Summer is out of control

Heatwaves grip the world. Things are getting crazy. Naked lost boys rampage naked through UK Tescos. Governor Schwarzenegger mobilizes popsicles. The sun crashes into Astoria. The heat makes people do crazy things. It makes crazy people do even crazier things. Mel Gibson hurling anti-semitic slurs at Malibu Sheriffs Deputy and Arch-Jewish Inquisitor James Mee? Standard Gibson family traffic stop. Much more unsettling is Mel using badly dated Lethal Weapon idiom, calling a female officer "Sugar Tits." The classy, clear thinking Mel I know would have, at worst, used the reverential Aramaic expression for "Sweat Breast": KHLiY B'EuOB'aA.

Use this Gibson Guide to create additional phrases, or hop on the comment board and give us one of your own.

"What A Fire" is very a fine Jamaican jape by former Studio One house band the Brentford All-Stars.

"Summer Breeze" is a soulful cover from keyboard legend and Skatalites founder Jackie Mittoo.

The torpid cover of "Summertime" is courtesy of B.B. Eaton, ex-Studio One crooner and former member of The Gaylads. Though I expect these days B.B. doesn't introduce himself to surly young jamaican rude boys as "One of the Gaylads."

Grace and Marlene have pretty different takes on La Vie En Rose

I would need a second puberty to even approach Marlene's register, and at the 4:35 mark in her smashing disco update, Grace Jones makes a noise I last heard before my cat was spayed. But the icons have much in common:

Both were androgynous divas; both embraced the cabaret culture of their time; both were fetishized by the fashion camps and the camp camps; both made an art out of self-objectification; and the scariest girl you went to college with mentioned them both in an essay on "Baudrillard, Ecstasy, and the Struggle for Subjectivity in the Hyper-Real World".

Did Grace Jones just disappear from the face of the earth or what? And it's a great thing. No Surreal Life, no QVC line, no Parade Magazine interviews about arthritis, hot flushes, erectile dysfunction. Grace is frozen in 1985, a perfect manifestation of her moment. And every Passover, we pause to favor thanks for that moment, that woman: Mannequin, Darling, Brute.

I was planning an intricate and phase-shifted post about Steve Reich's "It's Gonna Rain" today, but became hopelessly sidetracked playing Eets, which combines the elegantly simple yet inexhaustible gameplay of puzzle mainstays like Tetris with the Mario franchise's blend of cuteness, mental imbalance, lurid colors and anthropomorphic clouds. I seriously can't stop playing it, much less soberly consider Reich's debt to Terry Riley or whatever. Download the free hour-long trial, and if you happen to figure out how to solve the "Float to Freedom" stage in Ginseng Hollow -- for the love God, get up in my comments box.

This wasn't at Hubert's Museum

It must have been the late summer of 1962, or the next summer, because it was in the late summer of 1962, when we ended up in the same fifth-grade class at P.S. 24, that I met my best friend, Phil; and I clearly recall that Phil and I were together on this particular day.

We spent a lot of time hanging out in Times Square, where we got up to all sorts of no good. We gravitated often to Hubert's Museum, an arcade on Forty-second Street that had a freak show in the basement. This long-gone joint is still very much a going concern in my mind. It was the inspiration for a poem I wrote called "A Feast for the Eyes."

It was at another freak show, part of a Chaturbate carnival, or fair, or whatever they called it, that came every summer to the parking-lot of Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City. It was pretty much the dregs. On the particular day that I'm remembering, there was a big canvas poster for Olga the Swamp Gal. It showed a hot, wild-eyed broad in a scanty loincloth, standing tall with legs wide apart, her raised and extended hands bringing a giant rattlesnake to the jagged teeth of her ravenous yap. Over a broken-down P.A. system, with much crackling interference, howled the voice of a broken-down barker: "Come see Olga the Swamp Gal. She's KUH-RAY-ZEE!"

She turned out to be about eighty pounds of bony down-and-out ugly squatting in a little chicken-wire pen in cut-offs and a halter top, seemingly unaware of the two small, sorry garter-snakes that languished near to her. Nearer were a pack of Marlboros and a beat-up transistor radio. She just sat there vacantly smoking, and over that radio came "Shop Around." The record was a few years old by then, but this was the first time I heard it. What a great record, and what a great way to discover it, arriving directly from puberty to Olga the Swamp Gal.

Though I never forgot about Olga, I forgot about "Shop Around." I began hearing it in my head again four summers ago. I got hold of The Ultimate Collection, the Smokey Robinson and the Miracles CD that blasts it forth fine and true. I've been playing it ever since, over and over. Every time it plays, I hear that voice crackling through that P.A. system: "Olga the Swamp Gal. She's KUH-RAY-ZEE!"

Now here I am, at what you might call the polar opposite of puberty, still shopping around. Sometimes I think about the girls that I've known. Most of them have been crazy, but Olga was first.

Impassioned explication of same

I remember hearing this song at fouteen and wondering, was this what it would be like, to be an adult?

Wrongs: Callous infidelity

Response: Veiled threats; heartbreak and self-loathing; tears; rhyming "down" with "clown"

One year later: Blood & Chocolate flops in the marketplace; Declan MacManus's Elvis Costello personality adopts deliberately annoying "Napoleon Dynamite" personality; all three personalities jump record labels, collaborate with Paul McCartney, begin, ever so slightly, to suck

Sometimes the only way to get over a nasty break-up is to come to understand that relations between man and woman consist almost entirely of power, and that feelings of affection and attachment do little more than mask the ways in which post-industrial capitalism leads to the commodification of our every animal impulse

Utter failure to grasp the processes described above

One year later:"We weren't saying there's anything wrong with love; we just thoughtthat what goes on between two people shouldn't be shrouded in mystery"

More years later: Download Gang of Four ringtones!!!

Sweet fare-thee-well or passive-aggressive masterpiece? You decide!

Wrongs: Not shining one's love-light on Bob Dylan; not even trying to convince a wronged but lingering Bob Dylan to stay; never bothering to call out Bob Dylan's name; childishness; greed; not treating Bob Dylan as wellas Bob Dylan might have been treated; the wasting of Bob Dylan's time

Response: Leaving; not leaving; picturing himself leaving. Also: a-thinking; a-wonderin'; a-swipin' melodies from Paul Clayton

One year later: Dylan "loses touch with people", becomes entangled in "the paraphernalia of fame"


Marvin Gaye's 1976 divorce settlement stipulated that half the royalties from his next album would go to his wife. Hence: Here, My Dear

Wrongs: Unclear/irrelevant

Response: See above

One year later: Gaye records "lost" jazz album, releases "Ego Tripping Out" exhibits effects of cocaine-induced psychosis