That was a good week. Seems odd to say that on a Thursday night, which is when I'm writing - what, you thought I got up at 5 AM and did this? Har. I start work on Sunday. It passed at the proper speed. Every day felt as if it was right where it belonged. Everything happened when it was supposed to. The highs were well-spaced; the lows predictable and easily managed with a solid nap. No great accomplishments, but no tumbling into the pit; all obligations met, except for the nagging ones that are self-imposed. Made dinner for my family; took daughter here and there and had merry chats and a few bright & lively disputes. Walked the dog. Fought the dog. (I'd say played with the dog, but it's always a boxing match.) Ended each night with a TV show I love.
Didn't get too sparky about things, but if there's anything that feels like a cold thumb pressed on the heart, it's stories like this: Italy covers up nude statues for Iranian president visit. (I was disappointed that no one responded to tweets about the story with ancient swipes about John Ashcroft. C'mon, guys, this moral relativism isn't going to relavatize itself.) Here you have a government whose leaders exhibit antipathy to every achievement of the West from the least to the greatest, and Italy - seat of it all, in so many ways - cringes and whimpers. At least France canceled a dinner over the issue of wine, and while you could say "that's all they care about," I doubt the French would cover up the odd unholstered bosom, particularly if the artist was French.
Especially if the artist was French.
I cannot get this song out of my mind.
It was on some YouTube wannabee site long ago, then taken down for copyright reasons. For some reason it has not been dinged, perhaps because the people in charge of extirpating snippets of cinematic history haven't gotten around to it, or realize that watching this brief clip probably won't cannibalize DVD sales. Why, the brief enticement might even make people seek out what they were previously unaware existed. Imagine that. I tried to watch the movie when it showed up on TNC long ago, but it's bad; the credits tell you why. Too many Italian names towards the end, which suggests the dreaded "international production" that got a couple of big names and turned out a turkey.
What fascinates me about the clip is the absolute perfect summation of a certain period in the Sixties: animation, singers, actors, writer, songwriter - and instrumentation. The harpsichord as a hip instrument. The post-Pink Panther caper story in the animation. (The titles are credited to the great Maurice Bender but the mass of silhouetted cops screams DePatie-Freleng. It's really Dick Horn.) The Hollies sing the song, which argues with the titular character, The Fox, about the morality and wisdom of his actions. Peter Sellers walked into a booth and read some lines, which were dropped into the song. Why not work? Work is hard. YOU MAKE YOUR POOR POOR SISTER CRY
Sooo . . . after the Fox; after the Fox. Off to the hunt with chains and locks, because Fox rhymes are scarce and this must have frustrated Hal David. Yes. Burt Bacharach wrote the song. (As for who wrote the movie, well, you'll see.) I can imagine the setting where people saw it i '66: a downtown theater, old, musty, the ornaments stripped away or covered up. Everyone settling in for something kinda sorta Pink Pantheresque, and getting frantic laughless dreck. The credits set up expectations the movie could not deliver.
But listen to that song. The key changes are amazing, and I can't imagine anyone other than the Hollies pulling it off.
This is a mess, in many ways.
They're ripping up the Nicollet Mall, redoing the entire design. It's the third version. The second did not age well. The first is remembered with nostalgia by some, but this is misplaced. By which I mean "stupid." It looked like this:
Concrete planters with lots of aggregate stone to make sitting or leaning uncomfortable. The new plan A) is modern and occasionally leafy, and B) over budget. By a lot. I'll detail it all this summer.
Remember that stumpy forest of concrete pillars that just looked like a stumpy forest of concrete pillars? It's turning into a square hotel. Better than a parking lot. But better than a parking ramp?
That circular thing is interesting in a way, but it makes it difficult to build anything next to it.
The original site:
A hotel. The building on the corner was replaced by the Andrews Hotel, which was demolished decades ago. Now another hotel rises on the site - and its worst room will be nicer than the most expensive room either of these places offered.
We continue with music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom. The cues run from substandard 60s cues to cringingly 70s.
For the first one: well, there's strings; that puts it in the old camp, but you can tell the instrumentation is moving towards smaller, cheaper ensembles.
Give that the old shows - The Couple Next Door, I mean - occasionally had circus-like music, we can't slight this. Obviously a short cue, not taken from a larger piece, because it ends with that trademark Oh Now What'll Happen chord:
As always, the bassoon tells us that husband malfeasance or incompetance is partly responsible, or will be soon:
This is the strangest PSA you'll hear all week. Not just for the subject matter, but the presentation.
Why did we need the framing device of the wife, telling us about her husband? So we know she survived?
Everybody did voice overs. Fast work and good money. Who could blame them?
He picked the wrong week
But those backing vocals. I prefer the singers who aren't trying to make an antihistimine sound soulful.
This week's Bob & Ray sketch:
One Fella's Family.
It's a satire of "One Man's Family," a soap that ran from 1932 to 1959. Wikipedia notes:
As the radio version was coming to a conclusion, another radio team, Bob and Ray launched a dry continuing satire of One Man's Family, "One Fella's Family," as part of their daily 15-minute slot on CBS. "One Fella's Family" featured the two comedians as the Butcher family and lanced even the radio classic's signature chapter-and-verse introductions, with Ray Goulding giving the fictitious episode title and describing it, for example, "... which is taken from Book Vee Eye, Chapter Ex Eye, Pages 2,3,5,11, 243 and the top of page 244."
The grueling pace of the soap, and its refusal to let anything happen, makes for some painfully attenuated parodies, half of which revolve around the patriarch's loose teeth and his over-trimming of the rose bushes.
I post these parodies because it's like coming across the semi-circular cut in a sidewalk, which exists to this day even though the tree trunk it accomodated is long gone.
The original cast:
He did it all: played the trumpet, lead a band, acted, and sang a note now and then. A very deep and resonant note.
As Wikipedia reminds us, "He co-authored The Adventures of Mr. Putt Putt (1949), a children's book about airplanes and flying."