The musical “Annie Get Your Gun” has a interesting and turbulent history. The idea for the musical occurred to Dorothy Fields, the daughter of a Polish immigrant named Lew Fields who worked in vaudeville and became a respected and successful Broadway producer.

Dorothy Fields was a lyricist who wrote the words to such songs as “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “The Sunny Side of the Street” with composer Jimmy McHugh.

Her work with Jerome Kern produced the successful song “Lovely to Look At.” They worked together again on “The Way You Look Tonight: which earned an Academy Award for best original song in 1936.

In 1935, the movie “Annie Oakley” starring Barbara Stanwyck came out based on the story by Dorothy Fields’ brother, Joseph Fields. Soon Dorothy became interested in seeing Annie’s story become a musical that would star her friend Ethel Merman. Mike Todd turned her script down, so she approached Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II who were freshly invigorated with the success of their musical “Oklahoma” . Rogers and Hammerstein had decided to become producers of both their own works and the works of others. They agreed to produce the musical and asked Jerome Stern to create the music. Dorothy Fields would do the lyrics and she would write the book with her brother Joseph who would later write “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “The Flower Drum Song”, among many other famous screenplays.

This selection began the rocky path that eventually led to “Annie Get Your Gun”. Kern collapsed with a stroke and died in 1945. Rogers and Hammerstein had to replace Kern, so they asked Irving Berlin to step in and take over the play. Knowing that Irving Berlin wrote both the music and words, Dorothy Fields stepped down as lyricist, but Berlin was not certain that he could write the songs that had to fit into a specific scenes in the show. Oscar Hammerstein convinced him to try anyway, so Berlin came back the songs “Doin’ What Comes Naturally”, “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”  Berlin mistakenly did not think that Richard Rogers liked the show business song and dropped it from the libretto. However, during the development of the show, the song was added back and has become a timeless classic.

Ethel Merman played Annie on Broadway and in three years missed only three performances.

The musical was a great hit, It started on Broadway in 1946 and ran for 1147 performances. It had more hits songs than any other Broadway play and was Irving Berlin’s greatest success.

When the time came to make a movie of “Annie Get Your Gun”, Dorothy’s friend Ethel Merman was not even considered for the movie by MGM. Though Doris Day and Judy Canova wanted the part, MGM wanted Judy Garland for the lead role. MGM producer Arthur Freed had paid $650,000 to Irving Berlin for the movie rights just to cast Garland into the title role. Garland shot some scenes as the lead actress, so MGM thought they could bring in an unknown to play Frank Butler. Both John Raitt and Howard Keel auditioned for the role, but Keen got the part. The director, Busby Berkeley insisted that Keel ride his horse on the set over a slick floor and on the second day of shooting, Keel broke his leg while they were shooting by falling off his horse on the set. They had to shoot close ups of Keel and Judy Garland was offended that the unknown actor was getting so much attention. Judy was having severe problems with drugs and alcohol addictions as well. Freed eventually fired Busby and brought in Charles Walters who had successfully directed Garland in “Easter Parade”. Judy Garland was convinced that she could not get the performance right after watching the rushes. She could not conquer her addictions nor get to the set on time. MGM felt they has no choice but to fire her. Since Garland was a super star at the time, firing her was something no one expected. Garland went into a mental hospital and the movie was put on hold.

To add to the confusion, Frank Morgan (the Wizard in “The Wizard of Oz”) was playing Buffalo Bill. He suddenly died in the middle of the film. Only a few shots could be saved from the production. George Sydney suddenly replaced Charles Walters as the director by orders from MGM. They basically had to start all over again with the film, this time with Betty Hutton in the lead role.

The movie had good box office success, but Betty Hutton did not get the best of reviews when compared to the original Broadway role played by Ethel Merman. A dispute between the Irving Berlin estate and MGM kept the film out of circulation from 1973 to 2000. By that time. Merman’s performance was history and Hutton was accepted. A new production with Bernadette Peters and Reba McIntire brought Annie back to a new generation.

The hit songs generated by “Annie Get Your Gun” is quite staggering. Few, if any musicals, have come close to the mass appeal of the songs on this production.


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Betty Hutton


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Betty Hutton


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Betty Hutton


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Betty Hutton


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Betty Hutton and Howard Keel


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Betty Hutton and Howard Keel


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Ensemble


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Chorus


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Howard Keel


Written by Irving Berlin

Performed by Howard Keel



Grandma had a headache, but she treated her brain well by drinking Coca-Cola, and then, as she would tell, she gave some to my father … and he …in turn … to me.  She had her own traditions and she kept them to a tee.

Coke elixir with her liquor. She drank it straight or mixed, ’cause she was the kind of person that liked to see things fixed. She did not total all her tees, she did not shirk her pleasures. She also felt that earthly pain should not become a treasure.

1453664534570-c11When great-grandma had a toothache, Grandma knew just what to do. She bought those cocaine toothache drops and placed them on her tooth. She liked those folky remedies, she liked her living fables that let live her life as clean and right as she was able.






Image from the Bayeux Tapestry showing William and his half-brothers. William is in the center, Odo is on the left with empty hands, and Robert is on the right with a sword in his hand.


September 28. 2016. William, Duke of Normandy, landed on England’s shores 950 years ago in 1066.


Excerpt “From Tribes to Nations“:

Henry I


|                                                                                      |

William the Conqueror                                                            m 1047 Matilda of Flanders

b 1027, Falaise Castle, Normandy b 1035

d 9 Sept 1087 near Rouen d 2 Nov 1083

reigned 1066-1087

Duke Robert of Normandy, a fourth generation descendant of Rollo the Dane, was riding toward his capital at Falaise one morning when he saw Arlette, the beautiful young daughter of a tanner from his estate. The young maiden was washing linens beside a stream. Although the duke was already married to a woman of rank and quality, Robert fell in love at first sight with the sinewy Arlette. He whisked her away to his castle and lived with her for the rest of their natural days. To this union was born an only son, William, to become William I of England, called the Conqueror, the man who brought an end to the Saxon rule and established a new system of feudal economics based upon land and service to the king.

In 1034, Robert decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Before leaving, he persuaded the Norman barons to accept William as his successor. Robert died on his journey, leaving seven year old William as Duke of Normandy. In these harsh times a  minor’s claim to entitlement was precarious. One by one, the great barons who had vowed to protect him came to violent ends. Rival ambitions stirred through Normandy.

Were they to be ruled by a bastard? Was the grandson of a tanner fit to rule over war lords and feudal knights?

The taint of bastardy hung over William for many years, hardening and embittering  him. Many years later, at the siege of Alencon, the imprudent citizens of the besieged town hung skins over the fortifications, shouting, “Hides, hides for the tanner.” William was so angered by this taunt that he devastated the town and had the principal inhabitants flayed alive.

William was raised in a hard school of suspicions, intrigue and constant combat. By the age of twenty he was a skilled military commander, aiding his overlord, Henry I of France, in stamping out rebellions with a precocious aptitude for government and war.

In 1051, William visited England and received from Edward the Confessor, his kinsman and King of England, a promise of succession to the English throne. He sealed this promise and strengthened his claim by marrying Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V of Flanders, who traced her descent from Alfred the Great.

In 1064, Harold, thane and possible successor to Edward of England, was driven by winds to the coast of France and shipwrecked on lands held by the Count of Ponthieu.

The count thought he had stumbled upon a rich treasure, attempting to hold Harold for a considerable ransom. William interceded on Harold’s behalf, first by civil request, then by armed command, until the count reluctantly presented Harold to the Norman court.

Friendship sprang up between Harold and William. They were often seen laughing and hunting together with falcons on their wrists, or playing together in sport. After Harold’s assistance under William against the Britons, William knighted his friend, but William’s wary eyes never forgot to look forward to English succession. He considered the power that Harold wielded under Edward and realized how easy it might be for Harold to become king if he happened to be present when Edward died. William asked Harold to swear an oath to renounce all designs upon the English crown, swear his allegiance to William as his king, and receive the earldom of Wessex as reward for his service.

Legend has it that the significance of this oath of Harold to become William’s vassal was enhanced by the concealment of a sacred relic under the table where the oath was administered. The bones of St. Edmund served to make this a super oath, a sacred obligation, and although the presence of the bones were not known to Harold, it wa binding through Christendom.

William’s marriage to Matilda, in direct affront to a papal directory prohibiting those born out of wedlock to marry into nobility, gave William another powerful ally on his eastern front –Matilda’s father, Baldwin, Count of Flanders, called “Le Debbonair”.

Papal dispensations were finally granted for the marriage by Pope Nicholas II in 1059.

Meanwhile, back in England, Harold was becoming increasingly successful at conducting the government. In January of 1066, just before drawing his last breath, Edward the Confessor commended Harold as his best possible successor despite his alleged promise to William.

Harold had only a trace of royal lineage and every aspiring thane who heard of Harold’s elevation took it as an affront to his birthright. At the moment of Harold’s coronation, a strange hairy star, now known to have been a spectacular appearance of Halley’s Comet, appeared in the heavens. The feudal world buzzed with superstition. The entire structure of feudalism rested on the sanctity of oaths, and Harold had broken his oath.

Harold’s banished half-brother,Tostig, took word of these events to Canute’s successors in Norway who were eager to revive their attempt to conquer England. Suddenly, Harold was confronted with a double invasion, one from William to the south––seeking his inheritance––and one from Tostig and Hardrada from Norway. In September of 1066, the battle began.

At Stamford Bridge, the Norsemen kept their shielded formations for a while––then, deceived by a feint, they opened their shield ramparts and advanced. This is what Harold was waiting for. Hardrada was hit by an arrow in the throat and Tostig took command.

At this point, Harold offered his brother peace, but it was refused.

Harold went on to win the Battle of Stamford Bridge, his brother paying with his life for his treason. Never again would a Scandinavian invasion seriously threaten the power of an English king. But at the moment of victory, Harold received these ominous words from a messenger: “William the Bastard has landed at Pevensey.”

William had planned his invasion with machine like precision, yet at the last moment they were held up from departure by lack of winds. For six weeks no wind blew on the French coast. William’s army bickered and became restless. The invasion plans were only held together by William’s promises of spoils for the victors. Finally, the bones of St. Edmund were hauled out again and brought to the shore with much ceremony.

The next day the winds blew toward England and the great army landed unimpeded upon English soil.

Physically, William was tall, big boned, and portly with a dignified presence. He wore his hair short cropped and had a trim mustache. As he stepped out of the boat andonto the English shore, William tripped and fell flat on his face. Sheepishly, he turned around what some could have called a bad omen by saying: “See, I have taken England with both of my hands.”

Meanwhile, Harold and his depleted Saxons had to march two hundred miles in seven days, gathering what forces they could. On the evening of October 13, 1066, he took his position on the slope of a hill near Hastings and barred William’s march on the capital.

The Saxons were infantry, fighting with the traditional instruments of war that gave them their name, the axe and the spear. The Normans were primarily cavalry, five to six thousand Norman knights and several thousand archers against the shields and axes of ten thousand Saxons.

As the battle began, Ivo Tallifer [Pons Taliaferro], a minstrel knight, claimed the right of first attack. He advanced up the hillside before the enemy by himself, twirling his lance and throwing his sword into the air, catching it like a juggler in front of the astonished Saxons. Finally, a song on his lips and a battle cry in his throat, he charged into the English ranks, riding into the pages of history as the first to be slain at the Battle of Hastings.

The Norman offense fell hopelessly upon the Saxon shields, huddled in mass upon the open plain. Rains of arrows took severe tolls, but the Saxons were so densely packed that the wounded could not fall to the ground.

William, borrowing from a tactic used by his opponent only days before, feinted a retreat. The deceived Saxons broke ranks and pursued the Normans. William then turned with a terrible fury and cut the Saxons to pieces. Harold was pierced in the right eye by an arrow’s fall. His naked body, wrapped in a robe of purple was hidden in the rocks. The Norman invasion was victorious. October 14, 1066 became a decisive day  in world history and a milestone in the history of the western world.

William and his Norman lords introduced England to a new system of land tenure based upon military service. The old Saxon lords were thrust out and Normans took their place. In 1086 William ordered a complete inquest into the wealth of the country to be written into the Domesday Book. Many a village and town of the countryside received their first mention in the important record of medieval worth.

Queen Matilda proved a good regent at Rouen, but was plagued by her rebellious sons who could not wait for their father’s death to inherit their titles and lands. William’s son Robert, banished from Normandy for conspiracy and rebellion, took refuge with King Philip and was pursued by his father. Visors drawn, sword and mace in hand, father and son met in combat. Robert wounded William in the hand and would have killed him but for the interference of an Englishman who came to the aid of his King.

Matilda died in 1083, leaving William more melancholy and fierce than before. His years of war and life of quelling rebellions came to an end in 1087 at Mantes. The town caught fire during the sack and William’s horse stumbled in the burning ashes, crushing William against the pommel of the saddle. He was carried in agony to Rouen where he lay through the summer heat, fighting for his life and failing steadily. His sons William (Rufus) and Henry came to him as death neared. William Rufus was named successor to the crown. Robert could rule Normandy at last. Henry was given five thousand pounds of silver and the promise that one day he would reign over a united Norman–English nation.

On September 9, 1087, William ceased his warring.




“Edward the Confessor was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, but he had close ties with the continent: his mother was Norman, and he had spent many years in exile in Normandy. Edward had no heirs, and had likely named William – who was his first cousin, once removed – his successor in 1051. But Edward also liked to dangle the succession in front of other nobles to strengthen political alliances. The last man he promised it to was Harold Godwinson, the Earl of Wessex and the richest, most powerful man in England. Even though Harold had publicly sworn to uphold William’s claim a few years before, he was elected by the Anglo-Saxon witanagemot, or high council, and crowned after Edward’s death in January 1066. Naturally, all the other people who felt they had been promised the crown disagreed. Harold’s brother Tostig, who had been exiled, joined forces with the king of Norway to invade the north of England. King Harold’s forces were depleted by the end of the summer, both because they were running out of supplies, and because the peasants were needed to bring in the fall harvest. When Harold led his army to Yorkshire to fight Tostig’s invasion, the south was ripe for the picking.

“William of Normandy, meanwhile, had been raising support on the continent. The pope, as well as the Norman aristocracy, backed his claim to the English throne. With a force of thousands of cavalry, infantry, and archers, he crossed the English Channel and landed at Pevensey, in Sussex. From there, he went straight to Hastings, where he began construction on a castle and waited for Harold to return from the north. Harold and his infantry arrived in Hastings on October 13, and the battle began the next day. Harold’s men were well trained and the Normans didn’t make much progress breaking through their shieldwall at first. When the rumors starting flying that William had been killed, many Norman troops broke ranks and retreated, until William took off his helmet, showed them he was still alive, and rallied them. It was the death of Harold – traditionally believed to be by an arrow through the eye – that ultimately led to the defeat of the Anglo-Saxon army and ushered in a new era for England.

“Battles continued for the next several weeks, as William made his way to London. He negotiated with various powerful Saxons as he went, offering positions in exchange for their support. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066, although he ruled in absentia for most of his reign. He largely replaced the English aristocracy and clergy with Norman ones; he retained the judicial system and the governmental structure set up by the Anglo-Saxons, but gave the offices to Normans. The vernacular language of the Anglo-Saxons was relegated to the commoners, as Latin and then French became the official languages of the law, the royal court, and the government. At first, the Norman nobility never really bothered to learn Saxon English, and the result was a class distinction in the use of the languages. For instance, “cows,” “pigs,” and “sheep” were the names for the livestock that the Saxon lower classes raised on the farms. “Beef,” “pork,” and “mutton” all come from the French-speaking Norman nobility, who were served those same animals on a platter. Eventually – mostly through intermarriage – the two languages blended and became the “English” that we speak today.

“In about 1085, near the end of his reign, William commissioned a survey of all the lands and holdings in England and parts of Wales. It came to be known as the Domesday Book, and it’s the earliest existing public record in England.”

-The Writer’s Almanac, September 28, 2016


I love Cormorants. They are regal, fearsome, imposing, and photogenic. Cormorants are found all over the world except in the Central Pacific. Their ancestors were here in the times of the dinosaurs. For millions of years they have inhabited the shores.


I have been trying  to identify this bird below for more than a week. He is a Double-Breasted Cormorant at Berkley Lake, Lakeside, Colorado. He sat for hours on a floating white ball, then found a stump to rest on. I had to go back for the telephoto lens and he was still there an hour later. As soon as I took the picture, he flew away.

Version 2

Cormorants almost walk across the water to take off.


This is a closeup of the Double-Breasted Cormorant from the Audubon Society.



Earlier in the year I released some pictures of dramatic shots with cormorants.





noun informal
noun: bimbo; plural noun: bimbos; noun: bimbette; plural noun: bimbettes
1an attractive but empty-headed young woman, especially 
one perceived as a willing sex object.


Bimbo Bakeries USA is the American corporate arm of the Mexican multinational bakery product manufacturing company Grupo Bimbo. It is the largest bakery company in the United States. The company, headquartered in Horsham, Pennsylvania in the Greater Philadelphia region, owns six of the top twelve fresh bread brands in the United States, including Entenmann’s, Sara Lee, and Thomas’. It is also a top advertising sponsor for many major soccer teams around the globe.

The name Bimbo was first coined for the company in 1945 by mixing of the words bingo and Bambi. Bimbo’s innocent, childlike associations fit the image the company wished to build. The English word bimbo, with its negative connotations, has no such meaning in Spanish.


The word bimbo derives itself from the Italian bimbo, a masculine-gender term that means “(male) baby” or “young (male) child” (the feminine form of the Italian word is bimba). Use of this term began in the United States as early as 1919, and was a slang word used to describe an unintelligent or brutish man.

It was not until the 1920s that the term bimbo first began to be associated with females. In 1920, composer Frank Crumit recorded “My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle”, in which the term “bimbo” is used to describe an island girl of questionable virtue. The 1929 silent film Desert Nights describes a wealthy female crook as a bimbo and in The Broadway Melody, an angry Bessie Love calls a chorus girl a bimbo. The first use of its female meaning cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated 1929, from the scholarly journal American Speech, where the definition was given simply as “a woman”.

An unintelligent man can be referred to as a “himbo” or “mimbo” (a male bimbo), a backformation of bimbo.






Supposedly, both Steve Jobs and Bo Diddley’s last words were “Wow.”

Just before Humphrey Bogart died, his wife, Lauren Bacall, had to leave the house to go pick up the kids. “Goodbye, Kid, hurry back,” Bogart said. Maybe that was not the same as “Here’s looking at you, Kid,” but it is as close as he ever to got.

Grouch Marx quipped his way to the grave. His last words were: “This is no way to live.”

Some people get apologetic when they die. “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have,” said Leonardo da Vinci. The great artist must have died in a quite depressed mood.

Johnny Ace, an early rhythm and blues singer, died in 1954. He was playing with a pistol between sets and his last words were: “I’ll show you that it won’t shoot.”

Nostradamus predicted all the way to the grave. When he went to bed, he said, Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” And he was correct.

Few people are as classy as Marie Antoinette. On her way to the guillotine, she stepped on the door of the executioner and said, “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur.”

Everyone wants their final words to be memorable. Charles Gussman was an announcer and a writer who wrote the pilot episode for Days of Our Lives. He has always wanted his final words to be poignant and memorable, so he daughter reminded him of that as he lay on his death bed. Gussman removed his oxygen mask and with his best announcing voice exclaimed: “And now a final word from our sponsor.”

Everyone who dies has last words. Most of us do not think about what they might be. I had no idea what mine might be. A big buck deer charged my car several weeks ago. I did not see him until be was about five feet from the car. I swerved and missed him, but I said, “Holy Shit,” as the image passed by my peripheral vision.

Since I say that often when I am shocked by events, I would not be surprised if they were my final words someday. It seems fitting enough: ‘Holy shit.”


The reference book Last Words of Notable People by William B. Brahms has more than 3500 famous last words.




Words and Music by Shelton Brooks (1917)

I’ve got some good news, honey
An invitation to the Darktown Ball
It’s a very swell affair
All the “high-browns” will be there
I’ll wear my high silk hat and frock tail coat
You wear your Paris gown and your new silk shawl
There ain’t no doubt about it babe
We’ll be the best dressed in the hall

I’ll be down to get you in a taxi, honey
You better be ready about half past eight
Now dearie, don’t be late
I want to be there when the band starts playing
Remember when we get there, honey
The two-steps I’m goin’ to have ’em all
Goin’ to dance out both my shoes
When they play the “Jelly Roll Blues”
Tomorrow night, at the Darktown Strutter’s Ball

We’ll meet our hightoned neighbors
An exhibition of the “Baby Dolls”
And each one will do their best
Just to outclass the rest
And there’ll be dancers from ev’ry foreign land
The classic, buck and wing, and the wooden clog
We’ll win that fifty dollar prize
When we step out and “Walk The Dog”



Darktown Strutters’ Ball” is a popular song by Shelton Brooks, published in 1917. The song has been recorded many times and is both a popular and jazz standard.

The landmark 1917 recording by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was recorded on May 30, 1917, and released by Columbia Records as catalog number A-2297. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006. There are many variations of the title, including “At the Darktown Strutters’ Ball”, “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball”, and just “Strutters’ Ball”.

By false politically correct standards, some consider the term ‘dark town’ offensive because it refers to an area inhabited primarily by blacks. ‘Strutter’ is a term for a type of strutting dance that seems to have been lost in time. To strut is to move with pride and dignity.








My favorite body part as a child was my hands and knees,

until I found the secret of properly used feet and legs.

As a teenager, my favorite part was undoubtedly my penis.

Even my dreams were filled with the potential pleasures

that this pleasant appendage could command.


After high school my favorite part was my vocal chords.

Though I could warble like Elvis, I could not bring myself

to wobble like Elvis, nor did my hair support trademark duck tails.

It took me a while to respect my hands as a tool

that could produce something people might want.


Later, as the other body parts tired and went on strike,

I finally learned to love my brain. I am not certain

why it took so long to discover the value of my brain,

but I have an inkling it was simply too obvious to be seen.


My most disliked body part was my hair, which never pleased me.

I parted it right, parted it left, parted it center, then no part at all.

I wore it short, I wore it long, I wore it straight, I wore it curly.

It did not please me much. I longed for Clint Eastwood or Gregory Peck hair.

Then I decided it was not good to dislike my hair, so I ignored it.


My most undependable body part was my stomach and intestines.

The stomach would rumble at the most inappropriate times.

The intestines would emit an embarrassing and not so noble gas.

This was noticed by others who would look at me with upturned noses.

It took too long to realize that my favorite body part should have been my smile.