A Quote to Start Things Off

"Passive Aggressive. It works for my mother, it works for Duolingo" Luis Von Ahn , co-founder of Duolingo from his TED talk, How to make learning as addictive as social media.

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Pictures of Memories I

Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

Friday, April 30, 2021

Z is for Zero,

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Z

                                                                                Zero Mostel
                                                                                Years lived before 1921: Six
                                                                                Years lived after 1921: Fifty Six

When I think of Zero Mostel, I think of Tevye from Fiddler On The Roof. I never saw him on Broadway and he was not in the motion picture version.  However I listened to the Broadway album many times as a kid and now own it on c.d.  He put his stamp on that role more than any other actor ever had.  

 Born Samuel Joel Mostel, he received the moniker Zero when performing  in the New York night club, cafe society because "he was a guy starting with nothing.  

Besides being a night club comic, he worked on the stage, in movies, and on television.  This career was derailed somewhat in the 40's and 50's as he was blacklisted in Hollywood before there even was a blacklist.  In 1952 he was officially blacklisted by the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and called to testify in front of HUAC in 1955.  His testimony is very reminiscent of Jim Carey's character's testimony in The Majestic.  One highlight is when he refers to his former employer 20th Century Fox as 19th Century Fox because of (in his opinion) their antiquated views.

By reading this it is pretty easy to infer that Zero Mostel was a little odd.  So it didn't surprise me that his 3 Tony awards were in odd years.  In 1961 He won best actor in a play for Rhinoceros.  In 1963 he won his first Best Actor in a Musical Tony for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum, and In 1965 he won his secon Best Actor in a Musical Tony for his career defining role in Fiddle on the Roof.  

Speaking of Broadway, Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder starred together in Mel Brook's movie The Producers which years later became a Broadway smash.  Mostel and Wilder reunited in the famous Electric Company segment Letter Man with Wilder voicing the title hero and Mostel in the role of the evil Spellbinder.  

Mostel also appeared on Sesame Street and the Muppet Show.  He is the only guest star on The Muppet Show who passed away before their episode could be aired.  Mostel is one of at least 3 of my a to z profiles who hosted The Muppet Show, the other two are Peter Ustinov and Ethel Merman.  Now that the A to Z challenge is over, I may watch all 3 of those episodes on the Disney Plus App with the extra time coming my way. 

So that's it 1921 A to Z has come to an end.  I wonder what anybody might say about it 100 years from now.

A To  Z Extra

Some of my Faavorite Electric Company Segments  at Dave Out Loud. This of course includes Mostel as the Spellbinder. 

   After you've looked at the additional content on my other blogs head back to The A to Z challenge and  continue exploring.  

Some of my favorite Electric Company segments

Letter Man

Speedy Reader

 Fargo North, Decoder


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Doctor Knows Best

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Y
                                                            Robert Young
                                                            Years lived before 1921:Fourteen 
                                                            Years lived after 1921: Seventy-Seven

When I first encountered Robert Young he was playing  The titular role of Marcus Welby on primetime and Jim Anderson on Father Knows Best in reruns.  Back then there was very little I knew about him.

I did not know he had originated the Father Know's Best Role on radio in the 1940's before reprising it on T.V.  I did not know he had played opposite John Gielgud and Peter Lorre in Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Agent.  I did not know he was in one of my wife's favorite movies, The Enchanted Cottage. (To be fair at this point, I was a kid and did not have a wife.)

Discovering these facets of Young has been a delight.  He has quite a filmography and I hope to continue to make future discoveries of his stage,  film, radio and television career  that spanned nearly sixty years.

For more a to z challenge click here.  


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

X= X eX WhitesoX

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter X


X is a very versatile letter.  It also sidelines as a Roman Numeral.  So for todays installment I give you 10 White Sox Players from the 1919 World Series. The owner of the White Sox was Charles Comiskey and his nick name was the Old Roman.  So if you're the kind who needs the X justified, I believe I just did.

In 1919 several White Sox players conspired to throw the World Series.  In 1921 These players were acquitted in a Chicago court room of any wrong doing.  However Judge Kennesaw "Mountain" Landis imposed a lifetime ban on 8 of the players.  Infamously referred to as the Black Sox or the 8 Men Out.

Two of these players, Shoeless Joe Jackson and George Daniel "Buck" Weaver maintained their innocence for the rest of their lives.  Two players from the 1919 World Series who were not removed from baseball, Ray Schalk and Eddie Collins (who both served as player/managers for the White Sox)   would eventually be elected into the Hall of Fame. 

                                                                Dirty Sox

Fred McMullin (Utility Infielder)Years Lived before 1921: Thirty
                                                      Years lived after 1921:Fifty Two

Eddie Cicotte (Pitcher) Years lived before 1921: Thirty Seven
                                      Years lived after 1921: Forty Eight

Lefty Williams (Pitcher) Years lived before 1921: Twenty Eight
                                         Years lived after 1921: Thirty Eight

Happy Felsch (Center Fielder ) Years lived before 1921: Thirty
                                                   Years lived after 1921: Forty Three

Chick Gandil  (First Baseman) Years lived before 1921: Thirty Three
                                                  Years lived after 1921: Forty Nine

Swede Risberg (Shortstop) Years lived before 1921: Thirty Eight
                                            Years lived after 1921:Fifty Four

Clean Sox

Eddie Collins (Second Baseman) Years lived before 1921: Thirty Four
                                                       Years lived after 1921: Thirty

Ray Schalk (Catcher) Years lived before 1921: Twenty Nine
                                    Years lived after 1921: Forty Nine

Questionable Sox

Shoeless Joe Jackson (Outfielder) Years lived before 1921: Thirty Four
                                                       Years lived after 1921: Thirty

Buck Weaver (Third Baseman) Years lived before 1921: Thirty One
                                                   Years lived after 1921: Thirty Five

For more a to z challenge click here.  

Why Sidewalks should have Spell Check.

 This is part of Wordless Wednesday.  I'll Be back a little later today for my 1921 X in this years A to Z Challenge.  Click here to see whose lives we've already looked at this April.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

W is for Waltons

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter W'

The Walton's is a 1970's CBS program about a family  of 7 children their parents and paternal grandparents living in rural Virginia during the depression. Earl Hamner who wrote and narrated the show  and was the person that the character Johm Boy Walton was based on was born in 1923 so would not qualify for this list.  However the actors who portrayed the grandparents Will Geer, and Ellen Corby were alive in 1921 .  

Ellen Corby

Years lived before 1921: Ten 
Years lived after 1921: Seventy-eight

Will Geer
Years lived before 1921: Nineteen
Years lived after 1921: Fifty-seven

Fun fact: Both Geer and Corby were involved in two iconic Christmas programs.  Geer was in the season 2 Christmas episode of 8 is enough where he plays a man who steals all the Bradford's Christmas gifts and tries to pass himself off as Santa Claus co Nicolas.  In It's a Wonderful Life Corby character  is kissed by Jimmy Stewart after only asking for $7.50 during the run on the Building & Loan.  They both were veteran character actors but their portrayal of Zeke and Esther Walton stands out as the role of their lifetimes.  

For more a to z challenge click here.  

Monday, April 26, 2021

V is for Venn

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter V

                                                            John Venn
                                                            Years lived before 1921: Eighty-seven
                                                            Years lived after 1921:two

John Venn was a mathematician, logician and philosopher who is best remembered for his Venn diagram. V can be a difficult letter to fill some years but this year was an exception.  I did not want to leave out  former White Sox owner, Bill Veeck nor  actor Abe Vigoda from the challenge, so I created this Venn diagram that shows what they have in common and what is different about them.


                                                        Bill Veeck

                                                        Years lived before 1921: Seven
                                                        Years lived after 1921: Sixty-five

                                                    Abe Vigoda
                                                    Years lived before 1921:Zero
                                                    Years lived after 1921:Ninety Five

Well, It's Venn fun bit it's time to run.  For more a to z challenge click here.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Dave Out Loud Podcast #2

 The 2nd edition of the Dave Out Loud Podcast has just dropped.  My wife Amy and myself talk movies just in time for the Academy Awards.

Peter Ustinov on Disney Plus

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter U

Peter Ustinov
Years lived before 1921:Zero.
Years lived after 1921:Eighty-three

Peter Ustinov's acting career extend over 60 years between his first and final movie appearance.  He received two Oscars for best supporting actor in the 1960's.  Today I'd like to focus instead on what we can see of Mr. Ustinov's career on the Disney Plus app.  He stars in the 1968 film Blackbeard's Ghost as Blackbeard the pirate.  He costars in the 1976 Disney film The Treasure of Matecumbe as Dr. Ewing T. Snodgrass. He also appears in one of my favorite Disney cartoons and twice with the Muppets.

Ustinov provided the voice for Prince John
Robin Hood 1973

Ustinov and Fozzie The Bear tell a joke
S1 E 12 The Muppet Show

Peter and Miss Piggy
Great Muppet Caper 1981

The episode of the Muppet Show that features Ustinov is definitely worth watching.  Ustinov plays a number of diverse characters and does very many different accents even doing a pretty good Kermit impression at the end of the show.  Kermit also sings "It's not easy being green" in this episode which was his signature song before the Rainbow Connection from The Muppet movie.

For more A to Z challenge click here.

Friday, April 23, 2021

T is for Thomas and Tesla

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter T

Nikola Tesla
Years lived before 1921: Sixty-five
Years Lived after 1921:Twenty-two

Thomas Alva Edison
Years lived before 1921: Seventy-four
Years lived after 1921: Ten

When I decided on people who were living in 1921 as my topic for this year's A to Z challenge, I set a few criteria on deciding exactly who those people would be.  The first of those was that I wasn't going to write about anyone if I was not familiar with them before deciding on the theme.  If you google born in 1921 or died in 1921 or even married in 1921 you come into contact with "famous" people that you have oxymorincally never heard of or only have the vaguest inclination of. I was going to do my best to steer clear of such folks.  Another criterion was to double up and triple up when plausible to feature as many people as I could.

With the letter T those two criteria became some what juxtapostionally opposed. I of course have heard of Thomas Edison and know quite a bit about him.  He's even appeared in this blog a number of times. I have heard of Nikola Tesla but besides Charlotte Nevins Purcell, who my daughter wrote about last week, Tesla is probably the person I know least about.  

Instead of just regurgitating Wikipedia, I think I will instead make a promise to you, the reading public. In order to juggle my 2 jobs, my other myriad responsibilities, and the a to z challenge, I have pretty much given up recreational reading in the month of April.  When the challenge comes to an end, I will find and read a  biography on Tesla. There is also  a movie I have been meaning to see called The Current War which is a period piece featuring Edison, Tesla and George Westinghouse. My promise is after reading a book and seeing the film, I'll write a more informed post on Edison and Tesla.

I think it's a pretty bright idea.  For more of the a to z challenge click here.  

Thursday, April 22, 2021

S is for Stewart

  #AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter S

                                                                Jimmy Stewart
                                                                Years lived before 1921: Thirteen
                                                                Years lived after 1932:Seventy-Six

Jimmy Stewart is probably my favorite actor.  This should not be too surprising as It's A Wonderful Life is my favorite film. Stewart played many original characters in his films but was also in a great deal of bio-pics.  Today we are going to look at 3 of those films as all of the titular subjects were also alive in 1921.

Film 1: The Stratton Story (1949)

                                                                Years lived before 1921: Seven
                                                                Years lived after 1921: Sixty-one

Monty Stratton was a pitcher with the the Chicago White Sox in the 1930's. He lost a leg due to a hunting accident.  He learned to pitch while using his prosthetic leg and had a comeback in the minor leagues but never did get back to the big leagues.   

Film 2: The Glenn Miller Story (1954)



                                                                            Glenn Miller
                                                                Years lived before 1921: Seventeen
                                                                Years lives after 1921: Twenty-three

Glenn Miller was a big band musician and bandleader in the swing era of the 1930's and 1940's before his aircraft disappeared over the English Channel in late 1944.

Fun Fact: June Allyson portrayed both the wife of Glenn Miller in this picture and Monty Stratton in the Stratton story.  She played Stewart's wife in 3 different films.

Film 3: Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

                                                                            Charles Lindbergh 

                                                                            Years Lived Before 1921:19
                                                                            Years lived after 1921: 53

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh made the first solo nonstop flight from New York to Paris in an airplane built for that purpose called the Spirit of St. Louis.  The film tells the story of this event.

A To Z Easter Eggs

 A to Z Archives: S is for Stewart at HSD. We go back 6 years ago today when I wrote about Mr. Stewart in my 2nd go round of the a to z challenge.  For more of the 2021 rendition of the challenge click here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

3 R's of Racial Reconciliation

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter R

Roadtrip #atozchallenge 2021 

 There are many definitions for racial reconciliation.  At one point some people at Wheaton College asked their students, staff and alumni to define it in 6 words or less. My favorite of these definitions was ...

"Pursuit of equal partnership in relationships"

By that definition my 3 R's who were living in 1921 epitomized that definition in their greatest achievements.  Those 3 people are Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks.  Each of these people in their own way pursued an equal partnership in relationships and in doing so they shaped 20th century America.


                                                           Branch Rickey

                                                            Years lived before 1921: Forty

                                                            Years lived after 1921: Forty-four

Branch Rickey was a professional football and baseball player but was best known for being am innovative manager and general manager in Major League Baseball.  Among his innovations were the minor league system, spring training, and the use of advanced statistics.  

As a general manager, Rickey was a shrewd businessman. One example of this was is found in one of the innovations he brought to baseball.  He was the first general manager to mandate that all his players wear batting helmets. It turns out that Rickey owned stock in the company manufacturing those helmets.  

Rickey was also a devoted and vocal Christian. In 1965 according to Wikipedia Rickey's last audible words were "Now I'm going to tell you a story from the Bible about spiritual courage" .  These were his last words as he collapsed in the middle of a speech  , went into a coma for 26 days before dying on 12/9/1965.

Rickey's courage, Christian character and business acumen were all combined in his greatest lifetime achievement orchestrating the breaking of the color line in major league baseball.

Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey make baseball history.

Jackie Robinson

Years lived before 1921: Two
Years lived after 1921: Fifty-one

On April `15, 1947 Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Becoming the first African American on a Major League Baseball (MLB) team in the 20th century.  Exactly fifty years later on 4/15/87 the MLB  retired #42 (Robinson's Jersey #) throughout the league.  Rickey had handpicked the four sport (baseball, football, track and basketball) UCLA standout to desegregate baseball.  One of the reasons Rickey picked Robinson aside from his obvious baseball prowess was his character.  Rickey thought Robinson had what it took to withstand the abuse that would be heaped on the first black baseball player.  

Robinson proved Rickey right and between his determination and his skill he successfully bridged the color gap in the National League.

One way Robinson demonstrated to Ricker that he was the right person to the job happened when Jackie was in the army.  Robinson had been drafted in 1942 and was serving in a tank division.  In 1944 he was on a desegregated Army bus but the bus driver ordered him to go to the back of the bus anyway.  Robinson refused, was arrested, and there was an attempt to get him court-martialed.  Robinson was acquitted.

Rosa Parks

Years lived before 1921: Eight
Years lived after 1921: Eighty-four

On December 1, 1955 a seamstress from Birmingham Alabama  refused to give her seat up to a white passenger.  This seamstress was of course Rosa Parks.  Like Robinson 15 years prior she was not legally obligated to give up her seat as she was sitting in the colored section at the time.  She was arrested, beginning a 1 year bus strike which eventually led to the end of segregation on public busses.

When I think of Rickey, Robinson and Rosa I think of ordinary people willing to take a stand for what is right.  I hope 100 years from now there r more people like that to celebrate.  For more A to Z challenge click here

If you are visiting from the road trip, you can get to the rest of my a to z posts by clicking here

 1921 Index In Progress 
















R (This Post)



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Q is for Queens Consort

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Q

The first thing I checked when I decided that my theme would be  people alive in 1921 was to see who was born in 1921.  The second thing I did was to see if anyone famous who was born in 1921 was still alive in 2021. 

So when I noticed that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was approaching his 100th birthday, I tried to find a way to get him in my list.  When it came down to fit people letters I realized quickly that I could fill the dreaded Q spot by Philip's title.  

                Prince Philip
                                                                                 Years Lived Before 1921: Zero   
                                                                                 Years lived after 1921: One-hundred 

Born a Greek and Danish prince on a dining room table on the island of Corfu in June of 1921, Prince Philip left Greece 18 months later in a cot made from a fruit box when his family was exiled.  These fairy tale beginnings led to a very public life as the longest royal consort in the history of the British monarchy.  

He married his third cousin (through Queen Victoria) Princess Elizabeth of  England in 1947.  They were married 73 years.  Princess Elizabeth and he exchanged letters in 1939 when he was 18 and she was 13.  Philip joined the Royal Navy and served in the Navy during World War II. In 1952 when Princess Elizabeth became Queen upon the death of her father Philip became the Queen consort.  

Prince Philip dies on April 9, 2021 twelve days before the Queen's 95th birthday and two months and a day before he would have turned 100.

For more A to Z challenge click here.  


Monday, April 19, 2021

P is for Prokofiev

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter P

Last year in my A to Z challenge on my blog Random Acts of Roller. My theme was State Capitals.  I stated in my introduction ...
My Theme will be Capitals. Due to the random nature of my blog, and specifically my mind, each entry may only be somewhat related to the capital mentioned. For example, it is entirely possible that Friday April third's entry will feature the Krispy Kreme themed love song I wrote in 1995 because I wrote it while living in Columbia, South Carolina where I encountered my first  Krispy Kreme.

I mention that here. because today's post about Sergei Prokofiev will tell you probably a lot more about me than Prokofiev. But let's at least start with Prokofiev.

Sergei Prokofiev

Years lived before 1921: Thirty
Years lived after 1921: Thirty Two

Sergei Sergyevich Prokofiev was born in April of 1891 in the Ukraine. . Sergei and I have something in commo that we both share the first name of our father but not our grandfather.  The way you can tell this with Prokofiev is that according to his Wikipedia page his father's name is Sergei Alexeyevich  Prokofiev. In Russian the 2nd name is the patronymic name which means it is derived from the father's name.  Boys names end in -ovich or -evich  and girls  patronyms  end in -ovna or -evna.  So Prokofiev's Dad's name was Sergei and  his paternal grandfathers name was Alexei. The way you can tell it with me, is cause I'm telling you. You'll have to take my word for it, as I don't have a Wikipedia page. 

I first became aware of the music of Prokofiev was when I was a kid watching the Disney version of Peter and the Wolf. It is narrated by actor Sterling Holloway best known as the original voice of Winnie The Pooh. Different instruments play different characters in the folk tale.

                                                    Sterling Holloway
                                                    Years lived before 1921: Fifteen
                                                    Years lived after 1921: Seventy-one

                                                    Winnie The Pooh aka Edward Bear
                                                    Years lived before 1921: zero
                                                    Years lived after 1921:100+

My family watched a lot of Disney, but we also listened to a lot of Alan Sherman also to a lot of the Boston Pop's conducted by Arthur Fiedler. In 1964 Sherman, Fiedler and the Pops produced an Album called Peter and the Commissar which is a parody of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.  This was a family favorite and I was overjoyed to see it available on Spotify.  

The next time I encountered Prokofiev was in the early 1990's I was living in Russia as a Southern Baptist missionary.  My job was to teach English classes and help start a student ministry.  In that capacity I got a lot of invitations from my students to experience traditional Russian culture.  I got invited to a a concert one afternoon and it was some sort of adaptation of Rome and Juliet.  As I watched the performance I realized that the instruments were kind of telling the story not exactly like Peter and the Wolf but there were some similarities.  At the break I looked again at the program and read in Russian that the composer had also writeen something called Peotr y Volk which in English is Peter and the Wolf.  

Here is the London Symphony Orchestra playing a famous selection from Romeo and Juliet ...

Well that was a more random look at Prokofiev.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Tomorrow we'll have to mind our p's and q's as we are dealing with royalty.  For more of the A to Z challenge click here.  

Saturday, April 17, 2021

O is for Oskar.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter O

 I don't know a lot about cancel culture, but I seem to hear and read a lot about it.  My best understanding of it is that with cancel culture people can be reduced to the worst thing (or most recent bad thing) that you've done and  other positive achievements are overlooked or forgotten in light of the bad.

Oskar Schindler was not a product of cancel culture.  He seemed to be more of the opposite.  Nazi, serial philanderer, spy, war profiteer are labels that could easily mar any good  you could otherwise accomplish.  But in Schindler we find an extremely flawed man remembered and revered for his greatest accomplishment.

Oskar Schindler

Years lived before 1921: Thirteen
Years lived after 1921: Fifty Three

I personally was raised thinking that life was like a moral bank ledger where you hoped your black ink outweighed your red.  I no longer feel that way.  In some ways like the hundreds of Jews that Schindler saved from death in concentration camps I was saved  by a conscious choice not of a flawed man but by a perfect God.  

For more A to Z challenge click here.

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip