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Life is short. Have a cafard.

By the Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl Fowler

So here’s what’s wrong with life.

Silent movies were just starting to realize their potential as an extraordinary art form when the talkies came along and sounded their death knell.

Much as I loved the whole long-haired psychedelic Sixties no-one-I-think-is-in-my-tree revolution that the British Invasion heralded, Fifties-style American rock’n’roll — the music of Bill Haley and Buddy Holly and Del Shannon and the Crests and the Teenagers and Chuck Berry and Little Richard and the Tempos and the Diamonds and Tony Williams and Joey Dee & the Starlighters and the Fleetwoods and Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson and the Cascades and Booker T. & the M.G.’s and Lee Dorsey and the Silhouettes and the Flamingos and the Skyliners and Mark Dinning and Johnny Burnette and Wilson Pickett and the Clovers and Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins and and Jerry Lee Lewis and Jackie Wilson and Gene Chandler and the Big Bopper and I could do this Best of American Bandstand thing all summer long — hadn’t played itself out. It wasn’t done, not by a long shot. Come home, come home. Just say you will. Say you will.

There were way too many Bobbys for anyone’s good, I’ll grant you, but that music should have been allowed to flourish and evolve for at least another decade before such a radical feelin’ groovy push in the it’s-all-too-beautiful-it’s-all-too-beautiful-it’s-all-too-beautiful-it’s-all-too-beautiful-there-was-a-band-playing-in-my-head-and-I-felt-like-getting-high-and-we’ve-got-to-get-ourselves-back-to-the-garden direction of the 59th Street Bridge. A hookah-smoking caterpillar had given us the call.

Well, so now get with the metaphor here and I’m not even synecjoking. It’s dead simple.

Along comes adulthood before most of us are halfway ready for it. The movie Diner — which I rewatched tonight on Turner Classic Moviesis really about that. (Especially the popcorn surprise bit, which likely wouldn’t play out today nearly as well.) American Graffiti, too, come to think of it. Both had killer pre-Beatles soundtracks. Teen angel, can you hear me? Teen angel, can you see me?

And old age? WTF? We’re ready for Mean Girls and they’re already showing us The Golden Girls. I want to hear “Good Golly Miss Molly” on the Wurlitzer and all I get is Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians playing “Auld Lang Syne” on the vintage Zenith gramophone. At a time when the Golden Jet should be raising us out of our seats with end-to-end rushes and Mr. Hockey should be piling up Gordie Howe hat tricks, the Great Eight is two seasons from surpassing the Great One on the all-time scoring list.

By the time you finally have the ice box crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale, a guy with hairy knuckles and a lab coat is slipping you into the mortuary Coolerator.

I went to the darkest depths and all I got was this lousy toe tag. They said they found your high school ring clutched in my fingers tight. Next stop: Crimson and clover, over and over.

That’s what’s wrong with life. It’s all too beautiful. But its meaning is that it ends, Kafka warned us. If only it were meaningless. As the actress famously said to the bishop, it’s much too short. Popcorn surprise! That deaf, dumb and blind id sure plays a mean pinball.

Single cymbal shot, Mr. Starr. Hey, is that my high school ring?

 “C’est la vie,” say the old folks. It goes to show you never can tell.

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It's all too beautiful...I can't read that line without the musical cadence. It's now been stuck in my head for days.

Replying to

Under dreaming spires to Itchycoo Park, that's where you've been.


Turner Classic movies is where all horrible movies go to die, and Diner is certainly no exception. The only reason I know this is because my late eighties parents are glued to the set watching these tributes to I’m not quite sure what.

“You don’t like this movie? Wait, Angela Lansbury is coming on!”

I cried murder, murder in the first degree!

Replying to

I feel inclined to blow my mind

Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun

They all come out to groove about

Be nice and have fun in the sun!

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