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Make room for me

to lead and follow

you

beyond this rage of poetry.

 

Let others have

the privacy of

touching words

and love of loss

of love.

 

For me

Give me your hand.

  

Esta es una imagen con © Todos los Derechos Reservados. Por favor no use esta imagen en páginas webs, blogs, facebook u otro medio sin mi explicito permiso.

This is a copyrighted image with © All Rights Reserved. Please don't use this image on websites, blogs, facebook, or other media without my explicit permission.

© All Rights Reserved.

© Todos los Derechos Reservados

♫ ♪ Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim

The walls of my room are closing in

There's a war outside still raging

You say it ain't ours anymore to win ♪ ♪ ♫

The writer stares with glassy eyes

Defies the empty page

His beard is white, his face is lined

And streaked with tears of rage.

Thirty years ago, how the words would flow

With passion and precision,

But now his mind is dark and dulled

By sickness and indecision

And he stares out the kitchen door

Where the sun will rise no more...

~Rush

 

Unfortunately, there is no video to accompany this song, a shame, it's a beautiful song! This is my first attempt at overlaying in Picnik. The pic was taken at the Robert Frost Farm last year and of course, the overlay is a book. Not sure I'm going to attempt this one again! LOL I wonder how many of the Frost writings came from this room......

Israel’s Worst Fire in Modern History Kills 40 and Rages On In Bio-reserve.

Over 42 Killed, Beit Oren Village Wiped Out...

 

"Some 40 people trapped in a bus are known to have been killed and 45 more reportedly injured as a massive fire on Israel’s Mount Carmel rages on. Believed to have been started by arsonists, the fire broke out in a cedar forest around noon near Isifiya, a Druize village. Although the winter season has officially started, the rains despite the prayers, have not come, leaving the forest vulnerable to attacks..."

 

www.greenprophet.com/2010/12/fire-israel-carmel/

 

www.greenprophet.com/2010/12/israel-fire-update-42-killed...

And the fever begins to rage,

From my heart down to my legs,

But the room is so quiet

And although I was losing my mind,

It was a chorus so sublime,

And the room is too quiet

 

original O-o

Actually, I’m not sure I have any self-hatred left at this point in my life. You can, if you wish to, get over a lot of that damn-assed, negative self-image baggage from youth. It wasn’t true about you in the first place, you can let it go, and that shit simply doesn’t pay off over the long haul in the happiness or contentment departments in life.

 

View On Black

 

So, last year I made a reasonable, well-negotiated, peace agreement with my flaws and faults, and we issued a Joint-Communique just before the start of 2012:

 

“Bob’s alright with us. When he fucks up, he tries to address the nature of the fuck-up as well as to make things right with the fuck-upees. He doesn’t just “move on,” which we think is the biggest, “ loser-take-no-personal-responsibility-for-nuthin’-cop-out-piece-of-crap” we’ve ever heard. Other than that, he tries to do the right thing. And if you don’t like his action, you can fuck-off and move on. No, really. Move along now, and do have a most wonderful day.”

 

That is one of the joys of ageing: you get to tell the world to take a hike. Hell, it’s almost mandatory.

 

OK, so no self-hatred, but I did have hatred for Celery. I gave it no respect. Then I found these facts (listed below). Even if they are only 60% true, I realize I have been disrespecting Celery for no good reason at all. It isn’t like it tastes bad: I’d just been told all my life that it tasted bad. (I heard that about pickled beets when I was young too, but they were so pretty with their deep red, merlot color, that I made myself like them. Now, I love`em.)

 

So, I shall henceforth address my hatred of Celery by eating more, or at least some, or at least the one you see here. (Note to self: “Self, buy some damn kind of salad-dressing Dip next time you get celery, dipstick.)

 

Apparently, Celery was considered an aphrodisiac by the Romans and the French. I don’t know how much you have to munch to get and maintain a bonafide boner, but it will surely beat $30 a pill for Cialis. (It better in this economy, dammit!) And, if the French consider Celery to be one of the holy trinity of ingredients, along with Onions, and Carrots, well then. ..

 

Scene: Man and woman in a dark room, in Bed, making Love.

Man: (snapping sound effect) Crunch, crunch, crunch."

Woman: "This is really killing the mood. You know that, right?"

Man: "It has all natural boner ingredients in it. No side-effects. It's all the rage in Europe." (snap) "Crunch, munch, crunch."

Woman: "I can show you one damn side-effect."

Man: "Hey," crunch, "where you," crunch, "goin?" crunch, crunch."

 

or

 

“Here’s crunching at you, Kid.”

 

CELERY INFO/FACTOID/THINGIES:

 

* King Tut's tomb contained a shroud adorned with garlands of wild celery, olive leaves, willow, lotus petals, and cornflowers.

 

* Hippocrates described celery as a nerve soother. (With body-image issues, a weight problem and nickname like “Hippo” he needed to soothe his nerves. Naw, I made that up.)

 

* As far back as ancient Rome, celery was considered an aphrodisiac. Today, scientists know that celery contains androsterone, a pheromone released by men's sweat glands that attracts females.

(“Hey Gladiator, yeah you, sandal-boy, is that a stalk of celery under your tunic, or you just happy to see me?”)

 

* A recipe uncovered in Pompeii for a celery dessert called for roasting chopped celery in an oven and serving it with honey and ground pepper. (They deserved to die, serving up this shit as “dessert. What's wrong with PIE?”)

 

* Aulus Cornelius Celsus, writing around 30 AD, wrote about the use of celery seeds to relieve pain. (Is this a tea, a soup, a powder or smoked? Can I substitute pumpernickel seeds, `cause I got some of them?)

 

* The first recorded mention of celery in France was in 1623. (Bonjour Musketeer... Vous faire a du celeri dans vos pantaloons, ou êtes-vous heureux de me voir ?) or "Hey, Gladiator...."

 

* 18th-Century French courtesan Madame de Pompadour, Mistress of Louis XV, ate celery soup and truffles in an effort to adopt a "heating diet" so she would be less frigid and more attractive to the king. It is also said that she fed the king celery soup to fan the fires of his passion. (The courtesans were frigid? Why would anyone want a frigid Mistress? Spending hard-earned Francs for a frigid, French Mistress? Est-ceci possible?)

 

* Famed Italian lover Casanova made sure to include lots of celery in his diet to keep up his stamina. (Tell me more…tea, soup, pow……)

 

* It takes just one ounce of celery seeds to produce an acre of celery. (Hummm, quite potent. Tell me more…again. What about Sesame seeds, cause I got some of them? I wonder what an acre of sesame looks like?)

 

* Celery was first introduced to America in 1856 when a Scotsman named George Taylor brought celery to Kalamazoo, Michigan. By 1872, Dutch farmers were transforming acres of Kalamazoo mucklands into celery fields. (Really? There was celery in Scotland? Where? In the Haggis aisle?)

 

* There is a celery museum in Portage, Michigan called the Celery Flats Interpretive Center. (Do they pay us to come in, or do we have to pay to get out?)

 

* The 1897 Sears Catalog featured a nerve tonic made from celery and described celery as a "great nerve builder." (Those were the codes words for “great and amazing boners,” back in Victorian-era America)

 

* One stalk of celery contains about 10 calories. Some contend that it contains "negative calories," meaning that one spends more calories digesting it than are consumed when it eating it, which supposedly helps with weight loss. (But, it’s really all of that chewing that gets you ready for great oral sex with your frigid French mistresses. Snorkel s may be required.)

 

King Louis: “Cease! Air, Mon Amour, the King requires Air!”

 

De Pompadour: No, Mon Seigneur, don't stop. I am close. Stay your head, and make the sound of the “raspberries” with your lips and tongue, s'il vous plaît.”

 

Louis: “Mfffpt. Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssst!”

 

Pompadour: Aah, votre Majesteeeeé!

 

…and thus was the vibrator born. (See; celery was involved.)

 

* The Fifth Doctor on the BBC show Doctor Who, played by Peter Davison, wore a stalk of celery on his lapel. (What! What?)

 

And after World War I, when American soldiers returned home from Europe, they were asked by their wives,

 

Wife: "Well, what did you learn in Paris?"

Husband: "I'll show you. Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssst."

Wife: Oh! My! Sweet Jeeeeez-Susss!!!!!!!! Vive la France!

 

And thus began the Roaring 20's. Hi-de, Hi-de, Hi-de, Ho!

 

* Celery, onions, and carrots make up the "holy trinity," known as the "mirepoix," of French cuisine. These three vegetables are used together as the base for many French dishes, including sauces, stews, soups, and stocks. (I’ve no French jokes left: I kinda’ blew my wad with the Mistress thing.)

 

* Celery, onions, and bell peppers are considered the "holy trinity" of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine.

 

* After a patron at the Pump Room at Chicago's Ambassador East Hotel decided to stir his Bloody Mary with a stalk of celery, the idea caught on and celery became permanently linked with the drink.

 

(“So long self-hatred. Cheers, Celeri.")

 

Texture by Delany Dean: www.flickr.com/photos/delanydean/sets/72157620418237101/

Skeletalmess: www.flickr.com/photos/skeletalmess/

I opened the curtains in our hotel room and this was the scene that greeted me. There was a fierce battle raging between the overnight fog and the early morning sun to establish dominance in the new day. The sun eventually won but it was great to watch.

 

Watch the battle on black.

 

San Francisco, CA

With thermal sight, advanced suppressor, and 30mm launcher.

The Grade I Listed Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.

 

In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.

 

The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.

 

The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.

 

The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.

 

The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.

 

A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.

 

The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.

 

In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).

 

The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.

 

Saw this and thought of Sammy Hagar(couldn't find the song on youtube...)

I just came out from the room.

I saw the rising of the moon.

This ain't no ordinary night.

Looked to my left, looked to my right.

I felt the chill down to my bones.

I must have dreamed this once before.

Glanced at the pictures on the walls.

I saw my reflections in the glass.

And as I walked down the hall

I said to myself, "It's got to be"

The rise of the animal.

C'mon, get it up.

The rise of the animal.

In the streets, uh-huh.

The rise of the animal.

It's just got to be, uh-huh.

The rise of the animal

In me.

I thought I heard the crowd scream.

As I recalled a childhood dream.

I saw myself as I stand.

Caught with the axe in my hand.

Then I was pushed out on the stage.

And the crowd became a state of rage.

I tripped, I fell down to one knee.

I said to myself, "It's got to be"

The rise of the animal.

C'mon, get it up.

The rise of the animal.

In the streets, uh!

The rise of the animal.

It's just got to be, uh-huh.

The rise of the animal

In me.

The Grade I Listed Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.

 

In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.

 

The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.

 

The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.

 

The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.

 

The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.

 

A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.

 

The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.

 

In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).

 

The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.

 

It's storm season and I love the drama, beauty and energy of storms and shoot them every chance I get. Yesterday, the sky was getting dramatic and I was psyched to get some shots having recently watched one of my favorite movies about storm chasing, Twister. It's a movie I can watch over and over and never get tired of it. Because I know it so well, I sometimes have a habit of saying the lines at the same time as the characters or maybe a beat or two before.

"The Suck Zone. It's the point basically when the twister... sucks you up. That's not the technical term for it, obviously."

"it's the wonder of nature, baby!"

"Why do you call Billy the extreme?....Because... Bill is.....the EXTREME!!!!!!!

When eerie silence fills the air as a raging tornado abruptly ends, the scientist called Preacher and I say, at the same time and in the same reverent tone...

"It's the cone of silence" I love that line but it's a fallacy that tornadoes have a cone of silence. It's really a radar term. Directly over a radar tower is a blackout area where the weather readout is blank, it's a visual cone of silence, like my umbrella. But for the movie it's a great line and we don't care too much about accuracy,...it's a movie!

 

Sometimes I have to warn the characters...where'd it go? it's gone (meaning the twister)

"No, it's not, it's gonna back-build... It's back-building! It's gonna drop right on top of you! Get the hell out of there!"

"Getting yourself killed is not gonna bring your father back Jo!"

"It's not gonna fly, The pack is too light, it needs more weight! I told you it needed more weight!"

 

My hubby looked up at me perched on the back of the couch with my fists in the air and he said, I feel like I'm at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ha! for those who don't know, That's a cult classic horror spoof that was popular years ago to which everyone would go dressed as the characters every night and recite the lines. Imagine having that excitement right in the privacy of your own living room.

 

For ODC ~ S

Story: Cliona had been trapped in one of the many dark rooms of a castle by her ex-lover. At first she was hysterical, but later calmed down. As she spent time sitting and starring into the darkness, she went over in her mind about what had happened, and why he had done what he did. Nothing seemed to make sense. As she thought about it more and more, she only became increasingly bitter toward him. After three long days of waiting in the room, her ex-lover, feeling terrible for what he had done, decided to come back to the castle to release her, but little did he know that he was the very LAST person Cliona wanted to see!

~~~

I tried to evoke sadness and rage from Cliona's face. Her dress is dark with a little regality feel to suit the mood.

Inspiration: fashion.telegraph.co.uk/galleries/TMG8619311/Paris-Haute-...

The Grade I Listed Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.

 

In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.

 

The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.

 

The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.

 

The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.

 

The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.

 

A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.

 

The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.

 

In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).

 

The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.

 

This shot brought to you by great personal risk to my camera... Elowah Falls and McCord Creek were absolutely raging from 3 straight days of rain combined with snow melt in the upper regions of the Columbia River Gorge. Venturing out into the creek to find compositions was pretty much impossible and the lone accessible spot I could find was splashing quite a bit, as you can see in this frame. It was time to get patient about wiping off the lens, relaxed about gear getting wet, and creative with composing and focusing with not much room to work with. Happy to have come away with a view of the falls I like.

She was officially engaged to the man of her dreams. She has been waiting for the moment for a gentleman to come and swoop her from her feet. It was every girls dream to have such romantic lovelife. Her parents arranged the engagement with a distinguish family next town. They sent a portrait of the young master and she agreed immediately. The next day, the lad himself came to the mansion to present the engagement ring for the excited maiden. Her family offered to let the lad stay for night as a storm was coming and he agreed.

 

It was a small misunderstanding. The gardener who tended her white lilies visited her quarters to deliver the fresh batch of the flower before the storm arrives. He knew that the young maiden couldn't sleep well without the fragrance. Her fiancee however watched the whole conversation from the shadows, boiling with rage with every second passed as they exchange giggles and smiles. When the gardener took his leave and the maiden was about to close the door, the lad stormed into her room.

 

No one heard her scream over the storm. By dawn, her room was simply covered crimson, even the fresh lilies. However, there was not a single trance of young girl's part found and young lad who stayed overnight also disappeared.

 

Credits and Rambles

Mowgli sketches-compare 3

 

Start: Friday, April 10, 2009, 7:08:53pm

Done: Friday, April 10, 2009, 7:27:01pm

 

Panel 1- Mowgli running toward the animated camera. This is another shot of Mowgli running like in the 10th panel of my 1st Sketches. I traced this version cuz I thought it looked dynamic & I was also *running* out of ideas for screenshots. heheh ;p

Panel 2- Mowgli sitting down to take a breather against a rock to his back. Another serenic moment that I wanted to add to this volume. Drawing the toes hidden beneath the grass was a little tricky at first, but other than that, it was No Problemo. 8-)

Panel 3- Another “KHHHAAAAANNN!!!” shot, but with a slightly different angle than the previous one, including the overall Action Movie style posing.

Panel 4- Mowgli relaxing on a trunk of a tree. I forgot to add the blue tree outlines so that he doesn’t look like he’s floating on air, but you get the sense of the shot.

Panel 5- My favorite shot in the whole sketches here. I like his dynamic type of stance here & although he’s only a 10 year old Boy, he has that sense of Authority in Adults. So that’s why this is here.

Panel 6- Awwwwww, widdle Mowgli napping in a fetal position that I’m sure all you ‘kawaii’ type fangirls will enjoy. :roll: But yeah, I like the innocent type of pose here as well as the relaxation style too.

Panel 7- Mowgli sitting up in a tree & daydreaming. Again, I like the way he looks calm like your average Feral/Savage Wild Boy as they often sit up high in trees. I also like the expression that he shows in his face.

Panel 8- Another shot of Mowgli in a tree. Same thing as the 7th panel, but with a sense of curiosity in the character as to suggest what his attention is geared toward to.

Panel 9- yet Another shot of Mowgli in a tree, but looking a bit peeved. While the previous two were about relaxation & curiosity, this one has a bit of rage in him, as so to define him in a Savage/Ferocious manner.

Panel 10- Another ‘Awwwww’ shot but done at a different angle to show his back rather than the side.

Panel 11- Mowgli with his back to the view holding his temporary weapon, The Boomerang. I liked the way that he’s ready & waiting for something. Presumably to obliterate his next meal.

Panel 12- Another shot of Mowgli with the Boomerang but with his face toward us. This is almost like the previous panel, but in reverse to get that mirror type shot, or something.

Panel 13- Mowgli throws the Boomerang in an Action style pose that looks cool, as if he’s ready to take on his enemies n’ stuff.

Panel 14- Mowgli crawling out of his Home Cave so he can act like his Wolf Brothers. I like the way he’s crouched down low with his head up in a dramatic type pose cuz it adds a lot to his Feral personality. I also like the way I slightly altered his face as to have him question his own humanity because of the current upbringing that his whole ‘Family’ are Wolves & he’s the only Human in the Jungle. Which is why I, like many others, are greatly imposed over having him covered in a diaper/loincloth because his neutrality matches his Natural sense of surroundment & evokes the overall Human emotion that he expresses.

Panel 15- A somewhat young Mowgli crouched down at a water hole to take a swig. As before, I like the Feral type of pose he has here, as well as an additional sense of curiosity he has on his new surroundings.

Panel 16- Mowgli in his Home Cave supposedly nursing one of his wolf brethren to health. I like his pose & his look of Good Samaritan that he emotes. He also looks a bit creepy like he’s ready to pounce or attack someone Freddy Krueger style.

Panel 17- Same shot as panel 15, but at a different angle because I like style & variety. :D

Panel 18- The continuing shot from panel 14 as he emerges from the cave to act out his Inner Wolf. I like the way he sits up & the pose & stuff. I forgot to add a little hair extension, but other than that, it’s okay.

Panel 19- Mowgli shouting or becoming frustrated over something. His stature kinda invokes the early days of the Renaissance Era where everything about the Human Body was majestic in that aspect.

Panel 20- Mowgli sliding down Kaa’s body like a ride at DisneyLand. ;p I once thought of marking an outline of Kaa like I did with some of the blue/red outlines you see here, but I thought it wasn’t needed.

Not only I like the pose, but also the expression in Mowgli’s face & the sense of bewilderment in his eyes.

It displeases me that Kaa was made into a villain in the campy Disney version. :X

Panel 21- What follows from panel 16. I added the rest of his feet & accidentally made his mouth bigger.

Also added more to his feet on this one.

Panel 22- Mowgli in a scene with his Wolf Mother. I like the sense of affection that Mowgli expresses as Children are often like that. I improved the structure of his feet, especially the right foot by having a more shape like foot to it rather than just something added to his leg.

Panel 23- Mowgli sitting down on hands & knees from the 19th panel. I just like the way he’s sitting in a Innocent/Childlike manner which is nice once in a while.

Panel 24- Another shot of Mowgli on a tree. I like his stature, but I didn’t like drawing his hand covered by the tree trunk. I surprisingly did great on the feet, but I might have made the hand a bit bigger, I think.

Panel 25- Yet another shot of Mowgli on a tree, but with him crawling on the trunk. With the boomerang strapped behind him, I almost had a tough time drawing the arch of his back, the spine line & the backside, but it only took me a few tries so it wasn’t that difficult to pull off. I also forgot to add the blue lines across the tree but I like the overall stature of it anyway, so I didn‘t bother with it.

Panel 26, 27, 28 & 29- At this point, I’d almost had enough of plain old standing shots, so in the next volume you’ll see a lot more provocative postures & body language that the character expresses.

Panel 30- Mowgli getting ready to throw the Batman Weapon to deliver Obliteration on his enemies. I couldn’t pass on a cool panel like this as Mowgli looks really Kick Ass on this shot. 8-)

Panel 31- Another good shot of Mowgli with the Batman Weapon. I like this one a bit more better than the last panel cuz of his overall stance and I even decided to alter the expression on his face as if he’s saying “Don’t You F*ck with Me!!” to his would be victim. :threaten:

I kinda like that. 8-)

Panel 32- Mowgli lying down on the grass on a Warm Night. :relax: I like the feeling of relaxation on him like he’s just taking a rest from a busy day of Battling a few woodland critters. 8-)

Panel 33- The same thing on the last panel, but him sitting up & chatting with his Wolf Brothers. I had some time & room to spare, so I got this one because I like the way he sits up and commands attention to the scene. I drew the right ear too small, so it looks a bit funny not being symmetrical to the other ear.

Ah well, whaddya gonna do? :hmm:

*******************************************

See Original Version here: xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/19622466/or/526346523/name/mowgli+s...

From the Official Site:

 

Along the Great Ocean Road and beyond, you will be able to experience some of the world's most breathtaking coastal regions. See huge cliffs, raging surf, tranquil bays, lush rainforests,and fascinating wildlife.

 

Details:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Exposure: 13 exposures (-2,-1.66.-1.33,-1,-.66,-.33,0,+.33,+.66,+1,+1.33,+1.66+2 EV)

Aperture: f/18

Focal Length: 35 mm

ISO Speed: 100

Accessories: Manfrotto 190XB Tripod, Manfrotto 322RC2 Heavy Duty Grip Ball Head, Canon RC1 Wireless Remote

Date and Time: 26 July 2009 7.46am

 

Post Processing:

Imported into Lightroom

Exported 13 exposures to Photomatix

Tonemap generated HDR using detail enhancer option

Re-imported back into Lightroom

Exported HDR and 0 EV exposure to CS3 and layered HDR on top of 0 EV

Brush tool to even out the sky

Noise reduction layer

Background layer and healing brush tool to remove dust gremlins

Curves layer for contrast

Hues/Saturation layer (reds, greens, cyans, blues)

Background layer and quick selection tool to select rock-face

Unsharp Mask filter on selection

Re-imported back into Lightroom

Chromatic aberration adjustment in Light room

Vibrance adjustment in Lightroom

Added keyword metadata

Exported as 2500 x 1667 JPEG

 

View On Black

 

View Original Size

The Image Can not prove just how big this room and impressive Machine really is. When i first saw it is was blown away by its sheer Beauty.

The dark side of me, the one that kills any good intentions or feelings. If I normally feel like being a good person, loving others deeply and unconditionally, it happens to me sometimes that all the good I’ve done and given is totally unwanted or, worse, taken, used and then discarded like rubbish. These are the moments in which the angel in me dies… leaving room only for vengeance and rage. And it’s weird how the bigger part of that anger is against myself, because once again I lowered my walls and let someone undeserving in. Beware of me if I’m wearing guns, because this means my wings are rapidly disintegrating.

 

Full credit list on www.glamourox.net

Here's a photo I took on my first night in Moscow from the roof of the Ritz-Carlton. It was a crazy day, I'll tell ya. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the director of marketing met me immediately after getting out of the car and said I needed to do all this stuff. First, the team went to the club to start having champagne and drinking immediately, in true Russian style. Then she took me to the basement and implored me to wear a crazy sweater (see video above) to take part in some video where I had to say a phrase (I had no idea the context or the reason). Then we went to the top floor for some raging party with DJs and fancy people. It was completely chaotic, and at some point, I realized I had not taken a single photo! So I ran to my room to grab my camera to get this shot outside on the balcony, taking a break from the chaos inside.

 

- Trey Ratcliff

 

Click here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust history museum in Jerusalem is the Jewish People’s memorial to each and every Jew who perished in the Holocaust – a place where they may be commemorated for generations to come.

 

The main circular hall houses the extensive collection of “Pages of Testimony” – short biographies of each Holocaust victim. Over two million pages are stored in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall, with room for six million in all.

The ceiling of the Hall is composed of a ten-meter high cone reaching skywards, displaying 600 photographs and fragments of Pages of Testimony. This exhibit represents a fraction of the murdered six million men, women and children from the diverse Jewish world destroyed by the Nazis and their accomplices. The victims’ portraits are reflected in water at the base of an opposing cone carved out of the mountain’s bedrock.

At the far end of the Hall is a glass screen onto which Pages of Testimony are projected. From here one may enter a computer centre and search the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, with the assistance of the Hall of Names staff. The Centre also offers blank Pages of Testimony and survivor registration forms.

 

Best to be viewed in large size format

All rights reserved. Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund. All my images are protected under international authors copyright laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. All rights reserved - Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund

The Grade I Listed Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.

 

In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.

 

The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.

 

The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.

 

The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.

 

The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.

 

A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.

 

The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.

 

In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).

 

The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.

 

Exp. Aug 10, 2009 #264

 

pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaninha

 

Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (British English, Australian English, South African English), ladybugs (North American English) or lady beetles (preferred by some scientists). Lesser-used names include ladyclock, lady cow, and lady fly.

 

They are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, grey, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles).

 

Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone.

 

A few species are pests in North America and Europe, but they are generally considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. The Mall of America, for instance, releases thousands of ladybugs into its indoor park as a natural means of pest control for its gardens.

 

Coccinellids are typically predators of Hemiptera such as aphids and scale insects, though conspecific larvae and eggs can also be important resources when alternative prey are scarce. Members of the subfamily Epilachninae are herbivores, and can be very destructive agricultural pests (e.g., the Mexican bean beetle). While predatory species are often used as biological control agents, introduced species of ladybirds (such as Harmonia axyridis or Coccinella septempunctata in North America) outcompete and displace native coccinellids and become pests in their own right.

 

Coccinellids are often brightly colored to ward away potential predators. This phenomenon is called aposematism and works because predators learn by experience to associate certain prey phenotypes with a bad taste (or worse). Mechanical stimulation (such as by predator attack) causes "reflex bleeding" in both larval and adult ladybird beetles, in which an alkaloid toxin is exuded through the joints of the exoskeleton, deterring feeding. Ladybugs, as well as other Coccinellids are known to spray a venomous toxin to certain mammals and other insects when threatened.

 

Most coccinellids overwinter as adults, aggregating on the south sides of large objects such as trees or houses during the winter months, and dispersing in response to increasing day length in the spring. In Harmonia axyridis, eggs hatch in 3–4 days from clutches numbering from a few to several dozen. Depending on resource availability, the larvae pass through four instars over 10–14 days, after which pupation occurs. After a teneral period of several days, the adults become reproductively active and are able to reproduce again, although they may become reproductively quiescent if eclosing late in the season.

 

It is thought that certain species of Coccinellids lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying.

 

Habitats

 

Most coccinellids are beneficial to gardeners in general, as they feed on aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, and mites throughout the year. As in many insects, ladybugs in temperate regions enter diapause during the winter, so they often are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Some species (e.g., Hippodamia convergens) gather into groups and move to higher land, such as a mountains, to enter diapause. Predatory ladybugs are usually found on plants where aphids or scale insects are, and they lay their eggs near their prey, to increase the likelihood the larvae will find the prey easily. Ladybugs are cosmopolitan in distribution, as are their prey.

 

Coccinellids as household pests

 

Although native species of coccinellids are typically considered benign, in North America the multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis), introduced in the twentieth century to control aphids on agricultural crops, has become a serious household pest in some regions owing to its habit of overwintering in structures. It is similarly acquiring a pest reputation in Europe, where it is called the "Multicoloured Asian Ladybird" (In Britain: "Harlequin Ladybird") (see main article Harmonia axyridis for discussion).

 

Coccinellids in popular culture

 

Coccinellids are and have for very many years been favorite insects of children. The insects had many regional names (now mostly disused) such as the lady-cow, may-bug, golden-knop, golden-bugs (Suffolk); and variations on Bishop-Barnaby (Norfolk dialect) – Barnabee, Burnabee, and the Bishop-that-burneth. The etymology is unclear but it may be from St. Barnabas feast in June, when the insect appears or a corruption of "Bishop-that-burneth", from the fiery elytra of the beetles.

 

In parts of Northern Europe, tradition says that one's is wish granted if a ladybird lands on oneself (this tradition lives on in North America, where children capture a ladybird, make a wish, and then "blow it away" back home to make the wish come true). In Italy, it is said by some that if a ladybird flies into one's bedroom, it is considered good luck. In central Europe, a ladybird crawling across a girl's hand is thought to mean she will get married within the year. In some cultures they are referred to as lucky bugs (Turkish: uğur böceği).

 

In Russia, a popular children's rhyme exists with a call to fly to the sky and bring back bread; similarly, in Denmark a ladybird, called a mariehøne ("Mary's hen"), is asked by children to fly to 'our lord in heaven and ask for fairer weather in the morning'.

Coccinella septempunctata pair mating

 

The name that the insect bears in the various languages of Europe is mythic. In this, as in other cases, the Virgin Mary has supplanted Freyja, the fertility goddess of Norse mythology; so that Freyjuhaena and Frouehenge have been changed into Marienvoglein, which corresponds with Our Lady's Bird. The esteem with which these insects are regarded has roots in ancient beliefs.

 

In Irish, the insect is called bóín Dé — or "God's little cow" and in Welsh, the term buwch goch gota is used, containing the word 'buwch' meaning "cow"; similarly, in Croatian it is called Božja ovčica ("God's little sheep"). In France it is known as bête à bon Dieu, "the Good Lord's animal", and in Russia, Божья коровка ("God's little cow"), while in both Hebrew and Yiddish, it is called "Moshe Rabbenu's (i.e. Moses's) little cow" or "Moshe Rabbenu's little horse", apparently an adaptation of the Russian name, or sometimes "Little Messiah".

 

In Iran, two Farsi words are used; ﮐﻔﺶ ﺪوزک and ﭘﻴﻨﻪ ﺪﻮﺰ, both meaning "shoe cobbler". There is an old story about a woman who tells her husband upon his return from work that a "cobbler" spent the whole day with her and in fact sat on her lap. Hearing this, he flies in to a rage and kills his unfaithful wife. Just then, he notices a lady bird walking in the room and he cries out "Oh my god, that kind of cobbler".

 

In Greece, ladybirds are called πασχαλίτσα (paschalitsa), because they are found abundantly in Eastertime, along with paschalia, the Common Lilac plant, which flowers at the same time.

 

In Malta, the ladybird is called nannakola, and little children sang: Nannakola, mur l-iskola/Aqbad siġġu u ibda ogħla (Ladybird go to school, get a chair and start jumping).

 

In Finnish, ladybird is called leppäkerttu, translating to blood-Gertrud, which refers to the red color. An alternative name is leppäpirkko. These differ by the female name at the end (Pirkko refers to Bridget).

  

There's a typhoon raging outside my window at the moment and the wind is howling through the chimney in my room. It's quite nice :)

  

moosic

NEW: I NOW CREATE MUSIC, JOIN ME ON SOUNDCLOUD!

 

SHOP: www.icanvas.com/canvas-art-prints/artist/ben-heine

 

"The Silence of the Village" was my first title for this image. I captured this peaceful scenery in Saint Léon. It's a very quite place in the South West of France. A must see if you ever travel in this region...

_______________________________________________

 

For more information about my art: info@benheine.com

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The Deserted Village

 

A poem by Oliver Goldsmith

 

Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,

Where health and plenty cheered the labouring swain,

Where smiling spring its earliest visits paid,

And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed:

Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,

Seats of my youth, where every sport could please,

How often have I loitered o'er your green,

Where humble happiness endeared each scene;

How often have I paused on every charm,

The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,

The never-failing brook, the busy mill,

The decent church that topped the neighbouring hill,

The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,

For talking age and whispering lovers made;

How often have I blessed the coming day,

When toil remitting lent its turn to play,

And all the village train, from labour free,

Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree:

While many a pastime circled in the shade,

The young contending as the old surveyed;

And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,

And sleights of art and feats of strength went round;

And still as each repeated pleasure tired,

Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired;

The dancing pair that simply sought renown

By holding out to tire each other down!

The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,

While secret laughter tittered round the place;

The bashful virgin's sidelong look of love,

The matron's glance that would those looks reprove:

These were thy charms, sweet village; sports like these,

With sweet succession, taught even toil to please;

These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,

These were thy charms -But all these charms are fled.

 

Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,

Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;

Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,

And desolation saddens all thy green:

One only master grasps the whole domain,

And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain:

No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,

But choked with sedges works its weedy way.

Along thy glades, a solitary guest,

The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;

Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,

And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.

Sunk are thy bowers, in shapeless ruin all,

And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;

And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,

Far, far away, thy children leave the land.

 

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:

Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;

A breath can make them, as a breath has made;

But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,

When once destroyed can never be supplied.

 

A time there was, ere England's griefs began,

When every rood of ground maintained its man;

For him light labour spread her wholesome store,

Just gave what life required, but gave no more:

His best companions, innocence and health;

And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.

 

But times are altered; trade's unfeeling train

Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;

Along the lawn, where scattered hamlet's rose,

Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose,

And every want to opulence allied,

And every pang that folly pays to pride.

Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,

Those calm desires that asked but little room,

Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene,

Lived in each look, and brightened all the green;

These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,

And rural mirth and manners are no more.

 

Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,

Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.

Here as I take my solitary rounds,

Amidst thy tangling walks and ruined grounds,

And, many a year elapsed, return to view

Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,

Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,

Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.

 

In all my wanderings round this world of care,

In all my griefs -and God has given my share -

I still had hopes my latest hours to crown,

Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;

To husband out life's taper at the close,

And keep the flame from wasting by repose.

I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,

Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill,

Around my fire an evening group to draw,

And tell of all I felt and all I saw;

And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,

Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,

I still had hopes, my long vexations passed,

Here to return -and die at home at last.

 

O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,

Retreats from care, that never must be mine,

How happy he who crowns in shades like these

A youth of labour with an age of ease;

Who quits a world where strong temptations try,

And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!

For him no wretches, born to work and weep,

Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;

No surly porter stands in guilty state

To spurn imploring famine from the gate;

But on he moves to meet his latter end,

Angels round befriending Virtue's friend;

Bends to the grave with unperceived decay,

While Resignation gently slopes the way;

All, all his prospects brightening to the last,

His Heaven commences ere the world be past!

 

Sweet was the sound when oft at evening's close

Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;

There, as I passed with careless steps and slow,

The mingling notes came softened from below;

The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung,

The sober herd that lowed to meet their young;

The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,

The playful children just let loose from school;

The watchdog's voice that bayed the whisp'ring wind,

And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;

These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,

And filled each pause the nightingale had made.

But now the sounds of population fail,

No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,

No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,

For all the bloomy flush of life is fled.

All but yon widowed, solitary thing,

That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;

She, wretched matron, forced in age for bread

To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,

To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,

To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;

She only left of all the harmless train,

The sad historian of the pensive plain.

 

Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,

And still where many a garden flower grows wild;

There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,

The village preacher's modest mansion rose.

A man he was to all the country dear,

And passing rich with forty pounds a year;

Remote from towns he ran his godly race,

Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place;

Unpractised he to fawn, or seek for power,

By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;

Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,

More skilled to raise the wretched than to rise.

His house was known to all the vagrant train,

He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain;

The long remembered beggar was his guest,

Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;

The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,

Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed;

The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,

Sat by his fire, and talked the night away;

Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,

Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won.

Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,

And quite forgot their vices in their woe;

Careless their merits or their faults to scan,

His pity gave ere charity began.

 

Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,

And e'en his failings leaned to Virtue's side;

But in his duty prompt at every call,

He watched and wept, he prayed and felt, for all.

And, as a bird each fond endearment tries

To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,

He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,

Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.

 

Beside the bed where parting life was laid,

And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,

The reverend champion stood. At his control

Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;

Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,

And his last faltering accents whispered praise.

 

At church, with meek and unaffected grace,

His looks adorned the venerable place;

Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,

And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.

The service passed, around the pious man,

With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;

Even children followed with endearing wile,

And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile.

His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed,

Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed;

To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,

But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heaven.

As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form,

Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,

Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,

Eternal sunshine settles on its head.

 

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,

With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,

There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,

The village master taught his little school;

A man severe he was, and stern to view;

I knew him well, and every truant knew;

Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace

The day's disasters in his morning face;

Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,

At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;

Full well the busy whisper, circling round,

Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;

Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,

The love he bore to learning was in fault.

The village all declared how much he knew;

'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;

Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,

And even the story ran that he could gauge.

In arguing too, the parson owned his skill,

For e'en though vanquished, he could argue still;

While words of learned length and thundering sound

Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,

And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew

That one small head could carry all he knew.

 

But past is all his fame. The very spot

Where many a time he triumphed is forgot.

Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,

Where once the signpost caught the passing eye,

Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired,

Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retired,

Where village statesmen talked with looks profound,

And news much older than their ale went round.

Imagination fondly stoops to trace

The parlour splendours of that festive place:

The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor,

The varnished clock that clicked behind the door;

The chest contrived a double debt to pay, -

A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;

The pictures placed for ornament and use,

The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose;

The hearth, except when winter chilled the day,

With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay;

While broken teacups, wisely kept for show,

Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row.

 

Vain transitory splendours! Could not all

Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall!

Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart

An hour's importance to the poor man's heart;

Thither no more the peasant shall repair

To sweet oblivion of his daily care;

No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,

No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;

No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,

Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;

The host himself no longer shall be found

Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;

Nor the coy maid, half willing to be pressed,

Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.

 

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,

These simple blessings of the lowly train;

To me more dear, congenial to my heart,

One native charm, than all the gloss of art.

Spontaneous joys, where Nature has its play,

The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway;

Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,

Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined:

But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,

With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed,

In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,

The toiling pleasure sickens into pain;

And, even while fashion's brightest arts decoy,

The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy.

 

Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen, who survey

The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay,

'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand

Between a splendid and a happy land.

Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,

And shouting Folly hails them from her shore;

Hoards even beyond the miser's wish abound,

And rich men flock from all the world around.

Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name

That leaves our useful products still the same.

Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride

Takes up a space that many poor supplied;

Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds,

Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds;

The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth

Has robbed the neighbouring fields of half their growth;

His seat, where solitary sports are seen,

Indignant spurns the cottage from the green;

Around the world each needful product flies,

For all the luxuries the world supplies:

While thus the land adorned for pleasure, all

In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.

 

As some fair female unadorned and plain,

Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,

Slights every borrowed charm that dress supplies,

Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;

But when those charms are passed, for charms are frail,

When time advances and when lovers fail,

She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,

In all the glaring impotence of dress.

Thus fares the land, by luxury betrayed,

In nature's simplest charms at first arrayed;

But verging to decline, its splendours rise,

Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;

While, scourged by famine, from the smiling land

The mournful peasant leads his humble band;

And while he sinks, without one arm to save,

The country blooms -a garden, and a grave.

 

Where then, ah! where, shall poverty reside,

To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride?

If to some common's fenceless limits strayed,

He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,

Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,

And even the bare-worn common is denied.

If to the city sped -what waits him there?

To see profusion that he must not share;

To see ten thousand baneful arts combined

To pamper luxury, and thin mankind;

To see those joys the sons of pleasure know

Extorted from his fellow creature's woe.

Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,

There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;

Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,

There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.

The dome where Pleasure holds her midnight reign

Here, richly decked, admits the gorgeous train;

Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,

The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.

Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!

Sure these denote one universal joy!

Are these thy serious thoughts? -Ah, turn thine eyes

Where the poor houseless shivering female lies.

She once, perhaps, in a village plenty blessed,

Has wept at tales of innocence distressed;

Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,

Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;

Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,

Near her betrayer's door she lays her head,

And, pinched with cold, and shrinking from the shower,

With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,

When idly first, ambitious of the town,

She left her wheel and robes of country brown.

 

Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,

Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?

E'en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,

At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!

 

Ah, no! -To distant climes, a dreary scene,

Where half the convex world intrudes between,

Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,

Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.

Far different there from all that charmed before,

The various terrors of that horrid shore;

Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray

And fiercely shed intolerable day;

Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,

But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;

Those poisonous fields with rank luxuriance crowned,

Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;

Where at each step the stranger fears to wake

The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;

Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,

And savage men more murderous still than they;

While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,

Mingling the ravaged landscape with the skies.

Far different these from every former scene,

The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green,

The breezy covert of the warbling grove,

That only sheltered thefts of harmless love.

 

Good Heaven! what sorrows gloomed that parting day

That called them from their native walks away;

When the poor exiles, every pleasure passed,

Hung round their bowers, and fondly looked their last,

And took a long farewell, and wished in vain

For seats like these beyond the western main;

And, shuddering still to face the distant deep,

Returned and wept, and still returned to weep.

The good old sire, the first prepared to go

To new-found worlds, and wept for others' woe;

But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,

He only wished for worlds beyond the grave.

His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,

The fond companion of his helpless years,

Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,

And left a lover's for a father's arms.

With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,

And blessed the cot where every pleasure rose;

And kissed her thoughtless babes with many a tear,

And clasped them close, in sorrow doubly dear;

Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief

In all the silent manliness of grief.

 

O luxury! thou cursed by Heaven's decree,

How ill exchanged are things like these for thee!

How do thy potions, with insidious joy,

Diffuse thy pleasures only to destroy!

Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,

Boast of a florid vigour not their own;

At every draught more large and large they grow,

A bloated mass of rank unwieldly woe;

Till, sapped their strength, and every part unsound,

Down, down they sink, and spread the ruin round.

 

Even now the devastation is begun,

And half the business of destruction done;

Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,

I see the rural virtues leave the land:

Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail

That idly waiting flaps with every gale,

Downward they move, a melancholy band,

Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.

Contented toil, and hospitable care,

And kind connubial tenderness, are there;

And piety with wishes placed above,

And steady loyalty, and faithful love.

And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,

Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;

Unfit in these degenerate times of shame

To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;

Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,

My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;

Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,

That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;

Thou guide by which the nobler arts excel,

Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well!

Farewell, and oh! where'er thy voice be tried,

On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,

Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,

Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,

Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,

Redress the rigours of th' inclement clime;

Aid slighted truth; with thy persuasive strain

Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;

Teach him that states of native strength possessed,

Though very poor, may still be very blessed;

That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,

As ocean sweeps the laboured mole away;

While self-dependent power can time defy,

As rocks resist the billows and the sky.

 

-----------------

 

The poem appeared on www.bartleby.com

If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!

 

I arrived into Thailand this weekend and have been in content-creation mode non stop. I did take a chance back at the hotel to process this one picture I thought y'all would enjoy.

 

(and yes that sun picture is real... it was burning through the bottom while still streaming light over the top).

 

This picture is of Wat Arun, a famous Buddhist temple in Thailand. I took it from a really cool little Italian restaurant across the way that is attached to a boutique hotel named "Arun Residence". I will stay at this place next time - be sure to get the balcony room at the top if you come... it's just over $100 a night.

 

from my daily photo blog at www.stuckincustoms.com

 

52 Weeks of 2017

Week 41

Theme: It's all in the game

Category: Creative

The Brief:

On the northern hemisphere the dark days of winter are coming. Outside, the wind is raging around the house and the rain slams against the windows. Inside, the lights are on and the fire place spreads a pleasant warmth across the room. Ideal circumstances to get the board games from the attic, sit together around the table and throw the dice. And while playing, take a creative picture of your favourite (board) game.

(BTW it is allowed to focus on only the game, no people actually playing are required, though it would be fun to include them)

 

Take Aim: Motion

 

Strobist: 2 SB600's at 1/128, one 45 degrees camera left, one behind & slightly right of subject.

 

Albi, France, before sunrise from the ideally situated hotel room window, the Tarn river was raging after torrential rains. The light on the cathedral was off at that hour, but it was on the dusk versions to be uploaded in the future.

The Grade I Listed Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.

 

In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.

 

The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.

 

The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.

 

The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.

 

The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.

 

A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.

 

The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.

 

In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).

 

The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.

 

Time flies

Time crawls

Like an insect

Up and down the walls

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me

The conspiracy

Of silence ought

To revolutionize

My thought

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me

The cold light of day

Pours out of me

Leaving me black

And so healthy

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me

It jerks out of me

Like blood

In this still life

Heart beats up love

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me...

  

I remember when backpacking in Japan back 20 years ago, the rage was heated toilet seats. Thermostatically controlled mind.

 

Every Ryoken or house (but not temple) offering B&B seemed to yank up the temperature to 30 degrees for gaijin (foreigners or outsiders), while others probably like me discreetly switched them off (together with stool analysis and a number of other innovations that have thankfully never left Japan). So think about how lucky you are when you next complain about that chilly bog seat.

 

Magazine live on the reunion tour 2009 - www.flickr.com/photos/hotpixuk/3356735418/

  

(c) Hotpix / HotpixUK Tony Smith - Hotpix.freeserve.co.uk WDCC 07092182899

The Grade I Listed Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.

 

In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.

 

The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.

 

The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.

 

The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.

 

The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.

 

A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.

 

The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.

 

In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).

 

The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.

 

Dunes, Mountains, Dust Storm, Rain. Death Valley National Park, California. March 30, 2016. :copyright: Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

 

Evening dust storm and rain in the evening in Death Valley

 

During the nearly two decades since my first visit to Death Valley I have seen my share of exceptions conditions there — a wildflower "bloom of the century," snow on more than one occasion, unreal golden hour color, wild animals of various sorts. Once we even photographed wildflowers in a snow storm... in Death Valley. But this day was one of the wildest I have experienced, and the evening was like nothing I had seen or even imagined before. Much earlier in the day we photographed high in the Panamint Mountains, and by the middle of the day we could tell that a big dust storm was brewing. The atmosphere was opaque and glowing, and before long tendrils of blowing dust were passing high above the mountains. By the time we descended back into Death Valley a full-blown storm was underway. I had never seen as much dust or experienced winds quite so strong. In places this was no mere dust storm — it was a sand storm and even a pebble storm on at least one occasion. We finally gave up and headed to Stovepipe Wells and shut ourselves in our room as huge winds howled around the building and sand came into our room through every crack in the door or windows.

 

Hours later the wind began to subside and a bit of light appeared, so I decided to head out and see what I could find. I took a little-used gravel road up to a high spot overlooking a section of the Valley and waited to see what would happen. The dust storm was stilling in progress, but occasional breaks in the wind allowed me to make some photographs – only to be interrupted by huge gusts and more blowing dust. As the dust storm began to thin a bit it became apparent that there were storm clouds above the Valley, too, and — I'm not making this up! — as golden hour light began to arrive I watched thunder showers begin to drop sheets of rain onto the mountains above the still-raging dust clouds blowing along the Valley floor. "Apocalyptic" was the word that came to mind when I tried to describe what I was seeing. We respond to landscapes in many ways — they can be pretty, beautiful (not the same thing!), quiet, peaceful, static, dynamic, and more. But this landscape and these conditions provoked a powerful mixture of wonder and amazement and a kind of fear in the face of a landscape full of forces that made me feel very small.

  

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, "California's Fall Color: A Photographer's Guide to Autumn in the Sierra" is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.

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All media :copyright: Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

View On Black

 

I've been stuck without a camera for a while but Olympus have kindly loaned me a camera so back up and shooting now whilst mine is being repaired.

 

So, I've been going through some old pictures and went back to my most popular image (in terms of views and comments) and retouched it a bit further (with some motion blur added in).

 

The story behind this shot is quite amusing...

 

This was the first time I'd been to the press coference at the Cage Gladiators and I'd got a small set up going in a side room from the film cameras. I saw Stefan Struve and immediately saw how much he stood out - he's 6'8 and his nickname is 'The Skyscraper'.

 

I did a couple of standard poses and asked Stefan to do an angry face - this is what I got! He posed perfectly and I was lucky to get a good shot of him.

 

Then I heard someone shouting me to stop and it was his manager, Dirty Bob, (an ex member of the Dutch Hells Angels). Thankfully I managed to have a chat with him and carried on with the rest of the press conference.

 

For UK TV viewers, the guy who promotes the fights is currently appearing on Million Dollar Traders on BBC 2 on Monday evenings .

Lurlene never believed in luck. "Luck is what you make it. Good or bad, you are the one that controls your fate."

 

Lurlene met Floyd while on vacation in Las Vegas 3 months ago. She sat down at the blackjack table and he dealt her the cards. Lurlene came from a very well off family. Money was never an issue for her. Going to Las Vegas and betting thousands on a single number at the roulette table, didn't even make her bat an eye. She was just there for the thrill of gambling.

 

Floyd on the other hand, had to work his hands to the bone just to pay the water bill. When he saw the beautiful raven haired Lurlene sit down at his table, he knew she would be his ticket out of debt. He turned on his charm and Lurlene fell for it. She wined and dined him....he wooed her and made her feel like she was the only woman in the world. By the end of her weekend escape to Vegas, Lurlene was engaged.

 

Lurlene flew back home with her man on her arm and put him up in her huge mansion on the Corruption Estate. Floyd spent his days working on small household repairs to show his soon to be father-in-law that he was good enough to marry his daughter. Lurlene spent her days planning the wedding. On the estate there is a very old, very small chapel, that Lurlene had dreamed about getting married in. She wanted a small, fast wedding, so she could get that sexy husband of hers back to the mansion where they would consumate their marriage in every room.

 

1 week before the wedding, Lurlene had everything set and was working on booking a fantastic honeymoon for her and her new husband. Floyd, was busy setting up a meeting with the local insurance company. He had been working hard to show Lurlene, and her parents, that he was a wonderful man who was deeply in love with their daughter. He had also been hinting that life insurance policies might be a good idea. "You never know, when a black cat will walk by you, curse you with bad luck, and then you get hit by a car. We need to do this ASAP." Lurlene loved how superstitious Floyd was, but still stuck to her theory that there is no luck, bad or good. To show Floyd how much she supported his beliefs and cared for him, she agreed to go with him and sign over 80% of her fortune to him if she should happen to pass away. They left the insurance office hand in hand happy with the decision.

 

Finally it was the big day. Lurlene was on cloud 9. All morning she primped in her room, making herself beautiful for her fiance. The contrast of her long black hair with the gorgeous white silk gown was stunning. As she sat looking in the mirror, brushing her hair, a knock came to the door. It was Floyd, he needed to see her. Lurlene thought that was quite odd. Wasn't it considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding? Maybe Floyd was finally coming around to see her side of things. She raced over to the door and opened it. She smiled as she saw his face staring back at her...that is when she felt a horrible pain in her stomach. Looking down, she saw that her soon to be husband had stabbed her! Disbelief and confusion washed over her as he stabbed her again in the chest. Lurlene collapsed to the floor, dead.

 

Moments before, Floyd had gotten a call from the insurance company. They had called to let Floyd know, that his wife had changed the policy and that he would only recieve whatever he had personally brought into the marriage....AKA Nothing, should she happen to die. In a rage, he charged to his fiance's room and killed her, still filled with anger, he took two of his screwdrivers and drove them into her skull. "I guess that bitch will believe in luck now. After all, it was HER who chose to walk down the aisle on Friday the 13th!"

 

Some say that each year, on Friday the 13th, you can hear her screams coming from the old church on the Corruption Estate. Some claim to have seen her walking up and down the aisle in her blood soaked wedding dress.......I guess those of us attending the party today.....Friday, Oct 13th.....might be lucky, or unlucky enough to get a glimpse of Lurlene. See you all there!

 

Location: Corruption

A white blank page, and a swelling rage - Mumford & Sons

    

I was thinking of this for a while because of this song but never did anything with it. It’s nothing special but I adore the words. I was originally going to do what a lot of people have done and use a photo of someone elses face on a page but I didn't find anything.

 

I need to start making a conscious effort to stop spending my money on junk. I look around my room and see so much stuff that I don’t need or even use. Growing up my parents divorced so I had 2 houses to fill with crap so the amount of junk I have lying around is ridiculous. More so at my dads as I don’t live there. I want to clear it all out and just start again and this time not buy anything I don’t need. I hate clutter, yet I seem to be hoarding things I don’t want.

   

¬¬¬¬¬¬

Sometimes the world around us swirls wildly out of control

and it feels foreboding and mad

things we thought were stability and sane and strong

... turns aggressive angry and bad

when the storm is rearing its violent head

and looking for a place to hit

gather what is important to your heart and soul

and find your inner respite

that place where you feel comfortable in crazy irrational world

a place to find your inner peace

the shoulder of a loved one.. the corner of a room

a book or a hobby or a ride

whatever it takes to remove yourself from a harmful situation

with what you love by your side

let the storms rage on and play out their dark magnificence

find your peaceful friend

stay just as strong as the storm clouds and their rants and raves

believe there will be peace in the end.

 

Photo by Phil Joch - Poem by Kelly De Witt Schlicht

There was absolutely no room for error getting this shot at Dillon Falls this morning. I was standing in the water on the edge of the precipice you see in the photo, with a pitch of 76.5° and a 40 foot drop over the edge to the raging Class 5 rapids below. But. Worth the shot.

 

-30-

 

Press 'F' on your keypad if you like this photo. © All rights reserved. Please do not use or repost images, sole property of Thuncher Photography.

The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust history museum in Jerusalem is the Jewish People’s memorial to each and every Jew who perished in the Holocaust – a place where they may be commemorated for generations to come.

The main circular hall houses the extensive collection of “Pages of Testimony” – short biographies of each Holocaust victim. Over two million Pages are stored in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall, with room for six million in all.

The ceiling of the Hall is composed of a ten-meter high cone reaching skywards, displaying 600 photographs and fragments of Pages of Testimony. This exhibit represents a fraction of the murdered six million men, women and children from the diverse Jewish world destroyed by the Nazis and their accomplices. The victims’ portraits are reflected in water at the base of an opposing cone carved out of the mountain’s bedrock.

At the far end of the Hall is a glass screen onto which Pages of Testimony are projected. From here one may enter a computer center and search the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, with the assistance of the Hall of Names staff. The Center also offers blank Pages of Testimony and survivor registration forms.

 

Best to be viewed in large size format

All rights reserved. Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund. All my images are protected under international authors copyright laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. All rights reserved - Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund d

Israel’s Worst Fire in Modern History Kills 40 and Rages On In Bio-reserve.

Over 42 Killed, Beit Oren Village Wiped Out...

 

"Some 40 people trapped in a bus are known to have been killed and 45 more reportedly injured as a massive fire on Israel’s Mount Carmel rages on. Believed to have been started by arsonists, the fire broke out in a cedar forest around noon near Isifiya, a Druize village. Although the winter season has officially started, the rains despite the prayers, have not come, leaving the forest vulnerable to attacks..."

 

www.greenprophet.com/2010/12/fire-israel-carmel/

 

www.greenprophet.com/2010/12/israel-fire-update-42-killed...

It's three thirty in the morning. From somewhere far off, I think I can hear my phone ringing. I attempt to build it into my dream...but I cannot.

 

Eventually it stops. I settle back into the downy comfort of sleep for a few precious seconds.

 

Then the ringing starts again.

 

I get out of bed, grumbling, threatening and stubbing my toe and stugger (a cross between "stumble" and "stagger") downstairs to the phone.

 

It's Larry Talbot.

 

"I have a splendid picture for your flickr site tomorrow," he tells me. "I think even Easy Rider will be impressed."

 

"It's three thirty in the morning," I growl. "What the *** is wrong with you?"

 

My complaint is met with silence. What I have just said is of no interest to Talbot.

 

"Go to your mailbox," he says. "There I have put the image for tomorrow."

 

We argue about this for a moment...then I hear a low guttural warning growl...and I set down the phone and go to the mailbox.

 

The image you see above is there. I pick up the phone again.

 

"What the heck is that?" I ask.

 

"It's an image of me. And it's what you call SOOC," he says. His chest used to puff out when he was a kid in the midst of saying something really stupid. I imagine it happening now.

 

"SOOC?" I ask, looking at the image.

 

"Absolutely."

 

"SOOC means 'Straight Out Of the Camera,'" I say.

 

"Indeed."

 

There is a silence between us. I hear a faint crackle on the phone line.

 

"Larry, there's no way this is SOOC. You've Photoshopped the snot out of this thing."

 

"Nope," he says. "SOOC. Even Olaf agrees."

 

I visualize Talbot's massive manservant/minion.

 

"It's not even actually very good Photoshop," I say finally. "If I put this up, people are gonna think I did it."

 

Silence. A sulky vaguely threatening silence.

 

I sigh.

 

"What's going on in this image?" I ask.

 

"I am looking outward, from the very computer screen into the lives of those around me," he says.

 

"Why?"

 

"Because I may yet take a stronger hand in the promotion of my words on your little flickr site," he says.

 

I bristle just a little at his description of 'my little flickr site' but I think of Olaf again.

 

"What are you going to do?" I ask.

 

"Perhaps I have already started," he says.

 

I press him for details...but he gives me none. He tells me that he has also included a fresh article from his ancient Helium writings...

 

HOW TO AVOID FIGHTS IN YOUR MARRIAGE

 

by L. Talbot

 

Being married is wonderful. Personally, I have been married eight and a half times. Fighting in marriage is inevitable. But it is in the arena of AVOIDING fights where the truly experienced husband shows his skill.

 

There are two phrases that are absolutely KEY to staying happily married.

 

"Yes, dear," is used when you see your spouse's face start to change colors, from a healthy pink to a menacing purple. At this point it may still be possible to avoid the head-spinning-around and things-being-thrown phase (otherwise known as DEFCON 7) a carefully rehearsed "Yes, dear" is the precise strategic strike that may avert disaster.

 

Any thinking male entering into any long-term relationship must take the "Yes, dear" gambit very seriously. Insert just the right measure of sincerity and humility. Practice in front of a mirror. One must not mewl like a kitten…or rage like a lion. One must make “Yes, dear” sound as though a thunderbolt from Heaven has just penetrated your thick skull with an epiphany…an unexpected understanding of your own dense-ness.

 

These two words must encompass a surrender with dignity, an understanding how of how far one has carelessly and willfully stomped over the very last vestige of tolerable behavior by wiping one’s hands on a clean towel whilst said hands were still dirty, or by failing to divine that a small book placed in the precise middle of the staircase has been put there so that you, great lout of male waste that you are, would carry it up and/or down the stairs…or even worse: that you, in an attempt to show initiative and to fake sensitivity, have carried it in the WRONG direction entirely.

 

Plan A is “Yes, dear” in which the wise husband carefully fabricates sensitivity.

 

Having said this, I must add that Plan A does not always work.

 

At times a fight is as unavoidable as a tropical storm. They get too big too fast. You can't fly around them and there is nowhere to hide.

 

She's mad and you're handy. Keep in mind that you have probably actually done (or not done) something that is very small in your eyes. This action (or inaction) may have actually taken place at any point over the previous thirty years.

 

It is very likely this is a thing you have done (or left undone) a number of times before and it has only now resulted in the prickly and extremely dangerous creature you now face. Don't even try to understand it.

 

Begin by NOT doing the following:

 

•Say "Where did THAT come from? We were talking about cheese. . ."

 

•Stop speaking altogether. This will be viewed as an effort on your part to escalate an already volatile situation

 

•Speak. No matter what you say (other than the Magic Phrase below) will be viewed as an effort on your part to escalate an already volatile situation

 

•Leave the room and/or house. This is a coward's way out and besides you will pay for it. Later.

 

•Attempt to hug her. If you do, you WILL wind up in traction.

 

•Begin stating your case and/or try to WIN the argument. (I chuckle at the very naivety of this notion.) Clearly, this is a Newbie- defining mistake. Experienced husbands know you will never actually win an argument. Never. Ever.

 

Your goal is to minimize the damage and restore peaceful relations before the game starts on TV. Be warned, men: unless you move quickly and decisively to stave off disaster there's no way you are getting fed.

 

The Magic Phrase (MP) is comprised of three carefully designed and tightly compacted apologies. They have been loaded into one package for maximum impact.

 

The MP: "You're right. It's my fault. I'm sorry."

 

These seven words that can be like a cooling balm on the open confrontation. It must sound sincere and heartfelt…or you're a dead man.

 

So do what I do: as you deliver these words think about your wife. Remind yourself of the way she looked the day you got married and of the last time you laughed together. Think of how her eyes light up when she smiles.

 

THEN (provided her claws have been retracted) hold her for a second.

 

Later when it's safe, consider what annoyed her to begin with. Think about it honestly. Chances are that on some level you were actually being a caveman. Or not.

 

Does it matter?

We went out to the fortress Bengtskar Lighthouse (tallest lighthouse in Scandinavia). On the way across the Baltic Sea we saw a rather unusual cloud formation. I've merged the two photos to show these clouds with the lighthouse.

 

The lighthouse website says:

 

Twenty-five kilometers southwest of Hanko, at the entrance of the Gulf of Finland stands Scandinavias tallest lighthouse. Towering 52 meters above the sea, the lighthouse of Bengtskär is the archipelago`s most imposing and magnificient monument. This massive stone structure has witnessed many dramatic events in Finland`s history. For nine decades the lighthouse provided a safe passage to the thousands of vessels which plied the waters of the Gulf.

 

The waters of the outer archipelago were not always so safe. The seas around Bengtskär and the islands of Hitis and beyond were the site of many shipwrecks. It was these very treacherous waters that caused plans to be drawn for an immense Baltic lighthouse. At the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, architect Florentin Granholm unveiled his design for this unique structure. His work was met with much admiration and critical acclaim. However, it was not until the steamship Helsingfors foundered and sank in the Gulf in January 1905 that the Imperial Senate granted the materials necessary to begin the construction.

 

Construction commenced in early 1906. The island had excellent granite formations. This natural resource was quarried and used for the foundations and facings of the building. By the middle of June, 120 workers and artisans were busily engaged with the living quarters and the lower half of the light tower. By completion, records would reveal that a staggering almost half a million bricks were used in Bengtskär`s construction.

 

In August 1906 the roof was raised and the framework completed. During celebrations presided over by Senator Otto Donner, the design plans, deeds, tiles, and other important documents concerning the building were placed, with samples of currency in a time capsule and sealed in the wall of the structure.

 

Work continued on the tower and the 252 steps of the spiral staircase leading up to the reflector room. A special petrol lantern, designed and built in Paris, was brought to Bengtskär and installed atop the tower. On the nineteenth of December 1906 the lamp was lit. Its powerful beam flashed out three times every twenty seconds and could clearly be seen for twenty nautical miles.

 

During the winter of 1907 a foghorn was installed in the attic of the living quarters. A massive seven meters long horn, which when sounded caused the entire building to shake. However, the discomfort of the lighthouse keepers was a blessing to seamen. The foghorn could be heard for fifteen nautical miles!

 

A master lighthouse keeper, a machinist and three assistant lighthouse keepers and their families occupied the living quarters. The original group comprised fifteen persons. With the passage of time and the growth of the families the population increased and during the 1930´s there were forty people living on Bengtskär.

 

LIFE ON A BARREN ROCK

 

Life on Bengtskär closely followed the patterns of wind and weather. When the weather was calm it was possible to fish, shoot sea birds, hunt for seals or row across to the nearest village for fresh milk. Relatives and friends came for long awaited visits and the pilot ship brought fresh water, petrol and other provisions.

 

When storms raged and heavy sea pounded the rocks and skerries the island became too treacherous for outside activity. The strong walls of the lighthouse provided safety and comfort during these difficult conditions.

 

THE BOMBARDMENT OF BENGTSKÄR

 

In August 1914 the First World War began. In response, the lighthouse men and their families were evacuated to the mainland, and the lantern was placed in storage. During that same year, two Imperial German Naval cruisers, Magdeburg and Augsburg, subjected the lighthouse to thirty shell bombardment. The granite walls were only slightly damaged.

 

By the following summer the lighthouse men and their families had returned to their homes on Bengtskär. Since the Gulf of Finland was heavily mined, it was not until 1919 that the surrounding seas were declared safe for shipping, that the light was lit again.

 

The period that followed the end of the First World War was peaceful for Bengtskär and its inhabitants. The number of children on the island grew so large that a teacher was brought from the mainland to attend to their education.

 

THE SURPRISE ATTACK OF JULY 1941

 

In November 1939, Soviet Russian troops attacked Finland. By 1941 the promontory of Hanko was in Russian hands.

 

The strategic importance of Bengtskär quickly became apparent as Finnish troops on the island could easily monitor Soviet activities. A small force was able to provide valuable reconnaissance and target sighting in the continuing Finnish struggle against the Soviet force.

 

At one hour after midnight on July 26, 1941, under the cover of fog two Russian patrol boats secretly landed an armed force at the southern part of Bengtskär. The invasion party of one hundred men led by Lieutenant Kurilov had orders for the complete destruction of the lighthouse, so that it could no longer play a role in hampering Russian war activities.

 

The small Finnish garrison of forty-one men, including four lighthouse keepers, repelled the first Russian attack. Overwhelmed by a vastly superior enemy force, the brave defenders took refuge in the upper floors of the lighthouse. From there the struggle continued under the command of Lieutenant Fred Luther who was twice wounded during the fight.

 

From a distance of ten kilometers, batteries emplaced on the neighbouring island of Örö and Granholmen shelled the Soviet patrol boats and the enemy soldiers hiding in the rock crevasses on the island. The early hours of July 26 greeted the arrival of Finnish gunboats and coast guard vessels. Fighter bombers of the Finnish airforce overflew the island and attacked the invaders. At dawn a force of Finnish Commandos from the nearby island of Hitis landed and joined the struggle to repel the Soviet force and relieve Lieutenant Luther and his brave defenders.

 

After a hard and bloody battle, the small Finnish garrison emerged victorious. But victory was to come at a price. By the following day the battle had claimed thirty-one dead and forty-five wounded from the Finnish ranks. For the Soviets, the abortive invasion was a more costly venture. Sixty troops lost their lives at the hands of the Finnish defence force. Twenty-eight Russians, mostly severely wounded, were taken prisoner.

 

For the Finns it was a bittersweet victory. During the day of July 27, a Russian warplane overflew the island and dropped a bomb. It struck the living quarters, demolishing the upper and middle roofs, and killing seven of the Finnish defence force.

 

Intermittent repairs to the facility continued during the post-war period. Finally, the lighthouse was reopened in 1950. The lighthouse keepers returned to the rock, but this time without their families. They rotated in shifts of two for fourteen day periods. Heavy seas and inclement weather conditions would often extend these shifts to a month of long and lonely duty.

 

THE LIGHTHOUSE IN DISREPAIR

 

In 1968 the past was finally swept away. A gas lantern was converted to automatic operation and Bengtskär became unmanned. Modernization continued in 1983 with the further conversion of the lantern to wind-powered electricity.

 

Benign neglect and damage by the savage elements turned the once proud Bengtskär into a damp, cold and hulking ruin. After years of resisting storms, high seas, wind and invasion, Bengtskär was falling victim to "friendly" forces. What damage nature failed to cause was provided by human hands. Vandals defaced both the interior and exterior of the historic buildings.

 

In an effort to prevent further deterioration, the Finnish Shipping authorities leased the lighthouse to the Pro Bengtskär Association in 1985 with the provision that repairs be made to the entire facility, and that the building be heated year round. Unfortunately, the conditions of the lease were not met, and the facility was re-leased to the current custodian, the Center of Extension Studies at Turku University.

 

THE RESTORATION OF THE LIGHTHOUSE

 

The Centre of Extension studies at Turku University has an established Development Centre for the Archipelago. It's aims are the promotion of economic development in the region and the general improvement of employment and living conditions for those who live there. Through the promotion of Maritime-Cultural Tourism the Centre seeks to stress the region´s unique cultural and historic heritage.

 

Following the signing of the lease, the Centre began planning the repairs. Suggestions for the best future use were quickly solicited and work began. The project was advanced in collaboration with the archipelago District Shipping Authorities, Turku District Manpower Bureau, and Turku District Building Authorities. Financial support was also received from the private business sector.

 

Renovations were completed in 1995. In conjunction with Turku University´s 75th Anniversary Celebrations, the inauguration of the Bengtskär lighthouse took place on August 18, 1995. This historic monument was reopened to serve its new role as a tourist, conferance, research and education center. The light which had once kept the seas safe for shipping would now shine for the community which saved it.

 

BENGTSKÄR - A LIVING MONUMENT

 

In the summer of 1995 the lighthouse was opened for visitors from near and far. Bengtskär has become a unique destination for tourists.

 

The Lecture Hall on the lower floor offers a variety of maritime exhibits depicting the history, fauna and flora, and the natural features of the archipelago. The lower floor also houses Finland´s first Lighthouse Museum and a permanent exhibit "Bengtskär 1941", which gives a vivid account of the dramatic hours of the battle for the island. On the first floor in the former living quarters is a cafeteria, post office and a Chapel.

 

Other floors of the former living quarters are used for conference rooms and accomodation. These ideal facilities are used for training courses, conferences, and groups engaged in research work. Many families also spend a night at the lighthouse.

 

The lighthouse hosts 10.000 tourists each year, including more than 1.000 visitors-in-residence. Those hardy souls who are prepared to brave the 252 steps of the lighthouse tower will be rewarded with a giddy but breath taking view of the sea.

 

In the year 2000 the Foundation for the Turku University became owner of the lighthouse.

 

Young children, as this tale will show,

And mainly pretty girls with charm,

Do wrong and often come to harm

In letting those they do not know

Stay talking to them when they meet.

And if they don't do as the ought,

It's no surprise that some are caught

By wolves who take them off to eat.

 

I call them wolves, but you will find,

that some are not the savage kind,

Not howling, ravening or raging;

Their manners seem, instead, engaging,

They're softly spoken and discreet.

Young ladies whom they talk to on the street

They follow to their homes and through the hall,

And upstairs to their rooms, when they're there

They're not as friendly as they might appear:

These are the most dangerous wolves of all.

 

Charles Perrault.

 

Part of my first shoot from my Final Major Project. I've gone for the theme of Red Riding Hood. This photo is the basic Red Riding Hood shot, the other have a sexual predatory theme to them.

Money Wizard R. D. Shepherd and His Fabled Building – McMurran Hall, Shepherdstown, WV by Jim Surkamp

civilwarscholars.com/?p=13106 7907 words.

 

Made possible with the generous, community-minded support of American Public University, offering a quality, online education. The interpretations of posts in civilwarscholars.com do not in any way reflect the modern-day policies of the University. More at apus.edu

 

Patriarch R. D. Shepherd’s Homecoming 1859

 

1_About how a young boy from Shepherdstown

About how a young boy from Shepherdstown built a massive fortune through work, smarts and an act of his own heroism for another; then, turns around and gives much of it back as McMurran Hall, an Almshouse in New Orleans and other gifts.

 

2_R. D. Shepherd had a strict, flinty way

R. D. Shepherd had a strict, flinty way, but on paper and in the world at large did his huge generosities stand tall, pervade the landscape and enrich the hearts of humanity.

 

3_Seventy-five-year-old Rezin

Seventy-five-year-old Rezin Davis Shepherd, described by the New Orleans Picayune as having “the largest and most productive estate which has ever been held by one person in this city and State” – began the construction Thursday, October 6th, 1859 of a gift to his home town, this time right on lot no. 1 in Shepherdstown, the very lot where he was born in August 1, 1784.

 

4_Who knew that in ten fleeting day

Who knew that in ten fleeting days – October 16th – history would be blown off its hinges by the John Brown raiders’ attack fifteen miles away at Harpers Ferry, the match that lit the simmering fever of division between

 

5_North and South over slavery

North and South over slavery and claimed rights to secede from the Union. The tempest raged back and forth over the county and the town for 1300 hundred days of pitiless strife and war before settling back into being a barren, alien landscape.

 

6_RD’s building

RD’s (“RD” henceforth for “Rezin Davis Shepherd”) building – beautiful as were all his buildings remains a Greek Revival style, with a two-story-portico and Corinthian flourishes. But in the 1860s, it would bear witness to all that was rent asunder and itself narrowly avoid destruction, unlike a less lucky altruistic juggernaut project of Shepherd’s in New Orleans – the palatial Almshouse. But this, RD’s Town Hall, first named, would eventually live a “long, happy life” first as the County Court, then into its present-day majesty as the signature building of Shepherd University.

 

Growing Up – RD Learns the Trade:

 

7_When he was just nine years old

8_placed him in the store and counting house

When he was just nine years old, RD’s father, Abraham, placed him in the store and counting house in Baltimore of William Taylor,

 

9_an ambitious importer and ship-owner

an ambitious importer and ship-owner. RD’s incredible gifts surfaced when he – just eighteen – was sent to New Orleans to assure a good return on a huge shipment of British goods his firm had purchased for New Orleans’ customers. Then his first big “killing” was with another fresh-faced, hard-driving Taylor colleague, James McDonough. Wrote the Picayune: In October, 1803, it was well known throughout the country that Louisiana had been purchased by the United States. Mr. Taylor was the only merchant who seemed to comprehend the profit from one consequence of the this great political event.

 

10_in becoming a state

11_all sugar imports thereafter

12_cornered 1800 of those hogsheads

The firm realized that in becoming a state, a duty of 2.5 cents would be added to the price of all sugar imports thereafter. So Shepherd and McDonough – when all the sugar produced in the state was between 2100-2200 hogsheads – cornered 1800 of those hogsheads, giving young RD “a handsome capital for a young man to start in mercantile life.” He soon created a new firm shared with Taylor, then in time through age and retirement became RD’s alone.

 

13_Coming into his own

Coming into his own, he married Lucy Taylor Gorham of Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1808, who was “a niece and adopted daughter” of Taylor. On August 22nd, 1809, their only child, Ellen Shepherd, was born in Louisiana. (Lucy would die in 1814).

 

14_the penchant of RD

It was at this juncture the penchant of RD for regular, publicity-averse benefactions took root, in the moment of his willed defiance against a direct military order to work, instead, to save one particular wounded man, left for dead in war, a man who himself would live on to become the epitome of the proverbial Good Man, albeit

 

15_His name was Judah Touro

extraordinarily wealthy. His name was Judah Touro, a top-hatted, but humble Jewish businessman who believed in respect for all religions and daily applications of the code of good works. He was beloved throughout his circles and region as “the Israelite without guile.”

 

Wrote Author Colyar:

 

16_Wrote Author Colyar

17_carrying ammunition on the battle field

While carrying ammunition on the battle field Jan. 1, 1815 Mr. Touro was struck by a 12-pound shot which tore

 

18_12-pound shot

19_a large mass of flesh from the thigh

a large mass of flesh from the thigh and prostrated him among the dead and dying. Mr. Rezin Shepherd, was carrying a special order from Commodore Patterson across the river to the main army. On reaching the bank he met a friend, who told him his friend Touro was dead. Inquiring where he was, Shepherd was informed that he had been taken to

 

20_Jackson’s headquarters

an old building in the rear of Jackson’s headquarters. Forgetting his orders, Mr. Shepherd went immediately to the place and found he was not dead, but, as the surgeon said, in a dying condition. Disregarding what the surgeon said, Shepherd got a cart, put him in it, administered stimulants, and took Touro to his own house. He then procured nurses, and by the closest attention, Mr. Touro’s life was saved. Mr. Shepherd returned late in the day,

 

21_Commodore Patterson in a bad humor

having performed his mission, to find Commodore Patterson in a bad humor, and, speaking severely to him, the latter said: “Commodore, you can hang or shoot me, and it will be all right, but my best friend needed my assistance, and nothing on earth could have induced me to neglect him.”

  

RD’s businesses continued to grow exponentially and his brother, James Hervey Shepherd, was summoned from Shepherdstown to assist.

 

22_Shepherd, was summoned from Shepherdstown to assist.

1817-1837 – RD travels to Europe, settles in Boston doting on his daughter’s education.

 

23_1822 – RD maintained his businesses

24_at 5 Pearl Street and nearby 28 Indian Wharf house.

1822 – RD maintained his businesses and shipping concerns at 5 Pearl Street and nearby 28 Indian Wharf house.

 

25_her portrait painted by Thomas Sully

26_Gilbert Stuart is commissioned to paint his own portrait

He has her portrait painted by Thomas Sully in 1831, a few years after Gilbert Stuart is commissioned to paint his own portrait. (Stuart died in 1828).

 

1829, April 20 – Ellen Shepherd marries Gorham Brooks of Medford, Massachusetts.

 

1834 – RD commissions Samuel Fuller to build the 480-ton merchant ship in Medford, named after his daughter, the “Ellen Brooks.”

 

27_James Hervey Shepherd dies

1837 – James Hervey Shepherd dies. RD returns to run businesses in New Orleans.

 

1837, July 23 – Ellen (Shepherd) Brooks and her husband, usually in Boston or Medford, temporarily reside in Baltimore.

 

28_nephew, Henry Shepherd Jr.

1837-1865 – RD’s nephew, Henry Shepherd Jr., who was brought up in his uncle’s counting room, gradually assumes the role as RD’s agent in New Orleans.

 

29_painting of the ship the “Ellen Brooks” is completed

1839 – RD’s commissioned painting of the ship the “Ellen Brooks” is completed, attributed to Samuel Walters (British, 1811-1882), called “Ellen Brooks, Off Holyhead, Homeward Bound.”

 

1841 – RD buys 468 acres of land and begins building Wild Goose Farm, but not yet living there full-time; he also pays for most of the remodeling of the original Trinity Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown.

 

1842, June – RD signs a petition to Congress along with numerous other planters and sugar manufacturers in the state of Louisiana that asks for an increase in the duties on imported sugar.

 

1849 – RD places responsibilities on his eighteen-year-old nephew, Henry Shepherd Jr., who would become his agent in New Orleans through the Civil War, allowing RD to return more permanently to his Wild Goose Farm.

 

30_Wild Goose Farm

31_the 1850 Census shows

32_1850 and 1860 Census slave schedules

1850 – In Shepherdstown & Wild Goose Farm; the 1850 Census shows 66-year-old RD with a period worth of $240,000, living only with workmen: 26-year-old German-born master stonemason Conrad Smith and an overseer. Although one account states Touro stipulated that RD free his enslaved persons, RD is shown to having owned numerous persons, enumerated in both the 1850 and 1860 Census slave schedules.

 

1854, January 6th – Touro’s Will makes Rezin Davis Shepherd residuary legatee of the estate and executor; $395,000 is willed to specific recipients. A sum iof $80,000 is set aside for a palatial almshouse, with the added stipulation to RD that more sums, if needed, should be used to complete this priority project.

 

Judah Touro made out his will January 6, 1854 a few days before his death that said:

 

33_my dear, old, and devoted friend, Rezin Davis Shepherd

34_I hereby appoint and institute him

As regards my other designated executor, say my dear, old, and devoted friend, Rezin Davis Shepherd, to whom, under Divine Providence, I am greatly indebted for the preservation of my life when I was wounded on the 1st of January, 1815, I hereby appoint and institute him, the said Rezin Davis Shepherd, after payment of my particular legacies, and the debts of my succession, the universal legatee of the rest and residue of my estates, movable and immovable.

 

35_funded remodeling of the Trinity

RD continued his projects both in New Orleans and Shepherdstown. He had already funded remodeling of the Trinity

 

36_planned a clock and bell to its original church

Episcopal Church. He planned a clock and bell to its original church then after some legal squabbling – the clock – to everyone’s assent – was reassigned to be inserted in to the new government building.

 

The Shepherd Family is Scattered By War:

 

37_The war hit the family hard

The war hit the family hard. Most of the young men enlisted in Virginia units. RD had to recalibrate his business strategies. Wrote the Richmond Daily Dispatch: June 8, 1861:

The New Orleans Delta states that R. D. Shepherd, Esq., who is now at an advanced time of life, living on his beautiful farm near Shepherdstown, Virginia, has directed his agent in New Orleans to pay over to the treasurer of the Confederate States a large sum of money, including, it is said, his whole annual income from rents in that city — the largest income enjoyed by any property holder — to be applied to the defence of the rights and the support of the independence of the South.

 

38_spring of 1862 when Federal General Banks

In the spring of 1862 when Federal General Banks with his army entered into Jefferson County, RD took refuge in Boston with his daughter.

 

39_As the war progressed

As the war progressed, its maw of destruction came closer to Shepherdstown’s nearly complete building. 130,000 troops moved in the area in September, 1862 for the bloody Maryland Campaign, just across the Potomac river. Wounded from the nearby battles poured into Shepherdstown, putting the unfinished Town Hall into service as an outdoor hospital.

 

Wrote Mary Bedinger Mitchell:

 

40_The unfinished Town Hall had stood in naked ugliness

The unfinished Town Hall had stood in naked ugliness for many a long day. Somebody threw a few rough boards across the beams, placed piles of straw over them, laid down single planks to walk upon, and lo, it was a hospital at once.

 

There were six churches and they were all full, the barn-like place known as the Drill Room, all the private houses after their capacity, the shops and empty buildings, the school-houses – every inch of space and yet the cry was for more room.

 

We went about our work with pale faces and trembling hands, yet trying to appear composed for the sake of our patients, who were much excited. We could hear the incessant explosions of artillery, the shrieking whistles of the shells, and the sharper, deadlier more thrilling roll of musketry; while every now and then the echo of some charging cheer would come, borne by the wind, and as the human voice would pierce that demoniacal clangor we would catch out breath and listen, and try not to sob, and turn back to the forlorn hospitals, to the suffering at our feet and before our eyes while imagination fainted at the thought of those other scenes hidden from us beyond the Potomac.

 

Had Federal General George McClellan crossed the Potomac and pursued General Lee’s scattered and mauled army, as historians have much criticized him since for not doing, Shepherdstown would have likely suffered greater damage, but, as it was, shells landed in the yards of the Lees and Morgans and one or two even hit Shepherd’s new Town Hall, but were of little consequence.

 

Property Losses in New Orleans:

 

41_RD’s fine residence at 18 Bourbon Street

42_18 Bourbon Street in New Orleans

More invasive, improvised use was being made of RD’s fine residence at 18 Bourbon Street in New Orleans, causing his nephew to formally appeal to the Federal powers-that-be in early 1864. He wrote:

 

43_From Brig. General James Bowen

January 29, 1864

From Brig. General James Bowen

Provost Marshal General

Department of the Gulf.

 

Sir:

The undersigned acting as the duly authorized agent and attorney in fact of Rezin Davis Shepherd, formerly the State of Virginia, but for more than eight months past residing with his daughter Mrs. Gorham Brooks in the city of Boston and State of Massachusetts, respectfully represents: That the said Shepherd is a loyal citizen of the United States and the true and lawful owner of the Brick Dwelling No. 18 Bourbon Street between Canal and Custom House Streets in the City of New Orleans and also of all the furniture and contents thereof: that in the month of June, 1862 Col. Stafford without show of authority, placed in possession of said house and contents, a man by the name of Horton or Houghton, who has ever since occupied and now occupied and uses the same as a Boarding House, and who never has paid any rent or compensation there and continually refused to do so.

 

Under the circumstances, the undersigned respectfully appeals to you, General, for relief, and asks that the matter be referred to Capt. Edward Page and Thomas Tileston, or other of them for investigation and that the aforesaid premises and contents be restored to the possession of the owner without delay; Henry Shepherd Jr.

 

Like The Town Hall, the huge, magnificent Almshouse in New Orleans remained unfinished, to be hit by a worse fate. Shepherd was charged by Touro’s will to first put $80,00 toward its construction, then be prepared to put more money into its construction- including even some of Shepherd’s own funds – as recipient of Touro’s residue.

 

44_occupied by detachments of the 2nd Maine Cavalry

45_The fire started

46_Baked beans fired the building

On September 1, 1865, at a time the Almshouse in New Orleans – still with an unfinished, floorless top floor – was occupied by detachments of the 2nd Maine Cavalry and Company K, First Louisiana Cavalry. A baking oven was in heavy use at one end of the building so that heat would be carried through a fissure in a ventilation system close by. The fire started in the rafters above the third floor. It was night-time with a high wind and no flooring yet laid for the third floor in that wing. Coals dripping from the fire then ignited tar on the lower walls. “Baked beans fired the building” said one from the 2nd Maine Cavalry. The building was uninsured. Just a few months later R. D. Shepherd died of typhoid fever, November 10, 1865, no longer the executor of the estate, leaving no philanthropist to help make up the loss.

 

Wrote the editors of the Times-Picayune in a long obituary:

In his native village he erected a splendid building, designed for a town hall, also a large academy, with beautiful grounds and a walk. He also deposited with the Mayor annually a large sum to buy fuel and provisions for the poor. He also erected the largest and most costly church in Jefferson County. Many other acts of public and private benevolence were performed by him in his quiet, furtive manner.

 

With war ended and when he was still healthy, RD had urged that his Town Hall become the County Court since the Charlestown courthouse was a battle-scarred ruin, especially from a shelling it took in the fall of 1863.

 

A Visitor Contemplates Charlestown’s Ruined Courthouse in mid-1865:

 

47_the court-house, where that mockery of justice was performed, was a ruin

48_Four massive white brick pillars, still standing, supported a riddled roof

A short walk up into the centre of the town took us to the scene of John Brown’s trial. It was a consolation to see that the jail had been laid in ashes, and that the court-house, where that mockery of justice was performed, was a ruin abandoned to rats and toads. Four massive white brick pillars, still standing, supported a riddled roof, through which God’s blue sky and gracious sunshine smiled. The main portion of the building had been literally torn to pieces. In the floor-less hall of justice rank weeds were growing.

 

49_Names of Union soldiers were scrawled along the walls

Names of Union soldiers were scrawled along the walls. No torch had been applied to the wood-work, but the work of destruction had been performed by the hands of hilarious soldier-boys ripping up floors and pulling down laths and joists to the tune of “John Brown,” the swelling melody of the song, and the accompaniment of crashing partitions, reminding the citizens, who thought to have destroyed the old hero, that his soul was marching on. It was also a consolation to know that the court-house and jail would probably never be rebuilt, the county-seat having been removed from Charlestown to Shepherdstown — “forever,” say the resolute loyal citizens of Jefferson County, who rose to vote it back again.

 

50_either buried in Elmwood Cemetery or the Shepherd Burial Ground

The Shepherd boys who enlisted in Virginia companies each – over time – came home and were either buried in Elmwood Cemetery or the Shepherd Burial Ground – or lived.

 

51_Clarence Edward Shepherd

Clarence Edward Shepherd became a teacher in Maryland.

 

While RD’s nephew and agent, Henry Shepherd Jr. was in New Orleans during the war, minding the family interests, three of his brothers were at war. The eldest Rezin Davis, his older brother who had a young family

 

52_eldest Rezin Davis, his older brother who had a young family

since 1858, died of disease November 2, 1862 at his “river cottage” after imprisonment in the Old Capitol Prison for being an associate of Confederate spy, Redmond Burke. He left his widow, Elizabeth Boteler Stockton Shepherd, two children (Fannie and Alexandria) and a third (David) on the way. Probably first buried on his farm, Rezin Shepherd (a nephew of the patriarch) was reburied after peace came in the new Elmwood Cemetery. His site was joined by all his family as time unspooled.

 

53_twenty-five year-old Abraham

Henry Jr.’s next brother, twenty-five year-old Abraham, enlisted May 22nd, 1861, would move over to Co. F. of the 17th Virginia Cavalry, get wounded at the third battle of Winchester in September 19, 1864, and become a prisoner of war. But he survived the war and died many years later in 1907.

 

54_Henry Jr.’s younger brother, James Touro (Truro) Shepherd

Henry Jr.’s younger brother, James Touro (Truro) Shepherd, enlisted as a Private May 1st, 1861 in the 2nd Virginia Infantry. Like many, the rigors of marching under Gen. Stonewall Jackson proved an impetus to transfer out into a Cavalry regiment, and he joined Co. B of Gen. Stuart’s Horse Artillery under John Pelham, with a promotion to first lieutenant. His service record ends abruptly in the spring of 1862. The Shepherdstown Register in September, 1865 reported him having died in “Richmond City” in March, 1862. His marker dates his death as August 13, 1862, which may be the date of his re-internment into the family burial ground.

 

Two sons of James H. and his wife, Florence Hamtramck Shepherd were buried a few feet apart in the family burial ground on Shepherdstown’s New Street adjacent to the Episcopal rectory. Robert F. Shepherd, who joined Co. H, 2nd Va. Infantry, died May 4, 1862 of pneumonia.

 

55_Robert F. Shepherd, who joined Co. H, 2nd Va. Infantry

56_Alexander H. Shepherd

Alexander H. Shepherd, who enlisted when he was about twenty-eight April 4, 1861 in Co. H of the 2nd Virginia Infantry; he died of typhoid fever at Camp Harman near Fairfax Courthouse September 25-26, 1861.

 

57_Rezin Davis Shepherd was buried there too

Rezin Davis Shepherd was buried there too, in his own time.

 

He left all his fortune to his daughter, who, since 1855, had been a widow.

 

Wrote the Shepherdstown Register: A Large Estate – the late Rezin D. Shepherd left an estate valued at about $1,500,000 all of which goes to his daughter, Mrs. Brooks of Boston. He was born in 1784 (on the lot where the court house would be built). In 1809 he went to New Orleans and engaged in the commission business until 1849 and was the executor of the estate of the late Judah Touro. Mr. Shepherd was formerly a merchant in this city, residing on High Street. He accumulated a very large property in New Orleans and was reputed to be one of the wealthiest men of that city. Upon the breaking out of the rebellion, he returned to Boston and resided for a short time with his daughter and sole heir, Mrs. Gorham Brooks, widow of a son of the late Peter C. Brooks. His estate on High Street was formerly, we believe the property of Samuel Dexter.

 

The Massachusetts Historical Society today displays a cannon donated by the family and acquired by RD – a smaller version of the one that so severely wounded RD’s friend, Judah Touro.

 

The visiting journalist Trowbridge was proven wrong – the county seat DID go back to the Charlestown Courthouse. Wrote the editors of the Charlestown-based newspaper, The Spirit of Jefferson, in 1894:

 

58_The Normal College building, formerly the town hall

The Normal College building, formerly the town hall, on Main Street, is a handsome structure, the gift of one of the Shepherd family, Rezin D. from which the town takes its name. You will remember that it was used as a court house since the war and the courts of Jefferson county were held there, one Judge Hall sitting on the bench. A political rape was perpetuated on Charlestown, the party in power, fitly termed radicals, thought they had a sure thing of it, built a jail and added a wing to either side of the town hall, but “the best laid schemes of mice and men gang af’t aglee.” The fellows that did all this mischief were turned down by the people and things took their normal shape and Charlestown was again the county seat.

 

Shepherd University began when the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, was moved from Shepherdstown to Charles Town in July 1871. On February 27, 1872, the Legislature of West Virginia passed the following act: “That a branch of the State Normal School be and the same is hereby established at the building known as Shepherd College, in Shepherdstown, in the county of Jefferson.”

 

59_RD’s descendant, Shepherd Brooks

RD’s descendant, Shepherd Brooks, made it final when he deeded the property and building over to the School and a three-person board of trustees to maintain it.

 

As they say, settings reverse, the tide of life had gone out – and – came back in again.

 

EXPLORE # 257

 

Taken yesterday when typhoon "Emong" was blowing his rage up north. There was strong rains the whole day. I shot this in my room.

 

TGIF! Have a nice weekend everybody!

Dave Sharpe doubling Clayton Moore in the first-chapter swordfight sequence.

youtu.be/FUyO6avspnc

Perils of Nyoka (Republic, 1942). Starring Kay Aldridge, Clayton Moore, Lorna Gray, Charles Middleton, William Benedict. Directed by William Witney. Wonderful Republic-style artwork of Aldridge

From 1942, this is still another great Republic classic. (I suppose I could have started these reviews with tired, lifeless serials like PANTHER GIRL OF THE KONGO, but why not have fun first?) It has a terrific cast with a half dozen of my all-time favorite actors, a credible storyline, some really impressive sets and imaginative 'Perils', and finally, an epic-sounding main theme by Mort Glickman. This would go in the top dozen serials on my list.

 

PERILS OF NYOKA deals with the struggle for possession of another hot potato that everyone covets-- in this case, the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates, on which the ancient physician recorded his great medical secrets (including a cure for cancer). Not only are gold tablets valuable for their knowledge and the metal itself, they were hidden with a treasure. So it's not surprising to find the sinister Vultura and her gang of renegade Arbabs trying to seize the darn things. Vultura is played by the exotic Lorna Gray, who is a bit ripe looking for my taste but her sneering performance and long long legs have must have gotten many young boys in the audience a bit hot and bothered. (There's something about a Bad Girl...)

 

Vultura's main henchman is Cassib, played by the same Charles Middleton who made life interesting for Flash Gordon and Dick Tracy. Middleton has that sour, unhappy expression that makes his villainy as believable as the sort of old man who chases kids off his lawn. As if that's not enough, there's also the treacherous Torrini who poses as an ally of Nyoka. Tristram Coffin as Torrini gives an okay performance, just showing enough shiftiness to make his loyalty obviously doubtful to the kids in the audience. As good as Coffin was as a villain, I always wished he had done more heroic roles like his Jeff King in KING OF THE ROCKETMEN.

 

And as if THAT wasn't enough trouble for Nyoka to deal with, Vultura has a pet ape named Satan, who had never heard Diane Fossey's findings that gorillas are peaceful, gentle vegetarians. Satan was played by Emil Van Horn in a rather weak portrayal that doesn't seem to give much effort into moving like a real gorilla. And although you have to give 1940s film makers some slack with their robot and apes costumes, the way Satan's chest skin looks like shiny black rubber detracts from its credibility. This is where you have to crank your

suspension of disbelief up a few notches.

 

Whew! What a crew. Luckily, not only can Nyoka handle herself perfectly well, she has a partner in Dr Larry Grayson who is (for a physician) an astonishingly tough two-fisted sword-fighting gunslinger. My doctor's not like that. Clayton Moore is always convincing as hero or thug, and he seems agile and energetic enough to have been a stunt man himself. (At first, it seems a bit odd to hear that wonderful, familiar Lone Ranger voice coming from this character.) Moore goes through the serial in the classic Doc Savage outfit of riding boots, jodphurs and heavy white shirt, although this does not end up torn into tatters with the right cuff still attached.

 

Finally, Nyoka herself is completely likeable as a cliffhanger heroine. ("That Nyoka gal's got plenty of moxie.." one character explains.) Daughter of the missing Professor Gordon, she is well educated (one of the few who can translate the Tablets) but also completely at home in the saddle or jumping on a gorilla's back with a knife in her hand. I love Kay Aldridge's performance as Nyoka. She's serious when in danger, taking the 'perils' straight-faced but at the same time, she's obviously having a lot of fun when things are going well. It's very believable, not a grim warrior-woman sort of portrayal. Aldridge herself is appealing and gorgeous in her 1940s pin-up girl way-- her clunky culottes are not flattering at all (although admittedly practical for the situation) and she seems to be notably gifted under that big-game hunter blouse. Nyoka also seems to have two different accents going on, for some reason.

 

My copy of PERILS OF NYOKA is a re-issue titled NYOKA AND THE TIGERMEN, apparently because some of the Arab raiders wear striped robes. C'mon, that's stretching things a bit, Republic.Nyoka Gordon (Kay Aldridge) leads an expedition into the most remote part of the Libyan desert in search of her father, Professor Henry Gordon (Robert Strange), who disappeared while seeking out the long-lost golden tablets of Hippocrates. The tablets, among other attributes, are reputed to contain the cures for any number of deadly diseases that still plague mankind. Nyoka and her father are the only two people in the world who can translate the papyrus giving directions to the hiding place of the tablets. Her allies in her search include: Dr. Larry Grayson (Clayton Moore), a young physician; Torrini (Tristram Coffin), an Italian adventurer; Professor Campbell (Forbes Murray), a colleague of her father's; and Red Davis (Billy Benedict), their driver. Opposing them is Vultura (Lorna Gray), the leader of a deadly desert cult, who regard the tablets as sacred and will do anything -- including committing murder -- to prevent their discovery and removal. Aided by her ally, Cassib (Charles B. Middleton), and the Taureg tribesmen, Vultura and her cultists lay all manner of deadly traps, involving everything from burning pits of fire and tunnels filled with hurricane-like winds to just plain getting crushed by the embrace of Vultura's trained gorilla, Satan (Emil Van Horn). Meanwhile, Nyoka and her expedition also face the danger of treachery from within. Nyoka must first secure the papyrus and avenge the murder of Major Reynolds in the opening chapter, and then get past the opposing Taureg tribesmen -- and little does she realize that the leader of the Tauregs is far closer to her than she ever could have guessed.

The action in Nyoka and the Tigermen moves at a breakneck pace across 15 chapters, most of which are as exciting as anything in Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels (each of which drew a lot of their inspiration from this and one other Republic serial, Secret Service in Darkest Africa). Beyond its genuinely exciting plot, which intersects with reality just enough to keep even adults interested (there really are a North African people called the Tauregs), Nyoka and the Tigermen contains some delightful twists in its casting, production, and writing. Nyoka Gordon, as played by Kay Aldridge, is no typical movie heroine. She's beautiful, athletic, and resourceful, enough so that in the first chapter, she rides down Arab horsemen. She's perfectly capable of fighting, climbing, or diving her way out of trouble, a kind of 1940s American precursor to Emma Peel. Additionally, Lorna Gray's Vultura was, if anything, even more beautiful, and they make an enchanting pair of antagonists, especially when they mix it up physically. Both put 100 percent effort into their work here, assisted by one of the best directors and some of the best stuntmen in the business. Clayton Moore looked, if anything, better here than he did as the Lone Ranger at the other end of the decade and he made a dashing hero in his own right. Watch him in action here and see if he doesn't look like he would've been the perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman of his era. Even Emil Van Horn, in the silliest role in the movie -- as the gorilla Satan -- has a kind of visceral impact as this constantly menacing beast. Working from one of the best scripts that the studio ever devised for one of its serials, director William Witney and a crew of top stuntmen (including David Sharpe and a young Jay Silverheels), made this one of the most exciting serials ever to come out of Hollywood. More than that, the resulting chapterplay has an appeal that cuts

across the ages, as demonstrated by the debt owed to it by the Indiana Jones movies.

 

Another take on Nyoka and additional back ground info.

Perils of Nyoka aka Nyoka and the Tigermen

 

Republic, 15 Chapters, 1942. Starring Kay Aldridge, Clayton Moore, Billy Benedict, Lorna Gray, Charles Middleton, Tristram Coffin, Robert Strange, Forbes Murray, George Pembroke.

 

As Perils of Nyoka opens, Prof. Douglas Campbell (Forbes Murray) and his expedition arrive in the small North African town of Wadi Bartha; they are seeking an ancient treasure trove that contains–among other priceless artifacts–the Tablets of Hippocrates, on which are inscribed ”the only cure for cancer the world has ever known.” Campbell and his colleagues, including Dr. Larry Grayson (Clayton Moore), are principally interested in the Tablets’ value to humanity, but Count Benito Torrini (Tristram Coffin), the Italian colonial official attached to the expedition, has more mercenary ideas in mind and is conspiring with the devious Arab queen Vultura (Lorna Gray) to seize the treasure. After being joined by Nyoka Gordon (Kay Aldridge), the daughter of an archeologist who vanished years ago looking for the Tablets, the expedition sets out in search of the Tablets and Nyoka’s missing father, journeying into the hidden valley of the sun-worshipping Tuareg tribe while fighting Vultura and her ally Cassib (Charles Middleton) every step of the way.

Well-written, well-directed, and well-cast, Perils of Nyoka represents Republic serial-making at its absolute peak. Writers Ronald Davidson, Norman Hall, William Lively, Joseph O’Donnell, and Joseph Poland utilize a “quest” structure for their screenplay, one which keeps the characters on the move from one location to the next. The heroes must first translate an important papyrus before beginning their journey to the Tuaregs’ valley, where, upon arrival, they have to deal with the hostile natives and their chief–Nyoka’s amnesic father Professor Gordon (Robert Strange). Then, they must rescue Gordon from Vultura and restore his memory, unmask Torrini’s treachery, return to the Tuaregs’ valley for another important clue, locate the treasure, and recover it in a final showdown after it’s stolen by Vultura. This storyline not only provides plenty of opportunities for action scenes, but also gives the serial a strong sense of steadily focused progression towards a definite goal, making its overall narrative much more interesting than the loosely connected plots of many other Republic serials.

This well-paced narrative plays out in an impressive variety of indoor sets and outdoor locations–the honeycomb of tunnels in the Tuareg valley, Vultura’s mammoth palace and the cliffs nearby, numerous caverns, and various rocky hillsides. Of all Republic’s serials set in foreign realms, Nyoka manages to be the most successful in creating a believably exotic atmosphere; it helps that arid Californian locales like Iverson’s Movie Ranch and Corriganville can more convincingly double for the North African hills than they could for other African locales, like the sub-equatorial jungles or the Sahara desert.

  

The serial’s action scenes are handled with gusto by William Witney and his star stuntman David Sharpe. One of the many action highlights is Nyoka and Larry’s invasion of Vultura’s palace in Chapter One, which has Clayton Moore’s Larry (doubled by Sharpe) practically flying around the throne room in a combination swordfight/fistfight and eventually being attacked by Vultura’s pet gorilla Satan (Emil Van Horn), who pulls down several stone pillars on our hero and heroine. The pursuit of Nyoka by Cassib’s horsemen in Chapter Two is another memorable action sequence, as is her subsequent chariot escape from Vultura’s camp following a fight with the evil queen. There are far too many additional standout scenes for me to describe them all, but among them are the fight in the lava caves, Larry’s battle with hostile Tuaregs in their cavern temple, Nyoka trying to escape down a cliff on a rope while Satan tugs on the other end, the Tuaregs’ primitive hand-grenade attack on the expedition, and the final showdown in which Larry fights Cassib and his men while Nyoka grapples with Vultura.

  

The cliffhanger sequences are consistently imaginative and include one of the best-known chapter endings in the Republic canon, the sequence that has Kay Aldridge dangling over a Tuareg fire pit. Equally memorable chapter endings have Aldridge and Forbes Murray being forced towards a ceiling of spikes by an ascending floor, Aldridge about to be sliced in two by a lethal pendulum, and Aldridge being inexorably blown towards the edge of a cliff in an impressive wind tunnel.

  

Dave Sharpe not only doubles Clayton Moore, but also fills in for Kay Aldridge on all the really dangerous stunts. Stuntwoman Babe DeFreest doubles the heroine in other sequences, with Helen Thurston filling in for Lorna Gray; Tom Steele performs most of Charles Middleton’s stunts, while Ken Terrell, Duke Green, Duke Taylor, Henry Wills, Bud Wolfe, and Johnny Daheim make many contributions as well. Most of these stuntmen, of course, also do acting duty as various Arabs throughout the serial.

  

Perils of Nyoka’s action is complemented beautifully by Mort Glickman’s score, which is distinctive, memorable, and very well-suited to the setting, with a persistent but not overdone “Arabian” motif dominating both its fast-paced “action” theme and its slower opening-credits music.

The serial’s cast is filled with appealing performers, although its ostensible star, Kay Aldridge, is probably the weakest thespian in the group. Her line delivery is very energetic but awkward at times, and her face is frequently expressionless during dialogue scenes–although she does a fine job registering alarm in cliffhanger sequences. Still, Aldridge is so beautiful, and so likable despite her stiffness, that her presence really has no negative impact on the serial.

  

Clayton Moore contributes an enormous amount of energy to his part, continually taking the lead in both dialogue and action scenes. He delivers his lines with both seriousness and a certain swashbuckling enthusiasm, and rides and runs with an admirable athleticism that matches well with the dynamism of his double Dave Sharpe in the fight scenes. He, far more than Aldridge, comes off as the actual star of the serial.

Lorna Gray is haughty, viciously bad-tempered, and gleefully evil by turns, but never hammy or over-the-top. Her good looks contrast so startlingly with her convincingly appalling behavior that she commands attention when on-screen; her Vultura is probably the most memorable of all female serial heavies.

  

Charles Middleton has less time in the spotlight than in his 1930s serials, but his Cassib is still an intimidating figure, glowering grimly at Vultura’s enemies and infusing his Arabian-Nights-style dialogue with both menace (“If you let her escape, you will find death a pleasant relief from your punishment”) and dignity (“What brings you to this humble huddle of tents, Gracious One?”)

Billy Benedict, as the Campbell expedition’s driver and mechanic Red, provides low-key but amusing comic relief, stealing scenes with a single facial expression or a bit of incongruous slang. His scenes with his pet Capuchin monkey Jitters (played by “Professor”) are much more appealing than most such animal-sidekick interchanges; the monkey is not only cute but genuinely helpful to the good guys more than once, and Benedict seems to have a genuine rapport with the little creature.

  

One of the additional joys of Perils of Nyoka is the unusually large cast of interesting supporting characters; in sharp contrast to many Republic outings, Nyoka features meaty speaking parts for characters besides the hero, heroine, villain, action heavy, and sidekick. Robert Strange, as Nyoka’s amnesic father, has the most important supporting role and does an excellent job in both aspects of his part, dropping his grim, slow-talking, and crafty Tuareg-chieftain personality for a more kindly, upright, and brisk manner when his character’s memory is restored.

Forbes Murray is authoritative but genially avuncular as Campbell, the expedition head, and surprisingly gets in on quite a bit of action. George Pembroke, as a British expedition named Spencer, also takes part in many fights and shootouts, and provides some mild but entertaining comic relief through his verbal interchanges with Billy Benedict’s Red, in which the English scientist and the American mechanic confuse each other with their very different approaches to their common language.

  

Tristram Coffin, as the treacherous Torrini, is given high billing but has relatively little screen time; however, he handles his interactions with the unsuspecting heroes with the same slickness and smoothness he displayed in his similar part in Spy Smasher. Distinguished Herbert Rawlinson is killed off far too early as Major Reynolds, another expedition member, while the enjoyably hammy John Davidson has a much larger role as Lobar, the fanatical Tuareg sub-chief. Davidson rolls out each line in his inimitably resonant voice and manages to look positively pop-eyed with rage at times, particularly when defying the recovered Professor Gordon as the latter vainly tries to exercise his old authority over the Tuaregs.

Kenne Duncan has a good role as Nyoka’s tough and loyal follower Abou, while George Lewis is noticeably sinister in his small role as Cassib’s lieutenant Batan. George Renavent is enjoyably hammy in his few scenes as Vultura’s oily major-domo, Forrest Taylor pops up as a translator in Chapter Fourteen, John Bagni plays another one of Nyoka’s Bedouin friends, and John Bleifer has a brief but vivid turn as a villainous Arab street merchant in the first chapter. Jay Silverheels, star Clayton Moore’s eventual companion on the Lone Ranger show, is frequently credited as playing one of the Tuaregs, but I’ve never been able to spot him under the tribe’s burnouses and face-paint.

Ace the Wonder Dog, who also played Devil in Columbia’s The Phantom, adds a nice touch to the serial as Nyoka’s faithful dog Fang, going through some clever paces as he assists the heroine–particularly in Chapter One, when he tips over a basket, barks at two Arab guards, and then ducks inside the basket while the guards run past. Vultura’s gorilla Satan, played as an unruly and barely controllable beast by Emil Van Horn, also brings additional color to the proceedings; Van Horn’s rowdy anthropoid antics are great fun to watch.

  

Just as William Witney’s Spy Smasher–made the same year–represented the acme of Republic’s crime-fighting serials, so does Witney’s Perils of Nyoka represent the acme of Republic’s far-flung adventure serials. Later chapterplays like Secret Service in Darkest Africa or The Tiger Woman would try to recapture some of Perils of Nyoka’s glory, but few of them could match Nyoka’s large and interesting cast of players or its varied assortment of action scenes–and none of them boasted a story that could compete with the appeal of Nyoka‘s archetypal but enthralling treasure hunt.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PsLjEe6Ic0

Heard it from another room

Eyes were making up just to fall asleep

Love's like suicide

Dazed out in a garden bed

With a broken neck lays my broken gift

Just like suicide

 

And my last ditch

Was my last brick

Lent to finish her, finish her

 

She lived like a murder

How she'd fly so sweetly

She lived like a murder

But she died just like suicide

 

Bit down on the bullet now

I had a taste so sour

I had to think of something sweet

Love's like suicide

 

Safe outside my gilded cage

With an ounce of pain

I wield a ton of rage

Just like suicide

 

With eyes of blood

And bitter blue

How I feel for you

I feel for you

 

She lived like a murder

How she'd fly so sweetly

She lived like a murder

But she died just like suicide

 

Yeah

And my last ditch

Was my last brick

Lent to finish her finish her

 

With eyes of blood and bitter blue

How I feel for you

I feel for you

I feel for you

 

I feel for you

I feel, oh

I feel for you

 

Ah ah yeah (I feel, I feel)

 

She lived like a murder

How she'd fly so sweetly

She lived like a murder

But she died just like suicide

Praise be to Allaah.

 

The meeting together, mixing, and intermingling of men and women in one place, the crowding of them together, and the revealing and exposure of women to men are prohibited by the Law of Islam (Shari'ah). These acts are prohibited because they are among the causes for fitnah (temptation or trial which implies evil consequences), the arousing of desires, and the committing of indecency and wrongdoing.

 

Among the many proofs of prohibition of the meeting and mixing of men and women in the Qur’aan and Sunnah are:

 

Verse No. 53 of Surat al-Ahzab, or the Confederates (Interpretation of the meaning); "...for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs..."

 

In explaining this Verse, Ibn Kathir (May Allaah have mercy on him) said: "Meaning, as I forbade you to enter their rooms, I forbid you to look at them at all. If one wants to take something from a woman, one should do so without looking at her. If one wants to ask a woman for something, the same has to be done from behind a screen."

 

The Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) enforced separation of men and women even at Allaah’s most revered and preferred place, the mosque. This was accomplished via the separation of the women’s rows from the men’s; men were asked to stay in the mosque after completion of the obligatory prayer so that women will have enough time to leave the mosque; and, a special door was assigned to women. Evidence of the foregoing are:

 

Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) said that after Allah’s Messenger (May peace and blessings be upon him) said "as-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullah’ twice announcing the end of prayer, women would stand up and leave. He would stay for a while before leaving. Ibn Shihab said that he thought that the staying of the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) was in order for the women to be able to leave before the men who wanted to depart." Narrated by al-Bukhari under No. 793.

 

Abu Dawood under No. 876 narrates the same hadith in Kitab al-Salaat under the title "Insiraaf an-Nisaa’ Qabl al-Rijaal min al-Salaah" (Departure of Women before Men after the Prayer). Ibn ‘Umar said that Allah’s Messenger (May peace and blessings be upon him) said: "We should leave this door (of the mosque) for women." Naafi’ said: "Ibn ‘Umar never again entered through that door until he died." Narrated by Abu Dawood under No. 484 in "Kitab as-Salah" under the Chapter entitled: "at-Tashdid fi Thalik".

 

Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) said: ""The best of the men’s rows is the first and the worst is the last, and the best of the women’s rows is the last and the worst in the first." Narrated by Muslim under No. 664.

 

This is the greatest evidence that the Law of Islam (Shari'ah) forbids meeting and mixing of men and women. The farther the men are from the women’s rows, the better, and vice versa.

 

If these procedures and precautions were prescribed and adhered to in a mosque, which is a pure place of worship where people are as far away as they ever are from the arousal of desire and temptation, then no doubt the same procedures need to be followed even more rigorously at other places.

 

Abu Usayd al-Ansari narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger (May peace and blessings be upon him) say to the women on his way out of the mosque when he saw men and women mixing together on their way home:

‘Give way (i.e., walk to the sides) as it is not appropriate for you to walk in the middle the road.’ Thereafter, women would walk so close to the wall that their dresses would get caught on it. Narrated by Abu Dawood in "Kitab al-Adab min Sunanihi, Chapter: Mashyu an-Nisa Ma’ ar-Rijal fi at-Tariq."We know that the intermingling, mixing and crowding together of men and women is part of today’s unavoidable yet regrettable affliction in most places, such as markets, hospitals, colleges, etc., but:

 

· We will not willfully choose or accept mixing and crowding, particularly in religious classes and council meetings in Islamic Centers.

 

· We take precautions to avoid meeting and mixing of men and women as much as possible while at the same time achieving desired goals and objectives. This result can be achieved by designating separate places assigned for men and women, using different doors for each, utilizing modern means of communication such as microphones, video recorders etc., and expediting efforts to have enough female teachers to teach women, etc.

 

· We show fear of Allaah as much as we can by not looking at members of the opposite sex and by applying self-restraint.

There follow some of the results of a study on mixing undertaken by some Muslim social science researchers.

 

When we put the following question: What is the Islamic ruling on mixing as far as you know? The results were as follows:

 

76% of respondents said “It is not permitted.”

 

12% said, “It is permitted” – but moral, religious, etc. restrictions apply…

 

12% said, “I don’t know.”

 

Which would you choose?

 

If you had the choice between working in a mixed workplace and working in another where there was no mixing, which would you choose?

 

The responses to this question were as follows:

 

76% would choose the workplace where there was no mixing.

 

9% preferred the mixed workplace.

 

15% would accept any workplace which suited their specialties, regardless of whether it was mixed or not.

 

Very embarrassing

 

Have any embarrassing situations ever happened to you because of mixing?

 

Among the embarrassing moments mentioned by respondents in this study were the following:

 

I was at work one day, and I went into one department where one of my female colleagues who wears hijaab had taken off her hijaab in front of her female colleagues. My entrance took her by surprise and I was very embarrassed as a result.

 

I had to do an experiment in the lab at university, but I was absent on the day of the experiment. I had to go to the lab on the following day, and I found myself the only male among a group of female students, in addition to a female teacher and a female lab technician. I was very embarrassed and felt very awkward with all those female eyes glaring at me.

 

I was trying to take a feminine towel out of one of the drawers when I was surprised by a male colleague standing behind me, who wanted to take something from his own private drawer. He noticed that I was embarrassed and he left the room quickly to avoid my embarrassment.

 

It so happened that one of the girls at the university bumped into me when turning a corner in a crowded corridor. She was walking quickly, going to one of the lectures. As a result of this collision, she lost her balance, and I caught her in my arms, as if I was embracing her. You can imagine how embarrassed I and this girl felt in front of a group of careless young people.

 

One of my female colleagues fell on the stairs in the university and her clothes fell open in an extremely embarrassing fashion. She landed upside down and could not help herself; the young men standing nearby had no option but to cover her and help her to get up.

 

I work in a company and I went in to give some papers to my boss. When I was going out, my boss called me back. I turned around and saw him with his face turned away. I was waiting for him to ask me for a file or for more papers, and I was surprised by his hesitancy. I turned away to the left side of his office, pretending to be busy with something, and he spoke to me at the same time. I thought that this boss would say anything except what he actually said, which was to point out that my garment was stained with menstrual blood. Can the earth open up and swallow a human being at the moment of making sincere supplication? For I prayed that the earth would open up and swallow me.

 

Victims of mixing… True stories

 

Lost hope

 

Umm Muhammad, a mature woman over the age of 40, tells her story.

 

I lived a life of modest means with my husband. There was never any closeness and harmony, and my husband did not have the kind of strong personality that a woman would hope for, but his good nature made me overlook the fact that I was the one who was responsible for most of the decision making in the family.

 

My husband often used to mention the name of his friend and business partner, and he would talk about him in my presence, and I often used to meet with him in his office which was originally part of our apartment. This went on for many years, until circumstances led to us exchanging visits with this person and his family. These family visits were repeated and because of his close friendship with my husband, we did not notice how the number of visits increased and how many hours a single visit would last. He often used to come on his own to sit with us, me and my husband, for long visits. My husband’s trust in him knew no bounds, and as days passed I got to know this person very well, and saw how wonderful and decent he was. I began to feel a strong attraction towards this man, and at the same time I began to sense that the feeling was mutual.

 

Things took a strange turn after that, when I realized that this man was the kind of person I had always dreamed about. Why had he come along now, after all these years? The more this man’s status increased in my eyes, the more my husband’s status diminished. It was as if I had needed to see the beauty of his character in order to discover how ugly my husband’s character was.

 

The matter between this person and myself did not go beyond these persistent thoughts which were occupying my mind night and day. Neither he nor I ever voiced what we felt in our hearts… until today. Yet despite that my life is over and my husband is little more than a weak man with no self-esteem. I hate him and I do not know how all this hatred towards him started to boil over. I wonder how I put up with him all these years, bearing all these burdens by myself, facing life’s problems on my own.

 

Things got so bad that I asked him for a divorce, and he divorced me at my request. After that he became a broken man. Even worse than that is that after my marriage was wrecked and my children and husband were devastated, problems arose in this man's family. His wife, with her feminine intuition, realized what had been going on in his heart of hearts, and his life became hell. She was overwhelmed with jealousy to the extent that one night she left her house at 2 a.m. and came to attack my house, screaming, weeping and hurling accusations. His marriage was also about to collapse.

 

I admit that the lovely gatherings which we used to enjoy gave us the opportunity to get to know one another at a time that was not appropriate at this stage in our lives.

 

His marriage has been wrecked and so has mine. I have lost everything, and now I know that my circumstances and his will not permit us to take any positive step towards coming together. Now I am more miserable than I have ever been, and I am looking for illusionary happiness and lost hopes.

 

Tit-for-tat

 

Umm Ahmad tells us:

 

My husband had a group of married friends, and because of our close friendship with them, we used to get together with them once a week in one of our houses, to enjoy an evening of chat.

 

Deep down in my heart I was never really comfortable with the atmosphere in which we would have dinner, sweets, snacks and drinks of juice accompanied by waves of laughter because of the jokes and chit-chats that often went beyond the bounds of good manners.

 

In the name of friendship, the barriers were lifted and every now and then one would hear suppressed laughter between a woman and the husband of another woman. The jokes were too much, dealing – with no sense of shyness –with sensitive topics such as sex and women’s private matters. This was usual and was even accepted and regarded as desirable.

 

Although I indulged in these things along with them, my conscience made me feel guilty. Then the day came when it became quite clear just how ugly and filthy this atmosphere was.

 

The telephone rang, and I heard the voice of one of the friends in this group. I said hello to him and apologized that my husband was not home. He replied that he knew that, and that he was calling to speak to me! After he suggested starting a relationship with me, I got very angry and spoke harshly to him and cursed him. All he could do was laugh and say, “Don’t try and show these good manners to me; go and check on your husband’s good manners and see what he is doing…” I was devastated by what he said, but I pulled myself together and said to myself, this person is only trying to cause the break up of your marriage. But he succeeded in planting the seeds of doubt concerning my husband.

 

Shortly after that, the major disaster struck. I discovered that my husband was cheating on me with another woman. It was the matter of life or death as far as I was concerned. I found my husband out and I confronted him, saying: “You are not the only one who can have a relationship. I have received a similar proposition.” And I told him all about his friend. He was stunned and absolutely shocked. (I said:) “If you want me to respond in kind to your relationship with that woman, then this is for that, tit-for-tat.” This was a huge slap in the face for him. He knew that I did not intend to do that in reality, but he realized the great disaster that had befallen our lives and the immoral atmosphere in which we were living. I suffered a great deal until my husband finally left that loose woman with whom he was having a relationship, as he admitted to me. Yes, he left her and came back to his family and children, but how can I ever feel the same towards him as I used to? Who will restore respect for him in my heart? This huge wound in my heart is still bleeding out of regret and rage at that filthy atmosphere; it still bears testimony to the fact that what they call innocent get-togethers are in reality anything but innocent. My heart still begs for mercy from the Lord of Glory.

 

Intelligence can also be a temptation (fitnah)

 

‘Abd al-Fattaah says:

 

I work as the head of department in one of the big companies. For a long time I admired one of my female colleagues, not for her beauty, but for her serious attitude towards her work, her intelligence and her excellent achievements – in addition to the fact that she was a decent and modest person who focused only on her work. This admiration turned into attachment, and I am a married man who fears Allaah and never misses any obligatory prayer. I expressed my feelings to her and she rebuffed me. She is married and has children as well. She sees no reason why I should have any kind of relationship with her, whether it be friendship, as work colleagues or based on admiration… etc. Evil thoughts come to me sometimes, and deep down I wish that her husband would divorce her so that I could get her.

 

I started to put pressure on her at work and put her down in front of my bosses. Perhaps this was a form of revenge on my part, but she accepted it with good manners and did not complain or comment. She works and works; her performance speaks of her quality, and she knows this well. The more she resisted me, the stronger my infatuation grew.

 

I am not a person who is easily tempted by women, because I fear Allaah and I do not overstep the mark with them and go beyond what is required by my work. But this woman attracted me. What is the solution?… I do not know.

 

Baby ducks know how to swim

 

N.A.A., a nineteen-year-old girl, tells us:

 

At that time I was a little girl. My innocent eyes watched those evening get-togethers when family friends would meet in the house. What I remember is that I could only see one man, who was my father. I watched him as he moved about the room, how his glances would devour the women present, looking at their thighs and chests, admiring this one’s eyes, that one’s hair, the other’s hips. My poor mother had no choice but to take care of these get-togethers. She was a very simple lady.

 

Among the women present there was one woman who would deliberately try to attract my father’s attention, sometimes by coming close to him, and sometimes by making enticing movements. I would watch this with concern, whilst my mother was busy in the kitchen for the sake of her guests.

 

These gatherings stopped suddenly and I tried, young as I was, to understand and make sense of what had happened, but I could not.

 

What I remember was that my mother collapsed completely at that time, and she could not stand to hear my father’s name mentioned in the house. I used to hear mysterious words whispered by the adults around me: “Betrayal… bedroom… she saw them with her own eyes… despicable woman… in a very shameful position…” etc. These were the key words which only the adults could understand.

 

I grew up and came to understand, and I bore a grudge against all men. All of them were treacherous. My mother was a broken woman and accused every woman who came to us of being a man-snatcher who wanted to make my father fall into her trap. My father hasn’t changed. He is still practising his favourite hobby of chasing women, but now he does it outside the home. Now I am nineteen years old and I know lots of young men. I feel great pleasure in taking revenge on them, because every one of them is an exact copy of my father. I tempt them and entice them, without letting them get anywhere near me. They follow me in gatherings and in the marketplaces because of my movements and deliberate gestures. Sometimes my phone never stops ringing and I feel proud of what I do to avenge the sex of Hawwa’ and my mother. But sometimes I feel so miserable and such a failure that it almost chokes me. My life is shadowed by a huge dark cloud, and its name is my father.

 

Before it is too late

 

S.N.A. tells of her experience:

 

I never imagined that my work circumstances would force me to be in contact with the opposite sex (men), but this in fact is what happened…

 

In the beginning, I used to cover and screen myself from men by wearing niqaab (face-veil), but some of the sisters advised me that this dress was attracting more attention to my presence, and it would be better for me to take off the niqaab, especially since my eyes were somewhat attractive. So I removed the cover from my face, thinking that this was better. But by continuing to mix with my colleagues, I discovered that I was the odd one out because of my antisocial attitude and my insistence on not joining in the conversation and chatting with others. Everyone was wary of this “lone-wolf” woman (as they saw me), and this is what was stated clearly by one person who affirmed that he would not want to deal with such a snooty and stand-offish character. But I knew that I was the opposite, in fact, and I decided that I would not oppress myself and put myself in a difficult position with my colleagues. So I started to join in their chats and exchanges of anecdotes, and they all discovered that I could speak eloquently and persuasively, and that I could influence others. I could also speak in a manner that was determined yet at the same time was attractive to some of my colleagues. It was not long before I noticed some changes in the expression of my direct supervisor; with some embarrassment, he was enjoying the way I spoke and moved, and he would deliberately bring up topics in the conversation where I would see that hateful look in his eyes. I do not deny the fact that I started to entertain some thoughts about this man. I found it astonishing that a man could fall so easily into the trap of a woman who was religiously committed, so how must it be in the case of women who adorn themselves and invite men to commit immoral actions? In fact, I did not think of him in any way which went beyond the bounds of sharee’ah, but he did occupy a space in my thoughts for quite some time. But soon my self-respect made me reject the idea of being a source of enjoyment for this man in any way, shape or form, even if it was only psychological in nature, and I stopped getting involved in any kind of work that would force me to sit alone with him. In the end, I reached the following conclusions:

 

1- Attraction between the sexes can occur in any circumstances, no matter how much men and women may deny that. The attraction may start within the bounds of sharee’ah and end up going beyond those bounds.

 

Even if a person protects himself (by marriage), he is not safe from the snares of the Shaytaan.

 

3- Even though a person may be able to guarantee himself and he works with the opposite sex within reasonable limits, he cannot guarantee the feelings of the other party.

 

Finally, there is nothing good in mixing and it does not bear fruit as they claim. On the contrary, it corrupts sound thinking.

 

What now?

 

We may ask, what comes next, after this discussion on the matter of mixing?

 

It’s about time for us to recognize that no matter how we try to beautify the issue of mixing and take the matter lightly, its consequences are bound to catch up with us, and the harm it causes will have disastrous results for our families. Sound common sense refuses to accept that mixing is a healthy atmosphere for human relations. This is the sound common sense which made most of the people included in this survey (76%) prefer working in a non-mixed environment. The same percentage (76%) said that mixing is not permitted according to the sharee’ah. What makes us sit up and take notice is not this honourable percentage – which indicates the purity of our Islamic society and the cleanness of its members’ hearts – but the small number who said that mixing is permitted; they number 12%. This group, with no exceptions, said that mixing is permitted but within the limits set by religion, custom (‘urf), traditions, good manners, conscience, modesty, covering and other worthy values which, in their opinion, keep mixing within proper limits.

 

We ask them: is the mixing which we see nowadays in our universities, market-places, work-places and family and social gatherings, taking place within the limits referred to above? Or are these places filled with transgressions in terms of clothing, speech, interactions and behaviour? We see wanton displays of adornment (tabarruj), not proper covering; we see fitnah (temptations) and dubious relationships, with no good manners and no conscience and no covering. We can conclude that the kind of mixing that is happening nowadays is unacceptable even to those who approve of mixing in a clean atmosphere.

 

It’s about time for us to recognize that mixing provides a fertile breeding-ground for social poisons to invade and take over our society without anyone ever realizing that it is mixing which is the cause. Mixing is the prime element in this silent fitnah, in the shade of which betrayals erupt, homes are wrecked and hearts are broken.

 

We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound, and to reform our society. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

Islam Q&A

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Let us look for a moment at how some of this manifests in the cult leader. Cult leaders have an

outstanding ability to charm and win over followers. They beguile and seduce. They enter a room and garner all the attention. They command the utmost respect and obedience. These are "individuals whose narcissism is so extreme and grandiose that they exist in a kind of splendid isolation in which the creation of the grandiose self takes precedence over legal, moral or interpersonal commitments."(l8) Paranoia may be evident in simple or elaborate delusions of persecution. Highly suspicious, they may feel conspired against, spied upon or cheated, or maligned by a person, group, or governmental agency. Any real or suspected unfavorable reaction may be interpreted as a deliberate attack upon them or the group. (Considering the criminal nature of some groups and the antisocial behavior of others, some of these fears may have more of a basis in reality than delusion!)

 

Harder to evaluate, of course, is whether these leaders' belief in their magical powers, omnipotence, and connection to God (or whatever higher power or belief system they are espousing) is delusional or simply part of the con. Megalomania--the belief that one is able or entitled to rule the world--is equally hard to evaluate without psychological testing of the in- dividual, although numerous cult leaders state quite readily that their goal is to rule the world. In any case, beneath the surface gloss of intelligence, charm, and professed humility seethes an inner world of rage, depression, and fear.

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