Friday, March 09, 2007

Sharing the wisdom of our heritage

Travellers to the Old Country and other Brethren,

I caught this post on ex-Brit author Neil Gaiman’s blog this morning. I’d never read the Kipling poem before, The Land, but it is excellent and at the same time reminds me of the pavilion by the same name in Disney’s Epcot Center (there’s a personal story there that involves crème brouillet in a heroic role; perhaps another time...).

(Didn't read Neil's post, or The Land? Go now, but don't be long.)
The poem’s style, a ballad of quatrain couplets with an aura of peasantry is what I was going for (decades ago) in a poem of my own (that some of you have seen, but maybe not for a while) . It doesn't have the historical accuracy, but it's here: The Tale of Dunberton.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mailbag from Snakes...

I was well-heartened to receive several positive replies to my recent "Snakes in a Blog Post" message. A couple folks were put in mind of other verses from their own encounters, from Lynard Skynard's "That Smell" to Astrud Gilberto's "It Might As Well Be Spring"!

Others, in New York state, bemoaned that it isn't exactly spring there yet; sure enough, I checked and Yahoo! says the high for the Peak'n'Peek ski resort today was 13. Uh, brrrrrrrr.

And apparently Brad Pitt's character sings along to Keep on Loving You "in the midst of a hellish car chase in the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith. He just could not help himself." (Thanks, Linda.)

I haven’t seen that movie yet. I’m still PO’ed at Brad Pitt for breaking up with Jennifer Anniston. I like her, I knew a girl in high school with similar mannerisms, if not looks. But I’ll watch for this scene on the DVD. Curiously, I see Vince Vaughn is in this film, (he is/was Anniston’s boyfriend after the Pitt break up, in case you don’t follow these things; not that I do…)

I'm sure Spring, will, um, spring again for you all up north, but it's no wonder I live in Alabama these days. Of course, we have other challenges in these parts (this is where I need a photo of a bunch of pickups in the parking lot with 3-year-old “W” stickers on the back (although here around Huntsville you're not unlikely to see a car with a Jesus Fish on the back pulled up to a red light beside one with a Darwin Fish.) Yep, spring’ll be back for ya'all, but these folks are a fixture here….

Just warming up,
-- Chip

Snakes in a Blog Post

I know my hearing is actually getting worse as I age a bit, but there have been a number of songs (hang on: for a quirky effect, not that it has anything to do with anything, but try reading this first part with a valley-girl affectation; let’s try again:)

I know my hearing, is, actually – getting worse, but there have been, like, a number of saw-ungs that have been onthe rad-ee-o, and, like, for the first time ever, I’ve been able to understand the lyrics ?! (Okay enough of that.) This morning’s example of a great, previously missed snippet of lyric, like many, is about the angst of love:

“You played dead
But you never bled
Instead you lay still in the grass
All coiled up and hissin’”
That’s early 80’s classic rock – that’s what they’re calling it now – how can post-punk anything have become classic? What’s such a pointed metaphor doing in burner-rock? Anyway; that music all sounds so rich to me now; today’s tunes all sounds so, to steal from American Idol judge Randy Jackson’s most overused critique, “plucky”. There’s no anthemism, no backbeat, no continuum of reverb. Of course we would have called it banal (“baa” –naal”, two rhyming syllables, the first a sheep’s sound; (reading my crap sometimes, it’s like Americanism (from “The American President”, with Michael Douglas (parentheses nested deep enough for you yet?)) it’s advanced citizenship, you gotta want it bad)), and wouldn’t have been caught dead enjoying REO Speedwagon, or their midwestern compatriot band, Styx, or others of their ilk (e.g. Journey). But now, even the album title strikes me as great: “Hi Infidelity”.

I’ll drop the rest of the words down here, it gets a bit trite, but when delivered with that nasally-toned staccato voice (“foreverrrrr”) and all the contractions (hissin’, lovin’, wanna…) it’s a lot of fun, if not deep: missin-listen-hissin, now that’s a terrific triplet!

Keep On Loving You

You should've seen by the look in my eyes, baby
There was somethin missin
You should've known by the tone of my voice, maybe
But you didn't listen
You played dead
But you never bled
Instead you lay still in the grass
All coiled up and hissin
And though I know all about those men
Still I don't remember
Cause it was us baby, way before then
And we're still together
And I meant, every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever

And I'm gonna keep on lovin you
Cause it's the only thing I wanna do
I don't wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin you


And I meant every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever


Words & Music Kevin Cronin
©1980 Fate Music, all rights reserved

And I love the parentheticals in the lyric text (from the official website), just in case you didn’t know, but wished you did, exactly where the solo happens. It must be Spring. I’m feelin’ Spring, because it’s Monday morning and I’m pretty upbeat. There was still frost on my windshield this morning, but there’s daffodils and dandelions and bloomin’ forsythias. (Another cliché, for me from B.C., the comic strip: “There may be frost on the roof, baby, but…”)

Speaking of Spring… a number of things are conspiring to keep us close to home this Spring Break; close to our house in Alabama, that is, I still tend to stall at calling it home; I continue to feel like an ex-patriot here, yet there are local treasures… e.g. “first Sunday” at Garden Cove, the Seventh Day Adventist-run health food store that offers 10% off their already low prices every first Sunday of the month (Saturday is their Sabbath). Great produce. But I’ve drifted. I had thought to go see a Wonder, like the Grand Canyon and visit missed relatives in Arizona. But we are busy. I’m ditching the “rat race” metaphor for one I find more insidious: a “hamster wheel” – maybe I’ll get to say more about that another time, though. There’s soccer (reffing and playing). There’s airfare that is not as low as hoped. There’s college indecisions and college finances looming. Another rant that I’ll (mostly) forego for now: saving much money for college means that the FAFSA people will have one word for you when you look for financial aid: “fuggetaboutit”. Negative motivations everywhere you turn. (Visions of an Alabama native son –er, daughter, Helen Keller, violently twisting this way, then that to get away from what she cannot see.)

But hey, I’m feelin’ Spring: let the sun hit zenith, step outside, walk onto the grass and inhale!
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever,
-- Chip

Friday, March 02, 2007

Creativity to the People

“I said out loud: 'There it is, that's the moment we're reversing now. It was a mistake to believe that creativity was something you could delegate, no matter how much better they were than you, because it's an important human activity, like breathing, eating, walking, laughing, loving.'”

Dave Winer's insight after quoting a lady on "Empire of the Air"; she said there came a point soon after she started listening to radio when she realized she could stop practicing the piano, because she would now get her entertainment from better musicians.

For myself, it’s my New Year resolution to produce more creative output. Of course that was for 2006. But I renewed it. Can you do that, like a library book, without getting fined?

Lapsing into a Review

Another book review