Thursday, January 19, 2006

Trains of Thought

I am going to be busy today, so you'll have to find the kind of tremendous head-rush that Heigh-ho normally supplies by looking elsewhere.

Here, for example. A whole gallery of pictures of trains and subways, and the stations they serve.

Before I go, I want to pass this important announcement:

D.C. May Make Cherry Its Official Fruit
WASHINGTON (AP) -- New York has the apple, Florida has the orange and soon the District of Columbia could have the cherry as its official fruit.
With the nation's capital lacking a designated fruit, a group of elementary school students made a pitch for the cherry to the City Council, saying it was the obvious choice.
"We have a cherry blossom festival every year and it was a cherry tree that George Washington chopped down in a famous story from his youth," said Marcus Parker, 11. The kids said there was no second choice.
"It does fit right in to the theme for Washington," said Council Chair Linda Cropp at Wednesday's meeting. "From the mouth of babes we have a good idea."
Many babes, but only one mouth. Sounds like D.C.

What is your state's "official fruit?"


Anonymous said...

This post really sucks!

spd rdr said...

I know.

Cassandra said...

Well, I happen to know (because I looked it up, inexplicably ignoring the convenient link you provided, either because I am a dolt or because I only had two hours of sleep last night) that my state does not *have* a state fruit.

I declare it a two-way tie between Senators Sarbanes and Mikulski.

portia said...

I declare it a two-way tie between Senators Sarbanes and Mikulski. Good one, Cass:)

Well, truth be told, I coulda lived another day without reading about state fruit but the subway pics were pretty cool, especially the ones of the Cortlandt station, which is across from the WTC site, and collapsed during 9/11. Four years later and the station still is under construction, which only adds to the head-scratching "how'd they do that" wonderment of NYC's 100-year old 800-mile underground labyrinth.

I love train rides. Trains of thought, indeed. They are the venue of possibility and regret, not to mention, fodder for a song or two...hundred.

Riding on the "City of New Orleans,"
Illinois Central Monday Morning Rail.
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty five sacks of mail.
They're out on the south-bound odyssey
and the train pulls out of Kankakee.
Rolling long past houses, farms and fields.
Passing towns that have no name,
freight yards full of old gray men,
The graveyards of the rusted automobiles

Singing, good morning America, how are you?
Saying, don't you know me, I'm your native son?
I'm the train they call "The City of New Orleans."
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

Anonymous said...

Train rides remind of SUnday night trips after a weekend with my then girlfriend, now ex-wife. Back then, I aborhed those tracks should have known they were heading in the right direction. Out here, we know nothing of trains...just gas guzzling 'mobiles.

spd rdr said...

I'm glad you liked the pictures. There is something about a train that makes me smile. Ire member taking the train between Boston and New York a lot. It was always good for meeting girls. Something about the rhythmn I guess.

Cassandra said...

I love trains too, Portia.

When I lived near Philly, we had a train track in my back yard. I loved the sound of trains. I loved to fall asleep to it on summer nights, and to take the train into the city. I used to hop the fence and walk along the train tracks but my mom would kill me if she knew.

In Norfolk in 5th grade when I lived on CincLant I walked along the tracks again going to Granby Elementary. I used to imagine all sorts of things as I walked - where the trains were going, where they'd been, what would happen if I just hitched a ride on one, if my parents would catch me and if I'd get into a lot of trouble... and I loved to pick up things that fell in between the ties.

When we lived in Mississippi we took the train to DC - I loved it, except for sleeping with the baby. But watching America slip by outside my window was wonderful. We did the same thing in Europe from Paris to Rome. You meet the damndest people.

My oldest boy wanted to be a train engineer in the worst way right out of college. In a way I wish he'd pursued that dream. But he didn't want to leave his wife alone all the time - her Dad was always gone and their marriage broke up. He didn't want to visit that on his wife, and I thought that was probably wise.

I love my son sometimes. Well, all the time. But especially at moments like that.

spd rdr said...

One day I'll write about the various (and legion) experiences I've had with the Long Island Railroad. Walking the ties, dancing across the Cherry Valley and Edgemere Trestles, jumping the Third Rail, hopping freights to NYC, and the day we stopped the whole damned line. (Hey, there's a statute of limitations, right? RIGHT?)

Jesus. How did I ever last long enough to grow up?

portia said...

It was always good for meeting girls. Something about the rhythmn I guess.

Well, that's mildly interesting spd but until you tell us the the tale of the one-legged fiddler on St. Patrick's Day, it's difficult to know how a trip from Back Bay to Penn Sta. can measure up:)

I'm with you Cass. I love travelling on trains in Europe. They're clean, they run on time (everywhere except Italy:)), and by the end of several hours--and a border or two-- you have gained several lifelong friends regardless of whether anyone understands a damn word any one has said! It's all about the hands and the eyes, yes? Wonderful.

My lone, bad experience on the European rails was a trip in '89 from Milan to Bari when I shared a cochette with a farmer, and his goat. Sigh. I never heard from him again...nor the farmer:)

Anonymous said...

Isn't there something Freudian about this obsession with trains? :-)

Little Feat - Red Streamliner

lyrics by Bill Payne and Fran Tate

Red streamliner rollin'
rollin' down the track the things you see
With your wheels in motion through desert, mountain, ocean
I hear you every night, is it a dream?

Red streamliner rollin' down, comin' down on me
Red streamliner rollin', rollin' long so free
Your past keeps comin' back on me
To far and near, away from here

Where people move a mile a minute
This hurricane livin' with you and me in it
Long into the night, that whistle offers light

Red streamliner rollin'
I wish you'd tell me 'bout the things you see
I'm lookin', lookin' down the tracks you ride
Knowin' that they're your only guide
I see them every night, is it a dream?
And when the sidewalks roll up at night
Just as stations pass by

Once the leader of the wild, wild west
Hurricane livin' been a lifelong song
Now you're cast of steel and cast aside
Broken dreams maybe, but you haven't died

-"Don Brouhaha" (?)

Pooke said...

Jim McGreevey

Pooke from Massachussettes said...

Barney Frank

pooke in california said...

the city of San Francisco

Pooke said...

Well I should have read the whole train track before posting, but as you know that's not my style. Shoot first, apologize later.

I'll have to admit, there is something captivating about the putrid smell of NJT and NYC subways. Or the PATH from Hoboken across. Funky.

portia said...

Actualy, McGreevey, Barney, The Castro and subways have sort of a Kevin Bacon "seven degrees" kinda thing going on, pooke, so you weren't so far off base:)

Don, don't get me started...

At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
and a freight train running through the
middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
I'm on fire

Damn, there are a sh*tload of trains songs....

spd rdr said...

Well, I ride on a mailtrain, baby,
Can't buy a thrill.
Well, I've been up all night, baby,
Leanin' on the window sill.
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don't make it,
You know my baby will.

Don't the moon look good, mama,
Shinin' through the trees?
Don't the brakeman look good, mama,
Flagging down the "Double E"?
Don't the sun look good
Goin' down over the sea?
Don't my gal look fine
When she's comin' after me?

Now the wintertime is coming,
The windows are filled with frost.
I went to tell everybody,
But I could not get across.
Well, I wanna be your lover, baby,
I don't wanna be your boss.
Don't say I never warned you
When your train gets lost.

Bob Dylan-
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry

portia said...

Good one, spd. I'd include the lyrics to Stones' Love in Vain or something from Boxcar Willie but then I might have to slit my wrists:) Boy, it ain't easy to find a "happy" train song, huh? Must be the moan of the whistle...or is it the rhythm?

Even the lyrics to that folk... um...classic Charlie and the MTA can make you weep if you think about it:

But did he ever return?
No, he never returned
And his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned...

The poor guy is doomed to ride the Boston MTA forever because he didn't have an extra nickel for the fare, his devoted wife is forced to go down to Scully Square every day to hand him a sandwich through the train window as it passes by, and he'll never be able to visit his sister in Roxbury again.... Geeeeez, maybe I should have stuck with the Stones.

Yeah, the train left the station, it had two lights on behind
Well, the blue light was my baby and the red light was my mind

Somebody cue up Glenn Miller...please:)

Anonymous said...

Will this do

"You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner
Nothing could be finer
Than to have your ham an' eggs in Carolina
When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in
Gotta keep it rollin'
Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are
There's gonna be
A certain party at the station
Satin and lace
I used to call "funny face"
She's gonna cry
Until I tell her that I'll never roam
So Chattanooga choo choo
Won't you choo-choo me home?


spd rdr said...

Once upon a time there was an engineer
Choo Choo Charlie was his name, we hear.
He had an engine and he sure had fun
He used Good & Plenty candy to make his train run.

Charlie says "Love my Good & Plenty!"
Charlie says "Really rings my bell!"
Charlie says "Love my Good & Plenty!"
Don't know any other candy that I love so well!

Love my Good & Plenty!

portia said...

Thanks Mike, that's exactly the song I had in mind!
Very fun, spd. Any post that can travel from Bob Dylan to Glenn Miller to Choo Choo Charlie without derailing ain't all that bad:)

Maybe the best train song...ever.

I'm sitting in the railway station.
Got a ticket to my destination.
On a tour of one-night stands my suitcase and guitar in hand.
And ev'ry stop is neatly planned for a poet and a one-man band.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Ev'ry day's an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines.
And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories
And ev'ry stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be,
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Tonight I'll sing my songs again,
I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.
Silently for me.


Now about that third rail...:)

spd rdr said...

Third Rail would be a great name for a rock band. :-)

former marxist said...

Ohio's official state fruit is the buckeye.

And Stephanie Tubbs-Brown.

Both worthless nuts.

portia said...

Someday, I want to travel for fifty-six hours on the Orient Express--free of the internet or a Crackberry or someone else's schedule.

I want to spend the days daydreaming the flickering landscape for more hours than I care to remember--drinking more glasses of champagne than I care to count--while I ponder matters important...and not. Then, I want to return to my cabin, make abandoned, hot love as we near the Simplon Pass--as an homage to it--followed by an equally abandoned--and hot--bath, in spite of it....

Dry myself in fluffy, turkish towels, get dressed to the nines for dinner, and indulge in scandously tasty fare seated next to my scandously tasty lover...until a new day dawns or until we arrive in Constantinople, and we're detained as dissidents.

Perfect. Perfectly,"OorrriAHnah Fah-Lah-chi--esque!
Lyric that, Kingston Trio:)

spd rdr said...

And she never returned,
No she never returned,
But her friends are still quite hopeful.
That she won't ride forever
Like an East-West yo-yo
Searching for "Constantinople"

portia said...

You are so dead! May a runaway caboose chase you all the way to the Sunnyside freight yards, and back....Oh geez, I can see your grin from here:)
OK, how 'bout this: May a boxcar of drifters brew your coffee tomorrow morning-- AND-- the day after.


spd rdr said...

May you do better tomorrow, than you did today. :-)

spd rdr said...

For those of you who missed the joke: