Department Of Seasonal Surprises
Is there anything as incongruently optimistic as the appearance of a yellow rose in winter?
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Department Of Just Wondering
Regarding the Baby It’s Cold Outside controversy I’ve a confession to make: up until this year, Baby It’s Cold Outside was just one of those background holiday songs for me. I knew it existed, but I’ve never seen any of the films within which it had appeared, nor had I ever even heard the original or any of the cover versions in their entirety. I just plain hadn’t paid attention; it was, to moiself, an earlier generation’s “classic,” of which I caught snippets every now and then on radio or TV. 
What with all the brouhaha about the song, I finally listen to it the other day, and found moiself thinking, Is this really what I’m hearing? And so I googled the lyrics.
I simply must go (but baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no (but baby, it’s cold outside)…
The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)
Yep. I heard what I thought I heard.
It was a different time;
it’s a relic of our heritage;
back then it was all in fun….
Many are the defenders trotting out these (and more) defenses for the song’s lyrics – about which, BTW, I am not horribly offended (nevertheless…ick).
And I do understand the complexities of judging the art of the past by the standards of the present. Still, I wonder about such things, and how we judge what is OK, and what needs to be relegated to the trash pile of cultural history.
It has long seemed to moiself that far too many people, especially certain Well-Meaning Liberals ®, give sexism a “cultural” pass in situations where they do not do the same for racism:
* The segregation and subjugation of black Africans – e.g. Apartheid – is wrong and there are no excuses for it! 
* The segregation and subjugation of women and girls in Muslim countries…well, it’s their culture, so hold on a minute, don’t be an anti-Muslim bigot!
Coon Songs, a genre of music that presented stereotyped images of black people, were wildly popular in the United States circa 1880 to 1920, so much so that the 1905 song “If the Man in the Moon Were a Coon“, sold three million copies (which would be the equivalent of 11 million copies today). Some of Tin Pan Alley’s greatest composers, including Irving Berlin, were enlisted to write coon songs with such cringe-worthy titles as, “All Coons Look Alike to Me”, “Old Black Joe”, and “Pickaninny Paradise.” These songs are an undeniable part of our past, and most of them had quite catchy, sing-along melodies. Would such a defense – It was a different time; it’s a relic of our heritage and back then it was all in fun – survive if someone should try to revive, say, coon songs as a remembrance or acknowledgement of our legacy?
Coon, coon, coon
I wish my color would fade
Coon, coon, coon
I’d like a different shade
Coon, coon, coon
Both morning, night or noon
I’d rather be a white man
Instead of bein’ a coon
(chorus to “Coon, Coon, Coon,” Max Hunter Folk song collection)
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Department Of Yes, I Want It All
While I’m on the subject of art from the past… Category: Christmas movies. I really like It’s A Wonderful Life ,  but not for the reasons so many people heap praise upon it – praise I believe to be…well, predictable and even/ultimately shallow. Because if you think IAWL is the “ultimate life-affirming, feel good holiday classic,” you are missing the point.
The idea that the love and support of one’s family and friends ultimately trumps any financial woes  is manifested in the movie’s heart-wedgying end scene, by the arrival of war hero Harry Bailey, who toasts his big brother George: “…the richest man in town…” And I weep like a bitch baby, every time, at that line.
But, that doesn’t change the fact that the movie is dark.
Sure, IAWL is filled with some memorable characters and great dramatic and comic lines – and dreadful/sexist trope or two  – but the darkness permeates it, IMHO, and, despite the Happy Holiday Ending ® George Bailey’s existential gloom is never fully resolved.
George Bailey is filled with the frustration of a lifetime of unrealized desires and seemingly unattainable goals, compounded by the guilt that comes from that over arcing/underlying message from your society/culture/religion that whatever you have should be enough to make you happy  or at least content with your lot in life. And it usually is….but what if you also want something more?
The protagonist’s dilemma was presented as a choice between two conflicting destinies:
(1) George Bailey can have a happy domestic life; or
(2) He can shake off the dust of his one-horse town, hop on a cattle boat and see the world.
It was either/or, not and – to choose one path would be to negate or even erase the other.
But, every time I watch that movie, after that joyous, cinematic denouement, I want an addendum. Just give me one scene, as the credits roll, showing George and Mary hitching a ride on that cattle boat, or rafting down the Zambezi river, or sipping espressos at a Parisian sidewalk café….
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Blog Department Of Isn’t It Funny, The Things You Miss
My first official  Happy Birthday wish came from a friend on the East Coast, ~ 6:30 AM. I was already up to feed the cats, and was delighted, while getting dressed, to see the message.  I thought of how my parents (back when they were both alive…which probably goes without saying but oops, too late) used to call me way way way early in the morning on my birthday – we’re talking around 5:15 am – and sing the Happy Birthday Song ® to me.
They started doing that when I was in college, and kept doing it for years afterward. Once upon a lifetime I would go running in the mornings, before college classes and then before going off to work, which provided my parents with justification (in their minds) for the early intrusion wakeup calls, which they said were my “fault” in that they wanted to call me before I was up and gone out for the day (yes, kiddies, those were pre-cellphone days).
Sometimes I would pretend to be grouchy about the timing of the calls, such as when my birthday fell on a weekend and, for just once, sleeping in (until 7 am – is that too much to ask?) on my birthday might be nice… And although I always/ultimately loved and appreciated the birthday calls, I also have always loathed that damn tedious birthday song.
On more than one occasion I asked my parents to please sing me something else – how about The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song? Ah, but what I’d give today, to be able to complain about having them sing me that damn song again….
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Department Of The Partridge  Of The Week
As per an earlier warning post, we will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in our front yard’s festively lit pear tree. Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?
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May you be serenaded with the song of your choice on your birthday;
May you be surprised by your equivalent of a yellow rose in winter;
May you judge the art of the past by the past, present, and future;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Even though a portion of it was used in a scene in Grey’s Anatomy, which is Must-See-TV for moiself.
 It was indeed the culture of the white/Afrikaners to discriminate against black south Africans…but the world ultimately did not allow them that excuse.
 I like it in spite of the ridiculous Clarence The Angel angle, not because of it.
 A sentiment I think is usually – but not always – true.
 In an alternate reality, Mary is revealed to have…gasp…suffered the worst fate for a woman – without George, she never married, and became an OLD MAID LIBRARIAN!
 A Buddhist message from early Hollywood?
 As in, on the day itself. There is a committee to certify such things – but , you knew that, didn’t you?
 Via Facebook messenger. No Russian hacking involved that I could see.
 In our pear tree.