Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book 'em, Danno!

I simply must post something on this, the very last day of 2009.

I know that I have not really been very good at posting this year.

And that Epsilon has stepped in to liven things up with her… uh… interesting and unique take on things.

And her obsession with that tunnel that (supposedly) goes under the river.

So, thank you, Epsilon!

* * * * *

Blue moons, me thinks, must cause people to want to clean!

Even more so than typical end of the year-ness.

I have been going through tons of paperwork, organizing, shredding, filling up huge black Hefty bags with… detritus.

And it feels so damned good!


I have too many books for my room (and my home) – alas!

Which is causing me great angst… and gastrointestinal distress.

I love my books.

I love books.

I cannot live without books!

But I think I need to live without… quite so many books.

Me thinks… sigh… my collection needs a good…gasp!... weeding.

Or a small weeding.

Or a wee weeding.

Or a WEEding.

Yes, I could box up books and stash them in the already burgeoning attic.

But I don’t want to do that.

We don’t have a basement. In an old house built on a slab of stone on the side of a hill.(Thank God, really! Or else I am sure we would be dealing with leakage and flooding and mold and mildew and alligators and crocodiles and whatnot.)


I think it is probably true: I have accumulated some books (maybe one or two or a few) I don’t really, truly care to keep… forever.

When we used to move every year or so, I was much better at going through belongings and books.

And when we set up shop in our new locales – wherever that might be, certain books went in certain places.

It was always reassuring and made the new place feel more like home. All I had to do was put my old friends back on the shelves where they belonged and reigned, and voila!

When I moved here, I had less room.

And thoughtfully, purposefully arranged my most precious books in a certain way.

That had some deep-seated meaning at the time.

Right now, there are four large bookcases in my bedroom.

All four are overflowing.

I have moved some books to other rooms, but most of the other rooms of the house are already full of books.

(The curse of being in a family that loves books!)

Although I use libraries religiously, I also acquire books through purchase, gift, at used book sales, from friends, etc.

I love reading, yes!

But I love books.

The objects.

As objets d’art.

The tangible book. Yes. But also the idea of the book. Or behind the book.

Each book tells a story about its owner.

Thus a whole shelf of books tells even more. A whole room, even more. And a whole houseful, well…….

So, imagine my shock and dismay when I enter a home that has… no books!

Sacre bleu!

Say it isn’t so!?!

I cannot even imagine it, really.

Yet, I have seen it.

As God is my witness, I have been in homes that have… no books.

But I digress. My problem is too many books. Although I do not think there is really any such thing as “too many” books.

When you get down to it, the problem is not too many books, but too little room.

And the room is not getting any bigger any time soon. So, the number of books needs to get whittled down a bit.

Something that I will think about tomorrow.

For, afterall, as we all know…tomorrow is another day!

Right now, however, I hear a bubble bath calling my name. A bubble bath wherein I will hide and read … a book.

And welcome in the new year.

Happy New Year! Happy 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

I can’t stop singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Two members of the high school chorus did a cute duet the other night as part of the high school holiday band/chorus concert, and ever since then I keep hearing the song wherever I go.

In my head, out loud, on the radio, in Starbucks. Just about everywhere.

Of course, it really is cold outside right now, so maybe that has prompted the sudden popularity. There was even a post about the song and different versions of it on Monkey See, NPR’s pop-culture blog.

Whenever I hear the song, though, I always think of the 1949 movie Neptune’s Daughter, where – I kid you not! – Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams sing the duet in the traditional version, where the woman feels she should leave and the man wants her to stay. [I am not sure why, but I can no longer find a video version of this online to share with you, but it is priceless!] Later in the same film, Red Skelton and Betty Garrett sing a reprise, but this time with the roles reversed. You can see this version online, but it’s just not the same as when Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams sing it.

The song, by Frank Loesser, went on to win an Academy Award for Most Original Song. The irony of it all is that Neptune’s Daughter had nothing to do with Christmas – or it being cold outside. It was set in Florida, where Esther Williams is a swim suit designer and there are synchronized swimming musical numbers mixed in with the movie’s other song and dance routines. Ricardo Montalban is a playboy captain of a South American polo team! Williams falls (reluctantly) in love with Montalban, and I guess he sings the song to her so she won’t leave but will stay and... look at his etchings. Or something.

You can see a trailer for the film online, and it does include a clip from Montalban and Williams’s version of the song.

[More info and a complete synopsis of the film are available on Turner Classic Movie’s website.]

I think most recently the song has regained a bit of popularity because of the version in the movie Elf where Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell sing it . In fact, at the high school concert, I commented that the song always reminded me of the Ricardo Montalban movie, and the mom sitting next to me said, “Really? It always reminds me of Elf.”

Sure, Elf is cute, but how can you beat synchronized swimming bathing beauties, Latin music bands and dancers, polo, comedy, and Ricardo Montalban?

I mean, really now?