Monday, December 28, 2009

Most readers of this blog have probably already seen the Bodios' dog disaster that happened yesterday. It really was a freak accident. I hadn't even left the car, was still messing with a camera lens, when I heard Irbis yelping. It was the most gruesome injury I've ever seen, and I've seen quantities of blood and broken long bones before. I'm extremely glad that we were there to help, and that it happened so close to the car; it would have been even more of an epic if we'd had to carry him a mile.

How would you splint a dog's rear leg, anyway? Human limbs have the advantage of being able to go straight; I'd never thought about it before, but that's really convenient for us wilderness medicine types. My best thought for the dog was that if necessary we could sort of sling-and-swath the back leg up against the torso, basically wrap his whole rear half in padding. But he crawled with much yelping from the far back of our 4-Runner into the back seat. Libby got in with him, and he seemed relatively comfortable wedged between her and a box that happened to be there. Since he was fairly calm, it seemed best to let him be and get driving, rather than agitate, hurt and terrify him with temporary first aid.

Anyway, the outpouring of generosity in response to Steve's bleg has been really wonderful and touching. They have more or less enough now to collect him after the surgery tomorrow. No one has taken up my print offer from the comments, as everyone has proved too altruistic (or I was damn slow with this post); but some people will certainly be getting gifts.

My silver lining from this weekend is this shot from near Magdalena Saturday evening. Coming right at the end, it's one of my favorites of the year. Enlarge!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

Detail from Nativity icon, 11th century, Tokal─▒ Kilise, Cappadocia, Turkey.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Courtesy of Odious, a real oddity: the Kennedy assassination given the epic treatment by a croatian guslar. The actual singing starts at about 1:45.
Do you wonder what English sounds like to foreigners (non-Anglophone foreigners, that is)? Well, some Italian professor did his best to show you, in the form of a rock video (definitely a product of its time). The experiment seems pretty successful; indeed, if I heard it as background music, I'm not sure I'd notice anything amiss (though rock lyrics can often be a little opaque to me). It's a similar sensation that overcomes me when I listen to Swedish singing, or to Dutch, as though if I just listen a bit harder I'll be able to understand.

On the same subject, I've always been intrigued by the following passage from Patrick O'Brian (The Nutmeg of Consolation, Ch. 1):

Stephen said, "The Captain does not understand Malay, so you will forgive me if I speak to him in English."

"Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to hear the English language," said the young woman. "I am told it is very like that of birds."

Given O'Brian's general erudition, I expect that he had some precedent for this passage. I'd love to learn what it might be. Though I can imagine how English might sound rather delicate and flitty to an ear accustomed to tonal, nasal speech.

HT: Rod Dreher.

Tail end of fall in the Manzano mountains:


Finally getting caught up on chores in the digital world. I hope to post some Turkey material soon, with intelligent commentary, but feel free to take the unguided tour now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

There have been some really interesting musical oddities on the last couple episodes of Performance Today. There's really not much music out there that will literally drop my jaw. But such was the case yesterday when I heard a fairly typical orchestral opening of an 18th Century concerto, waited for the soloist to come in, and heard a jaw hap. Really! The composer's name is Albrechtsberger, he wrote seven of these (really!) and you'll find the excerpt a ways into the first hour here, at about 14:15. (Performance Today, alas, doesn't allow linking of specific pieces; probably copyright/record company issues.) The whole thing may be had here, and if any reader would like to donate a copy for review, feel free!

Not much can follow a concerto for jaw harp and orchestra, but the next day's show included a very, very alla Turca piece by one Dmitri Kantemiro─člu, or Cantemir, a Moldovan who spent quite some time at the Ottoman court in the late 1600s (at 9:43 in the first hour). Later, we get a fiddle and orchestra number that contains a Nathaniel Gow composition (at 45:45, also in the first hour). It's actually one of my favorite numbers from the Gow collection, Three Good Fellows Down in Yon Glen. My edition notes that it was "a favourite of Neil Gow," so I wonder if Nathaniel was the actual composer, though a piece by his son may perfectly well have become a favorite.

Update: A complete finale movement from a jaw harp concerto is now to be had.

"In additional to the intellectual stimulation, you get more cream cheese, because there is slightly more surface area."

How to cut a bagel into linked halves.

Edit: Also, "Mobius Lox" would be a great name for a band.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thought in the car: the difference between snowmen and snow angels is totally thomistic. Wait. No it isn't. Never mind.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The rendezvous was at the famous Milan race track of San Siro. We were to fight in the paddock. Arriving there shortly after dawn with my seconds, I remembered that only a few weeks before the place had cost me money. This time something else was involved.

The first thing you forget "on the ground" is your fencing superiority. Your sensibilities increase tremendously. As soon as you are stripped to the waist, the chilly morning makes you think: "Even if I come out of this in good shape, it wouldn't be a bit funny to die of pneumonia."

A few yards away, you notice that your adversary talks leisurely with his seconds.
Aldo Nadi, On Fencing, here recounting his (only) duel, in 1923. A worthwhile read, particularly for his willingness to both support tradition: "It would be utterly ridiculous for anyone to ignore or change traditions which are centuries old" and to break with it: "If you hear tell of eight foil parry positions, from prime to octave, just say it isn't so. Do not lose your time: the overwhelming majority of the world's fencers, including the best, have never used more than six."

UPDATE: I should mention that while reading On Fencing, I came across mention of a fencing treatise by Descartes, and immediately thought, "Why haven't I read this?!" Oh--it's lost. Even with my suspicion that it wasn't very good (Descartes soldiering never struck me as wholehearted): melancholia.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"Pentiti!"

"No!"

Pentiti!"

"No! No!"

Now there's dissoluto punito for you! Blame to the Palm Beach Opera (who have some equally trashy, bodice-ripping illustrations for Otello and Carmen); credit to Jack.

Incidentally, if you happen to need an online opera libretto, this is the place.

Oh good, someone has done it. I'm pleased, even if they did steal my idea. But better them than me, I suppose; I have no shortage of distractions as is.

Patrick O'Brian on Google Earth

See also: The Patrick O'brian Mapping Project (currently 37% complete).

And also see also: Voyage of the Beagle on Google Earth.