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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Johnny drove the half-track because we could not find a jeep.

The line quoted in the title always seems to me a perfect example of telling detail. It establishes so much, so arrestingly, so efficiently.

Dude. Wow.

The glamour! deserves a post all to itself today: Today, I slept until 9:30, got out of bed, showered, checked email, saddled up, drove to the bakery in Manchester to buy bread, had a slice of "stuffed potato" bread for breakfast while I was there, went to the gym, did 4 miles on the ski machine, lifted weights for 45 minutes (RAH!), went to fedex and sent Ethel back to HP for debraining/rebraining, came home, cleaned the kitchen and the bedroom, cleaned all the food out of the fridge that's turned because I haven't had time to eat it, took the trash out, scrubbed the trash can, did four loads of laundry (because I haven't done laundry since before WisCon), realized I didn't have enough quarters to wash it and dry it, hung *up* the laundry, and salvaged the last two blackening bananas by putting the ingredients for a loaf of banana bread in my bread robot. (I love having a robot that makes me bread. It is so totally awesome.)

Now, I am going to drink a lot of scotch and try to write this genocide. This should be the death of the Bunnicula. It died well, my friends. It died very well indeed.

Also, I have killed my lemon balm. Alas. I need to go buy a new one.

God Damn, well I declare:

Yanno, it occurs to me that the one joke in the Jenny books that nobody seems to have caught is Jenny's name. The last name, anyway. Okay, there's the Casey at the Bat thing, which she actually jokes about in Hammered.

The other one, of course, is the railway engineer Casey Jones, credited with not only a record speed run, but one of the most notorious wrecks in American railway history.

It seemed appropriate, somehow.

You probably know him from the Grateful Dead song. He was a real person, famed in song and story. Literally.

The Grateful Dead, like Jimmy Buffett, are a fondness I owe to my ex-boyfriend, The Jeff (wonder where he is, these days.). The fondness for steam trains, I come by another way: my great-grandfather was a conductor. Who, I believe, died in a derailment, although I may be confused about that.

Joe Hill seems to have confused him with the conductor who wrecked the equally notorious Ol' 97; Casey put his locomotive through the back end of a parked freight train; it was Steve Broady who jumped the track into the river bottom. And none of this happened in California.

You can hear a sample of Pete Seeger doing the Joe Hill version at Smithsonian Global Sound. Completely unfair to Mr. Jones, of course, who may have been a bit of a speed freak, but who was a good union man all his life.

Anybody wanna write a ghost story about the Ol' 97? Look:

Engine #1102 (left) , a 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler, was on the point of the doomed train. She was a Class F-14 locomotive, bought new from Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903. After the wreck, she was rebuilt and served on the line for over 30 more years.  The engine was scrapped on July 9, 1935, at the Princeton shop.

She can't sing and she can't dance
She can't walk too well
She can't cook and she can't sew
But she can sure raise hell.

--J.J. Cale


The only song I know is the theme tune to an old B&W TV series of the same name - featuring one Casey Jones of the Cannonball Express. I don't recall any wrecks in that, but it was a long time ago.
I had never heard of the TV show. Hee.

There's at least three that I know of about it--"Casey Jones," the blues standard, which the Grateful Dead version is based on (but I think it's different enough to count as a whole new song), Mississippi John Hurt's "Talking Casey Blues," and American protest song writer Joe Hill's "Casey Jones, The Union Scab." Which is about California politics a bit later, and not Casey at all. But is funny as hell, as Joe Hill was wont to be.

The thing Steve Broady and Casey Jones have in common is that neither one of them jumped. They both died with their hands on the throttle, rather than jumping before the crash. (Well, Jones died after they pulled him from the wreckage, but the point stands.)


Machismo can kill you. Either that, or jumping from a train moving at 90 miles an hour is a daunting task.
Of course, if you're going to quote Buggles lyrics it's worth noting that Trevor Horn has a lot to answer for. (Like, having just about invented the cult of the producer in British early-80s electro-pop. I mean, who didn't he produce, who was anyone, back then?)
*g* Conveniently, here in the US, they're a one-hit wonder.

Sometimes, American egocentrism is handy.
One-hit wonder? What about Video Killed the Radio Star?

In the UK, yes, only two albums ... but 4 number one hits in a row. Then, after a brief period in "Yes", Horn turned producer and produced, um, Art of Noise, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, ABC, Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Paul McCartney, Belle & Sebastian, the Pet Shop Boys, and a host of others. Including the Band Aid single (one of the best selling records of all time).

He's one of the most invisible stars of the British rock and pop scene. Call him a black hole, I guess ...
Video Killed the Radio Star is their only US hit. "Clean Clean" is a buried B-side that nobody has ever heard of....

Hee. Grace Jones. That takes me back.
Oh, right. "Clean Clean" was a #1 platinum hit in the UK. As were "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Living in the Plastic Age".

Hmm. Must send you a folderful of MP3s :)
*g* I do have that one album. Although I must say, "Clean Clean" is the only song off it that I really like.

I run sort of hot and cold on eighties pop; the stuff I like, I really like. But then sometimes it's just one tune, and the rest of the artist's ouvre doesn't do much for me.
"...wake me in the morning, gotta find some sleep..."

At least, I think that's what he's saying. I haven't listened to it for ages and all I have is a copy a friend made for me.

And people think they only had one good song! *sniff*
That's true! They had two!


Okay, fine. Maybe I discovered them at the right point in my teenage years to get hooked, but I kinda think they had several good songs off two albums.

YMMV, of course. I acknowledge that while I like the Buggles, other people like things like 80's Bruce Springsteen tunes and Journey....

Oh dear gd...

I found photos of the venom cock!

This is so totally NSFW.

But if you're really sure, http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dragon2wh.jpg


Re: Oh dear gd...

mother pusbucket.

I knew about Casey Jones well before the Grateful Dead came along. Including a "fanfiction" verse:

Mrs. Jones said "Chidren, stop your cryin.
You've got another poppa on the Salt Lake Line."
That's the Joe Hill version.
I have an uncle who is a train man. From the age of three he wanted to drive a train, and astonishingly, grew up to actually do so. During Vietnam, he signed up with the Reserves and drove troop and supply trains Stateside; he drove trains for many years after that, and in his spare time, restores and driver/firemans a beautiful antique steam engine. Today he's not driving professionally any longer, but does train safety lectures and works to close or make safer level crossings.

One of my favorite childhood memories is of some January, as a (fourth?) birthday present during a visit to St Louis, I and my Mom got to *ride in the cab* of a diesel while Unca Jeffy drove the train - just freight shunts, but oooh!

As a kid, most of my kids' books came from England, so I grew up on the Thomas the Tank Engine series - not the sticky new ones on TV, but the original Rev. Awdry versions. There is a picture of me at age five or so, standing excitedly beside "Stepney", an engine featured in the book (Awdry often referenced real stories and real lines). There is a matching picture of me and Stepney at age sixteen, with a dorky grin. And I still have all the Awdry books.

I'm not quite a trainspotter, but I'm enough of a fan to squeal with delight when we went to a Mexican restaurant in San Jose a while back and realized it had a lovely large-gauge steam model train running around the restaurant near the ceiling, with a lovely painted backdrop of stations and desert and so on. I made a big dork of myself and demanded photographs.

I'm not a transpotter either, but I have a Thing about steam locomotives.
I was mistaking the John Henry legend for the Casey Jones one, and applying the John Henry one to Jenny. But Casey Jones makes MUCH MORE sense.

(I just finished Hammered. Thumb's up.)

I'm glad you liked it!

John Henry shows up in One-Eyed Jack, for what it's worth. Folklore tends to follow me home.
Anybody wanna write a ghost story about the Ol' 97?

*Places Old 97's cd in stereo, hits play, and does not think about shiny new short story. Does not.*