Monday, December 3, 2012

Reasons to be CHEERFUL

Today a chunky little spider niagara’d splutteringly out of the cats’ bowl and into the sink as I changed their water. He stayed motionless for a second then realised he was still breathing, and that some Evil Being was poking him with a kitchen towel. Brave spider, he never stopped battling; after a bit of frenetic ping-ponging I got him to STAY ON THE TOWEL! long enough to deposit him behind the fridge, there to dry out calmly and rebuild his life.

Oh Joy and great Cheer!

Just one of countless Reasons to be Cheerful, as we are reminded by the late and wonderful Ian Drury and his merry Blockheads:

Exactly!  And are not we all left grinning? 

What else?

Well, how about a jaunt in a Barefoot Park? Such was the subject of the ‘article of the day’ 19.11.12 in TheFreeDictionary   (itself a cheer-bringer).
Here’s an enticing excerpt:

"Popular in Europe, barefoot parks are places where visitors can dispense with shoes and safely experience various landscape textures underfoot. Their well-maintained terrain affords visitors the opportunity to walk across different types of soil, wade through streams, and even practise climbing—all while barefoot. Some parks offer activities such as foot gymnastics, in which people can practise picking up objects with their feet."

Haven't we all ached to set our feet free?   Particularly those of us with but a strip of gravel for a garden, that the cats think is their outside litter tray.  

Dancing, of course, unlike sporty activities, is a fabulous reason to be cheerful, particularly when wobbling to Brown Sugar, or to La Bamba

Other beam-inducers:

The perfectly-timed arrival of a huge and mysterious parcel full of something extravagant for Christmas  (surely?) just before we went out;

Cat wrapped round the settee, responding to my enthusiastic 'Who's-a-good-boy-'den?' with that sullen indifferent stare honed by cats everywhere;

Being whisked through glorious hill and dale in clattery old  London underground carriage, now reborn as exotic-island train;

Lidl and Poundland - packed with bargains and ever-smiley staff;

Radio 4, specially Ed Reardon's Week and in spite of unbearable bouts of cricket (avoidable on FM);

And can we forget the delights of an impulsive weekend away//a new job//new hair//new snakeskin shoes (just PRETENDING to be snakes), or communing with old friends not seen for aeons (they can run - but they can't...).  Oh Deep and Joyful Cheer!

Well, it's Tomorrow now.  The postman brought another Reject for one of my practically-famous magazine stories, the cat's pooped overnight behind the setee, and the microwave exploded my porridge when I wasn't looking.  Aaaarrrggghhh - I can't go ON with this cheerful stuff!

Well maybe just once more...  But I shan't be Exuberated.

Here is a gladsome glimpse of Penguins at Waddle.  Don't miss the brilliant demonstration of baby transporting about two minutes in! (though baby doesn't look entirely sure).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Has Anyone seen my Earworm?

Well never mind – there’ll be another one along in a minute. For at the moment, we seem bizarrely bombarded by earworms on radio and TV, in newspapers, indeed out of the very ether… not to mention the man at the Co-op checkout yesterday: 

"What’s that you’re humming?" said he.

"Hmm?" I rejoined appropriately but embarrassedly – people could hear me?!

Such is the puzzle of ‘earworms’. When I first heard it, this ugly word instantly conjured up an image from an ancient Star Trek episode, an image so terrifying and so utterly repellent that I shrink from linking it. 

(On vid anyway). But in the interests of space travel…
this is a Picture of the worm en route to Checkov’s ear, from where it will tunnel at leisure into his brain. (see The Wrath of Khan episode for gruesome details).

Anyway, the ‘earworm’ of today is a ludicrous term for a snatch of tune you just can’t get out of your head, so you evilly pass it on virus-like to anyone in your vicinity. As demonstrated perfectly by Daphne in the ‘High Crane Drifter’ episode of Frasier… (apologies for dreadful quality). 

In fact, I can't make the flaming thing work.  So -  just imagine Daphne gratuitously drubbing out a tuneless "Flesh is Burning NaNaNaNaNaNa", followed (Later That Afternoon), by everyone in the appartment mindlessly moaning the same tunelessness as they go about their everday stuff...  

But Why the sudden earworm obsession? Surely this earth-shattering phenomenon is not new… 
Hasn’t everyone been humming Bernard Cribbins’ Hole in the Ground since first it was dug?…   or The splendid Kinks' Thank You for the Days... and my personal constant, Lee Marvin’s merry rendering of I Was Born under a Wandering Star...

All unforgettable and tenacious snippets of joy.

(Though perhaps not for those on the receiving end). George insists my own musical scraps could do without the excess bars of doodlydiddly: "…Little old lady got mutilated late last night//Werewolves of London again..."  '(Diddelly diddelly again)'. 
(sadly-departed Warren Zevon’s fabulous Werewolves of London).  

Simple pleasure… but we’re now being told there is More to earworms than meets the… more than one could have imagined; that they might have a ‘Role to play’!  Psychologists and musical experts have been requesting earworm submissions... TV programmes have delved into the ‘function’ of earworms! 

Must they have a Function? – they just Are, aren’t they?   Like our cats… (incontinent little tinkers). 

You can actually buy earworms on the Net – something to do with Language-Learning, I think – and that reminds one of a Very famous  Babelfish:-

How jolly useful that would be if you stuck it in your ear!
Which takes us back to poor old Checkov, and shows that there are many ways to consider the earworm...

In conclusion, perhaps if one Took This Seriously and studied in depth the astonishing Mass of available info, one might learn something to one's advantage… 
And certainly to the advantage of all those within earshot

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Colour of Honey... Goldeny, for bees sup at goldeny flowers like pansies and buttercups.  And Yet,  just Look at all the other-coloured flowers they take their nectar from to produce more GOLDENY honey...

Well, look at two of them anyway...

And then, read this extract:

"Beekeepers in northeastern France have been alarmed to find their bees producing honey in unnatural shades of green and blue...
It is thought the bees have been eating the sugary waste from M&Ms, small chocolates in brightly-coloured shells."
(BBC News 4 Oct 2012)

It's puzzling (isn't it?), why the colour of M&Ms should affect the colour of honey when the colour of petal doesn't. 

The unfortunate thing is that they can't sell the blue/green honey and must throw it away.  For the colour of our food does hugely affect our appetite... 

In 1981, George made a celebratory dollop of red, white & blue mashed potato for Diana & Charles' wedding.  It took enormous skill and dexterity to produce, and he was justifiably proud of the result. 

But no-one could eat it except with eyes shut, and it went the way of the blue/green honey.  (In spite of its potently enticing aroma).

A sad tale altogether, but luckily the colour of honey can but lead us to The Colour of Money and Paul Newman...

...and the twinkling Colour of those eyes

And here's another twinkling specimen we saw in concert last night:

The gifted and delightful Andy Fairweather-Low, of course!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In case of Emergency, break out Glamour Poncho

For an essential shopping trip to The Big Town, how fortunate we'd chosen a day of gentle showers.

I ducked soddenly into my favourite BigTown bookshop for a distracting delve and eventually, loins girded, took my merry New Yorker birthday cards and my Clare Boylan to the till. 

'And would you like an Emergency Poncho with that?' muttered the assistant without much conviction.

I declined, pointing out that I was so wet already, a plastic poncho on top would turn me into a steaming great greenhouse.  'OK,' she sighed, and explained,  'We bought in a truckload for the Festival.  It was cancelled at the last minute due to a forecast of inclement weather...'

I mentioned this cruel circumstance to George when we collided outside the Goat and Spinnaker.

'And you didn't buy one?' he gasped, rain ricocheting off his ears.


'Dolores,' he said, 'In this deluge of a summer, £2.99 is a surely a small price to pay for such reassurance. You can just stick it in your handbag and forget it.'

There are already many things stuck in my handbag and forgotten. I suppose as tat goes, this could turn out to be handier than most of it...

The assistant at the till seemed surprised at my change of heart. She now had to ferret about under the counter, where she'd stuffed her artistic display of ponchos in an evident loss of all hope. I must say, the dinky little packet was encouragingly bright, and had the word GLAMOUR  emblazoned over a cartoon image of a fifties Glamourous Person suggesting the overall filmstar effect it would endow. 

It also had a jolly joke about raining Cats and Dogs and stepping in a Poodle!!!  Plus an ominous warning:  'This is a single use emergency poncho! (although with careful handling it may be re-used)'.

What a disappointment!  I'd imagined my poncho sticking thickandthinly by me for years to come!  

If your handling hadn't been very careful, I suppose you could find something else for it to do: why not stretch the remains out on the mud, for example, and lay out a picnic. Then wrap the leftovers in it.
Or you could use it to haunt people...

In fact, haven't we all at some stage, hankered after just such a garment.

The other week, George and I saw loads of them in use at a Morris Dancing extravaganza - what better way to keep enormous bells and whistles dry? (I bet these dancers wish they had them)!

I haven't unleashed my Emergency Poncho yet, the summer becoming quite sunny as it blends into autumn. And I couldn't quite banish the image of those concertina head-scarf rainhats from the sixties.

How does one glamourise a poncho, I pondered...

Right - I'm off to add a fistful of tassles