Friday, July 31, 2015

Smoky, Very Smoky.

crisis_what_crisis.jpgAmost percisely two years ago I had this to say:
Visibility's something less than half a mile this evening, and even in the house the smoke is irritating. No bike ride today, although I might go for a swim.
Ditto that this evening. And the State Fire Marshal says
A serious wildfire can come up in a moment’s notice, so residents need to prepare now in case they have to leave their home... Make sure to put together a ‘Go Kit’ and make a plan where your family will go and how you will stay in contact.
So, just like we did two years ago, we’re planning to head to the coast to get away from it all. Crisis? What Crisis?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Distinctive Ingredients

Someone asked my daughter what was in the prepared foods in her kitchen. She looked around and couldn't find any, and reported back that she didn't buy prepared foods: “I buy ingredients.

That’s kind of characteristic of my family — we like to cook.

What Are the Defining Ingredients of a Culture’s Cuisine?
For example, peanut oil is the most distinctive ingredient of Chinese cuisine, because it is found in 16% of Chinese recipes, but less than 2% of the non-Chinese recipes. Thus it is eight times more frequently used in Chinese dishes than it is in other cuisines.

Thai food is distinguished by the use of galangal, also called siamese ginger, and it just might be why you like those curries so much. Galangal is found in over 10% of Thai dishes, but in only 0.1% of the dishes of other cuisines.

It seems you can’t compare apples to oranges, or any other food for that matter, in their exceptional role in American cuisine. Apples are nearly 3 times more likely to be found in American recipes than non-American ones. Johnny Appleseed can rest in peace.
I think we should make an effort to use every one of these.

Via Marginal Revolution.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Old Lady

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly.
Now, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly;
Perhaps she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider,
A spider that wriggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
And I don’t know why she swallowed the fly;
Perhaps she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a bird.
How absurd! She swallowed a bird.
She swallowed a bird to catch the spider;
The spider that wriggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
And I don’t know why she swallowed the fly;
Perhaps she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cat.
Think of that! She swallowed a cat.
She swallowed a cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider;
The spider that wriggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
And I don’t know why she swallowed the fly;
Perhaps she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a dog.
She went whole hog when she swallowed the dog.
She swallowed a dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider;
The spider that wriggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
And I don’t know why she swallowed the fly;
Perhaps she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cow;
I don’t know how she swallowed a cow.
She swallowed a cow to catch the dog.
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider;
The spider that wriggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
And I don’t know why she swallowed the fly;
Perhaps she’ll die.

You know that old lady, she swallowed a horse.
She’s dead, of course.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Smokey the Bear

With a Ranger’s hat and shovel and a pair of dungarees
You will find him in the forest always sniffin’ at the breeze.
People stop and pay attention when he tells ’em to beware,
’Cause ev’rybody knows that he’s the Fire Preventin’ Bear.

Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear.
Prowlin’ and a growlin’ and a sniffin’ the air.
He can find a fire before it starts to flame.
That’s why they call him Smokey, that was how he got his name.

You can take a tip from Smokey that there’s nothin’ like a tree,
Cause they’re good for kids to climb in and they’re beautiful to see,
You just have to look around you and you’ll find it’s not a joke,
To see what you’d be missin’ if they all went up in smoke.

You can camp upon his doorstep and he’ll make you feel at home,
You can run and hunt and ramble anywhere you care to roam.
He will let you take his honey and pretend he’s not so smart,
But don’t you harm his trees for he’s a Ranger in his heart.

If you’ve ever seen the forest when a fire is running wild,
And you love the things within it like a mother loves her child,
Then you know why Smokey tells you when he sees you passing through,
“Remember... please be careful... it’s the least that you can do.”

Monday, July 13, 2015

The House of the Rising Sun

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun.
It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy,
And God, I know — I’m one.

My mother was a tailor —
She sewed my new blue jeans.
My father was a gambling man
Down in New Orleans.

Now, the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and a trunk,
And the only time that he’s satisfied
Is when he’s all a-drunk.

Oh mothers! Tell your children
Not to do what I have done:
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun.

I’ve got one foot on the platform
And one foot on the train.
I’m going on down to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain.

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun.
It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy,
And God, I know — I’m one.
That’s my own take on the punctuation — you know how I am about punctuation. I sing it in a voice would make Dylan blush, and play it on the fiddle like to chase cats into traffic.

Nobody ever asks for encores.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Green Grow the Rushes Oh

I’ll sing you one oh,
Green grow the rushes oh.
What is your one oh?
One is one and all alone and ever more shall be oh.

I’ll sing you two oh,
Green grow the rushes oh.
What is your two oh?
Two for the lily white boys clothed all in green oh,
One is one and all alone and ever more shall be oh.

I’ll sing you three oh,
Green grow the rushes oh.
What is your three oh?
Three, three, the rivals,
Two for the lily white boys clothed all in green oh,
One is one and all alone and ever more shall be oh.

I’ll sing you four oh,
Green grow the rushes oh.
What is your four oh?
Four for the gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two for the lily white boys clothed all in green oh,
One is one and all alone and ever more shall be oh.

And so on, up to...

Twelve for the twelve Apostles,
Eleven for the ’leven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten Commandments,
Nine for the nine white shiners,
Eight for the April rainers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky,
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two for the lily white boys clothed all in green oh,
One is one and all alone and ever more shall be oh.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beans, Bacon and Gravy

I was born long ago
In eighteen ninety-four,
And I’ve seen many a panic, I will own.
I’ve been hungry, I’ve been cold,
And now I’m growing old,
But the worst I’ve seen is nineteen thirty-one.

Chorus:
Oh, those beans, bacon and gravy,
They almost drive me crazy,
I eat them till I see them in my dreams.
When I wake up in the morning
And another day is dawning,
I know I’ll have another mess of beans.

We congregate each morning
At the country barn of dawning,
And everyone is happy so it seems,
But when our work is done,
We file in one by one,
And thank the Lord for one more mess of beans.

We have Hooverized on butter;
For milk we’ve only water,
And I haven’t seen a steak in many a day;
As for pies and cakes and jellies,
We substitute sow-bellies,
For which we work the country road each day.
I usually change the dates to 1954 and 1991. That’s when I was born and the worst I’ve seen. To the kids it’s all “the olden days.”

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pomp And Circumstance

| A | E | A | A | D | A | B7 | E |

| A | B7 | E | C#m | F#m | B7 | E | E7 |

| A | E | A | A | D | A | B7 | E |

| A | B7 | E | C#m | D | E | A | A |

| D | E | A | F#m | D | E | A | A E7 |
No lyrics, of course — best played on a quartet of kazoos.

Capo first fret for the key of B♭

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.