Hell No We Won’t Blow — When Musicians Strike


The Twin Cities is in the midst of a strike by two orchestras, the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. When I think of strikers I tend to think of burly, sweaty
construction workers, average-Joe civil servants or blue collar assembly workers. I have seen nurses on strike and teachers on strike but I have never seen classical musicians on strike. I have a feeling Jimmy Hoffa never equipped the unions to work with teamsters who really carry violins in their violin cases. Union leaders would be forced to adapt their traditional strike “methods” for this particular group.
There will be picket lines and picket signs. The traditional “LOCAL NO. SUCH-AND-SUCH ON STRIKE” seems so flat for groups as sharp as these. In fact, the dignity of these groups makes you think you’ll see signs like: “PLEASE GIVE US MORE MONEY. THANK YOU.” and “WE’D REALLY APPRECIATE A BETTER CONTRACT. HAVE A NICE DAY.”
But, as a creative artist and supporter of unions, I would like to suggest some signs that will show not only your devotion to music, but your commitment to a fair contract. Here are some ideas:
·      We’ll Beat No Drums For Management Scum
·      We Read Management Fortissimo
·      Kiss My Brass Section
·      You’re Killing Us A Poco A Poco
·      Management Plucks
·      Our Cymbals Won’t Crash Without More Cash
·      Impresario Unfair To Musicians
·      If Our Paycheck Has No More Do —You’ll Have No More Mi
·      The Bach Stops Here
·      If You Don’t Pay This Fella You’ll Be Singing A Cappella
·      Duet To Management Before They Duet To Us
Of course, picket line chants really make or break a strike. While not Gregorian chants or Wagner arias, here are some ideas that will get your point across and are not only fitting for this occasion, but they can be done in three-quarters time:
·      No more Bach — No more Ravel; Take your offer straight to Hell
·      Two Bits, Four Bits, Six Bits, A Dollar; If that’s all you’re paying you’ll hear no more Mahler
·      Hell No We Won’t Blow
·      What do we want? — BETTER PAY; When do we want it? — ALLEGRO
Brothers and sisters of the note, your solidarity in this strike effort will show management that just because you are refined musicians at the top of your craft, you can’t be pushed around. I believe your motto should be:
United we Crescendo, divided we Decrescendo.

Want to know a secret?

In a weak moment I volunteered to be on a committee for a conference that is this Thursday. It was an excellent learning experience for me and reminded me to NEVER NEVER EVER VOLUNTEER TO BE ON A COMMITTEE AGAIN.

I’m not a good committee person — I mean I have great ideas and people go with other ideas — what’s wrong with them?!?! I think in most instances people are better off with a benevolent dictator telling them what to do than with a committee of people who are trying to “come to a consensus.” Oh sure you try to do that in a democracy but look at where it’s gotten us. Our current consensus government couldn’t agree that the sky is blue, the grass is green, and women should never have to pay taxes.

So at our last meeting it was decided we would write a question on the name tag as an ice breaker. I suggested “where is the kinkiest  place you’ve had sex” but the consensus was to go with something else.  So instead we are answering “what is something about yourself that you’ve told anyone.” Who the hell is going to tell a total stranger about something that they’ve never told their best friend, besides Catholics who go to confession and tell the truth?

So this leaves me with a world of possibilities for my answer to this question. Some possibilities are:

  • I’m going to kill my family and eat them for Thanksgiving — shhhh don’t tell
  • I am a man trapped in a woman’s body and I can’t help fondling her breasts
  • I was sent here to save your soul
  • I suffer from vaginal dryness
  • My thighs are brought to you by Jell-O pudding
  • I’ve never felt this attracted to a stranger before
  • I like to shove Skittles up my nose and shoot them out at people

Oh the possibilities are endless. If you have any suggestions, let me know. Send them here.

They’re Here……….

 Can you feel it? It’s like fire ants crawling up your legs.

Can you smell it? It’s like living down wind of the stockyards.

Yes the bastards of baseball, the demons of the diamond, assholes of the American league are in town.

Those damn yankees.

And I will be at the game tonight with my lucky shirt and my voodoo doll (thanks to my friend Jean). Unfortunately I will be in a suite with clients and I won’t be able to use the words I want to use.

I haven’t always hated the yankees. When I was a kid I loved Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra (smarter than the average coach). I would root for them in the World Series. Then the Darth Vadar of baseball game to town — George Steinbrenner — and ruined baseball forever.

Not that I have any strong feelings about the topic.

It’s The Little Things

Beth, a friend of mine from high school — well I should say an classmate from high school because we were never good friends at that time but, thanks to Facebook, we have become good friends as “adults”  — lives in Tennessee. She knows my love for elephants and when she saw Trunklines, a publication from the Elephant Sanctuary, she picked up a copy and mailed it to me. When I opened my mailbox last night and found that it just made me so happy, not just to have the newsletter but to have someone somewhere thinking of me and taking an action that she felt would make me happy.

Another friend, Kay, who I actually met via this blog made me the nicest bookmarks with pictures of Freckles on them. She said they were simple and not a big deal, but every time I see that bookmark I am not just reminded of Freckles, I am reminded that someone cares for me.

It is nice to be reminded of this every once in a while. The trendy phrase was (is? I’m not really up with all the big trends of the day) PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS. I once wrote an piece for Minnesota Monthly on Minnesota random acts of kindness. So in case you are wondering what you can do to make someone’s day a little better here are some ideas:

Minnesotans are uniquely qualified to perform spontaneous acts of kindness – those usually anonymous gestures that help make the world a better place for all of us:
  Give a bucket of bait to a stranger.
  Turn your teammates’ bowling balls fingers-up when they aren’t looking.
  Send a letter to a local news anchor thanking him for being Your Friend – then ask if he’ll lend you a few dollars till payday.
  Buy someone a gift for no reason at all – then remind her of it every day for the rest of her life.
  Pick up the trash in your neighborhood – then find a neighborhood that has no trash and donate it to them.
  The next time you’re at Ingebretsen Scandinavian Foods, buy a pound of lutefisk to be given anonymously to the next customer who comes in.
  Send someone as anonymous greeting card.  Don’t do it more than once, though.  You may be treading on stalking laws.
  The next time you drive through a road-construction area, smile and wave at the MNDOT workers – using all of your fingers this time.
  Give a homemade craft project to a friend.  Be sure to look for it every time you visit and express disappointment when you don’t see it.
  Stand on the corner of Eighth and Nicollet and toss your hat into the air until you’ve turned the world on with your smile.
  Hum the “Beer Barrel Polka” all day at work to give your co-workers a real lift.

WiFi Blues

Good morning my little butterflies …. no idea where that came from. Here’s a photo of me and Daisy (duh). She is definitely a mama’s girl. When I’m at the computer she wants to sit on my lap.

We had a visitor to meet her, our friend Peter came over the other night. She is getting much better with new people. And Peter is very scary so I was surprised. The first time Peter came over after I got Freckles he sat in her spot on the couch and after he got up she walked right over and marked it. That didn’t happen this time.

Had a weekend trying to get my WiFi to work. Took my computer to the Apple store “Genius” bar and they couldn’t find anything wrong with it — except the screen was embarrassingly dirty. The Genius cleaned it for me. I wonder if I could get a Genius from Microsoft to come over and clean my windows — get it Microsoft / Windows — oh I am funny on a Monday morning.

Speaking of funny may I suggest you watch the new show on NBC called Go On. The first two episodes are available On Demand (and I’m sure also on line). I think it is hysterical. Then watch The New Normal — also funny. I found out that it has been banned in Salt Lake City so even if it wasn’t funny I’d watch it just because it was banned in Salt Lake City. In high school I read Catcher In The Rye because I heard a bunch of parents complaining about it. I guess I’m wired that way. There are people who see a sign that says “WET PAINT” and just avoid touching the walls and then there are people who see a sign that says “WET PAINT” and absolutely have to touch it just to be sure. I am the latter (I used to be the walrus but now I am the latter). They are probably rerunning episodes of Donny & Marie during that time slot or perhaps an infomercial on magic underwear.

And, finally, HAPPY NEW YEAR. It is the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the 1/4 or 1/8 of me that is Jewish wants to acknowledge that. Fortunately, as with the traditional New Year in January, I feel no obligation to make any resolutions to be a better person — like I could get any better than this!!!!

I Am Age Inappropriate

I found this skirt and fell in love with it. I showed it to a friend who asked me if I thought it was “age appropriate.” I wanted to suggest she take the broomstick out of her behind because I think we should wear what makes us happy. With the possible exception of the Catholic school girl plaid jumper, I really question if there is such a thing as “age appropriate” clothing. Of course the plaid jumper could be fun in a good old fashioned game of the naughty school girl and the school crossing guard but I digress.

Growing up it seemed like everything I wore was either navy blue, forest green, or brown and if there was any design it was either a very small print or horizontal stripes because all of those wonderful choices were so slimming. Really until recently if you were larger and wanted to wear anything with a little pizazz you had to make it yourself. Lane Bryant rarely had anything that was age appropriate for a teenager.

So here’s a warning — I’ll wear whatever I want and if you don’t like it, well I’ll send a school crossing guard over to hit you on the head with a stop sign.

Have a great, age inappropriate day.

Goodbye Summer????

 Well it’s going to be 90 degrees today … I guess summer is over huh? I have one day left to Labor Day Weekend because, well I do.

Here are two of my favorite pics from the weekend. I am a big Clint Eastwood fan and it hurt to watch him talking to an empty chair. Not because of the politics — I don’t care if he likes Romney — but it was so sad to see him rambling on and on. Oh well. I have to say it does make me feel better about talking to myself — from now on I’ll just pretend I’m talking to Abraham Lincoln.

The second picture is the result of my cleaning out my sock drawer. These are all socks to which I have no match. I have kept 3 of them — the rainbow stripe, pink plaid, and olive green — for a while because I keep hoping the match will show up. But alas, I think they will forever be orphans.

Today Daisy and I head over to the Humane Society. I want to take her to the Wallflower Play Group for shy dogs but first she has to be evaluated. I have, in my warped head, a picture of her laying on a little couch telling her dreams. “Well I’m in a room filled with cans of dog food and no can opener,” “I invented a belly rubbing machine so I can have my needs met on demand,” or the one all dogs have “I was at obedience school when I realized I had never gone to class and couldn’t answer any questions on the test — and I wasn’t naked.” I hope she passes mustard (or at least passes ketchup).

Finally, if you haven’t seen Hope Springs I highly recommend it. Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell were all fantastic. Lots of laughs, a few tears, but more laughs. Go see it — don’t make me say it again.

State Fair Blue Ribbon Time

 Tomorrow is State Fair day at work. We get 1/2 a day off, a bus ticket, an admission ticket, and some $$$ to spend. This is one of my favorite days at work — it’s like when we had the Indoor Picnic in grade school. Sometime in February we didn’t go home for lunch (we used to do that every day) — we stayed and had a hot dog, potato chips, milk (which I didn’t drink because I know it came from) and an Eskimo Pie. Then we’d go to the gym and watch a movie. It was one of the best day at school.

I can’t wait to go to the Creative Arts Building and see the BLUE RIBBON winning three person chessboard that my nephew Brett made (as seen here). Did you see the BLUE RIBBON part? Not that I’m an overly proud aunt but BLUE RIBBON. I’m also looking forward to a snow cone and corn on the cob.

If you are wondering why we have a State Fair day at work … it’s all my fault. A number of years ago (probably 5 or 6) the MTC had a contest for companies that had a Metro Pass program. You wrote a composition why your company should get a free bus to the fair and you would get the bus and admission tickets. Well, I wrote the winning poem:

WHAT? A half day at the state fair,
Away from the computer glare?
Stop all of our mousely clicks,
For something greasy on a stick?
Our cubicles to leave behind?
A vacation from the daily grind?
No more memos to discuss?
And we get our own big bus?
So what would we do if we win?
I’m not sure where to begin…
There’s Sweet Martha with her cookie jar,
Horticulture, arts, and international bizarre,
And heads of butter, oh how absurd,
Let’s not forget to get cheese curds.
You just can’t think about your job,
While eating sweet corn-on-the-cob
See horses, cows, chickens, and hogs,
We can’t forget a foot long dog.
Go to the booths and see some stars,
And get some deep fried candy bars,
Toss some balls; win a prize,
Eat a cup of hot French fries,
Head over to Machinery Hill,
Perhaps a ride at  Ye Olde Mill.
Forget about our budget cuts,
Have some more mini-donuts,
Let ‘em guess what we weigh,
As we head on down to the Midway.
Quilts and sweaters and fruit that’s canned,
Buy a Veg-O-Matic at the Fair’s Grandstand.
No worrying ‘bout a 401K
Unless, of course, it’s Senior Day.
A ride up on the old space tower,
Lots to do in just six hours,
Milk shakes, ice cream, lemonade,
All this fun and we still get paid.
I hope we’re the group that you pick,
‘Cause we need some fun … on a stick.
I’m like another Emily Dickenson or Robert Frost or Rod McKuen. 

Blue Ribbons, Goats and an Old Lady

In case you haven’t see this photo — the in thing with babies today is to take a picture of them in an outfit that says “1 month” “2 months” etc. so I thought for my birthday I’d follow the trend. 696 months is a lot of months.

I’m heading to the fair this week. Mostly to see my nephew Brett’s BLUE RIBBON entry of a handmade 3-person chessboard. It is on display at the Creative Arts Building. I’m very proud of him. I’ll post some pictures next time so you can see how cool it is.

Been using my CPAP machine lately. And NO it has nothing to do with a PAP test — if it does I’m not using it correctly. It does really help me sleep better and I’m not so tired during the day. It still is a pain in the ass to use and I would rather not have it but it’s better than sleeping with a goat — which has nothing to do with sleep apnea but I have a feeling in some countries if you had sleep apnea they would tell you that sleeping with a goat would cure you.

Well on that goat note I think I’ll bail. Have a happy happy Monday.

Fancy Nails and Daisy Update

I had my day (well actually 1/2 a day) of beauty on Saturday for my birthday. I went to the Spalon Montage in Edina where life is beautiful all the time. It is a very high class outfit and I’m not sure I fit right in but I’m not sure that matters.

The first stop was to have a facial. I’ve had one before, or I thought I had, but this was something else. You go into a room that has soft lighting and that music playing that I believe is suppose to make you feel tranquil but after about 10 minutes makes me feel like I want to take stab my eardrums with a bamboo shoot. But the massaging took away the edge. It was going so well until all of a sudden this bright light is shone on me (I had some kind of eye protectors on) and McKenzie began to remove blackheads and unclog pores — OUCH!!! It felt like a razor going into my face. I didn’t like that at all but I have to admit my face felt mah-vah-lous. Then back to massaging. By the time it was over I felt a bit like a wet noodle but I had no time for that. It was off to my hair cut.

Amber has been cutting my hair for quite a while now and she does such a great job. I was trying to convince her to give me a Mylie Cyrus look but I think she may have lost her license if she had done so.

After the hair cut it was pedi time. Mi (or My?) had her hands full with me. We discovered quickly that I was a big more ticklish than I thought. She had to keep telling me to relax my toes. I apparently have highly stressed out toes. But I love the whirlpool you get to put your feet in but the room has five stations that were all filled and I felt a bit like I was at the Jiffy Lube in stall 3. Mi also did my manicure — the results you can see here.

When I checked out I told them not to tell me the total … I didn’t want to know. When I finally looked it was not as high as I expected so that was good. It was a fun to be pampered, if only for a few hours.

Daisy Report

Miss Daisy and I are having a great time together. She has really settled in here. She likes to run from the bed to the loveseat to the couch and back until she finally lands wherever I am. She does like to be in the same room as me — aw sweet. She is a great walking dog too. We go for a nice walk three or four times a day. She doesn’t stop as much as her big sister Freckles so we can get around the block rather quickly. The other day I was getting out of the shower and I heard some noise, when I peeked in the living room Miss Daisy was standing on top of the coffee table, looking proud as can be. I had left some of my Honey Nut Cheerios there and it was too much for her. Which is surprising because she doesn’t like many treats and does eat a lot of food. You have to mix her kibble with soft food in order for her to eat it — and even then she’ll only eat what has soft food on it. The dog treats I would give to Freckles she has no interest in — what a crazy dog. Her biggest interest is in getting her belly rubbed. Yesterday I learned she likes to have you put a blanket on her and let her figure her way out.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all you really wanted out of life was some food now and then, a little water, a walk, and to have your belly rubbed. I do, however, feel like life has thrown a big blanket over me and I’m trying to find my way out. I hope when I do get out someone will give me a belly rub (or at least unplug my closed pores).