Why Oregon beats Pennsylvania this time of year

Punxsatawney Phil says bundle up. www.groundhog.org

This chilling report just in (OK, actually it was in early this morning, but Mr. Scatter was busy) from the Official Website of the Punxsatawney Groundhog Club: Looks like Phil’s laid a six-week egg. Temperature in downtown Punxsatawney at 5:06 p.m. Pacific time: 31 degrees. Not too bad for Pennsylvania this time of year, actually.

Long, long ago Mr. Scatter lived within a groundhog’s toss of Punxsatawney — all right, it was 260 miles, but cold is cold — on the banks of the beautiful Chenango River. He stored quart bottles of locally brewed soda pop on his back porch. One morning he discovered twelve neat popsicles sticking up from a dozen bottlenecks, each crowned with a neat crimped cap. That’s what Phil’s talkin’ about.

Here at Scatter World Headquarters we haven’t watched Groundhog Day this season, but Mr. Scatter maintains the foolish fiction that given as many do-overs as Bill Murray got, he could play a mean piano, too.


Instead of breaking off popsicles, Mr. and Mrs. Scatter donned their short-sleeve Hawaiian shirts last night and ambled over to Kaul Auditorium to catch the Kronos Quartet‘s three-encore show, presented by Friends of Chamber Music. A wonderful concert, which our friend David Stabler wrote about compellingly here for The Oregonian.

With music by a young Serbian woman (Alexandra Vrebalov, born 1970), a youngish Polish woman (Hanna Kulenty, born 1961) and an elder statesman of new music (Terry Riley, born 1935), plus fresh arrangements of a couple of moving traditional songs, the concert gave hope to the proposition that, nearly a decade into the 21st century, the music world is at last moving beyond the 19th.

Mr. Scatter has long thought of Kronos as invaluable curators of music from around the globe, bringing to our attention a wealth of sound we might otherwise miss. Last night’s concert underscored that. But we were hearteningly reminded as well that these are also superb musicians who have developed an uncanny ensemble sound. Someday we can tell our doting Scatter grandchildren that we were there when the great Kronos was more than just a recorded memory.