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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Earl's Tidbits

All right, I don't mean those tidbits. Even if I were predisposed to photographing myself in that manner, I'd have to post those to the sadly neglected Land of Fando, and then, I'd still have to Photoshop out my face, lest the vicar mention me in one of his dynamic sermons on moral turpitude. Quite frankly, I'd deserve it.

No, this little post is just to keep those of you who thoroughly enjoy reading about my personal life informed, and for the rest of you (which means everyone besides Mrs. Fando) to point and laugh, regardless of just how rude that is. I do suppose it's better than pointing and laughing at one's "tidbits," though.

Earl's Golfing Miracle - For some strange reason, probably severe brain damage, I neglected to mention on the blog that during my most recent golfing excursion a few weeks ago, with Stew, my father, and a friend, who may wish to remain nameless, and thus unaffiliated as an accomplice to this madness and thus not subject to any legal ramifications... and where was I? Ah, yes! During my most recent golfing excursion, I found myself lying four, on a par five, still with 115 yards to the hole. You can probably guess what happened next, and if you guessed that I shanked the shot off of my kneecap and hobbled in for a 9, you'd be right about 85% of the time.

However, on this wonderfully blessed day, the 115 yard shot went straight into the hole.

I don't simply mean straight as in, "The ball left the face of my club (an 8-iron...no wimp jokes, please) and eventually found its way into the hole after ricocheting off of various rocks, bridges, trees, waterfowl, and at least one partner." No, I mean "straight" as in a direct line between my clubface and the hole. The ball was "on a rope" as we say here in the States (And I say it on a daily basis... just this morning I was saying to Mrs. Fando, those eggs are on a rope! I must admit, it wasn't the most efficient use of the phrase.) The ball travelled straight at the pin, hit the green, bounced once, and rolled right into the hole.

At this point, calm, cool collected bloke that I am, I immediately launched into an impression of Bill Murray in Caddyshack and shouted, "It's in da hole! It's in da hole!" ...but only in my dreams. Instead, my first reaction was to turn to my father and ask desperately, "Did that just go in the hole." My father, intensely studying his own shot of about 110 yards (lying in 2) responded, "Huh, I didn't see your ball."

I then turned to Stew and our mysterious friend, who were looking at me with perplexion.

"Did you see that shot? I think it may have gone into the hole!"

Both of them shrugged their shoulders the way people do with they not only have no idea what you're talking about, but also suspect you may be on drugs.

Nonetheless, I had the happy experience of walking up to the hole, with my putter in hand, just in case I'd gone mad, and finding the ball complacently sitting in the hole, nestled against the flagpole. I lifted it up in triumph, and then went and had a lie down in the fringe.

Stew later joked that I might have palmed a ball and pretended to pull it from the hole, but the things that saved him from a stray swing of my eight-iron were the fact that I am absolutely pathetic at parlour tricks (except the bit where you pretend to pull your finger off... I once startled a girl at school with that one. I'm pretty sure she heard me say "finger"), and also Stew saying later that at least I got to see my shot go into the hole, unlike a 124 yard holed shot he'd managed a few years before and still gets him teary-eyed when he speaks of it.

So, I saved par... the hard way. While it counts as the most marvelous golf shot I've ever hit, I don't recommend it as a strategic approach. Not only can't you not count on it with any sort of regularity, but the hyperventialtion afterwards is murder on your putting.

By the way, we're playing tomorrow. I hear the odds of my repeating the feat are currently the approximate distance to Pluto in millimeters to one. A tenner could bring instant riches.

(Update: No spectacular long range shots this time, but I did chip in from off the green on number 2...for bogey. It hurts. It really hurts.)

Buskin' Earl - This morning I did something that I have never done before, and before the smart-arses amongst our readers (and contributors) start making rude suggestions, I will point out that I am already a father, and bathe regularly.

No, instead today I became a busker.

A busker is not some kind of agricultural peon but is in fact a kind of bard, one who goes to a well-traveled place and perches on a wall or beside a sidewalk and plays an instrument of some kind, occasionally singing as well, and getting tips from passers-by. I had my Fender acoustic/electric guitar in hand and, unamplified, played and sang for about an hour at my local town square's Farmer's Market. For what it's worth, although I will say I picked a quiet time of morning, I did make a dollar and a quater American.

It's not about the money though. It's about the sheer nerve it takes to sit down in a well-travelled public place, the earlier comment about the quiet time of day notwithstanding, and pour one's heart and soul out in music, usually the work of some well-known popular entertainer who hasn't a hope of collecting royalties off of your rendition, even if someone could recognize the tune and words.

I was a nervous wreck, even though I regularly play and sing in our church. This was different. These were strangers who had not reason to respond encouragingly, or to be nice, or to not throw large stones and half-full drinks and damage me and even worse, my lovely guitar.

So, I tried to keep things simple. I stayed away from the more elaborate chordings and nuances when I sang, and simply did those, most of them anyway, whilst playing instrumentals. I didn't even sing until about halfway through the hour.

All right, maybe singing is a bit of a reach. I did make sounds with my vocal chords that were vaguely in sync with the music. All right, maybe music is a bit of a reach, too.

Anyway, the funny thing was, as I was sitting there nervously performing the instrumentals, a local news cameraman was getting some filler shots of the Market. I kept my cool and picked away, hoping he would ignore me and resist the opportunity to get some goofball, strumming away like an air guitarist playing The Hallelujah Chorus on camera. Finally, he started to break down his equipment, and at that time I was feeling confident enough to try a song or two. So, I pulled out an old favourite, one by [redacted to avoid unnecessary expense in royalties] and began to gingerly feel my way through the song.

So, of course, the cameraman takes his camera and immediately heads over to me and sets up no more than 5 feet from my head. Fortunately, I had emptied my bladder before driving up to the square.

The nice thing was that a couple of people seemed to like the music, despite my forgetting the bridge of one song and having to find it on my chord sheet and restart the song 30 seconds later. Plus, there were lots of cute little munchkins who were fascinated with the sight of a grown man sitting in a corner playing and singing a song in the style of a strangled mongoose. Their expressions of fascination and consternation were quite adorable, especially the lad who dropped a quarter in my guitar case and received a sudden "Thank you" in the middle of a song.

It was a very nervy experience though, but I'm glad I did it and shall return again soon. It could have been more nerve-racking. There was one bloke who was walking around looking for a spot, carrying a tuba.

Still, there was a moment though... I was playing an original song (no snickering, Zimpter) and not singing the words, because the guitar bit was all my nervous system could handle, and suddenly I relaxed. As I played, I was actually able to look around and see the goings on about the square. I was able to notice and even smile at people as they passed by. I looked up into the clouds as I played and even noticed a flock of birds as they winged their way across the blue, all without once having to look back at my instrument.

I may have passed out. I'm not quite sure.


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