Saturday, July 21, 2012

Drill Instructor Buddy

You can just call me D.I. Dawg for short. (But not for long! hee hee!) Today I get to role play--and to tell you about a joke that Mike and I pulled on his grandson, who's also named Mike and whose birthday is today.

It happens that this year the birthday boy is away from home at summer camp. Only it's not the kind of summer camp you see in the movies, where you can ride ponies and go canoeing and toast marshmallows and sing "Kumbaya" around a campfire. And you definitely can't swim across the lake at night to sneak into the girls' camp and maybe get waylaid by some deranged idiot wearing a hockey mask. (I think that last part's just as well, though, don't you?)

This summer camp is a month-long session of Air Force ROTC Field Training at Maxwell Air Force Base. There the psychos are just drill sergeants. M says young Mike is pretty nervous about it--not exactly what you'd call a "no-sweat cadet"--but thankful that it's the Air Force and not the Marine Corps.

So we got this idea to create a birthday card that was in keeping with the spirit of Cadet Mike's big adventure. We dug up some pictures of me wearing M's Marine utility cap. (He says a "Smokey the Bear" hat would have been more authentic, but you have to go with what you've got.) Then we wrote some snarky-sounding stuff that a Marine D.I. would probably say if you were in boot camp and he learned it was your birthday. We mailed it in plenty of time for young Mike to receive it by today. I hope that he and his comrades and especially their drill sergeants are finding it to be a real knee-slapper.

Here's a scan of the card's front page:

 And when you open it, this is what you see:

Pretty nifty, huh? Even though I helped make the thing up, M insisted on putting his own logo on the back. I didn't object too hard, since he took the pictures of me with his camera and he lets me blog on his computer--and especially since it at least has my name in it. So here's the logo M uses for his homemade greeting cards. He says the picture is an old one from when he lived in some town called South Park.


And that's what we've been up to for the past few days. No rest for the wicked!

Once again, happy birthday, Cadet Mike! Someday you'll look back at this and laugh.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This land was made for you and me!

Today is a noteworthy anniversary. (M told me if I used a word like noteworthy in this post, I should also say pun intended, so consider it said.)

A hundred years ago today, Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, AKA Woody Guthrie, was born in Okemah, Oklahoma. Before M clued me in, I wouldn't have known Woody Guthrie from Woody Woodpecker. But after I heard a verse or two of "This Land is Your Land," I realized that Mr. Guthrie was one of the greatest folksong writers ever to wander down a dusty highway. As a former hobo, I could really relate to the sentiments of that song (though he wrote many others) and found myself listening to it all morning.

Mr. Woodpecker, on the other hand, is a cartoon bird--but a talented entertainer in his own right.

Let's recap what we know so far. Here's Woody the writer of fine folksongs:

And Woody the cartoon bird:

Another interesting thing I've learned about Woody Guthrie is that he didn't just write and sing great songs. He also had a son, Arlo, who became famous by following in his father's footsteps. M says that in his opinion Woody was the more prolific songwriter, while Arlo is more skilled as a singer and musician. M also points out that our crazy and sometimes malicious tuxedo cat was named for Arlo Guthrie.

Again, to review--Arlo the folksinger/songwriter:

Arlo the psychotic cat:

Woody Guthrie died a long time ago. But we want to wish him a happy hundredth birthday wherever he is. M says he's probably riding that Great Boxcar in the Sky, though I'd think that with all of his success he'd have traded up by now.

Here's a YouTube video of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" as sung in concert by his son Arlo. There are many renditions of the song online. But I like this one for several reasons. For one thing, the guitars sound nice and bright. For another, during the song some of Arlo's grandkids jump up on the stage and don't even get yelled at. And last but not least, when they do, it prompts Arlo to stop and tell a story about dogs chasing rabbits. What fun!

(As always, if you prefer the full-size clip at YouTube, click here. And when you have time, be sure to explore the official Woody and Arlo Guthrie websites at the links provided above.)