Thoughts

George Bush is a dead ringer for Guinn Williams

I was watching Rafter Romance a few months ago, when I saw Fritzie, the cab driver with a supporting role in the movie, and my mouth dropped. There, on the screen, in front of my eyes, was GW, in 1933! It was almost the same man — the resemblance was uncanny.

There it was: an incredibly similar voice, the same face, the same facial expressions, the same stature (although Fritzie was a little taller than GW). Here’s a short clip from that movie; it’s a scene where Fritzie defends the heroine from the clutches of her lecherous employer.

That cab driver was Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, a popular actor with a very long career, who appeared in over 200 movies from 1919 till 1961 [reference]. At first a silent film star, he made the transition to talkies just fine, but his popularity as a leading actor waned in the 30s, and he started taking supporting roles as a character actor, which were his staple for the last 30 years or so of his career. Although smart and polished in real life, he “portrayed characters who were long on muscle and short on brains and grace, and he often emphasized their comedic aspects” [reference].

→ Updated 23.04.2017: Guinn Williams’ great niece, Liz Bewley, reached out to me in order to set his record straight. I obtained her permission in order to publish the information you see below:

“Guinn Williams was my Great Uncle. Guinn was from Texas and his father was a Texas Representative in D.C. Guinn pretty much bedded any woman with a pulse; I doubt very much that Barbara [Bush] would have wanted anything to do with him. Aside from acting, riding a horse well, and hitting a polo ball extremely far, he was an asshole supreme. One time, he got very angry at this one horse, because he was being very stubborn and tried to bite him. He got so mad that he hit the horse right between its eyes (hardest part on a horse) so hard that he literally “sat” the horse down. He broke just about every bone in his hand in the process. Another time, he and Errol Flynn crashed a party on a large private yacht. They were drunk, as usual, and being extremely obnoxious. When they were asked to leave, Big Boy picked up one of the men who had asked them to leave and threw him overboard. When he was playing the role of army Lieutenant Finn in The Alamo with John Wayne, he injured two Mexican actors badly. Apparently, the scene was on the roof and called for Big to grab the two Mexican actors with each arm and jump off. There was nothing below but ground. Big’s landing was cushioned by the two actors who suffered some big injuries. Needless to say, he was a self-centered man.”

I invite you to look for photos of Guinn Williams. The facial and bodily similarities between him and George W. Bush will amaze you.

Guinn “Big Boy” Williams George “GW” Bush
Initials are GW Known as GW or W
Born and raised in Texas. Moved to Texas.
His father was a politician. His father was a politician.
His father unhappy with his choice of career, practically disowned him. His father unhappy with GW for a long time, almost disowned him.
Played the hero in movies. Wanted to be a hero in real life, things didn’t quite work out.
Liked to punch and shoot villains. Liked to shoot rockets at the axis of evil.
Portrayed slightly dumb but lovable characters in movies. Behaved like a dumb character while in office.

If you find more similarities, feel free to post them as comments. Here are a few biographical resources to get you started:

All these similarities got me thinking. What if W had been an actor? Hmm…

  • W would have made a nice action movie star, sort of the Chuck Norris of the 21st century. He could have teamed up with Chuck Norris, come to think of it, or with Stallone. Imagine W and Rambo, deep in North Korea, hunting for dictators…
  • The War on Terror would have made a nice series of action movies, and we’d have been victorious.
  • W could have taken on Saddam, single-handedly, and he’d have chucked a grenade in the hole where he hid.
  • He could have murdered Bin Laden, by shooting napalm into his cave, after spending months tracking him down in the mountains of Aghanistan.
  • He’d have made mince meat of Kim Jong-il, after catching him at home, in his underwear.
  • What about Ahmadinejad? Dead as nails. Seriously, W would have put them all down while leading elite Delta Forces into enemy territory.
  • We wouldn’t be in Iraq right now. Or in Afghanistan. Or threatening Iran. And pissing off the rest of the world.
  • We wouldn’t have mangled soldiers coming back from the war — you know, entrails sewn back together, heads stapled together, missing arms, missing legs, missing other body parts, etc. We wouldn’t have broken families because soldiers were deployed for too long. We wouldn’t have the massive numbers of PTSD and other pervasive syndromes in so many of our men and women, stuff that’s going to haunt them for the rest of their lives.
  • We wouldn’t have spent trillions of dollars on this pointless war with no benefits. No, we’d have spent at most 200 million on each action movie, most of which, if not all, would have been recouped at the box office.
  • Dick Cheney would have remained in the past, not haunted us for the last 8 years as the evil VP from hell.
  • Rumsfeld would have continued to wear his cardigans around the office and hope for “transformation”, but without presiding over the disastrous Iraq invasion and the Abu Graib torture scandal.
  • This list could go on and on…

What a pity W didn’t become an actor. This country would have been a better place, the movies might have been more entertaining, he would have gained a nice reputation as a likable all-American action hero with a Texas accent, and we wouldn’t be in the huge mess that we’re in today.

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Thoughts

Finding myself more and more

Imagine this: you’re born with a desire to relate to others, to spend time talking and laughing with good friends who respect you and want to relate to you. But as you grow up, you find your confidence betrayed by false friends, derided by immature ones, or worse, you find yourself fending off unwanted advances from homosexuals who confuse your wish to socialize and relate to them as one human being to another for something else, something disgusting to you.

What do you do? You put up a wall. You become a loner. You choose to call yourself non-social. You make yourself believe you don’t need friends and you don’t need others. Alone, in the dark, you even start getting doubts about your sanity and sexuality, though you know better.

But then, after much prayer, you meet a girl who loves you for who you are. She respects you. She inspires you. She wants to be with you. She becomes your closest confidant, your best friend, the one you always go to for advice, and then, your wife. A dark, brooding veil begins to lift. You start seeing life through a different light. You meet her friends — decent, sociable people who enjoy good company the way God intended it, with laughter and talk and jokes and more laughter and help when you need it.

You begin to grow as a person. You start to make friends on your own now. People begin to discover you for who you really are, and the honest ones tell you that you’re a likable guy after all, that their first impression of you was wrong. All of a sudden, life is better. There’s more hope and joy in it. Friendship starts to take on the meaning you’ve always dreamed about. You find yourself.

This happened to me. I tell you, it feels like a long, dark night is giving way to breaking light. I doubt I’m alone in this. So what I want to say is, don’t lose hope. Hang in there. Pick your friends carefully. Don’t doubt who you really are for a minute. If you persist, you will succeed.

Thank you, Ligia, for making me see the light. It was through you that I grew and found myself. Thank you, and, though you already know it, I love you.

My wife Ligia

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Thoughts

What should your superpower be?

Blogthings is running a quiz on this, and I went through it. The questions were a bit loaded, and I wasn’t sure about a couple of the answers, but even after I went back and changed them, I still got the same result. That short fuse of mine shows through again… For the record, I don’t think I’m terrifying, and neither does my wife. And I’m not keen on that whole “world belongs to you” business either. But, I’ve got a short fuse, I’ll admit that. And I’m definitely intense, driven, passionate and obsessed — sometimes to my detriment.


Your Superpower Should Be Manipulating Fire
You are intense, internally driven, and passionate. Your emotions are unpredictable – and they often get the better of you. Both radiant and terrifying, people are drawn to you. At your most powerful, you feel like the world belongs to you.

Why you would be a good superhero: You are obsessive enough to give it your all.

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Your moodiness would make it difficult to control your powers.

What Should Your Superpower Be?

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Reviews

The music of Franz von Suppé

By coincidence, I heard two pieces written by Franz von Suppé within the last 24 hours, and realized he’s always been one of my favorite composers, although I never knew his name. If you’ve watched cartoons, then you’ve definitely heard his Light Cavalry Overture, and chances are you’ve also heard his Jolly Robbers Overture. They’re both popular pieces, both are fast-paced, and both will make you smile when you hear them.

Franz von Suppé had to have been an optimistic, contented man to have written such beautiful music. There was no mistake in his choice of career. After all, he turned down both law and medicine for music. His father wanted him to study law in Padua, and his mother wanted him to study medicine in Vienna. I heard this on WETA yesterday, as they introduced his Light Cavalry Overture.

If you aren’t a fan of his music already, try it out. You’ll likely become a fan. And if you’re in the area, tune in to WETA. They have some pretty cool music, and the little biographic capsules they offer about composers are pretty nice as well.

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Lists

Condensed knowledge for 2007-05-14

Today’s calorie-free serving:

  • Clive Thompson from the NYT has a detailed write-up of what’s involved if small bands want to get their name out there these days. The almost-requisite MySpace page is a given… But while the web makes it easy for them to get their names out there, keeping up with the fans becomes a full-time computer job — just what they were trying to avoid when they became musicians. And at some point, the relationship reaches a plateau. A single human being can only keep up with a limited number of fans before they are overwhelmed. But the fans don’t care, they each want personal interaction. Sounds like a very non-fun experience for the musician.
  • Mandy Sellars in England suffers from a very rare condition called Proteus Syndrome. She will likely lose her legs. The article talks about her desire to experience life, and daily struggles.
  • This is good reading for us IT geeks: Top 7 things system administrators forget to do.
  • The NYT has a great profile of Walt Mossberg. The article not only talks about his career, but also about where things are going in terms of journalism when you factor in this “new media” we keep hearing about…
  • Mental_floss talks about the world’s most wanted (and expensive) poo. It’s ambergris. Yuck.
  • Look At This has posted a full-length movie called “When the Wind Blows“. It’s about an elderly couple who build a bomb shelter. When nuclear war breaks out, they survive, but unfortunately succumb to the fallout radiation while waiting for the government to help them. Here’s a direct link to the video.
  • According to this article, Bill O’Reilly uses old propaganda techniques to bias his listeners toward those he doesn’t agree with. Interesting stuff.
  • A pair of falcons has made their nest in the building of the San Jose City Hall, and they’ve installed a falcon cam for us web visitors. Neat!
  • Some charlatan who claims he’s Jesus Christ incarnate is fooling plenty of people down in Orlando. Don’t these people bother to read the Bible?
  • A brave little terrier saved 5 New Zealand kids from being torn up by violent pit bulls. Unfortunately it ended up so injured they needed to put him to sleep, but the children weren’t hurt.
  • Apparently ceiling height can affect how people think and act. A taller ceiling can make you more creative and artistic. Very interesting stuff!
  • Weirdomatic has a post with examples of old, creepy ads. I don’t know, Max Factor’s beauty micrometer seems reasonable enough, given the need to look fairly perfect on screen. Have a look and decide for yourselves.
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Thoughts

Saying goodbye to fall

Autumn is always a bitter-sweet season for me. I still remember it as the time school starts. When I was a child, I dreaded September, because I knew school was coming. Those feelings lingered through college, and they tinge my thoughts even now. Autumn also meant harvest with all its bounty: apples, grapes, corn, potatoes, and so on. How I’d love to help my grandfather pick them from his garden! Maybe I was just happy to get away from homework, but I loved it. His delicious Concord grapes, crisp from the vine, were just the ticket for me on a cold autumn day. My grandmother would beg me in vain to wash them as I wolfed them down in sheer delight. Ah, youth, it’s wasted on children…

Then there are the colors of autumn. Is there a season more colorful than it? Winter isn’t it. Spring may be colorful, but only so in concentrated spots, like gardens with flowers or flowering trees. It’s mostly brown and green and blue. Summer is constantly and mostly green and blue. Winter is just dull. It alternates between the brown of mud and the white of snow, bespeckled here and there with an occasional cardinal bird and some evergreens, to speak nothing of the mostly dreary sky. Now autumn, that’s the ticket for color! Where else will you find different colors everywhere, even in lowly trees you wouldn’t otherwise notice?

I’ve been taking photos of fall colors for a few years now. I probably got some of my best shots this year, and I wanted to share a few with you. Join me in saying goodbye to autumn. In memoriam…

Melancholy goodbye

Still have that glow within me

Golden years

An offering of sorts

Multi-colored

Parallel lives

Illuminated path

Walking among the fallen

Framing the view

Lost in thought

As only fall could do it

Vibrant

Tilted

Boughs

Not too thrilled

Swirls

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A Guide To A Good Life, Reviews

Mister Ed and Me, by Alan Young with Bill Burt

Mister Ed and Me(1994, St. Martin’s Press, New York)

The TV show “Mister Ed” is my perennial favorite. My wife and I love it, and we watch it regularly. I was thrilled to discover that Mr. Young had written a book about the history of the show – and also included a short autobiography. The book proved to be a wonderful read. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it! Mr. Young revealed himself to be the same nice person in real life as in the TV show. I highly recommend buying this book. If you do, get it directly from Mr. Young’s website, where you can get an autographed copy!

Recommended: Yes

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Reviews

The Tartan Pimpernel, by Donald Caskie

The Tartan PimpernelReverend Caskie was an amazingly brave Scottish minister who helped Allied soldiers escape from Nazi-occupied France during WWII.

He wrote about those incredibly dangerous and trying years of his life in this wonderful little book. The camaraderie that developed between those working for the common cause of defeating the Nazis is heartwarming, and shows how well human beings can work together to achieve a noble goal.

His prose is so well written you’ll think you’re reading one of the Classics, and his story will inspire you to stand up for what’s right when and if a future time of trouble comes.

Recommended: Yes

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Reviews

Rhapsody in Blue (1945)

Rhapsody in BlueJust saw “Rhapsody in Blue” (1945) tonight, and what a great movie! It’s a movie biography of George Gershwin. Some of the plot was fictional, but that’s okay. The talent in the movie more than made up for that. What’s amazing to me is that the people who knew him and were his friends while he was alive were in the movie: Oscar Levant, Al Jolson, George White, Hazel Scott, Paul Whiteman.

There were three great pianists in this movie, whose dexterity amazed me. Oscar Levant, of course, then Hazel Scott, who must be noted. Robert Alda left me speechless with his rendition of “Rhapsody in Blue”. His dexterity on the piano was natural. Robert Alda, of course, is the father of Alan Alda of M*A*S*H fame.

How talented the actors were back then! They could sing, dance and act. Nowadays, we’re lucky if they can act…

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