Tag Archives: culture

A better way – Getting new royalty when the President croaks

Old Jules:

This still seems about as salubrious a means of replacing a prez as the one we’ve been using. Time we bellied up to the bar and admitted we love being governed by dynasties of aristocrats. And that aristocrats in this country are anyone who’s a celebrity and rich. Michael Douglas for prez, for instance, because he’s got such a wide range of experience in the movies qualifies him. Provided he has a sexy wife to succeed him when some returned US Navy SEAL offs him with a sniper rifle. Recall, Lee Harvey Oswald and Charlie Whitman were both ex-Marines.

Originally posted on So Far From Heaven:

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.  Not all of this is humor.

Must have been November, 1962, election day in Massachusetts though we didn’t know it.  Three young GIs in uniform, Tony Bozza, Julio Ditata and I were off work.  We lived in a brownstone house converted to apartments on Beacon Street, so we wandered over to an ice-cream joint on Boylston Street across from Boston Plaza.

As we finished off our ice cream we saw police cordoning off Boylston Street, people drifting in behind them.  Something was happening so we rushed out for a front-line position.  Asked one of the cops what was going on.

King/President Kennedy was in town.  Came to vote for his brother for the Senate.  Maybe State Senate.  I can’t recall for certain.  JFK was going to stay at the Plaza Hotel across the street.  “Salute when he drives by

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The love affair with automobiles

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Experts agree that almost everyone born in the US between 1950 and 1960 was conceived in the back seat of a Ford, General Motors, or Chrysler automobile.  The overwhelming majority of the comparative few exceptions were mainly Studebakers because of the convenience of the suicide-style back doors opening forward to allow more horizontal legroom.   The highest percentages go to the 1949 Ford Club Coupe, the 1954 Chevrolet Sedan, and the 1956 Ford Crown Victoria.

But I’ve digressed.  My point is, almost nobody was conceived in a pickup or passenger car with a floor shift or bucket seats.  And nobody, not one pregnancy resulted from sexual congress in a hotrod.  Which is the reason parents allowed youngsters of the day to build and drive them.  A young man with a hotrod had little time or need to devote himself to the pursuit of female company.

Naturally the music industry approved this means of birth control and tried to the best of its ability to stimulate interest in and sing the virtues of coffins on wheels, speed, running from the law and other non-sexual avenues of endeavor for young men.

Red Foley’s, ‘Hotrod Race‘ was the first of these:

After a tasteful passage of time this was answered by Charlie Ryan’s, ‘Hotrod Lincoln‘, claiming to be the person driving the Model A who passed Foley and the car he’d been racing against in ‘Hotrod Race’.

George Hamilton IV, in “If You Don’t Know” attempted to combine an interest in girls and hot cars by driving a ’54 souped up Ford Deluxe with high compression heads and overdrive, which succeeded for speed but had mixed results with females.

The Beach Boys were a bit late off the starting line with “Little Deuce Coupe” in 1964 because the sexual revolution had come along allowing babies to be conceived elsewhere than the back seats of automobiles.  However, I mention it here to demonstrate the lingering nature of fads, once begun.  Long after hotrods were no longer needed to protect the virtue of young men in the US, the sound of a burned out muffler still caused a faster heartbeat.

Robert Mitchum followed the formula in Ballad of Thunder Road, combining fast cars and running from the cops with filling up the spare space in the automobile with mountain whiskey instead of females.  The song led to many a high-speed chase around the cities of America providing thrills to both police, and teenagers.  And frequently ambulance and hearse drivers.

When the Nash Rambler hit the market nobody mistook it for a cool aphrodisiac setting for launching future generations.  The car was considered ugly, though it appealed so a certain type.  But since it wasn’t for the one thing, it must be for the other.  At least in the minds of the music industry:

Although I doubt many children begin their long journey toward birth in modern automobiles now, there are a lot of similarities to the hotrod part of the 1950s love affair.  People love being seen in Hum Vees and dooley trucks.  Everyone wants a SUV.  And a person still sees the occasional racy sports car.

Mostly today the guys don’t roll up their pants cuffs, though, and some do find themselves attracted to women.

Old Jules

The man who couldn’t cry

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Loudon Wainwright wrote and performed The Man Who Couldn’t Cry without making much of a splash.  Fairly typical of Loudon Wainwright, despite the fact he’s always had my vote for president or anything else he might want to do.

However, Johnny Cash is another man who has always had my vote and I’ll confess he does about as fine a job on the song as Wainwright.  As far as I know those two are the only people who’ve ever performed it.

Think about it.  We live in this amazing time.  The oldest, most musically astute of us probably couldn’t name more than a couple of 19th Century singers.  We know they sang and people loved their singing, Lola Montez, Lillian Langtry.  But we’ve never heard them do it.

For we 21st Century folks, though, Al Jolson’s still alive out there singing Mammy, Waiting on the Robert E Lee and Anniversary song.  In two part harmony with Lee Marvin singing I Was Born Under a Wandrin Star in Paint Your Wagon.  The Kingston Trio are their young selves being the Cumberland Three singing Civil War Songs, or as themselves rendering another South Coast and Seasons in the Sun.

It isn’t just the listening, either.  Incredibly, we can wander around on YouTube and watch young Lonnie Donnegan sing Jack of Diamonds and Chuck Berry perform Se La Vie Say the Old Folks.

A briefly popular song from 1961-62 used to run through my head, Dear One, by the Ravens.  I asked lots of people through the years if anyone remembered it with never a soul answering they did.  But there it is on YouTube.  Horrid song.  I can’t believe I loved it back when then was then.  But there you are.

But I’ve digressed.  I was listening to MP3 shuffling through songs, passing the time, and heard Johnny Cash singing The Man Who Couldn’t Cry.  I never recalled hearing it before.  Laughed and snorted, looked it up on YouTube to watch him sing it.  When Jeanne got home between jobs I played it for her to provide a laugh.

“Who’s that singing it?  That’s a Loudon Wainwright song!”

“Eh?  No, that’s Johnny Cash.”

“I know it’s a Loudon Wainwright song.  Look it up!”

Okay, spang robbed my macho.  Hell, until we met Jeanne had never heard of Loudon Wainwright.  [Nor a lot of her other favorite performers, I hasten to brag]  But here she is thanks to it being the 21st Century when all the singers of the 20th Century are still alive and young if they wanted to be, here’s Jeanne instructing me on whether that’s a Johnny Cash song, or a Loudon Wainwright song.

And the cool thing about that is the day is coming when nobody who loves Johnny Horton singing Miss Marcy will have been alive when Johnny Horton sang it.  People will probably dance to Al Jolson singing Anniversary Song and be as moved as they were in 1950.

At least as long as the Internet lasts.  Probably around December, this year.

Old Jules

Elvis Presley Blues

Old Jules:

I swore, readers, I wouldn’t post one damned thing, make one mention of Elvis Presley today. But that got me thinking about him. Hell, I danced to his first hit songs when they were fresh off the radio waves. I got dragged off to Nashville or Memphis, wherever to a visit of Graceland by a lady friend on her nickle. And came damned close to refusing even at that price.
But hell. Elvis was okay. Not great, but okay. Just a dumb sod with too much grease in his hair, same as almost everyone else those days.
And when they came out with that stamp, I did write that poem to him. Reading through it I can see I’ve been even stupider at times in my life than I am now. Law law law how’d I manage to survive my stupidity longer than he survived his? May by nobody writing poems to me.

Old Jules

Originally posted on So Far From Heaven:

The King Is Dead
Long Live The King

Behold, sweet sovereign of song,
creator, keeper, carrion king
of Rock and Roll,
how we miss you.

Old now, my liege, how we hum
how we whistle distant echoes
of your reign
and remember!

Not for you, sweet prince,
mediocre marble monuments,
bronze busts in barren halls.

How you were us!
How, in your dotage,
your swollen jowl,
your sallow cheeks,
your leaden eye
became our own.

Not for you, the canvas likeness hung on walls
with saints, small children, gods and golden men.
Not you!
For you, lord, the paper likeness,
the image on black velour;
in plaster lamps,
plastic icons,
and now this final homage
to your fiery youth.

With every moist touch of these lips, this tongue
we wash away the mucous of those later years
of yours and ours;
summon forth the young prince;
call back those vibrant…

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Cats can’t sing either

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Old Hydrox has become a frequent singer in his dotage.  Jeanne described the ones happening several times per night lately as ‘annoying’.  And I haven’t found a way to discourage him doing it, nor thought of any explanation.

I tend to think he misses being around several cats, possibly [especially] Niaid, his litter-mate who went on permanent mouse patrol slightly over a year ago in Andrews, Texas.  We were all together 17 years, so I’d imagine if a cat’s capable of ‘missing’ another creature Niaid is one of his night songs.

On the other hand, it’s clear Shiva is a part of all this.  He’ll walk over and sit on the floor in front of the chair where she’s sleeping and begin the serenade until he runs out of lyrics.  Sometimes it’s Sweet Betsy from Pike, other times Otis Redding or Roy Orbison.  Fortunately that usually happens during the hours of daylight.

The night songs seem to be triggered by dreams, or by Shiva creeping through the living room where Hydrox and I bed down.  She has to go by here on the way to the litter box, a few laps of water, or to check out the food dishes.  And there’s no way she’s getting past here without the keen ears of Hydrox detecting it, head jerking around to stare.

Usually he’ll contemplate what he’s seen until she passes on her return trip.  Then he’ll jump to the floor and follow her with his immortal prose or a few stanzas of Pretty Woman Walk on By.  Or My Girl.

If he had a better command of English and had ever shown any signs of being susceptible to reasoned argument or persuasion I’d try it.  But a whispered 2:00 am yell at him only results in a brief pause and stare.  Getting up and chasing him around also only gets me back under the blankets with my teeth chattering and him carrying on where he left off.

Maybe I misinterpreting the song.  Hydrox might just be saying, “This getting old is hell.  I surely do miss ambition.”

Cyrano de Bergerac remembering the moon.

Old Jules

 

Immigration reform

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Later this year when the petrodollar crashes and burns most of you will probably be hoping the Mexicans will revise their immigration laws.  Likely you’ll recall the last time the US economy fell on really hard times how US workers drifted to Mexico and further south looking for work.  It wasn’t a lot better there, but there was less English speaking competition for jobs.

Here’s an example from the Bogart movie, Treasure of Sierra Madre:

Things haven’t really changed much, have they.  Except the guy doing the hiring and cheating them out of their pay is a gringo in Mexico instead of a gringo in the US.

I’m betting those Mexicans will be tickled pea-green to have gringos coming down to work.

Old Jules

Shredded ginger in oatmeal

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’ve told you plenty of times the lengths I go to finding miniscule sodium or no sodium food products to prepare for myself.  I’ve found a good many more since the last time I talked about it.

For instance, cranberries were on sale for a buck per bag during the holidays and knowing how heavily I use cranberries I loaded up Jeanne’s freezer.  Every day I put a handful into my breakfast oatmeal.  Adds zest.  But even that gradually becomes ho hum.

Naturally there’s a lot of ginger nodules around here because both Jeanne, and I cook with ginger.  She’s careful and skins hers before grating it.  I just chunk mine into the blender, fill that blender up with shredded ginger, then flatten it so’s it’s easy to break off inside the baggie when frozen.  [Gallon freezer bags work best]  So spang, pull it out of the freezer, break off a piece, and you can put a hefty ginger flavor to anything you please.

This morning I’m having ginger-cranberry oatmeal.  It hits the taste-buds a bit hard the first spoonful, but after that oatmeal becomes a someone you’d like to get to know better.

I’ve come up with a number of other items I’m planning to tell you about, even though there’s probably not anyone else here who’s fanatic about keeping salt ingestion below 2000 grams per day.  There’s stove top pizza, stovetop wheat buns, green chili Swiss cheese omelets [amazingly low sodium] huevos ranchero style.

And so on.  I’m going to try to remember to post some ingredients and methodology as the year rolls out and I find more of them or run new trials on the ones I’ve already invented.

I’ve got to find a replacement for Hatch green chili, by the way.  They had it in the grocery stores [outside them] here during harvest time, and I bought a few pounds to run through the blender and freeze.  But I’m running dry on them.

These were only partly roasted, but Jeanne’s son, Michael, roasted them in an outdoor barbeque for me.  I debated on peeling them and decided it’s time the world found a way to get loose from green chili skins without anything labor-intensive.  So I blended the bejesus out of them and turned out to be right.  They’re great.

Old Jules