Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ornithology

Sitting pretty. (Read on.)


The gray catbird male, to impress the female, will assemble a pile of shells or stones. It will locate itself on a high sapling to sing and display its stark pelt. It can whoop a little ass if it needs to impress the competition. Thurber celebrated the catbird while Harper Lee murdered its cousin, the mockingbird. Both birds are mimic thrushes. They can imitate other birds, yes, and the catbird, too, mocks the feline. Picture this -- the cat chases the catbird up a tulip poplar. The catbird tells the cat, in its own language, to climb the sycamore instead. The cat climbs the sycamore. This represents both the triumph of the catbird and the great shame of the modern American house cat. I don't think none of them big cats, lions, ocelots, mantaloupes, cheetohs, etc., would chase none of them catbirds: The catbird tells them in their own language to commit acts of self immolations and self effacements. If you're sitting in the catbird seat, thus, you're sitting pretty. Mr. Red Barber probably said that, "sitting in the catbird seat," when referring to a Brooklyn Dodgers batter "sitting on" a 3-0 count. Mr. Red Barber knew his ornithology.

A few days ago, during the deluge, (See previous post "Drought of 2007, The") I saw a woman bedecked in running togs, jogging in the rain, carrying an umbrella. I mean: She was sweating-getting-wet but didn't want God's bounty to fall upon her shoulders? The wind would blow her umbrella inside out and she would straighten it and jog on. The wind would lift her into the air, and she became a winged critter in that moment, aloft, toes not quite tapping the pavement. A group of pheasants is a gaggle or a flock or a group of pheasants, there, with them wild disoriented turkey-eyes, whereas a group of peasants is a labor union about to be smashed by air power with wild turkey-eyes. Coincidence? If you love someone, truly love someone, then you must share your birds with him or her. You must decide whether to share all your birds at once, or pace yourself, bird by bird, if you have many birds to share, for fear of scaring the other. The sudden oriole beneath the oleander. The blue jay gawking at a mouse found in the stick of oleo. The owl getting a little two for one in the haunted tree by the light of a quarter moon.

You should also share your Bird, your Charlie Parker, because Charlie Parker shared his "Ornithology" with you. Charlie Parker shared his ornithology with lots of folks: Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Desmond, Jackie McLean, to name a few. Jackie McLean shared his alto saxophone with Charlie Parker, who did not return the saxophone, exactly, but hocked it instead, although Bird did share his ornithology with Jackie Mac. Which, then, was the greater gift? Charlie Parker, it should be noted, played those Washington, D.C. concerts with a plastic saxophone. With whom have you shared your ornithology or your plastic saxophones today? Are we all not a bit alar? In that, we have wing-like structures, and armpits, and chemicals. I would strongly advise against molting, however, if you can at all help it, because instead of molting, you may melt, or malt yourself, in that you may become a puddle or a puddle of fermented beverage. No, leave the molting to the experts, and leave melting and malting to the experts, as well. That may leave some of you with few options in life, but dig it, get up in that tree and sing, Jack: Get your pelt on!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hodgepodge



You can find song (L) on album (R)


Oleo is a margarine and Olio is a hodgepodge and Olio is a spiced stew and Oleo is a Sonny Rollins tune. That's right: I'm talking about Sonny. Not your Sonny and not my Sonny but Amtrak's Sonny, because Amtrak was playing Sonny -- and not any of that "smooth jazz" -- but Sonny, in Baltimore, eighty-two degrees in late October. And you know it's got to be Sonny if Amtrak's playing it because Amtrak doesn't fool around when it comes to Sonny. I mean, I've seen Amtrak fool around and it ain't pretty: Conductors. Ain't nothing scarier than a Conductor coming at you with a hole-punch. Come to think of it, ain't nothing scarier than a hole-punch, with or without a Conductor. Once upon a time it was a Conductor who cauliflowered my house. That is, he threw a cauliflower at my house in the middle of the night, thump!, then sped off in his Amtrak. What did I do? Washed it off and served it up! Or the time someone threw a Hebrew National Salami at a University of Michigan game, he threw it at the whole game! It hit me in the chest, and after paramedics, like, restarted my heart, I pocketed that salami and served it up. Remember: There are many things best done later -- serving up a Stadium-thrown salami included.

We are in Times of Stress, folks, and we may well see a return to people plundering much Booty. The zebra has lain down with the horse, after all, and the offspring, a Zorse, has lain down with the mule, and that offspring, a Morse, has lain down with the nighthawk, and that offspring, the Norse, has plundered much Booty, if you've read the Battle of Malden, and other Anglo Saxon texts, and not always because of brawn, rather, due to some dumb-ass king who painted himself blue, or at least his forebears did. "You may cross our isthmus," he said, and lo, cameth the Norse. Some of us may see winds today and some of us may see red skies and some of us may catch our favorite TV reality shows: Extreme Loss of Palling Around; Extreme Subpar Politician; Extreme Smiting by My God and Not Yours; Extreme IQ Disparity; and Extreme Weapons Amnesty. What should I make of a church bell that chimes at 10 past noon? Is there significance to a church bell chiming at ten past noon? I mean, if we allow bells to chime at 10 past noon, why not 18 past the hour or 23 before the hour or six before the hour? You can see, maybe, one or two of my cards: Order and/or disorder within structure and the comings and goings thereof. Stay tuned, please.

There are some Sonny sheet musics above. (Plural, I always say, where possible.) Note that "A" has some order and "B" does not. What comes third is a repetition, in the sense that there is a bitteen of order, yet, at the same time, it's not exactly the same as "A" -- therefore, Repetition and Change. Gerry Mulligan said, in Jazz Casual, that you can't have freedom without structure. Now I'm not gonna take a stance on that, one way or the other, but you should, perhaps, take a stance on that. The page is a field: We've all heard that one before. But the field is, thus, in charge, the whole of the field, that is. You can argue that the Universe is endless -- but you writing a poem or liking a song or plundering some Booty would, therefore, be structure within freedom. The spoon either right side up or backwards and your image either flipped or elongated -- structure within structure. Is there freedom within freedom? That, my friends, would require a lot of marijuana. Possibly an armed revolt, as well. But wait a minute, let's concentrate on structure: Would Endlessness qualify? Would idea? Would something like "consent" or "betrayal" or "fantasy" qualify as structure? The following applies to You: What kind of mender would you like to be? What kind of mender? What kind would you like to be?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Meditations on Originality and Longevity


You'd look like that, too, if your dead, abusive mate arose from the bathtub.

I dreamt the other day that there was freezing rain in some places and not in others. For example, on the train tracks but not on the brush beside the tracks or even the ballast that held the tracks in place. The media would not let go of this. They said, "On the train tracks but not on the brush beside the tracks." They interrupted radio and television programming to reinforce their earlier assessments of the weather. They filmed close-ups of the tracks. Locomotives were slipping forward, backward, and, inexplicably, sideways. Some went around in circles, helplessly, on those turn-tables you don't see much of, anymore. The engineers, though, were stoic. They wore those half-baseball, half-engineer caps. They installed snuff on their persons. If an engineer had no teeth he snorted the snuff instead. If you saw an engineer on the street, you might think, "ne'er do well," on account of his beard, but that would be mistaken, as he would be a man with a job, a union card, some snuff, and one of those caps. His t-shirt would read, "Engineers Do It in the Boiler Room."

Not enough haircuts come with massages. I don't mean where you lie down on the table and get all greasy. I mean a short chop-chop-chop that relaxes your neck muscles, after the haircut is done. Such a haircut exists in Olney, Md., but not many other places. I feel that, if someone wanted to open a Haircut / Massage Parlor, she or he might really clean up. Her / his clientele might be a real Who's-Who of haircut / massage recipients. If the business were successful, then the proprietor could consider the act of Settling Down. Conversely, the proprietor could consider additional Risk. She / he might serve Black-and-Tan beer conglomerations before the massage but after the haircut. There would be legal ramifications, of course, but with a few extra dollars or piasters or euros or Peruvian coins to grease The Fat Palm of the Law, one could rest at night. One possible refinement of that idea would be to serve an Irish ale of some kind along with Heinz Treacle or Heinz Spotted Dick Sponge Pudding. Before the haircut and before the massage but after the Who's-Who had been seated and gowned.

All right. Let's get down to Originality and Longevity. First of all, see Diabolique (aka Les Diaboliques aka The Fiends) if you haven't already. Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot (1954, in French); that's his wife, Vera, on the poster above; she stars in the film. It's a masterpiece of psychological disintegration (in Vera's character) and supposedly the grand-daddy of shock endings upon which many other shock endings are based. The movie is either a thriller or a horror-flick, and I was, personally, very much unsettled (if not exactly horrified) at the end. So, for me, the film had Longevity, though I'll have to take it on faith that it was completely Original in its shocker conclusion. To me, anyhow, Longevity and Firstness are inter-related, although many Americans, in my opinion, could give a rat's ass about Firstness, rightly or wrongly so. Of course, Longevity is in the eye of the filmgoer, or what have you. I would posit that a more recent movie like The Usual Suspects, the ending for which may in fact derive from Diabolique, will have less Longevity perhaps due to the fact that its Firstness rates about a 6 or 7 out of 10, whereas Diabolique, apparently, rates a 10. Most things erode, though, and folks don't always have the good sense to look back. It was Lot's wife who became a salt-lick, not you or I, Dear Reader, or are we perishing -- in part -- because we don't respect the past? Thoughts? Good day.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chicken Lickin' Is Lickin' Chicken



I take you back to the film The Mechanic, where, at one point, Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent (J-MV) are poised to kill a bunch of motorcycle thugs. To gain entry to the thugly compound, J-MV poses as a chicken delivery man and utters that famous phrase, "Chicken Lickin' is lickin' chicken," and behold, the doors open. Believability issue: Chicken delivery? I suppose that motorcycle thugs can arrange for chicken delivery although it would be more fun to ride one's chopper in search of A Little KFC. What about J-MV starring later in Abduction II: The Reunion, among other topnotch flicks? Abduction / Reunion? What, like a bunch of kidnap victims and / or kidnappers get together to reminisce about the good ol' days? And I mean, that movie was a *sequel*, Jack, a sequel. i.e., There was "The One That Started It All."

Speaking of which: Note the "BUY 1 GET 1 FREE" above in the Chickin Lickin (sic) window. We, in the biz, call that A Little Two For One. You should always be on the lookout for A Little Two For One. Classic Twos-For-One include the Northeast Corridor, pollination, and nail polish remover. Underground or "cult" Twos-For-One include nimbostratus clouds, mumbo jumbo, and jumbo: Slice, gumbo, and mambo. The mambo, folks, is a dance while its cousin, the mamba, is a To-Be-Avoided snake. The mamba dances the mambo while the mambo only knows the motion of the commotion of the Land of Goshen. Hence, a little Two For One. Eh? What about "W" and his father? Perhaps the Clintons. Funkadelic and Parliament? Kool and Newport? Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumbass. A Little Two For One, folks.

I wanted, this week, to veer into politics. I wanted to Rail. To, you know, impress you all with my "acumen." I think, maybe, that we have entered a new era. And this era should be known as Post-Intellect. That is, we, as a nation, seem to have the IQ of a Post. We could only hope that (that) means a blog entry or an overseas position, as opposed to a piece of mail or a fence part. Lately, I've resided in horror at the prospect of typing two "thats" in a row. Why the hell would anyone be so freaking lackadaisical as to require two pronouns in a row. You don't see "him him" or "she she" although there could be a stutter of sorts: "You ... you bah-stard." Ah, I take you back to an era where the word "bah-stard" actually stood for something. In these Post-Intellect days, you can't even insult anyone anymore. You can rattle off a hundred curses and it's, like, nothing. Take away someone's Chicken Lickin', though, and you're Cruisin' For A Bruisin'. I rest my case. In that, I sit down and chill my weary duff. xo B.A.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Drought of 2007, The

Shall our artificial lizzids crawl back into the sea?
In a recent survey, 58 percent of All-Americans felt that they, as All-Americans, were entitled to regular rainfall patterns, and reported feelings of inadequacy when actual rainfall totals failed to match predictions. Respondents felt "dirty" or "humbled" or "parched" under such conditions. A startling 52 percent of All-Americans averred that their own personal moisture levels had declined during the Drought, feeling the need for lip balms, shoulder balms, hinge joint balms, and aerial bullhorn routines. As many as 17 percent had little opinion. Not that they had "No opinion." Rather, they had little opinion. This could be a result of The Short Term Profit Model or that 17 percent of respondents were little folk or plain old "Reticent in the Retina." As you can tell, the survey results added up to 127 percent, meaning that: Them dead people is rising from the grave in Chicago, and have cell phones, and have Discover Cards, and have balms, and the prospects is good for a Democrat in 2008, unless, of course, Republicans raise their own dead from the grave, in which case we'll see mayhem in the streets: Dead slaying Dead, etc. It used to be Brother vs. Brother in the Civil War, but in the Drought, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Dead on Dead violence. We must note that, in The Literature, the globe (aka The Earth) (aka The Orb) (aka The Bonny Lea a Wee Bitteen from the Sun) is said to be warming. If our environment is warming, it would easily follow that we are warming, too. We: Us: People. Our body temperatures: Ninety nine, ninety nine point two. This is The New Normal, if you will. All the thermometers have been revised, which has been a boon to Some Economies and not Other Economies and has raised Some Eyebrows but not Other Eyebrows at the State Department. New directions have been issued which, through the use of GPS technology, can now guide the thermometer toward the proper orifice. Now, it does not go without saying, because we are saying it here, that Personal Warming can correlate, if we fudge the numbers just so, with Personal Drying. That is, with the Drought in place, people are feeling dryer now than at any time in Human History, even greater than The Amazing Dry of 1502, The Surprising Dry of 1101, and The Dry, Dry Oath of Biarritz (In progress). The globe is warming so We, The People, are warmer. The globe is drying so We, The People, are dryer. That is: Paltry sense of humor. Water may become the New Gold, and Les √Čtats-Unis may back its currency, we're told, with water. That is, each of us could march down to Fort Fricking Knox and demand a dollar's worth of water for each dollar we have in our measly little pockets, in God we trust, so help us God. Many more people -- 145 percent of All-Americans -- felt that, eventually, most creatures should be rained upon, with "eventually" taking on many disparate meanings. In some cases, "eventually" meant pastures and traffic signals and duck calls, and in other cases, "eventually" meant Manned Mars Project Cuisine. In a book I read as a boy, entitled Weather, which covered weather, and dealt, largely, with weather, a rather wordy narrator (employer: NOAA) in bluegray prose ridiculed rain dances and other "indigenous" practices, as if to say that The Man has had better ideas on causing rain to drop from the sky. When was the last time The Man caused so much as a condensation? Hasn't The Man done enough to the climate? Our best chance for drought abatement would be for Hurricane Bob to strike again: He has struck the U.S. mainland three times: 1979, 1985, and 1991, one of the only hurricanes in Human History to make repetitive landfalls. We can only hope that Bob will return. We can put tiaras on our children and train spy satellites on our mirror images and play Mozart with an orchestra of chainsaws -- and maybe, just maybe, we will hydrate this studio apartment we have here called Earth. Or maybe if all of us dance the Hydration. Drink up! Work it out! xo