Friday, April 4, 2014

The Mystery Of Whales



177 pounds

"We are not what we might be; what we are
Outlaws all extrapolation
Beyond the interval of now and here:
White whales are gone with the white ocean." 
--Sylvia Plath

On The Rundown, a daily source of interesting news events presented by PBS, I read the following:

I wonder what long-term effect this will have on the powers that be in Japan. I would not suggest holding your breath until changes occur. You see, I was alive back on December 7, 1941 and the day still lives in infamy, and in my long, long-term memory.

Below is an excerpt I read and felt like sharing with anyone who cares for this sort of thing:

"Apropos of Eskimo, I once heard a missionary describe the extraordinary difficulty he had found in translating the Bible into Eskimo. It was useless to talk of corn or wine to a people who did not know even what they meant, so he had to use equivalents within their powers of comprehension. Thus in the Eskimo version of the Scriptures the miracle of Cana of Galilee is described as turning the water into blubber; the 8th verse of the 5th chapter of the First Epistle of St. Peter ran: ‘Your adversary the devil, as a roaring Polar bear walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.’ In the same way ‘A land flowing with milk and honey’ became ‘A land flowing with whale’s blubber,’ and throughout the New Testament the words ‘Lamb of God’ had to be translated ‘little Seal of God,’ as the nearest possible equivalent. The missionary added that his converts had the lowest opinion of Jonah for not having utilized his exceptional opportunities by killing and eating the whale."
--Frederick Hamilton,
The Days Before Yesterday

When I lived in Florida in the 1980s I visited Sea World in Orlando and was privileged to be drenched (soaked?) when the Killer Whale named Shamu used his great tail to flip gallons of water out of the tank and into the audience.

An experience to be remembered. Not to be repeated, but to be fondly remembered.


Did You Know . . .?

When the Comanche shaman White Eagle's magic failed to protect his warriors in battle, they renamed him Coyote Vagina.



Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers' strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.

His killer, James Earl Ray, died in 1998.



ambergris  [AM-buhr-grihs or AM-ber-grees]
A waxy grayish substance formed in the intestines of sperm whales and found floating at sea or washed ashore. It is added to perfumes to slow down the rate of evaporation.

Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish color produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. Freshly produced ambergris has a marine, fecal odor. However, as it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent commonly likened to the fragrance of rubbing alcohol without the vaporous chemical astringency. Although ambergris had been highly valued by perfumers as a fixative (allowing the scent to last much longer), it has largely been replaced by synthetics.



(born April 4, 1944)
Craig T. Nelson is an American actor. He is best known for his Emmy-winning role as Hayden Fox on the TV series Coach, Deputy Ward Wilson in the 1980 film Stir Crazy, Steven Freeling in the 1982 film Poltergeist, the Warden in My Name is Earl, and Mr. Incredible in the 2004 film The Incredibles. He currently stars in the TV series Parenthood.

(Apr 4, 1906 - Oct 13, 1968)
Bea Benaderet was an American actress. She appeared in a wide variety of television work, which included a starring role in the 1960s television series Petticoat Junction and Green Acres as Shady Rest Hotel owner Kate Bradley, supporting roles as Blanche Morton in The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and as the original voice of Betty Rubble during the first four seasons of The Flintstones, and in The Beverly Hillbillies as Pearl Bodine.

(born April 4, 1965)
Robert Downey, Jr. is an American actor who made his screen debut at the age of five, appearing in his father Robert Downey, Sr.'s film Pound. He has appeared in roles such as Less Than Zero and Weird Science. Other films include Air America, Soapdish, and Natural Born Killers. He starred as Charlie Chaplin, the title character in the 1992 film Chaplin.

His more recent films include The Singing Detective, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, A Scanner Darkly, Gothika, Zodiac and Tropic Thunder. In 2008, Downey played the role of Marvel superhero Tony Stark / Iron Man in the live action film Iron Man, a role he reprised in Iron Man 2, Marvel's The Avengers, and Iron Man 3. He will again reprise his role in the upcoming films, Avengers: Age of Ultron and another Avengers sequel. In 2009, he played the title character in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes and again in 2011's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

(Apr 4, 1979 - Jan 22, 2008)
Heath Ledger was an Australian actor and director. His work comprised nineteen films, including 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), The Patriot (2000), A Knight's Tale (2001), Monster's Ball (2001), Ned Kelly (2003), The Brothers Grimm (2005), Lords of Dogtown (2005), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Casanova (2005), Candy (2006), I'm Not There (2007), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009).


"Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale."
--Gabriel Garcia Marquez



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