Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Battle of New Orleans by Jimmy Driftwood

 Everyone knows that the National Anthem for the United States of America is "The Star Spangled Banner", right?  It was written by Frances Scott Key during the War of 1812.  There is another song that is about one of the battles of that war. It is "The Battle of New Orleans" sung by Johnny Horton and was a huge hit in 1959. (It won the Grammy for Best Song for 1960).  The song had been around for years.  It was written by a schoolteacher, James Corbitt Morris in 1936 to help his high school students learn about the War of 1812 in a more memorable way.  He left teaching to concentrate on his musical career.  Mr. Morris wrote over 6000 folk songs under the name of  Jimmy Driftwood.  (If you click on the link at the end of this post, you will chuckle when you read how he got that nickname!)

(Also, if you want to know more about the War of 1812, Debra at her blog, She Who Seeks, has written some great posts about it.  Her latest one was about this same song and it reminded me that I needed to finish this draft post for you!  You may find her blog just here!  Thanks, Debra! And don't miss her post before that one, it is about all know I want to go there one day, right?)

Jimmy Driftwood was born in Timbo, Arkansas on June 20, 1907.  Learning music from his father and grandfather, he learned to play guitar on his grandfather's homemade guitar, which he used throughout his long career.  The neck of the guitar was made from a fence rail, the sides from an old ox yoke and the head and bottom from the headboard of a bed!

 (JOY!  I have found a great video for you with Jimmy Driftwood speaking of this guitar and then, you get to hear him play it!  I love this sound from the homemade guitar,  it is very pleasing to me!)

Jimmy Driftwood was not only a songwriter and entertainer but he also cared about nature. He worked to stop the plans to dam the Buffalo River in Arkansas.  He was successful in this and due to his involvement, it became the Buffalo National River. (Being deemed a National River, this was the first of its kind!) He also was one of those responsible in preserving Blanchard Springs Cavern which later came under the management of the U.S. Forest Service.  His recorded song is the one still heard in the film in the visitor center.

I love that they kept his voice on that film, don't you?  It might just be a small thing but I hope they still have that and keep it for visitors.

The British Broadcasting Corporation, which we all know as the BBC, banned the song "The Battle of New Orleans" because it had the words "bloody British".  Jimmy Driftwood had a few troubles with American radio stations also, because he used the words "damn" and "hell" in the song. When this song was so popular, he had five other songs that were in the charts at the same time.

Jimmy Driftwood died in 1998 at the age of 91.  If you click on his name, you can read more details of his life.    I think that his life story is an interesting one and one that more people should know.
Rocks That I Placed Together With Some Blue Jay Feathers at Arabia Mountain



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Paddington Bear

I was thrilled to sit beside Paddington Bear when we were in London!
Richard and I saw the Paddington Bear movie this week.  It was wonderful!  I highly recommend it.  You might feel that you need to have children with you to see it, but you don't really,  just take yourself along to the movie theatre and enjoy it!   If you don't believe me, you should read the review from the Wall Street Journal!  You may read it here.
There is a cameo by the creator of Paddington Bear, Michael Bond.  It is just a brief moment, and you have to be quick to see him, but it is just the perfect touch.  Watch the movie and see if you can guess when you see him! (I had no idea what he looked like, but I still guessed that it was him and I was right!)
The actress who plays Mrs. Brown is Sally Hawkins.  I have written about her before in the post that I did about a New Zealand movie that I loved...I will come back later and find a link for you, you know you are dying to read that review also!
Sally Hawkins' mother is Jacqui Hawkins and is a children's book illustrator. Mrs. Brown is a children's book illustrator in the movie, so this is  another small touch that I love and wanted to share with you!
If you know of the TV show from England called Top Gear, you might remember the tall chap on the show called Jeremy Clarkson.  Did you know that his parents made the first Paddington Bears and sold them in order to make the monies needed to send their children to private schools?  (I say private schools but in England, they call them Public Schools. Don't ask me why!)   Interesting to me, little things like that.  Not that I remember them, you understand.  Just tonight, when we were clearing up after our dinner, I asked Richard if he remembered the connection between the guy on Top Gear and Paddington Bear...and he couldn't tell me.  HONESTLY!  What do husbands think we tell them things for, they need to come back at a moment's notice and tell us exactly what we have told them years before or else we will think they are not listening to us.  Am I right?  HA!
Anyway, I hope you will see the Paddington Bear movie and like it as much as we did.  And remember who told you this! 
OH! And I almost forgot to tell you...remember the guy at my work who was a bit of a ....well, you know,  Anyway, he left last Friday.  He came to me and told me he was leaving.  I thought of the two words I wanted to say to him.  I found myself saying,
"Good luck".
I meant it too.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Arabia Mountain - Winter's Day In Georgia!

Oh, go jump in a lake!   Okay, here I go!  HA!  Just kidding!

  Today we went to Arabia Mountain, and in that photo above, I am posing beside the pools of water at the top of the mountain.  It was a gorgeous day, bright blue skies and it warmed up very nicely. 

See the bright green moss in this photo?  It is a dark, almost black color but when it is wet, it turns green.  It is called resurrection moss.  It feels a bit like that for me.  At Arabia Mountain, I feel as if I come to life.

Look at the sun sparkling on the lake!  It was beautiful.  I asked Richard to take a video for you,  just to show you  what it was like....

Okay, it's time for us to go home now.  Let's just turn around and say good-bye to the mountain.  Hope you enjoyed this walk over Arabia Mountain with us!  (Love that blue sky!)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

It's Cold Outside of Your Heart

Last year at the end of January, we had a snow storm in the Atlanta area.  The city was ill prepared and you can still hear the stories of people taking hours to get home and some of them had to ditch their cars and take refuge in stores and restaurants. The weather this winter in the USA has been a bit scary, lots of snow and ice. However, here in Georgia, we have been very lucky, some cold weather but then, it warms up and we enjoy the sun.  Shhh....don't tell anyone, we will just keep this our little secret, okay? (The photos I am showing you here are from January of 2014!)

So, how are you doing?  This past week has been a challenge for me at work. It has been very busy.  You know the kind of woman who is patient and sweet and is always cool under pressure?  Well, guess what, that would NOT be me!
This is an example for you of a few remarks this week from a co-worker...

"Are those gloves for warmth or you are wearing them for a joke"   (I said nothing, what would you say to something so rude?)   And by the way, my gloves are warm AND attractive,  you know they are!

"Hel-LOOO  Senorita!"     When I said that I was a SENORA, he seemed annoyed because I knew the difference between the two Spanish words.

"How are we doing today?   When I said that I was fine, he (very scoffingly, like he was talking to a child) said, "No, I don't mean YOU personally, I meant how was your work going?  I made no reply to this.    Dear reader, you must understand, I do listen to what people say, not what they mean to say.  

These are just a few examples for you, I won't bore you with any of the others.  This person is working here on a temporary basis and I wonder if anyone will come to me and say that he will be leaving and if I have any last words for him?  Yes, I will say:  Good riddance!  (My English husband would have two other words for him!)  I told you I am NOT a sweet natured woman!  Now, you know my secret!  

I suppose when I am met with the coldness of the world, I seek refuge in my blog.  Thank you!

I am reminded of a poem by Robert Frost, an American poet but whose poetry was first published in England!

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Warning to all rude people: BE NICE to me or you will end up on my blog! I mean it!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Guess What This Frog Sounds Like


What do you think?  Does this make you smile? Isn't it amazing?
The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Frog...I identified this frog from one of our walks at Arabia Mountain.  I could hear it but I couldn't see it!  I had no idea what it was, but I came straight home and typed in, "Frog that sounds like a sheep", and voila , there it was!
(And by the way, very often, you will see that word spoken and written as WAH-LAH, which really annoys me. French is a beautiful language, let's use it correctly!)
I have another frog to tell you about from one of our more recent walks at Arabia Mountain. but that will have to wait until another post!
In the meantime, here is a dear picture of a koala wearing mittens on his burnt paws after a brush fire in Australia. 
Sometimes, you will hear people say "koala bear" but that is incorrect.  A koala is a NOT a bear!
I would love to visit Australia one day!
Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mammy's Little Baby Loves Shortening Bread

NOT the shortbread cookies, these are sugar cookies from a few years back. Hey, gotta have a photo for you!
Richard was given a gluten free mix for Shortbread Cookies. I made them this weekend and after I rolled the dough into a ball, I slapped the dough and sang this song:  "Mammy's little baby loves shortenin', shortenin'. Mammy's little baby loves shortenin' bread!" 
 And yes, before you ask, I DO have a song for everything!
The song was written by James Whitcomb Riley.  You may read more about him here.
James Whitcomb Riley wrote thousands of poems and one of them "Little Orphant Annie" was the inspiration for the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie"!  He seemed to be a very talented, interesting man but one of the things that caught my eye, he encouraged and brought attention to the poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar.  (I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, I really don't care what you've done in life, only how nice you are...that's it!)
 I remember this song from one of the episodes of "I Love Lucy".  Lucy's best friend, Ethel Mertz sang the song as the other characters did all kinds of things behind her back! Such a funny show!
Okay then, anybody else sing this song when you are slapping dough together...anybody?  Come on now, be honest! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Great British Bake Off/Great British Baking Show

Wonderful new British show on PBS for American viewers!  It is called the Great British Baking Show!  (It is the Great British Bake Off in England.  I know this because I watched it with my in-laws when we were last there!)  As the name tells you, it is a baking competition.  I have no idea why it had to be re-named for the American viewers. Odd, isn't it, how that happens?  The show was on Saturday in the Atlanta area, but check your local listings, you don't want to miss it!  The baking that they do is absolutely incredible!
We stayed with Richard's parents when we were in England in September.  One day, one of the neighbors brought Richard some wonderful poppy seed cakes that she had made! Now, Richard has to eat a gluten free diet and sometimes, that can be a bit of a challenge baking something gluten free but these were perfect.  I took a photo of the last ones, we had gobbled down most of them!
The very best baker is the one who lovingly makes something just for YOU.
Thank you, Yvonne!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Saw The Light - New Hank Williams Movie

Hey!  There will be a new movie that will come out in 2015 based on the life of  Hank Williams  entitled "I Saw The Light".  The actor who will portray Hank Williams will be the English actor, Tom Hiddleston.  (Wish someone could tell me how these English actors can do an American accent so perfectly, I can't figure it out.  Do they secretly speak like us in secret and then they are able to do so when they have to for a movie?  Hey, I don't know....just saying!)
Tom Hiddleston Thor 2 cropped.png
Tom Hiddleston....image from Wikipedia
Hank Williams Promotional Photo.jpg
Hank Williams...also from Wikipedia.
You can see that physically the two men are similar.  I have also read that the actor will also do his own singing.  It is my hope that the movie will be as good the one that was made about the life of Loretta Lynn, "Coal Miner's Daughter".  Sissy Spacek, who portrayed Loretta Lynn in that movie, also sang all the songs herself.  I really like that movie, it is one of my Dad's too!
In preparation for this film, both for the Southern accent and for the singing, Tom Hiddleston spent time practicing with the country singer, Rodney Crowell.  There was a song by Rodney Crowell  that I had on a post of mine before...and since I like it so much,  I will have it on here for you again.
So...I hope that this will be a good film.  I love movies about real people!
Hope you are all doing well and staying warm, wherever you are in the world!  Maybe for those in Australia, you might want a bit of our cold!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Elvis- Thank You Very Much- Aloha

Today would have been the 80th birthday of Elvis Presley. I have written of my high regard for Elvis Presley in other posts before, but in case you haven't read those, I really like him a lot.  On New Year's Eve, I was happy to see that PBS had the Elvis concert from Hawaii, the one that was first broadcast live on Jan. 14, 1973.  It was the very first concert that was ever shown by satellite and was seen in 40 countries around the world. It was not seen in Europe until the next day (shown during prime time viewing, I believe) but it was not shown in the USA until April, because the January date was the same day as the Super Bowl!  (And YES, I very much remember watching it on TV in April of 1973, that is my birthday month!)  Still, it is a marvelous thing to think of music being broadcast live all over the world for the first time, isn't it? I have also watched it on YouTube but I still loved seeing the concert on TV. One of the things that I noticed...he said, "Thank you, thank you very much" after almost every song.  We have heard that so often by the Elvis impersonators, but when you hear Elvis say it, it sounds sincere and from the heart.

The concert hall in Honolulu where Elvis performed his "Aloha From Hawaii"  has a life size bronze statue of Elvis which was installed in August of 2007, the 30th anniversary of his death.  Visitors to the statue often leave leis draped around the statue in honor of Elvis. There is a plaque on the statue and the following is engraved upon it:

Elvis Aloha From Hawaii.  The world's first satellite TV Concert.
Jan. 14, 1973.
With supreme talent and sincere humility, Elvis Presley made his gift the world's.  Thank you, thank you very much.

  USS Arizona Memorial   Click on that link and read about another concert by Elvis to raise money for the memorial to the USS Arizona.

It's nice to think of was 12 degrees this morning!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Knock On Wood

Do you ever knock on wood when someone states a very favorable observation?  I know that I do, I wonder is this done all over the world?   Let me know!

In my teenage years, it was very popular in Conyers to go roller skating and our local rink was Duvall's Skating Rink and Ken Duvall played the best music.  One of the songs was "Knock On Wood" and it was great to skate along with that one....when it got to the part of the song where the singer says, "Knock on wood" we were skating, we would raise one skate and bang it down on the wooden floor in time to those knocks!  It sounded really good with a large group of skaters!  It is a great song.  And you know I found it here for you!  The song was written by Steve Cropper (who I have written about before!) and Eddie Floyd, who is the singer of the song.  What a great voice! And I see that he is still performing and making music.  His latest album was released in 2013, "Down By The Sea", which is a good reason for me to have photo of the beach. (From Eastbourne, East Sussex in England.) 

So tell me, do you knock on wood?  And does hearing a song sometimes bring back a memory so sharp and vivid that it startles you in its intensity?


Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Unbroken" The Movie

Last Saturday, I was one of those who went to see the movie, "Unbroken".    I have read that it was the third largest Christmas day opening ever and that the ratings have been very high. So...that means that it is very popular.  Good.

For anyone who has read my blog for any length of time, you will know of my great admiration for Louis Zamperini and you will know that I have been waiting to see his life portrayed on screen since I read his book "Devil At My Heels" in 2004.  I mailed a letter to the publisher of that book and Mr. Zamperini wrote me back.   I am not special in this regard.  I know that he replied to every single person who ever wrote to him!  It was only in the past few years that he was not able to answer all of his letters.  He asked his friend and fellow Olympian, John Naber, to help with his correspondence and so I also have a nice reply to one of my letters with a typed reply from John Naber but with a few notations hand written by Mr. Zamperini himself.  What a guy!

Okay,, you know I think the world of Louis Zamperini, but what did I think of the movie?
For me, it is hard to distance myself....I can't just think of it as a movie, I am thinking of it as a story of a man's life, a man that I think deserves to be recognized and honored.  So...I really liked it, I liked it a lot.   (And the one who carries the torch into the Berlin Stadium and lights the Olympic Flame? That is Mr. Zamperini's grandson, Clayton Zamperini...I really love that.)

 To condense a man's life of ninety-seven years into a film that is just over two hours cannot be an easy thing and especially when it is a life like Louis Zamperini's!  I have read some reviews that criticize the ending, it stops when he comes back from the war, never mentioning Billy Graham
 and only tells of the rest of his life in just a few sentences on the screen.  Well, I am hoping...could there be another movie in the works?  After all, Mr. Zamperini lived such a long and fruitful life devoted to his Christian faith and good works, I am hoping that even as I am typing this, that Angelina Jolie is pitching an idea for another movie about Louis Zamperini to Universal Studios,  one that shows him working with the boys at his Victory Camp, showing him giving inspirational talks to thousands of people and showing the humor and wisdom of Louis Zamperini.

At the same time that I saw this movie, I came straight home and finished his book, "Don't Give Up, Don't Give In". which  was sent off to the publishers just two days before he passed away.  I will tell you more about this book, but by all means, go and see "Unbroken".   I was pleased to finally see it on the big screen.  And I am thankful that Mr. Zamperini was able to see it before he died. (Angelina Jolie showed it to him on her computer when she visited him in the hospital.)  He liked it. 
That's good enough for me.

 Stained glass windows at All Souls Church in Eastbourne, England to replace the original windows destroyed in enemy action in World War II.  The first two photos are to show you the words, and the last photo shows the full view of the two windows. Notice the names engraved beneath the windows, they are the names of those who gave their lives in both world wars from this small parish in Eastbourne.  When Mr. Zamperini was called a hero, he always said that the real heroes were the ones who never returned home.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bring On The Empty Horses

The Tournament of Roses Parade will be on TV today, broadcast from Pasadena, California.  The Grand Marshall was named last May and I have a link to that announcement just here.  It would have been Louis Zamperini.   Louis Zamperini died in July of 2014, but they will still have as the theme of the parade, "Inspiring Stories" and the mascot of the University of Southern California, a horse called "Traveler" will walk riderless in the parade in honor of Louis Zamperini.   You may read about it here. And we must not be sad about Louis Zamperini not being able to be the Grand Marshall for the parade today, as John Naber, his long-time friend and fellow Olympian has said, "He will have the best seat in the house."  I agree!  (Okay, technically, he said this about Mr. Zamperini seeing the movie, "Unbroken" but the same applies here, I think!)

One of the main things that I hope people will learn from reading about Louis Zamperini is his amazing ability to "roll with the punches", so to speak.  His cheerful attitude and amiable nature is something that comes across in his writings and in his talks.  He very much reminds me of one of my favorite authors, David Niven.  And if you are reading this and thinking that this is disrespectful to Mr. Zamperini, please know that this is not my intention. I have written of my admiration for Louis Zamperini in several posts, but you might not know that I have read the books by  the actor David Niven, "The Moon Is A Balloon" and "Bring On The Empty Horses", and believe that the two men have a lot in common.  That last book, "Bring On The Empty Horses" was from a quote by the director Michal Curtiz and when in one of his movies,the riderless horses were to be brought forward into the shot, he yelled out, "Bring on the empty horses!"  Michael Curtiz had a bit of a struggle with the English language, and David Niven found some of his sayings to be very amusing.  I can just imagine Louis Zamperini laughing at some of his stories and jokes.  I wonder if they ever met?  It is possible.  Louis was even in the movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in 1939 as an extra.  Also, David Niven was a World War II vet, and being English, was one of the first from Hollywood to enlist.  I think Louie would have believed him to be "a prince of a guy",  just like I do!

I have seen the movie, "Unbroken"!  I will have to tell you about it in another post when I have more time but of course, you know I liked it and am very happy that the movie was finally made. 

Happy New Year to everyone!  Laughter and joy to you all!