Saturday, April 7, 2012


Her name was Golubića, which on engleski means "Dove."

In those days I worked for a forest products company whose name has long ago slipped into the misty annals of history. Save for the matter that the company was once one of the "Baronies" of east Texas it might be altogether forgotten by now.

In those days the general perception of the forest products industry was that it was a male industry.  You never heard of Jane Pauline Bunyon did you? Nope. When the company set out to entertain its customers the entertainment was male oriented.

One of those entertainments was hunting. We had a hunting lodge. We had a hunting lodge on leased land. The barony owned hundreds of thousands of acres and controlled millions more but we leased land for the hunters. The hunting expedition had to be in a sufficiently exotic location where the deer were a bit larger than the Virgina deer in East Texas forests. There were also quail on the land and lots and lots of dove who enjoyed the open grain fields which were present there part of the year.

Now, if you see me as some macho "great white hunter" type, your vision needs to be corrected. I am not. At least I am not the "great white hunter" sort. The macho part? I like women if that's what you are asking, but "macho?" Ne. I like women too much to be particularly "macho."

I have no problems with hunting for food. None at all. I like a good deer steak or deer and pork sausage. In fact, I will eat most anything. It's the hunting for sport I have a problem with. Gun go bang, something die. Not my cup of tea. 
I served in two militaries. I saw guns go bang. I saw dead. Boom, die is not something I like at all. Sorry. Nonetheless it was my duty to escort the mighty hunters and entertain them in such an exercise.

I returned from one such expedition on a Saturday which happened to be an election day. As I left the polling place I was greeted by a "poll watcher" who happened to have a box of kittens with him. One of them hopped out of the box and came to me. She went home with me too. 

I remember thinking that all my companions on the "great hunt" went home with that day were dead birds, but I got a cat for my troubles.  I got a friend.  I came out way ahead of all the others.

For lack of a better name, I called her "Golubića" - "Dove". Golubića took to me completely. There was tension in my house in those days and Golubića sensed all that immediately. She saw to it that I did not sleep alone any more. She perched on top of my head and kept watch when I slept. When anyone at all approached me during the short eighteen years she was with me, she alerted me.

I was gone for a while, we won't say for how long, or where I went, just that Golubića stayed with my parents and alerted them when any one certain person whom she perceived as a danger was approaching. Golubića could distinguish between the sounds of automobile engines from at least a half mile.

When I returned from the final adventure of the sort that took me away, Golubića clung to me closer than ever. That was a problem when I met and married Carole. Golubica wished to perch on my head and hiss at Carole when she wanted to snuggle. There was a contest of wills which Golubića lost. She was exiled to the outside world at night but she continued to keep watch.

I was in school in those days, sixty miles away. One day I was home at an unusual hour. In the middle of the afternoon Golubića began to hiss and growl and carry on in a most dreadful manner. In a few moments I was visited by that certain hostile individual. That's another story which ended in its own way.

I came home another afternoon to find Golubića on the ground in front of the steps to our little house. Hostile fire had been directed at her at point blank range. I dug a 38 bullet out of the ground beneath her head. It was murder clear and simple. The motive? To make me more vulnerable and to let me know just how vulnerable I had become.

There were serious criminal prosecutions already under way already against the perpetrator. Golubića's murder weighed heavily in the outcome of those matters.

Sometime still later I heard that the perpetrator was dead. I felt no sorrow. I still do not.

Golubića was my friend. She loved me.

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
Travanj  2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

OJOS ESPAÑOLES - Hugo Avendaño

This morning someone over on YouTube posted a "Spanish Eyes."   I thought about Hugo Avendaño's version at once. 

Placido Domingo is way out  in front of nearly every one else with this song but in my mind there is one who stands head and shoulders above all the crowd -  Hugo Avendaño.

Hugo Avendaño Espinoza was born in Tuxpan, Veracruz, Mexico on 8 March 1927.  He died 5 January 1998 from pancreatic cancer.  In his youth he began medical studies but left that to learn  voice under Joseph Pierson who also was instructor to such greats as Jorge Negrete, Pedro Vargas, and Esquivel.   Leonard Warren was his teacher at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Hugo Avendaño sang in many Verde operas across the Americas and enjoyed a popular career singing romantic Mexican songs.  He was married many years with the soprano Graziella Garza.  They had three children together.  This list of  Avendaño's lifetime achievements is long indeed.

Today we respectfully submit his version of OJOS ESPAÑOLES as perhaps the best ever sung.

Las Letras:
Son como el mar,
como el azul del cielo,
como el sol;
Son del color
de un clavel que empieza a despertar.

Son algo más
que las estrellas al anochecer,
¡Olé y olé!
Los ojos de la española
que yo amé

Yo fuí feliz,
mirando aquellos ojos
de mi amor;
Yo nunca ví
ni en el arco iris su color

Son algo más
que las estrellas al anochecer,
¡Olé y olé!
Los ojos de la española
que yo amé
ojos de amor, que nunca olvidaré

on english this is approximately:
They are like the sea,
as the blue sky,
like the sun;
Are the color
of a carnation that starts to awaken.

Are more
the stars at night,
Ole and Ole!
The eyes of the Spanish
I loved

I was happy,
looking at those eyes
of my love;
I never saw
rainbow or color

Are more
the stars at night,
Ole and Ole!
The eyes of the Spanish
I loved
eyes of love, I will never forget

Ojos Espanoles was written by Berthold Kämpfert (16 October 1923 – 21 June 1980) from Hamburg, Germany. Known in most of the world as "Spanish Eyes" the song has  been sung and heard almost everywhere.

and now the song:

Kotasierota has a particularly beautiful instrumental version of this song for which she has graciously offered Avendaño's version to be a response.

Richard Abel - Spanish Eyes

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
12 Ožujak 2012

An open letter to Big Brother ...

Yesterday I heard how the Homeland Security People in the United States are monitoring all our "Social Networks," probably including our blogs.  This is intrusive and insulting and possibly damaging.   We all have heard about how even highly placed officials have been refused boarding passes on airplanes because somehow they made it onto some list or another the government keeps.  What I don't hear about is how the government replaces the cost of the airplane ticket when a person is refused boarding because of one of their mistakes. 

I'm fairly sure this blog has a pretty fair following in the United States government because I routinely talk about Mexico, the borderland area between Mexico and the United States, and Eastern Europe.  I appreciate this following.  It is nice that someone reads my blog.  Thank you Big Brother.  If I can get you to read it enough perhaps I can eventually make some money from Adsense or some such.   

Actually, I am hoping that Google monitors this blog as much as the government does.  This morning while I am signed in everywhere to Canovals, the Google Blog here insisted on signing me into Canovals2 which of course does not exist on their Blog system.  Clever, huh?   Google / YouTube also tries to sign in another account which uses Yahoo as my Yahoo Google account - only Google cannot find that account as a Google account so they try their hardest to get me to sign up for an account which I don't want.  And ... if I already have it, why can't they find it.  Clever, huh? 

This morning, Google has my blog in Croatian even though I've chosen English as the language we will use here and I've written quite a bit about that  just that to explain why.  Really clever folks these Google guys are, yes?

Big Brother, you would do me a big favor if you could pass this entry along to the really clever fellows over at Google so they  could think over their cleverness.  

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
12 Ožujak 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012


So I dug up an old old song.  I like it.]

Crveni Koralji (Red Corals) are a rock and roll group from Zagreb.   First known as Crveni đavoli (Red devils)  or Crveni dječac (Red boys) ,  Crveni Koralji were the first band to sell over 100,000 records.  Back in the day there were not so many record players in all of Jugoslavia so that was quite an achievment.

Their heyday was the sixties and they still come out for nostalgic performances when they please.

Their singles are:
Rekla si: volimo se, ( PGP RTB 1963 .) 
Crvene ruže (Roses are red), Ja za ljubav dosad nisam znao (Things), sa Ivicom Šerfezijem (Jugoton 1964 .) 
Bez djevojke, Još uvijek se nadam, (Jugoton 1969 .) 
Their albums are:
Napuljska gitara, Maštanje, Zvjezdana noć, Dolazak - Andrlea, ( Jugoton, 1964 . EPY 3370) Peggy sue, Koliko dugo (Blowing in the Wind), Svadja, Noćas, sa Matt Collinsom (Jugoton 1964 .) 
Peggy sue, Koliko dugo (Blowing in the Wind), Svadja, Noćas, sa Matt Collinsom (Jugoton 1964 .) 
Najljepši san, dok je drugi ljubi (Then he kissed me), Ponoć je prošla, Rekla si: volimo se, (PGP RTB 1964 .) 
Zizi, Au revoir, Reci, reci, reci... (Dis, Dis, Dis ...) Too beautiful (Trop Beau), Zvonko Špišić (Records 196?) (Dis, dis, dis...), Suviše lijepo (Trop beau), sa Zvonkom Spišićom (Jugoton 196?) Zizi, Au revoir, Reci, reci, reci... (Dis, Dis, Dis ...) Too beautiful (Trop Beau), Zvonko Špišić (Records 196?) (Dis, dis, dis...), Suviše lijepo (Trop beau), sa Zvonkom Spišićom (Jugoton 196?) 
Otiđi od nje (You better move on), Perfidia (Dominiguez), Tema mladih ljubavnika (Young Lovers), Svega mi je dosta (It's all over now), (PGP RTB 1965 .) 
Volim je (And i love her), Sretne godine, Johnny guitar, Izgubljenoj ljubavi, (PGP RTB 1966.) 
Sam (What's they gonna do), Kad bih bio drvosječa (If I were a Carpenter), Bila si jedina, Ne želim više tu ljubav, (PGP RTB 1968., EP 50553) 
Moja gitara, Noćas sam sanjao, U jutro (Al matino), Otac je rekao (Simon says), (PGP RTB 1969.) 

The founding players were Miro Lukačić,Davorin Sarajlić,Rudolf Šimunec,Josip Badrić, and Boris Babarović. Through the years Jelenko Krupić, Mika Hižak, Vlado Kirby Bastajić, Boris Turina, Kreso Pavlic, Zeljko Marinac, Vlatko Medocki, and Marijan Mise have joined in as well. Ivica Šerfezi collaberated with them on Crvene Ruže and Matt Collins on Peggy Sue.

There aren't any words to NAPULJSKA GITARA but the sound hits me as sixties American and Teksikanski beach music so what you get in the video is a mix of California and Texas gulf beaches with some imagry that made me smile.  I hope it makes you smile too.

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

24 veljača 2012

Odlučio sam slijediti Krista - Luka Balvan

I grew up hearing this song first as I have decided to follow Jesus" and much later as Odlučio sam slijediti Krista.

Later, when I was in graduate school some of the professors decried the song because of its "decisionalist" theology.  Their position was a puzzlement to me.   By the time my professors were squawking about it, this song was already deep in the catholic consciousness of Croatians.  The other matter that caused me some difficulty with my professor's opinions was a little matter in Holy Writ which I hold authoritative as being the Word of God without error.  

There it is in Joshua 15:
Međutim, ako vam se ne sviđa služiti Jahvi, onda danas izaberite kome ćete služiti: možda bogovima kojima su služili vaši oci s onu stranu Rijeke ili bogovima Amorejaca  u čijoj zemlji sada prebivate. Ja i moj dom služit ćemo Jahvi."

na engleskom:
"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

So, there it is:  "izaberite."  On english that is "choose."  "Ja i moj dom služit ćemo Jahvi." "I and my house to serve we will to the Lord."  You want good engleski, you put on on good engleski or go read for your self on english.  I want to show you literal construction which is very close to original language how it says this.

Then we look at Luki 9:57 "Dok su išli putem, neki čovjek reče Isusu:  'Slijedit ću te kamo god ti pošao!'"

We Slavs have an advantage you know.  Holy Writ was put on "old" slavonic long before on  other languages.  Our translations are old, almost as old as the greek for the old testament.  The point of my saying this is to assure you that the translators were close to the old understandings of these texts and so they are very very accurate.  Latin or Slavonic? Take the Slavonic every time.  Even the Pope in Rome long long time before Vatican II said we Croats can have our liturgy and our Scripture in our very own language.  English or Slavonic? Slavonic every time.  Even the translators for King James took very close look at the Slavonic before they put their translation into print.

I suppose this may place me at odds with certain of my professors and with part of the church. Oh well.  Along with Martin Luther "“Unless I am proved wrong by Scripture or by evident reason, then I am a prisoner in conscience to the word of God. I cannot retract and I will not retract.  To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other.”   Ja i moj dom služit ćemo Jahvi.

"Choose."  "I and my house to serve we will ..."  In old Slav's thinking I cannot tell the  difference between this and "Odlučio sam slijediti Krista."  Never mind.  If there is some difference it does not matter, jer odlučio sam slijediti Krista and that's that. If you want come with me, then, here is the path ... Ja i moj dom služit ćemo Jahvi.

Supposedly some fellow named S. Sundar Singh  wrote "I have decided to follow Jesus" and put it to an old Hindustani melody.  Maybe that was my professor's real objection to the song.  The Hindustani melody.  Someday someone please be explaining to them about the group who came down from Bohemia to Saxony and who are the people called the "Saxon immigration."  How on earth did they decide to be German?  Sigh.  You can paint the duck white but he is still not a  pelikan.  The song is in the public domain.  Luka Balvan sings it for us.  Balvan graciously makes all his music available for all the people.  I think this song is good meditation for Ash Wednesday and for all of korizma.

odlučio sam slijediti Krista,odlučio sam slijediti Krista,
odlučio sam slijediti Krista, neću se vratit nikada.
Da niko neće, ja idem za njim. Neću se vratit nikada.
Krist je preda mnom, a svijet je za mnom. Neću se vratit nikada.
Uzmite sav svijet, dajte mi Krista. Neću se vratit nikada.

As it comes to us from Singh:
I have decided to follow Jesus;I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

24 veljača 2012


Alright.  Here's the story.  Near Hrad Topol'cianske was a pivovar, a brewery.  They made beer there. They sang about it.  This is the song they sang.  They closed the pivovar.  There is now no more beer from Topol'čianski.

So that's the end of the story.  No!!! Not even close to the end of the story.  To get to the end of the story, we have to find the front of the story.   "Don't you mean that you have to find the beginning of the story?  What's the matter for you?  Don't you even speak English?"   Alright.  Have it your way.  You find the beginning.  I'm going to the front.  You can come with me or not.  Your choice it is.

To find the front, we must first learn something about the Vezérlő Fejedelem.  After all, if you want to go  to the front of the line, you must first find who is first in line.  He is called the Fejedelem, the Prince.  As you know of course, the word "Prince" means simply "the First."  As it turns out, the Fejedelem in our story is the son of Rákóczi Ferenc and Jelena Zrinska.  Jelena Zrinksa was the daughter of Petar Zrinski with whose neck the empire had had some interest.  Jelena Zrinska was a neice of the Nikola Zrinski whose poetry placed the exploits of his ancestor Nikola Šubić Zrinski at Szigetvár against Suleiman the Magnificent into the hearts of every Croat in the all the world for all time.  "U boj! u boj!  ... Za dom! Spremne!" 

The family lived at this time near Mukacheve around which the borders of the Ukrajna have been drawn since the Second World War - you know- there in Mala Polska.  Look at the map, you can find it.  During the battle of Trenčín, whose environs are visible from the ramparts of the  Topol'čianski  Rákóczi Ferenc's horse stumbled and he was knocked unconscious.  His soldiers presumed his death and fled the field, ending the "Kurac" rebellion.  As a result, the Hussites in Czech and Slovakia were at a fatal military disadvantage as were  the Lutherans in Hungary  and in Croatia, all of whom had supported the notion that the purpose of the state was to protect the people rather than the people to serve the state. 

Oh, did I mention in here anywhere that all this began with the emperor suspending the constitution of the empire? Oh. Perhaps I should have. 

Had Rákóczi's horse not stumbled, the chances are that Central Europe might have been mostly  Protestant thereafter.   One of the Croats who rode rode with Rákóczi from the Topol'čianski that day was my ancestor.  Was he one of those who fled in panic?  I would like to think not, but I don't know.
My ancestors on my father's side began arriving in America shortly after all this, during the period when the Hapsburg government was interested in the necks of almost every member of the family.  Oh.

Topol'čianski Hrad was one of the strong points held by Rákóczi.  It lays astride an ancient roadway leading from Krakova in the north to Bjelovar and on south to Tirana.  It was the roadway by which many Bijelohrvati  moved south over a period of time into that which is modern Croatia.  It was the roadway by which merchandise, ideas, and the news traveled for many centuries.  Those ancient travelers left their mark.  Their path can be easily traced with the help of Google maps.  At Bjelovar the road intersects with the ancient highway to Osijek, Novosad, and points east all the way to China.  This was the ancient "Silk Road" which European  mariners spent so much effort to replace with a more secure water highway with which the Ottoman's and others could not interfere.

There's more to the story.  Important but little known history whispers through the breezes on the battlements of hrad Topol'čianski. If I have to, I will tell some of that history later.  Freddy, you know who you are Freddy. I am going to give you a days to respond before I go public with what I dug up in the castle courtyard.  I would much rather you told the story, but if I have to I will.  You do not wish me to do that. 

Just a few miles  north of Hrad Topol'čianski is the pass where the Germans massed just prior to their invasion of Poland.  Auschwitz lays just a few miles further, just off the old road to Krakova.

So why is an old Croat featuring a song called TOPOĽČIANSKE PIVO?  Topolčianski is in Slovakia isn't it? Yup.  It sure is.  Hrad Topol'cianski was our castle.  It was one of my family's castles.  It was a Croatian Castle on a highway connecting Croatians in the north with Croatians in the south.  The once mighty stari hrad is now a crumbling oddity.  The once major highway across Europe is not even passable by automobile all the way up to the castle.  The castle is crumbling.  The Croats are gone as are others, all long gone, and now, so is the beer.  Placem.

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
24 veljača  2012