Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Big, float, camera, Ecclesfield, hospital, national health...

A 1933 horse-drawn float that seems to be made of flowers. I thought "Rose Bowl"?

But I could see (even in the smaller image that was in the e-mail from Retronaut) "Ecclesfield." For all I know, there's an Ecclesfield, California. So I googled it. Found "Ecclesfield parade," and all in just seconds.

Ecclesfield is in South Yorkshire, near Sheffield. I read about hospital parades, which were held there from the 1890's to 1936, and looked back at the photo. I could see "Ecclesfield Parade," but there was another word on the left. I got a magnifying glass, and it says "Hospital."

Now I know how hospitals were funded before the National Health program, and I have more pictures in my head of England. Nice.

Hospital Parades

The link says they were paper and flour paste on a wire frame. I wonder what they did with them afterwards. Maybe left them at someone's farmyard until the weather dissolved them?

When I was a kid I worked on a float once. We were wiring paper flowers (paper napkins made flowerish with a fluffy fold and a piece of wire) to chicken wire. I suppose (never thought about it until today) that at the end of it all, they cut the wire off the truck, rolled it all up and took it to the dump.

One thought leads to another, if you let your thoughts gallump along. :-) Retronaut has sparked a LOT Of thought! Here's their entry (introduced in the e-mail): http://www.retronaut.co/2011/12/vintage-big Vintage Big. All they cared about was that it was a big camera, in an old photo. That's enough.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ganesha and the Methodists

All this happened in a twelve-hour span...

I read a hymn in a new Methodist hymnal (and took notes so I could look it up). I knew the tune, so I could hear it in my head. The notable thing was that the text was pretty much a prayer asking God to help people reconcile faith and science, mystery and proof.

The tune I know it to is here (let the intro stuff go by before the real melody starts):

Here's another organist playing it, also informally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbgbS42n_U8

Here's the arrangement and words I grew up with, from The Baptist Hymnal of 1956:

I can play that on the piano. I'm likely to make a few mistakes but it still feels good.

I read the new text while waiting for a Christmas concert Holly was in. It's called "Praise the source of faith and learning," by Thomas Troeger. The hymnal was The Faith we Sing, 2004.

Here are lyrics: http://faculty.samford.edu/~twwoolle/Praise%20the%20Source%20of%20Faith%20and%20Learning.htm "...lest we justify some terror with the antiquated creed" was the end of one verse. It's to the tune above.

That's Holly with the short hair in the front row, black dress with sleeves, above the first poinsettia.

This morning I checked the overnight/international e-mail. Hema Bharadwaj and I have been having an exchange about Ganesha, because Marty did his final project in an Eastern Religions class on how to set up an altar to Ganesha. Hema sent a link she liked about the origin of Ganesha and some regional variations and symbolism. The final paragraph is this:

Thus various symbols with potent metaphysical themes telescope into the form and narrative that is Ganesha. They speak a profound truth in a language that bypasses the rational mind and connects intuitively with the soul. It is this silent language that we – a generation bombarded with unsubtle ‘Breaking News’ – are longing perhaps to hear. That is why we are so drawn to him, going to the extent of turning him into celluloid cartoons and plastic China-made dashboard displays. And Ganesha does not mind, so long as we appreciate the realm of his mother, and aspire for the realm of his father. (http://devdutt.com/decoding-ganesha/)
His mother(Shakti/Pavarti) wants to accept life and death in the real world; his father (Shiva) would prefer a spiritual life of renunciation. Ganesha melds those, and understands both.

I was excited to read this on that page, too: " Ganesha’s rat may be depicted in films as a cute mouse but it is a bandicoot..." I was in India a month and didn't see a single monkey, but the last night, on the way to the airport, I saw something running in the raised, wide median between lanes on the highway in Mumbai. I saw more than one. In Albuquerque it might've been prairie dogs, living in the dirt next to a freeway, but it was nighttime and this wasn't Albuquerque. I'm glad I saw them, and I'm glad that Hema and Pardnya believed I had seen them, and said "bandicoots." So I didn't see monkeys, but I did see bandicoots (fleetingly), and now I understand why sometimes (in English) I read that Ganesha has a rat, and sometimes I read it's a mouse, because as far as I (and probably others in the western-English-speaking-world) knew, Crash Bandicoot was nothing more than a video game character.

I've seen Ganesha's rodential friend portrayed sleeping, pulling Ganesha in a chariot, giving him a ride on his back, playing chess with him... On a wikipedia discussion of symbolism, there was this statement: "Martin-Dubost notes a view that the rat is a symbol suggesting that Ganesha, like the rat, penetrates even the most secret places." That's kind of cool. In Christian parallel, that's like The Holy Spirit. Kind of.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Tractor" (the word, the thing)

This morning my mind wandered through the events of the day, a coming road trip, and the literal meaning of the word "tractor." I had never thought of it. Traction. Retract. A tractor is a thing that pulls!

The thing it most basically pulls is a plow, that tool said to have so profoundly advanced human culture.

I wondered then whether anyone (maybe Icelanders) called them "iron oxen" or "power plows" or anything more Germanic. So I started poking around.
number: 3114
English: cart, carriage, wagon (wheeled vehicle; not self-propelled)
Deutsch: Karren
Nederlands: wagon
Italiano: vettura, vagone (of train), carro (with animal traction)
Nihongo: ?
Esperanto: vagono, ĉaro
Novial: chare
Tsolyani: hóggukh

That came up, when I tried to see what "tractor" was called in other languages. It's not tractor, but I was excited to see that in Italian, "carro" is something pulled by animal traction (which fit right in, and also gave me a good clue why we called our automobiles "cars." In English a "cart" is pulled by animals, but people didn't so often ride in them as they do "wagons" or "carriages."

Britannica Concise Encycopedia had some cool tractor details:
High-power, low-speed traction vehicle. The two main types are wheeled and continuous-track. Most modern tractors are powered by internal-combustion engines running on gasoline or diesel fuel. Tractors are used in agriculture, construction, and road building, for pulling equipment such as plows and cultivators, for pushing implements such as bulldozers and diggers, and for operating stationary devices such as saws and winches. The first tractors grew out of the steam engines used on farms in the late 19th century; in 1892 an Iowa blacksmith, John Froehlich, built the first farm vehicle powered by a gasoline engine. The tractor revolutionized farming, displacing draft animals and many farm workers. By World War I the tractor inspired the tanks built by the British and French.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/tractor#ixzz1dya3raeO

I saw some steam tractors at an outdoor museum called Hollycombe Steam in the Country last summer.

It was pulling visitors in a wagon like... like... an omnibus !

Car trunks and glove boxes

October 1940. "Grand Forks, North Dakota." 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration.

Four of five have real trunk-looking trunks, and this is about the end of that era.

From the Shorpy blog: http://www.shorpy.com/node/11699?size=_original

I wondered whether maybe in carriages, pre-automobile, there was a box for the driver to keep things in. I don't know, but if anyone does know, please leave a note!

Wikipedia has an article on glove compartments. There's more, but I liked this part best:
A glove compartment is occasionally referred to as a "jockey box," especially in the U.S. Upper Rocky Mountain states such as Idaho and Montana, but is found as far south as Texas. In South Africa, it is called a "cubby-hole". In Turkey, it is called "Torpedo Compartment".

According to the BBC Four programme "Penelope Keith and the Fast Lady" it was Dorothy Levitt who first coined the phrase 'glove compartment' as she advised motorists to carry a number of pairs of gloves to deal with many eventualities.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween bi-plane

This card came in the daily e-mail from How to Be a Retronaut, and I recognized the shape and general mechanism. I had seen one just like it many times, though not made of playing cards. Wood and canvas, steel and rubber.

Other images from that set of cards are here: http://www.howtobearetronaut.com/2011/10/vintage-halloween-postcards, and the blog notes that they are from The New York Public Library Picture Collection. There wasn't a date, but the biplane was 1914. The card was probably made within ten years of the Wright Brothers first flight in 1903, so it's not a card of a witch in an old airplane. It was a picture of the very newest, most modern technology!

The plane is in Albuquerque; I see it pretty often. The photos of the plane, I lifted from an online search, and if you click the second one, you can see more image of the plane and information on its history and why it's at the Albuquerque Sunport.

Because of the internet, they can be set beside one another all over the world on Halloween! Ta-daaa!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shadows and graffiti

One of my favorite things lately is the daily mail that comes from a blog called "How to Be a Retronaut." There are several topics per day, but today two cool things arrived, and one reminds me of a stop I made in my home town a couple of weeks ago specifically to photograph the bar where my mom used to "live." (For a while she literally did live in the apartment above and behind it, but for many years she was there all the time it was open, drinking and hanging out with her friends.)

First, this teenaged photo of Robert Mapplethorpe, in a collection of photos of young artists. The shadow of his hair is awesome. They don't say whether he took the photo himself. I think that first because Holly has taken some of the best photos of her, herself.

Here's a piece of graffiti inside an abandoned factory in New York. The article isn't about the graffiti, it's just images of that factory. They say nothing about who or what, but that graffiti, in that place, is striking.

So my mom used to drink in a bar called The Mel Patch Lounge. It was one of the only bars in my hometown that was all-English. So it was where cowboys and Indians went. Most of the other bars had Hispanic owners, managers and patrons, and as they would get drunker, they would speak less English. (Generally speaking.)

My mom has been dead for several years, and the bar has been closed longer than that, but I thought I should take some photos of the building, when we passed through Española recently. It doesn't look nearly the same. :-)

Here's a picture with a good shadow in it:

My sister, who has connections with the local art scene, says it is being set up as a studio for various forms of graphic and performance arts. That's nice. And they call it "the old Mel Patch," still, informally, she said.

(I think this was to save that part of the wall for one particular purpose, not a message to all painters for the whole building; it was just to the right of the entrance, so it might have been saved for the name and address and hours or some such... don't know.)

It says "Only the best are crowned." This is very much a Catholic town.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

trail, trailer, wagon, fender

When I was 13 or 14 or so, one day I couldn't remember the name of that wide path paved with asphalt, for cars, outside my house. I thought and thought, and all I came up with was "trail." Okay, maybe I was 15 and I was stoned. But before long I remembered "road" and "street." They had just escaped me, temporarily.

But when I thought about "trail" I thought of "trailer" and the idea of something following something. A trailer trails behind a car (or truck, or tractor). And the trail itself is something people follow. Nice.

When I was 58, I saw or heard the root of the word "wagon" (it was being "waggon," the UK spelling at that moment) for the first time. It wags. It's like a trailer, often, but it has a single point of connection. Huh.

So "fender" came to mind. It fends off bumps or damage to or disruption of the wheels, on a wagon, or trailer, or truck. Nice. Plain old (really old) English words were just sitting there being meaningful antiques, and I had only heard them as sounds and pictures, without really looking.

A beautiful matching car and trailer spotted west of Albuquerque in August, 2011:

I like the reflection best (click for a better view of the car itself):

An interestingly parallel car and trailer I saw south of London (nearly to West Wittering, outside a butchershop where we stopped for meat pies for lunch, next to this place) in May, 2011:

It's a car and a half.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


All threes from West Wittering, 

Another one, from Hampton Court:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

another 20 lives or another 20 minutes

In objecting to someone's new-age objection to a simple statement, I wrote something worth keeping.
My self is myself. That's what I was talking about in the first place. Live in a way so that you're being aware and honest. Integrity. No "true self" and some other self. Just the one, whole self. Whether you think I'm more evolved than you are or not doesn't matter to me OR to you. Whether you think what you're discussing is "a much deeper perspective" than mine or not, mine stands and yours wasn't the topic.

You probably assume I don't know about the whole astral plane, third level, spirit guide, children choose their parents, blahdeblah, but I've known quite a bit about it since 1967. References on request. :-)

I will state the idea that it is part of a bundle of wishful thinking that can and does distract people from being right here, right now. I don't recommend it. It justifies violence and ignorance. That is not helpful to ANYone's spiritual value, regardless of whether they think they'll live another 20 times, or another 20 minutes.

The original statement was addressed to a young man (teen) who was disturbed about a situation between others. I had originally written this:
Consider ideas. If something makes sense, good. Use the idea. Remember where you got it. Be honest. Live your life in such a way that you're not ashamed if someone quotes what you said, or tells something you did.

(Note to a young friend yesterday, but it seemed potentially useful to others.)
Don't know how long it will work, this link, but it's here: http://www.facebook.com/SandraDoddABQ/posts/193160007377934


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