Sunday, July 5, 2015

By Way of Explanation

grandpa_silly_songs.jpgWhen the kids were little we had a regular bed-time routine. Dinner and play and baths, and then after baths, songs and stories and then to bed.

After a visit from my granddaughter a few months ago, my wife suggested that I might want to dust off my old guitar and re-learn a few of those songs. Finding and re-stringing my old guitar was a lot easier than finding and re-learning the words and the chords. Most of those songs I carried around in my head, which was never the safest place to store anything.
1002_complete_childrens_songbook.jpgI found the old songbook in the basement, yellowed and worn, missing a few pages. I googled up other bits and pieces. My calluses came back surprisingly quickly. My voice... well, I never could do much about my voice. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m one of those people that Roy Blount Jr. once described as The Singing-Impaired.

So over the course of the next few weeks I’m going to post the lyrics, and occasionally a note or two on keys and chords, for all the old bed-time songs. It’s not news, and it’s certainly not blogging, but at least they’ll be some place I can find them.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Fox

The fox went out one chilly night,
And he prayed for the moon to give him light,
For he’d many a mile to go that night
Before he reached the town-oh,
Town-oh, town-oh,
He’d many a mile to go that night
Before he reached the town-oh.

He ran till he came to a great big bin:
The ducks and the geese were put therein.
“A couple of you will grease my chin,
Before I leave this town-oh...”

He grabbed a gray goose by the neck,
And throwed a duck across his back.
He didn’t mind the ‘quack, quack, quack’
Or her legs all dangling down-oh...

The old farmer’s wife jumped out of bed,
Out of the window she stuck her head,
Crying, “John! John! The gray goose is gone
And the fox is on the town-oh!...”

The farmer he ran to the top of the hill,
Blowed his horn both loud and shrill;
The fox, he said, “I’ll flee with my kill
Or they’ll soon be on my trail-oh...”

He ran till he came to his warm, cozy den,
There were the little ones eight, nine, ten,
Crying, “Dad, Dad, better go back again,
It must be a mighty fine town-oh...”

Then the fox and his happy wife
Cut up the goose with a fork and a knife.
They never had such a meal in their life,
And the little ones chewed on the bones-oh,
Bones-oh, bones-oh,
They never had such a meal in their life,
And the little ones chewed on the bones-oh.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

— Katharine Lee Bates, 1913

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Difficult Question

If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Prepare for Life Without It

Why, Megan McArdle asks, do we have a National Raisin Reserve? Because without it our economy could be brought to its knees by wild swings in the price of raisins?
The growers generally ship their raisins to a "raisin handler," who separates the required percentage (the "reserve raisins") from the raisins that the growers are allowed to keep for their very own ("free-tonnage raisins"), and then packs and sells the free-tonnage raisins on the open market. America's Raisin Committee (yes, we have one, as of course any advanced nation must), then decides what to do with the reserve raisins, which in practice means selling them to some government, donating them to charity, giving them to raisin growers who have voluntarily reduced their output as part of our great national raisin-price-fixing mandate, or selling them for export.
The details, as she says, are fascinating.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there, and especially to my own Y-DNA haplogroup, R1b1b2a1a, AKA R-U106. Couple more millennia, guys, and we can dominate the planet! Or the galaxy!

R1b1b2a1a.png ’Cording to 23andMe:
R1b1b2 is the most common haplogroup in western Europe, where its branches are clustered in various national populations. R1b1b2a1a2b is characteristic of the Basque, while R1b1b2a1a2f2 reaches its peak in Ireland and R1b1b2a1a1 is most commonly found on the fringes of the North Sea.
In my case we're talking about Western France. Plenty there.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Burn Baby Burn

Fire season arrived a month early here in southern Oregon, and so, accordingly, we’ve returned the fire links to the sidebar.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Mid-Valley Gramma Less’n

The Lazy Farmer is laying under his tractor.*
For the last hour. Think I will take a nap. Hundreds of acres of hay await me. Turning from green to brown in the 90 degree heat spell. The receptionist at my chiropractor thinks the end of the world is at hand. I just think it is a normal hay season...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is about the most interesting blog in Oregon.

*I would have said “lying” but actually I think he is telling the truth. By the way, if you have trouble with these words, just remember that Bob Dylan's mega-hit Lie Lady Lie was, while poetically grotesque, at least grammatically correct.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Red Job, Blue Job

red_job_blue_job.pngA new chart from Verdant Labs.
Are you an architect? It's likely that you're a Democrat. Pilot? Probably Republican. What about journalist? Fisherman? Bartender?
This analysis is possible because the Federal Election Commission (FEC) provides data that reveals who made what contribution to which political campaign, when they contributed, how much they contributed, what they call their occupation, and other info.
The results are interesting, but not surprising. Turns out most of the stereotypes are correct.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Symphony No. 50

mount_saint_helens_symphony.jpgThirty-five years ago today. Of course I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing.

We were having a birthday party for Meredith in Burien and friends were driving up from Oregon — or they would have, but the freeway was closed. My brother Jim was working at a garage in Portland and they changed more air filters in a week than they usually changed in a year. Cousins in Hood River and The Dalles wondered when they would see the sun again, and what they would do with the piles of ash that covered everything.

I'll bet you didn't know there was a symphony.

I'm listening to it now.