Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lotus eater

The air is thick today. I walk at half speed through the wet soupy atmosphere.
Simon and Garfunkle's 44th st bridge song (something like that) goes through my head inadvertantly. I had planned to attend the Jazz services at Plymouth church (I had a Plymouth once, a '52. I put a Desoto motor in it)but I spent so long at Caffe Ladro with my tall drip and my chocolate brownie. that I missed it. I had lunch at J.R. Sprints instead.
Breakfast and lunch in the same hour, efficient.
I am presently at the Library where I found three more Lebrecht books to read.
"The book of Musical Anecdotes", "The Maestro Myth", and "Discord, conflict and the making of music"
Discord, that rings a bell.
Anyway, having finished the floor, I decided that careful walking would be a good thing to do for my lower back muscular spasms. Inaction seems to exacerbate the stiffness.
Solvitur Ambulando, as a dear friend of mine (someone whom I do love deeply and profoundly)once said
Soaking it in hot as could be stood water last night didn't hurt either.
I had intended to accomplish many other things on my way to the library, but this turns out to be a monotasking day
Or maybe not, days not over yet.

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2 Comments:

Blogger butch said...

Dougie:

And there you are, getting off the #7 bus, moving slowly and painfully along the public thoroughfare, making your way to the infamous Cafe Ladro, where you become and you consume the tall drip, and you masticate in public while enjoying the brownie. Ah yes, the bliss of a sojourn into the city mid-week.

Lotus-eater or Lotus Eater Greek Mythology. One of a people described in the Odyssey who lived in a drugged, indolent state from feeding on the lotus.
A lazy person devoted to pleasure and luxury.

Greek plural Lotophagoi, Latin plural Lotophagi, in Greek mythology, one of a tribe encountered by the Greek hero Odysseus on the Libyan coast, after a north wind had driven him and his men from Cape Malea. The local inhabitants, whose distinctive practice is indicated by their name, invited Odysseus' scouts to eat of the mysterious plant. Those who did so were overcome by a blissful forgetfulness; they had to be dragged…

In Greek mythology, the Lotophagi (Greek Λωτοφάγοι, lotus-eaters) were a race of people from an island near Northern Africa dominated by "lotus" plants. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary food of the island and were narcotic, causing the people to sleep in peaceful apathy.

The relevant part from the Odyssey (Book IX, translated by Samuel Butler):

"I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eaters, who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars."

The Greek word lôtos can refer to several different plants[1]:
a fodder plant such as clover, Trifolium fragiferum; the fellbloom, Lotus corniculatus; a fenugreek or melilot, Trigonella species; the Italian melilot, Melilotus messanensis; or Medicago arborea
a water-lily, either Nymphaea lotus, Nymphaea stellata, or Nelumbo nucifera (formerly known as Nymphaea nelumbo)
the nettle-tree, Celtis australis
Ziziphus lotus, a relative of the jujube
It is the last of these, or another member of genus Ziziphus, that is traditionally taken to be the plant meant in the Odyssey .

Herodotus mentions the Lotophagi in his description of North Africa, and identifies the lotus as a plant similar to the date palm [2].

Recent studies have shown that the blue water-lily of the Nile, Nymphaea caerulea, also known as the blue lotus (already known under this name to the Greeks), is a stronger candidate. It can be processed to be used as a soporific and in some formulations has psychedelic properties. It is very common in Egyptian iconography which suggests its use in a religious context.

Where is the island of the Lotus-eaters?
The island of the Lotophagi may be the modern Djerba. It is a likely candidate because there are very few islands on the North African coast; however, Herodotus says that the Lotophagi live on a peninsula, not an island.


Modern references to the lotus eaters
In modern usage, people who frequently daydream or think of impractical ideas can be called "lotus-eaters".

"The Lotus-Eaters" (or, in the original spelling, "The Lotos-Eaters") is a celebrated poem written in 1833 by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) based on the passage from the Odyssey mentioned above, though in Tennyson's version, Odysseus does not feel bound to force the lotus-eaters to return to their homeland.

In Robert E. Howard's novelette, "Xuthal of the Dusk", Conan finds the lost city of Xuthal, where he encounters the last descendents of a once-great civilisation, who spend most of their time in a drug-induced haze. Only Conan and his companion, Natala, escape. In other Conan stories, Howard refers to lotuses of various colors having various narcotic effects.

The popular 8-bit computer game, Sabre Wulf, features lotus plants of various colours, each of which has differing effects upon the character (super speed, reversed controls, immunity to harm, etc).

This Side of Paradise is a Star Trek episode in which Captain Kirk has to rescue his crew and a planetary colony from alien spores that cause them to enjoy only lackadaisical hedonistic pursuits. When the USS Enterprise arrived they found essentially an island of the Lotus-eaters, and his crew became infected as well. It was up to Kirk (in the role of Odysseus) to forcefully break them out of their euphoric state and bring them back to reality.

In the book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the island of the Lotus Eaters has been modernized into the "Lotus Hotel and Casino" a hotel of free food and hundreds of thousands of videogames in an extremely comfortable environment, causing visitors to not want to leave, and even if they do they have been caught in a sort of time warp that makes time pass by very quickly in the hotel.

It is also notable that the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is nicknamed "Lotus Land" in reference to the laid-back philosophy of the city's inhabitants. This nickname is also attributed to drug use and acceptance in Vancouver, especially of marijuana. Thus the society of Vancouver is likened to that of the Lotophagi.

The name "[The] Lotus Eater[s]" has often been used for bands, films, works of literature, and so on. See The Lotus Eaters for a list.

In his novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley makes reference to a substance with a similar quality which he calls soma. This is provided to the populace by the government to keep them pliant and happy and not question the autocracy.

In the short story "The Lion of Comarre" by Arthur C. Clarke (a companion to Against the Fall of Night), the term 'Lotus-Eater' refers to the inhabitants of the legendary mechanical city of Comarre. The city is comparable to the 'Island of the Lotus Eaters' except in a science-fiction sense: the city houses a machine which can determine your deepest desires, and project them into your mind when you fall asleep, allowing you to live a second life of infinite luxury. Legend has it that of all the explorations into the mysterious city, none returned.

Do I remember your 1952 Plymouth with the DeSoto engine in it? Was it a 4-door? What color? I had several flathead 6 cylinger 49-51 Plymouths. I loved the fake wood dashes, and the Plymouth ship on the horn in the middle of the hard baked plastic steering wheel. The body style was for shit, compared to the 49-51 Chevs and Fords, but they were reliable as hell, and got pretty good gas mileage. My favorite little Mopar was a 1934 Plymouth coupe I had, and Art helped me put a 1949 Chrysler big six in it. We had the manifold split, and put duals on it. Don Jackson, working down at Leons, just above Lincoln Park, painted the coupe for me --an ice blue metallic. I had everything done on the cheap, and yet it was a sweet ride. Six months after I got it fixed up, I guy I worked with at Sunny Jim one summer fell in love with the car, and he talked me into swapping straight across for his 1957 Ford Fairlane with a stick shift. My brother-in-law sold me a tri-power manifold, and I had Leon put 3 two-barrol carbs on it. Damn, that car was awesome. I could smoke up the tires in every gear. I scared the shit out of myself, nearly jumping off the road one wet day that I got on it; and I got a couple speeding tickets with it. So like the punk coward I was, I sold it, and started driving a sane 1952 Chev business coupe. I think you were in the Army, up at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks at the time. Or were you? I know you were not living in Los Angeles yet, or at least I don't think so.

What kind of a joint is J.R.Sprints? A sandwich shop, a tofu cafe, a bar and grill?

You and the Seattle Public Library. Man, what a relationship. Did the chick show up again offering you a book bag and a smile? You visiting there so much puts me in mind of all those wonderful scenes in the library in the Wim Wender's classic fantasy film, the esoteric WINGS OF DESIRE. The Angels all hung out at the library in Berlin because there was such a variety of people for them to help there. They used the same premise in the American remake, CITY OF ANGELS, with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan; not a bad flick for a rip off.

By the way, shame on an old rocker like you for misspelling Simon Garfunkel's name. The song that was rattling around in your brainpan, I assume, was in fact THE 59TH STREET BRIDGE SONG, aka FEELIN' GROOVY, from their album, THE ESSENTIAL SIMON & GARFUNKEL. For me, their harmonies, bring back those halcyon days of the 60's, right up there with Janis Joplin and Big Brother, James Marshall Hendrix, and the Fab Four. I loved their music in Mike Nichol's film, THE GRADUATE. Good old Mrs. Robinson. Too bad even Anne Bancroft had to get old and die of uterian cancer in 2005. The casting for THE GRADUATE (1967) went through some interesting changes. Nichols fought to use Simon & Garfunkel for the musical score, against the studio's wishes. They wanted Burt Bacherach. At one point Charles Grodin was cast as Benjamin, but that fell through. Then Robert Redford tested with Candice Bergen (her for Katherine Ross's role). Nichols turned him down because he could not portray a loser with women. Nichols talked first to Jeanne Moreau for Mrs. Robinson. The studio felt she was not big enough box office. Then he talked with Ava Gardner, but she wanted too much money. She offered it to Doris Day, but she felt it was way to risque for her image. I think she should have done it. Look at how cool it was to see Julie Andrew's tits in S.O.B.(1981). Warren Beatty was considered for Ben, and he tested with Patricia Neal. Finally Anne Bancroft was signed and the rest is film history. That famous poster of Hoffman standing behind the leg of Mrs. Robinson --that is not Bancroft's leg. It was a model named Linda Gray.

CAFFE LADRO'S
MISSION STATEMENT

To provide coffee and stuff that goes with coffee to the Seattle public.
Actually, when we say “coffee”, it includes espresso drinks, like lattes and those cappuccino thingys. And by “stuff” we mean desserts and baked goods, which isn’t easy because flour and eggs are kinda messy. And when we say the Seattle public, we don’t mean the entire Seattle public. At least not all at once. Not with only ten stores. That would be a heck of a long line. But we could get everyone to come in at different times. Maybe have some kind of lottery system, or you know, kinda stagger it… or whatever. Then we could handle it. Then everyone in the whole city could say “hi” to each other. It would be one big happy Seattle, synchronized perfectly with Ladro coffee and stuff. Heck, with Seattle being so important and all, maybe the whole world would be happier. Yeah. That would be cool.

I did not realize that the CAFE LADRO was a franchise operation. You go, I guess, to:
Downtown (Union)
108 Union St
Seattle, WA
(206) 267-0600
5:30am - 11:00pm Every Day
and they have stores at 801 Pine St, downtown, on Capital Hill, Lower Queen Anne, Upper Queen Anne, Bothell, Fremont, West Seattle, Edmonds, and Issaquah.

And let's see, the other joint you hang out at is:
JR Sprints Cafe
(206) 682-8294
304 Union St, Seattle 98101

Nearby restaurants

Gelatiamo
Subway (3rd Ave.)
Wild Ginger
Harried and Hungry
Bruno's Mexican-Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Now it seems that Solvitur Ambulando has his own web site in Virginia, subtitled, SOLVED BY WALKING. If he truly is a "friend" of yours, why the hell does he not have a link to FEEL FREE TO LAUGH on the site?

THE MAESTRO MYTH

Music critic/provocateur Norman Lebrecht didn't make the high muckety-mucks of the classical music industry at all happy with this iconoclastic book, but he did open a lot of eyes. In 328 fascinating pages, he exposes the foibles and failings (musical and otherwise) of the great conductors of the last century. Why are there so few really outstanding conductors, and so many surface-skimming mediocrities? How did the conductor go from a mere time-beater to a powerful, immensely well-paid figure who jets from continent to continent and from podium to podium, hobnobbing with presidents and tycoons instead of with other musicians? Lebrecht explores all these factors, along with the history of conducting, and in the process dishes a few good anecdotes. He also shines the light on Ronald Wilford, the superagent of Columbia Artists Management, Inc., who controls the careers of more than 100 conductors--and, therefore, controls much of classical music. Lebrecht gets a few facts wrong (mostly minor--there haven't, for example, been stockyards in Chicago for some decades), but most of his points are well taken

THE BOOK OF MUSICAL ANECDOTES

Here is one of the most enjoyable and illuminating books ever published for the music lover, a feast of delightful anecdotes that reveal the all-too-human side of the great composers and performers.
There are stories of appetites (Handel eating dinner for three), embarrassments (Brahms falling asleep as Liszt plays), oddities (Bruckner's dog being trained to howl at Wagner), and devotions (a lovely admirer disrobing in tribute to Puccini). There are memorable accounts of Stravinsky telling Proust how much he hates Beethoven, of Tchaikovsky's first bewildering telephone call, of Dvorak's strange love of pigeons, and of Verdi's intricate maneuvering to keep the now-famous melody of "La donna è mobile" top secret.

There is also wonderful trivia (Beethoven loved to cat "bread soup" made with ten raw eggs), along with eccentric strategies (Verdi, disturbed by the sound of street organs playing arias from his operas, hired them all for a season and kept them locked in a room). There are examples of musicians munificent generosity (Haydn called Mozart "the greatest composer known to me, either in person or by name"), and scathing dismissal ("Have you heard any Stockhausen?" the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham was asked. "No," he replied, "but I believe I have trodden in some").

Collected from thousands of books, articles, and unpublished manuscripts (with historical sources provided in extensive notes), these anecdotes appear in their original form, throwing fresh light on familiar figures in the musical hall of fame. For browsing, reading, research and amusement, this book is a grand entertainment for concert-goers, record-buyers, operamanes, gossips and music lovers everywhere.

Discord: Conflict and the making of music (Unknown Binding)
by Norman Lebrecht (Author)
No customer reviews yet. Be the first.
@ 252 pages.

Yeah, keep after that monotasking. Leave the multitasking to the women.

Glenn

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting blog!!!
Some plants are healthier than many processed foods. Margrit is a semi-expert on this. So, I expect to eat some plant food during my two week return to her part of the world, nine timezones distant.
--Anonomann

6:14 PM  

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