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Tonight was the "lead" debut of a singer who, despite her veneer of delicate beauty, is a go-getter. That's how she got the gig, persistence. Backed by a very good combo of local performers who were right on target, her performance started out with her projecting the voice of a frightened little girl and grew, with time, into the fine vocal pyrotechnics of an assertive (and talented) young woman.

A student of scat-master Giacomo Gates, Mary Ellen Lonergan has a long way to go. In fact, I don't think she should've debuted so early. But that was up to student and teacher. Thank God that she didn't make the mistake that a lot of new singers make, recording an album.

There's another singer who'll go nameless but who selected a superb set of songs to lay down on album, but left me empty and unfulfilled. This singer's been around the block a few times, and should've known that the studio environment wouldn't suit her. She thrives on the vibe of an audience's appreciation. I'll give you one hint: the title of her album is a rarely-performed song that Sinatra did very, very well: "How Little We Know."
 

How Little We Know

Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer wrote this great song for a movie. Sadly, I can't remember the name of the movie; it was about a girl, a guy, and a maniacal scientist but despite my best tries on web and at library I can't find the disc that attributes Sinatra's singing of the song to the movie.

You can find the download of "How Little We Know" peddled by a variety of vendors of music on the web. I prefer the Sinatra version, although Carmen McRae does it justice. Don't make a mistake and download the Vivian Leigh version, though; you might be disappointed. That song was recorded far fewer times than the Carmichael version.

I'd be showing favoritism to Ms. Lonergan if I didn't mention that the singer whose debut album is How Little We Know is Karen Frisk. Frisk is the toast of P-Town in the summers. She would do well to record live, despite the noise factor, in a place she feels at home in.

 

Last year, a friend of mine remarked that we all choose our undergraduate majors based on what we feel we are most deficient in. To wit, psychology majors are insane, religious studies majors run the local Atheist Student Alliance, math majors can't balance their checkbooks and anthropology majors are all misanthropes. But since then, I have come to realize something: scratch a cynic, and you find a disappointed idealist underneath. Scratch a misanthrope, and you find a quivering coward hiding beneath his skin.

It's easy to look away and dismiss this ethnic conflict as another example of people being club-wielding territorial primates, this creep at the bar just another beta male trying to nose his way in, this evening news report on another corporate scandal as yet another example of the bourgeoisie exploiting the proletariat. It's easy to look away. It's easy to get bogged down by 'compassion fatigue' and give up on compassion altogether.

This is one of the biggest reasons why relatively few anthropology undergrads ever become actual honest-to-god anthropologists — it takes a special kind of crazy to leave the comforts of home and go hang out with the homeless in the bad part of town, or talk to refugees being warehoused at the local center, or identify decomposed bodies in the latest routine atrocity. It's easy to sigh and give up. Devote yourself entirely to theory and the Ivory Tower. Get a real job answering phones in a call center somewhere, or conducting harmless market research, well away from any ethical quandaries. It's way too easy.

Misanthropy asphyxiates the soul. A life lived only for yourself is no life at all. Jean-Paul Sartre, you were wrong; Hell is not other people. Hell is being stuck in a room forever with only yourself to keep you company. Hell is allowing life's boundaries to shrinkwrap your soul, hermetically seal it against the tragedies and joys of life, keep the detritus and debris of other people's problems out of your own muddied inner morass. Hell is a letting it all be somebody else's problem. Hell is diffusion of responsibility. Hell is relentless intellectualism and rationalization. Hell is what you make of it.

So dare to give a shit.

Quoth Shaogo:

Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer wrote this great song for a movie. Sadly, I can't remember the name of the movie; it was about a girl, a guy, and a maniacal scientist but despite my best tries on web and at library I can't find the disc that attributes Sinatra's singing of the song to the movie.
You can find the download of "How Little We Know" peddled by a variety of vendors of music on the web. I prefer the Sinatra version, although Carmen McRae does it justice. Don't make a mistake and download the Vivian Leigh version, though; you might be disappointed. That song was recorded far fewer times than the Carmichael version.

There are two songs commonly known by the name How Little We Know. One, as shaogo mentioned, was written by Hoagy Carmichael. Its first movie appearance was in 1944 in To Have and Have Not and was sung by Lauren Bacall - this is the movie that featured Bacall's now-famous line,

"You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

This is not, however, the song that Shaogo is thinking of - it was never recorded by Sinatra and never, so far as I can tell, appeared in a movie like the one he remembers.

There's another song, though, a song titled (How Little it Matters) How Little We Know written not by Carmichael but by Carolyn Leigh and Philip Springer - for reference, Leigh wrote lyrics for some of the songs in the Peter Pan musical, and Philip Springer wrote "Santa Baby". THIS is the song that Sinatra recorded and released as a single in 1956, though so far as I can tell it never appeared in a movie, or if it did I can't figure out when or where.

There is supposedly a text floating around library systems specifically about these two songs, a text I can't get my hands on because 25 bucks for 8 pages is a bit outrageous.

I'm gonna keep digging.


(after some more digging, I've found):

How Little We Know, (How Little It Matters)
m-Philip Springer, w-Carolyn Leigh
Pop Song: Frank Sinatra (1956)
  04/05/56         Arr: Nelson Riddle
    Capitol, Studio
       CD: Complete Capital Singles
  04/30/63         Arr: Nelson Riddle
    Reprise, Studio
       CD: Sinatra's Sinatra

Running To Stand Still

It seems like so much has happened since I daylogged last, but most of it is not anything that would matter to anyone else, or even make interesting reading. I apologize in advance for that; but I want to keep a record of all these days. When I've read back through my E2 back catalogue, the writing that has been most precious to me has been that which I valued least at the time - the daylogs. Moments that I'd forgotten, feelings that I don't have any more, strange tidbits of information that would have been swallowed up in time.

Oh Baby Baby

Joshua is 6 weeks old, and he's still getting bigger and stronger. He weighs almost 10 pounds, and when he wriggles in your arms you can feel the power in his muscles growing. He especially likes wriggling at 6 in the morning when he wakes up for food and a nappy change - when I take him out of his basket he squirms and grunts with his eyes still closed, and his arms wave around and his face turns red, and if he doesn't get food in the next 5 minutes or so there will be tears. He can reach out and grab things now - it's not an exact science, but if he manages to make his hand encounter something, he'll grasp it, and then he can hang on to it for quite a while.

He's started smiling. It's the happiest and most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

I know it's too early for him to be talking, but it really sounds like he's trying. I had him sat on my lap facing me the other evening, his back leaning against my legs which were propped up on the table. We were watching The Lord Of The Rings for what must be the 10th time, but I was really watching him. For about two hours we had a conversation where I spoke softly to him and he replied with little coos and echoes in such a sweet clear voice. He held my gaze for most of an hour, apparently as fascinated by me as I am by him. Eventually he remembered that he is not an angel but a baby, and he got upset and hungry, and we had to settle him down. Sometimes he wants his mummy, sometimes his daddy. Sometimes he doesn't care who it is as long as they feed him or change him. It's a trial and error process.

Some days he's not so angelic. Yesterday he cried for most of the evening after I got home. The whole time from 7pm until midnight was spent with him being upset about one or another thing, loudly, in between short spells of sleep, and this carried on this morning. He went to the doctor yesterday and there's nothing wrong with him; sometimes he is just like this. Maybe it's the cycles of the moon, maybe he has more wind some days, or maybe sometimes the sheer unbearable isness of being frightens him. Who knows. But those times are trying. When he finally settles down, Jo and I have no energy or will to do anything together as a couple. We only want to sleep, or watch TV, and be quiet. We're giving each other a lot of support, and trusting that the difficulty of this time is a temporary thing, and that at some point we will return to some kind of life as a couple (who happen to have a child). It's just that when he cries — you can't do anything else. You can't ignore it and you can't rise above it. It affects you emotionally. It's as if your child's voice is wired into your bones.

Whistle While You Work

I named this daylog Running To Stand Still because of a discovery (or admission) I've made in the past few days. I have obsessive compulsive disorder. Now that I've admitted it, I can see that I've actually had it for a long, long time — possibly as long as I can remember, but I've ignored it or pretended it wasn't really what it appeared to be. The funny thing is, I was actually married to an OCD sufferer for 5 years, and although both of us joked about the fact that I also displayed many of the symptoms, neither of us ever really took it seriously. However, since Joshua was born, it's become impossible to ignore. Any obsessions and compulsions I had before have gone off the scale, and I've developed new ones. I'm reading a book on it, and they specifically say that many people develop OCD, or realize they have it, after the birth of a child — the reason being that OCD is an anxiety disorder, and the huge increase of anxiety and responsibility that comes along a new baby either triggers it or worsens it to the point where it becomes severe or incapacitating.

I won't go too far into the symptoms here, as I plan to write at more length about it later, as a kind of exercise in understanding it, but basically there are certain things I obsess on (e.g. fear of harm coming to loved-ones, either from myself or from accidents, obsession with death and what happens after we die and similar unanswerable questions, fear that either I will go insane or that I am already insane without realizing it) and in order to relieve the anxiety that these thoughts cause me I've developed certain compulsions (mostly compulsive game-playing, but also speech rituals, repeating nonsense words to myself, compulsive movements, whistling, etc). When I had lots of free time, all this stuff went fairly unnoticed because I just thought that was how I am and I never questioned it too much. But now that I'm so busy and required to function most of the time, the compulsions have actually started to interfere with my everyday life and are resulting in my not functioning properly — and I can't or don't want to stop them. Some of the recent compulsions, like the whistling, started in the hospital when Joshua was ill and in the intensive care unit, and Jo was exhausted and frantic, and I had to hold it together and talk to the doctors and talk to everyone in both our familes and just generally not be fucked up.

Anyway, that's all I want to write about that for now. It's a big thing on my mind and I will be looking for ways to deal with it, but I don't want it to become some kind of meta-obsession! It's worth noting that my girlfriend, my ex-wife, and my best friend all have OCD in some form, and that it runs throughout both my family and my girlfriend's. You'd think it would have occurred to me before, and in fact it did, but I didn't want to admit it.

Futuresexy Countryside

This is turning into an epic daylog, so I'll finish up by saying that basically we are very happy at the moment. We're looking forward to moving house, and I'm really looking forward to leaving my current ass-boring job. I have the prospect of some web work that I can do from home when we get to England, and it will be a relief when we're closer to Jo's family and have some backup for looking after Joshua when we're going nuts and have to get out of the house. It will be good to be out of the city, which acts as a force multiplier for my obsessions due to its proliferation of daily rituals and sounds and its endless visual repetitions of the same patterns of windows, walls and roads. It will be good to have a complete change of scene, and to be able to bring Joshua on walks around the Yorkshire countryside. I get so excited about showing him new things and I can't wait until he can talk about them. I want him to have happy parents. There was nothing wrong with my own childhood except that for a lot of it, I didn't have happy parents, and I don't want to make the mistake my parents made, of sticking with a lifestyle that was making them miserable, just because it was what was expected.

American corporations have a long record of addiction to tax payer money to finance the risky business of building private fortunes for their owners. Whether that be through the tax payer funded Research and Development of the high technology industry through the Pentagon, or the public funds shoveled into the lengthy process of developing medication – which drug companies then sell back to us at outrageous prices – the American corporate sector has found reason after reason to get tax payers to finance the creation of their empires.

Today, with the Almighty Stock Market trembling at the feet of the rocked Holy Financial Industry, the tax payers are being asked again to pull their pockets inside out and let all the contents drop into the barrel of a new form of corporate subsidy. The Bush Administration has proposed a a scheme to rescue these troubled financial, banking and insurance firms from their own self destructive ways. The plan will cost the American tax payers around $700 billion (plus the $600 billion already spent to bail out other financial firms) to buy up all the rotten loans and mortgages doled out over the last 10 years since the relaxation of lending regulations that made these once illegal lending practices the status quo – all in the name of Laissez Faire Capitalism.

Of course, that laissez faire rhetoric is just that: rhetoric. If we existed in a real laissez faire society, like these corporate CEOs and owners claim they want, then these companies would have coming to them what they deserve. Make insanely risky loan after insanely risky loan in the hopes of making loads and loads of cash real quick? When it comes crumbling down, that would be on your head – just as it would be for every average citizen out their if they did the same. But see, we don't operate in a laissez faire capitalism economy, we operate in a state capitalism economy. Therefore, when it comes tumbling down, there are no lessons to be learned, there are – instead – tax payers there to rescue you.

Now, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. It should be no real shock that large corporations will use all their power to push this measure through. See, corporations are in the business of making money. That means, they are not in the business of spending money. So, any time a corporation can get somebody else to pay for something, they will do everything within their power to do so. And, just like since WW2 large corporations have been financed by the American tax payer, right now that means having the American citizenry pay for these risky mistakes. Of course, that same American citizenry would have gained nothing themselves if things had gone well, but that is the nature of this system.

Don't let anybody try to convince you that it is not the American citizenry that will pay for this scheme. Corporations are not about spending money, remember? See, corporations don't pay taxes, either. They may have to file tax returns and write checks to the IRS just like everybody else, but don't be confused. That money they are paying did not come from them, it is just a cost passed on to the consumers – you and me. See, there is no such entity as a corporation, really. There are only people. And people pay taxes, in one form or another.

So, the rhetoric will be that this is good for the average tax payer. And in the immediate, short term future, that is kind of true. Because of this buy out by the American people, everybody who has retirement funds or insurance policies with the financial institutions will still be able to buy an RV and travel the country when they turn 68. And, for now, it will keep our economy operating the way it has been – until the next time corporate America needs to be rescued. And then the next time. And the next time. And this will become the norm.

This move by the Federal government will lay a new precedent. If this is allowed by the American people (which, this will happen whether the American people want it to or not), then we are saying, once again, that it is okay for corporations to do whatever they can, no matter the moral or ethical considerations, to build up private fortunes for their owners. And that if, along the road of this risky business that is fortune building, they happen to make a mistake, the American people are here to have that money stolen from them and put in the pockets of the rich, where it obviously belongs. This will be just one more way in which the American public now, and no doubt in the future, will continue to subsidize corporations in their quest for power and money. All of this abuse just so the American people can just not worry about it. It reminds one of the USA Patriot Act in that way.

Maybe it's about time to start worry about it, American people.

After the stock market collapse of 1929, something became very obvious to the people in power: capitalism doesn't work. So, over the next decade, these rich and powerful men set out to redesign our economy. They, however, once again designed an economy to benefit themselves. This is when our current form of state (read: tax payer) supported capitalism began. Steal from the poor and give to the rich. If this is the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression, then maybe it is time for the American people to stand up and say to the people in power, “Hey! Your systems do not work, and they do not work for the good of the people!” and set out to design an economy that will work and will work for the good of the people.

An Epilogue

Do not get me wrong. I know that not bailing out these financial institutions will lead to certain economic disaster. I understand that. I know how the system works. However, I also know that this system was designed and implemented by human beings. And I know that what man creates, man can undo, and man can replace. Our economy is simply the construct of people. If we want our economy to be different, then we can make it different. Of course, there will be very powerful people with a lot to lose if this happens, so you have to watch your back for them, but it can be done.

Just think what the $1.3 TRILLION that have been spent on this rescuing of corporations from their own greed could have been spent on that would actually benefit the people of this nation. That is a lot of money. That is a sizable chunk of our national debt -- about one tenth of it -- which is a very large factor in American's recent economic weakness, for one. $1.3 trillion comes out to around $13,000 per tax payer. The average tax payer will never see that much gain out of this rescue. Think of all the time and energy it takes to make $13,000 for each of the 100 million tax payers in this country. For the average American that is 4 months worth of work. If you are going to put that kind of effort into this, why not put that effort into something that you will benefit from, instead of something that will only benefit a very limited class of people?

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