Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Get Lucky, Or Maybe Unlucky

I have to partially recant my curmudgeonly complaints about the Grammy Awards. That Daft Punk song, "Get Lucky," stuck in my head even after I listened to it just once, while Dave and I were sampling the Grammy winners. Yesterday morning I listened again, and I put it on my iPod, and let me tell you, that song is addictive. The lyrics (if you can call them that) are simplistic and it's not particularly musically challenging. It's basically just crack.

Maybe I'm not so old after all.

I am old enough to be sorry that Pete Seeger died, although he lived to a ripe old age. I actually saw him once in Beacon, N.Y., while waiting on a train platform with some friends after one of our Buddhist retreats. He was standing or walking at a nearby outdoor market and we all got a little thrill out of seeing The Legend in person. "God Bless the Grass" remains one of my favorite albums, and I think of it every time I see grass growing through a crack in cement.

Last night was the first night since the solstice that I have left work while there was still light in the sky. It was only a tiny bit of light, granted, but from here it just gets brighter, thank goodness.

Finally, we are continuing to learn things about British culture. The other day a commercial came on TV in which a man did all sorts of things that would bring him bad luck -- breaking a mirror, walking beneath a ladder, etc. At one point he looked up and saw a magpie in a tree. Dave and I were mystified. Well, we did some research, and it turns out there is an old nursery rhyme about bad luck associated with seeing a single magpie. There's even a Renaissance painting that shows a single magpie present at the birth of Jesus, foretelling the sorrow to come.

Who knew?!

Maybe we never learned this nursery rhyme in the States because magpies aren't as common there. (Then again, that didn't stop us from singing "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree," did it?)

(Photo: Washing machine, anyone? Spotted last night on my way home from work.)


37paddington said...

I enjoyed following the various threads if this post! I never knew Kookaburra was a magpie. I thought he was a monkey. In the Caribbean he is a monkey sitting in an old oak tree. You just brought me back such fond memories of me sitting between my aunt grace's knees as she combed and braided my hair and we sang in unison "laugh, Kookaburro, laugh, Kookaburro, gay your life shall be!"

Steve Reed said...

Angella, a kookaburra is actually a kind of kingfisher.

I didn't meant to imply it's a magpie -- I just meant it's an example of a non-native bird that we sang about in the States, which calls into question my theory about why we didn't sing about magpies. :)

It's funny that he's been turned into a monkey in the Caribbean!

Ms. Moon said...

I think all cultures must have superstitions which arise from trying to make some sense out of the random events of life.

Sharon said...

On the day I spent with Mo in London, I saw a bird in a tree when we were at Regent's Park. I asked her what it was and she said a Magpie. Thank goodness there was more than one.
I loved that old Kookaburra song when I was a kid.

Reya Mellicker said...

We're at the halfway point between solstice and equinox. The light will increase quickly now. I am so glad!

37paddington said...


Peter Bryenton said...

Here's the rhyme set to music as the opening titles of a once popular children's TV program: