Monthly Archives: December 2008

Sad and Sadder

Sad: 1940s and 50s movie star Van Johnson died this month at 92 years old.

Some sundry information:

— He and I share the same birthday.

— The first movie of his I saw was Brigadoon, with Gene Kelly. I was in elementary school, and I saw it on TV one weekend. I was entranced. (Of course, now I’m not so entranced. “Once in the highlands, the highlands of Scotland…” Arf.) He always had that good-natured, boy-next-door, a guy’s-best-friend look. I loved it.

— There’s a great photo feature on him at

— His biggest career mistake: turning down the role of Elliott Ness in the new 1959 TV series, The Untouchables. The role went to Robert Stack instead, and was an instant hit, while Johnson’s career waned in the 60s, and never really recovered.

Sadder: The story of his wife, Evie Wynn Johnson. Wow.

I read her 2004 obit in the London Independent. So little of it was happy, I had trouble getting through it. Here are the main bits:

She married Johnson in Juarez, Mexico, on the very day her divorce from actor (and best friend of Johnson) Keenan Wynn was final.

According to the Independent, Evie was an old woman when she finally broke her silence:

In 1999, when Evie was bitter and near poverty, she finally stated that MGM had persuaded her to marry Johnson, one of their top stars of the Forties. “They needed their ‘big star’ to be married to quell rumours about his sexual preferences,” she said, “and unfortunately, I was ‘It’ – the only woman he would marry.”

The story continues:

Although rumours quickly circulated that the MGM chief Louis B. Mayer had ordered the union [in an effort] to cover up potential scandal, the truth is cloudy. The writer Arthur Laurents states in his memoirs, ‘A sunny male star caught performing in public urinals once too often was ordered by his studio to get married. His best friends, a young comedian and his wife, divorced so that he could marry the wife.’

According to Evie, ‘For my money, Mayer was the worst of the lot, a dictator with the ethics and morals of a cockroach. Mayer decided that unless I married Van Johnson, he wouldn’t renew Keenan’s contract. I was young and stupid enough to let Mayer manipulate me. I divorced Keenan, married Johnson, and thus became another of L.B.’s little victims.’

Man. If all that’s true…talk about sacrificing for your friends. Wynn’s and Evie’s son, actor and producer/director Ned Wynn, wrote a book about the whole torrid situation. I bought it off, and will happily loan it out when I’m done. Say da woid.

Are you having a nice morning? I’m still on vacation. Well, except for the studying/choreographing part. There’s that.


Fink out.

Merry Merry

Enjoy your day, everyone. Rejoice in the fact that you are loved, because when it all shakes out, nothing is more important than your family. It’s a good day to be grateful for that.

I’m off to watch Jakey open his gifts this morning…you know there’ll be cameras involved.


No Day But Today

Heh. Sorry to go all Rent on ya, but it really fits today’s RNFs.

This morning, as the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is brewing (yummy), I pause to ruminate. I think, “Why start a new year’s resolution on New Year’s Day?” I mean, really. Shouldn’t we begin a positive change in our behavior right now?

(In best Veruca Salt voice) And by the way…

Shouldn’t it basically be Thanksgiving more often? Shouldn’t Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other major holidays just be different flavors of Thanksgiving? And I don’t mean Thanksgiving a la Pilgrims and turkeys. I mean a time of really being grateful — even in the face of tough days, to wit:

If you are reading this, you have enough resources to either pay for your own connectivity, or get to the internet cafe to go online. Be thankful for that. If you are reading this, you can read. Be thankful. If you are reading this, you are likely not sleeping in an alley tonight. Be grateful.

So in the spirit of being thankful for what I have, but responsible for how I handle it, here is a short list of my Christmas Resolutions.

  1. I am going to follow through on what I say I’m going to do. Really.
  2. I am going to fight off negativity; it’s a life force sucker.
  3. I am going to be more organized — right now, before the new year starts and the insanity sets in for real.
  4. I am going to let old bitternesses go (except in the case of Boston University).
  5. I am going to accept — and this is a hard one for me — that people are going to say what people are going to say, and nothing I do or say can either stop it, turn it around, or make it so everyone’s happy.
  6. I am going to stop beating myself up about things I cannot change, did not cause, or with which I routinely struggle.

And there you have it. Oh, yeah — I am also grateful for my most excellent fiends: namely, you.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss…

Say what you want…

…but they’re only in it for themselves.

Say what you want…

…but it’s the nose and mouth. Something about Maggie Gyllenhaal has always, always bugged me. Throughout The Dark Knight, I just felt…I dunno…out of sorts when I looked at her. She was distracting to watch. Anyway, last night I saw (and was bothered again by) a picture of her on the New York Post website. I then decided to find out what exactly it is about Maggie that makes me go, “hmm, somethin’ be off.”

So I quick-and-dirty Paint Shopped Ashley Olsen’s nose and mouth onto Maggie’s face, and air-brushed those mighty mighty cheek craters. I must say, the result was actually pretty. I arrived at my answer. A little rhinoplasty here, a little lip collagen there…just a little is all. Like salt.

I know, I know…you all like her just as she is, because she’s “cute” and not a “standard Hollywood plastic beauty.” Come on, Dad, just having a little fun here.

In fact, wanna see what I’d look like morphed with Brooke Shields? My eyes, her eye color, brows and lips, and a combination of our noses. In other words — mostly her. I’d take that.

Or how about me mixed with Al Pacino?

Heh. I love that site.

Fink out.



Check this out: body art by Italian artist Guido Daniele. Amazing. Gives new meaning to the term hand painted. Heh. I do envy the talents of these people, seriously.

Click on the pictures for the big version (they won’t open in a new window, though).

More grooviness: you might have noticed that I monkeyed with the comment structure. You can now, thanks to a cool plugin for nested comments, reply directly to someone’s comment at RtB, rather than start a new one and use names to direct your response. To other WordPress users: I know that this particular plugin has been around awhile, but I don’t like how it looks because the guy who wrote it is Japanese, and his English reflects it. I’m working on hacking around it, but I don’t want to break php files cuz I don’t know how to fix them…

Hey, it’s Monday morning and I am not going to school. I’m going to the dentist instead. Joy.

Fink out.