"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

31 March 2015


Not what we have but what we enjoy that constitutes our abundance.


The Moody Blues, "Tuesday Afternoon"


The unlike is joined together and from differences results the most beautiful harmony.



Roger Scruton's talk, "Towards a Humane Philosophy" ...

Happy birthday, Haydn.

Hardy, Haydn, 1792

Franz Joseph Haydn was born on this date in 1732.

Young people can learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts. I listened more than I studied, therefore little by little my knowledge and ability were developed.

Franz Joseph Haydn

Raymond Leppard conducts the English Chamber Orchestra in Haydn's Finale: Allegro from Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, in E-Flat Major Hob.VIIe: 1; Wynton Marsalis, trumpet ...


The Eiffel Tower opened to the public on this day in 1889.



Van Morrison, "Orangefield"

And the sun shone on your hair
When I saw you there in Orangefield
Saw you standing by the riverside in Orangefield
How I loved you then in Orangefield
Like I love you now in Orangefield



If you have taken this rubble for my past
raking though it for fragments you could sell
know that I long ago moved on
deeper into the heart of the matter

If you think you can grasp me, think again:
my story flows in more than one direction
a delta springing from the riverbed
with its five fingers spread

Adrienne Rich

30 March 2015

Steve Earle, "The Revolution Starts Now"

The revolution starts now
When you rise above your fear
And tear the walls around you down
The revolution starts here
Where you work and where you play
Where you lay your money down
What you do and what you say
The revolution starts now
Yeah the revolution starts now

26 March 2015


Bateman, Bull Moose, 1970

Since I am now an octogenarian I am going to invoke the privilege of handing out advice and opinions.  If you choose to doze off, I plan to post this address at RobertBateman.ca.  I will be quoting various people from Mark Twain to the Rolling Stones as I go along.  Mark Twain said, “Growing old is a question of mind over matter.   If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”  That same advice could apply to so many things in life – very Bhuddist.  Twain also said, “Some of the worst things in my life … never happened.”

That leads me to my first piece of advice.  DON’T WORRY.  I mean it.  Worrying makes no sense.  Either do something about the problem if you can, or, if you can’t do something, forget it.  I know that’s easier said than done so here is my second piece of advice:  PROCRASTINATE.  I don’t mean procrastinate about duties to be done.  Don’t be a shirker.  I mean procrastinate about worrying.  Say to yourself, “I’m OK at the moment so I will worry about the problem later.”  Some of the worst things in your life may never happen so why build up your own bad cortisol hormone and maybe raise your blood pressure and shorten your life for no point at all?  If you keep procrastinating your worry, time will likely take care of everything (as my mother always said).  (I tried this a few years ago when I had a cancer scare and it seemed to work.)  Action is good but worrying has bad side effects.  I’ve sometimes found it helpful to pretend that I’m in a movie.

Here are a couple of other tips in the worrying department.  Try the three breath meditation.  I am a hopeless meditator but I seem to be able to be mindful for three breaths.  Ten is stretching it.  If you are stressed, stop, relax your toes, relax your tongue, think about your finger tips and take three slow, conscious breaths … small investment for good results.  What about the problems of the planet?  I am well aware of the problems of the planet but I don’t wreck my days or nights obsessing about them.  If you find yourself worrying about the state of the world, go outside, take your three breaths, address a tree and quietly say thank you.  If you can’t find a tree a dandelion will do.  Gratitude is a good idea and it is very under-rated in our society.  We definitely owe gratitude to the plant kingdom.  They are on our side.  So pick your tree and express gratitude to it as a representative of the world’s flora.  Go for a walk in nature even for a few minutes every day.

Personally I don’t lose a wink of sleep over the disasters happening to the planet.  I try to do what I can in my own way – write letters, rant, make a donation etc., and then enjoy life on this beautiful planet.  Follow E. O. Wilson’s advice; fall in love with life on earth.  Love is better than fear.  You are wasting your life if all you do is fret about such things.  And you might only have one life.

Robert Bateman


The dirt resists you.  It is very hard to make the earth your own.  I've done much less to try to make it mine.  All my association with it is a kind of freedom.  Yet it's hard to live at the ranch.  When I first came here I had to go 70 miles on a dirt road for supplies.  Nobody would go by in two weeks.  I thought the ranch would be good for me because nothing can grow here and I wouldn't be able to use up my time gardening.  But I got tired of canned vegetables so now I grow everything I need for the year at Abiquiu.  I like to get up when the dawn comes.  The dogs start talking to me and I like to make a fire and maybe some tea and then sit in bed and watch the sun come up.  The morning is the best time, there are no people around.  My pleasant disposition likes the world with nobody in it.

I have no yen to go anywhere. But I go around the world anyway to see what's there -- and to see if I'm in the right place.  Flying to Japan, the first thing I saw was a field of snow that you could walk on, then a sky paved with clouds ... wherever I go, I have an eye out for rocks.  Outside my hotel in Phnom Penh I picked up a stone and carried it back around the world in my purse.  Stones, bones, clouds -- experience gives me shapes -- but sometimes the shapes I paint end up having no resemblance to the actual experience.

Georgia O'Keeffe

25 March 2015

Happy birthday, Toscanini.

Arturo Toscanini was born on this date in 1867.

To some it is Napoleon, to some it is a philosophical struggle ... to me it is allegro con brio.

Arturo Toscanini

The 1967 documentary, The Maestro Revisted ...


O'Keeffe, The Beyond, 1972

I try to capture the unexplainable thing in nature that makes me feel the world is so big and far beyond my understanding -- to understand maybe by trying to put it into form. To find the feeling of infinity on the horizon line or just over the next hill.

Georgia O'Keeffe

20 March 2015

Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in D major, RV 208

Vivaldi, the fiddle, and Enrico Onofri are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ...

Happy birthday, Bingham.

Bingham, Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, 1845

George Caleb Bingham was born on this date in 1811.

To the beautiful belongs an endless variety. It is seen not only in symmetry and elegance of form, in youth and health, but is often quite as fully apparent in decrepit old age. It is found in the cottage of the peasant as well as the palace of kings. 

George Caleb Bingham

Bruce Molsky, "Three Mark Polska/Down the Road"


This was not quite what I’d expected.

I’d come to the psych wing of Butler Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, to present a music seminar or, more properly, a sing-along, as part of a community service requirement for my college. This was in the late seventies. I was in a brightly lit dining hall that smelled of tobacco and medicine. There were twenty-five or thirty folding chairs but only thirteen or fourteen patients, all of them sad and doughy, middle aged or older. I sat facing them on a gray wooden stool and looked out at the assembled not-quite crowd. They looked like retired firemen, metalworkers, or lunch ladies; men with mustaches, pensions, and bad habits; women with secrets; people who rode the bus, who stood in line and then stood in the same line again. I’d read The Bell Jar, some Randall Jarrell, and I had a vaguely romantic, if ill-defined, sense of life on the other side of what passes for sanity. But this was not a good advertisement for crazy.

Earlier I’d been ushered into the office of the director. I explained how I thought I could talk to the patients about writing songs, how they could express themselves through words and music. I thought we could take a simple melody, an old folk song, and take turns making up new verses to it. There could be a prize. Or no prize.

Everyone could be a winner. At the end we’d have cake.

The director stared at me.

“Not everyone,” he said. He stopped there and took out a cigarette. Then he put it back in the pack and stared at me again. “Not everyone,” he continued, “should be encouraged to express themselves. Not everyone should be encouraged to be in touch with their feelings. Let’s leave it at that. Play them some goddam songs and go home.” 

In the dining hall, long wooden tables and benches had been pushed against a wall. On a blackboard at the far end, someone had written in yellow chalk, and then smudged out, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANDI. A nurse in a white apron sat off to the side in a high-backed chair and nodded at me to get going. A lunch lady was clipping her nails. I took my guitar out of the case and tried to look cheerful. One of the firemen was reading The Providence Journal.

“Mrs. Rodrigues!” The lunch lady straightened up and fumbled the clippers into her handbag. The nurse nodded at me and pointed at her watch. Twice.

“Do you like music?” I asked the group. I sounded like a chipmunk. No one responded. “I thought I’d play some songs, maybe some you already know … ”
“What are songs for?” the fireman asked.

“That’s a stupid question, Mr. Ferdinand,” the nurse barked.

“No, it’s a good question.” I had to take control from the nurse or I was sunk. “So … do any of you have dogs? Do you like dogs?”

There was a general mumbling. The nurse muttered something unpleasant and waddled off, her absence lightening the mood in the hall.

“So … what are dogs for? They’re loyal, devoted, they’ll go for walks with you, sit by your side, guard your house, protect you. You’ll forget they’re even there. You’ll go into a funk or feel tired or blue, get lost in a memory or drink too much or have a fight with someone you love or someone who doesn’t love you anymore. And suddenly your dog is by your side. And you remember who you are. 

“And that’s what songs are for. To remind you. To ground you. They get into your head and pop up at odd moments. They keep you company. They bring you back to another time or another place, and they drift through your mind when you’re trying to go to sleep. They’re like prayers. Or like road maps.”

Not bad, I thought. I pulled that off.

“On Top of Old Smokey,” said the man in the red cardigan. “That’s some fucking prayer.”

Well, at least I had their attention.

“What do songs cost?” the man with the mustache asked. He was serious. The nurse was walking back in. She seemed pissed.

18 March 2015

Jimmy Buffett, "Cowboy in the Jungle"

There's a cowboy in the jungle
And he looks so out of place
With his shrimp skin boots and his cheap Cheroots
And his skin as white as paste

Headin' south to Paraguay
Where the gauchos sing and shout
Now he's stuck in Porto Bello
Since his money all ran out

So he hangs out with the sailors
Might and day they're raisin' hell
And his original destination's just another
Story that he loves to tell.

With no plans for the future
He still seems in control
From a bronco ride to a ten foot tide
He just had to learn to roll.

Roll with the punches
Play all of his hunches
Made the best of whatever came his way
What he lacked in ambition
He made up with intuition
Plowing straight ahead come what may.

Steel band in the distance
And their music floats across the bay
While American women in muumuus
Talk about all the things they did today
And their husbands quack about fishing
As they slug those rum drinks down
Discussing who caught what
and who sat on his butt
But it's the only show in town.

They're tryin' to drink all the punches
They all may lose their lunches
Tryin' to cram lost years into five or six says
Seems that blind ambition erased their intuition
Plowin' straight ahead come what may.

I don't want to live on that kind of island
No, I don't want to swim in a roped off sea.
Too much for me, too much for me
I've got to be where the wind and the water are free.

Alone on a midnight passage
I can count the falling stars
While the Southern Cross and the satellites
They remind me of where we are
Spinning around in circles
Living it day to day
And still twenty four hours, maybe sixty good years
It's really not that long a stay.

We've gotta roll with the punches
Learn to play all of our hunches
Makin' the best of whatever comes your way
Forget that blind ambition
And learn to trust your intuition
Plowin' straight ahead come what may.
And there's a cowboy in the jungle.

... still figurin' it out.


If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.

Rudyard Kipling

17 March 2015

Jethro Tull, "Dun Ringill"

In the wee hours I'll meet you
down by Dun Ringill ---
Oh, and we'll watch the old gods play
by Dun Ringill


The deep reader, protected from distractions and attuned to the nuances of language, enters a state that psychologist Victor Nell, in a study of the psychology of pleasure reading, likens to a hypnotic trance. Nell found that when readers are enjoying the experience the most, the pace of their reading actually slows. The combination of fast, fluent decoding of words and slow, unhurried progress on the page gives deep readers time to enrich their reading with reflection, analysis, and their own memories and opinions. It gives them time to establish an intimate relationship with the author, the two of them engaged in an extended and ardent conversation like people falling in love.

This is not reading as many young people are coming to know it. Their reading is pragmatic and instrumental: the difference between what literary critic Frank Kermode calls “carnal reading” and “spiritual reading.” If we allow our offspring to believe that carnal reading is all there is—if we don’t open the door to spiritual reading, through an early insistence on discipline and practice—we will have cheated them of an enjoyable, even ecstatic experience they would not otherwise encounter. And we will have deprived them of an elevating and enlightening experience that will enlarge them as people. Observing young people’s attachment to digital devices, some progressive educators and permissive parents talk about needing to “meet kids where they are,” molding instruction around their onscreen habits. This is mistaken. We need, rather, to show them someplace they’ve never been, a place only deep reading can take them.


A documentary about fly fishing from the Patagonia Base-Camp Lodge in Chilean Patagonia … breathtaking scenery and spectacular sight fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout.


Fresh Aspect, keepin' 'er real, as usual ...


Running between two tall walls of moss-covered stone, the natural chasm known as Lud's Church has been a hotbed of British legend for hundreds of years, having said to have been visited by such major figures as Robin Hood and Sir Gawain. 

The so-called "church" is located in a portion of England's Back Forest and supposedly got its name from a Christian splinter group who used the secluded gully as a secret meeting place in the 15th century. The atmosphere of Lud's Church is that of a Black Forest fairytale where there are deep shadows, ancient moss covering nearly everything, and an almost otherworldly feel. It is no wonder then that the site has been linked with some of the country's most prevalent myths and folktales.


Happy birthday, Oudry.

Oudry, Still-life with Pheasant and Hare, 1763

Jean-Baptiste Oudry was born on this date in 1686.

Thank you, Dr. Richardson.

David Lindley.

Plug it in, turn it up, and if ya don't like it, go on an' stick your opinion in the WalMart bag ...


Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.

Daniel Burnham


13 March 2015

Steve Winwood, "Slowdown-Sundown"

Sssssssssstones, "Hey, Negrita"


The Many Wines

God has given us a dark wine so potent
that, we leave the two worlds.

God made Majnun love Layla so much
that just her dog would cause confusion in him.

There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.

Don't think all ecstasies are the same.
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.

Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur, and taste with caution.

Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
not the ones adulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."

Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied,
and is just ambling about.

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks


To follow a creek is to seek a new acquaintance with life.

Peter Steinhart


In this new 6-minute film, cave, adventure, and travel photographer Ryan Deboodt takes us on a breathtaking aerial tour of the world’s largest cave, Hang SonDoong, located in central Vietnam. Deboodt brought a drone and an array of cameras to help capture the cave system, the largest chamber of which is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long, 200 meters (660 ft) high and 150 meters (490 ft) wide. Despite its enormity, the cave was only discovered in 1991 by a local man, and it wasn’t even studied by scientists until about five years ago. One of the most disorienting thing about watching Deboodt’s film was my brain not comprehending the scale of what I was looking at. It’s only once you notice the ant-like people walking through some of the shots that you realize just how massive this place is.


May I propose a Herzog dictum? 

Those who read own the world. Those who watch television lose it.

Warner Herzog


Bear (Mukwa) medicine ...


... and eating.



The Heart Sutra

while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.
Therefore let us proclaim
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.

Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank You, Jessica.


Clocks slay time ... time is dead as long as it is clicked off by little wheels.  Only when the clock stops does time come to life.

William Faulkner


You've got to be quick in this game. The way it was explained to me, if you're going to use a blade, the winner is the one who can make a quick horizontal cut across the other's forehead. The blood will fall like a curtain, but you don't really hurt the cat that much, you just put an end to the fight because he can't see. The blade's back in your pocket before anybody knows about it. 


It is the day to day I cherished most, for it is in those quiet spaces where wisdom is developed and our very selves are created.

Christine Mason Miller

Thank you, McKenzie.

Happy birthday, Clayton.

Adam Clayton was born on this date in 1960.

U2, "I Will Follow," from 1981 ...

12 March 2015


The Silence

Though the air is full of singing
my head is loud
with the labor of words.

Though the season is rich
with fruit, my tongue
hungers for the sweet of speech.

Though the beech is golden
I cannot stand beside it
mute, but must say

“It is golden,” while the leaves
stir and fall with a sound
that is not a name.

It is in the silence
that my hope is, and my aim.
A song whose lines

I cannot make or sing
sounds men’s silence
like a root. Let me say

and not mourn: the world
lives in the death of speech
and sings there.

Wendell Berry

11 March 2015

Robert Plant, "Little Maggie"

Happy birthday, Tasso.

Torquato Tasso was born on this date in 1544.

Now the waves murmur
And the boughs and the shrubs tremble
in the morning breeze,
And on the green branches the pleasant birds
Sing softly
And the east smiles;
Now dawn already appears
And mirrors herself in the sea,
And makes the sky serene,
And the gentle frost impearls the fields
And gilds the high mountains:
O beautiful and gracious Aurora,
The breeze is your messenger, and you the breeze's
Which revives each burnt-out heart. 

Torquato Tasso

Thank you, Dr. Richardson


God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.

Isak Dinesen


The map of our life is folded in such a way that we cannot see one main road across it, but as it is opened out, we are constantly seeing new side roads. We think we are choosing, and we have no choice.

Jean Cocteau

10 March 2015

Steve Earle, "King of the Blues"


All of old.
Nothing ever else.
Ever tried.
Ever failed.
No matter.
Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better.

Samuel Beckett

The Highwaymen, "Living Legend"

Kristofferson poetry ...

Was it bitter then,
With our backs against the wall?
Were we better men,
Than we'd ever been before?
Say, if she came again today,
Would you still answer to the call?
Tell the truth my friend,
Don't it matter anymore?

We were simple men,
By her side when she was born.
(Talkin' about the dream.)
It was simple then,
Like the freedom when you fall.
And we were smaller then you see,
But soon we gathered like a storm.
They don't understand
What that thunder meant at all.

Was he crucified,
Was he done in by the law?
Are you satisfied,
That he'll never ride again?
Some people say he got away,
They say he never died at all.
If that story's true,
Does it bother you my friend?

Was it bitter then,
With our backs against the wall?
(Say, two thousand years ago.)
Were we better men,
Than we'd ever been before?
(Or two hundred years.)
Say, if she came again today,
Would you still answer to the call?
(Or tomorrow.)
Tell the truth my friend,
Don't it matter anymore?


Pampaloni, Leonardo, 1832

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.  One has no right to love or hate anything if one has not acquired a thorough knowledge of its nature.  Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object, and if you know it but little will you be able to to love it or not at all.

Leonardo da Vinci


So nice we're playin' 'em twice. It's ten past the hour ...

"One of These Nights" ...

"Take It to the Limit" ...

09 March 2015


Don't wait till you die to see this.
Recognize that your imagination and your thinking
and your sense perception are reed canes
that children cut and pretend are horsies.

The knowing of mystic lovers is different.
The empirical, sensory, sciences
are like a donkey loaded with books,
or like the makeup woman's makeup.
                                                           It washes off.
But if you light the baggage rightly, it will give joy.
Don’t carry your knowledge-load for some selfish reason.
Deny your desires and willfulness,
and a real moment may appear under you.

Don’t be satisfied with the word HU,
with just words about it.

Experience that breathing.
From books and words come fantasy,
and sometimes, from fantasy comes union.

Rumi, from A Children's Game


Leonardo, Sketch for Crossbow, 1490

Leonardo da Vinci is best known as the painter of the immortal masterpieces, The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. But he was also a genius inventor, architect, physicist, geologist, civil engineer, military engineer, botanist, anatomist, mapmaker and musician. Inside the Mind of Leonardo is a visually dazzling two-part special that offers the viewer unparalleled exclusive access to da Vinci's revolutionary ideas and inventions, as he secretly recorded them in the famous Codex Atlanticus.

While just 21 paintings by da Vinci are in existence, 6,000 pages within his private journals have survived. This extraordinary treasure trove of sketches, designs and written passages embodies da Vinci's florid imagination, unbridled curiosity, keen insight, driving ambition and passionate obsessions with the natural world, engineering and innovation. A cherished and priceless cache from one of history's most talented artists and perceptive thinkers, the Codex Atlanticus represents da Vinci's deep, wildly varied and stunningly brilliant stream of consciousness.

The film also intriguingly reveals that the remarkably creative fruits of da Vinci's mind, based on his ground-breaking scientific investigations, often led to observations and conclusions that challenged or contradicted the Church's prevailing orthodoxy.

Directed by Julian Jones, Inside the Mind of Leonardo brings the wonder of da Vinci's cryptic Codex to life through breathtaking 3D photography and animated graphics, complimented by spectacular location videography, revealing and astute commentary from scholars and experts and a virtuoso performance from acclaimed actor Peter Capaldi as the enigmatic da Vinci himself.


Each Line One Breath is a limited edition of 50 free-hand drawings.

Just depending on the artist’s constitution, each work obtains an individual motion, which distinguishes it from the others, naturally.

The choice of a line as the starting point for these works lies in their role as an omnipresent element in all aspects of life. Lines carry waves of sound and light. They mark the lunar gravity on bodies of water in the form of waves, and that of the wind on dunes of sand. Lines imprint the trunks of trees and record elemental growth and fluctuation; rain falls and grass moves in the wind in these familiar patterns. The irreversibility of time leads us to even think in linear terms. The resulting artworks are reminiscent of these varying types of lines that are constantly transporting energy across space and time. The minimalist pattern of sequential, but subtly variable lines also provides an allegory for continuity, repetition, and immortality.

The Line, as the initiation of each drawing, demands the most fundamental act of life: the breath. Through conscious in- and exhalation, the drawing is gradually created. The English word ‘inspiration’ comes from the Old French inspiration - ‘the drawing in of breath’ - and the Latin verb spirare, which means ‘to live, to breathe’. Thus our every inhalation triggers inspiration, which is in itself life.

The inexhaustible variety of patterns, which can be derived from a simple initial line reflects the diversity of manifested energy in the material world. The fascination in this work is the realization, that changes in the breath directly influence the materialization of the line and thereby the whole image. The line carries the energy of the breath, makes it visible and binds it into matter.