Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: Muted at the Park.

Standing on 13th East looking west, Black Friday is in full swing at the Sugarhouse Center.  Shopko, Big 5 Sports, Toys-R-Us and a slew of other shops are noisy with the hustle and bustle of shoppers looking for a deal.

Just swing around 180° and it’s a whole different story.  Sugarhouse Park, muted by the draw of cheap goods, sits all but vacant.

No kids playing in the playground.

Evidence of an earlier visitor, probably there for the peace and quiet, like I was.

Nobody playing football in the field or volleyball on the court.

A forgotten kite caught on a wire, flapping in the wind.

An empty road that is usually lined with cars that brought people to feed the ducks.

The closest thing to a crowd was a row a seagulls all standing facing the wind.

I saw at tops a dozen people at the park today.  It was calm, quiet and peaceful.  A little cool, especially when the wind picked up, with just a twinge of dreary because of the overcast day.

But sometimes, especially when you know almost everyone else is crammed into the chaos of crowds, the solidarity is refreshing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Muted (Almost)

In 2009, they closed down the high school I was teaching at, which opened in 1906 and had collected a lot of stuff over the years.

One of the things that was (almost) left behind, running the risk of lingering in the dust of a building that has been empty for two and a half years now, was a Steinway Grand Piano, which was in need of some serious restoration.

The principal at the school I just transferred to, who was also the principal at the high school, brought it up to her new school and got the faculty, staff and community involved in a fundraiser to restore the Steinway.

Last Thursday was it’s unveiling and last Friday the entire staff met in the auditorium to hear, and get a chance to play, this 1939 Steinway Grand Piano.

There are already plans for activities that will keep this beautiful instrument from staying muted.  The community did not raise thousands of dollars just to have it sit and be admired in silence.

We are now planning another fundraiser to build onto the stage so that it will have a permanent place in front of the audience, where it can be used at all the assemblies.

Because, regardless of how substantial and solid it looks, the music teacher told us that it would need to be re-tuned every time it was moved.  It needs it’s own place, where it can be ready to be played at any time.

Because a muted piano is just another table.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ask and Ye shall Receive.

This is for Bob who, in a comment on my other blog post “Classico”, asked about an article in this paper:

Here is the first couple paragraphs of the article:

German Firing Squads Execute Nine Czech Students For ‘Uprising’

Thousands of Nazi Storm Troops Crush Resistance in Prague;
German Police Make 2000 Arrests

PRAGUE, Nov 17 (UP) – German Storm troopers and squads of gestapo (secret police) Friday executed nine Czech students before firing squads and arrested hundreds of others for “instigating uprisings” against nazi rule in the Bohemia-Moravia protectorate.

Thousands of heavily-armed and motorized storm troopers poured into the city and informed quarters said that the punitive measures against Czech “acts of resistance”, admitted to have been brewing for some time, probably would be extended.

The storm troopers and gestapo, aided by German police, took more than 2000 persons into custody after two days of disorders, but 800 of them were subsequently released.

Mostly Students
The 1200 under arrest were understood to be mostly Czech students and intellectuals, alleged by the Germans to have incited to rioting and resistance by followers of Dr. Eduard Benes, last president of independent Czechoslovakia and now an exile in England.

About 10,000 S.C. storm troopers were in Prague Friday night to preserve order, including the Deutschland, Germania and Der Fuehrer units.

It goes on for another 7 or 8 paragraphs, but hopefully that gives you the gist of the whole article.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Drink up, there’s a lot more where that came from.

It was the brainstorm of mine and a co-worker named Mike Hammil (not to be confused with Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame).  It was the second or third annual Free Wheeler anniversary party that my parents had given up their home to.  We wanted it to be something special, since we were pretty happy the business had made it that long.

My parents used the rock waterfall in the living room for plants.  We had never ran water through it, but Mike and I figured that since it was designed for that, we should be able to make it work again.  But what fun would water be?  Especially when we could clean it up, sterilize it and run Jungle Juice* down it.  I was 21 or 22 and despite being raised by incredibly liberal parents, surprised when I was able to talk my mom into it.

Mike and I moved all the plants, cleaned the rocks and put several coats of polyurethane over them.  Even dry it gave them a glossy, wet look.  Then we got a pump and a garden hose and ran it from the trough at the bottom, around the wall and over it, emptying into the small trough at the top.  We started with 15 gallons of Hawaiian Punch, a couple of industrial cans of pineapple chunks, in their own juice, and several bottles of, I think it was rum.  Cheese cloth kept the pulp from getting into the pump, and once we got it going we had to add another 5 gallons of Punch.  We had 2 or 3 backup buckets of punch to replenish as the night went on.

We sliced up lemons, oranges and limes and placed them artistically (se we thought) on the rocks and floating in the trough.  Everyone invited was instructed to bring whatever bottle[s] of booze they had laying around the house and pour them into the trough upon arrival.

The best part about it was the next morning when two young ladies commented that they were surprised because they didn’t want to get drunk so all they did was eat the pineapple out of the trough.

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*Jungle Juice:  The base is Red Hawaiian Punch, add any and all types of fruit juice to it, then add any and all types of liquor to it.  Mix thoroughly.  Plan on staying the night.