Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's Forgotten Children

If you recall the old children's nursery rhyme, Monday's Child, you may or may not be aware that it's gone through some changes since it was written down in the 1800's (and likely, it's way older than that). Today's prevailing version of this verse is as follows:
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace;
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
However did you know, initially, it was Friday's child that was full of woe in the rhyme? It was only later that Wednesday and Friday flip-flopped their day fortunes (the fate's of Thursday and Saturday were also exchanged, but that takes us away from where I wish to go with the post). If you were born on a Wednesday, you have to feel a bit ripped off by this (BTW, if you don't know what day of the week you were born on, you can find out here). Wikipedia reports that the original fortune telling (by day of birth) for Friday likely reflected old traditional superstitions associated with back luck pertaining to Friday the 13th. At least for me, that explains the reason for the title of one of the better original Star Trek series episodes.  I wonder if my mother knew about this (its meaning, not the sci-fi TV show), or what she'd have felt about it, since both of her surviving children were born on Friday. As a kid, I recall her telling me that my father warned her in no uncertain terms, on Thursday the 12th, that she better NOT have his child the very next day. I like to think that my mother took that admonition as a dare. As one would have expected, things didn't quite work out with my dad's talking-to, now didn't it?. With 13 as my lucky number... and Friday being my favorite day of the week, I look at it as Mom winning that challenge.

I do prefer the current version of this poem with its loving and giving aspect for my fortune, though. With that in mind, I also get a kick from the themes that have come to be associated with the conventional last day of the work week within the blogosphere. One such distinction are the posts and series by various bloggers that promote Friday's Forgotten Books (Lesa's contributions and pattinase's series are prime example of this, and some of the best things I discovered last year). Some great books have come back to the forefront via this, so I look at the endeavor as heady and very good material for the mind. Literary works and the day named after the German word Freitag aren't the only thrust on the web, however. If reading is for the mind (warning: cliche alert!), music has to be that which touches one soul. Notwithstanding my poor attempt at grand meaning, music is well represented with the Old School Friday inter-tube thread (great examples can be found with Nordette and others). And variations on the theme can be found, if you look hard enough. So I thought for this day, the last Friday of January Twenty-Ten, I'd hope, in a small way, to resurrect one book, a film of course, and a couple more forgotten songs that have crept onto someone's known tech device (and lightened his pocket somewhat... shhh, don't tell my wife), with this post.

For some strange reason, the year 1970 has pulled at me recently, and my choices here will reflect that. For the book, I'll select James Dickey's first (and best known) novel, Deliverance. Though I read it only after seeing John Boorman's excellent film adaptation of the novel, it still managed to surprise and grip me with its poetic violence and power. Its tale of a outdoor weekend going down a doomed (and soon to be dammed) river, and how it goes harrowingly wrong for four city men in the wilderness, remains the stuff of adventure and nightmare. Although the film was beautifully and hauntingly lensed by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond for the film, the author's descriptions and elegiac prose within his novel will linger, I think, in the reader's mind perhaps a bit longer than the pictures.

Kelly's Heroes is an absolutely wonderful oddity of a film. How many World War II movies do you know that are also a crime caper? I dare say there are not many of them. This one is Clint Eastwood's second go around (and war picture) with director Brian G. Hutton (the fine and fun Where Eagle Dare being the first). The movie is pure entertainment (as is WED), with a dash of old hippie cool running through it because of Donald Sutherland's surfer mellow-like performance. Besides the hijinks plotting that's central to its story, the other unconventional facet that makes this film so engaging is how the film begins. It audaciously drops the audience right into the middle of a night time German armored convoy while our hero (Eastwood, of course, as Kelly) attempts to drive his jeep (along with his captive, kidnapped German colonel) out from among them. And all of this as the movie's theme song plays (and as the credits roll by). It is the curious but fitting, Burning Bridges, sung by the Mike Curb Congregation along with music by the famed Lalo Schifrin. As well, one could count it as one of the forgotten songs (it's on my iPod due to this movie). This brazen and totally unexpected beginning to a movie is one reason I (and my Monday teen) love to watch it:

Finally, although 1970 was the year many significant groups broke up (Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Dave Clark Five and others), a lot of great music was still being released (happily, disco had yet to arrive). Among them, were this pair of forgotten tunes. The first one might quality as a one-hit wonder in the U.S., but Indiana Wants Me proved to be a big best seller that year, and it was Motown Record's first crossover hit performed by a white artist (R. Dean Taylor). The second, Turn Back The Hands of Time, showcased Tyrone Davis' outstanding voice and the heartfelt delivery that he was known for by fans (unfortunately, he left this world far too soon, for many of us). Anyway, I hope you enjoy... and happy Friday.

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  1. "Turn Back The Hands of Time" ... ah, what a great way to welcome the weekend. I have fond memories of this song. When I was a child, it was a Sunday afternoon ritual with my folks that they would listen to all those classic Atlantic R&B records while reading the newspaper. Every time I hear this song it takes me back to that time...

  2. That is one great Sunday afternoon ritual, J.D. And it's one great R&B classic. Thanks for offering up that special memory here.

  3. Kelly's Heroes was one of my favorite war movies (along with Hell is for Heroes). Look at that cast. Along with Eastwood and Sutherlin it included Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and Carroll O'Connor. War was fun then.

  4. Welcome, Evan. And you're so right about that being quite a cast. Even Harry Dean Stanton and Gavin Macleod were there. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on this.

  5. Wow, cousin. I didn't know you were born on the 13th!

    My birthday is also a 13th (September, though it was a Thursday), and that number is also my lucky one and it's repeated my whole life (13 aunts/uncles from my mother side, 13 classmates in my minor classroom in highschool, and in my major in college, my street-address number, my group number in my first year in elementary school, and so on).

    This seriously has to be a joke.

  6. That is an eerie coincidence that we have that number in common, Poncho. Same here for 13 coming up throughout my life. It's also the number I always asked for on my sports uniforms. I always got it because most didn't want it (bad luck)--the only others that did seek it out were those wanting to signify the letter M (for the obvious reasons around my time). It's great to know that about you, cousin. Thanks for sharing.

  7. You are braver than I if you went back and read Deliverance after you saw the movie. It freaked me out so much, I think I screamed more loudly than Ned Beatty squealed. I still get goosechillypimples when I hear that banjo ditty.

    I love it that you and Poncho have the number 13 in common. I'm a couple days shy, born on the 11th.

  8. Given what happened to Ned's character, I was somewhat surprised myself. But, it's a memorable read.

    The 11th, huh? What day, PCN? Thanks, Elyse.

  9. This certainly brought back some memories. My Sundays were kind of like J.D.'s, only with football included.
    Kelly's Heroes was one of the best movies I had seen, especially with that cast....Deliverence...what a book and movie...and Turn Back Time...that's probably something we wish we could do sometimes.
    Thanks le0pard13, another great post.

  10. Those Sundays sound like a wonderful memory. Thank you very kindly, Moondancer.

  11. Tuesday's child is full of grace

    You see, the rhyme is prophetic.