Monday, May 30, 2011

A different kind of Memorial Day tribute.

My backyard neighbors -- not the ones in their eighties -- have decided to shoot off fireworks this Memorial Day evening. They mean well, I suppose, but it seems a little bizarre to be celebrating the deaths of American military men and women with fireworks as though it were the 4th of July.

But since the ice has been broken, so to speak, my Memorial Day post this year will be in honor of all the children who played soldier and grew up to fight real enemies, some in the flesh, some in the spiritual realm. Wickedness in high places takes many forms. And the battle still rages.

Here, from years ago, is one of my all-time favorite songs by the Christian trio known as the Sharrett Brothers. You may not know it, but after hearing it you will not soon forget it.

"Soldiers Again" (6:32) by the Sharrett Brothers, when it was still a work in progress back in their college days. The best acoustics around were apparently in their dormitory’s showers.

In case you had trouble understanding the lyrics, here they are:

Backyard soldiers, little boys,
We fought the enemy with little toys.
Sticks for swords, hands for guns,
Every battle always won.

But as we grew and went our way
We forgot about our soldier days.
No more swords, no more guns,
No more battles to be won.

But we were wrong.
We did not see we still had an enemy.
So now we stand, Friend with friend,
We are soldiers once again.

We are soldiers again
In the army of the Lord.
We are soldiers again
And His Word is our sword.
We will not be denied; with Him by our side
We know the victory we’ll win.
We will fight till the end,
Soldiers again.

And we still can’t even see the one we are fighting,
But we stand with One who can, the Lord God Almighty.

We are soldiers again
In the army of the Lord.
We are soldiers again
And His Word is our sword.
We will not be denied; with Him by our side
We know the victory we’ll win.
We will fight till the end,
Soldiers again.

We will not be denied; with Him by our side
We know the victory we’ll win.
We will fight till the end,
Soldiers again.

Life lesson #17,643: Some people are oblivious.

During a portion of my corporate career, I commuted to work as part of a four-person car pool. Every morning each of us would drive a mile or so from our homes to the local Target parking lot, arriving from four different directions. Then three of us would park our cars and pile into the fourth car for the rest of the 26-mile trip. Each week, we rotated the lucky car and driver for “the rest of the trip” so as a group we managed to cut gas consumption by 75%.

The members of the car pool were George, John, Diane, and moi (not Paul and Ringo). Although we all worked on the same floor of the same building for the same company, basically we discovered that we couldn’t stand each other. We disagreed and argued from the time we entered the car until we reached our destination -- Diane began referring to our little group as “the killer car pool” to the amusement of the rest of the floor -- until we reached a truce of sorts when someone suggested that instead of talking we listen to music on the way to work so that we would arrive calm, cool, and collected instead of stressed out before the workday even started.

We no longer argued as much, but we had completely different tastes in music, and it was always driver’s choice. But a deal was a deal, so it worked after a fashion. We even began to like each other a little.

One day, George (who was Japanese-Hawaiian and a graduate of the University of Oregon, had a wife and two children, attended church every Sunday, sang in the choir, and saw no conflict in the fact that he was also the proud owner of a large collection of porn-video) had the radio turned on to a Golden Oldies station. The following song filled George’s Volkswagen Beetle:

“Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Byrds (3:22)

We all listened in silence, remembering the days of our own youth. When the selection ended, I said, “That’s in the Bible.”

George said, “What’s in the Bible?”

“That song,” I said. “Except for the title, the lyrics are from the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.”

“Really?” said George. “I never listened to the words. I just thought it was good to dance to.”

Thus the education of Rhymeswithplague continued long after school days were finished.

Perhaps if George had driven a Lincoln Town Car instead of a Volkswagen Beetle our car pool would have lasted longer. Proximity does strange things to people.

Friday, May 27, 2011

As Gomer Pyle used to say...

“Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!”

You’ll never guess who attended the wedding rehearsal this afternoon. (You do remember that I had to go to a wedding rehearsal, don’t you? I told you in the previous post that the groom is 82 and the bride is 80, their names are Andy and Ann, their last name is not Raggedy, and the wedding will take place tomorrow.)

Well, the bride and groom were there, of course, and the attendants and the minister and the singer and the accompanist (me), but there was someone else.

Give up?


I am not making this up.

As Gomer Pyle also used to say, “Gah-ah-ah-LEE!”

I think that says it all.

Snippets of life in the fast lane

On my bedroom dresser sits a little bank that knows how to keep track of the loose change I occasionally deposit in it, and it displays the amount it contains for all to see. Yesterday one coin dropped through the slot but the number on the display didn’t change. I had not been paying attention up to that point, so I dumped everything out to investigate. Eventually I got to the root of the problem; I discovered a coin the size of a dime but the color of a penny that wasn’t one of ours at all. Probably Canadian or British, I thought, but no -- the woman’s head on one side was definitely not Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor-Mountbatten. Taking off my glasses to have a better look (doesn’t everybody do that?), I saw that one side of the coin read “1 cent 1967” and the other side had the words “Juliana Koningen der Nederlanden” -- a Dutch coin! Perhaps Carolina was just passing through on her way to feed Evie and Naloma and Willem? Perhaps Joran van der Sloot escaped from his Peruvian prison and ate lunch at our local Subway? Perhaps I have too vivid an imagination? Anyway, finding a coin from Holland in my change was a first for me.

Mrs. RWP and I drove all the way into downtown Atlanta yesterday, a distance of about 40 miles (80 roundtrip, in case anyone is counting) to obtain for our daughter a copy of her marriage certificate. The Fulton County Courthouse is just one block from the State Capitol Building. We drove in on I-75 but came back on surface streets just to be different. Along the way we passed Northside Drive Baptist Church where Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter attended while he was governor of Georgia, and we passed the runway at Dobbins Air Force Base where Air Force One always lands whenever the current occupant of the White House comes to town, and we passed the Big Chicken in Marietta, best-known landmark of all locally. Eventually we got back home after stopping for lunch in Canton. We each had a Roast Chicken Club Sandwich with Curly Fries and a Senior Drink (root beer) at Arby’s because we didn’t want to risk running into Joran van der Sloot at the Subway.

We had a bad thunderstorm last evening, this front being what was left of the one that spawned the terrible tornado in Joplin, Missouri, earlier this week. Once again we were out on the road, headed to a program at our grandson’s school. The sky was black and the winds were high and it was raining too hard to call it cats and dogs, more like horses. I would not have been surprised to see Evie and Naloma and Willem falling out of the sky. Someone reported grapefruit-sized hail north of us and another reported baseball-sized hail, but I think the reports must have been exaggerated. The weather man on the car radio said that the TTI (Tornado Threat Index) was only a 3 out of a possible 10. Our rain gauge, when we returned home, contained more than two inches of water.

My neighbors have gotten a new doggie, a miniature Schnauzer, and have decided to put up a fence so that their pet can have the run of the back yard. The surveyors came and erected three stakes, complete with bright pink ribbons flapping in the breeze, along the property line. Jethro doesn’t know quite what to make of these new additions and is even a little spooked. I’m sure he will follow all ensuing events with interest and report back to us.

Today I have to attend a wedding rehearsal at 1:30 for the wedding tomorrow afternoon of 82-year-old Andy and his 80-year-old bride, Ann, where I will be playing piano. And no, their names are not Raggedy. No modern music for them, thank you. They have requested “O Promise Me,” “Because,” Noel Stookey’s “Wedding Song,” and Albert Hay Malotte’s “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Keep your eyes peeled. You never know what you might find.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oprah Who? (part 2)

Day Two of the Three-Day Extravaganza accompanying Oprah (Harpo spelled backwards) Winfrey’s departure from daytime network television brought us Will Smith, Jamie Fox, Queen Latifah, Maya Angelou, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and what looked like half the student body of Morehouse College in Atlanta and even Stedman Goodman, Oprah’s long-time live-in significant other. Frank Sinatra would have been there too, but he’s dead.

Did you know that although Oprah may be Harpo spelled backwards it was never intended to be that way? Her name was supposed to be Orpah, same as Naomi’s other daughter-in-law from the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, but somehow it got spelled wrong on her birth certificate. True story.

It was reported this week that Monday night on The Late Show, David Letterman’s program, Lady Gaga or GaGa or whatever it is tore off part of the page of questions Dave was using to interview her and ate it. Television just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

Mrs. RWP and I watch quite a bit of television but we don’t watch what the hip crowd watches. We watch Antiques Roadshow and reruns of All in the Family and quite a few crime shows (Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, CSI: Miami, NCIS, The First 48, 48 Hours: Hard Evidence, Dateline. Unsolved Mysteries, Cold Case Files, Without a Trace, and probably a few others I can’t think of at the moment). We do have our standards, however. We refuse to watch Nancy Grace.

We used to watch the Home and Garden Network (HGTV) and the Food Network a lot, but eventually we tired of Cake Boss and Chopped and Barefoot Contessa and Paula Deen and Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse and The Iron Chef and that couple that have that barbecue place in Memphis and Property Virgins and Flip This House and House Hunters and even House Hunters International. We stopped watching Jon and Kate Plus Eight when Kate went off the deep end, or maybe it was Jon, or both. We didn’t watch a single weekly episode of Dancing With the Stars or American Idol or The X Factor or Desperate Housewives or Glee. Currently we watch reruns of something called The Glades as a sort of run-up to a second season of it that starts in a few weeks. We have been known to watch an old Bill Gaither and His Homecoming Friends rerun occasionally just to keep our toes in the Southern Country Gospel Music pond, even though half of Bill’s friends are dead now too, including Jake Hess, Eva Mae Lefevre, Vestal and Howard Goodman, Rex Nelon, James Blackwood, Rusty Goodman, J.D. Sumner, Glen Payne, George Younce, Big Chief Weatherington, the list goes on and on. Just like Frank Sinatra.

Oprah probably never heard of any of them.

Eventually all of us will be dead, even Oprah, replaced by upstarts and newcomers and wannabes who, if they look back at all, will probably look back on the people of the late 20th and early 21st centuries with amusement, or disdain, or utter contempt.

Then, in the great cycle of life, they will become has-beens themselves and shuffle off this mortal coil (copyright, Will Shakespeare, circa 1601).

Sic transit gloria mundi.

I’ll tell you something though, I’d rather be a has-been than a never-was.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oprah Who?

Friends of Oprah (Harpo spelled backwards) are filling a 13,000-seat coliseum in Chicago this week for the last-ever shows of Oprah (Harpo spelled backwards) Winfrey on network television before she goes completely cable at OWN, the Oprah (Harpo spelled backwards) Winfrey Network, which I predict will be watched only by Oprah (Harpo spelled backwards) Winfrey Network gluttons. In the first of her last two coliseum appearances, aired yesterday, we have already been treated to Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Josh Groban, Patti LaBelle, Halle Berry, Diane Sawyer, Madonna, Beyoncé, and The Night Of At Least A Thousand Stars. All it needed was Jerry Lewis singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Only God and possibly Harold Camping know what heights (or depths) her remaining shows might reach.

Call me crazy, but I prefer goodbyes of the quieter, gentler, sweeter, more intimate sort.

Like this one, from 1992, in three parts:

Part 1 (6:44)

Part 2 (7:37)

Part 3 (4:44)

And here is a lagniappe (a little something extra) (2:55).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sepia Monday?

This photo, from the files of the Los Angeles Times, is more than fifty years old. It was taken in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 1961. If you click on the photo, it will get bigger. Do you recognize the people in the front row of the reviewing stand?

I will identify them for you without referring to an encyclopedia of any kind.

From right to left, rather than from the traditional left to right, they are Ladybird Johnson, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy (JFK’s father), and (seated) Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK’s mother). The military men passing in review to honor the newly inaugurated commander-in-chief are not truly military men, not yet. They are cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

I have no reason for posting this photo. I just felt like it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

/njuː ˈmɛksɪkoʊ/

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak of a place I have never actually stepped foot in, although I have flown over it in an airplane at an altitude of 35,000 feet. That place, as the rest of this post will make clear, is our sixth most sparsely-populated state, the great and sovereign state of New Mexico, which is called New to distinguish it from Old Mexico, which is not actually called Old Mexico at all, just Mexico, but which many people in the neighboring state of Texas believe is also a state, which it is not, it is a country. But I digress.

Mr. Speaker, in my reading of blogs, one I enjoy is Reamus, written by a man named Michael Burns, who lives in Carlsbad, California. Let me just mention here that Carlsbad, California, may have Michael Burns, whom I have never seen at all, but Carlsbad, New Mexico, has world-famous caverns that I have seen in three dimensions by looking at two photographs simultaneously through a Viewmaster Stereoscope and out of the mouth of which millions of bats fly every evening. The caverns I mean, not the Viewmaster Stereoscope.

In a comment on one of Reamus’s recent posts, a woman named Sherry Peyton who lives in Iowa told Michael Burns that she and her husband will soon be moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A word to the wise: I just want to state here for the record that back when I was a teenager in Mansfield, Texas, in the mid-fifties, my piano teacher, Mrs. Alyne Eagan, suddenly married a Mr. Cyrus and moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and was never heard from again.

I took a peek at Sherry Peyton’s blog (a feather adrift) and couldn’t help noticing that three or four posts back she had one entitled “Truth or Consequences?” that had absolutely nothing to do with New Mexico, although she did mention again that she and her husband will soon be moving there, to New Mexico I mean, not to Truth or Consequences.

Mr. Speaker, need I remind you that there is a town in New Mexico called Truth or Consequences that used to be called Hot Springs until a man named Ralph Edwards broadcast his usually-Los-Angeles-based radio program, Truth or Consequences, from there many years ago for several weeks in a row, and the town fathers, enamored of the attention and apparently craving even more publicity, decided to change the name of their town to the name of Ralph Edwards’s radio program so that people wouldn’t keep getting their town confused with Hot Springs, Arkansas? Just think what might have happened if Edward R. Murrow had ever decided to broadcast See It Now! from Albuquerque and the New Mexico Board of Tourism had gotten wind of it! Fortunately or unfortunately for us, however, depending on your point of view, he never did.

Furthermore, Granny Howell, the mother of my stepmother’s first husband, Clarence Houston, moved to Clovis, New Mexico, which is barely in New Mexico at all, to live with her daughter, Etta Stringfellow, and although it can’t be said that Granny Howell was never heard from again, she was heard from only rarely.

And we all know what happened in Area 51 near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Don’t we?

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, aside from the fact that the Rio Grande flows through New Mexico (and notice that I do not call it the Rio Grande River, which would be redundant), I know nothing more about New Mexico than what I have already told you, except for a few place names like Santa Fe and Taos and the fact that New Mexico became our 47th state in 1912 and also that its nickname, which is emblazoned on the automobile license plates of its residents, of which I have seen only a few, both license plates and residents, is Land of Enchantment.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I have taken the liberty of inserting into today’s Blogressional Record the article from Wikipedia entitled “New Mexico” for the reading pleasure and enlightenment of every one of our constituents who cares to avail himself or herself of this unprecedented educational opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Did anyone spot the change in my blog today?


Give up?

Okay, I’ll tell you.

I removed the word “nearly” from the phrase “nearly 48 years” in the “About Me” paragraph in the sidebar.

Yours for accuracy in media.

And fewer quotation marks.

Not to mention sentence fragments.

You know what?

Tomorrow is still another day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tomorrow is another day.

In fact, it’s day number 17533.

Of what? Since when? Hold your horses. I’ll tell you.

Since the day Mrs. RWP acquired that honorific in front of her name after we vowed to walk together into the future for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, and forsaking all others, until death do us part, come what may.

Yes, that’s right. Tomorrow is the 48th anniversary of our wedding.

We didn’t actually say “come what may” but that’s what we meant.

The wedding took place in Orlando, Florida, with the Rev. M. officiating.
Mary C. served as matron of honor.
Frank R. was best man.
Lenora D. and Charlene S. were bridesmaids.
Stan M. and David D. were groomsmen.
My dad, stepmother, and stepsister drove in from Texas.
Mrs. RWP’s aunt and cousin came from North Carolina.
I flew in from Omaha especially for the occasion.

We really didn’t know what we were getting into, but 25 years later, when we knew exactly what we had gotten ourselves into, we renewed our vows anyway.

And now, all these years later, we’re still walking together into the future.

Come what may.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ladies All

Lady Wallace, the Scottish author and translator mentioned in my last post, was said by Sir Walter Scott, in an 1825 letter to his son, to be “a very pleasant woman, [who] plays on the harp delightfully.” It should be noted that she was not Lady Wallace at the time, however; she was the baronetess of Newton Don. In 1825 her husband was Sir Alexander Don, sixth baronet of Newton Don. She had two children: Sir William Henry Don, 7th Baronet, the actor; and Alexina Harriet, who married Sir Frederick Acclom Milbank, bart., of Hart and Hartlepool.

Sir Alexander died in 1826, and in 1836 his widow married again, to Sir James Maxwell Wallace, K.H., of Ainderby Hall, near Northallerton, an officer who had served under Wellington at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, was afterwards lieutenant-colonel of the 5th dragoon guards (when Prince Leopold, afterwards king of the Belgians, was colonel), and died on 3 February 1967 as general and colonel of the 176th lancers. Lady Wallace died on 12 March 1878 without issue by her second marriage. So says Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is nothing if not complete. Anything you could possibly want to know about a baronet and baronetess can be found here, including how to address one, the fact that a baronet or baronetess is near the bottom of the ranks of nobility, and the revelation that a Duke and Duchess rank higher than a Prince and Princess, which was news to me.

When all is said and done, all that and $2.49 will buy you a pound of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” at your local supermarket.

Sir Walter Scott’s mention of his friends’s lady “playing on the harp delightfully” caught my eye, though, and I immediately thought, as I’m sure you probably did also, of Beatrice Lillie, Lady Peel.

What? You didn’t?

Beatrice Lillie, friend of Noel Coward and Cole Porter, is an artifact from days gone by. She was a comic actress and satirist who parodied the flowery performing style of even earlier decades when arias, declamations, recitations, and poetry readings were all the rage. If she looks the slightest bit familiar to you, you may remember her in her role as the villainous Mrs. Meers, laundress and white slaver, in the 1967 technicolor movie Thoroughly Modern Millie.

I think I remember hearing Bea Lillie perform “I brought my harp to the party, but nobody asked me to play; the others were happy and hearty, but I wasn’t feeling so gay” way back in the dark ages, but I couldn’t find it on Youtube. (Neither could I find Helen Hayes reciting “The White Magnolia,” but that has nothing to do with this post.) So if you have been dying to hear Beatrice Lillie perform, you will simply have to be content with hearing her do “There Are Fairies at the Bottom of our Garden” in a clip from the year 1952 on Ed Sullivan’s television program. And please try to remember that there was nothing more boring in the entire twentieth century than listening to Ed Sullivan talk.

If Beatrice Lillie doesn’t float your boat, maybe you would prefer listening to 5 minutes and 34 seconds of harp music, played delightfully by Ji Min.

And if that doesn’t float your boat either, just remember, there’s always Carrie Underwood.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

this ’n’ that

1. I took some clothing to the Salvation Army Thrift Store the other day, where our friend Cathy M. is manager and our friend Trisha M. (no relation to Cathy) works in the back sorting and pricing new arrivals. I found Trisha oohing and ahhing over a box of 33-1/3 rpm vinyl LP classical records and two big boxes of books brought in earlier by another customer. When she told me that all paperback books are 39 cents and all hardcover books are 79 cents, I decided to have a look for myself. What I came away with, 79 cents poorer, was a hardcover book published in 1867 called Letters of Distinguished Musicians by Lady Wallace.

I am indebted to Wikipedia for helping me know a little more about Lady Wallace. Google turned up three Lady Wallaces -- or maybe that should be Ladies Wallace -- but I know I picked the right one because the Lady Wallace I picked (Grace Jane, a Scottish author and translator of German and Spanish works) died in 1878; the other two didn’t fit the bill at all: Lady Eglantine Wallace died in 1803 and Lady Helen Wallace wasn’t born until 1946.

I was already familiar with the musicians, though, and didn’t need Wikipedia's help, but I have included links to them here in case any of you might be interested in learning more about them. They are, in the order Lady Wallace published their letters:

Christophe Gluck (1714 - 1787)
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714 - 1788)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Carl Maria von Weber (1786 - 1826)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)

(Trivia Note. Carl Philipp Emanuel was the son of Johann Sebastian, Haydn composed 106 symphonies, and the correct way to pronounce von Weber is Fon Vayber.)

Lady Wallace also translated and published many letters of Mozart and Beethoven, but none of them is found in this particular volume.

Anyhoo, instead of writing new blogposts I have been reading the fascinating correspondence of these gentlemen of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and it has been ever so much more interesting than paying attention to the depressing events of the current day. Another way of putting it is that I find myself increasingly out of touch, but that is simply the price of erudition.

2. Speaking of price, our eldest son gave his mother two dozen yellow roses (her favorite) for Mother’s (Mothers’, Mothers) Day and they are still gorgeous a week later. He told me, and I am passing the information along to you, that the best flowers at the best price are found at Costco. He paid $16.99 for these at a time when every other Tom, Dick, and Genevieve in the florist business raises prices through the roof to gouge the American flower-buying public, simply because they can.

Bouquet Of Yellow Roses by Andrew Schmidt (though there are only 11 in this public domain photo and Mrs. RWP received 24)

3. I thought my ten-year-old electric lawnmower had finally given up the ghost, but that same eldest son took it apart and said all it needed was a new switch. He ordered the part online, paid for it himself, and told me, “Happy Father’s Day” even though Father’s (Fathers’, Fathers) Day won’t get here until the third weekend in June. That boy is a keeper, although when he was 12 he nearly gave us a heart attack when he took apart a rented alto saxophone just to see how it worked. His mother told him, “Son, I’m going to my room to lie down, and when I come back, that saxophone had better be put back together.” It was. Later, during his college years, he repaired instruments in a music store, so all’s well that ends well, according to somebody.

4. Speaking of which, this post is over.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This year I’m not a day late, but I’m still a dollar short...

Here is a link to my post of May 13, 2010, exactly 364 days ago.

You will have to click on the link to understand the title of today’s post.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Truth is stranger than fiction...

Here is a link to what must be the most bizarre news story of the week.

Here’s a sentence you don’t read every day (from the story):
“In the Philippines, preadolescent and adolescent boys traditionally are circumcised during summer school break from March to May.”

Call us crazy if you like, but here they just go to Disney World.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

But one has to consider...

Carole Middleton:

Carole’s daughter Kate (with a friend):

Carole’s daughter Pippa (with two friends):

and Carole’s son James:

Maybe there’s something to that heredity thing after all.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Proof that fashion sense is not inherited

THE QUEEN (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II):

THE PRINCESS ROYAL (Her Royal Highness Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise Mountbatten-Windsor Phillips Laurence, 10th in line of succession to the throne):

or as I have begun referring to them since The Wedding, Canary and What Was She Thinking?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Qongqothwane (The Click Song)

The other day in my post on the 175th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, I mentioned that actress Betty White pronounces it the Spanish way (“San Hah-cheen-toh”) and Texans pronounce it the Texas way (“Sanja Sinta”). In the comments section, Egghead (Vonda from Oregon) said that when she doesn’t know how to pronounce the name of a place she just begins speaking in African click language. She then said of course she didn’t know what she was saying but she can do a mean click. I am not making this up. She closed her comment by saying, “Another great post for you to do research on, Bob!”

There’s an awful lot I do not know about an awful lot of things, but I didn’t have to do any research whatsoever to know that Vonda was probably referring to the Xhosa language of South Africa. I first learned about it way back in the mid-sixties when singer Miriam Makeba, whose musical career was going great guns in the United States until she married Stokely Carmichael, sang Qongqothwane.
I think I also recall that in those days the word Xhosa was spelled X!hosa with the exclamation point indicating the click.

According to Wikipedia, Qongqothwane is a traditional song of the Xhosa people of South Africa. It is sung at weddings to bring good fortune. In the Western World it is mainly known as The Click Song, a nickname given to the song by European colonials who could not pronounce its Xhosa title, which has many click consonants in it. The Xhosa title literally means “knock-knock beetle,” which is a popular name for the Xestobium rufovillosum, a woodboring beetle that makes a distinctive ticking sound. This beetle is believed by the Xhosa to bring good luck and rain.

The song is known world-wide thanks to the interpretation of South African singer Miriam Makeba (herself a Xhosa). In her discography the songs appears in several versions, both with title Qongqothwane and as The Click Song.

Here it is. Enjoy! (3:15)

After viewing and hearing the video, please join me in wishing Prince William and his Kate good luck and rain.

<b> Mundane is also a word</b>

My blogger friend Rachel Phillips is currently in the midst of a series of posts (three so far) about a trip she took with her friends Liz...