Sunday, January 9, 2005

Odds and Ends, or The One That Got Away

I sort-of promised on the seventh that I was going to have holiday trivia for January 8th.  January 8th?  Yup, it turns out that the U.S. used to have lots of January 8th celebrations of the Battle of New Orleans, which effectively ended the War of 1812. The war was technically over before that battle, but the combatants didn't know it yet. January the 8th was a chance to celebrate a victory by Andrew Jackson, that popular and controversial future president.  Partisanship once Jackson was President, and the growing irrelevance of the older war as veterans died out and the conflict between North and South worsened, caused the holiday to die out and be forgotten. It survives mostly as a bluegrass song, adapted as an old pop hit sung by Johnny Horton.  The lost holiday was good trivia fodder, but I was busy that night, and I didn't feel like writing up the questions.  So I decided to explain about it today instead--which I've now done.

There was other stuff I also wanted to write about, and did.  Chuck Ferris had a preliminary entry (and plans to write more) about "Swimming Upstream" - people who buck the tide in some way and do or like different things from most people.  This reminded me of a Harry Chapin song called Flowers Are Red, and what he used to say in concert about teachers and conformity when introducing that song.  So I wrote part of a journal entry about this.  I was going to incorporate a snippet of today's sermon by Father Douglas of St. Michael's, who talked about being refugees from the dominant culture, where security is valued over compassion.  I thought I might even work in something of the ethics paper I'm supposed to write tonight, which would also be thematically related.

Manlius, circa 1972.Meanwhile, I was inspired in another direction, because Michael of Confessions of a Madman had an entry in which he talked about giving away a hundred year old piano to a place that really needed it.  I had strong feelings about this, because in the early 1980s my mom got rid of an 1865 Chickering piano that I might otherwise have inherited.  I even had a picture with the piano in it, already posted in another context.  It was a square grand piano, made of rosewood, the same kind of piano Henry Mancini had. My mom found it under a tarp at an open house in 1961, as my parents shopped for a bigger house.  (This was when we moved from Dewitt to Manlius, NY.)  She paid $50 for the piano, a steal by any standard.  It needed repair: it never stayed in tune very well, one of the pedals was non-functional, and bits of the scroll work on the music stand had broken off.  They continued to break over the years, and Mom did her best to glue them back on, or at least saved the pieces. 

I loved it, though. It could be closed up to look almost like a table, and I remember lying on top of it as a small child, hanging out, as kid sisters do, while my brother Steve played cards with Fred or George. My mom wrote the original music for DeManleyville on that piano, and They'd Rather Be Right, and her version of The Littlest Angel.  It was part of the family--part of my Mom, really.

Even so, after the divorce, having moved the piano from Manlius to Cape Canaveral, to Satellite Beach and San Bernardino CA and back to Florida, Mom decided that it didn't make sense to keep moving this damaged antique from condo to condo.  She figured she was probably never going to ship it to the one place in the country that could repair and restore it, so she sold it instead, for not-very-much-money.  Her decision made sense, in a way, but I really, really wish she hadn't done that.

So anyway, with so much to write about, I decided that tonight's journal entry would be called "Odds and Ends."  It would have the conformity rant, the piano rant, and the holiday info (better researched than the top-of-my-head rendition above), plus the final scores and answers for the Holday Trivia through Epiphany.  I wanted to put it all together, you see, because it would keep older entries from expiring off this page as quickly as they've been  doing since Holiday Trivia led me to a two-posts a day schedule.  I want to keep it down to one a day, at least most of the time, from now on. (This does not, however, include all those other postings I do on the other four blogs, counting the church ones.)

Fr. Roger O DouglasBut to quote Father Douglas in the conformity rant, I first needed to scan and edit his typed, hand-edited, marked-for-vocal-delivery, non-computerized manuscript.  That led to a couple of hours of scanning,  OCRing, editing, and pasting the sermon and the church bulletin into a Word document, a blog and two web pages.  By the time I finished all that, I had two Word docs open (the church stuff and JW), four or five Netscape and Netscape Composer windows, one with three tabs, and a bunch of AOL windows (online, of course).  I'd already closed MS Photo Editor and the OCR software, but that wasn't good enough.  When AOL demanded Two More Things from my RAM - Jersey Girl Journal and an IM from Sara - the whole computer seized. up.  I'd saved the Word docs and posted the schedule and sermon pages and stuff about Guatamala, but I lost--you guessed it--the journal entry I'd started for Musings.

This entry is probably as long as that one would have been, but it doesn't have half of what I wanted to say in it.  Oh, well.  If I believe in God-as-micro-manager, which I sometimes do, then I should take this as a hint to stop blogging and get on with my homework. 

So what have I done instead?  I just revised this entry to include the whole piano story.

It's possible I'm a little bit on the OCD side.

Homework.  Now, Karen!  You can write about some of this other stuff some other time.


P.S. Another topic I was going to work in and didn't: BlogExplosion. They did a screen capture for my listing there, showing this entry.  Now I'm just a little freaked that I'm visually represented with an entry that, in thumbnail size, anyway, makes me look all patriotic. Since displaying a flag anytime other than Flag Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and the 4th of July usually results in someone assuming you're either a conservative or in a military family, people may get the wrong idea. How did the U.S. flag and a commitment to democratic ideals (e.g. civil liberties, including the right to vote and have one's vote counted) come to be on opposite sides of the political fence? (Which is not to say that the military folks are against such principles. They're putting lives on the line in defense of liberty, even if I personally believe this particular war is misguided and mishandled.)


cneinhorn said...

I feel terribly guilty that my blog had somethign to do with your computer seize! ::sigh::....must be all the photos....incidentally, because my blog gave so many people problems, the alerts need to be reset (if it was on alert that is, I dno't use the alert system, but many Journalers do)...sorry about the piano, I've always wanted one and would be really upset if someone in my family actually had one and gave it away instead of to me!  



ryanagi said...

I was sad too when the family decided my Grandmother's rosewood upright piano wasn't worth saving after her death. My uncle said they were throwing it out. I hope someone was able to salvage it. Interesting about 1/8. Never knew that. On to read your JW entry which I was saving.