Au revoir Little Richard

Although I’m posting this in Stuff Larry Sez, Larry is not the protagonist here (though he did know Little Richard’s last name)–just forwarded on an email from a friend about Little Richard. Here’s someone‘s story:

I recorded little Richard for a commercial about 30 years ago. He nailed the commercial in two takes… Total pro. But… He wore so much cheap rose perfume that it actually bonded with the diaphragm of the microphone, and could not get the aroma out!

With only a faint hope for success, we wrapped the microphone in plastic and sent it back to the manufacturer, and told them of our plight. What we got was a picture of a guy in a Class-3 hazmat suit, holding the bag, along with completely refurbished microphone, and a letter that said they used their “least senior engineer“ to perform the “Rose-ectomy” and “decontamination protocols” were adhered to with “utmost security precautions”.

The band in the great beyond just got better.

Larry at the breakfast table

As background to this anecdote, yesterday both Larry and I read Mark Jarman’s excellent essay on Gilgamesh from his forthcoming book, Dailiness, which I will be reviewing. If you don’t know the Sumerian epic, Gilgamesh, it’s the oldest written story we have, in which a king and his friend kill the monster Humbaba.

This morning we were discussing, over fresh eggs and wonderful toast, the lack of acknowledgement and apology for our national racial history. I have just finished the Bryan Stevenson book, Just Mercy, and listened to him on Preet Bahara’s podcast. In addition to his work with unjustly incarcerated death row inmates, he has created a monument and a museum in Alabama that deal with slavery, lynching, etc. He said, “You don’t see any statues of Hitler in Germany, but there are 150 statues of Confederate heroes here. In Germany you can’t go five steps without a memorial or a museum about the holocaust. No one’s proud of that history.”

Talking with Larry, I said I thought as a nation we needed to acknowledge and talk about our terrible history of racial discrimination, starting with the native populations, slavery, Manzanar, etc.

Larry said, “I don’t know. Grudges run deep. I’m not sure talking about them would do much good. Humbaba’s descendants probably still hold a grudge against Gilgamash.”

Why I include the simple things

This is mostly a literary blog, poetry, selections from novels and non-fiction. I have been reading a lot of literature about Nazism and Totalitarianism lately, including A Century of Horrors, Secondhand Time, and rereading Hope Abandoned. This was a very illuminating process. The stultifying political correctness of today, the offhand denigration of the capitalist democracy that supports us all, masks a kind of group think that Orwell would recognize and chide us for. We don’t see through it–the deadening of individual thought this self censorship promotes in the service of inclusiveness, identity politics, diversity.

Continue reading “Why I include the simple things”

Your morning economics lesson

This morning, Larry was reading Greg Mankiw’s NY Times editorial on 45’s tax plan. Mankiw is an economics professor at Harvard.  To familiarize me with Mankiw, Larry played a country western economics song, Dual Mandate for me. I guess he was directed to this from reading Mankiw, and I incorrectly reported it as Greg. An alert reader (thanks, Dan) caught the error, but the video is still worth watching.

And Mankiw’s editorial in the Times is worth reading.

I don’t know any good poems on economics or business. As Dana Gioia has pointed out, business is the last taboo subject for poetry. I have one poem about money, and so you don’t miss a Monday poem, here it is.

Meditation on Money

I am thinking about a day forty years ago
when we were down to our last fifty cents,
and our friends drove up
with a month’s rent and groceries,
and after we ate and talked, we sat together
on the edge of the dock, saying nothing,
and watched the barnacles
slowly open their feathery lips,
slowly close them.

Meryl Natchez

The eclipse

Watching the sun disappear in gradual increments today, what amazed me most was how little you would notice if you weren’t looking at it with glasses. The light did change towards the end, but not so much. Of course, we didn’t go to total eclipeseville to see it, just to east county where the sun wasn’t obscured by fog.

What Larry said: “I don’t know what amazes me more, the sense of the bodies moving in space or the ability of the scientists to predict their movement to the minute.”

Oh, and if you want to see the poetry reading last Thursday, here it is: https://www.facebook.com/beltiblibrary/

I’m the second of three readers.

Rivalry

I read Larry a line from this review of The Art of Rivalry, a study of influences a group of modernist painters had on each other: “Lucien Freud declining a wedding invitation because he found himself ‘in the unusual position of having been involved sexually not only with the bride but also the groom and the groom’s mother.'” Larry’s response:

“At least he didn’t mention the family pets.”