Frank’s Fax Facts And Reviews

     Volume XVIII, No. 38

     Sunday, December 9, 2012

Important Notice

                    In an effort to communicate better with each of you, I am requesting

that you send an e-message to me, at lisztn2me@gmail.com with your name and address on it. I am doing this because my computer seems to have a mind of its own, and the only time I get ANY messages from any of you is when you press the Reply key to my requests as to whether or not you received a certain issue! I need a check to see if it will be possible to save my ancient Dell computer. I find my laptop a total failure. Thank you for your patience. FI


Casting a Spell

             (Or) Spelling a Caste

I was always a fairly decent student. I write that with no false pride or bragging. But my weakness, from the earliest days of my home schooling (with Mama and Helen as my teachers) was my lack of patience with spelling. I remember, especially, the difficulties I had with the word SQUIRREL. Even now, after all these decades, I checked my portable Dictionary to make sure I had not misspelled it yet again.

Spelling somehow always seemed arbitrary, inconsistent and often made “no sense”. Take the word HYGIENE for example: Even without trying to remember that stupid little reminder I never seemed to be able to quote correctly (”I before E except after C, and in words---“ -and right here, my mind always clams up on me) Even the part I finished, I am not sure is correct. And the more I look at it, and say it aloud, it seems bass-ackwards (which is a spoonerism to keep from blushing), More on spoonerisms later, I promise. Getting back to Hygiene, however: why should it not be spelled HIGIENE instead of HY? I can see utterly no reason for not spelling it that latter way. Just because the first two I’s have different sounds hardly seems reason enough to change the first I to Y. Why wouldn’t that be pronounced Why-gene?

Of course, by this time, you purists are screaming, “No wonder his poor sister flunked him in spelling!”

Actually, this is the really only logical way to spell this particular two syllable word, is “Hi, Jean.”  Of course, that does tend to change the meaning, Or does it? Couldn’t her mother (for instance) be calling to her?

Maybe Jean is being reminded that good “Hi, Jean” entails keeping the old bod good and clean,

But, and trust me here: there are easily enough hard-to-decipher words in the very complicated English language, to sink the Titanic many times over.

Just for laughs: consider: subtle, sergeant, xylophone, xenophobia

(This tedious attempt at humor was inspired by those old Pete Smith Specialties, from MGM in the 30’s and 40’s.)


Cat Fax

Walt Whitman wrote:

“Now I see the secret of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air

and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

From his “Song of the Open Road



When Ed was finished with his Navel career, he returned to Mobile for a visit with me. He had several things he was considering taking up, but eventually he enrolled in a local Beauty School and began training that included learning the art of cutting hair. As always, he went almost immediately to the head of his class, and was giving chic haircuts to almost everybody I knew. They would all confess to me, then, that it was the very best hair styling they had ever experienced!

Later, he took training for becoming a masseur (and became licensed in Alabama and Florida, at least). By this time, however, he drove over from Pensacola. He would put up his equipment, here in my piano studio (which included a portable massage table, his oils and lotions, and even a recording of “massage music” (you know the sort of so-called “Music” that had no real melody or rhythm, but will bore you to death if you listen too closely to it for any length of time). Several of my friends would make appointments for a massage, and we all loved them. Oh, yes! I have always loved massages; although now the only kind I still bother with is my monthly Pedicure.

(To be continued)



Draft Dodgers Anonymous

                We were giddy with excitement: we were told that if we did not have KP for the Saturday or Sunday, we were eligible for overnight passes into the city! Lynwood had the entire time planned down to the last second. He was our connection to the brass through his almost constant typing for Sgt. West (who was our company clerk). The truth of the matter was that Lynwood was a far better typist than either Sgt. West or Marcus; he sounded like a hurricane so fast was his typing!

                My magical luck again amazed me when he told me that he would see that neither he nor I would ever have to pull KP while in Basic Training, but that he would not be able to keep Marcus from having to do it. Sadly, Marcus had already had to do the vile task the previous Sunday. The results were not good. He ended up demanding to see the Chaplain, and hysterically cried that the cooks were treating him badly (“On my only day off!” he admitted saying that) and swearing that the called him all sorts of degrading names, like “Four Eyes” (He was blind as a bat without his black horn-rimmed spectacles). Lynwood had to listen to this sad tale numerous times from Marcus, and assured him that he had nothing to do with making the list each week. We both regretted it; but neither of us wanted to change the “Game Plan”.

                Meanwhile, I was making a safer place for myself by working several shifts each week, in the Quartermaster’s domain. There were still, of course, certain things that none of us could get out of (the Infiltration course that would be a grisly portion of our week-long bivouac, loomed threateningly on the horizon, although it was the penultimate torture to be endured. At this particular time, I was hard at work putting each person’s name on the chest of his fatigues. This could take (literally) as long as I wanted to drag it out. The sergeant had provided me with what looked exactly like the old printing kit Josephine had at her theater in Richton. I always printed the names of the films she showed that failed to have advertisements that she usually for from Rex Posters, in New Orleans.

                When the “Freedom Saturday” finally arrived, we had training less than half a day, and then were given the OK to clean up and take off! Lynwood and I had our own passes in our wallets, so that gave us a few extra minutes, right there!


Marcus, Joe, and we two grabbed the first bus downtown after we had eaten our lunch. We got off as near to the Columbia Hotel as we could, and rented a double room for one night. I remember that with the amount divided four ways, the expense really was not bad at all.

Of course, we all wanted to see a good movie and relax in air conditioned glory. I do not remember what the film was (usually, I would) but I do remember that the theater was the Palmetto (a lot of things in the Capital City bore that name) and that it was a typically gorgeous and comfortable cinema.

By the time the movie was over, we were all eager to get to the restaurant our “Tour Guide” had selected for us. I am pretty sure we all ordered the same identical dinners: Shrimp Cocktail, hamburger steaks, French fries, and beer to drink. We told the waiter that we would order dessert later.

Well, after weeks of GI meals, that Shrimp Cocktail has to have been the most exquisitely delicious thing any of us had ever put in our mouths! I just kept making moaning sounds as I swallowed each succulent mouth full, and they all found this amusing.

There was very little conversation as long as the food lasted. Once it had been devoured, the waiter came over to see if we were ready to order desserts. Lynwood and I had agreed beforehand, that we would order another shrimp cocktail, and we did! The other two wanted something sweet, which was all right with us. We got what we had been dreaming of all week long!

Nobody wanted to do anything after that meal, except to walk back to out hotel and get as much sleep as we could, between then and check out time on Sunday! We had asked that the hotel send up two cots, and now we had to figure out who was to get beds and who got stuck with the cots. Marcus and Joe both declared that they would not mind sleeping anywhere, so long as there was a roof. That made the day completely wonderful, and we went to bed and slept like four logs! (or, you might try substituting a W instead of the L).


By the time Thanksgiving was just around the corner, most of the talk among our fellow Basic buddies was about the wonderful feast we were to be served in the mess hall. Remaining stoically aloof from the “Madding Crowd” Lynwood and I refused even to think about eating there!


As Usual, Lynwood’s check had long before been spent. I won’t say he was extravagant, but he also had not been brought up as frugally as I had. I try to remember, each day of my life, to give thanks to God for my Daddy’s teaching me the true value of the dollar! I usually had most of the month’s paltry amount of cash (I did not smoke, for instance, so never had to buy cigarettes, as Marcus, Lynwood and most of the others in our outfit did. And they seemed to be furnishing smokes from lots of their “Buddies”. I would gladly spend a nickel for an ice cold Coca Cola, at the PX, after a torrid day of training. But the items we had to buy to SOP our lockers had drained a lot of my usual surplus. I hated to tell Lynwood that I was a little short of cash, but had enough for my meal downtown, so I suggested he call or write his parents and ask for their help. He admitted that he had lied to them by saying we both had extra duty on Thanksgiving. Yet neither of us was willing to forego our off case holiday dinner,

Finally, another sergeant from a barracks close to our own, agreed to lent Lynwood ten dollars for two weeks, But to get that money, he had to meet the fellow downtown. So bright and early the two of us rode a bus downtown, collected the ten dollars and waited for the USO to open up, so we would have someplace to rest and read magazines until lunch.

Lynwood admitted that he had lied to his parents (he was an only child) so that he would be free to spent the day with me. I was immensely touched by his friendship. Marcus had no problem whatsoever, in eating his Thanksgiving Turkey in the Mess Hall. We felt so sorry for him!

Imagine how disgusted we were, when we got back “home” late that afternoon, to be told that we had missed the best Thanksgiving dinner that most of our comrades had ever tasted! We even had Shrimp Cocktails---all you could eat---and fresh strawberries with ice cream---and corn bread dressing!”

(To be Continued)


(To be Continued)


      Movie Trivia Quiz #62

  1. Ronald Colman was which dancing star’s Lucky Partner in RKOs Lucky Partners?
  2. Kay Francis was whose wife in Cynara?
  3. It’s a Pleasure was one of International Picture’s bigger hits before they merged with Universal. Who was its star who also produced it? Her first Hollywood musicals were Thin Ice and Second Fiddle.
  4. Who said, “I love him because he doesn’t know how to kiss—the jerk!” about Gary Cooper in Sam Goldwyn’s Ball of Fire?
  5. Who declared, “I think I’ll even be sad for you in heaven, Jo.”

      6.Who was the very first James Bond (in Columbia’s Casino Royale? He never got a chance to play him again.

        7. Who was Aunt March in 1930’s Little Women? She was also David Copperfield’s grandmother in that film.

        8. Who was Maid Marian in Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn version?)

        9. Who was blind, in the thriller Home Before Dark?

        10. She played a deaf mute in The Spiral Staircase.


    Disaster Films (Answers to #61)

1. Barbara Stanwyck was the wife of Clifton Webb in the film Titanic?

2. The secret she had kept him from learning the truth of was that he was not the father of “their” son.

3. The disaster in the film In Old Chicago was the fire that almost destroyed the city.

4.According to Rita Hayworth (in Gilda) Mrs. O’Leary’s cow caused Chicago’s accident?

5, A monstrous dust storm was the Disaster in Suez.

6.The Towering Inferno brought an Oscar to Fred Astaire, famous for dancing.

7. The Ice Storm was the name of the film, starring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline,  that featured a real ice storm.

8. 2 movies that featured Cyclones. were The Wizard of Oz, and at least two different movies called Twister!

9.Green Dolphin Street, based on a best-selling novel, was set in New Zealand and was the grand daddy of Disaster films.

10.Jeannette McDonald sang opera, as San Francisco’s Earth Quaked. Faust, fittingly enough.




Sunday, December 9, 2012