Sinatra, Bing, Louis Armstrong and Peggy Lee. No date on it, but I’m guessing circa 1959-1960 (judging from Frank’s hair).
So today is National Poetry Day. Last year I posted a poem I wrote for more or less the same occasion – you can read it here. And for today I am posting this – inspired by a conversation Significant Other and I had during our recent trip to Italy. Are we not deep? Shall I send it to the New Yorker?
Ode to the Banana
You truly are the King of Fruit and so inspired
Your merry yellow countenance is nature’s perfect wrapping, no polluting-our-seas plastic required
I carry you without a Kleenex and my fingers don’t feel sticky and icky
Like when I hold grapes
And when I carry you about, I feel very much at one with our cousin apes.
When peeled you still aren’t a sticky and icky kind of loot
At least as much as, say, your brothers in fruitdom, the orange, the apple and the grapefruit
Your potassium picks me up after illness and your sugar picks me up when I’m lackadaisical
You are inexpensive too
And ubiquitous, available in France and probably Timbuktu and Kalamazoo.
Oh, they say you are gross when you get all mushy
With black spots and inconsistency and feeling all squishy
But you can be the proud foundation of a smoothie
Or better yet, the reason to make that comfort food known as banana bread
From a recipe used to often I no longer need to read it, it is stuck in my head.
Oh, they say people slip and fall on you – is this what Sir Joseph Paxton wanted?
Your peels discarded on sidewalks, streets and paths leave some daunted
But if it wasn’t beneath Ethel Merman, Buster Keaton and Woody Allen
Then why treat it as some sort of evil plan
Better yet, you lazy souls, take those peels and put them in a garbage can.
Oh, they besmirch your name: Cavendish, Chiquita (top banana in the world today!) or Dole
By using it as a synonym for crazy, nutty and out-of-control
When their own names would better do the trick
How about the name of an actual nut to replace such words?
For “macadamia” and “pistachio” are two of the craziest-sounding words I have ever heard.
Cherries have pits, so much effort required to eat them
To open a durian you need a team of engineers on standby, and peaches have fur, biting into them
the gourmet equivalent of nails down a blackboard
You are also easy to draw. What is your flaw? Your only one as far as I can see
Is that you hide the deadly black tarantula, as sang Harry Belafonte.
But even scary, hairy spiders need a place to sleep
And dear banana, you give them that, a place to sleep deeply
And you give us B6, C, folate, manganese, on top of the aforementioned
So please dear banana, take a bow
And I mean right now.
For St. Patrick’s Day, another memory from last year’s trip to Ireland: a visit to Molly Gallivan’s, a cottage, shop, farm and restaurant in County Kerry. It overlooks the Sheen Valley – what absolutely stunning views. But what was so charming was the history of the place (click the link above), and the “poitin” we drank. Poitin is a kind of local potato whiskey – moonshine, I guess. The Irish call it “mountain dew” (not the pop), and Molly Gallivan’s owner, Stephen O’Sullivan (photo below) gave us a talk about its history, before pouring us each a glass. It hit the spot, that’s for sure.
For St. Patrick’s Day, here is a photo from my trip to Ireland last year: it’s Maureen O’Hara’s house on Bantry Bay! (She doesn’t live there now, obviously, as she is dead.) FYI, The Quiet Man is on TCM tonight – you are a fool if you don’t watch it (or at least tape it to watch it later). And if you don’t get TCM and/or haven’t seen The Quiet Man, purchase/rent the film, pronto.
Another clip for NKC’s 100th birthday – Cole and a young Billy Preston singing “Blueberry Hill.” Amazing!
He would have been 100 today. What a voice – what a talent. I always remember my father pontificating on the great (non-operatic) voices of the 20th century – Sinatra, Vic Damone and Nat King Cole. This song is one of my favourites.
And when thou hast learned to spell my name correctly! This is a photograph I took in Florence, Italy, recently, and it is an “Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived here” plaque, with some poetic writing about her-heart-of-a-woman, et cetera. That said, it spells her second name incorrectly – without a double T. Doppia T, Italians!
What I love about it, as a student of the Italian language, is the use of the passato remoto and the imperfect. I took a translation course in Italy in February and it was really hard to get the hang of when to use those two together.
It’s really not hard to get to the bottom of this: When you say that Jews have magical hypnotic powers to control other people, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews control other people through money, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews have conspired to force you to apologize for saying anti-Semitic things, you’re an anti-Semite. Ilhan Omar is an anti-Semite.
Yeah, she is. As I have written before on this site, I am related to anti-Semites and watching the Democrats twist and turn to avoid calling a bigot a bigot reminds me so much of all of the apologists in my family. Very sad. Yet another area where I miss my oldest brother, who was always clear and true on these matters.
George Harrison’s birthday – what would have been his 76th – was last week (February 25th). I am of the view, perhaps an unpopular one, that he was the best Beatle. (Another of my unpopular views is that the Monkees were better than the Beatles – and, of course, dear Peter Tork passed in February, bless him.) At the very least, I would say that “All Things Must Pass” is better than everything John Lennon and Paul McCartney did as solo acts combined. In tribute, here is a video of “What is Life,” one of my go-to songs when I’m blue.
As Harrison never made a video for this song, his widow and son held a contest (after George’s death) for one to be made. This is what they selected and I find it wonderful. It is joyful with tinges of melancholy and confusion, as is the song. Hats off to the dancers!
How has this not been made into a movie yet? And if it has, please send me a note and let me know.