May 27, 2016

“Children of the night. What music they make!”

Dracula 1931 Bela Lugosi - children of the night WM


“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” [1924 novel]
“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make!” [1931 movie]
       One of his most famous lines in the novel by Bram Stoker and the popular Universal Studios movie adaptation 
       In Stoker’s novel and the 1931 film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, the title character says the “children of the night” lines about the wolves howling outside his castle in Transylvania. The book and movie versions of the quotation are almost identical, with the exception of the word the in front of children in the book.
       Dracula says the lines to Jonathan Harker, a British legal solicitor who is sent to Dracula’s home to facilitate the Count’s purchase of a property in England. The quote comes early in the book (in Chapter 2) and in the movie, as do two other famous quotes that are well known to Dracula fans.
       As Harker enters the Count’s spooky castle, Dracula greets him with the words: “I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome.” In the 1931 movie, this is broken into two lines, separated by a comment by Harker.
       In the movie, as Dracula is standing on the huge stone stairway after welcoming Harker, they hear the wolves howling and Lugosi speaks the famous “children of the night” lines. Shortly thereafter, in the next scene, Dracula serves some food to Harker, then pours him a glass of “very old wine.”
       “Aren’t you drinking?” asks Harker. Lugosi, smiling, says a third line immortalized by the movie: “I never drink – wine.”
       This chuckleworthy nod to the fact that Dracula survives solely by drinking human blood is not in the novel. In that, as Harker is preparing to eat, Dracula apologizes for not joining him, saying: “I have dined already, and I do not sup.” He does offer Harker some “very old tokay wine.” But he says nothing about never drinking wine himself.

Love at First Bite - shut up quote WM


“Children of the night – shut up!”
       Actor George Hamilton as Dracula, in the comedy movie Love at First Bite (1979)
       Hamilton says the line in the opening of the movie as he’s playing the piano and the howling of wolves interrupts and annoys him.

Dead and Loving It - children of the night mess quote WM

“Children of the night. What a mess they make.”
       Actor Leslie Nielsen, as Dracula, in Dead and Loving It (1995)
       In this campy version, Nielsen says the line after pointing to some bats flying above him as he stands on the stone stairway of his castle. The camera briefly shows a dollop of bat poop on one of the stone steps. Then we see Nielsen’s shoe step on the poo, causing him to slip and fall down the stairs.

Twilight sucks - Robert Pattinson


“Fame has bitten Robert Pattinson...His mere arrival at a promotional autograph session is enough to set off a sonic frenzy of squeals and shrieks. Tweens, teens and Twilight moms scream en masse with pent-up desire and devotion, delighted to just gaze upon their idol in the flesh. Listen to them. Children of the night. What a racket they make.”
       Susan Wloszczyna
       American movie reviewer
       In an article about Pattinson in USA TODAY published in 2008, at a time when the first movie in the Twilight series was suddenly making him a huge celebrity – at least among teenage movie fans.
       Pattinson has suggested he’s not personally a fan of the movies that made him world famous. In one interview, when asked what his view of the series might be if he weren't in it, he responded: “I would just mindlessly hate it.”

Dracula 3D graphic


“The entertainment value in Argento’s sad, befuddled decline wears thin before long; after that it’s just boring. It isn’t until the 70-minute mark that the promise of the opening credits – ‘and Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing’ – is fulfilled, and by then it’s too late for anything to salvage the wreck. Listen to the children of the night! What garbage they make.”
       Eric D. Snider
       American movie reviewer
       In his review of Dario Argento’s movie Dracula 3D, posted on Movies.com site on May 20, 2012 

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May 7, 2016

“Crime does not pay” — and (hopefully) slime won’t either…


“Crime does not pay.”
       Proverbial saying popularized in the 1930s
Some sources say “Crime does not pay” was coined by Chester Gould, creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip, which debuted in 1931. In fact, although its high-profile use as Tracy’s motto certainly helped popularize the saying, Gould didn’t coin it. Nor did the old time radio show The Shadow, which started airing in 1930 and ended episodes with the famous lines: “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay!”
       If you search historic news archives, you’ll find many uses of “crime does not pay” in news stories prior to the 1930s. The earliest examples I found were from the 1880s and I suspect it was probably already proverbial before that. However, it does seem that this cautionary proverb became more widely used as a cultural catchphrase in the 1930s. In addition to being featured in Dick Tracy and The Shadow, “Crime Does Not Pay” was the title of a series of short-subject films and a spinoff radio show that were popular in the mid- to late-1930s.

Trump slime cartoon rev 


“Slime does not pay...It’s wrong and it’s gross.”
       The Tick
       Comic cartoon superhero created by cartoonist Ben Edlund      
       An observation made by The Tick in Season 2 Episode 1 of the animated series (“The Little Wooden Boy and the Belly of Love”)
       (Cartoon by Bill Day.)


“You been reading a lot of stuff about ‘Crime don’t pay.’ Don’t be a sucker! That’s for yaps and small-timers on shoestrings. Not for people like us. You belong in the big-shot class. Both of us do.” 
       James Cagney, as gangster Rocky Sullivan
       Lines spoken to actress Ann Sheridan in the 1938 film
Angels With Dirty Faces


“They say that crime doesn’t pay, but it’s a living, you know. Oh, yes, it’s a living...If it wasn’t for crime, the democratic process would grind to a halt.”  
Leo McKern, in his role as the irascible British barrister Horace Rumpole
       In the
“Play for Today” episode of the BBC television series Rumpole of the Bailey (first aired December 16, 1975)


“Crime does not pay – enough.”
       Motto of the
Mystery Writers of America association since it’s founding in 1945
       Credit for the motto is generally given to American mystery writer, editor and amateur magician
Clayton Rawson (1906-1971), one of the four founding members of the organization. (The others were novelists Anthony Boucher, Lawrence Treat, and Brett Halliday.) The Mystery Writers of America is the group that presents the Edgar Awards in various categories of mystery writing each year (named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe).


“If you’re young and tattooed, crime does pay.”  
       Kenneth Partridge 
       New York-based music journalist and critic
       His summation of the moral of the story told in the music video for Britney Spears’ 2011 song “Criminal,” in one of his posts on the now defunct AOL Music blog.
       The video features Spears and her heavily-tattooed boyfriend at the time, Jason Trawick, playing what Britney described as “a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.” After robbing an unlucky small grocery store owner at gunpoint (with Britney brandishing the gun) they return to their hideaway to take a shower that’s steamy in more ways than one. Suddenly, the local coppers surround the place and shred the walls with machine guns. But, unlike the real Bonnie and Clyde, the amorous young thieves in the video manage to survive the hail of bullets and escape.
       Who says crimes against logic (and music and acting) don’t pay?

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April 28, 2016

“A week is a long time in politics.” (Especially for voters!)

Harold Wilson week in politics quote 1960s


“A week is a long time in politics.”
       Harold Wilson
       British Labour Party politician; Prime Minister 1964-970 & 1974-1976
       A political saying widely credited to Wilson
       Like any savvy politician, Wilson was willing to take credit for this oft-cited and still oft-used saying when credit was given to him. However, it’s not clear whether he actually used the line before reporters and quotation researchers began asking him when he first used it.
       The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs says “no record of him using it can be found from earlier than 1968, and Wilson himself is on record saying he cannot remember when he first uttered it.” In his book Sayings of the Century, quote maven Nigel Rees speculates that “the phrase was probably first uttered at a meeting between Wilson and the Parliamentary lobby in the wake of the Sterling crisis shortly after he first took office as Prime Minister in 1964. However, Robert Carvel...recalled Wilson at a Labour Party conference in 1960 saying ‘Forty-eight hours is a long time in politics.’” At any rate, after people began attributing “A week is a long time in politics” to Wilson, he seems to have accepted the attribution and used the saying on a number of subsequent occasions.

       It has come to be used most frequently as a comment on the rapid changes that can occur in voter attitudes toward candidates during the course of political campaigns.


“A week is not a long time in politics; much more stays the same than changes. People do not vote for hope and vision, but for the lesser evil. And nobody really minds a divided party. Division, managed properly, can convey vitality while draining opponents of a reason to exist.” 
       John Rentoul 
      Chief Political Commentator for the UK newspaper The Independent 
      In his column in the October 20, 2015 issue of The Independent

Joseph Chamberlain


“In politics, there is no use looking beyond the next fortnight.” 
       Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) 
      British Liberal politician 
      According to A.J. Balfour, the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Chamberlain made this remark to him in a conversation in 1886. 
      Cited in a letter Balfour wrote on March 24, 1886, reprinted in his book Chapters of Autobiography (published in 1930).

term limits button


“The weak are a long time in politics.”
       Neil Shand
       British journalist and writer for BBC comedy shows 
       A quip Shand made that could apply to a long list of career politicians. 
       Shand said it about the long-serving British Conservative politician John Gummer. (Cited in the book Political Wit: Quips and Quotes from the Back Benches and Beyond.)

Kid addicted to TV


“Two hours is a long time in a child's day, and when you add the two to three hours that American children typically spend watching TV, you can see that at an ever younger age, children are losing the opportunity to experience the joys and benefits of traditional play.”
         Dr. Lawrence E. Shapiro
and Robin K. Sprague
       An observation in their book The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids

CBS News anchor Dan Rather got "scooped" on his second to last day as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS.  Ben and Jerry's created a new flavor called "A Farewell Scoop" as a tribute to the newsman's numerous news scoops during his 24-year career as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS.  The Vermont ice cream company sent their newest flavor to the Broadcast Center in NYC.  "We thought it fitting for a newsman whose fed us so much information over the years," Ben and Jerry wrote on the label.  "May your ice cream bowl always runneth over." Cr: John P. Filo/CBS copyright 2005 CBS Broadcasting Inc. all rights reserved


“Overnight is a long time in politics; a week is forever.”
       Dan Rather
       American TV journalist
       According to a post on quotation expert Barry Popik’s “Big Apple” website, Rather began using this saying and variations of it in the 1980s and has repeated it many times since.

Trump Cagle cartoon - Full disclosure


“A week seems like an even longer long time in politics this year, thanks to the 24-hour news coverage, Facebook posting and Tweeting about every mind-numbing absurdity of the 2016 presidential campaign.”
       Robert Deis
       Editor of QuoteCounterquote.com and ThisDayinQuotes.com
       (Cartoon by R.J. Matson via Cagle.com)

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March 31, 2016

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Brando as The Godfather with rose 700


“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
       Mario Puzo (1920-1999)
       American author and scriptwriter
       The catchphrase Puzo created for the Corleone family in his 1969 novel The Godfather
       This line gained worldwide fame after the 1972 movie adaptation of the novel became a blockbuster hit. It is first used in the novel by the Mafia “Godfather” Don Vito Corleone. When Italian singer and actor Johnny Fontane tells Don Corleone that a Hollywood movie executive had refused to give him a role he wanted in an upcoming film, Don Corleone tells Johnny he’ll convince the studio executive to change his mind. “He’s a businessman,” the Don explains. “I’ll make him an offer he can't refuse.”
       Corleone sends his consigliere, Tom Hagen, to visit the studio exec and make a seemingly polite request to have Johnny reconsidered for the movie role. The studio exec refuses. Soon after that, he finds the severed head of his prized stud racehorse in his bed—and quickly decides to give Johnny the part. Later in the novel, Vito’s son Michael Corleone also says “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
      In the movie adaptation, the famous “offer” line used by Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone is slightly different. Brando says “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Later in the film, Al Pacino, as Michael, says “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
       Of course, in the novel and film the “offer” is a veiled threat used with chilling effect. As part of our language, mentions of offers that can’t be refused are now typically used more for humorous effect.
       Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather in his spare time while working as a writer for men’s pulp adventure magazines in the 1960s. For more background on this famous quote, see the post about it on my ThisDayinQuotes.com site.

Obama as The Godfather with rose 700


“In the context of the Supreme Court vacancy, President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland may be the hardest for Republicans to reject...Garland’s nomination comes the closest to making Senate Republicans an offer they can’t afford to refuse. On the merits — and this is no slight to the other finalists; Garland simply has the longevity — he is the best qualified. He is the most moderate nominee Republicans could reasonably expect. His downside, in the view of Democrats, his age, should be a confirmation plus in the eyes of Republicans.”
       Ruth Marcus
       American political columnist
       Commenting in her March 18, 2016 column in the Washington Post about the dilemma Republicans face if they refuse to hold hearings on or reject President Obama’s moderate nominee to replace the late Justice Scalia. If they don’t approve Judge Garland, they face the fact Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders could be elected president in November 2016, and their nominee could be more liberal and less palatable to Republican Conservatives.

Most Interesting Man Offer


“I don’t always make an offer...But when I do, you can't refuse.” 
       A meme posted on MemeCrunch.com featuring the now retired “Most Interesting Man in the World.” (I miss him already.)



“You can scratch up my records, you can drink my booze...
You can make me an offer I can't refuse
But darling, please don’t wear those shoes.”
       “Weird Al” Yankovic
       American musician, satirist and shoe critic
       Lyrics from his song “Don’t Wear Those Shoes” on his Polka Party album (1986)

BoJack_Horseman Rolling Stone


“This horse’s head is an offer you can refuse.”
       Brian Lowry
       TV critic for Variety magazine
       In his August 13, 2014 review of the Netflix animated comedy show Bojack Horseman. The main character is a talking horse (voiced by Will Arnett) who once appeared in a popular sitcom but is now forgotten, depressed and bitter. Although most critics seem to agree with Lowry’s assessment, the show has been popular enough with viewers to be continued by Netflix for three seasons.

The Godfather’s Revenge book


“An offer you might want to refuse.”
       Carol Memmott
       American book critic and entertainment writer
       From her review of Mark Winegardner’s 2004 novel The Godfather’s Revenge, a sequel to Mario Puzo’s Godfather series. The book was a best seller, despite the opinion of Memmott.

Dominic Chianese Uncle Junior The Sopranos


“You hear about the Chinese Godfather?  He made them an offer they couldn’t understand.”
       The character Uncle Junior (played by Dominic Chianese) in The Sopranos TV series
       Uncle Junior told this lame joke to his buddies in Season 1, Episode 4 of the series
       Word and phrase maven Barry Popik has noted on his great site, The Big Apple, that there was an earlier version of this joke that poked fun at both gangsters and lawyers: “What do you get when you cross a gangster with an attorney? An offer you can’t understand.”

Junk Mail in mailbox


“Here’s what I do to them and every other asshole that sends me an offer I want to refuse. I take all the mail they sent, plus whatever crap is lying around the house (used rubbers, rat shit, gum, those insert cards from other magazines) and I stuff it all into the prepaid reply envelope and send the junk mail right back.”
         Josh Saitz

       Editor of the Negative Capability online zine
       In a post on the zine titled “How to Cope with Assholes”

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March 10, 2016

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

 Trump steaks one man's meat is another's poison


“Quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum.”
(An early Latin version of the proverb “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”)
       Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus; c. 99 B.C. - c. 55 B.C.)
       Roman poet and philosopher.
       These words from Book IV of Lucretius’ long poem explaining the Epicurean philosophy, De rerum natura (“On the Nature of Things”), are often credited as either the origin or earliest known use of the saying “One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” meaning that something that’s good for one person may be bad for another. It’s likely that Lucretius was repeating or riffing on an existing Latin proverb.
       The meat/poison version is a popularized English translation of what Lucretius wrote. A more literal translation, like that provided by William Ellery Leonard in his classic 1916 translation of De rerum natura is “...what is food to one to some becomes fierce poison.” The Latin word cibus is usually translated as food rather than as meat. The words caro and carnis are the more common Latin words for meat. Acre means sharp, intense or fierce. Venenum can be variously translated as venom, drug, bane, curse or poison.
       Thus, the English proverb could have taken many alternate forms. But it was the meat/poison version that became embedded in our language. The Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs note that by 1604 the saying was already referred to as an “ould moth-eaten” English proverb. Over the centuries, the meat vs. poison template inspired countless others, including a few that have become equally proverbial, most notably “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
       Some of my own favorite adaptations are below.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 2


“One man's justice is another's injustice; one man's beauty another's ugliness; one man's wisdom another's folly as one beholds the same objects from a higher point.” 
         Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
       American essayist, poet and lecturer 
       A quote from his essay “Circles,” included in his book Essays, First Series (1841)


“One man’s constant is another man’s variable.”
         Alan J. Perlis (1922-1990)
       American computer programming pioneer and longtime Chair of Computer Science at Yale
       One of the most widely-quoted “Perlisms.” It’s included in his article
“Epigrams in Programming,” which was published in the September 1982 journal of the Association for Computing Machinery's SIGPLAN (“Special Interest Group on Programming Languages”).
       Constant and variable are terms used in computer programming. A constant is a code identifier that cannot be altered by the program during execution. A variable is an identifier for a value that can be changed as the program runs.

BODY DOUBLE Holly Does Hollywood poster


“One woman’s pornographic subjugation to male power is another woman’s erotic enthrallment.”
         Roberta Schreyer (1954-2001)

       Associate Professor of English at Potsdam State College killed in a tragic car accident in 2001
       From her essay about the controversial Brian De Palma film Body Double in the anthology Bodily Discursions: Genders, Representations, Technologies (1997).
       In Body Double, an actor (played by Craig Wasson), becomes involved in a murder mystery and a relationship with a female porn movie actress named “Holly Body” (Melanie Griffith), who stars in pornographic films like Holly Does Hollywood (a faux homage to the porn classic Debby Does Dallas).

9-11 attack story 09-12-01-NYT


“We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist.”
         Stephen Jukes

       Former Global News Editor for the Reuters news agency, now a professor at Bournemouth University in the UK
       An infamous quote from a memo Jukes sent to Reuters journalists shortly after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, telling them not to use terms like terrorist and terrorist attacks to describe what most of us would call terrorists and terrorist attacks. Jukes tried to explain the policy by adding: “We’re trying to treat everyone on a level playing field, however tragic it’s been and however awful and cataclysmic for the American people and people around the world.”
       The Reuters policy on “t” words has been widely criticized by some observers as an absurd example of political correctness and praised by others as an attempt at objective journalism. In reality, it did not turn out to be an actual ban on “t” words in Reuters articles. Many Reuters news stories use terms like terrorists, terrorist attack and acts of terrorism when they are based on things said or written by government officials or other people who are quoted or cited.

Time Enough for Love Robert Heinlein


“One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.”
         Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)
       American writer best known for his science fiction stories and novels
       This is one of the many witty aphorisms of the main character in Heinlein’s novel Time Enough for Love: the Lives of Lazarus Long (1973). It’s included in the chapter titled: “INTERMISSION: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long,” just before the before the belly laugh-worthy observation: “Sex should be friendly. Otherwise stick to mechanical toys: it’s more sanitary.”

Gwen Davis book ROMANCE


“One woman’s meat is another woman’s poisson.”
         Gwen Davis

       American novelist, playwright, screenwriter, songwriter, journalist and poet
       A quip in her novel Romance (1983), using the French word for word for fish

How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog poster


“One man’s pet is another man’s peeve.”
         Poster tagline for the comedy movie How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog (2000)
       In the movie, an L.A. playwright (played by Kenneth Branagh) is plagued by a series of annoyances, including a senile mother-in-law, a wife whose biological clock is ticking, impotency, writer’s block and a neighborhood dog that barks all night.

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