Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Everyone's the same

He is only one year senior to me. In a way I grew older with him. With his music. Every now and then, over the past 30 years, I  heard his songs on the radio. Music. Just background music. Busy doing whatever one does living his life. 

This week his song 'Cowboys and Angels' (1991) touched me. To be honest it is the first song of his that touched me at all.  

For me 'Club Tropicana' (1983) is George Michael's (born 1963) best song. Fresh. Sexy. Tropical. New. Parody. How I loved that song when I heard it on the radio in the 1980s. Around Christmas (rest of year not) I love watching and listening to 'Last Christmas'. Snow. Holiday. Fresh. Romantic. Love: sweet and sour of it.

But 'Cowboys and Angels' touched me this week. Read the lyrics. Great lyrics!
When your heart's in someone else's hands
Monkey see and monkey do
Their wish is your command
You're not to blame
Everyone's the same
All you do is love and love is all you do
I should know by now, the way I fought for you
You're not to blame
Everyone's the same
I know you think that you're safe
Harmless deception
That keeps love at bay
It's the ones who resist that we most want to kiss
Wouldn't you say?
Cowboys and angels
They all have the time for you
Why should I imagine
That I'd be a find for you
Why should I imagine
That I'd have something to say
But that scar on your face
That beautiful face of yours
In your heart there's a trace
Of someone before
When your heart's in someone else's plans
Things you say and things you do
They don't understand
It's such a shame
Always ends the same
You can call it love but I don't think it's true
You should know by now
I'm not the boy for you
You're not to blame
Always ends the same
I know you think that you're safe
Harmless affection
That keeps things this way
It's the ones who persist for the sake of a kiss 
Who will pay
Cowboys and angels
They all take a shine to you
Why should I imagine that I was designed for you
Why should I believe 
That you would stay
But that scar on your face
That beautiful face of yours
Don't you think that I know
They've hurt you before
Take this man to your bed
Maybe his hands will help you to forget
Please be stronger than your past
The future may still give you a chance
I love these lines: "You think you are safe", "It's the ones who resist that we most want to kiss", "In your heart is a trace of someone before" and "Please be stronger (...) the future may still give you a chance".

I guess I'm sensitive for this song because it tells in a nutshell about the sweet and sour of love. The sweet - never a constraint. The sour - always a challenge.

Question: What song touched you last weeks - if any? Why?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happiness as 'Open of Heart. All senses sharp. Stripped of Unsavory.'

In a way we as species invented 'happiness'. The oldest definition on what a 'happy' life is, is the Homeric (3rd century BCE) definition of 'happiness' as 'luck'. More 

We do not know how our pre-historic ancestors defined happiness. Why not? Because they did not write down what they thought. How about other groups of our ancient ancestors who used written words, sentences, letters and books for nailing down what they thought important: record inventories, raising taxes or changing information with others? Did the ancient Egyptians have a word (or words) for 'happiness'? How did they define 'happiness'? After all they invented an alphabet (the oldest?) around 2700 BCE. That's more than 2,400 years before Homer! 

This year I invested time to find out what ancient Egypt's definition (or definitions?) of 'happiness'. I wrote a couple of e-mails to Egyptologists - never got a serious answer. Searching on the internet. Read three books for background information: Toby Wilkinson/ The rise and fall of ancient Egypt (2010), J. Vergote/ De godsdienst van het Oude Egypte (1987) and John Romer/ Ancient lives: the Story of the Pharaoh's Tombmakers (1991). 

The 'Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae' gives only one hit on 'happiness' or 'happy': pxA-jb. I checked out the three short references. Most interesting is Wilson, A Ptolemaic Lexikon (1997), page 364:  
Here 'pxA-jb' is translated as 'open of heart', a heart that is 'happy' or 'cheerful'. The earliest example of 'pxA-jb' is used by Thutmosis I (footnote). His reign dated from 1506 to 1493 BCE. He was a pharaoh - 18th dynasty - from the Ancient Egyptian's New Kingdom

Intermediate. Ancient Egyptian's definition of 'happiness'? 
  • Old Kingdom. No written word for 'happiness' 
  • Middle Kingdom. No written word for 'happiness' 
  • New Kingdom. 'pxA-jb' = Open of heart. A heart that is happy, cheerful, joyful, without sadness, all faculties sharpened. Perhaps brought by drinking wine or beer. A state where someone has all faculties sharpened, before he loses control. 
Wilson's addition (better: translation or interpretation) of "without sadness" fits with the ancient Egyptian concept of paradise. For them 'paradise' were the 'eternal reed fields' (Aaru). Fields very much like those of the earthly Nile. Ideal hunting and fishing ground. A place where the deceased was entertained by beautiful and perfect women, sailing trips, music and merriment with friends. And the 'sadness'? Work was done by serfs!

Hypothesis. Ancient Egypt's definition of 'happiness' = Open of Heart. All senses sharp. Stripped of all the Unsavory Aspects.

Question: Do you have better information on ancient Egypt's definition of happiness? Or is it just another stupid question?

Footnote. 'Urk IV 267,7' = Book IV, page 267, line 7 from 'Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums'. Source

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I could ...

Nice and Warm. Temperature between 20-27 C. Nothing to do. Sand. Beach.

I could live here ... - not telling you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Concrete jungle

Was it the sunlight coming from the right? Was it the white colour of the bridge? To be honest, I don't know. Suddenly I saw a circus 'caravan' passing again on Emmerich Rhine Bridge.
It happened more than 30 years ago. We drove back from a holiday in Germany to The Netherlands. I guess somewhere in the fall. It had been raining for quite some time. When we were near Emmerich the rain stopped. A little sun. Cars on the highway. Suddenly ... a giraffe! An elephant! And some other animals! A circus on the move. Going in the same direction as us.

What a surprise. How weird to see "wild" animals in the world of asphalt, concrete and steel. It was so bizarre. In a way it felt like a misfit to me. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Harvesting Clouds. No kidding

On Cape Verde - it's one of planet Earth's 194 countries - farmers harvest clouds. No kidding! :)
I travelled 5,000 km from The Netherlands to Cabo Verde, to find out, last week, that it's possible to harvest a cloud. How? Big nets make the fog condense into droplets of liquid water that fall into a gutter below. The water passes through a tube, arriving in a tank. Ready to be distributed.
Where? On the island of Santiago in the 'Serra Malagueta Natural Park' the mountains are being shroud in an almost year-round mist of 'stratocumulus'. The fog of these clouds are being used for fog collection.

How much does in gain? A couple of nets collect 1,000 litres of water a night. 

Old technology? Depends on your definition. Since the Stone Age 'homo sapiens' invented a couple of techniques to collect dew. Since the mid-1980s we invented modern ways to collect water from fog. The nets on Santiago on Cabo Verde are a spin-off of this development. 

Do you want to know or read more?