Will I write something today that I think is grand?
Will I sew something fun and interesting-looking?
Today on I've Got A Secret, Jayne Meadows started singing "This Could Be the Start of Something Big," while they were taking turns singing tunes for musical chairs, and that was mildly funny in 1962, for reasons that looked boring to other people once I typed it all out, but anyway, mainly I know this version:
Which I like quite a lot.
Anyway. I have some semi-serious writing on my mind, influenced by an ongoing conversation I have with someone I know only online, a woman who really has a knack for cutting straight to the heart of a matter and explaining it as if it's the simplest thing in the world. I told her she should be sharing these explanations, but also, as Birthday Week encroaches (encroaches sounds so negative, doesn't it? but I haven't enjoyed this year much, I gotta say,) the nature of nostalgia, particularly, if we must use labels, Generation X nostalgia, is influencing all my perceptions just now. And it's already a hackneyed topic, yet I feel I have a perspective I'm not seeing onscreen, so. Perhaps I can add something to that conversation, or start a better or at least more-interesting-to-me one.
I think I'm going to sew for awhile, though. I have a baby quilt I'm very involved in just now, for one thing. Okay, okay, you do have to watch this. And the thing to remember, tiresome young persons, is that it's really, really okay to miss and appreciate what once was there, while at the same time acknowledging what was not there, wishing it had been. So you can stop beating everyone with your know-it-all binary sticks of negativity, and start developing some context. This is a fun thing.
It all started because we were out of cat food, and also Kroger had a huge bakery surplus yesterday, heavily marked down. But I mean, I didn’t know we were out of cat food while at the store. I just got the bread, and some other things.
There was a sliced sourdough loaf and a package of brioche buns. And I got them out to ponder this morning, when the cat started meoling at me. I realized she had no food, so I pulled out leftover roast chicken from a few days ago, and managed to get some dark meat from it. The dark meat has taurine in it, which cats need. And so I decided to make stock from the remainder of the chicken, and put it in the stock pot, but as I was pulling out celery, carrots, and half an unpeeled onion from the refrigerator, it occurred to me I hadn’t cleaned in there since the beginning of the year! It was not a good situation, because that is wrong. You can’t treat a refrigerator like a clothes closet you throw things into when you’re feeling lazy or out of sorts instead of hanging them up. So I put the stock to boil and began emptying the refrigerator.
And while I was doing all this, I put the iPod in my little kitchen stereo and started with Anya Marina’s “Waters of March,” which is the best version of that song, though they are all great, because it is the best song. I was really busy cleaning, so it just kept playing through W songs and I thought, well, that’s fine. I will have W song day.
I got to thinking about how, eighteen months ago, my grocery budget was more than I needed, and things are now dwindling fast, but condiments last so long, even if the pantry gets low, I will still have five different kinds of mustard in the refrigerator. Life is odd that way.
Because of a miscommunication, we have more eggs than anybody maybe ought to have, so I thought I’d use some in bread pudding with the brioche buns. Then I remembered I forgot to add a chicken neck to the pot, so I got one from the freezer. My freezer door has a bottle of gin and several chicken necks in it. Life is also like that, if you are me.
Speaking of which. My friend Karen recently ordered a whole bunch of old Playboys for me, from what I figure is their peak period, the mid 60s right before Penthouse started up and changed things. They have come so far in three packages, and today’s had several from 1963. I stopped to flip through one and saw there was a review for the movie Mondo Cane. I decided to set it aside and remember to read that later, because I had to take someone to work.
When I returned, I ate a sandwich while watching The Joey Bishop Show, as one does, and lo and behold, there was Andy Williams singing “More!”
That song is from Mondo Cane. A neat bit of serendipity. And I must say, though I like Darin’s version best, and not so much Sinatra's, Williams did it exactly like I imagine it was written. But then of course, he would, wouldn’t he? Here, if you're interested, from a concert.
The second episode of the show for today featured fun talent show-type performances from several members of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Here's some of that.
Now I have a clean organized refrigerator, and lots of soup stock, and not any bread pudding yet, but that’s all right. If you are working with a strict kitchen limit, it’s important to stay organized and keep track of your inventory. You have more scope for creativity that way, and also it’s depressing and overwhelming to deal with chaos on top of budgetary concerns. No one needs that. You might get home from taking a second someone to work and discover the dog got out without his collar on, and when you get home from finding him, the last thing you want is to have to weed through Ziploc bags and old sour cream containers in order to find your dinner ingredients. Something to bear in mind.
I started writing this for a Google Plus collection and it grew too long and too personal, and I dunno. I excised some of the personal bits and left others and decided to add it here. I'm agitated this season, and also reminiscent. I'd rather get back to the superficial and trivial, and probably will soon.
People thought I was an arrogant kid at times, and maybe I was. It wasn't intentional. People sometimes think that now, but they're just mistaking confidence and self-possession for something outer-directed. I am meek at times, but I can't fake it when I don't feel it. And how I feel about me says nothing about what I think about you.
When I was a little girl, I used to confuse the names of two songs, and found it confusing to hear one when I thought I would be hearing the other. They are “Louie, Louie,” by The Kingsmen, and “Brother Louie” by Stories. It’s possible you know of it primarily as a Hot Chocolate song, but I knew only the US version, which, honestly, has way better vocals. (but the lyrics are slightly changed in this performance, so here they are for the recording.)
My biggest brother had the “Brother Louie” record, with Adam and Eve at the top of the label, and I remember him explaining it to me. This was at the beginning of my interest in what was going on in the world, what with Watergate and all. But I’d already spent my earliest years being conditioned by songs that taught me we’re all the same and should learn to live together and love together, so I was suitably horrified at parents who would reject their children if they loved someone of another color, or as I learned a little later, if they had matching parts. I lived in such a bubble.
Outside my bubble people were unnecessarily competitive and tediously combative, and they agitated me. But I suppose I also never wanted to believe people were as terrible as they sometimes seemed. Why should they be? It just causes problems.
I used to cry, as they say, at the drop of a hat. This annoyed people. But if they’d looked into things carefully, and they didn’t, bless all their sharp minds, the parents and brothers at my house would have realized that as I was rarely particularly greedy or attention-seeking, I was mainly just upset when things seemed to make no goddam sense, and no one was straightening them out. I have never been able to tolerate, by way of analogy, TV show episodes in which people spoke at cross-purposes and seemed to willfully misunderstand each other, leading to horribly stressful “hijinks” and possibly wrongful accusations. The characters would laugh over the confusion in the end, and I’d feel like punching the wall, and everyone else acted like it was just a piece of silly fiction, which it was, but it also happened in real life, and I knew that. And in real life, the problems didn’t go away after 25-26 minutes. (Currently, TV misunderstandings are resolved in 20-21 minutes.)
I hurt for everyone I knew of, real and occasional fictional, who seemed victimized by the illogical and sometimes ignorant notions of others, to a disproportionate degree if you asked the people around me. I still have those sensibilities, though I don’t cry over it very often anymore. I do what I can for the world, but am better at driving off house sparrows than curing bigotry.
I think it’s okay to be both driven by logic and tender in spirit. Sometimes it’s a little rough on your offspring, but hopefully they look back and understand.
Because I tend to seek logic in everything, I appear even now fairly naive and insular to more "worldly" types. I am mostly confused by people who’d rather hate than love, which honestly, sucks up so much energy, doesn’t it? I’m confused by people who think how things are in one place at one time should dictate how things ought to be in another place and another time, with a whole different set of other conditions, as well. I’m confused a whole lot lately in particular by people who assign concrete characteristics to huge groups of people based on a few of the more irritating or senseless types who get attention because they’re loud and obnoxious. Like all the kids who annoyed everyone in their individual 5th grade classes grew up and got louder and suddenly we’re accused of being a party to their incivilities, because we still can’t shut them up. But maybe I’m digressing too far. I've lost sight of my thesis.
The better angel of my nature reminds me that people are all worth more than the sum of their individual parts, and this includes people who don’t think so of others. Ray Stevens says it here, also as part of my inimitably sappy 70s childhood.
I want about six minutes of your time to listen to a song, really listen, but first I’m going to witter on about this and that for five minutes because it’s what I do. Pretend I'm telling you all about our vet visit before finally posting the cake recipe you Googled.
I’ve been unwell again this week. The flu we all caught at Christmas passed along, but left me susceptible to every other living thing managing to hang on through the insane temperature shifts, and I haven’t been able to shake them all off very well.
So I’ve spent more than a tasteful amount of time lolling around reading books and watching movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries wondering if Kavan Smith, a chief resident of the Hallmark stud barn, can even tell any of his leading ladies apart anymore, or if they’re all just a vague blur of pert light brown-haired self-sufficiency with a sensitive backstory. As well, I developed an odd pash for The Joey Bishop Show, which is on Antenna TV every weekday at 1 pm just now. More on that, or not, some other time.
This past weekend I was feeling pretty well, so I took a break from all that, and on Saturday, the man and I planned duel enjoyment of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Symphony, to which I have subscribed for four years.
The museum was packed, because it was the final weekend of their special Van Gogh exhibit, so we inched along the drive toward the parking lot for quite awhile, taking our ease, when off to my right striding swiftly along the sidewalk, I saw a pair of really stellar ochre corduroy trousers. I mean, they were being worn by an entire person doing the striding, but that was secondary at first, until the man, who was driving, said, “Isn’t that Louis Langrée?”
And indeed it was. We thought that was a neat bit of serendipity, since we’d see him later that night conducting the symphony. And I enjoyed his pants very much. But then, you see, I always do. I enjoy tilting my head at his charming aspect as he enthusiastically conducts the music, though I don’t have quite the same level of passion for him as my neighbor across the road, who is about 15 years older than me, definitely the nicest person I know here, and definitely very into Louis. She will gush, if asked. C’est compréhensible. He has true presence, that one, n’est çe pas? Et il porte bien son pantalon.
He left, we parked and went in to enjoy the museum for a couple hours;
they have a really neat exhibit right now featuring art works by employees, so if you live around here, go check it out.
And then we went to Anchor-OTR for soup and little things, though to be completely honest I would rather have been at Zula across the street, but reasons and such intervened, and the Anchor is nice anyway, and then to the symphony, which is at Taft Theatre this year, and I regret each time we go having chosen floor seats instead of the balcony. We are seated near the back under the overhang of the balcony, so the sound isn’t as nice as it might be, and we have aisle seats, which are very tightly squeezed together. We always have to rise and move into the aisle for latecomers to take their seats farther in. The tech guy near us crackles wrappers the entire time, and on Saturday, a patron nearby enjoyed a bag of mini pretzels and a bottle of Coke. These noises are not absorbed well, and they irritate even when a pre-concert martini has been thoroughly applied. Though that helps. Next year at the newly remodeled Music Hall should be much nicer. I will have a commanding view, better sound, and will not covet so much one of the private boxes along the side of the theatre.
That night, a small ensemble of the orchestra and members of the May Festival chorus performed the Bach Cantata No. 150, and Langrée, now in his customary black tunic and trousers, called joyfully for an encore of the final segment of it. He spoke with enthusiasm about the Van Gogh exhibit. Then we heard Anton Webern's Passacaglia and after the intermission, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, which is such a lovely piece of math. He conducted it at a clip, and we discussed afterwards the French tendency toward this, but I liked it fine. We ended the evening with a glass of wine at 1215 Wine Bar, and it all made for a lovely reprieve from the Endless Eight of sickness, and uncertainty about the financial outlook of 2017.
gloria knee socks bass a lot of bass, tongue tied young holt flicker mix midi keyboards mantra boy
Okay, that line is my notes for the second half, but I’m not in the mood to type all that so here. Imagine it’s raining hard, but the rain feels distant inside your comfortable space with the practically new chair from Salvation Army sitting under a window with an overgrown plant next to it. You don’t have to be in a dark room to enjoy the Cure, but it helps to set a physical mood sometimes. It should be silent, the kind of silence you command with thoughts that reside just beneath the surface of your skin. Be still. Curl up and listen to this song as it tiptoes in and builds and gathers and swells and then fades away. Go on. Play it, and if you’ve heard this song before, but not the Mixed Up version, I think you’ll appreciate what they did with it.
These days we crowd our heads with music and it’s in all our backgrounds so much of the time, and we take it for granted. Sometimes it’s good to stop and let it be special for a few minutes, instead. I hate the idea that we need to occasionally reteach ourselves how to just listen, but what I witness every three-four weeks at the symphony tells me it is so. When I think of the time and effort and sweat and earnest hopes and desires that go into the composition, production, and performance of a piece of music and then I hear it over the phone, scratchily keeping me on hold while I wait around for someone to tell me to “turn it off and then back on again,” I figure the least I can do is pay some respect to all that artistic drive and effort by sharing a good piece of music now and then, channeling my dad briefly; “Shhh, listen, here’s the solo.”
You can do this with the Cure or with Brubeck or Brahms. Or somebody newer than all that, as you like.
In Summer, 1978, we drove to Montreal to see my brother get married, then spent a week driving back through New England. I was 13. Mainly I’ve talked in the past about going to a disco while there and being asked to dance; I was so shy, it was absurd. Also, wherever we stopped on the road trip home, in my dad’s manic fervor to cover as many states as possible, I managed to see Grease something like a half dozen times, though at least a couple were in silent distance from a drive-in theater. I was mildly obsessed with it. At one of our stops we found a sort of photo book of the movie, with a lot of the dialogue and all the song lyrics in it, so I just followed the movie by memorizing the book.
My other story is about the album I came home with, for which I paid $3.99 Canadian. It was Some Girls, by the Rolling Stones, and it had just been released a few weeks earlier. On the radio they were talking about a controversy with the cover, so I went ahead and got one as soon as I saw it. By the time I got home, I learned that cover had been pulled from record shops, replaced with one which had color blocks over some of the faces. But mine was one of the originals.
So I was really proud of that album, which I aso enjoyed listening to, until about six years later when my mom gave it and my Introducing…the Beatles* album to the garbage collector. If she were alive, I'd probably still bring that up now and then.
*Yes, the first one that was pulled from the shelves due to a dispute with Capitol Records over two of the songs. One of my other kids found another copy of that for me a few years ago.
Supposedly there were only 2000 produced in stereo. So that and Some Girls were linked in my head, somethings out of the ordinary. That guy in the truck knew what he was getting, I expect.
I’ve been having a difficult summer, is the thing here, for various reasons. And today this album showed up in the mail.
My son ordered it to cheer me up. He opened it before giving it to me, in case it didn't have the original cover. It is the original cover, first printing; actually apparently there were six versions of it before the inner sleeve was banned...my cover was brighter, but the inner sleeve was the same. I read that's actually the hardest one to find, however, it's a little confusing, and I don't honestly care if it is. The blue and green of this outer sleeve are a little faded, but it's otherwise perfect, and the vinyl is in very good condition. So tonight we’ll listen to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, and I’ll think some more on 1978, see what other memories I can conjur from the deep recesses of my aging mind.
I started this yesterday evening. When I have the page filled sufficiently, I’m posting it.
1. This post brought to you through the auspices of Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton PA, my erratic luteal phase, and a fresh loaf of Italian bread, and is dedicated to Rumson, New Jersey, my friend Anna*, and everyone who portrayed Mr Knightley in a movie.
I went to Kroger for some Italian sausage (thus, also some bread,) and because I needed a few minutes around some people; collective energy and so forth, and listened to my iPod there and back, noticing it has a remarkable understanding of just the sort of mood I’m in. So that’s what this is. Well, plus a few more songs that played while I was cooking sausage.
Check it out: That sign has been up at Tuesday Morning for at least a couple months, definitely before the news of Hancock’s new bankruptcy was announced, and waaaay before they announced they were closing ALL stores. Things that make you wonder…
I have On The Beach on while typing this. Wasn’t Tony Perkins just beautiful?
And in 1959, as skinny as my beautiful sons. People seem to find this wrong now, or maybe they always did, I dunno. I remember being made fun of for it when very young, then later as a teen and young woman, the ugly sneers… But if it’s okay for people to weigh a whole lot, it’s also okay for them to weigh not very much at all. Life, you know. Diverse and all.
Hello. I’d like to talk with you about Gregory Peck’s jawline.
2. Because of reasons to do with that unfortunate Lois Lane scene, no, not in the completely awesome exciting and thoughtful unless there is something seriously wrong with you new film, but the old outdated Superman movie, I have this Gordon Lightfoot song in my head.
I do like this song, but I always thought of it as some of the “grownup” music when I was a kid.
Speaking of which, Merle Haggard has died, and while I was not a fan, I mean, of course I remember him and he was a part of our youth and etc., and it occurs to me that all our childhood grownups are dying, and pretty soon we’ll be the only grownups who remember them, or something like that. I couldn’t quite hang onto the thread I was following. Our childhood is all ghosts, is maybe what I mean. I have a list of half a dozen people who, when they are gone, will have been the end of it all. Let us not speak their names just now. Not because of superstitions we need not have, but because we will rather continue to think of them as healthy and strong.
I was in a better mood earlier, and also yesterday when I began this exercise. It’s gloomy and raining now, which does a thing to my brain, I guess, though I never mean for it to. And so I am not going to finish this until I am in a better mood again. That’s what it’s meant to be about.
3. I’ve had a look at my “notes for later” document that I keep in my dock, and found some items to share:
a. "Exquisite Timing: Perimenopause and the Bee Gees:" this is an essay I’m working on which I’ll probably post to Medium some time or other. But Medium has already changed a lot since it started. I’m not quite as keen on it as I was in the beginning. I’m that way, just always was, I guess. Nobody steal my title.
b. My son said this a few weeks ago: Jesus was walking around the desert with chest damage, trying to build an arc reactor, Judas turned his back on him and betrayed him, trying to steal the technology.
c. I copied this from somewhere, don’t remember who said it. You can Google it if you like. “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.”
4. You know how people used to complain that their old out of touch parents would send them painful inspiring emails, or chain letter emails, or ridiculous urban legends? Here are examples of the things I text to my kids.
5. I saved this photo to share as well, but do not recall why. Something to do with his speech pattern.
6. A little while back I made my hair lighter, and it's also shorter than it's been in awhile, but then I saw this brief stuttering video from a few years ago and got to missing it dark, never mind long, a person should be only so fickle.
So what do you think? A little darker than image a like it is now, or a little lighter than image b like it's sort of now meant to be?
* For Anna, I was going to post a link to a Tumblr site devoted to red-haired men. But they turned out to all be gay porn. So, anyway...here's a song.
Last night we went to the Cincinnati Symphony at Music Hall to hear Mahler’s 9th Symphony, conducted by Jésus López-Cobos. It was very good, of course it was good. It’s such an immediate piece of music, you can’t help but be drawn in instantly. And we are privileged to have a fine local orchestra playing it, and it seems to me that conductors who conduct it do so because they love it. Silly me, though, wondering why the hall had fewer people than usual. Why wouldn’t there be more people at a Mahler show? But I guess 20 minute movements aren’t quite everyone’s thing. Still.
So I settled in deciding that this wasn’t anyone’s date night. Everyone was there because it was Mahler’s 9th freaking symphony, and it was exciting to hear live. And there were many music students there, clearly, because we saw many more well-dressed young people than usual, all full of joy and vigor. I had an enjoyable conversation with one young man before the concert began, as he told me about attending school here. He plays french horn, so naturally, this was the show for him.
I don’t want to be all grr about older people, but they are always the disruptive ones, if disruption there is to be, which there usually is. By older I mean, older than me, of course. Let’s say, though, over 60, generally. However, people were all quiet and reverently enjoying the music, or so I thought naively, until I noticed a woman in the row in front of us, a couple seats to my left, checking Delta flight information on her iPhone. She did some textin’, some checkin’, etc. The man was with me last night, and he was seated to my left, so when he leaned forward, I could no longer see her, which I appreciated, because I just wasn’t able to be very tao about it, though I tried/not tried my best.
That was in the middle of the fourth movement, and the last six or seven (don’t quote me) minutes of the piece grow quiet, then quieter still, and with about five minutes to go, a man several rows in front of us began limping to the aisle. He sort of lurched forward and a very old man across from us grabbed him and basically hauled him to the top of the section. A minute later, the woman with him left, then a minute later, the old man came back. It was stressful, but I mean, emergency, I guess. I think he was about to throw up. It was difficult to get back into the depth of it all, which matters because right at the end, the violas hang onto the final phrase, then sloowwwwly fade out, and everyone holds their breath and the conductor freezes the action for a long time before lowering his baton, and just as this was happening, someone behind us dropped something loud.
Never have I wished so badly for floor seats instead of the gallery, mainly because even setting aside the anticlimactic deflation, it did feel more than usual like the music was just coming at me, rather than surrounding me. But overall, I had a great experience, until the man told me that woman was actually on her iPhone nearly the entire 82 minutes, which is forbidden, of course. But she thought holding her program over it made it okay. Like, this was her ineffectual Cone of Silence. So by the end, he had her Delta password memorized, and could recite this whole conversation she was having with two different people. Added to that, the woman next to him spent quite a lot of the time loudly rifling the pages of her program, and that was his good ear side. Further, the man freaking loves Mahler, like, so so much, and he loves the 9th, and so it was just exhausting and frustrating for him. I felt pretty bad about that. Usually I’m the one with the troubles, as old people tend to drop things on my head as they walk by, or start snoring next to me or etc., but not last night.
Please honor music and Mahler and me and the man and just life, I guess, and check out this 1971 documentary which is on YouTube in six parts, Leonard Bernstein's "Four Ways to Say Farewell." And then listen to Bernstein conducting it, or Claudio Abbado (I mention these two because they interpreted it quite differently, which is interesting in itself,) or another generally cherished recording if you like. You could even buy one from this same conductor and orchestra recorded some years ago! Me, I like this one conducted by Otto Klemperer. Fade the lights, put away the phone, listen to Mahler contemplate life and death and whatever the painful middle seems to be for, and don't drop anything loud at the end; you'll mourn for the silence.
Oh! Another nice thing for me was that I was wandering for a few minutes before it began, and went into the Corbett Tower room where they have meetings. There are big windows in there which face east toward what turns out to be a glorious view of the city. I'd never seen it in sunlight before. A very attractive man was looking out one window and I stood in front of the one next to him and made conversation. I hope when the renovation is finished, that's still a thing one can do.
Dean Martin died twenty years ago today, Christmas, 1995.
I love a zillion of his songs, from every decade and style in which he sang. So first up, here are three of a kind...and if you've never heard the third one, do give it a listen.
Next, a straight of Dean Martin quotations. An important thing to remember is that a lot of the jokes attributed to these guys came first from Joe E. Lewis and also Joey Bishop. They stole from each other like mad, and made a joke of that, too. So I picked some that only he said.
"When Frank Sinatra dies, they're giving his zipper to the Smithsonian."
"Motivation is a lot of crap."
"I once shook hands with Pat Boone and my whole right side sobered up."
"You wanna hear it straight, buy the album."
"Shirley (MacLaine) I love her, but her oars aren't touching the water these days."
Finally, a full house with two videos and three photos.
Here's a low quality but watchable video of the Dean Martin Christmas Show featuring the Sinatra family. It's worth looking at if you're interested in them. And yes, the truth is, Sinatra drank a whole lot, while with Martin it was mainly an act. Dean liked to go to bed early and hit the golf course in the morning when Frank was probably just hitting the sack.
And here's the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Dean Martin. It's a gasser.
Christmas song recordings I love from the past couple of decades or so.
5. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (I didn't find a live video with good sound, unfortunately)
4. Cool Yule (fun performance, but you'll want to stop at 3:30.)
3. The Nutcracker Suite—Brian Setzer Orchestra
2. Baby, It's Cold Outside (Pretty sure in rl roles would be reversed, but this is lush and cool.)
1. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 (of course)