Saturday, September 14, 2019
The Straw Hat Song (1955)
Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.
1) In this song, Desi Arnaz encourages us to laugh and sing instead of concentrating on our troubles. Is this an approach to life you could adopt? Or are you a worrier? I am a worrier. I am usually pretty happy, but that doesn't mean I'm not fixating on something.
2) Because Desi's public persona was carefree, people are often surprised to learn his early life was hard. In 1933, his wealthy family was targeted by Cuban revolutionaries. Their home was destroyed and were forced to flee the country. In Miami, they lived in a warehouse and 16-year-old Desi helped support the family by cleaning cages for the man who sold canaries outside a drugstore. Think about your friends and acquaintances. Whose life story turned out to be very different than you originally thought? My friend Joanna is so sophisticated, stylish and poised that I was surprised to learn of her painful romantic past. She's been divorced twice. That's part of why she decided to move to Chicago and start anew. I remember the night she told me about her marital history. I said I sometimes feel people judge me when they find out I got to this stage in my life without ever having been married. "How do you think I feel?" she asked. Reminds me of this from Facebook:
3) While still in his teens, Desi got his first job as an entertainer. As a boy in Cuba, he expected to be a lawyer, not a musician. He only began playing guitar because he noticed girls like musicians and he liked girls. Tell us about a hobby of yours, and what inspired you to pick it up. I'm an avid reader. When I was in first grade, I didn't enjoy reading in class. Boring! Then my grandfather introduced me to Beatle cards. Each pack contained 5 cards and a piece of pink gum. Grandpa pretended to care about the Beatles and encouraged me to read the back of the cards aloud to him. What a dear, smart man he was! And patient. He probably had to help me with every other word.
4) He discovered he was not only a talented musician but a natural leader. By the tender age of 19, he had organized The Desi Arnaz Orchestra and they were performing in Miami hotels. Have you ever been a boss? If so, did you enjoy it? Yes, I have been a boss. No, I didn't enjoy it. Since I have trouble with authority figures, I had a hard time being one.
5) When he was 23, he went to Hollywood to try his hand at movies and met a 28 year old actress named Lucille Ball. In Hollywood back in 1940, it was considered embarrassing for a woman to date a younger man. Their initial attraction was so powerful she quickly got over it. Do you think age matters when it comes to romance? It can. But I don't think five years is a big deal. A 15 or 20 years gap might be difficult to surmount.
6) Desi was the first person to call that famous redhead "Lucy." Throughout her entire life, friends, family and coworkers always referred to her as "Lucille," as she preferred. But Desi insisted on "Lucy." He said that name was his and his alone. Ironically it became the way the world referred to her. Do you have a pet name for anyone? I always refer to my oldest friend by her first and middle names.
7) Lucille and Desi named their son and daughter after themselves. Were you named after anyone? No.
8) Desi was the founding force behind Desilu. One of the first great production studios of the television age, Desilu grossed $15 million in 1957 (more than $135 million in today's dollars). He credited his success to his unconventional and creative approach to problems. Are you a good problem solver? In my work, yes. In my personal life, I'm less successful.
9) Random question: Who annoys you more, a know-it-all or an ignoramus? I'm not crazy about either of them. I suppose a know-it-all is worse because the ignoramus can't help it.