Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gay intrigue!




If this is the world's largest club, then why haven't I heard of it before? Never mind, God was saving it for this blessed moment. Not only do these sweet elderly women resemble a very genteel police lineup, they don't even have NAMES, just numbers (though at first glance I thought these might be their birth dates, or perhaps their ages).

In reading this, I can only decipher that it's a very early version of Christian Mingle for oldsters. Obviously, there's a dire shortage of men here, which means a fella can just about have his pick. There are plenty of widows to go around (making you wonder - if they ARE in jail - what exactly did they do to deserve it? Go watch Dateline, folks, women bump off their husbands all the time.) But my favorite part is the "gay intrigue". Gay didn't mean much more than "gay" back then - happy, sparkly, twinkle-toesy - but intrigue? I don't know if any of these old broads would be up to it. The whole thing reminds me of Zero Mostel in The Producers: "I LOVE YOU!" "Ehh?"




More gay intrigue.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Clothes are like skin to me



While blundering around in my files trying to find something, I found this. It was originally written for my first blog, the late and never-lamented Open Salon thing that was eventually driven out of town by vicious, insular harpies who didn't think I had a right to be there. Fine.

This essay, while relevant, doesn't entirely apply now, because my closet has since been vastly pared down (though it's surprising how many of the pieces I mentioned are still there). But I'm once more in a cycle of weight loss/body change. The more you do this, the worse your final shape will be. Today I look like a melted cookie. But perhaps it's still good for my health.

My blog style has changed, in that I no longer try to do "good" writing. No one wants to see it , and I don't feel like doing it. I see other people's blogs now and think I am in a hospital room. But only because mine is like a basement or garage or tool shed with spiders crawling around in it. No one reads it anyway, right? Well, not many. So why have I spent my life doing this? Hmmmmmmm??

I'll no doubt realize the answer a few seconds before I expire. Meantime, read this, it's pretty good, even if I no longer write in this sort of essay style - it'd kill me with boredom now




This is the kind of job I could put off forever. I don’t just hate my bedroom closet, I fear it. Long ago my husband moved his stuff out. Like a miniature version of Hoarders, it tells stories that ain’t pretty. Everything is so tightly packed in there that it emerges squashed into  ripply pancaked wrinkles that are nearly impossible to get out.

I am tired of this great whale, this leviathan that I have to wrestle with each day just to find something to wear. I am powerless over my wardrobe, and my closet has become unmanageable.

The thing is, I take care of my clothes, almost fanatically. I hand-wash and I hang-dry and I don’t bleach and I do all those things the little tags tell me to do, or not do. Because they irritate shit out of me, I remove most of the tags surgically, with a stitch-ripper. I take such fanatic care, the result is that nothing dies. There are items from every year going back to (bllompfdhhd). Items going back to so many fluctuating weight levels, I’m embarrassed to even think about it.


Shape-shifters like myself have always had a hard time finding anything nice to wear. Not to mention pyramid-shapes whose hddd’pvlms are a tad larger than “normal”. And those with penguin-flippers for arms, so that shirt-cuffs lop down 2 or 3” longer than “normal”. Turned-back cuffs do not look casual, they look sloppy and weird, as if you’re a kid playing dressup.

My body is not normal and my psyche is not normal, so what do I do?  Recently I’ve been on yet another round of weight loss, and though I’m not trying very hard at all (and so far, not using a scale to prevent the usual salivating obsession), I’m getting results. ALL my coats fit, that is, the ones that aren’t a little tight, but they all button up. I’m slowly beating the “bottom button” curse which all pear shapes will know about, the top of a blouse fitting beautifully and the last button pulling violently apart as if it’s three sizes too small.


What’s getting me now is that I know I have to get rid of some stuff, if only to make room for the things I’ve just snarfed up in the spring sales. There are pants in there that go back to 115 (AD, not BC) and (gasp) 165. There are pants with high waists and pleats. There are sweaters shoved in the back, probably from the 1980s, with big firm shoulder pads.  (For me, with no shoulders to speak of, they were a great blessing, and I hated it when they went “out”). There are unwise purchases covered in glitter or beads or even feathers. And there are lots of things that I take out once in a while, look at and put back, convinced they’re too nice to wear. I’m not sure what I am saving them for.

Then there are those few (very few) indispensable pieces, things I just wear and wear because they make me feel good. Blazers have always made me look great, almost as if I know what I’m talking about, because they’re structured (and I’m not) and have shoulders (and I don’t), and I have a cranberry one in pinwale corduroy and cranberry is my favourite color, well, next to turquoise (and there’s that turquoise blouse, and the t-shirt I picked up in New Mexico with the little “milagro” all over it – the t-shirt that DOES NOT GRAB MY ASS!) And stuff like that.


A few years ago, stretch fabric stormed the racks. Now it seems to be everywhere, and damn I like it, maybe a little too much. This past weight gain, which I put down to the dense regime of medication I must use to keep my health from falling apart, everything just sort of – flexed. Suddenly I could sit down OK. Waists slid down at least an inch or two even on the most conservative clothes, which for some bizarre reason flatters me. What better excuse to buy this, and this, and this!  Three-quarter sleeves, now ubiquitous, solved another chronic fit problem.

But jesus guys, I can’t take this any more. I am in closet limbo. This place is ready to explode, and most of it isn’t even really wearable. If I cull out the dead wood, I tell myself, I will reveal to myself treasures that I had forgotten existed. I have every reason, but the thing is, I hate reason.


Clothes are like skin to me. Not that I always like them. Liking isn’t the point.  They represent me, in some way that makes them hard to bag up and throw out. I can’t imagine some other woman wearing them, not even someone shivering on a street corner. They’re too old and dowdy, for God’s sake! Well, not all of them. But by now they’ve taken on my shape and scent and form and give and take. An imprint. My “vibes”, you might say. Do I love them? Maybe, but that depends. What’s love?

This morning I am going to take two or three green garbage bags and set to, ruthlessly defoliate. Rip, rip, rip (and RIP). Big chunks will be pulled out by the roots, never to be replaced. Some things I will just have to try on, even if for the last time (for I am now 2” less in the hip than I was 3 months ago), to see if the miracle will happen.  Or not.


The great law is, supposedly, if you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. How many times have I rediscovered something I haven’t worn in ten years, tried it on and thought, Jesus, where did I get this? Thank God I didn’t donate it. They just don’t make stuff like that any more! Then put it back in the closet where it will slowly work its way back to where it was.

These items wait in the wings. I will wear them. Or I won’t. Each blouse or sweater or pair of pants seems to give off a scream of anguish as I rip it out of its socket and throw it in the bag.  Why have you forsaken me?  We saw some good times together, didn’t we? Can’t we have them again?

I try to get them to shut up as I open my third or fourth bag. But the uncomfortable truth is, it’s me that can’t move on.


Monday, May 18, 2015

The Mad Men series finale: it's the real thing!






I don't know if I was the only one who was a bit queased-out by the final episode of Mad Men last night. My lack of excitement before I even saw it was telling, and all the way through it I was poised for "it-was-all-a-dream" syndrome, something hopelessly hokey to just kill the whole thing.





In a way, it happened. (This is full of spoilers, so if it's on your DVR and you haven't seen it yet, well, just keep on reading!) I noted an uncharacteristic compulsion to neatly-if-artificially tie up loose ends, and, especially, pair off those nice deserving kids with the right partners (while paring down other, less-workable connections). The show got heavily into the EST-y, Esalin-ish movements of the early '70s, with Don, the least likely candidate, being most deeply-involved. 







Though they didn't show Betty lying with waxen beauty in her coffin with a lily in her hand (and her husband, ol' Whatsisname, anxiously shaking hands up and down the aisle of the church wondering if his wife's corpse was pretty enough to win him the Governorship - sorry, I can't forgive him for that VERY BAD crying scene last week), they did show her smoking as she gently expired from lung cancer. How ironic: it's Betty who self-destructs, not Don.





I won't get into the rest of it because reciting the details lays bare just how soap-operatic the show had become.  How they ended Don - suicidal one minute, compassionate the next, followed by blissfully "ohmmm"-ing on a hilltop - made me literally groan out loud. The topper for all this was a repeat of the "iconic" Coke commercial of 1971, in which an angelic choir of wholesome and well-fed hippies proclaims Coke as "The Real Thing". Irony alert! Irony alert!
The show was all about artifice, wasn't it? Illusion, delusion, hawking products that were just products, things, not some fulfillment of the American Dream. (Remember the carousel? And how about "it's toasted", which essentially means nothing). I don't know if this was intended or not, but three minutes before the ending of the ending, I was saying out loud, "Okay, then. . . " As the old jazz musician once said after playing for 12 hours, "How we gonna end this thing?"




They ended it all right, because they had to. Old Wienerhead finally had his day. (Spelling variation intentional.) I don't know if it was because only one person acted as emperor and Ayatollah, but sometimes the seams showed. The seams represented how much air time a character was allowed in each episode/season. This was contractual, and seemingly non-negotiable. How do I know this? When AMC insisted on adding an extra commercial, a character had to be dropped. This horrified me, but it didn't seem to bother anyone else. And then there were the "hysteric returns": oh Jesus, there's Duck Phillips again! How'd he get in here? He rose from the dead more predictably and annoyingly than Jesus. How did this happen? Why, folks, it was in his contract! Duck Phillips must have had a particularly good agent and worked all this out from the beginning of the series. Sal Romano did not, and was out on his ass just as his character was starting to get interesting. 





It's over, it's over, it's over, as Roy Orbison once wailed, and I'm a bit relieved, and also kind of let down. Sort of like getting married, I think. I've never been divorced, so I can't comment on that. At its best, this show kicked ass. I was in love with Don and made little gifs of him (a sure sign of fascination. No Blingees, though. Can I make one now?). I could hardly believe how consistently good it was. When did it all begin to slip sideways? Everyone wants to blame Megan, poor thing, but wasn't it really all her fault? It had something to do with the way she embarrassed Don in front of all his friends with the Zoo-bee-doo-bee-doo thing.

That would kill any show's mojo, don't you think?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Who else could provide a succinct and honest?




I love FB translations!


A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving
Relationship with her husband.

It asked the women: ' how many of you also must love her husband?"
All the women raised his hand. Then they were asked: ' when was the last time you told your husband that you loved it?" Some women answered today, a few yesterday, and some could not remember.
The women were then told to pull out their cell phones and the text

To her husband: ' I love you, honey." The women were instructed to exchange phones with another person, and to read aloud the text message they received, in response. Below are 11 replies; some are

Hilarious. If you have been married for quite some time.... A sign of true love.... Who else could provide a succinct and honest?

1. Who the hell is this?
2. Eh, Mother of my children, you are sick or what?
3. Yes, and I love you too. What about you?
4. and now what? Did you know crashes the new car?
5. I do not understand what you mean?
6. What in the hell did you do now?
7. Do not go for the branches, just tell me how much do you need?
8. am i dreaming?
9. If you do not you tell me who this message is actually for, someone is going to die.
10. I thought we had agreed that you do not drink during the day.
11. Your Mother is coming to stay with us, is not it?

Automatically Translated



Monday, May 11, 2015

"Stop ironing my head": famous foreign idiotisms




Introduction. I don't know how to introduce this. It's a stumble-upon, found late at night, so that the next morning I wondered if I had dreamed it.

Some of my favorite idiotisms/idia include the Cheyenne and Italian phrases, but I won't mention spoilers here. I like to illustrate my posts with images which may or may not be relevant, and these are definitely not, but neither are the phrases. The Jon Hamm gifs are vaguely relevant, but they're here mainly because Jon Hamm is such a fox, and Mad Men is nearly over. The links  to other idiotisms are worth pursuing, as I didn't have space for all them here. Jesus, people are weird!




Idioms and sayings in various languages

Idioms are expressions that don't mean what they appear to mean. For example, when you say 'it's raining cats and dogs', you don't mean that cats and dogs are falling out of sky, but rather that it's raining heavily. Idioms provide interesting insights into languages and thought processes of their speakers.

Arabic, Armenian, Aromanian, Cheyenne, Chinese, Cornish, Czech, Dutch,Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Irish (Gaelic),Italian, Japanese, Kashmiri, Klingon, Korean, Maltese, Mongolian, Norwegian,Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Welsh, Yiddish



Idioms in individual languages

Czech | French | Russian | Slovak | Spanish





Armenian

Գլուխս մի՛ արդուկեր: (Klookhys mee artooger)
Stop ironing my head! = Stop annoying me! (as in repetitively asking or talking about something)

Cheyenne
Mónésó'táhoenôtse kosa?
Are you still riding the goat? = separated from your spouse

Énêhpoése ma'eno.
The turtle is shrouded = it's foggy.

Étaomêhótsenôhtóvenestse napâhpóneehéhame.
My tapeworm can almost talk by itself = my stomach is growling.

Chinese (Mandarin / Cantonese)

一鼻孔出气 (yī bíkǒng chūqì / yāt beihhúng chēuthei)
breathing through the same nostril = singing from the same hymn sheet

杯弓蛇影 (bēi gōng shé yǐng / būi gōng sèh yíng)
seeing the reflection of a bow in a cup and thinking it's a snake = worring about things that aren't there





Czech
chodit kolem horké kaše
to walk around hot porridge = to beat about the bush

More idioms in Czech

Dutch

Ik zweet peentjes
I sweat carrots = I'm sweating like a pig

IJsberen
'to polar bear' (i.e. to pace up and down)

Estonian

Puust ja punaseks ette tegema
to make something out of wood and paint it red - to make something really clear

Finnish

pitkin hampain
with long teeth - (to do something) unwillingly

kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa
to pace around hot porridge like a cat = to beat about the bush




French

avoir les dents qui rayent le parquet
to have teeth that scratch the floor = to be extemely ambitious

J'ai d'autres chats à fouetter !
I have other cats to whip! = I have other fish to fry! - I have other things to do.

pédaler dans la choucroute
to pedal in the sauerkraut = to spin your wheels - to go nowhere

More idioms in French

Hindi

अंग-अंग ढीला होना
losing of all body parts = to get very tired

अंगारे उगलना
to excrete embers - to get very angry

खून सूखना
parching of blood = to become afraid

एक अनार सौ बीमार (ek anar sau biimar)
One fruit, one hundred ill

जंगल मेँ मोर नाचा किसने देखा? (jangal mein mor naca kisne dekha)
Peacock danced in the forest, who saw?

बंदर क्या जाने अदरक का स्वाद? (bandar kya jane adrak ka swad?)
A monkey doesn't knows the taste of ginger

डूबते को तिनके का सहारा (doobte ko tinke ka sahara)
A straw supports a drowning man




Indonesian

kuman di seberang lautan tampak, gajah di pelupuk mata tak tampak
the bacterium across the sea is seen, but the elephant on eyelid is not seen

Italian

avere gli occhi foderati di prosciutto
to have one's eyes lined with ham = can't see the wood for the trees - to be unable to see what is distinctly in sight


avere le orecchie foderate di prosciutto
to have one's ears lined with ham = to be unable to hear what can be clearly heard

Japanese

尻が重い (shiri ga omoi)
heavy ass/arse - used for someone who is the opposite of a go-getter; a real slacker





Maltese

Iddur mal-lewża
Going round the almond = beat about the bush

Mongolian

бурхан оршоо бутын чинээ сахал урга (burkhan orshoo butin chinee sakhal urga)
God bless you and may your moustache grow like brushwood
(said when someone sneezes)

Norwegian

å være midt i smørøyet (bokmål) / å vere midt i smørauget (nynorsk)
to be in the middle of the butter melting in the porridge - to be in a very favourable place or situation





Russian

Вешать лапшу на уши (Vešat' lapšu na ušy)
To hang noodles on one's ears = to tell lies / talk nonsense

Serbian

Nosom para oblake
He's ripping clouds with his nose = He's conceited, puffed up

me estoy comiendo el coco
I'm eating the head = I'm trying to think

Turkish

Kafa ütüleme
Don't iron my head = Used when somebody repetitively talks about something.

Yiddish

Hak mir nisht kin chaynik
don't chop my teakettle = stop annoying me




Sunday, May 10, 2015

Do you sweat when you're horny?




Can you imagine, when you're going at it hot and heavy, suddenly whipping out your Arrid with Perstop to deodorize your "sex perspiration"? This product supposedly nukes the "most offensive odor" (sex sweat), not unlike the Lysol douche which disinfects away all signs that you've had sex.  All these ads talk about how doctors recommend the product, though they don't say WHICH doctors and how they managed to solicit their medical opinions. 

This is yet another of the ubiquitous ads of the era (1950s) which convey the message that women stink, but here they are saying women particularly stink when they are sexually excited, an odor so foul and offensive that it must be stamped out at once or it will knock your partner on his ass.  The only good thing about it is the acknowledgement that women feel sexual "excitement" at all, though of course, if and when they do,  all signs of it must be immediately eradicated.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Finally. . . Google does something right!



"Take my advice, I'm not using it"






Another journal entry. I get inspired in the morning and run off at the keyboard with my personal philosophy.

May 9/15

Saturday again; beautiful again. I don’t know. I keep telling myself I should be more unhappy, or not happy with what I have. All these people who continually exhort you to be happy with what you have: do they need to say it to you, or to themselves? And even if it’s to you, why are they so compelled to say it? What business is it of theirs what another person does? Are they so affronted by people who AREN’T happy with what they have? Do they have to be checked and corrected by someone with an obviously superior world view?





Why are we constantly being told how we should feel, how we should think? In the trivializing age of Facebook, etc., it’s even worse, with memes and other spiritual sound bites abounding, most of them patently untrue. It’s never “This is what I believe” or even “this is what I think you should do”, it’s “DO THIS”, as if the words are being passed down on high from Mount Olympus.

For God’s sake, don’t ask for anything beyond what you have already! At the same time, you can have absolutely anything you want in life if you try hard enough! (OK then, my order is in: 5 million dollars and a palomino pony.) And how about this one: never quit! Never quit! This is one of the most self-limiting things a person can practice, because sometimes quitting is the most liberating thing a person can do. It can release you from the shackles of trying, and trying, and trying, and feeling like a miserable failure because you “can’t succeed”, and what’s the matter with you anyway, shouldn’t you be able to have anything you want if you just try hard enough (and keep trying, and keep trying)?





I’ve known people who’ve gotten divorced, and when they tell their friends and relatives, it’s either “Oh NO!” (as in, a tornado just destroyed my house), or ‘Oh, nooooo. . . “ as in “my cat just got run over”, or – it’s harder to describe this “oh no”, but it’s a combination of grief, disappointment and bewildered judgement, as in “how in hell could YOU have let this happen?” These people, and that means most people, see it as a failure and even an unmitigated tragedy.

And there’s an even worse one, a sort of appalled, horrified silence, sort of like “my son was caught masturbating in class”. They just don’t know what to say.

So what of the people who have been in a miserable relationship for years and years, have felt alienated and alone, have fought bitterly and without hope of resolution, have endured infidelities and physical and emotional abuse from their partners? I’m afraid it’s still “nooooooo” from most people, because they have no idea what was going on, OR, they had full knowledge of what was going on and felt they should still stay together for the sake of the children. Or maybe they just weren’t trying hard enough.




Walking away from anything is a failure, even if, after walking away, you find the love of your life and are happy for the first time in your life. No, stay stuck, it’s more noble, and for God's sake keep your problems to yourself because talking about them, or even admitting you have them and couldn’t tolerate them any more, makes your friends and relatives deeply uncomfortable.

And that brings me to this point: gratuitous advice. Why are we supposed to be so grateful when someone throws buckets of unsolicited advice at us, when we either haven’t asked for it or have maybe asked them one small, simple question? This demonstrates several things. One, the advice-giver believes their view of things is far superior to yours, and by extension, you’re pretty incompetent at what you do and need to be set straight. Two, that you should be grateful for these stone tablets, even if you’re being  hit over the head with them. Three, that your obvious failure is an affront to them and, yes, makes them very uncomfortable. Buckets of advice douse this ineffectual, smoldering fire. Or so they think.





Advice-giving and homilies are a great way to shut someone up, usually someone suffering grief and pain. Here, have this, it’ll solve everything. You may go away now. Your grief and pain has just been corrected. I should know; I have never experienced anything like that! “Hmm, well, I'm glad that never happens to me. Here’s what you should do.”

It is the very rare person who can receive your pain, and do you know what? We usually have to pay them. Even then, real help is a dicey proposition because most therapists go by the book and say very trite things so they can congratulate THEMSELVES on what a great job they’re doing. And if your dismay and even anger persist, well then, you just have a lousy attitude and should correct yourself and adjust to the therapeutic environment. I'm giving you all this help, and you’re not “co-operating”, which means you're just innately self-destructive.  Sorry, I can’t treat you any more if you’re not willing to change.





I won’t get into such trite crap as “everything happens for a reason” (a baby dying of leukemia? School shootings? Al-Qaeda? The Third Reich? I could go on.) It’s almost as bad as "it's all part of God’s plan” (something someone said to me when my son’s roommate was murdered, his head kicked in in a parking lot by two "friends" after a bar fight). Or, worst of all, “God never gives us more than we can handle.”

Oh yes? Have you ever heard of suicide, or are “those people” outside the human pale?  I knew a lady who liked to say, “Our prisons and psychiatric hospitals are full of people who had more than they could handle.”

But hey.  I never have more than I can handle, so I can inflict this philosophy on you with impugnity. In fact, having “helped” you this way, I can dust off my hands and carry on, free from having to stare into the grief-stricken eyes of a fellow human being in genuine human pain.




Friday, May 8, 2015

Bullshit advice to writers






Today's journal entry. It's nothing I haven't said before, but maybe I need to say it again.

 May 8/15

I keep deleting what I’ve written, then starting again. Just as well, because some of it makes me sick. It’s pretty sad stuff that is only useful for giving me something to do, and to show myself, "see, I'm still writing".

Part of me wanted to keep all of it, but I don’t read back much anyway. I just get tired of it, of myself, of Facebook and its emptiness. People saying “just concentrate on the joy of the writing, and you WILL be a bestseller.” It will just happen by some magic. It’s like “do what you love and the money will follow”. People really do believe that. If you don’t, your karma is off, your vibes are too negative, and you don’t really deserve to be a bestseller anyway because you are committing the unpardonable sin of WANTING to be, to have a decent readership for your books.





You should completely ignore your ambition to be published (because it's kind of stinky anyway, like being a whore), put it aside, write for the pure joy of writing, and THEN, voila!, your work will suddenly, magically sell like mad! A contract will drop into your lap, a Fifty Shades-size one, with no effort, just as New York agents will bust down your door before they even read your stuff. I see this naïve belief everywhere, and if you try to counter it with reality and experience, you’re treated like a sour old thing who has no optimism or faith and who DOESN’T believe success is guaranteed if only you stop wanting it.




To me, that's pretty dishonest, because it's a hidden agenda. The "advice" or imperative is "write only for the joy of it", though beneath that, unacknowledged, unadmitted, lurks this sense that being so pure of heart will cause the Great God Publishing to bring his/her wand down on your head and grant your every bestselling wish. In other words, you will succeed so lavishly BECAUSE you stopped caring about such crass, unworthy things as having a readership for your work.

This whole thing about publishing, readership, etc. is highly stigmatized and causes so much embarrassment that people will do just about anything to cover it up. The LAST thing you should want is to have people buy your books. “Stop thinking about the market and start thinking about the joy of what you do!” one of those meme-y things says, and I see a lot of them. “The market” reminds me of “meat market” or an inert commodity that is bought and sold.





A book IS that, yes it is. A commodity that is bought and sold. What else can it be?I say this over and over again: we don’t expect a concert pianist to play in an empty hall. It would be completely humiliating, not to mention a huge waste of training, practice, time, money, and the cost of a Steinway. And we don't tell the pianist, "Oh, just play for the joy of playing, even if nobody ever hears it. " And yet, for writers it's a completely different thing. 

Human language and communication began to seriously evolve with the storyteller who sat by the fire, a circle of tribespeople sitting around and avidly listening. The first thing he or she probably talked about was that day’s hunt, probably exaggerating its glories and downplaying its failures. Gradually it evolved into more elaborate storytelling, exploits. People listened and learned what a human being is, even if in distorted form. It was one of the main building blocks of culture, and it defined humanity as an animal different from any other.

What if no one had sat around the fire? I think we might still be conducting our business with sticks and stones.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dead Mouse Theatre - Leprechaun

Like a peacock on fire: By Strauss!




It suddenly occurs to me that my last post probably made no sense to anyone but me. I think - I hope - I was trying to draw parallels between the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau, and George and Ira Gershwin. Sounds silly? Maybe. But it seemed oh-so-significant at the time. My Gershwin exploration is a dreamlike experience, and you know how hard it is to explain or even describe a dream to someone else, if you can even remember it. And somehow it falls apart on remembering.

But meanwhile! Here is a fabulous recording of one of the GG brothers' most charming songs. It has a killer lyric that is very hard to get your tongue around, and a fast, sassy, brilliant tune. Maureen McGovern, an underrated singer with an incredible range, gets around this very handily, and with operatic precision. And for all that, she still has fun with it.  By Jove, by jing, by Strauss is the thing!

(P. S. Kiri te Kanawa does a bizarre version of this in a thick Yiddish accent - wtf?? - and does not sing the high-altitude coloratura solo which McGovern knocks off with such aplomb. Now, it could be that the arrangement was written especially for her. At any rate, like this song that flames up like a peacock on fire, it's killer.)




Away with the music of Broadway
Be off with your Irving Berlin
Oh I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
And Gershwin keeps pounding on tin

How can I be civil when hearing this drivel
It's only for nightclubbin' souses
Oh give me the free 'n' easy waltz that is Vienneasy and
Go tell the band 
If they want a hand
The waltz must be Strauss's
Ya, ya ya, give me oom-pa-pah

When I want a melody
Lilting through the house
Then I want a melody
By Strauss
It laughs, it sings, the world is in rhyme
Swinging to three-quarter time

Let the Danube flow along
And the Fledermauss
Keep the wine and give me song
By Strauss

By Jove, by Jing, by Strauss is the thing
So I say to ha-cha-cha, heraus!
Just give me your oom-pa-pah, by Strauss!

Let the Danube flow along
And the Fledermauss
Keep the wine and give me song
By Strauss

By Jove, by Jing, by Strauss is the thing
So I say to ha-cha-cha, heraus!
Just give me your oom-pa-pah,
By Strauss!



Gershwin's Ghost: conversation




May 7/15

I should I guess try to slow this down or stop it or spread it out or something.

Why?

I’m getting greedy.

For what, we don’t know. But I am here on the line

Does it matter how much things have changed since –

Does it seem to?

No, it doesn’t. This is a timeless time. Are you appearing to people still?

I haven’t for a while because I was not sure they would know me.

Oh they would. For some reason I am thinking of Jacob and Esau

What brought THAT to your mind?

Something about birthright – you and Ira – I don’t know.

“The hands are the hands of Esau.” You know how it goes?

I need to be reminded!

Jacob stole Esau’s birthright, or he sold it for a bowl of soup. Great deal, eh? Did you ever pay attention to what my real name is?

Jacob.

Esau being the eldest, so he’d get the caboodle, all of it.





I just found the reference, here it is:

21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. TheLord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

23 The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
    and the older will serve the younger.”


24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.

25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment;so they named him Esau.[d] 


26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.[e] Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.


27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 

28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 


30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.[f])

31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

3Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.


Rings true in a way.

I don’t think he despised his birthright but some things do ring true in it, including your own cleverness and the way your personalities contrast. I just looked up the rest of it and Jacob fools his father twice! His father seems unable to go back on it, so poor Esau. . . in a way, he’s cursed, or certainly not blessed. But who on earth could outfox Jacob?

Nobody. He looks after his own. Yet Esau loves him, maybe too much.

He’s beholden to him?

It should be the other way around, but it isn’t. George ends up being the genius.

You have no trouble saying that, do you.

No. I have no trouble saying that. Ira would have no trouble saying that. He was the favored son, but look what happened, I jumped on the piano stool and was off. And it was Ira’s piano. He was supposed to take lessons. You could say the piano was his birthright, and I stole it. At least I had no trouble taking it.



But it really was.

It really was. Did he feel left behind? Then he wrote these incredible lyrics, and it became evident we really were “twins”, with the words and music intertwining.

That is absolutely fantastic! “The hands are hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob.” Pulling a switch, there, and a clever one. It’s almost like you/he stole Esau’s hands!

Esau’s hands were hairy. Jacob’s hands were smooth. Boy they sure got it backwards there.

Yeah I’ve seen pictures.  Wow. I’m just resonating from this

Go away and chew on it for a while.



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