Sunday, February 28, 2010

For he was an Englishman!

John Reed is dead. Reed was only famous to people like me, who own lots of Gilbert and Sullivan recordings, and to people like everyone in England. Until today, two weeks after his death, I had no idea he was also an old queen.

Victoria, to be precise.

But I kid. According to the Times obituary, "Mr. Reed’s only immediate survivor is his companion of more than half a century, Nicholas Kerri." Wikipedia, of course, makes no mention of his personal life after he started doing G&S and eschews any of the many LGBT tags that could apply to him.

The thing that I find most interesting about his obit is the following paragraph:
Before long Mr. Reed, a self-described shy man, became known for his subtle, surprisingly sympathetic characterizations of Gilbert and Sullivan’s buffoons. In 1978, in the course of a single interview with The Washington Post, he remarked, of the insecure Ko-Ko: “He’s so me”; of Reginald Bunthorne, the “fleshly poet” of “Patience”: “He’s so me”; and, of Jack Point, the tragic, lovelorn jester at the heart of “Yeomen of the Guard”: “He’s so me.”
Not only does it point out the interchangeability of his stock-character types, a facet of G&S characters that is both a boon and a burden to many performing troupes, but it also reaffirms, in the context of his sexual outing (a word which here means "exposure as a homosexual," not "a brief, recreational excursion"), the basic gaiety of all of these characters, the reason why they so often pair with the domineering lesbians played, in Reed's day, by Gillian Knight and Christene Palmer. Knight and Palmer, by the way, married a company carpenter and chorister, respectively, men who could never aspire to be their musical equals.

Farewell, John Reed. A true Savoyard would have a pithy Gilbert quote to sign off. I would rather remember you in your own words: "My God, that hat is so big the man behind her can’t see."

Thursday, February 25, 2010


7/19 of my gmail spam box: "Dear Mr. celloshots, buy on 75% off" (5 from "Customer Service," 2 from "me")

3/19: "Special offer for celloshots, 80% better price" (2 from "me," 1 from "ED Pills from Pfizer")

2/19: "Exclusively for celloshots, -80%" (1 from "me," 1 from "ED Meds Shop")

1/19: "(no subject)" (from "(unknown sender)")

1/19: "We know these pills work" (from "Free Viagra and Cialis")

1/19: "Hi" (from my favorite one of all, "enigma")

1/19: "Even CEOs consult us." (from "Adebowale Audley")

The remaining 3/19 are in Japanese (I think) and I don't understand what they are offering, though one includes the website and another the mystic string of numbers 0958-272-060.

So my questions are:

1) Which is the best deal, on 75% off, 80% better price, or -80%?
2) Should I, instead of making my own decision, act like a CEO and consult Mr. Audley? Ms. Audley? Dr. Audley? Comrade Audley?
3) Can I extrapolate that they are all offering erectile dysfunction pills/meds, or are the ones from "me" selling some sort of musicology?
4) Is there a little-known laser form of treatment for erectile dysfunction that is popular in East Asia?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Key phrase

The next time I write about Cole Porter, I must include this lyric quotation:
You always bring your own gin;
That's why I love you
I don't really care what the topic of the paper is, but I love this sentiment.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I get distracted

This article is interesting on its own merits, but here's the part that I got stuck on:

Goldberg, co-foundeder of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) and president of Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH)...dropped his conspicuous middle name, Abba...

How hilarious is it that a leader of ex-gay organizations had to get rid of the middle name ABBA?

Also, I woke up this morning from a dream with ABBA's "Mamma Mia" as the soundtrack.

Monday, February 15, 2010

In my parents' kitchen

As some of you may know, my last visit to my parents' place resulted in the discovery of teabags that had expired over ten years earlier. I'm not talking about one or two teabags; this was several full(-ish) boxes. And tea is good for at least two years before it even nominally expires. In addition, I discovered that an entire cabinet of dry goods had been transformed into a breeding ground for various moths, with sub-communities in the crackers, sun-dried tomatoes, rice, and several varieties of pasta.

My current visit was only three days long, and I am now departing with a Tupperware full of homemade trail mix that contains:

Hazelnuts (frozen, sell by 11/2005)
Pecans (frozen, use by 9/2008)
White chocolate chips (one of nine identical bags, nearly frozen in the garage)
Dried cranberries (see above, re: white chocolate chips)

plus the remains of the trail mix I brought with me: fresh peanuts, almonds, dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips.

I decided against including:

Almonds (frozen, best by 12/2009)
Walnuts (frozen, not yet expired!)
Pine nuts (frozen, best by 3/2008)
More almonds (frozen, boiled, skinned, then re-frozen; no date visible)
Yet more almonds (slivered, frozen, best by 9/2008)
More pecans (use by 9/25/2009)
Still more pecans (use by 10/2009)
Crystallized ginger (best by 08/15/09)
More crystallized ginger (bearing the cryptic inscription 29731)
More dark chocolate chips (still good!)
Golden raisins (01/29/10; so close!)
Dried white peaches (best by 7/16/08)
Pitted prunes (not yet expired!)
Dried bing cherries (use by 1/2009)
Dried montgomery cherries (three identical bags, nearly frozen in the garage)
Dried apricots (inexplicably dated both 5/2009 and 4/2010)

Under the most generous interpretations of these numbers, our fruits and nuts (and ginger) expired a grand total of 158 months ago. Granted, 51 months of that was the hazelnuts, but that's still a serious amount of expireditude.

I can't wait to get back to my kitchen, where nothing can be much more than 3 years old. Except the appliances. And the cooks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In an insomniac state of mind

I have arrived in icy New York after a lovely, half-empty flight (a seat for me and one for my stuff! Joy!) from La Ciudad de Nuestra SeƱora la Reina de Los Angeles. The local paper, some rag I think I've heard of before called the New York Times, has taken it upon itself to try to destroy my happiness at arrival with headlines focusing on nothing but death.

1. Biology professor denied tenure shoots and kills most of the department that denied her.
2. Luge competitor dies in a practice run at the Olympics.
3. Doctors remember the patients they couldn't save in Haiti.
4. It's fashion week, in the shadow of Alexander McQueen's suicide.
5. Surge in Afghanistan. Let's kill 'em all, say the US, Britain, and some local Afghanis.

I have paraphrased.

I don't have the energy, at 3AM local time, to process this wave of depressing news. The first and last in particular are really shaking me up. Perhaps thought will come later.