Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Chinookered Again

A US Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan this week. We've heard it on the news, and its saddening to hear that more lives have been lost.

Newsreaders and talking heads are having trouble pronouncing Chinook. I've heard it pronounced CHIN-ook, SHIN-ook, CHIN-uck and SHIN-uck. Only one commentator has said "shin-OOK", which approaches the good 'ole Idaho way of saying it, referring to the fish, of course: "SHNOOK". Not to be confused with the Florida saltwater gamefish called "Snook", which I've also heard called "SHNOOK".

And while I'm on a pronunciation rant, I hear commentators mention my hometown BOY-zee, Idaho on a fairly regular basis. It follows that the name of the citizenry of Boise, Boiseans, is mangled as well.

Survey says: They're not from BOY-see [so don't believe a word they say].

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Another Day In The Life

Typical day in north central Florida: While driving to work, see the alligators and the cranes, and the herons and anhingas on the Prairie; notice the snakes on the sides of the road; smell the aromas of the country air; see the early morning clouds scudding across wide skies, then arrive in the cluttered city only to negotiate road repair detours and the extremely inconsiderate drivers that converge like piranhas upon a lone and unsuspecting swimmer. Finally on the job, work frantically as both a ground-level consultant on citizen tree issues (hurricane season has officially begun and everyone has a neighbor with a terrifying tree that has suddenly turned them into jittering insomniacs) and as a minor government official making quasi-judicial decisions regarding County development approvals in public meetings subject to Florida's Sunshine laws. Quasi-judicial essentially means that the "clients" in such reviews and meetings are increasingly more frequently represented by attorneys who prefer to launch into aggressive trial mode without testing the waters first. I do not like dealing with attorneys who think every issue is an uncooperative battle that needs to result in a conviction via a thorough trouncing of the opponent. They don't realize it (or, perhaps, don't care a whit), but these attorneys frequently embarass themselves in the public forum by their over-the-top behavior in a non-trial venue, as if they only know how to emote in one way without assessing the situation or being in possession of any sort of context-dependent finesse. Quasi-judicial means they need only to act in quasi-lawyer fashion - not like Johnny Cochran in blustery full-trial mode. Of course there are the experienced exceptions who are, dare I say, a pleasure to deal with. Then home at the end of the day, to see the white herons and ibises flocking to their willowy roosts, the bobwhites skittering across the narrow lane into the open lands beyond, and to feed the household animals who have learned to wait regally and patiently for the golden hands that feed them.

I'm eating lots of melon here lately. The
Clog-wife doesn't eat much fruit other than the occasional banana or flavored yoghurt, so this week I've been able/required to eat a whole canteloupe and most of a watermelon by myself. With fresh localy-grown blueberries, which she doesn't eat either. I'm not complaining about her food preferences; I just feel bad my other half doesn't enjoy these fresh fruits in season like I do. I mean, sheesh, eating them in such quantities makes one feel so virtuous, like one has just scaled the treacherous north face of the great Food Pyramid or something! So of course, I think everyone should feel that way too.

Sometimes I realize that not everyone thinks/(eats) like I do. Its always a surprising revelation.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Melon and Blueberry Daydreams

The usual Saturday morning in Evinston: See the Clog-wife off to her dance classes, get somewhat dressed, put on my Moon Pie ball cap, and hie to the Wood and Swink store/post office to pick up the mails, buy fresh produce, and listen to a little gossip and local news.

Freddy Wood tells me the old white house across from the store will be sold at some point, the owner having recently bought the newer brick house next door. Perhaps this is our chance to buy a place in this lovely hamlet. I'm day-dreaming that the owner would work out a by-owner deal that would let us buy the house.

Fresh produce of the day, all grown in Evinston, and purchased for $10.75: A watermelon, a canteloupe, 2 pints of blueberries, 2 bell peppers, 4 cubanelle peppers, and 2 onions. I passed for now on cucumbers, okra, acorn and hubbard squashes, yellow summer squash, sweetcorn, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

On second thought I'd better run back and buy some corn and a squash. Besides, I want to return the blueberry trays so Geena can reuse/refill them. Two pints won't last very long if I'm around.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Blue Crabs, Way Down Upon The Suwannee

Memorial Day weekend the Clog-wife and I spent 3 days at the 53rd Annual Florida Folk Festival. We performed 9 different times – three times with the Cross Creek Cloggers, three times with the Inisheer Irish Dance Company, and three times with Greenwood Morris. The Clog-wife danced with all three groups. I clogged with Cross Creek and played penny whistle for the Inisheer and Greenwood groups, the latter solo.

All the performing and jamming until all hours with friends in the campground aside, its almost enough just to know that through the woods beyond your tent the root-beer colored Suwannee River winds its way between its high sandy banks. The same river made so famous by the state park’s namesake, Stephen C. Foster.

I really do have to gush here about the blue crab burritos at the festival this year. Its blue crab season and one enterprising vendor served the shredded crab in burritos with rice and onions, topped with shredded lettuce, fresh tomato, guacamole, and a dollop of sour cream. I overdosed mine with Tobasco sauce and was off to the races and soon in gourmand heaven. Truly enjoyable.

The weather was fine and the weekend very fun except for some nasty redneck bluegrass musicians that appeared at the campground for the first time in the 10 years I have been attending the festival as a participant/performer.

OK, I'll say it. This old-time musician doesn't particularly like bluegrass. To be specific, I don't like the fiddling style or the banjo style. I don't like the fact that the music has escaped its communal roots and has become a performance act structured around pyrotechnic solos. There's nothing for the audience to do but clap. Old-time fiddle music has retained its origins as dance music. Get a group of old-timers together and chances are someone will start clogging on a "stepitune" board alongside. Soon after that, you'd better make room for the barndance.