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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Farewell to Yarns: A Sheep's Tale in the Land of Hemingway

Ever since I caught wind of its existence, I have been fixated on attending The Trailing of the Sheep Festival, which takes place in Hailey and Ketchum, Idaho every October. Perhaps it was the sheep poetry sessions that roped me in....after all, who could resist a sheep bleating Keats.

At any rate, as my obsession grew, I knit together a fantasy about becoming Queen of the Sheep. My dream was to show off my good breeding by donning a tiara and walking amongst my little lambs as we strode in unison down the streets of Ketchum. In order to blend in (somewhat) with the flock, I would enrobe myself in a virgin wool fleece frock.

And so, in order to get out of a rut and make my dream come true, I booked a trip to the Sun Valley area for the autumn of 2011. Hailing from Washington, DC, I decided the best way to win the title was to start lobbying Hailey town elders and the festival organizers. But as I grazed the landscape, I realized there might be a few hitches in my plan. First, I discovered that "The Trailing of the Sheep" took place during Yom Kippur weekend. Now, if this festival were to be renamed "Jews and Ewes" or "Hey, Ewe Jew", I would be a lock for the title. But alas, it was not, and I started to fear that the parade would be taking place on the Holy Day itself. Even though I planned to maintain my fast, I wondered if it would be kosher in God's eyes to be parading amongst sheep while atoning. On one hand, Moses was a shepherd. Still, he led his most important flock around Passover and not the High Holidays.

As I ruminated over this ruminant dilemma, I discovered that the parade was delayed until the day after Yom Kippur. Thus, I was back on the non-fast track to becoming sheep royalty. But soon enough, I was brought to the realization that my lovely dream could become a wolf in sheep's clothing. While having a moveable feast at the home of the lovely owners of a Ketchum art gallery, the husband started raining a bit on my parade. (Said husband, parenthetically, hence the parentheses, resembled a hip version of Mr. Keaton, the dad on "Family Ties"). Mr. Bleatin' advised me that, at times, the parading sheep have been known to run amok. One sheep wanders off in a different direction and the entire flock ends up pulling a big ewe-turn. Or, Mr. Baa Humbug noted, as the hills at the end of the parade route come into sight, the sheep sometimes start stampeding to quicken the journey to their winter digs.

At any rate, instead of ending the parade in a path of glory, I suddenly envisioned myself in my own private Pamplona, overtaken by a mad mob of sheep goring me with their puffballs of wool and leaving me with tiara askew and my garb transformed into the world's largest livery of lint.

Of course, the citizens of Ketchum might not take kindly to this intruder amongst their ranks, no matter how stunning said intruder was. In fact, the stunt might even get their collective goat. Therefore, after rising up, dusting myself off, and repositioning my tiara, I realized I might have to go on the lamb (sic) or risk being pelted. However, I knew it was likely that I would be quickly found, as after the sheep were long gone, I would be the only one in the valley for whom the smell lolled.

Thank ewe very much.

For more on the event, go to www.trailingofthesheep.org. There is still time to make your travel plans. It takes place October 7-9.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Can CCCP Russia From My Backyard

I recently noted a short thread on one Adam Junkroski's (a friend and former babysitting client) Facebook page, trading obvious puns about all things Soviet. As a punmeister, I couldn't resist the temptation to Russian. Below, Laura and Adam's no-so-Cold War of Puns (which lasted 45 minutes versus 45 years). It's oblast. By the way, if some of these references are too obscure, you'll be vlad to know you kazan surf around Siberia-space to chechen on things.

LP: I give you high Marx for the Russia thread. You didn't even Boris me to tears.
AJ: What can I say? We covered all the Engels.
LP: I'm tsarry, but you certainly didn't cast a wide nyet for that one.
AJ: Yuri just jealous.
AJ: But I suppose I could curl up Andropov the face of the planet.
LP: Damn, yuri good, comrade (oops, just saw you already used that). I was trying to figure out something Andropov and you beat me to the pun-ch. I'm such an Idiot (get it?) Ivan to win this game, but clearly, you are a steppe up, no Bolshevik.
AJ: I'll ruble the day I tangled with you yet.
LP: I'm stoli-ing (and stalin)for time.
AJ: Be-cossack I'm so clever?
LP: We need to take this show to the Borscht Belt.
AJ: Anyone reading this would probably rather we take it to Siberia. : )
LP: Speaking of ex-Soviet regions, as they say in Georgia (well, the U.S. one), Y'altap the list.
AJ: You just proved your Proletariat status with that one.

LP: (after a brief pause in the back-and-forth)
Had to Trotsky to write a new blog post.
AJ: I wondered why you went Romanov on us.
LP: Soyuz say. You probably thought I was mir-ly procrastinating.
AJ: Clearly you think I Kerensky.
LP: I have to gulag Kerensky...don't know who he is.
LP: Or gogol.
AJ: LOL! He preceded Lenin.
LP: Surely, you wikipedia'ed that, my little pierogi.
LP: Now, I don't mean to be volga, and I don't want to hammer this in, but I think we are both sickles.
AJ: Yes, we have a mig problem.
LP: Like Michelle Bachmann, I'm getting a mig-raine. And like her doppelganger, Sarah Palin, I can see Russia from my backyard.

Now that you have red your way through, a few other notes before closing.
First, I'm a slav to fashion. So-vi-et.
Any other puns you want to Chekhov or Markov the list? Do feel free to commune with us or matryoshka-late in our puniversity. We are happy to grad your entries.
Tatar, everyone.

Photo Credit: Matt Banks