Monday, July 27, 2015

Searching for the way home

Those are footprints on the street, thousands of them, made during a light snowfall on the night of February 15, 2010, on Castle Square of Old Town in Warsaw, Poland. I took the photograph from the third floor of what I designated as The Apartment -- a temporary home, as one might describe it, for a few months during a brief interlude in my life. In a sense, the countless footprints in the photograph are symbolic of the many wandering, often aimless, steps I have taken searching for the right place to be. You might recognize the photograph since I have used it before to accompany a post. The music with this post is from a group called Soft Cell. I stumbled across it on YouTube a few days ago. I cannot remember the last time I heard this production .... it has been a while, that is for sure. I like the sound, the beat, the rhythm, maybe the message, and I hope you will, too.

You cannot go to a place which does not exist

In 1940, the American writer Thomas Wolfe wrote the words, "You Can't Go Home Again." He did not stop with that sentence until it had formed a complete novel. I suppose ever since then there has been debate whether a person can or cannot. Some say Wolfe disproved the title of his own story, but we will not enter into that argument. I have not read this book. I have tried a couple of times, but never made it through. I think it is because the title frightens me.

A few others among Wolfe's works of fiction, notably, "Look Homeward, Angel," I have read. Magnificent titles, do you not agree ?? I passed through his hometown almost my accident once upon a time, Asheville, North Carolina, and saw the house he grew up in and which is a primary location in "Look Homeward ...."

That was the point of entry ....

Next, I happened across a photograph on one of my computers, the photograph above, which I have used in a previous post sometime way back when. It was taken from the window of the third floor apartment overlooking Castle Square of Old Town in Warsaw, Poland, while I lived there in 2010.

To be more precise, the photograph was taken at 03:12 A.M. local time on February 15, 2010. It was a nice night, and I was very happy for a few months living in that apartment and exploring that city with a sweet, beautiful young lady as my companion, and experiencing a life very different in many ways from the life I was accustomed to in mid-America, USA.

That was the point of exit ....

I have a hometown, but I have not lived there since three months after turning eighteen and three days after completing high school. After that, I did not even visit the town for years and years and years, although I had loved it as a boy. You see where I am going? I really have no home, only a place of residence. So, I need to go back to a few places, not to set up camp, but simply to try to enjoy again the feelings I felt there once upon a time.

The point where entry and exit collide .... 

This autumn there finally will be a journey of sorts again, and I hope to begin it in Warsaw in the place -- The Duval -- where I stayed for the first fifteen days upon arrival and before renting The Apartment. I had the Japanese Room at The Duval back then, and liked it. This will be for a week or two, with, maybe, a run to Krakow. And, maybe, another run north to the "Wolf's Lair." (I am a history addict, you may recall, and the name suits my persona, in a way.)

Then, I want to go to Germany (which will be new for me), then return to Giverny in France and, probably, to Paris .... then "home" to America, in a manner of speaking, I guess .... in any case, back to the place I am hanging out for now .... or .... or .... or ??

I have had a few low-key, long-weekend excursions (all involving work) here and there during the past few years which observant readers of my posts might have recognized from photographs and/or words, but nothing meaningful or a significant. Remember? Living ten minutes from an international airport comes in handy. 

Essentially, as you might suppose, right now I want a bit of the new, but mostly to see if once-traveled streets and gardens bring back a feeling of -- for lack of a better word .... a feeling of contentment -- as I "look homeward" and elsewhere in search for a sense of belonging. Silly, hah ??

Silly or whatever, life is ours to waste away as we wish, and I wish to use some of mine in search for my own concept of a "holy grail" -- whether it be person, place or thing .... or non-existent futility. So, I am thinking of staying in Europe from sometime in October until the New Year arrives in this ongoing episode of "The Search."

Anyway .... not as a pass, a proposal or a plan, but if anyone cares to meet for dinner and drinks in Warsaw or in Germany (Berlin, maybe, but I am open there and have other places in Germany I wish to see); or at Missolonghi, the last stop in this life for George Gordon / Lord Byron (You did read my last post, did you not ??); or in the Giverny of Claude Monet (Is October too late in the autumn to enjoy the outdoors there ??); or in Paris or in Neverland or .... hmmmm ....

Anyway, again .... it might be best to speak up soon if you are interested and to begin making plans to skip out of work for a few days or to arrange for a dog/cat/?? sitter or .... or .... or ??

Remember, you only live once (according to pedestrian philosophy), and life goes on with or without you ....

I am teasing, sort of, but time is not our friend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More truth in poetry than in news stories -- 2

This oil on canvas by Louis Edouard Fournier is entitled, "The Funeral of Shelley," and was completed in 1889, sixty-seven years after Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in the Bay of Lerici off the coast of Italy. The painting, obviously, is not based on the personal recollections of Fournier, but, rather, on accounts of the funeral pyre ceremony. It is located in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England. The painting has its inaccuracies, including the presence of Mary Shelley. Due to customs of the times, a widow did not attend the funeral of her husband. The three men, from the left, are Edward Trelawney, Leigh Hunt and George Gordon / Lord Byron. Strange as it may seem, I have read so much about the lives of these individuals and the death of Shelley that I feel like I am standing next to the painter watching the events transpire. Research + imagination = tantalizing dreams.

(Editor's Note: This is the second segment to the unpublished post(s) of February 2009. Reading this portion now, with six and one-half years having come and gone since it was written, it seems sort of mystifying to me, even a bit silly. I wish I could recall the reasons why I tied it in with the first piece about the decline of journalism. I know that at the time I thought there was more truth to be found -- quite literally -- in a piece of poetry than in a newspaper or in a television newscast or in a political blog. I believe such is even more the case today. Beyond that, since these words and thoughts were written less than a month after I had begun "San Francisco," it seems obvious in reading this piece that among the things I was doing was adding another element in my attempt to introduce myself to anyone who might pass by here and pause to read here. Perhaps, most symbolically unique is the fact that it was on July 11 when I "re-discovered" this forgotten post, with its words about Emily Dickinson and her poem about death, and with its mention about the deaths of George Gordon / Lord Byron and Percy Shelley .... and, July 11 was the same day I published my post about dying, death, divine comedies and my burial. Finally, once again the music was part of the original, unpublished 2009 post, but an illustration had not yet been selected to accompany it back then.)

Discovering Emily & rescuing Percy's heart

I have no idea how many people browse the "sea of blogs," either idly or in a pattern searching for common interests, but it really is a fascinating pastime. My brief periods of exploration the past few days have centered on poetry.

A few sites I have visited are primarily dedicated to one or more well-known poets. The other day, for example, I found one where Emily Dickinson was featured. There was a photograph of Ms. Dickinson. Although one of my college majors was English, I recall rarely ever seeing an actual photo of her before. I wonder why ....

The lead poem on the page was entitled, "The Chariot," when first published in 1890 after Dickinson's own death. This is it:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

Where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

 Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

The simplicity, yet the depth of those few words, is breathtaking. I think I have gained a new and a greater appreciation for Ms. Dickinson through my exploration of the blogs.

My own studies of verse have revolved mostly around the British poets of the 17th/18th/19th centuries. Byron, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Milton, Pope, Donne and their brethren, to name a few. English major snobbery, I suppose.

The only recent American poet I ever took a close look at was James Dickey, and only then because I consider his novel, "Deliverance," to be a classic -- a heroic tale told in contemporary style and language. Besides that, it is about canoeing and the "zen of archery," and there you are talking my language. So, if I like his novel, it could be I would like his poetry, too. Right? Yes, right. I do like it.

Speaking of novels and British poets, may I recommend another of my favorite works of fiction, "The Missolonghi Manuscript," by Frederic Prokosch. George Gordon / Lord Byron spent the last few months of his life in Missolonghi in Greece, where he died at the age of thirty-six in 1824. This novel is presented as if it were the memoirs of the dying man, written as he reviews his entire life. Byron, in addition to being a poet of the first order, literally was the No. 1 "rock star" of his time among all circles of social celebrities in Britain and on the Continent.

Prokosch, incidentally, was a Wisconsin native who spent most of his adult life in Europe and was sort of a man of mystery. He is a character worth researching in his own right and a writer worth reading.

Among the ingredients of the novel are accounts of the death by drowning of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his funeral pyre ceremony, at which Shelley's heart was snatched from the flames by Edward Trelawny as a macabre memento. Trelawny gave Shelley's heart to Leigh Hunt, who later gave it to the widow, Mary Shelley. The heart was entombed sixty-seven years later in the coffin with Shelley's son, Percy Florence Shelley, upon his death.

It strikes me as a book with something for everyone who has a taste for the truly literary, and it might lead you deeper into the lives and works of Percy and Mary Shelley and George Gordon / Lord Byron, if you have not discovered them before now.

Friday, July 17, 2015

More truth in poetry than in news stories -- 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers." Addendum From Fram: While "yellow journalism" began as a descriptive term of dishonest reporting in newspapers, the practice gradually became even more evident in television newscasts, particularly in cable newscasts. And, today, political websites and blogs are increasingly becoming the primary purveyors of opinion and just plain lies in the guise of factual, verifiable news. Cartoons, you might observe, can be quite an effective way to point out blatant yellow journalism when and where it occurs and the obvious lack of journalistic integrity so often found among members of the media these days. It usually happens when reporters begin to think of themselves as celebrities rather than as journalists. Honest journalists are becoming an endangered species.

(Editor's Note: What we have here is the first of two posts meant to run in proximity to one another which I wrote in February 2009, but, for whatever reason, did not post them then. I can no longer recall what was on my mind when I wrote them, much less why I did not publish them. I suppose I was too preoccupied thinking about California girls and European girls .... you know how it goes. Moving right along, this is the first segment of what was written back then and left to gather dust .... or whatever gathers within computers. The second piece will arrive soon. Since election politics are swinging into full gear in the United States, the words seem just as relevant now as they were then. Uffff .... how many times has the earth spun us round and round since February 2009, and the words politicians/journalists/ liars too often still remain synonymous? A rhetorical question, but worth thinking about our mental spin cycle. Incidentally, the music, "The Grand Illusion," by Styx, is the music I originally selected to accompany this post way, way back then -- six and one-half years ago. The thought of the span of time between then and now numbs me. The cartoon is not from then; Barack Obama had been in office only about a month when these thoughts were written, and the media adoration of him was just beginning to enter "warp drive.")

Candidates & reporters: Do not trust either

How many times have you voted for a candidate for government office because you had "trust" in the person?

I never have.

Perhaps that goes back to cynicism. Most certainly, it goes to the role and responsibility of professional journalists. I once was among their numbers, and I have "inside" experience upon which to form my viewpoints. Journalists are (at least, once were) trained to be skeptics, doubters, investigators, fact seekers and objective to the best of their abilities. It is very obvious some journalists are better at these things than others.

Television reporting, by-in-large, is pretty pathetic. Many newspaper reporters are more suited for producing fiction than for pursuing the facts. This has never been truer than it is today. Over here, for example, stands a Republican candidate. Over there, stands a Democrat candidate. Each is presenting his political point of view. Inside that view are personal beliefs, personal ambitions, dollars and cents, pressures from constituents, lobbyists and friends, and a host of other elements. Between them stands the reporter. How can the average citizen learn which candidate is telling the "truth" and being "honest" when the reporter has abandoned traditional journalistic precepts and is allowing his personal feelings to enter the story?

Journalists and politicians must maintain an adversarial role. That does not mean the relationship cannot be friendly, cordial and polite, and even have a sort of friendship exist between individuals in the two camps. It does mean that the journalist and the politician both need to understand it is a reporter's obligation to check the facts behind every word that comes out of a politician's mouth. Increasingly, this no longer is the case. Increasingly, fewer facts are emerging from the spin. Increasingly, there is no one left to trust. Increasingly, people have no choice but to follow candidates blindly.

Returning to the beginning of this commentary: I never have voted for a candidate because I "trust" him or her. I vote for the person who I think is best suited for the task at hand in terms of the conditions that exist at that particular point in time, and this is becoming a more difficult task with every election due to the disintegration of the American journalist.

(The other segment in a couple of days ....)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Something less than a divine comedy

What you see before you is a work by Domenico di Michelino entitled, "Dante and the Three Kingdoms," done in 1465. It is oil on canvas and can be seen at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Firenze. Look at the book held in the painting by Durante degli Alighieri -- more often simply called Dante. If the gods of actual art and the politically correct of infinite idiocy will forgive me, I will offer a recent translation of the words shown on the pages of that book. They seem to be a foretelling of a time in the future and read: "We are reasonably certain that Fram is somewhere on the grounds or in the building, but his present whereabouts cannot be ascertained. He seems to move around with some frequency. We will update you when we have more to report, and, rest assured, we are confident that he will not escape from here." Finally, the music. I have used this particular video a few times since beginning this blog. Boston is my favorite band. I fell in love with this song and the guitar riff the first time I heard them; I was driving on Interstate 90 from one side of southern Minnesota to the other. Claude Monet is my favorite Impressionist. Together, this mix of music and art form an insurmountable blend of sound and image.

An observation
by the Lycian prince Glaucus
in one of Homer's
timeless masterpieces:
"The Iliad"

"Why ask my lineage? Like the generations of leaves, the lives of mortal men. Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth, now the living timber bursts with the new buds and spring comes round again. And so with men: as one generation comes to life, another dies away."

A couple of lines

spoken by Thomas Hudson
in one of Ernest Hemingway's
sort of forgotten novels:
"Islands in the Stream"

"I would rather have a good Marine, even a ruined Marine, than anything in the world when there are chips down."

"We wait always for something that does not come, he thought. But it is easier waiting with the wind than in a calm or with the capriciousness and malignancy of squalls."

Who, me?
In sort of a morbid mood, I guess

I still am into quotes .... for a while, anyway.

I have been re-reading a few books. Homer and Hemingway most recently, you might correctly surmise.

It occurred to me that I probably would have read three or four times as many books as I have if I did not re-read so many. It is a pleasant dilemma to debate within .... would it have been wiser, more beneficial, to have read more books than to have re-read so many? Well, it is an easy problem to resolve because, obviously, there is no right answer, no definitive way to resolve the question.

I also have been preoccupied with death, and looking for books which lead me in and out of that mode. Who better than Homer and Hemingway? That preoccupation comes and goes, rises and falls. I suspect it does with many people.

The latest "spell" for me began during a conversation with a neighbor about my mother's death in September 2012. Two months after her death, a man who lived kitty-corner across the street died. Two months after that, a man kitty-corner across the street in the opposite direction died. The neighbor told me he believed in the adage that death comes in threes, and he insisted these incidents proved him right. Hmmmm .... well, maybe ....

From there, my mind began to drift. My father, who I never really knew, died a few decades ago and my step-father, who was among the reasons I left home three days after I finished high school and went off to my first war, has been gone a while, too. I am an only child. I am it, in a generational sense, a fact which lurks in my id and even emerges in dreams.

Then .... then .... then, there are other deaths in other places and other times which become little different than a memory from a dream or, after a time, seem like just another winter snowfall which gradually melts away and is forever gone.

My former wife No. 2, who was given a death sentence from the clutches of inoperable cancer a few years ago, but beat it through simultaneous intense chemotherapy and intense radiation and greater will power than I could ever gather, has had a re-occurrence. The survival question is in doubt again, which means the thought never leaves my mind entirely. I can only imagine what it is doing to/in her mind.

Anyway, you never know when the reaper might come. Right?

So, I have not only had death on my mind, but I have been planning for it in both realistic and symbolic senses. Seem morbid? It seems practical to me. Death is difficult enough for family members without having to make decisions about funeral and burial details. I know that from experience.

I want to make certain that when "my time comes," all my children have to do is to call my buddy, Morrie, at the funeral home and say, launch "Plan A: Double Check My Pulse First, Please." If I happen to be out of the country when the big moment takes place, "Plan B: One-Way Economy Flight," is neatly typed, ready and waiting in the contingency drawer of Morrie's desk.

I am not kidding, although the instructions have titles considerably less colorful. All I have left undone is to pick a spot in one of five likely cemeteries, four of which have family plots. The other is sort of a military "hangout."

But, I enjoy being unpredictable. Depending upon circumstances at the time and my mood, I might emulate one of my favorite writers, Ambrose Bierce, and simply disappear .... although, unlike him, I would not vanish into Mexico. The thought has crossed my mind that it would be fascinating to end up in a place like a crevasse on the Greenland Ice Cap. That way, some day Ötzi The Iceman might be joined by Fram The Iceman and we could compare notes and exchange stories of our days and our times.

That was the realistic element. On the more fanciful side of my personality and symbolic side of my beliefs, I want to be put into the earth ready for whatever awaits. I have a list. On it, I have a few specific books I wish to accompany me in the casket, a couple of handguns, some ammunition, a Marine Corps combat knife and dog tag.

I do not wish to "depart" without a stuffed rabbit from my early childhood "who" my mother kept and "who" now has his own room in this house. His name is Blackie, by the way, earned from spending many afternoons in a sandbox.

I know what clothing I want to be wearing and what I want in the way of survival gear stuffed into the bottom of the casket. My favorite canoe paddle is on the list. I want my silver Thor's Hammer around my neck (I am still looking for a gold one, if you know where one might be purchased.), and my 1876 dime on its silver chain.

Of course, I want a bottle a brandy, a bottle of cognac and a bottle of Benedictine, as well as a box or two of cigars with plenty of old-fashioned stick matches.

I could go on, but you get my drift. I am not assuming I will require any of these items in the great beyond, but, remember, part of my work experience has been to write contingency plans for everything and anything -- and, I was most thorough at it.

I am thinking it simply makes me feel good to do these things, and it might cause an archaeologist to let out a scream of joy and happiness a few thousand years from now when "she" rips into my tomb and hits paydirt.

I know I will be wearing a smile .... like Scaramouche .... Morrie will see to that in case I am unable ....

Sidebar: The past catches up to the present

What is beneath that man-made hill in the photograph is a concrete/timber/coral reinforced bunker and command post on the Pacific Ocean island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands as it looked in November 1943. First Lieutenant Alexander Bonnyman is said to be among those at the pinnacle of the hill as he and other Marines with the 2nd Marine Division storm the Japanese stronghold. A photograph of Bonnyman is inset at the upper right. Bonnyman died during that assault, and received one of four Medals of Honor awarded for heroic action at Tarawa. The bodies of Bonnyman and thirty-five other "lost" Marines have just been located on the island after years of persistent searching. A link to copy and paste which leads to details regarding the search for and the discovery of the bodies is included below. It is a fascinating story, especially because it involves a father, a brother and finally a grandson who never quit the search for Lt. Bonnyman. The photograph was taken on the second day of the battle by Marine Corps Warrant Officer Obie Newcomb, Jr.

Semper Fi .... in memorial & in mystery

This was before my Marine Corps time, but any time since the beginning of the Corps is my time, too, in a symbolic sense if not an actual sense. More than a thousand Marines were killed and more than two thousand wounded during the three-day ordeal which was Tarawa, and all but a handful, nearly five thousand, of the island defenders were killed.

I used to have dreams about this place when I was a boy, this battle at Tarawa in November 1943. My dreams took me to the library and books there are how I began to learn about it. I have mentioned these dreams in past posts. I have read new books about the battle when they are published and watched television documentaries, and I even have met and talked with a few guys who were there.

It is experiences such as these inexplicable dreams from my boyhood which always circle me back to William Shakespeare and to the words of Hamlet: "There are more things ...."

Friday, July 3, 2015

Three days in July, three thoughts .... No. 3

What it all means ... or should mean: There are many things I would like to write here, but they would not all fit in a reasonable amount of space and I probably would drift off into other thoughts before I finish. But, I must start somewhere .... the event in the photograph, at times, is used for political or worse purposes. That has happened just within the past few days. The event in the photograph is sacred to many of us and should not be used for commercial or crass purposes because countless individuals have died defending the American flag and the rights and the freedoms it represents. The photograph, you probably recognize, comes from the World War II battle at Iwo Jima. Nearly seven thousand American marines and sailors died there and another twenty thousand were wounded. Many, many more Japanese soldiers died fighting under their own banner. Six men are in the photograph; three of them were killed within days of this flag raising moment atop Mount Suribachi. It should not be difficult to comprehend the significance of the event and of the instant in time the photograph depicts -- the instant all six still were alive and looked forward to life and living, but were willing to fight and to give up their lives in defense of liberty for all.

A few living & breathing words from long ago

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July -- Independence Day -- the day the Declaration of Independence was signed and published. It happened in 1776, when a small group of men announced to the world that thirteen American colonies no longer would live under tyranny and would be free of rule from Great Britain.

The words in the declaration, written by Thomas Jefferson, are sacred, too, just like the event in the photograph. If you do not believe that, it is your loss. A segment of the declaration is printed here. Read those words, think about them, try to actually absorb their meaning and their significance.

Civilizations come and go, just as we individuals come and go. The words in the declaration may or may not last forever, but, for now, they are the words which allow each and every one of us who lives in the United States of America to begin our journey doing what we do, being who we are, dreaming what we dream.

Those who desecrate either the flag or the words are free to do so, but in doing so they desecrate themselves and memory of those who died for the freedoms we and they enjoy .... and, unfortunately, too many in this county today either do not understand that fact or do not care.

I hope you have a pleasant Independence Day, and remember and appreciate how it began, why it began and the price so many have paid since it began so that you are living free today and in pursuit of your own concept of happiness.

Now, here are some of the words from the Declaration of Independence as published that first Independence Day on July 4, 1776. You might wish to read the complete document when you have finished this segment:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security ....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Three days, three thoughts in July .... No. 2

When does old = too old?

I have opinions (you may have observed) and many of them are politically incorrect. So, why not? Here is another.

It seems to me many of the current candidates to become president of the United States are too old to undertake the stress and the strain of such a monumental task. Personally, and in a very general sense, I think no one who would be over age sixty when he or she takes office should be in the race. A year here or a year there might or might not make a difference some of the time or even most of the time, but I think it is a valid point to consider.

Here are some examples of candidates and potential candidates and the age they would be at the time they take office in 2017:

On the Republican Party side, Mike Huckabee, 61; Ben Carson, 65; Donald Trump, 70; Lindsey Graham, 61; Rick Perry, 66; Carly Fiorina, 62; George Pataki, 71; Jeb Bush, 63; John Kasich, 64.

On the Democratic Party side, Lincoln Chafee, 63; Hillary Clinton, 69; Jim Webb, 70; Bernie Sanders, 75; Joe Biden, 74.

If I have forgotten anyone in this age category, well, tough ....

That said (to sound like a politician), I consider myself to be well-mannered and polite, but, as I implied in the beginning, political correctness means nothing to me. This is especially true when it defies common sense. It is time to advise these individuals -- respectfully, of course -- to go home and write their memoirs and accept the fact that their time has come and gone in terms of being able to excel in the role of president of the United States.

Really, to be running for president at their age, these guys simply are too full of themselves to be concerned about the rest of us.

My own notion, in a politically incorrect manner of thought, is that age fifty to sixty would be the right combination of many factors to include physical strength and intellectual peak and emotional balance to handle the most challenging job on the face of the earth.

As a final word, after having watched the masquerade of Barack Obama during the past seven years, I would also suggest all the mirrors in the White House be removed so that the next president spends his or her time confronting the challenges at hand rather that practicing his or her smile in the looking glass while whispering, "Mirror, mirror on the wall" ....

Did you notice? Even Jimmy Carter gives the "man who would be king" a failing grade in foreign affairs. Whoops .... my apologies to James Bond .... strike that .... I mean to Sean Connery, for the film allusion ....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Three days, three thoughts in July .... No. 1

Happy anniversary, baby ....
June has fled for another year and July has entered our lives.

July is named for Gaius Julius Caesar.

You may not be aware that Caesar had three wives: 
Cornelia was his first; she died in childbirth.
Pompeia was his second; he divorced her.
Calpurnia was his third; she outlived him. 

You do recall, I assume, that Caesar was assassinated (a romantic term for murdered) on March 15, 44 BCE. Some say Calpurnia had a premonition about the Ides of March and warned Caesar to be on his guard or, better yet, to stay at home.
William Shakespeare: "Julius Caesar"
Act II, Scene 2, Lines 1027-1030
Calpurnia speaks:

Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.

But, like many a husband, Caesar ignored his wife and went on his merry way and when he arrived at the Curia of Pompey .... well, you know the rest.
Those who have been here in the past know July is the month of marriages and divorces for me. Twice married; twice divorced. Always in July; all four events. For a long while, I assumed that, like Caesar, I would have three wives and, jokingly, I have, at times, said the third would undoubtedly outlast me. Now, however, the doubt is beginning to be transformed into wondering if there ever will be a third Mrs. Fram.

I also have said that if I were to marry again, it would have to be in the same segment of the calendar as were the first two marriages -- in July. You see, I prefer a neat, tidy, orderly world with both rhyme and reason and just a bit of irony. I suppose I like to tempt fate, too.
Well, July 2015 has arrived and unless an angel appears on the horizon very, very soon, another year will pass me by and leave me still footloose and fancy-free. If said angel should appear, I hope she will be like Calpurnia and tip me off when in her dreams, ".... ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets." I am pretty sure I would heed her advice and stay at home.

The fascinating element to me at this point in time is that having been without a permanent companion for eight years, I am becoming adjusted, accustomed and accepting to/of being alone. In many regards, being a "lone ranger" makes life much easier. The fundamental question is whether easier, in these circumstances, means better or means worse.

So, we shall see what the stars have designed for me between now and .... now and when ....

Et tu, Angelus?

Something special ....