Just returned from a local spot called The National, where our friends Bill and Lynn met us for lunch.  It’s my birthday and here is a birthday selfie.

I am sixty-eight today.  I am not morose, but slightly sobered by this.  Yet, left to wonder why sixty-seven had no such effect on me.

So far, none of you have come forward spontaneously with birthday wishes, in spite of my having given you memory joggers in past posts.  Let’s try again:

I share a birthday with Aristotle Onassis and they inaugurate the President of the United States on this day every four years.

I still love you, but can I make this any easier?

sixeight

Somewhere along the line, I’m bound to have mentioned that I am not a religious person.  I am, however, a fairly superstitious one.  Go figure.

Soft consensus seems to be that the recently announced taking on of marriage equality cases by the U.S. Supreme Court will have a happy outcome this year.

I shan’t add to any collective jinx gathering out there by hoping thataway.

Problem is, I’m not sure, coming up on four decades together, that Stephen and I ought to get married.  We watched the movie Gone Girl the other evening, and seems marriage does peculiar things to people.  We may stick to being roomies.

Either way, [S P O I L E R] that box cutter in the tool drawer is history.

Last post, I mentioned my seasonal NPR musical Christmas present – John Rutter’s ‘When Icicles Hang’ – now today, what to my wandering eyes should appear, but this animation with John Rutter’s ‘Angel’s Carol’ on Vimeo.  Never heard of John Rutter, now two encounters.  Synchronicity, it makes me nervous.

Offering it here, atonement for my evil remark about Johnny Mathis last time?

Well, it’s worth a try.  Please click on the picture below.  Thanks!

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I heard Randy Newman’s late-Eighties ditty ‘It’s Money that Matters’ the other day, and a line in it reminded me of ‘He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself’, so I’ve decided to borrow it for my Christmas post title.

And, on a recent Sunday, I saw an interview with Mandy Patinkin.  Responding to a question about favorite songwriters, he included Randy Newman.  He said ‘These songwriters tell stories’, and I felt a bit validated.  My ‘About’ here on the blog says ‘I am my mother’s son, essentially incapable of answering a question without a narrative’, and Stephen ‘warns’ me about that from time to time.

As to Christmas ‘songs’, last year Public Radio gifted me ‘Seek Him that Maketh the Seven Stars’, a 7 minute choral piece by Jonathan Dove.  This year, my NPR musical present has been ‘Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind’, from ‘When Icicles Hang’, by John Rutter.

Investigate amongst yourselves.

For years in my childhood, listening to the song ‘Winter Wonderland’, I wondered why anyone would want to build a snowman ‘then pretend that he is parched and brown’.  I don’t know where along the way I discovered it was ‘Parson Brown’.  Anyway, I’ve included the song here, and hoping you won’t think too badly of a comment on one of our LGBT own.

Is the queerest thing you’ll hear this Christmas season Johnny’s delivery of ‘pretend that he’s a circus clown’ about two and a half minutes into the song?

Merry to all!  Thanks!

A freak thing happened to me this past week.  On the spot, I assumed it was the first and only, but turns out it was actually the second.  Or, at least the second, which is the ‘this-makes-me-nervous’ part.

I was driving with the radio on, announcer saying that upcoming was Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Stings’, not on strings, but performed by a woodwind quintet.  My cellphone rang in my pants pocket, and traffic at a standstill, I answered it.  On the other end of the phone in NY, my friend Will W said, “The next time you call me, I’d like Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ playing in the background, but performed by a woodwind quintet, please.”

Instant twilight zone, until he said that apparently I had ‘butt-dialed’ him – in this case, to be totally accurate, ‘thigh-dialed’.  What I do not comprehend in any form is how an iPhone, with no physical buttons on the face of it, dials a phone number by itself from your pocket.

Will said this phenomenon is not uncommon, and proceeded to tell me that I had actually pocket-dialed him once before.  The previous time, he said, there was no music, but huffing and puffing, so he gathered that I was out walking, or at least he HOPED that’s what I was doing.  I told him that to the best of my knowledge, I hadn’t ever done THAT with my phone in my pocket.

I do know for a fact that the next time I’m engaged in THAT, the phone won’t be in my pocket or anywhere nearby.  I don’t do THAT on the telephone even if the conversation begins with ‘What are you wearing?’

Is a mention always a recommendation?  I discovered this recording the other week and finally broke down and bought it; a bit expensive, as it is only available in the SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) format.  A cappella is tough and these four gentlemen are extremely gifted.  Here at the season, a steady diet of this wouldn’t do, but with looks seraphical and thoughts pious, I’ve enjoyed my first listen.  Judy will want me to have myself a merry little Christmas soon enough.

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During the recent elections, I traveled some distance with my friend Roger to attend a debate between Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter and Democratic senatorial candidate Michele Nunn and their Republican rivals.  In spite of having what might have been considered ‘political dynasty’ boosts (Carter is grandson of President Jimmy Carter, and Nunn the daughter of Sam Nunn who served as Senator from Georgia for 24 years), both were defeated.

Though the race was respectably close, I’m sorry to say neither Carter nor Nunn are particularly charismatic, so in our ‘image-is-all’ world, it was an uphill battle from that standpoint.  What makes the defeat especially galling is that the victors each have fairly open reputations for being ‘as crooked as a snake dick’.  (Feign to tell me that you do not love that expression, a truly superb gift to me from my friend Smitty.)

Prior to the debate, I shot some pictures during the arrival of the candidates.  One thing I noticed and found fascinating was candidate Carter’s savvy in regard to the ‘selfie’.  In each case, when a supporter wanted a photo with him, Carter took control of the camera/cellphone.  I wonder if political candidates are coached in this bit of micromanagement.

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The other pictures here are from our trip to Greece.  They are ‘food selfies’, which are as a category, I understand, considered with good reason to be the height of gaucheness.  In both cases, I could not resist.  The first, our last lunch in Athens, at the cafe of the Benaki Museum there.  I’m quite fond of this picture.  Next, a plate of melon slices served at the finish of our last lunch on Crete.

Have you ever seen such a color?  Really?  I don’t think so.

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It would never have occurred to me to take a journal on my return to Crete this past September.  Now, the whole collection of days and their events throughout the trip have started blending into a single impression, albeit a wonderful one.  The precise recollections dwindling are the sweet incidental interactions with people, not sights seen at one point or another.  Lesson learned.

Whereas I don’t think I traveled more than 30 kilometers in either direction from my Air Force base 45 years ago, on the return trip, Stephen and I traveled from Elafonisi on the SW tip of Crete, to Siteia on almost the NE tip.

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The visit to Siteia was a pilgrimage to the Archaeological Museum of Siteia, whose crown jewel is the ‘Palaikastro Kouros’.  I will depend on any interest on your part to click HERE for details.

I haven’t found a single picture online or elsewhere up to the task of representing how exquisite the thing is ‘in person’, but here’s a photo robbed from the internet, and a detail shot of my own.  Victim of a fiery pillage, for something shattered into hundreds of pieces and buried in the Cretan soil for about 3500 years, it’s in pretty good shape, don’t you think?

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During the countdown to this trip to Athens and Crete, we became aware of the Palaikastro excavations in a video online, which included a gentleman by the name of Alexander MacGillivray, apparently the foremost authority on the small statue.  Here is a short ‘About’ him I found very intriguing.

At this point, you’re either asleep, or you might find it intriguing, too.

“I have always been obsessed with history and storytelling (same thing really). Add artifacts and you get archaeology – finding the tangible clues to make your stories believable. After all, aren’t true stories always more compelling? I’ve been lifting historical clues from the ground since I found old bottles in my mother’s deep rose beds alongside our St Lambert, Québec yard in the 1960s. Then, slides of Knossos projected onto a wall at Montreal’s Dawson College in 1970 triggered a longing to discover my connection to that strange Cretan civilization, the Minoans. They built huge, sumptuous palaces filled with rich art then vanished into myth, remembered only in Greek tales of the evil emperor Minos who fed young Athenian nobles to his Minotaur in Daedalus’s labyrinth until his own daughter Ariadne helped Theseus slay the beast and escape. Totally hooked, I studied ancient history and classics at McGill University and then focused on the Minoans for my PhD at Edinburgh University. In 1979 I was initiated to the tense thrill of delivering ancient artifacts from the ground, like some tireless midwife, with a British team at Knossos. In 1980 I worked at Sparta and since 1983 have co-directed a series of British excavations at the Minoan town and sanctuary site at Palaikastro in eastern Crete. From 1988 to 1997 I discovered the buzz of sharing my enthusiasm for history and archaeology with bright and eager young minds at Columbia University in New York. Now, much of my time is devoted to writing up the amazing things we’ve found at Palaikastro. But thirty years of digging up antiquities has shown me the other, less familiar side of archaeology; how we actively create what we find, strange as it sounds. My first foray into exposing how this works is ‘Minotaur’, in which I examine how Sir Arthur Evans created the Minoans. Next, I look at myself.”

Today, October 24, 2014, marks the Fifth Anniversary of Domani Dave.

To commemorate the occasion, I’m offering my single favorite from among the half-handful of posts from points when it seemed time to pull the plug.

I don’t know what the future holds; I still don’t know how it works.  I do know, however, that over the course of the past five years I’ve been cured of a chronic mild case of ‘Belle-of-the-Ball’, which is a fairly wide-spread, but little studied personality disorder characterized by the belief that one is endlessly fascinating and adorable.  Still feeling semi-adorable, though.

Sincere thanks for your e-visits!

(Click the image below, or here’s the original.)

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Sunday, we went strolling the visual arts building on campus, looking for an exhibit which turned out to be in a gallery that is only open on weekdays.

Undeterred, we just wandered the halls — always plenty to look at in an art building.  Aside from the student work everywhere, there was this in a visiting professor’s office window.

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give dave a break

Type 'Turn On, Tune In, Time Out' in the 'Search' field (just below) for a list of links to ten posts that might (maybe) lead you to believe that I can write a better post than the current one.
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