Monday, June 25, 2007

Save the Ship

I had just got done reading an excellent book called “Six Frigates” by Ian W. Toll and just afterwards a very strange thing happened to me. I talked with my friend Diane to see if she would accompany me on a trip to Boston to see the last surviving of the six original US Navy Frigates that were built in the late 1790s. The USS Constitution is the oldest naval war vessel still afloat anywhere. It has a long and glorious history of victories in battle. The USS Constitution goes undefeated in all of her battles including the one when they tried to scrap her in the 1830. A young Oliver Wendell Holmes is credited with saving the ship by writing the poem “Old Ironsides”. The public outcry to save the Constitution was so loud that it was saved and preserved for future generations.

Well, one morning I was on my way to my pickup truck after work and as I walking towards one of my coworker's pickup truck I could see there was something sticking up in the bed. As I got closer I could see what appeared to be a painting of some sort. I got to the side of his truck and I looked at this beat up work of art and to my astonishment it was a reproduction print of none other than the USS Constitution. I stood there for a moment totally aghast at the condition of this fine work of art and all I could think of was "it’s time now for me to save the ship". I hurried back into the shop and found the owner of the pickup truck and talked with him for a few minutes about the painting. The man found it at the curb for the trash so he stopped and threw it in the back of his pickup thinking he might use the frame for something. I asked him if I could have it so I could restore it to its once glorious state. My coworker said yes and I quickly made my way back outside before he changed his mind. I grabbed the piece by the frame and put it in the back of Maryjane and I was on my way home to see what I was going to need to fix this piece to restore it back to its proper dignity.

It has taken me about three weeks and yesterday I have finally finished this project of restoring this print and the frame. It is a signed and numbered print. The artist’s name is William J. Aylward and the print was made in Switzerland in 1947. I got some professional advice and help from an old friend that I hadn’t spoken to for some time but she knew exactly what I needed and advised me on some simple things I could to preserve this piece. It’s done and it looks fantastic and I am still amazed at the circumstances at which this piece came to me. Once again the USS Constitution has been saved by historically interested people. I haven’t decided where to display this work but I want to put it in a place where it will be seen and appreciated. The piece is worth a couple of bucks but to have future generations learn and understand the importance of such things is much more important to me.

The USS Constitution_William J. Aylward

Old Ironsides

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar; --
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee; --
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Music by [Dr]. William Lardner
[, Chevalier of the Golden Order of Poland (C. G. P.)]

And The Band Played On

Greetings from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Newberry's Victorian Cornet Band

On Saturday, a couple of my good friends and I ventured over to the College for a Band concert. The Band is called Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band. They play the music that you would have listened and danced to on a summer’s evening if you had lived in the time just after the Civil War to the turn from the 19th to the 20th centuries. Some of the selections they played were traditional American songs of the time such as “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” by F.J. Keller and “The Washington Post” by John Phillip Sousa. The Cornet Band also played some selections from “Un ballo in maschera” and Terzetto and Finale “Attila” by (Joanne knows this) Giuseppe Verdi. I really enjoy this type of music very much and I wasn’t sure if my friends were going to like it or not. It turned out that my friends loved the concert and we had a grand time.

Clothier Hall and Bell Tower

The College we went to for the concert is Swarthmore College. It was established in 1864. I grew up and have lived near this college for many years and the sight of the Bell Tower is very familiar to me. The campus itself is so beautiful and well maintained. The concert was held in the Amphitheater of the Scott Arboretum. Every time that I visit the college though, I can’t help feeling that the College has lost their way some how along the way towards actual higher education. This college is probably one of the most liberal institutions in America today. Whenever I comment on other blogs or I am confronted by belligerent liberals and they ask me what I know about liberalism I can refer directly to my experiences with Swarthmore College.

It does no good to rant about the people that go to or run Swarthmore College. The institution itself is a very noble one. I can only hope that someday that they will return to the days when all ideas were considered and not just those of a narrow and close minded ideology. I think after having a history that began in 1864 they would owe it to themselves and their students to consider all ideas.

If Still Your Orchards Bear

Brother, that breathe the August air
Ten thousand years from now,
And smell—if still your orchards bear
Tart apples on the bough—

The early windfall under the tree,
And see the red fruit shine,
I cannot think your thoughts will be
Much different from mine.

Should at that moment the full moon
Step forth upon the hill,
And memories hard to bear at noon,
By moonlight harder still,
Form in the shadow of the trees, —
Things that you could not spare
And live, or so you thought, yet these
All gone, and you still there,

A man no longer what he was,
Nor yet the thing he'd planned,
The chilly apple from the grass
Warmed by your living hand—

I think you will have need of tears;
I think they will not flow;
Supposing in ten thousand years
Men ache, as they do now.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hopelessly Hooked

Van Morrison and the Chieftans play my kind of music.

Birds in the Hood

This post is a response to the very thought provoking poem that Tom of "Patterns of Ink" wrote over at his blog. I left a comment about some of the birds I come in contact with on a daily basis in the hood.

The first set of pictures is of a Great Blue Heron at the pond right across the road. This bird makes his rounds about three to four times a week in mid morning. I was able to sneak up on him today and get a few pictures. Herons are very skittish and don’t take too well to having their picture taken. This one stops in for a small fish snack looks around for a bit and then it’s off to the next stop.

Stalking the Prey

*Alarm* I'm being Watched!

Up and Away

I’m going to warn you right now. Despite what you may think, I am not crazy. So I talk to the birds a little and that they answer back does not make someone crazy. The comment I left over at Tom’s said that I have Mourning Doves that make their sorrowful calls throughout my neighborhood and sometimes from the peak of the roof of my house.

Tri Colored Beech

I was feeling very good about getting the pictures of the Heron and I was out in my backyard having coffee. Then I heard it; a Mourning Dove, its coming from my neighbor’s yard and its a little faint so I call back and it starts getting louder. After about 10 minutes of this Tomfoolery I got distracted by a couple of Hawks flying very high and out of range of my camera. I started taking some pictures of the Tri Colored Beech tree to try out some settings on the camera and wouldn’t you know it, that crazy bird came over to see why I had stopped the conversation. There it was just over my shoulder on the peak of the roof and I had my camera all ready to go. I stood up and started taking pictures before he literally flew the coup. Mourning doves are especially agile flyers and by the time I had snapped the last picture he was through the pines before the camera could reset for the next picture of it flying away.

Cat Got Your Tongue?

As I Was Saying...

Must be going, Ta-Ta for Now

Once more, my now bewildered Dove

Once more, my now bewildered Dove
Bestirs her puzzled wings
Once more her mistress, on the deep
Her troubled question flings --

Thrice to the floating casement
The Patriarch's bird returned,
Courage! My brave Columbia!
There may yet be land

Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Folk Music

After figuring out the folk music group I was looking for is called "Pentangle" and not the Pentangles I was able to find a nice example at You Tube.

Friday, June 15, 2007

For You Joanne

It's time to stop and smell the roses for my friend Joanne. Well, I have just the thing. They aren't roses but they happen to be my favorite flowers so I'll share them with Joanne and the rest of my friends here.


The Freesia flower is native to South Africa and is not very common here the United States unless you order the bulbs and plant them yourself. The Flower has a moderately strong and spicy fragrance. Many French perfumers use it as a tangy middle note when creating a natural flowery perfume. I found these at a specialty flower shop not too far from where I work and now the bulbs are planted next to my Chamomile just outside of my back door.


This is the Chamomile that I planted last year just outside of my back door. My Mother enjoyed it very much so I have always had it planted around my property in one place or another over the years. The tiny flowers of the Chamomile are very fragrant when they are crushed. They can be used to scent your bath or flavor your tea. Chamomile has a very calming effect. I like to use Chamomile in iced tea. I heat the water and add the crushed Chamomile to the water and let it completely disolve and then add whatever type of tea I am using to make my iced tea. Let the tea cool naturally and there you have it, tea ready to be chilled.

Jennifer's Garden

This year I went back to using a rabbit fence. I took the old beat up and unsightly fence down a few years ago and grew only flowers and tomatoes and a variety of peppers for the last few years. This year I have beefsteak tomatoes along with cayenne and jalapeno peppers and something new for me; a golden variety of the sweet bell peppers for something different. I added two types of spinach and two types of loose leaf lettuce and the rabbits are not happy about the new fence. Notice the grape vine in the one photo. It was here when I moved here. I spread it out over wire and stakes and it produces very sweet purple grapes. I told my neighbor to bring his grandchildren down to pick grapes a few years back but now they are all grown up. I still maintain the vine and take most of the grapes to work for my co-workers and me!

This is what has been keeping me busy along with the regular cutting and trimming of the rest of my modest little slice of Chester County, Pennsylvania.

I hope you enjoyed my little tour Joanne.

The Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What Terrorist? Where?

Republicans continually close their eyes to the international terrorist and criminal, Saddam Hussein.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Today's Discovery

To many of my friends that come here you may not be familiar with the subject matter that I'm about to present. The music, the artists and the time period in which this music was recorded were very influential in my attitude towards life.

This is an image of Sandy Denny. Sandy Denny is without a doubt my favorite singing artist. Sandy died in 1978 and that is really a shame and you will understand once you hear her sing. The song on this video is Sandy Denny singing "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". The video was made by someone I have never heard of but the pictures are very nice.

This is Sandy Denny hanging out with the band Led Zepplin. Listen to the female vocalist in this very familiar song to me by Led Zepplin "The Battle of Evermore". It's Sandy alright and I never put it together before.

Who Knows Where the Time Goes

by Sandy Denny

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of time

For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Boys are Back

Yessir, Jackie and Dunlap from Red State Update are back and they're talking about things that matter.