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This past Thursday, we attended a local benefit screening of a documentary film ‘The Well-placed Weed’: The Bountiful Life of Ryan Gainey’.

Ryan Gainey was a close friend and very obstreperous guru of our own close friend Rick B and his late partner Marc R, who own/owned a large and thriving plant nursery.  Click on the photo below for a short writeup on the film in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Making a film about an eccentric who wants the attention, but classically fears a glimpse of the ‘fraud’ behind the curtain, is a formidable undertaking.  The filmmakers ended up with an intriguing portrait, but one that is more of a ‘quilt’ (that’s a ‘Q’) than something with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Also, as is so often the case, it would have benefited from some (pardon me) pruning.

In the course of the film, Mr. Gainey says, ‘These days, I am more devoted to my past self than the present one’.  Hopscotching through my posts over the past nine years [almost], and certainly the more recent ones, one can certainly see why I picked up on that particular remark.

Though in no way an intentional segue, here is an artifact from my three or four year-old ‘self’, behold Harvey.  I calculate the ‘three or four year-old’ from the fact that my parents apparently suggested the name to me via the 6’3½” rabbit companion of James Stewart in the 1950 film ‘Harvey’.

I had accompanied my mother to what would today be called a ’boutique’ child’s wear store in town, and spied Harvey in the eye-level (to me) glass display case, and said politely ‘Can I have that?’  My mother replied that since my birthday was soon, maybe then, and I quietly acquiesced (‘accept something reluctantly but without protest’…) as was the norm for quality (!) children of the day.

Unfortunately, Harvey has spent virtually his entire life in my sphere, blind with a broken neck.  Early on, I left him on the neighbor’s backyard swing set, and my playmate Virginia’s dog Inky chewed off his plastic button eyes.  Successfully laundered, but his posture was never the same.

This photo was about the best I could manage.  Look, I say take a gander at the original Winnie the Pooh.  He doesn’t look so hot either.

Today, I was going to write about Harvey, who has no last name, but that will have to wait.  He is not, by the way, the ‘pooka’ from the James Stewart movie, though there is a connection.  (To be continued…)

Instead, this time it’s about words, wayward ones.

The previous post’s first paragraph borrowed “them’s” and “his’n” — in a fit of whimsy — sparking the briefest ‘comments’ exchange.  (Click)  Here is the followup of sorts.

In my former workplace, a media production unit on the campus of a large state university, there was a supervisor who wrangled the part-time student employees.  A lovely person and throughly professional, she had the unapologetic and slightly disconcerting habit of replacing saw/took/did with seen/taken/done.  (‘I seen that this morning.’  ‘I taken that this morning.’  ‘I done that this morning.’)

‘Unapologetic’ because it was so utterly consistent, ‘disconcerting’ because she would reasonably routinely have interaction with faculty, whom I would imagine were somewhat taken aback.  Or, maybe this is just a simple case of over-think.  I’ve never been accused of that before…

Whereas I am a self-confessed grammar nazi, I swear my having paid all this attention to this has nothing to do with being high and mighty.  After a while, I decided that in her mind seen/taken/done was just ‘alternate’, but every bit as correct.  I am unaware if anyone ever addressed this with her.

On that last point, when and if you ever notice something ‘nonconforming’, so to speak, about my own English usage, you might just want to back off…

I ain’t kidding.

For them’s preferring the beautiful to the vitriolic, here are Stephen’s Rothschild lilies (the national flower of Zimbabwe, FYI) that are blooming now.  I attribute ownership to Stephen, as the things of beauty about the grounds are his’n.

Blooming begins with that green speartip-ish bud in front of the bloom the right, then progresses to the state top-center, and finishes with the bloom on the left.

Click the photo below to enlarge the ‘gloriosa’ of the ‘superba’ therein.


So, (as every utterance begins these days) let’s speak about the word ‘cunt’.

My contention has forever been that in the larder of offensive words, it would be the very last one to escape into common usage en Amérique.  (Exempted from this notion is the UK, as I’m assured the word is out and about routinely.)  I’ve held fast to this belief even in the Trump Era.

This past week, television personality Samantha Bee was criticized for calling Ivanka Trump a ‘feckless cunt’.  This calling Ivanka Trump a ‘feckless cunt’ was compared to actress Rosanne Barr’s suggestion that Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to Barack Obama, was the offspring of a monkey, which is the oldest insult in the book for a black person.

These characterizations are not coequal, since Ivanka Trump IS a feckless cunt, as is her father.

Here is a modest proposal.

Because of his fondness for the Росси́йская Федерaция, I would like to see he and his family — three sons, two daughters, and eight grandchildren — retire there at the end of his presidency, to all live a life of luxury to the end of their days.

There would, of course, be conditions.  1) Spouses would remain behind in the US, even Jared Kushner, even though he is also a feckless cunt.  2) The luxury accommodations in Russia would be a high security cloister with no visitors whatsoever.

This, of course, might mean that the Trump gene pool would eventually draw to a close.  But, no.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way:

“If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

My excellent friend Will W and I text quite a bit, and when we disagree, he sends the following.  Let me encourage you to follow suit.

Having demonstrated to myself that there is perhaps somewhat limited interest in Thornton Wilder… I cast around for the next topic, and pondered making good on my threat to write a post about tattoos.  I considered, as I often do before I begin writing, what title to assign it, and came up with ‘The Abject Stupidity of Tattoos’, before deciding once again to postpone.  I also may change my mind about that title and go with something a bit stronger…

Some weeks ago, we attended an opening at the studio of a photographer friend of a woman who used to work at Stephen’s store.  The photographer is a slight ginger sprite named Logan Potterf.  The ‘F’ on the end of that name is not an unintentional keystroke.  While we were there, he said, well step over here and let me snap a couple.  We became aware just a little while ago today of the results he posted online.

So, with tattoos once again on the back burner, and Stephen having announced after turning 67 last month that he is retiring at the end of this month, I thought I’d post two of the pictures Logan took, so you can remember what we look like before — with him soon home all day — ensuing battery.

I’ve also thrown in a closeup of Lady Something-or-other reacting to the homily at yesterday’s royal wedding.  All are clickable to enlarge.  Pick your favorite…

I don’t know what tripped the switch, but for the last couple of days my thoughts have been a bit fixed on Thornton Wilder’s play ‘Our Town’.  Below is an introduction lifted from a set of videos of two productions of the play.

(Can I assume that you’ve seen ‘Our Town’ in one form or another?  If not, then from the standpoint of this post, you’re at sea.  If we are to believe “Since its original production in 1938, Our Town has been produced on stage somewhere every single day”, you’ve had plenty of opportunity.  You need to face up to your sloth and general delinquency…)

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –

“Thornton Wilder was unhappy with the 1940 film and 1957 musical versions of Our Town. Before his death, in 1975, he worked with producer Saul Jaffe and director George Schaefer in an attempt to leave behind a definitive version of his masterpiece. The result of that collaboration was broadcast on NBC in 1977, featuring a stellar cast that included Hal Holbrook, Ned Beatty, Sada Thompson, John Houseman, Glynnis O Connor and Robby Benson, and was such a success that the trustees of Wilder’s estate decided to never permit another television version of the play. The author had his definitive version.

Since its original production in 1938, Our Town has been produced on stage somewhere every single day, often by school or community theaters drawn to its simple set design, large cast and American themes.  Gregory Mosher, who directed the Lincoln Center Theater’s stage production, felt that as a result the play had been turned into a holiday greeting card, reduced by a consensus that it was a superficial, nostalgic, flag-waving poem to a lost America.

His production reflects Wilder’s very particular version of what life in this century had been and might become. The production, featuring Spalding Gray, Frances Conroy, Roberta Maxwell, Penelope Ann Miller and Eric Stoltz, ran on Broadway for 136 performances, and the trustees were so impressed by the Tony Award-winning production that in 1989 they granted permission for its presentation on PBS’s Great Performances series.  The 1988 production is the one recommended by the Thornton Wilder Society.

Our Town is considered one of the greatest American plays. Epic in scope yet profoundly intimate in its depiction of small town life early in the twentieth century, Wilder’s aim was to leave a time capsule for future generations curious about life in early 20th century New England. Upon his death he could not have known that his desire for a definitive television production of his play would be satisfied not once but twice. It’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t have been pleased.”

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Both the 1977 and the 1988 productions talked about here can be seen on Youtube, though something of a grave viewing solution.  The 1977 one was directed and shot for television, whereas the 1988 one is fundamentally a taped stage performance, and consequently suffers some from the fact that the actors’ ‘effects’, which would have been intended for twelfth row center, are rarely modified for these kinds of taped records.

The casting of the ’77 production is glorious, though the whole production might need to shield itself from the ‘holiday greeting card’ lambaste (which would only be flung by a toad) mentioned before.  There are other ‘recent’ productions on video, one with Paul Newman, which is good.  And there was a recent production in New York done ‘in the round’ with cast scurrying amongst the audience, which in addition attempted to ‘open up’ the play with modern vernacular.  Disaster.

When I was in the tenth grade, I was in our high school’s production of ‘Our Town’.  Though the rest of the cast was mined from the speech and drama classes which were restricted to eleventh and twelfth graders, the director and teacher of those courses (a dear lady who seemed to have been plucked from central casting fulfilling a request for ‘schoolmarm’) approached me with the ‘Professor Willard’ role, such apparently was my nascent star potential…

A treasured experience, I refuse to entertain the notion of the viewing of that production today being massively wince-worthy.  However, faux-New England accents delivered by Georgia high school students?  Yikes.

 

At a party once upon a time, our friend Mike M, a big strawberry blond bear, volunteered that when he came out, he was ‘a whore-waiting-to-happen’.  Just pitch-perfect, though I’ll admit that I am perhaps unnaturally fond of a superior hyphenated term.

Somewhere betwixt a suggestion and an urging from our friend Martin L, we watched the documentary ’100 Men’ the other evening, and I must say I feel positively puritanical, bordering on chaste.

The film is running on Netflix at the moment, and rentable on iTunes.

Let me say preemptively that I wish that I could play the piano at a level even approaching ‘pedestrian’.

The other day I was looking online for the cover of Chris Isaak’s signature song ‘Wicked Game’ being used in the television ad for Alpha Romeo.  The song itself is intoxicating and voluptuous and sumptuous and all those other ‘–tuous’ words, so the ad agency couldn’t have made a better choice.

What I ran across in the process of my search was this version by Marie Digby.  Though her keyboarding is a trifle pedestrian, her vocal performance is gorgeous and haunting.  (I wonder if my impression of her accompanying herself isn’t due more to the fact that miking the piano is essentially impossible, according to a couple of sound engineers I’ve talked to.)

I think I’m just going to start posting songs on Domani Dave.

It’s SO much easier than writing.

As I’m confident that my readers have been waiting with baited breath for word from me since my last post, I offer my apology for being so negligent…

With the present post, I will have seemed to have gone full circle, from feeling that it is slightly gauche to carry on about one’s maladies, to putting it all on display.  The accompanying illustration stolen from the Mayo Clinic website shows the procedure I underwent on the twenty-first of this month.

Since my trip to the hospital in January, in spite of several medications, my heart was beating at a constant 130 beats per minute.  It is now beating at +/-50 BPM.  I have a followup this coming Tuesday with the doctor who performed this procedure.

Though one of my readers — a physician himself — described this procedure as “rather ho-hum” (see last post’s ‘Comments’), as I pointed out to him, “All very well and good for y o u to say!  It wasn’t y o u r heart they were cathetering around in;-)”

But enough of that.  I’m going to resume my speed walking tomorrow.

And since tomorrow is Easter Sunday, I include the following text exchange my friend Will W and I engaged in last week, which got started over an incidental mentioning of George Steven’s (Shane, Giant, A Place in the Sun) movie ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ — a movie massively panned in 1965 in part because of cameo-casting of nearly every star in Hollywood at the time.

Including Pat Boone.  I’m serious.

This exchange includes references only two movie buffs — one 65 and the other 71 — would understand.  I simply will not inflict historical explanations upon the junior reader.  Feel free to thank me.

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –

“Speaking of ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, I saw it in Atlanta in 1965 in Cinerama with my longtime friend Tony, who begged me (well, he floated the idea) to leave at intermission.  Our friendship was on the decline at that juncture as I recall, and this may well have pushed it over the edge.  A major review at the time said the premiere in NY was enlivened only by the souvenir books sliding off laps and hitting the floor with a thud as attendees nodded off.  This remark is right up there with the white corpuscle attacking the mini-sub in ‘Fantastic Voyage’ being described as resembling ‘a large aggressive hominy grit’.  Unsurpassed in movie criticism.  Sadly, ‘TGSET’ has the best art direction in any ‘Biblical epic’ before or since.  And, sadly in a different way, Shelley Winters touching the hem of Max Von Sydow’s garment, and exclaiming “Oi’m healed, oi’m healed!” in perfect Brooklynese.

.   .   .   .   .   .

So did you leave at Intermission or not?

.   .   .   .   .   .

The only two movies I think I’ve ever walked out of are Elvis Presley’s ‘Double Trouble’, and a second feature (which Disney used to pair with reissues of animated features) about the Vienna Boy’s Choir.  What was I doing at ‘Double Trouble’?  I was in basic training in the Air Force seeking any escape, but ‘DT’ proved too much even under those circumstances.  Saw Francis Coppola’s ‘You’re a Big Boy Now‘ at that time, too.  You win some, you lose some…”

Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but September 2015, I ditched the previous posts in a fit of cyber housecleaning. Some of it was really nice writing, but alas, as my old friend Susan once said: ‘Compulsion is a cruel master’.

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