the “capital i song” and the damage done

Soundtrack in my head: The “Capital I” song

Blame Sesame Street for my decision to live in a co-op house. It’s all because of this late 60’s/early 70’s short that was supposed to teach me what the capital “I” looks like.

Okay, not really, but I saw this a few years ago and it just dawned on me recently that it might be on YouTube—which it is. It really made a strong impression on me for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that the cartoon characters look like they’re living in, well, a co-op house. 

Second is that the sweet little folk rock tune sounds VERY much like a tune from that period—the sound and the melody give me instant flashbacks to my early, early childhood. I have a theory that says that young musicians are very influenced by music from their early childhood. I think that’s why a lot of 80’s music has 60’s influences, a lot of 90’s music has 70’s influences and a lot of current music has 80’s influences.

My parents have sometimes teased me about being "a product of the 60’s" since I was born during that decade. That may be true, but it’s THEIR fault.

And as for the similarity in shape between the capital “I” and the current house I live in—well, I’m not going to even go there…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQJYcZTJYuE]

now THAT explains a few things

Soundtrack in my head:  The Church, "Tantalized"

Okay, so Blogthings may be the lazy way out when it comes to posting on this blog.  But I know you love it anyway–it’s sort of a guilty pleasure.  Kind of like the tabloids in the supermarket checkout aisle. 

By the way, one of the questions this survey uses to flag the possibility of an alien abduction is whether or not I wake up sore in the morning.  Hmmm…I think that’s old age, not alien abduction.


There’s a 48% Chance You’ve Been Abducted By Aliens


Maybe you’ve really been abducted by aliens… but probably not.
Let’s face it. You’re just a little weirder than most people.

maybe too much rain

Soundtrack in my head: The 5th Dimension, “The Rainmaker”

All right, so maybe I talked a little bit too much about rain. My heart and prayers go out to those dealing with the flooding in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. And while this hasn’t been in the news quite so much, I was struck by the CNN video footage a couple of days ago of the flash flooding occurring in the Oklahoma City area, and pictures of submerged vehicles that I hoped had no one in them.  I actually have my own Oklahoma City flash flood story.

In June 1990, I was working in Oklahoma City on an advance team for the Global Walk. Three of us were in a van driving through the city when suddenly, swift dark clouds rolled in and the skies opened. Rarely had I seen such heavy pouring rain as I did that day.

Our van turned onto a street that dipped under a viaduct. As we were driving, we noticed that a car ahead of us was stalled in a puddle underneath the viaduct. We thought that since we were in a van, we would make it, but to our surprise, the van stalled before we could even make it to the viaduct. We tried to start it, and the engine turned over, but realized that we would not being going anywhere soon. We were near a Denny’s and so one of the members of our party got out in order to call his auto club. We sat in the van and waited as it continued to pour outside, and after a few minutes our friend came back. But instead of walking back to the van, our friend just stood at the edge of the street staring at us and I couldn’t understand why. I opened the door to the van and to my surprise, the water was up to the running board step. I quickly closed the door, and while we were concerned, we felt that we were better off in the van rather than wading through the water.

Our friend continued to stare at us, and as we looked at him, he seemed to be floating backwards. I thought it was strange that someone could be standing and at the same time floating backwards until I realized that WE were the ones floating backwards. Yes, our van was now floating. We decided that we needed to get out of there so we got out and found ourselves wading through water higher than our knees to the side of the road. Luckily, there was no swift current, so we had no problem keeping our balance.

(I’ve since learned how dangerous such a situation can be. I was 22, ill-informed, and still “immortal” when this happened, but I’d be less cavalier about it nowadays.)

We walked into the Denny’s soaking wet and had dinner there. When we finished, it had stopped raining and to our surprise, the floodwaters from the viaduct had drained away. Our van had floated onto in the median of the road. We tried to start it again and couldn’t, so we had it towed back to the place where we were staying–at the home of a defense lawyer who lived near the edge of town. It turned out that a couple of his clients, whom he affectionately referred to as “his criminals,” were auto mechanics, and so he had them look at the van to see what was wrong with it.

They lifted the hood and were surprised to discover a live garter snake hanging from the radiator hose. Apparently it had swam there during the flood and found the van to be a warm and comfortable place. Or perhaps it wanted to mate with the radiator hose.

The attorney we were staying with lived so far on the edge of the city that he was out of range of the tornado sirens. So he had a weather radio with an alarm on it. I had never seen or heard of one of these before—that is until it screeched at top volume at 3 a.m. on a shelf just two feet above my head while I was sleeping. Luckily there was someone else in the room who was lucid enough to figure out what it was and turn the thing off–otherwise, no one else would have been there to peel me off the ceiling.  We ended up moving the weather radio to another room–because it was June in Oklahoma City and because the local NOAA weather radio station covered about one-third of the state of Oklahoma, this weather radio went off at least two or three times per day.

the making of the legend of dave handy*

Soundtrack in my head: Daryl Hall & John Oates, “Say It Isn’t So”

Dave Handy* (*name changed to protect the semi-innocent) lived in my co-op until the summer of 2003. I would describe him as a fairly laid back and irreverent person. He liked to make fun of vegans. He was the person who put little dog stickers on various signs and notes around the house. These stickers had picture of different breeds of dogs on them, and so a schnauzer might occupy a sign telling people where the clean towels were, and a German shepherd might accompany a sign reminding people to wash their dishes by the end of the evening.

Anyway, when he moved out he left some personalized stationery behind. Just a 5 x 8 notepad with “Dave Handy” emblazoned in wide art deco letters across the bottom of the page. Since co-opers don’t like to waste things, his stationery ended up in our scratch paper bin.

Over a period of three years, his stationery was used for various signs and notes around the house. Notes that would let people know what kind of rice was in the bulk bin, or reminding people not to leave boxes in the landing between the first floor and the basement because bicycles needed room to get out. As the months and years went by, I became aware that fewer and fewer people in the house knew who this Dave Handy person was, and that the notes written on his stationery were making him look like some kind of Emily Post-type figure.

Then one day, Dave Handy’s stationery finally ran out. But then a curious thing happened. A few days later, I discovered a sign on purple construction paper that told people that they should not put onions next to the potatoes, as it would make the potatoes decay faster. And then the person wrote “Dave Handy” at the bottom of the sign in big magic marker letters.

Dave Handy’s transformation from a witty slacker to a Confucius-like figure was now complete. His name is now synonymous with the highest ideals of cooperation and he became an icon for good communitarians everywhere to follow. Doubtlessly, stories about this legendary figure will generate and circulate. In the future I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren that yes, I knew this man and it all started with the dog stickers. And I’ll encourage them to invest in some nice stationery.