Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday and Springtime

It is Good Friday, and a lovely, gently sunny spring day--which seems wrong for a day that should be grey and bleak, overcast and leaden. But there are always surprises.

"Good" may seem an inappropriate word for the day, considering what it commemorates; but in this usage, "good" means "holy." Many will be in church today, or taking part in processions, marking the Stations of the Cross. For contemplation alone, there is Bach's Mass in B Minor, and John Donne's "Good Friday, 1613: Riding Westward."

Then there is a Hemingway story--little known, and a curiosity in the Hemingway collection--called "Today is Friday." It imagines a conversation among Roman soldiers in a tavern after the Crucifixion. Faulkner also wrote a story on the theme of the Passion; he called it "A Fable," and it is set in France during World War One. And in Philip Wylie's "Opus 21" a mysterious figure named "Chris" appears on the Enola Gay, and urges the crew not to drop the bomb on Hiroshima.

Finally, this piece of good news for some: those whose birthday falls on Good Friday are said to have the ability to see spirits and the power to combat them.

And in three days--Easter!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Scam Season & Russian Roulette

As the deadline approaches for tax filing, there is the usual rash of cyberscams and telephone calls--fake messages purported to be from Canada Revenue, either promising a refund or threatening legal action.

But recent news regarding the cyber tampering with votes, from the US presidential election to Brexit, makes these other scams seem puny and amateurish.

Electronic communication systems are wonderful in many ways, but it was harder pull off trickery when people communicated by chipping their messages in stone tablets.

Meanwhile, as western nations continue to penalize Russia by expelling diplomats and closing consulates, President Trump has gone a step further, saying he is returning his volumes of Dostoevsky. "Didn't read them all that much anyway," he said.

Some nations are trashing their albums of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Rimsky-Korsakov. "However," said a spokesman for the Canadian Senate, "we are not getting rid of our vodka."

He added, "Except, of course, in the traditional way. Although we draw the line at ordering a Moscow Mule."

Monday, March 26, 2018

Just wondering...

There seems to be a great physical similarity between White House news flacks Raj Shah and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Is it possible that RJ is really Sarah in a suit? Or that Sarah is Raj in drag? There is similar grace in their movements.

But we won't stick around to find out. We're now getting all our news from the National Enquirer and other highly regarded news journals at the supermarket checkout counter.

And back at Mar-a-Lago, the Number One song is "Stormy Weather."

"Don't know why, there's no sun up in the sky--stormy weather."

Friday, March 23, 2018

Jumping Ahead on the Junos

Wilton Flaneur, our Arts & Culture Correspondent, is predicting the big winners at this weekend's Juno Awards show. Here are Wilton's picks:

Female pop group: The Distressed Jeans

C&W song: "I Want Trump Stuck/In My Dump Truck"

Classical recording: A toss-up between "Get Off My Bach" by the Knackwurst Glockenspiel Ensemble and "His Bach is Worse Than His Bite" by the Fliegelhausen Staatsoperette.

Electronic Music: Cambridge Analytica

Album  of the Year: "Stormy Daniels Sings"

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dept. of Clarification

Following the previous posting, we should note that while Bob Haymes wrote the lyrics for "They Say It's Spring," the lovely melody was written by Marty Clarke.

In a switch, Haymes wrote the music for "That's All" (recorded in France as "C'est Tout") but the lyrics were by Alan Brandt.

"You for Me,"another song recorded by Blossom Dearie, was all Haymes, words and music.

Bob Haymes, who, like  Ms. Dearie, spent a lot of time in France, also wrote French lyrics for her for "I Won't Dance," and other songs. Her Francophone version of "It Might As Well Be Spring" is charming.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Playlist

"They say it's spring, that has me daft as a daisy..."

Our favorite spring song, composed by Bob Haymes--yes, brother of Dick--who also wrote "That's All." Great recordings by Blossom Dearie and Nat Cole and Bobby Short.

Other songs for this season's playlist:

"Spring is Here"
"It Might as Well Be Spring"
"Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year"
"Joy Spring" (remember Clifford Brown)
And for senior C&W fans: "When It's Springtime in the Rockies"

"They say it's spring..."

Friday, March 16, 2018

Ten Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

1. Pour a generous draught of Irish whiskey--Midleton Very Rare, if (a) you can find it, and (b) you've just won the lottery. (Someone has suggested a drop of pickle juice in a glass of Johnny Jameson's for a true Irish drink, but not at this bar.)

2. Serve up colcannon and boxty and Guinness stew. And, if you're lucky, you might find Molly O'Rourke's Irish Whiskey Fruit Cake.

3. Try to read "Finnegan's Wake."

4. Okay, then--just sing "Finnegan's Wake."

5. Watch "The Quiet Man" for the twenty-fifth time.

6. Listen to a Mary Coughlan CD. Seriously.

7. Try to find a clip of Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney singing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."

8. Hang out with Jiggs at Dinty Moore's saloon. Watch out for Maggie.

9. Get in a fight.

10. Dance a jig.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Adieu, Hubert

Hubert de Givenchy--the six foot, six inch Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy--has departed for the great fashion runway in the sky, joining such other legends of haute couture as Chanel, Schiaparelli, Dior, and the one he followed and most admired, Balenciaga.

Givenchy will be remembered always as the creator of designs of simple elegance, designs that became instant classics, for some of the world's most beautiful women. His signature work: the black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Fragrances were also created by the House of Givenchy, and this morning, in his memory, we released from an atomizer a wisp of Ysatis, for there should always be a trace of Givenchy in the air.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Moonlight Saving Time

So we've lost another hour of sleep. Early morning DJs dragged themselves from bed cursing even more than usual.

The concept of Daylight Saving Time was introduced by someone named Gordon Hudson in 1895, but the first nationwide application came in 1916, imposed by the German Empire. That wasn't the only bad idea Germany had in those years.

But there is an upside: carefully tuck away all those daylight hours you're saving, and next winter, when it's cold and blustery, you can withdraw them and bask in summery warmth! There is an elderly miser in Nebraska who has been hoarding daylight hours since 1943, and when he releases them, it will be like a year in Miami.

Our preference, however, is for Moonlight Saving Time, as proposed by Irving Kahal, words, and Harry Richman, music. The move to Moonlight Saving Time has been pushed by converts from Maurice Chevalier and Jay Wilbur's Hottentots in 1931 to Leonard Feather's Swingin' Swedes in 1952 and Hamilton's Diana Panton in 2007.

Everyone, all together now:

"There oughta be a Moonlight Saving Time
So I could love that girl of mine
Until the birdies wake and chime 'Good Morning!'"

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sherman and the Odds

News comes that Richard Sherman, perhaps the greatest cornerback pro football has seen, a player who helped the Seattle Seahawks take the 2014 Super Bowl, has been released by the team.

This brought to mind some of Sherman's many memorable words (he is as good behind a microphone as he is blocking a pass). He said, "It gives me something that nothing else does--that rush, a sense of belonging. It's where I'm at home. The game is my muse. It's my release, my stage, my family. It's the place I feel like I'm made for."

After the announcement of Sherman's release, Las Vegas bookmakers dropped the odds of the Seahawks taking the 2019 Super Bowl to 30-1.

--Slap Maxwell.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ode to March

Like an army defeated,
The snow hath retreated;
The Ploughboy is whooping--anon--anon!
There's joy in the mountains,
There's life in the fountains,
The rain is over and gone!

         Guest Blogger William Wordsworth.