The Cats Pajamas

cats pajamas

“We carry our ancestors in our names and sometimes we carry our ancestors through the sliding doors of emergency rooms and either way they are heavy, man, either way we can’t escape.”

“Her father is fastened to his room, with his records and his drugs and his quiet. She crawls under her covers. It is her fault for triggering one of his spells. Normally she can tightrope through his moods. At least it had been brief. Most girls do not have to deal with a father like hers. They would be afraid of the way she lives, lawless in a roachy apartment. They would be scared of his fits. Madeleine would be scared too, she thinks, falling asleep. If she had only experienced finished basements and dads who acted like dads. But Madeleine loves her father, and how can you be scared of someone you love?”

Marie-Helene Bertino, 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas 

There is no picture on the cover of this book so I drew my own damn picture.

There is no picture on the cover of this book so I drew my own damned picture.

I don’t know why I included the word “damned”  in that caption.  Maybe because convalescing is dull and I think profanity will jazz up the experience.

Anyway, speaking of profanity and jazz, here’s the blurb about this book from Amazon:

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

I was a bit in love with Madeleine from the first page.  And crazy about her by the last one.  Sometimes the quirky prose in this novel reads like poetry.  It’s a good story, written from several different perspectives, over a time span of just 19 hours.  You’d be surprised at how much can happen to so many people in such a short time.

It’s a book made to be read in one sitting I think, and I might have done that if I hadn’t been so doped up on pain pills and falling asleep so much.  Today I haven’t taken anything, so I guess I can’t blame my sketch on mind altering drugs. This is how my brain sees a bar in the middle of the night.  What can I say.

I hope Marie-Helene Bertino writes another book soon.  I’ll illustrate it for her if she asks.  Huh.  Maybe the drugs aren’t completely out of my system.  But I’m very clear-headed when I say it’s the mark of a great author when she leaves you wanting more.

Just Another Scintilating Sunday

Asiatic Lily Bouquet, forced to listen to Satelite Radio and blooming madly anyway.

Asiatic Lily Bouquet, forced to listen to Satellite Radio and blooming madly anyway.

This morning as I was overloading my blender with mad cancer fighting ingredients (I say mad because if they’re fighting they ought to be mad) I wondered if it isn’t about time for me to make my peace with the satellite radio.  Normally I don’t appreciate it’s noise, and there are some days when I hate it.  Those are the days when I want everyone in the world to just shut up.  So if you are dropping over for coffee on one of those days, God help you.  But no worries, today I’m feeling pleasant and chatty.  And I am blogging this without wearing any make up. I feel like what I have to say is more important than how my face looks.  Although if you were actually here drinking coffee with me you might beg to differ.  Anyway, I know there are people out there who blog naked, so this is hardly big news, but it’s as close to blogging naked as I’m likely to get.

Okay, back to the sat radio.  W has it on all the time.  When I come home he is smart enough to turn it down.  If he doesn’t and I get to it first, it gets turned right off.  He also tries to find channels with the highest percentage chance of me being able to tolerate them.  I do try to be tolerant.  Especially of people who dearly love background noise.  And this morning I was thinking that because there’s a lot of channels, there should be at least one or two that not only won’t make my head ache but that I might also actually enjoy. Yeah, well, it’s Sunday, the weather is nice, I’m in a good mood.  Pigs could fly.  Let’s try some music from the 1940’s.  I’m not kidding.  They had weird music back then and I don’t mind listening to that.  I picked up the remote, pressed select, and tried to remember what combination of zeros and fours would get me there.

Suddenly there was a deep growling voice doing hip hop rap.  I don’t care if there isn’t any such thing, that’s clearly what it was.  He sounded like a mad muppet monster, only less intelligent.  So not exactly what I was expecting.  Eventually I found Count Bassie, a definite improvement.  I love jazz, swing, big band and piano blues.  Although in small doses rather than large.  Maybe I was born in the wrong era.  The radio is still playing but I’m in a different room and can’t really hear it.  But, hey, it’s still turned on.

Speaking of “hey”, I had a delightful conversation with a little boy at work yesterday.  He was about three, with ears that he hasn’t quite grown into.  He walked right up beside me in our lab.

Him:  HEY!

Me: Hey.

Him:  Hey!  What are you doing?

Me:  I’m cleaning a pair of glasses.

Him:  Hey!  What’s that white thing?

Me:  It’s an ultrasonic cleaner, sort of like a bath for glasses.

Him:  Hey!  That’s funny!  Haha!

Mom from the doorway:  Hey!  What are you doing?  Get out of there!

So hey, he had to leave.

Aren’t those Asiatic Lilies beautiful?  A gift from K and C last weekend.  I can’t believe how they’ve lasted.  My tiger lilies in the back yard are just starting to bloom too.  I’m surrounded by lilies and Woody Herman and Duke Ellington and the voice that says “…no destination…just 40’s and beyond!”

Sort of like this post, no real purpose, just some meandering coffee talk, keeping my typing fingers limber.  Well, I’m going to go get some more coffee, how about you? Really?  But I’ve got French Vanilla cream!  Hey, where are you going?  Come back!

Making It Better

The Many Sides of Neil Sedaka

The Many Sides of Neil Sedaka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Prompts for the Promptless, Episode 11:  Remake!  To remake is to make anew or in a different form. 

Here is a short list of things that you can remake.  It’s short because this is Friday and nobody wants to read a long list on a Friday.  (Never mind write one, if you want to know the real reason.)

1.  Your bed.  But don’t remake the beds of your children unless you want to risk scarring their little self-confidence psyches for life.  I read that somewhere, but never worried about it myself and remade my kids beds all the time.  Because seriously, what a mess.

2.  Plans.  Even if they are carved in stone.  Just get yourself a new stone.

3.  Lego and Puzzles.  Although if I had my way I would super glue the pieces together and never put myself through that agony again.

4.  Movies.  When there seems to be nothing new under the sun, movie makers start reminiscing about some classic film or other that was immensely popular back in the day and which made a whole shit load of money.  Then they start to believe that with a few changes, they could update, remake and improve upon it.  Plus rake in another whole shit load of cash.  Sometimes they’re right.  Sometimes they are sadly mistaken.

5.  Songs.  There can be as many versions of a song as there are people to sing it and genres of music to set it to.   If we like the original a lot, chances are we won’t be happy with a remake, simply because it doesn’t sound ‘right.’  If we dislike the original, a remake can turn out to be a happy surprise.

In the sixties I loved the original version of Breaking Up is Hard to Do by Neil Sedaka, including every single “down-doobey-do-down-down”.  We were heavily into making up nonsensical gibberish lyrics to go with a beat back then.

Then I grew up a little, and so did Neil I guess.  I love this slower, jazzier version of the song even more.  Remakes can be a beautiful thing.

This Phone is a Trucking Place of Spit

"not encephalitis the email"

“not encephalitis the email” (Photo credit: marioanima)

Daily Prompt:  Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.

Today on Facebook, Damn You Auto Correct posted the “Baby I Lobe You” song, and it was all downhill from there.

This particular song on You Tube isn’t necessarily one I love, because I only discovered it today, but it’s certainly one I can connect with.  Because everyone who has an I-phone has at one time or another called it a fluffing piece of shut, if not worse.

Verse 1

When I said I wanted to kill you,
I meant to say kiss
When I said I was going to dump your bones in the woods,
I meant to say jump
And now you think I’m a psychopath
And our relationship is wrecked
There’s nothing I can do but put the blame on
Auto-correct.

Verse 2

You said whenever you miss me you smell my shits,
I think you meant shirts
My work was coming in slits and spritzers (sorry)
Spits and spurts
I said you were a whining spaz
When I meant to say shining star
Then I said I was going to pimp your ass
When I went to park your car
And now you think I’m a total dick
And I’m losing your respect
There’s nothing I can do but put the blame on
Auto-correct.

Verse 3

You said you like to fist with men in bars,
I think you meant flirt
Either way I think it’s safe to say
One of us is going to get hurt
I know that you don’t mind jazz
In a quiet little back street place
But you said in your message you quite like jizz
Except when it was in your face
And now it seems we’re communicating
In a brand new dialect
There’s nothing I can do but put the blame on
Auto-correct.

Middle Eight

These thumbs were not designed for typing
Maybe we should just have stuck to skyping
Now all that you can say to me
Is WTF and OMG
This song is one long apology, I admit
This phone is a fluffing piece of shut
This phone is a flecking price of slut
This phone is a trucking place of spit

Verse 4

When I said I like to use glory-holes,
I was trying to type coriander
I was looking forward to eating out
On your vagina
(Verandah, verandah, so sorry)

Now we’ve sent these messages
That we should have double-checked
There’s nothing I can do but put the blame on
Auto-erotic
Auto-erotic
Automatic
Autocratic
Sumo wrestler
Dodo forest
Dildo Carrot

Oh well, what did we expect?
We never should have put our faith in auto-correct.

Ease My Troubles, That’s What You Do

Have I told Van Morrison lately that I love him?  This has been going on since Brown Eyed Girl way back in 1967.

Born to Sing, No Plan B is his latest album.  It’s awesome.

(No surprise, he’s been awesome forever.)

I tried to pick out my absolute favourite of all time Van Morrison song but it’s impossible, so I finally settled on two to share.

Happy Sunday everybody.

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the nights magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush.
Can I just have one a more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with a-you, my love
Well, I wanna make love to you tonight
I can’t wait ’til the morning has come
And I know now the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that you’re never alone
There and then all my dreams will come true, dear
There and then I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me that you can’t hide

Can I just have one a more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with a-you, my love

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the
mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when that fog horn blows I want to hear it
I don’t have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float into the mystic
And when that fog horn blows you know I will be coming
home
And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it I don’t have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic.

Half Blood Blues

I’m almost finished reading “Half Blood Blues” by Esi Edugyan.  Here’s what the goodreads website has to say about it:

Berlin, 1939. A young, brilliant trumpet-player, Hieronymus, is arrested in a Paris cafe. The star musician was never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black.
Fifty years later, Sidney Griffiths, the only witness that day, still refuses to speak of what he saw. When Chip Jones, his friend and fellow band member, comes to visit, recounting the discovery of a strange letter, Sid begins a slow journey towards redemption.
From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world, and into the heart of his own guilty conscience.
Half-Blood Blues is an electric, heart-breaking story about music, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

It’s no fast paced thrilling page turner, so it definitely fits the bill if you’re looking for a book to relax with while you’re actually learning something about a whole different era.