Sunday, February 14, 2021

What is love ....

 Here we go again -- once upon a time ....

Aristotle wrote: "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies."

Dr. Seuss wrote: "We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."

I am not certain, but I think those two are saying the same thing in their own ways. In any event, Valentine's Day is upon us again and, with that, I bid you Happy Valentine's Day and convey wishes your love life may be smoother than, but as thrilling as, that of Eros and Psyche.

Eros (Cupid / Astrilde) was the son of Aphrodite (Venus / Freyja) and the personification of intense love. Eros is the guy running around shooting arrows of love into humankind causing them to fall in love, hence the image of Cupid. Psyche was the youngest of three daughters of a king and renowned for her beauty. She was so beautiful, in fact, that Aphrodite became jealous and ordered Eros to make her fall in love with a monster. The dutiful son set out to do that, but fell in love with the exquisite maiden himself when he saw her .... the story goes on from there and is easy to find, should anyone be curious enough to pursue it.

In fact, C.S. Lewis, author of such classics as "The Screwtape Letters" and "The Chronicles of Narnia," wrote a retelling of the "myth" of Cupid and Psyche in the form of a novel and told the tale from the perspective of one of Psyche's sisters. "Till We Have Faces" is the novel and was the last Lewis wrote. It deeply delves into religious ideas, but in the context of a pagan setting. The book has been described as reading for mystics of any and all religions.

I hope a few of you will read it, whether or not if you think of yourself as a mystic ....

For more clarity, if you wish it:

Eros or Amor is a male from the Old Greek; Cupid is a male from the Latin/Roman; Astrilde is a female from the Old Norse and a relatively late Nordic persona for Eros or Cupid. Essentially, they are names for the same "god" in their respective cultures.

Aphrodite is from the Old Greek; Venus is from the Latin/Roman; Freyja is from the Old Norse. All are female and, essentially, the same "god" in their respective cultures.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, here are two videos of young ladies singing their hearts out in the name of love: Giacomo Puccini's  "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Gianni Schicchi sung by Valentina Naforniță  and Элизиум с Таней Малой на подиуме.

I like both performances and I hope a few of you will, as well ....

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Stand by to stand by ....

Another time / another place / another incarnation or, more simply, whatever ....

"Once upon a time" does exist for each of us in our minds, in our memories. This photograph, taken from a video, is emblematic for one of my own "once upon a times." It shows two Marines walking down an empty street somewhere and sometime in the past carrying a United States flag between them -- which, to me, explains the quintessence of the Corps. The who, what, where, when, why and how of the scene is in a sense timeless because war has been going on forever and probably will continue to be that way. War is one of constants in this world because, I believe, it is inbred in us. 

Today is my anniversary for joining the Corps. I consider the episode to be one of my "incarnations" in this life -- an interlude of learning experiences and of what now exists only as memories, both bad and good.

One song accompanies this post. It is "Goodbye Horses," a 1987 song written by William Garvey and sung by Q Lazzarus. Garvey, who died at age 51 in 2009, wrote these words about his song: "The song is about transcendence over those who see the world as only earthly and finite. The horses represent the five senses discussed in the Bhagavad Gita and the ability to lift one's perception above these physical limitations and to see beyond this limited Earthly perspective." 

Makes sense to me ....

As for the singer, Q Lazzarus, she simply vanished. There were rumors that Q Lazzarus was a drug addict, involved in toxic, abusive relationships, had moved to London or even was dead. After decades of speculation, she "supposedly" turned up as a bus driver, Diane Luckey, age 55, on Staten Island. She said she was happy and content and wanted nothing more to do with the music business -- which I can appreciate -- and, I suppose, that the "Goodbye Horses" era simply was one among her "incarnations."

The song has been performed and recorded a number of times. In addition to the original version, I have included another by The Airborne Toxic Event.

The song sort of represents my present-day perspective about the Marine Corps.

Stand by to stand by, baby ....

Thursday, January 21, 2021

"Reincarnating" a piece of 2009 .... No. 2

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, a French playwright and actor and poet and writer known by his stage name, Molière, wrote these words in "Le Sicilien ou L'Amour peintre" (The Sicilian, or Love the Painter), a play which opened on Valentine's Day in 1667: "To inspire love is a woman's greatest ambition, believe me. It's the one thing woman care about and there's no woman so proud that she does not rejoice at heart in her conquests."

(Editor's Note: Being naturally lazy and preferring many of my early posts over many of my recent posts, I have pulled two from 2009 and running them once again. Incidentally, this is not my photograph. I obtained it from a guy named Carl .... and, I will warn you that this post, which appeared shortly after Easter Sunday back then, is not exactly what it would seem to be. If you are in the mood, see if you can figure out what is specious about it. To this end, I pose the question: How much truth is behind the cliché that one person's fantasy is another person's reality? As comedian and actor and writer Fred Willard said on at least one occasion: "I'm having fun with you now.")

I think I am in love, but where did she go?

Have you seen this woman? I was out for a bite to eat earlier today and she walked into the restaurant. All the tables were full, mostly with the Easter Sunday after-church crowd. She walked over to my table and asked if I would mind her company.

You actually think I would say no?

We ordered, we ate, we talked for maybe an hour after finishing the meal. She said she was going to a movie, and asked me if I wanted to come with her.

You actually think I would say no?

As we walked from the restaurant, I dropped my newspaper and bent to pick it up. When I looked back, she was gone. I mean gone, as in vanished. I looked for her outside, went back inside, then outside again, and waited for 17 or 23 minutes. She was gone.

She said her name was Norma Jeane. I did not catch her last name. If you see her, give me a call and let me know where she is, will you? I am in the mood for an afternoon at the movies.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

"Reincarnating" a piece of 2009 .... No. 1

To glimpse Michelangelo's "Pieta" is reason enough to travel.

(Editor's Note: Being lazy and preferring many of my early posts over many of my recent posts, I have pulled two from 2009 and running them once again. This photograph is from 2004 when I was younger and taking my own advice seriously .... and which, if you continue to read, is the message I continue "to preach" verbatim to what it was when published in March 2009.)

Roam the earth & see the beauty ....

It seems to me that a primary advantage to residency on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean is being much nearer to centuries of art and architecture. So much is there to appreciate. Spending a few moments within St. Peter's Basilica standing before Michelangelo's 15th Century marble "Pieta" is a reminder that while years pass by, there is some beauty which may resist change until the end of time.

I sort of like this photograph, even though the technical quality is rather dismal. The photo might also be a reminder for us to roam the earth while there still is earth to roam, and while we are fully alive to enjoy it. Our days are numbered, and neither god nor man will keep us young or safe forever.

Monday, January 11, 2021

" .... there was in me an invincible summer"

Undoubtedly, there is no way to know how many photographs have been taken of Split Rock Lighthouse overlooking Lake Superior along the lake's north shore in Minnesota. This shot was taken on a winter day a few years ago for the Minnesota Historical Society. It seems appropriate to run it here as sort of an audacious welcome to 2021. I use the word audacious because at the time of the creation of the lighthouse, there were no roads to the area and all building materials and supplies arrived via ship on the lake and had to be lifted to the top of the 133-foot cliffs by crane. Quite a task -- worthy of a bit of bluster by those who planned the lighthouse and especially by those who constructed it. Tourists with their cameras have flocked to the light since it became operational in July 1910.

January has a history of being a rather significant month for me: A few years ago prior to the 11th -- today -- I would have described myself as an aficionado of Benedictine and brandy and Amaretto and a few other liquors and liqueurs, but I had an epiphany of sorts and now exist as a teetotaler. My mother's birthday is the 13th; a son was stillborn on the 17th; I signed on the dotted line with the Marine Corps exactly a week later on the 24th. July is another significant month for me. Two marriages both began and ended in July. Something about months beginning with the letter "J" and ending with the letter "Y," I guess, chuckles the sort-of-superstitious, silly me.

Hmmmm .... almost forgot .... January 21, 2009, is the date of my first post on this blog. I had started a blog a few weeks earlier centering on outdoor activities, but decided that was too narrow and I could include anything and everything which entered my mind with a non-specific setup. I deleted the outdoor pieces and have used them here. If my finger count is correct, with this post the difference between now and January 21, 2009, is approaching twelve full, complete years. Hmmmm .... wonder what to do about that? 

Something special ....