When Frank Sinatra departed the planet, I read an article about him in which a number of jazz greats praised him in the highest terms. I found that surprising, given his popularity and political tendencies. But I could see what they meant. In particular, they singled out his gift for singing every word so that you could understand it without difficulty -- a la Morrissey, for the thirty-somethings out there -- while also stretching the vocal melody so that the natural stress of the words makes a neat counterpoint to the beats of the song. Listening to him sing his version of "Jingle Bells" just now, I realized how apt a description that is. He floats a phrase without ever letting it get muddy. He may not have been the best lover, but his voice sure is.
I know I've been giving the impression, what with the relative paucity of prose here of late and the fact that most of my entries have been personal of nature, that my mind has drifted from its usual course. But that other side of me is still at work behind the scenes. As I pulled into the Trader Joe's parking lot a few minutes ago I thought, "I should blog about Carl Schmitt." I'm not going to, at least not now, because I don't want to go there during the holiday season. Be aware, however, that I could and at the drop of a Ronald Reagan ten-cent piece.
In a sense, of course, the question of Sinatra's greatness and of Schmitt's value are on the same plane. They may be thirty seats apart, but it's the same flight.