Cider Press Hill

Cute knickered Brit

Thursday, 12:10 pm

By Kate

Sep

28

2006

partly cloudy

I happened across a photo archive, yesterday, of old photographs of historical interest—Picture History. Many very beautiful photographs and portraits of historic figures.

One that particularly caught my eye was a 1923 portrait of Ethiopia’s Haile Salassie. I was peripherally aware of him before, but the portrait is so arresting that I wanted to learn more about him. The man was positively regal and much respected, admired, and even beloved by the rest of the world. Here is a brief account of his life and his amazing speech before the League of Nations in June 1936. Perhaps the more the world changes, the more it stays the same.

I spent a long time viewing the photographs in the Middle East section of the archives. There are some beautiful photos of the Bedouins and their tents. That prompted me to learn more about them and their culture. It wasn’t until I came to this picture of two Arab men that I literally spit coffee. You have to wonder how the photograph was ever captioned the way it is because the young fellow practically screams “I am a Brit!” in his knickers and woolen stockings (and wrist watch). I can’t decide whether it is truly funny or truly tragic.

The young British fellow is also captured in photographs here and here (that one also made me spit coffee) and here. The latter photograph states the Arab men are Druze, which I don’t believe is true. They are standing in front of the same Bedouin tent as in the other photos and the clothing the Arab men are wearing is traditional Bedouin attire. And the Druze weren’t/aren’t tent dwellers.

Here is a particularly nice photograph of the men’s quarters/guest receiving room of a Bedouin tent with the fire pit for preparing tea or coffee for a guest—which is a very important part of Bedouin hospitality and culture. Same tent, same British guy. I am curious who the two men on the left are. They don’t have the same head gear as the Bedouin. Was something being negotiated?

This is another mislabeled photograph of Three Arab Men where the first one is wearing a bow tie, a lapeled suit jacket and white cuffed trousers beneath his robe. I’m guessing he’s pretty British, too. Not sure about the second fellow, though. The first guy in the photo also shows up with our cute little knickered Brit in this picture also labeled as a Druze group. Same tent as in the rest

The photographs were supposedly taken in 1898. What was going on in 1898 between the British and the Bedouin? I thought perhaps issues over the old Aswan Dam that started construction in 1898. But one of the other photographs shows the British guy with a crew of Bedouins sporting rifles. Seems kind of military-ish. I wonder where the photographs were taken.

It’s all kind of a puzzle, not helped in the least by the captioning.

And what do you make of these two Sheikhs? I’m a bit skeptical of the one on the left.

Well, as I said, the photographs are fascinating and many are absolutely gorgeous and worth viewing on that basis alone. Unfortunately, for a site that claims to be a historical resource, the captioning suggests otherwise. There should be some attempt to fact check the photographs. Just because a bunch of guys stand around wearing keffiyehs (and robes) doesn’t mean they’re all Arab. I don’t think anyone ever made the same error with photographs of Lawrence of Arabia, did they?



 

Sunday things

Sunday, 3:16 pm

By Kate

Sep

24

2006

light rain

This morning got off to a sudden and early start when a police car, fire truck, and ambulance screeched to a halt in front of my next door neighbors’ house. Shortly after, the ambulance crew wheeled the Mr. out on a gurney. He seemed alert and was propped into a sitting position. The police car and fire truck drove away, so I’d guess it was a 911 call. Whatever happened, it must not have been too serious, fortunately. He was home and outside this afternoon. Still must have been a scary experience. Made my heart race, that’s for sure.

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Summer briefly reprised this morning and it was hot outside—a little over 80°, which feels hot after many days of upper-50s to low-60s. But, by noon, the black clouds began moving in, the wind picked up, and the rain started falling. The temperature fell 15 degrees and is still falling like a stone. Time to put my thick fuzzy socks back on.

____________

A little while ago, I noticed a daddy long legs spider making her way across the wall next to me. I watched her for a while and decided to take her picture. The flash startled her and she dropped to the floor. She found refuge on a small picture I have propped against the baseboard. I thought the contrasts were very pleasing so I got down on the floor and stuck the camera in her face. She didn’t think much of that and tried to run away. I used the picture to block off her exit and we played that game for quite a while. I wanted her to crawl back on the picture and SIT STILL. She finally did—probably from exhaustion. But I got the picture and then she made a quick and graceful exit undisturbed. I think she’s quite lovely, really.


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I hadn’t really noticed before that the little picture was signed with what looks like a date. Can’t be, though. We haven’t gotten to 2009 yet and I know this picture was made in the mid-90s. What do you suppose the ‘09 means?



 

Wandering about the cemetery

Wednesday, 9:24 pm

By Kate

Jul

05

2006

This afternoon I grabbed my camera and headed for the graveyard. I know, that sounds a little ghoulish, but cemeteries are one of my favorite places to take photographs. There are history and drama and expressions of grief that survive the ages. And, there is even humor. My all time favorite gravestone was of a man who apparently outlived everyone in his immediate and extended family...except for at least one. He must must have been a miserable cuss in life. His gravestone simply said, “May he receive his just reward.” I dunno...I suppose that’s ambiguous enough to not be scandalous, but I have my suspicions.

Today I was able to finally get a good shot of my favorite series of stones. They have been a challenge because of their angle and the number of other markers that have been packed in around them. I call this my Gothic Family. They really are unique. I wonder if they were as interesting when they were alive.


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One of the other things I am on the lookout for in cemeteries is children’s markers. They are almost always different with poetry inscribed or biblical verses or nursery rhymes. That holds for the very old as well as the new. But there are, of course, exceptions. I found two such exceptions today. One doesn’t even have any dates inscribed. Nothing but the names of the children. Three of them—Ada, Eddie, and Bertie. It is such a stark marker. They alone represent their family. The parents were never buried there.


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The other stone is new, marking the resting place of a 3 month old infant. It is plain, but the site is thoroughly decorated. I’ve noticed a trend in decorating children’s grave sites in the last couple of years. Many have lanterns that turn on at night to keep the dark away, with toys and knick-knacks tucked around the plot. The one below is one of the more decorated. Despite its festive atmosphere, it still amplifies grief. One expects that in a cemetery, but it never fails to surprise me how many ways grief can be expressed. In another hundred years, though, no one will ever know this plain little marker was so carefully and lovingly tended.


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Sailors dive for cover

Monday, 4:42 am

By Kate

Jul

03

2006

partly cloudy

I’m thinkin’ this qualifies as a red sunrise. The current weather forecast doesn’t indicate any poor weather for later today, though. I dunno. Which should I believe?


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Moleskine love and a hack

Sunday, 6:52 pm

By Kate

Jun

11

2006

partly cloudy

I am a Moleskine addict. There’s no getting around it. I love them, love them, love them. But there is a design flaw that drove me crazy. No pen holder. When I am out and about, I often will use one of them in lieu of a purse. I haven’t carried a bag around with me in years. Life is easier that way. I can put a card or two in the Moleskine’s back pocket along with a spare car key (I lock myself out of my car with embarrassing frequency) and drivers license. I’m good to go. Except for the pen. I need a pen.

Yesterday, I happened across a Moleskine hack on the Moleskinerie site. A self-made pen holder made from...duct tape. Well, that’s right up my alley. I have duct tape in several different colors, even. The photographic instructions are laid out on Flickr.


These are the two moleskines I use all the time. One has a clear duct tape pen holder, the other has a red duct tape pen holder. Works like an absolute charm.


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This one would be akin to the old fashioned Commonplace Book. Nothing rivetingly personal, just a compendium of stray bits of information that I want to keep in one place. Sometimes reviews of articles or books, quotations, new ideas/information that I want to follow and my opinion.

In fact, one of the pages of the book contains this short entry:

Commonplace books have always been used as places where readers can explore new ideas and test old ways of thinking rather than simply as places to vent opinions.

“In these bodies we also find candid views of people’s thinking. Their writings or compilations were not for performance. Thus, these books show us how people experienced knowledge and how they organized knowledge. If we look at these books through time, we learn about the transformations and priorities in intellectual life throughout Western History.” (Yale Bulletin & Calendar, 6/27/2001)

I thought the idea about transformations in intellectual life was fascinating. Something I’d never thought of before. I love that idea.


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This little fella is the one I’m most apt to carry with me. It holds phone numbers, addresses, dimensions of household objects and rooms, lists (including groceries and To-Do), notes-to-self, a calendar, things to remember, birthdays, gift ideas, etc. Since I am a devotee of the red and black color combo, red duct tape was the obvious choice here. The red duct tape band around the book has been there since the day I brought it home.

The pen holders are secure and snug, but not too snug to make removing the pen a pain.

Now my Moleskines have achieved perfection.



 

Weeping cherry blooms

Wednesday, 6:36 pm

By Kate

Apr

19

2006

sunny

weeping cherry blooms
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weeping cherry tree
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Our weeping cherry tree is the only tree that blooms in my yard. It seems to be happy with its place in the universe. I can’t say the same for my dogwood trees. One is now deader than a doornail, waiting to be removed, and the other one struggles along. It has never bloomed in its 4 years of struggling. I keep hoping that this will be the year, though.



 

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