Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Do You Love Me? (Now That I Can Dance)

 Viral video out now of robots dancing to "Do You Love Me".  While everyone else is marveling over dancing robots, I am just thrilled at hearing some music that is not only familiar to me but it is music that is happy, not angry- get-in-your-face kind of music that seems to be so popular these days. (And much of it is has such vulgar language that I just can't even....) know you want to hear the whole song, I am sure!

The song was written by Berry Gordy. I do hope you were all able to watch the documentary about Motown that I told you about recently! Can't remember the name of it but you should be able to do a search and find it!

The song was a hit in 1962 and although Berry Gordy wrote it for The Temptations, they were unable to record it and so it went to the group, The Contours.  (It was also a hit in 1988. Is this because of the film "Dirty Dancing"? I am only guessing, someone might know and tell me!)

Okay, now just in case you have not seen the dancing robots...I have the video from YouTube for you here. And of course, it is clever to have them dance to that tune... "Do you Love Me? Now that I can dance?" So funny. And maybe it is just me, I just like the robots dancing that are on two legs, the others ones just creep me out a wee bit. But that's just me!  (I personally have always felt a bit close to the computer from "Lost In Space".  "Danger, Will Robinson, DANGER", he was always saying that. And that is so very much like me, I always keep on the lookout for any harm coming to well...anyone! Yes, a bit of a mother hen, so this 2020 has been challenging.)


Hope you are all doing well.  The virus rates in the state of Georgia are at an all time high and would never know it, the restaurants and gyms are open and very busy. Oh well, the robots are dancing anyway...

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020 Is The Grinch


2020 is the Grinch, trying to stop Christmas from coming...

but somehow or other, it came, just the same!

2020 says, "How can it be so?

How can you celebrate Christmas

when you are home all alone?

When you can only see loved ones 

by computer or phone?"

Then 2020 thought of something he hadn't before

maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more...

What happened then?

Well, on Earth they do say that

2020's heart grew three sizes that day.

And then, when his heart didn't feel quite so tight,

he exclaimed with a great deal of delight,

"There's a new year on the hori-ZUN,

I give you... Twenty, Twenty ONE!"

And as the Grinchy 2020 departs,

He says, "Don't dislike me too much -

now you appreciate what is most dear to your hearts".


Merry Christmas

And Happy New Year!

"All I want for Christmas is a rock and roll electric guitar".

Monday, December 14, 2020

All I Want For Christmas Is...WALKER"S CRISPS! (And Something To Make Us Laugh!)


Hey!  This TV ad is from Christmas time last year from Britain but I think you can forgive me for not knowing about it. After all, I live in America!

"I saw it first!"

"No, you didn't."

"Yes, I did."




"DIDDDDDD!"  That last word in the very high note from Mariah Carey!

What a great ad!

This is 2020, my friends!  It takes very, very little to make me happy. Just give me some Quavers and a funny TV ad...I'm good.  Oh, and if Santa could find some good gluten free food for my husband, that would be nice also! 

HEY!  You know you want to see one more!  With a song by ELVIS! I mean, can this post get any better?  Enjoy!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Gustav Holst and Christina Rosetti- "In The Bleak Midwinter" (Their Finest)


Do you notice the background music during films? You know that I do! Recently, Richard and I watched a movie called "Their Finest".  It was set during World War II and was about the writing of propaganda films meant to influence America to enter the war. Rachel Portman is the genius behind much of the music in this film and many others!  She has written over 100 scores for films and television, winning an Oscar for the film "Emma" in 1996. 

Not to take anything away from Rachel Portman but in this movie, I was most thrilled to hear the beautiful beginning notes of the song "In The Bleak Midwinter". (And it was played on a trumpet and it was lovely.  If you know anyone who plays the trumpet, ask them to play this for you.) I knew that the song was first a poem by Christina Rosetti and was set to music by Gustav Holst. He also was asked to write music for "I Vow To Thee My Country".   At the time that this was presented to Gustav Holst, apparently he was quite busy so he was grateful that one of his songs that he had written for "The Planets" could be changed.

("Jupiter- the Bringer of Jollity")

Would you like to hear both songs?  I find this kind of thing very interesting...  Okay, here is "In The Bleak Midwinter".

"I Vow To Thee My Country" which was adapted from "Jupiter- the Bringer of Jollity".

Gustav Holst (1874-1934) and Christina Rosetti (1830-1894) are both fascinating to me. If you don't know their life stories, they are well worth looking up, I promise you!  How I would love to do a film about each of them! Gustav Holst was a fan of English folk songs, praising them by saying they had "no sham, no got-up glitter, no vulgarity".  This is a man after my heart! 

Christina Rosetti wrote this: "I know my aims in writing to be pure and directed to that which is true and right".   And she also said that her writing method was "a distinct aim at conciseness." I love that!

Both of them seemed to be very similar in temperament, rather shy and withdrawn and not very at ease with other people but they both had very close friends who brought out the best in them..."their finest".  

Friends really do help us get by in life, don't you all agree? 

Thanks to all who took the time to listen to C.'s songs in my last post. Music is very important in our household and Christopher seems very serious in using his God-given talents.  So, I thank you for your encouragement!



                                    "Water like a stone"

Thursday, December 3, 2020

THE Music For Me! (Me, You and Everybody!)


Hello! It's December already! Where does the time go? It seems I have been quite busy lately but I hope that all of you are doing well these days.  I have a post that I am working on about a famous composer but before I share that with you, I want to tell you that I am excited that our son has been working on his music! Not only does he perform his own songs that he has written but he also does "covers" and even then, he will sometimes change them up a bit and even re-write some of the lyrics.  I am hopeful that you if you click on the link below you will be able to hear those songs!  I love them, you know I do!  "The Hardest Part" is a song by Coldplay and the vocal by MY Chris seems better than Chris Martin! (Sorry, Chris Martin, no offense, even if you are insulted, you can console yourself with your millions! HA!) The second song is "Running Water", which is a song by the Moody Blues. (Justin Hayward, if you hear him sing this song, you will know that there is one young man in Georgia who knows all the songs by the Moody Blues!)  It is such a beautiful song and I LOVE the vocal that he does here!  The third song is "In The Aeroplane Over the Sea" and it is by the band, Neutral Milk Hotel.  Once again, I love it- not just the vocals but the way that he plays the guitar, bass and keyboards on this as well. (He is also doing the harmonizing part!)

The song "Clementine, No" is a re-working of the Beach Boys song, "Caroline, No".  I really like it!  Talk about harmonies!

If you are able to click on that link and listen to those songs, this would make me so happy! If you don't have time to do so just now, try to remember to do so when you can, okay? 

Also, over to the shows a song by "Trip Trembley". That is also our son! That would be the song that he did years ago in concert, "I Can Get Funky Enough".  He and a friend wrote that one together and it is done in a fun, tongue-of-cheek kind of way.  (I hope so anyway, I hope he is not huffing going down the road with the law on his car bumper!)

Okay, the link is just below...

Chris Guest | Free Listening on SoundCloud

There!  I hope you were able to have a listen!

Here is photo of Christopher from his concert in 2013. (That's C. on the left.)  

Always have a song in your heart!  You know I do!  Thrilled that my son inherited his Dad's musical talents! And I know that C. is too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Only Thing (Stay Safe!)


                                           Bonsai trees 

                                                       Pink Muhly Grass

                                               Fothergillia Mt. Airy    (These leaves are beautiful!)

"The Only Thing" is a song by Travis and Susanna Hoffs, one of the singers from 1980's group, The Bangles.  This song was just released this year! (Travis is from Scotland and was popular in the 1990's.)
I really like this song, so I hope you will give it a listen...

It's my job to give you guys music, you know! And also a few photos of nature. Music and nature: I am there for you, my friends! 

Remember these three words...HANDS, FACE and SPACE.
Keep your HANDS washed, your FACE covered and keep SPACE between yourself and others.  (I saw this on the BBC.)
I am very fond of rhymes, not sure if you know that about me!
I dreamed that I went to a doctor's office to take the virus vaccine and the woman who came in to give it to me had "Maxine" on her name tag.  "Oh, it's Maxine with a vaccine!", I said to her. 
She just looked at me in a most bored manner. "Uh, I guess you get that all the time", I said to her.  "No", she said,  "You're the first one".
HA!  There, you see, I even dream with rhymes on my brain!
I'm sure you saw that Dolly Parton gave one million dollars towards the vaccine that was developed in Tennessee! Isn't that marvelous!
I told you that songwriters were the best! 

For all my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!  And for my friends in the rest of the world, happy times to you! Stay safe, all of you.

                                       I do not have a black beard. That is me wearing a mask!

                Saw the Zebra long wing as late as this last weekend! What a pleasure it has been to see this beauty!  Isn't it beautiful?

Sunday, November 15, 2020



"Silhouettes" was a big hit for the Herman Hermits in 1965.  Did you know that it had already been a hit for the Rays in 1957? I didn't know that, I just learned it!  The Rays were a Doo-Wop Group and they remind me very much of the 50's music from the film "Back To The Future"!  (I hope you all know that is one of my very favorite films EVER! Remember the dance? The theme was  "Enchantment Under the Sea"!)  Anyway, what was I talking about before my film self jumped in there? OH yes, the song- "Silhouettes"!

Of course, I am going to have the lyrics so that you can sing along! Yes, you know I will!

Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah
Took a walk and passed your house late last night
All the shades were pulled and drawn way down tight
From within, the dim light cast two silhouettes on the shade
Oh, what a lovely couple they made
Put his arms around your waist, held you tight
Kisses I could almost taste in the night
Wondered why I'm not the guy whose silhouette's on the shade
I couldn't hide the tears in my eyes
Silhouette's (silhouette's) silhouette's (silhouette's)
Silhouette's (silhouette's) ty oh, oh oh
Silhouette's (silhouette's) silhouette's (silhouette's)
Silhouette's (silhouette's) ty oh, oh oh
Lost control and rang your bell, I was sore
Let me in or else I'll beat down your door
When two strangers who have been two silhouettes on the shade
Said to my shock, "You're on the wrong block"
La la la la, la la la
Rushed out to your house with wings on my feet
Loved you like I'd never loved you, my sweet
Vowed that you and I would be two silhouettes on the shade
All of our days, two silhouettes on the shade
Silhouette's (silhouette's) silhouette's (silhouette's)
Silhouette's (silhouette's) ty oh, oh oh
Silhouette's (silhouette's) silhouette's (silhouette's)
Silhouette's (silhouette's) ty oh, oh oh
Two silhouettes on the shade

Okay, that was the one by The Rays!  Isn't it wonderful?

Oh Ding DANG, I can't get the one by Herman's Hermits on here. YouTube won't allow me. You can easily look it up...

The version by Herman's Hermits is speeded up a bit. I like them both, you know I do!

The song was written by Bob Crewe and Frank Slay Jr.   And it is funny for me to learn they also wrote a favorite song of mine as a very young child, "Lucky Ladybug" by Billy and Lillie on the Swan label. See, I told you I have always liked music! It has always been a big part of my life.  They also wrote many of the hits by the Four Seasons AND they also wrote "Silence Is Golden". Gee, no one ever SAYS that anymore do they? More's the pity, I say!

The idea for "Silhouettes" came to Bob Crewe as he was on a train and saw a couple embrace through a windowshade. The song really does tell a story, so be sure to read through the lyrics even if you don't sing them. (And apparently, Cliff Richard had a hit with it in 1990 in England. Our son was a baby then so I don't remember that, I must have been a bit busy!)

Our leaves are gorgeous just now! And you will never guess...I saw a Monarch butterfly today! Yes! I was so pleased. I had just washed my car and was turning off the water when I spotted it. I admired it for a few seconds and then, sprinted inside to grab the camera...but when I came back out, it was gone.  Safe journey, dear Monarch. Happy to have some flowers for you as you passed by....

These photos are from this time last year but I hope you won't mind me showing you. The leaves are just as pretty today! How are you all doing? Hope you are all well and enjoying beauty, even if it is in your own back yard.  

Sunday, November 8, 2020

To Everything There Is A Season (Turn, Turn, Turn)


TWO videos for you of the same song!  "Turn, Turn, Turn" was a big hit for The Byrds in 1965 although it had been written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950's. So, I have the Byrds singing it for you and also Pete Seeger... it astounds me how a song can be so very different by how it is arranged and by new singers. (Songwriters 101 might become the new name for my blog.)

All of the lyrics except for the "Turn, Turn, Turn Part" and the final two lines are all from the Bible, the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain that which is to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time of love, and a time of hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

"A time to refrain from embracing"...does this remind you of this year when it has become mandatory for us to keep our distance?
Let's always keep hope in our hearts! Stay safe everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

We The People (Sing It!)


The Preamble to the Constitution! Of course, I know it by heart because it was set to music in School House Rock. (Why don't we have tunes for everything? I would never forget a thing!) 

I looked this was written by a woman named Lynn Ahrens. She was quite young at the time, this would have been in the autumn of 1973. The TV network, NBC had already shown some of these 3 minute animated spots which highlighted tunes to help kids learn their multiplication tables. Since they were successful, the network was asked to do more.  The producer happened to notice Lynn Ahrens who worked as a secretary at NBC. (She would bring her guitar and play during her lunch time!)

He asked her if she could write a song! Well, you can guess her answer! If any of you are familiar with these songs, I wonder if you knew who wrote them? She not only wrote about history but also about grammar! (I just looked this one up..."Conjunction Function"...I really loved that one! It was written by Bob Dorough, a very well known person in music, in Jazz! Gee, he is also quite about him just here.

Okay, THEN I thought to look up who actually wrote the words of the Preamble...that would be...

and I am not making this name up...Gouverneur Morris.  I did NOT misspell that name! Here is someone else who should be portrayed on film! What a fascinating life story HE has! I don't have the time to tell you all about him just now...perhaps another time, or you could look him up and see what you think. (Waving his false leg around at a  French mob telling them that he knew what it was to fight for LIBERTY? I mean, you have to love that! Even it if wasn't true and he had lost the leg in a carriage accident...hey, you gotta do what you can to get by in life!)

Sorry, I got sidetracked there...I was telling you about Lynn Ahrens. She went on to be very successful in musical theatre with Stephen Flaherty, winning many awards.( AND she also wrote jingles, one that I remember is "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?")  Their latest musical..."Marie, Dancing Still" which is based on the Degas statue "Little Dancer of 14 years". (Ahrens wrote the lyrics and Stephen Flaherty wrote the music.) Sounds like something I would really like...but then, I think I would also like "Ragtime" and "Seussical The Musical"! 

So, we have been told that this election  day is considered a very stressful day for Americans. Here is my contribution to help with that...keep singing! 

.We the people,

In order to form a more perfect union,
Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
Provide for the common defense,
Promote the general welfare and
Secure the blessings of liberty
To ourselves and our posterity
Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

For the United States of Americaaaaaaaa

Monday, October 26, 2020

Jackie Coogan (Can't Someone Make A Film About Him?) Please?


Why doesn't someone make a film about Jackie Coogan? (I even know who should be cast in the role!)

Jackie Coogan was born on Oct. 26, 1914.  He starred with the genius film maker  Charlie Chaplin in "The Kid" in 1921 and is one of the very first child film stars.  His mother and step-father squandered his movie earnings which brought about legal protection for children in the industry, the California Child Actors Bill, well known as the Coogan Act. (He lost almost all of what he had earned, an estimated $3 to $4 million!)

Most of my generation would remember him from various TV shows but especially from "The Addams Family" for his portrayal of "Uncle Fester".

In 1924, he worked with the charity "Near East Relief " on a fundraising drive which brought in over $4million.  When he was only 20 years old, he survived a car accident that took the life of his father and three others, including his best friend. Jackie Coogan served in World War II as a glider pilot taking British troops behind enemy lines in Burma.

Jackie Coogan was married four times and had four children. One of his grandsons, Keith Coogan, is in one of my favorite films, "Adventures In Babysitting"! And THAT is who I think should be cast in my imaginary film about Jackie Coogan, his own grandson, Keith Coogan! Keith was born Keith Mitchell in 1970 but changed his name to Keith Coogan in 1986, two years after the death of his grandfather. He married on Oct. 26, 2013 on what would have been his grandfather's 99th birthday. see, who else should be in that role?

Keith Coogan was a teenager in the film "Adventures In Babysitting" and I thought he did an excellent job. All of the actors were good and the MUSIC!
Oh, I love every single song, you know I do! At one point, the babysitter and the kids have to go on stage and sing a Blues song...I tried to get that song on here for you...perhaps you could do a search and find it!

Time for me to tell you that the clocks have already changed for the UK, so I have to remember that it is just a 4 hour difference at the moment between Georgia and England. It will be back to a 5 hour difference by Sunday, as our clocks fall back this weekend in the USA! Take care everyone, I will still speak to you all when I am a famous movie director, I promise!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Be Positive (Move, Breathe And Notice The Beauty!)


"Every year of my life I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and good and dwell as little as possible on the dark and the base."    Richard Cecil  

Hello my friends!  I hope you like that quote above as much as I do! I have meant to share that with you for some time now...but I hesitated because there is always someone who will take me for a "Pollyanna" with my head in the sand and not fully comprehending  the problems of the world. I assure you that is not the case.  It's just that I want to surround myself with all the positive people I can find! Oh wait, I haven't been able to do that this year, have I? I need that positive energy!

"12 Ways To Cope With Anxiety"... I just read this article and at number one was EXERCISE!  You may read it just here.

Okay, who was Richard Cecil? (You know you want to know!)

Richard Cecil was an Anglican priest who lived from 1748 to 1810. Born in London, I notice that he was also- for a brief time- a minister in Lewes, East Sussex. (It makes me happy to know that I might have walked down the same streets there!) He was a member of the Clapham Sect which you might recognize as being associated with William Wilberforce. And please tell me you know William Wilberforce! As a member of Parliament, he was one of the leading Abolitionists against slavery.  Michael Apted directed a wonderful film in 2006- "Amazing Grace" about this campaign against slavery. I highly recommend it! This movie won a Christopher Award, which is an award given to a film, book or TV special "that affirm the highest values of the human spirit". 


Josiah Wedgwood designed the above "to move hearts and minds".

(You should know the Wedgwood name from the English chinaware.)

You may read about this just here.  "The Power of the Image".


Goodness me, I do hope you are all doing well! Take care, everyone! What song will I have here for you? You know the song "You Are So Beautiful"? Most folks might think of it being sung by Joe Cocker, it was a huge hit for him but it was written by Billy Preston! (Co-written with Bruce Fisher.) AND I have just learned that he really wrote it with his mother in mind! Isn't that wonderful to know?

Okay just one more...Billy Preston (when he was only 11 years old!) with the one and only Nat King Cole!

You know that article that I linked to? The 12 Ways to cope with anxiety? Let me add to that list... find some good music, something that brings you joy.  Take care!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October- Sunflowers/Baseball/Music "Like A Twig"


Hello, Yellow!  I know I told you all about the yellow daisies that bloom in September.  In October, we have the swamp sunflowers. So exciting to see them! These tall yellow flowers are native wildflowers and quite often you can find them growing in a ditch or field beside the road.  I took the following photos from the window of the car as Richard was driving! (Yes, I made him stop but it was a quiet road and no one was behind us, I promise!)

These were at least 7 feet tall!  Swamp sunflower ( Helianthus angustifolius) is a perennial and a member of the aster family.  It is a beautiful native wildflower and the range is from New York to Florida to Texas. That is quite a range!  I think they are called swamp sunflowers because they like moist soil but from what I have read, they are easy to grow and . . . this is important for this area...the deer don't like to eat them! 

October is also the month for the baseball play-offs! The Atlanta Braves are playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers just now, the Braves lead in the series 2-1. (Just last night, the Braves lost with the score of 15-3. We won't discuss that.)  They are playing as I am typing this to you and . . . FANTASTIC, the Braves just scored and it is now 5-1 with the Braves in the lead! Oh, I do so hope they win!
I want them to go ALL the way and win the WORLD SERIES.
Yes, I said it!

It has been so much fun to watch them play this year and let's face it, we have great need in 2020 for fun.

I can't see live music this year so I have been listening to a concert from seven years ago! Anybody remember that our son was in a band called The Sevens? I have a video here for you. The sound quality isn't very good but I am able to overlook that and hear the great vocals and guitar playing from Christopher! (The people talking in the rude!)  I think you can tell which one he is, you can see his photo on the side of my blog! I really like this song, "Like A Twig". Christopher wrote the music and lyrics! Is it just me or don't you think that this would sound really good on the radio? C. is still writing his songs! He is also a sportswriter! Hmm...he loves music and sports...wonder where he got THAT from?

OKAY!!!  The Braves score is now 7 - 1.
Go Braves!

Hope you are all doing well, my friends! What has your October been like?

Monday, October 5, 2020

HMS Otranto (Oct. 6, 1918)- "Many Were Held By The Sea"


Here is a story for you...and it is a true story...but I am so incredibly moved by it that it might be hard to give you all the facts. 

If you were to go to a listing of the Maritime Disasters of World War I, this is how it is described in Wikipedia:

"HMS Otranto- a passenger liner rebuilt as a troopship. On 6 October 1918, while sailing in poor visibility in rough seas, she collided with another liner turned troopship, the Kashmir.  Otranto then struck and was grounded. With heavy seas pounding her against the rocks she eventually broke up and sank, killing 431 people."

Yes, those are the facts but there is so much more to the story! HMS Otranto was a British ship with a British crew and it was filled with American troops. You can see from the year that I have given you, this would have been the last days of World War I.  Also on board the ship, there were French fishermen. (Why was that so?  On the journey over, the Otranto struck a French fishing boat, they didn't see it, they had no lights due to the danger of German submarines. This is how the French came to be on board the ship along with the American soldiers and the British crew.)

It was a terrible, terrible storm that the HMS Otranto encountered in the early morning hours of Oct. 6, 1918. The ship was in the North Channel, traveling with other ships in a convoy. (The North Channel...between the very top of Ireland and the Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland.) Because the seas were so very rough and the visibility so poor, three of the ships were forced out of formation and were nowhere to be seen.  The waves were running up to 60 feet and the winds were 80 and 90 miles per hour. It was a terrible night.

Just after 8:00 in the morning, the mist lifted enough that land was sighted three or four miles to the east...was it the western coast of Scotland or the eastern coast of Ireland? The officers aboard the Kashmir correctly guessed the western coast of Scotland but those on the Otranto thought it was the coast of Ireland. In this great confusion and the storm still raging, one ship turned one way and the other turned directly into its path.  The Kashmir rammed the Otranto midship.  Then, the Kashmir reversed and was able to sail away...

The Otranto was left badly damaged but still afloat...

About 30 or 40 minutes after the collision, the men saw a ship on the horizon. It was the British destroyer, HMS Mounsey coming to their aid.  It must have seemed like a miracle to them. Here is what Pvt. Edgar Sheperd wrote of it years later, "Now we got a close up view of the commander of the destroyer. A trim athletic officer who began waving two flags. Knowing the semaphore code, I read the message to the commander of the Otranto: I am coming alongside to take off the American troops.'

The reply to the destroyer Mounsey from the Captain of the Otranto was: Steer clear as you will lose your crew and your ship.

The reply to the Captain of the Otranto: I am coming alongside. If we go down, we shall all go down together."

There, if that does not bring tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat!  The Captain of the HMS Mounsey was Captain Francis W. Craven.  He brought the ship aside and was able to rescue many of the men from the Otranto. Some were able to jump from one ship to the other. However, as the storm was still raging with very high waves, many men were crushed between the ships and many were injured upon landing on the deck. (What is more, the waves were so fierce that even for some of the men who made the jump, they were then washed overboard.) It truly was an act of great heroism. According to the lists published in the Naval War Notes, Captain Craven and his crew saved 597 men that day: 300 American soldiers, 266 officers and crewman of the Otranto, 1 American "YMCA man" and 30 French fishermen.

I was astonished as I read this account... it brought to mind the story of the Leopoldville which was sunk by a German torpedo in the English channel in WW2.  I have written about it before on my blog.  I met a survivor from that ship, Mr. W. S. Connor. There was also a ship that came alongside his and he saw some of his buddies jump...but they didn't make it, so he decided to stay on the ship. He was on the ship as it went down. He had tied duffelbags together and he said he had never kicked so hard in his life. He came to the surface and was rescued. (How long were you in the water? I remember asking him and he said that they were told they could only survive in the cold water for 30, he guessed it had to have been 30 minutes but it seemed like longer...)

Okay, let's go back to the sinking of HMS Otranto now...

Remember I told you that they sighted land and that the Kashmir correctly identified it as the western coast of Scotland? It was the island of Islay, in the Hebrides. (Islay is pronounced "EYE-la".)

When we are speaking of heroes, we need to remember the people from Islay.  On Oct. 7, the morning after the disaster, there was no sign of the Otranto, she had been torn to pieces. Debris was piled more than 15 feet high along the rocks and the islanders searched for injured men but they found only bodies, hundreds of them. (For the few who made it alive to the island, there was a very warm welcome for them. Many giving food and even their own beds.)The great care and respect given to the dead by the people of Islay is truly remarkable. Police Sergeant Malcom MacNeill, recorded the description of each body, made notes of any tattoos and put each man's personal effects in a small bag made by local volunteers. His descriptions are in a 81 page notebook.  This notebook is in a Museum of Islay Life, along with his letters to family members in the USA and England who lost loved ones on the Otranto. (These were later donated to the museum from the grateful families.)  There was a funeral service for the men on the island. They sang "The Star Spangled Banner".  There was no American flag on the island of Islay, so the islanders sewed a flag themselves.   (For years, this flag was in the Smithsonian but it was sent to the island for the remembrance  service in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.  I think I have read that the flag is still there on the island, in the museum I told you about. I think it should remain there, don't you think so too?)  You may see the flag and read more about it just here.

The island of Islay experienced another disaster that same year of 1918.  The SS Tuscania had been sunk by a German U-boat on Feb. 5, 1918 while transporting American troops to Europe with the loss of 210 Americans, many of them washing ashore on Islay.

One can only imagine what this must have been like for this tiny island and its people.  "The Scottish Island that buried America's dead" is one way I have heard it described for the year of 1918.

Now, most of the Americans were eventually brought back to their US home cemeteries and buried near their families.  A great number of the Americans were from my home state of Georgia. In fact, one of my relations was one of those who died on the Otranto. 

Private John Lawrence Dean 

Entered Service Sept. 1, 1918

Attached to Coast Artillery Corps

Embarked for Overseas Service late Sept. 1918

Was drowned when transport "OTRANTO"

was sunk in a collision off Scottish coast.

Oct. 6, 1918.

(Above is on Memorial Plaque in Sylvania, GA. which was installed on Oct. 6, 2018.)

John Lawrence Dean is buried at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Clarkesville, Georgia.  Jan 5, 1897- Oct. 6, 1918

(Aged 21 at Sea.)

World War I ended on November 11, 1918.

(If you want to read more on this, there is an excellent book, "Many Were Held By The Sea" by R. Neil Scott. There is a fascinating blog that gives great details from the survivors, Ray City blog.)

There is so much more that I would like to write about this but there is only so much that I can say in a post on a blog.  Perhaps I should write a screenplay and you will see it played out upon a screen one day. We should remember the Otranto and the young men who sailed upon her. "For Those In Peril On The Sea." 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Arabia Mountain - Mind Your Step!


September is the month for the yellow daisies on our local monadnocks! They have been gorgeous! Now, I know that I call these yellow daisies and so they are called but they are really related to the sunflower family!

(Heliantus porteri, look it up!)

But hey, they are yellow and look like daisies, so Yellow Daisies they will be.

Recently, Arabia Mountain's Yellow Daisies were named as one of the 5 Natural Wonders of the US To Experience In Early Autumn! (According to Forbes Magazine.) You may read it just here.  See, I have been telling you all how astoundingly beautiful they are! The United States of America is a big country!

Now as pleased as I was to find out that the wildflowers were mentioned, it also made me squirm a bit when I saw that it was titled "Hike Through Vibrant Daisy Fields In Georgia".  Oh dear, let's talk about why that shouldn't have been worded that way, shall we?

These yellow daisies are not like fields of flowers in open land with solid soil beneath, no, is not like that AT ALL. The "rock" mountains have bits of soil that collect on them and it is just that little bit of earth that will sustain the daisies. So, it goes with all the plant life on the monadnocks. (Monadnock is a native American name for the rock juts up from the rest of the surrounding countryside.) If you look at my photos, you might see some dead trees. At one time, my photos showed all the tall pines at the base of Arabia Mountain, but after a few years of drought, many of them have died. (Some of them have fallen over, you should see how little soil the trees were in!)  Also, there are solution pits on Arabia Mountain which support some very rare plant life.  (You all must remember my photos of the "red stuff", the beautiful plant that grows in the solution pits. It is most important that one does not step into the solution pits! It is so very easy to go around them! When we have had rain, they might have water in them but if not, they are very sandy. Stay out of them, wet or dry!  Keep dogs out of them too! I can't tell you how disheartening it is to come upon a solution pit and see the "red stuff" (the diamorpha" beginning to grow but there will be one giant footprint (or several) that will be completely bare and THAT will be where someone put their great big feet into the solution pits!  Now Kay, I tell myself, they didn't know, they didn't realize how very important it is to watch where they step! They should know, the good folks at Arabia Mountain have put up signs all over the place! And if they know how to read my blog, they should know!

AND if you listen to Ranger Robby Astrove (my hero) they will know too!

Oh! I found a wonderful link for you if you want to know more about the geology of Arabia Mountain, you can find it just here!

Okay, I guess I will get off my soapbox now.  I have such a deep love and respect for this area and I can't tell you how special it is for me and my family.  It was quarried heavily at one time and there are spots where you can see this quite easily. The "stone sofa" in my last post, for instance!  I want everyone to appreciate the natural beauty of this area and to practice the rules of "Leave No Trace"!

One last one really knows why it is called "Arabia" Mountain but I have read somewhere that it is believed that some of the men from Scotland who quarried here, said that in the heat of summer, the mountain was "hotter than Arabia" and began to call it that. That dry British humour (ha ha spelled it the way they do) is familiar to me. Just as familiar as the Yellow Daisies on Arabia Mountain! Hey, I am Georgia Girl With An English Heart!

Sept. 30th last year, I was in Eastbourne, England! Take care, England...I'll be back as soon as I can! Love those pebbles on the beach there too! (Oh, I just saw that there will be a TV series that will be broadcast on PBS and it was filmed in is called "Flesh and Blood". Gee, I hope tourists won't swamp it too much due to that TV show. I will have to get back on my soapbox again!) HA!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Zebra Longwing Butterfly/ Beautiful Dreamer



The Zebra Longwing butterfly has been most enjoyed in our garden this year. This is what I have learned about it: it is one of only a few types of butterflies known to feed on pollen (and nectar.)  It can live up to six months whereas most butterflies only live up to one month. It is the only known butterfly to establish colonies. Found on the tips of plants, it will return to the same spot every night. I read this sentence..." It is possible to pick it off its perch and return it later to the same spot."  That made me think of the song "Beautiful Dreamer".

First, let me find a video of it for you...

Isn't that a pretty song? Now the video I have for you is Clint Walker singing must be from his TV show from the 1960's, "Cheyenne". Anybody else remember that? Wasn't he good looking? He was more known as an actor but he is in tune and I liked this video much better than the other more polished singers who had done this song.

"Beautiful Dreamer" was written by Stephen Foster. (1826-1864.)
He wrote more than 200 songs! You might also know "Oh Susanna", "Camptown Races" and "Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair".
You can see from the dates above that he only lived to be 37. It is possible that he committed suicide. Whether by his own hand or not, it is sad to know that he died so very young.  At the time of his death, he had a bit of paper in his wallet with these words written on it:

 "Dear friends and gentle hearts". 

Doesn't that make you wish that he could have lived longer and written more songs?
"Beautiful Dreamer" was published after his death so he would never know how popular it became.
Many of his songs were used in the early days of film making as the copyright would have expired on them and therefore no monies would have to paid to anyone.
(The song is most familiar to me from the Loony Tunes cartoons. Can't you just hear Bugs Bunny singing it? Or is that just me?) 

Well, my dear friends and gentle hearts, I do hope that you are all doing well these days. These are trying times but we must press on!
Please let me know how you are all doing!
Take care.

I have shown you the Yellow Daisies that bloom here in September.
This photo is from Sept. 23 at Arabia Mountain! No daisies were hurt in the making of this photo! (Please not step on any daisies or into any of the sandy solution pits on the mountains. There are precious plants that are depending on this! Walk only on bare rock, please. Stay on the GRAY!)

P L E A S E !

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Heat Wave/Cold As Ice


Ice cubes! We might be the only ones who still use ice cube trays. When I was a kid, the ones that we had were the metal kind. Remember? You pulled up on a lever and bits of ice would fly all over the place? (Maybe I was just too little and didn't know how to do it but that is my memory.) Somewhere along the way, these plastic kind came out and those were much easier to use.  Guess what I just learned?  You know I am always fascinated to learn the history behind inventions. (Even ice trays, you are thinking? Yes, even that!) I hope you remember the singer, Linda Ronstadt? Well, it was her grandfather who came up with using plastic for ice cubes trays! It is called the flexible ice cube tray and his name was Lloyd Groff Copeman. He had over 700 patents to his name! You may read more about him just here! He noticed that he went on a walk on a wintry day and the ice just fell off of his rubber boots...that was the idea behind his invention!

So, you don't have come up with something brand new, just something that is out there and can be improved upon. ( Now, I do know that the majority of people use the ice makers that come in their fridges but ours stopped working years ago!) Now, let's just talk a bit about color, shall we?  For years, I used plain white ice cube trays.  They were perfectly adequate but when I saw that bright red and the bright (what color would you say...teal, dark turquoise?) I knew I had to have them both! Those two colors together just make my heart sing! (I truly do have a thing about color.  By the way, the cherry tomatoes and banana peppers that you see on the counter behind the ice cube trays are also very colourful (there, don't underline it and tell me I am wrong, the Brits spell it that way!) That bright red and light green together...I do so wish I could paint them! (Of course, I would then eat them! So wonderful when you grow them yourself!)

What song? A Linda Ronstadt one, of course! HEAT WAVE!

That's a good one to think about when you are talking ice cubes, right? Take care everyone and remember to appreciate all the little things in life!

Oh okay, you know you want one more...COLD AS ICE!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Otis Redding

 Thanks very much for the birthday wishes for my husband on my last post!  Today (Sept. 9th) would have been the birthday of a fellow Georgian, Otis Redding.  Sadly, he passed away in a plane crash at the age of 26 on Dec. 10, 1967.  "Sittin' On The Dock of the Bay" was recorded just days before his death.  Written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper, it was the first posthumous single to reach the top of the charts in the USA.  So, not only did Otis Redding have that incredible voice, he also was a songwriter! (You might first think of the great vocal from the amazing Aretha Franklin when you hear the song "Respect" but it is Otis Redding who wrote it!)  

"These Arms of Mine" is the video I have for you.  Amazing song written and sung by the one and only Otis Redding. This was written in 1962. Once at the sunflower festival that I liked to attend with my Dad,  a band did a cover version of this song.  Everyone was loud and chatting away but when this song began, they all went quiet and listened intently to the music and the words. Hope you like it too.

Otis Redding   Click on his name and that will take you to the official Otis Redding website.  Well worth a read, I promise you.  I have told you before, I admire songwriters very much but I like nice guys even better!

Monday, September 7, 2020

The Shadows (Happy Birthday, Richard!)


Do you play the guitar? If so, you will most certainly know "The Shadows"! They were the backing band for Cliff Richard from 1958 until 1968 and they have performing since that time on their own! (Cliff Richard? Very well known in the UK.  In the USA, you might remember his biggest hit, "Devil Woman" from 1976.)

I found the above video celebrating the 60th anniversary of the song "Apache", one of their biggest hits. I enjoyed this video so much, I wanted to share it with you!  The photo of the Shadows guitar songbook belongs to Richard and is in pristine condition! It is not for sale, I am just always amazed at how well Richard takes care of his things! (It is from 1964.  I saw a similar one displayed at a museum in London!)

From my post title, you can see that it is Richard's birthday! Isn't he clever to arrange it on a holiday? (Labor Day today in the USA.)
Not only that but our weather is gorgeous just now! Amazing! We have some kind of dry air that came from somewhere, we hardly ever have it, it means that the temp feels just as it says it is, rather than 10 degrees more! (Out in Colorado, I am feeling for my friend, Louise and my sister, Pam...their temps were in the 90's yesterday and for tonight, they say the temp will go down in the 20's. A 70 degree drop...I can't believe it!)

So...Richard's birthday. I hope that you all enjoy the photos on my blog, I am able to use many of his great shots! We are planning on a long hike today.  That is what we love to do!  In the evening, I think that he will be playing the guitar! There is a song that he is "Romance", I really love it.  I am hopeful that I can get him to play it one day and I could have it here for you. In the meantime, I found someone else playing it for is really lovely. (As good she is, Richard's is even better, honest it is.)

Hope you all have a lovely day too!  Take care, my friends.

Look!  Here is a photo that I was thinking is from 2010.  It is on the seafront from Eastbourne!
Happy Birthday, Richard! (This is ONE photo that was taken by me!)


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Still Wild About Harry (Harry Warren)


In 2013, I wrote a post about Harry Warren.  (Oh you know you want to read it again! You may read about the great songwriter just here!) Just in case you don't have time to go and read it, I will tell you that Harry Warren was a great songwriter and chances are you know many of his songs and yet, you don't know this songwriter's name! ("Chattanooga Choo Choo", the music by Harry Warren,  was the very first gold record, meaning it sold over one million records.)

In that post, I mentioned that I had found a great video of Harry Warren singing with Ian Whitcomb but was unable to get the video on that post. Better late than never, I have it here for you!  Looking further, I was sad to learn that Ian Whitcomb passed away in April of this year. He was 78 years old.  (Harry Warren died in 1981 at the age of 87.)  

"Home In Pasadena" was one of the earliest songs written by Harry Warren.  He wrote the music, the lyrics were by Grant Clark and Edgar Leslie.  It was published in 1923.  The British band, "The Pasadena Roof Orchestra" which specializes in 1920 and 1930's swing music was named after the song.  


If the sun is shining, the butterflies are out on our Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia).  If you want a flower to attract butterflies, I highly recommend this flower! It is like a magnet.  What a pleasure it has been to see all the butterflies! This is a photo that Richard took of the butterfly called "American lady".  I can never remember that name so I always say, "you know, the one on the cover of our butterfly book!"  Ha! It's true, it is on the front of our butterfly is very distinctive with those very lacy wings. Just gorgeous, but then,  aren't we all that way, my American lady friends?  Well, ya'all are anyway!

Take care everyone! Remember if you hear a song, try to look it up and see who wrote it, music and lyrics. These songs just didn't fall out of the sky, you know!