Saturday, February 20, 2016

= 20

Here are two of my favorite photographs. They were taken a couple of decades ago in black & white with a 35mm Nikon F3 for print publication as well as for memory purposes. The upper one was shot during an "island hopping" excursion in a canoe along the length of the south shore of Lake Superior. I am on a cliff on an island. It was (still is, I suppose) about fifty feet to the water below. A few minutes after the photo was taken, I jumped off the ledge .... into about fifty feet of pristine, icy cold water. It was a cold day, too, but the sun was wonderfully warm and the brandy was delightfully delicious. The lower one was taken at an overnight camp while canoeing the length of the Minnesota River. It was nearly sunset on a wretchedly hot day, and I was contemplating whether to eat or to swim. I swam. I am nostalgic for many places and many people these days -- but, also eager to find a few new memories. I used both of these photos to accompany posts in 2009 and, when I noticed someone had visited the posts a few days ago, I decided to publish them one more time in case a few "purists" still exist. The reason they are so technically dismal, by the way, is because they are photos of framed photos behind glass .... but, you do not mind my laziness, right ??

A verse from the poem
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
by Robert Frost 1916

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Still walking away .... how about you, Renee ??

So many aspects of life are interpretations which may or may not be reality. We see a smile from across the proverbial room, and wonder what it means. We hear / see three bands play the same song, each giving it a sound of its own. We walk down a street, confident and immortal, until the street disappears -- and we, along with it.

Under those circumstances and such a scenario, here we have a third version of, "Walk Away Renee," this one by Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Really, really cool, baby .... it reminds me of singing a few bars closed as late night became early morning. I frequently get hooked on a song and cannot break away from it without listening to it for a thousand times or more, to include every variation of it I can find ....

Time and again: I am having a hard time with this .... this being the blog. I had planned on closing it on Tuesday, the sixteenth, but here it lingers beyond that date. Remember, I am superstitious. Some steps in life take deliberation. One thought which frequently rolls through my mind is to wonder why, what if, how come? These thoughts are common to many, and often they involve questions which can never be answered satisfactorily.

My "wonderments" go so far as to question why, once upon a time, I stepped to the right instead of to the left and, simply because of that, remain alive today .... events like that have happened to me on at least five occasions which immediately come to mind .... but, now I am ranging into six-drink talk.

A young lady .... actually, she was quite a woman -- age twenty-five, three daughters, married twice, divorced one and one-half times -- once told me that I fell in love too easily. I probably have mentioned this before. She was right, I guess, and it sends me back to the half-thought / half-belief that I never have experienced actual love. Oooouuuuffff .... dialectic thought can ruin a guy. Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and their patron saint, Karl Marx, are living proof of that.

Still more bits of repetition: I have mentioned before -- again, more than once -- that I believe I had experienced everything there was to experience in life -- in one form or another, to one degree or another -- by the time I was age twenty-five. Since then, life has been repetition. My blog often is repetitious, which is another reason it is necessary to slip away and allow it to either fade away or find a new form in which to exist. I do not think people are meant to spend a lifetime in the same place doing the same thing -- yet, so many do just that.

Incidentally, I have used Robert Frost's poem before, too, and probably will again in various places at various times. I am beginning to realize that the number of things I think truly are wonderful and absolutely incredible, like Frost's poem, are growing fewer rather than becoming greater.

Just one more time: It has been assumed that Neanderthal (homo sapiens) and modern man (homo sapiens sapiens) began interbreeding about 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Based on "material" found in Siberia, it appears that number will be pushed back to just over 100,000 years ago.

It simply crushes me, smashes me, overpowers me utterly when I try to comprehend the enormity of the lives and the lives and the lives that have been lived during that span of time and to capture it all within the confines of some manner of conceptual reality, much less quantify it against the conceit each of us has when we believe we actually are .... well .... you fill in the blanks .... and, this is not even to attempt to include the countless lives during millions of years when there existed those long-ago-vanished hominid "creatures" which came before us. As I am fond of saying, the anonymous writer of Ecclesiastes had it right, no doubt ....

By the way, the twenty-second is the target cutoff date now. And, to close this post on a note of common sense, indisputable wisdom and irrefutable logic:

Words spoken by Alice
in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) 1865

"Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is .... oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate!"

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Drifting on the river of time or .... 7 & 13

"Still finds a way to haunt me"

A last song for now .... a bit of "Bach-Rock" from the 1960s .... "Walk Away Renee," one of the most beautiful melodies ever composed and created (would you believe ??) by a sixteen-year-old boy. Keeping details to a minimum (unusual for me), the first version is the original by The Left Banke. The composer, Michael Brown (aka Michael Lookofsky), is on the keyboards in the video. The other version is sort of unique (i.e., sort of weird) and I really, really like it. This rendition is by Cyndi Lauper, whose music, to me, is fabulous and who, when young, looked a lot like my first actual love .... and Peter Kingsbery, who looks a lot like an older version of a baseball pitcher who I rarely hit back in high school and who, consequently, drove me crazy. Strange brew, as someone used to say. I hope you love the song as much as I do. Almost time to run away for a while, but first ....

Three more thoughts: There have been queries about the photograph in my February 7 post, so I will elaborate a bit. It is one I took of a painting in the Royal Castle in Warsaw. I do not recall the name of the artist or the title of the painting, but, maybe, I will mention them next autumn after I have been in the presence of the painting once again. Hint, hint .... seems like a location where a search once sort of stalled out would be a good place to later resume it ....

And, yes, it is relevant that I am very, very superstitious ....

 And, most importantly, although two weeks early: 
 Happy Birthday, Grandpa ....

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A happy ending .... maybe, a few

An enigmatic photograph on this occasion -- or, should that read a photograph of an enigmatic painting? Whichever .... the image represents the past and the future for me, and I will say no more other than it stirs my memories and causes me to smile and makes me wonder .... if I did say more, neither the photograph nor the painting could continue to be enigmatic.

Words spoken by the Earl of Salisbury
in Act 3, Scene 2, of the play "Richard II"
by William Shakespeare

"One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,
"Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth:
"O, call back yesterday, bid time return ...."

Abbreviated thoughts ....

So-called journalism: The most difficult aspect about having once been a practicing newspaper journalist is seeing how corrupted the system has become today, especially television news and, even more so, the publicists and propagandists on the internet who fraudulently call themselves journalists while they misrepresent their opinions as actual facts.

Alone still and again: When I began this blog, I had been divorced about a year and one-half. I thought there was a fair possibility of connecting with someone on the sea of blogs and, possibly, relocating to wherever she was or we to wherever we might decide to go. I frequently wrote that I would never spend another winter alone. There have been opportunities, one of which "felt right" and resulted in not spending the winter of 2010 alone. Well, things did not work out and every winter since then has been spent alone.

The result of this isolation of sorts is that I have grown accustomed to being alone, and think I will keep it that way. I do miss not going to films or museums or concerts or out for dinner with a special someone, but, conversely, life is simpler and, in ways, more pleasant without having to involve anyone else in decision-making matters. Now is a time for endings and beginnings .... perhaps, now is time also to put an end to following the searchers, Perceval and Galahad .... to stop "questing for" my own rendition of a Holy Grail.

A place in the sun: I am not referring to Theodore Dreiser's novel, "An American Tragedy," or the film version of it, "A Place in the Sun," but, rather, I am still dwelling on a place to slip away to for a while. I recently tried compiling a list of places I would like to visit and then narrow it down to the one I would choose above all other places. Ridiculous as it might appear, I can think of nowhere which seems special to me -- nowhere particularly intriguing or mysterious or even sufficiently interesting to draw me to it.

Anyway, I have not given up on this idea and expect there will be a few "voyages of exploration" in the weeks ahead:

"The good times are coming
"When they come I'll be there
"With my both feet firmly planted way up there
"In mid air ...."

Just to tease: Hominins living 300,000 years ago at the site of Schöningen in Germany were more like modern humans than had been previously thought, according to recent findings. Homo heidelbergensis lived in social groups, conducted coordinated hunting parties, and communicated about the past, present and future. Excavations at Schöningen have recovered well-preserved Paleolithic wooden, bone and stone tools, including a unique hammering tool made from the humerus of a saber-toothed cat. The site also has yielded evidence of the hunting and butchering of large animals.

This blog: As I mentioned a post or two ago, I think I will be shutting my blog down temporarily. It does not serve me any purpose at the moment. I probably will resume it from time to time. We shall see ....

The music: John Barry went from playing rock 'n' roll to creating many of the most beautiful film scores ever composed. How I envy his talent -- powerful and prolific music, for sure.

The first piece is from a motion picture Western classic, the original version of "Monte Walsh." It is sung by Mama Cass Elliot, whose voice is melodious and resonant in the same breath. The second piece is from one of my favorite films, "Somewhere in Time," which came from one of my favorite novels, "Bid Time Return," by Richard Matheson, a writer as prolific and versatile as Barry was a composer. Matheson also has a few motion pictures to his literary credit. And, yes, I have posted both of these songs in the past.

As a footnote to the video accompanying the "Somewhere in Time" piece, unfortunately, I do not see "she" in the paintings of the video. But, there always is the possibility of a next time. A clever individual might find a way to slip from the pathway to oblivion and turn back and discover an entry, a doorway, to return for another search .... search ?? Search for what, for whom? A search for the perfect kiss, I suppose.

Remember ?? This is a long post, but remember: I need the space because all my stories have happy endings and, just in case, I want this post to have one.

Accidents are not exactly rare on interstate highways, and I missed one by a matter of feet a few days ago. I was at the end of a line of proverbial bumper-to-bumper traffic in the outside "fast lane" where we all were going exactly at eighty miles-per-hour. In the lane next to us, the traffic was moving at about seventy-five. A car driven by a young man with another in the passenger seat came up behind me clearly travelling somewhere between eighty-five and ninety. He began weaving from lane-to-lane passing. Abruptly, he side-swiped the car just ahead of me in the opposite lane. Just like Talladega, baby !!

The driver of the offending car lost control and suddenly it was moving sideways down the road just ahead of me, its rear end whacking guardrails. The driver overcompensated his steering and the car shot across into the other lane, nearly hitting the side-swiped car again, rear end leading the way, and off the road it went, about thirty yards down a forty-five degree embankment. Had it been bare ground that vehicle hit as it went off the road instead of sliding and gouging a path through snow about two feet deep, it would have flipped and flipped and flipped and smack.

Snow saved the day and, very possibly, the lives of a couple of idiots. What was truly amazing was how ten or twelve other drivers all kept their cool and avoided a major, high-speed pile-up. (Obviously, none was a politician, or surely we would have crashed and burned.)

The driver of the car that was struck maintained control. As I "flew" past, I saw it in my rear-view mirror pulling off to the side of the road, along with a few other vehicles from the inside lane carrying people prepared to assist. People do stop to help in places like Minnesota and the Dakotas, you know. And, I guess, when you think about it, this is a story with a happy ending.

Something special ....