Category Archives: William Powell

Thoughts about the two Democrat debates

The Democrat Debates were indeed boring, but they were also a wonderful insight into Democrat policies and candidate strengths and weaknesses.

I watched both of the Democrat debates. I’ve now had 43 hours to ruminate about Wednesday’s debate and 19 hours to ruminate about Thursday’s debate. That’s given me a little perspective. For what it’s worth, here’s what I think:

I. The debates as a whole.

When Obama ran in 2008 and again in 2012, he tried to underplay his radicalism. Both times, he played lip service to the center and then governed to the Left. A perfect example concerns how he handled LGBT issues, whether for open military service or getting married. He assured voters that neither would happen and then went and supported the more Leftward policies anyway. I’m not opining about the policies. I’m just pointing out that Obama lied.

What’s refreshing about the current crop of candidates is that they are not disguising their political beliefs and practical goals. Given that Trump is completely open about his traditional American political values and that the Democrats have stopped hiding their Leftism, this may be the most honest political campaign since the one in 1860.

Indeed, if the ultimate Democrat primary victory retains that honesty into the election campaign, rather than trying to rewrite the history of whatever he or she said during the primaries, we will not see the usual presidential campaign in which candidates circle the middle (a middle that moved increasingly Left beginning in the 1990s). Instead, there are some very stark differences here. Talk about American having a true “time for choosing.”

One of the major differences between every single Dem candidate on the one hand and Trump on the other hand, is the way in which they view America. Obama occasionally leaked out comments showing his dislike and disdain for both America and Americans, but he tried to dress his politics in the upbeat, and entirely meaningless, mantra of hope. Yeah, sure America was great he said, but he would make it so great it would be “fundamentally transformed,” apparently into a different kind of greatness entirely. But it was all great.

Trump, of course, is Mr. Optimistic. He has wonderful visions about a great America that will still be a recognizable America, although better than ever before. Most importantly, it won’t be socialist country. It will continue to be a free market, sovereign nation in which people benefit from small government, individual liberty, and true equality before the law. Our foreign friends will respect us and our foreign enemies will fear us (as they should). Indeed, some of our foreign enemies may well have abandoned their wicked ways to join the community of nations. Trump is optimistic and endlessly upbeat.

The twenty Democrat candidates paraded before the American people on Wednesday and Thursday are pessimistic, angry people who live in a dystopian reality that they hope to make worse for everyone. Theirs is a world in which people are starving and dying in the streets, filth is piled everywhere, there are no jobs, an apocalyptic climate “emergency” is waiting around the corner, the races despise each other, and gay people are marginalized and dying.

Thinking about it, there is some truth to their reality: They’re pretty much describing Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, inner city Washington D.C., de Blasio’s New York, the whole states of California and Illinois, and any other communities in which Leftists have been free to have their wicked ways.

Listening to Democrat candidates’ dystopian visions, it was as if the Trump economy never happened. There is no record low unemployment amongst blacks and Hispanics; there is no 3%  or more quarterly economic growth; and there is no vibrant stock market, one based on real economic gains rather than the Obama market, when fearful investors parked their money in the market because they were afraid to put it into an unstable real economy.

No one should be too surprised, I guess, about the fantasy world the Leftists have built. After all, these are the same people who believe that a person’s biological sex is a social construct, that the sun has nothing to do with the earth’s climate, and that pot is harmless. Facts tend not to interfere with their belief systems.

Significantly, none of the 20 candidates is a happy warrior. All of them, instead, seem to be auditioning for a leadership role in a Mad Max movie — they will be the only stable dictator in a world of horrific violence, despair, and decay.

In addition, none of the 20 candidates has charm or charisma. I’ll talk about their individual traits below, but my overall takeaway was that these are very weak people. If you look at Trump, whether when he was campaigning in 2015 and 2016 or during his years as president, what you see is an effortless alpha male. He commands any space he’s in. He is optimistic and powerful. Whether or not you like where he plans to lead America, he is a relaxed, happy, effective leader. He’s also very, very funny and can show tremendous warmth and charm.

In contrast, the 20 Democrats are frenetic, shrill people who hoped to disguise their fundamental personal weaknesses by outshouting each other. Funnily enough, when I think of them, I think of a movie review I read at National Review. Yeah, I know that sounds like a non sequitur but it’s not.

The review was about Murder Mystery, a made-for-Netflix movie staring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, both of whom are capable of being appealing. What piqued my interest about the review was the fact that Kyle Smith likened their teaming to Nick and Nora Charles, the dynamic married duo who starred in a series of Thin Man movies in the 1930s. Nick was played by the debonair William Powell and Nora by Myrna Loy, one of the most beautiful, charming, funny, appealing actresses ever to grace the silver screen. Here’s what Smith had to say:

Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished UpAdam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston make a fine Nick and Nora Charles.

[snip]

In Murder Mystery, Sandler does the unexpected and plays a character who’s neither Kurt Cobain nor Jerry Lewis but just an ordinary working stiff with a slightly disappointed but basically loving wife. Thanks to a deft, funny script by James Vanderbilt and brisk direction by Kyle Newacheck, this throwback comedy turns out to be an easygoing charmer.

[snip]

Murder Mystery takes us back to the days when Nick and Nora Charles were martini-sipping crime-solvers in the six-film Thin Man series, updating the formula with a superb twist: This time the couple are working-class types who get pulled into a world of international playboys and billionaires’ yachts. Sandler’s Nick is a frustrated NYPD cop (he tells everyone he’s a detective, but he keeps flunking the exam) and Aniston is Audrey, his hairdresser wife of 15 years. He promised her a trip to Europe one day, but the money to pay for it has never come. He’s the kind of guy who buys her the wrong allergy medicine at the drugstore to save 50 cents. When he finally does decide to max out the credit card to get her that transatlantic vacation, Audrey sneaks into first class, where she meets a charming bon vivant (Luke Evans) who likes her enough to invite the pair of them to hang out on his yacht. She’s Jennifer Aniston, so this is plausible enough.

I have to part ways with Smith. Aside from the upper class setting, Aniston and Sandler are nothing like Nick and Nora. They’re neither witty nor charming. They are, instead, shrill, angry, and irritating, three traits that no sane Thin Man writer would ever have thrust upon those characters. I slogged through the end of Murder Mystery to see whodunnit (not worth the slog), and came away desperately disliking the lead characters.

That’s exactly how I felt watching the debate. I’d been promised that at least some of the candidates would offer charisma, if not wit and charm, but none offered anything. They were alternately shrill, angry, paranoid, irritating, greedy, totalitarian, and completely loopy (an adjective that’s not reserved solely for Sanders and Williamson). The thought that these types of human beings might lead our great nation was quite disturbing.

The candidates’ policy prescriptions matched their personalities. Across the board, they want to increase government power, raise taxes, impose socialized medicine, upend the Second Amendment, abort babies up to the minute of birth, and open our borders while promising free medical care, education, and welfare to all comers. In other words, they imagine a dictatorship of the elite — an angry, paranoid, elite that hates so much the people over which it governs that it wants to import an entirely new, more amenable group of people over which it can govern.

Regarding importing a whole new demographic, as several people commented it was often unclear whether the candidates in these Democrat debates wanted to be president of existing, legal American citizens, or were seeking the votes of Latin Americans who have yet to arrive here illegally. I listened to Derek Hunter’s podcast today, and he said it was as if the candidates vying for Angela Merkel’s position in Germany tout to the voters all the good things they promise to do for France.

It’s the rare, peculiar, and frightening candidate who doesn’t pander to his own voters, but panders instead to citizens of another nation entirely. It’s hints that these candidates believe that, between now and November 2020, they can get enough illegal aliens into America to vote a Democrat into office.

II. The individual candidates

And now a few thoughts about the individual candidates at the Democrat debates. It’s a given that all of them said things intended to appeal to their mad base (open borders, socialized medicine for all comers, unlimited abortion, high taxes, gun seizures, abasement before Iran, the destruction of the American economy through a Green New Deal, etc.). My comments are just about their personalities. Ladies first.

Kamala Harris presents with a flat, Fran Drescher voice and a naggy personality. She can definitely go on the attack, as she did with her probable lies to Biden about busing. My question, though, is whether American voters really want to elect as president their hated ex-wife or the mother with whom they had issues, especially when she’s made it plain that she wants to empty their bank accounts and control every aspect of their lives? Heck, if they wanted that, they could have stayed married to that shrew or accepted living in mad Mom’s basement….

Also, contrary to Harris’s “I’m the only black person here” statement, she has something significant in common with Obama: She’s a fake American black, for her black-skinned father is very elite Jamaican man and she was raised for a significant part of her life outside of America. In other words, Harris has no connection to the American black experience.

Kirsten Gillibrand presents with a shrill, childish voice and an angry, bossy personality. She demands attention, rather than earns it, and when she gets it, she hectors people sharply. For all her anger, her history of flip-flopping frantically to whatever the political winds demand tells me that, if you put her in a room with a mullah or a member of North Korea’s Kim clan, she’ll collapse like an old tissue.

Amy Klobuchar has a no-nonsense affect that reminds me strongly of my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Fukuda. Or maybe she’s like some Mary Poppins-esque nanny who firmly puts you in your place. Indeed, her presentation is so firm and normal that it’s easy to forget that, when it comes to policies, she’s as Leftist as the rest of them. In other words, she’s the school teacher from Hell.

Tulsi Gabbard was in the military. Did you know that? She definitely was in the military. She’s happy to tell you over and over again that she was in the military. When she talks about the military, her voice takes on the harsh tones of a drill sergeant. The rest of the time, she sounds, not sedate, but sedated. And by the way, she was in the military. I’ve also heard she looks nice in a bikini. Trump, I’m certain, does not.

Elizabeth Warren is someone about whom I cannot be objective because I’ve disliked her for thirty years, going back to her banking law class. Learning that Warren leveraged family lore into a well-paying Harvard gig based upon imaginary diversity did not make me like her more. Learning that she lied her way into fame by gaming statistics about medical care and family bankruptcy did not make me like her more. Hearing her denigrate individual achievement in America (“you didn’t build that”) did not make me like her more. Her current assurances that for everything she dislikes about America she has a plan, when it’s clear that the plan is always about more taxes and more power for the government, do not make me like her more. And finally, her spinsterish, scolding presence on the debate stage does not make me like her more. I really dislike her.

Marianne Williamson is the hippie whom time forgot. Most of the time she spoke with the earnestness of a stoned preacher on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in 1967. “Love, man . . . yeah, that will heal the world. Just more love and maybe some health-giving flowers for America’s inner being. I’ll drop love bombs on Kim Jong-un and the Mullahs. Even our archest of arch enemies, Donald Trump, will feel the healing power of my love deep in his evil soul. Nameste, America. Peace.”

And now the men, in alphabetical order:

Michael Bennet had a hysterical quality I found very disturbing. There’s something emotionally off about the man.

Joe Biden really did try to be Mr. Normal in a field of radicals but he lost it there when he said that his first act as president, should he win, would be to defeat Donald Trump. Otherwise, he was pathetic as he tried desperately to find his footing while crossing the ice floes made up of his decades in Democrat politics all the while fending off the snapping young Democrat dogs surrounding him.

Cory Booker will be defined forever by the horror that showed on his face when he realized that Beta has stolen his “I speak Spanish” shtick. Otherwise, he was his usual glib, insincere self. His insistence that the rights of black transgenders is a matter of paramount concern was peculiar. He also sounded ineffective when he complained about crime in the city in which he once sat as mayor. All I could think of was “you had once job….”

Pete Buttigieg is another ineffectual mayor. He presides over the 300th largest city in America, a position he won by 8,000 plus votes. That’s not 8,000+ votes more than his competitors. That’s total votes. The blacks in his city despise him because it’s obvious that he always viewed them, not as his job, but as stepping stones to something bigger. His constant attacks on Christians are a glaringly obvious psychological insight into his anguish about living a life inconsistent with Biblical precepts (for the Bible is not fond of gay sex), but are decidedly unappealing in an American presidential candidate. Also, he looks like Beaver Cleaver’s radical Leftist brother — immature and politically dangerous.

Julian Castro is short and wants abortions for transgender women (i.e., men). He cannot win and should leave the national stage before he embarrasses himself further. By the way, I too am short and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that in a telegenic age, a pipsqueak who is confused about basic human biology squaring off against the alpha male Trump is not a good look. Buttigieg, by the way, also suffers from the short man problem.

Bill de Blasio has only one advantage in the race, which is that he’s tall enough to square off physically against Trump. Otherwise, I wouldn’t buy a used car from that corrupt, hypocritic, and I certainly wouldn’t trust him to take possession of American’s money and redistribute it. Also, considering that monied New Yorkers are leaving in droves, taking away the funds supporting his crazed, corrupt socialism, is not a selling point for the rest of America.

John Delaney was slightly more sane than the rest of the people on the stage. He’s also bland and is a little too obsessed with his own father. He has no chance.

John Hickenlooper is a nattering old maid. Old maid men do not win in American politics. The only thing that puts the lie to his old maid status — and most decidedly not in a good way — is that he sat through a porn flick with his mother.

Jay Inslee is a scary dude. He’s an apocalyptic street corner preacher, but with a better haircut. His end-of-days climate obsession is not a winner.

Beto O’Rourke is Beta O’Rourke. Take away the skateboard and the flapping arms (and did you notice how careful the MSNBC/NBC camera men were to hide his hands?) and you’ve got the kid in the dorm who thought he was deep and cool while everyone else knew full well that he was a not-very-bright dork. Dork’s don’t win presidential campaigns.

Tim Ryan is visually identical to Inslee. Other than that, I can’t remember a darn thing about him.

Bernie Sanders — I’ve covered Bernie in a separate blog. He’s a mean-spirited, evil, foaming-at-the-mouth, yellow-toothed socialist tyrant wannabe.

Eric Swalwell is running a campaign that can be summed up thusly: The Second Amendment is toilet paper. All the other candidates also want to take your guns, but Swalwell is the most fanatic on the subject. Let me remind you of other politicians who seized guns: Hugo Chavez, Hitler, Stalin, the Kims, etc. I’m sure Swalwell doesn’t believe he ever could be a tyrant, but the temptation is always there for a political leader once the people he’s disarmed stand helpless before him.

Andrew Yang opposes circumcision. Aside from being fundamentally anti-Semitic, because circumcision is Judaism’s core covenant with God, it’s also an unhealthy position, for there’s indisputable evidence that circumcision slows the spread of certain sexually transmitted diseases, most notably AIDS. I cannot support him under any circumstances. I also think the whole “give every $1,000” is stupid. Why not just lower tax rates? That way, taxpayers will keep their own money in proportion to the money they’re forced to pay, while those who don’t pay taxes don’t just get more free cash.

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Hidden Hollywood: Ava Gardner and Mickey Rooney’s Wedding Night

Ava Gardner in The Killers, 1946, the movie that made her a star.
Ava Gardner in The Killers, 1946, the movie that made her a star.

by Robert J. Avrech

MGM’s roster of female stars constituted the greatest collection of beautiful and talented women the world has ever known.

One of the greatest was Ava Gardner.

As an emerging starlet in the early 1940’s, before she made a single movie the breathtaking Southern beauty was the talk of the town.

Mickey Rooney was MGM’s golden boy, a versatile star equally adept at musicals, comedy and drama. His signature role as the small-town youngster Andy Hardy made him something of a cash cow for the studio. The Hardy movies were cheap to produce and earned enormous profits.

In his compulsively readable autobiography, Life is Too Short, Rooney claims that his mother worked as a prostitute in order to put food on the table during the depths of the Depression. Thus, it’s not surprising that Rooney pursued women with an obsessive compulsion, seeking affection and love in all the wrong places: call girls, ambitious actresses and mature women–including Irving Thalberg’s widow Norma Shearer–were smitten by Rooney’s brash boyish charm.

The first time Rooney laid eyes on Ava Gardner was when she visited the set of “Babes on Broadway,” in 1941. She was wearing a wispy summer dress and high heels. Rooney was also wearing a dress and high heels–a Carmen Miranda costume.

Rooney recalls the gauzy moment:

“Hello,” said Ava. That’s all. Just hello. And without a smile. But she said it in the soft drawl of her native rural North Carolina, and I was a goner. I had known many beautiful women in my lifetime, but this little lady topped them all. She was five feet one, but she invariably wore high heels, so she was about my height when I was wearing five-inch wedgies.

Ava was eighteen years old, Rooney, twenty-one, and his technique with women, he admits, was a combination of early Neanderthal and late Freud. He pursued the gorgeous young starlet with ferocious determination. After turning down five dates Ava finally succumbed, no doubt out of sheer exhaustion and because as one of MGM’s most powerful and bankable stars Rooney could, Ava understood, help advance her career.

After a night of drinking, dancing and table-hopping at Chasen’s, Rooney was smitten. Ava was exhausted by Rooney’s non-stop patter. He was, she realized, always performing. When Rooney saw Ava to her door at two in the morning he impulsively proposed marriage.

Ava, playing a cool customer but in truth a tongue-tied country girl, gave a little hoot, smiled enigmatically, and ducked into her apartment.

For the next few weeks Rooney kept asking and Ava kept evading. Ava was told by everyone in the Hollywood colony that Rooney never took no for an answer.

Soon after December 7, 1941, Rooney presented Ava with a huge diamond ring and once again popped the question.

There is nothing like war to concentrate the mind on love and romance.

At last, Ava surrendered.

They kissed and Rooney started to grope the inexperienced young woman from Grabtown, North Carolina.

But Ava Gardner would not sleep with Rooney before accepting the sacraments of marriage. She was a virgin, and she insisted, that was the way she was going to keep it until the wedding night.

Rooney was out of his mind with lust.

Ava Gardner before her MGM makeover.
Ava Gardner before her MGM makeover.

 

Informed of the engagement, L.B. Mayer hit the ceiling. He accused Rooney of trying to destroy MGM. There was an image to preserve. Marriage to a hillbilly starlet did not fit the carefully crafted studio profile of Andy Hardy, the clean-cut all-American boy.

Terrified of Mayer’s incandescent temper Ava was ready to postpone the marriage. But Rooney stood up to the most powerful studio chief in Hollywood and threatened to break his contract if Mayer did not give his blessing to the union.

L.B. Mayer realized he was no match for Ava Gardner’s smoldering sensuality and wisely backed down. The wily mogul even hosted a bachelor party for Rooney. The guest list included: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Robert Taylor, Lewis Stone, Bill Holden, Robert Montgomery, Lionel Barrymore, William Powell, and Frederic March.

Ava and Mickey were married on January 10, 1942.

The wedding night should have been an MGM soft-focus dream of deep kisses, moonlight and unquenchable passion.

Ava Gardner and Mickey Rooney on their wedding day.

Mickey Rooney confesses the awful truth:

After the ceremony, we kissed our families good-bye and headed for our honeymoon in Carmel, at the Del Monte Inn…We didn’t have a normal, sexy wedding night. I was a nervous wreck. Getting there had been more than half the fun. Now I didn’t quite know how to savor my victory. To quiet my nerves I drank too much champagne at dinner and barely made it back to our room before I took off my pants and sank into the bed. By the time Ava emerged from the bathroom, all dressed in white satin and lace, I was snoring heavily–dreaming, no doubt about how nice it was, being married to the most beautiful woman in the world.

The marriage was a predictable disaster. Rooney was interested in booze, betting, and babes–not necessarily in that order. Ava reports in her autobiography, Ava: My Story, that she spent her days posing for MGM publicity photos–her career had yet to ignite–then cooked, cleaned, and decorated the house. She was trying to be a good wife.

But Rooney was a serial adulterer who spent all his time at the studio, the track, and a brothel stocked with prostitutes who were dead-ringers for Hollywood movie stars.

Go figure.

Finally Ava walked out on him. One year and five days after he slipped a ring on her finger bearing the engraving: “Love Forever,” they were divorced.

Years later, Ava somewhat wickedly characterized their union as Love Finds Andy Hardy.

Ava’s career soared after appearing as the femme fatale opposite Burt Lancaster in “The Killers,” 1946. But her love life was tumultuous, a blizzard of booze, wrenching love affairs and failed marriages to Frank Sinatra and Artie Shaw, both volcanic and abusive men.

Rooney racked up an astonishing seven additional marriages after Ava.

Neither ever found true contentment in love or marriage.