Monday, July 18, 2011


"IT STARTS AT 7:00 PM," the headline screamed.  The end of the world  you'd have thought it was.  Carmageddon they called it.  A bridge over the 405 in Los Angeles was coming down.  You half way wanted to break into song: 
"London bridge is coming down, coming down 
London bridge is coming down, my faaairrrre lady."
London Tower Bridge
Even though Americans seem wont to do such things as build a bridge at the cost of millions of dollars and then turn around and tear it down, its not surprising that there was a lot of hullabaloo about tearing  down a bridge.
"New" Bridge
All over the world people are emotionally attached to their bridges.  In Brownsville, Texas, we have the "Old Bridge" and we have the "New Bridge" and we have the "Los Tomates Bridge" which is newer than the "New Bridge" but the "New Bridge" has been the "New Bridge" for more than half a century and it will remain the "New Bridge" until hell freezes over.  

During the Balkan wars of the '90s the bridge at Mostar was  destroyed.  Almost instantly everyone was horrified.  I think even the ones responsible were horrified.  What had they done?  The stones of a bridge that had stood for 500 years lay in in  the river. The bridge itself was a symbol of unity which needed to be restored, and quickly it was.
Charles Street Bridge, Praha
Then there is the Charles Street Brige in Praha.  On the far side rises the magnicent wonders of the Hradčany. Perhaps the largest Hrvat monument in the world, it houses the government of the Czech Republic.  Did I say Hrvat?  Jup.  I shore 'nuf did.  First of all, history bears me out.  Secondly, half the names in the Prague phone book are Croatian names.  Thirdly, the only really important difference in the language of the two is that the Czechs want a complicated set of spelling and grammar rules and we Croats don't.  Aside from that we are pretty much the same.

There are other bridges too which are the stuff of poetry and romance.  Sometimes bridges are the stuff of stories ,,, 
A few nights ago I was chatting with Crandall NotesHere is how that  conversation went: 

me: do you know the story of billy goat gruff?
Crandall Notes: Oh that has faded into the mists of memory.
me: billy goat gruff loved to play and play
Crandall Notes: I remember the Harbor of Hush-a-bye Ho though.
me: Harbor of Hush-a-bye Ho?   that you will have to tell me sometime
me: once upon a time ,,, long ago and far away
  there were three billy goats
  little billy goat gruff
  middle billy goat gruff
  and BIGGGGG billy goat gruff
Crandall Notes: Oh my
me: they decided to go up on the hill to eat the grass there 
  but they had to cross a fast moving stream on a little bridge
  under the bridge lived an ugly old troll
  with BIGGGGGGGGGG eyes
   and a BIGGGGGGGGGG nose
Crandall Notes: ooooooh my!
Crandall Notes: Ewwwwww
me: here comes little billy goat gruff
  trip trap trip trap crossing the bridge
  and the Troll says
 and the little billy goat gruff says ,, its me little billy goat gruff I want to eat grass and grow big
  and the troll says I'M GOING TO EAT YOU ALL UP
 and little billy goat says ,, why don't you wait for the next billy goat I'm just a mouth full for you
  and the troll says ,, SCAT
  here comes middle billy goat
  trip trap trip trap trip trap crossing the bridge
 and the trol says WHO IS THAT ON MY BRIDIGE?
  and middle billy goat gruff says ,, its just me middle billygoat gruff
  and the troll says IM GOING TO EAT YOU ALL UP
Crandall Notes: hungry troll
me: but middle size billy goat says oh please troll , I'm just two little bites for you I need to eat 
some grass and get big ,,, why don't you wait for the next goat, he's bigger
  and the troll says SCAT
  TRIP TRAP TRIP TRAP TRIP TRAP here comes big billy goat gruff
  and the troll says WHO IS THAT ON MY BRIDGE?
  and big billy goat gruff softly says ,, just me billy goat gruff coming across to eat some grass
  and the troll says I'M GOING TO EAT YOU ALL UP!
  and big billy goat gruff says ,, yeah? you and who else?
  and the troll came to eat billy goat gruff all up
Crandall Notes: Uh oh
me: but billy goat gruff lowered his head and gave him such a butting that the troll ran  away across the bridge to the the north and that that's why we call that country HUNG'RY 
because its full of trolls our goats butted up that direction and they are all hung'ry.

I still have to hear Crandall Notes story about the "Harbor of Hush-a-bye Ho," but  while we are waiting for that story, over on her blog are a number of wonderful stories well worth the read.

Today's song is "Under the Bridge."  I didn't make the video, Dennis Svatek doesn't perform in it, but it is on Texczechpolka which is Dennis' Channel.  This is the LeeRoy Matocha Orchestra, another one of the greats of our time.  LeeRoy is gone now, but he was important because he was a leader in replacing the tuba with the string bass in his band thus taking a major step away from dechovka back toward Hrvati tamburasi with his instrumentation although he did retain brass in the ensemble.  

Under The Bridge.  A place where trolls live and the setting for romance, mystery, and intrigue.  Here is LeeRoy:

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

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