Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sessions with Santa - Christmas Captions

“If there was a way
I'd hold back this tear
But it's Christmas day
Baby, please come home” – Barry, Greenwich, Spector

“Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We've been good but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast” – a chipmunk

That silent night is very noisily approaching - not much is calm and not too many are bright (and just try rounding yon a virgin.) The very fabric of our nation is being torn asunder in a bitter debate over the ignorant and hateful words of an irrelevant, hillbilly, reality-star duck hunter. Meaningless sensation rules the day as calm, rationality and intelligence have bid a bitter and bilious adieu to the daily discourse. The President battles a pre-Civil War mentality from half of (the birth of) a nation, and the obstructionist Congress continues upon its feckless, infantile, mean-spirited way. Sleep in Heavenly peace. 

Clearly, what we require as we finish up our final, festive preparations for the yearly, benevolent, birthday bacchanalia for the Prince of Peace (awkward segue ahead) is some seasonal, jolly, good-natured holiday humor; the variety of jests and jabs that would please Andy Williams and Perry Como as appropriate Yuletide yuks. For while it may appear that the proper spirit of the season often seems solely to exist in the Miracles of 34th Streets and with the angels who get their wings, wherever a blogger takes cheap, easy satiric shots at shots of celebrities and Santa Claus, Christmas still lives in the hearts and dreams of those, young and old, and lo the many Whos down in Whoville.

No contemporary Christmas would be complete without the finest Rock-era holiday hit, and performance.  Darlene Love’s annual appearances with David Letterman have become one of television’s superlative season’s greetings – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home.)

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Creature’s Been Stirring

Where the Wild Things Are: Hell's Kitchen Edition 2

All creatures, great and small, are my brethren

“Hey, do the mouse, yeah,
Hey, you can do it in your house yeah,
On the rug, or on the wall
If your folks get bugged do it in the hall" - Linzer/Randell

“You scare my girl, you eat my cheese, you even drink my wine.
I try so hard to catch you but you trick me all the time.” – Allen/Merrell

 In our initial installment of “Where the Wild Things Are: Hell's Kitchen Edition,” we encountered that airborne, marauding, metropolitan menace, the pigeon. Now, we share our exhilarating and electrifying escapades with its earthbound, urban associate, that terror of the terra firma - the mouse.

When suspecting a rodent may be afoot it is, of course, always a relief when clues and evidence lead to the revelation that the current home intruder is but a mouse and not a rat as it is well-known, world-wide, that the New York City strain of this vile vermin can oftimes grow to the size of a standard Shetland Pony, with an intelligence and acuity far surpassing that of a typical Tea Party member. 

There I was, one recent evening, prone and prostrate on the settee, seasonal fare emoting from the Samsung LED, Spanky the elderly cat curled up and catnapping on my sweat-panted legs, when the mouse alarm – skittering, scratching, and most definitively, squeaking, warned me of a possible confrontation to come. I was alert and unhappy; meanwhile, Spanky, supposed natural enemy to our uninvited guest, was about as attentive as Miley Cyrus in charm school. His body remained motionless, his breathing steady. Where were his predatory instincts? Had he not been made aware, at some juncture in one of his nine lives, of Tom and Jerry? What about all the pre-“jump the shark” years when we enjoyed The Simpsons together, surely he had witnessed the continuing animosity between Itchy and Scratchy! But perhaps this is what happens when one’s pet is so aged that he creates a Haircut 100 playlist on Spotify.

Supports comprehensive immigration reform

Once again, Minute Mouse let its presence be known, and this time the identifying sounds rose in volume. And as for Spanky, he remained as lost in his lie-down as Uncle Joe in his rocking chair on the porch of the Shady Rest Hotel. We ask so little of our cats. They sleep. They eliminate waste. And they eat. And we are happy.  So much so, that we heap praise upon them and brag of their superiority and wonderment to family and friends. But if our tabbies do have any job, any responsibility in the household from which they gain so much, if there is any arena in which they can repay us for the many years of food, shelter and clothing (what can I say, he fancies himself a bit of a Beau Brummell) it would be in protecting the homestead from these municipal menaces.

 So, in need of his particular set of skills, I stirred Spanky from his slumber and anxiously awaited the inducement of nature, the call of the wild, to overtake my four-legged Liam Neeson.  Did he answer the call to duty? Did he defend his beloved owner from this unwelcome, unwanted and unwarranted assault? He arose, paraded passed the perimeter of peril, ignoring the still on-going activity like a Republican ignores facts, snacked from his food bowl and then returned couch-bound, to resume counting his, certainly never to be in endangered by him, sheep.

My close compadre of nearly 18 years, like Sarah Palin on a polygraph or Marcus Bachmann on his honeymoon night, failed me. Isn’t a cat much more properly equipped for a mouse melee than a human? What equipment did nature provide me with to repel a rodent? Our claws and teeth have long been dulled through eons of use of fine cutlery. Am I to punch it, challenge it to fisticuffs, Marquis of Queensbury rules? Am I to impress it with my intellect? Shatter its spirit with irony and scathing sarcasm? That’s what man is equipped to do.

What mouse deterring weaponry would I possibly possess, this is a Manhattan apartment not a New Rochelle family room – no bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs – I don’t even have a shovel, I have a Super. I do own quite the posh
walking stick, so although I can’t harm him, we can walk up the avenue. Yes, we'll walk up the avenue. Yes, a walk up the avenue's what we'll take. 

Most relevantly, my bleeding-heart, beating heart wouldn’t allow me to exterminate anything more anthropomorphic than an insect. Should Mickey not depart my domicile of his own accord, ideally he would be humanely trapped and then released to blessed freedom in Central Park. I want it to frolic and run free and twirl its little arms around in song and jubilation like a rodent Julie Andrews; free to live among its own and procreate and scare toddlers on picnics and strolls; free to spread incurable diseases and plagues. That is the compassionate fate of which I dream.

This apartment is not a place of death, but a place of life – and of love and laughter and song and fine wines and gourmet foods; of beautiful women and of crushed velvet smoking jackets – this is not an abattoir. (“I'm sorry. We want a block of flats, not an abattoir.”)

"Here I come to maim your face!”that means that Mighty Mouse snuck in your place
For now, the mouse maintains his rent-free residence somewhere within the walls of our humble home, with continued opportunities to dangerously gnaw at electrical wires, contaminate my food and defecate in my shoes. And when the wee small hours approach and feline and I retire for a long winter’s nap, we ponder the notion of leaving ample incandescents aglow as to efficiently alight both Times and Trafalgar Squares on the eve of the New Year. Then, Spanky and I are nestled all snug in bed, while visions of waking with a mouse on my face dance in my head.
Say goodnight Eddie, so I can attack you in your sleep
We join Topo in saying a, somewhat less nefarious, goodnight with two relevant songs from my long-ago childhood - Soupy Sales sings "Do The Mouse" followed by Lou Monte with "Pepino the Italian Mouse."

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday Song Selection – Randy Newman: Political Science

The Neo-Con Theme

Or Why Do Republicans Love War So?

"This deal falls very short on all fronts... it bodes very, very ominously for the region, and in fact, U.S. security - Eric Cantor
“Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” – John McCain

“Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us." – Randy Newman

Your Lefty Blogger’s Rant

Why “Political Science?” Because the hateful hub bub and radical Republican reaction to the recent hopeful and peaceful accord with Iran to possibly prevent them from developing nuclear weaponry capabilities demonstrates astutely the prescient nature of Mr. Newman’s 1972 composition. While he was comically commenting on American foreign policy of that era, his farcical lyrics would seem even more attuned to the Right-Wing mindset of today.

Blessed with thought, curiosity and comprehension, the grey matter of modern man makes one query, why such rejection and refusal for a bloodless agreement that would appear to be all upside? The honest answer would perhaps be two-fold.

First, far too many Conservatives, Republicans and Tea-partiers, by nurture and nature, dislike and distrust citizenry who’s skin tones vary to darker shades than that seen in photographs and videos of Clay Aiken. Deny this they will, but their denials are often of the same superficial spirit akin to statements like, “Man, that Jackie Robinson was a heck of a ballplayer,” and “Sammy Davis could sure sell a song.”

The present proliferation of this thinking would be the respect and admiration stated from these intolerants towards former General Colin Powell, one of the criminals who held an active, important and major role in selling the Iraq War lies and propaganda to Americans and the world at large. While Powell holds a dear place in the heart of GOPers for that vile villainy, rest assured should he ever announce a run for the highest office in the land, they would throw him under the bus faster than a fed up Alice Kramden literally would to husband Ralph, when finally standing up to his constant stream of verbal abuse and long-standing threats of physical violence. Meaning, if Barack Hussein Obama proposes an idea, the Right knows naught but to oppose it, even if they don’t quite appreciate why they do.

Secondly, Republican leaders love war. They really do. It’s one of the few things they understand and embrace. The Right has but one way to conduct foreign policy, one philosophy, one approach, one ideology, one arrow in their international non-diplomatic quiver - war.

Simply put, and as borne out by history and rhetoric, Conservatives hate negotiation and love killing. They loathe life, and adore death. They subsist on the sacrifice of our nation's courageous youth and the termination of other populations and innocents across this great globe.  They coveted bombs and soldiers in Syria, and now desire the same in Iran. Their bag of diplomatic tricks, their solution to every and all dilemmas, consists solely of bombing, invading, attacking and occupying. Successful Republican mediation is one whose outcome slaughters our young people (as well as other peoples) thousands upon thousands, and builds foreign military bases which are then never abandoned.  Any other option is capitulation and appeasement. Diplomacy and negotiation is weakness. Piling up unrecognizable and nameless corpses is strength and victory. And why such adulation of death and destruction - part stubborn and idiotic ideology and part pure inglorious greed, for the GOP, and the Neo-Cons and the military industrial complex that wise President Dwight Eisenhower (a kind of Republican no longer in existence) warned us about, oh so long ago, cannot profit from peace.

And it’s this despicable dogma that leads us to today’s melody of choice, a broadly satiric concoction whose lyrics many a Tea Partier, many a Neo-Con, many a Republican could cling to as literal liturgy.

Obligatory Biographical Information

The Randy Newman who penned and performed “Political Science” in the way-back times of Vietnam-era youthful rebellion, is in many ways musically far removed from the Newman most know from his Disney/Pixar/annual Oscar nomination years. I highly recommend exploration of his cerebral, sardonic, satiric and sarcastic early singer-songwriter days, and watch the treacly side melt away as you look back in anger.

Nephew of three heralded Hollywood composers - Alfred, Lionel and Emil Newman, Randy eventually followed in those family footsteps, resulting in such a proliferation of award nominations and triumphs that even Sesame Street’s the Count had to give up trying to keep track. His film scores include those for Ragtime, Awakenings, The Natural, James and the Giant Peach, Meet the Parents, Seabiscuit, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 1 through Toy Story Infinity;  in the process racking up 20 Oscar Nominations with 2 wins, in addition to 3 Emmys, 6 Grammys, the Recording Academy’s Governor’s Award, induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and, most relevantly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before Randy Newman tailed Tink and Peter to Disney and filmdom prominence, fame and fortune, he was a longhaired, hippy-type, recalcitrant rock and roller, and that is who we salute here.

Besides his own critically acclaimed, but oft-times commercially ignored, albums of original songs, his work was covered by a lengthy list of recording artists among them Gene PitneyJerry ButlerPetula ClarkDusty SpringfieldJackie DeShannonThe O'Jays , Harpers Bizarre , Alan PriceVan Dyke ParksDave Van RonkJudy Collinsthe Everly BrothersClaudine LongetNina SimoneLynn AndersonWilson Pickett, Don Henley, Pat Boone and Peggy Lee. For a brief period, he was also a member of the previously referred to Harpers Bizarre when they played under their initial nom-de-rockband, The Tikis.

Political Science – the Lyrics 

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

Political Science - The Video

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"And No Religion Too" - An Atheist's Prayer

But the Lord says, 'be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.’" - Rep. Michele Bachmann

“We should create law based on the God of the Bible.” – Sarah Palin, ward of the state

“I just believe in me” – John Lennon

The struggle of reason – to accept, solely on faith, that which logic, life-experience and rationale dictate to be, by every possible measure, incredulous, implausible and ultimately unbelievable. And then, if choosing to dismiss such blind faith, finding a balance between a dislike, distrust and even disgust of the fiction of religions and the immeasurable destruction that they have wrought upon society and civilizations; the inherent negativity of building lives, laws and cultures around this man-made construct designed to control and constrict human thought and behaviors, and the every-day practicality that those who hold this non-belief are a vast minority, in a certain sense, always strangers in a strange land.
Perhaps we need a prayer of our own.

An Atheist’s Prayer

Sing praise to thee
On bended knee,
For fear you’ll strike us dead.
We genuflect
Not from respect,
But censured years of dread.

Give alms to thee
A fiefdom’s fee.
A tribute paid,
A soul remade
Erasing every sin.
The price for Heaven admission, not contrition.
Weekly contribution buys absolution,
And you’re in.

No freedom’s free,
Our guilty plea.

We pray to thee
On bended knee
A God conjured of mist.
A God of love
Shines from above
When not perpetually pissed.
Part sacred retaliation,
Bloviated threats of harsh damnation,
Simultaneous claims of salvation,
All too tempting to dismiss.
Why think us profane,
Sent to the Devil’s domain
As the cost of a forbidden kiss?

Some pray for love
Some pray for health
Some pray for lasting peace.
A fiction man envisions,
Causing cultural collisions,
False historical revisions
Fulfilling wants that never cease,
All for the hopes of those deceased.

The point of sacred mumbling
A god that keeps you humbling,
Disavowing personal choice
And yet the devotees rejoice,
For this sacrosanct illusion
Favoring bigoted exclusion,
And centuries of conflict and confusion.

We can summon our fabrication to calm our fevered soul,
Or be the lord of our own creation and actually reach an earthly goal.
Is this the irony of men
To craft a god who looks like them,
Only to surrender in his name
What makes us human and humane?

So, now I lay me down to sleep,
Resolute to find a truth to keep
If I should die before I wake,
I have no need for Heaven’s sake.

 And now, while patiently awaiting the time until I am “shuffled off this mortal coil” clearly bound for my eternal comeuppance, allow me to share with you John Lennon performing “God.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Slow, Painful Decline of Network TV 2 – Must Flee TV

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources” – Benjamin Franklin

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” – Herman Melville

“We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far
Pictures came and broke your heart” – The Buggles

In my self-appointed, self-anointed, self-aggrandizing and unpaid, therefore, self-sacrificing role of satirical commentator on all things irksome and vexing, the topic at hand is one of particular personal interest and knowledge, as nycityman’s entire adult life (and a lengthy one it is) has been spent in the employ of the television field, and includes many a season toiling shoulder to shoulder, bolder to bolder, cathode ray tube to cathode ray tube with a number of personnel and principals involved in programming and promotion at the National Broadcasting Company -once proud home to Hill Street Blues, Huntley and Brinkley, St. Elsewhere, Seinfeld, Cheers, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Bonanza, L.A. Law and now, in 2013, home of… umm… give me a minute… there must be something, oh yes, the Voice and America’s Got Talent… and now, in 2013 - proud recycler of Major Bowes/Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour and American idol.  To give a succinct, concise, yet powerful perspective, the network that once brought you Johnny Carson now brings you Jimmy Fallon, how far the mighty have fallen.

In part one (link below)  ABC and outlandish reality shows were lampooned, this go-round we visit the programming of the Peacock Network where originality and ingenuity are but polysyllabic words that TV Executives look up in their Funk and Wagnall’s.

Will there ever be a CBS edition with scathing scrutiny of the Cialis Brioschi Senokot Network, average viewer age – deceased? Not very likely, but will this lack of callous but constructive criticism of CBS have any connection to the fact that nycityman’s  401K, pension, health insurance, regular gainful employment and weekly salary is inextricably and inescapably tied into the continuing and long-term success of the Tiffany Network? Please, you insult me. Now, bring on the 54th seasons of Survivor: Staten Island and 3 ½ Men with 1 Man Left, those classics just never get old.

NBC - Proud as a Peanut  (note:  it is well known amongst we experts in the science of pomology that the peanut is, in fact, the least prideful of all legumes, owing to its ubiquitousness and inexpense.)

When examining the new programming model and intent under Robert Greenblatt, Grand Poobah of Coming Up with New Hit Shows (I may be just a tad off from his official corporate title) a singular and clear direction has been established - rip-off, recycle, reboot – and don’t let proven failure veer you from that unoriginal and uninspiring course and focus. Having already sent sponsors scurrying for cover, and NBC itself into a 5th place ratings free-fall directly behind former UHF, Spanish-language channel Univision with failed remakes of Knight Rider, Bionic Woman, The Munsters and just this September,  Ironside, Greenblatt continues riding the carriage to collapse, the DC-10 to disappointment and the limo to lost viewers by continuing this counter fitting concept of re-presenting old chestnuts as fresh fodder by recasting with African-American performers. If you didn’t love the new Ironside (all 3 underwhelming episodes) retooled for Blair Underwood, you’ll feel just as luke warm about the new version of Murder She Wrote, now starring Octavia Spencer– exactly what the kids have been clamoring for.

But, of course, as with most household pests, the ones you  see are usually just a small sample of what’s truly hiding and lurking behind the sheet rock.  So, with no further ado (or really, any ado at all) stolen from the hard drive of a high-ranking NBC executive in Burbank, California, a smattering of synopses of some upcoming new shows that will all seem somewhat vaguely familiar.

The Black Dean Martin Show

The Black Dean Martin Show - We don’t know who he is. We don’t know if he has any particular talents, but he’s an African-American, his name happens to actually be Dean Martin and he owns a tuxedo. And that’s good enough - featuring the Ding-a-Ling Sistahs and the ghost of Nipsey Russell.

You loved Dexter, so we brought you Hannibal. You loved Dexter, so we also brought you The Blacklist. You loved Dexter, so we’re riding this train until every last lump of coal is extinguished and we’ve driven over a hog-tied damsel in distress, as we now bring you TV’s most loveable psychotic  killer - Wayne (Newman) Knight as David Berkowitz in Son of Sam, That Son of a Gun. (We apologize in advance.)

From Nashville, the Country Music Capital of the World, and the Ryman Auditorium, home to the legendary Grand Ole Opry, NBC proudly presents – The Black Country Music Awards, with Hootie, Charlie Pride and….

The Black Country Music Awards
Forget the old-hat-trick, boring days of the traditional NHL and put that yawn on ice.  NBC is bringing new thrills to the hockey rink, with the NHUL, the National Hockey Urban League. Just when you thought sports couldn’t possibly get more exciting than the WNBA!

It’s a Black Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas – This one truly is a Silent Night.

It's a Black Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas
CSI/NCIS M.O.U.S.E. – Our innovative new procedural drama takes place in the dirty, dark, grimy and surprisingly dangerous back alleys, thoroughfares and Main Streets USA of Disney Land, Anaheim, California. It’s a Small, Small World, M*****r F****r!!

Rowland and Martin’s Laugh-In – We’ve taken highlights from reruns of In Living Color and repackaged them with new introductions by Kelly Rowland and Martin Lawrence, and fingers are crossed that America will be fooled. After all, 60 million of you voted for Mitt Romney.

From Robert Greenblatt, award-winning producer of the hit HBO series, Six Feet Under comes Five Feet Under – this time, the hands are sticking out.

What happens when a bunch of backwoods, redneck, tea-partyin’ singers, comics, spoon-playin’, fiddle-playin’ Southerners head up north of 125th Street and team up with talent from Def Comedy Jam, Def Poety Jam and Def Jam Records at the historic Apollo Theatre - it’s Harlem Hee Haw! And it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And finally, as one last shot before being sold off to Bob’s Discount Furniture, the National Broadcasting Company  gifts to you, our loyal viewers, all seven of you, a ground-breaking, all -African-American adaptation of the classic 70’s sitcom, Good Times. (We got confused.)

We close by bookending with the Buggles and Video Killed the Radio Star.

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dude, Grow Up! - The Infantalization of the American Male

Help Control the Dude Population, Have Your Frat Boys Spayed or Neutered

A Grumpy Old Man Post ©

“Lather was thirty years old today.
They took away all of his toys.
His mother sent newspaper clippings to him,
About his old friends who'd stopped being boys.” – Grace Slick

“I won't grow up,
I don't want to wear a tie.
And a serious expression
In the middle of July….
Never gonna be a man, I won't!
Like to see somebody try and make me…
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me, Not I” – Carolyn Leigh

I’m hesitant to Benedict Arnold my own species, my own genus, my own gender but… let’s face the ugly and honest truth, modern American men do not grow up.  A mature male “stars and striper” is a rarer phenomenon than a college graduate at a Tea Party rally, a clever line in a Chuck Lorre sitcom, a Palin purchasing contraceptives, or an organic fruit bowl at a Monsanto reception.  For some difficult to determine, but definitively post-World War II period, we XYs have heeded the lyrics of Mr. Zimmerman, and we may stay forever young. The Toms, Dicks, Harrys, Ethans and Aidans of the lower 48, plus Alaska and Hawaii, will ever reside in Neverland.

It’s the End of the World as We Know it

The responsible, self-reliant, independent American adult male has gone the way of the travel agent, Intellivision, Daniel J. Travanti, the compassionate Republican, the intelligent Republican, the charitable Republican and an audience for NBC – something now long extinct. Rather, we have devolved into a nation of beer-guzzling, pot-smoking, video game-playing, eternal frat boys in search of their man caves.

Modern Man Casual Wear
And what in Great Caesar’s Ghost (thank you, Perry White) is a man cave anyway, from whence does that terminology arise? If I see another 45 year old, father of two Sales Rep. on House Hunters rebuff possible and promising abodes protesting, bemoaning and almost tearfully decrying the lack of wall acreage to hang his 60 inch 3D LED TV or the insufficient space for the foosball table and kegerator he shares with his bros on the weekend; while his wife, by law, but his mother-figure, in practice, silently contemplates the potential damage of divorce on the future of their offspring,  I’m likely to go all Elvis on my own Samsung 1080i.

Instead of the fictional phraseology, “man cave” from here forward we shall refer to the babyish barricade in more valid verbiage – as a fort, a boy fort, your “He-Man Woman Haters Club.” Spare the basement or the extra room in the split level from your Delta House doings and instead build a tree house. Build a tree house in your backyard, adorn the exterior with a “no girls allowed” sign, and make sure, as is prerequisite, that the “s” is printed backwards. Now, feel free to flee family and commitment for your devoted and most faithful and fidelis paramours, your man/boyhood companions in childishness.

Friends, I know of what I speak for I am nycityman, and like the abject wretches already alluded too, also, a modern American male, remaining immature and juvenile far past the suitable expiration date. But, unlike so many others, I have the advantage of years and life experience, and so the ability to acknowledge and accept the frequent faults innate to arrested adolescence, feel appropriately remorseful and attempt to adjust conduct accordingly. Thus, for example, the boorish and interminably, irritating annoyance “dude” will never be present in any sentence, exclamation or utterance in any era in which I am still of sound mind, without threat of life, limb or property. I am not a dude. You are not a dude. This is not a ranch, and we are hardly cowpoke.

Modern Man Office Wear
Like Dr. Frankenstein, Let’s Make You a Man

If, as they say, it is indeed accurate that clothes make the man, then let us commence our metamorphosis with an examination and replacement of present infantile apparel, which begs the query – just when did mankind as a classification, and as a social animal, deteriorate to the degree that shorts and flip flops could be considered respectable and accepted adult male attire, fitting for any time of year, for any occasion or for any destination – be it church, work, weddings, theatre, dinner or dates?

Please purchase the following three necessary articles of clothing - some real shirts, some real shoes, and some real pants. Perplexed, dude? I will clarify. Shirts for grown-ups generally have buttons, collars and long sleeves, and should not and will not include weak witticisms, such as, “I’m with stupid,” “free mustache rides,” nor the logo featuring the prime product produced by your favorite brewery.

Shoes should be manufactured from leather, not plastic or rubber, and contain within, the entire foot. Do not arrive at my office or to the adjoining table at my favored brasserie in footwear designed for running along the beach in the opening credits of Baywatch.

Lastly, but no less essential, by “pants” we are looking for legs that will extend beyond the knee, and reach completely down to brush the top of your newly acquired, and always polished, Florsheims.

Modern Man Formal Wear

Should we American men continue upon our current course, rejecting maturity, and refusing behavioral responsibility, dependability or conscientiousness what is the hope for the successful future of our country and society? If we remain continually a Republic of children endlessly entranced by Grand Theft Auto we will lose out in this global economy and competitive world to men from other nations whose cultures demand, despite the pain and difficulty sometimes involved, that they genuinely reflect their correct chronology. With a land full of mostly Adam Sandler-esque man/boys who, no matter the age or generation, always feel, if push comes to shove and the need arises, they can still move back home with Mommy and Daddy, even if the folks are now requiring the use of Hoverounds and Acorn Stair Lifts (actually, mores the better as those needed medical appliances can now serve as new playthings for the re-nested) the recently exhibited Tea Party political behaviors and strategies of holding one’s breath, stamping one’s feet and weeping in spoiled frustration will become de rigueur deportment, and an expected element in this realm of supposed Exceptionalism.

American Man Then
American Man Now

You read the lyrics at the outset, now enjoy the songs, as we close with Jefferson Airplane performing “Lather,” and from the musical Peter Pan, “I Won’t Grow Up.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, compliments, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stout-Hearted Men: Days of a Dandy

Male Bonding at the House of Brews

But You Doesn’t Has to Call Me Johnson

“Oh Dandy, Dandy,
When you gonna’ give up?
Are you feeling old now?
You always will be free” – Ray Davies

“Stout-hearted men
Can stick together man to man” – Oscar Hammerstein II

A Dandy: also known as a beau or gallant - a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance and refined language. Historically, especially in late 18th and early 19th-century Britain, a dandy, who was self-made, often strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background.

In the spirit of full disclosure, our tale will, at least, commence factually, and then at some juncture most certainly veer off of the turnpike of truth and the highway of honesty, onto the boulevard of bull and the avenue of exaggeration. When precisely the GPS of genuineness leads us astray is something we will uncover concurrently and, one hopes, that mutual discovery will serve to bring us all even closer together. Love is all you need.

It was a Friday, a slow Friday. Lacking any enlivening or exhilarating objectives and feeling a need for some form of activity, I meandered into my friendly neighborhood watering-hole where I oft-times find myself, not for the potables, but for the congenial and convivial camaraderie – minimally imbibing myself, of course, but in attendance as more of a positive presence to persuade other more weak-willed individuals of the wrongness of their behavior – kind of a 21st century Carrie Nation, if you will, sans hatchet, and naturally, substantially prettier.  And, there you have it, any attempt at reality already forsaken as it’s fairly more feasible that I was on-site in order to fulfill a desperate and despairing desire for several pints of Brooklyn Lager (unpaid/unremunerated non-celebrity endorsement.)  But as it was a time ago, and as life is so full, so rich and so active, it can be hard to recall such trivial and negligible details as momentary motivation.

As any tavern attendee can attest,  after an order or two of one’s selected spirit, the bloke with the equine begs conversation, the asp require egress and the vicar awaits, palm pleasantly extended;  so off to the gents it is – and, perhaps not unexpectedly, here’s where our yarn spins slightly askew.

Not to delve deliberately into detail, but I have always deemed the deed in which I was partaking to be a personal pursuit. Disappointingly, many designers of the men’s lounge seem to think it as more of a communal activity and one in which we should all share.  I prefer my pissoir performance primarily private, my urination unobserved, and not for the prying and peering lenses of paparazzi, TMZ or my fellow pub patrons; but the accommodations were hardly abandoned and so the quarters were as tight as a 5 star entry in Elliot Spitzer’s Rolodex.  And hence we found ourselves, shoulder to shoulder and bolder and bolder, two stout-drinking and stout-hearted men, when my comrade in answering  nature’s call turns in my direction (happily not his entire frame in my direction) takes in my attire and states, “you know what we are, you and I? We’re both dandies!”

Heinous Hollywood Dandy, Adolphe Menjou
 Now, perhaps I just don’t know how to accept accolades and admiration, and perhaps my dumbfounded stunned silence in response was an overreaction;  but the House of Brews loo seemed neither the appropriate time nor place to be exchanging complimentary conversation with a fellow XY. Standing there, side by side by Sondheim, John Thomas’s exposed and living free and easy, is generally a circumstance in which one stays more commonly to themselves; a rare moment of peace, a chance to look inward, a time of reflection, of singing to oneself quietly, or of recalling lists of things to do - but not normally a period for witty banter or repartee, or for comparisons of any sort. In regards to the "we're both dandies" commentary, this I cannot knowledgably address, for I observed proper protocol and did not reciprocate the apparel ogling and scrutinizing. 

Modern Dandy, Raymond J. Johnson Jr. You can call him Ray, or you can call him Jay...

 And why flattery in 19thcentury jargon - by all outward appearances the chappy did not seem to be from an earlier age?  Yet, despite his contemporary façade, he used the terminology, “dandy.” Should I have rejoined, “nay, my fine fellow, I am certainly no dandy. Charge me with thy term rapscallion, rake or even fop. But dandy I take offense to?” In retrospect, would a challenge to a duel, flintlock pistols at 20 paces, have been a fitting response?

To clarify for any women amongst the readership, from my understanding, men’s rooms and women’s rooms present substantially dissimilar environs.  Apparently, ladies rooms are superior to most New York City apartments, with couches,  large, well-lit mirrors,  seating areas, shelves to place needed accoutrements, big screen TV’s, open bars and masseurs. They are, by all accounts, perpetual personal paradises.  Men’s rooms, on the contrary, are basically holes in which things can go and then be disposed of; where one deals with the business at hand and then disperses as quickly as possible.

But, the relevant concluding question is, is nycityman indeed a dandy - a relic of a past era, an artifact from an ancient epoch, a remnant of long-forgotten days?  So, I happen to possess the footwear pictured. Is that walking stick representative of a dandy? (Hmm, a query that fairly answers itself, I suppose.) And I stock more waistcoats than the cloak room at Versailles and enough fedoras to supply a Broadway revival of “The Front Page.” That doesn’t make me a dandy.
"Maybe I didn't do such a wonderful thing, after all."

Okay, as I mature and the years pass, maybe I am hurtling dangerously toward dandy-ism, with mustache wax, silk ascots and straw bowlers all items destined as future acquisitions; but I do request, if so moved out of kindness and unavoidable observation to praise such sartorial garnishes, let’s reserve that tête-à-tête for areas outside of the sensitive domain of the lavatory, and the next round will be on me.

Today’s tomfoolery closes with a pair of artists destined for performance and concert stages together – the Kinks perform, “Dandy” and Nelson Eddy sings, “Stout-Hearted Men" (listen to Nelson holding on to that note from about 1:33 in - you've got to love it.)

 Any comments, questions, criticisms, compliments, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.