Thursday, June 25, 2015

Take Four

Well, that's the swinginest version of Take Five I've heard since breakfast. It's like the third-best version of the song except all the ones that are better. It's performed by the Mighty Typhoons. They appear to be a wedding band from Amsterdam that wish they were half as cool as my two sons.

I think the MIghty Typhoons did manage to get halfway to being as cool as Unorganized Hancock, which is more than most can claim. The drummer was only 10 when they made this video, and he has a tie that adjusts on his neck using a zipper. It's hard to compete with zipper-tie awesomeness.

Fun fact: I've ridden in about 75 percent of the non-dragster cars in this video, including the T-Bird and the Corvette convertibles.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Days of Ruddy Noses

That's Rocky Gresset and some guy that owns a dog house playing a Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer song.

Funny to think of what becomes a jazz standard. The Days of Wine and Roses was pretty predictable, but lots of other less predictable things make it into Real Books, or Fake Books, or whatever they call the bootleg books of songs that might be needed on a General Business bandstand.

I'm not in the business anymore, but I notice things. The Beatles have a bunch of things that trad jazz bands don't turn their nose up at anymore. Stevie Wonder songs, quite a bit, too. It's Not Easy Being Green, originally sung by Kermit the Frog is another one you might not see coming. Hell, Wichita Lineman gets murdered by naugahyde-and-well-drink assassins as often as Autumn Leaves. Honestly, would you expect My Favorite Things to become a jazz standard? I would, but I'm strange.

A good song is a cupcake, not a wedding cake. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Building a Wattle and Daub Shelter for Dummies

Of course "For Dummies" is my idea of a joke. Despite what you've heard, no one was allowed to be a dummy when shelter like this was in vogue. If you can afford to have a smartphone in your pocket, you're allowed to be as dumb as you please. You can believe almost anything about the natural or intellectual world and get away with it. You can think panthers are cute and cuddly if you want,  or that living in a state of nature is a lark, or commendable in some way.

I'm more from the Rose Sayer school of philosophy: Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above. 

The only mistake this fellow made that I noticed was using wattle to reinforce the smoke shelf in his little chimney. The people he's copying would have gotten a flat stone from the river for that, and then continued on up the chimney with daub. The temperature right at the smoke shelf in a chimney goes way above 1000 degrees. The wood inside the daub will first become pyrolized, and then ignite at very low temperatures if the daub fails. He could have made a  bow drill to chafe his sticks to make a fire faster, but I subtract only style points for that. 

I'll let you in on a dirty little secret: Your wood-framed home isn't really much more complicated than this hut. If your house is 100 years old or so, the interior walls are wooden lath with plaster applied to it. The plaster is a form of daub, and it's keyed into the wattle -- the lath -- by smooshing it through the cracks, same as this. Gypsum drywall has replaced wattle and daub for interior surfaces, but it's still basically the same crap. Gypsum is just a fancy kind of dried mud, and the paper faces of the drywall sheets are the wattle, even made out of the same stuff -- they're just ground up and reconstituted into paper.

Only pole barns are made by putting vertical members into holes in the ground to frame walls now, but the fellow's little platform bed is basically the first floor framing in a regular house, designed to get you up off the dirt in the "cellar." Almost all roofing shingles work in the same way as his leaves and bark, simply overlapping the row below it to shed water. I've nailed shingles over skip sheathing in the same way. If you split boards out of logs you could put clapboards on that shed and it would be at home in any number of cul-de-sacs I could mention, waiting for the vinyl siding salesman to come along. If the fellow with the uneven tan and all the bug bites had made bricks instead of pottery with that mud, even the wolf couldn't blow his little shelter down.

I'm often amazed at how little the average person knows about they house they live in. It's a very simple machine, really. All the complexity that's been added to it has generally made it worse. Although I like window screens a great deal, I must admit.

(Thanks to reader, commenter, and stalwart supporter of Unorganized Hancock Chasmatic for sending that one along)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Bone Shaker. The Bike, I Mean

You keep that up, dude, you won't be able to stop a pig in a ginnel. 

Who's the Brit cycling ninny
That's a sex machine to all the hinny?
You're damn right
Who is the man
That would risk a dunch for a Black and Tan?
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's dibble all about?
Right on
You see this cat Barnes is a workyticket
(Shut your mouth)
But I'm talkin' about Barnes
(Then we can dig it)
He's a antwacky man
And no one understands him but a gadgie
(Martin Barnes)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Had It Been Another Day I Might Have Looked the Other Way

Unorganized Hancock playing the Beatles I've Just Seen a Face.

The imp drummer drops his stick at 0:30. If I didn't tell you, would you have noticed? He never falters. Never hesitates. He reaches for another and keeps going. He's not wearing his jacket, which means this is from the end of the show. He'd been going like that for an hour and a half already. His hands are sweaty and his little arms are tired.

The Heir bangs that tune out like a pro. That's a dumb thing to say on my part. He is a pro, I guess. Or would be, if there was a place to be a pro at. He does a lot of singing in one night. In a larger band, someone else takes a turn. All he has to help him is a twelve-year-old drummer. He must be a Wallenda. If you miss, there is nothing much to catch you. 

The boys are performing at the 4th of July festivites here in Rumford, Maine.

[Update: Many thanks to Kathleen M. from Connecticut for her constant support of our boys via our tipjar. It is much appreciated]

[Up-Update: Many thanks to Bob B. from Chicago for his generous support of my boys using the tipjar. He's a longtime friend of Sippican Cottage, and says he might visit someday. I advise coming in the summer, Bob. It's really pleasant, and it sometimes lasts for a whole week]

[Further Update: Many thanks to Kurt H. from Ohio for his generous hit on the boys' PayPal button. It is very much appreciated.]

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Read The Rumford Meteor Before the Pixels Go Bad

A neighbor of mine named Aubuchon Connery publishes a newspaper all about Maine called The Rumford Meteor. It's a daisy.

The Rumford Meteor is full of interesting facts. The fact that the facts ain't factual never puts him off the scent. He seems to get to the facts no matter where you bury them. He'll dig through a ton of manure to get a turnip, that boy. He's as honest as the day is long. You can tell from his handshake, which is firm, and smells a bit like turnip, and something else I can't quite put my finger on. No matter. That boy's not half bad I tell you what.

When we see Aubuchon commuting home from the Meteor office to his yurt on his recumbent bicycle, we always water the soup and invite him in to join us for dinner. He's deuced quiet, that boy. Doesn't like to talk about himself. You could tell he had a sad tale to tell, and one day when the soup ran out, he mentioned how he ended up all alone in this world.

Every year Aubuchon and his wife, Large Marge, would go to the East Lebanon County Agricultural Fair, Tractor Pull, and Fashion Show. He'd look at the tractors and inquire from the owners how much they thought each was worth, and where exactly they kept them at night. I've always found Aubuchon to be very solicitous in such matters; it's a sign of his innate goodness, I think, to worry over other people's possessions like they were his own.

While he was doing that, Large Marge would go to the fashion show to see what kind of waders were in that year, and to see if her Craftsman lingerie had come in by mail order yet. Then Aubuchon and Marge would get in a terrible row, I tell you what. Every year it was the same thing. There was a man with a cropduster biplane with two seats, and he sold rides for $5, and every year, Aubuchon wanted that ride so bad he would have sold a kidney for it if he had one that worked. Marge said, "NO!," every year, and for the same reason each time. "Five dollars is five dollars, Aubuchon," and that was that. It was logic as impenetrable as Doomsday, and there was no hammer lane around it. "Five dollars is five dollars!" can't be reasoned with, and it can't be bargained with.

After five or ten years of hearing Aubuchon plead and Marge say, "Five dollars is five dollars," the pilot of that crop duster felt sad for Aubuchon and saw an opening with Large Marge. That woman had a prodigious piehole, and he knew it. He made them an offer.

"I'll tell you what. You two take the ride together, and if you can both keep absolutely silent for the whole trip, I'll give you the ride for free. If either of you say a word, you pay me five dollars."

Marge jumped at the chance, but Aubuchon looked cagey about the whole deal. Still, it was his only chance, and he took it. That pilot sat up front with the joystick and the dials, and Large Marge and Aubuchon packed themselves in the back seat like peas and carrots I tell you what. That pilot had a black heart and an empty wallet, and he was determined to get that five dollars. He took them up to treetop level, and gave them what for. He did barrel rolls, outside loops, and tickled the tops of the blue spruces with the landing gear. Not a peep. He upped the ante. He choked the engine into a stall, and plummeted toward the earth like a stone until he got nervous, and then pulled out. Not a whimper. He knew he'd been bested.

They landed, and the pilot fiddled with the knobs and whatnot that pilots fiddle with. Aubuchon was standing next to the plane, and tapped him on the elbow.

"Thanks for the ride. It was everything I'd hoped it would be."
"How did your wife like it?"
"Well, I don't know. She fell out about a half way through."
"Mister, like Marge always said, five dollars is five dollars."

Read the Rumford Meteor. Do it for Marge

Monday, June 15, 2015

Not Homeschooled

Tell me that one about how my home schooled kids aren't going to be socialized again. I love that one. It's a hardy perennial. Love that shite. Tell me again about how screwed my kids are because they're not pressing meaningless buttons 24/7 on an iSlab on their Jitter stream or their FriendFace page.Tell me about how they'll never be popular enough to be bullied if I'm not careful. They won't even be eligible to get whooping cough.

Tell me the one about how my kids won't be able to go on field trips to the museum if they're not enrolled in school. I love that one, too. It's totes adorb. It's my favorite, except for my other favorites, which are my favorite favorites.  My children never get the opportunity to be chaperoned by someone on the sex offender registry. Of course that's better than being left at the museum like the other kid in the same story. I think. Pretty sure. Maybe the kid they left behind actually looked at something on the wall in the museum after the batteries in his iBrick ran out. Hey, could happen.

I'm with you, though; I doubt it. We all know if a school-age child's iBinky battery runs out of electricity, they immediately lie down on the floor and die.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Your Sunday Dose of Toddler Triage

I wouldn't attempt this once you get to public school, kid. Principal Ratched would have you in restraints with a Ritalin drip in a matter of minutes.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Downeast Maine

We live in the mountains in western Maine. It's a long way to Downeast from here. The term Down East is like the term "begging the question." Everyone has used it wrongly so many times that people who type with their thumbs figure they own it now. Down East really shouldn't be a camel word, but that's always the way of the world: Two words; hyphenated word; German word.

Down East actually begins where the people that claim to be from Down East end. Down East is the shoreline of Hancock and Washington counties. Next stop after that is Canada. It's called Down East because when you sail from Boston you go northeast with the wind at your back. Everyone who lives along the coast from New Hampshire to Penobscot claims they're Downeasterners, but they're really living in Northern Massachusetts. A lot of this video is shot in Blue Hill Maine, and plenty of old timers would tell you that's not Down East because it's south of Mount Desert.

Down East, along with most of northern and western Maine, is being depopulated as surely as any khan could do it. There will be a few anchor cities in Maine with nothing in between them. The rest will be what you see in the video.

If you're a deranged person, it's an improvement.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

King of the World

I'm king of the world. I've made end tables and people. My wife helped some, but not with the end tables. I must have read a bazillion wasted pixels, written by people nearly old enough to qualify for grandparent status, explaining that they're not ever having any kids because of the need to pay back a quarter-million dollars in school loans, the end result of which is an inability to spell "lose" and a job drawing pictures in foam.

Let's all read another 600 words of Marketwatch twaddle about how much it costs to raise a kid to adulthood. Oh, lets! I like to read that sort of thing and point and laugh at the author and everybody that reads it and doesn't point and laugh. If you put a dollar sign anywhere on a child there's no hope for you. What will they put on your gravestone? Trick question, there will be no one that cares if you're alive or dead to buy one for you, but for the sake of argument, what would it say? That guy/girl sure could watch premium cable.

Speaking of pointing and laughing, go watch the video again. No one points and laughs better than a toddler.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Others Keep Going, Too

I wrote the other day of the need to Keep Going. The Keep Going statue is the only trophy I want on my shelf just now. My wife says it's fine if I want to accept it, but she'd prefer I didn't start posing for it until I install a new bathtub. The Keep Going trophy is the only one worth having if you have children.

Longtime reader and commenter DadofHomeschoolers drops me a line from time to time. He's one of the many people who let me know there are others that Keep Going. It's much easier when you know you're part of a quiet wave. His son Daniel is like my older son. They are too old for (homeschool) high school, but they keep going, of course. Daniel is studying to produce records, and like all people who Keep Going, he's not waiting for a diploma to do things. Juliana Schnee is his friend, and another homeschool graduate, and they're making recordings together. Juliana is writing music, and performing it where an audience can get at her -- the bravest thing I know.

I offer no advice. Just a heartfelt wish that they Keep Going.

[If you know of someone that qualifies for Keep Going status, send it to SippicanCottage*at*]

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Pie Jesu

She Called It the Piazza

By: Sippican Cottage

SHE CALLED IT the piazza. I'd been to the library and it isn't a piazza at all, but she says it just the same.

I didn't say that, but it's not like I know what to call it anyway. I wouldn't say it to her face if I did know because she is so fierce. The doctors, like bad farmers, pulled babies and other things you'd think were vital out of her and all sorts of bits off of her as the calendars repeated themselves, and father says when they bury her there will be an echo inside. She carries on like the turning of the earth, and everyone loves her and fears her no matter how much of her is left.

She never went leathery; she got adamantine. She was a basilisk to a stranger and a pitted madonna to her own. We make a pilgrimage, no less, to visit her. Which one are you again is the name she uses to prove she loves us all the same amount. She presses a quarter in my hand like a card trick when we leave.

The piazza is just a rotten porch that leans drunkenly off the building and she sends me to get the food that cooled out there. It's thirty rickety feet above the jetsam of a thousand lives gone bad, surrounded by chainlink and crime. She's like a one-woman congress, overruling all sorts of laws of man and nature, but you can't help feeling she can't keep a lookout for gravity forever on your behalf, can she? Everything is only a matter of time in this world.

It's always hot and close when you return, breathless from fear and hurry and the whip of the wind, and you notice she has only two colors: grey and the pink of her cheek. There are always things I don't understand, boiling. Everything on the plates is grey and pink, too.

The rooms are in a parade. The triptych of the parlor windows shows the sack of a forgotten Rome through the tattered lace. No running in the hall! Her daughter lives down stairs so there was no one to bother but... the very idea!

But how could any child linger in that tunnel of a hall? You had to get past it to the kitchen table. The bedrooms branched off, dim caves that smelled of perfume bought in stores forty years closed by men thirty years dead. The indistinct whorls on the wallpaper reached out to touch your hand like a leper.

At the table, the lyre-back chair groans and shifts under even my little weight, and you sit transfixed while she spoons the sugar and dumps the milk into the tea until the saucer is a puddle, and you wondered in your head how many times the bag could take it. There's cinnamon and laughter now and then and blessed sunlight that turned the battered battleship linoleum into a limpid pool. The cork shines through the scrim of the coating, a million footfalls revealing more and more of it over time.

And Catherine? The Cork shows through there, too.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Looking for Signs and Wonders

I look for signs and wonders where I can find them. I'm not talking about Glory Clouds that rain gold dust or talking bushes. I am on the lookout for any signs of life. I am enthusiastic about the slightest signal I can find that might indicate that someone is trying to carry on their society's traditions in a meaningful way. Oh, the heck with society. I'll settle for humanity.

I've made a lot of friends all over the world by writing. People have been nice to me and my children. I live a generally isolated life, made more isolated by my family's refusal to submit to the cult of societal obsolescence. I suffer no pangs of guilt about walking the earth, and look for fellow travelers who want to Keep Going. My wife and I are nothing special, but we are at least a testament to Keep Going, surely.

A while back, a person I never met sent me a computer he didn't need anymore but I couldn't afford. I gave it to my son so that he could use it to record all the Unorganized Hancock videos you see here on my webpage. He sent me a greater gift, though I doubt he understood it as such. He sent me a video of his daughter and her friends singing like angels. He sent me testimony that someone else had the same idea I had: Keep Going. These girls are wholesome and lovely and I found the whole thing charming beyond words. My son used that computer I mentioned to turn part of the raw performance video into this nifty little finished product. I meant to post it on my blog a year ago, but I had to Keep Going at something or other and got distracted. Better late than never. The whole concept of "better late than never" is a form of Keep Going, after all.

People post pictures of Darwin all over the Intertunnel but they have no idea what he said, or what it meant. They definitely don't know that a friar made applesauce of his theories, and the science-is-settled contingent of the last century simply stapled them together and put Darwin on the front like the cover sheet on a TPS Report. Darwin worshipers mistake cowardice, self-absorption, and sloth for wisdom in an uncertain world. I am Spenglerian. Society is an organism, too, if you ask me. All you worshipers of Darwin should maybe wonder what Darwin would have to say about an organism that refuses to defend itself, and won't reproduce. He'd say it deserves everything it gets.

Morons think there is an alternative to having children and raising them. I don't. Oh, and by the way, if an emperor moron like Ray Kurzweil manages to upload his meager intellect to a computer, I can assure you this is how it will turn out, and I'll be first in line to do it:

I am serene in the thought that If I can't manage it, my kids will do it. Or his will.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Forget It Sippican. It's Internettown

Evelyn Mulwray: Tell me, Mr. Sippican: Does this often happen to you?

Sippican: What's that?

Evelyn Mulwray: Well, I'm judging only on the basis of one afternoon and an evening, but, uh, if this is how you go about your blogging, I'd say you'd be lucky to, uh, get through a whole day.

Sippican: Actually, this hasn't happened to me for a long time.

Evelyn Mulwray: When was the last time?

Sippican: Why?

Evelyn Mulwray: It's an innocent question.

Sippican: In Internettown.

Evelyn Mulwray: What were you doing there?

Sippican: Blogging for nothing.

Evelyn Mulwray: Doing what?

Sippican: As little as possible.

Evelyn Mulwray: The Internet gives their men advice like that?

Sippican: They do in Internettown.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The Hunchback

We will live eternally in this mood of reverie
Away from all the earthly cares around us
My world was dull each minute until I found you in it
And all at once the happiness I knew
Became these quiet nights of loving you