Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway

Friday, February 28, 2014

Kieran Monroe-BIO-TV: Jayne Mansfield Documentary

Source: Kieran Monroe-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

To put it simply, Jayne Mansfield was the ultimate hot baby-face goddess who never grew up, and in all of her 34 years, I'm not sure she ever looked old enough to even drive. That is how I see her, as someone who never quite became an adult woman emotionally, and I believe she was never very happy even though she basically had it all and was a very good entertainer. She had a very quick comedic wit and the ability to sing and act as well.

She wasn't a dumb blonde, but someone with real talent. She was immature and never quite grew up or appreciate what she had, but if she had lived a normal, she would probably have won many awards with her comedic wit and versatility and ability to entertain people in multiple ways, but she never understood and was not able to appreciate any of that.

I haven't seen many Jayne Mansfield movies but Who Will Spoil Rock Hunter with the great comedic actor Tony Randall is the perfect example of a movie where you get to see all her talent, where she could purposely play the role of the dumb sexy blonde, which is how she wanted to be portrayed, when behind the scenes she was as smart and cunning as anyone and knew how to get what she wanted when she wanted it.

In Who Will Spoil Rock Hunter, Tony Randall plays a struggling advertising executive who needs a big client to make a lot of money for his company. And that is where the Jayne Mansfield character comes in as an incredible Hollywood bombshell who needs what Rock Hunter can give her, which is credibility and good publicity on Madison Avenue and to be taken seriously. And she and Rock make for good partners in that film.
Kieran Monroe-BIO: Jayne Mansfield Documentary

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Justin Sluss: The Seven Year Itch- The Piano Scene in the Apartment

Source: Justin Sluss- Marilyn Monroe & Tom Ewell-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Everything Marilyn Monroe did was adorable and I love this scene from The Seven Year Itch because it stars a married man whose wife and son are away for the summer at a lake in upstate New York. So this successful New York advertising man has this big apartment to himself for the whole summer in New York and if you don't think New York summers are hot enough, well first spend some time in Washington and Maryland.  For this guy, played by Tom Ewell, summer gets even hotter when Marilyn Monroe's character moves into his building. This is a great innocent scene with two people spending quality time with each other. He has this hot babe all to himself and he plays the innocent. They eat potato chips with wine together and play the piano and just talk to each other as friends. He could have started an affair with her. The end is history.
Justin Sluss: The Seven Year Itch- Chopsticks

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mr. Duffle: Video: Wynton Marsalis Septet, Happy Birthday

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Happy Birthday Big Daddy, who is now, well I won't give that out in public, but still my Big Daddy no matter how long he lives and I expect a lot more birthdays to come, or I might kill him myself, ha, ha.

CBS: The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson- Raquel Welch

Source: CBS- Raquel & Craig Ferguson-
Source: CBS: The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson- Raquel Welch in 2010

When I think of Raquel Welch, I think of a red-headed gorgeous baby-face goddess, at least at first sight, and she's all of that and I'm sure a lot more physically, but that is not the whole picture, as she says herself in this video. She's had a great career spanning over 50 years as a model, an actress, and a singer, as well as a dancer and now an author, and I'm not sure many people realize that because it is so hard to get pass her goddess-like physical appearance.

Raquel Welch now is not only better looking than most women young enough to be her daughter but even those young enough to be her granddaughter. She is now 73 years old and will be 74 this September, but you would never know that or even guess if you saw her for the first time today.  Again, that is not the whole picture when you talk about her movies, like Myra Breckinridge (based on Gore Vidal's book) or The Last of Sheila, with an all-star cast that included Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, James Mason, and Richard Benjamin, or Mother Jugs and Speed from 1976.

In the 1960s, when Raquel became a star similar to Marilyn Monroe, she was hired because of her incredible physical appearance, but by the 1970s she was getting very good parts with real substance, like The Last of Sheila, Mother Jugs and Speed, The Kansas City Bomber, and others, and embarking on a singing career. More people were beginning to see that she was more than just a goddess but a great entertainer as well.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Jumps

Source: Movie Clips- Jimmy Stewart-
Source: The New Democrat

The movie Vertigo had several sad scenes.  Madeline, played by Kim Novak, supposedly dies  and Scotty, played by Jimmy Stewart, who was in love with Madeline,  is committed to a mental hospital because of his reaction to her death.  But Judy, also played by Kim Novak, a goddess of a women dies for real.  She is my favorite character in the movie because with all the supposed freedom in the world,  she was so vulnerable.
Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Jumps

Profiles in History: Marilyn Monroe's Subway Dress- From The Seven Year Itch

Source: Profiles in History- Tom Ewell & Marilyn Monroe-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

One of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history happened in one of the most conservative times in American history, the 1950s. When women weren't expected to show off their physical beauty and were looked down upon when they did. In this scene, the goddess of Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe, showed millions of people around the world part of what she had to work with from a physical standpoint and a big reason why she was so popular.

Marilyn Monroe was a Silent Generation baby who grew up during the depression and got to watch or hear about World War II, instead of ever having to ever worry about serving in that war, because she was too young. Who was probably 15-20 years ahead of her time. She becomes a star in the 1960s and there wouldn't been much that was controversial about her as far as how she presented herself physically. This is a woman who wore tight Levis jeans and loved to show off her legs and butt when most women weren't wearing tight denims at all, at least in public in the 1950s. She was so ahead of her time as a Hollywood goddess and actress, that it's just a damn shame that she died so early. And denied so many of her fans the ability to see how great of an entertainer she would've become.
Profiles in History: Marilyn Monroe's Subway Dress- From The Seven Year Itch

Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Becomes Madeleine

Source: Movie Clips-Kim Novak- 
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Scotty played by Jimmy Stewart falls in love with Madeleine played by Kim Novak who also happens to be the wife of a client of Scotty's who is a private detective conducting and investigation of Madeleine for Madeleine's husband. Madeleine apparently dies but not really and Scotty finds a women who looks a lot like Madeleine only she has red hair instead of blonde and he becomes obsessed with Judy the red head because she reminds her so much of Madeleine but Judy and Madeleine are the same women.
Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Becomes Madeleine

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Onion: Video: Open Relationship Gives Couple Freedom to Emotionally Drain Other People

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Sure, why take your frustrations out on your spouse when you can take them out on your mistress. Instead, you could just say, "Honey, look, I don't want to argue this with you," and go meet your mistress and have it out with her instead and then if there's anything you didn't cover with her, your wife will be there at home for you to finish off your critical arguments about whose turn it was to wash the dishes or pick up the kids from school or pay the monthly porno bill.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Your Sportsman 23: Video: NFL Films: Jim Brown Ultimate Highlights: The Best There Ever Was

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

For anyone who's not a math junky or a professional accountant or statistician who understands more than numbers and stats when it comes to sports and is actually interested in what goes on in football games and how plays happen and what the offense has to do to be successful and exactly what the defense needs to do to stop the offense, I'm going to explain why Jim Brown, the former great Cleveland Browns running back, is the greatest running back of all time, if not the greatest football player of all time. And then I'll even throw in some numbers for the younger stats-addicted generation as well.

To look at Jim Brown, sure, you could look at his numbers and say they were very impressive, especially considering he only played nine seasons and 116 games and rushed for over 13,000 yards, averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and scored over 100 touchdowns. He averaged over 100 yards a game rushing in his NFL career as well but that still wouldn't be enough to give Big Jim all of the credit he deserves, and you would need to go much further than that.

Another way to look at Jim Brown would be his size and physical talents: 6'2", 225-230 pounds, 4 or 5 percent body fat.  He could outrun not only a lot of receivers back in the 1960s but also outrun a lot of receivers today. He ran a 4.2 or 4.3 40-yard dash; I mean, he was literally a human horse with all of that power, size, and strength constantly going up against defenders; he was not only stronger, bigger, and faster than another man of that size and and speed coming right at you, but you had to stop him and that meant tackling him.

The way I look at Jim Brown is the way I look at all running backs; that is, what do defenses have to do to stop him? Based on that alone, forgetting about the stats for a minute, Jim Brown is the greatest running back of all time because he was simply the hardest to defend against and was always one broken tackle away from scoring because of his size and speed. There are plenty of running backs with that quality but no other running back was a bigger threat to score than Jim Brown.

NBC: The Today Show- Charles Manson Interview in 1987

Source: NBC-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Charles Manson has made a couple of admissions of guilt. I'm not a lawyer but this is what it sounds like when he says perhaps he should've killed more people. I'm paraphrasing here, but that is pretty close, and perhaps the closes, he's come to taking responsibility for the brutal Manson Family murders of 1969 of people the Manson Family didn't know or had ever heard of. The interviewer asked a basic straightforward question and got a fairly straight answer from Charlie.

I believe a borderline silly question has to be asked of Charlie Manson: Do you feel responsibility or remorse for the murders?  It is a silly question because you know what he's going to say:  Remorse for what, what murders, what about everything you've done to me and so forth.  It has to be asked because he's the one man who knows exactly how many people he's responsible for killing and you are looking for new information here and, if nothing else, to get a new reaction out of him.

This is not much of an interview but certainly entertaining. The interviewer is not asking many questions but really just letting Charlie do his shtick, his routine, and letting him go off on the world and what he thinks of things and letting him speak and make up for lost time spending so much of his time not just in State prison but in solitary confinement, during which the world that is still fascinated by the man gets to see how he is doing and what he is thinking.
NBC: The Today Show- Charles Manson Interview in 1987

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fat Hawaiian Man: CBS News NightWatch- Charlie Rose 1987 Interview of Charlie Manson

Source: Fat Hawaiian Man- Cult leader and serial murderer Charles Manson-
Source: The New Democrat 

I can feel a certain sympathy for Charlie Manson because it is easy to see why he is so pissed off at a society that provided only the corrections system as an early home for him. Never knowing his biological father, with a criminal mother who rejected her son, being shipped around from aunt and uncle to aunt and uncle, and then ending up in reform school, he received no encouragement as a child or the emotional and physical skills to tackle life's demands.

I am not excusing Manson's crimes, but many career criminals in the United States emerge from similar rough beginnings. Ted Bundy would be an exception to that, as well as Manson's soldiers, but the life of Charles Manson is a lesson for society that it shouldn't give up on the younger generation, because it could come back to bite them if young people end up looking for an avenue to express their resentment or hatred for the society that neglected them.

I'm not sure there's someone more qualified than Charlie Rose to interview Charlie Manson, because of his intelligence, the work he puts into his interviews, and his vast knowledge about so much that is news-related.  His interviewing skills are unmatched.  He knows when someone is being straight with him and knows when they are leaving out important facts.  His bullshit radar is superb, and Charlie Manson found himself up against someone who was more than his match in Charlie Rose in this interview.
Fat Hawaiian Man CBS News NightWatch- Charlie Rose 1987 Interview of Charles Manson

ABC News: 20/20- Diane Sawyer: 1994 Special on The Manson Family

Source: ABC News-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

The Manson Crime Family, which is what I call it instead of a cult, because of all the crimes they committed and people they either seriously hurt or killed, is one of the worst crime families of all time with regard to their large number of victims.  Charlie Manson, the leader of this family, was a professional criminal and, until he put the Manson Family together, wasn't a very successful criminal because of all the time he had already spent in prison.

Charlie Manson, even though he was not an educated man (I believe he didn't even make it to high school) is very intelligent and talented, has a quick mind, and knew how to use his mental skills, charm, and narcotics to make people do exactly what he wanted them to do as in the case of middle class, talented, educated, and intelligent people like Tex Watson and the Manson women.

Charlie Manson felt he had been screwed his entire life and searched for a way to express his anger and get his payback.  He found the perfect cast of characters to do his evil work, a group of people who felt lost, didn't fit into the establishment, and were looking for a leader.  They found Charles Manson instead and he led them to ruin their lives and those of the victims and their families.
ABC News: 20/20- Diane Sawyer: 1994 Special on The Manson Family

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Top Model Baby Belle: Elton John- Candle In The Wind Marilyn Monroe

Source: Top Model Baby Belle-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

The best tribute to Marilyn Monroe because it perfectly sums up Marilyn Monroe's life is that she was a candle in the wind that blew out far too soon and left a huge hole that no one else could fill, or has filled since.  She was the best looking woman who has ever come from Hollywood and also a good actress and a hell of singer.  She was also very funny, and a lot of that humor was intentional, and even though she is stereotyped as a dumb blond bimbo, she had a quick wit and mind but many inner problems as well.

Marilyn Monroe was dead at 36 in 1962 from a drug overdose. It was a probable suicide but in a lot of ways summed up her life perfectly about a woman so perfect on the outside with so much talent but not much going on in the inside with regard to the ability to manage her talents and abilities. She was a woman who could attract the President of the United States and the U.S. Attorney General but was incapable  of managing her own affairs.

She was a goddess on the outside but on the inside thought of herself as a loser without self-confidence and someone who apparently didn't see much point in living and didn't enjoy life. She had the talent and ability to work for anyone but a childlike inability to manage her life. She was lost outside her crib and could not manage life in the real world.
Top Model Baby Belle: Elton John- Candle in The Wind Marilyn Monroe

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mr. Penny CCW: Video: HBO Films: Magic & Bird a Courtship of Rivals

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

This film is about the two men who saved the National Basketball Association in the 1980s. And to know that, you have to be familiar with the NBA back in the late 1970s. The fact that the NBA finals were shown on tape-delay television means the game is played at one point. The network back then was CBS and CBS Sports, which recorded the game and broadcast it. The game was played at 8 or 9 pm, but then CBS Sports aired the game at midnight after the local TV news.

Regarding Earvin Magic Johnson's and Larry Legend Bird's second or third season, sports fans wanted to see the NBA again and their ratings were back up and all of their games are now being shown live. The reason for this is that both players were great to see, but why were they great to see: Because of what they were about, which wasn't themselves but their teams and winning. All they were interested in was winning, and as the great NBA basketball head coach Pat Riley said, Magic and Legend were about team first and team last and everything else in between and nothing else.

The only thing that Magic and Legend cared about was winning and the fact that they were the two best. Players, at least of their generation playing for the two best teams of this era, and playing in opposite conferences, Larry Bird playing for the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference, and Earvin Johnson playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference, and for either to win the NBA finals, most likely they would have to beat the Celtics or Lakers. It meant for the two best team players of all time to win the championship. They would have to beat each other to do that.

I am not sure whether Larry Bird and Earvin Johnson would have been as great as they were had they not played in the same era and were from the same generation. Had they been clearly the best players of their era without anyone to push them for the top and had the Celtics been the best team of this era without the Lakers to push them and vice-versa I am not sure they would have been as great as they were without the other player and team pushing them. Because part of Legend's and Magic's greatness was the other pushing them to make them as great as they were:  the competition of the rivalry.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mzybert: Rounders 1998- The Final Hand

Source: Mzybert-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Great scene because this is really about a guy Mike McDermott who at best is a part-time law student, but who really makes a living as a gambler a poker player. Who makes his money reading other people’s faces and mannerism’s who is in a deep hole of ten-thousand dollars. Actually a hole he inherited from his friend Worm who ran up a big debt losing in poker and Mike is trying to help his irresponsible friend out. And that is where he get’s into trouble because his friend is not good for the debt.

So Mike goes into this game hours away from having to pay his debt off. Or get his ass kicked by gangsters he owes the money to thanks to Worm. So he goes to the one guy who has the money that he could win from him to get the money he needs to pay off the debt. And so he’s down to his last play late in the game fourth and twenty. And he comes through and makes the play or risk getting his ass handed to him and perhaps not surviving the experience.

This is the ultimate scene about one guy putting everything on the line and coming out on top. Beating the best poker player in New York City by not getting lucky which is really not what poker is about. But by using his poker skills to read KGB and beat him at his own game and not only wins enough money to pay off all of his debts. But walk away from the game with a profit and he kicks KGB’s ass at his own game and walks away the winner.
Mzybert: Rounders 1998- The Final Hand

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The New Democrat on Blogger: Journey on a Bike: My Last Bike Adventure Leading to My New Bike

The New Democrat on Blogger: Journey on a Bike: My Last Bike Adventure Leading to My New Bike

This story is almost exactly a week old, actually more like ten days. But a week from last Wednesday the Wednesday before the Super Bowl, I took my bike out for a ride on a cold late Maryland afternoon. Which isn’t uncommon for me, but what was uncommon was that the gears weren’t working properly. The gears were stuck in low gear if not the lowest gear making the bike very difficult to accelerate. Imagine driving a car on the road especially a highway with the top speed of twenty miles an hour. Well that is what it is like riding a bicycle stuck in low gear.

The next day somehow the gears are back to running normally and I didn’t do a thing to the bike. Or have anyone look at it or fix it, but the gears were back to running normally. But last Friday I had a bigger problem with the gears in that they were now stuck in high gear. So I’m trying to ride up steep hills with the bike in top gear. Kinda like trying to push a piano up a flight of steps with just your hands. Lucky for me I’m an avid rider and I’m in very good physical and biking shape. When they were stuck in top gear I knew I had a serious problem and needed to get the bike to the shop.

So last Saturday I take the bike in high gear ride it all the way over to Big Wheel Bikes in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. About two miles from where I live and this is a place that gives excellent service. I’ve been a regular customer there for almost four years now since the summer of 2010. And they told me they didn’t have the parts to fix the gear changer on the bike. But that I should call them back Tuesday and the manager there would call around and see if he can get the new parts by then, but he wasn’t sure if he could at all.

The guys at Big Wheel even suggested that if I didn’t want to wait that long which I didn’t I bike ride everyday, that maybe I should take the bike over to Griffin’s Bikes just up the street. And maybe they could fix it that day, Griffin’s just happens to be one of Big Wheel’s competitors. I use to be a regular customer of Griffin’s but in late 2009 I go in there just for a tune-up which are normally like three-hundred bucks for my old bike. The bike is four years old at this point and guy there was basically trying to sell me a new bike. Saying that if he gave it a tune-up I might only get a couple more months out of that bike.

I take the bike over to Big Wheel in the summer of 2010 and get another tune-up after the last tune-up came from Griffin’s in the fall of 2009 and they fixed the bike right up and I got almost another four years out of it. I go to Big Wheel partly because of my last experience at Griffin’s, but also because Big Wheel was suggested to me by two people who know a lot about bikes that I respect. The last two years for my old bike were pretty rough. The whole bike except for the base of it has essentially been rebuilt including the breaks and the gears would’ve had to have been replaced as well.

I go to Griffins last Saturday because Big Wheel couldn’t fix the gears right away. And the guy there asks me if he can look the bike all over because he very quickly was seeing a lot that wasn’t right. About the bike and basically concluded that what it would take to rebuild the bike it would simply be cheaper to get a new bike. And what I asked him was how about if you completely repair the old bike and I’ll get a new bike from you and use the old bike as a spare. He told me that fixing the old bike would be somewhere around a thousand dollars and it wouldn’t be worth the time. So I decided to dump the old bike except for the parts that still worked like the basket, headlight, backlight and so forth. And had them transferred to my new bike.

I bought the old bike in the summer of 2005 for five-hundred dollars. I bought my new Trek mountain bike today that has all the new features as my old 2005 Giant Boulder. Great bike by the way when it was running for six-hundred and fifty dollars. Griffins saved me something like four-hundred dollars by getting me a new bike. And the thing I can’t figure out is how come Big Wheel didn’t figure out that my old bike needed a hell of a lot of new work on it. On top of the work I had on it late last year and the summer as well and just tell me, “how about we dump this bike and sell you a new one and save you some money”.