a sopping Thursday


It’s raining here today. Lots of rain. It’s a good day to bring out some umbrellas, so I give you a ThThTh list of umbrella things.¹

a selection of umbrellas

  • The Sopping Thursday, by Edward Gorey. This is one of my all-time favorite Gorey books. John and I have been known to send each other messages that are quotations from the book:
  • I have lost my umbrella.
  • I do not find my umbrella
  • I have been poked in the eye with an umbrella
  • None of these umbrellas will do
  • And perhaps our favorite:

    The child has somehow got shut inside its umbrella

  • Mary Poppins: The famed fictional nanny of books, stage and screen uses her wind-propelled umbrella as a mode of transportation. (I think that’s how it works, at least. I confess that I haven’t read the books, and this horror trailer recut video is the most I’ve seen of the Disney movie.)
  • John Steed. A character from the 60s British spy show The Avengers. Carrying a finely crafted traditional British umbrella is one of his trademarks.
  • James Smith & Sons, Umbrellas Ltd.: An umbrella store in London, established in 1830. A place to go if you would like to buy a finely crafted traditional British umbrella .
  • The Correct Way to Kill: An episode of The Avengers. The plot involves a lot of umbrellas, as well as an umbrella store. Also spies with bad fake Russian accents. A favorite quote, which must be spoken with a bad Russian accent is:

    What would a chiropodist want with a case of umbrellas?

  • Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964). A musical starring Catherine Deneuve, featuring an umbrella shop.
  • Chatri Chor/The Blue Umbrella (2005) An Indian movie based on the children’s book by Ruskin Bond. About a poor girl who gets an umbrella, which is then stolen by a shopkeeper.
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952): The famous scene where Gene Kelly dances around in the rain with an umbrella (though generally not held over his head) singing “Singin’ in the Rain.”
  • Umbrella, a song by Innocence Mission (also the album title):

    You dance around with my umbrella.
    You dance around the obvious weaknesses.
    Around the room with my umbrella.
    You dance around the room with me.

  • let your smile be your umbrella: an expression meaning something like “let a good attitude keep your day from being totally crappy.” It’s probably good that the meaning is metaphorical, because let’s face it. A smile is pretty ineffectual at keeping you dry in the rain.
  • “Under the Umbrella of the United States”. This was a song that I remember singing in my Junior High chorus class as part of a series of jingoistic patriotic songs about America.²
  • umbrella superstitions: It is considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. Or give an umbrella as a gift. There are a few others, too.³
  • a Haitian riddle:

    Q: Three very large men are standing under a single little umbrella. But, not one of them gets wet. Why?⁴

  • little paper umbrellas: What can I say about them? They are little umbrellas. Made from brightly colored paper. Often used in tropical-esque cocktails. I really liked them when I was little.⁵

  • ———————-
    ¹ I’ve had this list in mind for a while, but I was saving it for a rainy day…

    ² The song was pretty awful, and I can’t find a record of it. Anyone else ever heard of it? (I fear it may have been written by the chorus teacher himself. And someday he may find my scathing review.)

    ³ My own superstition, if you want to call it that, is that carrying an umbrella with you will prevent the rain. At least, it rarely rains when I bring an umbrella, and I rarely have an umbrella with me when it does rain.

    ⁴ A: It’s not raining.

    ⁵ The umbrellas, that is. I didn’t so much get to try the cocktails…

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    7 responses to “a sopping Thursday

    1. “Under the Umbrella of the United States” sounds like it could be one of those awful Toby Keith U.S.-kicks-butt country songs. It would make a lovely anti-immigrant song, even. Hmmmm. . .

      “Darn ‘ispanics, go back to Mexico, Spain
      (wher’ever y’all from)
      Get out from under our umbrella,
      Go back out into the rain.
      Dohn’ care if you hafta stand under a tree
      No room under the U.S. Umbrella
      You can’t stand here for free!!”

      Admittedly, the lyrics aren’t so hot, but have you heard a Toby Keith song? This would be a HUGE HIT for him!!

      ; )

    2. You’re missing out on Mary Poppins. Also, how could you forget about that spectacularly obnoxious Rihanna song.

    3. why didn’t i know about THAT gorey book???

      and the mary poppins movie is actually quite nice. though i’m looking forward to re-reading the books with the girlie, because they are richer and more complicated – as books that precede movies usually are.

    4. Here are two umbrella things that come to mind:

      The album Beatles ’65 where they’re holding umbrellas on the cover (one of my all time favorite albums).

      Frank Zappa’s song “Little Umbrellas” from his Hot Rats album.

    5. omg, thanks for the “scary mary” trailer, i’m ever so amused now. and, really, thank goodness you *did* forget the awful rhianna song.

    6. Christine-
      Oh dear! I’m a bit frightened at the idea. Actually, that particular song was more awful in terms of being dorky and trite. It was not in and of itself especially jingoistic.
      Have you ever seen Bob Roberts, by the way? A great, but scary, movie.

      Ashley-
      Okay, okay, I will check out Mary Poppins. Probably not just right now, though. (But wasn’t the trailer fun?) Oh, and funny about the Rihanna song. Believe it or not, I’d never actually heard it before “researching” this list. It would appear that I live under a rock. But I have an iPod under my rock.

      magpie-
      You would enjoy the Gorey book. It’s quite catchy. (And I will be sure to check out Mary Poppins.)

      Eric-
      Thank you for your most excellent list additions, and for stopping by! Welcome!

      fireweaver-
      I’m glad you liked the trailer. (What’s funny is I thought about including the Rhianna song after I stumbled across it, but I apparently forgot about it within a day…)

    7. In a small town in northern Italy, there is actually an umbrella museum. I visited it several years ago. You can read about it, if you understand Italian, at:
      http://www.gignese.it/museo/ombrello/storia.htm

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