Friday, September 28, 2012
Today if I mention the name Al Jolson it barely gets a nod. Few people today outside of very supportive fans remember him. He has been dead this coming October 23, 62 years. For many people in the field of entertainment and today's world of 15 minutes of fame that is an eternity. But who was Jolson and what was he like? If I ask the question here at Columbia university where I am writing this blog for the last time I will be met with the fact, if anyone knows him at all that he was just a racist. I disagree, but I can understand this modern world not understanding the entertainment style of near a century ago and the use of blackface. Today it is dreadful, but in its time it was SOP. For those who do not know those initials it means "Standard Operating Procedure" ....
He was always on stage, if he was not he was depressed. George Burns who knew Jolson well said of him "Al Jolson had a love affair with Al Jolson, and he was always faithful!"
He sang for the troops in WW1, WW2, and Korea. he was the first entertainer to travel out to the troops in WW2 and the 1st to Korea as well. But when he went to Korea over the objections of everyone he was a sick, tired old man. He did 42 shows in 16 days and paid his own way for everything.
He would die 3 weeks after returning from Korea. Even his death has some show business in it. He was playing cards and suddenly looked at the guys playing and said "Boys I am going" and died.
But my one question is this....why was he so popular? What did he do? How did he do it? I watch many of his performances in shorts and movies and can see he was not really a very good actor, he was a good singer, he was a good minstrel man, he was a great whistler, he was an ok dancer.
But what it seems to be from those who I knew who had seen him perform in the 1920's was that he did all of it and everything was so electrifying and exciting.
I can guess that what made Jolson was lost to us. What we see are shadows of what once was.
I can recall Allen King telling the story of watching a show with George Burns. The star was Sammy Davis Jr. King went on " It was the most amazing show ever, he danced, sang, was all over the theater, made the entire audience go absolutely wild. It was the greatest show I had ever seen. I turned to George Burns and asked him about it and Davis's performance. Burns replied that it had been the best show and performer he had ever seen...except for Jolson" So whatever Jolson had, Burns knew it, but we do not today.
I watch his films and laugh at some of his jokes and enjoy many of his songs. But I still wonder what it was that made him "The Worlds Greatest Entertainer" That statement was on all of his records from the 1920's... So today you can see his grave at Hillside Cemetery in California. Of course you know his grave is the biggest. It even has a waterfall....
Fitting for Al Jolson It can entertain you a little.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Remember Lincoln said to keep the Patent Office open when it's head wanted to close it..Look at what inventions and developments followed Lincoln in the 50 years after his death.
I thought it would be interesting to see the world in the time of Lincoln and how much it changed in just 50 years after his death in 1865. In 1865 the world was much different and slower. However the head of the Patent Office did contact Lincoln and suggest that they close.What was the reason? He said that everything that was going to be invented had!
Lincoln suggested that they stay open as there may be a few more things to come.
Of course Lincoln was right, but he never knew how right he was! Remember Lincoln is still the only President to have a Patent! But in those short 50 years after Lincoln died at the hand of John Wilkes Booth the entire world would change. In those 50 years from 1865 and Lincoln's suggestion to the Patent Office the entire world would change. Here is a partial list of inventions that so changed the world in the years from 1865 to 1915.
The Electric Light
The Electrical Distribution System
The Street Car
The Turbine Engine
The Electric Train
The Storage Battery
The Phonograph and Records
The Wireless Radio
The Steel Industry
The Motion Picture
The Electric Elevator
The Color Photograph
The Diesel Engine
The Plastic Industry
The Aspirin Industry
The use of Pasteurization
The discovery of Sterilization
The Modern Food Industry
The Safety Razer
The Ocean liner
The Fountain Pen
The Gas Stove
The Discovery of Cheaply Making Aluminum
.......and so much more.....I am sure if I thought about it I would think of a mess of other things as the list would go on and on. All I can say is it is a good thing that Lincoln told the head of the Patent Office to stay open.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
There have been many Holocausts in the world. There have been many peoples who very existence was challenged by another. We often hear the term ethnic cleansing which is just another word for it.
The worst Holocaust in the last 200 years was in the United States. You cannot match it. The American Indian was treated with the utmost disregard. In fact from the 17th century to the early 20th century the American Indian was hurt, killed, put in camps, treated to germ warfare, experimented on, and treated as less than human.
The death count of this 300 plus years attack on a people just because of their race is as uncountable as the plight of the Jews in the late 30's and 1940's. One can only guess that the American Indian suffered more than any other in their 300 year struggle. Men, women, and children were killed in large numbers when ever deemed necessary .
The Americans/Europeans considered the American Indian a savage and not an equal to the white man. Images were made to show them looking grotesque and stories were written about them to make them look like vermin. The terrible plight of slavery was also a Halocaust in which peoples were forced into camps or plantations and forced to work till they died. That was another massive Holocaust that went on till just150 years ago. So many Africans died in this horrid plight.
The sad part is today they are still not represented and we hardly hear a peep about this Holocaust or the American Indian. Which was the worst in modern history. It was also the least mentioned one. All we hear about is the one in Germany. Why? I can guess it is because it is one of the most recent, but certainly not the most horrid as you will see with the plight of the poor Chinese.
The most horrible was with the Japanese
The work of the Japanese in China in the 1930's through the 1940's in which they killed massive amounts of Chinese for almost any excuse. We rarely talk about 731 labs and camps in China where they would test sometimes 100's of Chinese a week in which they would be killed. This is just one avenue. there would be massive tests using germ weapons and mass killings. There would be massive concentration camps, work camps, test labs, and what was so sad is there are no survivors from the 731 labs. The ones they did not torture or test were just shot and killed after. I am not saying what happened in Germany was not bad, It was horrid, but there was a chance of surviving. In these Japanese camps, there were but a few who did. It was the worst and the saddest of them all. But if we really look at, everyone was horrible be it where ever in Nazi Germany or Japanese occupied China.
The Japanese killed so many Chinese that no one knows the amounts. But over the years it would list in the millions as these poor people would be tested, tortured, killed, maimed, shot in masses, poisoned, and lastly experimented on in hideous ways. Where is their museums and honored halls to their Holocaust?
Shall we think of the plight of Comfort Women who would be abducted by the Japanese by the thousands and used as sex slaves for all the soldiers. Basically forced to have sex till it would sometimes kill them. Many times it did. What of their horror? Where is their museum?
The American's had concentration camps for Japanese Americans during WW2, although few were killed they were treated badly.
The United States has apologized for its actions on the Japanese in their interment camps. But Japan has never apologized or even admitted to its actions in China. In fact in Japan, their history books do not even cover this period nor do they talk about. It is sad that generations of Japanese are growing up not having an idea of these travesties.
Germany has apologized so many times and has tried to erase her history which is wrong and just like Japan has We should talk about it, share it, learn from it. Not hide it. There should be markers all and histories all over about the 3rd Reich. In this way people can learn. By sweeping it under the rug just allows it to perhaps happen again in another form.
Today when we hear the word Holocaust we think of only one thing. Germany and the Jews. Well even there it was a lot more than just that. Over 3 million Jews were killed in Germany. More were killed by Stalin. Nearly a million others were killed as well such as Gypsies, Homosexuals, intellectuals, and many other peoples of other religions which add to the number. However, they hardly get a mention. Why? Every Holocaust museum should be filled with info on all those killed by the Germans. Today most people think the only race persecuted were the Jews, this is of course not true and we need to open peoples minds more. to let them know that the holocausts are and have been going on for ages. What we need to do is talk about all of them and offer more information on all of them. I am of mind that every Holocaust museum should have a section dedicated to all the others who were part of the times of WW2. The Chinese, the comfort women, the gays, the members of other religions treated like the Jews in WW2. These should all be in Holocaust museums. I hope that they will do this soon. Cause although the horror of the story of Jews in Europe is dreadful, it is equally matched by the Chinese.That would make much more sense and be far more historically accurate.
History is for us to learn from, not to hide from. Let us remember all who suffered at the hands of oppressors.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
In our history mankind has always had various gods and goddesses. It seems to have been our lot since we had created a society of types to have a god. In my mind and my belief I find that most of the gods and their stories are similar.
The first major religion and the one that gave good ideas for all of the rest of them was the Egyptian one. It was through this religion we had a list of commandments as to what is good and evil or right or wrong. It was through this religion we had a Virgin conceived and who bore a son. It was in this religion we have god who comes to earth and is man. He is then tortured and killed. But he then rises from the dead and reigns in the afterlife to judge those who enter his kingdom.
It should as many religions have used the same story over and over again.
Most of the religions that follow use many of the same stories. They are good to tell a story and we do understand and believe that there is little truth to any of these stories. But these stories are not there for truth, they are there to tell a moral story.
That is what all of these religion were for. To control the masses to avoid uprisings. It was also there for power. One has to understand that religion has always been an invention of man and it was designed to keep control and to make money.
One has to understand these stories were not about truth, but to give moral guidance. Sadly as time has gone on we are taking these Egyptian fairy tales and making them into truths. There is how the start of rape of history begins. By taking much of this and thinking it is real.
In this day and age the effects of religion are scary. We have people who are ready to kill each other, over 4000 year old Egyptian stories that are just stories. There is little difference between the Koran, the Bible, the New Testament, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Also if you study Egyptian texts outside of the Book of the Dead you will find even more stories that made it into the later religions. This is because they are basically the same.
The problem is that some of these people really think it is true, what is written into these texts. They were, have been and will always be just stories. In each religion they just change the names around. the Jesus story is just a rehashing of the Osiris story. Osiris was known as the "King of Kings" "The Lord God Almighty" &etc.
The fact is now that most scholars agree that Moses, Adam and Eve, and a bunch of others never existed. They are good stories and make for moral tales. But the frightening thing is that many are influenced wrongly by these invented stories and will kill each other over them.
It is frighteningly stupid!
I read the news today and saw religious zealots killed the American Ambassador to Libya. That is nothing new. I recall seeing a religious zealot who shot and killed a doctor at an abortion clinic. Because it was what God said? Many people get killed in the name of what ever God is popular. Personally I find Zeus most attractive.
Religious leaders are like economists, each one is pointing a different way. Remember the nutcase who was claiming the world would end and all of his followers gave away their money and property,,and also donated to this idiot, who got richer. He is just one of many morons who have claimed such things. This is the power and absolute control of religion over weak minds.
In fact I will say that rational people will become totally irrational when under the spell of religion and do some of the most wicked things. Let's hope someday people will be smart enough not to believe in such fairy tales.
Each one is correct and each one dislikes the other. But most follow the same tried and true method. Cause it works and makes money. I keep mentioning money cause it is tax free and there is never a lack of fools ready to give their all for God. Therefore everyone has their own idea and how to make people believe it and most importantly how to make MONEY from it. Cause one has to understand the main reason for religion is POWER. If you do not believe it, look at that silly fool in Rome who has control over more money than we can ever imagine. Made from the plunder of other countries and the rape of its people.
Look at the silly Christians who stupidly ran their Crusades, the murder of tens of thousands of Muslims over stupid religious beliefs. Also look at the silly Muslims now who kill in the name of Allah, which is just as stupid as the Crusades were.
I recall that some religious zealots believe that their bible and Koran is true word for word. Perhaps that is one of the more frightening things to hear in an age of intellect and understanding.
I cannot imagine in this age we can be this clueless?
I find it amazing that a 19th century man found gold tablets and then wrote a true account of Jesus using 17th century English? Come on now, that is just too funny for words! He was copying from 17th century texts... What is funnier is that people believe it!
I am also amazed that a science fiction writer has caused a lot of lost people to follow another crazy religion more recently..
This is not new, this epidemic has been going on for ages and keeps on going. Just look at the Moonies in Korea.
Now lets look at how Religion has ruined history and destroyed so much of our real heritage.
Today we can only wish we had just some of the great ancient writings that were everywhere in the great libraries. We have some, a small amount. But most were destroyed by religious groups of what ever cult they were following.
The horror of religion is that is has controlled the less intelligent yes, but in doing so allowed them the ruin tens of thousands of historic documents that did not follow their beliefs. That is one of the many great crimes of religion. Look at historic libraries that were destroyed by religious idiots who felt that no other words except their gods was good or allowable. Think of all the great thinkers put to death for knowing the truth and killed by those who are insanely religious. This was done by the Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Just think of some of the great Muslim libraries destroyed by the Christians. Think of the great library at Alexandria, the Parathion, many great seats of learning in Egypt, in Rome, and in many areas of the Middle East. Think of the destruction of great Russian art and influence, of great Chinese thinking, and the varied wisdom of the ancients.Who were too intelligent to fall for this religious nonsense. They were Deists and philosophers and had the strength of character to think, challenge, and ponder.
The Born again crowd are wanting to push their agenda into government just like Islam. These crazies need to see a doctor as they believe that a woman does not have control over her own body. Cause GOD said so!! He also said you can have slaves, rape woman, kill infidels, not eat shellfish, and we can go on for a while if we take this religious stuff literally. Thank goodness we have not become that idiotic yet.
They would be happy to destroy art, papers, science, and intellectual thought that goes against them. Even saying that the world is just 6000 years old. These people need help.
They think by pushing their history they can change history. Well foolishness and ignorance will never take the place of research. So what damage they have done to history fortunately has been slight as so many people see the stupidity of it all. Unless you do not wish to think, which is one of the major rules of religion.
The craziness of religion is very apparent in Central and South America as the Pope decreed that all the gold should come back to the church and all who did not follow the teachings of Christ would be put to death. They destroyed entire civilizations all for religion. How horrid that is. Look at the evil concept now of that stupid man in Rome and all the idiots who follow him who say to their new followers in Africa ...
"AIDS is terrible, but not as bad as condoms!" So the church teaches them that Condoms are bad and people are dying at an alarming rate. Good job Pope! You should go back to Hitler Youth where you started, Hitler would be proud of you! By the way, Hitler was Catholic too. so it all makes sense. That evil religion has been killing people for 1500 years!
Oh by the way I have not heard from the Pope that maybe they should give some of the loot they took from everyone by murder and deception and perhaps give it back. I thought that perhaps the man who represents a loving god would do so....But we all know it all over power and money. The evil church in Rome stole already and they are never going to give it back till they are put out of business for good.
Just look at where the Twin Towers were in New York and you will see another sick outlet of religion. Look at how these wackos go crazy if Mohammad is insulted or made fun of..Well how can you not? It is so stupid. Mohammad is just as silly as the Jesus myth. But these will kill others if they make fun of their silly mascot! Look at how woman are treated, and have been treated by these silly people who are obsessed with religion. And let's not forget the Jews. They are acting like little Hitler's in Israel....Well all history comes full circle. They are as crazy as all the rest over their religion ... destroying and hurting history.
Religion has destroyed so much of our history. Just think how wonderful this world would be with out it.
Perhaps the ideas of those who created these various religions and gods did too good a job. As there are too many really frighteningly stupid people taking it as truth. I find these actions a great crime and intellectually frightening.
I find religion morally evil and an intellectual wasteland in which the lost, confused, and those eager to give money are told what to do and think. What great intellectual, artistic, and cultural treasures would be shared with us if we did not have these evil empires who swallowed, destroyed, lied, murdered, and destroyed the lives of millions did not exist. What great knowledge would have been shared with us, but the religions did their best to keep people as clueless and stupid as possible. It was not till the enlightenment that the Catholic church stopped killing people. It is still going on with the crazies in Islam. But neither group has much to brag about being moral or just. It was a almost a crime to be black and a Mormon. Cause in the book he wrote using 17th century texts and a great imagination he said that the evil are turned black. Well that is what the gods told him. If we really want to believe this charade. It was not till the early 1970's that blacks were no longer bad. The silly fellow who wrote their religion was a well known con artist, who found a willing batch of crazies. That is just part of his craziness.
I will give the Mormons one good point, they rarely kill people, but go out of their way to make young men who are gay commit suicide. Cause that does not fit their mold. Gay people are bad in the Mormon faith, as they are in the born again nutcase crowd, More than half of the priests of the Catholic church are gay so it does not matter I guess, but they will still condemn them as they play around at the Vatican and every other church. There are no Gay People in Iran of course. The Muslim wackos make sure they kill everyone who is...which means most of them probably are and are jealous that they are stuck with their wives. This due to this silly Mohammad, who is just a story as well and made into much more than he ever was. I enjoyed the cartoons of him.
I do not think the Jews like gays either. But they don't kill them. All in all this shows me and tells me that religion is a wonderful piece of history and should remain so. Cause 12th century thought and Egyptian fairy tales about virgin births, resurrections of the divine, and prophets who are just pure evil are just what they are...stories.
Religion and Man are incompatible. It has been that way for thousands of years as we keep inventing new religions. I find it the worst of man's inventions and it has been the scourge and horror of history.
Someday hopefully the world will be rid of it. This will be to the benefit of man and history.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Who would have known a hundred years after the assassination of William McKinley such a thing would happen.
I recall 11 years ago when I was working with a museum and we decided to have a 100th anniversary of the McKinley assassination program. It seemed to me to be the right time as summer was ending and September is pretty much a quiet month. The shooting of McKinley took place on Sept. 6th in Buffalo New York and he would die from his wounds on Sept 14. So we had little bit of info on our web site and things we would give out at the museum. Also we had some of the funeral programs. Just to bring this important historic event to life. which we planned on marking in mid September.
I felt it would be good to share history and keep it alive. But I nor anyone else who had planned centennial observances of McKinley's assassination would do much except mark the time of the shooting. As before we could do much more of this ...the world changed.
You see, McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901. That was the day we started and we never even did anything much after as we would see the attacks of September 11th.. One hundred years after the assassination of William McKinley, the attack on the World Trade Towers took place. Everyone forgot history for a while as we saw some of the saddest of it being made before our eyes on September 11th.
So this month marks the 111th anniversary of the assassination of McKinley and the 11th for the September 11th attacks. I will always connect the two as I was trying to honor the one, and comprehend the other.