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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
05 January 2014 @ 10:28 pm
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once said in regards to a life form from another planet coming here and communicating with us that the DNA of human beings is 99% identical to chimpanzees - and we cannot communicate with chimps.  So, would it really surprise us if a creature that can travel millions of light years to get here would likely not see a significant difference between humans and chimps? And furthermore would have no more interest in communicating with us than we have in communicating with a turkey or a caterpillar?

Case in point.

When I watch animal videos on YouTube, I’m often struck by how extraordinarily clueless some pet owners can be.

There are numerous videos online where people are abusing animals, but because they are not inflicting physical pain, just mental anguish, they cannot grasp that their behavior is cruel and abusive.

The videos below are typical of many where the description even states, “This Cat has NEVER been abused.”

Is any other animal on earth as blindingly unaware of a creature expressing distress (and thereby being ABUSED) as some humans?

If someone 5 times your size was coming towards you in a threatening manner (with an object pointed at you, no less!) and no matter how much you expressed your anguish, was clearly unconcerned – even laughing -- about your plight, would you think it's funny? Or would you consider yourself being abused?

The lack of awareness and empathy in some people is astonishing...

22 December 2013 @ 09:25 pm


In all the year-end editorials for artists we lost in 2013, I have only seen mention of the fact that we lost the last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters, Patty Andrews (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013), but no mention of the fact that we also lost the last original member of the Dinning Sisters, Virginia “Ginger” Dinning (March 29, 1924 – October 14, 2013).

While the Andrews Sisters are still well remembered for their extremely successful recordings of the 1940’s, the Dinning Sisters, whose popularity was in the late 1940s & early 1950s, have been largely forgotten.
Both groups were extraordinarily talented; the Andrews Sisters for their upbeat, joyous sound that kept America smiling during the dark days of World War II, and the Dinning Sisters for their other-worldly, almost hypnotic, dream-like harmonies.

There are many retro female trio acts today that carry on the harmony tradition pioneered by these ladies (along with the Boswell Sisters), but the timeless recordings by the Andrews Sisters and the Dinning Sisters have no peers. RIP, ladies.

dinning & andrews2

13 November 2013 @ 02:02 am

My response to Ross Douthat's New York Times editorial Return of the Jesus Wars that discusses Reza Aslan's "alternative view" of Jesus Christ in Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.