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?



 

Another spider story

Tuesday, 6:46 pm

By Kate

Sep

26

2006

clear

With my apologies to J who is already nervous when she walks in my house....I have another spider story. Yup. My spiders and I interact.

Early this evening, I decided to take a shower. I was cold and well, a shower sounded like a nice way to warm up. However, my pet bathroom jumping spider was sitting in the bottom of the bathtub. She apparently was thirsty. But I don’t take showers with spiders.

Sooo...I grabbed of piece of paper towel and tried to encourage her to climb aboard. She wasn’t having any part of that so we chased each other around the bathtub for a while until I decided to just grab her with a tissue. Gently, of course.

I got hold of her and tried to carry her over to the wall opposite the shower. And we almost made it before she wiggled out of the tissue fold and jumped into the toilet.

I peered over the edge and watched her little legs extend and her body relax. “I didn’t mean to drown you,” I said. Taking another piece of paper towel I scooped her up and she instantly came to life and jumped onto the side of the porcelain bowl, looking for a place to hide. Clearly, not a good place to leave a spider for a variety of reasons. So I chased her around in the toilet bowl for a while until I was able to grab her with another piece of tissue.

This time I dropped her off on top of the baseboard heater (not on) and she dived down behind it. Where, I hope, she dries out and survives.

Life is way exciting in my house.



 

Yes on 1

Tuesday, 11:46 am

By Kate

Sep

26

2006

partly cloudy

Voters in Massachusetts apparently have a very important decision to make on election day—whether to allow all grocery stores to sell wine. This will be Question 1 on the ballot, so this must be THE burning issue in the state this election year. As long as I’m voting, I’ll vote yes on it. Being able to buy a bottle of wine while grocery shopping is convenient.

If I want to buy a bottle of wine now, I can either go to the local liquor store or hop over the NH border and buy a bottle at the grocery store or one convenience store in town (the other convenience stores don’t have a license to sell).

Beer is an entirely different issue. The only place to purchase beer here is at the liquor store and that is not up for discussion this election year. I don’t quite get the reason for it, but that’s the way things are. Purchasing beer at the grocery store in New York state was completely normal practice and when I moved here it was rather a surprise that none of the grocery stores had any. Nor the convenience stores. But wine seems to be a different matter. There are a few grocery stores around the state that do sell wine, but I believe that is a matter between the town and the store and the availability of a very limited number of liquor licenses. None of the grocery stores in my immediate area can sell any. In most Massachusetts locations, even Trader Joe’s can’t sell wine.

According to the brochure I received at my grocery store last night, a yes vote on Question 1 will increase consumer choice, save consumers time, and reduce consumer costs for wine by an estimated $26 to $36 million each year. Maybe so. I’m for the convenience and I would love to be able to buy wine at Trader Joe’s. The brochure also says that consumers in most states can buy wine at their local grocery stores. I didn’t know this. How many of you can purchase wine at your grocery stores?

Well, for a supposedly liberal state, we still do retain some of our Puritan quirkiness. It’ll be interesting to see if Question 1 passes.



 

Comedy of errors

Monday, 3:30 pm

By Kate

Sep

25

2006

overcast

This afternoon my brand new debit/ATM card arrived in the mail. Hallelujah! I walked outside and plugged the thing in my bank’s conveniently located ATM machine. It refused my transaction saying the pin number was incorrect. Well, okay.

Stopped at the bank on the way home and told them I needed to assign the card a new pin number. No problem, they have a little machine that does it in just a minute or two. With that taken care of, I walked out into the lobby and tried the ATM machine again. It took my pin number and spit a crisp $20 bill out at me. Cool!

Then the receipt popped out and the balance was...oh several orders of magnitude lower than it should have been. In fact, it looked exactly like the lad’s spare change balance before I deposited $20 into his account this morning. Funny, that.

I walked back in the bank and both the manager and the other desk person were busy. So I told one of the tellers that it appeared my brand new ATM card was for the wrong account. My son’s account. NOT mine. She filled out a form with the correct account numbers and had me sign it and told me my new ATM card would arrive in the mail in about 10 days.

So, let’s recap. I placed my first order on September 1st. On the 13th I wandered into the bank to find out where my new card was. Lo and behold...the order had never been processed. So they reordered the card and told me it would be another 10 days. It actually turned out to be 12 days, but what are two days among friends. Add another 10 or 12 days to that and now we’re looking at October 5th or, possibly, October 7th. That’s a heck of a long wait for a debit/ATM card.

As I started to leave the bank, the manager’s customer walked away so I plopped myself into her chair and said, “I am not a happy customer.” I told her the situation and said that I did not want to wait another 10 days for a card. I want one now. Today. I’ve waited long enough.

She agreed and said, “I can fix it right here. No problem.” Huh? How come the teller didn’t know that? In any case, she did something on her computer and reassigned my brand new card to my account and told me to go try it in the ATM machine in the lobby. It worked! Perfectly. I redeposited the first crisp $20 back into the lad’s account.

Wasn’t too long after I came home that I received a panicked phone call from the lad who said that his pin number isn’t working any more. What’s he supposed to do now? I told him to try mine and get back to me. He did and my pin number worked. We will both have to redo our pin numbers. He’ll have to wait until he comes home for Christmas, but I suppose the one I assigned to the card when it was “his” will do for now.

Man, what a comedy (Unfunny) of errors.



 

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.

____________

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.


Larger drop down image

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?



 

Artistic integrity

Friday, 10:28 am

By Kate

Sep

22

2006

overcast

Last night, while listening to the Radio Paradise, I heard what sounded like Billie Holiday’s voice, yet the background was very modern electronic music. I went to their website to see what the song was—sure enough it was Billie Holiday singing Speak Low and the song was from the album Verve/Remixed3.

Apparently Verve opened their archives and allowed certain DJs and producers to remix some of the old jazz classics. The goal, I guess, is to turn the old classics into contemporary hits. And that seriously troubles me. I didn’t like it when Natalie Cole started tampering with her father’s old recordings and I don’t like hearing Billie Holiday singing along with electronic music that comes out sounding more like muzak than music.

These recording artists are dead and they have no say over how their work is mutilated. Just because the technology exists to do it doesn’t mean it should be done. These old recordings are works of art and they should be allowed to stand as they are. To me, it is much the same thing as a contemporary artist messing around with a classic painting to update it for contemporary tastes. Or adding special effects to film footage of one of the great ballet performances. Or messing about with a great artist’s aria.

Once a single feature of an artist’s work has been changed, it second guesses their intent. It compromises their vision and art. It changes the nuances of their performance and the give and take between the artist and the original background. It’s wrong. I am disappointed in Verve for compromising artistic integrity in the interest of the almighty dollar. 



 

Page 1 of 5 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »