Wednesday, December 13, 2017

“Seven Years”

Today’s xkcd is beautiful: “Seven Years.”

Heavens, gosh, shucks

From a 2011 Time interview with John Ashbery:

Q: Do you currently make a living off your poetry?

A: Heavens, no. I mean, gosh, no. Or shucks, no. [Laughs.] No, not at all.
Related reading
All OCA John Ashbery posts (Pinboard)

[Ashbery worked as a copywriter and art critic and taught at Brooklyn College and Bard College.]

About last night

I checked Twitter last night to see what Donald Trump had to say about Doug Jones’s defeat of Roy Moore:

I’d feel confident wagering that Trump did not write this tweet, for two reasons:

~ The restrained tone. A true Trump tweet would focus on the Fake News and what it did to poor Roy Moore. A true Trump tweet would not focus on a opponent’s win, much less ennoble that win as “a hard fought victory,” much less delight in the ongoing ups and downs of politics (“It never ends!”). This tweet expresses the sentiment of a good sport, someone willing to congratulate an opponent and celebrate the electorate who voted for that opponent. But Donald Trump is not a good sport, and I doubt that he can even pretend to be one. I can find no comparable Trump tweet of congratulation to Ralph Northam when he defeated Ed Gillespie last month in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

~ The utter absence of eccentric capitalization, punctuation, spacing, or spelling. I’m especially focused on the startling hyphen in write-in. Where did that come from? I don’t think that iOS dictation accounts for it: my phone, again and again, comes up with “right in votes.”

Last night’s tweet does contain two bits of standard Trump phrasing, which anyone familiar with his diction will recognize: “very big factor” and “a very short period of time.” But then anyone attempting to channel Trump’s voice — Dan Scavino? — could make use of such phrasing.

I have to add that I love the attempt at analysis and explanation: “the write-in votes played a very big factor.” That’s like saying that the votes of people who refused to vote for a candidate contributed to that candidate’s loss. Yep, a tough break. If I weren’t for the people who voted against you, you would have won! The feeble logic makes me suspect Kellyanne Conway as the writer.

This morning’s tweets suggest that the president himself is back on the Twitter, claiming that he knew Moore could never win “the General Election” and complaining about a stacked deck, “Fake News Media,” “Mainstream Meadia,” and the need for “GREAT” candidates. And the problem of “razor thin margins in both the House and Senate” — notice, no hyphen.

In my imaginary White House this morning: a cracked television screen, and a dented six-pack of Diet Coke on the floor.

A related post
Who’s tweeting?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

M-W sentence challenge

Fresca made a suggestion in a comment: write a sentence using Merriam-Webster’s nine runners-up for Word of the Year. The runners-up: complicit, recuse, empathy, dotard, syzygy, gyro, federalism, hurricane, and gaffe.


“In the name of federalism, show some empathy, or at least some syzygy, you complicit gaffe-prone dotard,” the hurricane warned, “before I turn you into a gyro platter and recuse myself!”
Want to play? Leave a sentence as a comment, or write one in a post of your own and I’ll link to it.

Two-month-old Talia

Just a sec, let me get my wallet out.

[Pause .]

Here’s Talia as a newborn, and here she is around Thanksgiving. And here she is just yesterday, two months old:

[Talia Ivy Raab.]

Sing along with Talia: “Happy feet! I’ve got those happy feet!”

Words of the year

Several picks. I’ll add others as I find them:

From the Australian National Dictionary Centre: kwaussie.

From Cambridge Dictionary: populism.

From Collins Dictionary: fake news.

From complicit.

From Merriam-Webster: feminism. M-W’s runners-up: complicit, recuse, empathy, dotard, syzygy, gyro, federalism, hurricane, gaffe.

Monday, December 11, 2017

“Save the Country”

[Laura Nyro, “Save the Country” (Nyro). Kraft Music Hall Presents the Sound of the Sixties. NBC Television, January 15, 1969.]

A good national anthem, then or now. Especially now.

James Rushing Esq.

Still making my way through my dad’s CDs: Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Ivie Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Mildred Bailey, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Art Blakey, Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Joe Bushkin, Hoagy Carmichael, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Charlie Christian, Rosemary Clooney, Nat “King” Cole, John Coltrane, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Matt Dennis, Doris Day, Blossom Dearie, Paul Desmond, Tommy Dorsey, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Stéphane Grappelli, Bobby Hackett, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Dick Hyman, Harry James, Hank Jones (my dad did tile work in his house), Louis Jordan, Stan Kenton, Barney Kessel, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, Peggy Lee, Mary Ann McCall, Susannah McCorkle, Dave McKenna, Ray McKinley, Marian McPartland, Johnny Mercer, Helen Merrill, Glenn Miller, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Red Norvo, Anita O’Day, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Boyd Raeburn, Django Reinhardt, Marcus Roberts, Sonny Rollins, and now, Jimmy Rushing.

Here are two tracks from The Jazz Odyssey of James Rushing Esq. (Columbia, 1957), an LP I remember vividly from childhood. I found an expensive used copy in adulthood. When the recording was reissued on CD, I bought a copy for my dad. That’s what I’m listening to now.


“New Orleans” (Hoagy Carmichael). Buck Clayton, trumpet; Tony Parenti, clarinet; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Cliff Jackson, piano; Walter Page, bass; Zutty Singleton, drums.

“Doctor Blues” (Ed Lewis–James Rushing). Buck Clayton, Ernie Royal, trumpets; Hilton Jefferson, alto sax; Buddy Tate, tenor sax; Danny Banks, baritone sax; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Hank Jones, piano; Skeeter Best, guitar; Milt Hinton, bass; Jo Jones, drums. Both recorded November 6, 1956.

Listening at the age of three or four or five, I had no idea what these songs were about. But I knew that I liked Jimmy Rushing’s voice.

Also from my dad’s CDs
Mildred Bailey : Tony Bennett : Charlie Christian : Blossom Dearie : Duke Ellington : Coleman Hawkins : Billie Holiday : Louis Jordan : Charlie Parker

[Yes, there should be a comma before Esq . But I’m following the LP title.]

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Domestic comedy

[Watching an episode of Freaks and Geeks.]

“I’m so glad our kids are not in high school anymore.”

“I’m so glad I’m not in high school anymore.”

Related reading
All OCA domestic comedy posts (Pinboard)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

TV days

Donald Trump, quoted in a New York Times report on the course of the presidential day:

“I know they like to say — people that don’t know me — they like to say I watch television. People with fake sources — you know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don’t get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents a lot.”
Yep, lots of documents, with lots of pictures.

The Times reports that “people close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television.”