Friday, November 30, 2007

"Let Ahmed Do It!"

The Nyok Times opines as follows--and I want y'all to read this very, very slowly and in a single breath:

. . . Consider this all too familiar horror: yesterday, police said they pulled six bodies from the Tigris River about 25 miles south of Baghdad. They were handcuffed and showed signs of having been tortured. And five, including a child, had been beheaded.

Perhaps 160,000 American troops could hold down the overall casualty numbers indefinitely, but they cannot wipe away that sort of hatred. That’s the job of Iraq’s leaders.

The Nyok Times ought to have someone read this stuff in cold blood to catch the dissonances, before they actually go to e-press.

Whatever makes ye Ed. think that Iraqis are better able than we to "wipe away" hatred like that? I'm no apologist for the War; oh, no, not so, but far otherwise. I've no illusions about the Allies' ability to bring peace to the warring tribes. But the notion that natives can solve their own ethnic problems sooner than we can is simply laughable.

Remember how Reconstruction bound up the Nation's wounds, virtually overnight? Remember how the Brits batted 1.000 in Northern Ireland? Remember when the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960's put an end to racial tension in America?

Neither do I.

It's all but certain that the Allies won't solve the problem, but we're the only hope Iraq has. Tolerance (that once and future virtue) cannot be taught, except by example. The Allied Forces are likelier to do it than the present Iraqi government, or any government that Iraq can expect to field hereafter.

The subtext of the editorial, it seems to me, is this: Lift not a finger, O White Man, to stop the benighted Arab from destroying himself! In this, perhaps, they're right; who knows? But it would be refreshing if they simply came right out and said so.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I've made an improvement (I hope) to the cross-talking lull before the big ending of the parody of When the Foeman Bears His Steel (entitled Of Mice and Menopause):

So why the smirk?
Oh, just be-cuz.
Was that a jerk?
Perhaps it was.
It starts to perk?
It starts to buzz.
You think it'll work?
In fact it does!
Good gravy! what a stick!
Good gravy! that was quick! etc.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

That comes a good deal closer to my original idea. The whole good to go thing still seems a bit limp, but nothing to replace it has presented itself.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Googling Moi

One thing the old website had, which the new website hasn't, is a sensitivity to search engines. Type in a phrase from one of my lyrics, and Google returns a link to the old site (99% of which, of course, no longer exists). The way the new website is arranged, Google just doesn't pick 'em up.

Google a phrase from one of my lyrics (as I sometimes do, in my narcissistic way), and you may find that even a dull one is unique in the virtual world. Take the recent phrase, When you're pushing fifty-nine. When you're pushing . . . is idiomatic enough, certainly; and the notion of subtracting one year from a round decade out of vanity, after the manner of Jack Benny's perennial age of 39, doesn't require a very big leap. So one would think (all right, I would think) that someone, somwhere, must have used the exact phrase at least once in the past fifteen years or so. But no. The new page at the old website is the only thing Google returns.

My feelings of alienation from the entire human race are sometimes very acute.

Clearing the Palate

To get the infernal double chorus from Pirates out of my head, I bethought myself of other tunes on the way to dinner last night, and the following nonsense wrote itself:

When Amish eyes are smiling,
It's without a contact lens;
In the av'rage Amish driveway,
There is no Mercedes Benz;
An Amish nose that's runny
Doesn't know from double-ply:
So when Amish eyes are smiling—
One is tempted to wonder why.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Why the Amish popped into my head is anyone's guess. And it did no good. This morning, I was once more exhorting myself to take the pill and we'll have crazy, monkey sex. Ooh, that siren Sullivan!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What Gilbert Wrote Was . . .

. . . When the Foeman Bears [sic] His Steel. Oops. And for years, I've been construing that line (not having really looked at the libretto since high school) to mean, "When the foeman draws his blade from its sheath." Whereas Gilbert, apparently, was thinking of bearing arms. Well, that's just one more reason for my intense hatred of All Things Gilbertian.

Must go fix the website now.

Short-Circuiting My Own Klutziness

Well, the heck with it. I've posted a parody of When the Foeman Bares His Steel at the old Peterson's Parodies site, and you can view it there, if you've a mind to.

Whatever you do, don't ask me what We jumped the shark means. It rhymes, dunnit? Seems a bit unreasonable to expect it to mean, too.

There's a midi file at The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, so open another window, turn your computer speakers back on (you do keep 'em off most of the time, don't you?), and sing your little heart(s) out!

After all, what the hell?

For What It's Worth

Needless to say, the ending just won't come. So I've plugged in whatever I could manage to fit, just to be rid of the damned thing. Perhaps something better will suggest itself eventually.

I'm rather pleased with myself that When the Foeman Bares His Steel instantaneously came to my mind, away back when. It's hard to imagine an apter vehicle for comment on the subject of superannuated sex.

. . . Well, I take it back. I've got to figure out how to convert the sucker to a jpeg, 'cause pdf don't wash. Stay tuned, folks!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Hours Creep on Apace

Don't think I haven't been working on a parody of When the Foeman Bares His Steel, because I have, and I've made progress, too, though it's taken more mental energy than I've devoted to anything in years. It came in bits and pieces, and for the longest time seemed to have no wit, direction or even point, when one day I awoke to find that everything was done, right up to the Major General's first interjection, Away, away. It was not so much written, as sculpted.

And the results aren't half bad, if I say so myself. Several problems to solve, like what to do about those pesky Tarantaras, and how to fit anything but the original lyric to Go, ye heroes, etc. The solution to the latter was to eschew melisma as far as I could, so the result doesn't scan on paper. All that's needed now is an ending, and while I have the idea for one, turning it into a lyric to fit the moment when Sullivan has dissolved Gilbert's into the granular We go, we go is going to take some doing. Nothing comes to mind so far.

I'll present the final version, if it ever comes, to the comedy club mistress, and I daresay she'll dismiss it out of hand. Then I might post a message on Savoynet, offering to send it to members privately (it wouldn't do to post the lyric itself; while the stuff is not smutty for its own sake, as was my ribald G&S song cycle, If They Ever Decide to Re-Release "The Naughty Victorians," it probably speaks too matter-of-factly for some folk).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I Have No Idea What This Is About

As I rode up to the Wings Theatre the other night, a Thought crossed my mind: a parody of When the Foeman Bares His Steel, from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, regarding Viagra.

One member of the comedy group had suggested Gilbert and Sullivan as an appropriate subject of parody (she must have been watching an episodes of Dick van Dyke recently; as a child, I distinctly remember Rob Petrie suggesting them as a good candidate for parody), and another, the guy who dragooned me into doing the lights, had suggested Viagra as a proper topic.

At the time, the combination seemed absolutely perfect. But I've been struggling with it now for weeks, and it Refuses to Yield to Treatment. Lines come, rhymes come, sections come; but no comedy, no wit, no humor. If you wish, you may watch this space for future developments; but don't get your hopes up.

Friday, November 02, 2007

"I'm Ready for My Close-up, Mr. DeMille"

Here's The Nyok Times, writing of Barack Obama in the breathless tone of a mid-Victorian maiden contemplating the young Prince of Wales:

“If I am the face of American foreign policy and American power,” Barack Obama mused not long ago aboard his campaign plane, “as long as we are also making prudent strategic decisions, handling emergencies, crises and opportunities in the world in an intelligent and sober way. . . .” He stopped. He wanted to make sure he got this just right, and he had got a little caught up in rebutting the claim, which Hillary Clinton has artfully advanced, that he is not prepared to handle emergencies. Obama stopped picking at his grilled salmon in order to stare out at the sky for a few moments. “I think,” he said, in that deep and measured voice of his, “that if you can tell people, ‘We have a president in the White House who still has a grandmother living in a hut on the shores of Lake Victoria and has a sister who’s half-Indonesian, married to a Chinese-Canadian,’ then they’re going to think that he may have a better sense of what’s going on in our lives and in our country. And they’d be right.”

Something about this little speech scares the living bejesus out of me. Actually, two somethings. The first is the way in which he speaks of governing like a child telling someone what he wants to be when he grows up: making prudent strategic decisions, handling emergencies, crises and opportunities in the world in an intelligent and sober way. Lookame, Mom! I'm George Washington!

But the other thing is his narcissistic preoccupation with his own bizarre genealogy. As if the several nations of the world gave a rat's ass whether the President has nappy hair, or an epicanthic fold, or any other ethnic peculiarity! You just know that one thought of that li'l ol' grandmother on the shores of Lake Victoria, and Iran will kiss its nuclear program good-bye.

So if this man is elected, don't be surprised if he moves the White House to Sunset Boulevard.
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