One of my favorite used bookstore finds is called The Book of Russian Gestures, and that’s what it is– photos of people making gestures and then captions stating what they mean, and some paragraphs about the situations in which a Russian might make such a gesture. It’s impossible for me to tell how fictional, earnest, or ironic it is. I said to a friend, “I want to make some art out of this but I don’t know what” and she said, wisely, “It already is art.” Over the weekend, I officiated my sister’s marriage to her German sweetheart, and two of his friends performed, in esl, their version of Ella and Louis’s version of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” It was all the way fantastic, but perhaps the best part was when the friend doing the guy part didn’t actually pronounce the words in question differently. Here, you try it: “Pajamas, pajamas, pajamas, pajamas! Let’s call the whole thing off!” It works with and without the German accent.
I also want to include here an excerpt from an obituary from the NYX today that I saw via a guy I went to high school with who I have always liked and respected and has semi-horrified me by becoming a libertarian journalist-intellectual.
“Mr. Friedlander’s survivors include his father, Herbert, and a brother, Daniel. In December, Ronald Bailey, Reason’s science correspondent, received a letter from Mr. Friedlander in response to an article he had written on developments in genomics. Writing by hand in block letters, Mr. Friedlander said, “I think you should take your thinking one step further and write about the prospects of immortality in the foreseeable future.” He continued, “I also wonder if magicians can reverse the effects of old age.” At the bottom of the letter, he wrote: “P.S. I started Reason magazine in 1968.”