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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Mechanical Interlude: The Charge of the Cane-Bearing Medicare Elder Light Horse Brigade


File:Paolo Uccello 031.jpg

Niccolò Mauruzi at the Battle of San Romano: Paolo Uccello, c. 1438-1440 (National Gallery, London)

Walking on water wasn't built in a day, or was that Rome? Florence? The memory of facts is not what it was. And while we are on confessions, it must be admitted I'm still working on the fine-tuning of the standard-issue Medicarecane. That screw that holds the adjustable shaft in place continues to defy my weak and gnarled senior digits. But I find that if I can get it tightened up, the metallic banging noise of semi-mechanical ambulation is somewhat less likely to cause undue apprehension in my fellow pedestrians. (What's that they used to say about children, they appear to best advantage when seen and not heard? May not the same truism apply to old campaigners, with their endless yawping and harping and aarping of slurred and mumbled rallying cries? Could that be what is meant by the Advantage Plan? But no, it's so hard keeping the red tape sorted, I don't believe I'm signed up for that one.)

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Niccolò Mauruzi da Tolentino unseats Bernardino della Ciarda at the Battle of San Romano: Paolo Uccello, c. 1435-1455 (Gallería degli Uffizi, Florence)

However, where there's life, as they also used to say. When a full crew of creaking Medicarecaners is folded into the gangway of a city bus, all the canes sticking up at once, to the dim eyes of an Ancient it is almost a vision of the Uccello panoramic triptych of the clashing horsemen with bristling lances at the Battle of San Romano. (Wake me when it's time for the counter-attack...)

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The Counterattack of Michelotto da Cotignola at the Battle of San Romano: Paolo Uccello, c. 1455 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

now to see how to build an huge shiny 1942 aireoplane engine so's I can fly my virtual B-47 Bomber over ... and if the bomb doesn't get "them"

I'll beat 'em with my Medicare cane!

-- Ed Baker


billymills said...

I've stood in front of Niccolò Mauruzi at the Battle of San Romano in the National in London; words do fail.


Lift those lances and canes, mates, forward charge (!) --


pale orange of light in sky above still
black ridge, blue jay calling on branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

form of concealment, is also
what is only at times

sun rising over darker green
frame, of picture, or

cloudless blue sky reflected in channel,
shadowed green slope of ridge across it

TC said...

Steve, ahoy, matey. No

form of concealment

remains possible in this wobbly cohort, alas.

Bill, I have done the same. In what seems another lifetime, but still.

The one in the Uffizi, also as one recalls not half bad, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Like Billy I'm also speechless (from Mechanical Interlude and the Uccellos), so I'm glad Steve isn't.

Your transmutation/rendering of the paintings in your own style is really terrific and a lovely surprise.

~otto~ said...


"(Wake me when it's time for the counter-attack...)"

This was very fomenti.

TC said...


Your instinct never fails. The situation was exactly as you have imagined. Fomenting a futile revolution of the Wretched and the Dithering, yes, this must be my calling.

Marylinn Kelly said...

If I were not in the midst of attempting to walk away from battles I will not win, I would sign on for the revolution of the Wretched and certainly the Wobbly and Dithering. Having been absent - with no reason other than that somehow the days seem to have fewer hours - I hope you are faring not badly, that it is not all windmills and some ground is gained. Wishing you well.

TC said...

Thanks Marylinn. Creaking at the joints definitely qualifies for the front rank in this revolution... well, no, perhaps the second rank. In the front rank not being able to stand without support is a must.

Yes, I've been absent too lately... well, absent while present. At any rate, here we are again. And here we go.

(Suddenly recollecting the radio sound effects of Fibber McGee's closet, with the junk crashing down in stages...perhaps that could be our anthem...well, I'd better not be so quick to include you in that part of the revolution...)