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A Devilish Song


Happy May Day (and I mean that in a non-Commie way, of course). (Do boys still ring the doorbell of a neighbor lady, leave some flowers, and run away?) My Impromptus today is headed “That old devil consequence, &c.” (Incidentally, some people have asked me about the symbol: which is an old-fashioned abbreviation of “et cetera.”) The opening item is about John Kerry. Elections have consequences, you see. Under a President Romney, someone like John Bolton would be SecState. Instead, it’s Kerry. A big, big consequence.

The line in the title is taken from a song in the 1940s musical Cabin in the Sky. Why this song isn’t better known, I’m not sure. It is amazingly clever and infectious. (An Arlen-Harburg creation, by the way.) I offer a link — to Eddie Anderson and Lena Horne, singing it.

Some years ago on the stage of a National Review cruise, I was talking with Mark Steyn about music. We got to the subject of jazz singers. I said, “Ella or Sarah?” (meaning Fitzgerald or Vaughan). He said, “Peggy” (meaning Lee). A couple years later, I put a similar question to Marilyn Horne, the great mezzo-soprano. She said, “Lena” — meaning Horne. They are no relation. Although they were friends, and Lena would say, “We’re sistahs under the skin.”

Mark Steyn and Marilyn Horne have much in common (though she is not with us politically). For one thing — one big thing — each has musicality out the ears. Mark writes, Horne sings — although Mark sings too, come to think of it.


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