Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Daisy on the Point Sent Jack to Rest

Megan Abbott sent me some pix from a Frank Sinatra exhibit. We were supposed to go see it last time I was in NYC but we did so many other things I guess old Frank slipped through the cracks. Megan sent me a picture of this poster (above) but it was sideways and I couldn't figure out how to straighten it up for you, so I nabbed this version off the "internet" instead. So many questions! Why is Frank saying, "It's a daisy"? What's a daisy? I mean, I know what a daisy is. My first thought was of Kerouac, who wrote a movie (which I've never seen) called PULL MY DAISY. Are daisies a beatnik thing? Is Frank being "hip"? We could also ask why Frank is riding Ursula Andress like a horse and Anita Ekberg is riding Dean Martin like a horse. A lot to unpack there, thematically! And why Frank is holding his hat where it is. But daisies. Kerouac loved Sinatra, of course. He went to see him perform. He recorded himself reading his vampire novel while a Sinatra LP played in the background. I don't think Kerouac has anything to do with this movie poster. Nor does De La Soul, though, if I recall correctly, daisies are an important recurring symbol in their work. You know what I'm getting at: any excuse to bring out my three-volume GREEN'S DICTIONARY OF SLANG. I spent so much money on it! And oh boy! There are a dozen different meanings for "daisy" as a noun, PLUS there's an adjective definition and TWO different ways of using daisy as an adverb! And there are 14 or 15 different compound slang expressions beginning with "daisy," including four separate meanings for "daisy chain." I think I'll be here all day. Hey! This has nothing to do with the movie poster anymore - or does it? - but a "daisy" can mean "a perfect blow." Two nice examples are given, one from a newspaper report of a turn-of-the-(last)-century boxing match: "Murphy got most of the punishment, but bided his time until an opening offered in the 9th round, when a 'daisy' on the point sent Jack to rest." Beautiful! And dialogue from a 1916 short-story collection called LIMEHOUSE NIGHTS: "First time I ever knew you pop a daisy on yer brother, though." Well, I've stopped thinking about the movie poster now. I'm going to study all these meanings of "daisy" and related slang words and I'll probably get back to you later.