| Mondo snow on the way, it seems. And I mean “Mondo” in the 80s sense, which is to say “lots, in a weird way.” The inaccurate sense, that is. I have no idea how Mondo came to mean copious peculiarities. And by “No idea” I mean I know exactly how, but I could be wrong. There was a sensationalist documentary in the 60s called “Mondo Cane,” which detailed the odd things people do in strange lands, like eat bugs. “Mondo Cane” means “dog’s world,” but somehow Mondo became synonymous with things bizarre.
Not that snow is bizarre.
Anything but, come to think of it.
Woke in the middle of the night with a clogged head and sore throat; I felt something coming on last night and administered the usual zinc, but in the words of the Bishop, we wuz too late. The rhinovirus had got da horn in. Could be the general dryness of the house. If it’s a cold, it’s one of the lesser varieties; perhaps it’s my superfantastic immune system, which never lets things get out of hand. I’ll be fine. Although there I laid at 3 AM, thinking I would bag the Bleat for today, even thinking of the art I would use: a stick figure prone beneath a big thunderhead cloud. Because I was under the weather.
Well, it was three AM.
Got Gnat off to school; filed two columns, took some phone calls, came to the office. Gosh, didn’t see any of that coming. Now I’m listening to Benny Goodman from the 30s. So much of the music from that era is so cheerful and bright or saccharine and soppy – shouldn’t they have been singing dirges in E minor all the time? It was the THIRTIES, after all. Last week on the Hewitt show I said something that I hadn’t thought out, but of course that never stops me from saying it – the Shark Imperative of talk radio requires that move forward with something. I said that the Thirties hadn’t felt like the Thirties, at least as we know them. The sun came out, spring arrived, people painted their houses, danced, smoked and laughed,, cussed, lived. The narratives we impose on the past are always suspect, and more so in the age of the movie, when we think we understand the 30s because we saw “Paper Moon” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” Maybe they were completely accurate. But someday someone’s going to make a movie of the 60s, and everyone will wear Nehru jackets and jumpsuits and silver pants, and there won’t be enough people around to complain that it looks more like the costumes in the moonbase from “UFO.”
Anyway. So many of these songs don’t seem to want to the attention they get when you listen closely. They seem content to be wallpaper – something playing from a radio in the living room in the afternoon on a gray March afternoon, something that generates just enough anti-ennui rays to keep you from sitting down, staring at a spot on the wallpaper, twisting a dustcloth in your hand and wonder if this really is all there is. So what if it is? There’s Benny Goodman, and anything with enough of him should be enough for you. It’s only life; relax. On the other hand, what would someone in their 40s of 50s make of the silly romantic songs? Nowadays we are told that romance and passion aren’t just for the younger set, but are the automatic birthright of everyone through their toothless dotage. I mixed the Viagra in with your mush, dear. Compare the typical fifty-year-old matron in a 30s mag with the modern versions in women’s-mag ads for menopause drugs. The former is a white-haired lump in a sensible skirt and granny glasses; the latter look fabulous; they make Lena Horne in her latter years look like Granny Clampett. (I should note that I find this an improvement.) Now you hear a song purr about romance & the implicit jangle in your tingly bits, and you think: that’s for me! But once upon a time, that simply passed out of the realm of possibility after a certain age. The songs did not apply. (Yes, I’m making this all up, based on nothing but vague impressions. Vote for me as the Best Journalist Blog!)
The exception? Widows. Especially merry ones. Widows under 45 were somehow refreshed, to use the used-computer parts term. They were husband stealers. They were available – and they’d already done it before, too.
Okay, enough of this; I’m clearly delirious. More later.
Later. And less. Jeez, sorry for that. I’d edit it down to three or four sentences but I haven’t the strength. After typing the nonsense above I went back to my desk, but was so addlepated with the cold I could do nothing significant. So I went to the morgue and read microfiche on 1936 for a while. That’s it. Tonight I scanned, did the Bleatcast (I usually do the podcast on Thursday, but that’s turned into a FOUR column day plus Chuck E. Fargin, so I’d best plan ahead. I did manage to eke out the weekly update, which is here, in the comics section: ripped from the microfiche of 1936, the Adventures of the Rinso Stalker. See you tomorrow.