I realize television is a stupefying drug, but I can’t get rid of mine. So I have a new strategy—I turned my TV around! I still watch television, but now I watch its back. Essentially I have transformed it into a radio (although I see a faint glimmering on the wall). So far I’ve done this two days.
I am surprised how much better “Everybody Loves Raymond” is as a radio show.
Monday is the Punk Sabbath.
I just finished Ordinary Girl: The Journey by Donna Summer (with Mark Eliot; Villard, New York, 2003. 255 pages. $24.95).
This is a fine, historical autobiography. Donna was a girl from Boston who quickly became a hippie in 1967 (joining a group called “Crow”), moved to Greenwich Village, then performed in the German production of “Hair” (the musical). She remained in Germany for seven years (meanwhile marrying Helmuth Sommer), then she and Giorgio Moroder invented Disco, in Munich (the way The Beatles matured in Hamburg).
An Italian and a Gospel-singing African-American hippie co-created Disco, in southern Germany (1975)! (Donna had the phrase “I’d love to love you” in her mind, which mutated into her first international hit, “Love to Love You, Baby.”)
All this happened because a bearded man radiating light approached her on the Bowery in New York City one day, saying: “You’re going to meet a man, take a test, pass the test, and you will have an opportunity to cross the waters. You must cross the waters! You have an incredible ability to write; you’ll be more famous as a writer than what you’re doing now.” Then he disappeared. (Donna followed his suggestions.)
Other strange facts:
As a teenager, she consciously imitated the afro of Angela Davis (the famous Communist).
She and Sophia Loren were neighbors in LA, and traded arugula.
The choir from the Maplewood Baptist Church of Haysville, Arkansas won the Quiet Choir Contest this year. In this competition, church groups compete to sing the most quietly. “The Maplewood Choir is so soft, they sound like distant bees,” said Luther Foss, one of the judges.
Astrosexual—person who only has sex with astronauts
I write you from Bread Alone, an organic breakfast place in Uptown Kingston. I just wrote a new French poem:
Le Nom de Verre
a un nom
mais personne le sait.
Quand le verre est cassé
le nom est cassé.
Name of Glass
has a name
but no one knows it.
When the glass is broken
the name is broken.]
“I only saw a loon once in the Catskills,” Millard Lowe told me. “It was sitting in a pear tree in Boiceville. Twice I heard its sapient call.”
Palindrome*: “O, I dare, radio!”
Another: Knife no one, fink!
This morning, the Rural Transport bus driver said: “I’d rather be two minutes late than five minutes early—so no one misses the bus.” What generous driving!
[*A palindrome, of course, is a word, phrase, or knock-knock joke that reads the same backwards and forwards.]
Elevator Handcuffs Contest
Announcing a new contest: create a riddle.
For example, here is one:
Q: Two Norwegians get in a canoe. Which direction do they go? [For answer, see bottom of page.]
Please address your riddles to: Elevator Handcuffs Contest c/o Chronogram, PO Box 459, New Paltz, NY 12561, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “shoemometer” is a shoe equipped with a digital thermometer. A casual glance tells you how warm your feet are at any moment. (At this point, shoemometers are only available in women’s shoes.) See www.shoemometer.com.