Still on Extended Vacation; or, Of Oscar Levant and Mao Tse-Tung

Sun and fun. That’s me.

mao_cover.jpgWell, not quite. But I think I’ve discovered I don’t like blogging in the summer. Biking, reading, writing a book and getting hold of some choice exotic Brazillian music to listen to have all taken up my spare time. I passed page 300 of Mao: The Unknown Story, and have a long way to go on this epic. Mao was far worse a tyrant than you could imagine. Not the best example of historical writing, but the fascinating subject and the massive collection of facts and the mythbusting make it a page turner. The basic message of Mao’s life seems to be that if you don’t give a shit about anybody but yourself (to the tune of possibly 70 million sacrificed on your altar), you can make it to the top.

levant-amnesiac.jpgReading on the bus is a great way to polish off massive tomes like this, and I have plowed through several of this ilk over the last year and a half. Prior to the current read I enjoyed Memoirs of an Amnesiac, by the eccentric pianist and wit, Oscar Levant (it was the third and probably the most interesting of his three autobiographical books; detailing his nightmarish descent into drugs and mental institutions, when he wasn’t mingling with the rich and famous; lots of delicious namedropping about the kind of talents who, alas, no long exist). The year or so of waiting for this out-of-print title to show up at Half-Price Books finally paid off… Perhaps at some other juncture we should consider going into more detail about the life of this uniquely interesting man.

The tomato garden is pretty much kaput now, but the yield was good enough to keep us in organic deliciousness for the summer’s duration.

I’d been away from the blog so long that I had not even heard the news that I Can Has Cheeseburger was finally knocked off the number one spot of WordPress blogs—and by CNN.

I find that heartening.

-Evan G

5 Responses to Still on Extended Vacation; or, Of Oscar Levant and Mao Tse-Tung

  1. Just Some Guy says:


    I’ve been looking for a way to get into contact with you other than in a comment box. Please shoot me an email sometime. In the meantime, I’ll check back here on occasion.


  2. gravybread says:

    Could you give me a small hint about the nature of your communique? Do you come in peace and in goodwill? Etc. Then I can write you.

  3. Big Rocco says:

    Ahoy! Finally figured out how to peep over the “Great Fire Wall”…just checking in…trying to catch up…life here in Southern China is very cool…simply amazing…I almost picked up a copy, but wasn’t sure if I could get it through customs…landed with 200 lbs of luggage and not one hassle! Thanks for keeping my Sopping Flame alive…Big Rocco in China, Guangdong Province, Nanhai District, Foshan…As we say here, “He did some good…he did some bad.”…Who’d a thunk that one of things I would miss most leaving the US was Gravy Bread!

  4. Peace and Goodwill? Of course! I simply want to give you an update concerning a Music Blog.


  5. villabourani says:

    Hi, I love Oscar too, have just written a post on him in my blog:

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