Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Quote of the Day (Mel Brooks, on How Gene Wilder Helped Save ‘Blazing Saddles’)

[Mel Brooks was ready to cast Gig Young in the comic western ‘Blazing Saddles,’ until, in the first scene where he was to direct him, the Oscar-winning actor began to spew green vomit. Brooks’ subsequent question—‘Wait a minute, did we sign on to direct ‘The Exorcist?’”—led Young’s agents to acknowledge that their client was a recovering alcoholic. Fearing the film faced disaster because of this miscasting of a key role, Brooks phoned Gene Wilder, whom he had worked with on ‘The Producers.’]

“I was crying and Gene was my best friend. And I told him and he said, ‘I’ll do it for you.’ And he got on a plane and he came out Sunday. On Monday morning, he was in the jail cell and Cleavon [Little, playing the black sheriff] said, ‘Are we awake?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know. Are we black?’ And boom. That was Gene Wilder … It was so lucky. That’s called a good bounce. A good bounce.”—Mel Brooks quoted in Virginia Rohan, “Mel Brooks Tells the Stories Behind 'Blazing Saddles,'” The Record  (Bergen County, NJ), Aug. 23, 2016

R.I.P. Gene Wilder (1933-2016): actor, screenwriter, director, novelist, and, as seen in this tale from Brooks, a good friend.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tabloid Headline of the Day (The New York Post, With Exactly What You Knew Was Coming)

“HUMA CUTS OFF WEINER”—New York Post front-page headline, August 30, 2016

Earlier today, a phone call came in to a certain former New York congressman and mayoral candidate, who is getting through Part 3 of a scandal of his own making: “Mr. Weiner? My name’s John Wayne Bobbitt. I just want to tell you that I know EXACTLY how you feel…Hello?...Hello?”

Quote of the Day (Isak Dinesen, on Sorrows and Stories)

“All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.”—Danish author Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen (1885-1962), quoted in Hannah Arendt., The Human Condition (1958)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Photo of the Day: The Sky as a ‘Miraculous Achievement’ in Hilton Head

I snapped this image late in the day while on vacation, in November 2014, in Hilton Head, S.C. Looking at the photo now, it brings to mind these lines from Lewis Thomas’ 1974 bestseller, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher:

“It is hard to feel affection for something as totally impersonal as the atmosphere, and yet there it is, as much a part and product of life as wine or bread. Taken all in all, this sky is a miraculous achievement. It works, and for what it is designed to accomplish it is as infallible as anything in nature."

A glorious sky is not to be taken for granted, any more than life itself should be.

Quote of the Day (David Sedaris, on When a School Subject Becomes Handy)

“When asked ‘What do we need to learn this for?’ any high-school teacher can confidently answer that, regardless of the subject, the knowledge will come in handy once the student hits middle age and starts working crossword puzzles in order to stave off the terrible loneliness. Because it’s true. Latin, geography, the gods of ancient Greece and Rome: unless you know these things, you’ll be limited to doing the puzzles in People magazine, where the clues read ‘Movie title, Gone____the Wind’ and ‘It holds up your pants.’” —David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Quote of the Day (St. Ignatius of Loyola, on Desolation and Patience)

“Let him who is in desolation strive to remain in patience, a virtue contrary to the troubles which harass him; and let him think that he will shortly be consoled, using all endeavors against the desolation in the way explained in the sixth rule.”— St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), The Spiritual Exercises: Rules for the Discernment of Spirits (Fourth Edition Revised)