The Man Who Never Heard of Frank Sinatra
By Aaron Fogel
The man who had never heard of Frank Sinatra: he lived
A perfectly ordinary life in America. Born in 1915,
He followed all the fads, read the newspapers, listened
To Television, knew who Dean Martin and Sammy whathisname
Were (Sinatra's friends), but somehow, by a one in a
Zillion fluke, whenever Sinatra came up, he was out of the room.
Or his attention was diverted by something else, and
(You will say this is impossible, that it cannot be), never
Heard him sing, like a man in my generation who somehow
Missed the Beatles though he had heard everything else.
Once, just as he was about to hear the name Frank Sinatra
A plane flew overhead--he was fifty-five years old--his hearing
A little more impaired. He had heard of Humphrey Bogart,
Of Elizabeth Taylor, of Walter Cronkite, and of perhaps a hundred
Forty thousand other celebrities names by the time he died,
And yet he had never heard of Frank Sinatra. The Greeks had
That famous saying, "The luckiest man is he who was never born."
Which is kind of gloomy, but I think they were wrong.
The luckiest man is he who never heard of Frank Sinatra.
Actually the luckiest man is probably he who never heard of Cat Stevens, whose plane was diverted from Dulles Airport here because he's on a suspected terrorist list. They're apparently going to deport him from Maine. I'm still pretty damn pissed that Yusuf Islam called for the death of Salman Rushdie, but this seems symptomatic of an entirely different problem. I never heard Yusuf threaten anyone personally. (I guess it was never true that his real name was Steven Katz, as they tried to persuade us at Jewish camp when we sang "Morning Has Broken"?)
So, I have my SW trilogy. Needless to say -- or perhaps not needless but I'll say it anyway -- I did not have time to watch the whole thing -- I had three articles to write and a child with spelling homework and excitement of that nature. But I did feel compelled to watch the new, Lucas-improved ending to Return of the Jedi. And I have several confessions. First, I think and have thought that ROTJ was a vastly inferior movie to the first two (the fourth and fifth, however you want to count) and with the exception of Leia's hairdos and the Sarlaac, there is not much I ever clung to as essential and perfect canon. The list of fan grievances from Boba Fett's premature exit to the Ewoks' presence are now legend but I was the first generation to walk out of the theater with them fresh in my mind, with the hallelujah music playing in the background.
So some of the changes Lucas made to the film over the years, beginning with but by no means limited to the new music at the end, have been most welcome. And I feel that way with all the SW SEs -- unlike the LOTR SEs, where I consider the added scenes significant additions to canon, even the ones I want to reject as vile like the Eowyn stuff, there's nothing in SW that I ever considered such a big change that I felt it HAD to be included or HAD to be rejected, including who shot first. I just could never be arsed to care that much. And watching the ending, with images of places from episodes one and two, had...absolutely no impact on me whatsoever. Nor did seeing Hayden Christensen standing where some guy I didn't recognize at all as the ghost of Darth Vader had been. I was happy to see more Chewie, and Wedge, and to remember that I didn't have to brace myself against the Ewok song because it wasn't coming.
Silly to have Hayden and Sir Alec in the same frame? Probably, but you know what? The ghosts were silly to begin with. Irrelevant to show the entire ex-Empire having a Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead moment over the demise of the Emperor and Vader when the entire military infrastructure is still in place? Sure, but it's not that much siller than the fireworks on Endor in the first place. Mark Hamill was on the radio this morning here swearing that Lucas did not really have nine episodes constructed before shooting ever began, that the sister thing probably occurred to him in the car, and I'm inclined to believe that's true because the quasi-incestuous titillation-squick has not been axed, nor any of what I consider the emotional moments of the series for me.
If they bring out another $50-75 set with the original cuts of the SW films (which I have on pro video), I doubt I'll bother to buy it. Should they have brought that out in the first place? I don't know, because the truth is I don't really care, and I'm someone who probably should, considering that I have my original action figures from the 70s upstairs in my bedroom and my Yoda Halloween mask down in the basement. This is Star Wars, not rocket science, and it was ROTJ, not AOTC, that made me see it not as a work of art but as an oft-crappy commercial product.
Snapey GIP courtesy ashinae. It's a long story. *g* I'm picking up my son when his class returns from Outdoor Education this afternoon. Guess everyone survived the three days of glorious weather!
A Cape Cod grasshopper...
...and a Northern Virginia grasshopper.
A Northern Virginia praying mantis.
A Pennsylvania moth.
A Pennsylvania centipede.
Naughty Massachusetts dragonflies in the act of love...or else cannibalizing each other.