Uninformed ambassadors are an old joke

Ethel Merman Donald O'ConnorI’ve been reading a great deal about Obama’s proposed ambassadorial appointments, some of whom have never been to the countries in which they’ll be America’s representatives. They’re getting the jobs as sinecures in exchange for financial services rendered to the President.

Much as I’m always happy to leap onto the anti-Obama bandwagon, he’s not doing anything new. Back in 1949, President Truman did exactly the same thing. He appointed Washington, D.C. hostess and Democratic Party fundraiser Perle Mesta as the Ambassador to Luxembourg in 1949. She was famously uninformed about Luxembourg (or really about anything).

Inspired by this uninspired appointment, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse wrote “Call me Madam,” about Sally Adams, the oil-rich “hostess with the mostest” ambassador to “Lichtenburg.” She is blatantly, amusingly, ill-informed, but comes complete with style and charm. She also sings wonderful Irving Berlin songs, so everyone is happy.

The show, starring Ethel Merman, was a Broadway hit in 1951. I’m now watching the 1953 musical, also starring Merman, as well as George Sanders, Donald O’Connor, Billy DeWolfe, Charles Dingle, and Vera-Ellen. It’s not a great movie, but it helps while away the time while I’m doing my post-surgical rest, ice, compression, and elevation, as well as my ten hours a day on the “knee moving machine.”

My only real regret watching the show us that Donald O’Connor didn’t have a bigger, longer career. I love watching him. He’s a charming actor, has a beautiful voice for show tunes, and is one if the best dancers to have come out of Hollywood. It was his misfortune to be stuck in the “Francis the Talking Mule” films, as well as to get the fever (from Francis) that debilitated him and helped derail his career.

Conservatives end to target the Obama administration for things that really matter. Getting our collective knickers in a twist about something that’s as old as politics is a waste if time. Doing otherwise makes us as silly as the Senators who waste their time targeting the Washington Redskins.

Just Because: “Make ‘em laugh”

It’s not actually “just because.”  I’ve had this gosh darn cold long enough that I’m feeling a little blue.  I needed some cheering up, so I thought I’d pass it along:

And if you’re interested in the song that Singing In The Rain borrowed, here’s “Be A Clown” from The Pirate:

Hollywood knew how to do musicals in those days, that’s for sure, with MGM at the top of the hill.

A joyous interlude from political blogging

I indulged myself and bought a newly remastered version of Singing in the Rain, which I consider one of the best movies ever made.  It was made when Hollywood believed that its primary role was to entertain, and it did a damn fine job.  The only question I have when I watch the video below is this one:  Why didn’t Donald O’Connor, charming and talented, every become a big star?

Heck, while we’re on the subject of Donald O’Connor: