Some Interesting Things I Found on the Internet, October Edition

(Hector Achautla via Unsplash)

Thirteen ways of thinking about orange


• I must have watched The Godfather six or seven times since its initial release including seeing it in the theater during its opening weekend. I never paid any attention to the oranges in the film except for Brando scaring his grandson with them during his death scene. This just goes to show how inept I would be if I were a film critic or film scholar. I do not see the obvious. And these were the most perfect looking, orangey oranges ever seen in cinema, ever seen in the world. This fun piece reminds us about the oranges in The Godfather without bothering to give any sort of heavyweight interpretation about them except which ones are good to eat. I wish I could get my produce from the guy who sold Don Corleone two oranges. Only in movies does a greengrocer sell stuff that looks that good.


• I traveled to Nigeria and saw green oranges and thought they were unripe until I tasted them and found them just fine. Orange oranges are a little bit of a fake. Well, who knew that the fruit came first and then the name of the color? I did not. Of course, after naming the color, one wonders why carrots were not dubbed oranges and oranges called something else like juicy fruit or just juicies. Oh, yes, what about pumpkins? I guess they could have been called oranges too. I suppose that those oranges Europeans brought back to Europe were more orange than green. Oh well, I guess that is why I am not in charge of fixing the world.


• Orange is a wonderful color, useful for denoting everything from royalty to religion, from the incarcerated to the insightful.


• Jazz bassist Charles Mingus recorded “Song with Orange” in 1959. Originally written for a television program about a shallow woman who wants her composer boyfriend to write a song making a word rhyme with orange, the song starts out sounding sweet and bluesy, very Ellington-like, then it becomes a sort of avant-garde jump tune. Do not ask people to make rhymes with orange!


• Presidential elections do get stolen. (Ask the ghost of Richard Nixon about the shenanigans in Illinois when he lost to Kennedy in 1960). For Vladimir Putin and Russia (and for Donald Trump and his legion of supporters) the important question is, what happens when an election is not stolen. The Ukrainians mounted what became known as the Orange Revolution in 2004 to prevent Putin’s preferred candidate from winning. Putin answered with the Orange-and-Black counter-revolution of the Russian glories of World War II. (Remember Stalingrad, y’all!) Read this article about the Orange Revolution, and you will understand why Russia, against all common sense, invaded Ukraine this year with devastating results.


• Oranges are mostly good for you except if you have liver issues.


• Oranges are fine but do not eat too many, like four or five a day. You can wind up with diarrhea, acid reflux, cramping, and all sorts of stuff. Do not worry about scurvy!


• As a boy, I associated orange and black with the San Francisco Giants. But I was aware that they were the colors of Halloween. I wondered why Halloween took the colors of the San Francisco Giants. I thought it had something to do with honoring Willie Mays. It was thinking like this that convinced my oldest sister that I was a screwy kid.


• I know you have been told that Frank Sinatra is the greatest male pop singer in American history and that is probably true. But Nat “King” Cole is high in the pantheon and might be a close second. Here is Cole singing “Orange Colored Sky.” (A song with orange in it, yes?) Written in 1950 by Milton Delugg and Willie Stein, Cole recorded the same year with the Stan Kenton band. Many others have recorded this tune including Cole’s daughter, Natalie, (maybe because her dad did) and Lady Gaga (whose dad did not). But the most wacked-out version is Screaming Jay Hawkins’s rendition in 1958. I hear it was a big hit on the zombie ball circuit where James Brown meets Sun Ra meets Lawrence Welk.


• Now that I see how orange a Baltimore Oriole is, I guess Hoagy Carmichael’s 1942 “Baltimore Oriole” can be considered another song with orange in it, yes?


• I never associated orange with prison garb. I associated orange with orange soda and glazed donuts, my two favorite foods as a child. (Oh yes, I associated orange with the flames of the Human Torch, my favorite Fantastic Four character.) I have no idea what that means psychically for me or how traumatic the lack of orange soda and glazed donuts have been in my adult life. Ah, perhaps I might consider a neurosis with orange in it.


• I never heard of the Cock-of-the-Rock, a songbird, but that is one striking-looking animal.


• Osibisa was an African/Caribbean that came on the scene in 1969, around the same time as Santana. Santana was Latin rock, a term that band members hated; and Osibisa was Afro-rock, a term that band members might have hated. I certainly did. Osibisa was an African high-life band that, because it had horns, was meant to occupy a space beside Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Chicago, and Tower of Power. “Oranges” is from their debut album, a song definitely with orange in it, yes? A bonus, Joe Zawinul’s “Orange Lady” from 1971, Weather Report. (Miles Davis’s version is better, yes?)