April 20, 2010

most of us are quite pleased
with the same old song
and all of a sudden i'm relatively sane
with everything to lose and nothing to gain
or something like that

Miraslav Tichy, untitled, unknown

* From Harper's May 2010:

-- Percentage of Americans who support allowing 'homosexuals' to serve in the military: 59

-- Percentage who support allowing 'gay men and lesbians' to serve: 70

-- Number of online subscribers to Newsday three months after the publication imposed a $5-per-week paywall: 35

-- Number of grammatical errors found by a retired high school teacher in a single issue of The Miami Herald in January: 133

-- Man-hours it took to build an entire stage from Godiva chocolate for a February episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show: 1,400

-- Minutes it took the audience to break it apart and take it home with them: 30

-- Projected change this year in the garbage collection revenue of Berkeley, CAlifornia, due to increased recycling: -$1,500,000

* Interesting 2006 article on Tiny Tim. excerpt:

New York Times critic Albert Goldman described Tiny as a 'pop dybbuk' - a wandering spirit inhabited by the ghosts of pop culture past, present and future - while a critic in the Wall Street Journal's weekly National Observer magazine wrote:

'He sounds alternately like Eleanor Roosevelt, Yma Sumac and Vera Lynn. He looks like Sir Alec Guinness as Fagin, Joan Baez after a week without sleep, Margaret Hamilton as the wicked witch in the Wizard Of Oz, and the gaunt mummy of Pharoah Seti the First.'

There was certainly something unearthly about him. He claimed to subsist on a diet of wheat germ, apples, pumpkin seeds and honey. But no one ever knew for sure because nobody (not even his closest confidants) ever saw Tiny Tim eat or drink in public. A devoutly religious man, who lived his life according to the tenets of the New Testament and peppered his speech with thanks to the Lord, he was fey and effeminate, spoke in a courtly manner and addressed everybody as 'Mister' or 'Miss'.
His first paying gig was in the basement of Hubert's Museum, a 42nd Street institution that housed a flea circus and freak show. He was billed as 'The Human Canary'. He finally started to find acceptance of sorts among the music freaks who swarmed around the Greenwich Village cafe scene. At Café Wha?, he palled around with a young Bob Dylan. He also became friendly with Lenny Bruce - a joint gig was advertised with the slogan, 'Lenny Bruce speaks for profit, Tiny Tim sings for love' - and appeared in films by underground film-maker Jack Smith. At a lesbian club called Page Three, he was billed as 'The Answer To The Beatles!'.

All this activity led Tiny to acquire a reputation as 'the court jester of the underground'. He was invited to perform at private parties in Manhattan for the boho rock set, once serenading a wide-eyed Mick Jagger with a version of 'Time is on My Side', with tick-tock sound effects between each line.
Through all the ups and downs, Tiny's passion for performing continued undimmed, his perseverance steadfast. But, more pertinently, he was irrevocably wed to his fantasy world to the very end.

'My greatest unfulfilled ambition,' Tiny told Playboy back in 1970, 'is to be one of the astronauts or even the first singer on the Moon. But most of all, I'd love to see Christ come back to crush the spirit of hate and make men put down their guns. I'd also like just one more hit single.'

* "Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you're doing worse than anyone else in the whole world." -- Miraslav Tichy, on the quality of the pictures he took with his homemade cameras.


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