Tuesday, April 30, 2013

there's no livin' with you so what'll I do

When George Jones died last Friday, Rolling Stone posted an article that had information I didn't read anywhere else:  Jones's first Top Five Hit was 1955's rousing 'Why, Baby, Why' --

Tell me why baby, why baby, why baby why
you make me cry baby, cry baby, cry baby cry
I can't help but love you 'til the day that I die
So tell me, why baby, why baby, why baby why

Well, I got a crow I wanna pick with you
Just like last time when the feathers flew
You're runnin' wild a-kickin' up your heels
a-leavin' me home with a hand full of bills

I can't live without you and you know it's true
But there's no livin' with you so what'll I do
I'm goin' honky tonkin' -- get as tight as I can
And maybe by then you'll 'preciate a good man

Tell me why baby, why baby, why baby why
you make me cry baby, cry baby, cry baby cry
I can't help but love you 'til the day that I die
so tell me why baby, why baby, why baby why

-- instrumental --

Well now I don't know, but I've heard say
That ever' little dog is gonna have his day
You'd better pay attention, don't you dare forget
'Cause I'm just a little bitty puppy yet

Yeah I caught you honky tonkin' with my best friend
the thing to do was leave you, but I should'a left then
Now I'm too old to leave you, but I still get sore
When you come home a-feelin' for the knob on the door

Tell me why baby, why baby, why baby why
You make me cry baby, cry baby, cry baby cry
I can't help but love you 'til the day that I die
So tell me, why baby, why baby, why baby why...

{"Why Baby Why" - written, Darrell Edwards, George Jones - recorded, George Jones - released, 1955 - label:  Starday}

There was a Charley Pride version of that song in the 80s, which I remember:  I didn't know George Jones sang it before that....(A lot of the best music traces back to the 50s or 60s....)

The Rolling Stone article continued:

Sinatra called him "the second greatest singer in America" (second only to himself) while Keith Richards calls him "a national treasure."


Friday, April 26, 2013

you might say, that I was taking it hard

Lord, I feel tears wellin' up,
cold and deep inside
Like my heart's sprung a big break
And a stab of loneliness,
sharp and painful
That I may never shake

You might say
that I was taking it hard
Oh she wrote me off with a call
But don't you wager that I'll hide the sorrow
Lord I may break right down and bawl.

Now the race is on
and here comes Pride up the back-stretch
Heartaches are-going to the inside
My tears are holding back,
they're tryin' not to fall
My heart's out of the running,
True Love's scratched for another's sake
The race is on and it looks like Heartaches
and the winner loses all

One day I ventured in love,
never once suspectin'
What the final results would be
How I lived in fear of waking up each mornin'
And finding that you're gone from me
'Cause there's ache and pain in my heart
For today was the one that I hated to face
Somebody new came up to win her
I wound up in second place.

Now the race is on
and here comes Pride up the back-stretch
Heartaches are goin' to the inside
My Tears are holding back, they're
Tryin' not to fall
My heart's out of the running,
True Love's scratched for another's sake
The race is on and it looks like Heartaches,
and the winner loses all....

{"The Race Is On" - written, Don Rollins - recorded, George Jones - released, 1964 / United Artists label.}


Thursday, April 25, 2013

there ain't no gold and there ain't nobody like me


Was thinking, write a poem about "terrorism" -- kids exploding things -- then thought,


After hearing about the home-made bombs exploding at the Boston Marathon last week, started feeling sort of slowed-down, and frozen-in-place.

Kept thinking of that neighborhood -- the Back Bay -- where the bombs were left, and where I lived for a year, and worked for two summers....and aspects of student life in Boston came on the screen of brain -- things hadn't thought of in a long time:  some recollections spring out, others come only after concentration.

("Memories -- light the corners of my mind..." [musical notes -- Streisand] --


When I lived in that neighborhood, Kevin White was mayor of Boston:  any mayor whose Wiki-Free Encyclopedia bio includes James Brown and the Rolling Stones is good, by me....


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

tell him I said so


The THREE SHOT favoring Bartha and Sidney.  Both Sidney and Bartha are now aware of Mrs. Bartha's curiosity.

SIDNEY (pointedly):  Neither does Hunsecker.
(fractional pause) -- He likes to use the real names...

A moment of chill silence.  Then Bartha gets to his feet, signals for a waiter.  As Sidney rises also:

WIFE:  Where are we running?  What am I missing here?

BARTHA:  Waiter, the check.
(to wife):  This man is trying to hold a gun to my head!

WIFE (abruptly):  That's the horse!  Shotgun -- Shotgun in the fifth!

She quickly studies her newspaper again.  As quickly, Bartha leans across the table and snatches it out of her hands.  In doing so, he upsets the glass of champagne, which contains only a few drops.


Bartha turns challengingly to Sidney.

BARTHA (sternly):  What do you want to tell my wife, Sidney...?


She is brushing her lap with her napkin.

WIFE (indignantly):  He wants to tell me that you poured champagne all over my lap.


Bartha ignores her, again challenges Sidney.

BARTHA:  Go on, tell her, I'm waiting!

SIDNEY (flustered):  What are you talking about?  Are you nuts or what?

The Waiter arrives in picture beside them, puts the check on the table and goes.  Bartha picks it up.


Still mopping her dress with her napkin, she waits for her husband to speak.


He glances unhappily at his wife.

BARTHA:  Lorry, I can't let this man blackmail me...


A THREE SHOT favoring Mrs. Bartha, her husband and Sidney in foreground.

WIFE:  blackmail...?

Sidney decides to retreat.  He turns, starts to go.  But Bartha blocks his way, holding Sidney and explaining to the Wife.

BARTHA:  He wants me to print a dirty smear item for keeping his mouth shut.

A momentary pause.  Then:

WIFE:  About what?


He is uneasy, ashamed of himself.

BARTHA:  Foolishly, Lorry, and I hope you'll understand... this cigarette girl...I was kidding around with her...this girl, I mean...I was kidding around and she took it seriously.  It was a case of bad judgment, Lorry, bad taste...and I'm just sorry, Lorry, that's all...


She says nothing.


The ANGLE favoring Bartha and Sidney, Mrs. Bartha in foreground.  Bartha now turns on Sidney.

BARTHA:  Your friend Hunsecker -- you can tell him for me -- he's a disgrace to his profession.  Never mind my bilious private life -- I print a decent, responsible column -- that's the way it stays!  Your man -- there's nothing he won't print if it satisfies his vanity or his spite!  He'll use any spice to pepper up his daily garbage!  Tell him I said so and that, like yourself, he's got the morals of a guinea pig and the scruples of a gangster!

Sidney tries to brazen it out, sneering:

SIDNEY:  What do I do now?  Whistle "The Stars and Stripes Forever?"

Mrs. Bartha slides along the seat, reaching for her fur.


CAMERA PULLS BACK with her as she collects her belongings, slides out between the tables and comes forward, passing Sidney to her husband.

WIFE (lightly):  What you do now, Mr. Falco, is crow like a hen -- you have just laid an egg.

She presents her fur to her husband, and turns her back, inviting him to put it around her shoulders.


ANOTHER ANGLE, favoring Bartha.  He has not fully understood the significance of his wife's gesture.  He studies her.  She confirms his hopes as she adds:

WIFE:  Leo, this is one of the cleanest things I've seen you do in years...

With the fur around her shoulders, she turns and takes her husband's arm with some pride.  They walk away.  CAMERA EASES BACK to include Sidney.  He is angry at himself --

 more for the failure of his efforts at blackmail than any sense of shame at the attempt.

{excerpt, shooting script for Sweet Smell of Success -- released, 1957, director -- Alexander Mackendrick, screenplay written by Ernest Lehman (who also wrote "The Sound of Music" and a bunch of other good ones) and Clifford Odets (acclaimed playwright)}

Nickel-and-dime P.R. desperado "Sidney Falco" is portrayed by Tony Curtis.
After the above encounter, the next hapless New York City newspaper columnist he buttonholes is played by David White, the actor who played Larry Tate, Darrin's boss in "Bewitched." ...

(First time I saw this, in a second-run theater in either Boston or Cambridge, this "columnist" looks up at Sidney Falco from a nightclub booth & inside my head I was like, "It's Larry Tate!  That's Larry Tate!")


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

and the night got deathly quiet

On a warm summer's evenin'
on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with a gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a-starin'
out the window at the darkness
'Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, "Son, I've made my life
out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their cards were -- by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don't mind my sayin'
I can see you're out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I'll give you some advice."

So I handed him my bottle
and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet,
and his face lost all expression.
He said, "If you're gonna play the game boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold 'em,
know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away, and know when to run.
You never count your money
when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' -- when the dealin's done.

Now ev'ry gambler knows
the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner
and ev'ry hand's a loser,
And the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep."

So when he'd finished speakin'
he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness
the gambler, he broke even.
but in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold 'em,
know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money
when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

{written - Don Schlitz.  recorded - Kenny Rogers.  released - November 1978}

I had not thought of that song in a long time.
Beguiling melody.  Seductive story-telling.
..."the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep"...
..."in his final words I found
an ace that I could keep."
..."I can see you're out of aces"...
"...if you don't mind my sayin'..."
"...on a train bound for nowhere..."
"...the gambler, he broke even..."
..."know when to walk away"

There's not a wasted word -- not an extra syllable -- in that composition; it all belongs, all gold....Don Schlitz be happening.

"...know when to run..."


Monday, April 22, 2013

you wouldn't know it by me

Time, stretching out like desert
only to snap tight
repetitive stuff from last week
short on significance
and realizations from decades back
stand silent relevant, unmoving

Meet me in the morning,
56th and Wabasha
Meet me in the morning,
56th and Wabasha
Honey, we could be in Kansas
By time the snow begins to thaw

They say the darkest hour
is right before the dawn
They say the darkest hour
is right begfore the dawn
But you wouldn't know it by me
Every day's been darkness since you been gone
--[Bob Dylan]


Friday, April 19, 2013

he didn't get far

A Watertown, Massachusetts homeowner checked his boat in the backyard, tonight, and found the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

Tsarnaev in custody; seriously injured.  (Injury from late Thur. night / early Fri. a.m. shootout.)

From info available, to me it sounds like --

1.  this wasn't instigated or planned by some international "jihad"

2.  the older brother, the one who was killed last night, was one of those young people who couldn't find his path, get his bearings, as an adult, & he turned to his own, sort of created idea of his religion, Islam -- you know, he had a You Tube page -- ... one of those people trying to find an identity, and be "powerful" but without having any substantive talents or worthy goals that could, with honest work, lead him to become powerful, naturally -- powerful for positive things

3.  like that school shooter in Connecticut, he probably played too many of those violent games, like Call of the wild, or Call of duty, or whatever it is, that type of thing could be addictive, and affect the way a kid's brain develops....

4.  he dropped out of college

5.  he hit his girlfriend

6.  a guy with whom he practiced boxing said that the older brother's personality sort of changed suddenly -- this older brother was one of those people searching for himself, and feeling frustrated

7.  he came up with a plan to do something radical and destructive, to make himself feel powerful, and he pulled his younger brother into the plan with him

...is the way it looks to me.

And unfortunately it seems like these incidents of public destruction -- shootings, explosions -- have in recent years become "the thing that's in style" for people whose minds and emotions are on that track....Low self-esteem...lack of a self-image...wanting to do something "powerful" (destructive) to make for themselves a place in the world, if only in the moment.  It's a trend -- copy-cats -- they copy each other's actions....one offers an idea -- even a plan, or a blueprint -- to the next one.

Sometime in the future, it'll be something else....

When we feel upset by things like this, and we're moved to say, "What is the world coming to?  Society is going down-hill....!" we probably have to remember that murderous misanthropes have been part of mankind's experience from the beginning of time.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

one New Yorker and a Rolling Stone

The finish-line area for the Boston Marathon is in a neighborhood where I lived during my sophomore year at Boston University.  Also I worked in that neighborhood during two summers -- the first 9-5 typing job after freshman year was in a little office on Boylston Street, somewhere in there near the second explosion.

On a Friday after school (or after work if it was summer-time), I could get off the subway at Copley station and go up the concrete steps, emerge out onto the sidewalk, crowded with other commuters, and right outside the subway opening in the street was a news-stand thick with papers, magazines, and miscellaneous stuff, & I could buy the latest New Yorker magazine and Rolling Stone (on newsprint, then, not slick) and take them home to my "apartment" (room) at 357 Beacon Street.

From Boylston -- a block to Newbury Street, another block to Commonwealth Avenue ("Comm Avv"), another to Marlborough, and then you're at Beacon Street, turn left, and my ("my") building was on the left, couple of doors in.

When I first got to Boston, in the fall of my freshman year, a grad student took me to my first "foreign movie" where you read the dialogue in the sub-titles, at the Exeter Street Theatre, which was also in that neighborhood. 

Several years later, saw the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at that same theater....

A Paperback Booksmith was on Boylston Street, and a Strawberries (record albums), a few nice restaurants, the Lenox Hotel which had an atmospheric lounge -- think I was in it once....  Baskin Robbins -- a scoop on the pointy, old-fashioned sugar cone, the John Hancock building -- all glass, and the other buildings were reflected in it -- very modern and beautiful, while the other buildings were very old and traditional and beautiful.

It was a big, merry mix:  the BPL (Boston Public Library), right there.

Another movie theater -- a regular, modern one, with new movies (in English) -- was on, I think, Boylston Street, right on the corner, maybe, where I would turn to walk down to where I lived.  The movie Manhattan came out and was to play at that theater, and I went to it with two guys who lived in the same rooming house ("apartment building") as me:  Phil, and Rob, and some of their other friends. 

We stood in a separate line before the first show, to buy tickets for the second show, then went and had a beer, and came back for second show & did not, then, have to stand in the long line because we already had tickets.

After Annie Hall, Woody Allen had made a film called Interiors.  It was serious, and kind of sad -- dissatisfied people trying to find their way.  And it wasn't funny.  (That's when Allen fans started referring to his movies before and including Annie Hall as "the early, funny ones."  Though plenty of them after that were funny, too....)

We all wanted to see Manhattan because we'd heard it was funny.  He was back to doing funny ones.  (Whew!)

-------------- Chapter one.

He adored New York City.
He idolized it all out of proportion.
Uh, no.  Make that "He romanticized it all out of proportion."
To him, no matter what the season was,
this was still a town that existed in black and white
and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.
Uh...no.  Let me start this over.
Chapter one.
He was too romantic aobut Manhattan,
as he was about everything else....----------------------------

We all liked that movie!

Rob and I liked it so much, we agreed to go back and see it again, while it was still running in that theater.

In one scene, where the character played by Woody Allen has moved to a different NYC apartment and he has issues with it:  "I've got -- these noises -- I don't know, rats with bongos, brown water ["brown waht-uh"] and that noise -- what is that, it's like a trumpet -- like, sawing -- like a man sawing a trumpet in half...."

We took the subway to the Park Street stop, after the movie, and had Italian food at the Marliave, and talked about the movie and our jobs and the city of Boston and stuff.  After that we walked back to 357 Beacon Street.  It was summer, so no coats.  I would not have walked that stretch by myself after dark, in the city -- women were always advised to not do that -- but I wasn't alone, so we walked.

A few days later Rob and I were talking in the hallway -- he asked me if I had heard strange noises coming from the large apartment on the second floor.  I said I didn't know, maybe.  He said, "It was -- like -- someone sawing a trumpet in half...."

(...Uh -- wait.  Let me start this over....)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

and the moonlight flowing over all

...By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church...

{excerpt, "Paul Revere's Ride" -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow}


Monday, April 15, 2013

the world's oldest marathon

Day of the Boston Marathon

In a moment of information-seeking,

on one major television network internet site,
and on one Name cable-tv internet site,

commenter / contributors are, in large part,
ranting against "the left" or "the right" (with, evidently, little-to-no idea what those mean, just parroting insults they've heard someone else say) and proposing to break one another's [computer] keyboards over one another's heads

then, checking a site called "reddit" -- found commenters offering notes such as the following:

Reminders from the previous thread:
-Don't use emergency sites unless you need them, you'll clog them up
-Speculation will only make the chaos worse
-The NY Post article is full of misinformation
-The Red Cross has enough blood for now
-Don't donate to unofficial sites

Another Reddit post reads,
"In other tragedies, the Red Cross has been forced to throw away blood because they get too much.  Instead of everyone rushing in on the same day, pick some random days spread over the next year to donate."

[Free Encyclopedia]: 

The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in Greater Boston

it is always held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April

began, 1897 -- inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics

the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon

amateur and professional runners from all over the world compete in the Boston Marathon each year, braving the hilly New England terrain and varying weather, to take part in the race

attracts half-a-million spectators each year

the first Boston Marathon in 1897 had 18 participants

the event now attracts an average of 20,000 registered participants each year

The Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 established a record as the world's largest marathon, with
38,708 entrants,
36,748 starters, and
35,868 finishers.

{Thanks, "Wikipedia," the Free Encyclopedia}


Friday, April 12, 2013

fever's gonna catch you when the bitch gets back

What was known as "feeling insecure" in the Seventies, became known instead as "low self-esteem" during the Eighties (Oprah-influenced).

One day I heard someone say, "Low self-esteem is the root of all evil" and it was sort of like an epiphany.  Like -- wow, could you actually have an over-arching, sound understanding of the nature of evil by understanding such a simple, short sentence?

"Low self-esteem is the root of all evil." 
The man who said this was on the TV show "Northern Exposure" -- he was a Native American -- I think it was the actor Graham Greene ("Thunderheart"; "Dances With Wolves")....

He makes that statement,
"Low self-esteem is the root of all evil,"
and the other person reacts like he doesn't quite get it,
Greene's character continues, with a clipped, brisk cadence:

"Do you think


liked himself?"

Now there was a question I had never contemplated.

But I caught up to what he meant, and thought about it sometimes, later....
Like -- when a person tries to --
put down,
hold down,
press down

people around them,
sometimes it's because the person --
the presser --
is trying to be the "top" --

only they're going about it sort of "back-ass-wards" -- instead of trying to be

to do well,
Doing Well --
i.e., Working Hard and Well,
Focusing, and
Putting One's Mind to it, in a Positive Way


accomplishing something --

instead, they try to be
"the top"
by putting others

Which doesn't work and that tends to make them angrier, leading to
Downward spiral.

----------------------- These notes are connected to something else that occurs to me semi-frequently:  the idea of ever being "better" than anyone is, like, such a total fallacy, and yet there are unfortunately people who spend
reserves of Time and Energy attempting to show that they are "better" than someone.

All bigotry and
meanness is based on that.

And the thing is, no one is "better" because you can always switch the criteria.

If I stand next to a man I know, and a panel of judges was supposed to compare us and decide which one of us was "better" than the other, well -- how would they decide?

If being female is "better" than being male,
then they would have to decide that I was better.

If being a man is "better" than being a woman,
then the judges would say he was better.

If the person is better who knows more of Bob Dylan's music,
then I would be better.

If the criteria is, Who can weld better (or at all)
then he would be "better."

I win.

he wins.

Gray hair:
he's better.

Highlighted hair:
I'm "better."

This is what I'm saying, the entire concept of being "better" is an endless cornucopia of meaningless mindlessness, a waste of human resources -- i.e., Time, Energy, Money, whatever.

=============== There, humankind!  It's the second week of April and I've done away with bigotry and meanness and evil.  Granted, those aren't easy jobs, but someone had to do it.

You're welcome.

(Now, need Diet Coke....)


Thursday, April 11, 2013

the rugs of time

Leadership and Motivation
(or, Doing the Opposite of What Works)

'Twas the season
for unreason
When action countered
the comprehended policy
and made them wonder
what was under
the fuss and fumble,
pills and mumble
The smirk, the smug
Words and money
swept under the rug
Scheduled, demanded,
and insisted upon by same delinquent that cried, "get business!" how could they get it, when fungus used up all their time and energy on demoralizing room-fuls of Nothing, striving to engender controversy between people who should have been team-mates encouraging one another, saying with a satisfied leer after a near physical fight, "That's been coming for a long time!"

"It'll never change."
"I haven't had a raise in ten years."
"They don't feel better than you."
"It'll ne-e-e-eh-ver change."

Pessimism institutionalized;
hopelessness running amok

"the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity"
-- W.B. Yeats



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

what's not to like?

"Sometimes critics don't realize how critical they are,"

Tina Turner said in an interview she gave, either in the late 80s or early 90s.  It was a funny sentence, and I could totally understand what she meant, I thought.

"Criticism" is a multi-faceted -- or at least several-faceted --






There are people who are paid regularly for a job, a career, in doing Criticism.


of movies, books, plays, ballets, all kinds of arts.

So you think of that, and then the idea of "Criticism" seems like a useful, valid -- thing....

But -- take Criticism and start applying it to the person you're married to, and then save up all the Successes you have -- on the head of a pin ... (!) ...

We're talking about two different kinds of Criticism.

1 is where someone is telling someone else that they're doing things wrong.
The other is where you're writing a review of something and you're talking about it.  And you could be talking all-good about it.  Like -- if I was a Movie Critic, I could write a review of a movie and say all good (fantastic!) things about it, and I would still be a "Critic."  My review would still come under the heading of "criticism."

on-line dictionary
1.  the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything
2.  the act of passing severe judgment; censure; fault-finding
3.  the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.
4.  a critical comment, article, or essay; critique

we can see -- two different kinds of criticism;

Item 2 is one kind of criticism;
Items 1, 3, and 4 refer to the other kind -- where you are a theater critic, or a book critic.

The criticism Tina Turner referred to in that interview was, some writers had railed that she had gone away from her R & B roots.
(She can sing whatever she wants to leave her alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! would have been my answer....They NEVER run this s--t by me!!!!!!!!!!)

When I read criticism, sometimes I see things I would criticize.  (Can you review a Review?  Can you criticize Critics?)

Three things I've determined are Not (legitimate) Criticism:
-- Making fun of the work
-- Taking a snotty attitude toward the artist, personally
-- Gratuitous bitching about the art and/or the artist

and another tendency with which I disagree -- I think it's unproductive, unedifying, and limiting to the writer or commenter himself -- is a tendency to try to "balance" positive points with negative ones.
("Okay I've said three nice things about the concert, now I have to come up with three negative things to say.  To -- make it, uhm, even. ...)  No, there's no necessity to make it "even." 

"It was a great concert have a nice day."
That can be my Review.
I don't have to throw in, "But with the song Bob Dylan's 115th Dream, I believe it would have been better if he'd sung it 30 seconds longer...."  No, ya don't have to do that.

When Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights, was published in 1847 critics didn't know what to think of it.  The word "strange" got a work-out:

(The Examiner):  "This is a strange book."
(Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper)  "Wuthering Heights is a strange sort of book, -- baffling all regular criticism...."
(Atlas):  "Wuthering Heights is a strange, inartistic story.  There are evidences in every chapter of a sort of rugged power -- an unconscious strength -- which the possessor seems never to think of turning to the best advantage."

And -- some of the reviews, themselves, got a little "strange."...

------------  (Graham's Lady's Magazine):  "How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery.  It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors..." 

["sometimes critics don't realize how critical they are"....]

=== (North British Review):  "...The only consolation which we have in reflecting upon it is that it will never be generally read."
==========  lol  they assign it in school, to this day - !

-- "It goes to show you never can tell."
Chuck Berry


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

there's no one in the place


quarter to three

There's no one in the place

except you and me

So, set 'em up, Joe --
I got a little story
you ought to know--

we're drinking, my friend,
to the end
of a brief episode

Make it one for my baby,
and one more
for the

I got the routine, so drop another
nickel --
in the machine

I'm feeling so bad,
wish you'd make the music
pretty and sad.

Could tell you a lot,
but you've got to be
true to your code

So make it one for my baby
and one more for the road

You'd never know it
but buddy,
I'm a kind of poet
And I got a lot of things
to say

And when I'm gloomy,
you simply got to listen to me
'Til it's all talked away...

Well that's how it goes,
and Joe,
I know you're getting
pretty anxious to close

So thanks for the cheer,
I hope you didn't mind
my bending your ear

This torch that I found
must be drowned
or it soon might

So make it
one for my baby,
and one more
for the road.

That long,


road. ...

{"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)"
written / Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer
for the musical film, The Sky's the Limit (1943).
First performed:  in the film, by Fred Astaire.
Popularized by Frank Sinatra.  Sinatra recorded it multiple times:  1947, Columbia Records; 1954, Young at Heart soundtrack album; 1958, Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely; 1962, Sinatra & Sextet:  Live in Paris; 1966, Sinatra at the Sands; 1993, for his Duets album.}

Harold Arlen's biographer said the song is "musically inevitable, rhythmically insistent, and in that mood of 'metropolitan melancholic beauty' that writer John O'Hara finds in all of Arlen's music."

---------------------------- ...that's how it goes...


Monday, April 8, 2013

we'll always have Paris

In the film Play It Again Sam, the protagonist, Allan Felix, is this insecure guy who's trying to get over a divorce and date new women.

He gets advice and direction from Humphrey Bogart -- well, not actually, but in the mind of the Allan Felix character, he turns to Humphrey Bogart in one of the typical roles he played -- Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, Rick Blaine in Casablanca, and similar strong, knowing characters in To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Key Largo, and others.

The Bogart character appears in the room -- we, the audience, can see and hear him, and we understand that while Allan Felix also can hear and see Bogart, other characters in the movie cannot.

When Allan Felix is thinkng of putting his arm around the shoulders of a woman who's sitting next to him on a sofa, "Bogart" materializes at the end of the davenport and tells Allan, "Now move over closer to her."

Allan:  "How close?"

Bogart:  "The length of your lips."

Tried imagining the icons I look up to -- what if they materialized in the room with me, periodically, and gave me directions?

Tina Turner:  "Keep working; your dreams can come true!"

Princess Diana:  "Focus on your goals. Locate your inner confidence."

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis:  "Keep writing -- I can't wait to read your first book!"

"Now, click your heels together -- three times...." -- no, wait -- that's something else....


Friday, April 5, 2013

shake, rattle, and roll


of the early part of night,
charcoal-and-navy blend:

Respite, to the worker;

oppression, to the desperate;

cover, for the sneak;

Atmosphere, to the romantic;

Peace, for the writer, or present-wrapper;

reflection-time, in Ohio;

porch-swing time, in Kentucky;

cocktail-time, in New York;
Coffee-and-work-reading-time, in Washington;
in the world's unsafe un-free trouble-spots, running-time



Thursday, April 4, 2013

a loftier level

In E.F. Benson's 6-volume series of "Lucia" novels, after Elizabeth Mapp and her friend Benjy plan to win the Mayoral election, Lucia runs, and wins.  ("Mapp is livid.") 

Mayor Lucia, having heard of a local man's misfortune and stress, tries a Mayor-Bloomberg-like move -- get people to stop gambling.  (This made me think of the NYC mayor's efforts to outlaw sales of very large cans of soda pop....)

Lucia's micro-crusade is not to make a law against it, but to make a small change:  she herself will refrain from gambling -- "leading by example."

--------------------- [excerpt]------------   "I want to consult you, Georgie," she said.  "Ever since the Hampshire Argus reported that I played bridge in Diva's cardroom, the whole question has been on my mind.  I don't think I ought to play for money."

"You can't call threepence a hundred money," said Georgie.

"It is not a large sum, but emphatically it is money.  It's the principle of the thing.  A very sad case -- all this is very private -- has just come to my notice.  Young Twistevant, the grocer's son, has been backing horses, and is in debt with his last quarter's rent unpaid.  Lately married and a baby coming.  All the result of gambling."

"I don't see how the baby is the result of gambling," said Georgie.  "Unless he bet he wouldn't have one."

Lucia gave the wintry smile that was reserved for jokes she didn't care about.

"I expressed myself badly," she said.  "I only meant that his want of money, when he will need it more than ever, is the result of gambling.  The principle is the same whether it's threepence or a starving baby.  And bridge surely, with its call both on prudence and enterprise, is a sufficiently good game to play for love:  for love of bridge.  Let us set an example.  When we have our next bridge party, let it be understood that there are no stakes."

"I don't think you'll get many bridge parties if that's understood," said Georgie.  "Everyone will go seven no-trumps at once."

"Then they'll be doubled," cried Lucia triumphantly.

"And redoubled.  It wouldn't be any fun.  Most monotonous.  The dealer might as well pick up his hand and say seven no-trumps, doubled and redoubled, before he looked at it."

"I hope we take a more intelligent interest in the game than that," said Lucia.  "The judgment in declaring, the skill in the play of the cards, the various systems so carefully thought out -- surely we shan't cease to practise them just because a few pence are no longer at stake?  Indeed, I think we shall have far pleasanter games.  They will be more tranquil, and

on a loftier level. 

The question of even a few pence sometimes produces acrimony."

"I can't agree," said Georgie.  "Those acrimonies are the result of pleasant excitement.  And what's the use of keeping the score, and wondering if you dare finesse, if it leads to nothing?  You might try playing for twopence a hundred instead of threepence--"

"I must repeat that it's the principle," interrupted Lucia.  "I feel that in my position it ought to be known that though I play cards, which I regard as quite a reasonable relaxation, I no longer play for money.  I feel sure we should find it just as exciting.  Let us put it to the test...."

======================= ...A gloom fell on the party as they cut for partners.  ...Only Lucia remained keen and critical.  She tried with agonised anxiety to recollect if there was another trump in and decided wrong.

"Too stupid of me, Padre," she said.  "I ought to have known.  I should have drawn it....quite inexcusable.  Many apologies."

"Eh, it's no matter...."

Then came the adding-up.  Georgie had not kept the score, and everyone accepted Lucia's addition without a murmur.  At half past ten, instead of eleven, it was agreed that it was wiser not to begin another rubber, and Georgie saw the languid guests to the door.  He came back to find Lucia replaying the last hand.

"You could have got another trick, dear," she said.  "Look; you should have discarded instead of trumping.  A most interesting maneuver.  As to our test, I think they were both quite as keen as ever, and for myself I never had a more enjoyable game."

The news of this depressing evening spread apace through Tilling....
-------------------- [end excerpt]

{Trouble for Lucia.  E.F. Benson.  Copyright 1939.  Doubleday Doran.}