Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Random Barking: Tears In The Rain

Still Crazy After All These Years

So we don't believe that life is beautiful because we don't recall it; but if we get a whiff of a long-forgotten smell, we are suddenly intoxicated, and similarly we think we no longer love the dead because we don't remember them -- but if by chance we come across an old glove we burst into tears.
-- Marcel Proust
In My Head, The Theme To (The Original) 'Magnificent Seven' Plays, but The Dog grows old. Physically, mentally and spiritually (at least one of these three categories are very subjective) I am doing better than most of my chronological peers, but I am now officially, by government standards, old.  I was already that in the eyes of the Kiddies of Kiddietown (bless their tiny white cotton socks), where The Olds are treated by degrees as Replicant life forms; hideous, useless eaters, grown in vats.

Some days ago, The Girl Who Refused To Be Mrs Mongo (the heroine of yet another unpublished Steig Larrson novel by that name) took me to a seaside restaurant in an All-White enclave by way of celebrating. There was a view of The Bay, and the venue was architecturally pleasant -- but the food was oddly muted, not quite tasteless, reminding me of the old Woody Allen joke about his mother, "running the chicken through the deflavorizing machine."  I enjoyed the wine, though, as Dogs do, and The Girl and I discussed politics.
GIRL: Well, I voted. For Hillary -- and don't tell me about how much of a tool she is.
DOG: This election puts everything that's horrifying about America's political structure and our culture on display. Forget Trump; but I can't vote for her.
GIRL: But it's simple: you vote for Clinton, or you get something even worse.
DOG: So, choose between the lesser of two weevils?
GIRL: This is going to make me crazy. If Trump gets elected --
DOG: He's can't. It's simply not possible. Clinton is already elected. That should make you feel better.
GIRL: Okay; let's just drop it. What did you mean about ' two weevils'?
DOG: A bad Captain and Commander joke, but it applies to this election.
Over the weekend, I re-read an article by Laurie Penny about the DNC's Convention this year which made me want to puke, endlessly, like Ron sicking up Banana Slugs at Hogwarts after a spell gone bad.  Then, I read:  
... Al Franken... chants “Hillary, Hillary.” Fuck that guy. He’s not helping. The only way this could get more embarrassing is if they wheeled out Paul Simon to sing Bridge Over Troubled Water. Which is exactly what happens next. 

Now, before I say what I’m about to say, I want you to understand that I have been a fan of Paul Simon and his work since my father first played me the Greatest Hits when I was six years old.

... Outside, an epic summer storm is breaking over the Democratic Demilitarized Zone like the world’s laziest metaphor. ... I spend an hour sheltering ineffectively outside the Wells Fargo building [where] an independent internet journalist wearing a giant crystal pendant and no shirt starts explaining how he’s hoping for a Trump presidency to usher in the coming collapse of civilization.
Paul Simon's Greatest Hits, Etc., was released in 1977 (meaning Penny was born at roughly the same time that I was participating in America's geopolitical containment strategy in Southeast Asia), and I remember the cuts "American Tune", and Kodachrome, and Still Crazy After All These Years well.

But I could walk it back farther than that. It was here that I had a Proustian moment, stumbled across a forgotten glove: I knew Simon and Garfunkle when they were brand, spanking, never-before-heard new -- Sounds Of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; 59th Street Bridge Song, Feelin' Groovy; Bridge Over Troubled Water, El Condor Pasa; Bookends and Mrs. Robinson brand-new.

I listened to them with my now long-gone High School friend, JJ, while stoned on pot in the basement rec room of his house, the doors locked and the blinds drawn because, you know, pot was illegal. JJ's tastes in music were more reflective than most of the stoners in our small town, which leaned heavily towards Cream, Butterfield Blues Band, Spirit, Creedence Clearwater.

(JJ also introduced me to Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention -- and to Leonard Cohen. Wherever you are, buddy; for that, I am grateful.)

I listened to them outside the U.S. on a PX-purchased TEAC reel-to-reel, and in a string of apartments afterwards -- until the day I stood in an elevator and heard a version of "Feelin' Groovy" by Montovani or 1001 Strings oozing out of the Muzak -- and thereafter found myself listening to Bowie, the Stones, and later (Gott; Hilfts Du Mich) the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and the BeeGees' Odessa album.

The TEAC R-to-R is still around, in need of repair; but the SNF and BeeGees albums are long gone. Some day, we'll say the same about Trump and Hill-o, and about America; and it will also be said of us.


STONE: Aningaaq. Is that -- is that your, is that your name? Aningaaq is your name?
["May Day? Aningaaq. Aningaaq, May Day?"] (Laughs)
No, no, no. My name is not Mayday. I’m Stone. Dr. Ryan Stone, I need help. [Dogs barking]  Those -- are dogs. They’re calling from Earth.... Woof, woof; yeah...
(Laughs) ["Woof, woof ! May Day? Woof Woof Woof!"]
Yeah... Aningaaq, make your dogs bark again for me, would you please? Your dogs. Dogs, you know. Woof, woof. Dogs.
["Dogs don't sound like that -- they go, Aooooo!"]
Aoooooo. Woof Woof. Aooooo!

ANINGAAQ: [Aooooooooo!]
Yeah... Aoooo... Oh; I’m gonna die, Aningaaq. I know, we’re all gonna die. Everybody knows that. But I’m gonna die today. Funny, you know, to know that. But the thing is; I’m still scared. I’m really scared. Nobody will mourn for me; no one will pray for my soul. Will you mourn for me? Will you say a prayer for me? I mean, I’d say one for myself, but I’ve never prayed in my life; so. Nobody ever taught me how.

-- Sandra Bullock
(Stone), Orto Ignatiussen (Aningaaq), Gravity (2015)  

1 comment:

  1. i saw simon and garfunkel together within the last decade - since i hadn't been reading reviews of the tour, i was surprised when they brought out the everly brothers in the middle of the show - that was nice

    also during the show, garfunkel spoke in praise of simon for not just a sentence or two, but for several paragraphs, or so it seemed - i felt queasy - i would have preferred not to be reminded that they don't get along

    the last part with the dogs reminds me of the james tate poem "promotion" about metempsychosis

    i liked that "two weevils" joke

    i heard someone compare the choice between the two alternatives in this election as being similar to deciding which arm to saw off

    ve get too soon oldt, too late schmart, as has been said

    bop till you drop, some have suggested

    may the creative forces of the universe smile in our general direction


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