Livin’ It Up

Photograph by Paul Trienekens via Unsplash

“My sister is in the country. I have a house all to myself, wear no clothes, take 10 big baths a day, & dine on lemonade and ice-cream…”

—Letter from Henry James to his London publisher quoted in Jean Strouse, Alice James: A Biography

“Livin’ It Up (Friday Night)” – Bell And James

Love Won’t Let Me Wait

cf. Pompeo Batoni, “Portrait of a Young Man” (ca. 1760–65) and
image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay and
video by Felix_Broennimann (“Star, Long Exposure”) via Pixabay and
video by InspiredImages (“Lava Lamp”) via Pixabay

 

“Love Won’t Let Me Wait” by Major Harris

accompagnato

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Youth at a restaurant night club…” (ca. 1941)

accompagnato

Scarlatti went to dinner with
Scriabin and Rameau
and at the table next to them were
Schoenberg and Milhaud

Scarlatti sang 440 “A”
to catch the waiter’s ear
Arnold sang eleven more
and Webern drank his beer

—J.S.

“That was the end of Zoya. She couldn’t forgive the hiccups.”

Madeleine Jeanne Lemaire, “A Gallant Suitor And His Beautiful Lady”

“Why don’t you drink some water,” Zoya counseled.

I walked up and down beside the sofa. I pressed my finger to my throat. Again, I hiccuped. Ma Chère, I was in a terrible bind! Zoya got up and went to the box. I followed. I opened the door to the box for her, hiccuped, and ran to the bar. I drank five glasses of water. The hiccups seemed to have settled down. I smoked a cigarette and headed for the box. Zoya’s brother stood and offered me his seat, a seat beside my Zoya. I sat down and immediately I hiccuped. Five minutes passed, but then I hiccuped again—a strange wheezy hiccup. I got up and went to stand by the door of the box. It is better, ma chère, to hiccup by the door rather than into the ear of a woman one loves! I hiccuped. The schoolboy in the neighboring box looked at me and laughed loudly…Cursing the impertinent schoolboy, I hiccuped again. Laughter came from the neighboring boxes.

“Encore!” hissed the schoolboy.

“What the hell is going on!” Colonel Pepsinov muttered in my ear. “You could have stayed home to hiccup, sir!”

Zoya blushed. Once again I hiccuped, and then I ran out of the box, my fists fiercely clenched. I paced up and down the hallway. I paced, and paced, and paced—and I hiccuped. The things I ate and drank to make the hiccups go away! At the beginning of the fourth act, I called it quits. I went home…

The next evening, I went to dine with the Pepsinovs, as was my habit. Zoya didn’t come down to dinner. She sent a message that she couldn’t see me. She was ill. Colonel Pepsinov gave a long speech about how certain young men do not know how to behave in public…

“Would you have given your daughter, if you had one,” Pepsinov said to me after dinner, “to a man who permits himself to engage in public belching? Well, sir?”

“I would,” I muttered.

“Then you’d be making a mistake, sir!”

That was the end of Zoya. She couldn’t forgive the hiccups. I was done for.

—Anton Chekhov, “A Confession Or, Olya, Zhenya, Zoya (A Letter)”

I’m not feelin’ too good myself…

 

“Feelin’ Alright” (Live At The Fillmore East/1970) by Joe Cocker

The Importance of Being Earnest

cf. U.S. National Archives, Photograph of Guests at Refreshment Table… (detail) (1963)

Jack: You really love me, Gwendolen?

Gwendolen: Passionately!

Jack: Darling! You don’t know how happy you’ve made me.

Gwendolen: My own Ernest!

Jack: But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest?

Gwendolen: But your name is Ernest.

Jack: Yes, I know it is. But supposing it was something else? Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then?

Gwendolen: [Glibly.] Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them.

Jack: Personally, darling, to speak quite candidly, I don’t much care about the name of Ernest… I don’t think the name suits me at all.

Gwendolen: It suits you perfectly. It is a divine name. It has a music of its own. It produces vibrations.

Jack: Well, really, Gwendolen, I must say that I think there are lots of other much nicer names. I think Jack, for instance, a charming name.

Gwendolen: Jack?… No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces absolutely no vibrations… I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain. Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John! And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John. She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment’s solitude. The only really safe name is Ernest.

Jack: Gwendolen, I must get christened at once—I mean we must get married at once. There is no time to be lost…

–Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

“Santa Agonistes” (A True Story)

Historic American Buildings Survey, Side and front entrance, facing west – Sears Department Store…

My family arrived early.

The Christmas decorations were already up and large strands of gold were wreathed between the lamp poles in the parking lot.

The crisp December air was muted by the extravagant winter coat I was wearing.

My father put me on his shoulders.

The helicopter came into view – hovering and then slowly descending.

Through the cockpit glass I could see that something was wrong.

Murmurs ran through the crowd.

When the cabin door finally opened Santa looked very pale.

In an instant my parents and I were running wildly for our car.

As we pulled away I saw the helicopter receding into the night.

–J.S., “Santa Agonistes” (A True Story)

“They resolved to persevere in dissipation for the rest of the day…”

cf. LIFE (1967)

One night when Beauclerk and Langton had supped at a tavern in London, and sat till about three in the morning, it came into their heads to go and knock up Johnson, and see if they could prevail on him to join them in a ramble. They rapped violently at the door of his chambers in the Temple, till at last he appeared in his shirt, with his little black wig on the top of his head, instead of a nightcap, and a poker in his hand, imagining, probably, that some ruffians were coming to attack him. When he discovered who they were, and was told their errand, he smiled, and with great good humour agreed to their proposal: ‘What, is it you, you dogs! I’ll have a frisk with you.’ He was soon drest, and they sallied forth together into Covent-Garden…They then repaired to one of the neighbouring taverns, and made a bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked; while in joyous contempt of sleep, from which he had been roused, he repeated the festive lines,
‘Short, O short then be thy reign,
And give us to the world again!’
They did not stay long, but walked down to the Thames, took a boat, and rowed to Billingsgate. Beauclerk and Johnson were so well pleased with their amusement, that they resolved to persevere in dissipation for the rest of the day…

Boswell’s Life Of Johnson

Quote

“You Say Picasso And I Say Pimento” (To Be Sung To The Tune Of “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”)

“You Say Picasso And I Say Pimento”
(To be sung to the tune of “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”)

Things have come to a pretty pass
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that,

Goodness knows what the end will be
Oh I don’t know where I’m at
It looks as if we two will never be one
Something must be done:

You say Albert Einstein and I say Dianne Feinstein,
You say Phil Niekro and I say George Knightley
Einstein, Feinstein, Niekro, Knightley
Let’s call the whole thing off.

You like Polanski and I like Pizarro
You like Ptolemy and I like Palladio
Polanski, Pizarro, Ptolemy, Palladio
Let’s call the whole thing off

But oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart

So if you like Polybius and I like Pythagoras
I’ll read Polybius not theorem Pythagoras
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the whole thing off
Let’s call the whole thing off.

You say Hedy Lamarr and I say Dorothy Lamour
You say Bella Abzug and I say Dan Aykroyd
Lamarr, Lamour, Abzug, Aykroyd
Let’s call the whole thing off,

You like Velázquez and I like Herve Villachaize
You Marquis deSade and I Sade
Velázquez, Villachaize, Claus Von Bulow, Abe Vigoda
Let’s call the whole thing off

But oh if we call the whole thing of then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart

So if you go for Frederick Law Olmsted and I go for Edward James Olmos
I’ll garden Olmsted no Netflix James Olmos
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the calling off off,
Let’s call the whole thing off.

I say Jose Feliciano, and you say Annette Funicello,
I say Chuck Mangioni and you say Guglielmo Marconi
Pavarotti, Pocahontas, Leslie Uggams, that’s my auntie — let’s call the whole thing off!

I like Barbara Bel Geddes and you like Jean Paul Belmondo
I say Herodotus and I get Humperdinck
Bel Geddes, Belmondo, Herodotus, Humperdinck
Go your way, I’ll go mine

So if I go for Schopenhauer and you go for Bill Shoemaker,
So all right no contest we’ll wager Shoemaker
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the calling off off,
Let’s call the whole thing off.

It was a long night, I could barely keep my head

I waited all night
I smoked a hundred cigarettes
I chewed my lip ’til it bled
But the phone made not a sound
Sometimes I wonder
If you ever wonder what’s become of little old me
But I ain’t no baby
I ain’t gonna cry but baby
You don’t know what’s going on inside me
Girl you make me crazy…

“Santayana wants me, Lord, I can’t go back there!”

PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUES BETWEEN SOCRATES (S) AND AN IMAGINARY INTERLOCUTOR (ii):

S: Wittgenstein at a restaurant or we can dine at home.

ii: Bertrand, can you Russell up some dinner for me?

S: Francis, Bacon sure smells great when it’s cooking doesn’t it?

ii: That hits Lamarck.

S: I Goethe go.

ii: Rousseau long!

 

S: Let’s play Heidegger seek!

ii: I Kant find you!

 

S: Hegel, what’s going on?

ii: We were supposed to go Schopenhauers ago!

S: Don’t put Descartes before the horse! We’ve Spinoza this many times before.

ii: John, Locke the front door and we’ll get going.

 

S: Foucault? I didn’t hear the phone ring.

ii: Hume are you referring to?

S: Camus come over to visit today?

ii: I’m Newton town so I’m not sure where to go.

S: I’ll Nietzsche in front of my house. Drive Pascal and then take the next left. Husserl can you get here?

ii: Is your house Nietzsche and clean?

S: Rousseau it is. I really Fichte this place up. It looks great. Kierkegaard-en I told you about with lots of flowers.

ii: If that’s Sartre than i’m a Hottentot.

 

S: Santayana wants me, Lord, I can’t go back there!

ii: Don’t Thoreau your life away!

God help me, I’m in love with a thinker

Sometimes she tries to hide it from me
But when she starts talking over my head
It makes me dizzy
I’m just a cipher in her master plan
That’s what I get for working out of my league
And though she says that I have nothing to fear
I wonder what will be left when she’s finished with me…

Utopia, Love With A Thinker