Thursday, March 13, 2008


Congratulations to my brother-in-law, Pete, who made it to the final round of Jeopardy at the Mall of America last weekend, when the Jeopardy Brain Bus rolled into town looking for contestants. His name now goes on file with those of the other finalists from Minneapolis and everywhere else try-outs are being held. Pete was told that he has a shot at being called up for the TV show anytime in the next eighteen months. He’s down-playing the whole thing, which is characteristic of him; but I am hoping he gets the call, wins big, retires early, travels everywhere and invites me to visit him.

I do not know if the word rhinotillexis was a part of my brother-in-law’s try-out, but I have been told that this is one of Ken Jennings’ questions: “What pastime is technically termed rhinotillexis?” In these days of the internet, the answer to the question is easily found: What is nose-picking?

At first I was not sure why I was provided with Ken Jennings’ question about rhinotillexis and this picture of Pete in the same e-mail from my sister, but I assumed there was a reason. After thoroughly scrutinizing the photo, I think I have figured it out. I now wonder where the future Ken Jennings is hiding his index finger.

Just kidding, of course! Bravo, Pete!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


I remember my dad singing songs from The Music Man long before I first saw The Music Man. I remember him imitating the traveling salesmen, “But he doesn’t know the territory,” loving how the lyrics matched the cadence of the moving train.

I also remember his: “Oh, we got trouble! Right here in River City! …..Capital ‘T,’ …..rhymes with ‘P,’ ….. stands for Pool!” I’d write the whole thing, but there is that law about copy infringement getting in the way.

My dad didn’t have Robert Preston’s voice, but he did have his enthusiasm. His delight with The Music Man rubbed off on me and I thought of him last weekend when the musical opened to a full house at Breck School. I wish he could have been there to see his granddaughter perform with all of his enthusiasm AND a lovely singing voice.

Somer plays the farmer’s wife, which she claims, tongue-in-cheek, is the best part in the play. She is pictured at the top of the cast photo, re-enacting Grant Wood's American Gothic. The lead roles of Harold Hill and Marian the Librarian are played by deserving seniors, who do a great job. Somer, as a sophomore, is waiting her turn. She has the right attitude: There are no small parts, only small actors.

Cast members are now wearing t-shirts advertising the play with the word Shipoopi across the front. It’s the title of a lesser-known song from the play, one I never heard my dad sing. A shipoopi, according to the lyric, is a girl who’s hard to get. The actors in the play sing out the merits of the shipoopi while dancing the Virginia Reel. They have a great time with it and the audience does, too.

Congrats Somer, Sweet Sixteen! Break a leg in your final performance! Your dad and brother and sister and I will all be there, puffed-up with pride as we watch our shipoopi!