Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The mystery of... The White Tiger

I'm getting ready to move in about three weeks (because I'm buying a house; you'd know this if you friended me on Facebook), and I decided to go through my clothes and donate or throw away everything I don't want anymore.

Imagine my surprise when, digging through my closet, I found a shirt I didn't even remember owning. And not just any shirt. No this one is special. This one is... The White Tiger. (Note: whenever you see an ellipsis, pause dramatically so you can get the full effect of saying... The White Tiger.)

... The White Tiger

How did this shirt get into my closet? I don't know. I would remember it if I'd bought it. No one in my immediate family remembers it either. It's as if it crept into my closet on its own, stealthily, keeping to the shadows, so when I least expected it, it could spring out like... The White Tiger.

Of course, that's absurd. Even a shirt as awesome as... The White Tiger couldn't do that. (Or could it?) What I really think happened is that someone (maybe my Mom?) gave it to me years ago, and I, not recognizing its awesomeness at first glance, stuffed it in the back of the closet and forgot about it. And there it lurked, hidden in the shadows, imprisoned, lost to memory and even legend, until one day I delved too deep and released it, and it broke free like a Terror of the Ancient World, like a Balrog of Morgoth, like... The White Tiger.

My life hasn't been the same since I rediscovered this shirt. I wear it every day now. And I find myself moving with a new confidence. I stride through my day now with a look of fierce determination, as if I were a Big Cat prowling the rocky shore of a river, as if I were... The White Tiger.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Mack the Knife"

"Mack the Knife/Die Moritat von Mackie Messer"

Familiar version: Bobby Darin (1959)
Original version: Bertolt Brecht (1929)
Bonus version: Sting (c. 1995?)

I was taught from a young age to dislike Bobby Darin's American version of "Mack the Knife." See, my mother was German, and she grew up with the original version, "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer." And she absolutely hated the American version.

It's not hard to understand, really. Mackie Messer, according to the original German song, is a terrible person. He murders numerous rich men for their money, stabs a woman to death, burns down a building with seven children and an old man inside, and rapes an "underage widow," But nobody can prove anything.

Mack the Knife, on the other hand, kills three men or so, but he's a charming kind of guy -- the women line up to date him, not to be murdered by him. And the song is so lively and up-tempo. As my mom used to say, Bobby Darin took all the darkness and menace out of what was originally a very dark and menacing song. But it was a number one hit for him.

So here's Darin, Bertolt Brecht, and, just for the hell of it, Sting (in German).

Bobby Darin

Bertold Brecht

Sting. (No idea when it's from, but from Sting's apparent age I'd guess some time in the '90s.) I threw this in just for fun. It's in the style of the original, not the American version. Sting's German sounds pretty good to me, but that's pretty much what I sound like when I try to speak it, so maybe we both suck.

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I write about some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on occasional Saturdays.

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Thursday, December 01, 2011