Thursday, August 4, 2011

Katharine Mari, Bloody Marys & Marzyciel

How much has America changed in the last blink of a cosmic eye? Well, all right, let us define a blink as the past one hundred years. How much has the world changed? Take a look at the people walking down a city street, in school, at church, shopping in the mall. Do any of them look like the pair in this post card? Not just the clothing, but the faces, the expressions. Post cards record visual history in the form of photographs and illustrations, and offer folk art in the sense of portraying us as we once were. I wonder, should these two children be transported to today's America, would they like it or would they choose to return to their own way of life as it existed in 1914. Yes, I wonder.

There once was a young lady who did it twice

A number of years ago, a young lady told me she believed in a theory she called "The Do It Twice Principle." She did not apply it to everything, obviously, but to certain activities she experienced for the first time. It began, she explained, the first time she went off the high board at a swimming pool. She was not sure in her mind if the experience was good or bad, so she waited a few minutes and did it again, but this time trying to sense ever moment of the experience rather than simply "doing it and being petrified," as she described her first leap.

This way, she continued, she could decide more objectively if an experience was worth repeating. In the particular "experience" I was engaged in with her, she was applying her concept to men she dated. In case you are at all interested, she declared her experience with me to be a worthwhile endeavor after our two encounters, and we dated exclusively over the next few months. Eventually, I moved on and she chose to stay in her "home town," close to family, friends and the world as she knew it. Actually, this has happened to me a few times. I move; she does not.

I often have wondered why this particular girl chose not to move at least once, if not twice, so she would have had the opportunity to decide whether it might be a worthwhile experiment. I guess I was not inspirational enough .... or, whatever ....

So, with a flickering memory of Kati Mari, I will utilize her "do it twice" concept to publish a second post card. This one is dated 1914, which would place its origin to the Christmas of nearly ninety seven years ago. I like the number ninety-seven for a variety of reasons, none of which I care to mention today. I will say once again, though, that in my mind the last decades of the Nineteenth Century and the first years of the Twentieth Century -- up to about the time of the first shots of World War I -- comprise the Golden Age of America.

If you will, please, think of this post card as an early 2011 Christmas greeting from me to you. Who knows? I may have journeyed to Neverland by December.

My kingdom for a genuine Bloody Mary

Once upon a time, James Bond (Ian Fleming) had his famous gin and vodka (yes, both, together) Martini "with a large, thin slice of lemon peel," and Ernest Hemingway had his white rum Daiquiri at the El Floridita Bar in Havana, Cuba.

When I go out for a nice meal in a nice establishment with a nice friend, I invariably order a Bloody Mary or two before the meal. Sadly, I have discovered even the classiest joints no longer employ bartenders who know what they are doing, and who would be better suited for employment in a Saturday night beer saloon than in a classy joint.

Everyone, it seems, uses a premixed, factory-bottled, Bloody Mary cocktail of "gooygook" when making the drink these days, rather than prepare their own unique mix of ingredients from scratch. In a word, "yuk." No, it is worse than that, so, "yuk" times two over and over again.

Oh, for a return to the world of bartenders as they existed in the days of Bond and Hemingway.

Our private domain is Neverland

For today's music, White Bear has selected some of Polish composer Jan Kaczmarek's scores from the film, "Finding Neverland." Although a devotee of the American Western film genre, White Bear admits this is his favorite motion picture and music.

For the first ten or twelve nights after arriving in Poland, while staying at The Duval and before moving into an apartment overlooking Castle Square, White Bear kept this music playing all night most nights. That was fine with me. It was a great and memorable experience.

By the way, in case you are not aware: Marzyciel = daydreamer.


Wind said...

I came here to see what are you doing!
I will just stay and listen to Jan Kaczmarek.
On the second video, one of the photo is mine .
The water drop.
Strange, isn't it?

Fram Actual said...

A few thoughts, beginning with the least important:

I wish the quality of the sound was better in the first video, but I should not complain when I am able to use someone else's work without cost to me.

You apparently are not a connoisseur of the Blood Mary, Wind. Ah, well. Ladies often prefer the taste of wine.

All winter, every winter, I can be found complaining about cold and snow, just as I do about heat and humidity in the summer. But, whenever I see a photograph of a snow-covered lane, such as the one in the second video, I am very glad that I live in the north country where I am able to walk such pathways.

I am not sure if it is strange that your photograph should be among those used in the second video. Whoever put the piece together obviously has most excellent taste both in music and in photography.

The first video is my favorite song, but I used the second video because the recording is more pleasing in sound quality and because the photographs are exceptional in their visual appeal.

Possibly, under those circumstances, then it is not strange at all, and might even be expected. On the other hand, possibly it is part of the pathway known as destiny.

Kaya said...

Hi Fram,

First time I don't know what to say. I am in the middle of two big projects and emotionally drained out. I would like to let you know that I read your post.

I never tasted bloody Mary. What is a shame, perhaps... And I have sad news.

My favorite singer Amy Winehouse was overdosed and died at 27. I was shocked. I have all her CDs and I love her style a lot. She is really fantastic original artist.

Anyway Bond and Hemingway definitely had something in common. That is... Ahh, you know what is it.

I am listening to the music on your blog right now and it's so wonderful. That is what I need right now. Thank you, Fram, for this nice selection.


Fram Actual said...

Kaya is emotionally drained.

Fram is frustrated to the point of anger with Wells Fargo Bank, with the international banking system, with Verizon and with Blackberry.

So, it seems we both are spinning our wheels rather than proceeding down the highway. Oh, well ....

My advice to you regarding Bloody Marys is to order one the next time you go out for a nice meal in a nice establishment with a nice friend. Even with the premixed, factory-bottled "gooygook," it still is an acceptable, enjoyable drink.

In regard to Ms. Winehouse, apparently this was very much of a shock to everyone who cared for her music. For you, I will convey my condolences.

As for James and Ernest, James is/was a better man than I to drink a Martini with both gin and vodka in it, and Ernest is/was a better man than I to have had four wives. Of course, I am not ready to quit yet, on either count. Just teasing .... sort of ....

Thank you, for saying what you did not know what to say, Kaya. It worked out, did it not?

Anonymous said...

Hei Hei Fram!

Thank you very much for nice words on my blog!yeah i took away those nude photoes of myself..what the fuck was I thinking?????placing them there to the whole world...

well no harm done so far .

I like to share your like of Bloody Mary.It is the only alcoholic drink i like..of course homemade with a lot of salt and pepper and tabasco!!Mmmmmm,,nice!!

yeah i think there has ben alot of changes in america..what happened to them.?they mostly came from europe..and where are your spirits..hopes...belives..what in earth did happen to your politics???yes it interest me..because the rest of the world goes down the same way if usa does not change their course.

i shall not write so long.but i do like your christmas card..your thinking of the past..and so on.think poland will be very happy to be in touch with you again!it is a very rich country of culture and nice people.

Well see you around then...

And thanx for the music.I have copied them both :)

Fram Actual said...

In a millennium, Anita, Scandinavia has gone from being a land of Viking raiders and explorers to a land of socialism. Who knows in which directions America will evolve as the centuries pass.

My own feeling is that America is in sharp decline and its position in the world will shrink to a second or third level tier behind the rise of China. Of course, another world war could send everything spinning in other directions altogether.

Actually, I favor Worcestershire sauce rather than Tabasco sauce in a Bloody Mary, for I prefer to avoid the "burn" of Tabasco. But, that is the magic of a Bloody Mary. Each to his/her own taste.

Bars once were known for the individuality of some of their drinks. Now, they are known for their "happy hour."

Incidentally, I sometimes toss a dash of Worcestershire into a mix of beer and tomato juice to give it a bit of a different flavor.

Yes, I hope to walk the streets of Old Town in Warsaw again and to visit the shops and pizza places that I frequented, but I would like to see Krakow and Gdansk this time around, too. After that, who knows? Maybe, further east in search of Neverland.

Peggy said...

Fram, thank you for introducing me to Kaczmarek - the piece is exquisite. I am glad you included the 2nd version - the photography is wonderful and an apt accompaniment. I actually prefer the 2nd version although I can see why you prefer the 1st.

While we are weighing in here on drinks of choice - I often like to have a bloody caesar as an aperitif - and with both Worcestershire as well as hot sauce - I like a bit of heat and the caesar mix adds a bit of complexity in contrast to plain tomato juice. Highly recommended - although I have found that you cannot get caesar mix in some areas of the States.

On the topic of doing it twice - there is a good argument to not ever just doing it once... :) for lots of reasons and I agree with the diving example - so you can relax into the experience the second time. I make it a policy to do things at least three times as a general rule - and that includes dating. Recently I have been more restless about being without a dating partner and have been putting my toe in the water again and your post today reminded me of my old "3 date rule".

Thanks for the post. Where are you these days? LOL - I find it hard to keep track.

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Peggy, the music of Jan Kaczmarek is wonderful, indeed. He has done several film scores, but I was not aware of him until I was in Poland.

I arrived on what could be called a five-day weekend, and late on the second night began to play "Finding Neverland" because it was one of only three or four English-language films on DVD in the apartment which I was renting. I just fell off a cliff in love with the story, the characters, the acting and the music.

I could write a long, long post about my first few days in Poland and a long, long critique of the film, but I could not be objective about either. I will use your word, exquisite, to describe these experiences.

I had to look up "Bloody Caesar." I had not heard of it. I will try it. Promise.

I really have been one for doing things twice in the sense of simple things. In the sense of dating, sometimes one date is enough. My criteria usually has been, are we here to spend money or to get to know each, if you get my drift. Conversely, the young lady's question might well be, does he want to impress me or not?

My current location is suburban St. Paul. It is sort of strange. I actually lived in ten places in 2010, but so far, only two in 2011. Maybe, I should have a chip implanted to reveal my location in case I get lost.

Peggy said...

I certainly agree with you that sometimes one date is enough - but I wouldn't count the typical coffee "meet and greet" as a real date. If things seem promising after a coffee (or even better - a walk and talk along the LakeShore walking trails)- then I think in order to really figure out if there is anything worth pursuing you need to spend a bit more time than a couple of hours over dinner - so I usually think in terms of making a decision about continuing interest after date #3. Not that I have had that opportunity lately :(.

Incidentally, I have plans to go out and rent "Finding Neverland" after looking it up on IMO database, I am not sure why/how I missed that one when it came out as it is the sort of movie I enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

It is a stormy night here tonight - steady rain and it is quite hot and humid - just saw a lighting strike. We sure can use the rain here - July has been extremely hot and dry.

Sadly, Sunday nights always roll around too soon. I must get at that bit of work I brought home and ready myself for another week at the salt mine. I am looking forward to my 6 months of gypsy life next year. My job gets harder each week to be enthusiastic about. I share your burning desire to flee and feel quite tethered to Toronto against my will at the moment.

Fram Actual said...

It seems you have a very good, practical dating system for a metropolitan girl, Peggy. When I think about myself, and, I shudder to say this, I have not dated anyone in a conventional sense for a few years.

Actually, I have been asked out a couple of times, but joked my way out of doing it. See? Nervous.

Women even have approached me in supermarkets and in clothing stores. That probably is why I walk through them with a scowl on my face. (Not really. I just do not like shopping.) I need to think about this more.

I am pleased you will watch "Finding Neverland." I would bet your Canadian dollar against my American dollar that you will cry at least twice during it. If you do not cry, a third date will not be necessary. I am teasing.

As for me, I watch the half-moon through the trees at this moment, as I sit on the patio with Amaretto over here and brandy and coke over there, and a coffee in the middle. The stereo is behind me. No, I am not teasing. My nervousness continues.

Something special ....