Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grandeur – The Curse of Corporate Culture

“Cause he gets up in the morning,
And he goes to work at nine,
And he comes back home at five-thirty,
Gets the same train every time.
Cause his world is built round punctuality,
It never fails.” - Ray Davies

My friends, I feel quite confident in the assertion that one thought that never crossed your craniums while perusing previous postings was, “this blog’s okay, but what it’s really missing is pretention and haughtiness.”  After all, as author I’ve taken a pseudonym from the preeminent metropolis on the globe, exhibited a writing style solely possible if one has recently swallowed a thesaurus, and like the great Professor Irwin Corey before me, state opinions as if Moses descending from Mount Sinai in possession of mankind’s greatest truths, and as a renowned authority on all things, animal, vegetable and mineral.  Well, pish-posh, or you ain’t seen nothing yet (depending on whether you feel more at peace with a Mary Poppins or Al Jolson reference)  for today we dip our toe into the shallow waters of poetry. And unlike last week’s presentation of the classic, “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, this minor rhyme is self-penned, with the hope being that if you are now or have ever been gainfully employed and have experienced the necessity of reportage to another, you will associate with this vituperative verse of vengeance. Should this unfamiliar foray into the finer arts not suit your taste or temperament, please practice patience as we will conclude with comical birthday wishes and a Kink’s standard.


Tonight we pity the King and Queen
Who rule from 9 to 5.
When dusk embarks,
And power wanes,
Just ego’s left alive.
A corporate clone
With little worth,
No power but to bully.
A tangled self
Awash in fear
A life, unrealized fully.
Are you content with cubicles as eminent domain?
Or is there more that you once sought
A love as life’s refrain?
You made your choice
As all must do
We look back on decisions
Then realize
We’re just despised,
The subject of derision.
Before we reach our final choice
Time gives us many ways
To modify a tone of voice
And soften future days.
Your training’s full of falsehoods,
Experience, but lies
Have you no vision of yourself
In other people’s eyes?
A second, third and final chance
Afforded to us all.
Take Providence, your private God,
And change before your fall.

Saturday, March 23rd Birthdays

Happy 23rd birthday to Princess Eugenie of York, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.  As the sixth in succession to the British Crown, we extend natal wishes with the good and equitable feelings and knowledge that she is just as unlikely to ascend to the royal throne as any of us commoners. However, should she read this; she does possess the power to off nycityman’s head.

It’s also the birthday of another daughter of royalty, this time of the theatrical sort, as Amanda Plummer, child of Christopher Plummer and Tammy Grimes turns 56. When we were both much younger folk, we actually spent a day working together on an unsold TV pilot. When asked of her memories of nycityman a look of confusion, fear and disdain is her most common response.

Also reaching her 56th year today is Teresa Ganzel, and as confusion, fear and disdain now overtake your facial features as well, an explanation - Teresa was the actress to assume the role of Tea Time Movie Matinee Lady in the Johnny Carson, Art Fern sketches upon the passing of Carol Wayne. “You take the San Diego Freeway to the Ventura Freeway. You drive to the Slauson Cutoff, get out of your car, cut off your Slauson.” Anybody? Bueller?

Many happy returns to the talented Chaka Khan, who for years prior to Whitney Houston was "every woman." Quick, name another member of Rufus.

And last, but in no way least, “Hello Dere” and the happiest 91st birthday to comedian Marty Allen, the non-crooning half of comedy duo, Allen and Rossi. At a time when every comic doing the Carson, Douglas, Griffin, Sullivan variety/ talk-show circuit was required, by law, to have the last name Allen (see Marty, Woody, Steve, Dennis, Bernie) the wild antics of Marty and Steve Rossi helped shape a very young nycityboy’s obsession with obscure and forgotten comedy teams.

In conclusion, first a clip of Allen and Rossi at work, and the promised Kink’s gem, “A Well Respected Man.”

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

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Song Selection – Richard Cory: Simon and Garfunkel

A Song of the 99%

“But I work in his factory 
And I curse the life I'm living 
And I curse my poverty 
And I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be 
Richard Cory.” – Paul Simon

How to have a fun and festive, pre-St. Patrick’s Day Saturday? Share a Simon and Garfunkel classic about a man who “went home last night, and put a bullet through his head.” Then, once regaling in the mirth and merriment of that uplifting and light-hearted ditty, further examine the joyful tale of Master Cory’s fretful fate with the original poem that inspired songsmith Simon.  And to reiterate, yes, you did indeed read the word “poem” as in verse, and rhyming and couplets, for it is far passed time that this bloviated blog acquired some class, refinement, sophistication and, might I even go so far as to suggest, savior faire, should the subject be so suited.

It’s Saturday, a day to vacate the often ugly anger and acrimony of politics and its dissonant discourse for a much anticipated return (not by anyone in particular) to a favorite feature from the past – “Saturday Song Selection.” That being said, the political nature of both Simon’s composition and Edwin Arlington Robinson’s elegy can hardly be disregarded.  Though one is from 1965 and the other 1897, the story and the conflict within is are as fresh today as Mitt Romney’s recorded comments on the 47% tape expressing admiration for the efficiency and profitability of the business model of a Chinese factory he toured, where young girls work for pennies a day, imprisoned within the barbed-wire-fenced walls,  housed in dormitories, 12 girls to a room, sleeping in 4 sets of bunk beds stacked 3 high, with a single bathroom being shared by 10 rooms.  While articulating his ardor for those appalling working conditions, Romney was as elated and aroused as when imagining a Marie Osmond nipple slip on “Dancing with the Stars.” Mitt Romney is Richard Cory, but without the conscience and remorse (and, so much for leaving politics behind.)

From the Tea-publican dawn of time, 4000 years ago, when man and dinosaur together roamed the earth,  and Fred Flintstone busted the stones of Mr. Slate; to their apocalyptic, nihilist One World Government feverish, future fantasy where all pistol-packing, God-gracing, liberty-loving, formerly-free Americans will be enslaved, placed in internment camps or sent off to reservations, inconceivable conditions to those proud patriots who have no knowledge of their nation’s history, believing it a favored, Yahweh creation;  there will forever be the "well to do, up on Lennox Avenue," and the proletariat who shed blood, sweat and tears (and on rare occasion, even earth, wind and fire) to provide population and profit for their enterprises, and the enrichment of the few.  The 1% versus the 99% is no new phenomenon but rather an auld acquaintance never to be forgot, and likely to be ever-present in the annals of humankind as long as inordinate, if not even, obscene wealth inequity, along with imbalance in living conditions and quality of life exist.

Simon and cityman
Unbeknownst to Mr. Simon (whose recent Saturday Night Live appearance revealed his current look as a “Little Big Man” doppelganger, he and nycityman have a long and storied history (currently playing out in a “cease and desist” order.) From receiving the “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” LP, an initial step  from children’s music to more mature fare (thanks to the vast booty acquired from Mom and Dad’s  introductory order as members of the Columbia Records Club), to a presentation of a Simon lyric for an intermediate school poetry project, to pathetically picking my way through “The Paul Simon Songbook” when first an extremely unskilled, high school taught, beginning guitar player, to Simon’s hosting duties in the early SNL years (commonly considered “our show” to television devotees of a certain age and philosophy), to  attendance at the historic, free Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert in Central Park, this fellow New Yorker has almost always been an nycityman cultural presence and is long overdue to be featured in “Saturday Song Selection.” As someone who attempts creativity and entertainment through manipulation of the written word, I would kill an aimless drifter for just a fraction of Simon’s aptitude and ability with the English language.

The Poem
Richard Cory by American Poet, Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869 – 1935)

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Saturday, March 16th Birthdays
Fabulously, successful restaurateur, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, turns 55 today, mentioned only to allow nycityman to annoyingly elevate his proboscis high-aloft into the ether and boast of attendance at his elite and expensive, self-named eatery (one must live up to one’s given nom de blog.)

Longtime readers know that certain biographical elements guarantee inclusion into the birthday well-wishes. “Laugh-In” cast members will always be feted as will any objects of early, amorous, adolescent longing. So, many happy returns of the day to Canadian born actress, Kate Nelligan, who, until this very moment, I believed to be of British birth. Lust knows no nationality.
"Come to me, nycityman."
Chuck Woolery, born in 1940, promised he’d be returning in “two and two” and we haven’t seen him since.

Stage, screen and television actor, Victor Garber, will be extinguishing 64 candles today and we… (sorry, lost interest.)

Classic, legendary and long deceased comic, Henny Youngman, would have turned 107 today. He left us for the great Catskills resort in the sky in 1998. In 1987, after 58 years of marriage, they took his wife… please.

We conclude with celebratory congratulations to the biggest star of the day, show business icon, and The King of “Classy” Comedy – happy 87th to comic, actor, writer, director, philanthropist, a man who knows the farcical potential of a misadjusted disposal lighter in close proximity to large nostrils, and the hoped for hilarity of a bellowed “lady!” when emerging in a child’s voice from an adult body, not only a legend in his own mind, but a legitimate, genuine  legend,  Jerry Lewis.  Say what you will of his purportedly, over-sized sense of self-importance, his rampant egomania and his mythically proportioned difficult personality, Jerry must always be credited and appreciated for his lifetime of dedication and hard work to the cause of eliminating Muscular Dystrophy, and the unceremonious and disrespectful removal from his position and status in the MDA is a black mark in that organization’s history.
In certain circles, this is considered  very funny
From a live 1966 appearance on Canadian television, (maybe Kate Nelligan was there) Simon and Garfunkel perform, “Richard Cory.”

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

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pennsylvania 1-6-0-0-oh!

Worth a Thousand Words VII – Bride of a Thousand Words

Official Obama White House photographer, Pete Souza, has done yeoman’s duty, these last 4 years, preserving and capturing for posterity some remarkable images, both artistic and historic, of the personal and professional goings-on, in and around the Oval Office.  So significant and extraordinary are most of these photographs that, of course, it is the duty of  “… and several butcher’s aprons” to share them and then ruin them with silly and sophomoric comedy captions, as we are kind of jerky and annoying that way.

These are presented with apologies and much appreciation and admiration for his excellent work; and with sincere hopes that in the unlikely event that he finds himself exposed to this minor bit of whimsy, Mr. Souza appreciates the humor and the, mostly, good-natured spirit in which this was intended, and does not, instead, make use of our fine criminal justice system.

Today’s post also includes a special surprise, and a first for this blog – a captivating contest complete with glorious and glamorous, grand-prizes!  Slog your way through the amusingly, annotated snapshots, and the details will follow.

For a look at more of Pete Souza’s photography, minus the juvenile jests, you can travel the highways and byways of the World Wide Web to his Flickr page by following this link - http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/

As always, all pictures can be enlarged for easier reading with a mere click of the mouse.

Contest Giveaway
If you’ll glance to where the lovely Carol Merrill is now standing (or simply scroll to the picture beneath this paragraph) you’ll see the fabulous, paltry prize package of “…and several butcher’s aprons” swag!  Faster than you can decry, “why would anybody possibly want this junk?” you can be the first on your blog to own this unique and unappealing key-chain, pen and refrigerator magnet set!  Once your anticipation and exhilaration are contained, merely compose your very own comic caption to the final Souza photograph posted below, and email said wacky witticism to butchersaprons@mail.com.  Besides guaranteed procurement of the hitherto mentioned treasure trove, the winning entry will also be posted on an upcoming blog where it may be seen by some of our over 160,000 previous readers.
All this can be yours!
Hmm, surely something funny must be going on here

Lastly, as is our want, we conclude with a musical number that, should you not be a remnant from the Gilded Age such as myself, may help explain the meaning of today’s title. From 2007, 63 years after his plane went missing over the English Channel while traveling to entertain troops, the Glenn Miller Orchestra and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”