Sunday, November 11, 2018

Armistice Day/Remembrance Day-"Maginot Waltz"

November 11, 2018.  100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  The memorial ceremony was shown from London on the BBC today.  70 world leaders attended the memorial ceremony in Paris. Both were extremely emotional and moving.

Ralph McTell, the singer/songwriter I have mentioned to you before, has always had a fascination with World War I.  He wrote a song, "Maginot Waltz" which was from his album "Easy" from 1974. I have the song for you here along with the lyrics.  (By the way, a "charabanc" is a type of bus.) 

Ralph McTell was honored to speak recently at the evening memorial ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, France. (Traffic is closed every evening through this gate at 7:00 PM for this memorial.)  You may read about this just here. 

May we always remember those who gave their lives in the Great War,  "the war to end war."

All off to Brighton in a charabanc
Albert played his banjo and how we sang.
The beer was expensive but the laughter was free
Oh how we do love to all be beside the sea.
Albert had a cousin named Marjorie
And I had been noticing that she had noticed me.
I quickly decided if she didn't mind it
I would spend the day in her gay company.
We shared a plate of whelks strolling side by side.
I said she weren't too old to take a donkey ride
But I didn't mind when she laughed and said no
So we paused for a while and listened to the minstrel show.
There was a notice at the Palace Pier
It said there was to be a dance that night and it wasn't dear.
I explained of course that I could only waltz
And so we waltzed to every tune and air.
Nine o'clock come round we had to take the charabanc
And Albert was too drunk to play the banjo but still we sang
All except Marjorie, I could tell at a glance
Because me and Albert was leaving for France.
I said we'll both be home in a week or two
Me and Albert and Lord Kitchener will teach the Hun a thing or two.
I'm sure to return, after me do not yearn
And we will waltz together all our lives through.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Silver Threads and Golden Needles

    Do you know how to sew? Perhaps you don't make your own clothes but at least do you sew on buttons or crochet or knit? I read recently on the BBC that it has been found that surgeons who have gone through their medical training are having trouble sewing up their patients because they never learned to sew! (Of course, I am paraphrasing this but you understand the point I am trying to make.) Could this be from years of playing computer games? Maybe so.  (Manual dexterity- the ability to use your hands in a skillful, coordinated way to grasp and manipulate objects and demonstrate small, precise movements.)  I don't know about you but this makes me want to teach children to thread a needle and to sew on a button! Also, I learned to crochet as a teenager and while I have always enjoyed it, I have never been...well, an expert at it, but that doesn't stop me! (I knitted a scarf in 1985 and...let's just say, that was enough knitting for me. It is crochet I love. It is such a wonderful feeling to create something out of a skein of yarn!) 

Our time changed this past weekend.  I spent the extra hour...sewing on buttons!   Years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a pack of sewing needles from England.  Such a good design! They are silver but the top of them are gold and since that is a different color, it makes it easier to thread.  I love something well designed, don't you?  Now, of course, that reminded me of a song! "Silver Thread and Golden Needles".  

How about you?  Are you a fine example of a person with great manual dexterity?  Work on it! You might be asked to perform surgery one day if our surgeons aren't able to do so! (Just kidding, doctors, I promise.)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Tom Hanks As Mr. Rogers

 Tom Hanks will play Mr. Rogers in the new movie which will be released in October 2019.  If you are reading this quickly, you might think I am talking about the documentary about him which was out this year. ("Won't You Be My Neighbor"). 

 Apparently, that was a marvelous film!  This will be a NEW film and it is not a documentary but rather it is based upon a friendship between Mr. Rogers and a journalist from Esquire Magazine, Tom Junod.  I have a wonderful link about it for you just here!  

("The climate of the times" is mentioned in that article...we are certainly needing Mr. Rogers in the climate of the times that we are having just now in America.  The last of the eleven who were killed in the shootings at the synagogue in Pittsburgh was buried yesterday, the oldest was a 97 year old woman.) 

If you are reading this from another country, you might have never heard of Mr. Rogers.  Fred Rogers, also from Pittsburgh,  had his own TV show for children from 1968 to 2001, called "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood".  You may read more about him here.  Sadly, we lost him to cancer in 2003. We often see his words quoted after tragedies...when he was a child and was scared by bad news on TV, his mother told him to "look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping." 

(Speaking of his mother, did you know that she knitted all those sweaters that he wore on his show?  You always think of how thin he was but did you know that he was chubby as a child and was teased and called "Fatty Freddy"? He was befriended by a football player and I think must have credited that with helping him to fit into school. I could be wrong but this is what I think I remember reading. Not to discount the great influence from his mother, of course. And Mr. Rogers was also a Presbyterian minister...a true man of God, I believe.) 

Now, back to Tom Hanks.  I think he is the perfect actor to play Mr. Rogers.  I loved him as Walt Disney in the movie that he made with Emma Thompson.  Did anyone else see that one? ("Saving Mr. Banks". )We need more people like Mr. Rogers and Walt Disney.  Who do we have for our children to look up to these days? Who is represented on our TV screens? If we have anyone that is a positive influence, we should try to make sure that our children know about them.  Adults too, for that matter.

This mushroom in my yard has been a welcome sight.  The days are shorter, so my drive to work in the morning is in the dark. It seems to glow in the predawn hour, having pushed itself up from the mess and the muck of my side yard, like a candle in the darkness.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Suddenly, Autumn-October Glory

We have had a very hot October in Georgia.  The leaves have finally started to change the last few days of the month.  This tree behind my house was lit up by the sun and it startled me with its beautiful color.  It happened so quickly! (Photo taken on Oct. 30th.)

At work, there is a maple tree and I always look forward to seeing the autumnal colors- it is the brightest red!  One of my co-workers saw me taking a photo and he told me that it is called "October Glory".  I looked it up and one of my favorite gardening writers, the "Grumpy Gardener", who writes in "Southern Living" magazine said that it is one of the best maples to plant in the South.
Actually, this is what he said...

"Grumpy's recommendation---if you live in the South, plant 'October Glory'. If you live in the Midwest or North, go with 'Red Sunset'.  If you live on the West Coast, do whatever the heck you want.

Oh, he is so funny!  I so appreciate someone who makes me laugh.

Okay now, I took my camera to work...carefully, balanced my purse and aimed my camera up at the gorgeous red leaves.  I took ONE photo and battery died! Still, here is the shot that I got...

Today is the last day of October.  Come on, November! That is when we really have our prettiest leaves!

  Remember I told you that I had mentioned Ralph McTell in a post before?  I know that I told you that he did a children's album that our son really loved. It was called "Alphabet Zoo" and he did songs about animals, a song for each letter of the alphabet.  One of my favorites on that album was "Impala".  I have it for you again, just in case you missed it the last time!  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Streets of London (Ralph McTell With Crisis Choir and Annie Lennox)

Ralph McTell, do you know him? If you play the guitar, it is most likely that you are familiar with him. He is an amazing guitarist but also a great singer and songwriter. ( I have mentioned him before.)
Now, I just found out that he had a single at Christmas of last was a remake of one of his big hits, "Streets of London". 
(It was to mark the 50th anniversary of both the song and for "Crisis", the homeless charity.)  If you listen to the words of the song, you will know that it is about the homeless in the London...

"And how can you tell me that you're lonely and say for you that the sun don't shine.  Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London, I'll show you something to make you change your mind." 

Richard and I once visited a church in London, St James Piccadilly, and we observed quite a few men peacefully sleeping on the pews.  There was a sign at the front and Richard took a photo of it. I have it for you here and if you can't read it, it says, " Dear Guests, Please be aware that you may only sleep on this side of the church in the front 13 pews."

I hope you are able to see the video. I found it very moving. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody Movie

  If you have seen the trailer for the eagerly anticipated film "Bohemian Rhapsody", you will see Brian May having the other band members of Queen, to clap on the 3rd beat of "We Will Rock You".  If you want to read more about the background of that song, I have a link for you just here.  I found this fascinating!

There, if you have read the article, you will know why I long to attend a concert in England, so that I could sing along with the crowd. I would love to do that.  

Also, from the trailer...I recognized two of the faces.

Roger Taylor is played by Ben Hardy (he used to be Peter Beale from "Eastenders", a TV Show that I used to watch from England.)

John Deacon is played by Joseph Mazzello (Tim from Jurassic Park! You know, the young boy who loved the dino-SOWERS. Tickled me the way that the announcer said that in the background.)  

I  already knew the actor playing Freddie Mercury, I really liked him in the "Night At The Museum" movies.

I am very good at faces but please do not ask me to remember names! I had to look up their real names, of course.

Wish I could show you a photo of Carnaby Street in London just now... oh wait, of course, you could see it on YouTube!  "Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?" with other song lyrics by Queen, in neon lights.

Not forgetting that there is a full moon tonight! (Not to confuse you but this past weekend when we were supposed to look at the moon as a global event, it wasn't full then but it is now.)

Stay tuned for more movie trivia AND moon gazing, my friends!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Observe...The Moon

Quick, before the night is over I have to tell you that tonight is International Observe the Moon Night.  Yes, here is some info for you...

International Observe the Moon Night is a worldwide celebration of lunar science and exploration held annually since 2010. One day each year, everyone on Earth is invited to observe and learn about the Moon together, and to celebrate the cultural and personal connections we all have with our nearest neighbor.

Our nearest neighbor, have you ever thought of the moon that way? I think that is lovely.  I have been thinking of the moon recently.  The film "First Man" about Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, is in theaters now.  On BBC , I read that a new book will be released on Oct. 25th about the space landing in 1968 -  "Mission Moon 3D: A New Perspective on the Space Race. It is a 3D book written by David Eicher and Brian May and will have 3D glasses included with it.  Now, you are thinking...Brian May, isn't that the name of the guitarist from Queen? Yes, one and the same.  Brian May is also an astrophysicist and has had a great fascination with the moon landing since he was a boy. (He even met Neil Armstrong once.) You may read the same article from the BBC  just  here.   I urge you to read it, it is fascinating.

(Researching a bit more, I see that Brian May will have a 3D book about Queen which will come out in November.  Perfect timing, of course, since the film about "Bohemian Rhapsody" will premiere the same month.)

May I just say, if you happen to read this post AFTER the official "International Observe The Moon Night", do not despair!  Look up at the night sky and observe the moon all year long.  Once you notice the beauty of it, you will always see it. You don't have to have a special night for it.

Must have a moon song for you.  "Shine On Harvest Moon", you say?  Good choice.

Forgot to mention, looking at children's books recently, I saw one that I fell in love with just from the title..."If You Decide To Go To The Moon" by Faith McNulty and Steven Kellogg.  I really do judge books by the cover. So sue me!