Everyone ought to celebrate their half-birthday. Everyone should also continue to measure time in half-years the way you do when you're eight and a half. It's for the inner child, don't you know. My inner child wanted comics and beer this half-birthday, so I obliged with a four-pack of Kilkenny, the first volume of the Complete Peanuts, and Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers. I'm expecting some good sarcasm from Charles Schulz, and an education in Hearst-era comics from Spiegelman. I'm completely into the graphic stories these half-years, partly because of my current collaboration with the wonderful Anne Fizzard and partly because there's just so much good stuff out there. Fun Home. La Perdida. Monkey Vs Robot! Got to go read now.
Back from visiting relatives. Oddly exhausting and much of the trip was a lot less fun than a sweaty concert.
Happy highlights of the visit included
a trip to Frenchy's where I scored a couple of t-shirts and a couple of wonderfully ugly work shirts with embroidered logos. (Frenchy's made the New Yorker last week. Calvin Trillin loves it.) I think Douglas will look quite fetching in Paul's Plumbing snap front shirt. I'm holding onto the minor hockey tournament t-shirt for myself I think; he can have the Take-One-Down-Hand-It-Around t-shirt
a dash into Stanfield's outlet shop where my search for long underwear was wildly successful. He now has all the wooly undershirts he could possibly need. And as an added bonus--even though they were seconds, the arms and legs are the right length. Genuine 100% itchy grey wool Windsor Wear remains elusive.
a jaunt out Tatamagouche way to the Lismore Sheep Farm yielded some beautiful wooden needles, a drop spindle, and wool that should make up into some good working mittens. My guess is that it'd also make a good gansey.
Good sweaty fun last night at a packed Capital Music Hall to hear Billy Bragg. There's a good review here, so I won't go right through the set but just add a few notes.
BB was much goofier than I expected, and at one point I found myself thinking he wasn't showing some of the songs as much respect as I would have. But I haven't been playing them for twenty-five years. He got onto a long story about goat pheromone tea that ultimately set off a heckler, but it was a good running joke which he managed to cap off in the second encore by changing part of "Sexuality" to "Bestiality".
One of his guitar intros reminded me a lot of "Oh Yoko", though I forget which song it was. (Hm, that's not very helpful, is it?)
He did Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison" with the lyrics to "Pinball Wizard", which Lucky Ron has been doing in Ottawa for years and years. Is this the musical equivalent of a pun, which could spring fully formed out of any musician's mouth at any time, or is there a history to it?
He summed up the current state of Canadian politics as succinctly as I've heard it: "If Canada's going to be the same as the United States, what's the point of having you?"
I liked his answer to a shouted request. "It's fine for you. You just have to remember the title."
So, to catch up on the pre-season, our guys defeated MODO 4 - 3 on August 29, beat Björklöven 4 - 2 September 9, bested IF Sundsvall 7 - 2 September 12, then lost 4 - 2 to Timrå September 14. They do seem to belong in the Elitserien, but can they make the playoffs?
The club's first Elitserien home-opener since 1989 resulted in a 3 - 3 overtime tie against Brynäs, another team with stripey shoulders. Refreshing to see a tied final score. I guess Swedish hockey isn't controlled by gambling interests! Brynäs is Andreas Dackell's team.
Magnus Wernblom scored a hat trick in a 5 - 3 loss to Luleå September 21. Philly fans will remember Luleå's Mikael Renberg as a member of the Legion of Doom.
Our team are playing Mora as we speak, but that's for next week.
With episodes three and four of the CBC's Hockey: A People's History coming up Sunday, you might want to check out this site devoted to hockey players of the 1920s,1930s and 1940s. The photo on the home page is of the Ottawa Shamrocks on their European tour of 1933-34. One of the articles within concerns the oddly named Ottawa Car Bombers, with imput from a fan I know.
It was a slow week for reading around here and several books went back to the library unfinished. From the portion I read, I’d say Mary Gaitskill’s Two Girls Fat and Thin covers similar ground as Veronica in its exploration of two unlikely friends. The reworking of similar characters was part of why I wanted to read it. I may borrow it again when I’m in the mood to put up with the Ayn Rand character that drives the early parts of the plot.
The most interesting thing I did finish was Gather Beneath the Banner, a catalogue from a 1999 Textile Museum. The catalog is strong on the images; high-level on the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; and oddly light on the details of the construction of the banners. Not a single photo of the back of a banner. (Why, yes, I have made security guards nervous by trying to peep around at the backings of tapestries. Looking very closely is not touching.)
While my great-grandmother belonged to a temperance society (somewhere around here I have her pledge card), it’s unlikely that I’d ever pass muster. Even so, I’m curious about the contradictions at the heart of the nineteenth-century WCTU: I’d like to better understand how its members sustained the contradiction between arguments for equality when it came to female suffrage and arguments of difference with when it came to race and eugenics.
(Note to self: some research possibilities identified here.)
(Another note to self: wonder if there’s a text out there somewhere that talks about the way politics and textiles intersect in public spaces (banners, expedition flags, badges). Must be. )