Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Two Tangents

You haven’t heard the “Looney Tunes” theme song until you have heard it played by the National Symphony Orchestra. Saturday night, Mitch and I watched classic cartoons and live music at Wolf Trap. We laughed and laughed. I revisited my theories of how cartoons maintain cultural images of things long gone. Television perpetually reinforces our collective image of characters from opera singers to hoboes. The very pervasive “Looney Tunes” – living on from mid-century pre-movie treats, through to 1970s reruns and to contemporary cable TV – may play the biggest role in memory-keeping.

Could The Simpsons’ Nelson “prove” that "they're dissecting frozen
hobos in science class" by holding up their “bindles” if old caroon reruns hadn’t taught the show's writers about them?

Do kids still dress up as hoboes for costume parties? Briefly, I think, it was okay to dress up for Halloween as a bag lady, but I don’t think that happens any more. On the one hand, such costumes are in poor taste; on the other, what’s more scary than losing your job, your home, your ability to shower when you want? Halloween costumes are still supposed to be scary, right?

If you’re headed to the Carytown Watermelon Festival this coming Sunday, stray off the shopping street just one block for a special Friends of the Library book sale at the Belmont Branch, noon to 4 p.m.

I’ve been cataloging a friend’s collection of books on UFOs and related matters. A remarkable collection of nearly 500 books, it spans decades and all levels of seriousness. Nearly all of the authors, of course, are quite serious. Though a dedication I noted today seems Douglas Adams-esque, it was sincerely offered: “This book is dedicated to the cheela, hyperintelligent slugs dwelling on a distant neutron star.”

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