29 February 2012

Aging: Two pop/rock views

To grow old is to change
To change is to be new
To be new is to be young again

John Denver, “Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life,”
Rhymes and Reasons (1969)

Growing up leads to growing old and then to dying
And dying to me don't sound like all that much fun

John Mellencamp, “The Authority Song,”
Uh-huh (1983)

Maybe it's a mark of getting old, but I think I have to go with Mr. Denver on this one.

In a related story, in the wake of the sudden passing of Monkee Davy Jones....

...David Bowie has announced he wants his name back.

Ladies and gentlemen, DAVY JONES is dead!  Long live DAVY JONES!

24 February 2012

A wonderfully Augustinian lyric from Leonard Cohen

...on this first Friday of Lent:

When you're not feeling holy,
your loneliness says that you've sinned.

(From "Sisters of Mercy", The Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1967)

My Breakfast with Andre

The Problem with Choice
What You Leave Out

: Andre Gide

21 February 2012

Paging Katie Couric! Paging Katie Couric!

So, prepping for my colonoscopy on Sunday and early Monday morning gave me a sense of accomplishment. And I bet I'm not alone in this. 

So, given that physicians want to encourage their patients to have the procedure, I have a couple ideas (the first quite seriously, the second less so) for t-shirts/hats, etc. to be given to whomever has a colonoscopy.

 It should be accompanied by a major public service announcement campaign...hence, the need of Ms. Couric!

Slogan 1:  
I've been 'py-ed
(Have you?)

It should, of course, be "'scoped," but no lay person says that.  We always use the name of the procedure.

Slogan 2:

I put it where the sun don't shine
(Have you?)

Katie, have your people call mine.

20 February 2012

It was 50 years ago today that John Glenn circles the earth...

...in his space capsule, Friendship 7.  Below is the recording (45 rpm!) that came with the G. I. Joe Mercury capsule! 

I still have my record, though not the capsule or the spacesuit or the G. I. Joe.

And, also in John Glenn's honor, here's my favorite Elvis Costello reference to presidential candidate Senator Glenn from "Peace in Our Time" of 1984's Goodbye Cruel World:

And the heavyweight champion fights in the
International Propaganda Star Wars
There's already one spaceman in the White House;
What do you want another one for?

Godspeed, John Glenn!

Top Five (er, six) Presidential Colonoscopy Quotes

On this Presidents' Day 2012 (and the day of my first colonoscopy), here are the top five presidential colonoscopic quotations:

6. (Bonus)  "Colonoscopy accomplished." 
George W. Bush

5.  "I cannot tell a lie; I didn't have a colonoscopy." 
George Washington

4.  "Tippecanoe and Colonoscopy Too." 
William Henry Harrison

3. "I am not a gastroenterologist."
Richard Nixon  

2.  "A colon divided against itself cannot stand." 
Abraham Lincoln

and the #1 Presidential-themed colonoscopy quotation is:

1. "I did not have a colonoscopy with that doctor." 
Bill Clinton

19 February 2012

My top four predicted findings from tomorrow's age-appropriate colonoscopy

4.  That they will find every piece of gum I've ever swallowed (and I swallow most of 'em)!

3.  That there will be no sign of any of the many, many, many books that I've devoured over my first fifty years of life.

2.  That there will be an unnaturally pinkish hue from my history of Hostess Snoballs.

and, finally,

1.  That there will be evidence that I have, not unlike much of the American public, swallowed a whole bunch of hooey, such as:

No, no, no, not the cereal, per se (which admittedly I DID love), but the claim that the "sugary sweet cereal [will give the consumer] 100% of the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and iron established by the U.S. Government."

18 February 2012

The Top Three Paul Simon-as-Back-up-Singer Recordings

#3 "You Can Call Me Al,"  Graceland,  with Chevy Chase
     (Okay, it's only in the video that he's not the LEAD singer, but so what?)

#2 "Written on the Subway Wall/Little Star,"  Yo Frankie, with Dion
(Simon's appearance here is quite appropriate since Dion's song probably owes not a little to Simon's "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls" from "Sounds of Silence.)"

and the #1 Paul-Simon-as-a-Back-Up-Singer recording is

"The Blues," Trouble in Paradise, with Randy Newman
(Randy and Paul making light of Simon's at times dour persona!)

In honor of Yoko Ono's 79th birthday...

...here are two songs from the 1984 tribute album Every Man Has a Woman with performances by Roberta Flack

and son Sean...

Admittedly, I'm no fan of Ms. Ono's voice, but she can write a song. 

Happy Birthday, Yoko!

17 February 2012

Governor Malloy, have your "brand" people call me!

From yesterday's Hartford Courant:

...Later, [Economic Development Commisioner Catherine] Smith said that the state would be increasing money for tourism to $25 million and would be developing a new "brand" for Connecticut.

"The governor worked on the 'I Love New York' campaign when he was in law school,'' Smith told Sen. Toni Harp, D-New Haven, the longtime co-chairwoman of the appropriations committee. "We haven't got a brand yet that we can hang our hat on. We hired four firms to do the work with us. ... I forget all the names of these various firms.''

Yes, just what Connecticut -- the former "New England's Rising Star" -- needs: more branding!

But, as a good citizen of the state, Mr. Governor, I can sell you this slogan for a mere $100,000:

In Connecticut, there's only one YOU!

I knoooow, you love it!

We'll talk.

The top five television presidents that doesn't include...

...William Devane in The Missiles of October (1974)?  What kind of short-term memory list is that?  

And the viewer gets the bonus of Martin Sheen as the Attorney General!

16 February 2012

A list of the "most scathing" break-up songs...

...that does not include the Mercer/Vimmerstedt classic "I Wanna Be Around"? 

How silly, Xfinity!

What possibly could beat...

I wanna be around to pick up the pieces
when somebody breaks your heart
some somebody twice as smart as I

Somebody who will swear to be true
like you used to do with me
Who'll leave you to learn
that misery loves company

Wait and see...
I wanna be around to see how he does it
when he breaks your heart to bits
We'll see if the puzzle fits, so fine

And that's when I'll discover that revenge is sweet
As I sit there applauding from a front row seat
When somebody breaks your heart
Like you broke mine
Like you broke mine!

14 February 2012

I don't remember whether it was my Sophomore or Junior year at Xavier University...

...but, whichever year, on Valentine's Day, I stood on the XU mall and distributed to passersby valentines that all had the same message:

"With all the love possible for one person to exude!"

Well, not a little time has passed, but the sentiment remains the same!

Happy Valentine's Day, all!!!

13 February 2012

Literary Death Match #2: Royall Tyler vs. Rock Royalty

Girlfriends and Their Brothers

Plague on it! this is unlucky. A fighting brother is a cursed appendage to a fine girl. Egad! I just stopped in time; had he not discovered himself, in two minutes more I should have told him how well I was with his sister. Indeed, I cannot see the satisfaction of an intrigue, if one can't have the pleasure of communicating it to our friends.

:Royall Tyler, The Contrast (1787)


When you're alone in some city hotel,
you can get comfort just from ringing a bell.
You might pick up a girl on the street,
but my baby gives it up totally free.
My baby's accountant never cause you alarm;
My baby's brother never break-a your arm.
My baby, I, I, I love her!

: Pete Townsend, "My Baby Gives it Away,"  Rough Mix (1977)

11 February 2012

Never Underestimate the Efficacy of What You Learn in Freshman Year of College

From 1977-1981, I attended Xavier University and was enrolled in the Honors Program, a classical liberal arts program that required four years of Latin, three-and-a-half years of ancient Greek, 21 hours of philosophy, 12 hours of theology, plus other specific courses.

In Elementary Greek (a two-semester, five-day-a-week boot camp of declensions, conjugations, and other grammatical necessities), Fr. Burke, S.J., a remarkable linguist who was known to throw out examples from a wide variety of languages (Indo-European and not...Lakota Indian comes to mind, in at least one instance!), shared with us one day a series of ancient Greek jokes.

These particular jokes all began with skolastikos tis...(i.e., "Did you hear the one about the moron who...?"), and I've never forgotten some of them.  (Of course, my doing a joke-a-day in my classes certainly has encouraged retaining such things!) 

Did you hear about the moron who was trying to sell his house, and so he carried around a brick as a sample?

Did you hear about the moron who rode his horse onto the ferry in order to cross the river faster?


Did you hear about the moron who, in trying to save money, decided to teach his horse not to eat?  So he stopped feeding him, and a few weeks later the horse died.  About which the moron complained, "Great!  It just got to the point when he learned not to eat, and now it goes and dies on me!"

This stroll down comedy lane has been spurred by an email I received this week from a staff person of Dr. Mary Beard, a fine Cambridge classicist who writes the swell "A Don's Life" Blog for TLS.  In March 2009, she published an entry about ancient humor that mentioned the skolastikos tis genre, to which I couldn't help but post a comment referring to my favorite one:

There were identical twin brothers, absolutely identical, you couldn't tell 'em apart. One day, one of them dies. Did you hear about the moron who saw the surviving brother and asked him, "Who died, you or your brother?"

"So what?," you say.  Well, the professor's staffer had emailed to ask if they could reprint my comment, the joke learned from the grand old Jesuit way back in 1977-78, in her second book-length collection of posts (with select comments) from the Don's blog.

The moral of the story: all knowledge is useful! 

05 February 2012

I really don't like my Super Bowl prediction...

...but here it is:

I just can't see B and B ain't getting beaten twice in the biggest game of all.  (I feel icky just saying that.)

But here's the key, and, you can call me crazy, but I think this has been Coach B's plan all along: Chad Ochocinco has a HUGE game...close to 100 yards and at least one TD.

Patriots 31 Giants 24