Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The ABC's (and D's) of Theft in Bra'ed Daylight

I have never really strolled through Victoria's Secret stores. Glanced sideways as I've walked by, sure, but ogled? Never. It always seems to me that if a guy wants to buy something that might be sold there, he should do it via the mail-in-a-plain-brown-wrapper method. I always get a little creeped out even glancing at the window displays since I might be mistaken for some kind of pervert instead of the red-blooded American male that I am. Thus, I really did not understand how the store operated and was totally flummoxed when I read the report that a woman was able to purloin 115 brassieres in plain sight, during the day, on TWO occasions (on the same day!).
First of all, I didn't think any store would have that many just hanging about.
Secondly, I had no idea how the woman, described as 5'6", 40-50 years old, weighing about 200 lbs. could simply walk into the store, shove the unmentionables (no, NOT Voldemort) into a shopping bag and make her escape without anyone the wiser. Once, maybe, but twice in the same day??? What are the roughly fifty clerks doing?
Also, the garments were valued at $5,000, which means each was valued at a shade over $43. WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? If I had to pay that much for underwear, I would do without!
Finally, the items stolen were all different sizes which makes sense only if one plans to hit EBay later.
So, I asked my wife how all of this could happen, and she clued me in.
She reminded me that there were dozens of different styles (for me, boxers or briefs is too much) and a plethora of different sizes, so there would be thousands of these things in the store cupboards at any one time.
Also, they are arranged by style and size and placed in drawers so taking a handful surreptitiously would be relatively easy. OK, OK, I see that. Ten at a time is reasonable.
This place in the mall in Milwaukee can't be so big that nobody would fail to notice the same woman coming in twice and shoving that many items into a bag. Maybe the nature of the garment requires a more discreet approach by the salespeople ("Step over here, try this on and check yourself out in the full-length mirror" probably wouldn't work), but I've never been in one of those fancy clothing stores without someone hovering just out of my periphery.
I could not decipher how come there was such a great description of the woman but nobody caught her the second time? Mall security cannot be so slow or inept that they cannot track down a rather large woman toting a shopping bag just bustin' with goodies! I suppose the description came from a video camera, but STILL...
Finally, there must be some big secret if Victoria can charge almost fifty bucks for something off the rack most women find doesn't really fit anyway (so I'm empirical evidence on this one).
I continued to be mystified by some things beyond my understanding. Research is needed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eating Up Innings In the Seats

Any real baseball fan has heard of the expression "eating up innings." It relates to a pitcher who routinely pitches deep into the game instead of going only five innings, enough to qualify for a win. Many times, these Hurculean efforts cause a premature end to a pitcher's professional life since the human arm a) was not designed to throw a ball that hard and b) is susceptible to all sorts of injury issues. So it is with some fans as well, and I finally have personal experience to confirm this. I could not make it through the ninth on the Leinie Deck at Joannes Park last week.
You'll recall that last year I reported the newest gastronomical trend at sporting events: the all-you-can-shove-in ticket which allows a fan to eat until he or she can eat no more. I think the LA Dodgers started the trend, but it's now everywhere, including Green Bay, home of the Green Bay Bullfrogs who, along with Leinenkugel beer, sponsor the "Leinie Lodge" where for $25 a fan can enjoy both ballyard food and baseball.
Understand this: I'm too cheap to EVER do this myself. The Green Bay Packers sponsored my trip as part of the tour guide/Hall of Fame workers beneift for the summer. Of course, I did have to buy an actual ticket for my wife since she would not let me go alone! There was NO WAY she was going to eat/drink that much so I thought long and hard about accepting the offer...though, ultimately, I just HAD to try it, especially since this might be the only venue in America at which beer is included in the "all-you-can-consume" promotion.
Arriving an hour before game time put us at the end of a rather long line at the "free" beer/food line, but we DID get a free pack of Bullfrog baseball cards...sure to be a collector's item someday. Patrons on the party deck were limited to two items of food at a time, and I selected a pulled pork sandwich and a bratwurst with some chips to go with my first beer. Strangely enough, there was no line at the self-serve soda machine, while the beer line snaked throughout the stadium. Imagine that!
Before the game began, my total stood at 2 1/2 pork sandwiches ( I KNEW she couldn't eat that much!), two brats and three cups of beer. Staring into a descending sun, we waited patiently for the game to begin and the beer line to shorten. Eventually, things got down to baseball, and we were almost treated to a line drive into the right field seats where we were located. That proved to be the only highlight of the night, though. By the time "last call" was issued, I decided that I needed to make recompense for my wife's lack of intestinal capacity so I went back for more and ended up with a soda and some chips. I was definitely not interested in any more animal fat-laden food. I was done by the 7th.
An interesting side note: of the announced attendance of 650 people, there were FAR more on the party deck than there were in the regular seats eating popcorn and drinking $3 beer.
Yesterday, we got called up to Single A baseball in Appleton for the same kind of deal though this time the food was served for 2 hours before the game courtesy of A.G. Edwards. Once again, Carol did not find the food worthy of quantity consumption, but I did my best to equalize things. The baseball was professional and the seats were much better, but having to BUY food inside the stadium seemed too odd given my newly-accustomed habit of eating free at least through the fifth inning to qualify for a win.
Now I know that I'll never be an "innings eater" at baseball games. I probably won't even make the professional ranks, but, like those huge snakes that drop out of trees onto people, I won't be eating for a while!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Glad To Be Anonymous

"You probably don't know me..." began the old American Express commercial which featured a realtively famous person looking nondescript. As the American Express card flashed, and the famous person's name was revealed, I was always somewhat amazed that such a famous person could be so...well...ordinary looking. All that has changed, however, and probably not for the better. Our complete and total fascination with famous people has contributed to a serious decline in respect for others and even in the general manners of our young people. (now I sound like one of those geezers who call the police about kids riding bikes on "his" sidewalk!)
Paparazzi stalk public figures all the time, and their exploits are well-publicized: from Princess Diana to Britney's ...well, you know... to Brangelina's twins to Halle Berry's new daughter, (and spare me the beach pictures showing who's got a lot of cellulite these days!) camera people feel that they have no boundaries and that fascinating people have no right to privacy. Of course, if you've seen "Monster's Ball," it's hard to imagine Halle Berry EVER having a private moment. But it's the effect on the younger generations that concerns me.
I was walking toward the employees' entrance to Lambeau yesterday as the players were arriving for their first day of meetings prior to training camp opening. The players' parking lot is a fenced-in enclosure which has an electronic gate designed to let them in and keep others out. As Charles Woodson was activating the gate, a young boy, about 10 or so, followed by his father (I presume), ran up and shouted, "Hey, Woodson, would you sign?" as he thrust a football toward the window. His tone suggested that it was not a request but an order and that Charles Woodson had a responsibility to give an autograph. There was no "please" nor was there a "Mr." attached...just a demand. The fact that the kid's father was there really irritated me, but I figured a fracas involving a Packers' employee wouldn't look so good, and God knows there have been enough news reports out of 1265 Lombardi, so I merely walked on to work. Still, would even a semblance of good manners hurt? Sure, these folks make a lot more money than I'll ever see, but treating people well has always proven to be more effective than putting them off.
Though it hardly mattered, I refused to sign for the people waiting outside for the players to leave that afternoon...not that they asked, but I thought I should clear it up before anyone got pushy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Told You So, Told You So, Nyah! Nyah!

Perhaps it sounds a bit childish on my part, but I would like to state once again that I was absolutely right and all those who either worked diligently to get me fired or stood by saying nothing (glad they did not have to take a stand, I suspect) were idiots. Of course, it was ten years ago or so, but believe me, I still carry a bit of a grudge, and I'm pleased to report that I was right...and science proves it yet again.
"Crying Over Spilled Coke" was the headline in the local paper when I protested the takeover of our school by the Coca Cola company under the guise of providing badly needed funds for education. Was I the only one who saw through that ruse and complained that the health of our children lie in the balance? Maybe not (thanks, Judy), but I was the one pilloried for that stance against phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup as potential destroyers of youthful bodies. Yeah, I know all the naysayers and decision-makers (including the Coke company) wised up after six years, but that did not heal the scars nor the damage done as brand loyalty had been fully established, and the authorities still love to bring up the incident as if it has become funny in the rearview mirror. Don't bet on it.
A study by Texas researchers has shown exactly what I became apoplectic aboput all those years ago: the liver does not recognize fructose as the same as glucose and allows it to be stored more quickly as fat. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center (put THAT on a business card!) in Dallas, tested healthy individuals to see whether ingesting fructose or glucose or a combination for breakfast increased the odds of lipogenesis (turning sugar into fat). Without fail, the more fructose involved, the more quickly the sugar was turned into fat. SO THERE!
Of course, Parks was quick to point out that fructose (especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup) was not the only culprit. We still eat too much sugar and ingest too much protein (probably in the form of red meats, though she did not specify). The fact remains that high fructose corn syrup is REALLY, REALLY bad for us and should not be ingested in high levels, especially by children.
I feel vindicated, but I'm still not "over it."
Go eat healthy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Women Now Brawling Also

This seems to be the face (at least today) of the WNBA: the tusslin' ladies of the pro basketball circuit.

In an incident somewhat eerily reminiscent of the Ron Artest dustup in 2004, pleasantries were exchanged last night at The Palace in Auburn Hills during what was supposed to be a basketball game between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Detroit Shock...well, the shock part was certainly in evidence. True, it did not escalate into involving the paying spectators, but coaches got involved (much like managers do in WWE), though probably just as peacemakers. Imagine former Piston "bad boy" Rick Mahorn taking on 36-year-old Lisa Leslie in "Celebrity Death Match." If you have not yet seen the replay for the thousandth time as I have, it's all over YouTube. Check it out. I have only a couple of observations:

1. Why is it that these things just seem to happen in Motown? The Piston Bad Boys and Ron Artest leap to mind, of course. Oh, there have been other physical confrontations in the NBA, but this is the first in the event SURE to increase the television audience and number of paying customers. I mean, how many people watch hockey and NASCAR in anticipation of such confrontations? Most of them, I would suspect. Next, some team will sign Danica Patrick as their "enforcer" for just such an occasion, particularly after she took on that other woman driver last week. Biff!!! Pow!!! Zowie!!!

2. Candace Parker was a major player. She took umbrage at a hard foul, was subsequently run over by another opponent, then proceeded to drag Plenette Pierson to the court and give her a series of noogies. A) she's a rookie...she's got to expect a little rough play. After all, she's not the hallowed Volunteer anymore, and other women want a paycheck as well! B) Parker was ejected and anticipates a suspension. Would this league suspend a major drawing card...especially if fighting will result? The league is treading on new ground here, but expect to see variations of this all over the internet.

3. Lisa Leslie got blindsided (accidentally, they say) by assistant coach Rick Mahorn and dumped to her seat during the fracas. Afterward, she was interviewed and said something like "As a mom, I'm disappointed that this happened. It is not what I want my daughter to see me involved in. This is not what the WNBA is about." Can you imagine Ron Artest, Rick Mahorn, Bill Lambeer or Dennis Rodman sounding apologetic after some testosterone-fueled explosion? Uh...not so much. In fairness, it appeared to me that Leslie was trying to help teammates up when she walked into the haymaker from Mahorn. After all, at 36, she would be at something of a disadvantage in a brawl even though I get the impression she's tough. Her daughter can be proud of her, in my mind.

All in all, it certainly has renewed some interest in the Women's National Basketball Association. The next thing you know, Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson will show up courtside with Ashley Judd and the Hogan family. Game on!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mytilenean or Lesbian?

Since I had a fancy, schmancy prep school education, I knew about Sappho and the island of Lesbos long before anyone thought to apply that ancient culture to homosexual women. Popularized by the poet Sappho's poetry of love and romance (though she included both men and women in her poetry), the island of Lesbos off the Greek coastline became identified solely with women and love relationships, thus earning it the distinction of use in the current cultural lexicon. This does not make the people who currently populate the island very happy. In fact, they are litigiously unhappy. (everyone knows a lawyer, it seems!)
Greeks refer to the island as "Mytilene" in deference to its capital city...or maybe they're just embarrassed by the cultural reference, as are the Mytileneans. Thus, a lawsuit was prepared by which residents wished to get an injunction to halt the use of the word "lesbian" to refer to gay women and relegate it to its honorable status as depicting those who live on the island of Lesbos. Unfortunately, Dimitris Lambrou ran up against a judge who was not feeling the same vibe and who dismissed the lawsuit. Adding injury to insult, Lambrou had to pay court costs of $366. So, it looks as if residents will have to merely grin and bear it...or move to Greece...when reading Sappho.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Baggin' the Big Game by the Bay

She's smiling, but you don't know
what she's thinking...good thing!

I remember watching "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" a lot when I was a kid. Marlon Perkins had epaulets on his safari shirt, and Jim was the closest guy to Tarzan I'd ever seen. Of course, there was very little wildlife left roaming the plains of eastern Kansas by then, but it was exciting to think that someday I could be running down a rampaging rhinocerous or jumping giraffes or something really cool. Little did I know I would have to wait until this week to capture my first big game. It's been a long wait.

It all began in the flower beds when this year's bumper crop of bunnies began ingesting everything in sight except for the chives. Naturally, my wife was not amused, and the bunnies, while cute enough at Easter, were on the road to a World War Two-like relocation even if they did not know it at the time.

Things came to a head when newly-planted flowers became rabbit food recently. Knowing that during the month of July there were two special occasions (our anniversary and her birthday) I resolved to make a Herculean effort to convince the herbivorous plague to hippity hop down the bunny I bought a trap; "Happy Anniversary, Dear!" (this for the woman who has everything, including unwanted rabbits!).

I dutifully loaded the trap with what I thought were tasy morsels, but the buffet seemed lacking, at least as far as real results were concerned. My sign: "Bunny Fru Fru's Salad Ranch" didn't seem to do the trick, nor did the neon lights and alluring pictures of female rabbits. Once I came to the porch to discover a rabbit sitting inside the trap eating grass outside the front door! He had not even gone far enough in to spring the door shut. However, a few days ago, my wife awoke on her birthday to discover a rabbit had sprung the trap, and we had captured our first "wascally wabbit." No sooner had I deposited the critter in somebody else's yard miles away and returned home to set the trap anew than we caught another one! On my way to release it into the wild, I noticed that someone had squished one on the many of these things could there be? They must have been breeding like, well, rabbits!

Today, another one succumbed to the succulent offerings of the rabbit trap so we know at least four of them are no longer part of the fauna of the landscape. Trumpeting like a would-be elephant lure, I stood in the back yard, resetting the trap.

Elmer Fudd was an amateur. Now all I need to do is to see my buddy Mark to get some shirts with epaulets on them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

political humor

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Hurling: The Next Reality

It's a safe bet that most of us know little about sport in Ireland. It's probably also a safe bet that most of us don't know how gullible the TV networks think we are...or how enamored we are of puerile humor. I shall do my best to clarify:
The Irish sport of hurling (pictured) is an ancient Gaelic game with simnilarities to soccer and football. The object is to move a ball (the sliotar) using the hurley ( Gaelic for "Mom's not churning butter today so we can use the paddle") down the field and either over the crossbar or into the netted goal. It's an extremely fast and physical game which can make rugby look like pom pon practice. It also looks really hard to play...somewhat akin, I suspect, to lacrosse, which can also be difficult to master.
Television, on the other hand, is not difficult to master, only difficult to stomach what with the plethora of reality shows like "Fear Factor" and the "Survivor" series, not to mention "American Idol." Anyway, the latest to spew forth to the airwaves is a program called, aptly, "Hurl." The premise involves contestants ingesting hearty amounts of greasy food then being subjected them to gyrations like the Octopus at Bay Beach Amusement Park. Should they survive with lunch intact, contestants are feted with pumpkin pie with a healthy dollop of whipped cream and spun some more until all but the iron-stomached one does the projectile vomit thing. Seriously, I could not make something like this up! Well, I COULD, but I didn't.
The hilarious part is that the program does not show the actually expelling of the vomit: there's a cartoon bucket in front of the face to protect sensitive veiwers from being grossed out (though you DO get to hear the whole thing), much like the blurred images on the nekkid people on the regular cable movies or the pixelation of the faces of mob members testifying about crimes committed. Honestly, if I have strayed with the program THAT far, don't you think I'd WANT to see the real thing? My only fear is that this will be a really big hit, be syndicated in Japan and come back as something ridiculous like "I Survived A Japanese Game Show."
Instead of two thumbs up for this new reality, I'll give it two fingers throat.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Nothing To Do...All Day To Do It

Every now and then it would slip out when I was a kid...and always at about the same time I was walking all pver my mother's very last nerve during the summer: "There's nothing to do" or a variation on that theme. Without fail, my brother would clap a hand over my mouth at the first syllable, but the whole thing usually managed to leak into my mother's hearing range. At such a time, the awful truth dawned on me, and I always professed that I had misspoken, for there were really oodles of things to do...usually too late. Mom would produce a "job list" six miles long and require us to begin at number one and work until we had completed three summers' worth of tasks. This was made extremely painful for me since Fred usually hit me repeatedly in retaliation every time we were alone. I must say I've grown out of the habit of implying a lack of industry and can find something to do even in the most mundane situations. No matter how inane the activity, I can always find something to occupy my otherwise vacant minutes. I have noticed that this is true of other people as well. To wit:

Folks in New Orleans have undertaken their own "running of the bulls" celebration similar to that of the death-defiers in Pamplona, Spain. There are striking similarities: the runners wear white and adorn themselves with red neckerchiefs. There is the potential for pain involved as well. However, there are some major differences. The bulls in N'Orlins probably got washed away in the Katrina aftermath so their substitutes screaming down the streets of the French Quarter in hot pursuit are members of the women's roller derby league wielding wiffle ball bats. (I wish I were making this up, but I am not). Now THERE'S a worthy substitute for being trampled and gored!
Folks in California have an annual festival there at which hundreds gather on a specified date for the express purpose of mooning the Amtrak train and its passengers. It's orderly and organized and happens once a year though this year a few other body parts were flashed in a confusion with "Girls Gone Wild." This is generally a sedate crowd who finds this pasttime amusing. Then, there are the enterprising folks of America's Dairyland.
Every Sunday from now until they realize the futility of it, fans of Green Bay's retired quarterback are meeting at Lambeau Field at noon to voice their displeasure over the current situation and lobby for a change in direction by the organization. Carrying placards and wearing neclaces of fake cheese and bratwurst (really!), these folks probably come directly from either church or the bar to vent their feelings. Today's meeting was the first of at least two. Go to for updates, especially when you are tempted to say something silly like, "What is there to do?"
If you want something to do, I'll GIVE you something to do!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Who Knows What Evil Lurks...?

Maybe it's an age thing or maybe I get bored in the morning. Whatever the case, I was reading the sides of my cereal box this morning (with toast, OJ and milk), and discovered that half of what I was eating was not as healthy for me as I suspected it was...and high-fructose corn syrup was the culprit! For the uninitiated healthwise, high fructose corn syrup is a sweetener which is purportedly bad for us because our body does not recognize it the way it does sugar, and as such, treats it differently, allowing it to degenerate into that unsightly fat that commercials say accumulates on our belly and thighs in big, yellow blobs. Ingesting real sugar sends out alarms and forces the body to act quickly so as to avoid too much unwanted cellulite in terms of left behind deposits.
OK, I figure orange juice will have it, and it does, but toast? Both kinds of bread in the drawer have high fructose corn syrup in them: mind you, these are 100% whole wheat breads, not some pasty 3-for-a-dollar loaves. Wow! I was stupefied so I decided that I had better take a look in the cupboard for any other offending items of which I had been unaware, even at the expense of my cereal getting soggy and the milk getting warm. HFCS could be lurking in every corner like Commies during the McCarthy era or unpatriotic traitors during the Bush years. Here is a list of the things I found both tainted by and free of that nasty sweetener.

canned peaches Ritz crackers Hungry Jack syrup (natch!) All-Bran (are you kidding me? Glad I'm a regular guy who doesn't eat that stuff) graham crackers tonic water (for my buddy Mark when he visits) Oreos (my wife eats those).

Total cereal Quaker Oats Tostitos (though the salt isn't great, either) JIF peanut butter Orville Redenbacher popcorn (with fake butter fumes!) Pillsbury devil's food cake mix elbow macaroni (I'd hope not) Frank's cayenne pepper sauce (natch!)

So it became readily apparent to me that there were more than a few ticking, time bombs of fat producers in the cupboard. I have labeled them all with "Mr. Yuck" stickers and will return to eating my Total with real fruit and anything else with real sugar.
Bon apetit!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Exposing the Paper Tiger: Fooling Nobody in China

I established yesterday the fact that it IS possible to fool many people a good deal of the time. In additional support for that theory, I read today that 10% of Americans polled believe that Barack Obama is Muslim...heavy sigh.
Now, however, comes evidence that there are folks who remain skeptical no matter how much evidence is presented and corroborated officially. It is THESE folks who deserve our respect since they put to rest many a seemingly fantastic tale we're just itching to believe.(Of course, on the other hand, many of these people stil believe man has not visited the moon or hit 600 home runs without steroidal(?)aid.
Thus, our story today takes us to China where government officials had offered a million yuan reward to anyone who could prove the existence of the endangered south China tiger. Money is money, and a million of any kind of money is a lot (in this case, about $146,000.00). Most folks were outwardly amazed when a simple farmer emerged from the jungle with a dozen or so digital photos of the rare creature last year. True to its word(?), the government paid the man 20,000 yuan ($2920.00) and feted him as an emergent hero. Following close examination of the photos by authorities from the Forestry Administration, the digital pictures were pronounced genuine, and animal lovers rejoiced...but not the bloggers who suspected a "paper tiger."
Turns out, the bloggers who smelled something were more accurate than they thought. Officials this week admitted that the photos were, indeed, fakes produced by inserting a poster of the tiger in the brush and taking pictures of it. What gave the hoax away? Bloggers looked at all of the photos which were shot from many different angles yet never saw a different side of the tiger. Also, someone found a poster which bore an uncanny resemblance to the tiger in the pictures. Thus, the sheepish officials had to 'fess up. The farmer, 54-yr.-old Zhou Zhenlong from Shaanxi Province, was arrested, and seven political figures got the axe...perhaps never knows in China. Zhou's wife claims he was duped into it. Zhou said nothing but, "I've still got the money," and by next week, we'll probably see the same politicians on the beach in Phuket.
Keep your eyes and ears open, kids. It's not just EBay where one can find fakes!

Friday, July 04, 2008

You CAN Fool Most People ALL the Time!

While it may seem somewhat unpatriotic to explode a myth concerning Abraham Lincoln on the 4th of July, the truth must be told in the name of historical accuracy. The former president did NOT utter the phrase so often attributed to him: "You can fool all the people some of the time, and you can fool some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Lincoln supposedly uttered the famous statement in a speech in 1856, but there is, uh, no record of it. The written transcription of the speech did not contain those words. In fact, the only "proof" offered was an eyewitness account given by two 1910, a mere 55 years ex post facto! (That, of course, being very similar to the 100,000 people who claim to have been at the famous "Ice Bowl" game in Green Bay when the Packers defeated the Cowboys at Lambeau Field, which seated about 60,000, in Vince Lombardi's last game as a coach in Titletown)
By the way, the web site from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency provided that information. While I am likely on other occasions to make things up, this is not one of those times. Mark Twain was a god!

Lincoln facsimiles and misnomers:

Nonetheless, it remains something of a truism, as evidenced by two recent occurrences. The Brett Favre "I've got the itch" announcement recently has dominated the airwaves like nothing else here in Green Bay and around the nation with the possible exception of the "what to do with Brett's locker" controversy. Seriously, there were quotes from his brother ("Brett's been working out"), his mother ("I don't think the Packers want him back") and endless streams of verbiage from talking heads debating the merits of such an action. One would think there would be more salient items to occupy the print media such as the disappearance of six bikes in the "free ride around Green Bay" bike program begun a few weeks ago. At any rate, Farve continues to stoke the coals by denying all of it as "rumor." 'Nuff said.
Example number two of the ability to fool people on a regular basis occurred just yesterday as I was performing my duties as a tour guide at Lambeau Field (excusing me from church for the week!) Following a tour, a woman asked me what I did professionally. When I indicated that I had restructured my life since leaving the full-time teaching profession, she announced that she had been right in surmising that. When I asked her how she had figured it out, she replied simply, "Because you are articulate." NOW tell me that you cannot fool people ALL of the time!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Copycat Aussies

To be honest, I don't think I've ever met anyone from Australia, and I really know very little about the country: the Olympic Games were held there once, and there are cute, cuddly animals and aborigines (probably NOT cute and cuddly) who reside there...oh yes, and they won the America's Cup race a few years ago. That fact I know because of Jimmy Buffett's song "Take It Back" in which he adopts a piratical attitude toward getting the Cup back from "Down Under." Which, of course, reminds me of the band Men At Work who were Australian and eating vegemite sandwiches, whatever they are...and I think Rick Springfield might be Australian. But that's about the sum total of my acquaintance with things from that continent. Until today, that is, when I discover they stole my idea and are suddenly a big deal while I toil in relative obscurity (seriously, most of my relatives don't even know where I am).
It seems that Auistralians are decrying traditional hymns and "normal" funeral songs for rock anthems such as "Stairway to Heaven," "Highway to Hell," "Ding Dong the With Is Dead" (really!)and a host of others in order to reflect the unique qualities of the deceased. Religious songs like "Amazing Grace" (with or without bagpipes) and "Abide With Me" are still popular, but only among the more traditional folks. The number one favorite at Centennial Park in Adelaide is the Frank Sinatra classic "My Way" with Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World" right up there along with "Another One Bites the Dust" and the Monty Python standard "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
The thing is, I had that idea 'WAY before they did though you didn't hear me blowing my own horn about it. My idea is at least ten years old, and I have the CD to prove it. My oldest son is in charge of the music, and he is instructed that he can play from the CD anything he finds appropo, but there is one that absolutely must be played. I know his mother might object to the idea, that's why I put him in charge...under oath. To find out which one it is, you'll just have to show up at the funeral, but I will give out a few of the tracks on my last CD:
Jackson Browne's "All Good Things" Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" (honestly, a fuzz bass would MAKE that celebration!) "Born to Run" by Emmylou Harris (I do like the Boss's song by the same name, but it doesn't fit me since my wife sold my motorcycle years back) and "On the Road To Find Out" by the pre-Muslim Cat Stevens. The Beatles get a nod, of course, with "In My Life" as does Buddy Holly with "Rave On." I also bend a bit to the spiritual side with "I'll Fly Away" and "Swing Down Chariot."
There are other possibilities, but that's up to Ryun to decide.
I do have to give the Aussies props for selecting a tune that I did not include because it hadn't been recorded yet when I made my list: "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" by Warren Zevon (who is, of course, now sleeping). I'd love to add that to my playlist, but then I'd be copycatting the Aussies.
But no matter what happens, you WILL NOT hear "Amazing Grace," even with bagpipes.