Today reached eighty-ish degrees, to my stark and winter-disloyal approval. I read at dawn about a local group that hunts for the first local harbinger of Spring, a lovely yellow flower called the trout lily. I personally find that a small purple flower I associate (errneously, I think) with clover is a more harbinged harbinger than the trout lily. I think that small purple things deserve respect.
For me, the jonquil is the true-est sign of Spring, and emerges all dripping with the sturdy, no-nonsense sense of renewal I admire so much. The Dutch iris, by contrast, signals grace under pressure, while the marigold shows that gorgeous things can come in hardy, practical packages.
I rather like this American Idol show, glorified karaoke thought it may be. It's not as good as the one in which folks design a dress by show's end, but it's better than the ones in which people are stranded on islands, in houses, or in Los Angeles. I guess that I like things like Ted Mack Amateur Hour, just as I secretly hope for a Kukla, Fran and Ollie revival. If you are too young for that show (and, to be honest, I am barely old enough to remember it), they played little childrens' films from foreign countries, among which were a surprising number we might class today as "art films". Kukla and Ollie were puppets, while Fran merely played a puppet on television.
They showed some wonderful films on that show on Saturdays--popcorn and blackberry cobbler-worthy films. I miss that kind of television.
Last night the male semi-finalists, with perhaps one exception, sounded like Holiday Inn karaoke, as each seemed more determined to play it safe and sing songs in poor imitations of their recordings. Only the beatbox fellow, who had some color in his bravura, and the fellow with the short haircut who missed notes but had heart, were exceptions to the rule.
By contrast, tonight the female singers included a solid 6 to 8 who set out to own the songs, and delivered not karaoke lite but karaoke grande performances. I sometimes get the feeling that Idol has a token "not the most pretty but the best voice" female singer among an overwhelming group of "colorless voice, albeit on pitch, but a cupcake looking girl" vocalists. This year, though, I am pleased to see it is not about fashion plates so much as women who can sing.
I felt badly, though, for the cute girl whose heart was in the right place, but who did not realize there is a reason why Chrissie Hynde sings "Brass in Pocket" and she cannot. So many times aspiring Idols try to sing Aretha or Stevie (and can't), but there is also a danger in singing a song that requires no gymnastics but tons of moxie to pull off. I still say that if I were on "Idol", I'd sing "Alison", but I think that's because my karaoke resume consists of "Alison", "Little Red Corvette", "Burnin' Down the House", "Surrender", and "Love is the Drug", and "Alison" seems the best karaoke song of the bunch.
On my drive home tonight, I had a bit of a revelation. I am in a profession which is essentially a customer service business. I realized how much good fortune I have in my work. So many people who service clients' needs find customers annoying, and yet I find my clients by and large so interesting. I know this is rare good fortune, for which I am grateful.
I must do something I have not done in decades, once Sunday arrives. I must lead the lesson in Sunday School class. The text is the 62nd Psalm, which features a lot of people talking bad about folks, and a bit of smiting of enemies. In other words, it is easy for me, because it will remind me of large law firms. I looked up to see if John Wesley had given a sermon about it, and found that he turned verse 10 into making the point that rich people should share more than they do.
He made the subsidiary point that appearances are deceiving, though, and people should not pretend they know how generous another may be unless they have the whole balance sheet, so to speak.
Let's see if my limited skills translate into Sunday School lessons.
I got a charming e mail from a fellow who invited me to a chess tournament next weekend in Denton. I think I'll go, as my wife is on the road then.
During this dawn's burst of insomnia, I read up on Mali, due to a remix contest I'm working on wit a Malian vocalist's sample. What an interesting and heart-breaking story of a country twice the size of Texas. It gave me a kind of Wesleyan 62d Psalm feeling that people ought to do more to help people. I should start at home to figure that out.
I saw a huge great blue heron today, fish in mouth, flying from one end of a pond to the other.
Tonight a songbird sang better than any American Idol on a bare tree in our office park parking lot. I'd rather listen to any warbler than Kelly Clarkson's warble, but I am sure Kelly won't know or mind.