So, did everyone see Mars? We were out to Charleston Lake Provincial Park last evening visiting Wally and Laura who have been there all week and on the drive home there is was...[turn on your copy of Holst's The Planets...riiiight..now!]...Mars! I suppose in the days before flashing antenna tower lights what went on in the sky was more a impressive thing. One web writer notes of Holst's tone poem on Mars:
The full horror of mechanised warfare confronts us face to face in this bleakest of all tone poems. Its face is unrepentent, unrelenting and merciless and it offers us no hope of redemption. Thousands of pairs of jackbooted feet parade across the landscape, scurrying to their graves. Tanks pound cities into rubble. Bullets fly and bombs fall. Airplanes swoop low overhead. How surprising it is, then, to learn that Holst completed this piece long before the opening of the First World War, before the invention of the tank, before any plane had ever been fitted out to carry bombs, before the slaughter in the trenches, before the use of poison gas.For me Mars, his war god, stood out in the sky more closely resembling a big automated safety indicator than it has for 60,000 years. The coolest sky phenomena - among those not able to sweep away trailer parks - was the night in January 2001 when the moon was closer than ever. I read a book on the front lawn of our house in the country by moonlight [cue the theremin]...by the light...of the moon.
While at the park, I had occassion for the first time in at least five years to make Jiffy Pop. This guy has it right. It is not jiffy and rarely pops. In the making you have to stay stooped over a campfire with your face in the heat. You also usually have to maintain a posture which wreaks havoc on the back. Wally and I figured 35 years ago our fathers swore under their breath in the same positions. Most jiffy pop moment? Taking off the cardboard cover and holding up a small part of the cardboard to read, squinting by the campfire light, "do not remove this cardboard tab". Do they think people make this stuff in full daylight or read instructions before setting out? The children fell upon the jiffified stuff as if a truck from the Mint had driven through a casino parking lot, its loads pouring out from open back doors.