Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

January 27th

January 27, 2023

Every so often the accidents of the calendar bring together remarkably contrasting occasions. This is a day of such cognitive dissonance. Weep with me. Gasp in pleasure and delight with me.

First, today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, in 1945, an event that serves as a symbol of the Holocaust — the Shoah — that wiped out around six million Jews (and a number of others) and caused untold suffering.

But then today is also the birthday of two people whose works have brought pleasure to millions: the astonishingly prolific composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (born in 1756) and the mathematician-turned-comic-writer Charles Lutwidge Dodson, who wrote the Alice books and a number of remarkable nonsense poems under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll (born in 1832).

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Ride the wild rabbit!

January 23, 2023

(Packed with raunch of several varieties, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

A digression from one of the topics of yesterday’s posting “Moments of rebirth” — the lunar new year yesterday, the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese calendar. Here celebrated  by this homoerotic digital image created by Vadim Temkin:


(#1) My caption: Ride the Wild Rabbit!

Aside from the smiling young hunk, the image taps two springs of raunchiness: rabbits (and their fabled sexual licentiousness — fucking like bunnies, as the idiom has it) and riding (and its similarity to insertive intercourse, to fucking). So it’s all about fucking: metonymically, in the association of rabbits with prolific breeding; and metaphorically, in the resemblance of riding to intercourse.

My caption just packages the rabbit raunchiness and the riding raunchiness together in the phrase ride the rabbit, adding the wild for a whiff of unchecked abandon, the whole thing then evoking wild pony rides, as celebrated in popular song.

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Adventures in cartoon understanding: Victor alignment

January 20, 2023

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro (Wayno’s title “Job Satisfaction”):


(#1) To understand this cartoon, you need to know something about what a tire and auto service garage does, and you need to recognize the significance of the name Frankenstein (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

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The bearded cartoonist, post-simectomy

January 17, 2023

It begins with a Facebook posting by Bob Eckstein on 1/12:

BE: The Daily Cartoonist just ran this piece … and that is Sam Gross on the cover on the right:


(#1) The BE cartoon: a bearded fellow — I take him to be a cartoonist (since this is in The Daily Cartoonist) — in a hospital bed, post-simectory

Note simectory ‘the surgical removal of a simian’ — in this case not an actual simian, but the simulacrum of a monkey: a one-man-band-monkey toy. I hadn’t realized that such toys are still being made, but it seems that they are (classically they are wind-up metal — “tin” — toys, but now they appear to be battery-operated plastic, and considerably more durable than the vintage versions; I speak with recollected sorrow over the short life of my very own monkey-band toy, roughly 75 years ago).

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S Novym Godom!

January 1, 2023

🐇 🐇 🐇 greeting the new month and the new year, with Happy New Year! greetings in Russian, on a postcard showing a polar bear and a penguin — symbols of cold polar places, hence of winter — about to shake hands on a globe:


(#1) The Soviet Visuals Facebook page identifies it merely as: “Happy New Year!” Soviet postcard, 1960 (hat tip to Dennis Lewis on 12/31)

Soviet Visuals is a FB site for the Stratonaut shop, which sells all sorts of items from, or harking back to, the Soviet period of Russian history. Alas, in two hours of searching, I couldn’t find #1 anywhere on the Stratonaut site, or anywhere else, for that matter. This is of some interest, because the imagery (the polar bear and penguin) and the apparent message (a wish for unity and amity throughout the world) would be unsurprising in an American card for the Christmas / New Year season, but looks unparalleled in a Russian context — where I can’t find any polar bears or penguins at all, and where the iconography is deeply Russocentric (in one way or another) rather than universalist.

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New Girl in Town

December 30, 2022

This follows up on my 12/28/22 posting “Building wealth”, with its section on Princeton in 1959-60 and musical theatre (and Clark Gesner), mentioning New Girl in Town (which I learned about first from my roommate Frank (Franklyn J. Carr III), and then talked about with Clark). My old friend from those days (and still) Bonnie Campbell (Benita Bendon Campbell), also Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s godmother, responded to this in e-mail to me on 12/28 (quoted here with her permission):

Your poignant look back at Princeton years, especially the importance of Broadway musicals as background, carried me back there, too.

At my request, you gave me the cast album of New Girl In Town, for a birthday present in 1961. I had seen the show in New York, including Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter, in September of 1957, the night before I sailed to France on the Mauritania. Thus, the night before I met Ann.

The song “It’s Good To Be Alive” became a sort of mantra for me.

The Ann here is Ann Walcutt Daingerfield (later Ann Daingerfield Zwicky), who became Bonnie’s roommate during their junior year in France (1957-58); and a bit later her roommate when they were both working in Princeton. Thereafter, Bonnie was Ann’s best female friend (from among a number of such friends), until Ann’s death in the bleak midwinter, 17 January 1985. Many of the things in (as I put it in that earlier posting) “the giant album of Things I Learned at Princeton” came from Ann and Bonnie, together and separately. So: New Girl in Town, from Frank and Clark and Bonnie and Ann, over 60 years ago.

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Building wealth

December 28, 2022

A wry note on the news about pathological fabulist George Santos and his apparent amassing of millions of dollars in a mere two years. Santos’s remarkable ability to build wealth rapidly called to my mind the parallel achievements of the three men in the song “Little Tin Box” from the musical Fiorello!

After some background on the extraordinarily opaque Mr. Santos and his (apparent) meteoric accumulation of great heaps of money, I will entertain you with the full lyrics to the song. Then the basic facts about the musical, and more personal recollections from the giant album of Things I Learned at Princeton, in this case about how I became acquainted with the musical, which will lead to a brief note on Clark Gesner and still another musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (for which Clark supplied the book, the words, and the music).

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Cory and Calvin, Kiefer and Petey

December 21, 2022

Today’s Christmas card material (hat tip to Aric Olnes): identical-twin muscle-hunk sex-elves in seasonal costume, with some cookie-eating oral action as a bonus:


Twins Cory and Calvin Boling: TikTok stars, bodybuilders, fitness models, and trainers; born 10/18/97 in North Carolina, they advertise themselves on Instagram and Facebook as well as TikTok

Yes, indisputably homoerotic; I imagine them pole-dancing.

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Beneath a green auroral sky

December 18, 2022

… the Christmas penguins embrace:


(#1) In the sky, the green shimmer of an aurora; on the ground, a parent penguin nurtures their young one (in a green knitted cap)

The image comes to me from Joel Levin (one of the most faithful readers of this blog) for my collection of penguiniana. It came to him in a corporate holiday card from Fidelity Investments, where its visual message of parental care was sandwiched between conventional holiday greetings:

Wishing you a magical holiday

[Fidelity Penguin gif]

Here’s to all the good things the season brings.

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The bag of clownfish

December 15, 2022

(Warning: a partial draft of this essay was accidentally posted an hour and a half ago. I know from bitter experience that trying to delete a posted draft and replace it with the final product unfolds into disaster, so I’m just treating this as an update of that earlier posting. Please bear with me.)

In today’s (12/15) Rhymes With Orange cartoon, a delightful exercise in cartoon understanding: to appreciate the point of the joke (set in a pet store and focused on tropical fish), you need to know something quite specific about modern American popular culture, having to do with circus acts.


(#1) Two young women — perhaps, we speculate, a couple, though that seems not to be relevant to the joke — have bought some (tropical) fish, in water in plastic bags (two in one bag, one in the other); the pet store clerk is now handing them a bag of clownfish as well: a bag jam-packed to the brim with brightly colored tiny fish

Why is that funny?

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