11am and New Years Eve begins - a la Vienna!
Thursday, 29 December 2016
|Marathon Runner Fauja Singh|
Consider these quotes. They are from one man.
Life is like running a marathon. It takes a lot of courage and tenacity to keep going till the end.
Running makes people more spiritually aware and in tune with their inner self.
The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this he is dead.
Laughter and happiness is what life should be about, that's the remedy for everything.
When I took up running it was like meeting God himself.
There are two noble things in life; one is charity and other is looking after your body.
The secret of a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling, and keep running.
I used to approach each race without stress, as if I was invited to a wedding.
The above quotes are from Fauja Singh ( 1911 - )
Fauja Singh, the 100-year old marathon runner, now 105 and retired physically but not spiritually, is my running inspiration.
Wednesday, 28 December 2016
This work was inspired by the Sutton Hoo escutcheon (see post below). Started last night and finished this morning. (Acrylic 300gm paper 50cm x 40cm).
Imagine the bewildered natives of Morecambe Bay seeing a Viking longboat for the first time, approaching across the waves, crammed with settlers and warriors; families with their sheep and goats, and rough looking men with horns on their heads . . .
There are waves breaking on shore at the bottom and some other minor effects at the sides. But they are unfortunately out of shot (in this image). Many of the small black spots in the centre are now white.
An alternative title is Vision.
There's a joke they like to tell in Morecambe (or used to) and it goes like this:
Two Vikings arrive in Morecambe. They want some information. Locals gather round. "Have you people had any rapes, pillaging or arson?" one of the Vikings asks. "No, nothing like that," the people reply. The stranger turns to his companion, "I wonder where our brothers are . . . "
Tuesday, 27 December 2016
Beowulf is the most important Old English poem and perhaps the most significant single survival from the Anglo-Saxon period.
It was with pain that the powerful spirit
dwelling in darkness endured that time,
hearing daily the hall filled
with loud amusement; there was the music of the harp,
the clear song of the poet, perfect in his telling
of the remote first making of man's race.
He told how, long ago, the Lord formed Earth,
a plain bright to look on, locked in ocean,
exulting established the sun and the moon
as lights to illumine the land-dwellers
and furnished forth the face of the Earth
with limbs and leaves. Life He then granted
to each kind of creature that creeps and moves.
all was well with them; until One began
to encompass evil, an enemy from hell.
Grendel they called this cruel spirit,
the fell and fen his vastness was,
the march his haunt. This unhappy being
had long lived in the land of monsters
since the Creator cast them out
as kindred of Cain. For that killing of Abel
the eternal Lord took vengeance.
There was no joy of that feud; far from mankind
God drove him out for his deed of shame!
From Cain came down all kinds misbegotten
- ogres and elves and evil shades -
and also the Giants, who joined in the long
wars with God. He gave them their reward.
Sunday, 25 December 2016
The power of the unseen is greater than people can imagine.
Two thousand years ago a baby was born, a baby boy destined to become a religious leader, a dangerous man whose words could overturn the status quo. He had to be silenced. And like many others before and since he was tortured and killed.
His legacy was a simple message.
The message survived the Dark Ages and the Inquisitions and other trials and tribulations and its light was not extinguished.
Faith, Hope and Charity is quite a simple message. It is good to remind ourselves of the message from time to time. Christmas is such a time.
Regardless of one's belief or non-belief it is a blessing to mankind that such a man lived amongst us.
Here are some pictures taken last night in Vienna.
Saturday, 24 December 2016
The story tells how Beowulf killed Grendel and the Dragon and was himself killed.
The poem was completed in England in the 8th cent.
On the back cover of my copy there's a picture of a colourful object which is an enamelled escutcheon on the rim of the large hanging bowl found at Sutton Hoo.
Beowulf - v 5.
A boat with a ringed neck rode in the haven,
icy, out-eager, the atheling's vessel,
and there they laid out their lord and master,
dealer of wound gold, in the waist of the ship,
in majesty by the mast. A mound of treasures
from far countries was fetched aboard her,
and it is said that no boat was ever more bravely fitted out
with the weapons of a warrior, war accoutrement,
swords and body armour; on hs breast were set
treasures and trappings to travel with him
on his far faring into the flood's sway.
Friday, 23 December 2016
It's definitely one of my Top 10 favourite songs of all time. I believe Ringo* composed it for his mother. It contains the the line: the road is long with many a winding turn.
The lyric could also apply to the Via Slavorum which runs from Krakau in Poland to Rome and on its long way passes through the beautiful, today white and frosty, Vienna Woods.
My Christmas walk began at the Gruss di' Gott Wirtshaus. It was a simple matter of following the signed paths and a making circular tour of Vienna's loftiest hill which is called Hermann's Kogel.
It is a short walk of 4 kms. But it's a walk to be taken slowly, like a glass of good wine, and a walk with pauses to consider and revere the good works of man and nature.
Herr Frost had been in the woods for a couple of days and nights and had painted them white. His brushstrokes were evident everywhere.
At the side of the path a sapling decorated with carrots and balls of fat. A Christmas tree for the denizens of the woods
Herr Frost's mystical patterns adorned the sides of the path like white and silvery wallpaper.
Ice and frost thawed. Stars fell on my head from on high.
Heavy with ice and frost branches arched. I felt I was in a white cathedral.
*The record shows The Long and Winding Road was composed by Paul. Who am I to argue? Perhaps Paul and Ringo worked on it together?
Thursday, 22 December 2016
I wasn't going to get one but I changed my mind when I saw Cro's.
This morning's temperature was -5 Celsius. This, to my mind, is an ideal temperature for Christmas tree shopping! There was no hanging about and looking at this and that. It's an Austrian tree and I think it's a handy size to stick in a corner, and the branches are far enough apart and long enough for the delicate process of dangling the ornaments and tweaking the tinsel.
Today my Christmas begins!
|My red nose snuffles out a bargain!|
Click on the picture text to hear the music!
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
|use pre-licked stamps|
OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION #ZOGP4829 FROM PEACEFUL PLANET ZOG
TO PLANET EARTH:
TO ACCOUNTABLE AGENCIES AND GOVERNMENTS YOUR UNIV GRID REF IS MWXPP094567223 STOP WE POSE NO THREAT TO YOU STOP WE REPEAT WE POSE NO THREAT TO YOU STOP THE COMMUNICATION IS TO INFORM YOU THAT ALL 264685771345112349 ELECTRONIC TOASTERS ON ZOG NO LONGER WORK AND ALL OUR 24728425795520580585025 SPEAKING CLOCKS NO LONGER SPEAK STOP WE ARE REQUESTING YOUR ASSISTANCE TO RESOLVE THESE MATTERS STOP WE HAVE TRACED THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM TO AN ERRATIC SERIES OF DARK VIBRATIONS FROM NUMEROUS LOCATIONS ON YOUR BLUE PLANET STOP EARTHLINGS CAN HELP POLITELY PUNCTUAL TOAST-EATING ZOGIANS AND ALSO THEIR OWN PLANET AND THEMSELVES BY RESOLVING THEIR 2591 TERRITORIAL DISPUTES AND 420673 RELIGIOUS DISAGREEMENTS IN A PLANET FRIENDLY MANNER STOP WE WISH ALL OUR 7679345245 NEW FRIENDS ON EARTH AN ENLIGHTENED SOLSTICE AND A PEACEFUL EVOLUTION IN THIS THE 5612857 TH YEAR OF THE HOLY TERMITE STOP COMMUNICATION IS NOW TERMINATED STOP MESSAGE DELIVERED BY UNIVERSALMESSAGINGBETELGEUXSTATIONZ427@MWUNIVTRANSSYST
Monday, 19 December 2016
I read somewhere that more people are dining out these days.
I also read somewhere that 40 million Americans are on food stamps.
More than 60 years ago my mother told me to eat everything on my plate because children in Africa were starving.
They still are.
Mum made sure that I got to like spinach, turnips, cabbage, legumes and other healthy foods.
Today I'm glad to say: "Thank you mum!"
By the way, mum's 96 and eats like a horse.
Sunday, 18 December 2016
1001 Nights by Walter Bauer (Union Verlag - 1963).
This is my magical book to read and dream with, notwithstanding the fact that the book's 32 coloured plates by Kurt Wendlant are mysteriously missing.
The price of the book was a mere one euro at a recent library sale. I can I hardly believe my good fortune.
The opening story which is about a poor fisherman and a rich sultan is already behind me.
Sinbad, Aladdin, Ali Baba, Prince Alasnam and other magical characters are in the wings and will bring a special magic to my Christmas holiday.
Harry Potter eat your heart out.
Today's emails brought a Christmas message. I think is worth sharing:
Mark 3 v. 31-35.
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
"Who are my mother and brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
All in a day's work.
|Shop Early for Christmas! says Father Toni F of Vienna|
In Vienna he is known as the 'Vicar of Adabei' and he is often featured rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous in the celebrity pages of Austria's most popular daily. In my cartoon he is shown giving his blessing to a newly opened lingerie shop in the city.
'Adabei' means basically 'we were there'.
There's a regular clique who like to be to the fore; troops of politicians, actors and artists can be seen straining their necks and champagne flutes while praying to get into the publicity photos, on an almost daily basis.
I don't know if 'Adabeiers' are seen regularly in Father Toni's church, which is the city's cathedral.
But that's another story.
Saturday, 3 December 2016
Anas Al Basha gave hope and joy to the children of Aleppo with his Space for Hope project.
He was killed by a costly missile or bomb fired or dropped by a fellow human being.
He was 24.
Unfunny words like "collateral damage" and "unfortunate incident" may be spoken in sombre tones by serious sounding spokespersons.
The children will not understand.
Thursday, 1 December 2016
The Sibyl of Delphi (in Greece) was "moved by the word of God" to reveal that the coming Messiah would be mocked with a crown of thorns.
Michelangelo's painting of The Last Judgement completed 25 years after the frescoes depicts hundreds of figures including the figure of Christ wearing a crown of thorns as the Sibyl of Delphi had correctly prophesied.
Shadowy demons beside the cross on which the Messiah hangs are savagely herding the damned into the pit and the darkness of Hell.
Michelangelo's carnal adventures of the damned were painted over by those who were shocked and offended.
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
|"Noah . . . became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent . . . "|
|"Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness . . . "|
|"Shem and Japheth . . . turned the other way so they would not see . . . "|
Michelangelo's depiction of Noah's right hand, seen here in close-up, is unusual to say the least.
It might be an interesting exercise to compare Noah's hand with the artist's depiction of a cloven foot in the following picture of Noah's sons sacrificing a couple of rams.
Sunday, 27 November 2016
The bronze heads to be seen at Vienna's Belvedere Palace until a few weeks ago represented the 12 heads of the 18th cent. zodiac circle of animals at Yuanmingyuan - the Palace of Calm Seas - in Beijing. Twelve figures adorned the water-clock fountain in front of the palace until 1860 when the site was destroyed by British and French troops during the Second Opium War and the heads were looted. Seven of the heads have since found their way back to China. Four recovered heads were in possession of a world famous fashion designer in Paris according to information available at the Belvedere. Five heads are still missing. May they return safely home. The artist is Ai Weiwei.