Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reporting in from the slagheap of black aspiration:

I read a survey not so long ago in which a shocking ("Shocked! Shocked!") 66 percent of all African-American males between the ages of 13 and 18 said they believe they can earn a living playing professional sports. The logical conclusion is that most of that percentile also sense that getting a good education is not really all that necessary, i.e. "Screw the SATs. I can play for the CLIPPERS!" And, in the survey, a fair number of their parents seconded that emotion. GOD HOW I HATE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS! There oughta be a law.

As famous as ever - Happy Birthday, Duke

Photos (copies of copies, alas) by my friend, the late Ted Williams (he took many hundreds of The Duke). PS: Not the ballplayer Williams. Wouldn't even know what he looked like. MY Ted is who they shoulda froze


I once saw Ellington perform in his bathrobe at the crack of dawn at N.Y's Apollo. And then, in a tux at Basin Street East. Ummmm. . .just sharing.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fallen between AND beneath the cracks. . .

Singer Bob Ellis was a fairly well-known entertainer circ 1945-1970, especially in the Virgin Islands where he owned and operated the high end St. Thomas Club. He performed there as well. Also played piano. Made a number of nice recordings. . .most of them on his own label. The one heard here was co-written and produced by the excellent singer Bob Haymes, Dick Haymes' brother. It is arranged by Hugo Montenegro  and recorded at a pricey New York Studio in the mid-1950s. The orch contains 40-some players. Ellis was also a society figure of sorts having  been married to the heiress to the Dodge Motors fortune from 1951-'55. Lots of Winchell-Kilgallen coverage of their rocky marriage. Don't know whatever happened to Ellis post-seventies. By no means a jazz singer, still he belts nicely. Good legit "sound."

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Who knew? Me!

Am I the only person still living who knows that actress Marjorie (Ma Kettle) Main had one of the largest collections of pornography known to man (or woman for that matter)? Wonder who inherited it? Or was it just all auctioned off at Sotheby's?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Peg o' my heart

Peg LaCentra was one of the most widely heard voices of the late 1930s and 1940s. A soundtrack ghostess for such as Ida Lupino and Susan Hayward, she also vocalized with many of the top swing bands and on radio where her singing voice was most likley heard every day in commercials and as a performer. In 1939 she was given her own program on NBC, ''The Peg LaCentra Show.'' Of course, this is cultural info of almost prehistoric (verging on troglodytic) import to some, but that's not my problem. To me. . .it's timeless stuff. She'd be 97 today. Ethel Waters also recorded this number. Clip is from "Rooftop Frolics" (1937). She is backed by the great Al Cooper band.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

re: Alex Hribal

I would like to see a wide-ranging law passed whereby the parents of minors, like the mass slasher today in Pittsburgh, are charged with attempted murder and put on trial and charged with the crime instead of the kid. The minor would the "only" be kept in a mental facility until if and when it was determined that they no longer were considered a threat to society. And I'm not just talking about a few years.

I've recently become familiar with the phrase "helicopter parents" to describe parents who hover and, seemingly, spend too much time overseeing the actions and well-being of their kids. Well. . .I'd say better that than this. The parents didn't even bother to show up at Hribal's bail hearing. Allegedly known for making earlier death threats to other students, do you suppose the breeders who created him even bothered to take the time to get him some psychiatric attention? Probably not. "Don't worry, honey, I'm sure it's just a phase Alex is going through. . . .call me when you're through shopping."

Monday, April 07, 2014

Kwasi Enin

Third from the left is Kwasi Enin who has just made made headlines due to being accepted at all eight Ivy League schools. Obviously a Guinness Book first. If you go to youtube, and enter "William Floyd High School," you can also find him singing and dancing in the chorus of the student production of "Guys and Dolls" and also in the pit band, playing violin, of the school production of "Bye Bye Birdie," and probably some other school functions as well.

I have a grand nephew who has been equally well-nurtured by his parents and is almost, when it comes to activities, a mirror image of Enin. Also a violinist, cross country runner, dancer, major math awards, top SAT scores, etc. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he, TOO, will be accepted by every school to which he applies. I am his godfather and I am soooooo proudddddd of him. His name is Ethan Reed.