Warning Of Departed Time

“It is almost startling to hear this warning of departed time sounding among the tombs, and telling the lapse of the hour, which, like a billow, has rolled us onward towards the grave.”
― Washington Irving, The Sketch Book

Large Bell, Edo Period, Crow Collection, Dallas, Texas

 

From the Crow Museum Website:

Large bells such as this were common in the Edo period to mark time for communities. They were often paid for by collecting coins from parishes and locales, and then melted down for the metal. These bells are clapper-less and were struck with a large wooden beam. With the introduction of Western clocks into Japan, fewer large bells, like this one, were needed. Modernity also called for replacing the traditional calendar based on the zodiac with a January to December year. Bells continued to be made, but their use was more commemorative and ceremonial than practical.

You Lived And Died Alone

You lived and died alone, especially in fighters. Fighters. Somehow, despite everything, that word had not become sterile. You slipped into the hollow cockpit and strapped and plugged yourself into the machine. The canopy ground shut and sealed you off. Your oxygen, your very breath, you carried into the chilled vacuum, in a steel bottle.

— James Salter, The Hunters

Bell P-39 Airacobra, Commemorative Air Force, Wings Over Dallas

Like most guys, I was an airplane geek when I was a kid. I especially loved WWII planes.

To visit a vintage air show brings back odd memories – I remember building models of every plane there – from decades and decades ago, the smell of styrene, glue, and Testor’s paint. I had even built a Bell P-39 Airacobra and remember it after all that time. I remember it had its engine in the back and powered the prop by a shaft that ran between the pilot’s legs.

It was never very successful for the US Air Force because of poor high altitude performance, but the Russians used it to great effect. Their fighting was all along the ground.

I never thought I’d actually get to see one fly, but I did. Pretty cool.

Adjust To Your Needs

If you’re in the middle of the ocean with no flippers and no life preserver and you hear a helicopter, this is music. You have to adjust to your needs at the moment.
—- Tom Waits

Rotor on a Bell UH-1 Huey on temporary display, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas

Rotor on a Bell UH-1 Huey on temporary display, University of Texas at Dallas,
Richardson, Texas

Helicopter courtesy of Cavanaugh Flight Museum

Ice and Iron

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

A hungry feeling came o’er me stealing
And the mice were squealing in my prison cell
And the old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the royal canal

To begin the morning the screw was bawling
“Get up, ya bowsie, and clean up your cell”
And the old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the royal canal

The screw was peeping, Humpy Gussy was sleeping
As I lay there dreaming of my girl, Sal
And the old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the royal canal

Up in the female prison there are seventy-five women
And ’tis among them I wish I did dwell
Then the old triangle could go jingle jangle
All along the banks of the royal canal
All along the banks of the royal canal
—-The Auld Triangle, trad, Dominic Behan

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Travelin’ Light

Travelin’ Light by Alison Saar (detail), Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans, Louisiana

Travelin’ Light, Alison Saar

Travelin’ Light presents a formally dressed man, hanging by his bare feet, a powerful but dignified reference to torture and abandonment. Saar has made the figure into a bell. When the chain on its back is pulled, a sonorous sound is heard, ringing for all victims of violence and terror.

I looked at Traveln’ Light and walked around it. I read the little nameplate and the blurb in the guidemap and discovered it was a bell. I thought about reaching out to the metal chain inside the hollow of the hanged man’s head and giving it a ring, but my reticence to actually touch artworks on display was greater than my curiosity as to its sound. A few minutes later, while I was a third of the way around the little pond, some guy with a gimme cap on backwards walked up to it and was ringing away with abandon. It had a dolorous sound, not bright like a church bell, more of a dull peal.

No human beings more dangerous than those who have suffered for a belief: the great persecutors are recruited from the martyrs not quite beheaded. Far from diminishing the appetite for power, suffering exasperates it.

—-Emil Cioran