Friday, October 29, 2010

Tannhauser as a measurement of time

My wife said we needed pumpkins and mums as porch decorations for Halloween. This afternoon I drove six miles to the nearest settlement, where there is a produce stand, and bought two buckets of mums, three big pumpkins and six little pumpkins.

As I drove onto our street, the local classic music station announcer said the next selection would be the overture from Tannhauser. Well, shoot, I said. The overture is one of three Wagner pieces I enjoy hearing. The other two are the Tannhauser finale and the popular selection from Tristan and Isolde. I thought, Well, I guess I can sit in the truck and listen, but then decided opening the doors and cranking up volume would be better.

I parked the truck near the front porch and turned off the motor and then turned the key to accessory position and turned up the volume**. I got out and closed the driver side door, not wanting to hear “Ding, ding, ding” for the entirety of Tannhauser, walked around the truck and opened the passenger door and the half door, both with speakers. Then, as the piece began, I started unloading the truck.

Tannhauser is one of those pieces of music in which at some point I will play conductor. Playing conductor, though, is not possible when carrying a big pot of mums (twice), nor when carrying and placing big pumpkins (three.) I could, however, conduct while carrying a little pumpkin in each hand.

I got everything unloaded and placed just right in time for all of Tannhauser – 14 minutes.

I suppose none of the neighbors was watching.

** If you think classical music is played too loud, you are too young.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Fundamentalist bullies with Bibles'

Garrison Keillor: “[Republicans have] transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic fratboys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb, and dangerous.”

Source: Bankrupt -- The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today's Democratic Party, by David Limbaugh, 2006, page 240.
Also: “Pat Boone Says Keillor Pollutes Lake Wobegon,” (the magazine), November 2004, page 8.
Hardcopy: Copy of page 240 from Limbaugh's book.
Where: In his article, 'We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore,' Truthout.
When: August 26, 2004.

Linked from to


I never much liked Keillor’s program, other than the Western Swing bands he occasionally has. The only time I hear Keillor is when my wife and I are on two-hour or longer Sunday road trips. My wife likes Lake Wobegon. Keillor a couple of years ago complained about old, long-haired motorcycle riders in Washington D.C., who interrupted his Memorial Day walk to an art museum. Keillor got to the museum, he wrote, where he spent hours enjoying French art. On Memorial Day.

Keillor is the pessimeist pessimist from his non-subdued anger at Minnesota Lutherans. Listening to his description of Lutherans, I am surprised that Minnesota does not have dozens of winter mass murders.