Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick: The Movie - and other stuff

A popular legend says that St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. Now M and I aren't scientists, but we do know how to Google up scientific facts. And not to rain on anyone's St. Patrick's Day Parade, but the fact is, there have never been any snakes in Ireland. Well, except for zoo specimens and the occasional pet. (Crikey!) The internet abounds with chapter and verse about how a snakeless Ireland came about. It's interesting--but a bit dry, unless you happen to dig science.

Let's face it, most folks would rather believe the legend, since it's easier than doing research. And many are content to watch the movie, which I think is already on DVD:

In other news, M says today's Celebrity Cipher was pretty clever:

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."
--William Butler Yeats

In keeping with our theme of separating legend from fact, we have to say that this marvelous statement, widely attributed to Yeats, might have been thought up by somebody else. The problem is, it's hard to find exactly where Yeats said it. On the other hand, it's also hard to find it attributed to anyone else. But in any case, M says it describes the Irish mindset pretty well. (He's allowed to say that, since his pedigree includes a lot of Scots-Irish.)

I leave you today with this very Irish-sounding blessing: May the wind at your back always be your own.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybuddy!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Deliverance Days" - Throwback Thursday

Way back in what Mike calls his "Deliverance Days," he would spend a week at the end of each school year in the mountains of northeastern Georgia, camping, hiking, trout fishing, and trying not to drown in the whitewater rivers. Sometimes he'd go by himself, but more often than not he went with his friend Nick. As the years passed, the camping gave way to staying in rustic cabins. But the hillbilly-ing continued pretty much the same.

Mike usually drove up in his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck. Here are a couple of pictures he took of his truck at the Stovall Mill Covered Bridge on Chickamauga Creek, near Helen, Georgia. He's pretty sure these are from one of his solo trips, which is why he's not in either of them.

By the way, Mike says there's another Chicamauga Creek in northwestern Georgia, where a famous Civil War battle was fought in 1863. That's not this one. This one, however, was featured in a pretty good 1951 movie called I'd Climb the Highest Mountain, starring William Lundigan and Susan Hayward.

Here's a photo Mike took of Nick in 1999, fishing in the West Fork of the Chattooga River:

And here's one Nick took of Mike sitting on his truck's tailgate, enjoying something called a "chilly brewski" after a long day on the river:

Over the years the Chattooga's West Fork became one of their favorite troutstreams. The main part of that river, however, is much better known for its whitewater canoeing, rafting, and kayaking. One summer the boys decided to see what all the shouting was about. Here they are in the front of a raft doing a manuever called "getting flushed down a toilet":

That's Mike at the bottom-left, with his paddle actually in the water--as if that would make a difference. Mike says his term "Deliverance Days" comes from their adventure on the Chattooga, which was one of two Georgia rivers used in the filming of a movie called Deliverance. Here's a still shot that was taken of the main actors on the Chattooga:

Mike also points out that his trip down the Chattooga with Nick turned out a lot nicer than the one for the movie characters. That's because (spoiler alert!) he and Nick weren't chased down the river by these guys:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Some days are diamonds, some days are stone . . .

And some turn out to be both!

Happy birthday, Grandma!
I still miss you, Grandpa!