The Man Who Invented Saturday Morning and Other Adventures in American Enterprise
By David Owen (Villard Books 1988)
Got this as a remainder in a library sale last month, finally got around to browsing it at bedtime, and was startled to find I knew someone in it. Charles F. Rosenay!!!, a local entrepreneur who specializes in Beatles and ghouls whose exploits I’ve been covering of and on for a quarter-century or so, figures in the first paragraph of “Ecstasy in Liverpool,” an essay about a Fab Four fan excursion in 1983, when such things were still a novelty (and before Rosenay!!! started hosting them himself).
Nothing gets dated faster than books about business, but these are entertainingly written, popular-appeal articles originally published in The Atlantic and Harper’s and still amuse and enlighten. They’re about businesses we still care about whose aims haven’t changed all that much, or were changing as much as they ever had right when Owen was writing about them. Other writers have been fascinated by failed inventions, but few have been able to control themselves and keep to 1200 words.
Owen now writes for the New Yorker, and he had that informative-yet-frothy style down over 20 years ago.
VOTE ! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
Yes, the primary was important, but this is the clincher. VOTE!
List of polling places is here. VOTE!
If you think the new guys need a chance. VOTE!
If you think the old guard is all right, VOTE!
Vote longterm. Give contenders the hope they need to inspire thme to run again if they miss out this time. VOTE!
Get in practice for next year’s presidential election. Start local. VOTE!
Roger Uihlein is once again running as a Write-In candidate for mayor; I’m doing another one of my Play in a Day projects at his joint, Never Ending Books on State Street, today. On some previous election days, I’ve taken the girls to the P.T. Barnum Museum in Bridgeport as a bit of wry social commentary; Barnum knew from suckers, and was active in state politics. Doing a commedia piece at Roger’s place will have its own Election Day meaning.
Alice Cooper: No More Mr. Nice Guy
Eric Roberson: Mr Nice Guy.
Iggy Pop: No Fun
Spongebob Squarepants: F.U.N.
Nirvana: No Apologies
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: Apologies
The Human Beinz: Nobody But Me
Lykke Li: Everybody But Me
Techtotronic: Pump Up the Jam
MC5: Kick Out the Jams
Journey: Don’t Stop Believin’
T-Pain: I Can’t Believe It
Ringo Starr: The No No Song
Foxy Shazam: Yes! Yes! Yes!
Lemonheads: Great Big No
Jason Falkner: Great Big Yes
Big Joe Williams: Baby, Please Don’t Go
Moody Blues: Go Now
The Beach Boys: Be True to Your School
The Replacements: Fuck School
Sigur Ros: The Nothing Song
Billy Preston: Nothing from Nothing
Fates Warning: Something from Nothing
Unakkum Enakkum: Something Something
The Beatles: Something
Felix Arndt: Nola
Randy Newman: I love L.A.
The jamin sons’ band van is an old painted school bus, like a ’60s hippie wanderlustmobile or a fabricated family-pop tv show. The band emulates both images.
What they did not expect the buys to be doing was transporting kids to school.
Singer/bassist Pele has a sister who runs a community nursery school facing closures due to some mountains local regulations. Seems that in order top take average of a state grant she needed to offer transportation to certain students, and couldn’t use civilian vehicles. She begged her bro to get the bus up to code and resume its original function.
Didn’t take much, and they didn’t even have to repaint out. Nor does an earlier commuter run dissuade the band from jamming and rehearsing en route. We were invited on one of the dawn journeys last week and were serenaded the whole ride, not just by the musicians but by several children.
Which is how the Jacob sons is now the house band at Ben’s Place Nursery School. The band is leading a school choir, and the acts will join up for a school fundraiser gig Saturday.
Wrote a long letter to my parents. Didn’t mail it.
Batwings Catwings, Radio.
A-side of the band’s new EP is nostalgic, as I am, for songs that sounded like they belonged on the radio. “I want to listen to the radio,” they sing, with the same earnest appreciation for the medium which led Elvis Costello to dub it “a sound salvation” or The Raspberries to covet a “hit record yeah…” Which is to say not entirely earnest. It’s craving an experience partly because it’s dead and cool. There’s little elaboration, just a winsome, wonder-filled wishiness. The quasi-slick production, with insistent punk undercurrent, fits the desire exactly.
I’m on a Max Allan Collins binge: Quarry’s Ex (where the hitman deals with filmmakers in Vegas), Bye Bye Baby (an early ‘60s riff for Nate Heller), The Consummata (Collins’ collab with the late Mickey Spillane), and gearing up for the graphic novel Return to Perdition.
In the midst of this MAC-to-the-max, another of the author’s Quarry adventures, A Matter of Principal, has been adapted for BBC radio, as the first episode in the second series of Pulp Fiction.
Collins has been one of my favorite writers, regardless of genre or medium, for decades, so I applaud gesture of having him be the lead-off guy for the program. I have issues with the production however, since it shoves the author into pigeonholes which, when left to hits own devices, he nimbly avoids. Narrator Peter Marinker, a Canadian actor often used as a token American voice for British radio, gives the story the direct, expressionless just-the-facts-ma’am voice we associate with radio noir. Problem is, the “hero” here isn’t a private detective or a police inspector or someone else for whom that voice makes sense, i.e. someone used to detailing adventures nonchalantly because, as if transcribing them for paperwork, because it’s his business to do so. The protagonist here is a hitman, and Marinker’s ‘40s trenchcoat persona simply doesn’t fit either the character or his detailed Midwestern mid-to-late 20th century surroundings.
So read the story. (A Matter of Principal has also been filmed, twice; I haven’t yet seen either). Then read all those other books. We’ll compare notes another time.
A day away from the mayoral election, you’d almost think there wasn’t one. The coverage in the local print media has been sparse even considering the reduced resources these others are working with.
Many of challenger Jeffrey Kerekes’ tweets have been substantive of the sort which demands independent validation– that a poll commissioned by the Destefano campaign shows Kerekes to be “neck and neck” with the incumbent. I can’t find those poll results online or anywhere, or any commentary whatsoever, on how close (or distant) this race is. That horse race mentality its usually second nature for local media.
Without any debates since the primaries, mosh of the talk on prevalent issues and philosophical disputes in the campaign has been left to the candidates’ own promotional fliers. Only the most flagrant overstatements are raising eyebrows.
Kerekes has told the New Haven Independent, which has certainly done steady and impressive campaign coverage, that he feels the message is getting out. But how?
Numbers of trees at the corner of day street a nd Edgewood avenue: 3.
How many stumps: 2.
Number of other plants: 36.
Pillars, posts and street signs: 8.
Can you tell the school bus is running late?