29MAY2020 – Quote of the Day

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;

Death closes all: but something ere the end,

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep

Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (Ulysses)

Anonymous – Abdul A-Bul-Bul A-Mir

I love a good nonsense poem or song.  I believe that Sons of the Pioneers released a version of this in the 1930s.

 

 

The sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold

And quite unaccustomed to fear

But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah

Was Abdul Abulbul Amir

 

If you wanted a man to encourage the van

Or harass the foe from the rear

Storm fort or redoubt, you had only to shout

For Abdul Abulbul Amir

 

Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame

In the troops that were led by the Czar

And the bravest of these was a man by the name

Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar

 

He could imitate Irving, play poker and pool,

And strum on the Spanish guitar.

In fact quite the cream of the Muscovite team

Was Ivan Skavisnsky Skavar.

 

One day this bold Russian, he shouldered his gun

And donned his most truculent sneer

Downtown he did go where he trod on the toe

Of Abdul Abulbul Amir

 

“Young man,” quoth Abdul, “Has life grown so dull

That you wish to end your career?

Vile infidel know, you have trod on the toe

Of Abdul Abulbul Amir”

 

“So take your last look at the sunshine and brook

And send your regrets to the Czar

For by this I imply, you are going to die

Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar”

 

Said Ivan, “My friend, your remarks in the end

Will avail you but little, I fear

For you ne’er will survive to repeat them alive

Mister Abdul Abulbul Amir”

 

Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty skibouk

With a cry of “Allah Akbar,”

And with murderous intent he ferociously went

For Ivan Skavinsky Skavar

 

They parried and thrust, they side-stepped and cussed

Of blood they spilled a great part

The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes

Say that hash was first made on the spot

 

They fought all that night neath the pale yellow moon

The din, it was heard from afar

And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame

Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar

 

As Abdul’s long knife was extracting the life

In fact he was shouting, “Huzzah!”

He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck

Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar

 

The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly

Expecting the victor to cheer

But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh

Of Abdul Abulbul Amir

 

Czar Petrovich, too, in his spectacles blue

Sauntered up in his gold-plated car

And arrived just in time to exchange a last line

With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar

 

There’s a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls

And engraved there in characters clear

Is, “Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul

Of Abdul Abulbul Amir”

 

A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night

Caused ripples to spread wide and far

It was made by a sack fitting close to the back

Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar

 

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps

Neath the light of the cold northern star

And the name that she murmurs in vain as she weeps

Is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar

Langdon Smith – Evolution

Can you find a more American poet than a man born in Kentucky and died in Flatbush, Brooklyn who fought in the Indian Wars of the West, served as newspaper reporter in New York City covering the Spanish American War and the James J. Corbett/Bob Fitzsimmons boxing match but still wrote a love poem to his wife about a tadpole and a fish.  If only Camera Girl were so lucky.

Evolution

When you were a tadpole and I was a fish
In the Paleozoic time,
And side by side on the ebbing tide
We sprawled through the ooze and slime,
Or skittered with many a caudal flip
Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,
My heart was rife with the joy of life,
For I loved you even then.

Mindless we lived and mindless we loved
And mindless at last we died;
And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift
We slumbered side by side.
The world turned on in the lathe of time,
The hot lands heaved amain,
Till we caught our breath from the womb of death
And crept into life again.

We were amphibians, scaled and tailed,
And drab as a dead man’s hand;
We coiled at ease ‘neath the dripping trees
Or trailed through the mud and sand.
Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet
Writing a language dumb,
With never a spark in the empty dark
To hint at a life to come.

Yet happy we lived and happy we loved,
And happy we died once more;
Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold
Of a Neocomian shore.
The eons came and the eons fled
And the sleep that wrapped us fast
Was riven away in a newer day
And the night of death was passed.

Then light and swift through the jungle trees
We swung in our airy flights,
Or breathed in the balms of the fronded palms
In the hush of the moonless nights;
And oh! what beautiful years were there
When our hearts clung each to each;
When life was filled and our senses thrilled
In the first faint dawn of speech.

Thus life by life and love by love
We passed through the cycles strange,
And breath by breath and death by death
We followed the chain of change.
Till there came a time in the law of life
When over the nursing sod
The shadows broke and the soul awoke
In a strange, dim dream of God.

I was thewed like an Auroch bull
And tusked like the great cave bear;
And you, my sweet, from head to feet
Were gowned in your glorious hair.
Deep in the gloom of a fireless cave,
When the night fell o’er the plain
And the moon hung red o’er the river bed
We mumbled the bones of the slain.

I flaked a flint to a cutting edge
And shaped it with brutish craft;
I broke a shank from the woodland lank
And fitted it, head and haft;
Than I hid me close to the reedy tarn,
Where the mammoth came to drink;
Through the brawn and bone I drove the stone
And slew him upon the brink.

Loud I howled through the moonlit wastes,
Loud answered our kith and kin;
From west to east to the crimson feast
The clan came tramping in.
O’er joint and gristle and padded hoof
We fought and clawed and tore,
And cheek by jowl with many a growl
We talked the marvel o’er.

I carved that fight on a reindeer bone
With rude and hairy hand;
I pictured his fall on the cavern wall
That men might understand.
For we lived by blood and the right of might
Ere human laws were drawn,
And the age of sin did not begin
Til our brutal tusks were gone.

And that was a million years ago
In a time that no man knows;
Yet here tonight in the mellow light
We sit at Delmonico’s.
Your eyes are deep as the Devon springs,
Your hair is dark as jet,
Your years are few, your life is new,
Your soul untried, and yet —

Our trail is on the Kimmeridge clay
And the scarp of the Purbeck flags;
We have left our bones in the Bagshot stones
And deep in the Coralline crags;
Our love is old, our lives are old,
And death shall come amain;
Should it come today, what man may say
We shall not live again?

God wrought our souls from the Tremadoc beds
And furnish’d them wings to fly;
He sowed our spawn in the world’s dim dawn,
And I know that it shall not die,
Though cities have sprung above the graves
Where the crook-bone men made war
And the ox-wain creaks o’er the buried caves
Where the mummied mammoths are.

Then as we linger at luncheon here
O’er many a dainty dish,
Let us drink anew to the time when you
Were a tadpole and I was a fish.

 

By Langdon Smith (1858-1908)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Need a Long Telephoto Lens

So here’s the kind of lousy pictures you get when you use a 90mm macro as your wildlife long telephoto lens.

Actually the frog picture wouldn’t have been much better with a long lens but I wanted to use it today.

I’ve been vacillating between whether I need a long lens or just lust after it.  I think this embarrassing display proves I really do need one.  I’m thinking of renting the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS E-Mount Lens and the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens and doing a very close comparison.  The Sport version of the Sigma is a really good lens too but it’s a couple of pounds heavier and I think that makes it less versatile.  The Sigma is half the price of the Sony so if they’re really close in IQ I think I’ll probably let sanity prevail but we’ll see.  When it comes to photography I’m not highly rational.