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

26 February 2021

Happy Birthday, Hugo

Victor Hugo was born on this day in 1802.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved -- loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.

Victor Hugo

25 February 2021


The idea that scientific method is the only method of discovering the truth has a lot to be said for it, if you mean by truth how the world ultimately is as a system of organized matter, but I defend cognitive dualism: that world can be understood completely in another way which also has its truths which are not translatable into the truths of science. So we have to look at the different ways we organize this material that science explains for us.

The assault on the human world in the name of science is more pseudo-science than science, and rejoices in its bald, unmoralized image of "what we really are".  What we really are from the scientific point of view is precisely what we really aren't. The identification of any object in the first-person case is ruled out by the enterprise of scientific explanation. So science cannot tell me who I am, let alone where, when, or how.

Roger Scruton, from The Soul of the World

Mozart, Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219

Viktoria Mullova performs with Jörg Faerber and The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra of Heilbronn ...


Patience is not learned in safety. It is not learned when everything is harmonious and going well. When everything is smooth sailing, who needs patience? If you stay in your room with the door locked and the curtains drawn, everything may seem harmonious, but the minute anything doesn’t go your way, you blow up. There is no cultivation of patience when your pattern is to just try to seek harmony and smooth everything out.

Pema Chödron


Cosmos Borealis: Light skin of sky and cloud and mountain on the still pond. Water body beneath teeming with reeds and silt and trout (sealed in day skin and night skin and ice lids), which we draw out with silk threads, fitted with snags of fur or bright feathers. Skin like glass like liquid like skin; our words scrieved the slick surface (reflecting risen moon, spinning stars, flitting bats), so that we had only to whisper across the wide plate. Green drakes blossomed powder dry among the stars, glowing white, out of pods, which rose from the muck at the bottom of the pond and broke open on the skin of the water. We whispered across the galaxies, who needs Mars?

Paul Harding

Happy Birthday, Modigliani

Modigliani, Jeanne Hébuterne au Chapeau, 1917

Amedeo Modigliani was born on this day in 1884.

We have different rights from normal people, for we have different needs which place us above – this must be said and believed – their morality. It is our duty never to be consumed by the sacrificial fire. Your real duty is to save your dream. Beauty too has some painful duties: these produce, however, the noblest achievements of the soul.

Amedeo Modigliani

24 February 2021

Happy Birthday, Homer

Homer, The End of the Day, 1890

Winslow Homer was born on this day in 1836.

The Sun will not rise or set without my notice and thanks.

Winslow Homer

23 February 2021

Happy Birthday, Handel

Hudson, George Frideric Handel, 1748

George Frideric Handel was born on this day 1685.

Hervé Niquet rocks out loud, as the sixth-graders would say, with Le Concert Spirituel in a performance of the Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351, at the park of Chambord Castle ...

David Bowie, "Starman"

22 February 2021

Happy Birthday, Peale.

Peale (Rembrandt), Self-portrait, 1828

Rembrandt Peale was born on this day in 1778.

21 February 2021

Delibes, Lakme

Elīna Garanča and Anna Netrebko perform the Flower Duet with the SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg, Marco Armiliato conducting ...


Happy Birthday, Roger

"Ranking Roger" Charlery was born on this day in 1963.

"Rough Rider" with The Beat ...


Like two cathedral towers these stately pines
  Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones;
  The arch beneath them is not built with stones,
  Not Art but Nature traced these lovely lines,
And carved this graceful arabesque of vines;
  No organ but the wind here sighs and moans,
  No sepulchre conceals a martyr's bones.
  No marble bishop on his tomb reclines.
Enter! the pavement, carpeted with leaves,
  Gives back a softened echo to thy tread!
  Listen! the choir is singing; all the birds,
In leafy galleries beneath the eaves,
  Are singing! listen, ere the sound be fled,
  And learn there may be worship without words.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


... a place for browsing the "book of nature."


Denis, Study of Clouds with a Sunset near Rome, 1786

I can see clouds a thousand miles away, hear ancient music in the pines.



Nothing can be as peaceful and endless as a long winter darkness, going on and on, like living in a tunnel where the dark sometimes deepens into night and sometimes eases to twilight, you're screened from everything, protected, even more alone than usual.

Tove Jansson

Happy Birthday, Simone

Nina Simone was born on this day in 1933.

"Love Me or Leave Me" ...



They climbed on sketchy ladders towards God,
with winch and pulley hoisted hewn rock into heaven,
inhabited the sky with hammers,
defied gravity,
deified stone,
took up God's house to meet him,
and came down to their suppers
and small beer,
every night slept, lay with their smelly wives,
quarrelled and cuffed the children,
lied, spat, sang, were happy, or unhappy,
and every day took to the ladders again,
impeded the rights of way of another summer's swallows,
grew greyer, shakier,
became less inclined to fix a neighbour's roof of a fine evening,
saw naves sprout arches, clerestories soar,
cursed the loud fancy glaziers for their luck,
somehow escaped the plague,
got rheumatism,
decided it was time to give it up,
to leave the spire to others,
stood in the crowd, well back from the vestments at the consecration,
envied the fat bishop his warm boots,
cocked a squint eye aloft,
and said, "I bloody did that."

John Ormond


Earl, Major-General Baron Frederick William August von Steuben, 1786

Regardless of communication between man and man, speech is a necessary condition for the thinking of the individual in solitary seclusion.

General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

20 February 2021

Kris Kristofferson, "Shipwrecked in the 80s"

So long, Tonto ...


Collins, Paper with Drawing Instruments, 2015

When I was a kid growing up I wanted to do drawings, and particularly painting that exhibited the draftsmanship of the Renaissance through the 19th century that had a fidelity of representation.  I wanted to be an old-fashioned artist.  If I were to think about what I'm after, it's to try to figure out some way to come back around to that world.

How do you make very beautiful things?  How do you represent the world and the beauty of the world and at the same time participate in this beautiful form?

Jacob Collins



A secret came a week ago though I already
knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.
The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds
are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.
I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite-
weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation
and now they’re roosting within me, recalling
how I had watched them at night
in fall and spring passing across earth moons,
little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing
on their way north or south. Now in my dreams
I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,
the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying
me rather than me carrying them. Next winter
I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado
and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching
on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye
and I’ll return my dreams to earth.

Jim Harrison


Stuart, Henry Knox, 1806

Every friend to the liberty of his country is bound to reflect, and step forward to prevent the dreadful consequences which shall result from a government of events.

Henry Knox

Happy Birthday, Adams

Adams, Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958

Ansel Adams was born on this day in 1902.

In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.  The more I “look” for something, the less chance there is for finding anything.

Ansel Adams

19 February 2021


How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.

Gilbert K. Chesterton, from Orthodoxy

Happy Birthday, Wakeling

Dave Wakeling was born on this day in 1956.

"Doors of Your Heart" with The Beat ...



Wrapt in its ermine mantle
The grand old homestead sleeps
While tempests rage around it
And snow descends in heaps:
Aeolus in his fury lashes the window panes
It mocks his angry efforts
And imperturbed remains.


Happy Birthday, Boccherini

Liotard, Luigi Boccherini, 1768

Luigi Boccherini was born on this day in 1743.

La Ritirata performs the Largo and Allegro vivo from the String Trio in C Major, Op. 34, No. 5, G. 105 ...

Vivaldi, Bajazet, RV 703

Elina Garanča performs "Spesso tra vaghe rose" with Europa Galante and concertmaster Fabio Biondi ...

18 February 2021

Chopin, Berceuse in D-Flat Major, Op. 57

Bertrand Chamayou performs ...



An excellent album ...



Dove, Moon, 1928

My wish is to work so unassailably that one could let one’s worst instincts go unanalyzed, not to revolutionize or reform, but to enjoy life out loud.

Arthur Dove

Golijov, "Tenebrae"

The Kontras Quartet performs ...


O'Keeffe, Pond in the Woods, 1922

O'Keeffe, Pool in the Woods, 1922

O'Keeffe, Lake George in the Woods, 1922

I feel that a real living form is the result of the individual’s effort to create the living thing out of the adventure of his spirit into the unknown—where it has experienced something—felt something—it has not understood—and from that experience comes the desire to make the unknown—known. By unknown—I mean the thing that means so much to the person that wants to put it down—clarify something he feels but does not clearly understand—sometimes he partially knows why—sometimes he doesn’t—sometimes it is all working in the dark—but a working that must be done—Making the unknown—known—in terms of one’s medium is all-absorbing—if you stop to think of the form—as form you are lost—The artist’s form must be inevitable—You mustn’t even think you won’t succeed—Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you—catching crystallizing your simpler clearer version of life—only to see it turn stale compared to what you vaguely feel ahead—that you must always keep working to grasp—the form must take care of its self if you can keep your vision clear.

Georgia O'Keeffe


Dove, River Bottom, Silver, Ochre, Carmine, Green, 1923

I can claim no background except perhaps the woods, running streams, hunting, fishing, camping, the sky ...

Arthur Dove


All right, then, I’ll go to hell.

Huck, published today in 1885



Nature's a fane where down each corridor
of living pillars, darkling whispers roll,
— a symbol-forest every pilgrim soul
must pierce, 'neath gazing eyes it knew before.
like echoes long that from afar rebound,
merged till one deep low shadowy note is born,
vast as the night or as the fires of morn,
sound calls to fragrance, colour calls to sound.
cool as an infant's brow some perfumes are,
softer than oboes, green as rainy leas;
others, corrupt, exultant, rich, unbar
wide infinities wherein we move at ease:
— musk, ambergris, frankincense, benjamin
chant all our soul or sense can revel in.

Charles Baudelaire

Galuppi, Sonata No.5 in C major

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli performs ...



In the blue night
frost haze, the sky glows
with the moon
pine tree tops
bend snow-blue, fade
into sky, frost, starlight.
The creak of boots.
Rabbit tracks, deer tracks,
what do we know.

Gary Snyder

17 February 2021

Happy Birthday, Medlocke

Rickey Medlocke was born on this day in 1950.

"Fly Away" with Blackfoot ...

... party.

Happy Birthday, Corelli

Arcangelo Corelli was born on this day in 1653.

Transverse flutist Anna Besson performs the Allegro from the Sonata in F major, op. 5 no. 4 with Louna Hosia, and Jean Rondeau ...


Pitchers and catchers report today.

15 February 2021


Wyeth, N.C., The Boyhood of C.A. Lindbergh Yields, Many Clues to His Personality as a Man, 1931


Now through the white orchard my little dog
    romps, breaking the new snow
    with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
    hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins,
until the white snow is written upon
    in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
    the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better

Mary Oliver

Mozart, Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello in B-Flat Major, K. 502

Anne Sophie Mutter, André Previn, and Daniel Müller-Schott perform ...

Happy Birthday, Praetorius

Michael Praetorius was born on this day in 1571.

Piffaro performs Ballet des Coqs, TMA 254, with guest ensemble, Sonnambula ...


Stuart, George Washington, 1795 

Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly, than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank among the Nations. The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.”

George Washington


We don't need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of do's and don'ts: we need books, time, and silence.

Sir Philip Pullman


Grutzner, Reading Monk with a Wine Glass, 1819

We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.

B.F. Skinner



Wright, Fallingwater Window (detail), 1935

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.

Frank Lloyd Wright


All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.

Gary Snyder

Happy Birthday, Galilei

The fear of infinity is a form of myopia that destroys the possibility of seeing the actual infinite, even though it in its highest form has created and sustains us.

Galileo Galilei, born this day in 1564


14 February 2021


In January, Lake Erie froze nearly to Canada. One evening, standing before its ominous expanse in my ice skates, with a wool cap pulled over my ears and a long scarf wound around my neck and crisscrossed over my chest beneath my blue Navy-surplus pea jacket, I left the shore. I planned to face down the spectre of my fear by going as far as I dared toward Canada, or the Livingston ship channel if the icebreaker had been through. I hoped that my love of skating would propel me through the worst of my worries ...

Tom McGuane, from "Ice"


Hammons, Bliz-aard Ball Sale, 1983