Dada koan #19: you’re never too old to be hiding behind something

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Here’s a profound dada koan. It would be bad taste for me to call something I’d written profound but since this is a dada koan it means I grabbed all the phrases and words, readymade, from a candy box that has a notecard marked “Surrealism” scotch-taped to its lid. These candy boxes are easy to come by. Wait a couple weeks for Walgreen’s to have another $5 sale. Anyway, it’s the candy box that deserves any accolades for profundity.

WHITMAN’S SAMPLER BOX (blushing)

Aw c’mon, guys. Twarn’t nuffin.

Here’s the above flamingo-colored cut-up poem sailing on its blue-green rectangle in B&W:

you’re never too old to

be hiding behind something.

an overweight comedian

the Internet

three red lipsticks,

stop being a snowflake

falling onto tables

waiting

to  die first

Thanks very much for stopping by. Brotchie’s A Book of Surrealist Games has lots of inspiring word-play strategies by Tristan Tzara and other Dada experts.

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Unrelated Addendum #1:  Note to a wonderful composer/musician. My Insignia CD player is silent.  It has 9 buttons including 2 on/off switches on the sides. I’ve tried these buttons in all different configurations but nothing. Batteries are new and correctly placed. This happened last year too and when I brought it over to Best Buy, the blue shirts had it singing my Ultra Lounge CD– Teach me, Tiger, whoa whoa whoa– in two shakes of a dachshund’s tail. But that Best Buy is a Target now. Everything in Chicago is either a condo or a Target, by the way. Anyway, hoping to find a remedy to this problem soon so I can hear songs with titles like: The Hand That Feeds Me Could’ve Used a Little Salt (Troll Braille CD by Walker Evans).

Unrelated Addendum #2:  Wow, I’ve really put a lot of weight on recently. Wonder if something’s bothering me.

Unrelated Addendum #3:  Turns out I’ve formatted 300-plus pages completely, totally wrong. I guess you don’t tab over or count out 5 spaces to indent paragraphs anymore. What a mess.

Unrelated Addendum #4:  Lots of novels piling up in To Read stacks including several by Dawn Powell. Despite this fact, last night I stayed up to re-read her A Time To Be Born which is a roman a` clef about Clare Luce Booth (Amanda Keeler) and her newspaper magnate husband. The early description of her house–“the marble-floored, marble-benched foyer”– with its gargoyles and “urns of enormous chrysanthemums” is pretty great, as is, actually, the entire book. Here’s a sample bit that concerns a different character:

“She was thirty-two but she looked like a woman of forty so well-preserved she could pass for thirty-two.”

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The Whitman’s Sampler chocolates: what happened to Whitman’s moral imperative?

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Yesterday– and I guess it’s been a little while– I bought a half-price (thank you, Walgreens!) Whitman’s Sampler candy package.  In fact, I got two because Whitman’s Sampler chocolate sales don’t grow on trees .  Those auld cardboard cross-stitch boxes are sturdy and attractive. That fake homespun look is kickass.  I’m sticking my Micron pens and foo-foo Derwent drawing pencils in them just as soon as I can polish off four layers of chocolates.  Which should be momentarily.  My cat watches me chew candies with her permanent scowl.

But back to my initial point.

Jeez, I feel like Rip van Winkle here.

What the hell happened to you, oh Whitman’s Sampler? Where are your awful pink and green-coated Jordan Almonds?  Where are your dreaded Orange Creams?  Or were they Orange Whips?  Your Strawberry Whips/Creams were equally unpleasant, I recall.  But how wrong that all your sad bad candy should have gone the way of pterodactyls and dodos.  Did you guys hold some Whitman’s Sampler focus group that I missed?  A bunch of housewives got paid fifty bucks to mouth off on chocolate?  And I wasn’t one of them?

I think the Whitman’s Sampler suits have made a grave error.

Yes, nothing in this two-layer yellow box tastes totally terrible but nothing ascends to the heights of candy-ambrosia either.  Everything here is just sorta okey-doke average. (Got through one whole box so far.  For research purposes.)  The Molasses Chew is pretty good.  The chocolate-covered peanuts were fine.  To give Whitman’s its due.

But.

During the days of my idyllic childhood, a Whitman’s Sampler box was like a magician’s box, a jewelry box, a Pandora’s box.  It held vanilla caramels and chocolate caramels.  The vanilla caramel’s caramel gave off a light amber glow while the caramel inside a chocolate caramel was dark and snub-nosed-revolver-noir and mysterious. Both of those caramels were amazing. Now there is just one lousy caramel (per layer).  And it’s pretty lousy.  Forgettable-looking and tasting inside and out.  Neither “vanilla” nor “chocolate” but only regular regular regular blah.

When I was a tyker, a Whitman’s Sampler for dessert was a fancy treat.  After dinner we were allowed a chocolate from the box.  One chocolate.  There was a lot of pressure on your choice.  Nobody consulted candy charts in those days as that was considered cheating.  Or maybe I was pre-charts.  Still, everyone wanted a caramel or a truffle or something good.  You sure as hell didn’t want to screw up and get an Orange Cream!  Or a Strawberry Whip!  Or some other ghastly jelly-filled palate-horror.  It was a big deal.  The stakes were high for the precise reason that the caramels were so awesome and the lousy candy was so to-the-depths lousy.

So the Whitman’s Sampler folk were no doubt patting themselves on the back for getting rid of all of  their crappiest candies.  When actually they made a big freaking mistake.  Why?

You shouldn’t need to ask that.  Why is there evil in the world?  Why are there harsh winters instead of an endless spring?  Why do cats exist and not just dogs?  Why is Brigadoon such a stupid play?  For god’s sake.  Think about it.  Read: The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin.  Read: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.  Figure it out.

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