Wednesday, August 31, 2011

school days

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.
Maria Montessori (31 august 1870-1952), educator & philosopher

here on the north coast school days have started for most children. i'm all for education, but really i think it is just plain wrong for kids to go back to school in august! but no need to go off on a rant - it is what it is, however, i hear there is some movement in the state to try to push (require?) communities to wait until after labor day.

rock icon chuck berry performing his classic song school days - school days was first released in 1957 as a single on the chess record label.

those who enjoy folk music - and who are always looking for something suitable for listeners of all ages - there is a marvelous version school days on elizabeth mitchell's latest album sunny day (2010, smithsonian folkways). some of song is sung by mitchell's young daughter storey which brings a sweet flavor to berry's rocking rock anthem. youtube has a vid of elizabeth and her family and band performing at the 2010 austin city limits festival (unfortunately there's a lot of interference from a competing stage partway into the song - but the vid gives the listener a taste of the mitchell treatment).

the last verse of the song, hail! hail! rock and roll is the title of a 1987 documentary on chuck berry - the film was made in part as a celebration of berry's 60th birthday and to pay tribute to berry's tremendous influence on rock music. berry was among the first group of musicians inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame when it opened in 1986. by the way, berry is still alive and well and at 84 years old young is still rocking and maintains an active concert schedule.

wall wednesday continues....

photo: today's wall wednesday wall is courtesy of my daughter em. when i first saw it i thought it was some type of veggie (with a face) - which is WRONG - so who knows what (or would that be who) this street artist was really portraying ? mairetta, ohio june 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


When I come up against the real world, I just vacillate.

Robert Crumb (30 august 1943) artist, illustrator & musician

tattoo tuesday continues.

today i'm going to hit you with a few snaps of knuckle tattoos. i'm fascinated by all body art, however, i'm really captivated with knuckle tattoos - i love running across messages people want to express to the world. folks can cover up most tattoos, but when it comes to the hands unless gloves are worn those tat messages are there for all to see....or would that be read!

my fascination with knuckle tats is not unique. a blogger named nathan set up a special blog just on knuckle tats - hands down nathan's site is a knuckle tat paradise....i had fun scrolling through the posts and reading the tats and the stories behind the messages. my main complaint about the nathan's little corner of cyberspace is that i wish he had a traditional archive on his sidebar. it would be nice to go back and pick up where i left off. it doesn't seem very easy to do that. nathan if you see this post, please add the the archive feature or state somewhere on the home page when the knuckle project began.

the vanishing tattoo discusses how hand tattoos are probably the demarcation line which separates the tattoo enthusiast from the truly hard core and define hard core as someone "not giving a damn about whether or not the world knew you were tattooed and to caring even less about what said world thought about it." if you read vt's linked discussion on hand tats you will also come across a list of their top ten knuckle tats which is quite interesting.

oh back to nathan's blog, if you check it out, make sure you don't miss the knuckle gun - where you can put in your eight letter message.

i bet patches and daisy* would like it if someone sported this -- surprisingly i didn't see this on vanishing tattoo's top ten list:

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

* patches and daisy

jewel performing hands (1998) - i just love this song.... in the end only kindness matters.......

photos: all taken in august 2011. thanks t (top); josh (middle); and the guy whose name i forgot to get for letting me share your hands.

Monday, August 29, 2011

goodnight irene

We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.
John Locke (29 august 1632 - 1704) philosopher

here on the north coast we had an absolutely gorgeous weekend. however i was preoccupied by thoughts of hurricane irene which was bearing down on the east coast, this resulted in way too much time glued to the weather channel. is it just me or do others find the weather channel oddly addictive? geez, it's like television crack!

irene was a powerful storm, fortunately it didn't turn out to be as fierce and ferocious as initially predicted (early on there was talk of irene being a category 3 or 4 hurricane, in the end it was a category 1 storm) - there was plenty of damage done in the storms wake but fortunately it wasn't as bad as it might have been.

for irene preparedness was the watchword!

we are in the eye of the sixth anniversary one of deadliest and most devastating hurricanes in u.s. history - hurricane katrina. when it comes to katrina, we know that much of the death and devastation could have been avoided if before the storm 'the powers that be' would have heeded the advice of scientists who long warned about the vulnerability of the levee system and if after the storm, the agents of social control acted with in interest of the health and well-being of all people in mind.

goodnight irene was first recorded by lead belly in 1932, the following vid comes from a 1943 recording of this folk standard.

like most folk classics the origins of the song are fuzzy - lead belly was singing a version of the song as early as 1908 - he claimed he learned the song from his uncle. however, by the 1930s, lead belly made the song his own by modifying the melody and rewriting most of the lyrics.

the list of artists who have covered goodnight irene is staggering and includes folks as diverse as: the weavers, frank sinatra, johnny cash, kingston trio, raffi, and even the pogues!

photo: sky over casa mouse 28 august 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the 3 r's

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.
Paulo Coelho (24 august 1947) writer

wall wednesday continues...

another different sort of wall post. thanks to the quote i used last week by lefebyre i started thinking about repurposed buildings around me. today's photo is one of the many re-purposed buildings around cleveland.

today the former live poultry market which operated next to cleveland's historic west side market now houses the city's newest microbrewery and gathering spot, the market garden brewery. what i really love about this re-used building is how the building's former life is still visible on the walls!

folksinger jack johnson & friends performing the catching and the completely ecologically correct song the 3 r's at the 2008 kokua music festival - by the way this was the year featured in the documentary kokua 2008: 5 years of change.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

i will remember you

this week marks the one year anniversary of my beloved father's passing.

as a tribute to dad, tattoo tuesday celebrates memorial tattoos.
all of the tattoos featured today are on people i met saturday at the lakewood car kulture show. i few weeks ago i stated that next to a tattoo convention, the cleveland irish festival may be the best place to see inked flesh. i was wrong! if it was a race, i think some groups of car enthusiasts definitely win the inked flesh competition!

the first two photos are of the left arm of a fellow named dale - there is a lot of stuff represented on dale's arms (and probably the rest of his body too, but i didn't go there) - in addition to glimpses of some of dale's passions (cars & women), there are a few powerful expressions of family love- the top photo shows an anchor - the anchor is one of two memorial tattoos dale has included on this arm paying tribute to his late grandfather (1914-1987); the second is found below - the image of the madonna is a reproduction of a work of his grandfather from when he was an artist at cleveland based american greetings.

dale was one three guys i met saturday who belong to a cleveland car club known as the vagabond kings - all three fellows had some really outstanding body art.

below is a memorial tattoo that tim, another vagabond kings, has on his arm in memory of his mother (1925 -1996) this tattoo includes an image of a swallow or a bluebird (which was discussed last week)

later i met and talked with a woman who graciously shared two memorial tattoos which were not as visible as some of her other tattoos. alas, i was so smitten by her artful body, i forgot to ask her name.

on the right side of her torso is a beautiful memorial tattoo in honor of a beloved grandmother - again we find the bluebird.

on the left side is a tribute to her father - her father was a marine who served in world war two. below the marine insignia is moving version of the rose of no man's land tattoo. in tattoo culture, the rose (or angel) of no man's land has historically memorialized the women who took care of the men injured or killed in the war - with the rose symbolizing red cross nurses.

one final memorial tattoo - below is another in honor of a beloved grandmother - i just love the incorporation of a the kitchen aid mixer - her nana must have been as good of a cook as was my nana!

sarah mclachlan singing i will remember you (1995) the song was used in the 1995 film the brothers mcmullen. the song also earned sarah her third grammy.

photos: lakewood, ohio; august 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

where did you sleep last night?

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

Dorothy Parker (22 august 1893 - 1967)

it is curious how humans get into routines and patterns. as the scribe for my bookgroup i just finished updating the master list for our years of reading in preparation for september's annual book selection meeting. while making the list i noticed that for the last eight years we have had our august meeting at jane's home. perhaps it isn't really that curious why our group has developed this annual routine, jane is a master gardener and in august her yard is a riot of color and bounty.

last year i shared an image of one of jane's bottle trees - above is a snap of this year's curious crop. the practice of bottle trees in gardens is an old one - it is believed that the bottles will capture the evil spirits that are lurking about and thus only good spirits will remain.

kurt cobain and nirvana (unplugged) performing the traditional folk song where did you sleep last night? also known as in the pines - a bit different rendition that leadbelly's version. don't know about you, but i like them both! the history of the song is crazy - according to the portal, its roots go back to the 1870s and it has been covered by an amazingly eclectic collection of artists - curious? click on link above to read more!

photos: top - tsuki, august 2011; bottom - oberlin, august 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

name game

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.

Katharine Hepburn (1907 -2003)

how about a little fun for friday! don't worry i'm not going to start a new daily theme, but then again, fun fridays might be, well fun!

i just had to pass along this amusing riddle that my sil paula shared. the riddle is:

what nine letter word in the english language is still a word when eight letters are removed one by one?

can't come up with a nine letter word, don't feel bad, i couldn't either.

i expect puzzlemaster will shortz could come up with the word - knowing will, i bet he could come up with a few words that fit the bill! i wonder if he used this riddle on his weekend edition puzzle segment?

now here's the fun part, the answer is found in the following vid.

gotta have a song -- how about this fun song from childhood!

shirley ellis singing the name game - shirley wrote the song with lincoln chase; when it was released in 1964 it became an instant hit reaching #3 on the billboard hot 100 and #5 on the r&b charts.

according to the portal, here is the formula should you wish to play the name game:

Using the name Katie as an example, the song follows this pattern:

Katie, Katie, bo-batie,
Banana-fana fo-fatie

A verse can be created for any name, with X as the name and Y as the name without the first consonant sound (if it begins with a consonant), as follows:

(X), (X), bo-b (Y)
Banana-fana fo-f (Y)
Fee-fi-mo-m (Y)

If the name starts with a vowel or vowel sound, the "b" "f" or "m" is inserted in front of the name.

And if the name starts with a b, f, or m, that sound simply is not repeated. (For example: Billy becomes "Billy Billy bo-illy"; Fred becomes "banana fana fo-ana"; Marsha becomes "fee fi mo-arsha".)

Playing the game with names such as Alice, Dallas, Tucker, Chuck, Buck, Huck, Bart, Art, Marty, Mitch, Rich, Richie, Maggie, Ruby, or, in British English, Danny or Annie, results in profanity or rude language.

photo: the front porch chipmunk at casa mouse - not to be confused with the backyard chipmunks. all the chipmunks at casa mouse are terribly spoiled. i think this chippy was trying to get my attention letting me know that i haven't put out the day's treats! the photo's not bad considering it was snapped through the glass of the front door and the screen of the screened door! 19 august 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

living for the city

An existing space may outlive its original purpose and the raison d’etre which determines its forms, functions, and structures; it may thus in a sense become vacant, and susceptible of being diverted, reappropriated and put to a use quite different from its initial one.
Henri Lefebvre (1901 -1991) sociologist, philosopher, urbanist

wall wednesday continues.....

today's wall is found on a building being re-purposed in the detroit-shoreway neighborhood of cleveland. although i'm curious as to the future use of the space, i'm even more curious about learning who is behind the selection of the wonderful quote from iconoclastic french philoshopher lefebyre's groundbreaking work the the production of space.

i wonder if the pink rhino is a nod toward ionesco's absurdist play rhinocéros? the building after all is just a few blocks west of cleveland public theatre - and this whole area of cleveland is charged with creative energy! then again sometimes a rhino is just a rhino.

stevie wonder first released his song living for the city in 1973 on his album innervisions. it quickly became a hit reaching #8 on the pop charts and #1 on the r&b chart. rolling stone ranks the song #104 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

in 1975 ray charles recorded living for the city for his album renaissance - charles substituted a different spoken interlude which addresses the extremes of living in abject poverty. wonder was so moved by charles' commentary that the two of them performed the version for a 1991 television tribute to ray charles entitled 50 years of music making: a tribute to ray charles - somebod uploaded this performance on youtube a few years back (i'm glad he did! thanks somebod!!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

voices in the sky

THE human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion,
And nights in rosy riot fly,
While, lost in Fame's or Wealth's illusion,
The memory of the Past may die.
Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)novelist & poet
excerpt from Evening Solace found in Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846)

tattoo tuesday continues....

for me one of the most charming tattoos is the bluebird. like many designs, bluebird tattoos have nautical roots - rumor has it that when a sailor traveled 5,000 miles at sea he would get a bluebird tattoo on his chest and when he completed 10,000 miles he would get a second bluebird on the other side. like many nautical designs bluebird tattoos easily transferred to the general public -- i have found that bluebirds are very popular among both women and men.

bluebirds have long been regarded as a sign of happiness, prosperity and good health in many different cultural traditions - and it is a bit staggering to consider all the attention, poems, songs and myths that surround this endearing little bird.

in today's tattoo cosmology a bluebird is regarded as a symbol of luck.

Bluebird flying high,
Tell me what you sing.
If you could talk to me,
What news would you bring
Of voices in the sky?
-from moody blues voices in the sky

the moody blues classic song voices in the sky (1968) - gosh does this song bring back some wonderful memories days of my (misspent) youth -- hmmm, now that i think of it is probably a good thing that tattoos weren't the rage in the late 60's early 70s as they are today..... otherwise who knows how inked up this mouse might be.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

dream baby

Then followed that beautiful season called...Summer...
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) poet & educator

wishing everyone a dreamy weekend!

dream baby performed by rob orbison & friends (including: bruce springsteen, jennifer warnes, bonnie raitt, k.d. lang, tom waits, elvis costello, t-bone burnette, jackson brown and j.d. souther - probably one of the dreamiest back-up bands ever assembled!) for the television special a black and white night - first broadcast 3 january 1988

photo: casa mouse, august 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

last night i had the strangest dream

...the future depends on each of us taking nonviolence into our hearts and minds and developing new and imaginative structures which are nonviolent and life-giving for all. Some people will argue that this is too idealistic. I believe it is very realistic. I am convinced that humanity is fast evolving to this higher consciousness. For those who say it cannot be done, let us remember that humanity learned to abolish slavery. Our task now is no less than the abolition of violence and war .... We can rejoice and celebrate today because we are living in a miraculous time. Everything is changing and everything is possible.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire (b.1944) peace activist, nobel laureate (1976)*

wall wednesday continues.

10 august is the anniversary of the founding of the peace people in 1976.

*the 1976 nobel prize for peace was awarded in 1977 to mairead macguire and betty williams, cofounders of the community of peace people, an organization dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to the troubles in northern ireland. a third co-founder of the organization, ciara mckeown, was not included in receiving the nobel peace prize.

today's wall is located in herman park in the detroit-shoreway neighborhood of cleveland. the second photo depicts the four peoples of the earth stories. the stories which are explained on the detail of the wall below:

pete seeger singing his friend ed mccurdy's 1950 anti-war classic last night i had the strangest dream. this video was done by someone named spadecaller - thank spadecaller!

photos: herman park cleveland august 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

o superman

tattoo tuesday continues.

today's we are glimpsing at some body art that i caught at cleveland's carol and john's comic book shop - in this humble mouse's opinion the best comic shop in the known universe. okay, if it's not the best comic shop in the universe, i can say without exaggeration that carol and john's repeatedly is recognized as the best comic shop in cleveland and northern ohio.

this past weekend friends from out of town were visiting, one of them asked if there was a comic shop nearby. he had recently heard a story on npr about a new spiderman. the recent death of peter parker (aka spiderman) at the hands of the evil green goblin wasn't necessarily the death of our much loved spidey.

this month marvel revealed the identity of the new spiderman - miles morales. even though my visiting friend isn't a comic book collector, he was keen to try to find a copy of the newest issue. as fate would have it carol and john's had two copies; so m picked up a copy (along with the six issues leading up to the death of peter parker and the introduction of miles morales, i might add). i snagged the remaining issue, i figured after reading it i'd send it to my 30-year old nephew adrian who once had a serious spiderman fixation (i seem to remember he liked to wear his spiderman costume 24/7 when he was a wee lad).

but enough with spiderman, let's get to the tats! the top two photos are of store owners, john and carol - who incidentally are mother and son - how cool is that!

prior to going into the comic biz full time, john worked for 17 years as a firefighter with the cleveland fire department. the dragon that we see on his left arm reflects his firefighting days. john explained that hundreds of years ago japanese firefighters would wear protective coats embroidered with elaborate images of dragons, over time the embroidery of dragons gave way to tattoos for japanese firefighters. today firefighters everywhere have embraced the iconography of the dragon as a symbol of protection, courage and strength.

like son, like mother - carol is also adorned with several tattoos. the one visible on her right forearm shows, a peacock feather, a wisp of smoke, and carol written in kanji.

as i was leaving the store i noticed one more tat, this one on the knuckles of a customer petting winston zeddemore, the store cat and mascot.

cleveland boasts a long and fine comic book history. did you know that cleveland is the home to superman? yep, back in the dark days of the great depression, cleveland teens jerry siegel and joe shuster, dreamed up superman - who is perhaps the first real comic superhero. more recently, cleveland is home to the late harvey pekar, best known as the author of american splendor.

we had some time to kill after before meeting some other friends for dinner, so after visiting carol and john's comic shop, we headed over the cleveland's glenville neighborhood and checked out the birthplace of superman.

o superman (1981) - often considered laurie anderson's break-out song. did you know that in addition to being a brilliant sculptor, musician, composer and performance artist, in 1970 laurie was the illustrator for the underground comix baloney moccasins!?

Monday, August 8, 2011

tell me a story

The universe is made of stories, not atoms.

Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) poet & activist

great timing that we hosted a gathering at casa mouse on saturday - with so many kids in attendance, i had the perfect excuse to pull out the two books by james warhola that i mentioned earlier that day on the mouse. the stories were a perfect end to a perfect day! if any of the kids didn't know about andy warhol before the party, they did when they left!

(much thanks to alix who saw my camera unattended and snapped the pic!)

the indomitable iggy pop singing tell me a story (1979). iggy's given name isn't ignatius as one might think but rather james - he adopted iggy as an homage to the first band he played in as a high school student in ann arbor, michigan - the iguanas. oh and by the way iggy's last name isn't really pop either!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

sepia saturday: the landscape is changing

Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?

Andy Warhol (6 august 1928 - 1987) painter, printmaker & filmaker

i knew it's been a bit since i put up a sepia saturday photo - but really january! we aren't kidding when we say time flies!

today's photo was taken at some unknown gathering in the front yard of my maternal grandparents' home in harwood mines, pennsylvania. i'm not sure when it was taken, based on aunt rose, the woman on the hammock, i expect it was taken during the early 1950s or maybe even the late 1940s. i'm pretty certain the man sitting with his legs crossed is uncle andy, rose's husband - they married in 1951. whether they were married when the photo was snapped, who knows. my grandmother (nana) is the woman seated at the table next to the man with glass raised.

i don't know the identity of the others in the photo - relatives? neighbors? other than location, and these three people i can only speculate the story of the photo. perhaps this picture was taken when rose and andy announced their engagement, surely it must have been some special occasion for someone to have gone through the trouble of finding a camera to document this moment in time. today cameras are ubiquitous and some of us document everything (that would be me), but 50-60 years ago this wasn't the case -especially from what i know of my mother's family, unless there is an closeted shutterbug that i don't know about!

in addition to seeing a youthful nana, aunt rose and uncle andy, what is amazing for me about this photo is the background. i know the exact spot where the unknown photographer stood. if one stood in that spot in the 1960s - 1990s and glanced out at the hills, it would not be trees one would see but raw and wounded earth that was strip mined starting in the late 50s. today the landscape is slowly coming back with the help of hard-fought for reclamation programs, but the wounds are still there.

(click on image to enlarge)

to visit other time travelers, visit the sepia saturday blog.

addendum made at 4:15 pm: i just spoke with my mother and she was a font of knowledge about the old photo. turns out the gentleman i thought was my uncle andy isn't uncle andy, but a visiting relative from indiana. the man seated next to nana is my great-grandfather's brother who coincidentally is named andy - so there is an uncle andy in the photo, just not the uncle andy i thought! if he's my great-grandfather's brother i guess he'd be my great-great-uncle andy. the two women with scarves are among the indiana contingent - my mom didn't know the names of any other indiana people other than andy. we did narrow it down to the late 1940s and speculate that the bottles may be wine or soda pop. they definitely aren't the shape of beer or whiskey bottles. mom also said the photographer must be someone from indiana and confirmed my impression that there weren't really any shutterbugs among her immediate family.

the landscape is changing
by depeche mode (1983)

photos: top, unknown date, unknown photographer, harwood mines, pa; bottom - land about 1-1/2 miles west of location in top photo, pennsylvania july 2011

addendum 5:15: speaking of uncle andy - i was just thinking of my conversation with my mom and about uncle andy and started thinking about a couple wonderful books i have on hand for visiting children at casa mouse. a head's up's to all those aficionados of kiddie lit and/or (uncle) andy warhol. the books are by james warhola. james warhola is andy warhol's nephew and an artist in his own right. the first book is called uncle andy's: a faabbbulous visit with andy warhol (2003). james followed this book up a few years later with an equally delightful and fabulous book entitled uncle andy's cats, the cover of which is seen to your right.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ancestors' breaths

Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.

Mary Harris Jones, aka Mother Jones (1 august 1837 - 1930)
labor & community organizer

wall wednesday continues, but today's wall is a bit different than the mouse's usual offerings. today's wall comes from the miners memorial park in coaldale, pennsylvania. despite the saying on the wall, please do not think i am advocating mining more coal - remember this is a memorial. perhaps i will discuss coal's role in global climate change at a later date; but today's post is all about remembrance.

on the day we headed home last month from the family reunion in northeastern pennsylvania, f and i first meandered about conducting a bit of ancestor road tour. it was a perfect compliment to the weekend which was all about family. after paying our respects to the family members buried in st. mary's cemetery in mcadoo pennsylvania (great-grands, grands, aunts, uncles, and a couple cousins) we headed to tamaqua.

we had heard that some of the family had purchased bricks at the recently renovated train depot to commemorate the years of service of grandpap and two uncles. we did find all three bricks - and grandpap and uncle stef's bricks are located in what i call areas of real honor - to the left and right of the main front entry door! to the left is grandpap's brick - and those years 1906 to 1955 are his years of employment. grandpap was born in 1888. wow, it's a shame he didn't make it to 1956 to make an even 50; but yowser, 49 years working for the same company. not many can claim that - especially today!

after wandering about the town of tamaqua on foot, we jumped in the car. i noticed on the map that we were close to coaldale, the birthplace of my mother's mother, so we decided to make coaldale our next stop. my grandmother didn't live long in coaldale, but she was born there and i thought it would be interesting to see what the town looks like. coaldale is one of the many coal patch towns that are peppered in the mountains of this part of pennsylvania, there is still active mining going on in coaldale unlike many of the other towns in the area. what a surprise to discover that one one of my historical heroes also visited the town - mother jones! the historical marker above was erected in 2002 and provides information about a march in october 1900 that mother jones led of 2,000 women. the women marched from mcadoo to coaldale to support striking mine workers.

the march was a bit before that grandmother's time - she was born in coaldale in 1907, but my grandpap was twelve years old in 1900 and living with his family in nearby lofty (a very small town adjacent to mcadoo). how i wish i had known about this march when grandpap was alive i would have asked him to tell me about it. he was a wonderful storyteller and was blessed with a memory like an elephant.

it seems natural to close today's post with mention of one more family member. today is the birthday of my beloved father. had he lived he would have turned 89 years old - although he didn't make it to 89 he did make it to the wonderful age of 88 - which coincidentally was the same age his father made it to.

below is a the only photo i know of my dad when he was a baby. it was taken in the family home in lofty.

sweet honey and the rock singing their musical rendition of senegalese poet birago diop phenomenal poem ancestors breath.

in case you would enjoy singing along, here are the words:

Listen more often to things than to beings
Listen more often to things than to beings
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters.

Those who have died have never, never left
The dead are not under the earth
They are in the rustling trees
They are in the groaning woods
They are in the crying grass,
they are in the moaning rocks
The dead are not under the earth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

here comes the sun

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

tattoo tuesday continues - the human adorned by today's body art is arabelle the founder of acenda yoga in lakewood. i can't believe i didn't capture arabelle's beautiful face in this snap - i was so focused on the art and listening to the story of the tats i flaked! the hand and forearm tats are inspired by arabelle's fondness for mehndi designs. in the past she would get traditional henna mehndi tattoos, but she was always sad when they would fade away, so she found a way around that problem and got inked!

the ankle tat represents aspects of arabelle's life. as i was reflecting on this design, i thought of this image - kinda of funny since arabelle is a yoga teacher!

Om Hram Mitraaya Namah Salutations to Mitra, the bestower of universal friendship
Om Hrim Ravaye Namah Salutations to Ravi, the bestower of radiance
Om Hrum Suryaaya Namah Salutations to Surya, the dispeller of darkness
Om Hraim Bhaanave Namah Salutations to Bhaanu, the shining principle
Om Hraum Khagaaya Namah Salutations to Khaga, the all-pervading
Om Hraha Pushne Namah Salutations to Pushan, the mystic fire
Om Hram Hiranyagarbhaaya Namah Salutations to Hiranyagarbha, the golden colored one (who brings healing)
Om Hrim Marichaye Namah Salutations to Marichi, the light
Om Hrum Aadityaya Namah Salutations to Aaditya (an aspect of Vishnu)
Om Hraim Savitre Namah Salutations to Savita (Savitri) the impeller
Om Hraum Arkaaya Namah Salutations to Arka, the remover of afflictions
Om Hraha Bhaaskaraaya Namah Salutations to Bhaskara, the cosmic brilliance
surya namaskar (sun salutation) chant courtesy of yiy

george harrison singing his wonderful song here comes the sun, accompanying george is a slew of other notable musicians - how many can you identify and name?

according to the caption this vid came from the second annual prince and trust concert - the prince's trust is a uk charity, which isn't without controversy according to the portal.

the first all star concert was held in 1986, so this vid was made in 1987 which is confirmed on george's wiki page.

this november will mark the 10th anniversary of george's death, ah george we miss you! a few years ago i fessed up that george is my favorite beatle - even tho' i respect and appreciate all the beatles, particularly john's work for peace, george still rules for me, guess there's just something in the way he moves me.....

photos: lakewood, july 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

behind the mask

There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes his whole universe for a vast practical joke.
Herman Melville (1 august 1819 - 1891)

ah, so much for my intention in mid-july to try and get back into a blogging routine; i even stated that i was going to go long on snaps and short on sentences in order to get back in to the swing of things. it turns out i did neither. golly, i didn't even register into the double digits i only put up 8 measly posts for the entire month, which makes july 2011 as a historic low since the mouse began in february 2007! hey, but who is counting but me!

okay, so, today is august 1 - a new month. still summer so no promises. but there are no wanders scheduled and so far only one set of visitors scheduled for a stay at casa mouse. maybe, just maybe i'll be able to break 10 posts for the month!

ah, like i've said before summertime and the living is busy!

speaking of busy, how about these snaps of some busy bees! i took them at the family reunion picnic when a mob of honey bees came in and crashed the party! it was pretty amazing to witness this mass movement of bees; i assume the bees were on the move in order to establish a new hive somewhere - and despite my fondness for honeybees i don't know all that much about their traveling habits.

i was very proud of my extended family the bees came right up to the area where we were hanging. with the exception of my nephew who decided to run with the bees, everyone was calm and curious as the bees moved in, danced about and finally gathered up into a great ball and settled in on a tree at the edge the patio.

i haven't heard how long the bees hung around - one fellow at the gathering who witnessed a similar event a while back said he thought they'd be gone by the next day. when we left the picnic at nine p.m. the big ball of bees was still there.

today's writer's almanac reported that today is the anniversary of herman melville's birth. last year while visiting nyc, i made a pilgrimage to woodlawn cemetery, among the graves i visited was that of melville. i regret that i didn't jot down what were on the notes that people left on melville's headstone - although i did successfully capture part of one note by someone named megan spencer is signed "with love and --ation... 'strike through the mask.'

in college i took a course on melville; the class fostered a great fondness and respect for this amazingly complex and remarkable writer, and explains why i can truthfully state that i finished moby dick!

that megan knows her melville - the phrase, "strike through the mask" comes from a passage where starbuck tells ahab that he is mad to be so obsessed with moby dick; ahab retorts and states that all things are but masks, to truly know something we must understand what is behind the mask and thus must strike through the mask!

by the way, for all you curious book mice, there is a biography of melville by elizabeth renker entitled strike through the mask: herman melville and the scene of writing. i haven't read it but it sounds good, so it is now down on my ever growing list!

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. - Herman Melville
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event--in the living act, the undoubted deed --there, some unknown but skill reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall. To me, the white whale is that wall....
(p. 144 of my 1967 norton critical edition of moby dick)

eric clapton, phil collins, and what appears as a cast of thousands performing behind the mask - the person who shared this on youtube didn't date the vid, but based on the hairstyles, it's safe to assume it was made in the early to mid 1980s.

photos: top 3 - on carla's farm, new ringgold, pa july 2011; bottom two - woodlawn cemetery, bronx, ny june 2010