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Monday, July 11, 2022

Query: can a fetus count as an HOV lane passenger?

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The flight home went perfectly. The plane was on time. What was most encouraging is that I navigated both airports, not at a speed faster than sound, but fast enough that Barbara had no complaints.

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New York City is doing well. There is a lot of construction. The City is very clean. Even the subways are spotless. The Marlins put us up at the midtown Hilton. The staff continuously was cleaning. Almost everyone we encountered was friendly, which has not always been the case in New York. Prices are no bargain. I drink Ice, which is $1.00 a bottle at Publix. It was $4.50 in the hotel’s sundry shop.


The prices at Birdland are a bargain. You can see a world class cabaret show for a $20.00 minimum per person. We did not eat this time but the food is way above average for a jazz club and the drinks are very ample and fairly priced.


The Met fans in New York are terrific and much nicer than the ones who come to the games in Miami. There are lots of kids and they stay for the whole game.


The Marlins did a great job. This was our third trip with them and by far the best. The staff could not have tried harder.

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Got in on time to see end of the Marlins’ 2 to 0 10th inning victory. It was a big win.

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I want to go back to the cabaret show we saw at @Birdland on Saturday night.


Before I get to my primary theme, I want to express my opinion that how a piece of music affects me, and I think most people, is in some non-trivial respects psychological. It is, in a sense, the same as a really good bottle of wine. One can have a bottle of wine on Monday and think it is phenomenal, then have the same bottle on Tuesday from the same case, stored exactly the same, and the wine is much inferior.


The same is true about music, so I understand that my feelings about a song Barbara Fasano sang is, to a great extent, entirely personal and subjective. Maybe if I hear her sing it again, I may feel entirely differently. Nonetheless, her rendition of “What’s The Use of Wonderin’" has been haunting me.


Keep in mind that Carousel was the second of four epic musicals where Richard Rogers wrote the music and Oscar Hammerstein wrote both the lyrics and the libretto. I think if you asked most people to name the songs in Carousel, you would hear “If I. Loved You,” ”You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and maybe one of the greatest numbers in all of American Musical Theatre, ”The Soloquey,” before anyone mentions "Wonderin’". Those of you who are not familiar with the show might be familiar with Sinatra’s great version of this number on his album, “The Concert Sinatra”.


In my opinion, after listening to Barbara Fasano sing this song, it has vaulted right up there with the other three great numbers in the show. It is no longer an also-ran.


To even begin to understand what I am trying to express, one has to be familiar with the plot of Carousel, which to summarize briefly is about a doomed-from-the-beginning love affair between Billy Bigelow, a ne’er do well carousel barker, and Julie Jordan, the quintessential naive young girl, totally inexperienced in matters of the heart. There is just no way there can be a happy ending.


This brief background is necessary to understand why Barbara Fasano’s rendition grabs every single nuance of Billy and Julie’s love affair. And, it is not that Barbara has not had unbelievable competition. Some of the greatest singers in the world, such as Barbara Cook, sang this song and did so marvelously.


Nonetheless, every once in a while, often out of nowhere, I have heard someone sing a song and said to myself, “It just cannot be sung better than that”. This is how I felt Saturday night when I heard Fasano sing it, and that is how I feel Sunday night as I write this. She got every single nuance of Julie’s tragic dilemma. There was nothing more to wring out of this beautiful song. She got it all.


Eric and Barbara do a new show every Saturday at 5:30 at Birdland. I do not think they often repeat a number. However, my hope is that this not be a “one and done” deal and that, to the extent Barbara does repeat songs, that this number be repeated again and again. If Brice could always sing “My Man”, Barbara Fasano can sing “What’s The Use of Wonderin'". In my mind, she now “owns” this song. No one I know will do it better.

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Go Ukraine, and vote as if your life depended upon it.

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