Saturday, October 21, 2017

Buddy, phantoms & existentialism

Buddy and his coat of many colors .... not to intrude on the Biblical Joseph and his coat, but Buddy has a few differing shades. He wanted a photograph to show him posed in a more "dog-like" position than the one which appeared a week or two ago, so I tried to oblige him. Was he happy when he saw it? Not exactly. While he liked it in a general sense, he complained that the least I could have done before taking it was brush his coat so that he would not look like a ragamuffin. I agreed with him, but told him that would have to wait until our next "photo shoot." He certainly is a fussy guy !!!!

Television journalists & other idiots

I know language is like a flowing river, ever-moving and often changing, but this seems a bit too much ....

For those who have brushed into Jean-Paul Sarte or Soren Kierkegaard or Franz Kafka or read/seen the play, "Waiting for Godot," by Samuel Beckett, it sort of grates to hear a television journalist flippantly talk about "existential threats" to the United States in reference to Islamic terrorism or North Korean dictators.
Never mind that I think television is a medium which should be used solely for entertainment (you mean it is not ????) or that I believe television journalism almost always is "bad journalism" (only surpassed in that regard by internet journalism).

One definition of existentialism, for instance, is this: "A philosophical attitude opposed to rationalism and empiricism that stresses the individual's unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices."

I suppose in that sense, a few thousand like-minded zealots could pose a threat, but to me it indicates any number of lazy or uneducated or just plain dumb journalists are looking for an easy, one­­­­-word way to describe a real or an imagined threat.

An avowed existentialist, Sarte, in his 1964 book entitled, "The Words," wrote this about his grandmother: "She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist." I assume many television journalists would describe Sarte's grandmother as an "existential threat" to something, somewhere.

Ahhhhhh, yes .... the music ....

The musical selections here are from the Finnish symphonic metal rock band Nightwish. The videos date back to the time when Tarja Turunen was the primary vocalist for the band. For those who think it is unusual or inappropriate for her to be performing, "The Phantom of the Opera," she is a classically-trained soprano and many rock 'n' roll "types" are well-grounded in a variety of music styles.
For instance, a little-known fact is that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the 1970 rock opera, "Jesus Christ Superstar," for Ian Gillan's voice and that Gillan, front man for the heavy metal/hard rock band Deep Purple, performed the role of Jesus Christ on the first audio album.

Film director Norman Jewison wanted Gillan to reprise the role for the motion picture, but Gillan turned down the offer because he was touring with Deep Purple. Jewison then hired Ted Neeley for the role in the film, which was released in 1973.

Remember my "chair dancing" episodes from posts in years past? I still do it, and I for sure do it whenever I hear Nightwish performing, "Ever Dream" .... so, rock on, baby .... and, enjoy it while it is here and you are here .... it simply is fun to watch the band and the audience interacting with each other .... play with each other, if you will ....

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 ....


Something special ....