Monday, February 28, 2005

End of an Era

An old pen-pal who's been squatting at 850 Seventh Avenue, N.Y., N.Y., for the past forty years or so--and that's handsome squatting in any league--tells me he's absquatulating to the Iron Range region of Minnesota, of all places. Seems a remote spot, but he has a couple of friends with similar tastes in music who live in Michigan, and that's practically right next door, innit? (I was tutored in geography by Saul Steinberg.)

He courteously declined my offer to assist him this weekend in packing, crating and truck-loading, so about my only duty in the matter is to wish him Godspeed and to give thanks to Blog, God of the Internet, that half a continent is no longer an impediment to whatever the heck it's no longer an impediment to.

A Loewe Trick

Last night, couldn't sleep (and wouldn't sleep), owing to an ill-defined itch to parody the chorus of Jolson's "Avalon." (I find no convenient link to assist those who don't remember the tune; you'll have to go rummage through those old Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole records.)

This morning, after wrestling with "Caliban" ("I much prefer the Taliban to Caliban") and dipping into "billabong" ("Let's charge a glass or fill a bong to billabong"), I settled on "Camelot." The result turned out to be the most frightful drivel:

The topless tow'rs of Camelot
Are moss-grown stubs;
The fabled arms of Camelot
Adorn men's clubs;
The drawbridge into Camelot
Has gone to pot--
And that's why people swam a lot
In Camelot.

Lyric © 2005 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Macintoshes and McIntoshes

The Nyok Times reports that Jef Raskin has crashed:


Naturally, Andrea Elliott could not resist reporting that his relationship with Steve Jobs at Apple "soured." The Times needs a Dawn Eden to scotch this stuff before it reaches the presses.

The clause that stumps me is, "who named the Macintosh after his favorite apple but altered the spelling for copyright reasons." What's the point of making such remark and then not explaining it? Me, I see no copyright potential in a product name. "McIntosh" would have been a perfectly good trademark: fanciful (the best kind, my sources tell me), and not in anyway conflicting with the apple of that ilk, since few of us, however un-tech, are apt to confuse the gizmo with the fruit. Apples don't threaten the market for apples, if you follow me.

It seems to me that the spelling change that wants explaining is "Jef." A bit truncated, it strikes me as. But Raskin's taken that mystery with him to the grave, I suppose.

In other news, I spent eight hours at the office today with Captain Queeg, who was remarkably well-behaved--so much so, that I was able to get eight hours of work done. I had taken the elementary precaution of bringing my daughter with me, knowing that he'd be less likely to exhibit maniacal symptoms in the presence of small fry. My daughter spent the time doing her homework and e-mailing me Garfield postcards from the next room.

It was only in the last hour that CQ's urge to interrupt my train of thought with computer-illiterate inquiries became too powerful to resist, and he proceeded to gratify it five times. By then, I was in such a relaxed mood, that I was able to respond to him with equanimity.

He did pull one of his clever stunts, though: that of providing yours truly with information only on a need-to-have-known basis. The project today was to determine the nature, extent and value of the assets of an estate of a woman who apparently never put a piece of paper in its proper place in her entire life (oh, yes; she owned plenty of AT&T the day before it broke up; tracing those holdings was great sport). Having completed this task after much effort--no brainwork, mind you, just foot-slogging--I showed the results to the good Captain, who asked (and from here, I paraphrase) where the savings bonds were. What savings bonds, I asked? Oh, the savings bonds the client gave me at the beginning of the case and that I stashed in the office safe without making a note to the file or even telling anyone, so that nobody but me would know that they existed until it was too late, he caroled. (The estate tax return deadline is looming, you see. Had I omitted to report the bonds in the return, only one person would have been blamed for it.) I said I'd add the bonds as soon as he had the safe opened, and returned to my office, leaving him to his strawberries.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Jeff Moss's "Rubber Duckie"

The idea for a cheaply cynical parody of "Rubber Duckie" occurred to me a few days ago. Two and a half hours in a recording studio yesterday generated enough mental energy to finish it (as if these things were ever finished!) on my way home. Practically the first person I mentioned it to was my pianist-arranger-producer. Alas, he didn't know the original--not because he's an Englishman, I suspect, but because the song was a hit after his time.

Some are lucky,
Yes, indeed--
Soar at supersonic speed.
Some are lucky
To float in an old balloon.

Some are lucky
L.B. Mayers--
Cecil B. DeMille-ionaires.
Some are lucky,
If they're cast in a short cartoon.

You're a dope, if you
Ever hope to be
Perhaps you've
Just forgotten that
Life is rotten and
Listen to Pappy:

Some are lucky,
Boy, oh boy!
Spend their winters in St. Croix.
Some are lucky
To spend 'em in Saska-
(Just be thankful it isn't Alaska!),
Some are lucky
To spend 'em in Saskatoon.

Lyric © 2005 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Death and Taxes Manifesto

If you suppose this blog is not going to be powered by what powers all blogs--rampant narcissism--guess again. The topics, though, may be somewhat different from those found on the run-of-the-mill blog. Just a few, off the top of my head:

1. Obituaries. I like obituaries. I like to make fun of some people after they're gone and can no longer defend themselves. For that matter, I like to praise other people after they're gone and no longer have a flack to do it for them. So there are bound to be references to obits on this blog.

2. Captain Queeg. And who is Captain Queeg? Well you may ask. He's my boss. And I call him Captain Queeg because he is the sort of guy who, with World War II exploding all around him, worries about strawberries. I call him a lot of other things, but, for now, "Captain Queeg" will do.

3. The Surrogate's Court of the State of New York (particularly Queens County; but now and then Kings, New York, Bronx and Nassau Counties, too). There's a bit of Captain Queeg in all of them.

4. Song parodies. I like song parodies, too. And, let's face it, since the deaths of Allan Sherman and "Weird Al" Yankovic (he isn't? you could have fooled me), song parodies are few and far between. So I've been forced to resurrect the practice as a cottage industry, and manufacture a few of 'em myself.

5. Anything else that strikes my fancy. This is a blog, after all.

Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov
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