Tuesday, December 7, 2010


OK. I'm starting to worry now.

Not about the Ravens or whether it might snow this weekend or how cold it's been or whether Peggy will like the diamond necklace flannel pajamas I got her.

It's this psychic thing I seem to have going on.  It's getting worse. We talked about it before, when I reported on my weird predilection for thinking about people just before they cash in their chips.  It's to where Peggy will call upstairs, while reading the morning paper, "Honey, have you been thinking about Leslie Neilsen lately?  Because, he passed away."

And let the record state that I had not been thinking of the deadpan Airplane! star just before he entered his final approach.

But yesterday morning, while doing my morning chores, a song came into my mind, and there it stayed for most of the morning.  You may see it here on YouTube. It's from 1971.  A former country swing band leader named Tex Williams, who also was famous for his recording of "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette," lets loose on a song by Dick Feller, who also wrote lots of country hits such as "Lord, Mr Ford," "Eastbound and Down," and "Some Days are Diamonds (Some Days are Stones)."

The name of this song is "The Night Miss Nancy Ann's Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down."  It's catchy, witty, well-performed by Tex in his drawling bass. It's about a house of ill repute that catches fire, and how funny it was to see the "so-called elite caught out in the street with their pompous purity down."    I thought nothing of it when, after several hours of the words flying in my mind, it was replaced by "Ragg Mopp," about which we'll talk another day. 

A great line in the "Nancy Ann's" song is 

The grand parade of girls in gowns and half-clad gentlemen
Through the thick gray smoke that sweetly smelled like french perfume and gin...

and so imagine how my eyebrows shot skyward when they interrupted "Oprah" to talk about a huge fire in downtown Baltimore.  All the tv crews were there, but too late to see the Baltimore version of the grand parade.   You see, the fire downtown started in the Gayety Show World, and spread to the swanky Blue Mirrors saloon.  Gayety Show World is kind of a swanky-sounding name for a place where they sell girlie magazines and nekkid pictures and they have real friendly women working who just want to get to know you and the contents of your wallet a little better.  According to what an observer told one news crew, right before the flames blew out the front window and the smoke billowed out into the street, nekkid strippers were running out into the street trying to a) get dressed and b) escape the blaze.

The flames were hot and the smoke was thick
This all took place on Baltimore's famous Block, where generation after generation of Baltimore's young men, and the sailors who visit our port, have traditionally ventured in search of love and watered-down booze.  The damage to the city's adult entertainment industry is unknown at this time, but one thing is for certain: the sight of undressed bargirls running down Baltimore Street getting dressed might very well serve as a benchmark of coolness for a certain segment of our population. On that same street in 1814 was printed a copy of The Star-Spangled Banner that recently sold at auction for $550,000, and now look what goes on down there. 

So I wonder why I was thinking about "Ragg Mopp" and how that will all turn out.  Hmm.

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