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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 2/21/21

Good morning! First, thank you Mark Shpall, for sending in the photo above. This is a scene from Little Shop of Horrors, when Seymour visits the dentist (who does an Elvis-like song about pain—played in the movie by Steve Martin). The example of his dental work is Mark Shpall, now head of school. Seymour, looking on in horror, is my favorite thespian. THE WISE MEN’S BOOK CLUB Ron Stern and I have been using the pandemic to host a book club through Stephen Wise Temple’s men’s club. As it has evolved, (a) you no longer have to be male, (b) you no longer have to be a member of the Temple, (c) you no longer need to be Jewish, and (d) heck, you needn’t even read the book! The only consistency in choosing the books is the inconsistency. How do we choose the books? Recommendations are solicited and then Ron and I argue between ourselves…and debate…and argue some more… We seek eclecticism. No single genre, diverse stories and perspectives. See if you can find any consistency. I highly recommend all of these books, all for different reasons. Some were NYT Best Books of the Year, some on the Man/Booker List, some won the National Book Award, and some are by Pulitzer Prize winning authors:

  • The Orientalist, by Tom Reiss

  • Apeirogon, by Colum McCann

  • The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson

  • An Officer and a Spy, by Robert Harris

  • The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride

  • War: How Conflict Shaped Us, by Margaret MacMillan

ROMANCE IN LOVE SONGS People have commented that they have learned a few things from these musings. I have to say that I’ve learned a lot from the responses. After I quoted a number of love songs from the American musical theatre canon, I was amazed with the number responses. Eric Swenson suggests the Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane tune, “One More Walk Around the Garden,” from the lesser-known Carmelina. Eric claims Lerner felt this was his favorite song (Lerner wrote the lyrics for Camelot, My Fair Lady, Gigi, Paint Your Wagon, and Brigadoon). Here is some of the lyric: “That old April yearning Once more is returning And I have a longing to wander That leaves may be falling But April is calling And the primroses beckon me yonder For one more walk around the garden One more stroll along the shore One more memory I can dream upon Until I dream no more…” Lisa Morgan notes Rodgers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine,” from Babes in Arms. I’ve always thought it an odd, almost disturbing, yet fun, lyric. Here is a bit of it: “My funny valentine Sweet comic valentine You make me smile with my heart Your looks are laughable Unphotographable Yet you’re my favorite work of art… …But don’t change a hair for me Not if you care for me Stay little valentine stay Each day is Valentines Day.” Then there is my comment that there is little in modern music that is romantic. Alan Rosenbach has proven me wrong with these excerpts from Nick Cave’s Ghosteen: “This world is beautiful Heald within its stars I keep it in my heart The stars are in your eyes I loved them right from the start A world so beautiful And I keep it In my heart…” “…Love’s like that you know It’s like a tidal flow And the past with its fierce undertow Won’t ever let us go Won’t ever let you go…” Lovingly, Glenn

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