And Then There Was Valentine’s Day: The Battle Of The Sexes: Or…The Up-Bot Side Of Life.

I read the news today, oh boy.

Hey, it’s not that much after Valentine’s Day, already.

So anyway,

way out there on the heart-

or heartless,

front:

Men,

there is a  Cyrano de Bergerac Bot now available to write love letters for you.

Ladies,

have you ever been in the situation where someone female-

neighbor,

school parent,

table-partner at a place of work/community “family evening”

where the families are supposed to show up to wave the flag,

(of the U, the church, the club, the computer company,

wherever you all wave)

attaches herself to you,

usually strong hand on arm,

(remember, these ladies play tennis and squash)

which rapidly becomes a steel-like yank,

followed by “Let’s go to the ladies’ room…we can have a little chat…”

And ends with…

“when mine is dead, I’ll never let another one over the threshold.”

And yes, the above is a real quote-

from a many years married chemistry teacher at a faculty party-

whose husband obviously doesn’t  have a Cyrano Bot.

Not that I’m much for robots.

But still,

if you look at the partners of the Cyrano-botless,

yup

sure enough,

you will find them

in a group of others of their ilk

(what exactly is an ilk? Some short form for milk,

as in “I am Duncan McLeod, of the milk the McLeods?)

crunching numbers,

expounding business tactics,

cars,

sports,

the latest political ideas,

and discussing how good they are to their wives.

“I go out dancing with her every Friday.”

(Where you try out new steps, and talk to other business men, politicians, or number

crunchers?)

Or

“I took her to a castle hotel for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary”

“Where you drank with the three guys you invited along,

who also just happen to be businessmen, politicians, or number crunchers.”

(We were one of the couples invited along-

Not knowing it was an anniversary.

And guess who spent the weekend taking long walks,

with and without Harald,

to avoid them all.

After which,

in the middle of the night,

there was shouting and screaming,

which turned out to be the silver anniversary pair

ie she yelled,

and he tried to hang here out the third floor window by her ankles till she

“just shut up for once.”

Oh my yes, it really did happen.

So…

in the interest of something I can’t,

as much as I try,

laugh about,

here is my suggestion for world peace,

at least the male/female portion of it:

How about…

Each of you sit down and write a list

of each of the things you do so you can avoid spending time with the other person

when you are actually together.

And then a list of things you really honestly Like to do.

With or without partner.

And then, a shortlist of things you like to do with her.

Or him.

If the lists don’t match,

you might have a serious problem.

And want to go to couples therapy.

Or….

you could do as the geek news suggests,

and get a robot to write and send romantic cards, poetry, etc

in your name to her.

(Just remember to read it first, so you know what you supposedly wrote.)

Oh,

and if you get the upgrade bot,

it could probably be programmed to send flowers regularly,

and perfume, or jewelry, or nighties

on special occasions.

Be careful to make it look like it all came from you, though,

and make sure that you never upgrade to the super premium bot-

which takes over all male duties in the home,

or one day you might open the door

to find your wife has taken your car,

and left you with a driverless electric car,

and  a housekeeper bot

in charge of your home.

Ps Harald has threatened to write the male version of this.

Will let you know.

copyright dunnasead.co 2017 all rights reserved.

 

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Pace And Pacing

One of the literary theories I like most,

and find most applicable to life,

is that you can create an atmosphere

by changing the pace of what you are doing.

Umberto Eco was an expert at this-

see the Name of the Rose.

Real Life in those days,

medievally-speaking,

was considered a metronome marking

(they didn’t have them then,

I am just using this for sake of discussion)

of under sixty.

If you want to try it, take out a watch with a sweep-second hand,

or count

one Mississippi, two Mississippi,

(not totally accurate if you are from New York-

or Mississippi)

and take a step for each second.

Now take up The Name Of The Rose and read it.

While walking.

See.

Then there is Shakespeare.

Who walked regularly from London to Stratford-

elapse time just over two hours-

On foot, gasp.

He didn’t use a rowing machine, nautilus, or a weight machine,

drive a Segway,

motorcycle with side-car,

robot driven electric car,

a bike with an extra motor,

he walked.

And read books.

(Not delivered by Amazon)

And experienced things.

And thought.

And discussed with his brother,

who apparently  was also a player in his company for a while,

and whose child he was the godfather of,

after his son Hamnet,

one of the twins he was so fascinated by,

to the point of writing a play about two sets of them,

unfortunately died.

Besides, while walking he could people watch,

and keep an eye out for good things in the woods,

to eat

or to write about.

Like deer.

Or Arden(t) lovers.

(Hark, what light is that I see before me-

say soothe-

be it perhaps a Starbucks?)

And then, since we are on the subject, there is Gutenberg.

Whose life was more than a wee bit crazy,

what with being hooked up with Fust,

a businessman with not a whole lot of scruples,

who some claim was the basis for Dr. Faustus, modern version.

And then there was Mr G’s time on the run from the church,

whose priests weren’t particularly happy he was printing,

and making commonplace the single basis of their power,

after politics, of course.

Oh, and then there was his battle with:

the plague,

running from quarantine-

a penalty of death crime-

a few small run-ins with the local patricians…

Not really a contemplative life, when you think about it.

Make that, metronome marking near to explosion and temperature rising.

So what does this have to do with literature-

Like Marion Robert Morrison,

who is always John Wayne,

or Lon Chaney,

the man of a thousand faces,

who is everyone but,

Lon Chaney I mean,

there are writers,

like Agatha Christie,

who always write the lovable readable decent and soothing  same stuff-

(style, form, small variations on content-

not that I am knocking it.

How many Christies are there today ?)

Or always have a certain  recurring pattern,

the country house or locked room murder,

or recurring topos,

ie the seven percent solution,

or mysterious appearances by ex-avengers,

or catch phrases

“Yes, that sleigh is bigger on the inside than the outside”

a sort of guaranteed belonging,

through insider joke-recognition factor,

in Sherlock,

or the latest Dr Whos-

despite the writers’ more than talented reach  for the ultimate writers’ high-

ie to shock everyone by how far you can  push the envelope.

Despite uncomfortableness by the actors, producers, directors-

script editors

you get the picture-

and I will never forget the shock when I read that a certain book editor

favored writers who turn out books

like perfect little cookies,

cut by cookie cutters,

and all ready to print.

And then there are writers

who turn out completely different characters for each book.

Easiest when you have a central theme, like different psychological problems.

Or a famous writer who made each of her characters a figure from the Norton anthology of

English history which characters happened to teach courses at her university.

A truly brilliant idea.

Imagine going on a date with Beowulf.

For the rest of us, though,

the non-Moffit, Agatha, Doyle, etc types,

there is the final choice of pace in writing

and living-

ie

General Pace,

a devout Mormon,

with enough children to put Ancestry on alert,

and the man who lost his life winning the famous Christmas evening

Battle of New Orleans.

Now THAT was some pacing.

copyright dunnasead.co 2017

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.

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