Z END (AT LAST)

With Z 26th letter of Z alphabet/26th post of this series, we come equally to Z end of both. This calls for Z celebration….so “Come wiz me to ze Casbah” and we make sweet music together. Z girl songs, zey may be few, but zat does not mean we need end on Z sour note.

Ah, ze Casbah in old ALGIERS — where French-turned-American actor Charles Boyer famously put the above Come to ze Casbah come-on on the beautiful Hedy Lamarr….or did he? To answer zat question, you must comme see for yourself:

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/121579%7C0/Algiers.html

Comme saw?

But I digress from the music, for which we turn first to beautiful American-turned-French (due to racism in America) entertainer, Josephine Baker:

We turn next to one of England’s finest (and one of my favorite) composers, Noel Coward, whose urbane, wistful lyrics graced such great songs as A ROOM WITH A VIEW and….

And now we come to the song I referred to (in reply to a comment to my previous post) as, strictly speaking, not qualified for this post….the reason being that it starts with T. However, the T is silent; for all intents and purposes, and in a pronounced way, it’s a Z song….and a rousing, joyous one it is, for “Dawn will find us laughing in the sunlight, dancing, dancing, dancing with my Tzena”:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is my last post until after the holidays, as this series has been music to my ears at the expense of other demands and endeavors (once I got on a roll, I got caught up in posting every third day despite not intending such frequency). Now, before catching up becomes the impossible dream, it behooves me to hustle while I work at getting around to tackling those other endeavors….such as catching some more Zs.

If I’m too sound asleep to be ‘alarmed’ by all this by the end of the year, wake me when it’s over.

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WHAT’S SO FUNNY?

Field Marshall Helmuth von Moltke, the leading 19th century Prussian strategist, was said to have laughed only twice: once when told that a certain French fortress was impregnable, and once when his mother-in-law died. -Paul Johnson, historian/author

April is NATIONAL HUMOR MONTH. Why? April may have this privilege over other months because it begins with April Fools Day and ends with National Honesty Day — but to be honest, I’m just speculating. A more interesting question is raised by this post’s title….or, as W. C. Fields put it, We know what makes people laugh. We do not know why they laugh.

But we do know that what some people find funny, others don’t. A joke that cracks you up, I may not get. Something I consider juvenile may strike you as hilarious. Paul Johnson takes a stab at this in his book HUMORISTS FROM HOGARTH TO NOEL COWARD, in which he relates journalist/writer Arthur Koestler’s example of “the very primitive Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert of South Africa. What really makes them roar is when a springbok, fatally wounded by a bullet, continues to jump and kick in its death agony.”

What is the difference between our reaction to the Prussian’s reaction to the death of his mother-in-law, and to the Bushmen’s reaction to the death throes of the springbok? Apples and oranges? That comparison will have to do….at least, until someone pays me for the fruits of my labor. Meanwhile, for those who might contemplate the purchase of Paul Johnson’s HUMORISTS, here is a list of A-list humorists covered in his book:

Hogarth, Dr. Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Rowlandson, Dickens, Toulouse-Lautrec, G. K. Chesterton, Damon Runyon, W. C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers, James Thurber, Nancy Mitford and Noel Coward.

An interesting cast of characters, no doubt, though in a few cases, such as the second name mentioned, “it stretches [quoting Paul Johnson himself] credulity to write of Dr. Samuel Johnson as a comic.” What seems to me even more curious, however, is the non-inclusion of the likes of Mark Twain, whose omission I will make a feeble attempt to mitigate by giving him the last word here (which was also the closing quote of my April 16 post):

Well, humor is the great thing, the saving thing, after all.