Festivals, internet, technology

Googling God

Googling God photo by Mariah Chase.  © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2014.
Googling God photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2014.


Overwhelming response to a recent post: “God Laughs While Women Plan” puzzled me. Up to that point, 9,000 was the largest number of hits I had received on previous posts, so 31,000 hits was stunning.

Did I have so many hits because I used the word “God” in the title? That’s the only rationale that makes sense. In the past, I thought that by using “Martha Stewart” in a title would bring many hits. I was wrong. I miscalculated again when I wrote about “Marijuana.” I questioned my low number of hits then discovered that I had misspelled “Marijuana,” yet it was spelled correctly in the body of the post. Even when I corrected the title spelling, I had fewer than 2,000 readers.

Using the word “God” in the title is the only explanation for the popularity of my post.

Do you remember the old Groucho Marx show, “You Bet Your Life”? Groucho had a “Secret Word” that, if contestants inadvertently uttered, brought them a $50 bonus.

I have had personal experiences of saying a secret word that struck an unexpected response from another person. When my children were teenagers and I returned to take classes at a community college, I took an American Literature class. In one of my papers, I mentioned “Dostoyevsky.” How was I to know that the class reader, a graduate student from a local university, was a Russian Literature major? As a result of that one word, we became lifetime friends.

The night I met my husband-to-be, we were at a festival on the UCLA campus. While we were dancing, he made me uncomfortable because he held me too tightly. However, when he asked, “Do you like Latin music?” he totally disarmed me. He had spoken my secret words, referring to music I fell in love with at age 14 while mesmerized by a Mexican trio on Catalina Island. I had never discussed this with anyone, so Harold’s speaking these words instantly melted me – even more so when we left UCLA to go to a club to hear and dance to the captivating Cuban rhythms of Rene Touzet.

Latin Music became a motif throughout our lifetime together. And with Harold’s permission, as guests entered the chapel at his funeral, they entered to the Latin beat of the Buena Vista Social Club.

How do readers find blogs that interest them? By Googling a topic. God has a gazillion followers.

Norine Dresser is a folklorist who is curious about how readers discover her blogs.


Dogs, Festivals, folklore, music

Ay Chihuahuas!

Shayla, the Life Guard, winner of Chihuahua contest.  © Norine Dresser, 2013.  All rights reserved
Shayla, the Life Guard, winner of Chihuahua contest. © Norine Dresser, 2013. All rights reserved.

Salsa Fest in Las Cruces features salsa bands, salsa tasting, and a costumed Chihuahua contest.  I skipped the salsa tasting because I knew I’d over-stuff myself with chips.  I laughed at all the dressed-up critters and agreed with their choice of winner, Shayla, the Life Guard Dog.

Mostly I enjoyed the fiery live salsa music and set aside my cane for one dance with my daughter.

Salsa music, or more accurately Latin music, has played an important role in my life.  At age 14, I spent Easter vacation with some girlfriends (chaperoned by a mom) on  Catalina Island, 26 miles off the coast of Southern California.  That’s where I became mesmerized by the song, “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás,” played twice daily by a Mexican trio greeting tourists as they disembarked from the SS Catalina, also known as the Great White Steamer.

Four years later, when a handsome stranger, Harold, asked me to dance at a UCLA social event, I accepted but was disinterested until he asked, “Do you like Latin Music?”   We left UCLA and he took me to a small club in Santa Monica to dance to the syncopated Cuban music of René Touzet, at the start of his successful musical career.

Shared love of this music lasted throughout our almost 56 years of marriage.  We even won a rhumba dance contest aboard a cruise ship one year.  Passion for Latin music persisted through Harold’s death and beyond.  Before he died, he agreed when I asked, “Would you like me to play the Buena Vista Social Club music as guests enter the funeral chapel?”  One year later, at his memorial service, my son brought his contrabass; I passed out song sheets and rhythm instruments to close friends and family, and we sang one of Harold’s favorite songs, “Guantanamera.”

Even though, he has been gone for over six years, I frequently listen to salsa CDs that evoke wonderful memories of our dancing together through life.  I often dance alone in the kitchen.

Norine Dresser is a folklorist who loves Latin Music.