It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter

Ernest Hemingway and actress/singer Marlene Dietrich exchanged letters for 30 years. Maria Riva ( Dietrich’s daughter) is making them available to the public for the first time through the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Romance and Friendship Mix in Rare Dietrich, Hemingway Letters Set for First Public Viewing

Dietrich told Hemingway of her affair with actor Yul Brynner, and he wrote of his chronic infidelity in one letter, saying he had a “seven-year monogamy plan” that didn’t work out. She replied that she, too, had given up on her monogamy plan.

Valerie Hemingway recalls seeing the author surrounded by beautiful women as his wife stood by their marriage. “There were beautiful women around and Mary was — she tolerated — but always with a smile,” she says, “with a certain amount of underlying sarcasm. She knew she could wait out any of these people.”

That included Dietrich, who writes to Hemingway in August 1952: “I want to put my arms around you and my heart. I want to kiss you forever and a day for the beauty that is in you … I can’t love you more than I do or deeper or longer … ”

Romance aside, the Hemingway letters also reveal the quirkiness of the famed novelist. They are typed with several spaces between each word including punctuation. Putnam speculates this was for editing purposes, so Hemingway could go back and handwrite any changes.

I knew a little more about Hemingway then Dietrich. My impression of her made almost solely on her films and a few interviews I’ve seen was colder and more emotionally detached then she comes across in these excerpts ( they read more excerpts of them on ABC’s Nightline then they make available on-line). Hemingway for all his womanizing comes across as far more sentimental then I had previously thought. All of what I heard on NL and read on-line is so personal that I felt a little like a voyeur. Still for those that take a deeper then average interest in Hemingway or Dietrich the letters do provide some insights into sides of their personalities that we might not have seen otherwise. Not to gauze over their personal indiscretions they both come off as warmer, more human, tragic and in some ways vulnerable in a way that one would expect in an exchange of letters between teen pen pals. Coincidently Cuba recently undertook a renovation of Papa’s old home, Castro’s government has spent $1 million to restore Hemingway’s shabby baronial estate to its old glory

The writer and his fourth wife, Mary, sailed from Cuba July 25, 1960, leaving behind the “silver, Venetian glassware, eight-thousand books … and Ernest’s small collection of paintings, one Paul Klee, two Juan Gris, five Andre Masson, one Braque …” along with 70 cats and at least nine dogs.

Hemingway never returned. He killed himself with a double-barreled shotgun blast July 2, 1961, at his other home, in Ketchum, Idaho.

There are pictures of Hemingway with Castro, but as the article mentions E.H. wasn’t a big fan of communism. The Cubans don’t seem to hold it against him though, “The Old Man and The Sea ” is still read in schools there.

There are plenty of arguments to be made for and against compromise. Still, life being full of realities it is inevitable that we make them on occasion. The last I heard people with genuine values and a modicum of maturity realized the value of the occasional compromise two dimensional movie action figures aside, Pelosi and Reid Call on President to Work with Congress

Mr. President, this is the time to sit down and work together on behalf of the American people and our troops. We stand ready to work with you, but your threats to veto a bill that has not even been presented to you indicate that you may not be ready to work with us. We hope that is not the case.

Of course Bush isn’t going to compromise. In this case it isn’t even a compromise it is a way for Bush to back away from his craven behavior and save face. Being reasonable just isn’t in the cards for a president who sees the president’s role as ruler rather then a civil servant of the people and thinks he is on a mission from God. I’m honestly not sure what the Right’s problem with terrorism is. If their problem is that it kills innocent people then the Right’s perverted since of what the war on terror should look like has an incredible resemblance to the very thing they say they hate, Saddam Hussein, as bad as he was, managed to kill at most 290,000 people during his quarter-century in power — less than half of Bush’s four-year death total. Of course a good part of what fuels the true jihadists like al-Queda is what is seen as the ever threatening specters of modern culture and Jeffersonian democracy – both phenomenon that are hated by the Right as well. Part of modern culture that isn’t so modern is corruption. It is a truly despicable part of this or any culture – it rewards the greedy, connected and powerful at the expense of the average Jane and Joe, who begin to believe that they are no longer partners in this democracy based on egalitarian ideals. They come to believe that they are at the mercy of the powers that be. In the Horn of Plenty that is Republican irony, conservatives that have tried their best to claim the mantle as the every man’s party, but have embraced corruption as the status quo. As cynical as I might at times come across on this blog I keep thinking that there will be an end – I have a pretty good memory for at least the cursory details and I have reached the over load point where I have trouble keeping track of every conservative assault on basic American values. I thought the 2006 elections would at least slow down the Conservative Steamroller of Corruption, only they just keep coming. The only difference now is that with each new one, we get a new investigation, The Republican Mystery

The truly astonishing thing about the latest scandals besetting the Bush administration is that they stem from actions the administration took after the November elections, when Democratic control of Congress was a fait accompli.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ hour-long meeting on sacking federal prosecutors took place after the election. The subsequent sacking took place after the election. The videoconference between leaders of the General Services Administration and Karl Rove’s deputy about how to help Republican candidates in 2008, according to people who attended the meeting, took place Jan. 26 this year.

During last year’s congressional campaigns, Republicans spent a good deal of time and money predicting that if the Democrats won, Congress would become one big partisan fishing expedition led by zealots such as Henry Waxman. The Republicans’ message didn’t really impress the public, and apparently it didn’t reach the president and his underlings, either. Since the election, they have continued merrily along with their mission to politicize every governmental function and agency as if their allies still controlled Congress, as if the election hadn’t happened.

The environment has always been the poor step child of American culture and politics and that continues as the Iraq war votes and pathetic liar Alberto Gonzales continue to take center stage, Inside the secretive plan to gut the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is maneuvering to fundamentally weaken the Endangered Species Act, its strategy laid out in an internal 117-page draft proposal obtained by Salon. The proposed changes limit the number of species that can be protected and curtail the acres of wildlife habitat to be preserved. It shifts authority to enforce the act from the federal government to the states, and it dilutes legal barriers that protect habitat from sprawl, logging or mining.

I know what you’re thinking, how can Bush and his minority Congressional handmaidens do this. That’s a pre-Bush pre-9-11 mindset back when we had a marginally functional democracy where Congress made the laws and the President was bound by an oath of honor to enforce them.

“It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” – Marlene Dietrich

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