I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in "Cheers & Jeers".
OK, you've been warned - here is this week's
tomfoolery material that I posted.
CHEERS to Bill and Michael in PWM, our Laramie, Wyoming-based friend Irish Patti and ...... well, each of you at Cheers and Jeers. Have a fabulous weekend .... and week ahead.
ART NOTES — an exhibition entitled The Salem Witch Trials: Restoring Justice — marking 330 years after its end, and (also through court documents and authentic historic objects) that led to the deaths of 25 innocent women, men and children wrongfully convicted of crimes — is at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts through November 26th.
YOUR WEEKEND READ #1 is this BBC essay, detailing a TV series (covering 2016-2022) called State of Chaos — on how the Tories have presided over a meltdown in Britain during that period.
LAST WEEK the city of New London, Connecticut celebrated the Burning of Benedict Arnold Festival — the US general (and Connecticut native) who became a traitor during the Revolutionary War and in 1781 led a force that attacked and burned New London — in a manner similar to Guy Fawkes Night in Britain.
THURSDAY's CHILD is named Maverick the Surfing Cat — a Bengal kitteh who regularly rides the waves in northern San Diego.
TRAVEL NOTES — on holidays and weekends beginning next spring, the city of Venice, Italy will levy a $5+ fee on day-trippers coming to visit (will not apply to those staying overnight in hotels) to try to spread-out the visitor load.
YOUR WEEKEND READ #2 is what I found the most telling excerpt from the upcoming McKay Coppins biography of Mitt Romney (about GOP members unwilling to take on 45):
Most members of Congress don’t have security details. Their addresses are publicly available online. Romney himself had been shelling out $5,000 a day since the riot to cover private security for his family—an expense he knew most of his colleagues couldn’t afford.
Mehdi believed it was $5k per month … he corrects himself later in the thread to the fact that it is a startling $5k/day.
FRIDAY's CHILD is named Leo the Cat — an Alaska kitteh who was reunited with his family twenty-six days after their house collapsed into a river swollen by a glacial-outburst flood.
BRAIN TEASER — try this Quiz of the Week's News from the BBC ...… and the usually easier, less UK-centered New York Times quiz (I aced this one time).
THE OTHER NIGHT yours truly hosted the Top Comments diary with a look at Green Room Republicans — who say one thing in the Green Room, another on TV.
YOUNGER-OLDER BROTHERS? — two right-wing politicians: Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt and Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall (hoping to prosecute Alabama women seeking abortions out-of-state).
...... and finally, for a song of the week ...........................… a quick look at a minor-key blues ballad that began life in the mid-70’s as an instrumental, had lyrics added to it in the early 90’s by an Englishwoman (who couldn’t convince the song’s composer to alter the song’s difficult bridge) and is a favorite of female singers.
The music was written by pianist Jimmy Rowles in the 70’s as a tribute to flutist Arthur Gleghorn, and was named The Peacocks (the nickname for Rowles and his bandmates desires to go bar-hopping). Jimmy Rowles worked with such bandleaders as Lester Young and Benny Goodman, also with Tony Bennett ... and singers from Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and (in the 1980’s) Diana Krall, encouraging her to sing more often that in her earlier days. Carmen McRae once described Rowles as "the guy every girl singer in her right mind would like to work with". His daughter Stacy became an accomplished trumpeter and his son Gary was a guitarist for Arthur Lee’s band Love and also for Eric Burdon.
In 1993, English singer Norma Winstone had heard the instrumental version on a Bill Evans piano trio album and asked Rowles if she could add lyrics to it. When he heard a cassette of her recording he was not only delighted: he asked if she would record it again with him. She used the title “A Timeless Place” for her vocalese version, and often one sees those words in parentheses with The Peacocks. She received an MBE as part of the Queen’s Honors in 2007.
Another singer (named Tierney Sutton) asked Jimmy Rowles’ reed man and arranger (Gary Foster) in 1999 if he could recommend any songs of Jimmy’s to record (three years after his death) When Foster recommended The Peacocks, she asked him to back him on her own recording which he says, “I wish Jim could have heard her”.
As an eight year-old I was at (what would be called today) a petting zoo and when I saw a peacock unfurl right in front of me I said, “Mom, isn’t she pretty?” Her response (“Umm, Eddie … that’s the male: there is the female”), pointing to a bird that was …. all gray …. fried my brain circuits in 1964. Maybe that’s partly why I love the song’s title …. in addition to its sophisticated melody and wistful lyrics.
During the height of lockdown in 2020 … Tierney Sutton re-recorded it with pianist Christian Jacob, which you can hear below.
The window looked out into a pattern never-ending
A flower and trees and little pathways far descending
To the garden far below us, the pavilions in the sunlight
Where the peacocks proudly grace the scene
The vision a timeless place another way of living
You moved in so close I really thought that you were giving
I allowed myself a moment to believe that you could leave me
To reflect upon what might have been
The summer sky I saw reflected in the color of your eyes
But somehow I could never peel away the layers of disguise
I'm drowning now I'm slowly sinking in a sea of blue and green
Where what you are is never seen, how can anybody know you?
I still hear the ringing of the church bells in the morning
The peacocks still calling out their sad and bitter warning
Take a final look around you - hold the memory forever
Find a quiet place inside where you can listen
Beauty's only an illusion
Here your truth is an intrusion
A mirage is all it's ever been