077: J.S. Bach, ‘The Art of The Fugue’ (The Emerson Quartet, ‘Contrapunctus 9’)

Posted by jeff on Jun 8, 2016 in Classical, Song Of the week

My knowledge of classical music is patchier than an Iowa quilt. But my wife still harbors delusions that I’ll grow up some day, and in her mind listening to Bach is a more dignified and mature activity than listening to The Beach Boys. Well, a lot of people with highly-refined musical sensibilities don’t really understand Brian Wilson, but the opposite is the opposite, I believe. Anyone – even a corner-boy drug dealer from West Baltimore, who takes a moment to pause and listen to “The Art of the Fugue” by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) – must grasp that he is standing before a grandeur and beauty rare in the course of our ordinary lives. Like standing on the lip of the Grand Canyon. Like gazing at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Like hearing your grandchild say “I love you, Poppa.” Those moments in which we transcend the traffic-jam that is our life.

JS Bach, 1746

Bach wrote this work during the last decade of his life, parallel to the B-minor Mass, another momentous work. But if the Mass is an exploration of how God informs and transforms the human soul, “The Art of the Fugue” is a demonstration of the counterpoint between the sublime, infinite perfection of God’s laws of nature and the workings of the human mind.

Let’s start with a couple of terms, just to get us on the same page of the score.

Fugue – a composition built on a subject and one or more ‘imitations’ (variations), which recur in opposition to each other. A fugue usually has an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation returning to the subject in the tonic key.

Counterpoint – the interaction (literally ‘point against point’) of two or more voices that are independent in contour, rhythm and harmony.

The two usually go together. In other words, you have two or more independent lines interweaving, comprising a unified whole. There’s a whole world of theory underlying this, which I wouldn’t try to explain if I could. But it’s way, way beyond my Pooh-brain’s capacity. In “The Art of the Fugue”, Bach set out to explore the extreme limits of this form.

He begins with ‘simple’ fugues (believe me, that’s a technical term, not a lay description), which are actually two voices—a main theme and another completely independent line which plays against it. Then you get an inverted fugue, where Herr Bach turns the score upside down and continues playing it. But not necessarily in the same voice–he can move it up a third, or a fourth, or an eleventh, whatever he feels like on that fine Leipzig morning. That’s four lines intertwining, yes? But then he’s getting bored, so he combines the two, the original fugue together with its inversion, maybe taking one of the lines at half speed, one at double speed. And then, after a cup of coffee, he’ll write another ‘mirror’ line that can be played the same either forward or backwards.

And that just takes us halfway through the work, which comprises fourteen fugues and four canons. The structure of the pieces in the second half are so complex that even anal I can’t get through a single paragraph describing the workings under the hood.

“The governing idea of the work is an exploration in depth of the contrapuntal possibilities inherent in a single musical subject.” (Chrisoph Wolff). Each of the fugues uses this theme as its basis:

Here it is in a stripped-down harpsichord version, Contrapunctus 1.

“The Art of the Fugue” is unique in that it’s primarily a theoretical work. Bach didn’t even name it. His son-in-law attached the name “Die Kunst der Fuge” (BWV 1080). Bach didn’t even bother to orchestrate it – he failed to mention what instrument/s should play it, apparently because its performance was of secondary importance to him. Hence the many, many different settings in which it is played.

If you, like me in my weaker moments, think that various versions of a classical piece are inherently indistinguishable, try this exercise. Here are a number of versions of the same fugue. What will jump out and bite you is not only how greatly the orchestration impacts the piece, but how individual and discrete each one is from its colleagues.

For our Song of The Week, we’re presenting Contrapunctus 9, a 5, alla Duodecima. I have only the foggiest idea what that means, but it shor is pretty. We’ll start with my very favorite, the version I listen to most often, my default music for soothing my soul:

The Emerson Quartet

David Finckel, cellist of the Emerson Quartet: “I don’t know if there’s scientific evidence to support it, but when I listen to this music I feel my brain cells being realigned. The fugues are so complex yet so perfectly ordered, so respectful of the laws of physics that govern music and make it a universal language. Just hearing Bach’s work, even without much concentration, is like having my musical windows cleaned–all other music around me becomes clearer and more understandable.”

Bach didn’t quite finish “The Art of the Fugue”. While he was writing apparently the final fugue, based on the notes B-A-C-H (B natural), the score peters out. Bach’s son says he died while writing it. Here’s what the original looks like. Here’s what it sounds like, in Glenn Gould’s rendition:

Contrapunctus XIV (Fuga a 3 Soggetti) unfinished]

I confess–for me, listening to Bach isn’t so different from prayier. They are both human attempts to impose an artificial order upon an inherently chaotic world.  They’re both beautiful; and, thank God, they both make a lot of sense.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

005: Glenn Gould, Toccata in Cm (J.S. Bach)

012: Arvo Pärt, ‘Cantate Domino’

073: Erik Satie, ‘Gymnopédie No. 1′

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239: Ben Howard, ‘Keep Your Head Up’

Posted by jeff on Jun 3, 2016 in Rock, Song Of the week

Ben Howard, ‘Keep Your Head Up’

Ben Howard, ‘Only Love’

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 20: Portrait of English singer-songwriter Ben Howard, taken on March 20, 2013. (Photo by Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine via Getty Images)

(Photo by Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine via Getty Images)

If you’re not a Baby Boomer, read this paragraph (but not the next one) –

Oh, you Millenials are such a cool generation. You have all this cool music. And attitude. And snarkiness. You’ve transcended meaning, caring and commitment. You’ve achieved utter apathy. Let’s go shoot shots.

If you’re a Baby Boomer, read this paragraph (but not the previous one) –

You and I know that we were blessed to achieve consciousness during the ‘60s and ‘70s. We patiently lived through people younger than us (that’s almost everyone now) waving Bic lighters for U2, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Brittney Spears, Taylor Swift and Eminem. We’d sneak a look at each other and roll our eyes heavenwards.

Today we’re content to sit in our rockers on the front porch, corncob pipe in our mouths, watching the sun set and replaying in our minds The Beatles, Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson.

We know on which side of the millennium our bread was buttered.

But there’s hope

My 16-year old granddaughter, on whom the sun rises and sets, recently told me that she spent an hour cleaning up her room (dayenu – miraculous enough in itself). She did it listening to a record tape cassette CD DoK YouTube Spotify link some music I gave her of James Taylor.

My buddy Becca’s son makes electronica inspired by The Mamas and The Papas. My friend Mel teaches college courses on 60s rock. Ben Howard listens to John Martyn.

Ben Howard, ‘Old Pine’:

Who is this kid?

Ben (b. 1987) grew up in the county of Devon, the southwestern tip of England, the surfing capitol of the UK (seriously) – listening to his mother’s record collection (she would read the second paragraph above), his musical landscape formed by the seminal artists mentioned there, as well as soulful acoustic singer-songwriters such as Van Morrison, Nick Drake, Richie Havens, Donovan, Al Stewart, and especially John Martyn.

ben_howard_latitude_festival_201101_website_image_gallery_standardNow you’re talking.
Remember John?  Intense, evocative, poetic, drunk, pounding the acoustic guitar, shouting his passion and his pain?

Well, this youngster Ben picked right up where John left off. Kind of.

British Surf Soul

Ben spent his youth making up songs on a bunch of different instruments and surfing. Eventually he studied journalism, getting credit for working on a surf magazine (snicker). But in between studying/writing (snicker again) and catching waves, he’d sit on the beach and develop his intense, charismatic acoustic style, with lots of alternate tuning and percussive slapping and knocking, even holding the guitar in his lap. Hats off to Mr Martyn.

It got so the fellow surfers urged him to stay on land and keep playing. Which turned into local gigs in the scene. Which grew into a cult following. Which turned into headlining gigs throughout Europe, a recording deal with a major company and a US tour. He’s recorded two hit LPs, a handful of EPs, lots of prizes and performances. A superstar, in Indie terms.

Ben Howard makes music

His music is DIY incarnate – Ben on percussive acoustic guitar and vocals, a girl supplying cello, keyboards, ukulele, bass and vocals and percussion; a guy playing guitars, bass, double bass, drums, percussion, keyboards and accordion, another on drums.

The songs are aimed at the heart and the gut – mantric, rhythmic, heartfelt, passionate, at their best even inspiring and uplifting. Think “Astral Weeks”, think Richie Havens. Think John Martyn.

The boy’s got a voice, in both senses— a straining, expressive baritone; and a unique, distinct personality and sound.

There’s nothing life-changing, but life can’t always be life-changing. Sometimes even I want to give my brain a rest. That doesn’t necessarily mean stupid. It can also mean music, going back to the basics of pure abstract affectiveness (a newly favorite work of mine). Arousing emotions, moods, even unspecified thoughts without weighing them down in denotative correlatives. Direct, unadulterated, unfettered feeling.

ben-howard-burgh-islandThink Elton John. Does anyone begrudge him not being a life-changer? He makes intelligent, effective music, what Shakespeare called the “moody food/Of us that trade in love.” Moody food. Good one, Will.

Ok, Ben Howard isn’t into breaking barriers. He’s into making music. A lot of barrierbreakers could use a refresher course in the cardinal rule of the implicit musician-listener contract: to affect us, to arouse emotion, to speak to us, to converse with us.

Some of my best friends (and favorite artists these days) are Millenials. Maybe as a generation they don’t give a hoot about anything, but somehow they have enough of the milk of human passion to produce some fine young artists. Ones who just happen to have been suckled to the soundtrack of Mom’s old vinyls. Jacob Collier stands on Brian Wilson‘s shoulders, Justin Vernon covers Bonnie Raitt. Chefs of ‘moody food’. Now there’s a fine young man, that Ben Howard.


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065: Ella Fitzgerald, ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’

Posted by jeff on May 25, 2016 in Jazz, Personal, Song Of the week, Vocalists

This week’s Song of The Week is about beatniks, high school nostalgia, and the convoluted paths we take to visit our past. Oh, yeah, and about a terrific if somewhat obscure jazz standard. If that sounds oxymoronic, it’s because the unique charm of jazz lies in the fact that a song can be both obscure and yet a standard. But we’ll get to that.

Ella Fitzgerald, ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’

The best part of my youth was spending junior and senior years in Ensemble, a select 36-voice group, top of the heap of the half-dozen choirs at Woodward HS in Grover’s Corner, Midwest. I’ve been singing ever since, and still attribute my basic good habits to the training from those years, third period, right before lunch, five days a week, not counting summer rehearsals. Heaven only knows how the level of the group was so high at a regular public high school. I remember distinctly being no higher than the middle of the pecking order of the eight basses in terms of vocal abilities (range, quality, reading, memory). Don Howells was the best. He sang ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ with more resonance, depth, and soul than Bill Medley. Don was a pretty nice guy, even if he wasn’t stellar academically, and I hope his significant vocal abilities stood him in good stead wherever he wound up. My guess would be either pumping gas or in a correctional institution. But, my, that boy could sing.

I’m talking about Ensemble because I think it was really fine musically. If this were nothing but a self-indulgent nostalgia trip, I’d be talking about that legendary garage band The Dropouts, and their groundbreaking performance of Van Morrison’s ‘Gloria’, which introduced electric music to my high school’s halls.

Anyway, in my memory, Ensemble was the finest amateur group I’ve ever sung in, and there have been many. But one wonders about the veracity of one’s memories, especially concerning the romantic days of one’s youth, right? So thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the luxury time on the hands of lots of bored baby-boomers, I was able to listen to Ensemble singing the standard ‘The Second Time Around’.

I’ll be the first to admit, it sounds pretty unspecial. It sounds VERY unspecial. Is my memory that askew? Well, it just so happens that in recent years I’ve had some degree of contact with four members of the group– Marc, Mark, Aaron, and Kathie. And it turns out that four of the five of us have been seriously involved with singing over the course of our lives, three professionally. They all corroborate my memory. It was an excellent, stringent training ground for precise, high-level choral singing.

Our director was named Frank Lang. He was a bachelor, a mamma’s boy according to rumor. Probably in his mid-30s when he taught us. He was petulant but professional. A good-humored guy, but he worked intensively with us for so long that there were plenty of conflicts along the way. I’m not idealizing that. We didn’t idolize Mr Lang. My memory tells me that even then, as obnoxious high-schoolers, we respected his professional talents. I was a particularly obnoxious teenager, universally disliked by my teachers. A pain in the neck, a wiseass with a big mouth, a chronic disrupter of classroom decorum. Except for Ensemble. At the bell, I’d be sitting in my chair. Actually, at the edge of my chair. That’s what Drill Sergeant Lang forced into our hormone-choked brains. When you sing, your back is straight, your butt is at the edge of your chair, and your body is fully engaged to support your voice production. Even today, no matter how tired, no matter how bored, that’s how I sit in rehearsal.

All five of us remember a lot of the repertoire. We could sing a lot of the songs today. We all would be happy to have the opportunity, which of course we won’t. But there’s one particular arrangement that Mr Lang brought us that I’ve had a dynamic relationship with for these 44 years since I last saw him. I remember the score, written in his hand. It was his arrangement of a difficult, beautiful, challenging jazz song, ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’.

The lyrics of the song were written by Fran Landesman in 1952, who with her husband Jay and pianist buddy Tommy Wolf, wrote a beatnik musical (sic), “The Nervous Set”, poster by Jules Feiffer, which actually made it to Broadway. Here’s a fascinating clip describing Fran as an impresario and hostess of no small renown, a central figure in the bohemian scene of the late 50s/early 60s in St Louis (where she was central in promoting the nascent careers of Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand, among many others), later in London. According to friends, Fran was inspired to write ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’ by TS Eliot’s poem, ‘The Wasteland’. (I wrote my master’s thesis on TS Eliot. In retrospect, I wish I’d written it on Fran Landesman.)

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.


I sure wish I could talk a bit about the beatnik scene of the 1950s, but another time. Perhaps I’ll take that opportunity when I talk about the companion piece from the same musical, another obscure standard, ‘Ballad of the Sad Young Men’, a very, very beautiful song itself.

Ms Landesman wrote more versions of lyrics for this song than Dylan did for his masterpieces of the mid-1970s. At the end of the post you can see the version I know best, the lyrics Mr Lang incorporated into his choral arrangement for Ensemble.

I don’t know what version of the song inspired Mr Lang. All the 1950s cool chick singers recorded it – June Christy, Chris Conner, Blossom Dearie, Julie London, Helen Merrill, Irene Kral – as well as many non-cool ones (Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan). Although the song has never really penetrated the wider audience’s consciousness, in recent years both diva vamps (Jane Monheit, Holly Cole) and rock/pop singers (Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler) have had their go at it, a credit to the song’s staying power (as one critic said, the song “grows every year”). Barbra Streisand sang it at the very beginning of her career (1962) and again towards the end (2009), a distant parallel to Glenn Gould’s ‘Goldberg Variations’.  One of my very favorites versions is that by Norwegian Radka Toneff (who is always wonderful, with her glacial purity), to whom I paid tribute at some length in SoTW 033. The song has also been given innumerable instrumental treatments over the years.

As I’ve mentioned, ‘SCRHYUTM’ (sounds suspiciously like…) is an inordinately challenging song technically. Despite the catchy hook of the title (with the roller-coaster stomach-in-your-throat plunge on ‘hang you up’, the melody is slithery, slippery, abstract, bordering on unsingable. From experience, let me tell you that this isn’t one that you want to try to perform unaccompanied. I’ve been listening to the many attempts, and have heard some very fine singers struggle with the song. So why do so many keep trying their hand at it? Because it’s so enticing and elusive and seductive, because it’s so precise and affective in its evocation of the spring blues. April can indeed be the cruelest month.

Interestingly, very few men have sung the song, although there’s nothing gender-specific about it.

So which version are we going to go for with our Song of The Week? I wish it could have been Ensemble’s but that one’s gone. It could easily have been Radke’s, or either of Barbra’s. But we’ll go with the best-known version of a too-little-known song, that of Ella Fitzgerald’s from the album “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!” (1961). We’ve been carrying on far to long to give fair space to the impeccable, inimitable Ms Fitzgerald. Let’s just say that she more than anyone has the technical skill to deliver the song effortlessly, focusing purely and sweetly-sadly on the oh-so-melancholy music itself.

I don’t know what musical path led Mr Lang to ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’. I don’t know what his tastes were. But my guess is that this is what he really loved, and that we performed ‘The Second Time Around’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ a lot more for obvious reasons. I remember his arrangement of ‘SCRHYUTM’, albeit sketchily, because it was (and still is) a very difficult song. I would give an awful lot to hear his version today.

Choral jazz is a sub-sub-sub-genre I’ve gotten very interested in in recent years, especially as it’s being taken to new levels in Scandinavia today. I won’t call myself an expert, but I probably have exposed myself to more of it than most of my neighbors. And I believe very firmly that Mr Lang’s arrangement was half a century ahead of its time. Probably more, because the field still hasn’t gotten there. I thought it was intriguing when I encountered it at 17. Today, in retro-retrospect, it looks all that much more brilliant.

And I sure wish I could tell him how much it’s been a part of my musical soul after all these years. I’m guessing it would give him some satisfaction, to know that he planted some musical seeds inside those pimpled skulls, seeds that actually took root. I was 20 years younger than the Frank Lang in the picture, and I’m 20 years older than that man now. A few years ago one of my old high-school friends sent me Mr Lang’s obituary from the Grover’s Corner News. I’m not going to have the chance to thank him face-to-face. So I’ll do it here, second best but still somewhat gratifying. Thanks, Mr Lang.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

SoTW 033: Radke Toneff, ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’

SoTW 057: Anita O’Day, ‘Tea for Two’

SoTW 045: Julie London, ‘Bye Bye, Blackbird’

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238: Marvin Gaye, ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’

Posted by jeff on May 20, 2016 in Rock, Song Of the week


Hah! I fooled you!!
I dangled this Grammy Hall of Fame song in front of you and you bit. Sucker!

This week we’re not going to occupy half your day jabbering on about what color socks the tambourine player was wearing. This time we’re going to foist upon you our very own cockamamie theory about how baby-boomers cum yuppies get manipulated by media suits to falsely believe that they still have friends.

But, okay, you paid your admission, so here goes: the shortest treatment of a SoTW ever.

marvin-gayeHistory: ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ was written by Barrett ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ Strong and Norman Whitfield, first hit for the team (‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’, ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’) that fathered Motown’s psychedelic soul; recorded (in order) by:

and released (in order) by:

  • Ms Pips (September 1967, #2)
  • Mr Gaye (October, 1968, #1)
  • Messrs Miracles only in 1998.


Appraisal: It’s a pretty fine song, with appropriate Motownic infectious melodic hooks, a memorable verbal cue, a great vocal, and one frigging incredible Motown production, with strings supplied by the Detroit Symphony. The metaphor of spreading rumors by word of mouth as a human grapevine is attributed to the mode of communication employed by black slaves in America. In the song, the narrator discovers through the grapevine that he’s being cheated upon.

Legacy: The longest running Motown #1 (7 weeks), it’s been covered innumerable times, including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Roger Troutman (R&B #1), and Tina Turner (highly recommended, just have a bucket of ice water ready); and in two famous commercials, Levi’s 501 Laundrette commercial with Nick Kamen (1985) and California Raisins (1988).



But what we really want to talk about today is Lawrence Kasdan’s brilliant extradiegetic (I also had to look it up) use of Marvin’s ‘Grapevine’ for the opening sequence of “The Big Chill” (1983), showing each of the main characters learning (through the ‘grapevine’) about the death of their college friend and reunioning at his funeral – sans dialog. Put me on hold for four minutes. It’s a fine piece of cinematic exposition.

What was so resonant about “The Big Chill”? It portrays a group of baby-boomer college buddies, 15-20 years after graduation, mired in their various adultish lives – wishing they had a partner, wishing they didn’t, or just bored flaccid. We all left our hearts in college, didn’t we? When every day was an adventure, when we were all handsome and hot and sexy and adventurous and witty and optimistic. And now in our 40s, we’re just plain numbed and on a fast track to old age. Who doesn’t identify?

imagesWilliam Hurt (b. 1950), angrily: “It was easy back then, no one had a cushier birth than we did, it’s not surprising our friendship could survive that.”

Glenn Close (b. 1947), tearfully: “I feel like I was at my best when I was with you people.”

Jeff Goldblum (b. 1950): “It’s about everything, suicide, despair, where did our hope go?— ‘Lost Hope’, that’s it, ‘Lost Hope’.”

In 1983, writer-director Lawrence Kasden (b. 1949) killed (and then cutting-room floored) poor Kevin Costner in order to bring the old college gang together to seek some solace in each other’s company, a wake of a homecoming weekend. In reality, we were mired in our jobs and diapers and car insurance. But at night, we could potato up on the couch and in our minds bop to ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ in the kitchen with our ex-besties.
For at least one weekend, we’re back in college.

dbf0e17e60d747a36bfb35288120997aIn 1984, Madison Avenue sensed the appeal of a row of very handsome young adults (sometimes peppered with cute kids) all standing in a row looking cool and relaxed, a rainbow of individuals, shades in a collective spectrum. The buddyhood meme has arrived.
Want to belong? Want lots of cool friends? Just buy our product.

In 1987, the very talented and sincere team of Marshall Herskovitz (b. 1952) and Edward Zwick (b. 1952) refined the formula. What if the gang got togeThirtysomething_at_25__where_are_the_cast_now_ther not for one weekend, not to sell sweaters, but for a 4-season run? So they created ‘thirtysomething‘, a gang of seven, replete with jobs and kids and singledom and endless naval-contemplating yuppie angst cohered not by mortem ex machina, but by personal individual commitment to the septangle itself.
What if we could live our real lives, but with friends?

SEINFELD -- Season 6 -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld (Photo by George Lange/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

In 1989, Jerry Seinfeld (b. 1954) and Larry David (b. 1947) figured out that Real Life was an obstacle to humor, so they jauntily dispensed of it. Re-enter post-adolescent group nihilism.  We don’t have jobs, we don’t even have exams, but we sure do have friends.
Buddy-hood sans reality. So much easier that way.

FRIENDS -- Season 4 -- Pictured: (back l-r) Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, (front l-r) Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay -- Photo by: Gerald Weinman/NBCU Photo Bank

Then in 1994, three young suits (b. 1953, 1954, 1957) married 30something-ish Life Lite with Seinfeld vacuity in a 22-minute sitcom package, complete with laugh track. Six Peter Pans subsisting on coffee and sex. Jump back into the fountain of youth (arrested development) with us, right after this word from our sponsor.
Getting older without growing up – what more could an aging baby-boomer ask for?

Just to get the record straight—IMHO (in my haughty opinion):

  • “The Big Chill” is a pretty good Hollywood movie that struck a very timely chord.
  • “thirtysomething” is one of the finest and rarest of TV dramas ever (flanked by its teensomething ‘My So-Called Life’ and fortysomething ‘Once & Again’). Why rare? It made me both think and feel.
  • “Seinfeld” is an exercise in vacuity foreign to me. I was at Woodstock. I lived through Kent State. Can’t watch it.
  • “Friends” was to “thirtysomething” as “The Monkees” was to The Beatles.
  • I don’t buy brand clothing. Haven’t since the 9th

Not that I’m so grown-up. I’m willing to pitch my immaturity against anyone’s. Just ask my wife. I find regular attendance at the house of worship of my choice a venue preferable to Central Perk or even Michael and Hope’s living room for nurturing buddy-ship. I really do meet real friends there, in real life, on a weekly basis (same time, same station).

I’m a social animal, compulsively gregarious, a snob who watches as much TV as I did when I was chronologically still a Jung ‘un. I won’t grow up! I don’t have to!! Know how I know? I heard it through the grapevine.


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