Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tripping over stones.

Us, in Pompeii.
Us, in Pompeii.,
originally uploaded by scp2695.
The Missus and I in Pompeii. We had planned to do a big trip for our tenth wedding anniversary in 2007. Linda and the medicos discovered she had breast cancer, again; that put the kibosh to that. She had the operation and chemo. Barbaric, but it works , I hope. She had a different type in 1984 before we were married, when I was at Fort Knox. This trip was a celebration.

Fascinating place, Pompeii. Yes, a tourist trap; to me an interesting one.I have had a lifelong interest in ancient history, and had not been to Pompeii when I was in Italy in 1973. This day we were on a two hour tour, not enough. Andiamo, andiamo! Architecture, especially old or ancient architecture, fascinates me. I wanted to be an architect when I was young; that was before my dis-interested adolescent brain encountered geometry. Now I like to look at buildings.

The box hanging around my neck is a clever device. It was new to me: obviously, I do not get out enough. It is a radio receiver through which one can hear one's guide over a limited range. Saves wear and tear on the guide's voice.Worked quite nicely. One cannot read a guide book while sauntering through the ruins--too many stones to trip the unwary.

Stones trip us at all stages of life. The trick is to be wary.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This is the first of an occasional succint series about some photographs from Flickr that I have saved as 'favorites'.

This photo is labelled "Peruvian anti-riot police" by the photographer. The tight composition caught my eye, along with the armor. A good thing to have when people are throwing bottles and bricks your way.It takes eight pounds of pressure per square inch to break human bone. So yes to armor, however ant-like. They remind me of ant-men. Myrmidons: created from ants by Zeus. Loyal. Swarming. Lots of them.

Another aspect of the photo appealed to me. I like groups; working with and achieving goals with a group. O I can go off and read a book all 'on my oddy-knocky', but it is the group, whether it be a tank crew, library staff, or model group that gets things done.

Then, as always, there is the word: Myrmidons. The tribe Achilles led. Created by Zeus from ants, wrote Ovid. Later, it came to mean 'robot-like'; then, 'mindless ruffians'. Shakespeare did not think much of them. I prefer the ant-men etymology: my fascination with Formicidae goes back a long way. That is another story.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"One hand for the ship, one hand for yourself."

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads,our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects."
Herman Melville

Thank you, BB, for the kind words.

I have been more frugal lately as I have been grappling with the black dog. I have that old familiar feeling of the baseball bat across the shoulder blades, accompanied by the radiating pain down the arm; signs of a blockage. I have 3 stents in me, one for each heart attack. I know the signs. Tomorrow I see the sawbones: he will look at me like a Schnauzer that has heard a funny noise, and maybe run some tests. Tired of that. Tired of being tired.

"Tho' much is taken, much abides;"....so I try to have the guppy's outlook: each day is a new trip 'round the bowl for me. Inspired by my exchange with BB, today I picked up a new-to-me author, a good reason to get out of bed. Alexander Kent, a pseudonym of Douglas Reeman. I have passed over his work many a time, and thought I would take the plunge. By the time I get underway, The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea ( acquired for $7.98 instead of the SRP of $41.00, my Yankee ancestors would be proud) will have arrived, and it will help this 'lubber suss out the nomenclature. I enjoy that. BB mentions the theme of class as a possible block to my reading O'Brian's tales. Perhaps; it will need mulling over.

"I cannot rest from travel:"..... Missus RR loves to travel, she has been to more places than I. She lived in Iran, working at the American School, pre-Ayatollahs. She has seen Persepolis,a city dreamt of in my youth. Cleared to fly by my cardiologist last year, the Missus and I went to Italy. I would like to see France, not just Paris. I read an interesting book this spring about how France was assembled, sometimes unwillingly. Burgundy springs to mind. BB stayed in the land of, literally, the language of Oc: Languedoc. The very name trips lightly off the tongue. Cassoulet? Too heavy for this time of year, hot, by his report; perhaps some decent seafood a la languedocienne? French regional cooking, filtered through Canada and New England via my mother is truly my mother cuisine.I do not know of classmates in Weymouth MA who had boudin noir or pissenlit too. Lord knows where mother ever found the sausage in those days of the A&P. She got the dandelions right outside our door.

I have other,mistier, travel plans: to follow the Kidnapped trail of David Balfour and Alan Breck would be an adventure; to see Greek temples in Sicily; to see fiords and,oddly, to visit the North German coast ( I blame Buddenbrooks). And yes, after learning to sail, to sail the wine dark sea, even if it is just for a day:"that which we are, we are." It will do.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Bloomsday!

Just a wee post, cannot say much, except to wish all a happy Bloomsday. Hoist a glass of yer favorite beverage and read some Joyce aloud.