L’amour: l’énigme

A friend who had grown up in a Far Eastern country told me the other day I have never been in love. I do not know what love is.” She asked me if I knew it, had I experienced it. As I thought about how to describe it, I was hampered by some pity for her; many people I knew and dear friends and family knew of love, consuming love. But no one or my friend should ever go through life without loving and being loved passionately. Never! Why, why, WHY our obsession with either or!?

I was reminded by this classic story about love and its complications. You might remember the ancient story by a famous poet in a time long ago. For my allegorical blog-post here I begin in its third book toward the end, and continue, hopping forward, into the fourth:

A Laborious Stormy Life

“Here, after endless labours, often toss’d
By raging storms, and driv’n on ev’ry coast,
My dear, dear father, spent with age, I lost:
Ease of my cares, and solace of my pain,
Sav’d thro’ a thousand toils, but sav’d in vain
The prophet, who my future woes reveal’d,
Yet this, the greatest and the worst, conceal’d;
And dire Celaeno, whose foreboding skill
Denounc’d all else, was silent of the ill.
This my last labour was. Some friendly god
From thence convey’d us to your blest abode.”

[…]

But anxious cares already seiz’d the queen:
She fed within her veins a flame unseen;
The hero’s valour, acts, and birth inspire
Her soul with love, and fan the secret fire.
His words, his looks, imprinted in her heart,
Improve the passion, and increase the smart.

Though the wayward, seafaring Prince of refuge had encountered many storms and had been thrown off course in his noble journey, he assured the beautiful Tyrian Queen his misfortune and delay was apparently quite fortuitous, nigh… serendipitous? The Queen was taken by this Trojan’s story, seized and smitten, swept by winds unknown, yet dripped with sweet intoxication.

Traps, Temptations and Diversions – Or Fate?

When next the Sun his rising light displays,
And gilds the world below with purple rays,
The queen, Aeneas, and the Tyrian court
Shall to the shady woods, for sylvan game, resort.
There, while the huntsmen pitch their toils around,
And cheerful horns from side to side resound,
A pitchy cloud shall cover all the plain
With hail, and thunder, and tempestuous rain;
The fearful train shall take their speedy flight,
Dispers’d, and all involv’d in gloomy night;
One cave a grateful shelter shall afford
To the fair princess and the Trojan lord.

Fault Not the Forces of Storms, Satyr and Nymph

Meantime, the gath’ring clouds obscure the skies:
From pole to pole the forky lightning flies;
The rattling thunders roll; and Juno pours
A wintry deluge down, and sounding show’rs.
The company, dispers’d, to converts ride,
And seek the homely cots, or mountain’s hollow side.
The rapid rains, descending from the hills,
To rolling torrents raise the creeping rills.
The queen and prince, as love or fortune guides,
One common cavern in her bosom hides.
Then first the trembling earth the signal gave,
And flashing fires enlighten all the cave;
Hell from below, and Juno from above,
And howling nymphs, were conscious of their love.

While her accidental guest from the sea leaves her arms to return to his men and army, Queen Dido cannot help but long for him and his return. For her, the official public vows of eternal love and marriage could not happen soon enough. She had fallen, hard, and floats head-over-heels. From that night forward there was no return to her previous life. In a near hypnotic trance she recalls their fiery night in the cave while storms raged. Fate had delivered a succulent honey-coated future together, forever squirming in gooey sloppy love. Everything she had ever hoped or dreamt awaited her and the Master of her heart Poseidon miraculously tossed onto her shores. Dido’s yearning is not unlike this modern song that ominously tells of nonstop, irrepressible passion and love:

But as the adage goes, all good things either change or come to an end.

As Pietas, Minerva and Athena before Her

The Gods and Goddesses are angry at Aeneas! They must remind the Trojan Prince he has a much bigger date with destiny and with glory of an empire. Duty, honor, and unwavering loyalty was most prized and sought by Greco-Roman culture, sometimes at the expense of beautifully simple things.

DEGENERATE MAN,
Thou woman’s property, what mak’st thou here,
These foreign walls and Tyrian tow’rs to rear,
Forgetful of thy own? All-pow’rful Jove,
Who sways the world below and heav’n above,
Has sent me down with this severe command:
What means thy ling’ring in the Libyan land?
If glory cannot move a mind so mean,
Nor future praise from flitting pleasure wean,
Regard the fortunes of thy rising heir:
The promis’d crown let young Ascanius wear,
To whom th’ Ausonian scepter, and the state
Of Rome’s imperial name is ow’d by fate.”

Insatiable love, desire… or duty, honor, glory? One must choose principles or passion. You cannot have both. Surrender to irrationality or stay the course, stern and cold. Much of human history has taught us through myth, legend, and prose that we must always choose one or the other. In my life I have gone through this battle more times than I care to count. Now, well into the last half of my expected lifetime, I have only just learned and confirmed the last fifteen years… it is not either/or, one or the other. I ask when, in the history of humanity have we always been giddy and content with restraints, limits, injustice, enslavement or being told “No. Impossible. It cannot be done!”?

Honor and Loyalty. My Dad taught me a lot about honor and loyalty, the kind that ignores death, ignores irrational emotions and passion or fear for the sake of the mission. Semper Fi”! He believed those two virtues were the highest qualities to aspire and live out. They are invincible, impenetrable, and unmoving for a U.S. Marine and man of principle. I believed him, to the marrow of my bones and to the deepest corner of my heart I believed him. I’m sure too he unflinchingly believed the Trojans and Spartans. Then April 25th, 1981 happened.

Like Aeneas to Dido, in my senior year of high school on Halloween night I was consensually seized, taken and swept downstream by the voluptuous beauty, spunk, vivacious lure and charm of my Roxanne. I lost my virginity that night, but it didn’t matter. I was lost on another planet and I did not care. I thought, this is what Dad has been talking about and trying to teach its profound meaning, its euphoric highs and explosions. Oh yeah… and with possible life-altering, lifetime consequences. My 17-year old brain libido kept repeating one thing in my head:  Woah! I want/need more euphoric explosions! Every night or second night if possible!

But as it turned out I was very young and naive in the arena of love. Nothing I had hoped, dreamt, or expected for Roxanne and I played out. Five months later I caught my Roxanne inside another man’s kiss and heated embrace. I was so devastated the next 6-8 weeks, not only had I gotten fired from my great-paying summer job—a graveyard shift I had lost too much sleep from my Love’s betrayal—but I also sank into utter apathy over school grades combined with as many opportunities to drown myself in bottles of Bacardi Rum or in search of Jose Cuervo’s worm at the bottom. Those were some of my worst, last three-months of my high school senior year. They were also leading up to university where I had a near-full soccer/football scholarship—based on my athletic ability yes, but also high marks of course—waiting for me and my very promising collegiate then, as it turned out, pro soccer career. Did my foolish heart and Roxanne ruin my destiny?

Hindsight had taught me then and now that unleashed, reckless, teenage libidos are exactly what the Greeks and Romans feared most; like eruptions of Thera and Mount Vesuvius fear and terror… they cowered and ran from Earth-trembling, roaring, explosive, consuming eroticism. And I have learned by firstloins firsthand, many times (over 70 times to be precise) why they feared it so and were paralyzed by its voracity as had overwhelmed the aimless, smitten, refugee-Prince from Troy, Aeneas.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Queen Betrayed and Abandoned

Once the intentions of Aeneas had been discovered Dido was hurt and angered by the Prince’s unscrupulous plan of secret escape. Rightly furious she hunts Aeneas and gives him a piece of her mind:

But soon the queen perceives the thin disguise:
(What arts can blind a jealous woman’s eyes!)
She was the first to find the secret fraud,
Before the fatal news was blaz’d abroad.

[…]

At length she finds the dear perfidious man;
Prevents his form’d excuse, and thus began:
“Base and ungrateful! could you hope to fly,
And undiscover’d scape a lover’s eye?
Nor could my kindness your compassion move.
Nor plighted vows, nor dearer bands of love?
Or is the death of a despairing queen
Not worth preventing, tho’ too well foreseen?
Ev’n when the wintry winds command your stay,
You dare the tempests, and defy the sea.
False as you are, suppose you were not bound
To lands unknown, and foreign coasts to sound;
Were Troy restor’d, and Priam’s happy reign,
Now durst you tempt, for Troy, the raging main?
See whom you fly! am I the foe you shun?

[…]

Justice is fled, and Truth is now no more!
I sav’d the shipwreck’d exile on my shore;
With needful food his hungry Trojans fed;
I took the traitor to my throne and bed:
Fool that I was—— ’tis little to repeat
The rest, I stor’d and rigg’d his ruin’d fleet.
I rave, I rave! A god’s command he pleads,
And makes Heav’n accessary to his deeds.
Now Lycian lots, and now the Delian god,
Now Hermes is employ’d from Jove’s abode,
To warn him hence; as if the peaceful state
Of heav’nly pow’rs were touch’d with human fate!
But go! thy flight no longer I detain;
Go seek thy promis’d kingdom thro’ the main!
Yet, if the heav’ns will hear my pious vow,
The faithless waves, not half so false as thou,
Or secret sands, shall sepulchers afford
To thy proud vessels, and their perjur’d lord.

Despite Dido’s outrage, tears, and pleas he would remain, to alter Aeneas’ heart back to her’s, the redirected Prince on the other hand feared more the reprisals of the gods if he failed to attend his greater destiny and glory. The modern rendering might be described as ‘service to social customs’ first and always—abiding to all at the expense of a beloved few.

Which is greater? It is a classic dilemma, an enigma that Virgil, at least, and certainly divine beings rip at our human nature and egos, whether insidious or not. It could be argued today that not too much has changed since 19 BCE, hence this blog-post’s title, Love: The Enigma. No, not Love the Enigma. However, many would enjoy the misread, macabre, but false title. Thanks to the Greeks we are darkly fond of a tragedy aren’t we? Ah, I mustn’t digress so much.

Dance of the Swords, Chronic Gods and Burning Hearts

Since Aeneas could not be dissuaded, that night in her chambers Dido flounders back in forth between bitter anger and fierce love. Her memories of passion now become unbearable torture with only one end in sight: waiting for Aeneas with no assurances. Her impending emptiness could be told by a song, this (2017) song, which conveys just one or another effect Dido could’ve lived with and longed for it’s return:

Eventually, unable to sleep and in emotional exhaustion, she hatches a rather impulsive scheme to escape her cruel fate and glory-smacked Lover.

The wretched queen, pursued by cruel fate,
Begins at length the light of heav’n to hate,
And loathes to live. Then dire portents she sees,
To hasten on the death her soul decrees:
Strange to relate! for when, before the shrine,
She pours in sacrifice the purple wine,
The purple wine is turn’d to putrid blood,
And the white offer’d milk converts to mud.
This dire presage, to her alone reveal’d,
From all, and ev’n her sister, she conceal’d.

Tragically, Queen Dido could never compete with a man’s fame and destiny, much less the Gods of Mercury, Jupiter, and Zeus. The latter made sure of it by going again to Aeneas that night, disturbing him so deeply that he chose to sail to Italy with his fleet before sunrise. Atop her city walls and taller palace Dido watched Aeneas and his Trojan fleet take to the sea. It was a sharp spear pushed deeper into her broken heart and dreams. In tears, she turned toward the large pile of all Aeneas’ items he left for her, but was now among stacked wood, sticks, and kindling. A platform was on top with Aeneas’ dagger.

Then swiftly to the fatal place she pass’d,
And mounts the fun’ral pile with furious haste;
Unsheathes the sword the Trojan left behind
(Not for so dire an enterprise design’d).
But when she view’d the garments loosely spread,
Which once he wore, and saw the conscious bed,
She paus’d, and with a sigh the robes embrac’d;
Then on the couch her trembling body cast,
Repress’d the ready tears, and spoke her last:
“Dear pledges of my love, while Heav’n so pleas’d,
Receive a soul, of mortal anguish eas’d:
My fatal course is finish’d; and I go,
A glorious name, among the ghosts below.
A lofty city by my hands is rais’d,
Pygmalion punish’d, and my lord appeas’d.
What could my fortune have afforded more,
Had the false Trojan never touch’d my shore!”
Then kiss’d the couch; and, “Must I die,” she said,
“And unreveng’d? ‘Tis doubly to be dead!
Yet ev’n this death with pleasure I receive:
On any terms, ’tis better than to live.
These flames, from far, may the false Trojan view;
These boding omens his base flight pursue!”

Quickly after lighting the pyre, the flames surrounded Dido and soon would engulf her. She picks up Aeneas’ dagger. Stricken by unbearable circumstances, betrayal, humiliation of her throne and dishonored love—and one must presume her virginity too—Dido thrust the dagger into her chest and soon falls breathless with no more tears of pain. She had freed herself from the heartless cruelties of patriarchal gods and glorified princes:

Meantime the Trojan cuts his wat’ry way,
Fix’d on his voyage, thro’ the curling sea;
Then, casting back his eyes, with dire amaze,
Sees on the Punic shore the mounting blaze.
The cause unknown; yet his presaging mind
The fate of Dido from the fire divin’d;
He knew the stormy souls of womankind…

Once again these damned obsessions with either or… by men, women and their kingdoms—customs or ancient traditions too—and the God(s) that supposedly made them and chronically intervene when their created go awry or follow their hearts and natural passions! Why? What a madhouse of celestial rulers (or Ruler) we’re under and terrestrial, accidental(?) circus we mortals reside and travail!

Glorious Duty or Hastened Death?

An odd question? Maybe not. If there are some lessons we can learn from Virgil’s culture, and his ancient Greeks, they did indeed know a few things about passionate, perhaps reckless irresponsible love believe it or not. For them love had at least six forms, in no order or hierarchy:

  • Eros, or sexual passion, including steamy gooey eroticism
  • Philia, or deep unbreakable friendship
  • Ludus, or playful love and lust, but not hidden or deceiving
  • Agape, or love for everyone without discrimination
  • Pragma, or longstanding, reliable love
  • Philautia, or love of self or a very healthy self-esteem

These six different forms of love indeed exist around the world and are practiced quite well. Furthermore, this concept is applied and functions in expanded forms beyond six. In some parts of the world they are not bound by two people or a couple, let alone marriage. I dare say proudly (with full confidence), in various regions they are not limited by gender or sexual orientation either. Not in the least, thank all the stars and galaxies for that! Rhetorically speaking, do the customs and norms of Virgil’s day or any days in early to late Antiquity still govern and apply today?

If the art of coffee deserves its own sophisticated vocabulary, then why not the art of love?
Roman Krznaric — “How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life,” BlueBridge Publishers, 2013

The answer is no, they do not govern or apply today. For me, this begs another question, Why couldn’t Aeneas and Dido gain every single component of complete love, more whole love? History has shown many times that individuals and humanity have the ingenuity and courage to recognize, adapt and make it work… often with sheer brilliance!

This brings me full circle, back to my friend’s question to me:  Do I know what it is like to be head-over-heels in love with someone? Yes I do, unequivocally. Not only that, but I have grown past my fears of being horribly hurt or betrayed like Virgil’s Dido, that ironically liberated me allowing my natural, fiery passion to love and live more fully! This far and away includes my two painful divorces! Sadly, like many things in life and lifestyles, it disturbs others, even loved ones and endeared family members, unfortunately and unnecessary my own two children included. 😞

Loving so intensely, so passionately it will seem time stands still and all “normal reality” disappears or gets suspended. Today several, maybe most, social conventions receive less of my valuable time and energy. They fall by the wayside as more organic, meaningful, helpful, and impactful relations replace anxiety, confinement and a spoken or unspoken stress to look good for the Joneses as well as keeping up with them. This isn’t just with me either. Around the world this is the case. And living without shame or being shamed or wrongly and naively judged has remarkable health-life benefits! No comparison. I want to share two more quotes for you to think about that I often remind myself with:

Fear stifles, courage fulfills.
My version

‘Tis better to have loved [with all you have] and lost than never to have loved [so passionately] or be loved [so passionately] at all [liberally in return].
Alfred Lord Tennyson, with my slight tweaks

This brings me to my question for you, my readers and followers:

Why must we magnificently imperfect, intelligent, and passionate human beings so limit ourselves during this short life with each other, unable to rewrite what’s past, and yet write what’s next? Why cheat ourselves from more?

By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! 😍🤭

————

Live Well — LOVE MUCH — Laugh Often — Learn to Fail Better

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A Virtuoso of Rhythm Passes

Just over an hour ago I was given some very painful news from a friend. She and many/most of my good friends know all too well how passionate I become about iconic drummers, percussionists who make the skins (as they are sometimes called) come alive, the various metals, hollowed woods, mallets, and drumsticks hit, reach, vibrate into and through, then consume human bodies and spirits bringing together perfect, harmonized syncopation with Earth’s air, our ears, with life’s purest beat and rhythms. Today is a day and night of mourning. I am crushed as well as stunned by this news. The Rolling Stone headline reads:

Neil Peart, Rush Drummer Who Set a New Standard for Rock Virtuosity, Dead at 67

When I heard the Canadian band the very first time in 1978, their “2112” album, I was immediately affected and in sheer awe at this drummer’s skill and abilities. I remember that day on the airline flight to London Heathrow with football/soccer teammates. He and I were both drummers in our middle school and high school marching and concert bands. After listening to Overture, The Temples of Syrinx, Discovery, and the remainder of the 20-minute concerto of fine rock, and then A Passage to Bangkok, I was speechless. I thought I had just listened to the most beautifully complex, other-worldly performance of percussion I had ever heard. And believe me, I had listened to countless rock drummers at that age. It was my obsession next to football/soccer.

To this day there are but two or three other performances by other drummers that by my heart and standards can be included in the discussion of Greatest of All Time. Neil Peart was more than my childhood idol behind the skins and cymbals. He was a god, the Lord of the Skins as we ‘sophisticated’ drummers affectionately called him. Now he has passed into the ages at far too early an age. This world, the art of fine modern music, percussion, rock, and lyrics will miss terribly this brilliant, talented man. A dark day indeed.

I raise my shot-glass to this icon of drums. I place a pair of drumsticks in front of a burning candle in honor to this once-in-a-lifetime artist that meant so, so very much to me most all of my life, not only by his remarkable sometimes independent syncopation by his two hands and two feet—he could keep four different rhythms perfectly and simultaneously—not an easy task for most, but Neil was also highly educated and therefore an exquisite lyricist for Rush. I’d like to pay my homage to this fantastic man and the trio from Toronto.

Many of you might be familiar with their 1981 hit Tom Sawyer from the Moving Pictures album, one of their top selling albums of all-time. Be utterly impressed by this man’s drumming talent and watch how he invests so much into his artform:

I have many favorite songs/lyrics that Neil composed. It’s impossible for me to say that I have a number one song/lyrics because I don’t; never could shrink that list to less than ten. However, for this emotional occasion I will share one of my top five. It is from their Permanent Waves album released in 1980. I wore this entire album out for at least two years straight. I played it so much on my stereo turntable it hardly left the actual record-table, much less get put away into the paper sleeve. The song I’ve chosen? Though Red Barchetta is a magnificent arrangement in all ways, I did not choose it. Part of my adoration for this particular song is its continual time-signature changes from 6/4, 7/4, to 6/4, to 7/4, 6/4, and 8/4 and back again. Simply amazing! Neil’s four limbs never miss a beat, that is… four independent beats. Here is Neil Peart’s work of art, Freewill:

Rush_Permanent_WavesThere are those who think that life
Has nothing left to chance
A host of holy horrors
To direct our aimless dance

A planet of playthings
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
The stars aren’t aligned
Or the gods are malign
Blame is better to give than receive

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will

There are those who think that
They’ve been dealt a losing hand
The cards were stacked against them
They weren’t born in Lotus-Land

All preordained
A prisoner in chains
A victim of venomous fate
Kicked in the face
You can’t pray for a place
In heaven’s unearthly estate

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will

[incredible instrumental solos by Geddy and Alex, followed by the most hypnotic, moving seque back into the main theme] 😲

Each of us
A cell of awareness
Imperfect and incomplete
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt
That’s far too fleet

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will

Freewill” by Neil Peart and Rush from their album Permanent Waves

If you are interested in listening to this song’s complex sophistication of Neil’s syncopation talent along with bandmates Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, click here.

Finally, I give my most humble adoration, appreciation, and tribute to Neil for this long, very exhausting composition, also with several time-changes. It took me all summer long (in 1981 when I finally got my 15-piece monster drum kit!) to learn and master, mimicking every single hit of the open or closed hi-hat, double-bass strikes, cymbal crashes, and all drum-fills by every sized tom-toms from 4-inch to the 16-inch and 18-inch floor Toms in perfect syncopation! Never in my life, then or since (well, until my Alt-lifestyles actually), had I achieved the neurological, chemical rush in my body, the natural euphoric HIGH I would get every time I played this song. Dear God it nearly killed me. The composition was around 144-beats per minute for 9 ½ minutes non-stop! Very, very demanding mentally and physically on any drummer. Some olympic athletes might compare it to a Decathlon. But the more I perfected it, the more I HAD to have more! I was becoming a protégé of drumming greatness. Without a doubt I was a seriously lost Peart-addict. There was no hope for me.

I pumped it through my garage band’s Peavey guitar-speakers, four of them all at once! Our downstairs playroom walls with sliding glass door and one window vibrated like earthquakes when I turned up this jam. I had to install a small fan on top of one of my bass-drums to help with the perspiration I’d work up. Several times my hands were so sweaty I’d launch a drumstick across the room trying to keep up with Neil’s unhuman play. What a FREAKIN’ workout it was to get lost in this brilliant piece of music… and I loved every second of it. Perhaps you will hear and detect why it is incredibly demanding for the drummer:

I am going to miss this great artist and percussionist dearly. He fills so much of my early life, my addiction to many rhythms all coming together to create masterpieces. There have been several great drummers over the decades that compare to him, but they have or will confess soon enough that they should not really belong in the same hall or Apollonian Temple as Neil Peart. Here’s to you Neil, rest in peace. I wonder, will the concert halls and recording studios ever be so fortunate again to have a real historic Master of the Skins? Probably not. Not in my lifetime. Now I’m going to a private room to weep.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Bang the Skins

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Gadgets, Machinery & Hobnobs

Workers Hand Brain intro

At first they dug with picks, and then the great
steam drills were made. The navvies, who had carved
their way through living rock, sickened or starved
or died of bends. The bubbles percolate

to heart or brain; you die. Not soon enough,
The engineers and stokers died as well.
They might as well have tunnelled into Hell.
The bubbles came for them. Not only rough

workers by hand die at those depths; the brains
of scientists who tried to work out why
exploded too. They came back, saw the sky
and felt the pangs of death. These days the trains

are pressurized. Unharmed we make our way
from London to New York in just one day.

Roz Kaveney, Steampunk Sonnets

It has been some time since last I posted about Steampunk, my fond alternative dimension of life. I have neglected the neo-vintage, quirky, dashing artforms, imaginative gadgets, and ingenious bits-n-bobs far too long. For this I present to you today more marvels in Steampunk pageantry.

On this occasion we will read Steam-sonnets by Madame Kaveney, gaze in wonderment over a menagerie of Steampunk instruments, engines, and craftsmanship—in particular a certain renown submarine with a twist. And I’d be amiss should this tour proceed without tunes of revolutionary movements and social reforms upholding neo-Bohemian melodies and harmonies performed by Abney Park and the now retired Doctor Phineas Waldolf Steel. Should you still be unsatisfied a stop at an extraordinary cafè in Cape Town, South Africa that serves-up dreamy crumpets, tea, and java for any who enter craving. With a smile they serve travelers of modern-mediocrity or flamboyant Steampunkers alike. All the same, let’s begin first with the wacky gadgets and mechanized mobilities. The following slideshow are actual, real-life functional Steampunk items and machines:

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Should you be a wine connoisseur extraordinaire, the lover and aficionado of make-the-machines-do-it as gentry Victorians would’ve done, then this contraption is a must in your saloon. Have a look at this thingamajig that does everything except select your wine of choice.

BN_WorldsMostElaborateCorkscrew_02.jpg

Lost your corkscrew? Can’t seem to summon your Sommelier? No worries, here’s how to impress your evening guests with flair, or reveal just how much you cannot be bothered by mundane tasks of bottle-opening and filling glasses. Pfffttt, such behavior is for peasants and servants:

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

The Engine intro

They started him on messages; he’d go
on roller-skates down the long corridor
with windows to the engine. It was more
than he could take in, but he came to know

it first by all its parts—the cogs and gears,
the pistons and the loom that read each card.
It was the computation he found hard
but learned its pounding rhythms down the years.

He’d moved from skates to oil-can, then to run
the simpler programmes, then to write his own,
and then to oversee. He’d sometimes moan
in sleep, as if he felt a throbbing ton

of metal in his brain. He lost his sight
and hearing, as the numbers grew more bright.

Roz Kaveney, Steampunk Sonnets

‘He envisions a world where the only obligation of the people is to have fun… It all comes down to having fun. We spend our lives trapped,’ voices zany Dr. Steel, ‘when all we really want to do is play. So, let the people play! Let us build a Utopian Playland.’

Rudyard Kipling in 1915 wrote “The Fringes of the Fleet” and a year later composer Edward Elgar penned musical songs about the Tin Fish, or submarines. It goes:

They bear, in place of classic names,
Letters and numbers on their skin.
They play their grisly blindfold games
In little boxes made of tin.

However, engineers at Five Ton Crane Arts along with Christopher Bently and Sean Orlando had a different vessel in mind:  The Nautilus Terra-firma Submarine Car. She weighs in at 11,000 lbs. dry and has a top-speed of 13 mph. From bow to stern she’s 25-feet and 100-inches from port to starboard, and stands a proud 11-feet 6-inches without canopy (see below slideshow). Aboard ship she’s fully equipped with:

  • Harpoon gun water cannon (13 gallons per minute)
  • Hydraulic drive controls
  • GPS navigation and Pro-audio sound
  • LED RGB programmable lighting system
  • Library
  • Specimen lab
  • Navigation room
  • Night vision periscope
  • Poop deck with custom shade canopy… and yes,
  • Air conditioning

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Though some may carry doubts that the Age of Steampunk has seen its last days and appeal, yet there are far many who yell Nah! Surviving musicians of the HMS Ophelia, a clockwork guitarist, two belly dancers, a flintlock bassist, a Middle-Eastern percussionist, a contorting violent violinist, and a Tesla-powered keyboardist sing and perform:

Your subculture shops at the mall
We build ours with blowtorch, needle, thread, and leather awl
With our antique clock parts we’ve taken all arts, fine art to fashion
And now we’re spreading worldwide to circle the globe with a furious passion

Out with the new
In with the old
Out with the new
In with the old
Steampunk Revolution by Abney Park

Should your zeppelin or land-craft malfunction, snap a cog, or run aground in the southern most portion of the African continent, make haste to Cape Town, South Africa. There you will detect friends, dazzling decor, smells and nourishment that comes only from the realm, the timeless culture of exquisite Steampunkery at Truth Cafè. If you care to peruse their daytime Brasserie Menu or curious of their After Dark menu, click-on said links.

Truth - Coffee Contraptions - Cape Town_SA

Truth Coffee & Cafe – Cape Town, SA

One online media agency reported on Cape Town’s most radically themed shop and cafè writing:

Every inch of the coffee shop is packed with visual candy from large saw-blade tabletops to beautiful overstuffed booths and an ornate array of coffee making equipment that looks absurdly complex, almost like interior of a World War 2 submarine. If that wasn’t enough, Martin also crammed the space with vintage typewriters, Singer sewing machines, and old candlestick telephones. The design even extends to the restrooms which have exposed copper pipes, old extending mirrors and Victorian tap levers.
“Step Inside ‘Truth,’ a Steampunk Coffee Shop,” ThisIsColossal.com accessed Dec. 10, 2019

Being a romantic of retro-futuristic steam-powered gadgets and aesthetics myself, feast your eyes and appetite upon Truth Cafè’s surreal interior in Steampunk design. See if you agree—Haldane-Martin Designs, photos – Micky Hoyle.

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∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Happiness intro

The stokeress had washed her sooty face
And wore her best bandana round a neck
Scrubbed almost white. She took a turn on deck,
Chatted to a lieutenant. Knew her place

But flirted anyway. He took her to
The magic lantern show and kissed her hand
On parting. And she dreamed how he would stand
Outside her cabin door, and bring the shoe

She had not left behind. Awoke to spend
Her days in shovelling, and dust, and grime,
Her nights exhausted. Found her life sublime
To serve the great machine, and sometimes mend

Rips in the fabric of its bag, look down
At Delhi, Boston, Prague and London Town.

Roz Kaveney, Steampunk Sonnets

If you have not yet journeyed to my other Steampunk blog-posts, below is a quick list of links. There’s also a dedicated Menu up top along my green-barred header. You can’t miss it.

victorian-line-break_1

Steampunkery Marvels The park of magical zoological encounters from the imaginations of Jules Verne intertwined with the mechanized creations of Leonardo da Vinci is the Les Machines de L’ile.

The A-C of Steampunk A look forward and backward at the contraptions of today’s Steampunk sub-culture.

Living Steampunk Modern urban living meets Jules Verne and Captain Nemo — see the Chelsea apartment in NYC.

Through the Monocles A photomontage to satisfy the most curious with music by KK and The Steampunk Orchestra.

Pure Steampunk Art Donovan and his lighting company have given the Steampunk movement another electric jolt of popularity!

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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