And Gutenberg Lived Here: Would You Like Your Eggs In A Glass?

Many years ago,

in an act of brilliance,

in my humble opinion,

the Nobel Prize winning author Heinrich Böll

used the simple act of eating eggs,

the only thing left between a down-at-the-heels Clown

and death,

to compare him to his wealthy businessman, good catholic, and solid Nazi-supporting burgher father’s

breakfasting on eggs in a tall glass,

the ultimate form of elegance in German society at the time.

Anger at a social form that banned Böll’s work?


But also a brilliant characterization of the society of the time.

The artist vs the industrialist.

And today?

In general, Germans still don’t eat eggs as a meal.

Unless you are breakfasting in a hotel,


for five stars,

you get a chef who makes personal omelettes,

for four stars, you get warm cooked eggs in all variations,

including poached eggs in a tall glass,

three stars will normally get you scrambled eggs,

and in a bed and breakfast,

a single soft boiled egg,

often in a beautifully formed egg holder,

of fine metal or of traditional bone china.

(Although, for children, Bart Simpson,

or Darth Vader with a spoon instead of a light-sword,

are popular.

May the yolk be with you)

Germans and eggs.

A long and difficult history.

And what about in the family?


unless someone has been out all night drinking…

(here the tradition of the prairie oyster, eggs and tobasco, has been slowly adopted,

mostly from English bedroom farces, which are popular here,

but more often, after New Years Eve, for example, you are hit with a plate of raw herring with onions for breakfast.

The best reason I know not to drink.)

…eggs, in the family, are for Sunday and holidays only.

Soft boiled,

and, of course,

each perched jauntily in a beautiful porcelein egg cup.

And it is with these egg cups,

which, on holidays like Easter or Christmas

bear the names of great- great- grandmother Elfrieda Hulda,

or great-great-grandfather Siegfried Otto,

that the continuity of the family is shown.

Some time ago,

feeling somewhat traditional,

but not really ready for Elfrieda Hulda,

I bought a set for us for Easter-

two ducks, a male with a hat, pipe, and newspaper,

briefcase in one hand,

a large removable spoon in the other.

His wife, looking a bit like a homemaking Daisy duck,

holds a purse and shopping bag,

and her spoon.

I also have a set of beautiful and elegant mallards,

in case we get guests.

Cute, usable, and showing the importance of the egg in traditional German society.

And Böll wasn’t the only one who recognized that.

Hermann Hesse got his Nobel for, among other things, Damian,

the story of how the bird symbolically breaks from the egg,

and flies to God.

Steinbeck is full of images of discussions of farmers selling eggs,

or people eating eggs for various reasons.

He also has a Nobel.

And, of course, the Nobel laureate Faulkner, a rabid bird watcher and egg collector,

uses eggs and birds in all of his works through The Sound And The Fury.

Sunday morning in Germany.

I wonder if a defrosted egg mc muffin and a discussion of eggs in literature gets me closer to a Nobel?


copyright 2015

Re: No Vation

The urban dictionary defines vation as:

aggravation, aggression, and irritation combined.

All in one.

In one fell swoop.

Now I know that this probably wasn’t what Maria had in mind

when she set this theme for the FLBC,

but to me,

trying to keep my head above water in this more and more Orwellian world,

no vating is just plain more important.


We who enjoy our lives as simply and joyfully as we can,

and try to help others do the same,

often by simply letting them be,

live in a world of naggers, naysayers, and destructive types,

terror-makers who destroy your time, energy, and soul so they feel secure in their little world where all of them band together to support idiot causes like forcing professional musicians to play cheap plastic instruments badly and in groups, instead of helping others learn,

to show their “brotherhood”

or who insist on demonstrating violently for world peace,

or for a particular cause.

(blow up people to save lab rats)

And if you up this kind of “me first, and only me”, a level,

by deciding, and, unfortunately,

in self-named fashion,

acting, for the others,

to the point of wanting to be destructive on the international level,

you get terrorists-

plain and simple destructives who band together to push through what they think.

Or even worse,

think they speak for anyone else.

And have you ever noticed that the very ones who do absolutely nothing in their lives, have never had a success, and never known the joy of helping others silently from behind the scenes, are exactly the ones who become politicians.

So what do we do about this?

I think a lot of countries,

foremost France,

but also America, at the moment,

are doing themselves proud.

France filling the churches, markets, concert halls and dining establishments,

refusing to lower quality of life

in the face of danger.

And the Americans,

who held the 89th Macy’s parade yesterday in the face of the enemy.

What Hermann Hesse called “the laughter of the immortals”

It doesn’t get better than that.

Huge balloons, an entire store marching together, holding the strings,

marching bands,




Santa arriving in a sleigh at the end.

And over here in Gutenberg land, our Christmas market opens today.

The center of which is always the unveiling of the pyramid:

A huge three-tiered wooden construction,

like a slowly circling three-tiered merry-go-round,

traditionally with man and nature on the bottom,

then the Christchild and the manger,

and, on top, God the father, and angels rejoicing.

And in typical Gutenberger style,

ours has carvings of the 05 football team,

if they win,

and local VIPs,

like the organizer of the carnival parade.

(on the bottom row, of course)

Today, Harald and I decided,

after all that has hit us the last few weeks,

it is time to boogy.

First the remainder of the remainder:

a few ugly doctors appointments,

the remaining errands,

the taxes, (by 31 Dec here)

and then,

let the laughter mount.

The Christmas atmosphere,

the whole nine yards.

A wooden ornament for the tree,

as we do each year.

Presents for family,

lebkuchen, with all the spices in the Bible,

singing with the trumpet groups at the market.

Even jingle bells over here.



Copyright 2015


For other views, check out what the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium has to say: Ashok, Gaelikka, Maxi at Maxi’s Comments, Old Fossil, Padmum at This and That, Here and There, Pravin at Business to the Buddha, Ramana at Ramana’s Musings, and Chuck at Shackman Speaks.


And Gutenberg Lived Here: Monday, Monday

All the leaves are brown.

And the sky is gray-

Stormy weather…


Went for a walk on the island yesterday.

We have several of them here in the Rhine.

For some of them, there are bridges,

for one there is an absolutely magical little ferry called the Tamara,

for another, a LONG circular staircase you have to carry your bike down,

which starts in the middle of the main bridge between Hessen and the Rheinland Palatinate.

One or two other islands are private farms-

rights dating back to about 1400.

But the majority, including the biggest,

the Rhine Knee peninsula,

where Charlemagne one camped,

and banqueted,

all winter,

are public access.

Always with a walking path,

or a dog path,

people allowed,

or even a small car park and barbecue pits.

Almost every square inch here in Gutenberg land is used.

I have even heard, quite often, from the locals,

that Americans’ houses are far too large,

for the few people in the family.

(they have normally only seen pictures in magazines or on the tv of the rich and famous)

And it’s because the German building plan,

and city zoning,

are totally different than ours…

Even today, the houses are built vertically, not horizontally.

A street frontage of a few feet is the norm.

And attached on both sides to other houses.

It has its advantages.

Warmer in winter,

less road repair,

better access to public transport,

And a ridiculously low property tax per year.

Plus a small tax to put in a common (one) street light.

At night, the second,

or in some cases, third,

floor living room windows light the street.

And the windows are bigger now, since they invented double-glazing.

A vast improvement over the days when everyone here had tiny windows to fop the tax man,

because each window was a luxury- with  a high tax according to size.

In the old part of the city, along the main street, behind the cathedral,

the houses are small,

with small windows,

but four stories,

and grow together at the top.

In a few places, you would have no trouble going from one maid’s room to another across the street without leaving the house.

Many houses still have the hook and pully system,

left over from the days when the servants pulled the  shopping up into the livingroom, if they weren’t strong enough to carry it.

Monday is the day Gutenberg land does brewing.

You can always tell, since the entire town smells of carrots.

And the day that the farmers and butchers slaughter.

You can tell by the signs in the butchers’ saying “fresh liver, wurst soup Tuesday. Order now.”

Wurst soup is the water they cook the hotdogs and luncheon meat in here.

It contains all the leftover bits.

A bit like coarsely ground hotdog filling floating in it.

And is so highly prized it is served at the first fall meeting of a lot of choirs over here.

And the conductor gets the second prized bowl of it.

Right after the pastor.

Unless the church organist comes,

and the organist isn’t the choir conductor.

At which point, the conductor becomes third.

(Followed by the school teacher, who in the old days WAS the organist)

For which the conductor is expected to conduct choirs at funerals,

and walk behind the pastor as they take the coffin to the the cemetary.

As I learned when I was shoved,


into line,

with a sotto voce stage-whispered,

stay right behind the pastor,

at the first funeral of a “choir brother” I conducted.

In a scene, not to be disrespectful, right out of Verdi.

(All the choir brothers in colored jackets with a patch on the pocket with lyre and motto,

As the anglers, of which he also was a member,  stood spalier in anglers’ hats, raised fishing rods and wading boots. And I’m not kidding on this one.)

It took some doing at first, but over the years I have learned ways to keep out of the line of fire.

On wurst night, for example, I usually arrange an appointment I simply (really) can’t get out of,

since it just doesn’t do,

in some choirs,

to be a vegetarian.

(I’m telling you this since I don’t have a “wurst choir” or glee club at the moment)

Although I did hear a funny story from one of the members of one I conducted once,

about how one of the traditional choirs,

which met on Friday,

and thus also met on Good Friday,

ordered the traditional schnitzel at the weekly after-party,

and was admonished by the pastor.

At which point the president of the club rose,

and intoned,

“this pig ate fish this week”

Why didn’t I study to be an English teacher, like my dad wanted?


copyright 2015


And Gutenberg Lived Here: Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog

I woke up this morning with the sun shining,

for the first time in a while,

full of energy,

and joy,

and with Jeremiah running through my head.

Credence Clearwater,

not the prophet.

My id must have been dancing with my superego again,

at a ball for all those hit by all the lunacy of this world.


pulling together the few reasonable thoughts learned in a very wierd abnormal psych course I once had in college,

made me start wondering….

Why Jeremiah?

A return to the happier times of my childhood?

Or was it because it was Sunday.

And then I had it.

The real Jeremiah was a poet of incredible talent and beauty.

And a prophet of covenant.

AND a  real wet blanket.

Gloom and doom.

The end of the world is at hand.


So much a wet blanket, that the name Jeremiad has stuck,

until this day,

for a real rebel-rousing good old fashioned beat everyone to death diatribe.

Followed, in Jeremiah’s case,


Joy to the world.

All the boys and girls.

(The second half was Credence again, but you get the point)

Wet blanket,

problems, problems, problems,

threats to life and limb,



joy to the world.

Oh my, yes.


Of course….


Me, I’m going to spend today hiking on an island in the middle of the river,

As long and as fast and as far as I can go.

And as soon as I get far enough away to not disturb other people,

in case anyone also decides to go out today,

You know what I’m going to sing?


So there.

(Maybe I can even con Harald into singing bass.)


copyright 2015


And Gutenberg Lived Here: Can You Get A Michelin Star For Tuna Surprise?

For a long time, there was a t.v. program over here

in which candidates try to stump a chef by bringing a shopping bag of groceries,

all for under about twenty dollars,

and watch two star chefs tear their hair out

trying to turn a bag of chocolate bars, turnips, and mock turtle soup,

into a three course meal fit for the Savoy,

or the Michelin or Cordon Blue judges.

In twenty minutes, no less.

And, since I like creative anything,

I was always thrilled at what they did.

But a bigger thrill was, of course,

when someone brought in a set meal.

Trout muellerin with fancy new potatoes and fresh peas,

And the chef turned it into:

Potatoe and pea lasagne,

with a fresh green salad,

and a cheese-trout desert cake,


topped with fancy ornaments,

and a small carrot carved into a fish,

tail through eye like in Alice in Wonderland.

Or some such thing.

And the sheer audacity of breaking with convention,

and creating something so memorable wierd,

that still manages, somehow or another,

to look like a special section in a Sunday photo spread,

taste elegant and welcoming,

or so say the candidates and audience,

and cost less than ten dollars per person,

is so amazing to me,

I’ve been thinking for quite a while about creating the same thing in other fields.


Shoes you can unroll, zip together, and wear on your head like an umbrella,

if you don’t mind walking barefoot,

and would prefer wet feet to wet clothes, hair, and body.

Feet can be dried under a restroom dryer,

but clothes, hair, skin, eyelashes,

even eyeballs, if you live in the midwest…

And what about those tent-thingies you are supposed to sleep in

when hubby decides you are all going camping and you don’t want to drag a trailer.

Instead, you could buy, hopefully somewhere, some day,

one of those expansion jack sets they use to lift houses above the flood level.

One room plus bath should do.

Two if you have kids.

Mounted on top of which is one of those plastic springy air-filled blow-up castle things kids jump on at fairs,

inflatable with a pump from the car.

the sewage line goes into a recyclable plastic thing you fold up and take away and empty when you stop somewhere with public restrooms.

run a line for an electric heater into the storage battery built into the base,

here a fake fireplace would be nice,

depending on the size of the car trunk.

And, of course, depending on how close you are to a stream,

you could add a small pool indentation on the outside of the castle,

for swimming, or bathing the next morning.

(soap outside the pool, like the Japanese, and you only recycle a small amount.)

For drinking water, the water purification tablets and container don’t take much room.

(with a plastic sheet and a little rain, you don’t even need them)

Cooking can be done by solar,

or over the heating.

Or eat joghurt and muesli for a while,

and look good while bathing in your pool.

Then, there is the question of entertainment.

You could, of course, do something novel,

(sorry about the pun)

and read.

Or, you could always take along a few musical instruments.

Depending on how good you are, make sure you are FAR from the next campers.

Or you could tell stories…

About people who are being chased by hoards of man-eating mutant soybean plants,

angry that we are eating so much soy joghurt,

or people who go camping in the woods,

and are eaten by a hoard of hungry bears…


you could leave the kids with his mom,

And go someplace like a small, cheap but romantic weekend bed and breakfast,

in the area of a nice big city,

with lots of nice museums, free concerts, healthy restaurants.

Are you reading this, dear?



copyright 2015

Over Spending

This article is over spending.

Everybody does it.

Spending, I mean.

No matter how you TRY to save…

You wake up one morning, and find a hole in the sole of a shoe.

Hey, ok,

by the book…

you wake up one morning,

and while getting dressed you find…

Can I continue now?

So now you are in a forced spending situation.

And unfortunately the local shoe emporium is having a two for one sale,

so you make your husband raise his foot,


and discover-

that winter is coming,

and the tread on the feet of your male animal looks remarkably thin for the ice and snow that is coming,


And then, of course,

while you are standing at the counter,

right in the area of the shoe polish-

which just happens to be the right color for the shoes you just bought,

and also happens to be right near the shoe laces,

which also just happen to be the right color,

since one of the reasons that the shoes are two for one is that

the company made a small mistake,

and put in glow-in-the-dark yellowish-green laces,

for runners,

on winter shoes,

so now you need laces that fit the correct office shoes you just bought,

and which just happen to cost twice what the shoes cost.

Times two.

And when you have added in the shoe spray,

since you have to have a special spray,

and a shoe horn,

inner soles,

air cooled, of course,

gel based walking inlays,

oh, and of course a pump system,

for extra speed,

in case you are running for a bus and it is just a few seconds from pulling out without you,

as you can see from the evil smile on the face of the bus driver,


All told,

your special half-price two for one sale shoes,

with all the trimmings,

have now reached the price of a week for two in Disneyworld,

including the planefare, airport taxes, meeting with Mickey,

you get the picture…

And while we are on the subject of spending…

Have you ever noticed that drinks in a pub

cost much more than a meal?


P.S. The advent calendar starts next week. Spend a little for those on the streets in the cold if you can.


copyright 2015

This blog is my version of the topic suggested by Maria for the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium. Other members’ takes are by: Ashok, Gaelikka, Maxi, of Maxi’s Comments, Old Fossil, Pradmum at This and That, Here and There, Pravin at Business to the Buddha, Ramana, of Ramana’s Musings, and Shackman, of Shackman Speaks.


Got Those Low Down, Sneakin’ Yellow-Bellied People-Watchin’ Blues

This week I got a noodge on my page.

A suggestion by, (thank you)

that I,

well, not me alone, but a group of writers,

write on the color yellow.

Noodge noodge.

Now yellow is about my unfavoritest color in the universe.

Yellow skies frighten me.

(When you’re from the midwest, you know which kind of weather is coming- and it rhymes with ornate-oh?)

And, since we’re talking about mother nature

and the great outdoors,

Yellow snow is…

Then there are yellow clothes.

Which make me look green with a greenish tinge.

Not that I dislike asparagus, but…

And then, of course,

on an international scale,

yellow is also not really de rigeur…

if you take my drift,


as the wife of a dear friend once told us,

in Japan to be seen in a yellow car is socially unacceptable, since it is the sign of the institutions for the mentally ill, and someone might think they are coming to take you away.

Note to self,

make a note to check out what color  Germans link to mental illness.

Or do they all just drive on the autobahn?

So anyway,

back to yellow.

And as opposed to Japan,

or maybe not,

here in Germany,

yellow is the color of the old postal service-

the one which,

since it  was state-owned, state-run, and civil service,

delivered the mail and did everything else a mail receiving patron could wish for, with precision, correctness, and on time,

but was surly, surly, surly.

And very often downright nasty to the customers.

I once had to repack a package and put on a different label since the ones (1) in the address, without  a left-to right ninety degree upward hook, were non-readable to postal sorters and carriers, and to just change it would make it…uhm…changed.

And we wouldn’t want anyone thinking the post office CHANGED addresses, would we?

And since the contemporary alternative is the  modern PINK Deutsche Post Ag/ t-online and co,

with their little pink phone boxes that look exactly like a primary school child’s first pencil,

(with small windows)

and who are polite, knowledable, forward thinking, smart and with it, and just plain DON’T DELIVER THE MAIL…!

And since I could go on and on and on about what I dislike so intensely about yellow,

I think,


I will try to do something positive,

to up my dharma a bit,

after all the negative pictures floating in my mind lately,

what with the Paris situation,

and the November month of the dead, which is observed BIGTIME in the churches over here,

and the preparation for singing for which starts in July,

And just focus on the beautiful picture of the smiling sun the Hemsley agency sent with their picture.



And then I’ll make a pot of tea,

hey, it’s five in the morning here,

wrap myself in a large warm blanket,

with enough fleece and space for two,

put out an extra cup for my husband Harald,

to try to lure him into the peace, joy, love, and contemplating the warm yellow rays of the sun thing,


ommm yellow yellow yellow…Zzzzz





And Gutenberg Lived Here: Be Still My Soul

It’s still here.

Too Still.

The people go about their work,

but waiting.

With an incredible unnatural quiet.




On Sunday, the churches were filled.

And the usual one hour walk through the city,

Or the hour of pre-lunch “stammtisch,”

one quick drink in a pub,

and heated political discussion,

with friends you have known since you started school,

was strangely muted.

Just shaken heads,

and “Not again.”


“Are they crazy?”

Even the usual heated political analysis that follows everything

from a discussion of whether we should tax the use of superhighways,

to the political game-playing of the local football bosses,

was still.

Hushed by mutual agreement.

“Not the right time” said one.

“Maybe next week” said a second.

The rest of the nation is glued to the news.

Or deliberately boycotting it.

Because watching the situation develop,

and then discussing it with friends,

is just too difficult.

Even the phone ringing-

friends for whom I am the only American they know,

and they want an opinion.


Has forced me into my book-lined den

while my husband handles phone duty.

We spent yesterday making travel plans-

we may or may not keep.

A show of light.

And defiance.

From: There’s a conference late spring.


Can we even go to the Christmas market this year?

Or can we travel to his family on the train if there is too much snow?

Ridiculous thoughts, until you realize how close Paris is-

A friend in London made the comment that they haven’t even got armed police, like here on the continent.

A friend in Spain says they are very worried. Bad economy, unhappy people, and now this.

At the moment, everyone here is handling it in the time-old fashion.

A rap on the table with the knuckles as you stand,

a quick “so what’s to do”

Followed by:

“Till next week, Hans.”

“Take care, Helmut.”

History is the common glue here.

Personal history.

Local history.

Or even kinship and clan, in a country where one mile down the road is a vastly different language and culture.

Oh, and of course, religion,

in a culture where, when the Duke, or King, or Kaiser, changed religion, you knocked the whitewash off the walls, replastered, and blessed it in the new belief.

Survival has always been on the basis of who you know and who you went to kindergarten with.

Is it changing?




Should it?

Not my decision.

Will it eventually?

Time will tell.

Until then, we wait.

And pray.

And look for moments of light and happiness.

And until they accumulate again enough to become daily reality,

It is still.









Just the sound of the word brings up images.

Blues in the night.

St. Louis blues.

Old time, deep south, hot sultry, no sound but the crickets and mosquitos,

too hot to sleep, so you lie there,

sweat soaked,

tossing and turning,

moaning about everything that is bad in your life

and doesn’t look like it’s gonna get better by morning,

deep black blues.

oh yeah.

But, if you think a little deeper,

pull out the entire pallet,

you get other blues.

Add in a little silver, for example, and you get:

Winter blues.

Cold, hard, trees frosted, ground crunching under the feet,

sky so pale you can almost not see it,

so cold you can’t feel your feet

or your fingers

any more,

shoveling that snow,

slipping on the ice,

got to shovel out the car,

cause we’re out of tp and coffee,


Or the fall,

with its trees to cut back, leaves to rake, house to ready for winter,

the summer is over, and I’m afraid I can’t survive the dark one more time,

and if I get the flu there’s no one to take care of me,


Or the spring time,

so pale that the blue isn’t enough,

and the green comes through.

How can you have the blues

with all that sprouting,

and growing,

and spurting,

the newborn life,

and the happiness of their gamboling?

Or do you have that month of fasting before Easter,

dark time of the soul because everyone else is happy,

nothing but work

with wackos coming at you from all sides with complaints

when what you really want is to be sitting on a beach in Florida with a waiter half your age

in a bow-tie, short pants and cuffs,

serving you drinks with umbrellas and fruit stuck on the rim,


Throughout the centuries,

people have suffered.

And sung the blues.

A howl from the soul,

before you pull yourself up,

straighten the tie,

put on the plastic smile,

go out

and survive.

But after you’ve had your howl,

and done the I will survive bit,

there is one much more important thing to remember,

in my opinion:

the blue, and other colors, of the eyes of family,

the blue of the true blue loyalty of those watching over you,

the blue of that little stripe of silvery pale blue on the horizon,

even during the worst of the storms.

Those, and only those, are the real blues.

This was a theme, proposed by me,  for  the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium. For the others’, always fascinating, takes, check out Ashok, Gaelikaa, Old Fossil, Maxi, at Maxi’s Musings, Padmum at This and That, Here and There, Pravin’s Business to the Buddha, Ramana at Ramana’s Musings, and Shackman, at Shackman Speaks.

copyright 2015

And Now: Ben And Jerry’s, The Musical.

I don’t know about you, but I ‘m recognizing a trend lately.

The linking of the odd, odder, oddest in life,

With the over-abundance of bad, badder, baddest,

to get….

you guessed it:

Laugh, laughter, laughtest.

As in:

A new musical has just opened over here:

The miracle of Bern.

Extolling the merits of the football team that won something like the first FIFA (world) cup after the war.(1954)

Hey, what do I know? I still call it soccer.

But whatever you call it, the ads now are everywhere:

Awe-struck children,

a stage filled with the dancing populace of a stage-version of a real town,

dancing soccer teams,

Hey, they’ve even got a dog.

You know you can’t go wrong with a musical with a dog in it.

Hey, would, the person who has watched Toto every year since it came out,

well, at least since early childhood,

lie to you?

Or was that a football under his arm?

And then there’s the ambient.

A HUGE super glass and steel dome,

big enough to put the Hamburg harbor to shame.

And the come-on in the papers:

“come to watch the MIRACLE happen,”


Wasn’t there something about oil lamps not going out even though there was no oil,

or fishes that miraculously fed the 5,000-

Or Christmas-

The second biggest miracle of all?

Right after….

So anyway,

to keep this one non-secular,

The press is great, greater, greatest,

The ambient is big, bigger, biggest,

And the dog is…

Miraculously Lassie-like in his perfect performance in the role of a football.

So what exactly is the problem?

Well, as I see it…

Musicals have been around for a while.

Like in the depression,

When people needed entertainment,

And a place to eat all that popcorn-

Survival food at the time.

And where you go to eat the seaweed that is slowly replacing it,

At least in California,

I really don’t know.

Perhaps the aquarium?

But the musical of the late twenties, early thirties, wasn’t all fun and games.

There was Showboat, for instance.

Where two people in love,

not of the same race,

found a place for themselves on a showboat-

where people don’t judge one another-

and the middle of a river-

where the societal laws don’t apply.

And with a smart, God-like captain who wishes them well,

And finds a solution.

Heavy stuff for 1927.

And then we had the war-time musicals:

Esther Williams and her swim-suited nixen ladies,

Swimming in perfection unison to form an underwater American flag.

But aside from the novelty stuff,

A sort of huge-vista-ed vaudeville,

The big thing all the musicals from then had,

Was heart.

And huge and dramatic backgrounds.

Oklahoma- war between the cowmen and the farmers,

South Pacific- World War Ii and the race question again.

Hey, even in the sixties, A Chorus Line had monstrous amounts of gold lame and tapping feet.

A struggle of the talented to survive long enough to practice it.

So what happened?

In my opinion, the struggle of the individual first became political-

Featuring Lloyd-Webber’s


Les Miserable,

Starlight Express, about a group of trains that…

Sorry, but I never really understood the plot,

Except that it is political,

And the best song is given to Belle, the sexy sleeping car,


(And if you want to struggle politically, Mr. Lloyd-Webber, why ever did you steal a poem by brilliant, but most say schizophrenic, T.S. Eliot, about Mr. Possum and his book and turn it into a musical about-



With an awful lot of homage to Verdi?)

So, ok,  these times are long over-

Or would be if busloads of tourists didn’t keep arriving in London to see Cats,

Which has now prompted the world-wide building of musical domes,

Which brings us back to Bern.

And since I see the writing on the wall for musicals,

ie Wicked, where good is bad and bad is good,

Or the Dance of the Vampire, which, at least in the film was funny,

Or our latest horror creation,

Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria…

So in the spirit of union of  helpful noodgers everywhere-

of which I am a genuine, dues paying, but only rarely practicing, member,

I present:

Ben and Jerry’s:  A Musical In Five Acts

The action takes place in a small village near Woodstock NY,

At the time of the famous Woodstock festival.

The two heroes,

Ben and Jerry,

are contemplating the small farming community,

And discussing what to do with the overabundance of milk that year from all the happy

(perhaps Amish?)


And as they discuss…the music comes up.

And they burst into song:

The hills are alive, with the sound of music…

Act two

The cows are in their barns,

Heads sticking out of the windows,

Rocking to the distant sound of Jimmy Hendricks.

Perhaps they could make those mechanical metal ones like in War Horses,

And walk them around the stage a lot for the audience to admire.


Happy hipppies, in flower-painted VW vans,

“Hey, man, Starshine said you’ve got some good stuff here.”

“Have an ice cream, friend. That’ll be a dollar.”

Act three,

The happy first factory…

Modern, clean, the workers being paid well,

You get the picture.

And then:

Act four

The labor unions,

the government,


tax problems,

poisoned grass,

a scandal pumped up by the press,


They fold the place,

set up in South Dakota,

Or Montana,

Set up the icemen weather underground,

Pump lots of money into fixing all the problems,

And even more into the next political campaign,


Act five,

We find them back at the remains of their factory,

Strong, tough, ready to go back to their job.

The first happy cows are brought back in,


The entire cast starts singing

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.


Happy audience.

The end.

copyright Dunnasead 2015