And Gutenberg Lived Here: Sunday In The Park With Gorge. Of Office Workers, Paella, and Hefalump Gravy.

I’m not much of a meat-eater,

but Sunday here in the land of Gutenberg requires dire measures.

What, you don’t make a roast?

How does your poor husband handle that?

What do you feed the guests who are invited.

Hint hint.

Actually, with regard to my handicap-

being unable to make anything but hefalump gravy-

that stuff that never has enough taste,

has massive amounts of white lumps,

even if I do mix the flour in cold water before, as I was taught,

and often ends up as a pancake side-dish,

a bit like odd eggless yorkshire pudding that just didn’t rise-

which my husband and I like very much,

but isn’t really high on the list of things you set before guests.

Especially as Germans are probably number one in the world in nit-picking.

“If that sweater were just a little bluer it would show off your eyes better-”

and that from the man who comes to read the water meter-

So as for the Sunday hefalump thing?

(and forget packages-

they usually taste worse than my hefalump stuff)

Hey, we’ve got it nailed.

We go for a walk after church, you see, and then…

out someplace like this wonderful little cafe we know-

in the middle of a park that was a park in Roman centurion times.

And actually,

probably was a mistletoe and daisy place when the Celts lived here,

And feeding place for the dinosaurs,

now in the local museum.

So not only is this place one wonderfully well-kept park,

with a very small zoo-

flamingos, bought and set there, for some odd reason,

by the arch-bishop,

and recently in the news since we are in financial free-fall,

and the number of shrimps and shrimp shells needed to keep them pink…

you get the picture.

SO here we are-

Sunday in the park with gorge.

A gorge with waterfall, a gorgeous view,

a gorgeous roast with gorgeous non-hefalump gravy,

and these pink, uhm, whatever you call them-

a pride of ravens,

a ring of pheasants,

a stand of flamingos?

Or are they flamencos,

if they just flew up from Spain

and just managed to get out in time

before they were used to play croquet,

Alice style,

or to make the feathers,

for the world-famous mullet haircut?

Or were they actually just smuggling shrimps,

to be used in the paella

served in office cantines all over Germany-

“cook rice-

while it is cooking, tie strings on three large shrimps,

smuggled by large migrating birds,

on their way to summer

in the cooler climes of Gutenberg city.

Hold the stings, circling the shrimp all the while,

over´the cooking rice.

At the end of fifteen minutes,

toss in a packet of curry mix,

two tablespoons of frozen peas,

three large pork bones for flavor,

and, at the end of the fifteen minutes,

dip the circling shrimp thrice.

While facing in the direction of Catalonia.

Or Madrid,

depending on the recipe.

Now gather one hundred office workers who have had a hard morning,

pour each a water tumbler of red wine,

After twenty minutes,

call the charity group that takes usable scraps,

give them the pots of paella,

after garnishing with the three shrimps,

and return to work.

Bon appetit.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: “On The Socially Influenced Evolution Of The Rehearsal Comedy- And Other Noises Off.” LOL.

Yes, I know the title sounds like  Groucho Marx ,

dressed in tails and mortar board,

lecturing on the state of the union.

But

Voila

All I really mean

is the fact that:

Way back when,

like 1671

someone,

like George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham,

registered a play he wished to be published.

A rehearsal play.

Mocking the poet Laureate of England.

And his pompous-set-speeches Siege-of-Rhodes type

heroic drama.

It was apparently a joint effort by a group of writers

who felt someone just plain talked too much.

And too pompously.

And was keeping them from selling their product.

(And could it have been that they were perhaps

just a teense jealous of his fame?)

Unfortunately for them, though,

although they trolled Dryden,

at a time when it could only be done by the educated,

his detractors neither really changed the form,

heroic is heroic,

nor did they make the heroic non-heroic.

And, to put it in a nutshell,

did they ever get really famous for their own names.

Oh times, oh mores.

But still,

the heroic battle

between the serious and high-minded lit of the day

and the satire writing detractors,

already based on a tradition set by the madly popular,

and, in my humble opinion,

infinitely better written,

(you can’t get better than Shakespeare)

ca 1595 Midsummer Night’s Dream,

showed up the basis of the whole thing:

satire

or trolling

against a social structure-

good-

or at least ok.

Trolling against a single person-

Not so good.

ie illegal.

Which brings us to the more modern forms:

in nineteen fifty-two,

someone,

Philip King,

wrote a play,

On Monday Next,

decrying the sad lives, and trials, off off off west-end  actors,

appearing, unfortunately,

in a too too bad thriller-

“tarnished gold”

The play was renamed

“Curtain up,”

and,

at a time when the Angry Young Men,

like Osbourne,

were writing for the boards that change the world,

discussed what you have to do to get a play on in this town.

With Robert Morley,

And Margaret Rutherford.

It was a smash hit.

As was his “See How They Run”

Is Curtains still being heard today?

Yes.

Is Dryden?

Occasionally.

(Today what he wrote is nearly a foreign language)

Are his detractors?

See.

Now on with the story.

So

A few years later,

A Chorus of Disapproval appeared on the scene.

Ayckbourn at  his very best,

in my humble opinion.

(Hey, he’s number three in the English language,

after the Bible

and Shakespeare)

And Chorus is a special favorite of mine,

since he writes brilliantly about working with amateur singers

and amateur actors,

short budgets,

bad costuming,

over-blown amateur egos.

Been there, done that.

Be still my heart.

(What I haven’t done, thank heavens, is affairs with the cast-

far too messy when they decide they want to sing lead-

and even worse when you’re married to your solo lead baritone…

Not that I would ever think that way.)

So anyway,

first Shakespeare-

(Shakespeare in love? Falstaff, Queen Liz I, Titania, the dark Lady…?)

And then there is Michael Frayne’s famous

Noises Off.

Brilliant dichotomy of the business actors get up to-

on stage and off.

From the standpoint of a more than just a bit sexually active producer.

And a giant cactus, fire axe,

and pratfalls so good they hurt to watch.

They showed the version with John Ritter and Carol Burnett over here on New Years Day,

and I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard.

(I also saw it in German, believe it or not, with an actor so good he stole the show-

and also almost surpassed John Ritter,

which, in my opinion, really takes some doing.)

Finally,

at the moment,

at least in the London scene,

the prizes are being won by a crew called  Mischief Theatre-

Authors,

and Olivier winners,

for:

The Play That Goes Wrong

and

Peter Pan Goes  Wrong.

A sort of “Curtains Up” of the post Monty  Python generation.

Who work hard, and,

actually,

present a very heroic view of the actors and technical crew

struggling to survive,

and bring their very best to the stage,

including a message,

in a world that expects splashy modern computer effects,

and continuous physical comedy,

to balance the lack of physical action

in a tense, computer driven world.

Or, as a concert visitor said to me recently,

“this is the largest crowd we have ever seen for an a capella performance….

Now if you only had a house band,

and a fog machine…”

copyright Dunnasead.Co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: When Is A Donut A Cannonball?

One of the more interesting facts about living here in Gutenberg Land,

is the number of times you find out

that something you always considered 100% made in the good old US of A,

is supposedly-

made in Gutenberg Land.

ie the refrigerator,

the Linde company is in a tiny town called Kastel (from the Roman Castellum)

and claims to be the oldest.

And then there is the light bulb-

supposedly not Thomas Edison.

Or Bush Bavarian beer-

dear to a St. Louisan’s heart,

the Bavaria actually being here in the Rhineland-Palatinate,

in-

yup-

Kastel.

And did you know that Bruce Willis is actually a German citizen-

well may not really, but he was born in the Hunsrück town of Idar-Oberstein,

a fact that no German EVER refrains from telling an American.

So, as I said, you get used to things that are-

in our history books-

American,

actually being-

in their history books-

Gutenberger.

But when it comes to the Jelly donut-

what-

the jelly donut?

Yup-

the jelly donut.

As in-

according to local historians-

it was part of the usual fasting ritual-

never really followed in this part of Germany,

lip service maybe-

but there was a lot of meat and eggs in those large ravioli style dumplings,

and the church apparently knew better than to really ask questions.

In the last weeks before fasting, though,

lip service, remember-

everyone dived into donuts-

like the famous pancake races in England-

the last chance to get milk, eggs, flour and fat out of the house.

But how, you ask,

or maybe not,

did they know what to do with all that milk, eggs, flour, and fat?

Well,

according to German legend-

sorry, but since I did all this research, I have to use it somewhere-

ok so according to German legend,

a baker once wanted to become part of the army artillery in his town.

Good hours, not too much killing there, better than carrying a pike,

heavy clothes and shoes in winter.

But,

they had no place for him.

So…

still trying to get a place,

even though he, by that time, was married and had children,

he and his children  took small fried dough bits,

shaped like canon balls, hint hint,

around to the troops

who had to stand watch in the night’s freezing winter cold.

And

voila,

he was still a baker,

but now had a large amount of contracts

for the now world-famous Krispy Kreme-

well, may not really Krispy Kreme,

but donuts they were-

without hole.

And,

since I’m a good St Louis girl,

well, at least slightly west of there,

who spent a lot of time in those days at the library,

and the great St Louis museums,

and reading stories put out by the Smithsonian,

I know that the first donuts brought to the new world,

the oelykakes,

were brought by the Dutch,

to New Amsterdam,

now called New York,

and had a hole cut into the middle so the centers wouldn’t be so soggy,

or were filled with nuts and dried fruit-

ditto-

and thus ended up as-

no, not Krispy Kremes,

but still,

they are part of a large tradition in the US,

and even more over here in Gutenberg Land,

where,

in the momentary circa minus one degree cold,

the locals will surely be spending the rest of the carnival season,

in addition to eating oily herring sandwiches,

and bologna rings with hard rolls and wine,

while carousing on the streets,

will be sitting down to the almost formal custom

of the donut coffee-

donuts filled with wine creme, chocolate, nut cream, jam, vanilla pudding,

and smothered in enough whipped cream to give a cow an allergy,

before putting on the company costume-

white wigs with curls, fake military uniforms with fake bars and stars for fake ranks,

or pinafore, rolling-pin and mob cap- for men no less,

or sheets and sheets of newspaper-

today plastic,

cut and wrapped into rows and rows of plastic fringe,

and sallying forth to one of the hall carnivals,

or balls,

or planning meetings,

or political cabaret meetings,

or putting the last touches on the huge floats

shown off to the over a million visitors

at the Rose Monday parade each year.

(Rose is actually Russ,

the black soot they got, historically,

by burning the palm fronds from Good Friday of the last year.

The black stuff, Russ, was used to camouflage faces.)

Where-

sorry.

All this writing has made me hungry.

Time for a jelly donut.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Welsh Music, The Carnival Season, And Fasting Pigs.

Yesterday afternoon I did a matinée with sort of modern songs-

sambas,

rumbas,

paart of a  vocal dance suite I wrote several years ago for my husband

and a wonderful gospel piece  called Father Abraham,

that usually has everyone up on their feet swaying,

and that reminds me a lot of Peggy Lee’s Fever.

(And,…

originally, I even started practicing a piece called “The Boy from….”

as part of the list.

It’s Sondheim,

and basically the girl from Ipanema,

with a text telling the marvelously comic story of a girl  falling in love,

under warm tropical skies,

in a Spanish village with a name so complicated,

and so full of th sounds,

she sells sea shells

or she sat upon a slitted sheet upon a slitted sheet she sat

are nothing in comparison,

and ends up with her discovering that her boy,

being gay,

is now going back to his home in

get ready for it…

a town in Wales,

that starts something like LLanPwyl…

and then goes about three times through the Welsh alphabet,

with lots of w’s as vowels.

Like I said, it’s marvelous fun,

and someday,

if I work at it,

and take a few private lessons,

from a Welshman,

or perhaps a comparative linguist-

(hint hint, nephew of mine)

I might even manage to some day be able to pronounce either the name of Spanish village,

or the place in Wales I hope to visit some day

that I can neither spell nor pronounce.

And then, of course, there is the thank you to the pastors and the church council members

of the church of  Maria Empfängnis, Maria Himmelfahrt und Heilige Sankt Christophorus-

hmmm-

Maybe I can do it in a May concert somewhere-

about 2020 if I work hard)

So anyway,

there I was.

Dealing with the vocal dance suite,

and father Abraham,

and “fever”

when  it suddenly dawned on me:

It’s the time of year when singers have just finished doing concerts

in gorgeous unheated baroque churches,

in long sexy black,

with long unsexy ski underwear underneath.

And three sets of knee-high nylons-

just be careful when you bow,

otherwise you end up looking like the Michelin tire guy.

Or you are “resting”,

curing the bronchitis you got from overheating

while singing Mozart,

or Bach,

or the Messiah.

And since the carnival season is in full swing here,

and since most good Gutenberger are Catholics,

who do religious services full of Canterbury Tales style jokes,

and in the local dialect no less-

(Latin not allowed, but once per year Gutenbergish)

And who do not do religious concerts in the big blow out party hearty time-

which, of course, leads he 51 percent Lutherans “minority”

to do demonstratively  more services,

German Lutheran style,

plain, loud, and often off-key,

but usually hooked to family style church services-

where the communion,

and I seriously did experience this,

in the attempt to take the authority out of the services,

to fill the mostly empty churches,

(30 is a big haul on a Sunday over hear)

was a whole two-pound loaf of organic  whole grain,

which was lobbed softly across the aisle of the pew rows.

or carried around by the boy scouts-

scouts here are either church scouts,

or non-affiliated-

you can tell, cause the church scouts wear neckerchiefs.

the others don’t.

And since the Lutherans here in the carnival capital of the world-

their words, not mine,

sorry Rio-

do everything they can to show disapproval of carnival…

(You should have seen the sparks fly here in the Rhineland,

when a carnival group from Cologne

tried to put a carnival military unit hat-

those ship shaped air force and army base caps,

with enormously long peacock feathers sticking out of the back-

on the previous Pope, a good German,

but not wiling to go that far,

during a papal audience.

So anyway,

here we are in Carnival season,

where the ones who don’t go to pubs due  to smoke,

are singing jazz and pop,

in small halls,

or for large “round” birthdays,

(birthday number forty, fifty, sixty, etc)

or are resting,

or recovering from the religious concert you did in a freezing church

in a non-carnival city-

(Not on the Rhine, and not on the border to Switzerland or France)

wrapped in a white scarf,

heavy poncho,

and dealing with fever,

one kind or another,

or at home,

with cabin fever.

Or are fevering madly for the start of the fasting season,

when people get so hungry,

what with all the fasting rules here,

that they stuff all the things they aren’t allowed to eat-

eggs, beef, pork,

into giant ravioli,

and pretend that they just happened to fall into the chicken broth somehow.

After, of course intoning the correct formula:

“once was chicken, now is fish”

or the more popular in this area:

“the pig in this pork steak ate nothing but fish.”

Yup, that’s Gutenberg Land all right.

So the next time you eat a jelly donut,

(I’ll tell you about donuts and cannon balls in the next blog)

or someone shoots a confetti cannon at you-

or you are in a church singing songs that sound like Peggy Lee,

played to lute or acoustic guitar,

or even on the organ,

by a very clever organist with a great sense of humor,

think of us over here in Gutenberg Land.

Fevering for the start of the summer concert season,

or the football season,

or the end of carnival,

when the Gutenberger pull out their canoes,

and badminton sets,

or swimsuits,

or start grilling-

stinking pork,

and fish,

and….

hey, wait a minute…

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Why Is There A Plane In The Honeymoon Suite

Since, as a singer, you almost never know where you are going to be,

and when you are going to be there,

and since  I am married to a mathematician,

to whom a vacation consists of a conference near Disneyworld,

(with one day layover)

or Colorado Springs

(conference plus four days of beautiful mountain hiking)

Or twenty minutes on Peach Street

before the plane leaves,

you get used to taking what you can get.

And enjoying it thoroughly.

And since this has been a year that kept us both running

fast,

with all kinds of problems,

and conundrums,

and places to be,

our anniversary

many fantastic and happy years with a man who still fascinates me, thank God-

picture

mountain man,

trained opera singer,

and very very theoretical mathematician-

a sort of good-hearted,

funny,

practical,

and reasonable,

Sheldon Cooper…

(Did I mention patient…?)

So, as I said, our anniversary snuck up on us-

and with no plans up,

we were almost relieved to find ourselves returning from a gig

and stranded at an airport.

Meaning:

what the heck-

take a day off,

stay in a hotel,

wander the airport looking at people,

and unusual situations,

matching your pace to the buzzing tempo,

looking at all fascinating stores-

lots of fun even if you don’t buy anything.

We saw every local costume imaginable,

including a seven-foot plus black basketball player

in a conical lacquered rice straw hat-

great in the rain,

groups in Saris,

a nun with a very large group of Asian school children

dressed  in school uniform,

eating noodle soup in a Chinese restaurant,

we looked at bizarre electronic gadgets,

my favorite,

and books,

drank coffee

and talked about our singing,

and that the first time we met,

we had dumped a Carnival Ball in Seattle

(yes, they do celebrated there.

A lot of the locals are,

or at least were, at our time as students,

from the Frankfurt area.)

(They also have Saturday school,

where you can take the state A levels-

the school-leaving exam that entitles you to study for free in Germany.

A member of the board of Education in Germany used to fly over to administer the exams.)

so we dumped the Carnival ball

to go to a madrigal concert-

his suggestion.

Got to love a man like that.

And here we were-

still singing,

and our second date was dinner of schnitzel,

a form of thin breaded pork steak,

at a restaurant on the University of Washington’s ave,

called Werners,

run by a couple from Nurnberg

who spoke dialect to us,

and dinner this Sunday night,

was at a pub run by the Paulaner brewery,

from Munich,

and eating, in my case, a boiled green cabbage dish,

in his case, yup, schnitzel,

served by a bubbly Turkish girl,

who spoke….

yup,

Bavarian

to us.

As a group of foreigners,

the women in local dress,

the men in baseball cap and tennis shoes,

stared at the beer mug on the table,

called a humpen,

and tried to understand what it was we were eating.

Since finely chopped kale

in a small tin frying pan does look a bit odd, I admit.

And then another large group,

international AI people from a place called New Work City-

a sort of super city only for AI people,

sat at a nearby table,

obviously studying what we and the other foreigners had ordered.

When we left,

they were chatting happily among themselves,

and one or two of them were actually singing.

And we…

we held hands,

and softly sang the Oscar Meyer wiener song,

and some of the  funny  girl scout songs,

I taught him early in the marriage,

since he had to that point never heard them,

and made our way back to the hotel,

to view the Dr Who Christmas special we had bought.

And wrap up tightly in a bed with a super-large and heavy duvet,

and thank God we are still together.

And laugh at the thought of what we will come up with next year.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Coffee, Chalk, And A Mountain Of Cards

Have you ever ruffled a deck of cards,

missed your timing,

and had them come flying down,

fountain-like,

on you and everyone else unlucky enough to decide to play cards with you?

Alice in Wonderland like?

Actually,

in a much milder form,

that was happened to me this morning.

Only they weren’t playing cards.

They were coffee bonus cards:

buy nine get one free-

or cheap lunch tickets

same deal-

at the Mexican down the block.

McCafe-

I write a lot in coffee shops lately,

since I find the sound of a barista calling

“Dunnasead, your coffee is ready”

much more stimulating than the sound of a washing machine

calling ”

Hey, Lady, no more clean socks in the house.”

Besides,

ever since I heard a great writer at a conference talk about how he writes at

S***b***’s–

sorry,

too loud and too expensive for my taste.

But that’s just me–

I’ve been trying to sell

to all and sundry

the “necessity of a truly artistic background for my creative

process…”

LOL

So  anyway,

there I was,

getting ready to go to work,

and stuffing all the non-necessary

car driving and bonus stuff I always take out,

as a good and proper

“don’t bug the airport or concert hall people with non-to-be-used junk”

traveler

back in my  already monstrously heavy handbag,

which,

if I sit on it,

will just about fit in my

already monstrously heavy

laptop filled

messenger’s bag,

or at least would,

if I didn’t put my wallet in,

which contained-

Mexican dinner tickets,

cards for coffee from:

subway, Mccafe…

Ten,

count them

ten

sets of coffee cards,

many of them double,

since my husband is often along,

working on a theorem,

writing in imaginary chalk

on an imaginary chalk board,

while I hide my head

under an imaginary May West size hat,

and pretend I’m not with him.

Why he does that…?

He’s a mathematician.

I’m just glad he doesn’t have friends along,

since they usually end up writing on drink coaster,

and then table cloths,

and then…

one of them, seriously,

at a formal dinner,

ended up paying for,

and taking along,

the table-cloth.

Afterwards we asked him why he didn’t just pay the cleaning bill

and photograph it.

He didn’t think about it.

Hey, there is a guy who comes with a shepherd’s staff,

sandals,

and his own homemade clothes.

Kind, sweet, good people,

involved with another world.

I like mathematicians.

But meanwhile, back at the  cards…

so when you are out with a man,

at the kind of places mathematicians often favor,

where you can use coffee tickets,

you have to be prepared for the fact that,

when they take off for Bobaqui land,

you get stuck with the coffee bonus tickets-

two to an infinte number of infinite sets.

Which you one day,

when returning from a  journey

to a realm where you really aren’t supposed to be drinking coffee,

because you are in training,

or you are at a conference,

where the coffee,

and often donuts,

are free,

ie without tickets,

suddenly discover your tickets don’t fit in your wallet,

which doesn’t fit in your handbag,

which doesn’t fit in your messanger bag,

which is overfilled by a laptop,

which you need…

to write a blog about….

too many coffee bonus tickets.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Presidents And Precedents

One of the most fascinating facts about living in Gutenberg Land

is that when anything happens to do with the US of A,

here called usa,

five minutes later,

the German people have formed an opinion.

Most of the people in our little town have never met an American-

perhaps to shake hands-

but certainly never to ask questions.

They don’t need to.

It is all in the media.

And they have all had English at school-

British English,

usually taught by Germans,

or a few English,

in one case,

even Scottish,

exchange teachers.

A few weeks per year are spent talking about the differences

between England

and America.

With England as the starting point-

after all, we Americans left England to come to America.

English, as a European language,

is considered “better”

ie more cultivated.

Even the Glaswegian I once took over for

was considered easier to understand than we Americans.

And not just from the standpoint of the language.

My standard answer

to things learned here from tv, newspapers

and even high level professional journals,

always judging things starting  with the Gutenberger standpoint

is:

start with the concept that Americans have about as much in common with Europe

as Asians do.

And considering how many Asians study

or work,

here in Europe,

probably even less.

And surprisingly,

once you explain the historical background for something,

and the alternative thinking patterns,

you find a lot of understanding.

But first you have to get through the anger.

Which brings me to yesterday’s inauguration.

I am very very proud of a lot of things that President Trump said.

Not so happy about others.

That is democracy.

But since five minutes after the inaugural speech,

the German press made a statement

reminding people

that the largest market for sales in the world

is still Europe-

I think I will probably be spending the next couple of days explaining things-

and hiding out whenever I can.

Actually,

due to all the time I spend as unofficial US speaker of the press

here in Gutenberg land,

I often thought I should perhaps collect things.

And write a book.

Or maybe a blog?

I could call it: “And Gutenberg Lived Here”

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: TV or Not TV: The Case For Training Farriers.

Every morning my husband and I put on the coffee,

and the stand -up- the -spoon

super black

tea,

plunk ourselves down in front of the tube,

and watch the news for a quarter of an hour or so.

Or used to

At the moment

here in Gutenberg Land,

the “news”

is available as:

CNN

BBC,

the RTL private stations,

based  in Luxembourg and more entertainment based than anything else-

think National Enquirer as film clips on a screen,

and the German government regulated-

(by committee of all major forces

ie political party, churches, education, etc)

first and second networks.

The result,  for us, is that we laugh more than we learn.

This morning, for example,

CNN spent a lot of time talking about the White House chef’s chief fear-

in this world of poisonings,

violence,

stolen data,

that the new President  prefers KFC, McDonalds, and well-done steak-

I wish I had his problems-

the BBC is in the middle of a story about the world’s most influential people-

all under thirty years old-

don’t I seem to remember something like that from John Lennon?-

John Lennon ?

You know-

the Beatles

The Beatles?-

Sorry, you have to be over thirty to understand the remark-

And then there is Radio Television Luxembourg-

featuring an interview with a woman who feels her biological clock

is ticking,-

I hate to mention this, folks, but everyone’s biological clock is ticking-

a bit faster every day of our lives-

and that a five-year old ran away from kindergarten because he was bored, and took a

train back to his mama.

Personally, I think the kid deserves a medal for finding a tram that is actually running on

time-

For that alone,  he deserves a spot at the local university.

Maybe they could borrow a booster seat from the local movie house.

And, of course, the German national tv is worried,

or not,

that Angie is running again,

and,

more important,

brings continual up-to-the-minute standby  reports that:

gasp-

the pilots of Lufthansa,

the national carrier,

are threatening another  strike.

We haven’t slept in over five years, here in Gutenberg land,

due to the constant upping of the number of “essential” plane travel trips to Asia-

in the middle of the night.

But now that Lufthansa could actually start losing money,

and we might be actually able to sleep one single night-

although, the actual flight-cancelling worry

is much more about daytime

than nighttime,

the Lufthansa biggies,

suddenly,

are doing  a major boogaloo-

Boogaloo ?

For anyone out there under thirty-

you can surely find an explanatiion for boogaloo

at some museum.

Or in a

gasp

dictionary from thirty years ago-

to be found cheap-

at a flea market-

or book fair-

0r, like we did,

inherit one-

a dictionary, I mean-

Ours is from 1920.

I love reading in it.

Amazing the knowledge that has gone lost.

And is still useful,

like when you have neither butter nor oil in the house,

but have whipping cream,

you can put in a bottle,

and hand it  to your husband or one of the kids

to shake for a few minutes

to make butter,

and fry your heart out.

Butter ?

Fry?

(It’s only for when your  mother-in-law visits

and you had the whipped cream any way

since you can’t feed a German mother-in-law without cake with  whipped cream.)

Oh, and a second use of the dictionary-

beyond putting it under a wobbly chair-

try that with an online dictionary-

you can use it to actually save about fifty to one hundred bucks

fixing the strap on a large leather book bag,

using an article about, and for,

draft wagon drivers-

that’s people who drive  dog, pony, or horse wagons,

and used to,

if they didn’t buy them from harness makers,

make their own  reigns…

and harnesses…

and book bags?

My favorite shop over here

is a guy so old,

he can fix anything.

Really.

We actually have a record player.

And 33 rpm records.

Jan and Dean take Linda surfing.

Hey, it was really hot back when I was a pre-teen.

And I’ve sock-hopped to Help Me Rhonda,

It was a teen-age wedding-c’est la vie,

and wipe out,

so there.

And when you think that,

someday,

you may have to play by manually turning the wheel,

and holding the needle in your fingers…

while opening your mouth for the sound to come out…

Which, now that I think about it,

like pianist in a movie house,

or calliope player on a river boat-

may one day be such rare trades,

and the only way to do such things,

you will have to pay at least two hundred the hour

for a specialist.

And when that day comes-

us whackos with the 1920’s dictionaries under the armpits,

fingers clutching a diamond needle,

and mouth open,

to let the sound out,

are going to be laughing at all of you.

So there.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

 

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Movies, Vampires, and the Industrial Revolution.

Yesterday we and some friends decided to go to the movies.

Nothing controversial,

nothing too chick flicky-

these are Hunsruck mountain men-

no Transformer hero Action men

we are intelligent, thinking, modern working women,

and besides, we, les girls,  are all already married,

so we don’t have to put up with Bruce Lee meets Wonder Woman-

(anybody else out there wonder how she manages to keep everything in place?)

So,

to put it in a nutshell,

I went through all the films now playing,

and found:

Four,

count them

four-

vampire pictures.

(I was outvoted on wanting to see the only other thing available-

the chipmunks)

So there we were,

looking at ads for four vampire friends,

teenage,

or three vampire girls,

also teenage.

hey-

there was even a vampire dog.

probably also in his teens.

And just as I was standing there,

wondering if I would get smacked down

for wondering where the vampire androids were-

how do I know-

maybe they drink each others’ motor oil?

when it hit me.

Of course.

Vampire legends,

in the form of ancestry worship,

have been around since ancient Mesopotamia et al-

the ancestors, of course,

being dried out in the mummification process

and needing food

and beverage,

no, not just blood,

milk from cows,

who suddenly appear to have dried up,

apparently weren’t.

Only donating to the local vampire coven.

(Just don’t tell that to the milk council-

“every mummy needs milk”)

And, of course,

the sexual neck biting bit is nonsense,

as vampires,

having been gone for a while,

are totally dried out,

and in need of liquid,

but also are missing their old life,

and are thus rabid sex fiends-

so say the research papers

at the more progressive universities,

that give vampire courses for English majors,

or anthropology buffs-

preferably during a semester on Hawaii,

or in London,

home of Bram Stoker.

The real crux of the matter, though,

pardon the pun,

is the fact that the vampire legends suddenly reappeared

in mass,

again,

sorry for the pun,

at the time of the rise of the  plague.

Which was supposedly brought by the undead dead.

Or cholera,

ditto.

Or any of the other major causes of death in the middle ages-

like rotten teeth,

which may have something to do with the vampire biting bit.

And then,

all is quiet for a while…

minus the occasional story

or legend,

usually in southeastern Europe…

until,

ta da,

the industrial revolution appears,

and the women are incarcerated at home,

and encased in corsets,

and are supposed to be pure

and chaste,

but maybe not really chased,

by vampires, I mean,

as brought to the home cinema

by Bram Stoker.

Who if he had had his way,

would have probably stabbed all deviant,

ie sexually active,

females of his time,

through the heart.

With a stake.

Or a steak-

vampires are always hungry, remember.

And those steak bones can be prettttty darned sharp.

Especially if you use the rib bones,

which do indeed make very nice little crosses.

So there we were-

discussing stakes,

and steaks,

and feeling dried out.

And  how the morals of the society determined what was aberrant behavior-

ie vampires and women giving in to their desires really just weren’t the thing,

or that the cure for the above

was Christian symbols-

only the symbols, please note-

as an antidote for good old-fashioned druid and pagan love of life….

So,

the end of the story was…

we found a Thai place with an exotic drinks happy hour bar,

and spent the rest of the evening discussing vampire legends,

now apparently coming to full fruition in the android age,

and whether mojitos or blue swimming pools would ward off vampires,

and whether the chop sticks they gave us

could be sharpened,

just in case the mojitos didn’t work.

And whether holy water works on vampires of other religions,

and most of all,

what one does to ward off vampires

that were mathematicians in previous lives-

ie

sing the ballad of poor little epsilon,

chant the eulogy of Bobaqui,

and if,

and only if,

that doesn’t work,

haul out the small bottle of chalk dust water

all mathematicians carry  with them at all times-

in case they get withdrawal symptoms-

and throw it on the undead.

Who then become  so involved in their research

they don’t need to drink blood any more.

Oh,

should any of the above not work,

and as an absolutely last resort,

pull out your abacus,

and …

what

no abacus?

Ok

here’s what you do-

pull out your computer,

dial-up the latest Ted talk explaining what core math is,

throw the entire mess at them,

and run.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Death in Causton, Stars Hollow, and Gutenberg Land

We have been in the middle of a blizzard the last couple of days here in Gutenberg Land-

wintry white trees,

twisting in the breeze,

and sighing “oh why didn’t I go to Florida in October,”

squirrels throwing snowballs at anyone who tries to get at their nut supply,

dogs making the snow yellow

so the snowmen , and hopefully the houses behind them,

can be seen in the dark,

when the snow plow drivers

finally get around to ploughing the streets.

And through all of this,

my only consolation has been death.

Dead heaters.

Toll house cookies.

(Death by death by chocolate)

Mahler’s dead children songs,

Bach’s Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded,

and,

of course,

the latest Barnaby series-

incredibly popular over here in Gutenberg Land,

series number 19,

to be exact.

With a Barnaby who isn’t a Barnaby,

so to speak.

ie

John, Not Tom.

A man who just doesn’t play by the rules.

Which means:

when you’re originally from a small town on the Mississippi,

like I am-

picture a cross between the Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow,

which my birth town’s  locals are immensely thrilled to be compared to,

and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn,

which is only a few miles from us.

So now picture how people there die-

not murdered,

but, blessedly. old-age,

and healthy to the last,

due to the constant hard work of raising a family,

or even bringing in the harvest on time.

Sad, but somehow, after a long satisfying life,

Normal.

And then, there is Carolyn Graham’s wonderful entertaining world of the abnormal.

A member of a sun worshiping cult shot with a golden arrow from a barrow burial find,

Ritual beheading in a film company,

Pregnant nuns falling out of windows.

And suddenly,

when it is all so absurd,

and bizarre,

and has more to do with local color,

and the fact that the much aligned inspector’s wife

is one very bright,

and very observant local,

who gets back at her husband

by not being able to cook,

and always being up on the local absurdity of the week,

the classical Miles,

the soldier or servant, or helper

brighter than his master,

you get joy,

and fun,

And Tom, Joyce, and Calley.

But then,

hark,

the times change.

More people live in cities than villages,

manners are no longer soft.

Murders are no longer part of the murder game,

as defined by Agatha Christie and the Detective Club

ie

no one in authority ever kills some one-

no mysterious Chinamen,

the only reason to kill is money,

or dishonor,

or to save someone.

Murders are not planned by leagues of computer gamers,

or virtual reality players,

or dungeon and dragon players,

or if they are,

at least they are never really carried out.

In reality.

Because the game of kings,

or, actually Queens,

as Elizabeth II is a huge fan,

is to enlighten

and entertain,

and thus is a game,

right?

Enter John Barnaby-

degree in psychology,

wife a head mistress of a school-

and still,

the only one bright enough to give clues is the dog-

“woof, woof, he’s in the well, you idiot.”

And it is  not DCI John, but  Sykes the dog, who rolls winsomely on the floor,

paws over eyes.

thus giving the all-important clue

when the baddy enters the room.

And the murders-

even the spark-shooting roulette wheel was boring,

in my opinion,

in comparison to over-seventy year old hippies

poisoning the locals with their Alice B Toklas brownies.

Or the murders in an old-folks’ home-

Can Tom save his aunt on time?

Or the incredible lengths someone will go to to win a cricket game.

Buried treasure-

a fake painting with pictures of the four Beatles instead of the four apostles.

I laughed at that one till I cried.

So what is the point?

Charm.

Local color.

And under no circumstances,

does anyone but a  really really Vile Nasty Perils of Pauline type villain,

deserve to be done in.

Oh, and of course,

mosst important is  recognition that,

if you turn something we all face,

death,

into something so bizarre, weird, strange, and exotic,

but vampire-and-supernatural free,

it is taken from the realm of the  bizarre

into the realm of the fairy tale,

or, in this case,

The Game,

ie

a game where the reader,

or viewer

can face the ugliness of reality,

and supersede it,

for just a few moments,

before going back to shoveling the car out,

cooking according to a new diet book,

or paying taxes.

Or have you ever seen a victim,

eating a fat-free rice biscuit,

as he shovels his car out to get to the post office,

to pay his taxes on time,

being suddenly killed by trained assassin squirrels,

throwing iceballs with poison-filled acorns,

in order to steal the documents,

that would show that the victim’s occupation

is actually head of a zombie ring,

who have as their goal

the internet robbery of one tenth of one cent for each bank transaction,

in order to buy the blood necessary

to lure vampire extraterrestrials

from the planet Sirius,

to collect the few remaining citizens of

Causton,

Midsommer Worthy,

Badger’s Drift,

Or even Cabot Cove-

a town where.

in my humble opinion,

they must reproduce like rabbits

to balance the effect of Jessica Fletcher living there.

Has anyone else noticed that the only safe job in Causton

is Police inspector,

or that the name of the town where Jessica Lives

on the city limit sign,

is now

Cabot Cov ?

Or that this helpless little schoolteacher-

who can’t drive a car-

keeps inheriting houses

from her dearly departed neighbors?

Or that with Cousin Cally now married,

and Tom Barnaby off playing Christmas Pantos,

and Joyce all alone in the house in Causton,

with nothing but heavy as  lead biscuits,

or cement hard-baked chicken

to save her..

Maybe we need a new show…

“Sykes To The Rescue?”

copyright Dunnasead.co 2017