November 16th, 2005


Blown Again

I didn't bother to rake leaves yesterday (or pine needles- so many pine needles!) It would have been pointless, as the wind was expected to resume tonight. It did. Monday night, most of the bright red leaves of the dogwoods were ripped from the trees and strewn about the ground. Today, most of the remaining leaves have gone. The golden pine needles are so thickly piled upon the driveway that I can't walk there without hearing the loud crunch of them. Their furrows, shifting with the wind, were faintly visible by the light of the full moon.

It was all very splendid and autumnal. So rarely does a good windstorm coincide with a full moon that I braved the deadly flying pine cones in order to watch it, and I escaped unscathed. The shiny mulberry leaves were especially enjoyable to watch as they thrashed and glittered in the moonlight. Now the morning light grows, and I see the moon beyond the pines turning pale, but still impressive. Who needs the Internets when such spectacles are available?

Of course, the Internets are still good for this. (Heh. So that's what it was!)

I'm sure there was something else I was going to say, but it's gone entirely. The wind must have blown it away. I don't think it's going to stop today. Fine with me.
5th street los angeles 1905

Another Blow

The wind has ceased, but it must have stirred up a lot of pollen and mold and such. I've been sneezing. That's not entirely bad, though. Sometimes I enjoy sneezing. It's sort of like having part of your head explode, which is interesting, but it doesn't kill you, thus avoiding the great inconvenience of having your plans ruined. There are of course situations in which it is unpleasant to sneeze- such as when you're taking a leak and the sneeze causes you to misdirect- but these are the exceptions to the rule. Sneezing too often can be unpleasant, as well, which is one of the annoying things about having colds, but as long as the sneezes don't arrive at untimely moments or repeat to frequently, or become so violent as to cause damage to the nasal tissue, sneezes can be very pleasant.

I've now got a big pile of pine needles and oak leaves that I raked from the front yard. There's also a big pile consisting mostly of walnut leaves in the back yard. That would be the one to jump in, as the oak leaves and pine needles are pointy and can deliver painful jabs. We used to have maple leaves, too, which are even softer than walnut leaves, but unfortunately also quite sticky with sap. We took the maples out long ago. I miss seeing their autumn color, but I don't miss having them cling to my shoes like so much colorful flypaper. Of all the leaves available here, the walnut leaves are by far the best for jumping in. The cat thinks so, too, and she spent several minutes de-raking them this afternoon. I don't begrudge her the pleasure. If I were her size, I'd be unable to resist jumping into them myself.

I had occasion to go searching for information about an old song, and stumbled across Parlor Songs, a web site operated by a non-profit organization devoted to preserving American popular music from the 1920s and earlier. There are midis, scans of the covers of sheet music, fairly extensive (and fairly well-written) thumbnail biographies of composers and lyricists, and if you download a browser plug-in called SCORCH (which I think works only with Internet Exploder), you can listen to recordings of the music and also print out the sheet music itself. I didn't bother with that, of course, but I enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading the bios.

The site itself is a bit odd (not so much in its design as in its tone and outlook), as is not unusual with anything related to nostalgia, and as I poked around in it, I found myself thinking that, should someone then of middle age be transported hither from the 1920s and learn to create a web site, Parlor Songs is probably exactly the sort of thing they'd come up with. I have a vague memory of having seen a comic play of the 1950s, about two old ladies who retreated into their apartment upon the election of Franklin Roosevelt to the Presidency and who refused thereafter to have anything to do with the modern world. They would have approved of Parlor Songs.

So, I think, would the late Lucius Beebe have done, though he might have disapproved of those parts of it dealing with anything after 1910 or so. In short, the site is not an example of mere nostalgic preservationism; it is profoundly culturally reactionary. Don't miss seeing it! Though not without its vices, among its virtues is that seeing it could probably make just about anyone under the age of 90 feel like a young whippersnapper. In no time, you'll be donning your raccoon coat or your mile-long string of beads, and thumbing your nose at the old fogies who still think Victor Herbert is the bee's knees.