"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

24 March 2018

Linda Ronstadt, "Tumbling Dice"


When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.

Alexander Den Heijer


Like a star that can't wait for the night.


You have done well to keep so much hair when so many's after it.

Jerry Jeff Walker, "Pickup Truck Song"

It's sandwich time.


Happy birthday, Morris.

William Morris was born on this day in 1834.


Fair now is the springtide, now earth lies beholding
With the eyes of a lover, the face of the sun;
Long lasteth the daylight, and hope is enfolding
The green-growing acres with increase begun.

Now sweet, sweet it is through the land to be straying
’Mid the birds and the blossoms and the beasts of the field;
Love mingles with love, and no evil is weighing
On thy heart or mine, where all sorrow is healed.

From township to township, o’er down and by tillage
Fair, far have we wandered and long was the day;
But now cometh eve at the end of the village,
Where over the grey wall the church riseth grey.

There is wind in the twilight; in the white road before us
The straw from the ox-yard is blowing about;
The moon’s rim is rising, a star glitters o’er us,
And the vane on the spire-top is swinging in doubt.

Down there dips the highway, toward the bridge crossing over
The brook that runs on to the Thames and the sea.
Draw closer, my sweet, we are lover and lover;
This eve art thou given to gladness and me.

Shall we be glad always? Come closer and hearken:
Three fields further on, as they told me down there,
When the young moon has set, if the March sky should darken
We might see from the hill-top the great city’s glare.

Hark, the wind in the elm-boughs! from London it bloweth,
And telleth of gold, and of hope and unrest;
Of power that helps not; of wisdom that knoweth,
But teacheth not aught of the worst and the best.

Of the rich men it telleth, and strange is the story
How they have, and they hanker, and grip far and wide;
And they live and they die, and the earth and its glory
Has been but a burden they scarce might abide.

Hark! the March wind again of a people is telling;
Of the life that they live there, so haggard and grim,
That if we and our love amidst them had been dwelling
My fondness had faltered, thy beauty grown dim.

This land we have loved in our love and our leisure
For them hangs in heaven, high out of their reach;
The wide hills o’er the sea-plain for them have no pleasure,
The grey homes of their fathers no story to teach.

The singers have sung and the builders have builded,
The painters have fashioned their tales of delight;
For what and for whom hath the world’s book been gilded,
When all is for these but the blackness of night?

How long, and for what is their patience abiding?
How oft and how oft shall their story be told,
While the hope that none seeketh in darkness is hiding,
And in grief and in sorrow the world groweth old?

Come back to the inn, love, and the lights and the fire,
And the fiddler’s old tune and the shuffling of feet;
For there in a while shall be rest and desire,
And there shall the morrow’s uprising be sweet.

Yet, love, as we wend, the wind bloweth behind us,
And beareth the last tale it telleth to-night,
How here in the spring-tide the message shall find us;
For the hope that none seeketh is coming to light.

Like the seed of midwinter, unheeded, unperished,
Like the autumn-sown wheat ’neath the snow lying green,
Like the love that o’ertook us, unawares and uncherished,
Like the babe ’neath thy girdle that groweth unseen;

So the hope of the people now buddeth and groweth,
Rest fadeth before it, and blindness and fear;
It biddeth us learn all the wisdom it knoweth;
It hath found us and held us, and biddeth us hear:

For it beareth the message: “Rise up on the morrow
And go on your ways toward the doubt and the strife;
Join hope to our hope and blend sorrow with sorrow,
And seek for men’s love in the short days of life.”

But lo, the old inn, and the lights, and the fire,
And the fiddler’s old tune and the shuffling of feet;
Soon for us shall be quiet and rest and desire,
And to-morrow’s uprising to deeds shall be sweet.

William Morris


Russell, Vincent van Gogh, 1886

Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.

Vincent van Gogh

23 March 2018

Ssssssssstones, "Tumbling Dice"




Someone else's vision will never be as good as your own vision of yourself. Live and die with it because in the end it’s all you have. Lose it and you lose yourself and everything else. I should have listened to myself.

Georgia O'Keeffe

D-wight Lightnin', "Truckin'"




Schubert, Piano Quintet in A major, D.667, "Trout"

Jacqueline du Pré, Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zukerman perform ...

It's sandwich time.



Technique is the proof of your seriousness.

Wallace Stevens

Mozart, Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K.466

Daniel Barenboim performs and leads the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra ...


The European Space Agency has a program called PANGAEA which is aimed at developing geology training programs for astronauts. As a part of this program a new technology was recently deployed and tested in Spain’s extensive La Cueva de Los Verdes lava tube. It’s actually a pair of technologies called the “Pegasus Backpack” and the “Leica BLK360."

The Pegasus Backpack is a wearable “3D mapper”. This is something that could be used to map out street views similar to the Google Street View. What makes it so cool though is that the backpack doesn’t require a satellite connection, enabling it for use inside places with poor connectivity.

The Leica BLK360 is a LIDAR camera (Laser Imaging, Detection and Ranging). What LIDAR does is it shoots out a beam of laser light and thanks to the speed of light, is able to get an extremely accurate measurement of the distance from the camera the laser beam hit something and bounced back to the LIDAR camera. The camera detects this bounce back and does it again many more times, putting together a scan of the surrounding space: essentially an image of the room you’re in (or for many spacecraft, of the topographic features of the planetary surface below it).

When combined, as researchers with PANGAEA did, they were able to go deep inside the La Cueva de Los Verdes lava tube, away from both satellite connections and light, and create a detailed, 3D map of the entire lava tube.

Here is a fly through ...

22 March 2018


To fail to experience gratitude when walking through the corridors of the Metropolitan Museum, when listening to the music of Bach or Beethoven, when exercising our freedom to speak, or … to give, or withhold, our assent, is to fail to recognise how much we have received from the great wellsprings of human talent and concern that gave us Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, our parents, our friends. We need a rebirth of gratitude for those who have cared for us, living and, mostly, dead. The high moments of our way of life are their gifts to us. We must remember them in our thoughts and in our prayers; and in our deeds.

William F. Buckley Jr.

Thank you, Radical Conformist.

Van Morrison, "Keep Me Singing"


Priest, "Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)


Mengs, Helios as Personification of Midday (detail), 1763

There are songs for the morning and songs for the night,
For sunrise and sunset, the stars and the moon;
But who will give praise to the fulness of light,
And sing us a song of the glory of noon?
Oh, the high noon, the clear noon,
The noon with golden crest;
When the blue sky burns, and the great sun turns
With his face to the way of the west!

How swiftly he rose in the dawn of his strength;
How slowly he crept as the morning wore by;
Ah, steep was the climbing that led him at length
To the height of his throne in the wide summer sky.
Oh, the long toil, the slow toil,
The toil that may not rest,
Till the sun looks down from his journey's crown,
To the wonderful way of the west!

Then a quietness falls over meadow and hill,
The wings of the wind in the forest are furled,
The river runs softly, the birds are all still,
The workers are resting all over the world.
Oh, the good hour, the kind hour,
The hour that calms the breast!
Little inn half-way on the road of the day,
Where it follows the turn to the west!

There's a plentiful feast in the maple-tree shade,
The lilt of a song to an old-fashioned tune,
The talk of a friend, or the kiss of a maid,
To sweeten the cup that we drink to the noon.
Oh, the deep noon, the full noon,
Of all the day the best!
When the blue sky burns, and the great sun turns
To his home by the way of the west.

Henry van Dyck

Van Morrison, "Why Must I Always Explain?"

It's sandwich time.


de Blaas, A Young Woman with Veil (detail), 1909

From my village I see as much of the universe as can be seen
from the earth,
And so my village is as large as any town,
For I am the size of what I see
And not the size of my height . . .

In the cities life is smaller
Than here in my house on top of this hill.
The big buildings of cities lock up the view,
They hide the horizon, pulling our gaze far away from the
open sky.
They make us small, for they take away all the vastness our
eyes can see,
And they make us poor, for our only wealth is seeing.

Fernando Passoa

Van Morrison, "Transformation"

Happy birthday, van Dyck.

van Dyck, Self-portrait with Sunflower, 1632

Antoon van Dyck was born on this day in 1599.


Far spread the moorey ground a level scene
Bespread with rush and one eternal green
That never felt the rage of blundering plough
Though centurys wreathed springs blossoms on its brow
Still meeting plains that stretched them far away
In uncheckt shadows of green brown and grey
Unbounded freedom ruled the wandering scene
Nor fence of ownership crept in between
To hide the prospect of the following eye
Its only bondage was the circling sky
One mighty flat undwarfed by bush and tree
Spread its faint shadow of immensity
And lost itself which seemed to eke its bounds
In the blue mist the horizons edge surrounds

Now this sweet vision of my boyish hours
Free as spring clouds and wild as summer flowers
Is faded all—a hope that blossomed free
And hath been once no more shall ever be
Inclosure came and trampled on the grave
Of labours rights and left the poor a slave
And memory’s pride ere want to wealth did bow
Is both the shadow and the substance now

The sheep and cows were free to range as then
Where change might prompt nor felt the bonds of men
Cows went and came with evening morn and night
To the wild pasture as their common right
And sheep unfolded with the rising sun
Heard the swains shout and felt their freedom won
Tracked the red fallow field and heath and plain
Then met the brook and drank and roamed again
The brook that dribbled on as clear as glass
Beneath the roots they hid among the grass
While the glad shepherd traced their tracks along
Free as the lark and happy as her song

But now alls fled and flats of many a dye
That seemed to lengthen with the following eye
Moors loosing from the sight far smooth and blea
Where swopt the plover in its pleasure free
Are vanished now with commons wild and gay
As poets visions of life’s early day  
Mulberry bushes where the boy would run
To fill his hands with fruit are grubbed and done
And hedgerow briars—flower lovers overjoyed
Came and got flower pots—these are all destroyed
And sky bound mores in mangled garbs are left
Like mighty giants of their limbs bereft

Fence now meets fence in owners little bounds
Of field and meadow large as garden grounds
In little parcels little minds to please
With men and flocks imprisoned ill at ease
Each little path that led its pleasant way
As sweet as morning leading night astray
Where little flowers bloomed round a varied host
That travel felt delighted to be lost
Nor grudged the steps that he had taen as vain
When right roads traced his journeys and again
Nay on a broken tree hed sit awhile
To see the mores and fields and meadows smile
Sometimes with cowslaps smothered—then all white
With daiseys—then the summers splendid sight
Of cornfields crimson oer the 'headach' bloomd
Like splendid armys for the battle plumed
He gazed upon them with wild fancys eye
As fallen landscapes from an evening sky

These paths are stopt—the rude philistines thrall
Is laid upon them and destroyed them all
Each little tyrant with his little sign
Shows where man claims earth glows no more divine
But paths to freedom and to childhood dear
A board sticks up to notice “no road here
And on the tree with ivy overhung
The hated sign by vulgar taste is hung
As tho the very birds should learn to know
When they go there they must no further go
This with the poor scared freedom bade goodbye
And much they feel it in the smothered sigh
And birds and trees and flowers without a name
All sighed when lawless laws enclosure came
And dreams of plunder in such rebel schemes
Have found too truly that they were but dreams

John Clare