Saturday, May 23, 2015

Live Long and Prosper!

Full disclosure -- I stayed in bed till noon yesterday.  I'm sure you'll understand when you hear that cable was showing Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet.  I may have reported before -- my friend Dottie's review after she saw that movie in 1968:  "The theatre was full of 14-year-old girls, they were all crying, and I sat there wishing that for once those kids wouldn't die."
Turns out that in the 18th century, the play was indeed turned into an opera with a happy ending.  
        At any rate, this time around I suddenly noticed a line I'd overlooked before -- Romeo's admonition  to Balthasar -- "Live and be prosperous!" 
 I'd always known that Leonard Nemoy was thinking of the traditional priestly blessing when he suggested the Vulcan salute.  
Never thought to wonder, though, about the source of the phrase that went with it.  Shakespearean!  Classy!
     For that matter, King Lear was often played, for the first few  centuries, in a happier version cobbled together by a guy named Nahum Tate.  He kept many of  Shakespeare's lines, but put together a satisfying denoument, in which poor Cordelia gets to marry Edgar and King Lear is restored to his throne. 

Astronaut's salute when Nimoy died. 
Thumb points to Cape Cod, btw.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


No real excuse for posting this, as I don't suppose it's of much general interest and has nothing to do with being old -- except that it did involve something I  hadn't done before, which is  always noteworthy after more than 89 years. Yesterday I photographed a catbird.
Catbirds are not rare, but you don't see them often.  They skulk.  There's another first -- never typed that word before, probably never even said it aloud. No other word for it, though -- catbirds skulk.

 But wait -- there's more! 
Just now as I sat typing this, darned if the bird didn't appear again, and it's not even scared off by my reaching for the camera.  I didn't take the time to get the light right, but perhaps you can see it has its beak half open in begging feed-me! mode.  Clearly a baby that hasn't yet learned it's supposed to skulk
- - - - -
And just as I finished posting this, I find I must amend it to inform you it's back once more, and this time it's after the cake of suet, the one that's usually frequented by woodpeckers.  Definitely a mixed-up catbird. 
That sparrow over on the niger feeder seems bemused also.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

At Ease

Reading the obits as usual -- last Sunday it appeared the Greatest Generation is leaving the room in formation.  These obits mentioned the Battle of the Bulge, the beaches of Normandy and Iwojima ...  these are, after all, the ones who came home.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

That Phrase

Yesterday I heard a phrase that took me back at least 80 years -- that's how long it must have been since I'd heard it.  My cousin's daughter, missing her mother, in a manic phase again and evidently forgetting to take the pills, phoned from Boston.  When that happens I settle down with a game of solitaire on the computer and just let her talk.  Every 20 minutes or so she pauses for breath and I say "uh-hm", which seems to work just fine. 
      When I was a child we lived in Boston, and what I want to know is -- was That Phrase she startled me with a local thing, or was it used all over?  Have you ever heard it?  Is it still used today?  Maybe it is--I had no trouble googling "Images" to fit it.
So yesterday my caller spent a lot of time on the subject of her sons.  One has just bought a condo with his girlfriend, she says, the young woman is charming, they love her, and
                       She Has The Map of Ireland on Her Face.

Friday, May 1, 2015

M'aidez !!

Look what turned up on the front door handle this May Day morning!
I suspect I know who left it -- her Mother hung a May Basket in the same spot maybe 40 years ago.  And my daughter may have had something to do with it also.
Was (is?) this just a New England custom?  When I was in grade school, back in Boston, we were each allowed to choose a single sheet of construction paper (this was during the Depression after all ) and make a May Basket to take home.  (Remember construction paper?)
In Louisa May Alcott's book Jack and Jill, a whole chapter is devoted to the girls in the village (certainly Concord), excited about making May baskets.  They find only a pitiful few early flowers -- if I remember right, the kindly grumpy old neighbor rescues them by sending over lots from his conservatory.
And when I taught at a college in Maine, in the 1940s, there was plenty of excitement about May Day.  With no garden flowers out yet (it was a late spring) students went into the woods and picked early-blooming snow trillium to hang on each others' doorknobs. We can only hope there wasn't any worry, back then, about endangered species -- and that they weren't breaking too many laws!