Monday, August 22, 2011

East Beach at Wheelus AFB, Tripoli, Libya 1959

As I have mentioned previously, I lived in Tripoli, Libya as a child (1959-62) at Wheelus AFB. This is a photo, that I came across on Google, of the beach that I used to swim at. Also, I would "run" along the cliffs. What a wonderful photo to come across, especially with all that is going on in Tripoli currently.

Ah, the memories!

Monday, August 15, 2011

"A Dog Year", book and movie, Jon Katz, author. Jeff Bridges, actor

Well, I did this backwards. I watched the movie first - it was interesting, and Jeff Bridges did a good job portraying Jon Katz, however, since it is only "based" on the book, there are a bunch of inaccurate scenes in the movie.

The book is one of the few Jon Katz books that I had not read, so as soon as I watched the movie, I placed a hold on the book at the library, plus the other 3 books of Jon's that I had not read.

According to the movie, Jon is having writer's block, not so in the book. Jeff Bridges is good to look at, Jon is attractive in his own way, however, Jon suffers from a leg problem - which is mentioned in the book ( A Dog Year) - when he takes Devon and Homer to the sheepherder's farm he has a brace on one leg- this is not even considered in the movie, which I think is a major negative point for the movie. The scene only involves Devon, another inaccuracy of the movie. This makes what Jon did in real life with Devon and Homer even more remarkable.

It took me about 3 hours to read the book, and when I am finished reading my current book, I shall take on the other 3 books of Jon's. His writing is enjoyable, and easy to get caught up in. I learned alot about Border Collies.

As an footnote, the day after I finished reading "A Dog Year", I was working at the circ desk, when a patron came in to return books. This was one of those "do-do-do-do" twilight zone theme moments. We started chatting, she mentioned that her family was considering a new dog, as they had to have their dog put down recently. Naturally, I asked her what kind, she stated "Border Collie", well having just read about Border Collies, I said that might not be a good choice unless you have lots of room and something for it to "herd", she told me that I was the third person to tell her that. We were discussing the book, when one of my co-workers brought up a book, she had found lying on a table, to place in the book drop -"BORDER COLLIES". The patron and I just looked at each other!

Well, I hope you will consider reading Jon Katz's books on all his dogs. They are really enjoyable.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hapa, Hawaiian musical group

Several years ago, while visiting our best friends in Hilo, Hawaii, we were introduced to the group Hapa.

Barry Flanagan, one on the right, has his roots from New Jersey. Ron Kuala'au is native Hawaiian. They first met around 1981, remained friends and became musical partners recently.

At this concert, Charles Ka'upu played a very intregal part in the performance.

Last Friday (8-5-11) Hapa appeared at the Lincoln Theater in Mt. Vernon, Washington, their second appearance in Mt. Vernon due to the Northwest Hawaii Ohana society in Bellingham, Washington. This was the third concert we have attended.

Sadly, we learned of Charles' death in July of this year (2011). Charles was a "Master Chanter" of the Hawaiian musical arena. We were fortunate to have been able to heard him. The world is a sadder place due to his passing. He had a great sense of humor.

Barry plays slack key guitar, an invention of Hawaiian musicians. Ron and Barry have a beautiful blend of voices.

Hope that you will investigate them on the net, possibly discover their music, also look up Charles Ka'upu.

Happy listening.

Aloha, Charles, rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Sherman with Victory monument in New York City

Top, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, bottom Sherman with Victory Monument at 59th Street and 5th Avenue entrance to Central Park, New York City.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Greater Journey, Americans in Paris" by David McCullough

Let's see, as usual I was listening to NPR - not once, not twice, but three times David McCullough was being interviewed on various programs about his new book "Greater Journey, Americans in Paris". Typically, this interested me greatly....... I have never read anything by Mr. Mccullough before, however, the subject of this book was absolutely fascinating..... Naturally, I couldn't wait for the library to purchase and be in the hold line for this one, "hot-footed" it right down to our local bookstore (Snowgoose) and purchased it. One of the best purchases this year.

The United States has not always been the leader in medicine, as a matter of fact the place to study medicine during the 1800's was Paris, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elizabeth Blackwell both left their homeland to study medicine in Paris, and brought back much knowledge to our country.

James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F.B. Morse, good friends, also ventured to Paris, Cooper to further his writing and Morse to study art- he had hoped to become America's foremost artist, yet while he was there he observed something that brought forth his greatest feat - the telegraph and Morse code.

Mary Cassatt ventured to Paris with her family, and was the ONLY American to be "invited" into the impressionistic group of painters, only one of two women.

Elihu Washburne was appointed the "Minister" to Paris from America, his work helped saved countless lives during the Siege of Paris.

However, my very favorite story is that of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, American born of a French father, and Irish mother, he was born to hard working immigrants. At the age of 13 his father announced that it was time for Augustus to go to work, and he was apprentice to Louis Avet, A French cameo carver. With this work under his belt, he went to Paris at the age of 19 to begin a new life in "carving", he turned his talents to sculpture. The piece that has most intrigued me from his story is the "Sherman Monument (with Victory)" it stands at the entrance to Central Park at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. I would love to go to NYC just to see this piece of work. There is a color photo in the book of this monument - General Sherman "sat" for Augustus several times for a bust, so the face is highly accurate.

Please consider this book. It reads like a novel, the people are fascinating, and all the history one will learn.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Hannah Coulter" a novel by Wendell Berry

Hannah Coulter, a novel by Wendell Berry.

As usual, listening to NPR, I heard another author discussing Wendell Berry's "Hannah Coulter", a passage read from the book interested me so much that I finally decided to read it. This book had passed through my hands countless times at the circulation desk, yet I had never given it much thought - possibly the cover just didn't catch my interest - I know "Don't judge a book...." but you know we all do!!!!!!

"The year I was twelve my mother died. She took the flu and then pneumonia, and then, almost before we could think that she might die, she was dead. By her grave, when we brought her there, there was a heap of snow on one side and a heap of dirt on the other."

At about this time in her young life, Hannah is going to become less involved with her own family, as her father will remarry a widow, Ivy Crutchlow, "she was not a good wife to my father, and she lived up to the bad reputation of stepmothers." And her two sons, Elvin and Allen who were the "stars in her (ivy's) crown, and so Hannah knows that her father is (or will be) lost to her (Hannah). Hannah did well in school, was the class valedictorian, she leaves home and moves into Miss Ora's home, and obtains a "fill-in position", meets Virgil Feltner, who is determined to marry her.

As life begins to fall into place, World War II interrupts life as Hannah has come to know it. The interloper this time is not a widow, but a widow-making war. Time and Nathan Coulter ease Hannah's grief and pain, once again Hannah begins a new life.

Wendell Berry uses the narrative style of telling Hannah's story -- a style similar to Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. I enjoyed Hannah Coulter's story and the writing very much.

Hope you will consider this book.

Happy Reading