in high regard among the swells
exactly how alcohol now is.
A sip for celebratory cheers
moody contemplation, tears,
or proof of frathouse prowess.
That we're all in this together.
Some readers of this Journal have tossed their heaving lines onto the deck of the good ship "Boxing Day" and I feel strongly about an omission that your host had deliberated. This is a character named "Box," from the 1976 film Logan's Run, portrayed -- with dryer hoses and shiny stuff -- by Roscoe Lee Browne. Logan's Run was a popular sci-fi buddy film set in a pleasant enough future, if you don't mind having to live entirely indoors and die at the age of thirty.
The only thing that I can recall about Logan's Run is Jenny Agutter. Or, most likely, her outfit: She was also in a 1971 movie called Walkabout, where her character's wardrobe was less oppressive. But, I enjoy sharing images here in the Journal, so, here is a photograph of Jenny Agutter: when she was twelve.
She is now 57, and looks remarkably similar.
Although I remember her best from An American Werewolf in London.
Back last century when your host deigned to share his audio production
enormous talent unequaled skill blind barnyard luck work with the world, there were a few tenets that he brought from print advertising media, where he had failed quite admirably.
A compelling argument is generally made for remaining positive in media -- albeit the results can be construed as saccharine. Even though the word "no" is smaller and uses less ink and thus once could have been rationalized as a cost-saver, its use was curbed and restricted to slogans where it was partnered with "waxy yellowy build-up" or "bitter taste." And even in those instances, the product ran the risk of being associated with -- and not dissociated from -- those negative qualities.
So, one wonders what exactly was going on at the meeting discussing this package copy,
A great diversion on the day after Christmas is arguing with family and friends the etymology of "Boxing Day." According to Wallbank's Cavalcade of Saints's Days: I have a little box under me arm,
The origins of "Boxing Day" is ("...is..." because the singular "origins" is one of those funny words that looks like a plural because it has an "s" -- and not one of those plurals that some authors create by using "'s" -- which is becoming so vogue nowadays. Are becoming. Whatever...) easily found in this verse of a popular song, written by Saint Steven before he was shot with arrows. It has been said that Saint Steven's choice of "folk music" as an avocation led to his painful martyrdom. Or is that Buffy Sainte-Marie? Seen here stringing up one of her weapons with our ubiquitous pal Pete Seeger: or, actually, here, in this traditional Wren Boys tune. If you don't know The Wren Boys, you are very lucky. These are the urchins who go around killing birds in your backyard and offering to dispose of the carcass -- for a fee! To curtail this sly extortion, folk songs were written that made them seem like, well, simple begging children who are either dim or cheeky, obsessively repeat themselves compulsively, and apparently call everyone "Mrs. Clancy": And with that, we close all of the little doors and pack the Advent Calendar back into its box. Thanks for playing along.
Under me arm
Under me arm.
I have a little box under me arm,
A penny or tuppence would do it no harm.
Mrs. Clancy's a very good woman,
A very good woman,
A very good woman,
Mrs.Clancy's a very good woman,
She give us a penny to bury the wren.
Well, we'll have none of that in this parish!
I have a little box under me arm,
This piece was written by longtime columnist for the Fall River Herald News John McAvoy. It was placed in the Congressional Record by Representative Barney Frank, who is -- ironically -- neither Irish nor Catholic nor a resident of Fall River. I once had a few "laughs" with John McAvoy last century and would like to share his 1983 Christmas column with you. It's about the town where I was born.
“When Christmas fires are burning,
Old memories come and go,
Like light and shadows playing,
Within the firelight glow,a magic scene appears,
Dear faces smile and beckon, from out of other years."
“So those who love their fellow men,
Are glad it is December,
For peace on earth and memories,
Are precious to remember.”
The "23" reminds us that today is Christmas Adam. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, of course, and Holiday anticipation approaches feverish preoccupation. Imaginative readers have conjectured that the biblical "Adam" might have been anticipating his "Eve," although he has to get knocked out and mussed up a bit before encountering her. Eve is introduced after Adam in the Creation narrative, so the day before Christmas Eve is traditionally known as "Christmas Adam." (A hypothetical exegesis was also hyperbolically related here).
Looking at the "23" above reminds me of the "33" on the Rolling Rock beer bottle.
And beer reminds one of pizza.
Pizza reminds me of this image of ginchy Welsh teevee star Eve Myles, "Gwen Cooper" from that Torchwood one. (I cannot vouch for Welsh pizza.)
Because you thought I'd let this go without a pin-up of Julie London:(Incidentally, the twelfth cut on Julie London's Calendar Girl album is "Warm In December" -- not "I'd Like You For Christmas" written by her husband Bobby Troup. I'm sure that there's a story in that.)
That Fourteen reminds us of a birthday.
-"Lee Remick" by the Go-Betweens, 1978(This presentation features Lee Remick. Who came not from Ireland, but Quincy Massachusetts, which is not particularly mountainous. The rest, though, is undeniable.)
Take special care while you lift the Seven on the ashcan lid shoved down the leaking gutter alleyway in the cold December rain that stings your rum-rosy cheeks under your mascara tearstained eyes...... it's Birthday Boy Tom Waits, with a Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis! He's 60 today.
I heard about this on our local talk radio. Host was getting quite a bit sauced about it, drooling and frothing, so I couldn't really make it out. Something about a big hoax. I thought that it was about the climate thing, but the wireless reception here on the timemarsh is a little funny since Colonel Green's radiodome wnet down, so I think this is what the gag is about...
Call it what you will -- Precocious Kids Hoax, Childrens' Television Whitewash -- but this Art Linkletter character perpetrated the most elaborately vicious and perfidious examples of mendacity.
Using what are obviously staged and carefully edited interviews, Linkletter's weekly television documentary program fooled viewers into believing that kids actually do say the darnedest things.
However, interstudio memorandums have been brought to light (while a maintenance crew was clearing Linkletter's old studio for a reality program starring Lou Dobbs and Sarah Palin)that show clearly that Linkletter's crew -- and obviously Linkletter himself -- was involved in a huge "production" that involved nothing less than coverups, staged antics, and special lighting effects.
These kids saying allegedly the darnedest things were, for the most part, just regular youngsters who, as seen in every other generation of youngster, did not say the darnedest things. At all.
Those alarmists who believe that kids do indeed say the darnedest things have been found out by a group calling themselves "realists" who claim that the found memos make references to a “trick” that would “hide the not-darnedness” of kids statements, and instructions to "edit" contrary data from the broadcast. ("Edit" -- some television professionals admit -- means, "to edit.")
The most damaging revelations indicate that producers -- all members of the Hollywood liberal elite -- may have “manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause” -- that of kids saying the darnedest things.
Many of these Realists insist that they themselves did not say the darnedest things as children, that their own kids do not say the darnedest things, and believe that Mr Linkletter's insistence that kids say the darnedest things stems from his being born in Canada, where kids may have once said the darnedest things, but no longer do because of socialism.
I don't buy it. Linkletter seems like a pretty nice guy...
... just as North Atlantic Hurricane Season closes. Since stately Goon Manor has just begun to decorate for the War on Christmas Season, your host was late in remembering to fetch the Julekalendar down from the garret where treasured seasonal mementos are hid the rest of the year.
And since today is December the Second, we get two special gifts:
1. A Hand-powered Chainsaw!
2. A Dennis Day Christmas Album! With Jack Benny!
In a letter published in Saturday's Standard-Times (enlabeled "In Veterans Day parade, vets play second fiddle," also available at SouthCoastToday.com through the folowing link) former editor Ken Hartnett "[c]an't help but wonder why New Bedford parade planners persist in pushing our honored veterans way back in the ranks of parade marchers, giving the place of honor to politicians, notably the mayor and city councilors."
Aware of belaboring the alliteration, I profess that I have "paraded." From meandering Duval Street with costumed and not-at-all-costumed revelers capping Key West's Fantasy Fest to stepping in the fussily-choreographed Fall River Celebrates America Parade. I have processed solemnly (or cheerily, or both) in saints' days processions, and I have also handed, reefed, and steered in Parades of Sail involving TallShips™.
As a broadcaster, the order of a march was rarely of consequence to me since names that I was required to say were imposed upon me in the preshow meetings. "And an appearance by The Hills-Mills Comedy Clown Band, so stay tuned..."
As participant, being in the festivities is in itself the reward, the honor in the action. But to this day I have no idea what manner of calculation and collusion goes into parade planning. I have seen "honored guests" appear at the very beginning of the parade, toward the middle of the parade, and at the very end of the parade. I'm sure that there is some ancient traditional codification, some erudite and trusted manual for parade organizers, but I have never seen it.
Ken Hartnett, though, may be privy to the abstruse machinations either honoring or abasing ambulators in processions, for he is quite put out by the placement of veterans in New Bedford's Veterans' Day parade. One veteran in particular, whom Hartnett befittingly singles out for notice and mention:
The recent Veterans Day parade included the thinning ranks of World War II veterans, including one of our region's biggest heroes, Calvin Siegal, who defied death and two German bullets in the Battle of the Bulge.I know Cal from my days at the Whaling Museum, as well as from our membership in the "thinning ranks" of those who button shirt collars and choose to wear actual bowties.
I look for Siegal in every parade because he marches proud and tall in his original uniform, a sight to see for those who know and honor him.
Your host has looked over the afternoon's post and vagued the usual disturbing seasonal waft.
To someone without the non-profit know-how of your Third Mate, it might appear that everyone is standing around with a hand out, insisting that I tender some sort of pecuniary "help." I don't know if this is due to my recent musings on the philanthropic art, but the coincidence appears obvious.
I was more encouraged by the fifty-eight-pound carton that FedEx had left in error on the estate's service entrance mat. A box that clearly belonged at the Colonial farmstead up and across the street.
(Entertaining aside: When I traipsed the errant package to its correct recipient -- a delightful neighbor lady in her early next century -- she remarked on "the difficulty that young people have these days telling the difference between 'five' and 'six.'" I chuckled, but later thought: Ma'am, I may have encountered some disquiet with temporal displacement, but I'm not exactly what you might call a peer. So go easy with the "kids these days" stuff.)
As an independently-engaged operative, I don't find myself responding to begging letters with any great liberality. I do ante up what I can and when I can, because I believe in the reasonable missions of most charitable alliances. It does no organization any good to get a check for thirty-five dollars when a simple, ready check for a hundred grand will cover most of the outfit's operating budget. But that's a choice which I leave to my neighbors and fellow travellers.
Please allow me, shipmate, to clearly and wholly deny suggestions that I won't feed this year's various worthy kitties or "répondez s'il vous plaît merci mais non" to seasonal holiday shindig invitations. Every solicitation must be answered -- even the Nigerian ones and the ones from those who never put me on their e-mail list, didn't send me the right novelty promotional geegaw, or pay me.
Each fundraising event must be attended -- likely not by me, of course -- but it is my fondest delight that between now and the date of the least possible lengthy daylight that I fill each moment of darkness with as much par-tay as reasonably available, open bar or whatnot.
Which is, apparently, the way everyone else will have it because today I have received nine "special holiday fundraiser" invitations to add to the growing stack of "annual seasonal soirees" or "solstice embraces" or "cool yule evenin' swings" or "kooky kwanzaa spectaculars" or even some "Christmas party" ones.
As of this writing, there are thirty-five days until the mall Santas once again get temporarily terminated and local radio stations have to shelve their "24/7 Elmo, Patsy, and The Boston Pops Marathons."
And I'm looking at one hundred and eighty-seven envelopes.
At United Way we believe everyone has the ability to give back to their community, regardless of their circumstances. As National Philanthropy Day approaches, please consider getting involved by giving, advocating or volunteering. It does not matter how you decide to get involved; it just matters that you do.I have always considered the United Way as a sort of "Chamber-of-Commerce-Lite." More contemporary, both sartorially and hygienically, United Way workers add a veneer of bureaucratic gravitas that many businesses in the civic sector need. Well-intentioned pencil pushers, cheerleaders, and bean counters, the United Way is indispensable in gentling the rabble to abstractions like "giving" and "volunteering," and usually remains far enough from actual philanthropists to do any real harm.My definition of "philanthropy" is less complicated but no less philosophical than the United Way's, as they focus on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. LIVE UNITED.
Those who are unaware of your host's unassailable pronunciatory confidence -- most palpable while I'm reading aloud, as in broadcasting -- will be enriched to know that at one time, I displayed no such endowment.
The year was 1969. We had just sent men to wander around on the Moon, and as a kid whose horizons stretched as far as the map of the Ponderosa and as wide as the Enterprise's five-year mission, only one individual's presence was both bane and boon: Sister Mary Margaret Martha Mary-something, the attendant spirit of this young student's First Grade class at Saint Christopher's School.
It was my ambition to read and commit to memory every bit of printed reading material I could find so as to expedite and assist lively dialogue around the schoolyard, dinner table, car seats on family trips, and any other eventuality where social interaction demanded more than nods, grunts, shrugs, or waves.
My home had been furnished with tomes from every age of human endeavor. Mom and Dad seemed to know everything in them, so I had some catching up to do. The children's reference center upstairs was appointed for my sister and me with books of collected fairy tales and fables, fabulously illustrated treatises on dinosaurs, and the smaller red version of the big grey Encyclopædia Britannica that resided downstairs in the adults' Atheneum, where I would some day start devouring bigger books with smaller letters. Just as soon as I had fully annihilated the first rungs up the literary ladder, with brief asides to Superman and Spiderman comic books.
And the damned puerile Weekly Readers at school.
The Weekly Reader, according to its website, produces : "standards-based, research-proven resources to support the development of academic vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing skills, and fluency for all learners. Through differentiated instruction and explicitly leveled materials, we strive to help educators..." and then it goes on about "diversity" and "21st-Century classrooms," none of which would have interested our class filled with New Hampshire Catholic hockey kids with last names that were easily-pronounceable and for the most part of French-Canadian or English/Irish derivation.Each member of the class would read aloud one paragraph from the Weekly Reader as we shared the weekly assignment every Friday during Reading class. The front page of the handout consisted of three or four "paragraph" (read: "sentence") stories about current events (sorry, no Viet Nam conflict or Stonewall riots or Mansons). Some lucky readers got to read both the headline and the lead paragraph. One or two of my classmates would consistently stumble, but we were all well-behaved and patient, particularly those of us who regularly showed facility with the written and spoken word and politely helped when one of our classmates chanced upon an unfamiliar word or ungainly diphthong.
I enjoyed reading aloud, since it afforded me an opportunity to show everyone my familiarity with every single word.
Except for one.
And that word was "sesame."
I don't remember the exact wording of the headline, but the whole story welcomed to television a new program for youngsters set on a street in New York City, with such characters as "Big Bird," "Kermit the Frog," "Oscar the Grouch," and something called "Cookie Monster." "It's called SEE-same Street," I read.
Then, a rustling of papers, a snicker, and a chuckle that grew infectious throughout our regularly respectful classroom.
Never had anyone ever laughed at a mispronunciation before, and the uproar directed at me seemed to forever right that particular wrong.
Sister Mary Margaret Martha Mary-something cleared her throat -- a lithe throat enhanced by the black crepe of her coif, now that I look back with a grown-up's eye -- and offered a soft correction: "SESS-a-mee."
"Oh," I exhaled. "Kinda like Sinbad? Like 'Open Sesame,' right?"
As luck would have it, that rejoinder saved my arm from many a malicious whack in the schoolyard, and I was assured the role of steady second pick in kickball. But I also pursued impeccable articulation with unconventional vigor. Within weeks, I was presented by Sister Mary Margaret Martha Mary-something as some sort of reading-aloud prodigy and delivered a disquisition concerning flying mammals -- bats specifically -- to the Fourth Grade science class and to Mother Superior, who had invited several idle novices and the visiting Diocesan Bishop, who blessed me and commented on the immodesty of the length of Sister Mary Margaret Martha Mary-something's habit.
Eventually, the whims of the Moirae would lead me to read aloud professionally at radio stations, including some in Fall River Massachusetts, my birthplace as well as the birthplace of Joe Raposo, the Portuguese-American composer who worked for Sesame Street, wrote the theme song and other classics, like "Bein' Green."
Rumor has it that Sister Mary Margaret Martha Mary-something left the priory soon after and opened a chain of Leather'n'Lace Boutiques. At least that's the story that I heard.
And good for her.
Although it would be a lovely though temerarious walk, my Beloved and I don't wander about the side-walkless, motor-bandited, and poorly-lit trail to the local High School in the evening. But every night -- and long into the night, as that's apparently how the echoes work out here in the conservation-protected wilds of South Dartmouth -- my Beloved and I are treated to the "The Gift of Music." "The key to success was eliminating errors from the performance, he [Kingsland] said."
Which is exactly the title of the program that our neighbors, the Dartmouth High School Marching Band and Color Guard, performed in order to win their second National Championship in two years.
If one wades through the SouthCoastToday.Com article linked to above, one finds that Music Director Bill Kingsland has precisely the proper winning philosophy necessary in band competitions. And, ultimately, in life.
I have never heard a more fitting injunction, except that one from my middle school band instructor who said, "Learn it right, or don't bother playing it at all!" A little more of a command than an encouragement toward meritorious consummation, but we got the idea. And none of us went on to play in the high school band. Or, for that matter, do anything more musical than holler lyrics and stage dive. (At least, that's what the guy with the candy-apple red Rickenbacker said when he handed me back my microphone, harmonica, and metaphoric hat.)
Some bands have opportunities that others don't have because they are a team whose members understand cooperation, collusion, and collaboration.
There will be those who give their all...
"The key to success was eliminating errors from the performance, he [Kingsland] said."