Kansas City Evening Star, January 18, 1881. I suppose an unexploded bomb in every grave would have slowed down the trade in stiffs for a while, but there’d have been public safety issues, and eventually medical schools would have started offering bomb-disposal courses and we’d have been back to business as usual. Life is an arms race.
Okay, so I’ve roughed out a provisional draft of alternate lyrics to “My Favorite Things” for our own Jackie of Finland to record, per our contractually-binding exchange in this comment thread. I’m also in negotiations to get the two surviving Seidlitz Brothers to dub some backing vocals, though according to their agent, Shlomo’s voice box is pretty much shot from three packs of Chesterfields a day since the McKinley administration. No matter: that’s why God made Pro Tools and the electrolarynx.
I’m kind of going back and forth on the first verse here, as it lacks the 100% concrete historicity that the other verses have. Though maybe I could fix that by nailing down concrete references to back it all up.
Barrel-clad hobos and window-ledge pastries
Irish patrolman and drunks with the DTs
Blackguards and maidens and oncoming trains
These are a few of my favorite thangs
Phials of acid in ex-lovers’ faces
Naked wild women in desolate places
Negroes with blue gums who kill when they bite
This is a load of my favorite shite
Mince pies for breakfast, and luncheon, and dinner
Corpses injected to make their eyes glimmer
Med school students defiling the dead
This sort of thing tends to fuck with my head
Cuckqueaned wives killing spinster cult leaders
Cats sold as rabbits to unwitting eaters
Show-offs igniting their cee-gars with bills
These are symptoms of society’s ills
When the dog brings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I feel truly bad
Jackie: Far be it from me to impinge on your creative process, but I was thinking this would work best Lento assai and in a minor key.
Omaha Morning World-Herald, May 13, 1895. Even as tied-to-the-tracks dramas go, this story’s a weird one. Or even as real-life precursors to Park Chan-wook films go, for that matter. Read more.
Ths Brattleboro, Vermont, Reporter, June 14, 1806. Hoo boy, heref a meffed-up ftory about a terrfically unhappy family. Bafically a confpiracy of children to kill their drunken, violent old man before he killed again. Gotta feel forry for the kidf, though my guess is the teenage murdereff probabaly fwung for thif. Read More »
(Chicago) Daily Inter-Ocean, March 12, 1896. For no other pie did people behave this way.
Boston Daily Journal. December 5, 1889. Tom Stoppard and Richard Powers are collaborating on an operatic libretto encompassing these items. Johnny Greenwood is signed to write the score.
Oh, just kiddin’. But the longer I stare at these old newspapers, the more I am bewitched by the cumulative insanity and variety and intellectual free-fall of these deep stacks of randomly interesting nonsense.
They put me much in mind the work of Neil Postman, whose books The Disappearance of Childhood and Amusing Ourselves to Death seemed to me very profound when I read them in my 20s. The guy’s basic theme was that print imposed rationality, but video annihilated it. That, according to Mr. Postman, was because TV equaled vaudeville and vaudeville equaled chaos. Whereas print was inherently rational.
But that’s fundamentally utopian, i.e. stupid, because vaudeville is the default condition of the human mind, regardless of prevailing medium. Am I right? I got Shakespeare and Chaucer on my side here.
P.S. I see some boffins at a Harvardian thinktank are on my side too. I would have tidied up, avoir su.
New York Times, February 7, 1935. Interesting to see a judge urging a defendant to take the law into his own hands. With the tacit, winking approval of the New York Times, no less.
New York Tribune, March 31, 1912. We’re going to consider some extrajudicial responses to the wife-beating problem for a while.