Friday, April 25, 2008

Weather Or Not

It's been a weird few days here in Iowa. Wednesday was beautiful - warm and sunny. Yesterday it started raining, and it rained on and off for about 36 hours. Rainfall levels varied from 2" - 6" (at our house we got 2-1/2") and with the ground already saturated from the meltoff of our record snowfall and the rain we've had after it, well, the water had nowhere to go but downstream. Every major waterway is flooded, and depending on where you are you may not be able to get past the road closings.

This is very reminiscent of 1993, when it started flooding in April and didn't leave off until late August. I vividly remember that year because the flooding seriously impacted me and my family. Carl had lots of problems trying to find roads across the Iowa River that were open. The Mississippi River in Davenport rose so high that River Drive was closed and the downtown was pretty much shut down. I worked for the state Department of Agriculture, and after the waters receded we had to assess the flood damage that affected the farmers along the Iowa River. I was amazed at the destruction. The river channel had changed in several places, and the piles of sand and silt were sometimes 5 feet deep. The winter of 1992 - 1993 was pretty snowy, too, so the similarities keep increasing.


But back to today. This afternoon, around 2PM, the temperature was 72 and it was sunny. Now the temperature is 44, the sky is cloudy (again) and the wind is really blowing from the northwest. It's supposed to stay cold through the weekend, and we may even get snow on Sunday.


All of this bad weather has played havoc on the AYSO soccer season. The start of the season was delayed (apparently you can't play in the snow) so they rescheduled the games for Saturdays and Sundays instead of just Saturdays. But last weekend, the fields were too wet to play on, so AYSO had to tweak the schedule again. And - you guessed it - the rainfall of the past 36 hours has cancelled this weekend's games, too. I don't know if they'll get any games in at all. The fields they use in Ladora are in the Bear Creek bottom lands, and if the Iowa River is flooded (which it is) then Bear Creek is flooded. Apparently you can't play soccer in flood water, either.

Ick. Icky, icky, icky, ick.

And did I mention - ICK!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I need to make a confession - I screwed up, and I feel very guilty about it. Back around the first of the year Carl's place of work sent out notices that they had "buy them before they go public" tickets to The Fresh Aire Music of Mannheim Steamroller concert. I was ecstatic - this is my favorite group, period, and I wanted to go. I told my Mom, and she wanted to go too, so Carl was going to look into tickets. But then I started thinking "The ad doesn't say it's Chip Davis - is this really going to be Mannheim Steamroller or just the Cedar Rapids Symphony playing their music?". So I checked out Mannheim's website but didn't see any spring tour information. Therefore I assumed that this was a performance of the Symphony.

Well, you know what they say about assumptions: they make an ass out of u and me. About two weeks ago, TV advertisements started for this concert, saying that because of the interest in the concert and the demand for tickets, they would be holding a matinee. This didn't sit well: why would anyone be this interested in a CR Symphony concert? So I went back to the Mannheim website and found out I was WRONG. It was Mannheim Steamroller coming to 'lil old Cedar Rapids, and I had blown my chance at getting really good tickets. I also hosed my Mom out of a chance to see them in concert with us, and for that I feel really guilty. I'm sorry, Mom. I wish you could have been there.

Obviously, by now you've figured out that we did get matinee tickets. They were in the first row of the balcony, and were decent enough seats, although I couldn't stand very long because of my vertigo. But this concert was indescribably wonderful. The music, the visual effects, the music, the enthusiasm of the musicians, and the music were fabulous beyond words. The topper was the encore: after they finished the main program they did three more songs. Two of them were Christmas songs - Winter Wonderland and Deck the Halls. The third song was the last one on Fresh Aire II. What made the encore particularly spectacular was that during Winter Wonderland they showed scenes from Terry Redlin paintings. Terry Redlin is my all-time favorite painter, and having Mannheim's music together with Redlin's paintings was just about as perfect as you can get. The only thing that would have made it completely perfect is if they'd been serving Temptations Fine Candies dark chocolate truffles. (

All in all, it's been a banner weekend for our family. Friday night we went to see Ben Stein's new movie Expelled:No Intellegence Allowed. Saturday Mary's soccer game was rained out, so she and I went to shopping in Williamsburg. (I'd taken Hannah earlier this year.) And then today we went to church, got Chinese food for lunch, and went to the concert. Plus, today is a gloriously beautiful spring day, so the girls went to the park. I guess they thought they needed more Fresh Aire.


Why can't all weekends be like this?

Monday, April 14, 2008

How's That Again?

I'd like to start this blog with a couple of definitions:

Mondegreen - the misinterpretation of a line or lyric in a song due to homophony.

Homophones - words with the same pronunciation.

The following info was copied from Wikipedia:

(start quote)The American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term mondegreen in an essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen," which was published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954.[1] In the essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the final line from the 17th century ballad "The Bonnie Earl O' Murray." She wrote: When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray, [sic]
And Lady Mondegreen.

The actual fourth line is "And laid him on the green." As Wright explained the need for a new term, "The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original." (end quote)

Although most people don't know the actual term mondegreen, they're familiar with them. I can actually remember the first mondegreen I ever encountered. I was very little (I hadn't learned to read yet) and in church we sang a hymn called "He Lives". Part of the last verse goes, "the hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find none other is so loving, so good and kind." I thought the verse went "the hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find none other is salami, so good and kind." Maybe I was hungry, or something.

The reason I bring this subject up is because a favorite band of mine, Creedence Clearwater Revival, is one of the worst offenders when it comes to mondegreens. "There's a bathroom on the right" (which is supposed to be "There's a bad moon on the rise") is #2 in the top three mondegreens listed by some dude named Jon Carroll. I don't think that it's a coincedence that "bathroom on the right" is #2, do you?

Whatever. Back to the point about CCR music being rife with mondegreens. I believe the reason there are so many of them is that John Fogerty is nearly impossible to understand at times. Take the song "Good Golly Miss Molly". I can't comprehend half of what he's trying to sing. And then there's "Willy and the Poor Boys". I had to Google the lyrics to discover that part of the first verse, which sounds like "Willy pulls a doo-dad and his nose has got a hump" is in reality "Willy pulls a tune out and he blows it on the harp". However, there are those times when Fogerty enunciates well enough to be understood. I love the songs "Looking Out My Back Door" and "Travelin' Band". They're both fun to sing along with, although I've not yet mastered the Fogerty yell in "Travelin' Band". (My girls have.) Right now I have The Best of CCR two disc set in my truck's player, and I've discovered that the best way to listen to "Travelin' Band" is with the volume all the way up, the windows all the way down, and the pedal all the way to the floor. Well, not quite all the way. But if I don't set the cruise control I find myself moving waaaaayy faster than I should be. Fortunately I've not done this in front of any law enforcement vehicles.

The Wikipedia article goes on to say that Fogerty cashed in on these misinterpretations and would deliberately sing them in concerts. Not that anyone would notice the difference. He was probably just an unintelligible live as he was recorded. But he must have had fun doing it, or else he wouldn't have, now would he?

Just so long as he kept on chooglin'.

P.S. A special note to my friend Bismuth: ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!!!