Saturday, September 28, 2013

Who do you represent?

On the way to work this morning I heard the radio host ask a question of the interviewee, "Who do you represent?" I don't know what the answer was because in my head (that scary place, again) I heard "We represent the Lullaby League, the Lullaby League...", and then "We represent the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild.... which took me right to Munchkin Land.
I started thinking about The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 Judy Garland movie version) and thought about how pervasive it has become in our culture. For example, when our dog Mandy sticks to me like glue and when  the ladies refer to something I should do they often add "and your little dog, too" in that Wicked Witch of the West voice we all know and love.

There are other lines from that movie that I hear from time to time like "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" or "Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!" often with different subjects. "Follow the yellow brick road" is another great adaptable piece of advice.  "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" My personal favorite is this,
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain

I'd unravel any riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain

With the thoughts you'd be thinkin'
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain

Oh, I would tell you why
The ocean's near the shore
I could think of things I never thunk before
And then I'd sit and think some more

I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain

I saw two of the pikes carried by the Winkies (O-Ee-Yoh! Eoh-ho!" or something like that), the wicked witch's guards, be appraised for $15,000 each on Antiques Roadshow the other day. The flying monkeys scared the crap out of me when I was 5 and it was probably 10 years before I could watch that part again.

This year was the 75th anniversary of the movie and hopefully, there was a special celebration at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. It is Judy's (Francis Gumm) childhood home, and I am ashamed to say I have never been there. And then this evening what should I see?

At least there was no tornado.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Songs in the head

I knew it was going to be a strange day when I start out with Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer"  and a few minutes later the theme song from the George of the Jungle cartoon show.
DisneySites!! Clipart > Characters > George of the Jungle

What makes that happen? They weren't "ear worms" as I understand those. To me an ear worm can't be easily gotten rid of except to sing it to someone and thereby passing it on.

And then there are the misheard lyrics. Most are pretty well known like Hendrix "'scuse me while I kiss this guy" or CCR's "there's a bathroom on the right". There are more obscure ones like the Association's "Windy". The real lyric is "Who's sweepin' down to capture a moment" but sometimes heard as, " Who's creepin' out to capture a Mormon."

Or The Allman Brothers "Whippin Post" heard as "Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel, Like I been tied to the fishin' pole".

David Bowie's Space Oddity, "And the papers want to know who shot you where." " Clown control to Mao Tse Tung".

Fleetwood Mac's Landslide, "I took my love, and I took it down", or was it " I took my love and I milked a cow". Or Bill Clinton's favorite, "Don't stop thinkin' about tomorrow" to "Don't stop thinkin' about your mama."

Back to Simon and Garfunkel. "And here's to you Mrs. Robinson, She's a slut, that's more than you should know."

There must be hundreds or thousands of these that are heard by everyone. After all it is better to make something up than just mumble your way through lyrics you just don't know. And what about all the foreign languages? They must have these, too!  Imagine a group like Led Zeppelin writing lyrics in Gaelic or Swahili.

Or maybe the Three Stooges "Swingin' The Alphabet".  Just a musical interlude for your listening pleasure. Really!

Yes, it's true I sometimes slip back into something less mature and childish than most people are used to seeing, but even I enjoy a good fart joke now and then. I am not always the worldly intellectual scholar that you see before you (Don't read that with a mouthful of coffee...Ooops! Too late!). Maybe I'll pass for normal by the weekend.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer slowly slips away

The ships on the big lake are starting to hug the shore, more than before, in anticipation of the North Wind. The slowly setting sun gleams on the forecastle (fo'c'sle) as the ship is upbound for Duluth. Pardon my alliteration. Must be reading too much poetry lately.
Another sign of impending winter is the hot rods and classic cars getting out for one last joy ride before the highway departments start salting the roads. One of the reps that calls on us at work brought his Cadillac up the shore a few days ago.
Speaking of work, I got to take a drive up the Gunflint Trail (one of the three or so paved roads in the county) to fix a minor problem and stopped on the way down to take a look at the change of colors.
In another week or so we will be at the peak of change.

Yesterday the Cooker and I took a stroll through the woods looking for any mushrooms that might have made themselves available after the recent rains. We found woods sculpture that we had left behind at another time. I call this "Bolt on a Stump" because it's a bolt on a stump. Clever, eh?
And then the Cooker left her implements in a pile on the trail while she went to peruse a wooded hillside for some fungal treasure. I call this still life "Basket and Walking Stick". Pretty clever again, don't you think?
We never did find any edibles, but did see some interesting 'shrooms like this on the butt of an old log. These are tiny as the log is only about 6" (15.24cm) in diameter. Cool colors complete the composition. Click on it to see the variety.
 Something this past week brought to mind a poem from T.S. Eliot called "Dry Salvages". It was the death of an old friend with whom I had reconnected with a few years ago and got to see at my college reunion a few months ago. There were a few lines toward the end of that poem that took me back to our college days.

For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fall Fair

It’s Fair time around much of North America. Some were earlier in the summer and some just finished.  In Minnesota the state fair is a big thing. I have been a few times, but it is far away and I have gotten just a little agoraphobic in my later years. I can handle being in the vicinity of large crowds, but when the crowd picks you up like a leaf on a river you just have to go along for the ride. I don’t like that part. In recent years I have opted for smaller venues. I am much more likely to attend the Hymers Fall Fair located west of Thunder Bay, Ontario in the village of (wait for it…) Hymers. 

 It is a quaint little agricultural fair with no midway or beer garden. There is some good food available as well as junk food, but no deep fried anything-on-a-stick.   
We usually go for the first of the two day fair. That is when they have the light horse events. The heavy horse events are the second day. It is fun to watch the kids do some amazing things on their trusty steeds. It is a fairly low key competition, but a good practice experience for those who want to go on to bigger and better things. 
It is the stuff of dreams for a lot of young girls. If young boys knew more about the girl/horse thing there would be a lot more boys out in the arena waiting for their future “buckle bunnies” to get old enough to date. 

One of my favorite displays is from the "Tired Iron Club". They find, salvage, and restore old engines of all sorts. Everything from pumps to chainsaws and generators, some of which are over a hundred years old. The noises the engines make are from the past and are often a bit comical by today's standards of mechanical sounds.

 They tend to put a smile on your face or cause you to think back and contemplate.

There are two stages for your entertainment and the bands are pretty good for the most part. About ten or fifteen years ago I could hear some very familiar instrumentals coming from the main stage. They were playing a bunch of songs from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Guess what? It WAS the Tijuana Brass sans Alpert. They were older than I remember (Gee, so am I), but damn they were good! Here is that stage with one of the local bands.

There is a dog show of sorts and there are the usual cows, pigs, chickens, geese, goats, sheep, ducks, etc., for everyone, but some would rather just eat.

We came home with Canadian maple syrup which is better even than our local home brew, homemade cookies, and three pairs of really soft handmade wool socks for really cheap! 

Don't forget your Passport!