Thursday, February 27, 2014

It worked! (So far)

Since yesterday morning, I haven't had a single spam message here on the blog. I didn't want to put any restrictions on anyone's ability to post a response to my ramblings, thinking such restrictions to be a tad unfair, forcing one to be a member of the club so to speak. In a better world.... but I might as well believe in the realm of Prester John where growth hormone free milk and honey from flowers whose plants have never seen a pesticide or genetic modification flow with equanimity to all.

Without looking back through the comments, I do believe that both Delores and Geo recommended this move. I should have taken their advice years ago. What can I say; aging, stubborn male at work.

There have been so many odd little things capturing my attention lately. Many of them have been of archeological origin. The mounds of Ireland became a huge fascination last month. I'd often wondered about them, having first become aware of the concept as a teenager reading Tolkien. In January, my online perambulations let to a website about the 'passage' mound at Newgrange. It's older than Stonehenge. Older than the pyramids at Giza. At the entrance to the mound, and at various points inside, spiral carvings are present. Their meaning is unknown. To me, they look like a map of the area's mounds, waiting for a present day Schliemann to follow their clues to some ancient secret.

Spirals at the entrance to the Newgrange mound, photographed around 1905.

The inner chamber at Newgrange is filled with sunlight on the winter solstice. There is a lottery every year to see this effect. I'd love to go, adding it to my list of places to be experienced should I ever acquire funds to travel. Stonehenge is on the list, as are the pyramids and so on and so forth. Over the last couple of years, I've realized that I have long been fascinated by monumental architecture. Giant tombs of antiquity and ancient ruins don't limit this interest. For instance, I would love to see the Colosso dell'Appennino, a sculpture by Giambologna erected in 1580. It was part of a large estate in Tuscany which was abandoned and mostly demolished in 1820. The estate changed hands a few times, became an English style garden, etc. It is currently owned by the province of Florence and is open for visitors from May to September.

The Colosso dell'Appennino

What is it about such structures that fascinates me? The idea of sailing on a body of water and suddenly stumbling upon something like this immediately comes to mind. Perhaps it is one of the few areas of life left in which one might find a little bit of mystery or romance. Imagine trekking through a jungle and chancing upon the remnants of an earlier civilization, overgrown and forgotten: 

It's not that I have a secret wish to be a latter day Indiana Jones. Perhaps it's a desire for wonder, a curiosity about whomever left something like this behind, how and why it came to be built. Perhaps I just have a need to see things like this for myself because I no longer trust the internet - there are too many people with Photoshop skills and time on their hands to create images that fascinate. I have no idea if the following Easter Island picture is real, but I have found variations of it with other people in the picture, so I suspect that it is.
Sometimes it is the part we can't see that holds the real fascination. In early photographs of the Sphinx, the arms are not visible. They had to dig out around it to expose them. I wonder if they've dug out around the pyramids?

A couple of years ago, I started a specifically uncategorized file of pictures which I find interesting. It's main purpose is to provide a slideshow screensaver which kicks in after the computer is idle for 5 or 10 minutes. There are many pictures similar to the above in the folder. Others are of movie theatres, or the long vanished Pennsylvania Station, advertising from years gone by, my own attempts at photography, movie posters, classic automobiles, all the sundry items which have caught my interest. I have often found myself sitting here staring at the images, lost in wandering thoughts, unable to interrupt the show to return to whatever project it was on which I was working. Quite often, reality would intrude with the jarring sound that plays when I get email. I used to have a nice, quiet sound that I liked selected for this purpose, but a problem with Norton led me to let a woman in India resolve it by giving her control of my computer for 20 minutes. I watched and was able to stop what she was doing if I felt it was needed. Somehow, the process changed a few settings and I've never been able to get things completely back to the way I had them. Perhaps change is good, I reasoned, and gave up the fight. (For awhile, anyway. ) In the meantime, the sound which wakes me from such reveries is not tolling for me at present, the blog is not reporting a stream of spam. But I have too much to do to let myself wander around monuments, or wonder why they fascinate me so. (sigh)


Anonymous said...

Things from time gone by are always fascinating whether big or small. Wouldn't it be nice if those items of antiquity had absorbed the sounds of the day in which they were created and science could find a way to play them back for us?

Geo. said...

Glad to learn your spam is reduced. Just reposted a piece on Anonymous at "Trainride of the Enigmas"--recalled to mind by your previous post. Photos are impressive, astonishing antiquity! However, such structures would be hard to insure these days.

sdt (a.k.a. stevil) said...

Dear Delores and Geo,

Please accept my apology for not replying to your comments above. It is to be hoped that my new post will explain. It isn't written yet, so we'll see.