Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Y-Z Posts: Yodeling and Zydeco, part 2

music: No description
Source: duchessa

I like to think that I have an eclectic taste in music, that I am broad-minded.  Hey, I was in college during the 1960s and 70s, man.  But that is so not true. 

My music education pretty much ended in the early 1980s.  Somehow I cannot get beyond Zanadu Xanadu with Olivia Newton John.  Was it the trauma or was it Boy George?

I don’t know, but the last 15 years or more are scarcely dotted with memorable music, except for Whitney Houston and anything Irish music related (of course).

In recent years, I was exposed to something called “Zydeco”.  And I haven’t been the same. 

Can’t help it, my feet want to dance.  I feel the beat and the words—and this is from a person who struggles to clap and sing at the same time.  Maybe I was born down in Louisiana, stolen by pirates and brought up-river to where my folks were buying catfish from a guy down on the levee off the ‘Ssippi. 

What IS it?  It is like gumbo, with every nation tossing a bit of its culture into the pot, adding lots of spice.  And I like it.

Just listen, see what you think.

And that concludes this year's A to Z 2013 Challenge, on a high-note with Yodeling and a dance with Zydeco!  Now, take it away......  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y-Z Posts: Yodeling, part 1

Music comes down from the tall Alpine mountain, echoing through the valleys, and into the villages that dot the valley floor.  Vigorous and melodic, the music continues for miles.

Yodeling is a form of singing that exists in countries worldwide.  It started as a forming of ‘yelling’ for lack of a better word.  The word ‘yodel’ came from a German Bavaria word jodeln, with the jo given the yo sound. 

per Wikipedia

It was a way of communicating through long distances in the Alpine valleys, since the high-low-high-low sound bounces around and off the rocks.  Think of riding in a school bus, and you can see how the yodel would travel through the valley.

The letter Y is for “yodeling”.  Can you think what Z will bring?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

W-X Posts: Wyvern and Xenomorph, part 2

Seeing a Wyvern skulking around one’s castle or hut would send many screaming. 

But, what if?  What if one saw a XENOMORPH??

This Xenomorph monster would not only send one running and screaming, chances are one would not run very far or scream very long.  This Xenomorph monster would likely have had one for a quick snack or for something far more sinister.

Alien vs. Predator (2004) - Alien.jpg
Wikipedia: Alien Franchise
“Xenomorph” is the term used for the creature in the “Alien” movie series.  

It is a fictional creature, an “endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species” that implants its eggs within a host.  Said eggs would develop and then burst out of the unfortunate host.  

Many insect species are known to reproduce in this manner.  The poor hosts die horribly.

The “Alien” movies were a successful franchise, producing movies in 1979, 1986, 1992, 1997, 2004, 2007, and 2012.  Obviously many many viewers loved this Xenomorph and the adrenaline fear it incited.

So the Wyvern or the Xenomorph:  which one would scare YOU the most?

A large egg-shaped object that is cracked and emits a yellowish light hovers in mid-air against a black background and above a waffle-like floor. The title "ALIEN" appears in block letters above the egg, and just below it in smaller type appears the tagline "in space no one can hear you scream".
Wikipedia source


Wyvern Film DVD.jpg
Wikipedia source

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wednesday Words: The Mississippi River

Missouri River: The Missouri River.
Source: RWLinder

The meandering Mississippi River worried Jeff.  

No longer a gently flowing river, it rampaged and threatened his field.  It was hard enough to make a living in the Missouri bottom land.  Flooding water spreading across his cornfields made him think more and more about leaving.   

Mountains.  That’s where I need to go.  Take a trainride to the mountains…” Jeff muttered as he continued to fill sand bags and piled them on the levee.

Many thanks to Delores @ myfeatherednest  for these excellent words.  This time Delores selected the words from some of her favorite bloggers.  Please check them out at her site!

W-X Posts: Wyvern and "X", part 1

The letter “W” whirls around my brain like a washer on heavy duty spin.  All my great ideas, the ones I took rigorous notes and scribbles about back in March, now smell as bad as a tri-color pasta salad left too long in the trunk.
No, I am just teasing.  I decided to go with a monster theme here, naming one with "W" and the other with "X".

So here it is: 

Wyvern: n.  (heraldry) a two-legged dragon with outspread wings and a barbed tail [M.E. wyver fr. O.F. wyvre, var. of vivre, serpent]  

It makes me wonder how this creature (mythical, I hope) was created.  It took some creative minds and some frightened peasants to come up with such an extreme creature.  Two legs!  Wings!  A dragon!  Barbed tail!  Nothing in God's animal kingdom existed like this Wyvern.  Extremely creative.  Extremely frightening!

From Wikipedia (God bless it!) 

Trento-cathedral-relief with wyvern.jpg
This Wyvern relief carving is in Italy!  

A Wyvern, which is apparently well-known to all except me

 I bet you think I will drop the ball with "X".  Check it out tomorrow!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

U-V Posts: Underworld Switzerland, part 2

Ah!  You have returned!  Very wise!  Welcome to the underground city of….

Festung Vitznau
Vitznau Stronghold

It has long been rumored that 25% of Switzerland is underground.  How silly, right?  But there is actually some validity here.
A secret artillery fortress lies deep inside the Vitznau Mountain.  

It was built during World War II with tunnels that seem endless.  Three hundred thirty-seven men occupied these tunnels in 1943, manning cannons, monitoring German troop movements and preparing for any potential invasion.   

This fortress was opened to the public for tours in 1998, and is available to this day from May to October on Fridays.  Even more amazing is that this immense underworld is available for a variety of special events including appetizers and meals, even sleepovers in comfortably heated rooms, with breakfast in the morning. 

Go to this LINK
Go to the listed LINK above.
Set for a large banquet.  See LINK above.
A cannon, one of many.  See LINK above.
I would do this, definitely.

 Moment of humor from Bish Denham  who responded to an earlier post about blowing up a snowman head in Switzerland:

 That's hysterical! What a great way to end winter. My step-grandfather was Swiss. He used to tell this story about German and Swiss higher-ups viewing Swiss troops. The German says to the Swiss, "You know, our army is twice as large as yours." To which the Swiss says, "Then we will have to issue two bullets to our men."

The Swiss are truly amazing pragmatic people who prepare for contingencies.  Every apartment building, large store, government building, or house is equipped with a bomb shelter and owners are expected to maintain supplies for weeks of living in the shelter. Amazing, right?  Go to this site: Festung Vitznau

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U-V Posts: Underworlds We Love

Stories of hidden cities have fascinated people throughout centuries.  New cities atop old cities atop caves and crypts—it is an adventurer’s dream to discover such.  A world beneath a world begs exploring.

Paris boasts a sewer system AND catacombs like no other.  Multi-tasking at its best.
Rome is perched over miles of catacombs.
Edinburgh is built over vaults, built to accommodate tradesmen, cobblers, and storage.  Poor also lived there until about 1820, when it became unlivable.  
These are ancient cities, where only ruins remain.

BUT, what if?  What if one could travel to an underworld city where visitors could actually have a sleepover, warm meals, full accommodations?    Would you go?

Return tomorrow and discover this hidden underworld fortress, which has electricity and flush toilets!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

S-T Post: Shrine of Time

It is hard to beat an exploding-snowman-head in a follow-up post.

European countries with such a long history have, by sheer time, amassed incredible buildings, structures, monuments, and fountains that shout to the visitor:  “I have been here a long time!” 

A first time visitor to Switzerland suffers from camera overload:  so many photo opportunities, that it is overwhelming to pick and choose. 

As a returning tourist, I visited Switzerland by myself in July 2012 to see a newborn grandson.  My photos naturally focused on him and his parents.  Each day, I rode a bus through the city of Bern and viewed the city differently every time.

My second post on S-T is this:  A Shrine of Time

These are stone watering troughs from old farmlands, gathered together  for artistic appreciation.

An old English telephone booth without its glass, in which a plant had grown

A trail marker along the Aure River

A tree along the Aure River, and it is hanging on with its roots until the next snow-melt flood

 Sometimes the smaller Shrines of Time speak the loudest.

Monday, April 22, 2013

S-T Posts: Switzerland Time

Switzerland is a country made famous for its dedication to keeping time accurately.  The watches produced there are valued world-wide.

That said, another famous Swiss attribute is its work ethic.  

People expect to have a job, save money, work hard, and that is all there is to it.  

The city of Zurich exceptional work ethic is celebrated on the third Monday of April, Sechseläuten.  This means literally “The ringing of the six o’clock bells”, referring to the fact that the workers of all the guilds could work an extra hour each day until autumn.  Hurray!

Quoting from a magazine,  Hello Switzerland, is this explanation:

“On the day itself, the bells are the cue for the ten-metre-high  bonfire in Sechseläuntenplatz (plaza) to be set alight.  

On the top of it is the Böögg, a giant snowman with a head full of explosives.  

When the fire reaches his head and the head explodes, winter is officially over.  Tradition says the sooner his head explodes, the better the summer will be.”

Per Wikipedia
Take that, Punxutawney Phil.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Q-R Post: Quintessential Radio, part 2

Radio Host:  Okay, you’re on live.  How can Dr. Love help you?

Male voice:  Okay…I wrote this girl a letter…I gave it to the postman and he put it in his sack…

Dr. Love:  So he put the letter in his sack, and…?

Male voice:  (sobs) Bright and early next morning, he brought the letter back…

Dr. Love:  So, the letter was returned?

Male voice:  …she wrote upon it:  Return to sender, address unknown…

Dr. Love:  You had a quarrel?  A lover’s spat?

Male voice:  I wrote “I’m sorry!” But my letter keeps coming back…(indistinct nose blowing).

Dr. Love:  So, the letter was returned....What did you do next?

Male Voice:  So then I dropped it in the mailbox, sent it special D (delivery)…

Dr. Love:  And the next morning…?

Male voice: It came right back to me…RETURN TO SENDER…

Dr. Love:  Same thing?  Address unknown?
Male voice:  ...and, ‘No such person…No such zone’! (soft crying)

Dr. Love:  What the heck?  What’ll you do next?

Male voice:  This time, I’m gonna take it myself!

Dr. Love:  And put it right in her hand?  Isn’t that stalking?  I mean, really?

Male voice:  …if it comes back the very next day, then I’ll understand the writing on it…

Dr. Love:  I think that is best.  Take a hint.  Move on, buddy.  Move on...Next Caller, line 2...something about "Your Cheatin' Heart" you're saying?...

Ban: A ban sign.Please comment this shot or mail me if you found it useful. Just to let me know!I would be extremely happy to see the final work even if you think it is nothing special! For me it is (and for my portfolio).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q-R Post: Quintessential Radio

old radio: radio Tesla
We're back, taking calls to answer the question of "Regrets?  Looking back on my life..."  First caller on line one.
Radio Personality: So, let's hear it, big fella.  What can you say looking back on your life?

Anonymous:  I'll state it clear...I've lived a life that's...uh...full.  I've traveled down each and every highway...

Radio Personality:  So, you're a traveling man, who lives in cheap motels? Away from the family, huh.  Any regrets?

Anonymous: Regrets?  I've had a few, but then, too few to mention…

Radio Personality: Oh, one of those.  Love 'em and leave 'em? 

Anonymous: I did what I had to do...saw through without exemption...

Radio Personality:  Let me guess:  you planned each careful step, right? Had to, I imagine.

Anonymous:…More, much more than this, I did it my way….

Radio Personality: O-kay, but were there times?  Didn't you ever think you bit off more than you could chew?  You know, the balancing act?

Anonymous: But, through it all…I ate it up and spit it out…faced it all and stood ta…

Radio personality:  I see.  A life of love, laugh, and tears, right?  Yours or your family?  Ever think about 'em?  I mean, didn't you ever think about losing them?

Anonymous:  I’ve had my share of losing, but…now I find it all so amusing!  To think I did all that and…

Radio Personality: AMUSING? But, you’re not shy, are you?  Not humble at all! I bet you shout...

Anonymous: Oh, no, oh, no, not me!  I did it my way!

Radio Personality: Well, then, what IS a man?  What has he got?  If not his family, what is important?

Anonymous: Yes!  If not himself, then he has naught!  To say the things he truly feels…

Radio Personality: NAUGHT? Sure, but these are not the words of one ...?

Anonymous:  ...who kneels!  The record shows…Yes!  I took the blows!

Radio Personality: Well, I'd love to land some blows on you, you narcissistic bastard.  You got a record, a felony record?  

Anonymous:  And did it my way!  Yes, it was my way…

Radio Personality:  Right, buddy.  Whatever you say.  Next caller, line 2?...

Pointer: Everybody can use a poiner.Please visit my stockxpert gallery:http://www.stockxpert.com ..

Coming up tomorrow, legendary radio doctor, Dr. LOVE, will be talking to those who have loved and lost.  Be sure to catch in on Quintessential Radio.....cue music, commercial in 5..4..3..2..and 

And the men are marching...

per Wikipedia

And the men are marching,
Faces to the grandstand,
On a windy day.

Marching, marching as 
the Shining Brass Band

The humble and the brave
The pompous and the proud.

Marching into
The soup of history.

For Delores at the feathered nest  and the Wednesday Words of April 18, 2013
Delores posts six words on Wednesdays, challenging bloggers to juggle them around.  This is what I juggled.  Thanks, Delores!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The O-P post: part 2

Yesterday’s post discussed the importance of opposites in creating tension within the writing.
In 1960s, Disney released the film “Pollyanna” starring a then-child actress, Hayley Mills.  The story line is:  the orphaned child of missionaries comes to live with her Aunt Polly Harrington, a wealthy bitter spinster who has an iron-fist control over the town, of Harrington. 
Pollyanna sets about changing the town with her sweetness.  She falls from a window and is seriously injured; everyone unites and become sweet people themselves; Aunt Polly hooks up with her old flame Dr. Chilton and she converts to sweetness.  Sweet, sweet, sweet.
I propose flipping this movie on its head and creating an Oppositional-Defiant Pollyanna.

The State Child Welfare system places Pollyanna into foster care under her delightful Aunt Polly.  Pollyanna has been booted through the system, after setting fire to one foster home and stealing the family silver at another home.
Aunt Polly welcomes the teen-age monster Pollyanna gladly, and the cheerful loving townspeople make it their mission in life to help Pollyanna change.  The character of Pollyanna undergoes a very painful slow transition to niceness, but not before she steals the church offering.  When she is busted for buying drugs, the kindly Dr. Chilton helps her into rehab where she discovers that she is loved unconditionally.

Pollyanna tests the town by driving Aunt Polly’s limo through the town square during a fund-raising event to save the orphanage.  Although Pollyanna smashes all the charity booths, she inadvertently uncovers a devious plot to destroy the orphanage in order to build a Wal-Mart. 

Pollyanna is the hero, she is changed forever.  She marries the town doctor, Aunt Polly marries Reverend Ford, and Mayor Thomas is arrested for master-minding the Wal-Mart deal.

See the change?!  Doesn’t the presence of opposites improve the story dramatically?

I rest my case.

courtesy of Wikipedia, God bless 'em

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The O-P Post: part 1

The O-P post today looks at the Opposition in characters. 

A protagonist needs, absolutely must have the antagonist in some form to propel the plot, provide the climactic resolution, and satisfy the reader.  Without opposition, life is dull.
from Wikipedia

What would Superman be without Lex Luthor?  Gene Hackman would never have entertained us with his pure villainy.

File:Gene Hackman in "The French Connection" (screenshot).jpg
Gene Hackman as "Popeye" Doyle in The French Connection

Where would Batman be without the pantheon of super-villains?  A one-time movie deal is where he’d be.  No Christian Bale, for sure.

Christian Bale as Batman

Opposition brings out the worst and the best in the character.  It challenges the character to plumb the depths of his soul and make choices for good or evil.  The conflict between carnal and heavenly aspirations keeps the reader/viewer from dumping the book/movie and channel surf.

Tomorrow, opposition transforms a classic book/movie, making far more enjoyable (in my opinion).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

M-n Posts: Massacre, part 2--never seen

Massacre on a grand scale is brutal and grotesque.  It cannot be hidden or ignored.  The results clearly scar the world with undeniable evidence.

But, what about massacre that goes unseen, unrecognized?  The NEVER recognized massacres?  But they exist all the same.

One of the most debilitating and ultimately fatal diseases in the world is multiple sclerosisThis is literally a systematic, massacre-like attack on the myelin lining of the nerves. 

A quiet disease it is.  A deadly and unrelenting disease it most certainly is.

Another massacre that exists on a grand scale, but which has created great debate is the destruction of newly-forming life: abortion

Politics being what they are and staunch personal beliefs collide here.  Is this simply a multi-cell organism that can be removed at the convenience of the female?  
Is this a living baby with the potential to grow and become a fully functioning human being?

Since 1974, the number of abortions numbers in tens of millions.  If this were a massacre of an existing population, the outcry would be deafening.  (Note:  No photos will be shown here.  Statistics can be found by clicking on the underlined above.  Thanks.)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was active in her support of Roe v. Wade passing, allowing for abortions.  Click on the site below the photo for information.

Finally, the massacre of our environment.  Environmentalists and scientists declare the massacre of threatened species cannot be reversed.  

Lange's metalmark butterfly
Photo credit: Tom Brennan

Whether it is a frog in a wetland marsh or a rhinoceros in Africa, the sad truth is that massacred numbers of many species are rising.

Question:  These quiet massacres—the ones that occur quietly around the clock—do they infuriate you the way they do me??  How do you react to the list above?  Controversy awaits this post, I am sure.