Sunday, May 25

South Pacific - One More Time

Apropos of our recent conversation about Rodgers and Hammerstein here is a wonderful op-ed piece that appeared in today's New York Times.

Monday, May 19

Gifted Thoughts

Today I wandered over to my local bookshop to buy a birthday present for a good friend of mine. He's a big baseball fan which usually makes it easy to find a gift, but this time I decided to get him something in a more literary vein.

“Want a gift receipt?” asked the clerk as I prepared to check out. He was a young man with long hair and an intelligent looking nose.

That's right, I often judge people by the shape of their nose. Call me a nasalist, but there it is.

Since I was distracted by a magazine cover showing Britney Spears getting out of a car, I didn’t quite hear him. “Excuse me?” I asked.

“A gift receipt. You know, for when they want to return it.”

“Don’t you mean if they want to return it,” I said, as I reconsidered the copy of Anna Karenina which lay accusingly on the counter.

“Yeah, right." He also glanced at the book. "If they want to return it."

“Uh, just a sec,” I said, grabbing the Tolstoy tome and quickly retreating to the Sports section.

If only Leo had written more about the Yankees…

I don’t remember getting gift receipts when I was a kid. We weren't exactly poor, but we weren’t rich either so any gift I got was welcome and unquestioned. Even as an adult I don’t recall returning presents, other than an unfortunate pair of green argyle socks I once received from a presumably color blind aunt.

I don’t know whether this reluctance to return a gift is generational, cultural, or geographical. It seems more common in the East, but I've only lived in New York as an adult.

As far as it being a rich man, poor man thing, I don’t want to get into class warfare but it does seem that if you have a lot you might be a bit more picky about the things you are given.

One thing I like about posting to this web log, though, is that in the blogosphere there are no exchanges allowed.

Once you read a blog, it’s yours to keep.

Tuesday, May 13

No Talking!!!!

I am not a shy man nor am I a prude, but among the things that I find extremely annoying are men who insist on talking at the public urinal.

This morning in a restroom located in a bookstore I frequent I was minding my own "business" (if you know what I mean) when a young fellow stepped up beside me, unzipped, and said in a loud and, in my opinion, overly gregarious voice "How's it going?" An innocent enough question when asked at the produce stand, say, or bus stop, but which before the porcelain altar takes on a tone of near blasphemy.

"Not bad," I muttered, thankful that at least he had not inquired about how anything was hanging.

"Man!" he exclaimed, startling me and my bladder, "I never had to take a leak so bad!" The sound of his stream filled the air. "Ahhhhhh!" he moaned.

I focused my concentration on a feeble attempt to dilate my traumatized urethra.

"All done!" he announced as he backed away and started to zip up. He turned, looked at himself in the mirror over the sink, decided everything was perfect, and headed for the door. "Okay, man. You have a nice day," he crowed as he left, neglecting to wash his hands.

I carefully pulled up my own zipper, walked over to the sink, and was washing up when another man exited from one of the stalls and joined me.

"What a loudmouth," he said. I smiled wryly at him in the mirror. "Yep," I said.

We washed our hands in silence for a few seconds.

"Whew!" he exhaled loudly. "Man, did I have to take a dump!!!"

Monday, May 5

Some Not So Enchanted Evening

Well, my recent post about the Rodgers and Hammerstein revue I attended seems to have generated quite a bit of response, especially from one Ms. Tallulah Morehead. Despite the fact that I happen to live in New York City, Birthplace of The American Musical Theater, Ms. Morehead seems to think that I have little or no understanding of The Broadway Show Tune.

Well, let me say this: If I wanted to see a bunch of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals and the analyze them to death - I WOULDN'T HAVE GONE TO A REVUE!!!!

Fact is, I was just looking to hear some jolly tunes and see some attractive young people sing them. Therefore, my revue review (to coin a phrase) was based on that experience, not on exposure to full fledged productions of 10 or 12 R&H shows.

Now, about the songs. Although I'm sure Ms. Morehead considers her interpretations valid within her rather dark view of humanity, I would offer these alternate views:

"Hello Young Lovers" features an older woman (How Old? My age? Ms. Morehead's age? Is there anyone Ms. Morehead's age?) looking back upon her life reflected in the light of a young couple's blossoming love. She is filled with the joy of the love she has known in her life, and joyful for the journey of love these youngsters are about to embark upon. When she sings "All of my memories are happy tonight..." she doesn't add "...because I'm dried-up, old, and alone." does she, Ms. Morehead?

And "If I Loved You" is not, as you say, a tease, Madame. It is the plaintive cry of someone who is in love but can't admit it. The "If" is an ironic "If". Truth be told, she is so in love that she fears to acknowledge it, fears that it can only lead to the difficulties expressed in the song. Of course the lyrics belie these fear. If words, indeed, "wouldn't come in an easy way" the song would go like this:

"If I loved you, words wouldn't come in an easy way
I'd prolly go 'round in, um, you know, like, circles 'n' stuff."

Finally, "Something Wonderful" has always had a special place in my heart because it's message - Most of the time he's a royal screw-up, but occasionally he does something right - is pretty much the story of my life (as any regular reader of this effort will attest.) I mean, really,

"He will not always say
What you would have him say,
But now and then he'll do

isn't quite the same as

"He'll beat you every day
And steal your hard earned pay,
'Cause in the end he just
Wants to
Abuse you, gal."


However, Ms. Morehead's critique has made me realize one thing. In the face of such whithering criticism, I feel the only decent thing for me to do is renounce my title as Mr. Theater.

From now on I will be known, in many circles, as Mr. Occasionally He Does Something Right.