Monday, April 21, 2014

Carolyn's Favorite Things

My sister Carolyn recently celebrated a birthday. In previous years, she has requested facebook friends to make book recommendations or nerdy puns in lieu of saying merely "happy birthday." This year, she asked for haikus about her favorite things--and she helpfully appended a list.

Here's her post:

Friends! For my birthday this year, in lieu of you saying "Happy Birthday!" on my wall tomorrow, I'm requesting the gift of haikus.

Here are the rules:
(1) You can submit as many haikus as you want, on any subject.

(2) After today and tomorrow, I will pick the "finalists" to be voted on. Whoever's haiku is most popular will receive homemade cookies!

(3) You are most likely to be picked as a finalist if your haiku is funny, creative, and/or concerns Carolyn's Favorite Things.

For your benefit, here is a list of Carolyn's Favorite Things:

board games, British fiction, cats, college football, cookies, copyrights, Edward Snowden, fantasy novels, hot chocolate, Indian food, jazz crooners, Kindles, London, maps, musicals, Pinterest, polka dots, religion, sunshine, Teslas, the color red, the First Amendment, and toddlers.

I pointed out that a longer poem could incorporate every single item on the list, something impossible to do in a single haiku. She answered that the challenge needed to be "easy" for all the lesser mortals out there.

I have always complimented Carolyn on the caliber of her companions, and now she insults them?!

Further, she said that I could write a ballad if I liked, but that I would be ineligible for the cookies.

Naturally, this spurred my competitive instincts. I decided to write a poem so amazing that she was forced to award me a collateral prize.

I took her list and turned it into a variation of "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music, adding in a few items of my own. (There are benefits to being a sibling. Inside knowledge.)

Then I recorded the accompaniment on my piano, and then I recorded myself singing the lyrics, and THEN I turned the audio ensemble into a "movie" with pictures of Carolyn's adorable nephews as toddlers.

I'm being brave here, because I can hear every single flaw in my voice. (I'm not being falsely modest, I really can hear where I'm too breathy, or even slightly "pitchy".) I used to complain about my old cell phone's horrible audio pickup. Now I'm complaining that the new cell phone is too good. ;) Also, there are mistakes in the piano part. Low quality production, m'kay?

But I'm willing to embarrass myself if it earns me cookies! I'm in a hurry to get this out the door before the judging begins.

(It occurred to me to show images of polka dots, mosques, and Edward Snowden, but that would require way too much editing. Even I have limits to my obsessions. Sorry, Carolyn. You may edit the images yourself, if you like.)

For reference, here are the lyrics:

Cookies and kindness and boundless ambition,
Eating hot curry (which turned her hair Titian!)
Pinterest and Teslas and toddlers who cling; [1]
These are a few of her favorite things.

Anti-trust board games and fiction by Brittons,
Timothy Tebow and sassy young kittens,
Jazz crooning musicals, Snowden dream flings;
These are a few of her favorite things.

Maps to each Londontown mosque and museum,
Spreadsheets that calculate interest per diem,
Lists, plans, and progress, tied neatly with strings;
These are a few of her favorite things.

When the boss says “Double space this!”
When she’s feeling sad,
She’ll nap in the sunshine to dodge fortune’s slings,
And then she won’t feel so bad.

Lawsuits by Wiccans, in prison, a-witchin’,
Polka dots, football, and cleanin’ the kitchen,
Donuts from Daddy, and rain-dancin’ sings;
These are a few of her favorite things.

SCOTUS blogs, copyrights, hats, scarves, and kindles,
Helping the ACLU never dwindle,
Freedom to exercise faiths! Let it ring!
These are a few of her favorite things.

Steaming hot chocolate and fantasy fiction,
Stories of toddlers with "howwibow" diction, [2]
Mocking a candidate’s policy swings;
These are a few of her favorite things.

If the Congress passes SOPA
And it makes her mad,
She’ll simply remember her favorite things—
And then she won’t feeeeel so baaaaad!!!!

[1] I sang it as "swing". Sorry.
[2] gloss: "horrible"

Note: My apologies if the ads on the youtube link are obnoxious. I can't figure out a way to control them.

Now, if you enjoyed this offering, flood Carolyn's inbox with emails! Tell her that this obsessive effort deserves a prize! I'll settle for "Most Stalkeresque Sister" if it gets me cookies!

If you don't know her email address, email ME, and I will forward your comments along.