Thursday, May 03, 2012

Springtime Misc.

Recently I interviewed a fellow at Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust, a company whose portfolio is made up of industrial buildings in Canada (I'm using the commercial real estate definition of "industrial," mainly warehouses and distribution centers). The company's acronym is PIRET. I didn't think anything of it until he told me that its symbol on the Toronto Stock Exchange is AAR.UN.  You know, ARR like a PIRET says, he told me. I got a kick out of that.

I pull up Google News every day and see more stories about the election, mostly horse-race coverage. Do I want to read this? No. The election is six months from now. I know who's running. I might take a passing interest when the Republicans fill their VP position, but other than that, this mess can wait till October.

Lilly and I saw some cool cloud-to-cloud lightning this evening, off to the east, where it must have been raining. She hadn't been aware that lightning could do such a thing. I told her that it could; a meteorological teaching moment. Ball lightning didn't come up, though.

Ann did her state report recently: writing, making a cube with pictures and drawings on it, and doing an oral report with props. She picked Texas as her subject. I was able to supply her with a number of props: postcards of various Texas spots, a plastic bluebonnet, a bag of Fritos, a 21 X 34-inch Texas flag that I hang in my office. She said a classmate held it up while she did her report.

But there was more. She wanted some Texas songs. She'd read that "Texas Our Texas" was the state song, so she wanted that on tape to play the class. I didn't tell her how seldom I'd heard it growing up, or the fact that a lot of people — a lot of Texans — think "The Eyes of Texas" is the state song. She wanted two others, and asked me for suggestions, which is a recipe for me suggesting something unusual.

Which I did. I suggested "Galveston," which I hadn't heard in some years. Not really about Texas, though part of the theme, and she took to it, maybe because she'd read about the city in one of her books. It's an example of song that's melodically peppy yet lyrically poignant. Not nearly as many people know the follow-up song, "Dear John, From Galveston," in which the narrator is so upset after receiving the title letter that he takes out an entire nest of Germans or Red Chinese or Viet Cong single-handedly in a berserk fit. Not to worry, he only lost a couple of fingers and some hearing in one ear, and lived out his days quietly as a family man in Houston — he married another girl — working as an appliance, and later car, salesman.

The other song I suggested was "Across the Alley From the Alamo," which doesn't have all that much Texas in it either, except for the essential ingredient of the Alamo, added for euphonious purposes. We played all three songs on YouTube, taping them on one of the tape-using microcassette-recorders I quit using a few years ago in favor of a digital recorder, and she played them for her class. Lo-fi, but passable. If that doesn't count as fair use for educational purposes, I don't know what would. It isn't likely that any of the other kids had ever heard those songs, and maybe the teacher was unfamiliar with them too.

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