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Corona Vacation Book Shelf

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  • Rob De Witt April 17, 2020, 12:19 PM

    Ah, yes….

    I’ve been working on a dirge-like version of Waltzing Matilda, but so far nobody gets it….

  • ghostsniper April 17, 2020, 1:34 PM

    Waltzing Matilda was one of the hundreds of songs all of the students at North Middleton Township Elementary School learned while I attended there from 1959 to 1966. Every student learned to sing, rounds, etc., and learned basic music with rudimentary instruments, sticks, bells, tambourines, etc. During all of the major holidays the entire student body assembled in the long single hallway and sang period songs. This notion of teaching students to sing and participate in music continued in the schools I attended up through about 9th grade where, at Fort Myers Junior High School in Fort Myers, FL they had an actual 7 sided stand alone choral room with tiered seating. whoa All students were heavily encouraged to play some sort of instrument. In 4th grade I chose the trumpet and played it till about 8th grade where I traded it in for a guitar.

    I’ve always considered music in all of it’s forms a type of language, where once learned, provides a lifetime of pleasure and in some cases much more. I’m referring to the basics of music, for as a student you will never learn all of it, it is limitless. To not learn the basics of music in early childhood is a tremendous handicap. Cockles and Mussels alive, alive oh.

  • Nori April 17, 2020, 1:41 PM

    I get it,Rob. The heartbreakingly poignant sound of Waltzing Matilda playing as the last of humanity sickens or suicides in Australia. Powerful movie based on an equally powerful novel.
    Nevil Schute was an interesting,and quite gifted man.

  • Nori April 17, 2020, 2:00 PM

    Ghost,you just described what was once upon a time the norm in America-a classical education.
    Music is most definitely a type of language,and a blissful one.

    The Gramscian takeover of our schools largely eradicated music from the curriculum,and everyone suffers for it.

  • Jewel April 17, 2020, 3:20 PM

    I learn something new here, every day. Old as I am, we never sang Waltzing Matilda, but we did give the laughing kookaburra and his old gum tree a merry, merry whirl ’round the bush.

  • Vanderleun April 17, 2020, 3:30 PM

    I get it, Rob.

  • julie April 17, 2020, 4:25 PM

    Ghost, for my kids’ homeschool curriculum the very first folk song they learned was “Cockles & Mussels.” I’d never heard that one before, but it’s engrained in my brain now. They haven’t had “Waltzing Matilda” yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

  • John Henry April 17, 2020, 4:35 PM

    I’m a big Nevil Shute fan. So big I founded the Nevil Shute society, now the Nevil Shute foundatiom

    Many of us read on the beach in hs in the 60s. Some of us enjoyed Helen Morse and Bryan Brown in a town like Alice in the 70s.

    Few people realize that he wrote more than 20 books.

    Fewer still that he was a highly regarded aeronautical engineer and an entrepreneur who founded a major aircraft company, Airspeed Ltd during the depression.

    My favorite books Town like Alice!, ruined City, and Trustee from the Tool room.

    John Henry

  • ghostsniper April 17, 2020, 5:44 PM

    Probably 30 years of silence elapsed from the time we sang about the kookaburra and the day I walked into a new pet store on Chiquita Blvd. I was milling about and then a very loud blood curdling sound filled the space and I didn’t know what to think as my eyeballs swept the area trying to detect danger. The sound stopped and I walked toward it’s source. It was in a large cage and looked like a warped woodpecker. The head was too large for the body and the beak was too large for the too large head. An odd looking creature. Maybe 8″ tall from ass to top of head, not incluing the tail. Mostly grayish. I asked the guy behind the counter what it was and he said it was a Kookaburra. Holy kow! He said it was carnivorous and he fed it live mice – a half a dozen a day. I stood there and watched it, hoping it would let loose with it’s war scream again but it didn’t and I left. I rode that Kookaburra ear worm all the way home. Merry, merry king of the bush was he…..

  • jwm April 17, 2020, 6:27 PM

    I hear “Waltzing Mathilda” and my earworm jumps to “Tom Trauberts Blues” by Tom Waits. That song just tears the heart out of me.


  • Mary Ann April 17, 2020, 7:07 PM

    I used to try to sneak into the “adult room” in our little suburban library circa 1962-63 to take out books my Dad was reading but wouldn’t let me read or even talk about. The librarians always confiscated the books and told me my parents would have to check them out. I don’t remember when I finally read or watched “On The Beach”…but it haunts me to this day.

  • Auntie Analogue April 17, 2020, 9:41 PM

    It always rubbed me the wrong way that the film adaptation of On The Beach suffers from its miscasting of Anthony Perkins and Fred Astaire, both of whom are distinctly not credible as Australians. That much cognitive dissonance in the movie distracts and detracts from the bleak narrative. I also feel that Glenn Ford would have been a better choice for the role played by Gregory Peck; that role, on film, called for the understated brand of acting that Ford would have brought to the part as, for me, Gregory Peck’s stentorian voice – yes, even when he whispers – becomes a distraction. I don’t mind the casting of Ava Gardner because in 1959 no Australian actress had the prominence to carry a lead role for audiences outside of Australia.

    The Helen Morse, Bryan Brown miniseries A Town Like Alice is marvelously well done, absolutely engrossing, but I saw it just once in 1981 on PBS Masterpiece Theatre. Since then the series vanished from the airwaves. Following years of monotonous disappointments in searches for it on DVD, for the first time in about six months I just did another search and – Hooray! – it’s now available on disc! It’s not just the two leads who deliver finely pitched peformances, there’s also the ever-watchable Gordon Jackson and, as Mrs. Frith, one of my favorite character actresses, Dorothy Alison, who, in the Audrey Hepburn vehicle The Nun’s Story, delivered a small yet remarkably lovely turn as Sister Aurelie.

  • Snakepit Kansas April 18, 2020, 5:59 AM

    I am finishing When Hell Was in Session by Admiral Jeremiah Denton. My Dad had seen him speak on two occasions. An incredible story of endurance.

  • creeper April 18, 2020, 9:16 AM

    Favorite memory…taking a boat from Suva to a small island for scuba diving. Most of the other passengers were Aussies and they treated the rest of us to a rousing version of “Waltzing Matilda on the way out.

    Coming back was I different story. Same song but totally different…tired and wistful.

  • James ONeil April 18, 2020, 9:31 AM

    In ’59, while a student at U of F, Gainesville, Florida, saw On The Beach.

    Got a roll of white butcher paper, a couple of friends, and carefully made a 20-30 foot long ‘THERE’S STILL TIME..BROTHER’ banner and, in the middle of the night, hung it twix a couple of trees in the University’s Plaza of the Americas.

    The banner actually flew there for a week or three before the grounds keepers took it down.