Archive for the ‘ Reruns! ’ Category

A Series Of Emergencies

Today is the anniversary of film star Lana Turner’s birthday.

This is a post that ran a couple of years ago, but as I’m lazy and have a few new readers who might have missed this one, I’ll re-run it!

Mea Culpa.

A Series Of Emergencies

Never shy about her love life, Hollywood beauty Lana Turner often did the kiss and tell thing.

Turner

She covered topics from how many lovers she had to how well they did in bed, but she claimed that sex was never important to her!

She liked romance a great deal more.

Lana said in one interview, “All those years my image on the screen was “sex goddess” – well, that makes me laugh.  Sex was never important to me.  I’m sorry if that disappoints you, but it’s true.  Romance, yes.  Romance was very important.  I never liked being rushed into bed, I never allowed it…it was always the courtship, the cuddling, and the closeness that I cared about…I’ve always been portrayed as a sexy woman, and that’s wrong.  Sensuous, yes.”

Yet, she was a serial bride.

Married to seven different men eight times, and hundreds of lovers, Turner was THE hot blonde in the Hollywood of the 40s and 50s.

She married bandleader Artie Shaw in 1940, eloping with him at 19 on their first date – he was a serial groom – the union lasted 4 months!  Shaw was verbally abusive, and she later referred to that four months as her college education.

Never one to miss dinner, she married restaurateur Joseph Stephen Crane – twice.  Their first marriage was annulled when she found out his divorce wasn’t finalized.  During the brief separation, Crane attempted suicide, but the lovebirds reconciled to care for their daughter, Cheryl.

Tiring of being Mr. Lana Turner, egomaniac Crane, dropped the blonde bombshell like a hot potato after a whole year of wedded non-bliss.

Music and meals not doing the trick, Lana married millionaire socialite Henry J. Topping Jr.  His big brother owned the New York Yankees at the time, Topping’s granddad was a successful business man dealing in tin-plate.

He won her with romance.  When he proposed at the 21 Club in LA, he dropped a diamond ring into her martini.

It was shaken, not stirred, and a busy three days after his most recent divorce, they tripped the light fantastic and headed off down the bridal path.

The wedding was a huge affair at which the bride wore a designer white wedding gown, dismissing the fact that both had been married multiple times.

But, alas, true love it wasn’t and off to the divorce court, where at this time she had her own parking place, Lana dashed.

Next UP was Lex Barker of Tarzan fame. Barker, also a serial groom, and according to Lana’s daughter, Cheryl, a child-molester, was voted off the island once Cheryl told her sad tales to mom.

Then it was off to the mall for some shopping.  Lana married Fred May, a member of the May department store family.  He was a rancher, she was a shopper, it was doomed from the start!

Back in Hollywood, Lana married movie producer Robert P. Eaton.  Four long years, a near record for her, and it was over.  Heartbroken, in his behind-the-scenes peek into the land of movies, he created a feature character based on his steamy ex.

Taylor Swift has nothing on the man!

Her final marriage was to a nightclub hypnotist named Ronald Pellar.  They met at a disco in 1969, got married with Lana hoping this one would work.

Six months into the endeavor, Lana realized a hundred grand worth of her jewelry was missing, and that her entertainer husband wasn’t investing the money she’d given him.

Cheat on her maybe, steal from her – never!

Somewhere between husbands Barker and May, Lana met the man that would define her life, give her the headlines no one wanted, and nearly take her life.

Enter Johnny Stompanato.

Stompanato and Turner

Good looking and a famed lover, Lana fell for the gangster hard and fast.

Stompanato was tied to Mickey Cohen, whom you may remember from a post earlier this month (a couple of years ago) – that is, if anyone is reading this stuff.

Once his underworld associations and connections came to light, Lana tried to break the romance off, fearing the bad PR would harm her already fading career.

The affair was riddled with violent arguments – some public, physical abuse, break UPs, and reconciliations.

The Press loved it!

Turner went to the UK to film Another Time, Another Place with future James Bond, Sean Connery.  Lonely and having a difficult time filming, she invited the mobster over for a visit.  Things started off well enough, but per the script of their relationship, the fights ensued.

Turner and Connery

Johnny was suspicious; Lana barred him from the set, and one night, during an argument he choked her, stopping filming for three weeks.

Hearing that Lana had called Scotland Yard asking for Stompanato’s deportation, he arrived on the set with a gun, threatening to kill her and Connery.  Connery, proving he is the ONLY James Bond, wrested the gun from Stompanato by twisting his wrist – Stompanato, knowing he was bested, slunk away.  Back at Lana’s rented digs, he was met by the boys from the Yard and advised to leave the country.

On Oscar Night, April 4, 1958, after she returned from the gala which she’d attended without him, a fight broke out and the choking thing started UP again.

Turner’s daughter, Cheryl then 14, fearing for her mother’s life, grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the sleazebag, who expired later that evening.

Crane

The Press went wild!

Deemed a justifiable homicide by the LAPD…after an Oscar winning performance by mom…

Turner on the stand

…Cheryl, who spent three weeks in Juvenile Hall, was cleared of all charges.

In 1985, Cheryl decided to tell her story.  Having been made a ward of the court, she was released into her grandmother’s custody.

Grandma doing such a bang UP job on Lana was equally inept with Cheryl.  Crane began clubbing and racing around town at the ripe old age of 18, spending 11 months in a reform school.

Released back to Granny’s, she ran away twice and after the second incident, was institutionalized at the Institute of Living, a sanitarium in Connecticut near her dad.

On a visit, Lana told her daughter her wardship had been extended by the court for an additional year – a total fabrication – and Cheryl attempted suicide smashing her fists through a window to slit her wrists.

Cheryl would meet fellow inmate, comedian Jonathan Winters whom she credited with helping her to regain her will to live.

Theories abound about the death of Stompanato, many centering around the notion that Lana did the deed and Cheryl took the blame.

And, 58 60 years later she still does.

It really was a series of emergencies.

Every Year

It’s that time again.

 

I’ve posted this several times before and plan to do it every January 16th as long as I’m blogging.

It’s important to me.

It’s important to the nation.

Religious Freedom is one of the basic human rights, and a right guaranteed by the US Constitution.

Today is the anniversary of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

My favorite President, Thomas Jefferson, wrote it back in 1777.  I wasn’t there.  We didn’t discuss it, but if we had, I’d have cheered him on.

The statute was the first of its kind in America, and is one of three things Jefferson insisted be put on his tombstone.

Jefferson's Tomb at Monticello

He wanted the statute along with his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and his founding of the University of Virginia engraved for all eternity.  He was proud of it, and he should have been.

There was no real religious freedom in the American colonies.  Virginians had to belong to the Anglican Church to hold office, Baptist preachers were put in jail for speaking their conscience and minds, and the Puritans/Congregationalists of New England banished most who were dissenters, including Roger Williams, the Baptist founder of Rhode Island.  Even the Catholics had a state of their own, Maryland.  George Calvert aka Lord Baltimore, was a Catholic follower of King Charles II.  Charlie was a closet Catholic and a good friend of Calvert.  Calvert was granted a colony charter by the King allowing Catholics to worship freely.  That freedom wouldn’t come to Great Britain for nearly a hundred years.

So, why is today so important?  Well, religions and religious freedoms in America are under attack.  Biblical interpretation is decried, poo-poohed and dissed at every turn.

Muslims, Jews, Baptists, Catholics, and the rest…they are all  under attack.

But, America is a nation of Freedom OF Religion, not a nation of Freedom FROM Religion.  It simply means that you can have one if you want, decide not to have one if you so desire, and you can’t keep anyone else from worshiping at the place of their choice.

So, today, when you pray or choose not to, remember that a tall red-headed patriot from the foothills of Virginia authored the document that gave us the beginnings of our Religious Freedom.

And be thankful for that.

 

Just in case you’d like to read the statute:

An Act for establishing religious Freedom.

Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;

That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do,

That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time;

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical;

That even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind;

That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry,

That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right,

That it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it;

That though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way;

That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

And finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

This is a re-run.

I was texting with a friend yesterday when she asked if I’d ever done a post on “the other first lady born outside the United States.

That’s right, Melania Trump is not the first first lady born overseas.

When I sent her the link to this original post, she said, “…definitely worth a re-post…”

So, since yesterday was busier than I care to go into (it was  a good day, just crazy busy), I’ll take her advice and re-post this “love” story about Louisa Adams and her husband, President John Quincy Adams.

With any luck, you’ll enjoy it!

If not, blame Val!!!

Louisa as a child

It was in Nantes that four-year-old Louisa first met her future husband, who at 12 was traveling through France with his father. Her family had taken refuge there during the American Revolution.  Daddy was from Maryland, mom was a Brit.

Born in London, she was the only First Lady born outside of the United States

They met again, this time in London.  Her father had been appointed American consul.

Her future husband, John Quincy Adams, was initially smitten with her older sister, but after realizing she was “not as pleasant”, he settled on Louisa.

The groom was 30, the bride 22, when they married on July 26, 1797, at All Hallows Barking parish in London, England.

His dad, the POTUS John Adams, objected to the marriage because the bride was born outside the United States.

And we thought xenophobia was new.

Eventually, she charmed the old man, and she was welcomed into the family.

Nice start!

Louisa was sickly, migraine headaches and frequent fainting spells being her cross to bear.

She had several miscarriages over the course of their marriage.

She left her two older sons in Massachusetts for education in 1809, but took their two-year-old, Charles Francis Adams, to Russia when Quincy was called to serve as a Minister to the court of the Tsar.

Despite the glamour of the Tsar’s court, she had to struggle with cold winters, strange customs, limited funds, and poor health; an infant daughter born in 1811 died the next year.

Peace negotiations called Adams to Ghent in 1814 and then to London. Happy to get out of Russian and to join him, Louisa had to make a forty-day journey across war-ravaged Europe by coach in winter; roving bands of stragglers and highwaymen filled her with “unspeakable terrors” for her son.

No one was happier to get back to London than Louisa.

When John Quincy Adams was appointed Secretary of State by James Monroe, the family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1817.  Louisa’s drawing room became a center for the diplomatic corps and other Washington bigwigs. Music, she played the harp, enhanced her Tuesday evenings at home, and theater parties contributed to her reputation as an outstanding hostess.

Take that Dolly Madison!

Though she should have been happy to move into the White House in 1825, her joy was dimmed by the bitter politics of the election – they’ve always been nasty – coupled with a bout of deep depression.

Though she continued her weekly “drawing rooms”, she preferred quiet evenings of reading, composing music and verse, and playing her harp.

Louisa

Yawn.

As First Lady, she became reclusive and depressed.

She told a friend that she regretted ever having married into the Adams family. She found the Adams men cold and insensitive.

Quincy

What’s that saying about a picture painting a thousand words…

In his diary for June 23, 1828, her husband records her “winding silk from several hundred silkworms that she has been rearing,” in the White House.

When Quincy lost his bid for re-election in yet again a bitter campaign, they headed back to the Bay State.

Louisa thought she was retiring to Massachusetts permanently, but in 1831 her husband began seventeen years of service in the US House of Representatives. She wasn’t happy about moving back to the filthy city and the untimely deaths of her two oldest sons didn’t help her state of mind.

“Our union has not been without its trials,” John Quincy Adams wrote, admitting to many “differences of sentiment, of tastes, and of opinions in regard to domestic economy, and to the education of children between us.”

But, he added, “…she always has been a faithful and affectionate wife, and a careful, tender, indulgent, and watchful mother to our children.”

Her husband died on the job in the US Capitol in 1848.

She stayed in the Washington she despised until her death of a heart attack on May 15, 1852, at the age of 77.

In Fourteen Hundred Ninety-Two…

…Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.

This is a re-run, I don’t do this often, but I think Columbus gets more bad press than he deserves. Some of my readers are new, and may have missed this one! Enjoy

We’ve heard it all our lives, the little poem extolling the heroics of Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of the new world.

Well, it wasn’t new.  The Western Hemisphere had been there just as long as Europe, Africa, and Asia.

These days, Chris gets a bad rap.  One city in the Western United States has “re-named” the national Columbus Holiday as Indigenous People’s Day, which is ridiculous.

Really, it’s a national holiday.

Leave it alone.

Just get the history right.

Chris was determined to find an alternate route to the spice rich Orient.

Going over land was dangerous, the ancestors of ISIS were there making crossing the desert a tad dangerous.  Then there was Afghanistan, India, the Mongolian Horde, and some very testy Chinese folks to get by.

The only known sea route was dangerous too. The Cape of Africa was dicey and the ocean was uncharted.

He had to find a new way, not to be a hero, but to make some serious cash.

You see, Chris was a businessman, plain and simple. He was going for the gold, or in this case, the spice.

He really didn’t need to convince most folks the world was round.  Pythagoras and Aristotle had proven that centuries before.  All they had to do was look at the sky.

The flat-Earthers then were mainly those out in the boonies who were still worshiping trees, rocks and fauna.

Chris had a hard time getting funded.  The Kings of Portugal, England, and France told him to scat when he came to court with his hat in hand.

The turned him down flat.

He spent two years in Spain begging Queen Isabella for cash.  She said no on the advice of her confessor, Torquemada, you might remember him as the inventor of the Spanish Inquisition.

Not only a religious zealot, but a bad businessman as well.

Columbus was headed home to Italy when Isabella’s husband, King Ferdinand stepped in and ordered his treasurer to move money around to fund one half of Columbus voyage.

Chris already had half the money he needed from fellow Italians back home.

That’s right, Chris wasn’t Spanish, he was an Italian born and bred.

Ferdinand gave UP the cash because he knew that IF Columbus came back, debt ridden Spain would be again the financial power-house it once was.  Isabella, knowing that Columbus was nearly as uber-Catholic as she, was sure he would spread the Doctrine of the Mother Church to the heathen.

Spread meaning enforce.

Which he did.

So, the old boy, his three ships, and crew were on their way to China.

Columbus left Palos de la Frontera, Spain on August 3, 1492.  About 20 days out of Port, Chardonnay, and Chablis, the grew got a little testy, and a mutiny nearly occurred.

Chris calmed things down, and they were on their way.

About 2 AM on October 12, 1492, the lookout on the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana, spotted land and alerted the crew.

Of course, they thought they were in China.

They weren’t, they were in the Bahamas.

Chris claimed the land for the King of Spain, called it San Salvador, and went ashore.

Columbus

Columbus was a very spiritual/religious man.  A devout Catholic, he proceeded to “convert” the pagan natives to the Mother Church.

His flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked on Christmas Eve 1492 by a cabin boy, and the crew spent a not so Merry Christmas salvaging the cargo.

Columbus had to return to Spain in the Nina, leaving 40 crew members behind to establish the first European settlement.

When he came back on his second voyage, they were all gone and no trace of the settlement was found.

Chris made four voyages, essentially creating the Colombian Exchange.   He also introduced the African slave trade to the Western Hemisphere.  Slaves had been bought and sold world wide, and the Native Indigenous Peoples captured entire cultures and enslaved them.  Slavery wasn’t new to the Caribs and other native tribes, only the color of the slaves was.

In 1500, Columbus was stripped of his titles, power, and freedom and was returned to Spain in disgrace. As the governor of Hispaniola, he could be a brute!

Natives who under-collected Gold generally had their hands cut off, and colonists who rebelled or caused problems met their end at the gallows.

Word got back to Madrid, Isabella was pissed, sent a Royal Commissioner to arrest him and Chris came home in chains.

Ferdinand, again, intervened.  He pardoned the old boy, helped him recover, and funded his fourth and final trip to the New World.

Columbus died at the age of 54 in Valladolid, Spain.

Modern doctors and scientists now believe that Columbus died from Reitier’s Syndrome, a form of reactive arthritis, a joint inflammation caused by intestinal bacterial infections or after acquiring certain sexually transmitted diseases (Chris was a playah) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Most historians play nice and claim  “It seems likely that Columbus acquired reactive arthritis from food poisoning on one of his ocean voyages because of poor sanitation and improper food preparation,” at least according to Dr. Frank C. Arnett of the University of Texas Medical School.

What ever the cause, he died on May 20, 1506.

But, it didn’t stop there.  He was buried in Valladolid, reburied in Seville, and at the request of his daughter-in-law, he was dug UP again along with her husband, shipped to Hispanola and re-buried once more in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.

In 1795, when the French captured Hispaniola, the Spanish in retreat dug him UP again, and he was buried in Cuba.

After the Spanish American War when Cuba became an American Territory, Columbus, or someone was again dug UP and sent back to Seville!

So, lost explorer, tyrant, philanderer, dis-respecter of native culture, or hero and discoverer, why do we celebrate Columbus Day?

The legacy of Columbus has been celebrated in America since around 1790, but didn’t become an official holiday until 1937.  The Knights of Columbus, an influential all-male Catholic fraternal organization, wanted a strong Catholic role model to be acknowledged by the US Government. After intense lobbying by the KofC, President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress named Columbus Day a legal and federal holiday.

What ever view you hold, what ever you choose to celebrate, have a Happy Monday and an great Columbus Day.