Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Personal Asides: Burt Natarus at Least Had a Better Idea…McCain’s Throttling of Free Speech Challenged…Pop Song Trivia: “Nature Boy.”



I miss Burt Natarus already. Since smoking has been illegal in public accommodations in Chicago for a year and a half and the Illinois House has approved a similar ban which the governor has promised to sign, there is rampant insanity in this city that sorely needs Burt’s level-headed, common-sense.

There are certain scenes in stage plays that require smoking. One is the great scene in “Streetcar Named Desire” where Stanley Kowaksi strides in with a can of beer and a glowing cigarette to challenge the phony old-world southern concepts of Blanche DuBois. Natarus had the brains to ask for an exemption for artistic purposes in the play but a City Council committee voted it down 4 to 2. A generation ago A. J. Liebling wrote in “Second City” that Chicago was still a bit like Fond du Lac, Wisconsin—unaware of the need for artistic allowances. Which Alderman Ed Smith ratified when he told the press, “It’s an adversity [sic] to people who come to se those plays and the stagehands.” Well, Alderman, it’s an adversity to see Chicago return to equal the rural confines thanks to dopes like you.

Add to this the fact that Doug Sohn, owner of “Hot Doug’s” my favorite hot dog joint, got whacked with a $250 ticket to serving his customers a haute dog containing foie-gras-and-duck sausage with truffle sauce.

What an adversity!

McCain’s “Free Speech.”

While I don’t think John McCain is going to make the nomination because of his role in the immigration mess, he certainly shouldn’t due to his authorship of McCain-Feingold…which was spawned during one of the Senator’s anti-Bush periods where he wanted to punish the president for trouncing him in 2000. Still being considered by the Supreme Court is “The Federal Election Commission vs. Wisconsin Right-to-Life” where even aborton rights supporters are pulling for Wisconsin RTL to win.

That’s because a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Wisconsin could end the “blackout” where advocacy groups are forbidden to run issue ads. Of course President Bush should be equally condemned for signing the measure—hoping the Court would rule it unconstitutional. Restricting grass roots lobbying will silence core political speech that is mandatory for the proper functioning of our government…as the rise of 527s which are being utilized 23 months in advance of the next presidential election demonstrates.

“Nature Boy.”

Twenty years before the hippie generation…in 1948…a singer with long hair and a beard vaguely reminiscent of Renaissance portraits of Christ…produced a song “Nature Boy.” With no search engines, see if you can answer these questions about this top-rated song.

1. Who was the composer?
2. Who recorded it—which became a hit?
3. Give us the first line beginning: “There was a boy…a very ____ _____ boy.”
4. “They say he wandered very far ____ _______ and ______.”
5. “And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me.”
6. What did he say? It starts: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is…”

A perfect score without search engines gets you a free cup of coffee from me at the “Windy City.”


  1. 1- No idea as to composer.
    2- Nat King Cole recorded it, I think.
    3- "--a very strange enchanted boy--"
    4-"wandered very far over land and sea-"
    5/6- "-is to love, and be loved in return."

  2. The composer was Eden Abhez, artist Nat King Cole and Nature Geezer is correct on 3-6. I have the 78 so I didn't have to Google.