Date:         Tue, 28 Mar 1995 16:06:31 +0200
From: Torkel Franzen 
Subject:      Some rambling
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

  I'm back in Stockholm since yesterday.

  My stay in the US involved various activities. Some polite
schmoozing was called for, but I also had the opportunity to be blunt
with Marcia's Allegheny counselor and to indulge in a lengthy and
interesting conversation - which might have been endless had Marcia
not broken it up - with one of her professors about my theory that
the Japanese and the Swedes are closely related. But nearly everybody
I met was interesting in some way. I felt a bit like an exchange
student myself. I was of course totally out of place at Allegheny,
and Marcia and I drew some looks.

  A polite reply was normally called for when I was asked what I
thought about the US and how it compared to Sweden. Sometimes I could
reply honestly that my being in the US was of no particular
significance to me one way or the other. It was just the country where
Marcia was and where some things needed to be done.

  The Genus3 edition of Trivial Pursuit is not so hot. Mostly the
questions are too easy, because they tend to pick out the most famous
object in a certain category and add some window dressing. And it's
not really true that the stork is a sacred bird in Sweden. But we
do want storks to settle in the country again.

  The meeting with the NY wordslers was a pleasant one, not least
since Myles splendiferously treated Marcia and me to excellent beer
and food. The only thing wrong with the restaurant was the
pestilential music which essentially made conversation impossible.

  Marcia concluded that I attract skunks and cops, for there seemed to
be an unusual number of speedtraps on the interstate highways, and the
smell of mangled skunk reached us in the car on a number of occasions.
I never saw any skunk, though. I got to meet six cats and two dogs,
one of which was the beautiful black Labrador Belle, who was so fond
of snausages. Of course, being a Lab she ate with great enthusiasm
everything we brought her, including cat food scorned by the cat and
a big baked potato which she took to her special corner for gobbling,
but she did seem to gulp down the snausages even quicker, if only by a
few milliseconds, than she did the other things. She spends her day
tied by a chain to a doghouse, but still has a kindly and cheerful
Labrador outlook on life.


            Kokopelle! Kokopelle! Down the dark highway we ride
            and listen as the wet asphalt sings and buzzes,
            the traveler's friend that carries us home,
            up and down the hills of Pennsylvania,
            over the potholes, past the skunks and deer
            whose mangled bodies urge us on to life and hope.
            Kokopelle! A whistling wind surrounds our vehicle
            and patterns like our bodies dance and turn in wet darkness,
            glittering and singing: there at the end of the road
            we shall rest in each other's arms, speaking
            of the wonders of the day. Kokopelle! The wind sings,
            the cracks in the asphalt sing, and on the wheel
            my love's slender fingers lightly lie.