Marlene Wagman-Geller

"As far back as I can remember, it was always on my bucket list, even before the term bucket list was coined,
to be a writer. It was a natural progression to want to go from reading books to writing one."
blogpage

No Humbugging (1849)

No Humbugging (1849)
Apr 21, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

   A lyric from a 1967 song by Arlo Guthrie is, “You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant.” Another place to satiate your heart’s desire is at Harrods, the world’s most famous department store. The emporium’s Latin motto is “Omnia, Omnibus, Ubique.” “Everything for Everybody, Everywhere.” For the green wrapped goody-bags we can thank its founder: Charles Henry Harrod.

Till I Die (1847)

Till I Die (1847)
Apr 19, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

      John Muir, the naturalist who was most at home sleeping outdoors on a bed of pine needles, called the sequoias the “noblest of God’s trees.” The wooden sentries were in their infancy when the Coliseum hosted its gladiator games; their tallest branches would dwarf Lady Liberty’s crown. The spiritual groundskeeper of the Sierra Nevada’s sacred forest: Sequoyah.

Ne Cede Malis (1898)

Ne Cede Malis (1898)
Apr 17, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

     Visitors to the Bronx anticipate Yankee Stadium, -nicknamed the Bronx Bombers- the zoo, and botanical gardens. The invisible tour guide on these expeditions: Jonas Bronck.

A Girl's Best Friend (1946)

A Girl's Best Friend (1946)
Apr 10, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

    In lyrics laden with nostalgia, in Bookends Simon & Garfunkel sang, “Time it was, and what a time it was, it was/A time of innocence/ A time of confidences/Long ago, it must be…” And one of the memories from the 1950s involve Tupperware parties where housewives envisioned themselves as mini moguls. A time when Tupperware and the rotary phone held sway. The ground-breaking plastic marvel sprung full-blown from the mind of Earl S. Tupper.

Om (1949)

Om (1949)
Apr 09, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Chapter # Om (1949  )

     Airports have their own DNA and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, called the “busiest square mile in the world,” has an intriguing one. Passengers needing a zen moment can visit terminal 3’s yoga room, the famished, head to Gate 8 for the renowned Chicago hotdog, paleontologists can migrate to Terminal 1 to gawk at the 72-foot model skeleton of a brachiosaurus. And hovering over the 7,600-acre airport is the shade of Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare.  

      

Gonna Fly Now (1976)

Gonna Fly Now (1976)
Apr 07, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

A Simon and Garfunkel song describes a boxer who “carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down.” The lyric describes Rocky Balboa and the real Rocky: Chuck Wepner.

A Joy for Ever (1766)

A Joy for Ever (1766)
Apr 05, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

       The staccato bark, “Going, going, gone!” followed by the banging of a hammer, signifies the transfer of a coveted object to the highest bidder. The auction house, Christie’s, has made historic sales, some that would have astounded its founder, James Christie.

Smarter Than the Average Bear (1958)

Smarter Than the Average Bear (1958)
Apr 04, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

      Certain denizens of ancient mythology were hybrids: Pan- man and goat, the Minotaur- man and bull, the Sphinx- woman and lion. In the 20th century, the coalescence of human and animal occurred when Yogi Berra was the inspiration for Yogi Bear.

Great Caesar's Ghost (1898)

Great Caesar's Ghost (1898)
Apr 03, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

    “Ritz” describes over -the -top- ostentation; it is also the name of the iconic French hotel. The part of speech and the place owe their existence to César Ritz.   

An American Grand (1853)

An American Grand (1853)
Apr 02, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

      Whether performing chopsticks or a concerto, the gold-embossed name, Steinway & Sons, tells the tale of a dynasty founded by Henry Steinway.

Diva (2006)

Diva (2006)
Mar 29, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

    Just as no man is a hero to his valet, no man is a hero to his employee- if the boss sends seismic tremors into the heart of an underling. The movie, The Devil Wears Prada, centers around Miranda Priestly, a roman à clef of Anna Wintour.

No Evil Thing Will (1961)

No Evil Thing Will (1961)
Mar 27, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

       Through the recesses of memory, baby boomers can recall their terror that PETA Enemy No 1 would separate Dalmatian puppies from their skins in to satisfy her passion for fashion. Hidden behind the scenes: Disney based Cruella de Ville (cruel devil,) after Tallulah Bankhead.

Miracle of Miracles (1851)

Miracle of Miracles (1851)
Mar 25, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

     In 1905, residents of the Russian village of Anatevka congregated to see Motel the tailor’s new arrival: a used sewing machine. The townspeople were too caught up with the modern marvel to think about the name embossed in white against a black background: SINGER-after Isaac Merritt Singer.

Finger Lickin' Good (1952)

Finger Lickin' Good (1952)
Mar 23, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

      While chowing down to a meal of fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, one is too engaged to think about the gentleman behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken mascot. But when the feeding frenzy abates, it might be interesting to learn about the famed father of fast food, Colonel Harland Sanders.

Fairy Tales (1950)

Fairy Tales (1950)
Mar 22, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

    Lucy Pevensie, the heroine of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, has delighted millions of the young-and the young at heart- as they accompanied her on a fantastical adventure in the land of perpetual winter. Her non-fictional counterpart was her namesake, Lucy Barfield.

Spectacular (1995)

Spectacular (1995)
Mar 20, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

     The New York Four comprised the most popular personalities in television sit-com history. While it is common knowledge the titular character portrayed comedienne Jerry Seinfeld, what fans may not realize is the show’s producer modeled attorney Jackie Chiles on legal eagle Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. 

GET OUT OF JAIL FREE (1936)

GET OUT OF JAIL FREE (1936)
Mar 17, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Monopoly’s mustachioed, multi-millionaire is the world’s most famous board-game icon. Yet its most dedicated players may not realize is its creator based him on John Pierpont Morgan.

Spiked Schnapps (1774)

Spiked Schnapps (1774)
Mar 15, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

    Forest Gump observed, “My mama always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they going, where they been.” While Forest never wore Birkenstocks, the footwear of the flower power generation trod quite the path since its founder, Johannes Adam Birkenstock, fashioned the first pair.

Starship (1965)

Starship (1965)
Mar 12, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

   For patriots, the name ‘Jefferson’ conjures the image of the Declaration of Independence. For rockers, the name ‘Jefferson,’ (along with Airplane,) conjures the image of The White Rabbit. The band’s moniker alludes to Lemon Jefferson.

Love Trumped Haight (1892)

Love Trumped Haight (1892)
Mar 10, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
     In Dr. Seuss’ first book, Marco observes a horse- drawn cart that he imagines into a zebra- drawn chariot. The story’s refrain, “And that is a story that no one can beat/When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.” Had Marco experienced San Francisco’s infamous thoroughfare he would not have needed to resort to fantasy. The intersection of Haight and Ashbury is world- famous though its allusion-to Henry Huntly Haight- has receded into historical amnesia.