Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Finky, Binky, Stinky and Martin

Finky, Binky, Stinky and Martin

It sounds like a law firm but it's actually the names of the cats we've owned over the last twenty-five years. They each had very different personalities and little quirks. Martin was a loving and affectionate cat, Stinky was clumsy and often hit his little head running around under tables and chairs. Binky was a little scaredy cat that wouldn't come near me, but had been my wife's  little reading buddy for several years.  

The quirkiest of them all was our last cat Finky. Originally he was named Buddy, since as a little Tabby kitten he took to scrambling up my pants leg and sitting on my shoulder like a Pirate's little hairy parrot. Buddy liked that view from up there and he picked me as his master. He came from the shelter with a bad case of Stink eye or some kind of weeping cat eye problem. We would roll him up in a towel and I'd squirt ointment in his eye, an operation he just hated.

 It was obvious to everyone right from the start that he was a wild and feral cat. He was very energetic and would swipe at anything that moved which is why our grand daughter had picked him out at the shelter. It became apparent one day that he was too big to scramble up onto my shoulder anymore since he grew in size so quickly, his razor sharp claws hurt as his ever increasing weight would hang off me as he would ascend to his perch on my shoulder. Soon he was a sixteen pound grey striped Tiger and he would nip the tops of my wife's foot whenever she went into the bed room where he was kept during the day to change the sheets on the bed. I would hear her shout "no, no, bad cat!" and I would run down the hall to grab the cat and rescue my wife. When he would hear the boots stamping down the hall he would quickly run around in circles, not knowing which way to run when he would hear me coming. It soon became apparent also that he favored me over my wife to whom he was often jealous and would suddenly appear near her arm resting on the arm of the chair and bat her and run away.

His named changed to Finky at some point as we began to call him since he was a bit badly behaved. He was careful to  sharpen his claws so as not to be heard and would search for some toy among our possessions to sneak back to his room and have to himself to play with. On some occasions late at night I would hear him playing with a super ball he stole from our grand-daughter.  It would make a "brrrrr" sound late in the night, but we almost never could find it since he would hide it from us. He liked little bric-a-brac figures. If they had eyes all the better to satisfy his hunting instinct.

He learned to talk, sort of, after a fashion as well. He would learn to mimic my wife's voice to perfection, when we would come home and he would say "hello" back to us with the same inflection and pitch my wife used. He learned that if he could say it well enough we would let him out to roam in the house. Soon he learned to say and express all kinds of things. The more pitiful he could yowl like a child could get him let out. My wife would run to door and tell him he was a poor little cat. He would express happiness as well and say "rup", juts the way my wife would say "yup"!  Especially when he got let out of his room or got chicken for dinner instead of Tuna. My wife would ask if he wanted to come out and he would reply in a sad little voice "mout". 

Most nights we had a little routine where I would grab him or bend down to let him ride on my shoulder to say goodnight to Carol. Many nights I'd hold him like a child and sing little children's songs to him. My favorite to sing to him was "Come Little Rabbit". 
Help me, Help me the Rabbit said.
Or the Hunter will shoot me dead.
So come little Rabbit come with me. (I'd hold out this last syllable and the Cat would sigh with impatience here.)
Happy we will be.
Sometimes I'd make stuff up like the "I'm gunna eat you little Kitty" a song I modified from a characters singing on the British Comedy "Red Dwarf".  I'd tell him" it's the Deep Six for you Finky", then I'd grab him by his tail and belly and heave him into his back room for the night.

He often slept on my chest while I read a book, but he only let my wife pet him for just a couple of pets after five years without hissing.  When I would come home from work at night I'd tell my wife "I'm home darlin" and both Carol and the Cat would say "Hi" in unison at the same time with the same inflection and pitch. Carol and I would say together, "not you" and he would reply with a sad little "ohhh".

So after eight and a half years he had what the Vet called a little Cat heart attack. We took him in and there didn't seem to be much hope, he passed away that night after we brought him home.  He was a wild little spirit and we loved him in spite of the occasional scratch he gave us. I would jokingly tell my wife they have little brains the size of Peach Pits.  I must say though that after having had the previous Cat Binky die in my arms. I'm convinced now more than ever that they have little spirits and to the best of their ability think thoughts, and have emotions and in turn deserve compassion and kindness from us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dr. Byron J. Sharp and the documentation of early Man in North America.

My Father was a true innovator in the field of Geology, Paleontology, Minerology and finally Archeology. His work in the later lasted over forty five years and his dogged pursuit of the truth to put his work in the hands of people that would carry the knowledge into the next generations for much research in the future. His award was for "the Study of the First Americans" and it was his most cherished contribution, even over his asteroid impact theory and mapping energy resources to having Cambrian fossils named after him. It was a great way to grow up, and our home was a natural history museum of books and interesting collections of fossils, rocks, minerals and artifacts. He was a water color artist and had been the favorite nephew of Mahonri Young, having accompanied him on many trips around the west to sketch and water color whenever he came to stay with the family.  This is his article in the Mammoth Times along with acknowledgement of his award.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Celtic Culture – A to Z Blog Challenge

Glastonbury Duo (Dave & Carol Sharp)
Glastonbury Duo-David & Carol Sharp
Versión en Español se puede encontrar a continuación o haga clic aquí para ir allí. Haga clic en mí para saltar a la parte española.  Come to the free Story Crossroads Festival on April 15-16, 2016 at the Viridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 W., West Jordan, UT).
This post is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.  See more at
Saying that a story is Celtic is as broad as saying that a story came from Africa as if treating the continent as a country or that a story is Native American without any hint to the tribe.
Celts were nomadic tribes with their own kings and rulers as opposed to having one empire or country covering areas of Western Asia, Middle East, and much of Europe.
The following is background and advice shared by David Sharp who performs these types of tales through music, song, dance, and stories.  We are pleased that he and his wife, Carol, will be performing for the 2016 Story Crossroads Festival.  See more about his performing art group here:
Three Key things about Celtic Stories and a Word about Celtic Culture by Dave Sharp (with permissions):
At the present time there are seven Celtic nations or cultural groups that have survived into modern times. Many have been conquered, incorporated, or absorbed in their past, but their people remain fiercely independent and have proven difficult to assimilate. Many have once again won their  independence or autonomy. In fact cultural identity in Celtic peoples is so strong that they have even been known to assimilate conquering peoples that have invaded them. They in turn becoming as Irish as the Irish in the case of invading Normans or Norsemen.
The seven nations are Ireland, Scotland, Wales, The Isle of Man, Brittany in France, Cornwall and Gallaecia in Spain. Celtic peoples migrated out of the Indo-European plain into Europe around the 5th Century BC.  Documented by Greek writers and geographers, they were written about and fought by Julius Caesar  in western Europe bringing them partially within the scope of the Roman Empire. Celtic peoples were gradually pushed westward into Britain, Wales, Ireland, and Gallaecia by other peoples migrating across Europe from the Indo European plain in their turn. With the Anglo Saxon invaders many small Celtic enclaves were surrounded and survived with a Celtic flare in what is modern day Britain as well. What we know as the Celtic people of today is in fact a blending of many cultural groups and races.
However in spite of all the diversity among Celtic peoples, the thing they have in common is a highly spiritual and imaginative mind, which gives rise to their amazing achievements in the arts. Celtic peoples are famous for their, Music, Poetry, Dance and of course Storytelling.  There is a distinct language (Gaelic, Gallic, Cornish, Cymraeg etc.) for each group as well as cultural differences yet they share many things from their past as well.
  1. Mythology in Celtic Cultures
Having been great converts to Christianity they still kept elements from their Polytheist past. Each culture had its own separate myths, but held many elements in common. Gods, Goddesses, Faeries, Mythical creatures, Enchanted items, Early Saints, all made for exciting stories. Lyr and Mannan the Irish Sea Gods, Morrigan the Phantom Queen, Lugh the Sun God, Water Kelpies, The Blue Men of the Minch, the Twyleth Teg of Wales  or the Tuatha De Danann of Ireland or Faerie folk are good examples.  I might add a few as well off the top of my head Dagda, Saint Bridget, Saint George, the evil Fomorians and Fir Bolg along with Brownies and Dwarves are more ideas.
  1. Hero Stories as Key Element of All Celtic Warrior Societies
Courage, Magic, Destiny or a great Quest,  figure greatly in the Hero cycles. Many hero’s would have curses on them, or magical weapons, seek the Holy Grail or have enormous strength and do great deeds that were admired by Celtic peoples. One only has to think of King Arthur, Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), Cú Chulainn, King Llud, Bran the Blessed, Owain Glyndŵr, Rob Roy, William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or Jack an archetypal Cornish and English Hero that has many an Appalachian counterpart to understand the Celtic admiration for their Hero’s.
  1. Stories of the People
The stories of the people. Historical, family and anecdotal stories of everyday people are some of the kinds of stories told as well. Having a gift for the gab is another common element of Celtic people. Telling stories comes naturally to many people in these cultures as does an audience that appreciates a good story.  David Owen or David of the White Rock, Turlough O’Carolan, Saint Patrick, Saint Columba, Michael Collins, Tales of Royalty, and of course neighbors and family make for many a story.
I should say that many real people are often combined or confused with imaginary elements as well. Celtic Harp players from history are said to have learned their Harp tunes from the Faeries. Ancient Kings are said to have magical powers, Irish Rebels and Ancient Hero’s perform superhuman feats of strength or Saint Patrick driving the Snakes out of Ireland. Often History itself is said to combine with myth, as in the Irish Book of Invasions. Many places and sites have histories that include story and myth throughout the landscape.
There are many collections of stories from back in the Victorian days of tunes, stories, dances etc. As traditional culture began to disappear many societies and groups began to collect in anticipation of the remaining generation passing away without a record of the rich folk material that was their heritage. Chief O’Niell’s 1001 Irish Tune book is a good example of such a project. As Police Chief of Chicago he wrote down emigrant traditional melodies as musicians from the old country showed up in Chicago. (Sometimes as guests of the Jail) Many contemporaries of William Butler Yeats also wrote down and recorded stories of their cultural heritage as well.
Stories that are too fantastic to be true have a real place in the Celtic imagination.  Truth in the Celtic sense is an object lesson and often not a literal interpretation. One quote I like is “that if it isn’t true, it ought to be true.” Truth in storytelling among these cultures has a wide and varied and often symbolic and allegorical meaning.  To this day one only needs to look at all the permutations of the Grail or Holy Chalice to get a number of ideas that were conveyed in this allegorical fashion.
Thank you to Rachel Hedman for asking me to write this BLOG. I just love the subject matter and would have happily blabbed for many pages.
Recommended Books  on Celtic Stories and Lore:
  • William Butler Yeats – From the Irish Literary revival he wrote many plays, folk lore collections and books of Poetry. “W. B. Yeats”  Selected Poems by Gramercy
  • Lady Gregory Augusta – Also from the Irish Literary revival she wrote many plays, books and theater works.
  • The Mabinogion – are the earliest prose literature of Wales. There are many translations and rewritten versions for contemporary audiences of this wonderful myth cycle.
  • The Ulster Cycle -Hero tales from northern Ireland with close links to the Irish speaking community in Scotland. Tales concerning Cú Chulainn the Hound of Ulster.
  • The Fenian Cycle – Hero tales from the main land area of Ireland. Irish Rebels later took their name from this group of Hero’s naming themselves the “Fenian’s” after the band of warriors led by Finn MacCool.
  • “Celtic Myths and Legends” by T.W. Rolleston, Great book for reading and studying the major stories and myths of Irish Culture.
  • “Classic Myths in English Literature” by Gayley – These are mostly classical Roman and Greek myths with a section on Nordic Myths, but everyone should have this in their library anyway. While we’re at it “Beowulf” is a good to have as well.
  • “The Lady of Shallot” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (Arthurian Poem)
  • “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” – there is a nice translation by J. R. R. Tolkien of this anonymous manuscript.
  • “The Story of King Arthur by Howard Pyle” – with some wonderful illustrations by Pyle as well.
  • “Le Morte de Arthur” by Sir Thomas Mallory
  • “Celtic Myths and Legends” by  Peter Berresford Ellis

Aquí lo tiene.
Glastonbury Duo (Dave & Carol Sharp)
Glastonbury Duo-David & Carol Sharp
La Cultura Celta
Decir que una historia es celta es tan amplia como diciendo que una historia vinieron de África como si tratar el continente como un país o que una historia indígena americano sin ninguna alusión a la tribu.
Los celtas fueron tribus nómadas con sus propios reyes y gobernantes, en lugar de tener un imperio o país cubriendo las zonas de Asia Occidental, Oriente medio y gran parte de Europa.
El siguiente es el fondo y asesoramiento compartido por David Sharp que realiza estos tipos de cuentos a través de la música, el canto, la danza y las historias.  Nos complace que él y su esposa, Carol, va a realizar para el año 2016 Story Crossroads Festival.  Ver más acerca de su arte escénico grupo aquí:
Tres cosas acerca de historias celtas y una palabra acerca de la cultura celta por Dave Sharp (con permisos):
En la actualidad hay siete naciones celtas o grupos culturales que han sobrevivido en los tiempos modernos. Muchos han sido conquistados, incorporado, o absorto en su pasado, pero sus habitantes siguen siendo ferozmente independiente y han demostrado ser difíciles de asimilar. Muchos han nuevamente ganó su  independencia o autonomía. De hecho, la identidad cultural de los pueblos celtas es tan fuerte que incluso se han sabido asimilar conquistando pueblos que han invadido. Éstos, a su vez, convertirse en irlandés como los irlandeses en el caso de los invasores normandos o escandinavos.
Las siete naciones son Irlanda, Escocia, Gales, la Isla de Man, Bretaña en Francia, de Cornualles y Gallaecia en España. Los pueblos celtas emigraron de la llanura indoeuropea en Europa alrededor del siglo V A.C.  Documentado por escritores griegos y geógrafos fueron escritos sobre y luchó por Julius Caesar  en Europa occidental que ellos parcialmente dentro del ámbito del Imperio Romano. Los pueblos celtas fueron gradualmente empujados hacia el oeste en Inglaterra, Gales, Irlanda, y Gallaecia por otros pueblos de Europa migran a través de la llanura de Europa Indo en su turno. Con los invasores Anglosajones muchos pequeños enclaves celtas fueron rodeados y sobrevivió con una llamarada celta en lo que es hoy en día así como Gran Bretaña. Lo que conocemos como el pueblo celta de hoy es en realidad una mezcla de muchos grupos culturales y razas.
Sin embargo, a pesar de todas las diferencias entre los pueblos celtas, la cosa que tienen en común es una mente imaginativa y altamente espiritual, que da lugar a sus increíbles logros en el arte de los pueblos celtas, son famosos por su música, poesía, danza y por supuesto de la narración.  Hay un idioma distinto (gaélico, galas, Cornish, Cymraeg etc.) para cada grupo, así como las diferencias culturales no obstante, comparten muchas cosas de su pasado.
  1. La Mitología de culturas celtas
Habiendo sido gran convertidos al cristianismo, que aún conserva elementos de su pasado politeísta. Cada cultura tiene sus propios mitos, pero mantuvo muchos elementos en común. Dioses y diosas, hadas, criaturas míticas, elementos Encantada, principios de Santos, todos realizados para emocionantes historias. Lyr Mannan y el Mar de Irlanda, dioses, Morrigan la reina fantasma, Lugh el dios Sol, agua Kelpies, Los hombres azules de el Minch, el Twyleth Teg de Gales  o los Tuatha De Danann de Irlanda o Faerie folk son buenos ejemplos.   Yo podría añadir unos tan bien fuera de la parte superior de mi cabeza Dagda, Santa Brígida, San Jorge, el malvado y Fir Bolg Fomorians junto con Brownies y enanos son más ideas.
  1. Historias de héroes como elemento clave de todas las sociedades Guerrero celta
Coraje, la magia, el destino o una gran búsqueda,  figura mucho en el héroe de los ciclos. Muchos Hero’s habría maldiciones sobre ellos, o armas mágicas, buscando el santo grial o tienen una fuerza enorme y hacer grandes hazañas que eran admiradas por pueblos celtas. Uno sólo tiene que pensar en King Arthur, Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), Cú Chulainn, Rey Llud, Bran el bendito, Owain Glyndŵr, Rob Roy, William Wallace, Robert Bruce, o un gato Cornish y arquetípico héroe inglés que tiene muchos una contrapartida de los apalaches para entender la admiración por su héroe celta.
  1. Las historias de la gente
Las historias de la gente. Histórico, familia y de historias anecdóticas de la gente común son algunos de los tipos de relatos. Tener un don para la gab es otro elemento común del pueblo celta. Contar historias viene naturalmente a muchas personas en estas culturas como sucede en una audiencia que aprecia una buena historia.  David Owen o David de la Roca Blanca, Turlough O’Carolan, Saint Patrick, San Columba, Michael Collins, relatos de la realeza, y por supuesto a vecinos y familiares que, para muchos, una historia.
Debo decir que muchas personas reales suelen combinarse o confundirse con elementos imaginarios. Arpa céltica jugadores de la historia se dice que han aprendido sus melodías de arpa de las Hadas. Los antiguos Reyes se dice que tienen poderes mágicos, rebeldes irlandeses y antiguo héroe realizar proezas de fuerza sobrehumana o Saint Patrick conduce las serpientes fuera de Irlanda. A menudo se dice que la historia se combinan con el mito, como en el libro de las invasiones irlandés. Muchos lugares y sitios tienen historias que incluyen la historia y el mito de todo el paisaje.
Hay muchas colecciones de relatos en el período victoriano de canciones, cuentos, bailes, etc. como la cultura tradicional comenzaron a desaparecer muchas sociedades y grupos comenzaron a recoger en previsión de la generación restante fallecimiento sin un registro del rico material folclórico que fue su patrimonio. Jefe O’Niell 1001 del libro melodía irlandesa es un buen ejemplo de un proyecto. Como jefe de la policía de Chicago emigrante escribió melodías tradicionales como los músicos del viejo país mostró en Chicago. (a veces como invitados de la cárcel) muchos contemporáneos de William Butler Yeats, también escribió y grabó las historias de su patrimonio cultural.
Historias que son demasiado fantástico para ser verdad tienen un lugar real en la imaginación celta.  La verdad en el sentido Celta es un objeto de lección y, a menudo, no una interpretación literal. Una cita que me gusta es que “si no es verdad, debe ser verdad.” La verdad en la narración entre estas culturas tiene una amplia y variada y a menudo significado alegórico y simbólico.  Hasta el día de hoy, sólo hay que mirar todas las permutaciones del Grial o Santo Cáliz para obtener un número de ideas que se transmitieron en esta alegórica de la moda.
Gracias a Rachel Hedman para pedirme que escribir este blog. Me encanta el asunto y habría felizmente blabbed para muchas páginas.
Libros recomendados  sobre historias de Celta y Lore:
  • William Butler Yeats -desde el renacimiento literario irlandés escribió muchas obras de teatro, folclore y colecciones de libros de poesía. “W. B. Yeats” seleccionado poemas de Gramercy
  • Lady Augusta Gregory – también desde el renacimiento literario irlandés escribió muchas obras de teatro, libros y obras de teatro.
  • El Mabinogion – son los primeros prosa literatura de Gales. Hay muchas traducciones y reescrito versiones para el público actual de este maravilloso mito de ciclo.
  • El Ciclo de Ulster -Héroe cuentos de Irlanda del Norte, con estrechos vínculos con la comunidad de habla irlandesa en Escocia. Cuentos sobre Cú Chulainn el sabueso del Ulster.
  • El ciclo de Fenian Héroe – Cuentos de la principal área de tierra de Irlanda. Rebeldes irlandeses más tarde tomó su nombre de este grupo de nomenclatura del héroe de sí mismos los “Fenian” después de que la banda de guerreros liderados por Finn MacCool.
  • “Mitos y Leyendas celtas” por T.W. Rolleston, gran libro para leer y estudiar las grandes historias y mitos de la cultura irlandesa.
  • “Los mitos clásicos en la literatura inglesa” por Gayley – estos son mayormente clásico romano y mitos griegos con una sección sobre los mitos nórdicos, pero todo el mundo debería tener en su biblioteca de todos modos. Mientras estamos en ello “Beowulf” es una buena también.
  • “La Dama de la chalota” de Alfred Lord Tennyson (Arthurian poema)
  • “Sir Gawain y el Caballero Verde” – hay una buena traducción por J. R. R. Tolkien de este manuscrito anónimo.
  • “La historia del Rey Arturo por Howard Pyle” – con unas maravillosas ilustraciones de Pyle.
  • “Le Morte de Arthur” por Sir Thomas Mallory
  • “Mitos y Leyendas celtas” por Peter Berresford Ellis