Tag Archives: elvis

Lame Adventure 86: Please Do Stop the Music!

Today Elvis has been dead for thirty-three years and Madonna turns fifty-two.  Although I liked much of Elvis’s music, I could have easily lived without seeing most of his mediocre movies, and as for Madonna, her films are so bad, she makes Elvis seem like Laurence Olivier.  As for Madonna’s music, I am not much of a fan of that, either.

Yet, four years ago I had a friend who was hell-bent on seeing Madonna at Madison Square Garden when she was on the Confessions tour.  If I recall correctly, the sponsor was Geritol.  The ticket cost $169.50 and I still suffer chest pain when I think of all the other entertainment events I would have so preferred to see aside from the Material Middle Aged Girl gyrating all over a hydraulic horse while singing Like a Virgin.  Also, the date we saw her was July 2nd.  It was very hot and very humid both inside and outside the arena for she insisted that air conditioning dries out her throat.  It never occurred to me until then that a performer whose entire career has been based on shock and style with scant vocal ability posing a distant third on her talent chart, would suddenly channel her inner Maria Callas, but she did.  I can still feel the sweat trickling down my back while watching her perform.  One positive aspect of Madonna is that her music is so forgettable, it never sticks in my head, and that I appreciate very much.

A stuffed badger theatrical prop that was not used in any Elvis film nor on the Confessions tour.

Although one generally thinks of music as a source of pleasure, except perhaps when the military uses it as a form of audio assault, on a much more reduced level in everyday life, it can also be quite painful.  For example, my normally indifferent boss, Elsbeth, cannot refrain from vocalizing her disdain whenever she hears Sometime Around Midnight by the Airborne Toxic Event.  One of our former assistants played that song on her boom box and I warned her to never play it in The Boss’s presence unless she had a death wish.  My sidekick, Greg, is convinced that he’s being stalked by Dishwalla’s Counting Blue Cars. There may be some validity to this for it is uncanny that this fifteen-year-old song always seems to play on the radio whenever he is sitting at his desk.  My dear friend, Milton, practically transforms into the Wolfman whenever he hears Rihanna, but he seems to have particular contempt for Please Don’t Stop the Music.  As for me, aside from Barney crooning the I Love You song, Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head, is enough to make me want to rent a Zipcar and drive it off a cliff.

I am certain that anyone reading this post has at least one song, if not a number of songs, that is both torture to hear and sheer agony when stuck on one’s internal iPod.  Possibly it’s a song by either Elvis or Madonna.

Lame Adventure 35: A Banana a Day

I am very particular about fruit, but the fruit I am most particular about is the banana since I usually eat one every day.  Therefore, I easily eat close to 350 bananas a year.  Often, when I’m visiting friends or on vacation away from New York, I’ll go banana-less.  Although I like many other fruits — blueberries, apricots, peaches, figs, plums, pluots – and what exactly is a pluot?  You’ve come to the right place for that tidbit of knowledge.

Pluot orgy.

According to Wikipedia – and I paraphrase liberally and perversely — a pluot is the offspring of a shotgun wedding between a plum and an apricot that was the brainstorm of a now 84-year-old biologist named Floyd Zaiger.  Fortune calls Floyd “the most prolific fruit breeder in the world.”  That means that when Floyd buys his rainbow, I’ll read about it in The New York Times.  Fortune declares that Floyd’s “family-owned company, Zaiger’s Genetics, has patented more than 200 new varieties of fruit, all through conventional pollination.”  So Floyd’s fruits get it on the old-fashioned way.  When Floyd strolls the aisle of his local produce department and lingers by the cherry stand while holding a tomato, one can probably assume, “Ah ha, he’s match-making the chemato!”

Floyd in his orchard.

Enough diversion and back to the topic at hand, my long-term relationship with the banana, possibly my longest-term relationship with any foodstuff.  My daily banana eating habit has been going on for many decades. Considering all the bananas I have consumed thus far in a life where I could have easily died three times by now had I been born a dog, I am sure I have easily eaten at last ten thousand bananas, but more likely many, many more.  That calculation tells me two things, “Damn! I’ve eaten a lot of bananas!”  And, “Damn!  Am I really that old to have eaten my weight in bananas at least forty-five times – and have died three times by now had I been born a spaniel?”  How disturbing, and how disturbing to spend time figuring out those calculations.  I did recently cancel my subscription to HBO, so my calculator is filling the void.

In August 1977, when I was a kid, I was hanging out with my older brother, Axel.  We were eating chocolate covered frozen bananas in our parents’ kitchen.  Axel was a big Elvis fan.  He loved to order me to hurry up and walk our dog, Meanstreak, by shouting, “It’s Now or Never!”

So there we were in the kitchen eating our frozen bananas; Axel leaning against the sink, and I sitting in a chair.  In those days we were our own TMZ.  We were gossiping about Liz Taylor, and all of her health problems.  Axel was certain that she was going to check out soon.  I said definitively, “Naaa, your boy, Elvis, is gonna be the next one to kick.”

The next day Elvis dropped dead of a heart attack in his bathroom.

Elvis's death-wich.

Axel always likes to say that I predicted the King’s demise, but I think he had tremendous assistance from all those fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches he scarfed regularly.  I have once or twice, to my gastroenterologist’s horror, eaten a fried banana in a restaurant.  It tasted quite good.  The vast majority of bananas I eat are neither fried nor frozen.  They’re usually straight up, but often chased with a piece of dark chocolate.  As soon as the faintest spot appears, I can barely stand the taste.  I like my bananas solid yellow, even tinged with a little green.

My colleague, Ling, as well as members of my family, can eat a banana so heavy with spots, it almost looks like a leopard.  I would sooner sample fried jungle cat than eat a freckled banana.  The idea of eating either is almost enough to make me gag.  If Floyd reads this blog, I’d like to put in a request for the mush-free solid yellow banana which delays growing spots, but he’d probably advise me to just keep doing what I do, buy two at a time and deal with it.  It does not take a fruit-breeding genius to figure that out.

Ling's banana on the left. Mine on the right.

P.S.  Check out the video posted by Martini Max in the comments section of Chris Elliot channeling Marlon Brando performing the lamest banana dance ever on Late Night with David Letterman back in the day.