Return of the Flying Frog

Saturday morning marked the resurrection of a previously recurring event that Stick Chick had not thought about for a long while. Maybe the Flying Frog makes it less forgettable. To fully grasp its unusual nature, you must recall a time fifteen years ago.

Flying Frog

The cell phone in its infancy had just emerged beyond a military-style, corded contraption housed in a suitcase or as a limousine amenity; replaced by a black hand-held clunker with a telescoping antenna. Kids: this was before flip phones, before smart phones.

Most businesses and government entities had a fax machine. Individual pay phones stood crammed onto precious real estate of convenience stores, gas stations or city street corners. For a while, many people had a land-line and a cell. Doctors, attorneys and others who required immediate accessibility often had a pager too. An explosion of need for available phone numbers evolved.

If you moved from one area to another and needed a new land line, you had to give up your old number and replace it with a new local one. Usually for a year or so afterward, the phone company provided a recording on the old number citing the new one. But the ever-increasing need for local numbers forced carriers to reduce the time allowed before they snatched up old numbers. Consequently, your old number would be given to a new taker in short order.

About that time, Stick Chick and Loverboy moved to a new burg, complete with a new phone number.

Soon after, one Sunday morning while Stick Chick prepared pancakes for breakfast, the phone rang.

With half-stirred batter dripping off the wooden spoon, and a thought “Who would be calling at this hour on a Sunday?”, Stick Chick answered.

“Hello.”

“Is this the Flying Frog?” asked the caller.

Giggling, she answered, “No, you must have the wrong number.”

“Sorry.”

Click. Dial tone.

Muttering, hung up and continued making breakfast.

Frequently on Sunday mornings, the phone rang. Each time the caller asked for The Flying Frog. Sometimes it was a female voice, other times male. Some callers insisted they had the right number, others asked whether Stick Chick might know whether they moved or even if she was the former proprietor.

Most times, in her pre first cup of coffee stupor, she had not the wherewithal to ask questions of them.

Finally, one morning, one came from a friendly caller.

Stick Chick answered, “Hello.”

“Is this the Flying Frog?”

This time SC answered, “No, you have the wrong number.”

The caller repeated the phone number which she thought she had dialed.

Stick Chick confirmed the number but explained it now belonged to Stick Chick and Loverboy, “But can I ask you what is the Flying Frog, and where are you calling from?”

“It’s an antique shoppe. I’m in California,” she answered.

After two years, the frequency of the calls decreased, until finally, they stopped altogether.

That is until yesterday.

Stick ChicShoweringk showered when the phone rang, so the answering machine picked up the call.

Later, she played it back.

“Hello. I’m calling for The Flying Frog Antiques and Collectibles. My number is…”

Today she recorded a new outgoing message for future Sunday mornings:

“Hello, you have not reached the Flying Frog. However, we have been told to take a flying leap from time to time, and if that’s close enough for you, then leave a message.”

The Flying Frog lives on.

Those Fun-Loving Finns

Stop the presses!

Stick Chick has found her next vacation destination.

The Finns have it all in hand with the upcoming 20th Eukonkannon MM-kisat Wife Carrying World Championships held in Sonkajärvi. Attracting local competitors, organizers also report participating couples hailing from Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Estonia, and the United States. The rules clearly state, “All the participants must have fun.”

The Estonians, who are noted tough competitors, hold the record of 55.5 seconds to carry a wife 253.5 meters on a sand track punctuated by two dry obstacles and one meter-deep water impediment. That’s roughly the equivalent of three football fields.

The event, having gained increasing popularity since its 1992 inception, now offers a Wife Carrying Senior series for the so-inclined over 40 crowd. Competition applications will be accepted for the 2015 event beginning in January, so mark your calendar.

According to the organizers’ website, the festival “has deep roots in the local history. In the late 1800’s there was a brigand called Rosvo-Ronkainen living in the area. In his troops he is said to have accepted only the men who proved their worth on a challenging track. In those days, a common practice was to steal women from the neighbouring villages.”

Today’s female participants volunteer for their role. There is also a sprint competition and a team competition akin to a baton passing relay, except in this case baton = wife.

Photo Courtesy Markku/EPA via MSN

Photo Courtesy Markku/EPA via MSN

“At the exchange point, the carrier has to drink the official ‘wife carrying drink’ before continuing the race,” say the rules.

That made Stick Chick at least curious about what’s in it, but they don’t publicize it.

The fun fest caters to all ages. This year’s scheduled event included: dancing, DJ’s, food vendors, a bouncy house for the kids, several local performing artists, and The Conscript Band of Finnish Defence Forces, all for a reasonable about $34 for adults and $7 for kids under 15 (25 and 5 euros respectively.)

Aside from the races, an afternoon event entitled Rosvo Ronkainen’s auction of borrowed items caught Stick Chick’s eye. Those fun-loving Finnish people know how to party.

If you do nothing else, you owe it to yourself to read How to Become a Master in Wife Carrying. She’s guessing the 20th event on 3-4 July 2015 will be chock full of extra special good times. Get your passport ready. The question is, will Stick Chick be a participant or a spectator?

 

 

 

Reading Rainbow and the priorities of Common Core

Kimberly:

If you have concerns about Common Core as I do and its potential impact on the next generation, I suggest taking a look at this excellent synopsis and opinion.

Originally posted on Accidental Devotional:

A few weeks ago all my online friends lost their minds. It seemed Levar Burton was trying to re-boot Reading Rainbow. Suddenly, everyone and their mom had some money to chip in. The kick starter raised over a million dollars in just 12 hours. It was insane. It was insane to see just how much we all loved Reading Rainbow, and it was insane to see the reason it was cancelled in the first place.

Apparently, Reading Rainbow was cancelled because all it did was teach kids a love of reading, and we don’t do that anymore in this country.   Because it did not teach kids how to read, Reading Rainbow was no longer important. . That was no longer the point of public television. And that is no longer the point of education. Check the Common Core standards. It is no longer in my job description…

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Looking for Normal

Have you noticed the weirdness of the rest of the world? You know, the parts of it that make you feel like the normal one even when up to this point you felt like a bit of an outcast.

Lately, I have found it increasingly difficult to wrap my mind around the workings of the world…specifically, the PEOPLE in it.  What a bunch of weirdoes! And you know how sparing I am about the use of exclamation points (thank you Janis.)

I feel like listening to the Pomplamoose’ cover of Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes with my eyes closed while clinging to the hope of waking up in another era when things seemed normal. Not that they were, just that at the moment it seems so.

I don’t think it’s over-romanticizing to desire a world in which people do not slaughter their own, where getting out of bed to go to work, attend a college class, or a movie should not result in a death by gunshot, or where a fanatic’s whim results in an entire village of kidnapped girls. Neither does it seem unreasonable to expect a world free of child molesters, rapists, warlords, and traffickers of humans or drugs, or guns who prey upon the weak and the innocent.

Even though I have an interest in politics, in general I avoid entering into debates about my political opinions. In my experience, doing so frequently devolves into a fit of personal frustration where there are no winners, and the most vocal have an irritating tendency of relentlessly hounding me and others to acquiesce to their point of view. Worse, with little exception, most of my votes for political candidates are a choice of the lesser of evils. What the hell happened to the true patriots? Were there ever any?

IMG_3622 pocket constitution quote

Today, as an American citizen, I reserve my right to speak when the President (who I am stuck with until 2016) acts independently of Congress, making a major policy shift by agreeing to the release of captured terrorists. Did he think I forgot about the attacks of September 11? Did he consider the sacrifices made on D-Day 70 years ago? Did he think about me, we, or us?

And if anyone would choose to twist my words to suggest that the part of the exchange I appear to ignore means that I have anything less than respect and admiration for our veterans who serving to protect our country’s  interests both foreign and domestic, he or she is barking up the wrong flagpole.

I would point out that it appears hypocritical that the same government would on the one hand consider the release of terrorists in exchange for a soldier reasonable, while condemning the actions of Edward Snowden as dangerous. I submit that the real danger lies in our inability to know what went on in either instance. It’s a bad game of Whisper Down the Lane as the media and the government each squash portions, one via editorial license and the other under the guise of national security. It brings to the fore the question of who gets to decide what to redact.

photo pocket constitution front

While I ponder these thoughts trying to figure out where the butter slipped off the noodle, I’ll just sit here and read my little pocket copy of the United States Constitution.

And Michael Bradley – Time Traveler: No, you are NOT the only one.