Saturday, June 6, 2009

They think I'm Paper Mooning them...

I feel as though I was handed the moon and I don't know what to do with it.

Anne of Green Gables

I was watching the Gilmore Girls series this past week and I started pondering the way words are creatively changed -specifically how the word "paper moon" undergoes a transformation. If you've never watched the series or just don't remember, Rory says "They think I'm paper mooning them" to Lorelai when she is persuaded to return a shirt for a third time to the same store. I appreciate inter-textual references and the layered feeling of deftly handled language. This led me on a journey... first, I had to look up criticism about the series, to locate any references to the phrase. I found that some fans tried to watch the movie, Paper Moon, and were put off by the 1970's style filming, which is strange because it is set in the 1930s. If you clicked on the GG link above you may have read some offensive criticism about the show. I write "offensive" but only to those of you who are serious GG watchers. (I know I may be speaking only to myself here.)

I like the show in part because it nostalgically reminds me of the twenty or so years I lived and worked in a little village town in Coronado, California. I admit, I am also highly critical of the inconsistencies or false historical (story-wise not the anachronisms, which can be funny) references in plot, the way a character is changed by whim and perhaps discarded (Lane's first boyfriend), and the occasional (or frequent) bad acting of a couple (here unnamed) characters. But enough!! I've heard the collective sigh surging from the depths of the OWL family, and I'm well aware of my reader's lack of interest in the dead-put -another-nail-in-the- coffin series. (Just to let you know-it's still alive for me. You certainly can argue your points in the comment section and I will engage!)

After my search that lead to the linked above Chicago Tribune articles and another to their GG series blog, I knew it was time to watch Paper Moon. I had seen it in the 70s and remember trying to understand what the big deal was about...I was a teenager and couldn't fully appreciate the black and white style filming. Caution: as a mother and thereby conditioned to be responsible person, it's shocking to see a nine year old Tatum O'Neal (smoking and inhaling!) a cigarette.

In sum, the film is about a young motherless girl and her mother's former "boyfriend" (Ryan O'Neal) who end up taking a road trip together to deliver the girl to her conservative aunt-who strongly disapproved of her now dead 'floozy' sister. Along the trip, it turns out that the young girl is a protege in the art of scamming people out of their money. Consequently,"they think I'm paper mooning them" is a creative evolution of the meaning "they suspect I'm tricking them," in the Gilmore Girls series.

Paper Moon the movie (clips)

Ella Fitzgerald's lyrics to Paper Moon...

I never feel a thing is real
When I'm away from you
Out of your embrace
The world's a temporary parking place
A bubble for a minute
You smile, the bubble has a rainbow in it

Say, its only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Yes, it's only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Without your love
It's a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It's a melody played in a penny arcade

It's a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Naturally, I remembered this song and searched YouTube for the familiar Nat King Cole rendition but I realized that we have a father/daughter theme going here with Ryan and Tatum O'Neal. Why not keep it going with another father/daughter pair, Nat King and Natalie Cole, in honor of the approaching Father's Day?

The Dapper Dad:

The Lovely Lady:

The next phase of my research took a philosophical turn as I looked into the Persian mystic, Omar Khayyam's, Rubaiyat:

Ah, Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,

The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again;

How oft hereafter rising shall she look

Through this same Garden after me-in vain!

Paramahansa Yogananda writes in Autobiography of a Yogi that the Moon of Delight is God or one who is eternally free and that the Garden is earth or ordinary life. Hence, there is no more rebirth for this seer. (346) So I'm thinking about the paper moon as a symbol of the transient body except the song keeps plowing it way through my brain...another association:

What do you want? want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey! That's a pretty good idea! I'll give you the moon, Mary. ... Then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve see, and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of you hair ... am I talking too much?"(George)
"Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death?" (man on porch)

Nate again, this time "Fly me to the Moon"...

These far reaching (too?) associations could continue towards infinity (or at least Jupiter and Mars) so here, I must stop.

Enjoy swooning to the June moon...


  1. Cynthia honey, we're sittin' on the porch with the alcohol and ammunition, waitin' for you.... gid on over here, girl...we got some neighbors to wake up....

  2. Oh yes.... it's a wonderful life... doesn't get any better than that movie.

  3. Cynthia, this was an amazingly thought out piece of workand I enjoyed every little nuance. I think Natalie and Nat were two amazing artists. And to keep things positively lunar:ç

    “May God grant you always...A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”

    Have a great week end! From what I read above, I wonder if I should be arranging for bail instead!

  4. Paper Moon, Anne of Green Gables and Ella in one post – love it! Happy moon swooning.

  5. Cynthia, Some of the best 'moon' music ever.. hope you are enjoying the weekend, xv.

  6. Joyce and Dorthy, now ya gals needa settle down on this here backwater blog...put yer guns down and back away from the ammo. But it was right neighborly of ya ta invite me over. We could sit under da moon n have it shine on us- no I did not say moonshine, gals...get ur hear'n aids on! <3

    Fire Bryd, thanks for reading and letting me know you were here. It's a classic for a reason...though I do think Mary could speak a bit more directly...:-) ah...I'm a product of my times. <3

    Bogey, if only you knew how mild I would laugh even more at the bail reference...I appreciate your poetic blessing...thanks for sharing it with me. Also, thanks for reading my post so carefully...I couldn't proof it because of the internet connection-we have some trouble up here in the central mountains-it was going crazy! I lost the post in bits and pieces three times...there was a scene from It's a Wonderful life that disappeared...maybe I will add it again.

    I also wanted to post another photo...this was a family one of my mother and some friends behind a cutout figure...I may see if I can...or just save it for another time...sometimes you just have to cut your losses with this blog publication business...(on with the next!)I hope you also have a great weekend!

    Sarah Laurence, it's quite a curious combination, I know...but I'm teasingly diverse (or strange!) <3

    Vicki, glad you moon-swooned a bit with me! I hope you also have a lovely weekend. <3

  7. cynthia, to quote you, I moon swooned over this post....thanks for the many trips down a memory lane or three! I was also very impressed with the sheer amount of WORK you had gone to to put it together so thank you!

  8. Wow, what a post!

    I left you something at my place :)

  9. I've hopped on over here via Michelle's blog and really enjoyed your post...I love that Gilmore Girls's the mother daughter thing I think...and the cosy settings...will have to revisit the Paper Moon move as, like you, I watched it years ago and was ho hum about it...and Nat singing Fly Me To The Moon...just heavenly!

  10. good post, congrats..BTW, gr8 friend, thanks 4 passing by...Reg FH, he is a diehard fan of Ayn Rand and sticks to her line of thinking..cheers..

  11. This is the first tim I heard of Paper Moon, and what a lovely clip you found for us. I liked the last shot where the duo disappear in the ribbon of a road that just seems to go on and on and on. What state was this scene shot?

    Surprisingly, at times, black and white can be far more 'visual' than colour can ever be. I'll have to try and get hold of this movie.

    Thank you for a lovely post.

    Just curious, are there pictures of your time in the little village town of Coronado that you would be posting sometime?

    Black and White works the best with sparse landscapes.

  12. Lunatic here! I love all things moon, thank you, Cynthia. That poem was especially lovely, I thought.
    Also, thank you for your love and care yesterday.xx♥

  13. Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog. Your Mother, the story, so moving and important, she influences you and your life and leaves a loving legacy.
    Ella's lyrics ...are wonderful are they not?
    Sarah Lulu

  14. Merci for all the sweet comments Cynthia - I have been meaning to email you a note back and have not forgotten. Things have been just cookin' here at the teak topped desk and Black Street - which, as you know, is a very good thing. Keeps me anchored close to shore and prevents me from drifting out into deep, deep water - which is "always" a dangerous thing. Hope you & yours have a fantastic new week.

  15. I'm swooning at your fabulous post. Not so much this frickin full moon, though.

    Nat King Cole is the best! Thank you.

    Good dissertation energy headed in your direction! You go, girl!

  16. I've read this term before but simply glazed over it! Thank you for researching it and bringing it to life for me:) ((Huge Hugs))

  17. Er...yeah, I think "moon" and "shine" were the wrong two words to put together in a sentence to Joyce and Dorothy!!

  18. Wishing you a happy June, Cynthia. So many great songs about the moon. Moon River, Blue Moon. I watched 'Paper Moon' again, recently. Such terrific performances.
    Enjoy your week.

  19. Yes, impressive collection of thematic connections, well selected and presented for our enjoyment. With songs like these who needs a blue moon?

  20. Hi friends,
    I'm going to try to post this comment as blogger is sending me into cyberspace for the last two days...I love your clever comments and funny remarks! They "Fly me to the Moon" ( I can't help the punning around- V-day is over, I know, but for those enchanted by the dream of romantic's ever present...besides-it's a full moon!) Love to you all...

    btw-did you see how that directory service upstaged OWL's paper moon with an automatic post? (above)


  21. Enjoyed reading this - some great images too.

    Thanks for your comment on my Yukon mural post. I'm so glad you liked the photographs.

  22. funny! Friday we were after dark reaching my son's home. As we were going up the big hill where he lives, I saw the full moon. It had a sort of glaze over it and I told Hubby that it looked like it was made of onion skin paper!!! A Paper Moon, I said!

  23. what a lovely blog!! and i believe we have very similar hobbies too . it was a very good luck to me to find your blog today .

  24. Linda,thanks for the comment and appreciating all of my "work" but I have to tell you that the only work was the re-creating and re-locating the material after blogger dissolved it three times! (I think everything is back in order now...some strange glitch has also prevented me from leaving comment replies.) Love to you <3

    Thank you so much for your acknowledgement of my are celebrated in my heart for thinking of me. <3

    Sarah LouLou, thank you for reading about my mother's story. I hope that you visit are quite welcome. I enjoy your heartfelt posts too.<3

    Chubskulit, so kind of you to leave a comment! <3

    Susan, so glad to hear that your designing creative energy is going at high speed. It's a thrill...and necessary to pay the bills...oh unintended rhyme! Thank you for letting me know that you read my comments...I know that you are busy over at 29 Blackstreet. <3

    Thanks for reading about the moon and the Coles here...I do so need that energy you are sending. Thanks for the boost!! <3

    Marie Isabelle, and a huge hug back to you! Glad I could provide a bit of moon word use info...I love to solve word/phrase reference puzzles. <3

    good point as they are a wild pair. Thanks for the visit. <3

    Catherine, yes, you have some great songs there! I hope you also have a lovely and creative week...full of summer warmth and romance. <3

    Lakeviewer, maybe we need them 'once in a blue moon' speaking of moons and colors- I have seen a yellow moon here in Puerto large...and a moon with a halo like appearance. Thanks for your appreciation and happy travels! <3

  25. David, thanks for taking time to come over to read this post. I know that you are busy with all of your own writing and other artistic creations(and awarding). Your travel photos are also incredibly unique. Take care. <3

    Carol, how funny! I think that is the real meaning of paper moon...then the other understandings developed...imagine how we bloggers flow into each others lives and thoughts so often...even when we haven't read a post about many were writing about the moon this week. Take care ... love to you and your family. <3

  26. Caio, you are welcome to visit anytime. I went over to your blog to view your drawing/painting...such interesting work. That exercise with the eye...then another...then another was like an illusion...optical-I mean. I couldn't leave a comment for some I will try later. Thanks for letting me know that you were here. <3

  27. Thanks C 4 yr passing by..cheers

  28. Thanks for letting me visit! Congrats on the Post of the Day Award!

  29. "Ella Fitzgerald's lyrics to Paper Moon..." the words to those lyrics really got to me...I am crying now.

    Hope you are doing well. Sorry it has been awhile since I have visited. Lots going on..almost too much for me, I think.


  30. I feel as though I was handed the moon and I don't know what to do with it.
    That sounds amazing and awful at the same time.

  31. Thanks for writing down the Paper Moon lyrics by Ella Fitzgerald, I'd heard the song before but never really thought about the lyrics, they really are clever! I especially like 'The world's a temporary parking place'

  32. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?

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    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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