The “Happy Birthday, Jim” Week That Was

This edition of The Week That Was is sponsored by AT&T. Happy Holidays!

The Week That Was

First, a very Happy Birthday to my brother Jim. Yes, my brothers are 48 weeks apart, what they used to call Irish twins until that term was deemed racist. Anyway, talk to you soon, Jim. Love you.

I’m at Starbucks at the big table where all the computer people sit, and there’s a man sitting across from me who came in with a huge stack of magazines and newspapers. He could use a scanner and Evernote. Anyway, let’s revisit last week.

It was another Christmas music week, but rather than play Christmas music, I decided to celebrate Hanukkah with a few songs for that holiday. Joyce appreciated the gesture and thanked me for recognizing her religion. You’re most welcome, Joyce. I have a lot of Jewish friends and grew up in neighborhoods where people were as likely to be celebrating Hanukkah as Christmas. A lot of folks mentioned they liked latkes (potato pancakes), standard fare for the holiday, as are many foods that are fried in oil, like donuts. In short, my kind of holiday. Arlee said he saw a recipe for Chinese-style latkes, an interesting concept.


The lovely Lena Horne was the featured artist. Birgit mentioned she would have been perfect for the part of Julie LaVerne (played by Ava Gardner) in Show Boat. Knowing Ms. Horne’s racial background (her parents were both mixed race), her fantastic voice and her considerable acting ability, I can’t disagree. Sadly, the times wouldn’t have allowed for it. Dan wishes the variety shows would make a comeback, as I do. I know it won’t happen: the variety shows cost a fortune to produce, and the networks don’t want to lay out that kind of money every week. Plus, I don’t think we have the performers who could handle the format anymore.


This week’s quote was from Dorothy Kilgallen, a newspaperwoman and media icon who either committed suicide, accidentally killed herself, or more likely was murdered. I’m 48% of the way through Richard Shaw’s book The Reporter Who Knew Too Much, and several of you are looking forward to my review of it. I’ll try to do it this week, but definitely by Christmas. As I told Lori, a book of lists I read recently had one by Evelyn Lincoln, JFK’s secretary, listing possible suspects for who was behind the assassination of her boss, and some (maybe many) of the people she suspected are also discussed in this book as possibly involved in Miss Kilgallen’s murder. How all this ties together will be interesting to see.


You all chose Ella Fitzgerald’s version of “Night And Day” conclusively over that of Frank Sinatra. As I said, this was simply a measure of whose version of the song you preferred. Both Ms. Fitzgerald and The Chairman of the Board left behind an impressive body of work, and are two of the greatest popular singers of the Twentieth Century, if not all of history.

The prompt was “pushy,” giving me an opportunity to share one of my favorite stories about work and the occasional client that demanded someone be onsite to fix a problem. In this case, we had told the client what to do and they refused to do it until someone from Atlanta arrive and help them. Evidently, while I was busting my hump to get to the client, they did what we had told them, and not surprisingly, it worked. Uncle Jack told a similar story about one of his neighbors, who risked life and limb to get to a client where a dispensing machine for prescription medicine wasn’t working. Of course, the reason it wasn’t working was they hadn’t plugged it in.

This week’s topic was “songs with ‘yellow’ in the title.” I’ve gotten some good suggestions for more songs, which I’ll be sharing this coming Friday.


The prompt was “bare/bear,” giving me an opportunity to write about the TV show Captain Kangaroo, which had a character named Dancing Bear, a man named Cosmo Allegretti dressed in a bear costume who danced, after a fashion. Cosmo was also the puppetmaker who created Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose and was the artist behind the Magic Drawing Board. JoAnna, I haven’t been able to find out exactly how the Magic Drawing Boad worked. I thought Cosmo stood behind the board and drew everything backwards, but it was most likely done with stop-motion animation. Captain Kangaroo was surrealism for preschool children, not unlike The Teletubbies in that respect. Dan and I talked about one of my favorite topics, how the cartoons in the pre-TV era were mostly done for the entertainment of adults, and as such often contained material that wasn’t suitable for younger audiences. (It didn’t stop TV stations from showing them to the before- and after-school audience, though; I think they contributed to my education.) Uncle Jack, who was most likely on his way to work while my cousins were watching the Captain, had no idea what we were talking about. Sometimes I don’t either, Jack.


This coming week, another different take on Christmas tomorrow, a Battle of the Bands Thursday that continues the “yellow” theme, your “yellow” songs on Friday, we’ll feature another female singer on Two for Tuesday, another one-liner on Wednesday, and I have to wait and see what Kat and Linda have in the way of prompts for Thursday and Saturday. I hope to have a review of The Reporter Who Knew Too Much this week, too, so be sure and tune in.

That’s it for this edition of The Week That Was!

8 thoughts on “The “Happy Birthday, Jim” Week That Was

  1. It was a busy week!
    I had no idea Irish twins was deemed a racist term. I still call mine Irish twins. There are the towhead twins and the Irish twins and that’s just how it is šŸ™‚
    still wants latkes


  2. I didn’t know all that about Dorothy Kilgallen. Birgit is right that Lena Horne would have been perfect in Showboat. It was so common to use big-name actresses who couldn’t sing and then dub their voices, such as Deborah Kerr in The King and I and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Hepburn was very disappointed when she found out she wouldn’t be allowed to sing. I’ve never heard the term “Irish twins.”



    1. Dubbing voices was what “Singin’ In The Rain” was all about, as I recall. Marni Nixon made a career of it. Evidently Audrey Hepburn did her own singing in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” though.

      Irish twins are siblings born less than a year apart. I was kidding about the term being declared racist. At least for now…


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