The Big Bambootees
    We left the Sphinx's Nose thoroughly chastened.  While gassing up in Goldendale, we considered the route home.  Neither of us wanted to risk the Twilight Zone of the Tricities again.  So we noticed US 97 going north from Goldendale.  While I studied that potential route, Larry looked at the posters stuck up in the window of the gas station.
    "Hey, Phil," he said, "We might still make this trip less than a total disaster.  The Big Bambootees are playing at the Gorge Amphitheater tonight.  We could catch their show on the way home..."
    You may have forgotten the Big Bambootees.  They were one of the biggest gateway-from-folk-to-rock groups of the late 1960's.  Their big hit was about taking a stick of bamboo and throwing it in the water and calling for somebody named Hannah.  Dave Van Ronk wrote the song, but the Big Bambootees popularized it, in a way Van Ronk could only wish for.  I heard he was still suing for his share of the songwriting profits, even though he's been dead 4 years...
    "Yeah, Larry, let's do it.  It's a sort of straight shot up US 97 and we're there."

    There wasn't any part of that road that was straight, but by evening we'd pulled into the Gorge Amphitheater.  Neither of us had been there before, although plenty of big name acts from our heyday had been through there, tempting us, but not removing us, from our complacent lives.  This was all grace.

    I guess their equipment was set up by roadies, but one time I thought I saw Phat Fred out there adjusting his drums.  He still looked fat.  Larry and I weren't sure how many of the original members had survived.  Besides Fred, there had been  Big Wally on the electric 12-string, Lanky Frank on the mandolin and fiddle, and my own favorite, Polly Esther Scriggs on the banjo.  Although we had a good view of the stage, it was hard to make out details like how many heads a person there might have, since we were sitting back quite a ways.  That wasn't much of an issue unless Zaphod Beeblebrox happened to sit in with them...

    The concert was crazy, man.  I took some photos, but they all came out like this:

    It must have been something they did with the lights...  So either all the Big Bambooties were there, or they'd gotten good fakes to fill in.  It didn't matter.  Everyone was singing along, which surprised me because I'd never known any other Big Bambootee fans except Larry, back in the day.  When they played a fast one, everyone would stand up and gyrate.  When they played a ballad, most of us would sit down and act our age.  Then they finished up with a fast one, and went off stage, and I realized they never did the Bamboo song...  Everyone was clapping and yelling anyway, so they came back on and started the Bamboo song, really quietly.  Everyone joined in and started swaying back and forth. At the end of the song, people that had lighters lit them in applause, but it wasn't so many people that had them as back in the old days.  I guess the heavy smokers had already died...
    We drove off into the night toward home, high on adrenaline and memories.

    Larry and I talked about the movies and cigarette smoking.
    Larry said, "You know all those old movies like Casablanca.  I don't know if they had product placement payments per se, but it seemed like smoking scenes came up as regularly as tv ads in those movies.  Now I hear they want to edit the smoking out of the classic cartoons."
    "I suppose they've already edited most of the racism and ethnic stereotypes out.  They've probably removed Porky's and Elmer's  speech impediments.  Smoking was the last thing left, except for the senseless cartoon violence.  Whoops! What was that?"
    "We just hit an owl..."
    "Do you think we should stop?"
    "It was a good solid hit, Larry, I'm sure that owl was toast..."
    "Where was I.  Oh yeah, senseless cartoon violence.  I mean, it's hard to be funny without a bit of slapstick..."
    "So what's funny about killing an owl, Larry?"
    "Did I say that was funny?  It's funny when the coyote gets an anvil on his head... Because you know in the next scene he's going to be strapping on a rocket pack.  Well, actually, I never really cared for the Road Runner cartoons. But that was because they were stupid.  Nothing but slapstick.  Now when Charlie Chaplin took a dive, he'd already made sure you'd won his sympathy, so that later when the big palooka got taken out by the little tramp,  that was funny..."
    "So the owl dying wasn't funny, unless we'd just seen him terrorizing the mouse family that we knew and loved..."
    "You know, Phil, you're weird.  But that's one way of looking at it..."

    Behind them on the road, the mouse family was dancing in happiness off in the ditch.  A coyote came up, grabbed the dead owl, and set off into the field to eat it...  A roadrunner went "Meep, meep," and stuck out its tongue... 

Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47  entries) or the stories (starting with  1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)
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Week 37
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Week 39
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Week 41
Week 42
Week 43
Week 44
Week 45
Week 46
Week 47
(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
6. The old
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
Lost in the City

What's in
a name?
The Curse of
Bently Manor
Shortbottom Possessed
The Lost
of Iraq
Phil Steen
for President!
Phil Steen
for Rehab
The Adventures
of Handiman
and Fiberwoman
Pirates of the Puget Sound
Building a platform, plank by plank
The Quest
for meaning
Larry and
Phil to
The Rescue
Hurrah for
the Reds,
Whites, and
How I spent
my summer
I am
trapped in
the Present
Help I am trapped
in the future
Nose of Death