The Moon Through A Dusty Window

After I posted Every Picture Tells A Story last Saturday and admitted ignorance as to the artist behind the wonderful cartoon, I received an emailed suggestion from Longtime Reader Michael G., who included a link which didn’t give me the answer, but it did take my breath away.

You see, I have (yet another) deep, dark and deadly secret: in my yoot, I was addicted to pulp fiction novels. At the time (early 1960s) they were deemed Way Too Racy for a young boy by my parents, so I was forbidden to read them. I don’t know why they were worried: in my nine-year-old innocence, I had absolutely no idea what the sex scenes were all about, and I just skipped them to get on with the story (I told you I was innocent). Needless to say, the parental ban simply turned the novels into catnip for a cool cat like myself, so with the assistance of a scandalous uncle (who was only seven years older than I and therefore keen to help me out), I worked out a plan: I’d give Uncle “Locky” my pocket money to buy the novels “for himself”, and then after he was done with them, I devoured them (by the dozen), reading them late at night after my parents had gone to sleep to avoid detection, using either a flashlight or, if the batteries had died, reading by moonlight if available — hence, a partial explanation of the title of this piece. Here’s the actual cover which triggered this post:

…and I got it from the treasure trove behind the link in Michael G.’s email.

To say that I was captivated by the covers of these old, long-forgotten novels would be the understatement of the year. Regrettably, none of the titles rang any bells in my memory — give me a break, it was over fifty years ago — but good grief, I spent hours looking at the covers this past weekend, still as enthralled as I was when a pre-teenager.

Of course, nowadays the blurbs could legitimately be terms “false advertising”, because seldom were the salacious hints actually depicted in the stories, mostly because of censorship whether editorial or governmental. And yet fools like myself (and there were probably hundreds of thousands of us) continued to buy the silly things week in and week out, hoping against that this time there’d be a really racy scene instead of something like:

“Come here, Big Guy,” she said, slipping the robe off her waiting body…

…followed by a chapter break. And I’m not even sure that that would have made it into print. Those were innocent times, my friends, and I’m thinking that I prefer them to our “modern” times, where “How To Suck Your Man To Orgasm In 30 Seconds” could be on the cover of Woman’s Daily — and the Cosmo cover would be even  more explicit.

And just to finish: I think that “The Moon Through A Dusty Window” is a brilliant title for a novel — it could-a been a contender, it could-a been somebody…

It could have been Hemingway’s.

 


2 comments already!

Bill Clinton, Terrorsymp Asshole

Like just about any normal person, I was sickened at this picture of Bill Fucking Clinton standing over the coffin of dead Murderous IRA Scum Martin McGuinness, offering his condolences and a touching eulogy. Why would he do that? From Peter Hitchens comes this little nugget (scroll down towards the end of the article if you follow the link):

 

Mr McGuinness was beyond doubt one of the heads of Europe’s most successful terrorist murder gangs. We cannot know what he may have done with his own hands, but we do know that he repeatedly ordered the killings of others. There is little doubt that he also approved acts of torture and kidnapping.
He did this for many years.
He did not stop doing so because he was sorry. Nor was he defeated. Delude yourself as much as you like, the widowmaker McGuinness was the conqueror of Britain. It is our army that went home. It was our surveillance equipment that was dismantled on IRA orders. The IRA kept their guns. We were the ones who had to disband the Royal Ulster Constabulary and its devastatingly effective Special Branch, because the IRA hated them. It was we, the vanquished side, who released scores of gruesome terrorists from just jail sentences.
It was we, the losers, who granted a de facto amnesty to any such killers we had not yet caught. It was we, the beaten, surrendered side, who had to remove the symbols of our former power, the Union Flag and the Crown of St Edward, from cap badges, flagpoles, official buildings and documents. It was we who agreed to pay the widowmaker McGuinness a salary of more than £100,000 a year, much of which he handed over to ‘the movement’. Why, we even forced the poor Queen to smile at him.
In the end, as we have agreed, we will also hand over a large piece of our sovereign territory to a foreign power. What sort of idiot calls this victory?
McGuinness was aided in this by the US President Bill Clinton, who happily travelled to this terrorist killer’s funeral. This is a piece of history I witnessed personally: Mr Clinton, trying to win back Roman Catholic working-class voters disgusted by his views on abortion, took money and backing from Irish America.
And when they came and demanded payback for their help, he kicked Britain in the stomach and welcomed Sinn Fein into the White House. And the British Government, seeing which way the wind was blowing, wavered in the face of terrorism. My, how it wavered.

The sooner the Clintons — all of them — vanish from the face of the planet, the better we’ll all be.


1 comment.

Soort Soek Soort

I’ve talked about this topic before but it needs repeating, I think, because it’s a serious one.

Sarah Hoyt points me to this article about the difficulties of dating outside one’s political purview. Well, duh. In my parents’ time, it was religion that could be the sticking point. Never mind the big differences (Jews and Christians etc.): there were huge problems within the same religious groups too (Orthodox vs. Reform Jews, Catholic vs. Protestant Christians, and so on). The old saw was: “Never marry outside your faith”, because the schism was regarded as too deep to be overcome by marriage and could prove to be a fatal obstacle to happiness. Of course, that means that there’s a fundamental difference between philosophies: was Christ truly the Son of God, or just a major prophet? Serious stuff.

As the political process has become polarized, of course it wasinevitable that political differences would spill over into the social sphere. The differences were always there, of course: I remember howling with laughter at the 1960s Ann Landers story of the woman whose husband hid her dentures on Voting Day so that she couldn’t go out and vote Democrat. (Nowadays, she’d sue him for violating her civil rights and file for divorce, but that’s a rant for another time.)

Some differences can be ignored, of course; when I first met The Mrs., I used to refer to her as my “Liberal Rubbish Girlfriend” because she was living in Beverley Hills and hated guns. Maybe nowadays the latter would be a sticking-point (it would be for me), but back then it was different — and she was socially- and politically conservative. (Of course, she later came round to my way of thinking on guns and became a proud gun owner but I’ve told that story before.)

But I honestly think that political viewpoints have now sharpened to the point where social interaction has become almost impossible to people of such polarized opinion as progressive-liberal vs. conservative; it’s become a Christian / Muslim-type schism rather than a mild Episcopal / Presbyterian difference, if you will. Now, there is a fundamental and contradictory conflict as to how society should work: the primacy of the individual and minimal government presence vs. the State as the primary societal manager. What hasn’t helped is that the Left has progressively [sic] sharpened the political terminology whereby conservatives are now regarded as absolutely evil (Bush/Romney/Trump = Hitler). (As I’ve said before, the irony is that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, in terms of political action — never mind just philosophy —  are both far closer to Hitler’s statism than any prominent Republican has ever been. But the Left is impervious to irony: Freedom is Slavery, remember?)

Speaking personally, there is absolutely no way I could ever date a liberal woman because frankly, I have always been a man who enjoys to talk to my dates and show them respect (I know, how old-fashioned of me); but at some point, the conversations about neo-Impressionist art or Romantic Classical music would tail off and some kind of social discussion would begin… and soon grind to a halt amidst name-calling and invective.  You see, I can quite accommodate a woman’s opinion that Liszt is a better composer than Chopin (no, but never mind), whereas an opinion that government should enforce “hate speech” regulation is not just flawed but irretrievably wrong, and I can’t even begin to accommodate that. And if we get into a discussion of the welfare state and socialized medical care… well, it’s over.

The title of this piece is an Afrikaans expression for which the English idiom is “Birds of a feather flock together” — but the Afrikaans (lit. “type seeks the same type”) is a much stronger sentiment without the avian allusion. And “opposites attract” only works with magnets, by the way; for humans, opposites may initially attract — but eventually, repulsion sets in.

Choose your partners carefully.


4 comments already!

My Funny Valentina

A couple years ago I stumbled upon Ukrainian pianiste extraordinaire Valentina Lisitsa, who in my opinion has changed the way classical piano is played in the modern era. Needless to say, not everyone agrees with me — too fast, too showy, too careless and OMG too commercial have been just some of the criticisms leveled at her.

I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, she’s an indie artist — she was unable to get a decent recording contract or gig with an orchestra, so she did the unthinkable and posted videos of herself playing solo piano on [gasp!] YouTube. Through that medium she built up a following and the rest, as they say is history.

I love just about every interpretation she gives the classical composers and I think that Chopin, for one, would have loved her interpretation of his work. (Try her Flight of the Bumblebee, wherein she starts at breakneck speed and actually accelerates as the piece progresses. Likewise, her version of the Revolutionary Etude is, well, revolutionary: full of shades of darkness and light.)

But Lisitsa doesn’t seem to play favorites among the classics; as well as the Romantics (Chopin, Beethoven, etc.) she plays Bach and Mozart with equal verve and astonishing sureness — “superficial”, one critic sniffed, the idiot — and even the majestic Piano Concerto No.2  by Rachmaninoff gets the Valentina Treatment. (If you were to ask me to choose between her version and that of the equally-talented Hélène Grimaud, I’d have to shoot myself.)

I also like that Lisitsa doesn’t confine herself to the concert hall or indeed to YouTube; she’s just as likely to go out into the public and just busk away on some crappy old upright piano as in a studio on her beloved Bösendorfer 290 (the King of Pianos, never mind that Steinway marketing).

But enough of my adulation. Listen to the pieces linked, please. You will not regret it.


Addendum: There’s been a lot of criticism of Lisitsa’s unashamed pro-Russian (and anti-Ukrainian) views, but I don’t care about any of that. I have the same opinion about that little fiasco as I do about the perennial Serb-Croat-Bosnian-Albanian imbroglio: taken as a whole they’re all a bunch of scumbags, and I don’t actually care which one “wins” as long as they keep it local.


9 comments already!

Not Worth It

As I wander hither and yon through this here Intarwebz thingy, I occasionally run across this kind of bleat when I open a page:

Okay, here’s a little note to the Observer and all the other websites who try this cutesy little trick on us the readers:

The reason we use AdBlocker is because your websites are full of intrusive, pop-up bullshit with loud autoplay videos and (at times) really questionable advertisements which are sometimes nothing more than phishing scams and clickbait links to truly awful websites.

In the specific case of the Observer above, when I paused Adblocker this morning as they requested, a loud piece of BBC World News-type theme started blaring from my speakers, quite disturbing my enjoyment of Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane playing quietly in the background.

Sorry: intrusive autoplay ads are the very raison d’être of AdBlocker. Get rid of them and we can talk again. Until then, however, your content isn’t worth it — no matter how much you think it is.

I might allow ads onto this site at some point because $money$, but I give you my word, O Gentle Readers: you won’t ever need AdBlocker.


7 comments already!

Every Picture Tells A Story

…or, in the case of the picture below, dozens of stories. I invite my Readers to tell me (via email and not in Comments) just what is happening here, in the form of a short story, description, treatment or even screenplay- or stage dialogue. Take as long as you need (limit, say, 2,000 words), and it can be as approving, censorious, prudish, salacious or humorous as you’d like. All submissions should reach me before midnight, Friday March 31 with the subject line: House Party. (All submissions not having this subject line will be ignored.) I’ll choose a winner, publish the story and give out a mystery prize soon thereafter. (“Mystery prize” because I haven’t thought of one yet.) Here it is:

It’s one of my favorite cartoon sketches of all time, and I could write an entire novella from it.

Regrettably, I don’t know the artist; but according to the hairstyles and clothes, I’ll hazard a guess and put its creation in the late 1950s to mid-1960s. If anyone can shed light on any of that, I’d appreciate it.


13 comments already!