Where will you be Father’s Day?

Happy Father’s Day

To quote Mark Twain, I would say, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” And baseball great Harmon Killebrew had it right when he said, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’”

 

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Where will you be Father’s Day?

Me, … remembering Dad – playing ball on weekends, picturing his outdated Fedora hat and Panama shirt, the smell of his after-shave, and how happy he was at the end of each day sitting in his favorite chair reading the sports.

Mérida, Spain

Let us go to Mérida, capital of Spain’s Extremadura, founded by the Romans, whose ancient buildings include the Teatro Romano, the Puente Romano, and the stunningly beautiful Temple of Diana.

 

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The Roman colony of Emerita Augusta (today’s Mérida) was founded in 25 BC by Emperor Augustus. It was settled by soldiers discharged from two veteran legions of the Cantabrian Wars:  Legio X Gemina and Legio V Alaudae, (Tenth and Fifth Legions). These wars, which Augustus personally supervised, were the final stage of Rome’s two-century long conquest of Hispania; and the ten-year long campaign against the fiercely independent tribes: the Cantabri, Astures, and Gallaeci.

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The Temple of Diana was built as part of the city forum in the first century AD. It stands on an elevated rectangular base. The facade has six granite columns with Corinthian capitals. Archaeologists believe a garden and pond lay beside the temple.

 

 

The attribution of the religious temple to Diana is uncertain.

temple-diana-merida

Soldiers of the Tenth Legion famously followed Julius Caesar in his invasion of Gaul and Britain, and in Greece to subdue Pompey the Great at the Battle of Pharsalus. Later, Augustus, then Octavius, used them at the Battle of Philippi against Julius Caesar’s murderers. The Fifth Legion was also formed by Julius Caesar and fought with him in Gaul. It was the first Roman legion composed of provincial soldiers, as opposed to Roman citizens. and Caesar paid the soldiers with his own resources before the legion was recognized by the Roman Senate.

Fourteen hundred years later the progeny of these soldiers would find their fortunes in the New World as Spanish conquistadors. Their names are known to history: Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Gonzalo Pizarro, Juan Pizarro, Hernando Pizarro, and Hernando de Soto to name a few.

Stressless Strategies

Strategy – a plan of action or policy designed to achieve an overall aim. Accomplished by choosing wisely from a selection of choices.

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Santa Claus in Leon, Spain
pausing before the cathedral de Santa María de León

 

How do I make this work. Choices can be confusing and a strategy hard to come by. Just ask Santa. He’s got to pick out the right gifts, please a couple billion children, and do it all in one night. Tough act.

Choices can make all the difference in the world or none at all.

But given a choice make it your own, otherwise someone else will and get the credit. “When you come to a turn in the road take it,” Yogi Berra is said to have said, or something like it. The point, I think, is to go with the flow even if the reason for the choice is not obvious.

In time your path is revealed.

To help map out your strategy to remain relaxed in this season of stress, we have assembled a few choices. Consider them carefully, but we don’t think you can go wrong:

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something white for two

When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative, happy or sad, an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s more fun.

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something blue just for you

The choice that work best for me is the one I make.I know I cannot please everyone, and that’s fine because it pleases me.

Hey, who out there remembers Ricky Nelson and his single Garden Party? It went something like, “You can’t please everybody, so you got to please yourself.” I know this may sound selfish, but you got to take care of yourself to take care of others.

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make bold choices

Make bold choices and make mistakes. Fortune favors the bold and rewards the risk taker.

Babe Ruth lead the Yankees in both home runs and strikeouts. He was not afraid to taunt a pitcher and point to the fence with his bat. Here is his advice:

“How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball… The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.”

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catch a nap if you want

I’m continually making new choices.  This expands my comfort zone. It is how I grow and how I relax.

Remember making decisions can sometimes be lonely thing.

 

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in two sizes, regular and large, always comfortable, always Stressless

Still stumped? It doesn’t hurt to ask for help from above.

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Catedral de Santa María de León, Espana

The three cultures of Toledo

Toledo – “city of three cultures”

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The Toledo Alcázar

In 1085, King Alfonso VI of Leon and Castile entered Toledo with an agreement from Al-Qadir and the last Taifa of Toledo.
Alfonso granted privileges to Christians, Muslims and Jews, alike. Alfonso promised Muslims that they could retain their mosques, Jews were allowed to pray as they pleased.  Under his rule, the city continued a Golden Age marked by the translation of historic works of mathematics and astronomy into all three languages.

From King Alfonso we get the epic story of El Cid – a story which begins with the exile of El Cid, whose enemies falsely accuse him of stealing money from the king.

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Toledo and the province of Castile–La Mancha have inspired many stories and legends, including that of the ingenious gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, who with his lance and shield would tilt at windmills.

This phrase has come down to us in English as the wish to attack imaginary enemies.

 

“Yo, Quijano, seré paladín. Seré mi sueño. En esa vieja casa hay una adarga antigua y una hoja de Toledo y una lanza y los libros verdaderos que a mi brazo prometen la victoria.”

“I, Quijano, will be champion. This will be my dream. In this old house is an ancient shield and a sword of Toledo and a lance and the true books that promise victory with my arm.”

Jorge Luis Borges
Sueña Alonso Quijano

The steel sword of Toledo is famed for a high quality alloy; and as far back as Roman times, the short sword was a standard arm of the Roman legions.

Sueño Stressless

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A Stressless view of the Alcázar in Toledo

During the Spanish Civil War, the Alcázar of Toledo became a rallying point of Spanish Nationalist forces. Colonel José Moscardó Ituarte held the fortress against overwhelming Spanish Republican forces and at the price of Moscardó’s son Luis.

 

How to Catch a Fish

We begin, not in explaining how to catch a fish, for every fisherman and fisherwoman has their own peculiar method, but rather in explaining how to tell a humorous story. After all it is the size of the catch and the manner of the catch that is important in fishing and not the fish itself. The story telling that follows is not mine, it almost entirely belongs to Mark Twain. He is a good story teller and one needs only to sit back and listen and enjoy.

The picture is mine, taken in Portosin, Spain a few years back. Portosin is not much as Spanish villages go. It is a small fishing village off the Ria de Morus et Noia and the Punta de Gafa in Galicia in northwest Spain.It is not a tourist destination which is fine with me. It is a quiet place where one goes to watch the fishermen and women at work.

Like words, pictures tell stories. But you have to take the time and imagine. My pictures and  my story follows Mark Twain’s explanation of humor.

Portosin, Portugal
Portosin, Spain

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind—the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.

The humorous story … may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst.

The humorous story is strictly a work of art—high and delicate art—and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it. The art of telling a humorous story—understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print—was created in America, and has remained at home.

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it; but the teller of the comic story tells you beforehand that it is one of the funniest things he has ever heard, then tells it with eager delight, and is the first person to laugh when he gets through. And sometimes, if he has had good success, he is so glad and happy that he will repeat the ‘nub’ of it and glance around from face to face, collecting applause, and then repeat it again. It is a pathetic thing to see.

So, how to catch a fish?

One can catch more fish with a net than a hook, but, as Mark Twain says, use a hook if you are fishing for love and “bait with your heart, not your brain.”

Then may he possess all the qualities of a good helpmate: understanding, hard-working, kind, loving, sharing, and caring.

To catch a fish
To catch a fish

Stressless in Segóbriga, Spain

Theater Segobriga, Spain
Theater Segobriga, Spain

Segóbriga

 

The first mention of the Roman city of Segobriga was by Greek mapmaker, Strabo in the first century BC.

The cities of Segobriga and Bilbilis both belong to the Celtiberians, and it is near these cities that Metellus and Sertorius had their war [80 BC to 72 BC]. Strabo, Geography, Book III, Chapter 4, Section 13.

Under Augustus, the city became a municipium, populated and governed by Roman citizens. The construction of the theater began under the emperor Tiberius and was completed during the Flavian period, circa AD 79.

The lower portion of the theater was for the orchestra, the first level of tier seating was reserved for the authorities. The stage was wooden and behind the stage stood monumental scenery with two levels of columns and marble sculptures representing the nine muses and the Roman imperial family. The goddess Roma stood at the center.

Segóbriga Archaeological Park

The park and museum give the visitor an overview of the city of Segobriga and daily life. Included in the museum are many sculptures, including the head of Vipsania Agrippina, wife to Tiberius.

Vipsania Agrippina
Vipsania Agrippina

Vipsania Agrippina (36 BC – 20 AD) was the daughter of Roman general, statesman, and architect, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. Agrippa was a close friend of Augustus, and largely responsible for his victory at Actium against Mark Antony and Cleopatra. In 19 BC, Vipsania married Tiberius and they had a son. When she was pregnant with a second child, the emporer Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce Vipsania and marry his daughter Julia the Elder, third wife of Agrippa, who had by then died.

Tiberius pined away for Vipsania. Their son was responsible for commissioning many sculptures of his mother.

Learn more about Segobriga.

Theater reconstruction from the Segóbriga Archaeological Park Museum with the forum at the top right of the image.

Theater reconstruction at Segobriga
Theater reconstruction, Segóbriga Archaeological Park Museum