Music and geography…

Having moved and lived in many countries throughout my life, I have a peculiar way of re-living memories: I associate music with key elements of life lived in different places.  Music brings me pleasure or pain, depending on what thoughts the melody triggers.

So, for example, although I am not your typical Grateful Dead fan, Ripple brings back memories of my 3 sons when they were little boys (between the ages of 3 and 7), while I drove them around Moscow in the late 1980’s.

It is the same with Les Miserables (which had just come out). I kept playing the tapes over and over again (tapes? Yeah!! It was the Jurassic era of sound!!!!).  The songs were poignant, because we were living under a totalitarian communist regime, and -through music- I was trying to tell my little boys that the lure of socialism/communism was the biggest lie ever sold to the world!  Today, my sons are men with wives and children. Yet, my love of music transports me back to a time when they were boys and I was young. I cannot wait to share this with their children: music is the fountain of youth. Memories keep you young, despite what you see in the mirror!!!!


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All the chapel bells were ringing…

…”a lonely bell was ringing”…”lead us not into temptation”… This song, both the European and American versions, brings back memories of my childhood, so intertwined with my parents and siblings. The song was quite popular half a century ago. I don’t think it would be today, because of the Christian message. Yet, the melody is -IMHO- sublime. Edith Piaf reigns.

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When a 70-year-old produces melodic songs…

This man never ages…

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Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale, live in Denmark 2006

Lovely “boomer” ballad, even if it’s sung by an old geezer (I can say that because I am one!!!)

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Thanks to American Digest.

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The power of one: Astronaut Terry W. Virts

I don’t know how I came across AstroTerry’s space photos. I think it may have been something I came across today by accident, that referred to a photo of the pyramids in Egypt taken from far above.  All I can say is that I spent a couple of hours looking at the beautiful photos/film that Mr. Virts took while he was at the International Space Station.

I can say that these photos had a profound effect on me.  Planet Earth is indescribable in its beauty, seen from way up high.  Every corner of the Earth is an amazing mosaic:  whether it is a barren desert, an exuberant jungle, an icy territory, a craggy terrain, or a delightful palette of turquoise blues.  I looked at Mr. Virts’ photos in sheer amazement, because the contrast between the beauty of what he witnessed in space and the horrors we witness on a daily basis down below is incongruous.

Do take the time to visit AstroTerry’s site to enjoy sunrises, sunsets, auroras, clouds, storms, etc. etc.  You will not be disappointed.

"The last picture I took on this mission" - AstroTerry (Astronaut Terry W. Virst (https://twitter.com/AstroTerry)

“The last picture I took on this mission” – AstroTerry (Astronaut Terry W. Virst (https://twitter.com/AstroTerry)

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A heart sometimes needs to hurt.

This is so true:

Deep in December it’s nice to remember without a hurt the heart is hollow.

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A Hard Day’s Night.

Because I have a daughter who is a comedian, I now pay closer attention to actors and their work. This is an old rendering, but I just discovered it. I think it is brilliant.

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Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address.

Android 027

 

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

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Memorial Day

In Flanders Field
by John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw,
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

 

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A Sterling Silver Horse Buckle fit for a Cowboy, a Gaucho, a Polo player or you!…

I looked at my Father’s things, after he died, and I saw this belt with my sister’s hand-forged sterling silver buckle.  It made me think how he held to what he loved and appreciated.  Below are her thoughts:

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break. ~ William Shakespeare

My Father died last Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

He helped me so much through the years and like my Mother, was a supporter of all my endeavors…  Here’s a photo of his “well- worn-out”  Sterling Silver Horse buckle, designed by yours truly,  with an Argentine raw leather skin belt, which he used for many years….

 

Daddy's-Belt

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Gaining Confidence, Imaginary fears, and the “chantapufi”.

UPDATE, again, this May 2015:  Indeed, this post is ageless.  I still encounter Chantapufis, every year, every month.  Regardless of profession, age, gender, ethnicity, etc., etc., they all are the same:  chantapufis.

UPDATE:  A propos of my earlier post on Gaining confidence, I could not resist bumping this old post that is ageless:

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, especially when doubt in one’s principles and abilities creeps in. Everyone is prone to tsk-tsk cliches and proverbs and fables alike (though not many seem to have heard of Aesop or La Fontaine nowadays), because they sometimes invoke stereotypes.  But, stereotypes are not necessarily all evil and sometimes they do help identify a certain character or characteristic, based on the cumulative knowledge that we amass through the centuries of experience.imaginary fears

One particular such stereotype is what the Argentines refer to as a “chantapufi”, a slang term that means someone who has no qualms lying or deceiving in order to gain something.  More specifically, it is a person whose word has no value because he or she has no honor.

There are many “chantapufis” in this world, and I have come across them quite often, though -in some cases- it took me a long time to figure some of them as such.  The problem is that these “chantapufis” are hard to decipher initially, because they are master liars and obfuscators.  They are very dangerous when they come cloaked in the veneer of reputable professions and organizations.

But “chantapufis” will forever be “chantapufis” so, when we are afraid of our imaginary fears, it makes sense to figure out who or what is originating that fear.  If it comes from a “chantapufi”, chances are we are hearing from a charlatan, like the fox in the Aesop’s fable….

The Fox without a Tail by Aesopfox

A fox lost his tail in escaping from a steel trap. When he began to go about again, he found that every one looked down upon or laughed at him. Not liking this, he thought to himself that if he could persuade the other foxes to cut off their tails, his own loss would not be so noticeable.

Accordingly he called together the foxes and said: “How is it that you still wear your tails? Of what use are they? They are in the way, they often get caught in traps, they are heavy to carry and not pretty to look upon. Believe me, we are far better without them. Cut off your tails, my friends, and you will see how much more comfortable it is. I for my part have never enjoyed myself so much nor found life so pleasant as I have since I lost mine.”

Upon this, a sly old fox, seeing through the trick, cried, “It seems to me, my friend, that you would not be so anxious for us to cut off our tails, if you had not already lost yours.”

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Good-bye Daddy… ’til we meet again.

Looking back to my latest entries, I realize my Father was dead within 3-5 days of when I shared my 2-cents.  I still cannot bring myself to write anything about him.  It is not because I cannot.  It is because I want to do him justice.  He loomed large in our lives.  A Dillon, he instilled in us a pride of service and honor.  He abhorred lies and deceit.   His death was dignified and an example to anyone.  Once I am done grieving him, I will share what made him unique.  My siblings and I are honored to have him as our Father.  Daddy, Requiescat in Pacem…

Daddy

 

John Michael Dillon

1928-2015

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Argentine roots… can never be forgotten!

My Father never forgot his Argentine roots. He and my Mother loved poignant lyrics of old tangos. One of them -a famous one- was Adios Muchachos. It is a sad song of someone who is dying and saying goodbye to his buddies.

The Americans romanticized an Argentine tango the song in the movie “Scent of a Woman”…  The melody is delightful.  The lyrics -in Spanish- are devastating:  gambling leads to perdition.  My parents pointed that out!

Oh…listening to these old tangos and remembering my parents’ thoughts makes me reflect. Here is an old tango about “Returning when you have gray hairs”… I understand the lyrics. I returned to Buenos Aires, where I grew up, after a 35 year absence.

What I have learned through the decades is that no matter where home is, one develops a strong sense of nostalgia. So much so that, because I have a strong attachment to music and places, I relate music and places together, even if I cannot understand the lyircs!

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My Father: When Irish eyes are smiling.

My Father introduced Ruby Murray to a large group in Argentina, who had never heard of her. HAH, have you? She had a lovely voice and sang some beautiful Irish songs… She was so special that even a Catholic priest we knew could not resist her songs and never returned the records he had borrowed from us. But, he was a nice man, and my family did not hold it against him. He will remain anonymous. This was a song I grew up listening all the time. In fact, my Father sang it a neighbors’ big party…and he did not disappoint.

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El Concierto de Aranjuez – Tokyo Times.

Indeed it was in 1969 that my Father discovered “El Concierto de Aranjuez“.  We were living in Tokyo at the time.  I will never forget how shocked we were when he announced that he wanted this concert to be played at his funeral.  I was a young girl at the time.  My siblings were even younger.  He was 41 years old.  It is funny what one remembers as time goes by…

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