Friday, September 5, 2008

Baga Slag






This morning I had the thrill of learning that a female donkey is called a Jenny, and a male a Jack. How did I learn that? From going back to lmenary school, of course! I was reading books to my wiser and more poised 3 year old in her preschool class, where they had some darn good books for kids, including one from the Poppleton series in which the friendly pig bachelor mistakes lint on his face for dry skin and alternately applies oil, honey and french fries to try to relieve his condition. Don't worry folks, his friend Peggy Sue the sheep sets him straight. And then we read the book about a Donkey who learns to stop being so selfish! Always a good lesson nobody wants to hear.

There was actually a Jenny and Jack in the classroom, that is to say, I am clearly a female donkey and there was a little boy I've seen around the school for years now and it turns out his name is Jack. His father has been very nice to me since he watched me accidentally coat myself in cotton candy while trying to serve up the vitrified sugar clouds to the school community during last year's Harvest Festival. How long's it going to take for me to get around to my true calling full-time, that is, making a world class fool of myself by coating myself with sticky substances, like Poppleton?

How do I know I'm a world class fool? Because yesterday I accidentally carried a large rock around with me all day without realizing it. It's a chunk of slag, well, I think it's slag, which I found on the ground around the bandshell in Prospect Park, in the area from which people observe the concerts. I was led there by the most 'dorable freckle-nosed 2nd grader who has a keen interest in geology. So I'd better be right about the slag, because it's not good to lie to children. It would also be a little pitiful if I couldn't tell slag from lava, given the fact that I'm a geologists daughter, and we just collected some from the Civil War era Elizabeth Furnace in Virginia's Fort Valley.

Slag, sometimes called dross, is a by product of iron making. I wonder what so much of it is doing at the bandshell. I think it would be a good name for a band, but that's not what it is, it is the rock-like things with many glassy sharp surfaces that make sitting on the ground there somewhat more uncomfortable than it usually is, but still all together an opportunity I hate to pass up. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to ride my Jenny to the bandshell, happily sit on some sharp pointy vitrified recrement, and hear Brooklyn's own Genny Slag play in her band "Hooray for Goodbye," and find out if she's really 99 years old like she claims on her myspace page. I found out about her when I googled "slag, Brooklyn," hoping to find easy history, but finding instead a woman who, if she's not one of our eldest citizens, may be one of the funniest.

6 comments:

Parker said...

Hmm. I wonder how useless it is once it becomes a byproduct? Maybe they use it for cheap fill?

M.Thew said...

Nice slag! It certainly looks iron-y from here. Is there any more there? Keep an eye out for the conkers/buckeyes/chestnuts around there, too, this time of the year. The kids should love those... or am I just living in a fantasy world thinking that a mere seed can compete with the zip-pow of friendly sheep and other, more advanced forms, of entertainment?

amarilla said...

I get the sense you know more than you let on, parker! Am I wrong?

mthew, there's lots of little pieces there, very exfoliating. We'll look for the conkers, or at least I will, which I usually find in the middle of the traffic circle at Bartel Pritchard square. This year we'll try to make soap with them, or maybe just soapy water. May be a post...

Old First said...

What I love about many of your postings is that they are like rides in a car. You get in, and sit back, and get taken through all different streets and byways and you don't know where you're going until you come back home.

amarilla said...

Welcome aboard, passenger. I bet you're glad to get home again.

Parker said...

I must confess, I do spend part of my time in iron-ore country, and have visited more than one retired mine. Have to plead ignorant on the slag details though. Ever seen an old blast furnace? Awesome.