make fun of the way I talk, will ya’

Ted Turner.

Ted

Sam Walton.

Walton

Thomas Wolfe.

Thomas Wolfe

Who is not to be confused with Tom Wolfe, probably the greatest American writer alive today.

Wolfe

And of course, Reese Witherspoon…

To be, or not to be, y'all!

To be, or not to be, y’all!

…who, BTW, can do Shakespeare!