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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Friday, November 26

Gaiety & Stephen Sondheim

I think I should come out of the closet. If being gay means one loves the singing of Barbra Streisand and a love of musical theatre, then I must be gay. I listen to today’s hip-hoppers, rockers, and rappers, and I can’t understand a word from any of them, the lyrics and music smothered by three or four electric guitars and heavy percussion. And even if I could make out what’s being sung, I wouldn’t hear lyrics worth hearing. I make my case with one of the songs ranked near the top as best of the Twentieth Century, The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”:

I can't get no satisfaction, Cause I tried and I tried, And I tried and I tried. I can't get no, I can't get no — When I'm driving in my car And a man comes on the radio, he's telling me more and more About some useless information supposed to fire my imagination, I can't get no, No, no, no . Hey, hey, hey, That's what I say — When I'm watching my TV And a man comes on that tells me how white my shirts can be But he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me. I can't get no satisfaction , I can't get no girl reaction. When I'm riding around the world And I'm doing this and I'm signing that and I'm trying to make some girl Who tells me "Baby, better come back maybe next week 'cause you see I'm on a losing streak." No satisfaction.

I rest my case.

How can I tell if the singer (singer?) is any good or if what he/she is singing has any meaning?

When I was in high school and shortly thereafter, my parents and I would visit my sister Helen and her husband Paul in Wisconsin. Helen took me to Chicago to see current musicals and I never got over it. I saw the touring company doing South Pacific with Janet Blair as Nellie, Forrest Tucker as Harold Hill in The Music Man, and Carol Channing in My Sister Eileen. Yikes! I was enthralled with the singing and dancing, the staging, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

Wednesday evening, PBS gave us a Broadway musical cornucopia with the 80th birthday celebration for Stephen Sondheim. It was wonderful, and full of wonder as Broadway stars, both current as well as not-so-current singers, reprised songs from his many shows: Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, Elaine Stritch, Nathan Gunn, to name only a few. It was one of the best two hours I’ve ever spent in front of the tube, hearing clear as a bell Sondheim’s witty, sophisticated lyrics, watching the many beautiful men and women singing those lyrics. I could hardly contain myself or my tears.

If that makes me gay (it certainly made me happy), then let the closet door swing wide, because I “can’t get no satisfaction” from Justin Bieber and his ilk, or Beyonce and her ilk, or Fitty Cents and his ilk, or Mick Jagger and his big-lipped yucky ilk.

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