epigram 03: the Parthenon of dance music

It's so good.

In 1977 disco angels looked down from above

and blessed us with Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”

Although it is true that accomplishments within the broad range of disco occupy varying degrees of tastefulness, we believe it’s a quantifiable, objective statement that “I Feel Love” is one of the best dance songs ever, perhaps the one that has been most influential in spawning covers as well as wave after throbbing wave of techno dance tunes.  It is the Parthenon of dance music.  It achieved a classical excellence judged on its own merits and also is flexible, adaptable and inspirational enough to have prompted a bevy of followers–some just pale imitations of the original, some inspired developments from it, some that just leave us scratching our collective head.

You be the judge: there’s the obvious homage of Blondie and Madonna, a sort of latter-day disco version by Curve, an offering from the pairing of Bronski Beat & Marc Almond (a duo that nearly makes our ’80s-loving head explode), a neo-disco version from Rhythm Masters, a robot version by New Deal, a special approach which could only come from the mind and throat of Klaus Nomi, one by the Oriental Night Fever project which has a cool eastern twist but is sooooooooooo slow, one by this dude we just don’t get, a fun falsettorama surprise from  Red Hot Chili Peppers, a noisy and bright version from the Blue Man Group and Venus Hum, a good straight-up version from this  band from Finland we’ve never heard of, a less-expected but still-good offering from this Canadian cellist, and while we’re at the strings why not a ukulele dude.

All of these covers were coughed up by a pretty quick (but admittedly awesomely funky) YouTube search by MoT‘s crack Digital Media Research team; no doubt dozens if not hundreds of other worthy covers are out there waiting to be discovered–or recorded in the first place.  All of them a testament to the richness of the precedent itself, and the richness of traditional idioms, whether they be built of marble or on top of a synthesized back beat.

epigram 2: on black granite in the kitchen


White, pink, beige or silver; just one to exclude:

Never choose black where you plan to fix food.

Black granite is a tough material.  In memorials or, maybe, CFO offices, yes.  Kitchens?  No.  White marble, yes (especially if you are fussy about pastry); pink formica, yes (if you can live up to it); other spotty granite, yes (if you are rollin in da scrilla); the beige family of Formica or Corian, oh I guess it’s practical (if you’re the rest of us); black granite: no, no, no.  It’s hard to keep clean and is not pretty or handsome at all, just kind of oppressive and creepy if you have to live with it, especially in the kitchen, where it will become an instant disaster if you so much as set a coffee spoon on it.  Really, really forget it if you have kids, unless you plan to keep them out of the kitchen until they leave for college.

Under only three conditions may you consider installing black granite in your kitchen: (1) you are bothered by having a mirror-less room that will not allow you to admire your reflection, (2) you have a house elf or other servant who will spend an hour after every use of the sink and/or range to clean up, or (3) you are a Grand Moff.

he prefers take-out, anyway

epigram 01: on men’s feet

These feet rule: only if your feet look as good as Constantine’s may you disregard this epigram (Capitoline Museum, Rome)

From head to toe, true gents are discreet,

And never neglect to cover their feet.

With the exception of those times that they are immediately engaged in aquatic activities, men’s feet should be covered at all times in public.  That is, completely, not partially, concealed.  Even under the best of conditions, those meatpegs men walk around on are pretty ugly; Taste demands their concealment from an innocent glance.  No thong sandal, scuff, Birkenstock nor definitely the dreaded flip flop can take the place of a nice  loafer, Oxford or boot.  Those vaguely sandally things may provide a modicum of protection to the wearer’s sole, but does not protect the rest of us from the vision of the foot itself.

For those men of the world who are not be persuaded that this service to humanity is worth the price of their personal comfort, we beg them to consider their own advancement in every arena of their existence, since clearly availing ourselves of their ego is the only trick that may work.  History and popular culture are full of examples of the men who have and continue to run the world, and they do it in full-on footwear. Behold:

Without his fine boots, Napoleon would have caught frostbite crossing the Alps.

Without cleated sneaks, David Beckham would have had a Tinfoil Foot at best.

Pres. Obama’s shoes tell us that even when he puts his feet up, he’s still a hardworking guy just like the rest of us.

Would the ladies think that Don looks Draperesque in flip flops?

Action heroes depend on proper equipment, down to their toes, to execute their proper action.

Yo-Yo Ma could never have tapped his toe to the top of the charts as the World’s Favorite Cellist if it was just his big piggy slapping out the tempo.

What kind of a figure would Professor Snape cut in a pair of Keen slip-ons?

Colin Firth has been nominated for dozens and dozens of acting awards and scooped up an impressive number of them, always wearing shoes.  How many Oscars, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Build Awards and BAFTAs do you have?

The efforts of Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to spread European Modernist architecture all over the globe were greatly enhanced by their footwear (bonus points for the spats, Mies).

“One small step . . .”  Neil Armstrong wouldn’t have been able to moonwalk without his footgear.

And neither would this guy.

Clearly, shoes are a key to the success of all these icons from entertainment to law enforcement, from the performing arts and sports, politics and lady killers.  What do they all have in common, aside from performing with general awesomeness?  One word: shoes.  Few men can get away without them–although, to be fair, we should note the exceptions.  So, unless you’re this guy:

or this guy:

or this guy:

don’t go unshod!  But you don’t have to take our word for it.  This guy has been telling you about proper footwear for ages:

Be a good neighbor, wear your shoes.