AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

31 July 2011

Investigating.

Uccello, Perspective Study of a Chalice, 1450


[Uccello] would remain the long night in his study to work out the vanishing points of his perspective, and when summoned to his bed by his wife replied in the celebrated words: “How fair a thing is this perspective." Being endowed be nature with a sophisticated and subtle disposition, he took pleasure in nothing save in investigating difficult and impossible questions of perspective. When engaged in these matters, Paolo would remain alone in his house almost like a hermit, with hardly any intercourse, for weeks and months, not allowing himself to be seen. By using up his time on these fancies he remained more poor than famous during his lifetime.

- Giorgio Vasari

Tallis, "O Sacrum Convivium"

Happy Birthday, Vasari.

Vasari, Self-portrait, 1563


Artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari was born on this date in 1511.

At a time when the art of biography was not very well advanced, Vasari created a blueprint for how it could be done, offering a practitioner’s insight into the problems faced by his subjects, as well as willingness in later editions to correct prior inaccuracies. He not only created an indispensable record of the Renaissance in Italy, but, when translated, also influenced historical portraits of this period elsewhere, too.

In his The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, for instance, Jacob Burckhardt, the influential 19th century historian, wrote: “Without Giorgio Vasari of Arezzo and his all-important work, we should perhaps to this day have no history of modern art, or of the art of modern Europe, at all.”


Vasari's library is here.

Vasari, The Last Judgement, 1579


Inspiration demands the active cooperation of the intellect joined with enthusiasm, and it is under such conditions that marvelous conceptions, with all that is excellent and divine, come into being.

- Giorgio Vasari

Beautiful.

Now if you ever heard the whistle on a fast freight train
Beatin' out a beautiful tune



If you ever seen the cold blue railroad tracks
Shinin' by the light of the moon



If you ever felt the locomotive shake the ground
I know you don't have to be told



Why I'm goin down to the railroad tracks
And watch them lonesome boxcars roll.



Butch Hancock, "Boxcars." I heard that sound in the earth this morning.



Thanks, Aimee, Seth, and John. That was fun.

Colorful.

A colorful look at 1940s New York City.

Look closely.


Look further at How To Be A Retronaut. What a great site.

Head in the clouds.



30 July 2011

Believe.


It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is.

- W.B. Yeats

Indy.

On this date in 1945, the USS Indianapolis sank.


The heavy cruiser Indianapolis steamed out of San Francisco Bay just after dawn on July 16 wrapped in a heavy cloak of secrecy. In her belly, she carried the atomic bomb that three weeks later would be dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. She raced, unescorted, to the island of Tinian where she unloaded her lethal cargo on July 26. Her mission accomplished, the Indianapolis then began a journey into Hell that would end with the worst naval disaster in U.S. history.

From Tinian she sailed to the island of Guam and from there she was ordered to the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan. Traveling without an escort, her voyage would take her through an oceanic No Man's Land infested with Japanese submarines and sharks.

At a few minutes past midnight on July 30 two Japanese torpedoes tore into her side, igniting an explosion that broke the ship in two. It took only twelve minutes for the ship to dip her bow, roll to starboard and slip beneath the sea. Of her crew of 1,196, an estimated 900 survived the explosion - but the worst was yet to come.

A few of those in the water were able to reach a raft or debris from the ship to cling to. Many wore life jackets that provided minimal buoyancy. Just as many, however, had neither raft nor life jacket and were forced to continually tread water to survive, finding relief only when a life jacket became available through the death of a shipmate. The sharks began attacking when the sun rose and continued their assault throughout the ordeal.

No alarm was raised when the ship failed to arrive at its destination. No rescue forces were dispatched to find the missing ship - its sinking went unnoticed. For four days a dwindling number of survivors fought a losing battle of life and death. Then, lady luck intervened. A Navy reconnaissance plane on routine patrol happened to spot the survivors and broadcast their position. Near-by ships rushed to the scene and began to pluck the sailors out of the water. A tally made at the completion of the rescue revealed that only 317 of the original estimated 900 who escaped the sinking ship survived their ordeal.


The rest of the story can be found at Eyewitness to History.

Dr. Charles Stanley interviews Harlan W. Twible, ENS, (Ret.) who survived the USS Indianapolis sinking.

29 July 2011

Living.

Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within and God o'erhead.


- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Arturo Tosconini conducts the final chorus from Beethoven;s Ninth Symphony, Ode To Joy ...



Background on Schiller's "Ode To Joy" is here.

Civilization.

A tour given by Cactus Ed ...

If.

Van Allsburg, If There Was An Answer, He'd Find It There, 1984


Brahms, Intermezzo E Flat Major op,117, No.1

Chris Van Allsburg

In my classroom I use many of author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg's (Polar Express, Jumanji, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick) creations as journal prompts.

His illustrations leave a great deal to the imagination.

Edward Gorey, "The Epiplectic Bicycle"



After watching this, I thought the illustrations looked familiar and sure enough ...

Evanescence.

Braque, Landscape at l'Estaque, 1906


Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.

- Okakura Kakuzo

Listen.

Julian Treasure provides describes ways to listen better ...

Happy Birthday, Lee.

Rush frontman and bassist Geddy Lee was born on this date in 1953.

Rush, "Fly By Night"

Before.


Before I Die is an interactive public art project that transforms neglected spaces into constructive places where we can discover the hopes and aspirations of the people around us. Share your dreams, too...

See more at Before I Die ...

Uncertainty.


Read and stay super mentally fit. Find, support and be loyal to great friends and colleagues. Remind yourself you live on a rock spinning through space populated with humans not an air-conditioned management model with perfect emotional intelligence robots. Celebrate certainty when you get it, sure. Strive for it, definitely: the quest is (literally) enlightening. But get comfortable, really comfortable with living with uncertainty. And then Life becomes so much easier, more relaxing and ..er.. certain.

Thanks, Cultural Offering.

Camp.

Collins, Schoharie Creek, 2008


The ground rose, wooded and sandy, to overlook the meadow, the stretch of river and the swamp. Nick dropped his pack and rod case and looked for a level piece of ground. He was very hungry and he wanted to make his camp before he cooked. Between two jack pines, the ground was quite level. He took the ax out of the pack and chopped out two projecting roots. That leveled a piece of ground large enough to sleep on. He smoothed out the sandy soil with his hand and pulled all the sweet fern bushes by their roots. His hands smelled good from the sweet fern. He smoothed the uprooted earth. He did not want anything making lumps under the blankets. When he had the ground smooth, he spread his blankets. One he folded double, next to the ground. The other two he spread on top.

With the ax he slit off a bright slab of pine from one of the stumps and split it into pegs for the tent. He wanted them long and solid to hold in the ground. With the tent unpacked and spread on the ground, the pack, leaning against a jack pine, looked much smaller. Nick tied the rope that served the tent for a ridgepole to the trunk of one of the pine trees and pulled the tent up off the ground with the other end of the rope and tied it to the other pine. The tent hung on the rope like a canvas blanket on a clothesline. Nick poked a pole he had cut up under the back peak of the canvas and then made it a tent by pegging out the sides. He pegged the sides out taut and drove the pegs deep, hitting them down into the ground with the flat of the ax until the rope loops were buried and the canvas was drum tight.

Across the open mouth of the tent Nick fixed cheesecloth to keep out mosquitoes. He crawled inside under the mosquito bar with various things from the pack to put at the head of the bed under the slant of the canvas. Inside the tent the light came through the brown canvas. It smelled pleasantly of canvas. Already there was something mysterious and homelike. Nick was happy as he crawled inside the tent. He had not been unhappy all day. This was different though. Now things were done. There had been this to do. Now it was done. It had been a hard trip. He was very tired. That was done. He had made his camp. He was settled. Nothing could touch him. It was a good place to camp. He was there, in the good place. He was in his home where he had made it. Now he was hungry.


- Ernest Hemingway, "The Big Two-Hearted River, Part 1"

Tim O'Brien, "Gentle On My Mind"

Tim singing John Hartford poetry.

It's not clinging to the rocks and ivy planted on their columns now that bind me,
Or something that somebody said because they thought we fit together walkin'.
It's just knowing that the world will not be cursing or forgiving when I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're moving on the back roads by the rivers of my memory and for hours you're just gentle on my mind.


Don't miss the beautiful solo ... what a treasure Tim O'Brien is.

Starry.


A paper version of van Gogh's Starry Night.

A closer look from Scene 360.

Do.


There has been some talk recently about individuals doing the right thing for the Earth is good, but it’s not enough. Little actions are important, but given the scale of the challenges that we now face, we all need to step up our efforts to a higher level. I tend to think of it as a “ladder of influence”. The bigger the action, the further the ripples of change will spread.

If you do nothing else, then please think about doing these:

1. Buy organic; don’t buy food that has been sprayed with poison, aka herbicide and pesticide. It’s just not a good idea. Buy local, from farmers who embrace sustainable practices. Or grow your own – if I can grow my own beansprouts on board a rowboat, then anybody with a windowsill has no excuse. Beansprouts are cheap, tasty, and pack a powerful nutritional punch.

2. Walk more, drive less – it’s good for your body and good for the planet. And good for your wallet too.

3. Never again use a “disposable” plastic object. Take your own reusable grocery bag, water bottle, and coffee cup.

4. Get active: find a local issue that means something to you – something good to support (like a communal organic garden, or a ban-the-bag campaign) or something bad to oppose (like the destruction of a woodland) – and use it as a focus to create an interest group. It doesn’t have to be a lonely experience trying to save the world – reach out to your community, and support each other.

5. Get political: find a bigger issue that concerns you, and write to your elected representative, or the head of the relevant company. Write to the local newspaper, or even a national one. Make your views known. Stand up and be counted – and urge your friends and family to do the same. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead).

6. Make time to get connected with nature. Make time to get connected to yourself. Make time to get connected to others. It’s all about connection.

7. Finally, and most importantly, spread the word. Everybody reading this blog has a part to play. You are all spreading ripples in your communities. Everything you think, say and do, declares to the world what your values are, and casts a vote for the kind of future that you want. Use your votes wisely. Your world, your children, and even your future self, will thank you for it.

Forget public relations and public service announcements – word of mouth is still the most powerful tool we have at our disposal. What you say to your neighbour will have a greater impact on him or her than anything they see in the media or online. Your words have an immediacy and a reality and a natural authority that no other form of communication can match. So how will you use your influence? What will you do to spread the good green word, to raise consciousness, inspire action, and make this world a better place?


Read the rest at Roz Savage, Ocean Rower.

In-depth

.. with WFB.


Brian Lamb conducts a three-hour conversation with William F. Buckley Jr., discussing his body of published works, people who have influenced his thinking, and his political philosophies.

Immerse yourself at C-SPAN.

Happy Birthday, Burns.

Documentarian and historian Ken Burns was born on this date in 1953.

Ken Burns' canon is extensive. To list a few of my favorites ...

Lewis & Clark.

Jefferson.

Twain.

Baseball.

Jazz.

The Shakers.

The National Parks.

The West.

World War II.

It was the The Civil War
that introduced me to Ken Burns when it debuted on PBS in the fall of 1990.

Burns' work superbly relays the cultural fondations, the romance of accomplishment, and the wonder of daily life in the everyday, human charcters that make history.

An excellent example of his work from The Civil War ...

Barn.

Somewhere between Croton and Appleton.

28 July 2011

Beauty.

I posted this a couple of years ago, but Roger Scruton's BBC documentary, Why Beauty Matters, is worth another look ...











Beauty.

Denis Dutton presents a Darwinian theory of beauty ...

Freedom.


In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.

- Benjamin Franklin

Pleasure.

Paul Bloom on the origins of pleasure ...

Mike Auldridge, "Lorena"

Tranquil.

The evening is tranquil, and dawn is a thousand miles away ...


Photo essays at The Blue Hour are always a treat.

Prayer.

Richter, Seascape (Cloudy), 1932


I saw it again this evening,
Black sail in a pale yellow sky
And just as before in a moment,
It was gone where the grey gulls fly

If it should happen again I shall worry
That only a strange ship could fly
And my sanity scans the horizon
In the light of a darkening sky

That night as I walked in my slumber
I walked into the sea strand
And I swam with the moon and her lover
Until I lost sight of the land

I swam till the night became morning
Black sea in the reddening sky
Found myself on the deck on a rolling ship
So far where no grey gulls fly

All around me was silence
As if mocking my frail human hopes
And a question mark hung in the canvas
For the wind that had died in the ropes

I may have slept for an hour
I may have slept for a day
For a woke in a bed of white linen
And the sky was the colour of clay

At first just a rustle of canvas
And the gentlest breath on my face
But a galloping line of white horses
Said that soon we were in for a race

The gentle sigh turned to a howling
And the grey sky she angered to black
And my anxious eyes searched the horizon
With the gathering sea at my back

Did I see the shade of a sailor
On the bridge through the wheelhouse pane
Held fast to the wheel of the rocking ship
As I squinted my eyes in the rain

For the ship had turned into the wind
Against the storm to brace
And underneath the sailor's hat
I saw my father's face

If a prayer today is spoken
Please offer it for me
When the bridge to heaven is broken
And you're lost on the wild wild sea
Lost on the wild wild sea...


Sting, "Wild, Wild Sea"

Eat.


For a reason that must be specific, albeit untraceable, no phrase causes me more mental discomfort than "sudden weight loss." This condition, of course, presages dozens of fatal diseases that can pluck us off the earth as if there had never been any gravity, or gravy for that matter.

When entering a depression, you become a consensus human, a herd creature going through the motions that the wolves, the interior predators, can spot a mile away. You go through the motions of consensus eating food consensus eating cookbooks and restaurants; imbibing consensus perceptions, beliefs, and knowledge from consensus newspapers and magazines, feeling consensus feelings offered by consensus television, music, and drama, and reading poetry fiction, and nonfiction from consensus publishers. You have become the perfect midrange roadkill. You are suffocating in lint.

Eat and love; to be sure, you'd better eat first.


- Jim Harrison

Piercing.


stillness
piercing the rocks
cicada's shrill


- Basho

Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K.537, "Coronation"

Friedrich Gulda performs and conducts ...



Strength.

Brown, Inkfall, 2008


Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men. ... One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can "be", that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.

- Rollo May

See more at Quill Skill.

Individuality.


In an age when totalitarianism has striven, in every way, to devaluate and degrade the human person, we hope it is right to demand a hearing for any and every sane reaction in favor of man's inalienable solitude and his interior freedom. The murderous din of our materialism cannot be allowed to silence the independent voices which will never cease to speak. It is all very well to insist that man is a "social animal" -- the fact is obvious enough. But that is no justification for making him a mere cog in a totalitarian machine -- or in a religious one either, for that matter.

In actual fact, society depends for its existence on the inviolable personal solitude of its members. Society, to merit its name, must be made up not of numbers, or mechanical units, but of persons. To be a person implies responsibility and freedom, and both these imply a certain interior solitude, a sense of personal integrity, a sense of one's own reality and one's ability to give himself to society -- or to refuse that gift.

When men are merely submerged in a mass of impersonal human beings pushed around by impersonal forces, they lose their true humanity, their integrity, their dignity, their ability to love, their capacity for self-determination. When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, the society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment, and hate.

No amount of technological progress will cure the hatred that eats away the vitals of materialistic society like a spiritual cancer. The only cure is, and must always be, spiritual. There is not much use talking to men about God and love if they are not able to listen. The ears with which one hears the message of the Gospel are hidden in man's heart, and those ears do not hear anything unless they are favored with a certain interior solitude and silence.

In other words, since faith is a matter of freedom and self-determination -- the free receiving of a freely given gift of grace -- man cannot assent to a spiritual message as long as his mind and heart are enslaved by automatism. He will always remain so enslaved as long as he is submerged in a mass of other automatons, without individuality and without their rightful integrity as persons.


- Thomas Merton

Thanks.


One hundred and nine. I counted.

Oh, I might have missed somebody when I listened to the speech again. But I'm pretty sure Kris Draper thanked 109 people in Tuesday's retirement speech, which might be a record for a hockey player -- the only record Draper will ever hold, and the one he deserves most. Nobody in NHL history has been more thankful than Kris Draper.


Don't miss the rest of this article from The Freep.

Untranslateable.

Layton, Blue Morpho Butterfly (After Heade), 2003


I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.


- Walt Whitman

Looking out and in, there is wonder in the even the smallest, seemingly unrecognizable detail.

What wonder will you discover today? As I am typing this a butterfly just landed on my knee. The white splotch on its wing looks like the silhouette of a girl's head.

Today, right now, is a gift. Enjoy.

Laszlo Layton's site is here.

As you prepare to depart, consider this from Cultural Offering.

The way the artist, Laszlo Layton, makes his mark is very creative. Take a look in the lower right corner.

27 July 2011

Vision.

Founder and co-owner of the famed food mecca, Zingerman's, Ari Weinzeig, gives some sage advice that, to me, seems like it would work anywhere, for anybody, doing anything, at any time.

Powerful ...



Know the cathedral ...



Powerful inspiration.

Ordinary.


Restaurants are filled with friendship—but this restaurateur longs for ordinary pleasures that the cooking life lacks.

We work long hours trying to give people a joyful experience, and afterward we want to relax and unwind. But it's 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, and the only people still up with energy are our co-workers. We dissect the night over a couple bottles of wine in the restaurant or in another bar. We argue about the weirdo at table 53, discuss whether or not the kitchen could have timed things better, and fret about what we could have done differently.

This sense of closeness is rarely sustainable once you leave the restaurant. But often within the group, people become close and wind up socializing together both after work and on their off days. Over the years I've been close friends with people in a work environment, and then as soon as I changed jobs (or they did), we found it impossible to spend any time with each other at all. All the same, most of my closest friends today are people I have met through restaurant work.


Read the rest at The Atlantic.

Eventually.


I advance a bit, the current pushes me back. I push again, the current pushes me back again. Repeat ad nauseam. I could use a good stiff breeze to help get me out of here. It will arrive eventually. But I don’t yet know when.

Read the rest (don't miss the quote by Joko Beck at the end) at Roz Savage, Ocean Rower.

David Francey, "Solitary Wave"

Lucky.

Ignatov, Three Eggs, 2010


Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of moon.

- Rumi

More from Ignat Ignatov here.

Books.


HAIL! HAIL! HAIL! Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carriere have come together not to bury the book, but to praise it.

"The Internet has returned us to the alphabet … From now on, everyone has to read. In order to read, you need a medium. This medium cannot simply be a computer screen.” The implication of Eco’s logic is clear. E-books have their place in the world of letters, but not necessarily one of total dominance. “One of two things will happen,” Eco continues in his march of logic. “Either the book will continue to be the medium for reading, or its replacement will resemble what the book has always been, even before the invention of the printing press. Alterations to the book-as-object have modified neither its function nor its grammar for more than 500 years. The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved."

I love the tone of confidence and assurance and I hope they're right, because we're warned ...

“We are living in the first era in any civilization to have so many bookshops, so many beautiful, light-filled bookshops to wander around in, flicking through books,” Eco assures us. It is also salutary to be reminded that the preservation of cultural memory is an ongoing, urgent task. We assume that the contents of libraries and archives are being digitized, for example, without loss of significant printed material. This is not so. Carriere says that a truck arrives at the National Archives in Paris every day, “to take away a heap of old papers that are to be thrown out.”

Madness.

Read the rest at The National Post. Thanks, Arts & Letters Daily.

"Pipe Dream"



Thanks, Cat Whisperer.

Now.


In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us.

- Peter Matthiessen

Drunken.

Levitt, Untitled, 1940


Be Drunken, Always. That is the point; nothing else matters. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weigh you down and crush you to the earth, be drunken continually.

Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry or with virtue, as you please. But be drunken.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace, or on the green grass in a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own room, you should awaken and find the drunkenness half or entirely gone, ask of the wind, of the wave, of the star, of the bird, of the clock, of all that flies, of all that speaks, ask what hour it is; and wind, wave, star, bird, or clock will answer you: "It is the hour to be drunken! Be Drunken, if you would not be the martyred slaves of Time; be drunken continually! With wine, with poetry or with virtue, as you please.


- Charles Baudelaire

26 July 2011

Kris Kristofferson, "From Here To Forever"

For Drew and Zoƫ ...

Woodpeckers.

Simplicity.


Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.. Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have even lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.

- Henry David Thoreau

More.


According to a press release, the Travel Channel has officially greenlit Anthony Bourdain's new show, The Layover. Last month Bourdain described the new show as "faster, more democratic and more caffeinated than No Rez. But just as obnoxious."

Read the rest at Eater National.

Live.

Leonardo, Head of a Young Woman, 1508


Much that is said about beauty and its importance in our lives ignores the minimal beauty of an unpretentious street, a nice pair of shoes or a tasteful piece of wrapping paper, as though those things belonged to a different order of value from a church by Bramante or a Shakespeare sonnet. Yet these minimal beauties are far more important to our daily lives, and far more intricately involved in our own rational decisions, than the great works of art which (if we are lucky) occupy our leisure hours. They are part of the context in which we live our lives, and our desire for harmony, fittingness and civility is both expressed and confirmed in them. Moreover, the great works of architecture often depend for their beauty on the humble context that these lesser beauties provide.

- Roger Scruton

True.


There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

- Ernest Hemingway

Happiness.

Morning along Dry Creek.



I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.

- Leo Tolstoy

Liberty.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

- Thomas Jefferson

Josh Thompson, "Way Out Here"



We got a fightin' side a mile wide but we pray for peace
'Cause it's mostly us that end up servin' overseas
If it was up to me I'd love to see this country run
Like it used to be, oughta be, just like it's done
Out here, way out here

Happy Birthday, Catlin.

Catlin, Boy Chief (Ojibway), 1843


I have seen him shrinking from civilized approach, which came with all its vices, like the dead of night upon him. I have seen him gaze and then retreat like the frightened deer ... seen him shrinking from the soil and haunts of his boyhood, bursting the strongest ties which bound him to the earth and its pleasures. I have seen him set fire to his wigwam and smooth over the graves of his fathers ... clap his hand in silence over his mouth, and take the last look over his fair hunting ground, and turn his face in sadness to the setting sun. All this I have seen performed in nature's silent dignity ... and I have seen as often the approach of the bustling, busy, talking, whistling, hopping, elated and exulting white man, with the first dip of the ploughshare, making sacrilegeous trespass on the bones of the valiant dead .... I have seen the grand and irresistible march of civilization. I have seen this splendid juggernaut rolling on and beheld its sweeping desolation, and held converse with the happy thousands, living as yet beyond its influence, who have not been crushed, nor yet have dreamed of its approach.

- George Catlin

25 July 2011

Drapes.


SAY IT AIN"T SO!!!

It is rumored on several hockey sites that long-time Red Wing and last skating member of the infamous The Grind Line, Kris Draper will announce his retirement on Tuesday. Through 20 NHL seasons Draper played in 1157 games, scoring 161 goals and assisting on 203. He was also known for his defensive skills and in 2004 was awarded the Selke Trophy for being the league's best defensive forward.

I was a fan of Kris Draper because he was a tenacious worker. The nouns spoken by him in the commercial below are excellent labels for a great player.



As a member of The Grind Line, Kris Draper was instrumental in helping the Wings win four Stanley Cup trophies.


Thanks Mac, Drapes, and Malts ... you'll be missed.

Happy Birthday, Parrish.

Parrish, Aladdin, 1909


Maxfield Parrisj was born on this date in 1870.

How do ideas come? What a question! If they come of their own accord, they are apt to arrive at the most unexpected time and place. For the most part the place is out of doors, for up in this northern wilderness when nature puts on a show it is an inspiring one. There seem to be magic days once in a while, with some rare quality of light that hold a body spellbound: In sub-zero weather there will be a burst of unbelievable color when the mountain turns a deep purple, a thing it refuses to do in summer. Then comes the hard part: how to plan a picture so as to give to others what has happened to you. To render in paint an experience, to suggest the sense of light and color, air and space, there is no such thing as sitting down outside and trying to make a “portrait” of it. It lasts for only a minute, for one thing, and it isn’t an inspiration that can be copied on the spot ...

- Maxfield Parrish

Glorious.

Homer, A Shady Spot, Houghton Farm, 1878


A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.

- John Muir

Tunnel.


Churchyards and private farmlands throughout the German state of Bavaria are perforated from below by "more than 700 curious tunnel networks" whose "purpose remains a mystery."

As Der Spiegel reports, "The tunnel entrances are sometimes located in the kitchens of old farmhouses, near churches and cemeteries or in the middle of a forest. The atmosphere inside is dark and oppressive, much as it would be inside an animal den."

Although the subterranean networks are considered an "extremely unusual ancient phenomenon," other "small underground labyrinths have been found across Europe, from Hungary to Spain, but no one knows why they were built."


Read the rest at BLDGBLOG.

Loving.


From 1915 until 1946, some 25,000 pieces of paper were exchanged between two major 20th-century artists. Painter Georgia O'Keeffe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz wrote each other letters — sometimes two and three a day, some of them 40 pages long. The correspondence tracks their relationship from acquaintances to admirers to lovers to man and wife to exasperated — but still together — long-marrieds.

From O'Keefe's letter to Stieglitz, July 9, 1929

Please leave your regrets — and all your sadness — and misery — If I had hugged all mine to my heart as you are doing I could not walk out the door and let the sun shine into me as it has — and I could not feel the stars touch the center of me as they do out there on the hills at night — or the silver of the sagebrush way off into the distance as well as nearby — seem to touch my lips and my cheek as it does —

I have not wanted to be anything but kind to you — but there is nothing to be kind to you if I cannot be me — And me is something that reaches very far out into the world and all around — and kisses you — a very warm — cool — loving — kiss.


Read the rest at NPR.

My Faraway One is here.


Ratdog, "When I Paint My Masterpiece"



Thanks, Jess.