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December 2011

I've Got A Crush On You and this thing about men

Okay, this is Frank singing for Columbia Records in 1948. He was 32ish. This is a little over 3 minutes long.

I've Got A Crush On You

And here he is for his own label, Reprise Records, in 1960. He was 44ish. And it's about a minute shorter, which is too bad, but it's because there's not so much horn action.

I've Got A Crush On You

I mean, you see what I'm saying here? They're both very good. But only one of them sends me. 

Youth is wasted on the wrong people. 

 

 


middle-aged middle ground

The ten or so of you who've followed my blogs off and on over the whatever know that I go through a period of time each month in which I…experience a heightened degree of…tractability, let's call it. At this point in my life, it's about 3 of every 4 weeks.

"I do seem somewhat soaked in nature's fecund blessing." (Yes, Mybug was speaking of rain, but whatever.)

Anyway. I was thinking lately that over the past few years I've expanded my imaginary boyfriend horizons to include a few candidates outside my "composite male" profile that I developed about 29yearsago. It's originally why I came up with the Holodeck idea, well, not only for ones who are very short or dead, but also those British ones who still smoke cigarettes, and things like that. I can either manipulate reality or just ignore bits of it. 

Where was I? 

Oh, yes. 

A couple nights ago, I was at Petsmart buying the obnoxiously expensive food I feed these two cats who live at our house, and I saw him. The Composite Male. Don't get me wrong, I've seen most of him before, once in a great while, but I mean, there he was. 100%. Okay, 99% because originally, the Composite Male was 6'-6' 2" and this man was about 5' 10" with extremely nice shoes on. However, I am not 17 anymore. And those were awfully nice shoes. 100%.

He was in line and I was behind him, and then a cashier called him to a new line, and so I just followed. I had to, and never mind the small child with him and the fact that he was holding a bag of crickets. 

He had black or nearly black hair, short and sharp, with bits of grey flecked through it, and just the perfect face that stays in my head, I mean, perfect to me, not necessarily anyone else, a little lined, a nicely carved mouth and intelligent eyes, and he was wearing a very nice dark suit and a black overcoat. And he was quite slim, but not skinny. 

When I was a Young Person, I was more attracted to the baseball physique than the football one. Remember how baseball players used to trend kinda slim? Maybe you aren't that old…but only some of the pitchers and catchers were ever on the larger side of the scale. Well, I was a very skinny young person, so large men sort of alarmed me. Plus they seemed to my childish mind to be accompanied by cans of cheap beer or voices that were too loud, or referred to themselves as themselves. Forgive me, internet stranger who might wander by, but we're all really only as deep as we pretend to be, most of the time. 

I like a man who looks (and hopefully actually is) active and fit. At my age, this is probably an important consideration in an imaginary mate, because there'd be, like, heart issues and things to contend with. But on the other hand, unless I know he's active and fit, one who is too thin probably isn't a good idea, either. There's a reason most of us put on a few more pounds as we age. Sure, we might be less active, but also, one good flu will carry off an old person if they don't have any fat reserve to draw on. 

So as I'm watching the cheesy Christmas movies this season, I'm noticing that many of the males (the ones who don't seem too gay to be very believable in the role, which is an unfortunate truth with some of the ION entries, but of course they're often inexperienced in movies and also with girls, but at least the movie experience can bring improvement,) are very attractive even though they aren't all thin, and that while I'm never going to be attracted to those men in firefighter calendars with all their pectoral bulges and whatnot, there's a lot more good stuff in the middle than I had previously bothered to notice. 

As well, I mean, consider Simon Baker. Not only is he a rather small person, but he has light-colored hair. Yet he is very attractive. Go figure.

I figured out that it's all because one side of my brain has worked out I no longer need to find the correct physical match for continuing the family line, while another side has decided I still need to find as many matches as possible, on a much broader scale. 

And that is why I have so many more imaginary boyfriends these days, and why William Holden zoomed to the top of the dead celebrity list over the past year. The "father of my children" part of the deal is no longer the most important part. 

Still, I wonder if that man goes into Petsmart for crickets every week…he drove a Hyundai Tiberon…I don't know, I mean, in 1982, the Composite Male drove a cooler car than that, but times have changed. 

 


some things never change

When I was a little girl, the only soda I would drink (other people called it “pop,” but I couldn’t,) was 7-Up. I hated all the fruity things, root beer gave me a headache, and I thought Coke and Pepsi were cloying, though I probably wouldn’t have used that word. Dr Pepper is delicious to me as an adult, but I didn’t like it back then, either. Sprite was no good; it was a sticky 7-Up wannabe. 

So it delights me to collect the 7-Up ads from my babyhood. There are a few others in the blog, back a-ways.

Well, this one is from before I was born…

 

In the mid-late 60s, 7-Up ads were always sort of alive, to me. They matched the product very well, I think. But I’d drink only the original version now, as I find the HFCS to be metallic on the tongue and phlegmy in the throat.

This stuff here was as crisp and sharp as the photo indicates, and clean on the throat.

It might not surprise you that I could never drink the soda out of a can or bottle (they were all glass then, children!) and insisted on a glass. There was a soda around briefly in the late 80s called Rondo that I could drink from the can, but it didn’t last long. When I was a teenager, I discovered Pellegrino, and then that was the only sparkling drink I enjoyed until I rediscovered Dr Pepper about 25 years ago. (Yes, I am that old.)

Anyway. Always a bit fussy, but only about certain things. :-)


Advertising Death Match: Cialis v. Viagra

You know those bluesy Viagra commercials, showing the guy he's still a righteous dude who now has the cash and confidence to indulge in all the stuff he used to think was cool from afar?

I am just of an age to find the men in those commercials very attractive. And for those very reasons, but also because they always choose fairly handsome men, of course.

Yeah, I wrote those lines a couple months ago, still thinking this over. The other day, I saw an ad in which a slightly scruffier-than-my-type was suddenly locking eyes with a woman while contemplating the fresh fruit aisle. I was intrigued for a second or two, then it wandered into Cialis AbstractLand, with a rain of oranges that ended in a grove somewhere, and there were more oranges, and I said to myself, "Well, at least they got rid of the freaking twin bathtubs-in-the-woods thing." But then at the end of the commercial, there they were, metaphoring sex by sitting in side-by-side porcelain containers. 

It wasn't nearly as groovy as watching a handsome man fill the radiator of his old sports car.

  

Who are they truly marketing to? The man who is embarrassed about needing these pills, or the women on the receiving end of the medical miracle? 

Because if it is the women (and it often is, even if you think it's a "man's product" only,) then I'm gonna say it. Cialis, you don't get women at all. There's a reason we're ("we're") attracted to Roger Sterling even though we know he's a bastard. And no, it isn't  "ooh, bad boy mystique." It's because we dig power, different kinds of power, you understand, not just money or a name on an office door. 

It's kind of a grrr thing. It's 2011, we know it would suck to actually be married to a man like that. But we'll gladly fantasize about him, anyway.

Actually, I think Cialis is advertising to wives, while Viagra is advertising to men on the loose, or men who like to think of themselves that way even if they aren't. You know. 

They're defining "romance" differently, is all. Men may not think of romance in as definitive terms as many women do, or the same terms, but we all crave it from time to time. Now, my idea of romance cannot be expressed by an image of people sitting side by side in matching bathtubs in the woods. And I truly don't grasp the oranges, unless you tell me it's French or Italian, and the movie is in black and white, with no sound except a flock of birds screaming in the distance…no, I mean, that isn't romantic to me. It isn't sexy. It's just goofy. 

I can't find that oranges ad online. And I highly suggest you not search for it unless you're made of stern stuff. But here's an equally stupid one. 

 

I'm just musing here. They're two different kinds of foreplay. In the Viagra ones, the music, the scenery, and the speech are intended to show nerves on edge. In the Cialis ones, it's the equivalent of a wife texting her husband and threateningteasing him by saying she's bought a new nightgown to wear tonight and it's see-through. You know, kinky. (Here is where you giggle.)

I dunno. It's like the difference between him looking into your eyes and saying "I haven't tasted enough and neither have you," or leaning in to whisper in your ear, "Did you go?" before nodding off to sleep. And I know which one I'd prefer. 


Let's take a chance and fly away somewhere...

My bedroom was at the southeast corner of our old house, and had three windows. I'd lie in my canopy bed and look out over the yard to the east and watch the moonlight travel over the trees, the streetlight illuminating moisture on the surface of the tar and gravel road; imagining the whole world catching on fire while I slept. 

That night I was lying on my bed fussing with the radio dial. I was 15 years old, and music was such an integral part of me, it infused most of my waking moments, as it does now, over 30 years later. But the radio stations were so unsatisfying. I'd been listening to the highly acclaimed R&B station for awhile, yet even that one had slipped into a banal coma of love ballads and conveyer belt dance hits. 

I didn't know it, but the college radio station just out of my tuning range was starting to play the kind of music that would become my favorite music all through the 80s and 90s. Only I didn't discover most of it until over 5 years later; that is, I knew it was out there, but I couldn't reach it. All I could reach were a few channels of the same old pop, rock, country, and sometimes when I remembered about it, classical music. 

My room was dark and quiet. I could hear all the usual sounds of living in other parts of the house, and see light under the bottom of my door, but it wasn't difficult to tune out. The album rock radio station came up in my dialing, and the deejay introduced "(Just Like) Starting Over," which I really liked, so I stopped to listen. But just as the song ended, he broke in, with obvious shock and anguish in his voice, to announce John Lennon had been shot. I don't remember what else he said, I'm pretty sure he didn't quite know what he was saying. And then he played "Woman," which I'd never heard before. It became my favorite song from that album.

The next day, John was everyone's favorite Beatle. Having a favorite Beatle was like having a favorite Doctor. Mine's the Tenth Doctor, except when it's the Fifth Doctor, but my Beatle was George. Only on December 9, John was everybody's Beatle, even all the girls who'd grown up loving Paul. Maybe it seemed shameless at the time, but it wasn't. We wanted him to have his comeback, and we'd seen him reaching for joy. A single gunshot snatched that away. 

A few months later, as I was walking between buildings during school, the principal announced President Reagan had been shot. For some reason, those two events are always connected in my mind, except of course, the president lived, and John Lennon didn't. 

I'm older now than he was then. This is incredible to me, as the Beatles were bigger than Jesus by the time I was old enough to have my hands smacked for putting the record "Help" on the turntable so I could bop around to it. I couldn't read yet, but I knew the records by their labels. 

Back in 1980, in my dark bedroom, I remember wondering how life would be different with only three Beatles. Was it different? It's hard to say now, looking back. I've walked through the little peace garden at Central Park, across from his apartment building. It's pretty, but really, you just stand there and try to wish something into tangibility that can never truly be. 


the nostalgic season

I like to think about how TV shows were initially produced just to sell advertising. Okay, that’s glossing over the story a bit, but in general, it’s so. Well, it began with radio, of course. Advertisers wanted to sell Lux soap flakes or whatever, so they’d put on a 15 minute show for you, and in the middle of it, the star of the show would glorify suds. 

I mean, in case you never really got it, that’s why Fred Flintstone told your parents which cigarettes to buy. Winston was paying for a very big chunk of the show.

This is from the Dec. 4, 1964 edition of LIFE magazine. Isn’t it fun to think of Donna Reed giving out sewing machines and transistor radios and phonographs for Christmas? They’d all be wrapped in the same exact shiny, shiny paper, with big beautiful bows attached at the gift wrap department, of course. 
Do you remember the gift wrap department? But I assure you, there was such a thing. You’d bring the things you bought from various departments at Macy’s or other stores up to this room near customer service and the bathrooms, and they’d wrap em all there for you. You could come back later for them if you wanted to. All year round. I mean, sure, you can still have your purchases wrapped at many stores. But it isn’t at all the same thing. 

There are still Singer stores, here and about. But they’re not the same thing at all these days, either. Nothing is. Maybe that’s why every time someone produces a “new” Christmas song it’s such a lame or tortured failure. 

When this song was written in 1950, sure, it was idealistic. However. It was rooted in a very different reality than the one we now share. 

And now, boys and girls, you know why old people act a little bitter sometimes.  But we should all understand that statement, “There is nothing new under the sun,” was written 3,000 years ago. :-)