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."
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Between Two Fires

Between Two Fires
Nov 25, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
  The November day in Dallas marked the demise of Camelot and bequeathed the indelible image of Jacqueline Kennedy draped in black as her son saluted the rider-less horse. Consigned to history’s shadow is the other widow and mother of two: Mrs. Marina Oswald.

By the Sword (1999)

By the Sword (1999)
Nov 20, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Over the six seasons of The Sopranos, audiences got to know Tony, the menacing yet engaging Mafia boss of New Jersey.  Fans of the HBO classic shadowed Tony as he cut deals in the Bada Bing strip club, whacked the inconvenient, sidestepped marriage vows with his “goomahs.” However, since The Sopranos was not a documentary, producer David Chase, (his original family surname was DeCesare), did not point out that he had based Tony on the flesh-and-blood mobster Anthony “Tony Boy” Boiardo.

Rosebud (1954)

Rosebud (1954)
Nov 18, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
A variation of the 1950s The Adventures of Superman catchphrase is, “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No-it’s fake news.” William Randolph Hearst was the master of tabloid journalism, but the life of his granddaughter rivaled even his most sensational headlines.

A Moment of Time (1533)

A Moment of Time (1533)
Nov 16, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
  The Mother Goose nursery rhyme, “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” holds the words, “The king was in the counting-house/Counting out his money/The queen was in her parlor/Eating bread and honey.” The children’s verse was far different from the non-fictional reign of a queen who steadfastly refused to let a king control her money, her country, or her heart.

The Golden Door (1892)

The Golden Door (1892)
Nov 12, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
    Neil Diamond’s 1980 song embodies the hopes of immigrants who congregated at Ellis Island awaiting entry into the promised land when he sang, “Everywhere around the world/They’re coming to America/Every time that flag’s unfurled/They’re coming to America.” Between shaking off the shackles of the old world, apprehensive of the new, the strangers in a strange world did not worry why their port of entry bore the name of Samuel Ellis.

Maza Shelaza

Maza Shelaza
Nov 08, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
“It’s not easy being green.” Kermit’s remark has universal resonance as most find life’s journey an epic uphill climb. What made the ‘green’ easier for Muppet-Master Jim Henson was the love of his fellow puppeteer.

I Didn't Forget You

I Didn't Forget You
Nov 08, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

If the voices submerged in the shadows of the Holocaust could speak they would whisper of when the line separating man from beasts blurred in the atrocities the Nazis committed. Yet,despite the horrors, a love story blossomed. Simon Wiesenthal and a woman from his town shared lives which rivaled the harrowing twists of a Stephen King plot.

The Dragon's War

The Dragon's War
Nov 08, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

The girl with the dragon tattoo is as iconic as the boy-wizard with the glasses, and the Swedish author has become as famous as the British. However, while J.K. Rowling basks in her billions, Stieg Larsson’s life-and that of his muse- took a more novel-worthy twist.

Touch Touch (1932)

Touch Touch (1932)
Nov 06, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

“I do not sing politics. I merely sing the truth.”

    Nelson Mandela, who endured twenty-seven years in South Africa’s brutal Robben Island, was instrumental in shaking off the yoke of apartheid. For his life-long arm-wrestle against the Afrikaner regime, he became a beloved icon, the father of his people. Another freedom fighter against colonialism was the woman known by the epithet, “Mama Africa.” 

A Far Better Rest (1792)

A Far Better Rest (1792)
Nov 03, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
  The Red Queen cried out, “Off with their heads!” The Instrument of decollation (decapitations) has gone by various names: in Scotland-the Maiden, in England-the Halifax Gibbet. The Nazis bore it a special fondness. Ironically, the guillotine received its name after the anti-capital punishment physician and ex-Jesuit, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin.

The Daughter of My People (1912)

The Daughter of My People (1912)
Nov 02, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
The world’s largest association of Jewish women is Hadassah, dedicated to the promotion of Zionist causes. Founded by Henrietta Szold, the organization’s name is an allusion to Queen Esther.       

What Profit a Man? (1902)

What Profit a Man? (1902)
Oct 30, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
A biblical passage segued into a modern morality tale, one whose sordid revelations opened a window on the denizens of the Fortune 400, for, in the words from the book of Timothy, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

Quite Contrary 1799

Quite Contrary 1799
Oct 28, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

   

          A tongue twister popularized in the 2010 film, The King’s Speech, “I have a sieve full of sifted thistles and a sieve full of unsifted thistles, because I am a thistle sifter.” A century earlier, a popular tongue-twister was, “She sells seashells by the seashore.” While most assume ‘she’ was merely an anonymous pronoun, it refers to Mary Anning.

     

Not With Mice

Not With Mice
Oct 24, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
No one used and abused women quite like the greatest artist of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso. The painter eviscerated his models; their images twisted into tortured cubes on canvass. Yet harrowing as these depictions were, they pale beside the real life dramas behind the palette. One of these handmaidens to creation helped rescue Pablo from the angst of his blue period- while simultaneously struggling to break free of the diminutive giant’s shadow.

The Changing of the Guard (1703)

The Changing of the Guard (1703)
Oct 20, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
  What do Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House, Windsor Castle, Clarence House, St. James Palace, Kensington Palace, Frogmore Castle, Highgrove House, Palace of Holyroodhouse have in common? They are all stately pleasure domes of the Britain’s royal family. However, the crown jewel of their portfolio is Buckingham Palace, so named after The Duke of Buckingham.

All the Difference (1898)

All the Difference (1898)
Oct 20, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
The name Guggenheim conjures the image of an iconic architectural sculpture whose walls showcase the apogee of artistic expression. The eponymous museum is the brain-child of its billionaire patron, but far more colorful was his niece.

Fade Away

Fade Away
Oct 19, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” Ever since Penelope steadfastly wove on her loom waiting for Odysseus to return, the warrior’s wife has served in the typical role of the women who worry at home in shadow, waiting for their men to come back. But that has not always been the case. In contrast, a 20th century warrior wife accompanied her General, Douglas MacArthur, humanizing the man behind the five stars.

Roseannearchy (1988)

Roseannearchy (1988)
Oct 17, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

“I figure when my husband comes home at night, if those kids are still alive, hey, I’ve done my job.” Roseanne Barr

 

     Baby boomers whiled away untold hours watching television that beamed airbrushed portrayals of mothers such as ever so sweet Marion Cunningham. These Stepfordian housewives vacuumed while wearing heels, wore dresses replete with accessories, every hair in place. When their children arrived home, they indulged in home baked cookies, while their model moms listened to the recital of their days as if it were the Sermon on the Mount. Enter Roseanne.

On Loan 1998

On Loan 1998
Oct 17, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
The traditional Disney princesses were similar to the modern Manhattanites in Sex and The City. They shared idealized appearances; their raison d’etre-romance that would segue to a happily ever after.  Carrie Bradshaw of SATC found her Prince Disarming in Mr. Big, a nickname viewers assumed alluded either to his male appendage or his bank account. The last episode in the series revealed Big’s actual name-John James Preston-a character based on man-about- town, Ron Galotti.

Salome (1906)

Salome (1906)
Oct 16, 2022 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

He was my cream, and I was his coffee-And when you poured us together, it was something.”

 

        Balancing a fruit hat, one inspired by the “baianas,” Afro-Brazilian vendors, dancer Carmen Miranda’s samba sashayed onto the world stage. Fruit must be titillating, as another entertainer, clad in a banana skirt, likewise unleashed shock waves around the globe.