30 November 2009
29 November 2009
The hymn: "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
The chorus (as I learned it):
Rejoice, rejoice, O Israel
To you shall come Emmanuel.
The chorus (as it is sung now):
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel.
Now, who separates an imperative ("rejoice") from the entity being addressed ("Israel") by an entire line of lyric -- especially when there's a considerable pause after the first line, which contributes to the confusion?
You might be able to do in Latin because the case endings will tell you "Israel" is in the vocative.
In English, however, word order matters.
28 November 2009
25 November 2009
24 November 2009
(Forget pretending to be John, Paul, George, and Ringo on LSD, let's play Karen on drums or Richard on keyboards! Insert anorexia joke here.)
The song also brought to mind that, when our family bought a brand new 1975 Chevrolet Malibu Classic with its 8-track tape player (no more am radio for us!), my father complained about the racket emanating from it on The Carpenters Greatest Hits tape. That, and "Better off Dead" from Elton John's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, simply drove him nuts!
We were truly a headbangin' family, in case you you couldn't tell.
23 November 2009
A 45-second "drop" ad that we recently made for "Frank, Gil, and Friends" features an outtake of Sinatra's 1958 recording session for Rodgers and Hart's "Where or When," during which he jokingly sings:
"It seems we've stood and talked like this before;
We threw up on each in the same old way
But I can't remember night or day."
This then brought to mind the chorus of the 1991 Morrissey song "Our Frank," which reads:
"So give us a drink
and make it quick
or else I'm gonna be sick
sick all over
your frankly vulgar
see how the colors blend."
The "frank" in the Morrissey title is an adjective describing "conversation" and not anyone's name, but the juxtaposition of it and nausea just seemed too precious to pass up.
I must learn to control my instincts better.
22 November 2009
I really liked the play itself as well as the performances by Willi Burke and Pearl Rhein. Although I sensed a bit of line trouble by Ms. Burke, her ability to depict her character's vulnerability in Act II was especially powerful, while Ms. Rhein's character matured as the confidence in her talent grew in front of our eyes.
Yet another winning production from POP.
If you haven't seen one of the seemingly 1000 things presented there under the new management in the last few months, check out their website...and go!
Not that I have any say, but here are some things I'd like to see produced:
Bernard Kops's Playing Sinatra
Gershwin and Gershwin's Girl Crazy
Something Greek (Antigone, The Bacchae, or The Frogs)
Peter Schaffer's Black Comedy/White Lies
and, perhaps, an all-tap show with nothing but Sinatra tunes! (Who could collaborate on a thing like that?)
We shouldn't wonder why Americans are so awful at financial planning (and, not unrelatedly, marriage)...
Curly and Jud engage in a bidding war, each willing to dispose of his entire life's savings or tools-of-his-trade (i.e., future earnings potential) for a lunch.
Will meanwhile can't hold on to $50 to save his l(w)ife, and Ali, well, considering he actually runs a business, is quite the poor entrepreneur.
We'll overlook the fact that all these financial transactions are thinly veiled attempts to buy and sell women because that would lead us to a discussion of the Goodspeed Opera House's production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the educational packet for which includes worksheets for middle- and high-schoolers in language arts, history, and culture.
I can hear the post-performance class now:
"Teacher, what's a 'procurer'?"
"What I want to be when I grow up: a 'courtesan'!"
"Our band's finally got a name -- 'The House of Lycus'!"
Now, those are solid and measurable educational outcomes.
"[University of Connecticut football coach] Randy Edsall's pregame interview with NBC's Alex Flanagan was the most important recruiting pitch he'll ever give, but no less significant than the halftime feature on Jazz Howard's death, which bathed campus, coach, and program in a most favorable light for future recruits."
20 November 2009
19 November 2009
Defenders say oddball findings that get a lot of press — typically promoted by shrewd university public-relations people — are often not the primary aim of research, “just a byproduct of it.” They are hype-rich side dishes, and can yield gravy: The publicity “means more kudos and respect within the research world, which can translate into more funding for other work,” says one of the article’s interview subjects.
What more can anyone ask?!
18 November 2009
To celebrate, we'll also be giving away copies of Charles Pignone's Frank Sinatra: The Family Album and David Lloyd's The Gospel According to Frank!
(NB: TLH stands for "Total Listening Hours")
November 17, 2009, 02:59 PM ET
Cuesta College President Quits, Criticizing His Own Leadership
David Pelham, president of Cuesta College since March 2008, resigned abruptly on Monday. In an e-mail message to people on the California campus, Mr. Pelham criticized his own leadership of the financially challenged community college, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune. He will step down in December to take a post running an unspecified college in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
17 November 2009
I picked up a plastic spoon and started eating.
Quickly I realized the spoon, in shape and size, was completely wrong for the food I was eating, and so, immediately and naturally, Joel Barlow's words from Canto Three of "The Hasty Pudding" (1793) came to mind:
There is a choice in spoons. Though small appear
The nice distinction, yet to me 'tis clear.
The deep-bowled Gallic spoon, contrived to scoop
In ample draughts the thin diluted soup,
Performs not well in those substantial things,
Whose mass adhesive to the metal clings;
Where the strong labial muscles must embrace,
The gentle curve, and sweep the hollow space.
With ease to enter and discharge the freight,
A bowl less concave and more dilate,
Becomes the pudding best...
The mock epic, perhaps the best neo-classical poem written in British America and definitely the best poem composed about cornmeal mush, now rings truer than ever for me...
...and I also now know to bring my own spoon to tap class (maybe one of those "Frosty" spoons from Wendy's)!
15 November 2009
"Instead of the middle-class Parisians the organizers had hoped for, witnesses said the crowd, overwhelmingly young, male and poor, appeared to be made up mostly of residents of the tough suburbs that ring the French capital, as well as poor students and homeless men."
So, if I decide, on a whim, to give away high grades later on this semester, I'll assume only the better students will come asking, right?
14 November 2009
I've decided to remind men of the great exercise fads that have always been out there for them:
Hey, guys, try dancing
on roller skates
or with a hat rack,
or a gun,
or a bank of parking meters,
or a broom,
or just yourself!
YOU'LL BE IN GREAT SHAPE IN NO TIME!
(Full disclosure: I'm shaped more like the penguin than anyone.)
13 November 2009
12 November 2009
The song: "If He Walked Into My Life"
There is a nice photo in the slide show below, but, where's the love?
11 November 2009
10 November 2009
Why would someone like me, who is not a non-political animal in the least and who understands the importance of politicking, really dislike going to University Senate meetings? I have consciously avoided it since arriving in 1992, and have only been going of late as an alternate for one of the two chairperson seats for the School of Arts and Sciences (a role that may become more regular next semester).
Am I missing something? I must be. I should like this. Shouldn't I?
But, then again, maybe my quoting the King of Siam says it all.
08 November 2009
Are they kidding me? In the realm of thermometer placement, the ear's a walk in the park.
Not to sound bitter, but it's further amazing to me that any child today could complain about the taste of medicine.
On top of that, kids today have the capability to watch their favorite shows at any point and as often as they want.
Color me jealous.
do not to try to feel me out
since Adelaide, Adelaide, ever-lovin' Adelaide
is takin' a chance
(talk about your long shot!)
is takin' a chance on me!
"Adelaide" (Frank Loesser)
as performed by Frank Sinatra, Guys and Dolls movie soundtrack, 1955
07 November 2009
I don't what to do
Can't give you a Thunderbird
Or a penthouse with a view
Can't even buy a little present
I'm much too broke I find
But there is one way I may save the day
And I sure hope you don't mind
That I can't give you anything but love, baby
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby...
"I Can't Give You Anything But Love" (Dorothy Fields)
as performed by Judy Garland, Judy at Carnegie Hall, 1961
06 November 2009
While I agree that real new releases (as opposed to repackaging) are a very good thing, I fall between the two camps...but mostly because I'm not a fan of the live album, in concept. My feeling is, unless the concert was some unbelievable (and, in some way, unexpected) triumph (i.e., Judy at Carnegie Hall, 1961), not a small part of the performance experience is simply lost on a recording. And if, as in some cases on Sinatra: New York, the performances are weak, the very weaknesses that for the most part go all but unacknowledged by a live audience will be magnified tenfold and become inescapable to the listener at home... To casual fans, Sinatra's Live at the Sands, The Main Event, and Sinatra in Paris, probably give all they'll ever need from a live career-spanning perspective, even if hardcore fans, like myself, will buy whatever unreleased material the Sinatra estate decides to release.
I can't but think of Benjamin Franklin's comments in his autobiography about the Reverend George Whitefield, the main force behind the mid-18th century religious revival known as the Great Awakening. Franklin admired the preacher and commented on his uncanny ability to move enormous crowds with his preaching. Whitefield's great mistake, according to Franklin, was the publication of those same sermons -- which gave the utterly captivated crowd a second chance to really examine what had happened, which almost always was not nearly as great or captivating or moving as it first appeared.
And so it is with so many live recordings (by Sinatra and others): yes, I would have LOVED to have been there, but my not being there makes listening to the performance far less compelling and makes my ears far less forgiving. Sinatra's presence could fill the largest of arenas, and an audience could feel that force palpably. Live recordings only rarely can capture his presence.
Some things, like the Reverend Whitefield's sermons and most live Sinatra shows, are perhaps best left to the incredible impact the performance has on one's memory.
Some things are best when ephemeral.
by heart and recite it to you
To swim seven seas would be a breeze I bet
but I couldn't love you any more than I do.
"Couldn't Love You (Any More Than I Do)"
Nick Lowe, Nick the Knife, 1982
05 November 2009
visit the building
take the highway park and come up and see me
I'll be working working
but if you come visit
I'll put down what I'm doing
my friends are important
"Don't Worry About the Government"
Talking Heads, 77,1977
04 November 2009
"Reason to Believe"
Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska, 1982
03 November 2009
Harry, won't you please come home.
Things are looking bad
I know you would be mad...
Chicago, Chicago VIII, 1975
Filling in circles with black ink seems soooo SAT/CMT-ish.
What a great idea: If you really don't want people to vote, make it seem like taking a test!
02 November 2009
How else to explain the following joke from his Private Joke File?
OLD GENTLEMAN (bewildered at an elaborate wedding):
Are you the bridegroom?
No, sir, I was eliminated in the semifinals.
Werewolves of London again
"Werewolves of London"
Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy, 1978
01 November 2009
Top 13 things I learned from Vic Damone's autobiography, "Singing Was The Easy Part" (SPOILER ALERT!)
12. When playing golf with Perry Como, bring quarters because
a) you will play a quarter a hole,
b) he won't play you without seeing your quarters, and
c) he'll lose no more than two holes.
11. Vic converted from Catholicism to Baha'i
10. The suggestion that he marry his present wife, Rhona, one of the co-founders of "Jones New York," was made by her live-in companion/business partner of 25 years --- although I'm unsure if that is a recommendation one should give added weight or consider tainted.
9. Legendary golfer Ben Hogan, who "categorically" never gave tips on golf tips to anybody, once muttered when passing Vic on the practice tee, "Turn, goddamnit. Turn."
8. Vic hung up on Frank Sinatra twice.
7. Sinatra's bodyguard, sent by his boss, stopped Vic from killing the lover of his first wife, Italian actress Pier Angeli, offering the sage advice, "Kill her...him you should send roses to" (and find how how he managed to do it).
6. He and Diahann Carroll obviously weren't married too long...everyone's favorite "Julia" only merits about three pages in the whole book (?!).
5. Both Burt Bacharach and John "Star Wars" Williams were Vic's accompanist over the years.
4. Mike Douglas owed his talk show career to Vic.
3. If, with a naked woman, you enter a sauna occupied by the Rat Pack, the naked Frank and Sammy will run out "like sacred rabbits" to cover themselves, and Dean will just sit there saying "Beautiful, just beautiful..."
2. On a date with Ava Gardner, you're going to drink and swear (and have a helluva time), even if you never drink and swear any other time.
1. NEVER leave your mob-daughter-princess-of-a-fiancee alone with your mother in the kitchen of your parents' house, lest
a) your mother start recommending dishes you might enjoy after you marry,
b) your fiancee take offense at the idea that she would have to cook at all,
c) your fiancee start calling your mother all sorts of names,
d) you break off the engagenment, and
e) you almost get thrown out of a NY hotel window by her mobster father.
I will no longer use my standard "There are no good Vic Damone stories" punchline when explaining why there are so many Sinatra/Mob stories, compared to everyone else, even though all those entertainers were singing in the same mob-run clubs as Frank.
The book is a fun, quick read that, while not especially well written, clearly portrays the character of the man and the tenor of his life and career.
I'm glad I read it.
Never ever missed a single day
Just one more without a raise in pay
And I'm leavin'
"Michael and Peter" (Jake Holmes)
Frank Sinatra, Watertown, 1969
Was it expected? No. Was it flukey? Sure? Was it exciting? Definitely. (And, ket's note, as an NL guy, I'm rooting for the Phillies!)
It's the way baseball should be played -- everybody pulling his weight on both sides of the ball (to mix my sports metaphors), not some slugger hitting a home run then sitting down for a nice rest without worrying about playing defense.
And don't even get me started on those WILD CARD teams...oy.