Monday, December 11, 2017

James Rushing Esq.

Still making my way through my dad’s CDs: Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Ivie Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Mildred Bailey, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Art Blakey, Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Joe Bushkin, Hoagy Carmichael, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Charlie Christian, Rosemary Clooney, Nat “King” Cole, John Coltrane, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Matt Dennis, Doris Day, Blossom Dearie, Paul Desmond, Tommy Dorsey, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Stéphane Grappelli, Bobby Hackett, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Dick Hyman, Harry James, Hank Jones (my dad did tile work in his house), Louis Jordan, Stan Kenton, Barney Kessel, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, Peggy Lee, Mary Ann McCall, Susannah McCorkle, Dave McKenna, Ray McKinley, Marian McPartland, Johnny Mercer, Helen Merrill, Glenn Miller, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Red Norvo, Anita O’Day, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Boyd Raeburn, Django Reinhardt, Marcus Roberts, Sonny Rollins, and now, Jimmy Rushing.

Here are two tracks from The Jazz Odyssey of James Rushing Esq. (Columbia, 1957), an LP I remember vividly from childhood. I found an expensive used copy in adulthood. When the recording was reissued on CD, I bought a copy for my dad. That’s what I’m listening to now.


“New Orleans” (Hoagy Carmichael). Buck Clayton, trumpet; Tony Parenti, clarinet; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Cliff Jackson, piano; Walter Page, bass; Zutty Singleton, drums.

“Doctor Blues” (Ed Lewis–James Rushing). Buck Clayton, Ernie Royal, trumpets; Hilton Jefferson, alto sax; Buddy Tate, tenor sax; Danny Banks, baritone sax; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Hank Jones, piano; Skeeter Best, guitar; Milt Hinton, bass; Jo Jones, drums. Both recorded November 6, 1956.

Listening at the age of three or four or five, I had no idea what these songs were about. But I knew that I liked Jimmy Rushing’s voice.

Also from my dad’s CDs
Mildred Bailey : Tony Bennett : Charlie Christian : Blossom Dearie : Duke Ellington : Coleman Hawkins : Billie Holiday : Louis Jordan : Charlie Parker

[Yes, there should be a comma before Esq . But I’m following the LP title.]

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Domestic comedy

[Watching an episode of Freaks and Geeks .]

“I’m so glad our kids are not in high school anymore.”

“I’m so glad I’m not in high school anymore.”

Related reading
All OCA domestic comedy posts (Pinboard)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

TV days

Donald Trump, quoted in a New York Times report on the course of the presidential day:

“I know they like to say — people that don’t know me — they like to say I watch television. People with fake sources — you know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don’t get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents a lot.”
Yep, lots of documents, with lots of pictures.

The Times reports that “people close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television.”

Myth appeal

[Zippy, December 9, 2017.]

I admire Bill Griffith’s willingness to reference American ephemera with little or no explanation. Will someone get it? Who knows.

That sphinx’s face belongs to Bert Piel. He and his brother Harry were cartoon spokesmen for Piels Beer, with voices by Bob and Ray. (Bob Elliott was Harry; Ray Goulding, Bert.) In 2013 the cartoon brothers appeared on a television screen in a Zippy strip. And who knows in how many Zippy strips before that.

A Wikipedia article about Piels cites a beer expert who explains that the popularity of the Bert and Harry commercials hurt the brand:

“Unfortunately, the beer itself was not very good. Because of the great ads, all kinds of people bought it for the first time, hated it and spread the news everywhere about how awful it was. It was a case of terrible word of mouth caused by a wonderful ad campaign.”
YouTube has a goodly number of Bert and Harry television commercials.

Related reading
All OCA Zippy posts (Pinboard)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Finals approaching

[Nancy, May 17, 1950.]

Jim, Nancy, don’t!

You’ll find better advice in this post: How to do well on a final exam. And for those inclined to the dark side: How to do horribly on a final exam. My StatCounter stats this week show that entire classes are looking at the first of these posts: visit, visit, visit, as exams loom, loom, loom.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)

[Nancy, a literalist of the imagination, looks up cram in a dictionary and sits down with cake, cookies, a donut, fruit, jam, popcorn, and a sandwich.]

New AHD entries

Burner, saltimbocca, GOAT: among the additions this year to the American Heritage Dictionary.

I know burner from The Wire; GOAT, from Infinite Jest, where it’s turned into P.G.O.A.T., a name for Joelle van Dyne, the Prettiest Girl of All Time. Saltimbocca? As my mom would say, I never heard of it. Saltimbanque, yes. Saltimbocca, no. The words have a common source in the Italian saltare. A saltimbanque jumps on a bench or platform to perform. Saltimbocca, as you may have already figured out, jumps into one’s mouth. I know about saltimbanques from Guillaume Apollinaire and Pablo Picasso.

[The Apollinaire link goes to Ron Padgett’s translation of an Apollinaire poem. The Picasso link goes to a catalogue from the National Gallery of Art. I always love a free PDF. Also, free association.]

Thursday, December 7, 2017

How to start a sentence

In the ABA Journal, Bryan Garner offers some advice about how to start a sentence. Key principles:

(1) A fair percentage of sentences should begin with short contextualizing phrases, often adverbial. (2) A fair percentage should begin with one-syllable transitional words—normally But, Yet, So or even And.
[If you noticed the absence of a comma before or: the ABA Journal follows AP style, sans serial commas. As Garner writes in an earlier column, “I don't have the clout to overrule them. It's as simple as that.”]

Imaginary local news

“Well, they don’t call it FALL for nothing. Leaves this week continue to ‘fall’ from area trees. The small colorful objects have been spotted on lawns, sidewalks, and streets in many communities. Experts say this trend will continue for some time, followed by — you guessed it — the white stuff. And Jack here is going to tell us when we can expect the first of that white stuff.” Segue to weather.

[This post started as one sentence in a letter to a friend.]

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Bully for Woolly

A short New Yorker piece, “Disruption Spreads to the Nightstand,” describes a new product from the mattress company Casper: Woolly, “a magazine that embraces the hunger for hygge and covers the bedtime beat.”

I thought I was reading a spoof, but no, Woolly is real. The first issue contains, among other things, a feature on sweatpants comfort pants and an “Adulting Coloring Book.” A picture caption: “I flossed!”


One narrator’s family:

Alice Munro, “Family Furnishings,” in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (New York: Vintage, 2002).

Also from Alice Munro
“Rusted seams” : “That is what happens” : “Henry Ford?” : “A private queer feeling” : “A radiance behind it”