Friday, June 17, 2005

Avast, Matey!

I won't give up without a fright.

I've been driving around town with my black patch over one eye, so piratical-looking that in all justice I should have a Cutlass. (Maybe a 1964 convertible, with a 442hp engine? Now that's piratical. And not very fuel-efficient, either.)

I subscribe to a travelwriter's group, and responded to a post where someone had a ton of notes from the Far East, and wanted to know about writing a book.

A reply mentioned an Englishman who traveled around Ireland with a refrigerator. I couldn't help but respond:

Now, don't knock Traveling Across Ireland with a Frig (I'm not sure it's the real name, but I found it at the library). It was well-written. It was based on a gimmick, sure, but that's always been true in travel writing.

For example, how about Thor Heyerdahl, trying to cross the oceans on rafts, or papyrus boats? Or Richard Halliburton, the travel writer who swam the pool in the Taj Mahal and died trying to sail across the Pacific in a junk

It's like photography. At first it was novel, so photographers took views of what was there--the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. As more and more cameras became available, the focus (pardon the expression) changed to people. Cartier-Bresson, for example, famous kissing couples, etc. Then photographers began looking for something different: extreme closeups, radical images, etc.

I've written freelance for many years, and you always need an angle that's different. I write golf travel, for instance, and it's hard to find something, once you get past the "green grass, blue skies".

That was the end of it.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hokey Pokey Man

I've seen several announcements of the sad death of Larry La Prise. Actually, having lived to 93 (and died on April 4th, 1996, not, as many recent posts and blogs would have you believe, this year), maybe he was ready to dance to a different drummer.

At any rate, the most traumatic part for his family was placing him into the coffin..... they put his left leg in...and that's when the trouble started.

I don't know how many dances I've been to where they've played the Hokey Pokey. Weddings, children's birthday parties, graduation shindigs...that's a perennial favorite.

It turns out, however, that the Hokey Pokey was featured in a number of legal battles, and if you look at Mr. La Prise's biography: it may trace back to a Shaker dance called the Hinkum-Booby.

By the way, that seems to be his only song. It appears he worked for the post office in Idaho for most of his life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

King Tut Tut Exonerated

OK, not exonerated, simply found not guilty in this case. 2,500 reporters covering a Made for Media event. Shakespeare said it best (as always)"Much Ado About Nothing." Tabloids of the Air. And not just Fox.

I was looking forward to seeing the first King Tut on the Today show, but the fawning got to me. I'm glad I only have one eye; watching big black gas-guzzling SUVs drive back and forth gets boring after 10 seconds. Watching big white-haired gas-spewing lawyers bleat back and forth gets boring after 1.

We're not the only country that gets caught up in trivia, either. The Arab TV station El Jazeera (sp?) even broke into a program with the report from Santa Maria, Calif., site of the trial. They said Saddaam Hussein wanted his trial moved there.

I was complaining to a friend about how my eye doesn't blink, and we talked about the weights you can attach to your eyelid to draw it closed. He said "You'd better watch out, though. That eyelid will have all kinds of muscle."

I responded, "Oh, great. All I need is iceps."

Monday, June 13, 2005

I See Stars!

Driving home after visiting friends last night, I realized another problem with having one eye that's on the fritz: every head- and streetlight glared. They had lines out from them the way a camera lens does when it's been scored to make stars. That is, there were four different lines at 90 degrees that radiated out from the center. It made it very hard to see.

As a result, I had to drive with my hand in front of my left eye. That stopped the star effect.

The effect is probably caused by the ointment I have to put in every four hours. It makes everything appear soft-focused, like smearing Vaseline on a camera lens. So perhaps that's the cause of the star search.

On my way to my friends' I stopped at Walgreen's and bought some Breathe Right (30 for $14.00. Ouch.), some Bausch & Lomb eyedrops, and some Strydex pads. I asked for astringent pads, to clean the oil off my nose so the Breathe Rights would stay on. Of course, the salesgirls gave me a bottle that didn't work. There went 50 cents down the drain, because the left side stuck and the right side didn't, so I had to throw the bandage away. Phooey.

It was a lovely evening, though, congenial company, a great dinner, and I enjoyed my first touch of the grape in more than a month. Omar Khayyam, he was a friend of mine.