Friday, January 17, 2020

Infinite Truck Drivers

On a recent visit home, Mom started singing a song I had never heard before, which went, in Mom's version, "Bring me another cup of coffee/ It is the best in the land/ Bring me another cup of coffee/ For I am a truck driving man." So! It was quite a coincidence when I recently acquired a trove of songs by Bakersfield musicians, one of which was called "Truck Drivin' Man." It was just the song I heard my mother singing, except she had some of the chorus wrong. It actually goes, "Pour me another cup of coffee/ It is the best in the land/ I'll put a nickel in the jukebox/ And play the 'Truck Drivin' Man.'" Now! In a seeming paradox, the narrator of the song appears to be playing on a jukebox the very song to which we are listening, but that song could not exist to be played on the jukebox until the singer (as distinct from the narrator, who identifies as an actual truck driver, not a professional singer of truck driving songs) had recorded it. The singer, then, is projecting a future in which his own recording is not only possible, but essential. A leap of faith! Yet that is not the most interesting aspect. More than an advertisement for itself, this song is an endless universe willing itself into existence. I mean! Are we meant to think that the narrator of the song is listening to the same song that WE know as "Truck Drivin' Man"? If so, he must be listening to a second narrator, who, within THAT song, is listening to the song "Truck Drivin' Man" on another jukebox, in which yet another narrator in turn is listening to the song "Truck Drivin' Man" on yet another jukebox, and so on, into all of eternity. I don't "blog" anymore, but some thoughts have nowhere else to go.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Capering About Spreading Tension

Speaking of books with owls in them, Jeanine Basinger, in her book on the movie musical, summarizes one Danny Kaye number: "He barks like a dog, crows like a rooster, hoots like an owl, and mews like a kitten." She doesn't mean it in a good way. Danny Kaye seems to irritate her greatly. For perspective, she describes his presence in another movie as "capering about spreading tension."

Friday, January 10, 2020

Happy New Year

Though I have a compulsion to tell you every time I read a book with an owl in it, I hope I have made it completely clear that I don't have to tell you EVERY time a single book has an owl in it. Like, if there's an owl on page 14 and then another owl on page 63, I only have to tell you about the first owl. So get off my back! BUT! This book DUCKS, NEWBURYPORT has had at least FIVE more owls in it since the last time we spoke of it, which seems worth mentioning. Now, you may ask yourself why it is taking me so long to read DUCKS, NEWBURYPORT, to which I respond that it is none of your damn business, but for one thing, it is too large to take on an airplane, according to my strict rules, and I was on lots of airplanes in 2019, some I didn't even bother to tell you about. For another thing, Megan and I are fully committed to our unceasing diet of books about celebrities, so leave us alone.