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Archive for March, 2011

One of the side benefits of my job is that I get to meet and work with some very funny people.  Case in  point ….

Local author Rex Fisher showed me a music CD created by a French hitchhiker he had picked up many years ago when he was living down by Brandywine Junction.  Rex’s truck broke down on the highway and he had to make repairs many miles from anywhere which is the norm for Arnorians, but made a big impression on the French hitchhiker. The hitcher stayed overnight at Rex’s cabin where Rex introduced him to the joys of the Arnorian sauna which involves getting very hot and then diving into an ice cold lake. Repeatedly. The Frenchman wrote a song about the whole experience, ending with the line, “Rex is crazy”–a characterization that Rex himself doesn’t dispute.

Rex: “So I sent a copy of this CD to Irene, the librarian at the Brandywine Public Library, and she wrote back and said ‘Rex, you’re not crazy, you’re just an Arnorian.'”

Me: “That should be our state’s motto–We’re not crazy, we’re just Arnorians.”

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Today at lunch …..

Me: (holding up a copy of Harper’s Bazaar that had found its way into the staff lounge) “What’s with these models anyway? They’re dressed to the nines, they’re getting paid more than the rest of us will ever see, and yet they’re always looking downcast in these photos.”

My colleague Kathy: “They’re starving.”

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….but sometimes you don’t want to learn it just before lunch.

First, a little background. My colleague, Joann, has been listening to and cataloging some great oral history interviews with a Nunamiut Eskimo elder. Reindeer are one of the major food sources for the Nunamiut who are inland-dwelling Eskimos. Warble flies are one of the major parasites of reindeer, often laying their eggs under the skin of the animals.  In one of the interviews, the elder describes how, in the old days, people would cook the reindeer hide in order to eat the warble fly larvae therein which they regarded as a delicacy.

Which lead us to a new subject heading we had never used before: Entomophagy. You can read more about it here in Wikipedia. I don’t know what trace mineral elements warble fly larvae might have, but I assume that the larvae were consumed as an extra source of protein.

Oral history cataloging: it’s fun, it’s educational, and it’s not for the weak of stomach.

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With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I’m working on some Irish songs with my voice teacher. What is it about Celtic music that makes it just so darn catchy?
At any rate, I decided to put together another “Green Music” playlist for y’all to enjoy.

“Tell Me Ma” has got to be one of the most foot-stomping, danceable songs there is. “Gaelic Storm”, another favorite band of mine, does a great rendition. This video above is from “Sham Rock”, an Irish band that had a big hit with this song back in 1998. The foursome only seems to have produced one album as far as I was able to tell.

“Gaelic Storm” has probably written the ultimate Irish song with “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” “Kiss me,  I’m Irish/I am the wild rover/My eyes they are smiling/And I’m seldom sober …” The video showcases some of the band’s antics.

Kicking it up a notch is “Flogging Molly”, an Irish American Celtic Punk band from California. I hadn’t heard of them before and I was surprised by how much I liked their songs.

Coming back to the traditional end of the spectrum, here’s the “High Kings” rendition of “Wild Rover”.

Closing out our set is a swinging performance from another one of my favorite bands, “Great Big Sea”. They are rocking out with “Little Beggar Man” or as they call it, “Little Beggar Dude”.  As a performer and an audience member, you live for shows like this where the chemistry is palpable and the energy is pumping.

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Office delivery guy explaining functionality of arms on my new office chair:  “How did mankind invent fire without these?”

Same office delivery guy explaining his career trajectory: “I could have gone to college and moved up the corporate ladder, but I opted to win the lottery. Then I moved up here [to Arnor].”

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…..then comes the running and the screaming. Mondays, eh?

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Let’s be clear here, friends. The good people of Hobbiton do not do blizzards. We laugh in the face of 50 below temperatures, we endure the long hours of darkness until winter solstice, we face the accumulated snowdrifts with fortitude, but high winds, mega-dumps of snow, downed trees, and whiteout conditions are not our style.

Yet what have we had these past two weeks but record breaking–as in once in 40-some years–blizzards. Two storms each within a week of the other. The first dropped a foot of snow on us in the valley, more in the hills.  For comparison, Hobbiton normally gets about 2.5 inches of snow per snowfall which accumulates as the winter progresses.  Accompanying the snow were howling 40 mile per hour winds that whipped up stinging gusts of snow until you couldn’t see across the street.  Hobbiton is normally not a windy place and certainly not a gale-force kind of place.

No sooner had the snow on the streets been scraped off or at least beaten down and our aching backs more or less recovered then the second storm struck this past Friday. The snowfall total was much less–about 4-6 inches–but the winds were incredibly strong, at least 50 miles per hour. The combination of snow, blowing wind, and leaden gray clouds dropped visibility down to next to nothing. And to make it worse the blizzard closed in at five p.m.–just as people were getting off work.

Trees were downed.  Power lines were downed. All the snow we had shoveled off was blown back into our driveways. And then the  temperature dropped and the snow formed a hard crust.

Yes, Mother Nature showed us no mercy. Darn you, Climate Change! But we survived. And this summer I’m buying a snow blower.

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