Sunday, August 21, 2011

When there's not enough football

As Bears training camp draws to a close, Lovie Smith, Supreme Coach of All Bearness, on Friday stated that he thinks this is a really good team.  Well, seriously, what else is he going to say?  "Wow, there is some running and tackling stankiness going on out there and I just know they're going to tank all season long."  He won't say that.  I will, however, agree that this might be a really good team.  They won their first pre-season game last week which, frankly, bodes well, even though last year they sort of stank up the general rosters of football in the pre-season but did pretty well for themselves in regular season play.  Of course, next week the inner naysayer could emerge and there would be general complaining and misery anew.

The Bears play a Monday-night game tomorrow against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.  Let's have a stroll down Memory Lane.  Last year, in regular season play, the Giants decimated the Bears and Jay Cutler was sacked to the point of concussion.  It's my fervent desire that there just be some good football tomorrow and no closed head injuries.  Next week's blog will feature blabbing about tomorrow's game and that of next week.
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Chez ouiseaux
Today we went out into the ultraburbs to Volo Bog which features walking through a bog for 2.75 miles and I DID IT and believe me when I say that I am not the fittest person under the Illinois sun and I DID IT!  Of course the point was to see the cool wildlife -- goldfinches, turtles, garter snakes, a great white heron, robins, shield bugs, frogs.  For me it was to walk the 2.75 miles of not straight, unflat terrain on a warm day when the sky is blue and the clouds look like they could be animals, or WWII Flying Fortresses, or amphibians and finish it and also see some cool wildlife.  I DID IT!  Here are some of the pictures I took on this lovely day.


The bog walkway is lightly anchored -- not precisely steady but very cool to experience.
Those are cattails along the walkway and they were taller than me.

Volo Bog from the nature-viewing hut at water's edge
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So when there's not enough football then what might give us something extra to discuss?  This week it's still Jacques Brel because am totally fascinated with him and his songs.  (An aside:  I won't talk about him next week, pinky swear.)  This week, I turn my attention to "Ne Me Quitte Pas," which was translated into English by Brel and Rod McKuen (yeah, that Rod McKuen; they were apparently great friends).  The English name is "If You Go Away," and the various interpreters, including Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Julio Iglesias, Tom Jones, country singer Ronnie Milsap, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, and Cyndi Lauper do their utmost to convey their wish that their object of desire not dump them.  The more literal translation is "don't leave me," or to be perfectly slanglike, "don't quit me." 

I offer you two versions of "Ne Me Quitte Pas," by Dusty Springfield and Jacques Brel himself, respectively.  In the first, Springfield, with her exceptional voice of smoke, rasp, and heart, is a perfect comparison to Brel.  In the second video, Brel is skinny, sweating, not handsome with his suit wearing him, and looking into the camera (at the end of the song it sounds like someone is playing -- can it be?? -- the saw).  Once he starts singing, you forget about the physical (and forgive him the saw) and just consider not leaving him, ever.  (There is a slightly superior Brel version -- with a different English translation -- that refuses to be embedded but allows copy-and-paste:  http://youtu.be/za_6A0XnMyw)



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