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LEDA DOES THE SWAN

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The happy couple.

Back in my bright college days, I was for the first 2 years, a music major. When my fellow wannabe musicians hung out on the quad on warm sunny days, we would plan projects that were going to make us famous. Symphonies were planned. Great achievements as conductors and composers were spun as glorious dreams, although I don’t know that my class actually produced anyone who really hit the big time. Medium time seems to be as good as we got.

But my dream, my great project, was a full musical comedy based on the story of Leda and the Swan. I thought Broadway because in those days, there were no computer generated graphics to make the impossible real on-screen. Now, I think perhaps Hollywood would be the correct venue for this masterpiece.

In the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces, or rapes Leda. Which is never made entirely clear, but I vote for seduction since I have a lot of trouble visualizing getting raped by a swan. Even as Zeus, swans are not agile except in the water and their lack of hands and arms would seem to make rape difficult.

Regardless, Leda becomes pregnant by Zeus as swan. She bears Helen and Polydeuces, both children of Zeus in his swan modality. Simultaneously (I’d like to know how she manages this) she gives birth to Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her human husband Tyndareus, King of Sparta.

In the myth, Leda is able to convince her parents and husband her extra pregnancy was not the result of a lover. No, no! Honest to gods, really, no kidding, it was Zeus who did it. Not merely was it Zeus –not some guy — but he was in the form of a swan!

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Hey, Zeus? Is that you?

My favorite scene would be the first act closer. In a highly emotional musical extravaganza, Leda pours out her distress in a heart-rending lyric soprano rich with passion. She explains — to hubby, mom and dad —  it really truly was Zeus.

Leda: Even in the form of a swan, I knew it was Zeus. And you all know how much I love birds and feathers, right? I mean … what girl could resist such a gorgeous bird who is, after all, top God in the Pantheon? No kidding. I wouldn’t lie to you.

Tyndareus, King of Sparta: I want to believe you, but I’m having a few problems with this.

Leda: Trust me, dear. It was Zeus. He was disguised as a swan. You know how clever he can be.

Later, we all get to see the central event, Leda’s experience. In a carefully choreographed dream sequence, Leda relives the heady romance of the seduction. I’m assuming it was seduction rather than rape. I mean, how big was that swan anyhow? And, uh, some of the technical aspects of the experience make for interesting mental meanderings. How, exactly, did … well … Never mind. This is a G-rated site. Suffice to say it would make a heck of a scene. Now that CGI has come of age, with some well done special effects? Wow. This could have the audience on its feet!

There’s more. Depending on which version of the story you read, Leda either give birth to babies … or lays eggs. Lays eggs? Really?

Zeus and Leda?

Zeus and Leda?

Eggs open up a whole new world of possibilities. If she lays eggs, does she have to sit on them until they hatch? As Queen of Sparta, can she order her court attendants to sit on the eggs while she performs her royal duties?

Does she build a nest? In the palace? Do the hatchlings feel a compelling urge to dive into lakes and ponds? Are they born knowing how to swim? Or more to the point, paddle? Do they have webbed feet? How do they feel about feathers?

I no long feel up to writing a musical comedy, but I freely offer this amazing concept to anyone who feels inclined to flush it out. I think it might just launch more than one career. You think?

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American Alphabet

A is for Arizona, with Big Skies and deep canyons …

Painted Desert

B is for Boston, a great city in every season …

Citco sign over Feway is part of the panarama of Boston.

C is for Coney Island. Chills, thrills and a beach too.

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D is for diner … the best place to eat on the road …

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E is for elections held all over our land …

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F is for Florida, where traffic flows across the causeway …

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G is for Gettysburg, where a big battle was fought and tourists are always welcome.

Main St., Gettysburg

H is for home, where most journeys begin.

A home

I is for Ireland and the Isle of Innisfree.

GarryInnisfree

J is for jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

K is for kitchen, where food is prepared. Or not.

Morning light in my kitchen as coffee brews ...

L is for Lone Ranger, my childhood hero who roamed the early west with Tonto, his faithful companion.

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M is for marina, where the boats wait and the sea calls.

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N is for Nathan’s where the best hot dogs await you!

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O is for Ogunquit, the Maine beach of sunrise over the Atlantic.

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P is for the Painted Desert where storm clouds gather but do not break.

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Q is for Quaker, the meeting-house down the road where peace reigns and songs of Thanksgiving are sung.

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R is for railroad, disappearing but still alive, if you search for them.

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S is for Symphony Hall where music fills the air.

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T is for Tombstone, where the Earps and Doc Holliday’s ghosts still linger.

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U is for unicorn. I’m sure they exist. They merely are hiding … so let’s go and hunt!

Rhett with Unicorn

V is for vintage, old things that remember the roads.

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W is for Williamsburg, an old town brought back to life.

Williamsburg Lane

X marks the spot and a cross-road of life and of roads.

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Y is for yellow, the color of summer wildflowers by every roadside.

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Z is for Zeus, pretending to be a swan. Poor Leda, did her parents believe her?

Zeus the Swan

Prompts for the Promptless – Ep. 11 – Remake! — Leda and the Swan, Take 2

For more than 50 years, I have been nurturing this idea and I have to thank you for giving me an opportunity to tell the world.

Back in my bright college days, I was for the first 2 years, a music major. When my fellow wannabe musicians hung out on the quad on warm sunny days, we would plan projects that were going to make us famous. Symphonies were planned. Great achievements as conductors and composers were spun as glorious dreams, although I don’t know that my class actually produced anyone who really hit the big time. Medium time seems to be as good as we got.

But my dream, my great project, was a full musical comedy based on the story of Leda and the Swan. I thought Broadway because in those days, there were no computer generated graphics to make the impossible real on-screen. Now, I think perhaps Hollywood would be the correct venue for this masterpiece.

In the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces, or rapes Leda. Which is never made entirely clear, but I vote for seduction since I have a lot of trouble visualizing rape by a swan. I mean, even as Zeus … swans are not agile except on water. They have trouble with take offs being rather heavy-bodied. Moreover, the lack of hands and arms seems to make rape a rather difficult to manage business. Regardless, Leda becomes pregnant from the experience. She bears Helen and Polydeuces, both children of Zeus. Simultaneously (and I’d like to know how she managed this), she also gives birth to Castor and Clytemnestra who are the offspring of her human husband Tyndareus, King of Sparta.

In the myth, Leda is able to convince her parents and husband that despite all  logic or reason, her extraneous pregnancy was not the result of a lover or promiscuous sexual behavior. No, no! Honest to gods (we are in a polytheistic world, remember), really, no kidding, it was Zeus who did it. Not merely was it Zeus, not some guy, but he was in the form of a swan!

I figured there were a couple of potential show-stopping moments with high comedic potential embedded in this.

The first … and perhaps my favorite scene … would have to be the first act closer. In this highly emotional musical extravaganza, Leda pours out her distress in a heart-rending lyric soprano rich with passion. In it, she explains that it really truly was Zeus.

Leda: Even in the form of a swan, I knew it was Zeus. And you all know how much I love birds and feathers, right? I mean … what girl could resist such a gorgeous bird who is, after all, the top God in the Pantheon? No kidding. I wouldn’t lie to you.

Tyndareus, King of Sparta: I want to believe you, but I’m having a few problems with this.

Leda: Trust me, dear. It was Zeus. As a swan. You know how clever he can be.

Later, we all get to see the central event, Leda’s experience. In the carefully choreographed dream sequence, Leda relives the heady romance of the seduction. I’m assuming it was seduction rather than rape. I mean, how big was that swan anyhow? And, uh, some of the technical aspects of the experience make for interesting mental meanderings. How, exactly, did … well … this is a G-rated site, so I won’t get too specific. Suffice to say it would make one heck of a scene on stage. Even better, now that CGI has come of age, with some well done special effects?

Wow, this could have the audience on its feet! I can hear the applause from here. I see the royalties rolling in. I ought to add that depending on which version of the story you read, Leda either gave birth to babies … or eggs.

Eggs open up a whole new set of possibilities. If she birthed eggs, did she have to sit on them until they hatched? As Queen of Sparta, could she order her court attendants sit on the eggs in her place while she performed her royal duties? Did she build a nest? In the palace? Did the issue of this union feel a lifelong need to dive into lakes and ponds? Were they born knowing how to swim?

Zeus?

Zeus?

Inquiring minds want to know! Details, details. Please?

I’m a bit long in the tooth now for writing a full musical comedy, but I freely offer this incredible concept to anyone who feels inclined to flush it out. I think it might just launch more than one career. You think?

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I use a smartphone to make phone calls … I am obsolete.

My husband and I have Blackberry Smartphones. These days, I have the Torch (it was on sale), but Garry still has the Curve. He uses it for email, to track appointments, and to make phone calls. The reason we both wound up with Blackberries and not iPhones was simple: iPhones have pathetic voice quality for making phone calls. So do most smartphones. Blackberry is the only one that seems to care whether or not you can actually hear the voice on the other end.

No one, apparently, makes phone calls anymore, so phone manufacturers aren’t interested in telephone voice quality. Everyone is obsessed by apps. They want to know what apps they can use. They text, play games, take pictures …. but they don’t use the phone as a phone.

In this household, the only thing for which we use our telephones is to communicate and keep our schedules. That’s it. I lack the pointy little thumbs that make texting convenient for younger people. It’s a genetic adaptation I don’t have. My thumbs do thumb-centric things like grasping tools: they are not good for typing except touch typing where they are fine for whacking at the space bar.

Why would I want to do all that stuff on my phone when I have a desktop, a big laptop, a net book, and a tablet? If I want to take pictures, I have two Olympus PEN camera bodies plus 4 high-quality lenses, as well as a small superzoom point & shoot Canon that I keep as backup in my purse. My telephone is good for three things: making and receiving phone calls, synchronizing with Outlook‘s calendar (so Garry and I know who’s going to which doctor and when) and email. He uses it for email a lot more than I do. I prefer a full-size keyboard.

I use a camera for taking pictures and a computer for most everything else. I know that my Torch has a ton of capabilities I never use and I don’t care. I don’t want to use them. Twice I have used my phone to take a picture because it was the only thing available. Otherwise, I like cameras for photography, computers for computing, GPS units for navigation, and telephones for talking to people on ….tada … the telephone.

Unless you are on the road all the time without access to WIFI, what possible advantage do you get by running your world from this tiny device? Why do you even want to? Is it the only mobile device available to you? You mean you don’t have a laptop, netbook, or tablet?

I genuinely don’t understand why anyone feels a pressing need to use a small inconvenient device to do things that are so much easier to do on a bigger device … which they probably already own.

How well do I understand my phone? Enough to do what I need to do. It has good audio for telephone calls! It’s a telephone, you know?

One day, people will discover that they are doing everything the hard way. This is likely to occur when the younger generation starts to hit their late 30s and 40s and discovers they can’t see tiny little objects without special glasses. It happens to everyone and nothing you do will prevent it.

At that point, like a thunderbolt from Zeus himself, an entire generation will realize that it’s a whole lot easier to type on a keyboard, edit graphics and format text on a monitor large enough to see more than a few words at a time and bright enough to tell whether or not the photograph is in focus (what a concept!). They will be shocked by the discovery, thrilled to realize they no longer need to squint at a tiny screen when they could see the whole thing on a big bright high-definition monitor! It will be an international epiphany of epic proportions!

Not only that, but maybe people will remember how nice it is to hear the voice of a loved one, not just see a text or email. We might even rediscover (be still my heart) intimacy. You never know. Human relationships may come back into fashion!

I’m already there.

Dark sky in the morning

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It’s windy. The oak trees are bending like saplings. The wind must be strong higher up. It doesn’t seem like much on the ground, but a hundred or so feet upward, the oak trees are dancing to Mother Nature‘s tune. You can watch the dance and hear the music. It whooshes and whistles, rattling dead leaves that still hang on the branches.

Sometime during the night, most of the trees stripped bare. Oak trees never go completely naked, not like the maples do. Some leaves cling to branches even in the deepest part of winter. To the extent that leaves will be lost, the oaks lost them overnight. When we went to bed, it was already after midnight. There was a bit of wind and a lot of rain, one of the “local bands of showers” the weather guys keep talking about, but this morning, it’s mostly wind. Skies are gray, dark and sullen.

Rain is falling, but it isn’t much. Not yet. Tomorrow will probably be the big day for rain, or maybe tonight. My instincts are saying tonight, but the weather gurus are saying tomorrow. I’m usually more accurate.

The air is heavy. It doesn’t seem as if day has quite arrived, just like yesterday. It never brightened at all and by late afternoon, it looked like midnight. Absolutely no feeling or look of snow now or to come. I can smell snow. Actually, it’s no big deal. You live in a snow belt, you can smell it. Ozone? Whatever. You feel it, smell it, and see it in the sky. It’s not hard to tell the difference between a sky full of snow or rain. A snow sky is white, or nearly white. Rain clouds are gray, sometimes very dark gray, but never white. Today is gray. Solidly, dully gray. You can’t see clouds. The cover is unbroken, no patch of blue to provide contrast, nor even differing gradations of clouds. These aren’t thunderheads or typical cumulus rain clouds.

I’ve got a headache that coffee isn’t going to dissipate.

We have power, so although trees are swaying, they are not falling, at least not on power lines, or more exactly, not falling on any that affect us personally. I’m sure somewhere trees are falling, but not here, not right now.

I used to like storms. I loved watching thunder and lightning, seeing nature put on her show with fireworks and sound effects. That was until lightening started hitting us, at which point I began to take the whole thing personally. I’m not sure why the valley in general and we in particular are so prone to strikes, but I’ve noticed every public building taller than two stories … there aren’t many of them, so mostly, we are talking about church steeples … have a lightening rod. People have asked me how come we don’t have one too since we’ve been hit three times. The problem is, the lightening doesn’t hit our house. It hits ]nearby, close enough to do damage, but not a direct hit. We’ve lot a utility pole up on the street that it knocked out a couple of computers and the router. One strike hit a tree in the front yard and took out the power. The best hit was the well pump. I thought lightening aimed at the highest points. You couldn’t find a lower point than our well pump. It’s 450 feet underground.

I think that Zeus has it in for us. I have trouble finding our well, much less the pump, so how did he do that? The gusts are picking up. This was not supposed to happen until tomorrow. If this is the prelude, the full show is going to be really fun. It’s much more entertaining when your home, family, and everything you own are not on the line. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes.

I’m going to get some more coffee. I am doing what I’ve been told: planning for the worst while hoping for the best. If it doesn’t get much worse, we’ll be fine. But we haven’t gotten to tomorrow, so I have to wonder what the next 36 hours is going to bring. Meanwhile, there’s coffee and chocolate cake.

You didn’t expect me to go through a storm of epic proportions without chocolate did you?