Saturday, August 02, 2014

Chest Thumpers

Megan Abbott was right when she told me I was depressed from reading "too much chest-thumping male stuff in a row." Yet somehow I felt like going straight from the 700-page Frank Sinatra bio (and that's just the first half of his life!) into an Artie Shaw bio I've had on the shelf for years... talk about a chest-thumper! I seem to recall he was one of those geniuses who was also a big jerk. Maybe I was "leaning into it" - is that a phrase that means anything, and am I using it correctly if so? I guess it was the Ava Gardner connection between those two gentlemen that got me thinking about the Shaw book. And the Lana Turner connection to a lesser degree. And one time Frank came home and found Lana and Ava hanging out and he got so mad! So I took this Artie Shaw book off the shelf and, I don't know, it smelled weird. I read the first page. At 92, Artie Shaw recalls his very first memory: seeing a devil! Or, to be less sensationalistic, a devil-shaped shadow on the ceiling over his crib. But like I said the book smelled weird and the devil over his crib reminded me about my odor-free copy of PARANORMAL MISSISSIPPI RIVER: AN ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA, which I opened to a passage on "phantom kangaroos" sometimes "seen hopping around and occasionally behaving aggressively, in Central Illinois." Just like Frank Sinatra and Artie Shaw!