Friday, October 13, 2017

Buddy, surfing & Egyptian girl

Buddy is a perfect gentleman, although it might not always appear that way. He often sleeps on his back and he takes his own sweet time getting out of bed in the mornings. He prefers breakfast in bed, but I insist he get up and eat at the table. There are times, like this particular morning, when he waits until "last call" for breakfast before greeting the day. This is a "mix it up" post and includes sort of tying up loose ends and clearing up a few matters.  Read on for further information.
Ahhhhhh, Egyptian girl ....
I cannot recall the first time I heard the Dick Dale version of the song, "Misirlou," but it has been more than a few years. I never really thought about it other than to assume it was one he had composed. It was enough that I liked it.
When I heard a different rendition of it a few days ago, I did a bit of research and learned that it is a traditional song of Eastern Mediterranean origin. There are Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Persian, Indian and Turkish adaptations of it -- and, most certainly, a few others. The first known recording was in 1927. Dick Dale's father was Arab and his mother was Polish-Belarusian, so, undoubtedly, he was familiar with the song when he decided to record it in the surf music style.
"Misirlou," sometimes spelled miserlou, incidentally, is Arabic for "Egyptian girl" and is a popular song among belly/exotic dancers .... catch the connection ???? Just for fun, I have both the Dick Dale interpretation and what might be described as an original adaptation by a Greek singer named Kalliopi Vetta here for "your listening pleasure" .... or whatever ....
More seriously, I have listened to a few dozen versions of the song in a number of musical styles/variations during the past few days. It seems one-half of the bands/orchestras in the world have recorded it at one time or another .... and, it might seem I was the only one in the world who thought Dick Dale not only played it, but composed it.

Of those versions which I listened to, I think Kalliopi Vetta's interpretation is far and above the most beautiful and it is absolutely tantalizing. She has the voice of an angel .... or so, I would imagine.
Surfing has real dangers
My post on October 1 included a video about surfing. All the photographs in it portrayed the "romance" of surfing, so to speak, with nothing to illustrate the dangers. It is a high-risk sport .... of that, have no doubt. Many surfers are injured every year -- some severely and some even killed.
The earlier video showed the best of the best making surfing look easy. But, even they succumb to injuries at times and narrowly escape catastrophe at other times and occasionally are killed.

Writing as someone who tried surfing on five- to six-foot waves while in the Marine Corps, I guarantee there is no more helpless a feeling than being drawn down to the bottom after taking a spill and being mercilessly bounced along the seabed like a basketball. Fortunately, for me, the seabed where I took my spills was sand; rock or coral bottoms always are worse and can be deadly.
Some waters have a reputation for an abundance of sharks. More often than not, the surfer will go one way and the shark another way. But, there are times when their paths do cross and which often spell disaster for the surfer.

Accompanying this post is a video about "wipeouts," which probably present the most accurate portrait of what to expect when you pick up a surf board and head for the beach. You ask, what is a "wipeout?" Watch the video and be enlightened ....

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

One more encore for Tom

          Tom Petty .... October 20, 1950 -- October 02, 2017

A couple of verses from
"Something Good Coming"
by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers:

I'm watching the water
Watching the coast
Suddenly I know
What I want the most

And I want to tell you
Still I hold back
I need some time
Get my life on track ....

.... And I'm in for the long run
Wherever it goes
Ridin' the river
Wherever it goes

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Hour of the gun"

Two rifles, both old, both new for me. Maybe, one is the perfect one for me. We shall see.
The rifle on top is  a Winchester 94 in .30-30 caliber and the one below it is a Browning 92 in .44 magnum. Renowned gun maker John Browning designed them both. From there, the story gets complicated, so we shall let it go at that for now.
As for the music, it is my belief the soundtrack is among the ingredients which can make a film or, in some instances, break it. "Hour of the Gun," is a 1967 film centered around the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, which took place on October 26, 1881. Do a bit of research, if you are curious.
Anyway, the film is among my "favorite flicks" and the theme is one which often plays on and on in my mind. Jerrald "Jerry" Goldsmith composed the score for this and dozens of other movies and television shows. He, too, is among my favorites. The Prague Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra is performing it here. Since this post is about my two new rifles, the title and the music sort of fell into place.
Dick Dale, who pioneered the surf music style, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, among the best with a guitar, provide the music on the second video, which I happened to run across while "surfing the net." Even better than the song are the fantastic waves and the surfers challenging them. Too good .... makes me want to take a walk on the wild side ....
It had been a while ….
When I left on my "road trip" a week or two ago, the primary intent was to pick up a rifle. It was the first firearm purchase I had made since January 3 this year.  This was a Browning Model 92, lever action, with a carbine-length 20-inch barrel in .44 magnum, made in 1980 and in near-new condition. It obviously had been a while between purchases and, since I had bought eight guns in 2016, circumstances this year might be thought of as inexplicable. 
The lack of acquisitions was not that my "love" for firearms had diminished any great degree; it simply was they had lessened in importance and relevance to me when I finally had realized that no matter how many guns I might own, they did not create a sense of real happiness or of actual satisfaction within me.
More interesting, perhaps, was the fact that I left home to retrieve one rifle and I returned home with two rifles. While doing the transfer paperwork on the first purchase, my "gun guy" brought out another which was nearly identical to one I had owned a number of years ago.
This was a consignment gun -- a .30-30 Winchester Model 94, lever action, octagon 26-inch barrel, made in 1919 and in fantastic condition for being a hunting rifle ninety-eight years old. I looked at it, played with it a bit, examined it closely and when he said the owner would take a thousand for it, I asked him if he would take a check. The transaction had taken less than two minutes.
I have not fired it yet, but I play with it a bit every day .... both of them, actually .... sooner or later, I might find the one rifle that is perfect for me .... until then, all I can do is keep searching .... with the belief that surely such a rifle must exist ....


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat"

The legend of Prometheus dates to a trilogy called the "Prometheia," originally attributed, but now disputed, to an ancient Greek named Aeschylus. It tells the story of a Titan, Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humankind. As punishment, Zeus had him bound to a rock atop a mountain where an eagle comes every day to feast on his liver. Eventually, Prometheus is freed by Hercules .... and, you can read the trilogy if your curiosity is sufficient to learn the rest of the tale. The painting here is an oil by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. It was begun in 1611/1612 and completed in 1618 and is titled "Prometheus Bound." It is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art collection. The eagle was painted by Frans Snyders, a specialist animal painter.

Quotes to remember ....

It is said there is a quote for any and every occasion and, when one finds it, someone else will find another which contradicts it .... and, someone else will locate an earlier version of both.  (Or, should that be "of each?")

As a college boy, I encountered a number of quotes which struck my fancy. Among them was this one: "Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad."

The line was spoken by Prometheus in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "The Masque of Pandora."

I since have discovered a number of references using descriptive words other than the term, "mad," to illustrate the concept, and written examples demonstrating that the thought goes back to other "Old Greeks," ­such as Sophocles and Euripides, if not to even more "distant" times.

English poet and playwright, John Dryden, who lived about two centuries before Longfellow actually wrote this: "For those whom God to ruin has design'd, He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind." Sort of sounds the same, does it not?

No matter who, what, where, when or how, I still like the quote, occasionally use it and have seen indication it often is reasonably correct and accurate.

A fascinating side note of this (to me, anyway) is the possible connection between the Greek mythological woman Pandora and the Biblical woman Eve. There is a theory, which I will not elaborate on at this time, that they are based on the same individual. I sort of think it is a very plausible theory.

And, with that, here is another quote which I recently discovered and to which I am drawn:

Written on a t-shirt /
Worn by rock front man Doogie White /
While performing an on-stage concert /

I have no job
I have no money
I have no car
But, I'm in a band

I like that one, too ....

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The memory of a tree

Time to say goodbye to an ash tree

I adore trees. No ands, ifs or buts. I absolutely love them. In the midst of them is one of two places I feel most comfortable and most at home. The other place is in a canoe or a boat somewhere on "big water" .... Lake Superior is one such setting.

So, it really pained me to have a tree cut down, which is what is happening in the two photographs taken last week. The ash tree was diseased and would have to be taken down at some point. The point arrived, in my mind, a few weeks ago, so I made the necessary arrangements. The cutting crew blocked off the street and dropped it there, then cut it up and hauled it away. Such is the fate of life ....

There are two songs here this time. One is the Taliesin Orchestra rendition of, "The Memory of Trees," by Enya. It sort of goes along with the photographs. The second, "I Will Always Love You," sung by John Nommensen Duchac, also known as John Doe, is here because it came up in a recent conversation.

For those of you who watch films with a critical eye, often a few times, you may have become aware that a man is singing this song during the "saloon" dance scene with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in the film, "The Bodyguard." It took me almost forever to track down the singer, and it turned out he is one who has been around for just about that long -- but, his usual music is not on my listening list.

For three or four reasons, his is my favorite version of the piece .... mostly my favorite, I suppose, because John Doe sings it with a Western twang and because the cowboy embedded deeply within me is drawn to it ....


Something special ....