From her second story window, the old lady peered out onto the street below. Daily this woman in black watched the world of the street below. The cars. The walkers. The neighbors. Some said she was taking names and getting numbers. Mostly she just kept watching. And watching. Some didn’t like being spied upon. Others didn’t care. “She’s not any harm to anybody,” they said. No one inquired about her. They all speculated but they didn’t knock on her door and wish a friendly good morning. Only a local delivery boy did that as he brought the latest round of groceries. People just weren’t all that curious. After all, it was an old woman. No one to be concerned about. In her room, she stared down on the world below, craving something other than curiosity. But what? If someone had asked, she might have blurted out, “Charlie. He’s my son. He’ll be home from the war. Soon.”
Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is the song: “True Love” with Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly.
It’s a little early for Valentine’s Day but I thought “True Love” would be a perfect song for the holiday.
Before she was a Princess, Grace Kelly was an actress. She was the new bride in “High Noon”. She was the wrongly accused in Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder”. She was a cheating wife in “Mogambo”. She was Jimmy Stewart’s girlfriend in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”. As you can see, she was Hitchcock’s favorite before she went off to Monaco. Her final picture was a musical remake of “The Philadelphia Story” called “High Society” (1956). She played the Katherine Hepburn part. Bing Crosby did the Cary Grant role and Frank Sinatra played the Jimmy Stewart part.
One of the songs in “High Society” is “True Love”. Composed by Cole Porter, it joins so many other songs that became a part of what has been called The Great American Songbook. Before Chuck Berry, before the Beatles, before Bob Dylan, before Prince and Michael Jackson, there was The Great American Songbook. It consists of standards from the 30s, the 40s and the 50s. More than standards, these are often perfect songs, the music and lyric memorable. They set a standard for what a good song could be.
They were composed by some of our best composers of popular song. Some of the masters were Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and George and Ira Gershwin. And the songs have never gone out of style. They have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, Michael Feinstein, Harry Connick Jr., Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.
Nothing like a scandal to get Americans going. Americans just love their scandals. Whether it’s over a very small thing: a tip on a stock, a sexual dalliance, an affair.
Or a really big thing like a war. Now that is a scandal. It gets American blood going. Americans get to have parades. Americans get to beat our chests. Americans get to fire off fireworks. Nothing like a war to make the Stock Market go up. The day Congress declared war on Canada, the Dow went up 10,000 points.
The President’s favorability rating was 95%. The 5% that gave him a thumbs down didn’t count. They populated the State of Discontent.
“We’re sending in the Magnificent Seven,” the President told his Secretary of State.
“Who?” State asked.
“You know. The Magnificent Seven. Hokey, Pokey, Smokey, Okey, Dokey, Folksey and Cheese. Those guys.”
“Oh,” State said, mildly surprised that a bunch of over-the-hill actors could do the job.
“They have been ordered not to fire until they hear the ehs with their ears.”
“Don’t you mean,” State asked, “the whites of their eyes?”
“No. The ehs is the plan. Then Cheese is going to put some real whip on their ehs.”
Little did the Americans know the Canadians had a Plan. And it wasn’t going to be pretty. They were sending in the World Famous Gordy Howes.
At the famous Battle of the P F Sneaze Battalion, the Magnificent Seven got their—how shall we say it, yes—American butts kicked. Before you can say “Ping pang walla walla bing bang”, the Americans were suing for peace. The Gordy Howes hat-tricked the Americans into a corner. They never had a chance. Then they sent that Seven who were not Magnificent back home again. It was sad. Real sad. There was not going to be a parade.
Oh, well. It’s not the first war America has lost. I could go through the roster but that would be like watching a comedy that ain’t comedy anymore.
As part of the settlement, the Americans had to take back the State of Mississippi. Another part was that the United States had to call Canadian bacon bacon. Good old American bacon was to be called ham. And ham, what was it to be called? Pork. So what was pork called? Well, that was left to American linguists to figure out.
Since Canada had an overflow of comedians, the United States had to take the excess. Suddenly the United States was overrun by comedians. Jokes, like the tulips of bygone days Holland, became worthless because there was so many of them flooding the states. And the Americans developed an immunity to jokes. So much so that no one laughed. Americans didn’t even crack a smile. The time was called the Really Great Depression because Americans were so depressed.
There was one final thing. The United States had to join Canada and start the Great North American Socialist Medicine Plan. It was a hard blow to American Free Enterprise. Now every American could afford to go to the doctor.
Sure, there might be a line or two. To avoid that dilemma, the Canadian P.M. pointed out, “You need to educate more doctors.” ‘Course the pragamatic never stopped Americans from making darn fools of themselves.
It was a deep blow to Americans but the Americans took it with their chins up. If they had to be defeated, Canada was not so bad. They were thinking of all that money the snowbirds were to spend in Florida now that the War was over.
Next Week What’s Left To Tell
“I’m here to tell you this is the horse you want to bet on.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.”
“He’s not like the others. This one is special. He’s going to be in the Derby. Wouldn’t you like to be the first to find a horse that’s going to be in the Derby?”
“I won’t be the first.”
“Sure, you will.”
“No, you’re the first.”
“Well, you know what I mean.”
“All I know is you want me to lose my money. I’m already under three grand.”
“You gotta take risks. Else life ain’t worth living.”
“What kind of odds you give me?”
“Odds? On a winner like this?”
“Alright. I will give you two to one. Only cause I like you. How’s that?”
“I’d hate to see somebody you didn’t like.”
“C’mon. You want in or what?”
“Yeah, I’m in.”
Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is the movie “Draft Day” (2014):
In celebration of the upcoming Superbowl Game, I thought I would throw out a different kind of football movie.
Everybody wants to fire Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner). At least, in Cleveland. When you are the GM for Cleveland, and your team is on the skids, everybody is out to fire you. NFL Draft Day is the next day and Sonny had better deliver some splash or he ain’t going to have a job. That’s the news Sonny’s boss delivers as soon as Sonny arrives at work. For the boss, Frank Langella, it’s not about offense. It’s not about defense. It’s about selling tickets.
Everybody is evaluating every decision Sonny makes in microscopic detail. Everybody has an agenda. Everybody has an opinion, and mostly everybody’s wrong. Sonny’s opinion is the only one that counts. And Sonny puts everything on the line. So the only opinion he goes with is his gut. But he don’t always listen to his gut. If everybody would just leave him alone, he could do that.
Talk about stress. Sonny lives with stress. Fingernail chewing stress. On top of the draft, Sonny has some real personal issues to deal with. His father’s recent death and his girlfriend’s (Jennifer Garner) announcement that she is pregnant. It’s enough to kill a lesser mortal than Sonny.
Seattle calls. They want to trade their Number One spot in the draft this year. That means that Cleveland will get the latest hotshot quarterback, Bo Callahan. Well, if that ain’t some splash. So Seattle is on the phone, offering Sonny the pick of a lifetime. It’s going to cost Sonny big time.
Will Sonny take the bait? Of course, he does. Seattle has just given Sonny the splash he needs to keep his job. The owner is h. a. p. p. y. The War Room scouts are happy. Everybody is happy, except for the quarterback to be replaced and the Coach who has to coach the greatest thing since peanut butter, Bo Callahan of the Wisconsin Badgers.
The coach wants a team that will make it easy for him to win. And Bo is not on that team. His mother isn’t either. She tells him, “You sold the cow for the magic beans.”
But Bo is happy. So happy that his agent, Sean Combs, lets Sonny know, “Bo loves the cold weather.”
Then Sonny’s gut starts kicking in. He tells his War Room, “We need to find out what Bo’s something is, and see if that something matters.”
Kansas City calls. They want to make a trade. Buffalo calls and they want something. The Houston Texans are on the phone and they’re asking. Before we know it, Bo is being passed around like he’s Tom Brady’s football and it’s getting harder to find a receiver. It’s master’s chess and high stakes poker both rolled into one day that we’re seeing on the screen. Man, that’s football. That’s comedy.