Monday, July 24, 2017

Scare-a-Mooch or 72 seconds of Bohemian Rhapsody

I've spent a lot of time online this week. Today's posting is a combination of images I've seen with the song that has been in the back of my mind since the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.
Scramucci with Bush, Underwood, and Romney 
Anthony Scarmucci as I have learned in the past few days is a really smart guy who made a lot of money on Wall Street, raised money for Democrats and Republicans, has been on TV, is good looking and articulate.


Wayne, Phil, Allan and Garth

This version of  Bohemian Rhapsody  (for those who want the real life) written in 1975 by Freddie Mercury has been viewed 395,888,760 times.  And has been commented on 173,980 times. The song is an integral part of Wayne's World, a 1992 comedy film.



Monday, July 17, 2017

Mount Rushmore of Poets: Who would you carve on the Big Rock?

In a continuing effort to build the Don's Basement brand (db™) I partnered with Amazon, a company based in Seattle to create an author's page.  One of the options is to share video of "interviews, book trailers, and book signing videos." 

In April of 2015, Jennifer Dotson, the founder of Highland Park Poetry, interviewed me for the program 'Poetry Today. '

The interview runs for 29 minutes and 17 seconds and relates to the Poetry Pentathlon sponsored by Highland Park Poetry and which I won in 2014. In today's 'instant this/instant that world', 29 minutes is just too much of me!

I know, hard to believe. But it's true. I decided instead to take one of the poems that I read for the Pentathlon and create a video.

Poetry Pentathlon Chalice 
'The Mount Rushmore of'....is a concept used to immortalize the greats of any particular field of endeavor.

WrestlingThe Undertaker, "Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena and Hulk Hogan

Comedy: Groucho Marx, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce
Country Music: The Highwaymen: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferon.



The Mount Rushmore of Poets has been addressed as well. On the web site Genius, there is a thread also from 2014, on which community members posts their Mount Rushmore of poets.

(Sample comments from anonymous posters)

"I’m taking Eliot, Whitman, Frost, and Cummings. How about y'all?"

"Dante, Shakespeare, Pound and Beckett for me."

"Basho, Eliot, Rimbaud, Byron."

"My personal four-poet pantheon is found in Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, Emily Dickinson, and William Carlos Williams.

But since I don’t think they’re the types who would appreciate being carved into a big rock, I’ll say my Mt. Rushmore has Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton."

"Objectively, I’d put up Milton, Dante, Virgil, Chaucer. (because Shakespeare will get mentioned to death)

A more personal list: Cummings, Tennyson, Yeats, Donne."

Here is my Mount Rushmore of Poets.  Basement readers....who would you carve on the big rock?


Monday, July 10, 2017

What do we know about Wisconsin?

Full disclosure. I am prejudiced about Wisconsin. Here are my reasons:

A. There were many people from Wisconsin where I used to work. Among them were my Nemesis who worked in marketing and my boss who didn't seem to work at all. As it turned out my Nemesis got fired about 3 weeks before I did.  Neither of them will be invited to my next event whatever it may be.

B. When I worked on commission, I often made sales calls to Wisconsin companies and they would never buy from me. They would give me the appointment and I would drive up there and they would be very nice but never buy anything.

C: The Packers or more specifically their fans.



D. Acrophobia: Fear of farmers.

And yet Peggy and I went to Wisconsin over the 4th of July to visit a friend. A friend, I hasten to add who moved from Illinois to Wisconsin voluntarily.

Leaving Illinois is definitely a thing....The state lost 114,144 residents in the last year.

Don's Basement (db™) would like to report on Wisconsin.


This is from the official government Wisconsin State Government Website



This video is the longest 1:35 of your life. It explains the newly redesigned wisconsin.gov site. If you are like Dunbar in Catch 22 and want to fill your life with unpleasant and boring activities so that life will seem longer, this video is for you.

“Well, maybe it is true,” Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?”

“I do,” Dunbar told him.

“Why?” Clevinger asked.

“What else is there?”


What else does Wisconsin have to offer?

1. Sausages: (No video, they just stood there for hours.)

2. Bagpipes:




3. Mascots (With Security)






4. Drummers Drumming






5. Fireworks






As it turns out, whilst in Wisconsin I was reading So It Goes, a biography of Kurt Vonnegut by Charles L. Shields.  And a not particularly flattering one at that. I read about Vonnegut's struggles to write "Slaughterhouse- 5 or the Children's Crusade."  

In what was his first best-selling novel, Vonnegut inserts himself into the narration of the story....here is a portion of his introduction.

I would hate to tell you what this lousy little book cost me in money and anxiety and time. When I got home from the Second World War twenty-three years ago, I thought it would be easy for me to write about the destruction of Dresden, since all I would have to do would be to report what I had seen. And I thought, too, that it would be a masterpiece or at least make me a lot of money, since the subject was so big.

But not many words about Dresden came from my mind then - not enough of them to make a book, anyway. And not many words come now, either, when I have become an old fart with his memories and his Pall Malls, with his sons full grown.

I think of how useless the Dresden part of my memory has been, and yet how tempting Dresden has been to write about, and I am reminded of the famous limerick:

"There was a young man from Stamboul,

Who soliloquized thus to his tool:

"You took all my wealth

and you ruined my health,

and now you won't pee, you old fool."

And I'm reminded, too, of the song that goes:

My name is Yon Yonson,

I work in Wisconsin,

I work in a lumbermill there.

The people I meet when I walk down the street,

They say, "What's your name?"

And I say,
"My name is Yon Yonson,
I work in Wisconsin..."

And so on to infinity.

Monday, July 3, 2017

New York, yeah and Brooklyn too

There is a serious gap in reviews and contemplation of New York City. According to Wikipedia a mere 1936 films have been made about New York , 603 TV shows set in New York, and one book worth reading, "The Mermaid of Brooklyn. "
I just spend a week there and thought it was wonderfully diverse, easy to maneuver, and full of possibilities. 

Frank Bruni did not feel so generous about last week. He began his July 2 column thusly; 

Hieronymus Bosch painted a torture chamber where mutant beasts snacked on human flesh. Dante conjured fire, ice and a devil with three faces. If either man lived in New York City today, he’d know better. Hell is the subway at rush hour.
42nd Street Station (photo taken with an IPHONE)

And as it turned out, there was a derailment on the "A" train on June 27. That was one day after Peggy and I took our grandchildren up to the Cloisters. 

In order to set the record straight, I made a movie about New York in 5 acts. I think it pretty much covers everything.