|From my FreeRad editorial, This & That, |
• Post-SOLOC 3, meeting the dreaded Dr. Diabolical Dialectical, purveyor of Polish, "Saddamite" Sciabarra, in the flesh! Well, it was every bit as wonderful as I expected, then some. It's a source of deep regret to me that Chris is wrong about some things, but, when not speaking Polish (my term for his academese) he makes a darn good case for his positions (see his response to me in this issue) and remains open at all times to counter-arguments posited in good faith.
Chris is a dynamo - scholar, journalist and historian rolled into one. I have never met anyone who could drive so fast and talk even faster, simultaneously and safely. This virtuoso performance, I gather, occurs routinely during his famed guided tours of Brooklyn, about which Chris has a parochial fervour almost as intense as his devotion to the Yankees. My memories of Brooklyn are of a bewildering succession of piers, parks, landmarks, sidewalks, mafia homes, the best pizzas and cheesecake I've ever tasted, staggeringly gigantic black men having loud debates at Junior’s Restaurant (makers of said cheesecake), veiled Muslim women & stockinged Jewish men - and most of the world's nationalities - peacefully going about their business ... and the Bee-Gees, to whose "Staying Alive" it is claimed I scandalously swivelled my hips along the Coney Island Boardwalk, where the Brothers Gibb were blaring out. Oh, and I mustn't forget the Greek Orthodox Church into which Dr. Chris ushered me, whose founder and first priest was ... his grandfather! Devout atheist though I am, I was solemnly moved by the beautiful music, the flickering candles, the eloquent icons ...
Then there was The Flood. (Forget Noah!) As it happens, October 7, the day of the aforementioned tour of Brooklyn, was the anniversary of Mario Lanza's death. It was that night that I reintroduced Chris - predominantly a jazz lover - to the Lanza voice. The results were beautiful, but nearly catastrophic. The available box and a half of tissues was nowhere near equal to the task of containing the torrent of tears that Magic Mario induced from Sentimental Sciabarra, and I feared at one point that Chris' Chihuahua would be drowned in the cascade. In the event, no lives were lost, and Chris had the musical ride of his life - to which my conducting histrionics must have added something, since he subsequently wrote on the SOLO Forum:
BTW, I had the great honor of listening to a Mario Lanza CD with Linz. I have always loved Lanza - from the time that my father first exposed us to him, in movies like "The Great Caruso." But there is simply no experience more powerful, more shattering, more intense, than listening to Lanza with Linz as your listening partner. He should come packaged with every Lanza CD. I was brought to tears - and laughter - as Linz provided his own virtual "liner notes" with each track. Awesome.
All in all, whatever our disagreements, Chris Sciabarra is my kind of human being - super-bright, passionate, prolific, committed, generous of spirit, on the side of reality, reason and freedom (most of the time!). Our time together was one of the high points of my life.