Wellfleets. Yum.

I like raw oysters.  Only since moving to Boston did I realize I like them.  In Indiana, oysters just aren’t as prevalent, and while I like seafood, somehow I never got around to trying them.  Now I love to hop up to Summer Shack after a long week and grab a pitcher of Fisherman’s Brew and a nice little selection of oozy goodness.  I generally try what they have on hand, learning the names of different types and maybe even something about the part of the coast a particular oyster comes from.

Wellfleets are pretty good.  The Wellfleet Oyster Fest describes them as ‘long and strong-shelled. Experienced tasters know that they are plump and clean with a distinctively good balance of creamy sweetness and brine.’  But I’ve never been to Wellfleet, MA, and didn’t even know they had a lighthouse, until now.

It is interesting to me the way local legend grows up around a particular event or circumstance.  It must have been true that someone in Wellfleet knew the fate of the lighthouse at the time it was moved.  The amount of effort it must take to move a lighthouse from one coast to another, even disassembled as some think it was, must have meant the local population was well aware of the movement, even if they were unaware that the lighthouse would eventually end up on Point Montara, CA.  Someone must have written the letters that are now coming to light as evidence of the movement of the lighthouse.  Local rumor may have eventually spewed forth the idea that the lighthouse was merely disassembled and not transported, but what of those ‘in the know’?  Is there some reason they would not want the town to know that their lighthouse was still being used (and is still being used today) somewhere else?  Or did the townspeople themselves simply prefer to allow the truth to fade into past and legend.

It is odd the ways truth and story blur in local tradition.  In Talcott, WV, it is often said that after his titanic battle with the steam engine, John Henry came home to his wife, had a quiet dinner, and passed softly in his sleep, his big heart finally giving out from the strain of that struggle.  In Ireland, Oisin lives to tell his tale to the future, perhaps even to Saint Patrick.  We are drawn to the poetry of the moment, and who would rather not see their beacon of light sinking slowly beneath the waves forever, rather than used for purposes not their own on some distant shore?


My lovely iron lung.

My friends and I are still fans of the ‘your mom’ jokes.  It’s like fortune cookies ending with ‘in bed’ – almost any phrase, especially an insult, can be recast by tagging ‘your mom’ at the end.  Someone says you’re ugly?  Say “Your mom is ugly.”  Someone implies you’re not astute?  Say “Your mom is dumb.”  There are endless variations to such tags, ranging from ‘your dog’ to ‘your grandpappy’.  Some of them are more creative than others.  Personal favorites from my friends include ‘your baked goods’ and ‘your iron lung’.

Now, iron lungs aren’t naturally funny for the people who still use them.  They may look funny, no matter how many tasteful or fun stickers are plastered to the outside, but in reality they are a very serious and needed piece of equipment.  A real iron lung kept Dianne Odell alive for 50+ years, until power outages and a failure of the backup generator allowed her to slip away.  Iron lungs are still in use for particular medical conditions such as Ondine’s curse (great name for a medical condition), a form of apnea that can happen even when awake.  I would certainly not want to disrespect anyone who must make use of an iron lung.  Nor would I want to upset Ondine.  Still, there is a sense of the ridiculous that surrounds them.  Maybe it’s their big and bulky nature.  Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have one, making the ‘your iron lung’ comment completely ridiculous, in the same way that ‘your piebald horse’ would be equally ridiculous.

Wow.  That was pretty good.  I think ‘your piebald horse’ should make the top ten list of ‘your mom’ jokes.

10,000 BC and the Tain.

I don’t really go to movies and I don’t really watch TV.  Not because I don’t like movies or television, but because they are simply not a requirement for my life.  Most of the time, I’m too busy with other things.  Sure, I have a Netflix subscription, but it’s the one-at-a-time subscription, and I actually have to make time to watch it when it comes.  Nevertheless, I am oddly drawn to the occasional cheesy movie.  For example, the most recent film I saw in the theater was The Spiderwick Chronicles.  I know, it’s sad.  What’s worse is I dragged Mike with me too.

Still, I do have some sense of rationality when it comes to movies.  For example, I thought 10,000 BC probably wouldn’t be the best movie.  What were they thinking, really?  It’s not funny – were they trying to make things along the lines of Troy and 300?  Let me explain – if we’d had any epic prehistoric battles, they probably would have been passed down orally somehow.  Where do you think myth comes from, anyway?

But, if filmmakers are looking for more epic battles to sell, I have the perfect suggestion: the Táin Bó Cúailnge.  Not only does it have the requisite battle scenes between a variety of posturing heroes, the landscape of Ireland is beautiful, majestic, and a great place to stage really bloody battles.  Plus, if you add in some of the pre-story stuff, there’s all the other parts necessary to a good movie – sex and marital jealousy, magic, revenge, mythical heroes, and ‘honor’.  Plus lots of weird Irish place-names, which makes even the worst actors sound kinda cool.   But then, I’m sure somebody will probably mess it up, even if they get the perfect script.  I mean, look what they did to Beowulf.