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18 November 2015 @ 10:30 pm
If this doesn't make you smile, check to see if you have a pulse.

11 November 2015 @ 09:47 pm
The United States of America circa 2015

Tell Santa Claus to watch his ass

20 October 2015 @ 02:40 pm

His name was Mickey Manos.

I adopted him, along with his sister Sylvia, 18 years ago yesterday on October 19, 1997.

He had more love in his little heart and more depth to his soul than any human I have ever encountered.

The first time I saw him he was only a few weeks old. He was in a room full of cats up for adoption and he caught my eye immediately. His gold color was as vivid and bright as a goldfish. He looked almost fluorescent. When I told the clerk I wanted to adopt him and his sister she said someone else had already asked for the male cat. I said, “Could you please call them because I want to take him home today?”

Luckily, I was persuasive enough that he became my little boy and his sister my little girl.

When he was 2 years old he got us kicked out of the high-rise we were living in because he would sit in the window all day waiting for me to return. The building had a “no pets” policy and I couldn’t keep him out of sight. He never sat in the window when I was home, only when I was gone. Apparently, he would wait there all day for my return.

He loved to fight with his sister. Despite the fact that he was bigger and stronger than her, he would let her win some times. I’d put my hand between them to break up a fight and I’d always find Mickey’s claws were retracted while hitting her.

If I ever raised my voice at Sylvia for any reason, Mickey would immediately run over and get in between us to break it up and protect her. He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.

One of the things Mickey loved most in this world was watching the toilet flush. He would come running into the bathroom at full speed whenever he heard the flush begin. He would put his front paws on the toilet seat, watch the water spin ‘round & ‘round, and then he’d look up at me as if to say, “DID YOU SEE THAT?!” I always agreed with him and said, “YES! Wasn’t that GREAT, Mickey??!!”

I have never known another cat who didn’t cry to be fed at least occasionally, but in his entire life Mickey never once cried to be fed. If I fed him he ate and if I didn’t he wouldn’t complain. I used to tell him you don’t have to be so good all the time, but that’s who he was.

The only thing that made him cry was when I needed to go to sleep. It wasn’t that he didn’t want me to rest it was that he didn’t want me to stop talking to him. He loved me more than anyone I have ever known in this world. I never took him or his love for granted. I knew from the moment that I met him that he was a very special individual.

When I found out 2 years ago that he had gone blind it was devastating news. Although he was still strong, he could no longer run, he could no longer chase after his sister, and most importantly, he could no longer watch the toilet flush. It was heartbreaking. Yet, true to form, Mickey never complained about anything. He just dealt with it; occasionally walking into walls, falling off the bed, then picking himself up & moving on.

In August, Mickey was diagnosed with cancer. Over the past several weeks as he grew thinner and weaker he cried a lot, particularly at night. I would cradle him in my arms which would stop him from crying. While holding him he would always reach over and squeeze my shoulder as if to say, “Thank you.”

I honestly cannot remember what it was like before he was in my life.

When I had to make the gut-wrenching decision to have him put down last Thursday, August 15th, I knew I was having a pure, unconditional love removed from my life forever.

The void he has left is immeasurable.

Yet the world keeps right on turning and I don’t know what to make of that.

In the truest sense, I feel that a part of me has died.

He had a sweetness and innocence that never changed from the time he was a kitten.  His body grew old – but he never did.


Sylvia and I will never forget you, Mickey.

You were an angel that can never be replaced.

You made life tolerable in more ways than you could ever imagine.

No one ever loved me more than you did.

And I’ll never love anyone more than you.

Thank you so much for spending your life with me, monkey man.

07 October 2015 @ 09:40 am

“Hello, sir! Can I help you find anything?

“Yes, where are your 22 inch bronze boat nails, my good man?”

“Right this way... Are you looking to do some repair work on your boat?”

“No, no… Saturday night I am planning on torturing and killing an African mole rat I found scurrying about my backyard. It’s very important that this is excruciatingly painful for the little rodentia, so I will also be needing your finest 4x4 Brazilian teak wood with which to nail him to. I want one nail to go straight through his stomach, splitting his spine, and impaling him to the wood. As he screams in horrifying agony, I will use a 2nd nail to pound his larynx flat against the teak wood, thereby crushing his vocal chords.”

“I see, sir… You should know that killing an African mole rat in that manner is considered animal cruelty and is against the law in this state.”

“...Alright.... You got me. It’s not for an African mole rat…. My neighbor leaves her infant son in a playpen outside my living room window every afternoon where he cries incessantly as I attempt to watch my stories. I measured the 22 inch bronze boat nails and found that that would be more than suitable to go clear through his abdomen into the wood boarding. Of course, crushing his larynx and vocal chords are simply icing on the cake…. I feel it’s the only way I can impress upon this young lady that, should she decide to carelessly have another child, there is a substantial price to pay for degrading the quality of life in this neighborhood.”

“I see, sir….. You had me worried for a second.”

(All around laughs)

“Might I also suggest a butcher smock to avoid any unseemly blood splatter?”

[End Scene]
21 August 2015 @ 03:22 pm
Words & Music Sam Coslow ©1940

Last night's gardenias have wilted and lost their bloom

But somehow their faint perfume is lingering in my room

For last night's gardenias are lonely and so am I

Tonight I can hear them sigh

They echo your last goodbye

Their lovely fragrance follows me everywhere

I close my eyes and suddenly you are there, darling

Last night's gardenias will never be tossed away

I'll keep them in my bouquet of dreams

Shirley Deane, vocal, accompanied by Bobby Sherwood and his Orchestra

My Precious Beulah,

Your sweet and consoling letter of 15TH January came today and brought such joy and comfort to this poor, weary heart of mine. Oh, the bitter irony that such lovely words should arrive on a day filled with darkness and woe.

As I lay here in the smoldering ashes of the once majestic River Road, I recall so fondly the day we spent gathering milk curd and brie on Weehawken Hill, then arguing with the pusillanimous stewards at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on Harbor Boulevard over the unseasoned surf n’ turf they audaciously claimed to be their ‘Daily Special’.  Your reprimand to them still fresh in my ears, “I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted! Seems like only a fortnight ago, my lovely.

If there is any good news to come out of this raging inferno where I once lay my head, it is that we found there was a Yankee traitor living amongst us! A snollygoster named John Sterling who claimed he was the ‘Radio Voice of the Yankees’. (Spit!) “Woe unto you!,” I said to him standing amongst the rubble. “I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze!His bewildered countenance was priceless, dearest Beulah.

I must close now for fear of not getting to send my letter off, precious one. Write often and I will read them forthwith… or whenever I get a chance. Do not be uneasy when you do not get letters, for I now must spend my days scouting amongst the briars and the brambles for a new hearth to call my sanctuary.  But I shant pay more than $2500 per month 'cause it ain't worth it.

A thousand kisses to you, my love, sweet Beulah.

As ever, your beloved,

Thaddeus B. Hargrove III
09 January 2015 @ 03:14 pm
Ozzie Nelson does not get the credit he deserves for making rock n’ roll acceptable in Eisenhower’s America.

Other shows of the 1950’s like The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show, The Milton Berle Show, and Ed Sullivan provided a platform for the music, but The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriett showed that rock n’ roll fit in perfectly with the backyard barbecues, white picket fences, and lawn mowers of post-war America (if there ever was such a time) .

I recently excerpted this from a 1974 interview with Ozzie Nelson. This was a man who had much more wisdom and insight than his bumbling, absent-minded TV character portrayed.

29 July 2014 @ 02:28 am
I was listening to a podcast/interview recently with Dick Van Dyke where he was asked which of his movies he was most proud of. While he said he was aware when they were making ‘Mary Poppins’ that he was involved in something magical, and that ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ had launched his career, the two films he wished more people had seen were ‘The Morning After’ (1974) – a made for TV movie about alcoholism which I have always thought was the best movie ever that dealt with that issue, and ‘The Comic’ (1969) – a movie which I had never seen.  After searching the internet for a copy, I was surprised to find an HD print which I watched for the first time last Friday. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece.

‘The Comic’ deals with the turbulent life of fictional silent screen actor Billy Bright. It was apparently based loosely on the life of Buster Keaton, but also paralleled the life of other great actors of the era like Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin. Surprisingly, it was written and directed by Carl Reiner, the creator of ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’, but this film bears little resemblance to the lighthearted Rob Petrie. Much of the movie is perfectly matched to Van Dyke’s rubbery agility and slapstick antics during the character’s early film years, but it’s his bitter, late-in-life persona, with his horrible comb-over, dingy low-rent apartment, and unrequited love for his former leading lady, Mary Gibson (Michele Lee), that is mesmerizing to watch.

I uploaded the final moments to YouTube, but you really need to see the entire film to appreciate the poignancy of Van Dyke’s performance.


After watching ‘The Comic’, and being very impressed with Michele Lee’s performance, I decided to check out her debut film released two years earlier, ‘How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying’ (1967), which I also had not seen. I honestly was not overly impressed with this film (I guess any film that gives Rudy Vallee too prominent a role tends to lose me), but the stand out moment for me is Michele singing, “I Believe In You”, which she apparently also sang in the Broadway production in the early 60's. Leave it to a brilliant writer like composer/lyricist Frank Loesser to capture so beautifully what many men no doubt dream of;  an inspiring, vivacious woman telling a beaten man she believes in him and what he’s doing even if he does not.

14 April 2014 @ 10:44 pm

I’m pitching a new book idea.  At a high level, it’s about the CIA’s involvement in Central America beginning in 1981 in Nicaragua, when President Reagan subverted the Constitution to illegally arm the Contras (after Congress had denied funding to the pro-Somoza terrorist organization), right up to our present day covert operations under President Obama. If you thought Edward Snowden's revelations were jaw-dropping, wait until you see the dirt I've got on our government! YOWZA!

A lot of titles were bandied about, but for obvious reasons I kept coming back to “Your Arms Too Short To Box With Larry”.

Note: Unlike Snowden, I will accept money to keep my mouth shut. Let's talk!
12 March 2014 @ 04:35 pm

harlem-fire (before-after)2