Thursday, May 30, 2019

Being the old-fashioned sort ....

Being the old-fashioned sort, I decided phooey on the three-day weekend and to make note of Memorial Day on its original and traditional date, which from 1868 when it began as a day to honor and to remember Civil War dead until 1970 was today -- May 30. Along the way, the occasion was extended to honor all war dead and gradually evolved into a time to also remember family and friends who no longer walk the surface of the earth. The United States Congress, rationalizing away actual/factual history, changed the date to the last Monday of May in 1970. Having once upon a time been in the Marine Corps, I also decided to use a photograph taken a few years ago of the national cemetery at Quantico, Virginia. It is a national cemetery for veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Quantico National Cemetery is on land bordering Marine Corps Base Quantico. I spent a few of the toughest, most demanding months of my life at Quantico back in the day. As a side note, there are seven memorials at this cemetery. A monument to Colonel Merritt "Red Mike" Edson's Raiders was the first memorial established there. It is dedicated to the 800 members of the First Marine Raider Battalion, which from August 1942 to October 1943, played a major role helping American forces push back Japanese troops. This is actual/factual history.
If you only watch one of the videos, make it the last one. It will leave you with absolutely no misunderstandings about any so-called glory of war.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine

                                                               Images courtesy American Swedish Institute
The most negative element about concerts (for me, anyway) is that they almost always are a singular event -- a certain day, a certain time, a certain place -- which means you must adjust your schedule and your time if you want to attend. The best thing about an exhibition (for me, anyway) is that there is a period of time -- usually at least days and sometimes months -- in which the individual (in this case me) can pick his own day and time to attend. Unfortunately an exhibition most often stays in one place and the individual must go to it rather than it come to him -- but, we cannot have everything the way we want it .... right?
Trying to avoid creating another dispute (there are so many divides these days: abortion, race relations, gender argument, on and on ad infinitum) as an individual primarily of Norwegian descent, I will cross the line which sometimes exists to promote and to attend a Swedish Viking exhibition which began last week and continues through October 27. It is under way at the Swedish American Institute in Minneapolis.
Straight from a press release: The exhibition is a collection of Viking paraphernalia that has never been outside of Scandinavia until this year. Many items in it are around 1400 years old, with Viking helmets, swords and weapons for attack and defense, as well as jewelry, glass vessels, bowls and other objects with magical importance. The relics tell stories both about the society and the people buried with them.
The exhibits are divided into thematic sections on Viking warfare, maritime trade, a ship burial, Norse gods, the Baltic Sea and geo-political relationships to other cultures. New light is shed on how early Viking society was organized, the role of women and the development of maritime innovation that enabled the Vikings to reach faraway lands in the East and the West.
I might add it is beginning to look doubtful that I will be able to produce a post this month about Ole and his Boat as I said I would. I have not even begun a reread of the novel, "The Boat of Longing." I continuously am getting sidetracked, mostly by other books, for instance one I was unaware of until a few days ago by H.G. Wells entitled, "Things to Come." It was written by Wells as his vision/predictions about the future between 1933 and 2106. Some hits; some misses. I am tempted to write a post about the book while it still is fresh in my memory, and probably will do just that.
By the way, this is another post which will be visible to any and to all for two days only before it seeks temporary shelter behind the curtains:
Time flies whether you are having fun or not ....




Saturday, May 11, 2019

"Here's to the future for the dreams of youth"

Sorry .... sometimes pride interferes with plans ....
 
Progeny: LMV

2016 / Bachelor of Science / South Dakota State University /
Counseling

2019 / Master of Science / University of Nebraska /
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

Next stop: Idaho State University / Ph.D. program /
Licensed Practicing Counselor
 
Her brother, incidentally, has bachelor's and master's degrees in environmental engineering ....




Wednesday, May 1, 2019

To read or to reread -- that is the question

Four books to reread this month ....
After five days, the blog will "disappear" again
In addition to the tales told between the covers of a book, each book in itself has a story to tell of its travels and of the people who have held it and read it. Since I have committed myself to reread Ole Edvart Rölvaag's, "The Boat of Longing," and to write about it during the month of May, I have decided to select some others for rereading. Among them are these:
"In Our Time," by Ernest Hemingway.
"The Motorcycle Diaries," by Ernesto "Che" Guevara
"Mythago Wood," by Robert Holdstock
My congratulations to those who have heard of these four books, with particular good wishes to those who have read them.
The oldest actual copy I have of any of them is that of Rölvaag's "Boat."  The inscription within it reads: "Congratulations for your graduation .. Aunt Grace .. 1935." I try to picture Aunt Grace and the unnamed recipient in my mind, and my imagination creates images of a studious young man and a woman with an elderly, aging face. This copy is from the sixth printing of the 1933 edition; it is the first edition in English of the 1921 Norwegian version,"Længselens Baat." From the foreword written by Rölvaag:
"To those who may review this series of moving pictures I wish to say: It is not 'types' which are drawn here. It is merely humankind. 'Types' do not interest me greatly; the older I become the more I doubt the existence of such individuals. But I am interested in human beings. And there will scarcely be a life history which it would not be interesting to look at if it were singled out for scrutiny. Human portraiture has no end. It is manifold and inexhaustible as life itself."
I will save my other observations and thoughts for another day and another post. Rölvaag died in 1931, a few days after a heart attack. He was 55 years old.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was a 23-year-old medical student when he and a friend, Alberto Granado, a 29-year-old biochemist, left Buenos Aires, Argentina, in January 1952,  on a motorcycle to spend nine months traveling more than 5,000 miles through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama. Che also spent a month in Miami, Florida, where he worked as a waiter and a dishwasher in a bar.
During the South American venture, Che and Alberto worked a few weeks in a leper colony in Peru. He describes how there were no clothes, almost no food and no medication for the lepers, and wrote: "All the love and caring just consist on coming to them without gloves and medical attire, shaking their hands as any other neighbor and sitting together for a chat about anything or playing football with them." On one occasion, Che swam across the Amazon River, a distance of two and one-half miles at that point, to dance with woman who was a leper.
"Motorcycle Diaries," is a memoir of that journey, in which, by its end, Che had formed a conception of a borderless, united, Hispanic-America sharing a common "mestizo" bond. His daughter, Aleida Guevara, wrote that one result of the journey was that Che became aware poor people needed his strength and persistence to bring social change more than his scientific knowledge as a doctor and he evolved from being a medical student into an iconic revolutionary.
Che, I assume most people are aware, was instrumental in Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba and fought in Africa and South America before being eventually tracked down and captured and "murdered" in Bolivia on October 9, 1967, by a Bolivian army / CIA "task force." He was 39 years old. The memoir originally was published in Spanish in Cuba in 1993 as, "Notas de viaje;" my copy came into being in 1995 in London.
"In Our Time," is a collection of seventeen Ernest Hemingway short stories, most notably, "Big Two-Hearted River," in two segments. Although there is a river in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by that name, Hemingway's fishing trip after his return from World War I as told in the story actually was on the Fox River near Seney. I literally walked in Ernie's footsteps using his story as a guide .... once upon a time. Hemingway killed himself with a shotgun in 1961. He was 61. The book originally was published in 1925; my copy is a 1950 edition which once graced the shelves of a public library in Wolf Point, Montana. How many people read it then and there?
I first read, "Mythago Wood," when it appeared as a novella of the same name in the September 1981 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I was so enthused by it that I bought an extended version in novel form when it appeared in 1984. I periodically go back and reread it or portions of it.
The woodland of the story has been described as an "abyssal chthonic resonator" because it creates and is home to myth-images, or "mythagos," who are living creatures including animals, monsters and humans generated from the ancient memories and myths within the subconscious of nearby human minds. The book is regarded highly because of its exploration of philosophical/spiritual/psychological themes.
Author Robert Holdstock was an English novelist, primarily of fantasy and mythic fiction, who died from an E. coli infection at age 61 in 2009. I have a few of his books, and think this one is the best of the lot.
The battle for me always has been how much time for reading new material vs. how much time for rereading. The same is true, in a lesser extent, for films and for music .... new vs. one more time.
Two musical videos accompany this post: One is the German electronic rock band Tangerine Dream performing the song, "Confrontation" .... calming/soothing music to me; good music to have playing in your head during a gunfight. The other piece is dedicated mainly to self-anointed studs .... it is 17-year-old Lesley Gore (no relation to Al, I do not believe) singing, "You Don't Own Me," way, way back in 1963.
Well .... I will block the blog in five days and return when I have something written about Ole and his boat ....

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Something special ....