Thursday, December 13, 2018

Saturday, December 8, 2018

all around the world | 2019 | Afghanistan to Colorado River Indian Tribes



The first thing we need is an itinerary. And already the plans shift as I discover nations with nations, even within my own. I don't dare commit to a plan for more than one year and even this may become travel-worn before we get too far.

In general the plan will be a Saturday / Sunday focused on that week's nation : a meal cooked, a song, a short film, a poem, a work of art.  The Thursday before an overview of the basics: map, flag, languages, capital & other principal cities, main industries,  bikability (because someday the hope is this Imaginary Cycling leads to two wheels on the ground under international skies).  Throughout the week:  post cards of discovery (books, notables, recipes, whatever we find along the way).



2019

JANUARY

1. Afghanistan
2. Albania
3. Algeria
4. =Allegany =Cattaraugus =Shinnecock =St Regis Mohawk =Tonawanda =Tuscarora


FEBRUARY

5. Angola
6. *Antarctica *French Southern Territories
7. Antigua and Barbuda || Saint Kitts and Nevis
8. Argentina | *Falkland Islands


MARCH

9. Armenia
10. Australia | *Christmas (Keeling) Island
11. Austria | ×Tyrol-Trentino
12. Azerbaijan | ÷Nakhchivan
13. Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands


APRIL

14. Bahamas | *Turks and Caicos Islands
15. Bahrain
16. *Balearic Islands
17. Bangladesh


MAY

18. Barbados
19. ÷Basque Country
20. =Bay Mills =Isabella =L'Anse =Grand Traverse =Hannahville =Sault Ste. Marie
21. Belarus


JUNE

22. Belgium
23. Belize
24. Benin
25. *Bermuda
*America the Undiscovered


JULY

26. Bhutan
27. =Big Cypress =Brighton =Mississippi Choctaw =Houma =Chitimacha
28. Bolivia
29. Bosnia&Herzegovina | ÷Srpska


AUGUST

30. Botswana
31. Brazil
32. Brunei Darussalam
33. Bulgaria


SEPTEMBER

34. Burkina Faso
35. Burundi
36. Cambodia
37. Cameroon
38. Canada | *Saint Pierre et Miquelon


OCTOBER 

39. Cape Verde
40. ÷Catalonia
41. =Catawba =Lumbee =Eastern Cherokee
42. ×Caucasus :(÷Adygea ÷Karachay-Cherkessia ÷Kabardino-Balkaria ÷North Ossetia-Alania ÷Chechnya ÷Ingushetia ÷Dagestan)


NOVEMBER

43. CAR (Central African Republic)
44. Chad
45. *Channel Islands : Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Alderney
46. =Cherokee =Muscogee/Creek =Osage =Choctaw =Chickasaw =Kiowa-Comanche-Apache =Cheyenne-Arapahoe =Potawatami =Shawnee


DECEMBER

47. Chile
48. China
49. Colombia
*Place of Peace
50. =Colorado River =Cocopah =Fort Yuma =Fort Mojave =Elko 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

all around the world : Traveller, Traveller



Let us say a certain woman finds herself, or has lost herself, as the case may be, in the same predicament as Ishmael.  She mutters behind the icy steering wheel, "Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth," or mouths the phrase, "a damp, drizzly November in my soul," while standing in line at the dim-lit Walmart, or wordlessly stares out at a barren town lot that matches her inner landscape.   Ahead, only frozen monotone winter, followed by the parched bleached grass of summer, and then again the icy drizzle of Novembers yet to come.

The Melville protocol has always appealed as an effective treatment ~
whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.
An appealing treatment, even with its clearly stated risk for catastrophic side effects: monomania, shipwreck . . .

But how to get to sea?  I'm landlocked now. I cannot even ride along the river here because my road these days is narrow, rocky, twisting blindly, twinned to a high dry mountain river's precipitous trickle or snowmelt fury snaking to empty itself out into a salty puddle. The promised plan for a canyon bike path evaporated like hope's meager dew soon after our first November morning waking in these arid valleys as displaced Northwesterners.  And then the snow fell like judgement and ice swallowed up the key.  And even if the road were wide enough to allow a rideable shoulder, the cliffbound track is regularly rubbled with falling rocks -- 150 lbs. just last week through the windshield of an unlucky car reported the local paper -- and always crammed with crowded individualists driving impatient trucks.

What escape can there be? Whaling's out.
But isn't the Imaginary Bicycle just the vehicle I need to go around the world, alphabetically, of course, and week by week.

It should take me five years of Thursdays with so far to go.
If I don't fail along the way.


Traveller, Traveler, all around the world,
If you can guess this, you're the Traveller of the World . . . 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

My Father Sings . . . Rocky Mountain Water

This version is way more 70s-psychedelic than the song my dad sang.  Dad's version is acoustic and mellow, pitched a key or two lower, a little more yearny.  And Dad's words, as always, were cheekily non-alcoholic. I don't know if Frishberg's jazz version (he's the original composer) was my dad's primary source, but I do know this has been a perennial favorite at our house.

* * *




Well, since I left Montana, covered lots of ground.
Been from Corsicana up to Puget Sound
Been from Santa Clara down to Santa Fe
Drinkin'  beer and whiskey (milk and root beer) all along the way.
Now my rollin's over and you know I'm Rocky Mountain bound.

Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
If I don't get some of that Rocky Mountain water
I declare I'm gonna lose my mind.
Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
Yes, it tastes like champagne wine.

Now I've done some cruisin'.
I've been everywhere.
Seen some heavy losin'.
And I done my share.
Now I'm tired of ramblin' like a rollin' stone,
Keepin' dry and lonesome as a buffalo bone.
Wanta wet my whistle in that good ol' Rocky Mountain air.

Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
If I don't get some of that Rocky Mountain water
I declare I'm gonna lose my mind.
Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
Yes, it tastes like champagne wine.

* * *
(additional original verse)

Whiskey tastes my money
Everywhere I roam. 
Even took my honey
From my honeycomb. 
Now I don't want no brandy, I don't want no rum.
Makes my mouth all cotton and my nose all numb. 
Guess I best be headin' for my good ol' Rocky Mountain home. 

Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
If I don't get some of that Rocky Mountain water
I declare I'm gonna lose my mind.
Rocky Mountain water tastes so fresh and fine.
Yes, it tastes like champagne wine. 
I mean it tastes so fresh and fine. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

My Father Sings . . . The John B. Sails

Before the Beach Boys made "Sloop John B" their own in 1966,  the Kingston Trio recorded "The John B. Sails" in 1958, from an old Bahamaian song, collected at least as early as 1927 by Carl Sandberg in his American Songbag.  At my house growing up, I heard the song referred to both ways interchangeably and the version we sang somewhere between the two.

After all the excitement of yesterday, happily resolved . . . Dad said, "In all my wildest dreams, I never imagined my response to a doctor telling me I had a blood clot from armpit to elbow would be, YES!" and pumped his arm in victory . . . this just seems appropriate to celebrate my Dad's coming home as planned, at last, to his own home where he hasn't spent a night for six long weeks and sitting down in his own kitchen,  at the little table across from Mom, to a promised breakfast of scrambled eggs and green onions . . . Or if a celebration is still too beforehand, my parents still sitting around in Dad's hospital room last I heard, cooling their heels, waiting this morning to be cleared for takeoff, I'm offering it as theme song and heartfelt hope in their behalf,  Let me go home! Let me go home! I just wanna go home!   I feel so break up, I wanna go home!

* * *



We come on the sloop John B
My grandfather and me
'Round Nassau town we did roam
Drinking all night
Got into a fight
Well, I feel so break up
I wanna go home

So hoist up the John B's sails
See how the mainsail sets
Send for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home
Well, I feel so break up
I wanna go home

Well, the first mate he got drunk
Broke into the people's trunk
Constable had to come and take him away
Sheriff John Stone
Won't you leave me alone
Well, this this is the worst trip
I've ever been on

So hoist up the John B's sail
See how the mainsail sets
Send for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home
Well, I feel so break up
I wanna go home

Well, the poor cook he caught the fits
And threw away all my grits
Then he took and he ate up all of my corn
Sheriff John Stone
Why don't you leave me alone?
Well, I feel so break up
I wanna go home

So hoist up the John B's sail
See how the mainsail sets
Send for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home
Well, I feel so break up
I wanna go home

Well, I feel so break up
I wanna go home...

[There's also a verse Dad sometimes sang that goes something like: 

The steward he got stewed
Ran 'round the poop deck nude
Constable had to come and take him away . . . ]

Thursday, November 8, 2018

My Father Sings . . . Catch a Falling Star

For me, these songs are a pocketful of starlight.  Seeds gathered to set tomorrow's dark garden to shimmer with as many songs as yesterday.

This morning my dad was rushed to the hospital. I'm on my way down there now, but I wanted one more star in my pocket.  Especially the lines,
For when your troubles start multiplyin',
-- And they just might --
It's easy to forget them without tryin'
With just a pocketful of starlight
I've noticed as I've begun this collecting that there are waves and seasons of songs. A few are perennial, others, usually in a cluster together,  rose in ascendancy and then set.  Some my younger sisters don't even know and some I'm not as familiar with since they've become part of Dad's repertoire since I left home.  This is a song we sang during my early teens. I thought the whimsy of the words and the melody right in the sweet spot of most singers' range was just swoony and asked for it over and over again.

I remember singing this song once at least in our van filled with starlight while driving cross-country from Kettering, Ohio, to visit grandparents in Utah. We often sang together in the car to fill the empty miles, going around in turns to choose a favorite song to sing next.  My parents always drove the 24+hour trip through the night. We usually left in the early evening so the nighttime driving could come while drivers were the freshest, stopping only to refuel and refresh and trade drivers. I loved settling into the wide open road as the sun went down, watching the moon rise over the empty prairies. Then waking up somewhere new, all misty pink and unfamiliar trees. But then, by the next evening, always ending up back where my earliest memories happened and in the arms of people I loved and who loved me.

* * *



Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For love may come and tap you on the shoulder, some starless night
Just in case you feel you want to hold her
You'll have a pocketful of starlight

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For love may come and tap you on the shoulder, some starless night
And Just in case you feel you want to hold her
You'll have a pocketful of starlight

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For when your troubles start multiplyin', and they just might
It's easy to forget them without tryin'
With just a pocketful of starlight

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My Father Sings . . . Where Have All the Flowers Gone

I'm here two hundred miles north and find myself thinking, "Oh, I wonder what Dad will think when I tell him . . . " and then realizing I won't be going over to sit with him through the afternoon.  I'll have to call.  Because I can.  Because he can answer and we can talk even two hundred miles away. Though in the past, it was usually Mom I called to talk to and expected her to pass my love along.

I will call. I'll call and talk with Dad himself.

I heard from Mom this morning that they're getting ready for Dad to return home later this week.  His new medication is in, the one he'll be taking now for the rest of his life.   Dad, of course, read through all of the information and discovered one of the side effects of his new medication is that it might affect his eyes . . . and his voice.

That just wrings something in me. No, no, not fair  . . .  Maybe it won't happen to him.  "Not everyone gets every side effect," says my mom.  I hear again my dad saying just a week ago, Old age is not for sissies.  And Grandpa before him, joking darkly, No one gets out of here alive.  

To think of my Dad without his voice--  I meant to record him singing each of these songs once he got his strength back--  I thought--  I wanted to-- Why didn't I?

When I sang this song as a girl with my dad I felt it was a lovely thing, the circle of life and all, the graveyards covered with flowers to be plucked by girls who fall for young soldiers who are buried beneath flowers.  But it seems not quite so sweet to me now.

* * *



Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone to young men every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Songwriters: Peter Seeger
Where Have All the Flowers Gone lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

My Father Sings . . . The Battle of New Orleans

This was a favorite Saturday night sing-along, my brothers and I dancing out the running through the briers and brambles and bushes where a rabbit couldn't go, high-stepping with the bloody British, then slapping our own tails and exploding with the 'gator that lost his mind.  We played all the parts.

My idea of America has always included the scrappy backwoods underdog chasing the top-lofty redcoats of the world's mightiest empire out of town.  Sometimes we get so turned around, though. Are we the evil empire now?  Is it the rebel cause or the resistance we're fighting for? Redcoats, red hats, we keep playing all the parts, the good, the bad, the ugly.

Maybe because I've grown up on the songs my Dad sings, I still have faith in the plucky common sense and deep-down courage of my country to finally stand their true ground, to do the right thing, to hold fire until we can look the problem right in the eyes then really give it all we've got. We've done it before. We'll do it again.

Go vote.

* * *





In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we seed the British come
And there must have been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring.
We stood behind our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise,
If we didn't fire our muskets till we looked 'em in the eyes.
We held our fire till we seed their faces well,
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and gave 'em . . . Well, we

Fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Yeah, they ran through the briers and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down,
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannonballs 'n' powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind --

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Yeah, they ran through the briers and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hut, hut, three, four
Sound off, three, four
Hut, hut, three, four
Sound off, three, four
Hut, hut, three, fourWriter/s: JAMES MORRIS

Monday, November 5, 2018

My Father Sings . . . City of New Orleans

Steve Goodman wrote this song, but Dad says Arlo Guthrie sings it better. When Dad sings it, there's usually a catch and repeat at "I'll be gone -- I'll be gone -- I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done, " while Dad reaches for the tricky chord change there.  I expect to hear it when I play Arlo's version, and I miss it not being there.

Dad reminded me that Steve Goodman died young of leukemia (age 36) and grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in Chicago.  Perhaps not  the stereotype you might be expecting of someone who wrote the "perfect country and western song."  Of all his songs, though, City of New Orleans is Steve Goodman's classic.

I think it's so very American, the lonely but loving outsider voice of this song. The lone and lowly joining with other lone and lowly, playing cards together, passing a bottle in a kind of ecumenical communion,  passengers and porters all cradled in the same rhythm, mothers nursing their babies, each calling out to the nation at large, claiming a rightful place, "Don't you know me?  I'm your native [child]." And the stubborn sense of optimism that this country can be a place where even the "sons of Pullman porters, and the sons of engineers" get a turn to ride at their ease, on their way to future places.

Anyway,  that's what this daughter of a (mechanical) engineer, riding her father's magic carpet made of song, thinks. And very American, too, the bit of blues mixed in.



* * *



Riding on the City of New Orleans,
Illinois Central, Monday morning rail,
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.
All along the southbound odyssey:
The train pulled out at Kankakee
And rolls along past houses, farms and fields,
Passin' trains that have no names
And freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.
Good morning, America!
How are ya?
Say, don't you know me? I'm your native son.
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
And I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done
Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car,
Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score.
Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle.
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor.
And the sons of Pullman Porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpet made of steel.
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.
Good morning, America!
How are ya?
Say, don't you know me? I'm your native son.
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done
Nighttime on the City of New Orleans:
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee,
Half way home, we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness,
Rolling down to the sea.
But all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news.
The conductor sings his songs again:
"The passengers will please refrain . . . "
This train has got the disappearing railroad blues.
Good night, America. 
How are you?
Say, don't you know me? I'm your native son.
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

Songwriters: Steve Goodman
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