THE WRONG BROTHERS

Friends, as much as I have enjoyed telling you in recent posts of the inspiring exploits of The Wright Brothers, inventors of the aeroplane, things don’t always go the Wright way in this woebegone world. As we all know, friends, the best laid planes of mice and men oft go a-why? Shot down happens. But, ever looking for new girls–make that, new worlds–to conquer, mice and men are not deterred. Onward and upward! Winners never quit, etc.:

But enough of such air-brained schemes. Let us put these proceedings on a higher plane:

Yes, my friends, the moral of the story is when you hit a downer, don’t be a frowner; and when you hit a sour note, don’t let it get your goat. Never despair — there’s music in the air. Go for it!

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IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE….IT’S CHARLES LINDBERGH!

Taking off from my last post (where I left the Wright Brothers up in the air and me breezin’ along with the breeze), we come to May 20, a day second to none in aviation annals.*

On this May day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from New York for Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis (his monoplane), to begin the second (and most famous) nonstop transatlantic flight in history. Yes, I said second — the first was made by paired English aviators in 1919, from Newfoundland to Ireland (about half the distance of Lindbergh’s solo flight).

On this date in 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Paris, but due to weather conditions, she had to ‘pull up’ short in Northern Ireland, nonetheless becoming the first woman to make a solo nonstop transatlantic flight.

We now turn to the musical portion of the program. Faster than you can say “It’s a bird,” Lindbergh’s fame brought songwriters down from the clouds to cash in, hatching a flock of insipid pop songs. Not so with Earhart’s feat, not even a peep of a song….although her lost flight over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 did inspire a few songs that didn’t long survive.

OK. If I had to eat crow in my last post, can I now soar like an eagle with these jazzed-up Lindberg hit tunes soaring over treacly lyrics:

Ladies and gendermen, the Spirit of St. Louis is coming in for a landing — and if we’re Lucky, Lindy will be in the spirit for a rousing finish.

*In addition to the Lindbergh and Earhart flights, May 20 was also the day Congress passed the Air Commerce Act licensing pilots and planes in 1926, and the date of the first regular transatlantic airmail flight (Pan Am, NYC to Marseille, France) in 1939.

 

 

 

MAY IS OLDER AMERICANS MONTH (and don’t you forget it!)

May is OLDER AMERICANS MONTH. I’m pretty sure I qualify as an older American because, as George Washington told me, “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves”….or maybe I’m thinkin’ of Lincoln (incidental details, like who said what, can get a bit hazy at my age). No matter — either way, it proves I’ve been around long enough to establish my bona feces.

As long as I’m quoting bigwigs I have known or could have known (as the case may be), no doubt you will be interested in other memorable quotes that I remember, most of which admittedly weren’t said to me directly, but which I either overheard, or were whiskered to me in confidence by the quotees under their goatees (or beards, as the face may be):

Old age is no place for sissies. –Bette Davis (whose facial hair at the time was confined to a mustache, as I recall)

Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act. –Truman Capote

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened. –Jennifer Yane

If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. — variously attributed to  Eubie Blake, Adolph Zukor and Mae West, among others

There is no cure for the common birthday. —John Glenn

You’re only as old as the girl that you feel. –Groucho Marx

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. –Chili Davis

Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician. –Anonymous

Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. –Anonymous

So there you have the story of my anonymous existence: just when I’m on a roll, I run flush out of time. C’est la vie. Take it on out, Pops (Louis) and Schnoz (Jimmy):

 

 

 

 

 

EAST MEETS WEST DAY

EAST IS EAST, AND WEST IS WEST, AND NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET. –Rudyard Kipling

The above quote notwithstanding, it’s not too late if you want to meet Twain. Forget East/West, and return to the site of my previous post (MARK TWAIN ON DONALD TRUMP), where Twain still lives. I could quibble that you should have met him there then, but I am magnanimous enough to forgive those of you who didn’t read that post (so long as you promise never to let it happen again).

Be that as it may, this is April — April 24th, to be exact, which just happens to be East Meets West Day, which just happens to give me an excuse to engross you with some of my favorite East and/or West songs, such as this old standard by an old favorite:

Keely Smith (born Dorothy Keely) died four months ago at age 89, one of the best (though underappreciated) female vocalists of the 1950s-60s.

Next, we change directions for this Kurt Weill classic from the 1943 musical ONE TOUCH OF VENUS:

Let us end, fittingly, with WEST END BLUES by Louis Armstrong, one of the all-time great recordings in jazz history:

That performance was recorded in 1928; 90 years later, you can travel far and wide, east and west, and never the same shall meet.

 

ZEE POET OR ZEE COMIC – WHICH EEZ MORE MORONIC?

In my April Fools’ Day post, I noted that April is NATIONAL HUMOR MONTH. As a poet of sorts, wouldn’t it be funny if April also happened to be NATIONAL POETRY MONTH?

Well, as you might guess,
it turns out that, yes,
that is the case….
and this is the place
where poetry and funny
join together as oney
until death do them party
or are doomed from the starty
by comic rigor mortis
or a poet out of sortis.

Oui, mon ami — this is going to be a post which joins zee art of zee poet with zee art of zee comic, and if you don’t like zee combinaison, you can lump eet. What’s more, I’ll do more such posts, zee likes of which will have you begging for merci. So if you know what’s not good for you, you’ll take eet and like eet….or take eet and fake eet. I’m not particular. (I’m also not hungry — I think I eet too much.)

Understand, I’m not one of those poets who doesn’t understand what he has written, but somehow expects zee reader to. Non, mon ami, I understand perfectly what I have written. It’s YOU who I expect hasn’t a clue. Why is that true? I have no clue. And, frankly my dear, I don’t give a fous (pardon my French).

Unfortunately, I see that my allotted time for this post is almost up, so zee funny poems I was going to publish here must wait until next time, for which I apologize. Thank you for your very kind attention….or, as zee Hoosier Hot Shots more etiquettely and poetically put it:

AUF WIEDERSEHEN MEANS GOODBYE FOR NOW; TOSTI MEANS GOODBYE FOREVER!

AUF WIEDERSEHEN (German): until we meet again, a temporary farewell or goodbye

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

In a comment to my last post, I included a clip of a great German vocal group singing AUF WIEDERSEH’N, MY DEAR (a 1932 composition by American songwriters, not to be confused with AUF WIEDERSEH’N, SWEETHEART, a song which was a hit in 1952).

As it happens, there are a number of “goodbye” songs, but some are more extreme than others. For example, the Italian composer Paolo Tosti (1846-1916) wrote a famous (in his day) song titled GOODBYE, in which that word appears ten times, including five times in the last two lines:

What are we waiting for, you and I?
A pleading look, a stifled cry.
Goodbye, forever! Goodbye, forever!
Goodbye! Goodbye! Goodbye!

Bye and bye, such an effusive edict of terminal temerity caused famed black vaudeville comedian Bert Williams no end of alarm:

And then, amigo mio, there’s the Spanish word for goodbye, which has a more soothing sound….unless you happen to be a gringo facing a bandito….

….which would be enough to give anyone the….

THE END (but comments are open, if you have any final thoughts).

JAZZ FOR LAUGHS (PART 03)

My next guest in this series is a bunch
of 1930s musicians* who had a hunch
that most orchestras of that time
played less than lofty and sublime
so they formed a band whose bliss was
to fashion high-class music such as this was:

Speaking of a bunch, do you like bananas? I like bananas, no bones about it. Here’s why:

And now for a little traveling music….

Well, if you ask me, that’s taking traveling a bit too far. Why wander the world in limbo with limbs akimbo when I can settle down with a bimbo down on the Bamboo Isle?

And with that, Isle see ya next time, music lovers.