2006-05-17

Overly Visually Aided Story

"People have played rugby up there, and someone drove up a herd of llamas," Nigel Hawkins of the John Muir Trust said. "It does attract a lot of wacky things."

Volunteers were working diligently to clean up Britain's highest mountain, the 1,347-metre Ben Nevis in Scotland. As they neared the summit, bags full of ick, they discovered a pile of stones. Under the pile of stones - a piano.

"Our guys couldn't believe their eyes,"Hawkins said. "At first they thought it was just the wooden casing, but then they saw the whole cast-iron frame complete with strings. The only thing that was missing was the keyboard, and that's another mystery."

A cookie wrapper found underneath the piano had an expiry date of Dec. 12, 1986, suggesting the paino may have been there for 20 years.

Hawkins said he suspected the piano was carried up as part of a charity fundraising effort by a group who decided it was easier to bury it under a pile of stones, or cairn, than to carry it back down.

The piano was smashed to bits then carried down the pieces.

In other piano related news, piano tuner Benjamin Treuhaft has defied the US government and sent 237 pianos to Cuba. They were sent to replace Soviet era pianos ruined by humidity and termites.

"There was a horrible situation for pianos. The climate, the conditions, the blockade against commerce and parts," he said.

Treuhaft has been penalized for visiting Cuba in the past. He was fined $3,500 in the mid-1990's. He refused to pay.

But the Bush administration wags a mightier finger. In March of 2004, Treuhaft received a warning from the Treasury Department letting the intrepid piano man know that he faced criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $1 million in fines if he went ahead with a plan to set up a copper bass string factory in Cuba.

Treuhaft does not care. He plans to call the factory the Helms-Treuhaft Piano Bass String Company, in reference to former Republican Senator Jesse Helms who sponsored a 1996 law strengthening the embargo.

"This is a holiday trip. I like to tune pianos on my holidays," Treuhaft said.

He believes pianos are not a threat to U.S. national security even if played in Cuba.

Neither are kittens.

Or puppies.

Or rainbows.

Or a good, hearty stew.

Or flapjacks.

Or knitting.

4 comments:

Jennifer Jordan said...

Or noodles.

Or curtains.

Or lampshades.

Or tin cans.

Or down-filled pillows.

Or flip-flops.

Or cartographers.

Fence said...

Well they could be is taken apart and the piano strings sent to top-secret assassins as strangluation wires.


I can't help what pops into my head.

James Lincoln Warren said...

Whether one agrees with the bipartisan policy regarding the embargo on Cuba or not, the point of the embargo isn't national security in the sense of direct threat from weapons. It's economic pressure.

So the issue isn't whether or not pianos represent a threat to the U.S. It's whether or not it's moral to monetarily chastize the people of Cuba for their government.

I offer no opinion.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I beg to differ. I'm certain that the airlines would disagree about knitting needles. You can take an eye out with those.

And a pillow could be a threat if you could hold it down over a...certain politician's head.