3 Dec 2009

My son forwarded this one to me with the subject line, "Sesame Street was never cooler." Kr├╝melmonster sagt NEIN! Youtube excels for this kind of little joke.

I love Rammstein. Those wacky Germans...

Me, Dad, the Dangle Man and a Doberman: A Walk on Robinson Street, 1959. Christmas is a time for unleashing (pun intended) all sorts of unpleasant and frightening memories, isn't it? Well, for me it is. It's better than doing what I did last year: putting the Christmas tree up to Neil Young's lachrymose "A Man Needs a Maid."

Last night I had my first den meeting with the wild and woolly Webelos scouts. It was fun, mainly because I was in charge and I pretty much share the attitudes of ten year olds.

I was also delighted to find that I have a Haydn Quadrille pretty much learned after only about 45 minutes of practice. That is, I'm about 80% there - I know what the notes are, I just need to get smoother in playing them. I seem to be backwards, however, in needing to hear what the piece sounds like before I can play it fluently rather than visualizing what it sounds like by looking at the notation. I guess I am strongly a "play by ear" kind of musician.

I was reading a film noir encyclopedia last night and came across a mention of an influential 1949 book by Irving Shulman about juvenile delinquency, "The Amboy Dukes." Hey, I should read it... so I looked it up in the Fairfax County library system. Amazingly, there are no copies available. Even more amazingly, there are no Irving Shulman books at all! Annoyingly, the Alexandria library system's website is down so I couldn't try there. Okay - guess I'll have to buy a copy via amazon.com. Wow. Paperbacks - paperbacks! - are going for $50, $90, $100! What's going on here?

Shulman was a fairly popular author in his day, penning several books which later became movies. I have read his excellent West Side Story novelization. Has this author gone entirely out of style? Nobody does any reprints? Since many of his novels are about juvenile delinquency, that's hard to believe. It's kind of an evergreen subject - witness the enduring popularity of The Outsiders, Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story.

So... if any of you know an inexpensive source for Irving Shulman books, let me know, please. (Yes, I've looked on e-Bay... more than I want to pay.) And if you're going to suggest, "yard sales," don't bother. There aren't any until about March!

The other night I watched a 1965 Buster Keaton short, "The Railrodder." Less funny than interesting, it involves a trip across Canada in a speeder. Now there's something I would like to do! Wouldn't that be awesome? Clear the tracks and take this across the United States?



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