March 2, 2013

"There’s something very sensuous about it — overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."

There. I've given you another sentence from "The Great Gatsby." I'm doing it now because over there in the "Whenever I think of Indianapolis" post, sydney said "Quick, do a Gatsby post so betamax has an outlet for his literary yearnings." If that makes sense to you, you must be a regular in these "Gatsby" project posts, and you know betamax3000 haunts the comments threads in his distinctly freaky style, which he's resorted to applying to the old "One Day at a Time" TV show in lieu of "The Great Gatsby."

Speaking of Indianapolis, I feel I need to infuse today's "Gatsby" sentence with a little meaning from the previous sentence. You should know that "it" refers to "New York on summer afternoons when every one’s away." That's New York City, of course, not the whole state. People in New York mean New York City when they say "New York." They call the state "New York State" if it's ever worth talking about. They probably never talk about Indianapolis (which probably means "Indiana City").

What kind of sensuous, overripe, funny fruits are falling into your hands... wherever you are when "every one's away"?

110 comments:

edutcher said...

Every woman has 2 of those overripe fruits that, if you're lucky, can fall into your hands all the time.

Lem said...

Lena Dunham probably never even saw a betamax...

just saying.

betamax3000 said...

Gatsby!!!!

After I run some errands I will return. Excitement!

sydney said...

New York City must have been a hell hole in the summer before air conditioning.

Darrell said...

After I run some errands

Is that errand pre-writing your schtick so that you can copy and paste one comment every couple of minutes making it look like you are quick-witted and clever?

Ann Althouse said...

"New York City must have been a hell hole in the summer before air conditioning."

Yeah, the sentence is from a passage in which the problem is no a/c. Some characters want to go to the movies and others want to just drive around, which seems to be a way of being out and catching some breeze.

Also, this sentence is very close to one of the favorite "Gatsby" project sentences, the one known for short as "hot whips of panic."

There's another great sentence nearby that I'm itching to use, but that will have to wait until another day.

Ann Althouse said...

Darrell, why are you not smoking 2 cigarettes? For the love of Daisy, you could be the man on the corner smoking 2 cigarettes.

Darrell said...

I can't Ms. Ann. The big movies around Fiftieth Street are about to start and there's no time to wait for Daisy. And cigarettes are so expensive these days with those oppressive taxes and all.

wyo sis said...

"Funny fruits" could not be breasts.

sydney said...

People in New York mean New York City when they say "New York."

Also, other people around the country and around the world. They forget about that very huge state which is home to the city. True story: When I was a young woman, my husband took me to Ireland as a first anniversary present. Our rental car broke down in a deserted area next to some railroad tracks. My husband left me with the car while he went across the street to try to find a phone in a little business building. I had gotten out of the car to stretch my legs and soon found myself surrounded by six or eight young Irish men. They asked me about the car, were looking inside it, looking it over. I started to feel a little vulnerable. Then they asked where I was from. At the time, we were living in Syracuse, New York, so I said "New York." They collectively jumped back about a foot and said, "New York?! They shoot people there." And they walked away.

betamax3000 said...

RE: Darrell - "Is that errand pre-writing your schtick so that you can copy and paste one comment every couple of minutes making it look like you are quick-witted and clever?

Sometimes errands are just that: errands.

Saturday morning, last day of big sale at our local drugstore. Went to buy Essentials, Almost-Essentials, and Other Stuff.

Essentials:
toilet paper.
soap (bar and dish)
toothpaste (2-for-1 sale)
pharmaceuticals (I'm sure you can add a snark about this)
anything my wife says is needed.

Almost-Essentials:
coffee (although I could argue "Essential" on many a morning)

Other Stuff:
almonds
cat toy (actually a dog toy by name but I figured the cats would wrestle it sufficiently, thus: cat toy).

Happy that I remembered to use the chain's 'charity' card: a small percentage of the sale goes to a charity of your choice (from a pre-determined list). Good thing.

As for "pre-writing": I'm not that patient. Write something, post. See where it leads, write something else, post. Repeat intermittently as time permits.

Pre-writing would probably help me edit out the various duds (although I understand you no doubt include all in that category -- blue cars / red cars), false-starts, typos, and the occasional step too far. I would also no doubt second-guess everything and freeze in inaction (although I also understand that you would likely find this preferable, too).

Still, I see progress. Last time around you accused me of copy-and-pasting someone else's writing (before telling me to Fuck Off and passive-agressively calling out to Ann to delete me to show me a lesson); now at least you think I am copy-and-pasting my own writing.

"Quick-witted and clever" or not, it IS my writing, in real time, duds included.

Darrell said...

calling out to Ann to delete me to show me a lesson

Because your comments were off-topic and disruptive, and the thread was very active and interesting until you started to drop your turds, playing a fool experiencing space/time distortion or a psychotic break. It fit her definition of bad faith that appears ahead of the comment box. Your comments on "One Day At A Time" and the Gatsby threads don't.
See the difference? Besides, I was tring to flirt with the wonderful Michelle Dulak Thomson when you re-started your schtick. Gatsby would have pulled a piece. Daisy would have made him pull the trigger.

edutcher said...

sydney said...

New York City must have been a hell hole in the summer before air conditioning.

Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, and points south are where it gets ghastly.

Gotham can be sticky at times, but not with the frequency of the City Where All the Brother Love Each Other.

wyo sis said...

"Funny fruits" could not be breasts.

There are always buttocks - big sisters to the breasts, as one poet said.

Lem said...

Is that errand pre-writing your schtick so that you can copy and paste one comment every couple of minutes making it look like you are quick-witted and clever?

Darrell for president!!

Ann Althouse said...

betamax has free rein around here. If you don't like him, skip his posts. I like him.

Darrell said...

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6329595&postID=1680195305787796856

Here's the thread so everyone can judge for themselves. Those not listening from beneath the floor, of course.

Ann Althouse said...

"Besides, I was tring to flirt with the wonderful Michelle Dulak Thomson when you re-started your schtick."

Do you realize that commenters using a thread to go back and forth flirting with each other is something that I've said I don't like? There has been a problem of certain commenters going back and forth as if they are IM'ing.

betamax3000 said...

"There’s something very sensuous about it — overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."

When I try to connect "sensuous" and "funny fruit" I keep coming back to "banana."

betamax3000 said...

I'm thinking by "funny" Fitzgerald is meaning "odd" or out-of-place. I have no idea how glutted the US Twenties were with exotic fruit, but I imagine kiwis and avocados, say, might be funny fruit to Fitzgerald.

betamax3000 said...

You're walking down a deserted street in overheated NYC and kiwis and avocados are hovering above you, threatening to fall.

Maybe Josephine Baker is on a cloud above you, dancing in her banana skirt: you keep your hands out of your pocket in case one should inadvertently shake loose and plummet towards you. That would be a great banana to catch.

betamax3000 said...

From the ever-reliable Wikipedia:
"She (Josephine Baker) then headed to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, performing at the Plantation Club and in the chorus of the groundbreaking and hugely successful Broadway revues Shuffle Along (1921) with Adelaide Hall [11] and The Chocolate Dandies (1924). She performed as the last dancer in a chorus line, a position where the dancer traditionally performed in a comic manner, as if she were unable to remember the dance, until the encore, at which point she would not only perform it correctly but with additional complexity. Baker was then billed as "the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville".[3]

betamax3000 said...

The timing works. Perhaps Fitzgerald was fantasizing about being in an empty NYC on a hot summer day as Josephine Baker, shimmying and shimmering in the sky, dropped fruit to his waiting hands.

betamax3000 said...

Of course, the idea of funny fruit falling into one's hands unbidden could also be a set-up for the slapstick of the era. You are catching funny fruit, one after another, trying to fit them into your pockets before the next one drops, the pockets jeep bulging and bulging and the fruit keeps on coming, your pockets are so full you cannot see the banana peel on the ground right before you....

betamax3000 said...

Or maybe it becomes both: at the very thought of Josephine Baker the circumspect Fitzgerald found his pockets bulging with 'funny fruit'.

betamax3000 said...

He would sit at his desk, talking with an editor or some-such, all the while dreaming of Josephine and then: conversation over, excuse me if I don't see you to the door, I'm going to stay here behind my desk with my bulging pockets of funny fruit.

betamax3000 said...

"Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees, he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder, catch the falling bananas."

betamax3000 said...

Fitzgerald, staring at a theatre poster of Josephine Baker, pulling one banana after another through the fly in his trousers like a demented magician. One banana, two banana, three banana, four.

betamax3000 said...

I have know subliminally inserted the "Banana Splits" theme song into the thread. Hum along.

betamax3000 said...

"Sometimes, in my mind, I followed them to their apartments on the corners of hidden streets and the dancers dressed only in their banana skirts turned and smiled back at me before they faded through a door into warm darkness."

betamax3000 said...

"There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we drove away Tom was feeling the hot banana skirt of panic."

betamax3000 said...

Josephine Baker would've taken Gatsby's mind off of Daisy.

Daisy would never wear the banana skirt.

betamax3000 said...

I picture the Chip Ahoy animation from the "Three Mr. Mumbles" post, but with the addition of a banana-skirted Josephine Baker following after the magic floating tray.

Magic.

betamax3000 said...

The introduction of Josephine Baker into Gatsby's world would have certainly shaken that snow-globe.

betamax3000 said...

Daisy would become an embittered wallflower. All the orchids would now be going to 'the banana-girl'.

Horror.

betamax3000 said...

Ms. Baker would certainly free 'the banjo and the traps'.

betamax3000 said...

The novel would now be "bewitched to a dark gold."

betamax3000 said...

Daisy began to move again with the season; Ms. Baker would have the seasons moving to HER.

betamax3000 said...

"Every Friday five crates of kiwis and avocados arrived from a fruiterer in New York, every Monday these same kiwis and avocados left his back door atop a pyramid of banana skirts."

betamax3000 said...

"There was an overripe mystery about it, a hint of bananas up-stairs more beautiful and cool than other bananas..."

betamax3000 said...

(still have the 'Banana Splits' theme song in my head)

betamax3000 said...

"Four banana, three banana, two bananas, one
All bananas playing in the bright warm sun,
Flipping like a pancake, popping like a cork,
Fleagle, Bingo, Drooper and, Snork"

betamax3000 said...

The "popping cork" would no doubt be a requisite feature of Gatsby's parties.

The "flipping pancake" would inevitably be served in dark, crowded restaurants, along with little pig sausages and mashed potatoes and coffee.

betamax3000 said...

"All bananas playing in the bright warm sun", of course, would be Gatsby's overripe NYC day, with the bananas playing along Ms. Baker's hips in the "bright warm sun."

betamax3000 said...

Regarding Fleagle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork: three of them may have been the infamous Mr. Mumbles -- Fleagle, Drooper and Snork would be my best guess.

betamax3000 said...

Perhaps Ms. Baker called one of her dance moves "the Banana Splits".

This would have enthralled Fitzgerald to no end.

betamax3000 said...

"A breeze stirred the yellow haze of Josephine's banana skirt.

Daisy sat alone and unbidden in the corner, forlorn in her fur collar."

betamax3000 said...

Perhaps Fitzgerald could not conceive and animate a character of the likes of Ms. Baker.

Ms. Baker would shake a banana at him and declare "your skills as a writer are no match for me."

betamax3000 said...

Maybe Ms. baker left to Paris in part due to weak men like Gatsby.

A man needs to know when to act on a banana of opportunity.

betamax3000 said...

Daisy was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men, and drowsing asleep at dawn with the beads and chiffon of an evening dress tangled among dying orchids on the floor beside her bed.


On April 8, 1975, Baker starred in a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris, Joséphine à Bobino 1975, celebrating her 50 years in show business. The revue, financed by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, opened to rave reviews. Four days later, Baker was found lying peacefully in her bed surrounded by newspapers with glowing reviews of her performance.

betamax3000 said...

After the war, for her underground activity, Baker received the Croix de guerre and the Rosette de la Résistance, and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.

Fitzgerald could not conjure up a woman like this.

betamax3000 said...

Ann, in reference to a previous Gatsby sentence: "It almost feels as though we've seen this one already. I had to check to make sure it was new. It has that visual obscurity, that life slightly out of reach, that we feel we've seen so many times."

There is no visual obscurity in Ms. Baker. The bananas are a vibrant yellow. The dance moves are delineated.

Fitzgerald can describe the Charleston: Ms. Baker can dance it.

betamax3000 said...

Something I bypassed in the Wiki page:

"Josephine Baker became a muse for contemporary authors, painters, designers and sculptors, including Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, and Christian Dior.

My "Funny Fruits / Ms. baker in the Sky" whim now has solid footing.

betamax3000 said...

In later shows in Paris she was often accompanied on stage by her pet cheetah, Chiquita, who was adorned with a diamond collar. The cheetah frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians, pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles, and left superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably, and keeping in the corners.

betamax3000 said...

I realize it uncouth to repost something that I had just posted, but here goes:

Daisy was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men, and drowsing asleep at dawn with the beads and chiffon of an evening dress tangled among dying orchids on the floor beside her bed.


On April 8, 1975, Baker starred in a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris, Joséphine à Bobino 1975, celebrating her 50 years in show business. The revue, financed by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, opened to rave reviews. Four days later, Baker was found lying peacefully in her bed surrounded by newspapers with glowing reviews of her performance.

The juxtaposition really does something for me.

The light inconsequence of one life, the full vibrancy of another, contrasted by what is strewn about the bed.

I think I'll leave it at that for the night...

Craig said...

Nobody did overripe fruit like Christina Rossetti. Her Goblin Market hit the stands in 1862, just as the Americans were revving up their Civil War. Pre-Raphaelite poetry met Freud and became all the rage in the decade preceding the Jazz Age.

kentuckyliz said...

I re watched The Piano today, so funny fruits dangling has me thinking about Harvey Keitel's balls.

betamax3000 said...

Re: I're watched The Piano today, so funny fruits dangling has me thinking about Harvey Keitel's balls."

Were they more like kiwis or more like avocados?

betamax3000 said...

It would make a great faux-swear:

Triple-A truck guy: "You've got a flat tire and your spare is missing."

Despondent stranded driver: "Where in the name of Harvey Keitel's Balls am I going to find a tire at this time at night?"

Ewing!

betamax3000 said...

"Great Keitel's Balls, that sure is some tasty meringue!"

betamax3000 said...

"Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes."

"Great Keitel's Balls, what is wrong, man?"

betamax3000 said...

"Keitel's balls, spread about by the hundreds who had accepted their hospitality and so become authorities on their past, had increased in size all summer until he fell just short of being news."

betamax3000 said...

"The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the waste land, a sort of compact Main Street ministering to it, and contiguous only to Harvey Keitel's Balls."

betamax3000 said...

""When the melody rose, her voice broke up sweetly, following it, in a way contralto voices have, and each change tipped out a little of Harvey Keitel's Balls upon the air."

betamax3000 said...

""He lit Daisy’s cigarette from a trembling match, and sat down with her on a couch far across the room, where there was no light save what the gleaming floor bounced in from Harvey Keitel's luminescent Balls."

betamax3000 said...

"When we pulled out into the winter night and the real snow, our snow, began to stretch out beside us and twinkle against the windows, and the dim lights of small Wisconsin stations moved by, Harvey Keitel's Balls came suddenly into the air."

betamax3000 said...

"Even when the Harvey Keitel's Balls excited me most, even when I was most keenly aware of thier superiority to the bored, sprawling, swollen balls beyond the Ohio, with their interminable inquisitions which spared only the children and the very old — even then it had always for me a quality of distortion."

betamax3000 said...

"Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished Harvey Keitel's Balls."

betamax3000 said...

"The door that I pushed open, on the advice of an elevator boy, was marked 'The Harvey Keitel's Balls Holding Company,' and at first there didn’t seem to be any one inside."

betamax3000 said...

"A breeze stirred the gray haze of Harvey Keitel's Balls' fur collar."

betamax3000 said...

"Through this twilight universe Harvey Keitel's Balls began to move again with the season..."

betamax3000 said...

And - bringing it full circle:

"Great Keitel's Balls, that Josephine Baker can sure move those bananas."

betamax3000 said...

Great Keitel's Balls, insomnia sucks.

betamax3000 said...

Those Who Listen in the Walls can hear Harvey Keitel's Balls from miles away.

betamax3000 said...

Harvey Keitel's Balls can influence your actions without the need for Words.

"Live large," they say: "Let it all hang out."

Those Who Listen in the Walls know that Keitel's Balls often traffic in cliches.

betamax3000 said...

The Bus Driver Who Knows What You Are Thinking has Harvey Keitel's Balls. They are often necessary on night routes.

betamax3000 said...

Elevator Boy wished that Fitzgerald had just a bit of Harvey Keitel's Balls; Hemingway surely had them.

betamax3000 said...

Naked Ed Gein Robot cowered at the though of Harvey Keitel's Balls: there are just some things you do not wear when dancing in the Moonlight.

betamax3000 said...

Those who have rubbed Harvey Keitel's Balls have sworn that they have subsequently been given wishes from a genie.

betamax3000 said...

Only two wishes, though. It's how it works.

betamax3000 said...

One such person wished to never be hit by Lightning or eaten bya Shark.

So far, the wishes have stayed True.

Thank Harvey Keitel's Balls.

betamax3000 said...

Hanes and Fruit of the Loom have often sent Harvey Keitel test underwear to see if - finally - they have developed a pair that could contain his Balls.

To date, they have all been sent back as smoldering ashes and burnt elastic.

betamax3000 said...

Robert DeNiro once rubbed Harvey Keitel's Balls and made a wish: that is how he won his two Oscars.

betamax3000 said...

Meryl Streep won't leave Keitel alone. It's to the point where he has to ignore all her calls. If he happens to accidentally run into her at a party he stays at last one room away from the strangely warm palms of her hands.

Darrell said...

Do you realize that commenters using a thread to go back and forth flirting with each other is something that I've said I don't like?

It was only a figment of my imagination. Additionally, there is no evidence that she ever read what I wrote. So your required element of "back and forth" is missing. The jury must acquit on that alone.

betamax3000 said...

Daniel Day Lewis has Harvey Keitel's Balls on Speed-Dial.

betamax3000 said...

Scientologists in Hollywood have made attempts to kidnap Keitel soley to harnas the power of his Balls.

Tom Cruise is still short, however.

betamax3000 said...

"solely to harnass" -- Insomnia spelling.

betamax3000 said...

"harness". Yikes.

Maybe Harvey Keitel's Balls could help my typing.

betamax3000 said...

The Funny Fruit of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Extraordinary Talent of Josephine Baker.

The Unbridled Joy of the Banana Splits.

The Mysterious Magic of Harvey Keitel's Balls.

It is a Good World.

betamax3000 said...

If someone described Harvey Keitel's Balls as being as big as New York they would mean the City, not the State.

betamax3000 said...

Which would imply that Harvey Keitel's Balls would have Burroughs.

betamax3000 said...

If Harvey Keitel rode a burro my guess would be that some sort of rubbing occurred (provided there was no saddle), therefore: burro, you now have two wishes.

And that is how the world came to know Secretariat.

betamax3000 said...

To compensate for the overwhelming attraction of the power in Harvey Keitels's Balls his scrotum developed small quills like that of a porcupine. You didn't think that just walking up and rubbing them would be THAT easy, did you?

betamax3000 said...

When people describe Harvey Keitel as 'prickly' you now have a better understanding of what they mean.

betamax3000 said...

Sadly, when Harvey Keitel rubs his own balls there are no wishes to be granted: it is a Gift for Others.

betamax3000 said...

That is why DeNiro has two Oscars and Keitel does not.

betamax3000 said...

Often Harvey Keitel smooths a liberal daub of Brylcreem along his quills: it makes it much easier to walk comfortably.

Otherwise he would be in a state of constant agitation.

It wasn't just acting.

betamax3000 said...

During the filming of 'Taxi Driver' Keitel offered to let Jodie Foster rub his balls; she refused.

The next thing you know she has a stalker who shoots the President.

Never turn down an invitation to rub Harvey Keitel's Balls.

betamax3000 said...

Keitel has made two movies withe the Director Wayne Wang.

It works on a couple of levels.

betamax3000 said...

Over the last few years DeNiro has rubbed Keitel's balls repeatedly, to no avail: you don't get to have the same wishes twice.

He is going to have to earn another Oscar on his own this time.

betamax3000 said...

After "Reservoir Dogs" Quentin Tarantino rubbed his star Harvey Keitel's balls vigorously.

He has now won two Oscars.

For screenwriting.

He should've been more specific in the 'wishing' stage.

betamax3000 said...

Jodie Foster finally relented and rubbed Harvey Keitel's balls.

She won two Oscars and turned into a lesbian.

The Power of Harvey's Balls can have many ramifications.

betamax3000 said...

October 20, 1997 the actor Michael Douglas hit a golf ball that ruptured the testicle of another golfer.

On October 21 Harvey Keitel vowed to never go golfing with Michael Douglas.

betamax3000 said...

Gatsby's Balls had no Magical powers.The novel suffers for it. And for the lack of banana skirts.

betamax3000 said...

"Sometimes, in my mind, I followed them to their apartments on the corners of hidden streets,and they turned and smiled back at my Magical Balls before they faded through a door into warm darkness."

betamax3000 said...

"Sometimes a shadow moved against Gatsby's Balls, gave way to another shadow, an indefinite procession of shadows, that rubbed and pampered on an invisible glass."

betamax3000 said...

See: Gatsby's Balls do not have the same Power as Keitel's. Sometimes you can just tell.

betamax3000 said...

Josephine Baker's balls had more magic than Gatsby's, with or without a 'banana'.

betamax3000 said...

I would love Ann to retroactively add a "Harvey Keitel's Balls" tag to this post: once the expression becomes all the rage it will come in useful.

Ann Althouse said...

"It was only a figment of my imagination. Additionally, there is no evidence that she ever read what I wrote. So your required element of "back and forth" is missing. The jury must acquit on that alone."

Speaking of back and forth, there's a certain jauntiness to Harvey Keitel's balls.