The Birthday Gift from ...
Posted Last Week
Last week, I received a very unusual birthday gift: a ukulele. (My sister, the one who sends me all the 1920s sheet music.) There will be no ukulele videos until my fingertips stop hurting and I learn to change chords properly.
In the meantime, I wondered: what is there to play on this instrument, besides George Formby 'hits' (trust me, no American has ever heard of George Formby) and authentic Hawaiian numbers such as 'I'm Gonna Go Back to My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii'?
Youtube, as always, was helpful. Noticing my interest in ukulele tutorials (there's a great beginner series by a very patient young Brit), the Tube presented me with this gem of a musical offering.
FWR, you WANT to see this. It's better than Heavy Leslie. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is rockin' it hard.
Things to work toward. Now, if only I can get those callouses on my fingertips...
PS There's a tutorial series by a Hawaiian gentleman. He insists on pronouncing the name of the instrument correctly. It's 'oo-kulele', not 'you-kulele', so there.
Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad?
Posted Last Week
Youtube throws up wonderful surprises in between the cat videos and fake ghosts. Take a look at this:
I'd never seen anybody do this before. I wish I could ride a bicycle. Elektra said the video was pretty, but she didn't fancy riding a bicycle over a gorge, no matter how breathtaking the view.
The song is 'Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad'. According to Hymnary.org, the lyrics were written by ME Abbey, a Baptist preacher who appears to have been overfond of transportation metaphors: another of his lyrics is called 'Roll on the Gospel Chariot'.
'Mountain Railroad', much to my childhood chagrin, was popular in the oldy days, and therefore much-requested. It's found in 73 hymnals, according to Hymnary. Willie Nelson has recorded it, among many others. Most people know the lines, 'Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.' Here are the rest of the lyrics:
In this case, I think they should sing:
Life is like a trailbike railroad,
It takes energy to ride.
You must also keep your balance,
Or down the hill you'll slide.
Watch the tracks ahead alertly,
For old cans and rusty nails,
Keep your feet upon the pedals,
And a sharp eye on the rails.
PS If you're interested in union history, there's a union version of this song which makes me chuckle.
'Watch the rocks, they're falling daily
Careless miners always fail
Keep your hand upon the dollar
And your eye upon the scale.'
How Cold Is It? It's So Cold That....
Posted Jan 30, 2019
How cold is it?
Right now, it's zero F/-18C outside the Post Office. The wind is blowing in 35 kph gusts.
The report from a h2g2er in Chicago is that it's -21F with a wind chill factor of -54F.
Basically: it's too cold to be outside. The snow is blowing everywhere. It's...disgusting.
Anybody, including a certain government figure, who makes that tired remark about 'global warming', is going to get an earful.
Lola the Doglet is hunkered down in her padded bed. She ain't movin'. The cats are hogging the grates when they aren't bothering us for entertainment.
If you're not a , we recommend Cmdr Hadfield's Twitter thread on magnetic field variation for entertainment and enlightenment:
Pittsburgh's Crime Wave: Chicken Graffiti Vandal Strikes Again
Posted Jan 10, 2019
The tweet from the Pittsburgh Police begins:
'Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Graffiti Squad detectives seek the public's help in identifying a male suspected of spray-painting graffiti inside a Southside pub and possibly elsewhere.'
It goes on to outline the details of the crime. On 1 December, a 21-year-old male with long brown hair entered Rugger's Pub shortly after midnight. After ordering a drink, he went into the bathroom. Moments later (keep this in mind!), he left the bar.
Patrons complained that there was a strong (and apparently, unusual) odor coming from the bathroom. 'Staff found the image of a chicken freshly painted on the walls and mirror.'
The cops say this isn't the only place this has happened. Similar graffiti have been found elsewhere in Southside and Oakland, where the big universities are. The police don't say, but I'm thinking they should look for an art student with a quick-draw style.
Pittsburghers are no help. They're tweeting back with art criticism.
You probably don't know the chicken graffiti vandal, and wouldn't tell us if you did, but feel free to offer your views of this picture:
Elektra thought it was a turkey. I'm inclined to agree.
Will That Salt Lamp Emit Curative Ions?
Posted Jan 7, 2019
If you're a science , please read this brilliant article from Snopes.com:
Not only is it a wonder of logic and research, but it is genius writing.
I have tears in my eyes. Tears of joy and mirth. I recommend reading it aloud to a loved one. Take deep breaths intermittently. Laughing that hard is a choking hazard.