Monthly Archives: October 2009

Halloween Nite…

I’m sitting inside my open garage with the candy bowl for trick-or-treaters (ie: 12 Princess Leia’s and about a dozen others),,, and to entertain myself I’m playing Roy Zimmerman songs that I picked up on You Tube.

Here’s one:

Hope your Halloween has been uneventful.


Obama said things were picking up today…

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President Barack Obama said on Saturday this week’s positive job and economic growth figures proved that his big spending efforts to stimulate the economy were working.


But he cautioned in his weekly radio address to Americans that “we have a long way to go before we return to prosperity” and more job losses were likely in coming days.

The U.S. unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 9.8 percent, despite a $787 billion economic stimulus that Obama and his fellow Democrats, who control Congress, pushed through in February.

But new data this week showing the U.S. economy growing in the third quarter for the first time in more than a year, signaling the end of the worst recession in 70 years, was good news for the Obama administration.

“Now, economic growth is no substitute for job growth,” Obama stressed in his radio address. “But we will not create the jobs we need unless the economy is growing.”

Obama said overall the stimulus had created or saved more than one million jobs.

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I’m glad to hear all of this… although I’m still without a job and very much in need of a new freelance client. However, slow as it may be, things are getting better and my confidence in Obama is intact.

Life is full of fun… just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger

Did you see this in the Huffpost or somewhere else this morning? Ahhhnold was vetoing something passed by his State Legislators and accompanied the veto with this letter (this is a graphic reprint exactly as it went out):

originalIf you look at the two main paragraphs of the letter and read the acrostic phrase that is made by reading downward the first letters of each line, you get a sense of Governor Schwarzenegger’s true response to his Assembly members.

Now Ahhhnold says: “That was a total coincidence. It was one of those wild coincidences.”

The Miami Herald, reprinting a McClatchy article on the subject, said this:

Schwarzenegger sent the letter to Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who earlier had told the governor to “kiss my gay a– .”

Stephen Devlin, the chair of the math department at the University of San Francisco, told the San Francisco Weekly that the odds of the letters appearing in proper order in seven consecutive lines to spell out the profanity was one in 10 million.

“Not surprisingly, it’s virtually impossible for this to happen,” Devlin told the newspaper.

Political amusement rarely shows its head like this… what a great way to start the weekend.

Oh yes, Happy Halloween, friends.

Cartoon of the Week

Toles in the Washington Post:


It is hard to shake a belief that is based on politics and not on reality.

Miserable Day…

Sorry I haven’t updated the blog much today. I have been having a miserable morning and early afternoon getting my car out of the shop where it has been for the last 10 days.

To start with, when Bucky’s Auto Repair called and said my car was done, I trucked off to Martinsburg, first to return the rental to Enterprise, then to pick up my Toyota. Should have been simple.

The rental car turned out to have some small scratches on the rearpassenger side, which I hadn’t noticed. Someone must have brudhed me in a parking lot while I was at the gym. This however turned into an insurance claim and I had to put up $50.00 against the insurance coverage.

Doing the paperwork on all this, including phone calls to my insurance company, took about an extra hour. When I finally got dropped off at Bucky’s by the Enterprise driver, I got my car and went home… only to discover on the way that the front turn signals weren’t connected. So back to Bucky’s (which is about 20 minutes away from my house) to tell them they hadn’t connected the front turn signals when they repaired the car. After the “sorry, sorry’s” they got the blinkers blinking and made up for my dissatisfaction with the job by giving me a lovely Christian Calendar for the coming new year… just the thing my little atheist hands wanted to grab.

So now I’m home again having wasted most of the day… and I have to go to a kids show rehearsal in a couple of hours at Full Circle to see what I’m designing lights for.

Hope you are having a great day.

American Conservation Film Festival Begins This Week.

One of the reasons we love being in Shepherdstown, WV, is the American Conservation Film Festival, which starts this Wednesday with a Sneak Peak reception. The Festival has grown over the years and now uses space in Town and at Shepherd University as well as at the National Conservation Training Center’s Byrd Auditorium. Much of the Festival is free, but even the paid admission events are cheap and highly worthwhile.

Here’s the schedule:



War Memorial Building (7:00-8:00)
7:00-8:00 Sneak Peak Reception
(Shepherdstown Men’s Club members and invited guests)


Shepherd U. Erma Ora Byrd- Student Films & Reception (6:30-10:30)


6:30-6:50 Disturbance
6:50-7:20 Extreme Commuting
7:20-7:40 Into the Cool: The Living
7:40-8:35 Division Street
8:35-9:05 Wings Over the Marsh
9:05-9:20 Rising Tides Hawaii Parks in Peril
9:30-10:30 Student Reception

NCTC-Byrd Auditorium (7:00-10:30)


7:00-8:30 A Sea Change
8:30-9:30 Conservation in Context -Returns to the Sea
9:30-10:0 Big River

NCTC Small Theater (7:00-10:00)


7:00-7:45 The National Parks: This is America
8:00-9:00 In the Company of Moose
9:00-10:00 Kareara: The Pine Falcon


Shepherd University- Frank Center (7:00 to 11:00)


7:00-8:15: Fresh: The Movie
8:15-9:15 Conservation in Context- We Are What We Eat
9:30-11:00 Food Inc.

Shepherd University-Erma Ora Byrd (7:00-9:45)

ADMISSION: $5.00 per FILM or $10.00 for the EVENING

7:00-8:30 No Impact Man
9:30-10:30 Eating Alaska
10:30-11:00 Big River

Opera House (7:00-11:00)

ADMISSION: $5.00 per FILM or $10.00 for the EVENING

7:00-8:30 Coal Country
8:45-9:30 In A Place Out of Time
9:30-10:30 The Linguists

War Memorial Building (7:00-10:15)

ADMISSION: $5.00 per FILM or $10.00 for the EVENING

7:00-7:45 Milking the Rhino
7:45-8:30 Greening of Southie
8:30-8:40 Pirates
8:40-10:10 A Snowmobile for George

Stone Soup Bistro
9:30-Midnight Meet the Filmmakers Reception


NCTC-Byrd Auditorium (12:30-5:00)


12:30-1:30 Children’s Short Films
(Climate Change: Wildlife and Wildlands; Chickens of the Sea; Frog, Chemical, Water, You; Why Don’t We Ride Zebras?)
1:30-2:30 Feral Peril
2:30-3:30 Lords of Nature (intro by Will Stolzenburg)
3:30-4:15 Conservation in Context- Predator Purgatory
4:15-4:20 How to Survive a Bear Attack
4:30-5:30 Grizzly

NCTC Grounds (1:45-5:00)


NCTC Classroom (12:00-5:00)


12:00-1:00 Tale of the Sundarbans
1:00-2:00 Eating Alaska
2:15-4:15 Hotspots
4:30-5:00 Shifting Sands Climate Change in the Mojave
5:00-5:15 Preview: Young Voices on Climate Change

NCTC Small Theater (12:00-4:30)


12:00-1:00 Shenandoah: Voices of the River
1:30-3:00 No Impact Man
3:00-4:00 In the Company of Moose
4:00-4:45 Greening of Southie
5:00-5:20 When Eagles Dream


NCTC Byrd (6:30-11:00)

6:30-7:30 Running With Wolves
7:30-8:30 Student Award Winner Presentation and Screening
8:30-10:00 Home

Opera House (7:00-11:00)

ADMISSION: $5.00 per FILM or $10.00 for the EVENING

7:00-8:30 Coal Country
8:30-9:00 Wings Over the Marsh
9:00-9:45 In A Place Out of Time
9:45-10:45 The Linguists

NCTC Museum (10:00-11:30)
10:00-11:30 Meet the Filmmakers Reception hosted
by The Downstream Project


NCTC Byrd (12:00-5:30)


12:00-1:30 Home
1:30-3:00 Food Inc
3:00-3:45 Shenandoah: Voices of the River
3:45-4:45 In A Place Out of Time
4:45-5:30 The Linguists
5:30-6:00 Conservation in Context-Conserving Cultures

Opera House (12:00-5:30)

ADMISSION: $5.00 per FILM or $15.00 for the DAY

12:00-1:00 Lords of Nature
1:00-2:00 Grizzly
2:00-3:00 Feral Peril
3:00-4:00 Running With Wolve
4:00-5:30 Coal Country
5:30-6:00 SPEAKER-Phyllis Geller (Coal Country Filmmaker)

War Memorial Building (12:00-4:15)

ADMISSION: $5.00 per FILM or $15.00 for the DAY
12:00-1:00 Kareara: The Pine Falcon
1:00-2:00 In the Company of Moose
2:00-2:30 Wings Over the Marsh
2:30-3:00 Extreme Commuting
3:00-4:15 Fresh

*schedule subject to change

Amazing Statements: This week we present Alberto Gonzales…

Speaking at the University of Tennessee, the former Bush Attorney General and current University of Texas Poli Sci Professor, said the following while defending activities in the War on Terror:

“President Wilson and Roosevelt engaged in massive collections of electronic communications during the first and second world war. The collection performed by President Bush was much more narrow.”

Remember how big a part electronic communications played in the First World War? Does this reflect on the intellectual integrity of the U. of Texas? Well, approximately 45 Texas Tech faculty members have signed onto a petition calling Gonzales’ hiring “objectionable.”

You can express your support to Harry Reid to keep the Public Option in…

For months, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been under intense pressure to drop the public health insurance option.

But Reid defied insurance lobbyists, political pundits, and conservatives of both parties and announced that he’s including a public option in the Senate floor bill.

I just added my name to a newspaper ad thanking Senator Reid, to show that thousands of Americans have got his back and are fired up to fight alongside him. Will you join me?

– Bill T.

Roy DeCarava, Harlem Photographer, dies at 89

Roy DeCaravaYou didn’t do arts administration in the various community centers of NYC without knowing Roy DeCarava. I first met him in a show we did at the Jamaica Arts Center in Queens of black photographers.

Roy was a great photographer and teacher who documented his world, especially in the area of modern jazz and the performers that made it great. From his home in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant section he was present at just about every black photography event in the city when I was working in the 1970s.

My favorite image of Roy’s is one that he did of John Coltrane in the 50s while he was a Guggenheim Fellow (and the first black to hold that title):

Coltrane by RoyDeCarava

So we wish a great farewell to Roy deCarava and are glad to have experienced the work and the man.

…and to start off our morning with 2 quotes:

Here is an interchange betweenKarl Rove and Howard Dean from a live debate yesterday that I wish I had seen. Rove had said that Medicare rejects claims twice as often as the overall health insurance industry, and he promised to put the proof in his Wall Street Journal column next week:

“That’s a made up statistic, Karl Rove. . . . For the first time tonight, I’m calling you on it. You made that up.”

– Howard Dean

“And I would appreciate it if you didn’t question my integrity. . . . Mr. Dean, you just called me a liar and I don’t appreciate it.”

– Karl Rove

If only Rove was called on it more often.

Obama Signs Major Federal Gay Rights Law…

This is a real step forward, compared by many to Johnson’s original signing of the Civil Rights act. Now let’s see if the Senate can bring movement on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. Obama is pushing for it… a Senate panel is holding a hearing on it next month.

This from McClatchy:

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President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, a milestone that activists compared to the passage of 1960s civil-rights legislation empowering blacks.

The new law adds acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the list of federal hate crimes. Gay-rights activists voiced hope that the Obama administration would advance more issues, including legislation to bar workplace discrimination, allow military service and recognize same-sex marriages.

Congress passed the hate crimes protections as an unlikely amendment to this year’s Defense Authorization Act.
“We must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones but to break spirits,” Obama said. “No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love.”
Obama has promised to push Congress to repeal the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that prohibits being openly gay while serving.
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This from Chris Bowers at OPEN LEFT:

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The Democratic leadership in the House is in the final stages of putting together their health care reform bill.  As I already mentioned, they are meeting at 2:45 p.m. eastern, to go over the whip counts, and determine what sort of public option to include in the bill.


We will know their decision for certain at 10 a.m., eastern, tomorrow morning.  This is because, according to an email sent to Democrats on Capitol Hill today, “Speaker Pelosi, Leadership and Members of the House Democratic Caucus” are holding “an event tomorrow on health insurance reform” at 10 a.m. at the West Front of the US Capitol.

That event can only mean one thing: they are unveiling the bill which they will send to the floor. The odds are not great that they will include the Medicare +5% public option, but we are still giving it one last shot anyway.

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Guess we’ll see where the House is going to fit with the Senate. Not sure how their Public Option will look… but it seems to get a little weaker every day.

Summing it up in One Sentence

“Sen. Lieberman is always there when we don’t need him.”

– Paul Begala

Changing a lifestyle is very interesting…

My readers know that last week my wife and I started eating a Vegan diet, but it is now becoming a more interesting prospect since she received a bunch of books she ordered from Amazon. There were some cookbooks to give us new things to try, which I appreciated since I do a lot of our cooking, and a heavy volume called “The China Study,” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II. Dr. Campbell comes from decades of scientific research at Cornell, MIT and other institutions and he published this book three years ago. If I had read it then, I would have most likely started this Vegan program much sooner.

I won’t get into the depth of research in this book, but I will say there are hundreds of scientifically proven and published sources here which contradict most of the popular diet plans that I have been addicted to most of my overweight life. Ostensibly, he shows why the basic American diet, especially as it regards protein from meat and large quantities of milk products, not only promotes weight but also heart disease, mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes (which I have developed) and many more things which lead to shortened lifetimes.

Campbell gets into the advantages of replacing an animal protein based diet with a plant based diet as a way of promoting health and reversing some diseases (including diabetes, which he has significant documentation on). As time goes by I’ll keep you updated on things I’ve learned here, and I’d appreciate your comments, too. So many people have done this before me and I have a lot to learn.

Quote of the Day

“Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Cigna) announced today he would filibuster the health care bill because it contains a public option compromise.

Why does he want to do this? I don’t know (*cough* — Aetna — *cough* *cough*) exactly. But we do know his stated reasons are lies.”

– Bill Scher in a HuffPo piece.

So Joe is THAT obvious? I guess he is.

What acts like a Republican but Caucuses with the Democrats and is ready to screw the Majority of Americans?

Why, a Lieberman, of course. Now it seems that Harry Reid has not been careful in counting Low Blow Joe in his final 60 votes.

Let’s start with this from HuffPo:

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Sen. Joe Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut, emerged Tuesday afternoon from a meeting with his caucus as the center of attention — again.

On his way in, he told reporters that if a public health insurance option was in the final health care bill, he would join a GOP filibuster to prevent it from getting an up or down vote. HuffPost asked him if there’d been much reaction from his colleagues in the Democratic caucus.


“Not really,” he said, “because I think my colleagues know for a long time that I’ve been opposed to a government-created, government-run insurance company.”

Lieberman stressed that he was not opposing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) effort to get a bill on to the floor — one that includes a public health insurance option. Rather, said Lieberman, he would oppose a final vote on the bill by supporting a GOP filibuster if the public option remained in the bill.
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Now, not only do 70% of Americans want the Public Option, but the majority of Lieberman’s Connecticut citizens want it. Ned Lamont, who beat Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary only to lose to the senator in the general election (after Lieberman defected from the party), accused his one-time opponent of posturing for attention in making his filibuster threat:

“I think he wanted to rush to war now he wants to dither on health care.You don’t have to posture. You just have to sit down and talk to your fellow Democrats and move this thing along.”

You can go HERE to listen to Lieberman say that he’s going to do whatever he thinks is right no matter what the Caucus decides… in other words he’s being supported by the Connecticut insurance companies and he might as well BE a Republican.

This isn’t the first time that Lieberman has screwed his Caucus… HuffPo lists 15 incidents where Joe has doublecrossed his buddies, going back to helping to kill Clinton’s Health Care reform, supporting McCain for President, and waffling on Social Security when McCain wanted to privatize it. Maybe Reid will look at the situation now and take away Lieberman’s Committee chairmanship and hustle Olympia Snowe to change parties.

As it stands, Reid has to be looking at the poll of Nevadans that that favor the Public Option (from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee):

QUESTION: Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — that would compete with private health insurance plans?
__________________FAVOR_____OPPOSE___NOT SURE
ALL ______________54__________39_________7
MEN ______________50__________44_________6

When did things turn to a positive for Health Care Reform?

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire traces it to Obama’s Joint Session speech over a month ago.
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The Turning Point?

After the Democratic effort to reform health care took a pounding in August, President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress in early September may have been even more important than we thought at the time to getting things back on track.

Two important things happened during that speech:

First, the president surprised many when he made an impassioned case for the public option. Most analysts thought he would push for compromise by dropping it altogether. Instead, the public option is still very much alive today in both the House and Senate versions of the bill.

Second, Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) outburst during the speech unintentionally laid the groundwork for Democrats to go it alone by portraying his party as totally uninterested in bipartisanship. Wilson became the poster-child for obstructionism.

It’s still too early for Democrats to declare victory, but health care reform has never looked in better shape than it does right now.
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Getting to the Blog was hard this morning…

I’ve spent the last couple of hours helping a neighbor who locked herself out of her Townhouse (actually, her dogs locked her out and I’ve been through that myself) and I needed to drive her to her daughter’s school to get a copy of the key.

But now I’m back and about to scan the various news bits this morning, like seeing how the Republicans are planning to block Harry Reid’s Health Care plans, or seeing what Obama is going to do about Afghanistan, or any number of other things.

So I’m off to look at HuffPo and the NY Times, and to see what’s on MSNBC. I’ll be back soon.

A Message from Robert Reich and from

Got it? Now go HERE and sign up to call your Senator.

Remember… Harry Reid has said there will be a Public Option in the Senate Bill. Don’t be confused by the State Buy Out Provision. That doesn’t happen until 4 years into the legislation after people have discovered what a good deal the P.O. is.

This was on Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire this afternoon…

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “will announce this afternoon that he plans to push ahead with a public option vote — one that includes an opt-out provision for states — even though he’s currently short several votes for passage, according to people close to the situation,” Politico reports.

Reid has 3:15 p.m. press conference to discuss details.

“Leadership sources tell me that Reid, who spoke with virtually every
member of his 60-member caucus this weekend, currently has between 56
and 57 votes for the opt-out, which is being pushed by Sen. Charles
Schumer, according to Democratic aides.”

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So does this mean he’s trying to support it on the outside, but letting a vote kill it on the inside? Wait and see.

Quote of the Day – Where American Banking has gotten us…

“I don’t see how anyone can say we’ve done a good job protecting consumers from financial services.”

– Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation head Sheila Bair

Here’s the Video:

The American Banking Association meeting in Chicago has brought out protestors galore… and maybe the banks will get the word.

What’s happening with gas prices?

Did anyone notice their gasoline prices going up in the past week. Ours in the Eastern Panhandle of WV went up around $.20 a gallon… and I’m not sure why (unless the oil and gas industry is trying to get us upset with the current administrations (state and federal) before any elections come up in 2010.

Then I got an e-mail with a petition to Congress in it from a group called “Stop Oil Speculation Now” blaming the increased price on unregulated oil speculators on Wall Street – you know, the guys who got us over $4.00 a gallon before the  2008 elections –  and urging us to tell our elected officials that we are against this and want them regulated.

Then it turns out that this group is a front for the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. They are representing a coalition that includes:

Agricultural Retailers Association
Air Carrier Association of America
Air Line Pilots Association
Air Transport Association
Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp.
AirNet Systems Inc.
Airports Council International-North America
American Eagle Airlines
American Moving and Storage Association
American Trucking Associations
Atlantic Southeast Airlines
Cape Air
Chautauqua Airlines
Colgan Air
Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association
Compass Airlines
Empire Airlines
Era Aviation
Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey
Gasoline & Automotive Service Dealer’s of America
Grand Canyon Airlines
Great Lakes Aviation
Gulfstream Int’l Airlines
Horizon Air
Island Air
Jazz Air
Lynx Aviation
Mesaba Aviation
National Business Aviation Association
New England Airlines
New York Heating Oil Association
Petroleum Marketers Association of America
Piedmont Airlines
Pinnacle Airlines, Inc.
PSA Airlines
Regional Airline Association
Republic Airlines
Shuttle America
SkyWest Airlines, Inc
Trans States Airlines

Notice the large number of airline-related companies here?
And then there’s the Agricultural Retailers Association, which is pushing Corn products as fuel.

Notice there are no taxpayer representatives or consumer representatives on their list. This makes me wonder what, if anything, is really going on here and I am unusually suspicious.

Now I am NOT opposed to regulating oil prices and the petition was not one that went beyond those boundaries, so signing it may be a good thing. However, I want to keep my eyes and ears open here. It’s much too easy for Big Commerce to take advantage of us little guys.

White House says Obama behind Reid’s support of Public Option…

… and the rumors that he is not are untrue. Here’s a look from HuffPo about last night’s information release:
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The White House issued a statement Sunday evening reaffirming its commitment to a public option for insurance coverage and called reports that the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were pursuing different strategies, “absolutely false.”

Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer offered, what he called, a “Rumor Check” of those recent reports.

“In his September 9th address to Congress, President Obama made clear that he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition,” Pfeiffer wrote. “That continues to be the President’s position.”

“Senator Reid and his leadership team are now working to get the most effective bill possible approved by the Senate,” he added. “President Obama completely supports their efforts and has full confidence they will succeed and continue the unprecedented progress that is being made in both the House and Senate.”

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Approaching November in a Dismal Employment Rut…

I’m, as they say, out of work again. My recent client (pretty regular for the last six months) was hit by extreme lack of sales due to the recession and  the other aspects of this economy, and have cut me off unexpectedly. While things could change in the future and they may call me back to create stuff for the blog I made for them and to do SEOs on their eight web sites, for now they are relying on a son-in-law who works for free and are cossing their fingers that things will pick up.

So I’m looking for work again, something a 63-year-old guy in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia (not a heavy hiring area to start with)… sending my applications around, following the online and print ads, and looking for something that makes use of my skills that is not two hours or more away.

I’ll start by adding some new stuff to, and put together a new e-mail list of potential clients. Certainly, I can help make someone’s market better… I’ve done it many times before.

We’ve lost Lou Jacobi… Dead at 95

I’ll admit it, Lou Jacobi was one of my favorite character actors… and while he hasn’t been at work for a number of years, the report of his death at age 95 made me sad.

Lou Jacobi

In the words of Clive Barnes, fomer NY Times B’way critic: “Mr. Jacobi is a very funny actor who hardly needs lines to make his point. He has a face of sublime weariness and the manner of a man who has seen everything, done nothing and is now only worried about his heartburn.” And that was Lou Jacobi.

Jacobi was born in Toronto, Canada, where he ran a YMHA drama program… among other things,  he went to London and  got stage work, and came to the US for television roles in the 1950s and 60s.

We saw him in a lot of films… he was known for the part he played in the Diary Of Anne Frank (Theatre and Film), and my personal favorite was the bartender/narrator in the film of Irma La Douce.

Great character actors stay in our minds long after we see them work, and Lou Jacobi falls into this category. I said to my wife this mornng: “Lou Jacobi died.” She asked “Who’s that?” I said that she knew, she had seen him many times, and I held up my laptop and showed her the picture above.  “Oh yes… Of course!” she said.