Thursday, August 27, 2009

My esteemed and honorable father

still in the rehab hospital recovering from a broken hip got off a good line about the late Senator Kennedy yesterday.
He was heard to mutter from the fastness of his wheelchair:
"If there are no politics in Heaven, then Teddy Kennedy won't stay".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"How Teddy Kennedy followed me to Leningrad"

(I shook the man's hand three times maybe in forty six years, this is the closest thing I have to an anecdote about our late Senior Senator)

Once upon a time in 1983, I went on a student tour of the olde Soviet Union, I had a great time, the Hermitage alone in Leningrad would have been a bargain at twice the price. Every night from one end of the USSR to the other my fellow students and I gathered in the US dollar loving Intourist Hotel bar, where we drank razor sharp vodka and shamelessly well undergraduates.
On our last night in Leningrad a cadre of tall blonde college students from the USA crept into the bar, they ordered fruit juice they insinuated themselves into our group as they spoke "american".
Sure enough they were undergrads from Wheaton College, the "other" Wheaton College, the Bible School and well known manufacturer of Protestant Ministers and their wives.
Turns out their student tour was a sort of pilgrimage combined with some old fashioned bible smuggling; "witnessing" they called it. "Well if they wanna witness the business side of a KGB lock-up who am I to judge" thought I, an expansive US Patriot to the last.
They were a convivial if uptight bunch and turned a blind eye to our lavish consumption of vodka, one interesting sidelight, each male student was assigned to "chaperone" a female student, everywhere it seemed they moved in robotic blonde pairs.
That alone counted as one of the strangest sights I saw in the Land of the Bolsheviks and I personally saw Lenin's waxen "corpse" deep under Red Square.
Fruit juice loosened this bunch's tongues after a while, they started chiding me none too gently about being from Massachusetts" the awful stomping ground of that terrible man Teddy Kennedy.
I went to a private Catholic College in New Hampshire so I was used to this sort of genial abuse from auslanders, Finally thought that sweet Russian lemonade made one of them bold and he asked in astonishment "I don't get it? WHY do you keep voting for that guy he is a monster!"
I smiled and said "Cause he knows how to handle people like you!"
Yeah that was the vodka talking to be sure I recognize the tone.
And y know in the Hotel Leningrad by the Neva River, under the very rigging of the cruiser Aurora, I finally came of age as a Boston Irishman...Because I fired off that rejoinder with such a fine hibernian smile and wink that my target merely laughed a trifle uneasily and moved on to discussing the glories of the Winter Palace.
And my friends is how Edward Moore Kennedy caught up with me in the Soviet Union.

A moment of silence please...

Edward Moore Kennedy has died.


Rest in Peace Teddy, class you had unto the last.

Nothing left for me to do, but announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is this a bad poem?

As you all know the Bad Poets Society convenes Friday October 23rd at 8pm at the Spiegel Auditorium in Harvard Square. For once though, I'm gonna play it differently and give everyone an early glimpse at the selection process behind BPS. Below is some poesy written by Vaudeville Star Olga Petrova (aka Muriel Harding) she got into a hopeless row with the famous Keith-Albee vaudeville circuit circa 1916 or so when she insisted on reading the below poem as part of her act.
The poem was derided as "indecent" much to the chagrin of Ms. Petrova.
My question is simple, take a moment to read this poem and ask yourself these questions "Is it bad, is it bad enough to warrant inclusion in the Bad Poets Society if so what makes it bad?"

"To a Child that Enquires"
by Olga Petrova (nee' Muriel Harding)

How did you come to me, my sweet?
From the land that no man knows?
Did Mr. Stork bring you here on his wings?
Were you born in the heart of a rose?

Did an angel fly with you down from the sky?
Were you found in a gooseberry patch?
Did a fairy bring you from fairyland
To my door - That was left on the latch?

No - My darling was born of a wonderful love,
A love that was daddy's and mine.
A love that was human, but deep and profound,
A love that was almost divine.

Do you remember, sweetheart, when we went to the Zoo?
And we saw that big bear, with a grouch?
And the tigers, and lions, and that tall kangaroo
That carried her babies in a pouch?

Do you remember I told you she kept them there safe
From the cold and the wind, till they grew
Big enough to take care of themselves,
Well, dear heart, that's just how I cared for you.

I carried you under my heart, my sweet,
And I sheltered you, safe from alarms,
Till one wonderful day the dear God looked down -
And I cuddled you tight in my arms!

Well whaddya think is it bad? Post a comment one way or another I'm on the fence with this one.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mark your Calendars!

It is Official, the Bad Poets Society returns to the Spiegel Auditorium at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education Friday October 23rd at 8pm...admission a paltry $5 for a cornucopia of the world's worst verse! Once again we are deep in the throes of our research ceaselessly dredging poetry that makes last year's poesy look like freakin' Sophocles by comparison!
Don't miss it, now in it's tenth year (or so) of genteel substandard poetry mongering!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Harvard University (AKA "Big Red")

has apparently sanctioned the creation of a "signature clothes line" under the trademark "The Harvard Yard".

The clothes look patently retro-ridiculous, i think one of those belts in the link above may well be a necktie...And the model looks like a recovering skinhead. Oh course that isn't his fault, the very God Apollo himself would look like a buffoon in that gear.

Moreover other than mere money why would Harvard University want to get in on a racket where Miley Cyrus and SpongeBob Squarepants are the biggest most profitable players?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The best movie I've seen so far this summer

Is Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker", a story of an adrenaline-addicted bomb disposal technician wandering the wastelands of Iraq in search of his next big ass rush. The rest of the guys in his squad are on the brink of fragging this poor driven schnook since his style inevitably takes everyone to the brink of destruction along the way.
To be sure it IS an action movie, a war movie even...But one with taut dialogue, great acting and a unique combat setting.

For years now I'd written off Kathryn Bigelow as an interesting artistic failure, Near Dark was great but she had serious plot plausibility issues in her two subsequent police procedurals "Blue Steel" and "Point Break".
Here at last though, she seems to have found her genre and a cast (Of unknowns no less) who can put the script over sans worry or woe.
Clearly I underestimated her, looking forward to her next film.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wouldn't it have been funny if...

Sir Paul McCartney had opted to sing some of Neil Innes Beatles' homages instead of his usual Fab Four repertoire? It has to be cheaper for McCartney to sing those Rutles songs than the mad phat royalties he has to pay to SONY on his own music!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Twelfth Night (Shakespeare & Co)

Tina Packer is a sorceress, a conjurer, a Doctor Frankenstein who got it all right in the end. patiently year after year, from behind the granite fastness of the Berkshires she has found the artists, inspired the directors, built the audience and secured a venue. A home in other words, fit for the immortal bard of Stratford on Avon, year after year nigh un-noticed the little old ladies from Long Island and Hudson Counties, the hep families, the debased aesthetes like me stream into Lenox imbibe the years's offerings and then leave heartened, fortified and ready for any deed.
This year Jonathan Croy a long standing member of the company directs a hi-freakin-larious version of "Twelfth Night, Or What You Will". This is the sort of comedy that S&C can execute in their sleep but don't think that means the company is resting on their laurels, trust me they do this sumbitch up big. Kudos to exuberant scenery chewer Elizabeth Raetz as Olivia, otherwise a Lovelorn Duchess who chases girl-disguised-as-boy Viola with all the subtlety of the Coyote's pursuit of the Road Runner. In her they have a actress with a deft talent for comedy, both the clever repartee and the well time pratfall she is a keeper believe me. Merritt Janson's Viola is no slouch either, cute, winsome, blessed with impeccable timing and a face seemingly carved by the Gods of Theater for shameless mugging, another keeper to be sure.
Ah it just did my heart good to see Johnny Lee Davenport (AKA "Mister Thunder and Lightning") up on the big stage of the Founders Theater, sure he did double time in smaller supporting roles but he is a treasure to the legit theater, a big confidant stentorian ahhhhctorrrr who has no fear whatsoever of making a fool of himself in search of big larfs. For such as these did Shakespeare take pen in hand all those centuries ago.

In fact Twelfth Night is clearly Jonathan Croy's love letter to the imperial glory days of Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes' animated shorts...I can pay it no higher praise, sell the house, sell the spouse, sell the kids, make flank speed to the open sea, whatever it takes to get to Lenox Ma. to see Twelfth Night, you will not be sorry.