Monthly Archives: June 2012

Satchmo Saved

I thought you dears would enjoy a poem by the dearly missed Ray Bradbury about the dearly missed Louis Armstrong. I found this on the blog The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong.
Satchmo Saved
By Ray Bradbury

They put Louis in a mask
Save him, Lord, they cried, your task
Is save Satchmo’s limbs and lips–
On his Buenos Aires trips
May his windpipe be protected!
Louis Armstrong genuflected,
Said: Now duckin’ ain’t my style,
But this great piano smile
Needs protectin’ so, instead,
Hang that wire-mask on my head;
Save me from the mad crowd’s sin,
Call the Saints and march it in!
So his grin was nicely caged
Mobs might pummel, love-enraged,
But that trumpet-playing mouth
Was protected, North and South
By a baseball catcher’s-mask.
Don’t, said Louis, please don’t ask
Why I sport this wire lid,
Why my munch mouth is hid;
Cause on other Rio trips,
Nice folks tried to steal my lips;
Mobs around, above, beneath,
Longed to ripoff these sweet teeth,
And I feared there might be some
Who might want an inch of gum–
All because those wild folks feel
What old Louis plays ain’t real,
Must be something in his jaw
Sails that Jazz beyond the Law!
So when Satchmo flies a plane,
Rio airport mobs, insane,
Rush to help me off the ship
Then with joy they tear and rip.
Watch out, Louis, no more lip!
In their seething lunge and grip
Louis yells: forget the stretcher!
Lend me mask of baseball-catcher,
Otherwise, no jump, no Jazz,
No mouth, no lip? No razzmatazz!
So with catcher’s mask in place
And a sweet smile on his face,
Louis runs the gauntlet through,
Blowing riffs both hot and blue,
Cuts a rug with quails and hips,
And, in midflight, laughs and quips,
“Grab my Jazz, but leave my lips!”

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The lunar cycles this year have been incredibly strong, have you noticed? Mordecai noticed (and thus I did, sharing a house as we do); his moods have been erratic, he’s had insomnia, and his hair has changed from perfectly coiffed to being uncharacteristically unruly. Clearly, I believe he has inherited some lycanthropy, it being a recessive gene in parts of our family, and it would not surprise me one bit if we were to witness my brother turning into a werewolf one night.

I have stepped up my venomous plant plantings because of this.

Mordecai’s possible lycanthropy brings me to today’s word.

Teratoid is an adjective meaning both abnormal in form or development; malformed and resembling a monster. It is also a noun, medically speaking, meaning of a pathological growth, exceedingly complex or highly organized.

Teratoid comes from the Ancient Greek τερας or teras, which means monster plus εἶδος  or eidos, which means form, likeness. (Terat + oid.)

Medical doctors might discuss tumors as teratoids or teratomas. This means that the tumor is abnormal and displays mutant and abnormal qualities.

Strictly speaking, if Mordecai is a lycanthrope, he would not be a teratoid human. He would be a werewolf, which, we all know, is not a monster but is in fact a human who is able to shape shift into a wolf-like creature. There is a difference, you know.

18th Century Etching of a "werewolf"


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