the Wakefield Doctrine (Attack of the Quotation Marks)
From the Roger;
First and Foremost; blatant plugs for stuff I like, only marginally related to the subject at hand. There are apparently several ” subjects at hand”, which we’ll get to momentarily.
1) As to quotation marks: may I blatantly plug the marvelous Lynn Truss, author of the phenomenal ” Eats, Shoots and Leaves”. I will resist the urge to type in the entire ” Panda joke” here; it appears on the back cover of most editions. Suffice to say that I first heard it read over the air by Teri Gross during a ” Fresh Air” interview, and laughed so hard that that much of my Starbucks Venti Dark Roast landed on the inside window of the car. You are hereby instructed to get a copy and read immediately, and do not ask, repeat do not ask, what the book is about. Because then you won’t bother, much to your detriment. ( Damn, that’s a lot of punctuation, and ” we’ve only just begun”.
Apparently I am channeling Karen Carpenter this morning; who will not rest until I mention that she not only sang the stuff against her will, but actually played drums simultaneously. And, had some decent chops to boot. She is eternally annoyed that they insisted on editing her drum solos from Carpenters tracks. And she means “eternally” literally, apparently.
And This Just In: A Message for the Clark, from the Great Beyond….Clark…Clark…. this is Jimi….Clark, for God’s sake, will you please change the strings on the Mockingbird, or at least stop trying to play ” Voodoo Chile” without a wah pedal… that’s all for now…. oh yeah, you’ve almost got the ” Foxy Lady” lick down… what’s it been, forty-three #%^&* years??… OK bye…..
Oh wait, one more….from the lovely, lovely Ludwig Van….he says that he really could hear the Ninth all right , he was just hamming it up. Good joke, eh?….Ok bye, really. Dit…
God , I hate when that happens. You should have heard what Mozart told me last week. Now back to “reality”.
Another plug, this one for an old friend from re-enacting days; Steve Salisbury, aka ” Big Bear”. ( Bigbeartrading.com) Purveyor of all manner of arcane and sundry historical objects. Should you need an elephant gun, Steve’s your man. Should you need the elephant to match, he can do that, too. Although there might be an additional shipping charge…plus, you’ll have to adopt two Masai tribesmen and their families as part of the deal. I personally refer to Big Bear as ” The Fire God”. Many years ago, Steve was 1st Sergeant for the 21st Mississippi, and I was a lowly corporal. (Lowlier than most corporals…) On one miserably cold and rainy March morning, he and I were preparing the rank and file for yet more endless drill. Steven produced a small metal tin from his haversack which contained a small piece of flint, a candle end, and some flax. In a steady rain, he magically started a good kindling fire, which lead to a roaring campfire, which led to hot coffee, which led to better temperaments, which in turn led to a quite successful drill. ( Actually, the fire is necessary to provide hot water for field-cleaning muskets.) The entire 21st fell to its knees in worship despite the mud, and he has been the Fire God ever since. Rather a bit embarrassing for all present, truth be told, but this is supposedly how most element-based pagan religions got going.
Anyway, I checked with the Fire God concerning this ” Parson” business fron the Winter Wonderland reference. ( Big Bear is a fountain of knowledge for all things historical). Parsons were Protestant ministers who traveled to rural hamlets to provide any services needed to local residents who had no church at hand. So, the parson would have performed all the local marriage ceremonies, among other things. Hence the lyric reference. As for poor Mr. Smith, he was in a sanitarium at the time of his writing, being treated for “consumption” aka tuberculosis. The Bear says that sanitariums served as dumping grounds for anything at the time that organized medicine couldn’t handle, which was almost everything. ” Winter Wonderland” indeed. Originally having nothing whatever to do with Christmas, it was only the ” sleigh bell” reference that cemented the association that we now hold dear. Ah, the power of American pop culture. Smith likely meant it to be a bit of escapism from the ravages of the Great Depression and Hitler gearing up in Europe. I’m sure that Time-Warner won’t mention any of this in the liner notes. Actually, when you consider other Christmas classics of the general period, there seems to be a steady undercurrent of disparagement that they were trying to overcompensate for. Check out ” White Christmas”….
And as for playing in the snow…. wouldn’t the world be a better place if there were a lot more of that. I for one think we should all regularly drop whatever self- inflated self-important crap we are focusing on and just go play outside. I am reminded of playing baseball in my back yard with my niece Olivia ( on whom the sun apparently really does rise and set). Olivia is eleven now, and racing towards the dreaded pre-teen phase, but baseball was one of our backyard staples in years past. Played with the pre-requisite Nerf equipment, Olivia’s version of baseball remains my favorite to this day. And stands as a wonderful example of how kids view the adult world around them. Olivia’s version, taken apparently from observing the Red Sox from a five-year old’s perspective, plays as follows; batter and pitcher ( the only two players) begin by standing approximately eight feet apart, and make “really mean” faces at one another. Then the batter walks away a few times, apparently a sign of disrespect to the pitcher. Then insults may be exchanged, and at that point, the ball might actually be pitched; care being taken to deliver the ball to the exact three-inch square of space in which the average five-year old may actually make contact . Should that contact actually occur, then the batter runs all of the bases without stopping; the pitcher must retrieve the ball, and can only get an out by throwing the ball at the runner. This will continue for approximately one hour, or until the batter is tired and needs a nap. Score, strikes, innings, all immaterial. Not necessary at all. So, at your earliest opportunity, ask any five-year old to play baseball, and I’ll bet you’ll end up with a very similar version to play in your back yard. Especially if the five-year old has access to a TV. And if the ” Winter Wonderland” guy is 27 reverting back to 13, he should try to revert all the way back to 5….he’d be all the better-adjusted for it later in life; especially if there are marriage plans afoot.
P.S.- I’d like to offer a formal welcome to any and all of our international visitors. We Americans tend to be a bit quirky at times, and may appear to be flat-out insane to those of other cultures. So please bear with us, and please stop back often. Your input would be most intriguing, and a welcome addition.