Archive for April, 2008

LSD was a lucky strike of Dr. Albert Hoffmann who was incidentally looking for a circulatory and respiratory stimulant. However, no real benefits of the compound were identified and its study was discontinued. This was in 1938. In the 1940’s, interest in the drug was revived because of its structural relationship to a chemical that is present in the brain. LSD was used as a research tool in studies of mental illness.

Sandoz Laboratories, the drug’s sole producer, began marketing LSD in 1947 under the trade name “Delysid” and it was introduced into the United States a year later. It was the time when Cold War swept across the globe. The CIA found it as an unconventional weapon to discredit their perceived enemies. After a blunder and its ensuing scandal made the CIA discontinue from further researches in this drug.
Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, in the 1950s  became interested in psychedelic or mind-expanding drugs like mescaline and LSD, which he apparently took a dozen times over ten years. Sybille Bedford says he was looking for a drug that would allow an escape from the self and that if taken with caution would be physically and socially harmless.

He put his beliefs in such a drug and in sanity into several books. Two, based on his experiences taking mescaline under supervision, were nonfiction: Doors of Perception (1954) and Heaven and Hell (1956). Some readers have read those books as encouragements to experiment freely with drugs, but Huxley warned of the dangers of such experiments in an appendix he wrote to The Devils of Loudun (1952), a psychological study of an episode in French history.

In his book The Island he approved of the perfected version of LSD that the people of Island use in a religious way. (Ack: somaweb.org) The late Timothy Leary gave LSD its fame after being kicked out from Harvard University for using students and other volunteers to study the effects of LSD on the brain. He later became an advocate of the drug, promoting its “mind expanding qualities.” An icon of 1960s counterculture, Leary is most famous as a proponent of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD. He coined and popularized the catch phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
He was one Voice of the Hippie movement,- and there were many other voices and influences that fed the growing cynicism of the young.  Drug culture of the sixties was amid the growing violence and unrest following escalation of US involvement in Vietnam and LSD that the very government had at first thought as an useful tool to repress the opposition, was just doing that:  LSD had become a subversive tool to overthrow the society and their culture.
Dr. Albert Hoffmann was a scientist whose yeoman work in finding an useful drug created history and shall be noted for wrong reasons.


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My love would also have me at night
With her in dream than out of sight.
Much as I love her, methinks
It is not right that man must be so married
To dreams as well.

I thought would drive me nuts:
But that night my spouse so far gone
In sleep, and I in misery.
Much as she loves me
It is not right a woman must be so married
To insomnia as well.
Thus I took off alone
Into an insomniacal night:
For three hours my wife was thus free
And unmarried;
She didn’t know her own bliss.
Ah just as well.

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Actress Ilka Chase (1900-1978) was exceptionally gifted and highly articulate. She had a number of books to her credit and one day she ran across the formidable Humphrey Bogart at a cocktail party and he rasped,”Say baby, that book of yours that just came out- that was a smart job. Who wrote it for you?”
“I wrote it,”she replied,”who read it to you?”
(selected from Con and Maurice Cowan-Pub: Leslie Frewin)
when Colette(1873-1954)the delightfully uninhibited French author was being interviewed by a newspaperman she suggested that he see her life which was made into a film and was currently showing with the words, ”Go and see what wonderful life I’ve had.”
Then she paused and added with a sigh,”I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”
Ernestine Schumann-Heink( 1885-1952)a famous opera singer in her heyday was once performing and while the cellist began playing a baby in the front row began crying. The artiste immediately stopped till its mother took the crying baby out of the hall. Soon after it was the turn of another and the mother would have followed suit but the singer stopped the cellist to stop. She went to the edge of the podium and asked the mother to remain seated. She said “You know I’ve had seven children of my own.” She said much to the delight of the listeners that she would sing a lullaby. After the applause died down she crooned a favourite German lullaby leaving the child as well as everybody else there entranced.
A cloak-room attendant on seeing Mae West’s( 1892-1980) jewels gushed,”Goodness, what beautiful diamonds!”To which Miss West retorted,”Goodness dearie, has nothing to do with it.”

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Gimme A Break

Notice to my readers:

I shall be away for a week or so. However much I love reading what I post I must have a life away from myself.

I wish a nice week ahead to each and every one of my readers.


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General George C. Marshall( 1880-1959) U.S soldier, statesman.
As a child George was so sensitive that he hated to be laughed of. Once he and his friend managed to get a flat bottomed boat which they used in the neighborhood stream. It served as a ferry and they went into business. Mostly his passengers were his school mates. One day one girl who boarded the boat refused to buy ticket and he saw he was beginning to look ridiculous. His partner who wielded the pole laughed at seeing his discomfiture. George pulled the cork and scuttled the boat than lose his face.
His joining the Army was accidental. His elder brother had taken Chemistry course at the Virginia Military Institute. He had done well. When George was ready to enrol in VMI he overheard his brother telling his brother not to let George go. Because he was afraid George would disgrace the family name. More was his determination to prove his brother wrong.


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Raise The Sky

Raise The Sky ©

Raise the sky, upwards;
My feet cannot unwind
From ground for reasons sound;
Keep raising
Till vaults of heaven be found.
Say one more child was made
Feel at home.

Soles of my feet see no reason
To be up when for down
They are made:
The first touch of nascent earth
Has convinced as much
The body with all its parts
Must make first a home:
Say one more child was made
Feel at home.


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It’s tough, on the waterfront. Filmed on location in Hoboken, New jersey it is violent, with strong language – telling a priest to “go to hell”? Shocking stuff in 1954. Director Elia Kazan, the cast, and Boris Kaufmann, who took the pictures, all come out of this gritty drama covered in glory. Which is more than can be said for the characters in the story.

New York dock workers struggle to eke a living but they are in the grip of the corrupt unions. Of course, it is not true that labor unions were, or are, always corrupt, but hey, it’s a story. Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), his boxing career behind him, hangs around his brother Charley (Rod Steiger) who is lawyer to union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee Cobb). Neither Charley or Johnny are as nice or as honest as they ought to be. We know Terry is nice because he looks after his pigeons on the rooftop and he once showed promise as a boxer. He could have been a contender.

At Johnny’s request, Terry asks a union worker to meet him on the roof. When Johnny’s henchmen push him off Terry is shocked:

Terry: I figured the worst they was gonna do was lean on him a little bit…
Truck: A canary. Maybe he could sing but he couldn’t fly.

Terry starts to feel guilty when he meets the victim’s sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint). No wonder, she’s the sweet sort of dame who would make any red blooded young man feel guilty about something. Through her he meets Father Barry (Karl Malden) who persuades Terry to give the information that will finish the racketeering on the docks.

Method acting triumphs in On the Waterfront.
All this acclaim, plus the box office success, was well deserved. The dialogue is tight and simple, the brooding tenements and docks are starkly and realistically portrayed. The drama unfolds with menace. The actors are all convincing, even the smaller parts for thugs. Cobb and Steiger make truly villainous villains. For Steiger in particular this is perhaps his finest performance.

Brando’s performance as the inarticulate former pug whose inherent decency forces him, reluctantly, to take on the hoodlums is magnificent. And yet, in the much-parodied car scene in which he delivers the ‘contender’ speech, he is almost acted off the screen by Steiger.
Barry Norman, 100 Best Films of the Century

The memorable scene is where Terry climbs into the back of the car with his brother Steiger who wants to do him a favour. He wants him to get the chip off his shoulder and hang out with the thugs as before.
Certainly, Terry does not feel he owes his brother anything:
Marlon Brando

Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, “Kid, this ain’t your night. We’re going for the price on Wilson.” You remember that? “This ain’t your night”! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn’t have to take them dives for the short-end money …. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.

Director: Elia Kazan
Terry Malloy: Marlon Brando
Charley Malloy: Rod Steiger
Johnny Friendly: Lee J. Cobb
Edie Doyle: Eva Marie Saint
Glover: Leif Erickson
Truck: Tony Galento
Kayo Dugan: Pat Henning
Writer: Budd Schulberg
Score: Leonard Bernstein
Academy Awards
Nominated (12)

Won (8)

* Best Picture
* Best Actor (Brando)
* Best Supporting Actress (Saint)
* Best Director
* Best Story and Screenplay
* Best Cinematography
* Best Art Direction – Set Decoration
* Best Editing

compiler: benny

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Madame duBarry(1741-1793)
Illegitimate daughter of a cook she became the favorite mistress of Louis XV, who declared that she was the only woman who made him forget he was 70-something.
As a young girl she was put in a high class brothel where she was bewildered by exaggerated affections and mannerisms of her colleagues. She felt out of place and lost which her mother tried to comfort thus, ”Don’t worry, men tire of always eating capons and delicate fruit; a good cabbage now and then delights them.”

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In one letter home Lord Cornwallis answering a suggestion that he employ a friend wrote curtly,”Here my lord, we are in the habit of looking for the man for the place and not for the place for the man.”
One of the biggest headaches of Lord Melbourne,(1779-1848) the Whig prime minister was the various requests made by great and small for more honours and titles. At one time losing his temper at a notably half-witted Scottish peer who clamoured for more honours he remarked,”Give him the Thistle! Why he’d eat it!”

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Benjamin Disraeli(1804-1881)

In 1831 Disraeli during his visit to Cairo met Mahmet Ali who after a career of corruption and bloodshed made himself a Pasha of Cairo and master of Egypt. He was toying with the idea of parliamentary government asked Disraeli for his comments. The visitor mentioned a few difficulties in the way of Egyptian democracy as he saw it. Mahmet was silent and thoughtful but at the next levee he gave Disraeli the benefit of his meditations.”God is great,”he began,”you are a wise man. Allah Kerim!”and he spoke of having as many parliaments as the King of England himself. “See here,”he showed two lists of names,”here are my parliaments. But I have made up my mind to prevent inconvenience, to elect them myself.”

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