My friend Don found this poignant quote about work: "Our sense of obligation or necessity or simple inertia keeps us there long after all the joy has been squeezed out of the work."
Have you seen the Fail Blog? This one made me laugh out loud.
I was watching the extras on the "Forever Strong" DVD last night, which reminded me of another nit that I forgot to mention yesterday. At one point a player teaches the protagonist the New Zealand haka - the Maori war chant the team performs on special occasions - and describes the words as being about being prepared for the contest, calling up one's ancestors to spiritually assist int he fray, etc. High falutin' stuff, in other words.
In reality, the Ka Mate haka (video here) used by the All Blacks and Highland rugby is, historically, an odd affair. It involves a tribal chieftain in the 1820's named Te Rauparaha being assisted by his wife to take refuge from his enemies beneath her in a kumara (sweet potato) pit! That is partially described here, in wikipedia. But the full social implications of the haka poem - a man seating himself in the demeaning position beneath a woman's genitals while hiding out (the Western comparison might be hiding behind a woman's skirts) - are described here.
So the next time you see the hard men of New Zealand (and Utah!) performing the haka - tongues out, veins standing out on their necks, eyes bulging - you may want to reflect on the curious social humiliation behind the lyrics!
(Now I've probably pissed off the entire male population of New Zealand and everyone associated with Highland rugby. Sorry. Anyone who knows me knows I'm no fan of revisionist feminism, but I do appreciate historical fact.)
The U.S. Army Band performance last night started off very well, with a piece by Rimsky-Korsakov I've never heard: the overture to the opera "A Bride for the Tsar." This doesn't happen very often as R-K is one of my favorite composers, and when I was a teen I made a practice of buying every album I could find with a work of his on it. It highlights what a wide repertoire the band has.
However, they also performed a medley of Beatles songs that didn't sound right at all to me - the only time I've ever heard a service band play something I just didn't like. The soloist - a trombone player - was excellent, but who wants to hear "Eleanor Rigby" played by a brass band and solo trombone? It was just wrong.
A novel piece was a number called "Cartoon," which featured all sorts of musical cues and cliches one hears as background music for Saturday morning cartoons - it was great! The audience liked the wolf whistle and the slinky saxophone part, obviously depicting some animated femme fatale.
I think I mentioned before that I am a master at mishearing and misunderstanding lyrics in pop songs. (I even wrote an article about it.) It drives my poor wife to distraction. Well. There's a Herman's Hermits song entitled "Dandy"; Peter Noone performed it at his concert last week. I recall hearing it a couple of times when it first came out in 1966 or 1967. It's one of Dave Davies' (of the Kinks) social satire songs about an Alfie-style guy who is shallow and self-absorbed. I've been enjoying listening to a recording of it on my iPod. However, when I was a kid I thought Noone was singing "Dondi," and that the song was about the comic strip character!
In my own defense, I was only eleven at the time and had no idea what a "dandy" was. So I merely translated it into a context that I could understand. I will no doubt again be ritually humiliated by my wife - the haka! - when she reads this...
I am still enjoying making my new iPod just so, and adding scads and scads of mp3 files. Every now and then I come across one I got via Napster in the glory days of piracy - circa 2001 - that has curious things embedded in the ID3 tags along with the composer name, year, genre, etc. In one, I found "I was nude when I ripped this" in the comments section. In a Glen Miller mp3, appropriately enough, was "Kilroy was here." A Civil War tune had, "The South will rise again!" and in a track from a David Lynch film I found, "I learned how to spell "Badalamenti.'" (Angelo Badalamenti being his favorite background music composer, you see.)
I came across a great little hobo life story in that railroad book I'm reading: "The Million Dollar Mulligan." Reprinted from a 1946 Railroad Magazine.
And that wraps it up for this week. Band practice and yard sales tomorrow morning. Have a great weekend!
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