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* to truly appreciate today’s title, you have hear it in your head in the voice of the Very Impressive Clergyman (the late Peter Cook) from The Princess Bride. [one of the best movies, and one of the most romantical too!]

This week — there is just so much. Everything I’ve read relates to Lincoln, Darwin, politics or Valentine’s Day. Naturally, I gravitate to the mush… although I do have a couple of book recommendations that are timely and come with an added benefit of being incredibly well-written. If you still need a Lincoln fix, check out Land of Lincoln by Andrew Ferguson. At times reading like a cross between Sarah Vowell & Tony Horowitz, definitely a compliment, Ferguson draws you into his search for Lincoln’s place in America’s historical memory. For you Darwin enthusiasts out there, hey he’s just cool as can be, you might find Monkey Girl by Edward Humes a fascinating read. Humes examines the place of evolution in the current educational system, through the lenses of a court case in Dover, PA.

As for the mush — OK, I love Valentine’s Day. For me, it usually ranks somewhere above every holiday except maybe Thanksgiving, and family birthdays. Why should it mean so much — a day to honor a saint of dubious authenticity, tailor-made to be commercially exploited? Simple — there should be a day to honor the second most primal of all emotions. Survival probably ranks a little higher — but everything else we do roots itself in love of something. Whether that something is power, greed, passion, altruism — is all comes to a base of love. Heck, using that logic survival itself is a love of life, a passion for continued extistence….. So maybe there needs to be a day where we throw flowers at our basic needs.

Gustav Flaubert who titillated Europe with Madame Bovary demonstrates the primacy of love far better than I in a letter to Louise Colet (from 1846):

    I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy.
    I want to gorge you with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die.
    I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports…
    When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them
    .

Wow! The very purple-ness of the prose underscores its urgency, its physicality. Flaubert bares what we coat in chocolate hearts and Hallmark cards πŸ™‚ I think we come closest to those “unspoken passions” in music. The girls were debating tonight what music, classical or jazz, would be the more romantic for our Valentine dinner. “Mommy, which should it be,” of course the question was coming — and what would I say? Hmmm….. Solomon-like wisdom and language appropriate for pre-teens. Well, I began, Chopin and Liszt are like liquid chocolate, while Coltrane and Monk are more like fizzy champagne — each stimulating a different sense. What could I say — classical seduces the brain and jazz everything else? And rock — watch or read Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments — music and passion, chapter and verse.

silly love songs: If Ever I would Leave You (from Camelot); At Last (oh the pain for Miss Etta, she definitely owns the song — but both Beyonce & Cyndi Lauper have awesome versions); Moondance (Van Morrison — a synesthete’s dream song); Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton — OK, I used to dream my then boyfriend would sing this song for me, yep, that’s too mushed out for words!!); Come to Me, Bend to Me (from Brigadoon); Hey There Delilah (the Plain White Tees); Someone to Come Home to (Animal Logic — oh, I wish they were still together!!); Sugar Magnolia (OK, a boyfriend did sing this one πŸ™‚ ); I Run to You (Lady Antebellum); You Must’ve Fallen (Ben Taylor — sounds way like his Daddy); Steal My Kisses (Ben Harper); Not the Only One (Bonnie Raitt); Waterloo (ABBA — any love song that can work in a reference to Napoleon has to get points); Dance with Me (Old ’97s); The Time of Times (Badly Drawn Boy); I Burn for You (Sting — there had to be at least one & talk about primal); I Will Find You (Clannad — nothing to do with Daniel Day Lewis, I promise); The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra); Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (the Police, although heretical to say, Shawn Colvin has an awesome cover!); Manic Monday (the Bangles — the “kissing Valentino” line just rocks!); Sunday Kind of Love (Renee Olstead); Many the Miles (Sara Barielles); I’ll Cover You (from Rent); and In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel — and a life-long crush on John Cusack was born).

I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world……” –> Lemony Snicket

Take care,
Aly

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