Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 195/365 Piddling on History

Spend much time studying history and the one thing that becomes apparent is that what goes around comes around. There's nothing new under the sun. We all share common experiences.

For instance, sometimes my dogs piddle in the livingroom.

Turns out there are dogs who piddle in Pompei too. On the historic ruins. Ruins a volcano didn't even destroy.

But, piddle can.

Generations of stray dogs have made the ruins of Pompei their home for decades, relying on the kindness of tourists for food and water.

In fall of 2009, the city of Pompei made a humanitarian effort - they began gathering up the pups, giving them microchips and collars, and names like Meleagro, Odone, Plautus, Vesonius, Polibia, Menade, Licinio, Eumachia and Caio. Shelters have been established outside the city and adoptive families are signing up.

All because the dogs mark their territory by piddling on the ancient frescoes, mosaics and statues.

Mine just piddle on the treadmill.

The Cave canem mosaic in House of the Tragic Poet

BTW, thanks to google earth, you can now walk through Pompei

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 194/365 Jazz In All the Right Places

One of my addictions is a Sixties TV show The Avengers, the episodes with Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg. As a child I remember playing Avengers in the backyard with friends, using sticks as stylish British canes, and imagining myself wearing one of Mrs. Peel's leather catsuits.

Somehow John Steed and Mrs. Peel always manage to solve the crime with style, dry wit, and a disdain for guns.

My kind of crimefighters.

The distinctive theme song sounds just as intriguing today as it did 45 years ago. (That HAS to be a calculator error, it cannot POSSIBLY be 45 years since Emma Peel sauntered across TV screens).

Last Saturday Sir John Dankworth passed away - one of Britain's great jazz musicians, husband to jazz singer Cleo Laine, influenced greatly by Benny Goodman and Charlie Parker, and, composer of The Avengers theme.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 193/365 Marching' Saints


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 192/365 Bri

Sometimes you get these phone calls out of the blue and they always seem to be bad news. This time it was a bittersweet call from an dear friend, to tell us about the death of another dear friend.

I have looked and looked to find our pics from the old days but no luck yet. So I borrowed her facebook photo - I know she won't mind. I especially like it because it looks exactly like her, as if she's just on the edge of laughing.

This beautiful face belongs to the young woman who became a part of our family when my daughter was two years old. She went from being my daughter's teacher to her friend, to our family friend, to essentially a second daughter and member of our family.

Eventually we moved away, and we kept in touch a little less than we should have. The last really long email I got from her was last July, when she briefly shared that the doctors had diagnosed her with uterine cancer. Then she moved on to how her young son was doing, and how proud she was of him.

Somehow between then and yesterday, the cancer won. She leaves behind a huge loving family and many, many friends, including our family.

Bri, just knowing you was a joy. Your love for my daughter and your friendship to our family was always appreciated. No matter how far away we moved or how infrequently we spoke - you remain in our hearts and we will always love you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 191/365 Norman Norman Norman

Big thanks to Google for reminding me today is Norman Rockwell's birthday!

This calls for a quick cross-blog posting of some of my favorite paintings, as well as some more obscure Rockwell artwork.

In reference to yesterday's post on the new International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Rockwell painting above is The Problem We All Live With,painted in 1964. It commemorated the brave desegregation of New Orleans Public Schools by little Ruby Bridges.

Notice the absolute determination in Ruby's posture, and in the arms of the U.S. Federal Marshalls in spite of the graffti and the splatters of paint.

Here's a lesser known Rockwell, painted the same year -1964- after the deaths of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, the three Civil Rights workers murdered in Mississippi and left dead inside an earthen dam.

One of Rockwell's best, and most intense - Southern Justice. One young man lies dead on the ground, one is dying as he is held by the last of the three, who faces his coming murder with calm acceptance. Rocks and sticks are strewn about, but only the shadows of the murderers are shown. The only bright color is a bloody handprint.

Happy Birthday Norman - thanks for so much.

Check out Green and Chewy and While Reading to the Dog for more Norman Rockwell.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 190/365 Ordering Coffee and Doughnuts

International Civil Rights Center & Museum

February 1, 1960: Four young men sit down at the Woolworth's counter in Greensboro North Carolina and order coffee and doughnuts.

And began to change the world.

This was not the first "sit-in", but thanks to television and honest news reporting (versus entertainment, the youngest of you will not recognize the difference), it became the face of the segregated South.

February 1, 2010: The International Civil Rights Center & Museum opens in that very same Woolworth's, complete with the original historic lunch counter, never moved from it's original location.

In 1960, I was 6 years old in Louisiana. Everyday, whether or not I went to school was determined by the morning news. Were the schools open? Was Ruby Bridges actually going to show up and try to go to school at William Frantz? Were the police there? Was it safe? Would there be riots? For those who weren't there, Ruby Bridges was the 6-year-old child asked to integrate New Orleans schools. She was the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.

So even at the age of 6, the civil rights movement was part of everyday life for deep South children, both black and white. The adults made the laws and the decisions to overturn them. We kids, both black and white, were along for the ride.

In retrospect, I'm so proud that it was our generation that took that ride, sat in those lunch counter seats, rode the buses, marched in the streets, and reached across the artifical divide.

As soon as the weather clears, I plan on being down at that museum.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum

203 South Elm Street

Greensboro, N.C. 27401