Category Archives: Music

The Policy Makers Have a Party

I wrote yesterday about the dull conference I am attending.  Well, Friday evening the policy makers let down their collective hair, and my, do these people know how to have fun. All they need is a live band playing great dance music, lots of food, some,  but not too much alcohol, and red and white striped shirts and stocking caps. (It was a Where’s Waldo themed party). All the rancor, grinding of teeth, and pedantry disappeared, and everyone just wanted to enjoy themselves.  Many have hair much greyer than mine,  many are much older than I am.  The conversations today were heated, and people became angry with one another. It was very refreshing to see how we can disagree but still be united, at least on the dance floor.

What do you think makes for a good party?  Tell about some good parties you have been to?  What kind of party do you want to throw?

After the Ball Was Over

I scrubbed off all my temporary tattoos tonight. It’s official – the State Fair is over.

Most people I know don’t understand my love affair with the Great Minnesota Get Together and to be honest, it occasionally mystifies me a bit. But one of the things I do know is that I love getting temporary tattoos at the Fair.  I got nine this year over my four days of attendance –   3 from the airbrush tattoo guy, 2 from Kemps, 2 from the AG building, 1 from the lamb building and my favorite, one of the emerald ash borer.  There was a young man dressed up as an emerald ash borer at the DNR booth, trying to engage people about this new threat to ash trees and I felt sorry for him so I let him put his temporary tattoo alongside my others.

The airbrushed tattoos wear off the soonest (which is truly irritating, since they cost money) but over a week later, my free ones were still going strong. Every day last week I had to explain them at least twice a day to one or the other of my co-workers and today my book club members (my OTHER book club) wanted a full run down.  It’s been my way of extending the Fair – however tentatively.

But tonight when I was closing a couple of windows (because it’s been getting chilly at night) I realized that it’s time to let this year Fair go and start dreaming of next year.

Do you have a tattoo? If you were to get one, what would you get?

 

 

 

 

 

A Night at the Opera

Today’s post is from Occasional Caroline

Last summer or perhaps it was the summer of 2016, my sister heard about and attended several Grand Oak Opry concerts. She loved it, raved about it, told everyone about it. I knew from her enthusiasm that I would enjoy it, but I didn’t make time to join her at a concert until August 11. I’m pretty sure I won’t miss another one, except due to circumstances beyond my control. It can’t be adequately described, you have to see it for yourself to “get it.”

The Grand Oak Opry is a unique concert series that takes place in the backyard of Sean Kershaw and Timothy Hawkins, in St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood. They started by hosting two concerts in the summer of 2014, and have grown every year since. The 2018 schedule includes seven concerts, with two still to come; We Are the Willows on 9/1 and David Huckfelt & Erik Koskinen Band on 9/30.

 

The show I saw could not have been more fantastic. It was presented in partnership with the Schubert Club, and the performers were Maria Jette and Dan Chouinard! The Schubert Club delivered a Steinway grand piano to the backyard venue early in the day and picked it up when the event was over at about 9:30.

 

So, yes, the concert I attended will be hard to beat. Dan Chouinard played a rendition of Rhapsody in Blue that was absolutely amazing. Maria Jette displayed a remarkably diverse range of musical artistry; the whole night was magical. But, I think the Grand Oak Opry experience would be sensational if the entertainment was an elementary school band with a tone-deaf director. The setting is under a huge oak tree in the backyard of 273 W Goodhue St, St Paul. A crystal chandelier hangs in the branches of the tree, which is estimated to be about 200 years old and is still going and growing strong. The backyard décor also includes several brightly painted doors, each with a lantern hanging on a bracket. They are doors to nowhere, but provide a whimsical, colorful, touch to the setting. To put a cherry on top, as the sun began to set, fireflies came out to add to the magical ambiance.

 

There are no tickets or reservations. Shows start at 7:30 and gate opens at 6:30. Concert goers just show up with their chairs or blankets, bringing food and drink if they choose. A $10 donation is suggested from each guest; all the money collected goes directly to the evening’s performers. Children are welcome to attend the concert or to play in the front yard of the pre-Civil War era home, if the music isn’t quite to their taste. Pets are not allowed. Neighbors volunteer as greeters and information givers, helpfully pointing out the path to the restroom (in the house), a table with water and bug spray, and answering questions. It’s an amazingly friendly and welcoming atmosphere for both newbies and veterans. Attendance has varied from 40-45 at the first show in 2014 to about 500, including overflow into the neighboring yard, earlier this summer (I think it might have been Chastity Brown that night).

 

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/grandoakopry/) is the primary source for schedule and other information about concerts. They do have a WordPress blog but a lot of the information there refers to past years and the Facebook page is more up to date.

OK, that’s it. I’m done. I liked it. A lot. Anyone for a Baboon field trip on 9/1 or 9/30?

 

Have you had an experience that was better than you could have hoped for or expected?

Queen of Soul

I was sorry to learn that Aretha Franklin is receiving Hospice care and is nearing death. She is one of the first really strong women singers I remember liking. I am not a big fan of soul music, but I love her recordings.  Here she is singing opera.

Talk about Aretha and her contemporaries.  What was your favorite music in the 1960’s?

Crazy Eights

Husband and I received a lovely clock for our wedding almost 35 years ago. It plays Westminster chimes, and has traveled with us from Winnipeg to Indiana to North Dakota.

The clock worked quite well until last year, when it just stopped. We took it to the nearest clock shop in Fargo, where they told us that the innards were all worn out and it needed new ones.  We had a choice of digital or traditional.  I like to wind it, so we had them install new inner workings from Germany. It keeps time again quite well, but it has some quirks that I find alarming.

Some days, randomly, at  8:00 am and/or 8:00 pm, it chimes  continuously for up to three minutes. It plays the Westminster chimes over and over, and then plays variations on the Westminster chimes. When it has got it out of its system,  it rings eight times and gets back to its quiet ticking. It only happens at 8:00.  Some days it doesn’t happen at all.

I don’t know what to think about this.  Ghosts?  Odd German clock maker humor?  Who knows?   I don’t feel like driving it all the way to Fargo for a repair, so we will just put up  with the “Crazy 8’s” and see what new Westminster variations we get.

Tell about some infernal machine problems. What do you think it feels like to be in a time warp?

 

Who’s Gonna Patronize the Big Box Store Any More?

My riff on the weekend topic.

With humble gratitude for Meredith Wilson’s en-chant-ing opening to The Music Man.

PROGRAMMER 1:
Plastic for the orders.
Plastic for the downloads.
PROGRAMMER 2:
Visa for online.
Visa on the phone.
PROGRAMMER 1:
Credit for the software.
Credit for the hardware.
PROGRAMMER 2:
Credit for the needs, and the wants, and the bibelots.
PROGRAMMER 3:
Amazon for the hogs feet, cakes and longjohns.
Amazon for the crackers, and the pickles, and the computer paper.
PROGRAMMER 4:
Look, what do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
PROGRAMMER 5:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
PROGRAMMER 2:
You can script, you can program, you can script,
You can chat. You can twitter, twitter, twitter, you can chat.
You can chat. You can chat, chat, chat, chat, twitter, twitter, twitter.
You can twitter all you wanna, but it’s different than it was.
ANALYST:
No it ain’t, no it ain’t, but you gotta know the database!
PROGRAMMER 3:
Well, it’s Jeff Bezos made the trouble,
Made the people wanna buy, wanna get, wanna get, wanna get it in a box.
7,8,9,10,12,14, 22, 23 orders to the front porch.
PROGRAMMER 1:
Yes, sir, yes, sir!
PROGRAMMER 3:
Who’s gonna patronize a big box store anymore?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
NEWSPAPER READER 1:
Where do you get it?
ANALYST:
It’s not Amazon alone.
Take a gander at big box stores,
At the postmodern store,
At the out-of-date store
At the passe, postmodern,
Departmentalized big box store.
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
CONSULTANT:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
CONSULTANT:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 1:
You can chat, you can twitter.
You can chat, you can twitter.
You can twitter, twitter, twitter
You can chat, chat, chat.
You can twitter all you wanna,
But it’s different than it was.
ANALYST:
No, it ain’t, but you gotta know the database.
PROGRAMMER 3:
Why, it’s I-need-it-easy thinking
Made the trouble
Need it easy, need it easy.
Put the order in a box, in a box,
What I-need-easy
In a box with a smile
Made the big box store obsolete.
ANALYST:
Obsolete, obsolete, obsolete
SALESMAN 4:
Malls out the window.
The smiling box
Takes the job of the sales clerk.
Closing all the stores.
ANALYST:
Who’s gonna patronize the big box store any more?
PROGRAMMER 3:
Gone, Gone
PROGRAMMER 1:
Gone with the mall and the outlet and the discount store.
Gone with the chain and the retail store with clothes on a rack.
ALL
Who’s gonna patronize a bog box store any more.
Big box store.

What are the long-term implications for America and the world, assuming  I dare worry about the world? 

What follows the Amazon era?

 

The Frog Prince

I have a cousin who I find astonishing. I think he is my second cousin. His mom and my mom were first cousins. Our grandfathers were brothers. We are the same age and graduated from Luverne High School together.  We used to chase each other around the grade school play ground. He always had a fascination with reptiles and amphibians. Baboon Krista knew him from his work with the Minnesota DNR  as well as the Rock Bend Music Festival (Free, Free,  Free). He used to examine frogs to see if they were missing legs.  PJ knows him from their Danish Heritage Society. His  dad was Danish.

His recent Facebook posts reveal that he doesn’t work for the DNR  now, but for some reason  he is travelling around Madelia conducting field surveys trying to find and count Great Plains Toads.  I wonder how you count toads? How do you know you haven’t counted them twice? They jump around!

My cousin is also a luthier, and creates the most beautiful mandolins, Hardanger fiddles, nyckelharpas, and Viola D’ Amores.  What a range of interests. How on earth does this happen?

Who are some of the most astonishing and fascinating people you know?