Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Few More

OK, a few more posts from Facebook (links can be found there), because I have such loyal readers:

Whitey Bulger is the gangster they based Jack Nicholson's character in "The Departed" on. He was on the lam for over fifteen years, was caught a few years back, and is now serving two life terms. He's 85.

A bunch of kids wrote to him for a history project. Here's part of his response:

"My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame and suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon...Advice is a cheap commodity some seek it from me about crime — I know only one thing for sure — If you want to make crime pay — 'Go to Law School.'"
In honor of Art Garfunkel (a Kew Gardens Hills boy, like Paul Simon and myself- I only realize now that their childhood homes were a few blocks from mine) visiting Israel, it's time for Ali G:

Ali: What is Art Nouveau?

Professor Arthur Danto, Columbia University: [Explains.]

Ali: What is Art Deco?

Danto: [Explains.]

Ali: So what is Art Garfunkel?

Danto: ...a singer...

Ali: So ain't that confusing for young people?

Danto: It may be, but it would astonish me if it was.
 So they're filming the scene in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" where Wormtongue kills Saruman (it's in the Extended Edition), and Peter Jackson is telling Christopher Lee (Saruman) what to do. Lee interrupts him to point out that that's not what people sound like when they're stabbed in the back.

During World War II, Lee had been in the Special Operations Executive, aka "the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare," aka "Churchill's Secret Army," aka "the Baker Street Irregulars" (they were headquartered down the block from Sherlock Holmes' place). Also on the team was Ian Fleming, who based most of the James Bond characters (M, Q, Moneypenny, etc.) on people he'd worked with there.

So while Lee didn't talk about what he'd done as an agent, he knew of what he spoke when correcting Jackson. And then he went on to have another amazing life. RIP.

(I love this quote from him:

"When people say to me, you know, were you in this? Were you in that? Did you work in this? Did you work in that? I always used to say 'Can you keep a secret?' And they would say 'Yes, yes' and I would say 'So can I.'")

 Wow. I'm quoting Joe Biden:

After only four months in the United States Senate, as a 30-year-old kid, I was walking through the Senate floor to go to a meeting with Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. And I witnessed another newly elected senator, the extremely conservative Jesse Helms, excoriating Ted Kennedy and Bob Dole for promoting the precursor of the Americans with Disabilities Act. But I had to see the Leader, so I kept walking.

When I walked into Mansfield’s office, I must have looked as angry as I was. He was in his late ‘70s, lived to be 100. And he looked at me, he said, what’s bothering you, Joe?

I said, that guy, Helms, he has no social redeeming value. He doesn’t care — I really mean it — I was angry. He doesn’t care about people in need. He has a disregard for the disabled.

Majority Leader Mansfield then proceeded to tell me that three years earlier, Jesse and Dot Helms, sitting in their living room in early December before Christmas, reading an ad in the Raleigh Observer, the picture of a young man, 14-years-old with braces on his legs up to both hips, saying, all I want is someone to love me and adopt me. He looked at me and he said, and they adopted him, Joe.

I felt like a fool. He then went on to say, Joe, it’s always appropriate to question another man’s judgment, but never appropriate to question his motives because you simply don’t know his motives.

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