Scandinavian Fair on Saturday

I was really excited to hear that there would be a vegan feed-in outside McDonald’s on Shrewsbury Street (mostly because our household loves fake chicken)  but I won’t be able to make it because I’m going to the Scandinavian Fair.

The Scandinavian Fair will be held at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School on Saturday, November 21, 2009, from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM.

I am of Balkan descent, so I stick out at the Scandinavian Fair like, well, a short Eastern European among a bunch of tall blonde Norwegians and Swedes. 

I go there because, for me, it’s an exotic experience.  There are things that you see at a Scandinavian Fair that you’d never see at, say, an Albanian Festival.  I got there early one year, and people were lined up, single file, no pushing, no shoving, well-behaved to the last.  There are open-faced sandwiches and accordion music and you can buy all the Moomin books and gorge yourself on chocolate and cheese.  One year I saw this beautiful, chubby white-blonde baby in an old-fashioned European pram lined with fur, stoic as a Viking on the prow of a longboat. 

You will never see so many Volvos and Saabs and BabyBjörns in your whole life.  You will be strangely tempted to buy I Was a Teenage Norwegian for your hard-to-shop-for nephew.  And, even if you’ve never had gooseberry jam before, you might be tempted to buy a jar or two.

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Great Books Discussion Group

The Great Books Discussion Group at the Worcester Public Library will be meeting on Wednesday, December 2 at 7pm to discuss John Steinbeck’s The Wayward Bus.

I’ve been a member of the discussion group for a while, and the members are very fun.  This group is NOT intimidating or for former English majors only.  (In fact, it’s a plus if you hated Robinson Crusoe as much as we did.  Extra points if you find A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court unreadable!)

It will likely be a pretty lively discussion, as most of the members (myself excluded) LOVE Steinbeck.  And The Wayward Bus is so short that you can polish it off in a few hours.

The full list of books we’re reading this year is here.  Copies of The Wayward Bus are still available at the library.

I hope you will consider joining us!

The Things Pandora Knows

Pandora knows things about me even I don’t know.  She knew that I loved the song “Talking In Your Sleep” before I’d ever heard it.  She knew that I loved Backstreet Boys and Fugazi and *NSync and Hüsker Dü and the Chieftains.

Pandora’s not perfect.  It look her a while to know that, while I like Lady Gaga, I can’t stand Madonna.  She still hasn’t figured out that there is a limit to how much one human being can possibly listen to “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”  She might never get around to knowing that my favorite song is “Return Of The Mack.”

She figured out pretty early on that I could approach near-complete obsession with Hall & Oates.  Unfortunately, this also came with the realization that my husband’s opinion of H&O is somewhere on the order of, well, this.

We’ve been together almost fifteen years, so I’m not sure how I missed his hatred of Hall & Oates.  Sure, there were signs.  I believe I told him more than a decade ago that I thought that “Kiss On My List” was the most perfect pop song ever written.  That statement was met with silence, which I suppose I took for complete agreement or awe at Daryl Hall’s genius.  He can’t really stand Todd Rundgren, either, but I took that as more of an acquired taste thing.   I comforted myself with the knowledge that I’d introduced him to Ian Hunter, and that he listened to Ian Hunter’s albums even when I wasn’t around.

But, when I mentioned that Pandora played “Out Of Touch” and it made my day, the truth came out: he can’t stand Hall & Oates.  Worse still, I had our elder son watch the video on YouTube; after a minute, he dismissed it as elevator music.  (I believe his exact words were, “What is this lousy music?”)

So imagine my surprise when I came home and saw this on the computer screen.  No, there was no Damascus Road conversion.  An Internet friend of ours, Keola Donaghy, Hawai’ian language and music guru, had posted it on Facebook, and it was my husband’s way of telling me I needed to finally sign up for Facebook.  (He also announces the number of ‘friends’ he has nearly every morning.  “I’m up to 504…”  This from the most asocial man on the planet.)**

But, now that I can see Todd Rundgren singing with Daryl Hall, I don’t NEED to go on Facebook.  Heck, I won’t even need Pandora for another couple of days.  (Unless, of course, she’s decided I need to gorge myself on George Michael and Dead Milkmen and Spandau Ballet.  Then Pandora will officially be my best friend.)

…but there is one weird thing about that Daryl Hall website: I signed up to be on the email list, and they wanted me to certify that I’m over 14.  Does anyone under 14 actually KNOW who Daryl Hall is?

**Lest you think my husband is one of those people who accumulate Facebook friends so that they can announce it to their wives every morning, he uses Facebook as a social network to connect with other Irish-language speakers, so 480 of those friends are likely Irish language speakers and at least one is a genius of an accordionist and the rest are former coworkers and (since I don’t use Facebook) some of my own cousins and college friends.  He only posts in Irish, except when he takes those Facebook quizzes like “Which 80s Mustache Are You?” which you try to answer in such a way that the result is Tom Selleck but which invariably result in, well, John Oates.