Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here We Have Ida -- No, I Just Can't Sing It

A convergence of a few things today:

First, for the same reason Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest, I'm reading a book entitled "Aristocrat in Burlap: A History of the Potato in Idaho."

Because it's there, folks, because it's there.

Because I found it at Deseret Industries and in a weak moment -- and for only fifty cents -- I bought it. And I might as well read it since as a native Idahoan I know more about bricklaying and the history of nuclear power than I do about potatoes, so I've got to bone up. Especially on interesting things like this:

Little does the city-dweller realize the extent to which developments in the Idaho potato industry  have affected his eating habits. He would never dream that his per capita consumption of potatoes has increased because of developmental work done in this remote and thinly-populated western state.

That's a direct quote from the book, page 143 for the curious. And, as I see it, an open invitiation for the average city-dweller to invade -- no one wants to invade a thickly-populated, centralized state, no matter where it is. If New York invaded Idaho, we'd be hard-pressed to notice, we're so thinly-populated and remote here. We'd just think a string of tour buses on the way to Yellowstone National Park broke down or something and the traditional Japanese tourists had been replaced by people staggering about town lamenting the absence of kosher delis, The Village Voice and exquisite little restaurants called ridiculous things like "The Whittling Pig." I'd like to take a few of them to Ernie's Cafe in Iona and see how long they could last under the lunchtime stares of that crowd. I took a friend there for lunch one day and I'm sure everyone else in the restaurant thought we were flamers from San Francisco because we ordered chicken.

Anyway, the other part of the convergence:

Can't Idaho have a cool state song, something that doesn't sound like it was written and composed by two sweet little blue-haired grandmas who not only read "Aristocrat in Burlap" on a yearly basis but have actually worked in potato harvest, instead of just buying them at the store?

Georgia has a cool state song; Willie Nelson covered it. Somebody named Hoagy Carmichael wrote it. You don't get a grandma state song out of somebody named Hoagy.

Oklahoma's state song was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, for heaven's sake.

Virginia, in my mind, has the best state song. It's so old-timey. And it mentions potatoes, of all things. When you write a state song that mentions potatoes and it's actually a song you can sit back and sing and really enjoy, you know you've got a great state song.

Then there's Wisconsin. Come on, you know Wisconsin's state song. Even though it was written and composed waaaay back in 1807, it's not a grandma song.

Idaho deserves better.

Nerina Pallot has a good candidate song:

But it's way too angsty for your run-of-the-mill Idahoan. And forget the B-52s.

We need a new state song.

I'd write it, but I'm busy working on my childrens' book, "Dumb Bunnies." Maybe later this weekend  . . .

One more note: I thought Idaho's state song was a stinker until I encountered New Jersey's. Yuck.

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