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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Literally. Literally. Literally.

Okay, this "to the gates of Hell" stuff has got to stop.

You heard him today. John McCain started this linguistic disaster, but I was hoping it met the pyre with his preznitial campaign. But no, there's Vice President Biden up there today:

They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.


John McCain used similar language in 2007, regarding Osama bin Laden.

"We will do whatever is necessary,” McCain said in a Republican primary debate. “We will track him down. We will catch him. We will bring him to justice and I’ll follow him to the gates of hell.”


McCain was criticized at the time for this statement. But not for the right reasons. Because what Joe Biden said about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant did not actually mean what Joe Biden apparently thought it meant.

And this observation can be documented all the way back to The Bard.




Twelfth Night is a wonderful holiday comedy that involves cross-dressing and music. Among its first spoken lines, in fact, is the famous "if music be the food of love, play on."

I'm going to borrow here from Sparknotes so you don't have to live through my own attempt to interpret Shakespeare:

In the garden of Olivia’s house, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria—along with Fabian, one of Olivia’s servants—prepare to play their practical joke on Malvolio. Maria has written a letter carefully designed to trick him into thinking that Olivia is in love with him. She has been spying on him and knows that he is now approaching. She drops the letter in the garden path, where Malvolio will see it. She exits, while the three men hide among the trees and shrubbery.

Malvolio approaches on the path, talking to himself. He speaks of Olivia: it seems that he already thinks it possible that she might be in love with him. He is deep in a fantasy of what it would be like to be Olivia’s husband and the master of her house. He would have power over all the other servants and even over Sir Toby. Sir Toby and the others can’t help jeering at Malvolio’s pride from their hiding place, but they do it softly so that he will not overhear them and realize that they are there.

Malvolio spots the letter lying in the garden path. He mistakes Maria’s handwriting for Olivia’s, as Maria has predicted, and Malvolio thinks that the letter is from Olivia. Apparently, Maria sealed the letter with Olivia’s sealing ring to make the letter look even more authentic. To Sir Toby’s pleasure, Malvolio decides to read it aloud.

The letter is addressed to “the unknown beloved” and contains what seems to be a riddle about love (II.v.92). It suggests that the writer is in love with somebody but must keep it a secret from the world, though she wants her beloved to know about it. The first part of the letter concludes by saying that the beloved’s identity is represented by the letters M.O.A.I. Malvolio, naturally, works over the message in his mind until he has made it mean that he is the beloved (he notes, for instance, that all four of the letters appear in his own name). Sir Toby and the rest laugh at him from behind the bush.

Once he has convinced himself that Olivia is in love with him, Malvolio reads the second half of the letter. The mysterious message implies that the writer wishes to raise Malvolio up from his position of servitude to one of power. But the letter also asks him to show the writer that he returns her love through certain signs. The letter orders him to wear yellow stockings, “go cross-gartered” (that is, to wear the straps of his stockings crossed around his knees), be sharp-tempered with Sir Toby, be rude to the servants, behave strangely, and smile all the time. Jubilantly, Malvolio vows to do all these things in order to show Olivia that he loves her in return.

After Malvolio leaves, Sir Toby remarks that he “could marry this wench [Maria] for this device. . . . And ask no other dowry with her but such another jest” (II.v.158–160). Maria then rejoins the men, and she, Sir Toby, and Fabian have a good laugh, anticipating what Malvolio is likely to do now. It turns out that Olivia actually hates the color yellow, can’t stand to see crossed garters, and doesn’t want anybody smiling around her right now, since she is still officially in mourning. In other words, Malvolio is destined to make a great fool of himself. They all head off together to watch the fun.


Maria asks if it worked; Sir Toby Belch indicates that it did. She fills the gang in about the yellow stockings and crossed garters and how much Olivia will hate them. This impresses Sir Toby Belch, who says: "To the gates of Tartar, thou most excellent devil of wit!"

In English? "I'd follow you to the gates of Hell."

Sir Toby Belch is saying he respects these efforts to humiliate a common foe and that he considers Ms. Maria to be a worthy leader.

This is hardly the message our elected leaders should be broadcasting about ISIL.

But it's what it means.




And remember. The dude wielding the knife spoke English. English English.

Bet he had a great laugh over Biden's statement.

And yes. I admit it. I just like typing the name "Sir Toby Belch."




And see, look. They use the expression correctly in Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz.



This is a film that was released in 2013 and has yet to rate a Rotten Tomatoes score and has an audience approval number there of 35 percent.

And even the writers of this piece of shit can use the phrase "to the gates of Hell" in its proper context.

I wish I could find more examples of this etymology, though I think when you can reference Shakespeare to support your point, you're doing okay. But since Biden's speech is current events and all, it's rather dominating the search engines.

Just, for rat's sake, can we stop pooping all over the English language?

That's not what that means. In fact, it's the exact opposite of what you are meaning to say. GRRRRRRRR.




Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Little House I Used To Live In

the cottage

Well, periodically.




Flip Cafe would indeed be the best cuisine in town if its chefs weren't so darned scared of NaCl.

I ordered and omelet with something called "flip potatoes," which is just hash browns, but they partially steam them somehow so they come out downright fluffy. Or maybe they rice them. I don't know; there is a quality to these potatoes that are just a bit more luxurious than an eater is accustomed.

The omelet was a spinach and tomato affair topped with pepper jack cheese. It was technically excellent; fluffy, well-folded, the spinach still retained a nice bite. Not to mention: The toast is sliced from a homemade loaf.

The only thing missing was seasoning. Until I picked up the shaker, no sodium had touched my plate.

This might (and that's a BIG might) be okay for my Mom's dish, a little dish we like to call "Egg." I mean, someone who orders scrambled may not be looking for a more seasoned dish and may not mind adjusting with the salt shaker if needed.

An omelet, however, sigh. A little snowing of kosher salt sometime during the cooking would have been helpful.

Despite this overlooked detail, it is safe to say the best plate in the 'boro these days is Flip. My new goal is to try its lunch offerings.




It was a nice visit, a fine way to cap off my summer. I got to see Auntie and Uncle from Big Bear and got marched all around and up and down the Lake by my Mom. Got to see my Gramma to boot, and I finally got the friggin' Roku set up for her. Now she can watch Frasier to her heart's content.

We also took part in the human tradition of driving up to a rock in the ground with a person's name on it and saying nice things about that person.

the cottage

Yeah, that was a pretty nice week.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together



(I thought before that I knew how to use the iPhone's panoramic lens. I didn't. Until today. I was holding the phone incorrectly! This is pretty much the full view from the back deck of where I get to stay in Edinboro. This image is clickable to a larger view. Just click on it!)

The great musical movement that partially was born in my high school a generation behind me was called Devo.

That of my era was called The Twist-Offs.

It was fun to go to a Twist-Offs show and jump up and down a lot. They made music that was excellent for jumping up and down. But not only was it good for jumping up and down. It was good music. Well-considered arrangements. Horns. And actually thoughtful, imaginative lyrics. I am a Twist-Offs EVANGELIST. And if I still lived in Kent those boys would have had to put up with my funny face and my set list thefts now for decades. I think they play periodically in Northeast Ohio, but these guys had a real live indie record deal. I even heard one of their songs played as background during MTV's The Real World once.

Anyway, I think they were playing KentFest once or something, and they were handing out some tchotchkes. These:



Get it?

I owned two of these. One was orange, and that one I made the mistake of using as a keychain. The band's logo wore off. Luckily, my Dear Mother was in possession of this one all these years, and it has remained unblemished. She released it into my possession today, along with a boss collection of 45s (including some old joints from Illinois Jaquet and other Apollo artists, records I've been hunting down for years) and a rather interesting edition of the Akron-Beacon Journal from May 24, 1970 that I may mine for blog entries later.

So Mama brought me a treasure chest to Edinboro. Thanks Mama.




Speaking of legends who attended the same high school as did I, John Uhrich was and is one of the best drawers with whom I have shaken hands. You should visit his blog, Duck-Duck-Gorilla. The guy has apparently just started drawing comic strips to "brush up on [his] digital inking skills." (Cough HUMBLEBRAG) Watch out, Pastis!




Edinboro needs cuisine. Badly.



This is the Sunset Grill at the Edinboro Lake Resort. As you can see, it does what it says on the tin.

Serves sammiches in baskets with chips. Which is fine, and the sammiches are good, but one would think the food could match the stellar ambiance. Still. I love this place.

The Crossroads Dinor has dropped the "Dinor" and seems to do everything it can to shy away from being a diner although it has the diner car. Oh to walk in there and be able to order an open faced roast beef sammich with fries flooded with gravy. But that ain't on the menu.

No shit on a shingle for you.

And you don't want these fries. The place prides itself on fresh-cut fries, but they don't really know how to cook them.

My suspicion is that they're circumventing the step of soaking the taters first to leech out some of the starch. These fries are rubbery and weird.

Get the applesauce instead.

The best meal out of the week so far has been at the Empty Keg. Burger. Steak fries, probably from Ore-Ida. Which were delicious.

And, where they served me a true Iron City beer:



Okay, it was a Sierra Nevada. But I have to wonder how many of these glasses walk out of the place under somebody's jacket.

I said best meal "so far." We have yet to enjoy my departure breakfast at Flip. That my friends is the finest food in town. Can't wait.

(When Flip Cafe was opening, my then nearly 90-year-old Grandma DID A SOMERSAULT IN THE AIR in the middle of the sidewalk when we discovered it. She really did. I watched her do it. She jumped up in the air, kicked her legs around, and landed on her feet, and then she gave out this sort of guttural "WHOOP!" Because, you see, her Dad's nickname all his life, or at least as long as I knew him, was "Flip."

Okay, she didn't really do that. But she sure was excited about that particular serendipity.)




The evening ended for some reason with me describing to my Mom and Grandma the famous incident on The Carol Burnett Show with Tim Conway and the elephant story. I can't do it justice, so here, go see for yourself.

Thus, the title of this blog entry.

I'm sure I'm not done documenting my last summer trek to Lakeside of the year.

Gosh I need to moisturize.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Love Letters Straight From Your Heart

You need something soothing and awesome and darned near angelic tonight, don't you? Yeah, I thought so. Here ya go.



"Love Letters" was one of those cases where the deejays created a hit by preferring the b-side of the record. The intended hit in 1962 was "I'm A Fool to Want You."

Ketty Lester went on to cover the song I think should be our National Anthem: This Land is Your Land.



She had other minor hits but by 1968, her follow-up album met with little commercial success. It was clear she'd have to settle as a one-hit wonder. Ketty Lester later turned to a career in prime time television, most notably (to me, anyway) playing Hester-Sue Terhune on Little House on the Prairie from 1978 to 1983.

But this entry isn't really about Ketty Lester. It's about Joe Walsh.

"Love Letters," written by Victor Young and Edward Heyman, way back in 1945. It has been recorded my numerous artists, including The Elvis, including Boz Scaggs, including Toni Tenille, and Sinead O'Connor.

But Joe Walsh thought to do it up-tempo and kind of Caribbean on You Bought It – You Name It.



The stunning thing to me about this version is that, although Walsh approaches the material somewhat light-heartedly, it still doesn't lose its pathos. That is how well-constructed a work it is. This is up-tempo with nearly a calypso backbeat to it, and yet, the song still retains its anguish, its tortured nostalgia.

What a fabulous song. Just fabulous.

(On the album, the cover in this vein is followed by Walsh's own account of nostalgic longing, "Class of '65." The pairing of these songs is remarkably effective and surprisingly visceral for Walsh.)






That's it. I'm going shopping for the girliest looking umbrella I can find.

SWAT Team Descends onto College Campus in Response to a Man Carrying an Umbrella




Other good music news today as it appears that Prince is done screwing around with limited releases and is ready to release some material that normal Americans can actually purchase and listen to.

There was a time there when you could count on a new Prince release every summer. I considered a part of my summer, going out to get the next Prince CD. Then he got all mad at Warner Bros., and, after that, the releases were more sporadic. Then he found religion. I dunno. I lost track of him, you know?

Hopefully, these new albums will be a bit more accessible.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A James Brown Story

I was reminded today—due mainly to promotion of the new James Brown film ongoing—of what I consider to be one of the best James Brown stories ever told, by one Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling, from the "Music of Howard Stern" special. If any story tells you who the man was, this does it.

[haiku url="http://www.adventuresintothewellknown.com/audio/james_brown2.mp3" title="James Brown on The Howard Stern Show"]

Must Be Nearly Autumn

For some reason, this feline poses more magnificently near the autumn season.

Anna Banana in a hammock
Photo credit: Ellen Smith





Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Look At My Butt

There are currently two (2) hit songs I've been made aware of today that do nothing but celebrate the callipygian nature of the song's protagonist.

And yet, Neil Young still tours.

You know, when Dana Carvey was doing his whole George Michael spoof back then, it was just that.



'Twas a spoof.

I mean do NOT. Let Carole King. Hear "Anaconda." She will break her hip kicking herself. THAT'S ALL I HAD TO DO? THAT? TALK ABOUT MY FAT ASS AND HOW GREAT IT IS? THAT'S IT? She'll be at Gerry Goffin's grave, all like Hey! Gerry! WE DIDN'T ACTUALLY HAVE TO USE ALL OF THAT POWERFUL, WELL-PLACED IMAGERY IN OUR SONGS! ASS, GERRY. THAT'S ALL THEY WANTED TO HEAR ABOUT. ASS.

What's this new song on the radio? "All About That Bass?" NO! CAROLE! Change the STATION! QUICK!

That stuff will just ruin Carole King. Please. Keep her away from it.

In other music stuff: Here is an excellent piece regarding some of the finest music of my adolescence. A really great read. I Know Times Are Changing