One of the Southern sayings of my childhood was that “blue jays go to Hell on Fridays” (my father’s punch-line was to always, having raised this on any day but Friday, ask if any listener could specifically recall seeing a bluejay on Friday). Apparently, the part of the folk-tale I never heard was that they went to Hell to carry sand to use in the torment of the damned.
Each time I re-read The Sound and the Fury, I notice things I had not before. Some are small things– something called a hame string comes up twice, first, when Jason Compson, working in a hardware store, sells one to a farmer, who annoys Jason by taking the time to decide whether to by a 15 cent one or a 25 cent one, and then, later, when Jason catches his 17-year-old niece Quentin looking through the mail and says, “I’ll take a hame string to you. That’s what I’ll give you. Going into my papers.” I could guess, but, looking it up, I learn it’s a leather strip used in the tack of a draft animal to attach supports to the collar.
The final events of the book take place on Easter weekend in 1928. On Sunday, there’s this:
Luster went to the woodpile. The five jaybirds whirled over the house, screaming, and into the mulberries again. He watched them. He picked up a rock and threw it. “Whoo,” he said. Git back to hell, whar you belong at. ‘Taint Monday yit.”
So is Luster suggesting they spend the weekend in Hell, or that they have an extended stay on Easter?
The new Dylan album is all versions of songs previously recorded by Frank Sinatra.
It ends with a version of “That Lucky Old Sun.” It’s kinda been done. You’ve got versions by Jerry Lee, Aretha, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, LaVern Baker, Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson, etc…. They’ve pretty much got it covered. And then there’s the Frank Sinatra version (far from my favorite) that apparently inspired the Dylan version…
Dylan is still a very interesting performer to me, but this does not seem to me what makes him so. Here’s a story about the album, where you can listen to one of the songs, “Stay With Me.”
I read the newspapers with lively interest. It is seldom that they are absolutely, point-blank wrong. That is the popular belief, but those who are in the know can usually discern an embryo truth, a little grit of fact, like the core of a pearl, round which has been deposited the delicate layers of ornament.
Floyd Abrams, as one will recall, represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, and is probably the leading First Amendment lawyer of his generation. As the headline suggests, he rebuked his former client in a letter to the editor that the New York Times published on Friday.
The last sentence is a real zinger.
This is one of my favorite Lafayette County vintage photos I’ve ever seen.
It is a covered bridge that was torn down about 1952 or 1953. Joe Black, posting on Facebook, identified it as “the covered bridge at Fudgetown;”I’m guessing it was below Fudgetown (the road from Fudgetown south crossed the Yocona River with an iron bridge that was abandoned by the time I was in high school in the early 1970s). Joe Black reports that his grandfather and great-uncle tore the bridge down between 1953 and 1955. I knew of at least two wooden bridges over the Yocona River between Fudgetown and where Highway 7 crossed the river that were still standing in the 70s; I wonder if this is the superstructure over one of them.
…Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese,
And Santa putting gifts under Christmas trees.
Run-DMC sings “Christmas in Hollis,” with horns and backing that really remind me of the Stax approach to Christmas music. Bear with the video until 0:47 point, roughly.
King John’s Christmas
by A.A. Milne from Now We are Six.
King John was not a good man –
He had his little ways.
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days.
And men who came across him,
When walking in the town,
Gave him a supercilious stare,
Or passed with noses in the air –
And bad King John stood dumbly there,
Blushing beneath his crown.
King John was not a good man,
And no good friends had he.
He stayed in every afternoon…
But no one came to tea.
And, round about December,
The cards upon his shelf
Which wished him lots of Christmas cheer,
And fortune in the coming year,
Were never from his near and dear,
But only from himself.
Continue reading A Christmas Poem about King John