Jewish World Review Jan. 13, 2006/ 13 Teves, 5766

Greg Crosby

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Mid-January musings | This period which falls right after the Christmas and New Year holidays is always a somewhat quiet time — a slower-paced time. A break from all the tumult and hubbub, it allows us to catch our breath and focus our attention on things other than giving gifts and making merry. In this quieter, slower-paced period my mind begins to wander with musings both large and small. For example:

As of January 9th, “Phantom of the Opera” became the longest running show on Broadway — ever. It has run continuously for 7,468 performances, that’s about 18 years, which by itself is pretty amazing. What’s even more amazing is that three of the original cast members are still in the show. Eighteen years in the same Broadway hit show is unbelievable, especially in these days.

Did any of those three Phantom veterans think when they began the show that they were going to make an entire career out of it? That’s really something to put on a resume, isn’t it? When they retire, if they ever do, they should be eligible to collect a pension from Andrew Lloyd Webber. An 18 year run is longer than most marriages — in or out of show business. At the very least, these three should get some sort of special Tony Award. Or maybe call it the “Andy Award.”

And speaking of show biz, the latest insulting remark from Harry Belafonte, in which he called President Bush “the greatest terrorist in the world” while kissing up to America-hating, socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez, in Venezuela got me thinking about all the ungrateful, leftist celebrities that just keep spewing out hate against our country. These entertainers have made a bloody fortune in America, and yet have nothing but contempt and anger for their homeland. They’re rich, famous, powerful, and seem to be so very unhappy with their country.

When my grandparents were unhappy in Russia, they got out. They had no money, no connections, no nothing, but they scrimped up enough for the price of steerage tickets, picked up their children, and left their homeland to start from scratch in America. I don’t understand, quite frankly, why people who feel as Belafonte does, remain living in a place that they consider so awful. Harry Belafonte has plenty of money and can live lavishly anywhere in the world — why is he living in a place that he obviously hates?

Why doesn’t he just move to Venezuela, a place he evidently considers far superior to the United States? If he did that, he would at least demonstrate a sincerity in his beliefs and I would have a modicum of respect for him on that basis, but as it stands now, I have to believe that the guy is just another phony leftist blowhard — an ingrate who doesn’t even have the courage to live what he professes to believe.

What will ultimately go down as one of the silliest styles in men’s wear is the current fashion in suits consisting of low-riding dress slacks, really long ties, and tight fitting jackets which button high. When the jacket is buttoned you can see the long tie sticking out from the bottom of the jacket and reaching almost to the top of the belted slacks (which are worn well below the waistline on the hips). Nice look … for a circus clown or burlesque comic. I don’t know when or how the style of wearing one’s trousers below the belly got started, but there used to be a time when only the sloppiest of dressers wore their pants that way. Now I see it all the time, on everyone, executives as well as refrigerator repair men. Even if you’re skinny it looks sloppy, but if you have any protruding stomach at all, it’s quite repulsive. Oh, and that goes for women, too.

“Believe you me.” I’ve heard that expression all my life. “Believe you me.” People use it as you might use “I kid you not” — which I understand completely. But “believe you me” I just don’t get at all. Why not just say, “Believe me”? Why “Believe YOU me?” I’m sorry, but I want this senseless expression eradicated from the face of the earth.

A reader, C. Wayne Lammers from Memphis, Tennessee, recently sent me this quote from President Theodore Roosevelt that is especially relevant to us today. It is as follows: Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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