Friday, July 29, 2022

An Anniversary and a Story - 29 July 2022

Today is the anniversary of the most talked about wedding of 1981 - the Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England.

We all know now that it wasn't to last, but at the time the world seemed to think it was a fairy tale come true. Perhaps those Brothers Grimm knew whereof they wrote when they had more cautionary and grim endings than the ones Mr. Disney purveyed.

At any rate, I've told this story before, but I do like it quite a lot, so:

Our wedding (and please note that the subsequent marriage has already lasted very nearly 40 years, thank you very much) took place with much less fanfare and media coverage than did that of the Lady and the Prince (hmm - Lady and the Tramp? Prince Spaghetti? there must be some connection here) just over 13 months later.

Less media coverage, perhaps, but more bumper stickers (at least that's my assumption).

One of our friends who had attended our wedding was driving through Ontario some time after. I'm not certain where she was, but I'd like to think she was on the QEW (more likely the 401, but that's less fun).
At any rate, as she drove along, people were honking and waving at her and pointing at the rear of her car.

Finally unable to handle not knowing why, she pulled off the highway and looked at the back of her car to see the torn sticker gracing her bumper

Et, voila! No wonder those loyal subjects there in the Dominion of Canada were so excited - they thought they had encountered someone who had attended the royal wedding.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Rants and Remembrances - 11 July 2022

Recently we saw USC and UCLA make the move to the Big 10 (Big 16?). Clearly they have no concern for climate change as the introduce radically increased travel across the country (New Jersey to California? That doesn't sound like a bus ride with the equipment in the back, now does it?). Still, at least they're real schools and have real athletic teams with some history.

Next up, though, was the final nail in the coffin of my interest in college football - the announcement that alcohol will likely be sold at Big 10 games. As if it weren't already obvious, the fact that almost all students on campus are too young to legally purchase alcohol tells us that college athletics have nothing to do with students anymore.

One can only hope that these moves will hasten the move to make the athletic departments into profit-making wholly-owned subsidiaries of the universities, operating as professional minor leagues for the existing major leagues. Or whatever. I guess I really don't care. I'm done with major college sports. The MAC is as big as I'd ever consider watching, frankly, and I don't miss it at all. Dopes.

On to the remembrances:

I just read that Larry Storch has passed on (RIP, Larry). Storch played Corporal Agarn on F-Troop back in the 1960s in addition to lots of other appearances and voice acting roles. I always enjoyed that show (I'm sure it's radically politically incorrect by now) and particularly his character. 

Also, this is the anniversary of Aaron Burr's fatal wounding of Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel. I know it's only a throw-away line here, but this excellent SNL bit immediately came to mind (the reference is around 1:40, but the whole thing is worth watching). Enjoy.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Coincidence? I Think Not - 30 June 2022

As I checked today at the "On this day in history" site to which I often refer, I discovered that today is the 117th anniversary of Albert Einstein's submission of the paper outlining his theory of Special Relativity. (He was to expand his thinking to the theory of General Relativity about 11 years later.)

I also noted that today is the 114th anniversary of the so-called Tunguska Event.

Interesting. Einstein submits his paper on the theory of relativity, and exactly three years later - to the day, mind you! - "something" happened at Tunguska that resembled an atomic explosion.
Granted, there was no radiation detected at the site (at least none of which we've been informed), but a small inert object moving at relativistic speeds could cause massive damage without anything like radiation being involved.

Pretty amazing, no? Relativity in 1905, Tunguska exactly three years later. What's next? An actual revelation of what's going on at Area 51? I'm not going to hold my breath, nor should you.

Stay curious!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Paging Lady Mondegreene - 15 June 2022

On This Day in History
1965 – Bob Dylan recorded “Like a Rolling Stone.”

What's the visual equivalent of a Mondegreene?

I misread that notice, and thought it was odd that Maynard G. Krebs / Gilligan would have recorded that song. Then I noticed what it really said.
I think I'd actually like to have that record, but I don't think anyone's got a deepfake singing program with Bob Denver's voice to apply to a Dylan recording, more's the pity.

Maybe that will be my Summer project.

Oh - you're wondering "what's a Mondegreene?"

It's a misheard lyric ("'Scuse me while I kiss this guy," for example). The term comes from a mishearing of an old ballad where they took the injured lord and laid him on the green. "Well," asked a now-infamous listener, "Who is Lady Mondegreene? I don't remember her from any of the earlier verses." Nor would one. Still, that's the origin of the term, and it's a fine one, if you ask me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Languages and Celebrations - 14 June 2022

 Well, I'm back after a relatively long silence here, largely because of a slight annoyance that built just enough to need to be posted.

I have an ear for languages and accents - it's a gift, really; and it makes me think of Pentecost often. I've never really noticed a downside to it.
Until recently, that is.

I listen to a lot of classical music on the radio, and over the years I've heard many hosts mangle names of pieces, performers, and even instruments. Usually it's no big deal, but finally, this morning, the constant mispronunciation of French names and words really got to me. I said to the radio, "Clearly you never took French class in school;" then quickly added, "or if you did, you didn't do very well, or have forgotten most of what you learned."

It took me back to when I was first taking piano lessons, and Mrs. Rathbun, my teacher, told me that she had taken German in school so she would know what all those words meant in musical scores. Words like allegro, segue, andanta, piano, forte, all those ... oops ... Italian words.
I have decided that she made that mistake very honestly. She was playing the works of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms - why would she think they wrote directions in Italian? of course it was German. Of course, it wasn't.

My daughter-in-law was born in Iraq, moved to Malta and Germany before ending up here in the States, so she's a model of multilingualism. I asked her once what language she uses to talk to herself. She looked at me like I was a loony and said that it's always in English.

Hmm. I talk to myself in a mixture of French and Russian stirred into the English. I even talk to Billie in French on our walks. (yes, only English and French. Speaking Russian in public these days doesn't seem like a good idea. Thanks, Putin.)

So now on to celebrations.

Today is the birthday of the Army of these United States, so Happy Birthday, Army!

It is also Flag Day, sometimes spelled Fleig Day. That's because my late friend and coworker, Ed Fleig, used to host a party for some of us in the erstwhile McCann-Erickson media department on June 14th because it was Fleig Day. He was a great guy, and I miss him.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

World Stationery Day! - 18 May 2022

Yes, today is World Stationery Day, please no moving celebrations today.

Today also is the anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte's appointment as Emperor of the French. I hadn't known he was Emperor of the French, rather than of France. One supposes that would imply his imperial control of French folk everywhere, much as the King of Belgium isn't really the King of Belgium - he's the King of the Belgians. Again a distinction that may imply a difference. These monarchs bear watching.


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Cubicle Day! - 28 April 2022

Yes, it's National Cubicle Day today! I know there are many office workers who are glad to be working from home offices rather than cubicles these days, but there are also many who would welcome the relative privacy of a cubicle rather than the current "open office" trend where each worker sits nearly on top of the next with no sense of personal space

Ah! for the glory days of cubicles when folks would decorate them with outdoor scene posters and cheap curtains to simulate a window. Some would even create window boxes with flowers from sheets of foam-core, colored with the lovely pastel shades of highlighters. At least there was some sense of ownership then. None of this "drop your stuff in a locker when you leave, grab it again in the morning when you arrive and try to find an available desk where you can do your work - remember, our employees are our greatest asset, that's why we treat them like cattle!" stuff back then. No sir.

Might as well pine for a desktop computer that means no work once one arrives home, eh?