Monday, November 19, 2018

Music Monday ~ The Third Eye

For the past two Music Mondays 'eye' songs were featured, reflecting my husband's cataract surgery on each of those days. All done now. According to the surgeon, and the optician, very successfully. According to my husband, well...the ol' peepers are still feeling scratchy at times, as though he has eyelash(es) in his eye(s). His distance vision is better though, no longer needs spectacles to watch TV or to drive. Reading glasses are still required, and will be part of a new prescription, but he has to wait for 4 weeks before that can happen, to allow full healing time.

There's an old saying that "things come in threes", so a third 'eye' song today: Cotton Eyed Joe performed here by Asleep at the Wheel. We saw this band some years ago at our local theatre. I still remember, with a chuckle, a joke told by the band's vocalist, Ray Benson. He told the audience that, during the band's tour of Texas, they had stopped in a tiny town with an odd name...I think it was Quitaque, Texas. They visited the town's Dairy Queen restaurant for snacks. While ordering, Ray asked the server, "By the way, how do you pronounce the name of this place?" The answer:

There's some good fiddle playing here!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Arty Farty Friday, Saturday & Sundry Painters Born in Mid-November.

Six painters of varying styles were born between 14 and 17 November - but in different centuries and decades. I have already written about all of these, over the years - here are links to my relevant posts, with an example of each of their styles.

Claude Monet 14 November 1840.

 The Ice Floes - Claude Monet.

Manon Cleary 14 November 1942.

 Man in Plastic Bag #5 & #6 by Manon Cleary

Georgia O'Keeffe 15 November 1887.

Wayne Thiebaud 15 November 1920.

Arman 17 November 1928.

 Wheels of Fortune by Arman

Jack Vettriano 17 November 1951.

 Billy Boys by Jack Vettriano

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Vital Titles

Novels, short stories, non-fiction, articles in magazines and newspapers all benefit greatly from thoughtfully chosen titles. The title becomes a "greeter" with power to attract and draw in readers, either by clear indication of what content follows, or by shrewdly thrown poetic mist which can arouse curiosity. Choosing a title is not easy, I dare say that at times it can be more difficult than actually writing the novel or article. Authors over the years have pitted their wits against the ordinary and predictable to come up with something attention-grabbingly different, yet pertinent to content.

Some authors have leaned on work of their predecessors, extracting a nugget of wisdom from finely crafted words, found to be obliquely applicable to their own piece of work. Somerset Maugham favored this method when he chose titles for The Painted Veil and Of Human Bondage, both lifted from old texts. The former from an 1818 sonnet by Percy Byshe Shelley:
Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread, - behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.

The latter was borrowed from one of the books of the 'Ethica' by 17th century Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza. Translated = "Of Human Bondage, or The Strength of the Emotions".

Those are both apt titles, once one is familiar with the storylines, but they presupposed a certain amount of literary knowledge on the part of the reader.

Harper Lee's famous title, To Kill a Mocking Bird came from an old proverb telling that "it's a sin to kill a mocking bird". The author used it as metaphor for the novel's storyline. It's clever, but without prior knowledge of the old proverb, or subject matter of the book, a potential reader might feel puzzled when confronted with the title on a library shelf, but it's intriguing enough to invite investigation.

A few more, old and newer, titles interestingly drawn from literature:

Band of Brothers (book and TV mini-series)

From Shakespeare's Henry V

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

No Country for Old Men (novel and film)

From Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon‐falls, the mackerel‐crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

Vanity Fair (novel and magazine title)

From The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

Emerging from the wilderness, Evangelist meets Christian and Faithful and congratulates them on overcoming their obstacles. Evangelist says they will soon enter a powerful enemy city where one of them will die. The narrator identifies this city as Vanity, home of a great and ancient festival called Vanity Fair, where tawdry products are traded and Beelzebub is worshipped. (HERE)

Where Eagles Dare (book and film)

From Shakespeare's Richard III

"The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey
where eagles dare not perch".
(Act I, Scene III).

From Here to Eternity (book and film)

From Rudyard Kipling's poem Gentlemen-Rankers

We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Bah! Bah!

Grapes of Wrath (book and film)

From Battle Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Bit of the Ol' "Bah Humbug!" from Ian Lang

Someone at Quora last week posted this question, possibly hoping for some nice, warm, cuddly answers about carol singers, Christmas lights, parties, kiddies, Santas and suchlike. Ian Lang had different ideas! His answer is below - shared here with his kind (blanket) consent.

"What is your favorite thing about Christmas?"

AUGHHHHH! Bloody Christmas! It’s only just gone bonfire night and we haven’t had Remembrance Sunday yet and do you know what, as I went in to get twenty John Player’s coffin nails, I saw in the bleedin’ Co-Op an hour or so ago? A huge pyramid display of chuffin’ chocolate Santas, that’s what. I tell you, I was a heartbeat away from “accidentally” tripping up and knocking the sodding lot down.

Actually I tell a lie. Three sides of the pyramid were Santa. The other side was bleedin’ Rudolph. What sort of a message are we giving to our children here? Look at this kindly, jolly old elf, kids! Now eat him! With some fava beans and a nice chianti, presumably. Then eat his deer too!

I went in Quality Save last Saturday. For reference, that was November 3rd. November. NOVEMBER. They were doling out Christmas carrier bags. Had been for a fortnight, apparently. My wife trotted in on Friday with a box of mince pies with a Christmassy picture printed on. And the caution best before Nov 15th.
Now look, retail bathtubs. Christmas is in bogpiggin’ December. Right at the arse-end of December, actually. I don’t mind if you want to whip a gullible horde of frenzied consumers into panic mode to buy your vastly inflated tat from the first of December. I take a bit of an objection to early November, and I’m positively spitting fire when you do it in October. One of you started it just after the brats went back to school after summer, and you know who you are. I will willingly sacrifice my left knacker to any God who will ensure that you will go bust by February, you bloody charlatans.

And why does my wife insist on cooking bloody sprouts for Christmas dinner? I don’t like sprouts. She doesn’t like sprouts. The kid won’t even countenance sprouts. Yet still, on Dec 25th, an Imperial Shedload of sprouts causes the table to creak and groan alarmingly and she gets upset if we don’t eat any.

“You’ve got to have sprouts because it’s Christmas”.

What in the name of the Sacred Mango Pigeon kind of reasoning is that?? Johnny Pope and his gang of merry batchelor-boys say we’ve got to have fish on Friday but I don’t see us polishing off a plaice, tackling a trout or sucking down a salmon on a weekly basis. Is it some sort of superstition hanging over from the middle ages?
“Arrr, Jezelda, it be only ten days to the Christ-Mass. Better start boiling a boat load of sprouts for ye village feast, lest God should smite us, or at least the bishop come down and bugger all the menfolk red-raw!”

Sprouts. Turkey. Crackers. Stupid paper hats. Being nice to people for days. Balls to all that. Still, Christmas is miles better than bloody New Year.

“Happy New Year!”

“No I won’t! £&!* off.”

Bathtubs. So what’s my favorite thing about Christmas?


Monday, November 12, 2018

Music Monday ~ Eye Eye!

We're back at the hospital again this morning - from 6.30 AM this time! Husband is having cataract surgery on his left eye today - right eye was "done", successfully, last Monday.

Another eye song, then, for this Music Monday:

Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long........

POSTSCRIPT - We saw the new movie Bohemian Rhapsody on Saturday afternoon - enjoyed it! 10/10. Excellent performance by Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Poppies

On Sunday, the 11th day of the 11th month, it will be Remembrance Day in the UK. Many will have been wearing poppy symbols in their lapels during the week remembering those who died in two World Wars. "We shall remember them!"

For this Arty Farty Friday, I've chosen a handful of paintings featuring poppies:

 By Georgia O'Keeffe

 By Fred Stead

By Monet

 By Mary Cassatt

 By Chris Chapman