The Corner

Impromptus

Waxing Lyrical

Mike Love, one of the original Beach Boys, in Lima, Peru, 2005 (Pilar Olivares / Reuters)

Today, I have an Impromptus column, which begins with John Kelly, the late presidential chief of staff. (I don’t say that General Kelly has shuffled off this mortal coil, I mean that he is no longer chief of staff.) Trump presidential press secretaries have said very different things about him. In the course of this column — which is briefish — I touch on some grave issues, Syria being the gravest of all. There are also lighter matters — including a new milestone for Tiger Woods (a weighty issue in golf, to be sure).

Here on the Corner, I wanted to draw attention to an item on the light side. It involves group participation.

The latest episode of my Music for a While is here. In it, I play some Beach Boys — yes, some Beach Boys, and “Good Vibrations,” in particular (sung by the King’s Singers). How did this come about? I tweeted, “Quite possibly, my favorite lyric from any pop song is ‘I don’t know where, but she sends me there.’ It is borderline nonsensical — but so wonderful.” Roger Kimball — the great Roger Kimball, the editor of The New Criterion — replied, “Borderline, maybe, but the right side of the border! Wasn’t it Wallace Stevens who said that poetry resists the intelligence almost successfully?”

Yes. Stevens begins a poem — “Man Carrying Thing” — as follows: “The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully.”

My friend Rahul chimed in with a lyric of his own — I mean, a lyric he thought of: “Praise the grammar police, set me up with your niece.” That comes from “Transport Is Arranged,” a Pavement song.

Do you have a favorite lyric? One that is a little nonsensical — or a lot so — but wonderful or memorable nonetheless? Lemme know — jnordlinger@nationalreview.com.

Please do. And if you’d like to receive Impromptus by e-mail — links to new columns — let me know that, too.

Most Popular

Culture

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Theater of Trolls

As a boy, I used to watch a television show with a weekly gag titled “MasterJoke Theatre.” A pompous egghead smoked a pipe in a leather-bound chair in a richly appointed library, told a joke, and got a pie in the face for his trouble. What the Democrats launched on the Hill this week is their own variant, ... Read More
U.S.

A Defining Statement of Modern Conservatism

The greatest documents in American history never lose their ability to astonish. They deserve, and repay, careful study, and inevitably have contemporary resonances no matter how long ago they were written or uttered. There’s no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” belongs in the top ranks ... Read More
White House

The Russian Conspiracy That Won’t Die

The Mueller report accomplished nothing. Whether you thought that the two-year, $32 million investigation was warranted or not, the report promised to establish a factual record that both sides could accept, especially on the explosive charge that Donald Trump had conspired with the Russians to win the ... Read More