THE GREATEST BROADWAY MUSICAL — Marilyn Armstrong

Back in my bright college days, I was a music major. I hung out on the quad with other wannabe musicians on warm sunny days where we planned projects which would make us famous. Symphonies. Great achievements as conductors and composers though my class never produced anyone huge. Medium is as good as we got.

The Concept

My great project was going to be a full-length musical comedy based on the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan.

In the Grecian version, Zeus, having taken the form of a great white swan, rapes — Leda. I vote for seduction since I have a lot of trouble visualizing being rape by a swan. I mean — swans don’t have hands. But of course, he was (is?) a god, so who knows?


Zeus or not, swans are slow and clumsy on land, unlikely to successfully attack anyone or anything. Being heavy-bodied, they have trouble getting airborne and watching one try to cross a road from side of the pond to the other, I can personally say they are not in any way agile. All their grace is on water.

Without hands or arms, rape seems unmanageable but I never encountered a non-human creature in my wild youth. As far as I know, my lovers were supposedly human. It could be difficult to be sure at times.

Leda becomes pregnant and it’s no ordinary pregnancy. How could it be?

She bears Helen (of Troy, the great beauty) and Polydeuces. These are the children of Zeus. Simultaneously (and I’d like to know how she managed this), she gives birth to Castor and Clytemnestra — the offspring of her human husband Tyndareus, King of Sparta.

Dirty water swan

Leda is able to convince her parents and husband that her extraneous pregnancy is not the result of a lover or (horrors) promiscuity. “No! Honest to Athena! Mom, Dad, it was Zeus. Himself! Not just any old guy. And he was a swan! A really big swan (NOTE: Swans are big,) Really.” Good performance, even for a god. And since it was Zeus, the big guy himself, Dad and husband aren’t likely to try to fight him, right?

Right.

The first and perhaps my favorite scene would have to be the first act closer. In this highly emotional musical extravaganza, Leda pours out her distress in a heart-rending soprano rich with passion and despair, yet filled with love for her four children, including those born from eggs. In it, she explains that it really truly was Zeus.

I could imagine another show-stopping moment.

Eggs. Her Zeus children are eggs. Who sat on the eggs? Did they build a nest on her throne? Did she get her ladies-in-waiting to sit on them while she did her Queen business?

Dialog Tidbit

Leda: “The swan didn’t fool me. I knew it was Zeus. You all know how much I love birds and feathers, right? I mean … what girl could resist such a gorgeous bird? Mommy, Daddy, you know I wouldn’t lie to you.”

Tyndareus, King of Sparta: “I want to believe you, darling girl, but I’m having a few small issues.”

Leda: “Trust me. It was Zeus. As a swan. We all know how tricky he can be.” She spits out a white feather. Now that was convincing!

The All-Important Dream Ballet

In a brilliantly choreographed dream sequence, Leda relives the heady romance of the seduction. Some of the technical aspects of the experience make interesting stagecraft.

How, exactly, did he DO it? It will make a heck of a scene! Without any hands?

Curtain Calls

By the final closer, the audience will be on its collective feet! I can hear the roar of the crowd, standing ovation, blown away by swanny sex. Not to mention the eggs. I see the royalties rolling in.

Two swans

I’ve been away from music for too long now to give this kind of orchestration a try, but I freely offer this incredible concept to anyone who has the musical energy to make it work. I will happily help with dialogue.  It might launch multiple careers.

I may even know just the right singers for it! At least ONE of them is deeply in love with swans!

IMPEACHMENT FOLLIES – Garry Armstrong

Marilyn asked me to write a piece.  This as I was swapping comments with others on Facebook as we watched today’s Impeachment Hearings and the comments that followed. I internally blanched but said, “Yes, dear.” I quickly dashed out this first paragraph. Time out. Nature was calling.

(Insert commercial here)

Okay, I’m back. Nature’s call answered. Showered, shaved and CNN is on with the evening recap of today’s Impeachment hearing. Maybe I missed some important stuff while attending my own business. Throne room biz gets top priority here.

It seems there is hard evidence of the call that never was — or that PERFECT phoner without any quid pro quo.  Donzo’s disciples are in spin overdrive while Democrats are like Felix the cat who nabbed a feline whistleblower.

Do we take time out for the weekend? Maybe watch some college and pro football?  Or do we put the Impeachment on hold? Will the hearings keep us in a mental brain lock until they resume, presumably on Monday?

Rest assured,  the weekend talk shows, especially the Sunday Pol Staple Shows, will review and regurgitate everything we’ve seen and heard during the past few days.  Was it good for you? Didn’t Wolf Blitzer look like he was barely able to keep from grinning?

These are good days for Facebook, the social media giant dealing with well-earned criticism for its many breaches of privacy.

Facebook’s cyber party line is perfect for many folks who are sharing their reactions, opinions, and emotional takes on the impeachment hearings. The comments and responses to comments are clearly partisan.


I think it’s a healthy way to unload your exhilaration, anger, and frustration over the mulligan’s stew of interrogation and testimony. Yelling at the television doesn’t get the reactions we need.

I can’t be the only one shouting profanities at some of Donzo’s coat-holding Pols who are insulting and demeaning witnesses testifying about the existence of the phone call and the hinky business surrounding what he said he said.  Today, we heard first-hand testimony of Donzo’s call to his Ukraine liaisons. It was a call taken in a restaurant and clearly heard by a myriad of people. Probably including the Russians who are very good at snooping in Ukraine, not to mention right here in the good ole’ U.S.A.

How loud WAS he talking? Did they put the call on speaker? We wouldn’t want the waiters or busboys to miss anything. Tune in tomorrow for further updates, revelations, and the throbbing excitement of our democracy falling apart while the world watches with a mixture of dismay and glee.

Look across the river,  Lennie. See the rabbits, Lennie? I get all sentimental remembering the glory days of Watergate.


Speaking of the Tricky One, they’ve been constantly running an audio clip of Milhouse’s rant on the media, “…and, ya know,  there’s not a good one of them on all three of the damn Networks.”

Donzo can smile because he has more than three networks “harassing” him. He has more media dissidents than any President in U.S. history. Even more than George Washington, a president who could tell you something about political detractors. He didn’t take a third term in office because he could not tolerate more press attacks — and that was long before mass media.

Donzo has gone from being a star on “The Apprentice” to being a living legend in his own mind. He is the man waiting to be carved onto Mt. Rushmore and the man who claims he shot Liberty Valance. Now, finally, he’s the guy with the highest TV ratings in town. It’s the brightest spot on his resume.

Print that legend!

ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN – Rich Paschall

Let The Music Play, by Rich Paschall

You may have forgotten some of your favorite songs, but Rock And Roll Never Forgets. So, roll yourself over here and we will rock you with our latest Top Ten list. Some may not have heard these old classics so let us assure you of one thing. Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.

Perhaps you wanted to be a Rock And Roll Star, or just a singer in a rock and roll band. No matter what your Rock And Roll Fantasy, you can show us everything you’ve got and Rock And Roll All Nite.

We are not just bringing you Rock And Roll, Part 2, but my entire list of Top Ten songs with Rock and Roll in the title. You must think I am a Daft Punk if I did not realize there are a lot of songs with Rock And Roll in the title. We went to the Velvet Underground to find an Oasis of rock where a Motorhead can be Spiritualized by the roll of thunder.

Here we chose the best ones for you.

So strike the match because it is time for some Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo:

Lawdy mama light my fuse
Rock and roll, Hoochie Koo
Truck on out and spread the news

10. Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy, Bad Company. The enduring British group had a hit with this one in 1979. The song was written by lead singer, Paul Rodgers and is a good way to rock the start of our list. Are you up and dancing yet?

9. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The original version was recorded by the British group Arrows, and it is an upbeat rock and roll anthem. Joan Jett covered it to great success in 1982. Others have done well with it since.

8. Rock & Roll Band, Boston. They were not just another band out of Boston. They had an impressive string of hits in the 1970s. This song appeared on the debut album and was released in 1976, having been recorded almost a year earlier. By the way, the lyrics do not reflect the band’s story.

7. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, Billy Joel. The Hall of Fame rocker scored big with this one. It hit number one in the US and Canada in 1980. The song was written by Joel. The recording was produced by the legendary Phil Ramone.

6. The Heart of Rock & Roll, Huey Lewis and the News. Written by Lewis and saxophone player Johnny Colla, the song climbed the charts in 1984. The official music video seen here features clips of 1950’s rockers. It was shot in part on the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square in winter.

5. Rock and Roll, Led Zeppelin. It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled. Neverthless, the hard-rocking British group will long be remembered for their dynamic recordings and electrifying live performances. In 2018 the group released a remix of the single Rock and Roll (Sunset Sound Mix).

4. It’s Only Rock and Roll, The Rolling Stones. I said I know it’s only rock ‘n roll but I like it. The band continues to roll on, even if they look like father time has run them over in his Aston Martin. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the tune with an assist by Ronnie Wood. It was released in 1974 and the group has been playing it ever since.

3. I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band), The Moody Blues.
If you want this world of yours to turn about you
You can see exactly what to do, don’t tell me
I’m just a singer in a rock and roll band

The song was written by Hall of Fame songwriter John Lodge, bass guitar player for The Moody Blues. It was released in 1973.

2. Old Time Rock and Roll, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.
Just take those old records off the shelf
I’ll sit and listen to ’em by myself
Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
I like that old time rock n’ roll

Seger did not receive credit for his work writing lyrics. According to him, his manager said: “You should ask for a third of the credit.” And I said: “Nah. Nobody’s gonna like it.” It was listed in 2001 in Top Songs of the Century, and American Film Institute named it in 100 years …100 songs in 2004. You may recall Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in Risky Business.

1. Rock and Roll Music, Chuck Berry.
Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music
Any old way you choose it

Chuck Berry wrote the song and recorded it in Chicago in May 1957. It was released later in the year. Many have recorded it since. The Beatles played it to great sucess in their early years. The Beach Boys scored big with it. It is Berry who will forever be remembered for one of rock’s greatest hits.

What are your favorites? To listen to any one, click on the title above. For the entire playlist, including bonus tracks, click here.

Just for fun, we have a commercial this week. You might remember the battle of the two Davids on Season 7 of American Idol. If so, you might also remember this take on Risky Business:

CHRISTMAS CACTUS IS BACK — Marilyn Armstrong

The Cactus is Back!

I had been noticing how exceptionally healthy both my cactuses looked, but I hadn’t noticed any buds. Until I looked more carefully and realized they were full of buds. Tiny buds at the end of almost every strand.

Now, some of them are big, plump buds and just about ready to open. Here’s how they looked yesterday:

An overlook of the big cactus

Closeup one

A little broader look

Softly framed

A MOST UNUSUAL HOBBY – Marilyn Armstrong

I got an email notification informing me that Amazon had delivered a package at 2:05 pm this afternoon.


This was confusing because I had received a previous message from Amazon that this particular delivery had been canceled because it was damaged. It was supposed to contain 2 rolls of contact paper (the stuff in our cabinets is the same age as the house, so you can imagine the condition it’s in) and a bottle of shower cleaning spray. I had also received a note telling me they had refunded me for the order, though I had yet to see the refund in my account.

Also, there was no package. When I went to look at the details of the order, it said it had been canceled and the money was refunded. I couldn’t find the refund in my account. I couldn’t even find a charge for the order in the first place.

I called Amazon. I said I’d gotten a notice of delivery of a package that was supposedly canceled and for which I’d gotten a refund except I couldn’t find any refund and also, there was no package.


I gave the guy the order number and he said it had been refunded. I said that as far as I knew, I hadn’t gotten a refund either, but hey, what’s a little money between pals, right? So he starts a 3-way telephone conversation with UPS who says the don’t have to tell me anything because they have a contract with Amazon which says they don’t have to deal with Amazon’s customers.

“All I want to know is whether or not you actually delivered a package to my house,” I said.  He was very firm that it had been delivered.

I agreed it had been delivered, but where? He got a little hazy at that point and asked me to wait while he asked someone. He came back and told me that although I got the email, they had actually delivered the damaged package to Amazon. It was entirely accidental that they notified me about its delivery.  When I checked my bank account, it appeared that Amazon had both charged me for the items and refunded my money today, except they charged me after refunding me.

The whole thing was listed as having come from the department of “Hobbies and Entertainment.” Two rolls of contact paper and a spray bottle of shower cleaner. Some hobby, eh?

UPS hangs up. “Amazon,” I ask, “Are you still there?”

“Yes,” he says. “I don’t think the fellow from UPS understood anything at all.”

“Me neither,” I said.

“You have a good evening,” he said.

“You too,” I responded.

I’m still a bit puzzled but as long as I didn’t pay for something I never got, I’m okay. I’m pretty sure my hobby of putting new contact paper in my cupboards while cleaning my shower has been sidetracked.