Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Current Events Spin

CNN "reporters" really are the most incite-ful, shit-stirring, shit-talking bunch of cock suckers imaginable. They are a small step above TMZ, reporting on incidents that they manufacture with their own bullshit articles. Why do I ever stray to that fucking site except to punish my own low self esteem? I really imagine a group of 25 year old kids drinking gallons of coffee under strict deadlines spewing misspelled essays about their own previous articles and calling it news as long as BMW keeps paying the advertising bills. I guess it is part of my mission to fully understand the United States. The media is largely a can of compressed shit that says, "Shake Can Then Spray." I really and truly hate it and feel like there can never be intelligent and critical thinking as long as the major news networks tug and pull on media events like we're Muppets with hands in our asses. It is impossible to conceive of a worse predator to humanity than CNN and Fox. Pure propaganda and mass manipulation. It's such addictive trash disguised as topical events. I'm in awe and I can't turn away and I loathe myself and I'm ashamed and filled with hate and fear for humanity.

Should I go on?

Buttons and Bows from The Paleface 1948

Buttons and Bows was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans for the 1948 film The Paleface. The sheet music was in the lot that I was forced to buy to get my hands on Petula Clark's Downtown single so I'm going through the songs and trying to generate some interest in old music and learn the songs as I go for therapy*. I already wrote a few paragraphs about the Shelby Flint "Angel on my Shoulder" tune that was pretty damn catchy. That was from 1960, if I recall, and I find myself singing it despite it being 52 years old.

The Paleface goes way way back to freshly post WWII and Jane Russell's titanic tits being all veterans wanted to see. Oh my god! Curves to spare on that frame. Howard Hughes pushed the movie ratings to the limit to showcase her rack in The Outlaw. Bob Hope should always be known as an entertainer who loved to entertain. The country was at war for 5 years and Hope spent 5 years with the USO following the mission of boosting morale and entertaining troops. I hate to compare apples and oranges but has Jimmy Fallon even recited the pledge of allegiance let alone spent 20 years eating mess hall food and telling clean jokes about dirty things? Nevermind. This is about Buttons and Bows. I learned in my research that this song, a kind of annoying western parody, won the Best Song award in the 1948 Academy Awards. That's a strange category because sometimes there are 4 nominees and sometimes there are 11. Well, it didn't have any competition and you could say it was the Academy's reward to Bob Hope for his wartime contribution to the USO.

I want to say here that the Bob Hope era films (ie Billy Wilder) are probably the purest examples of five star premises ever created. For instance, one of Hopes films is called "Alias Jesse James." In which, the bumbling insurance salesman, Hope, accidentally insures Outlaw Jesse James's life for some huge sum. Hope is then charged with protecting James from harm while trying to nullify the contract...and he falls for Jesse James's girlfriend...etc. I mean, that's the most perfect premise. You understand perfectly the entire situation within like 7 minutes. The remaining 70 minutes is pure entertainment. I regard Billy Wilder's "Some Like it Hot" as the perfect premise: two male jazz musicians witness a mob killing and must go into hiding in an all girl's big band...where they fall in love with singer Marilyn Monroe...who thinks they are women. FUCKING PERFECT. The premise of The Paleface is a little weak as Hope plays a hapless dentist who is used as cover for Russell, playing Calamity Jane, until everything works out. Whatever. I'm not going to review the movie but I will say that the fact it seems the plot is a parody of western movies would suggest the songwriters intentionally made the song a parody of the clippity-clop hop along songs about horses and cowboys in love with dust.

The song is actually sung during the movie so I guess this would be the equivalent of a Disney animation song like Beauty and the Beast except Rodgers and Hammerstein weren't available so Livingston and Evans stepped to the plate. The song is written in F Major but I'm not sure that's the key it is sung in. Shelby Flint's song was written in F major but she sings it in D Major.
The lyrics basically describe Hope's dislike for the desert. I'm not sure where in the west  they are supposed to be (Saguaro Cacti would suggest Arizona or New Mexico) but it's far from the city where Hope feels more comfortable. That is also a sly twist from the songwriters who know that all the previous Zipadee doo dah songs exalt the western life and praise the cactus. So I can forgive the annoying lilt of the song and the fact that it's as sexist a song that you'll ever hear.
"Let's vamoose where gals keep using those silks and satins and linen that shows...:
It was published by Famous Music Corp. 1619 Broadway, NY.
The torn and aged copy I have is probably a first edition because it makes no mention of the fact this is an academy award winning song. Usually awards are used to promote a piece of sheet music but this was probably published a month after the movie came out in 1948 and that was it. Hollywood is a machine and if you can say anything it's that they don't rest on their laurels, unless your name is George Lucas. This movie and this song are part of the Paramount production and they are gifts to the future provided by 1948 audiences because truly the movie and the song don't generate enough revenue ($0) to justify existing 64 years later. As soon as the sales dropped then this was never heard from again and that's why I want to resurrect it. Bob Hope and Jane Russell's tits teamed up again in a few years for The Son of Paleface, a weird sequel where it seems the two actors play two totally different characters in the same universe. Again, the machine plows on ignoring any logic. (They even reprise the Buttons and Bows song with different lyrics) The formula worked so it was pushed ahead. Bob Hope could pull these characters out of his ass with no effort at all. He probably learned this song in 20 minutes while I've struggled with it for a few weeks and still can't sing in tune. And if you want to watch his recording you can hear that he really plays with the inflection. He has fun with it because it's natural to entertain...always entertain. Clearly it's his motto. It's unusual to watch these slow developing scenes now because digital video is cheap. Bob Hope only made films. And since these were expected to be in and out of the theater in five minutes there was a budget for one camera. So they got in the habit of singing songs like this the whole way through a couple times with the camera in different locations. Notice how few close ups there are. The line "I'm ready for my closeup" really meant something back then because it involved a total lightning and set change and more makeup etc. This scene was filmed with only two angles, a close up of Russell and a false background screen that's playing the film of a landscape rolling by. It was obviously filmed in Studio 39 or one of those huge hangers where I used to deliver vats of pasta and salad for $8 an hour at Paramount Studios. Hope even does a great job pretending to play the sailor's organ. Buttons and Bows...35 cents. Worth every penny.

Next up...Al Jolson's "Anniversary Song" from The Jolson Story (1946)

* The latest news really has me puzzled and perplexed. A murderous rampage by a marine is eclipsed in the news by two different race related murders. To read the news really breaks my heart. If playing songs from 1948 keeps my brain distracted then that's all I can do. I'm going to bed.

Your Mother...

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"I'm being followed by a moonshadow." Cat Stevens

Oggy pushed his maimed bicycle up the dark trail. The downhill side of the trail was so narrow that Oggy risked falling back into the ravine if he pushed from that side. But the Track side of the trail forced him to step over railroad ties or trip on the loose gravel. He wasn't being followed by a moonshadow but the presence of the white ethereal glow through the dense redwood canopy inspired Oggy to hum the melody from a Cat Stevens song from the innocent 1970s. Often reviled and villainized, criticized and condemned, like Oggy himself, Cat Stevens recorded the song for laughs with Tillerman dreams and Jasmine tea. The song danced around the tonal shelter of D major and the philosophic equanimity of blindness and amputation and destitution. "I won't have to cry no more," sang the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens and echoed by the forest elves in the green Santa Cruz arboreal domain.

Cheddar Cheese

I can't find a piano to save my life so I'll let Richard Marx sing a love song to my 1980s hair cut that is gone and has been replaced with flaky psoriasis and graying horse hair on a thin and dying mule . I truly had visions of performing this and making a video tribute to someone who broke my heart but my computer has failed completely and I have no piano. Even if I performed it A Capella I couldn't edit in the photo footage. I'm fucked.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.