Saturday, November 28, 2009

songs of experience

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

William Blake (28 November 1757–1827) poet and artist

historical novels which feature notable figures are one of my guilty pleasures. a couple years ago I read tracy chevalier's brilliant book burning bright which touched on the life of william blake and captured the tumultuous era in which he lived. I've enjoyed all of chevalier's books, many include famous artists as minor or major characters. according to ms chevalier's website she has a new novel, remarkable creatures. the book is currently available in the u.k but has yet to be released in the u.s. - but it won't be long. I've already put my name on the list at the library as I'm number two on the list I expect I will be getting a copy as soon as they get processed! unlike many of her other novels, the central historical figure in this book isn't an artist but rather is mary anning, an 18th century fossil collector and paleontologist and reputably the source of inspiration for the classic tongue twister 'she sells sea shells by the seashore.'

earlier this month I mentioned the lacuna, the new historical novel by barbara kingsolver. with only 70 pages to go in this 507 page tome, the book is exceeding my lofty expectations. I probably would have finished it a couple days ago, but it's one of those books where I find myself putting the book down to go research some passing remark or fact. for example, at one point harrison shepard, the central character of the book, who writes novels, fictional protagonist is likened to 'studs lonigan' - the name rang a bell, but I didn't know what bell it was ringing. I find out studs lonigan is the character of a triology of books by chicago writer james t. farrell and was the source of the nickname for studs terkel. now, I haven't read farrell's books, but have read quite a few books by terkel. with so many books and so little time, I don't know if I'll get around to reading the farrell books, but that's cool, I also learned the books were adapted twice into movies - once in 1960 and another time in 1979. maybe I'll see if I can find one of the movies.

an artful video featuring music by moby and incorporating the words from blake's poem the sick rose; some of the animated images are reminiscent of blake's etchings and illuminated prints.

illustrations: top - a rose, while not crimson, does evoke the spirit of blake's poem. cleveland - november 2009

bottom, copy of blake's illustrated poem the sick rose, borrowed with permission if asked from here click on image to enlarge.

this just in! speaking of historical fiction, I just had an email from the library saying that a copy of wolf hall is available to be picked up! what was that I was saying about so many books, so little time. good thing the next book group book is relatively short - for curious minds that book is justine, by lawrence durrell - set between wwI and wwII, could we consider it to be historical fiction as well?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

simple gifts

Those who have much are often greedy, those who have little always share.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) poet, novelist, dramatist and critic

may the spirit of thanks and giving infuse our very essence today and every day.

when I was thinking of the song to accompany this photo which captures one homeless fellow sharing a sandwich with another, I immediately thought of simple gifts. this song is one of my absolute favorite songs. the song was written in the mid 1800s by elder joseph brackett a member of united society of believers in christ’s second appearing (also known as the shakers). sometimes considered a hymn and other times it is viewed as a work song, for me this is simply a life song. it is one of the few songs that I never mind having stuck in my head. the song can make me smile and sometimes it brings me to tears - just like life. for that I give thanks.

the song was little known for the first 100 years after it was written until aaron copeland incorporated it into his score for the ballet appalachian spring. on youtube there are quite a few versions of the song, I was interested in finding a vid of the piece as performed by yo-yo ma and sung by alison krauss. lo and behold, what do I find but a vid with a beautiful photo montage that was done by no other than our beloved roy of roy's world! what a gift! I hope roy doesn't mind sharing his gorgeous creation, I found it simply the best of the lot! thank you joseph, aaron, yo-yo, alison, and roy





False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared.

Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755) politician and philosopher

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

return to sender

A stamp is a tiny, flimsy thing, no thicker than a beetle's wing. And yet it will roam the world for you, exactly where you tell it to.
E.V. Lucas (1868-1938) writer

some pundits state that with the advent of email and the internet letters will be come a thing of the past and we may even see a disappearance of mail delivery. it is true, I am guilty of not writing letters like I used to, but it would be a tragedy if we abandoned the practice of writing and posting personal mail.

my recent visit to the national postal museum rekindled my resolution to write and send more cards and letters; it is time to start working on that stack of postcards that is sitting on the edge of my desk, each waiting for a scribble and a stamp so it go exactly where I tell it to.

it is amusing and ironic that the mascot of the post office is a dog. the story of owney the mail dog is quite compelling. owney was a stray mutt who wandered into the albany, new york post office in 1888. the clerks were smitten with owney and let him hang around. there was something about mail bags that he found intoxicating and he had a practice of following bags on their journey. he would ride with the bags on trains as they traveled the state and then the country. in 1895 owney made a trip around the world traveling with mailbags on trains and steamships to asia and across europe, before returning to albany.

railway train clerks considered owney a good luck charm; in a time when train wrecks were common, no train that owney was on ever had an accident. unfortunately, the end of owney's life wasn't charmed. according to the museum's story of owney:
In 1897, the Railway Mail Service decided Owney was getting too old to travel. He had lost sight in one eye and reportedly could eat only soft foods and milk. For his protection, Owney was sent into retirement at the Albany post office. Apparently, he did not like the idea of being permanently grounded in Albany. In June 1897, he slipped out and boarded a mail train for Toledo, Ohio, where tragedy struck. Owney was mistreated while being shown off to a newspaper reporter in Ohio and became so mad that he bit a postal worker. Although the exact circumstances were never satisfactorily reported, Owney died in Toledo on July 11, 1897, from a gunshot wound.

my flickr set the postal museum is now up.

one of the displays in the a-z exhibit at the postal museum focused on mail art. of course, I immediately thought of our good blogging bud coffee messiah who has posted much on mail art, one post can be found here. coffee is also very talented when it comes to the creation of mail art and quite an inspiration to the repressed mail artist that resides in all of us!


Monday, November 23, 2009

tired feet

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) poet, naturalist, philosopher

I'm back, not that you knew I was away; I made a quick trip last week to check in on my folks. all is well with my parents and it was a treat to see them. my only complaint is the days passed way too quickly. speaking of tempus fugit, most of the time I feel as if it should be august or september and not getting on late november, this visit was nice that it did kick me forward and now I feel a bit more like I'm stepping into the holiday season.

my trip got off to an auspicious start when I got off the train at union station and walked into the main hall only to find a sweet photo exhibit celebrating the 40th birthday of my favorite street in the world- sesame street!

although most of my time was spent with family, I did manage to get spend saturday wandering the cultural landscape of washington d.c. with a couple friends. one stop was the national postal museum (which is part of the smithsonian). my enjoyment and enthusiasm for the museum, probably confirms any suspicions about my inherent nerdiness! it is a fascinating place filled with all sorts of interesting bits of history and trivia about all things postal. how many of you knew that fdr was a stamp collector and major stamp freak? anyone who takes the time to micro-manage the design of stamps while serving as president of the united states has to be a bit beyond the pale when it comes to loving stamps. after all, it wasn't as if the united states was coasting along experiencing a sustained period of peace and prosperity when ol' fdr was the prez! it is a very interesting and stimulating museum.

for now schedule and routines are calling. it's monday night and that means one thing here on avenue c - movie night and checking out this week's set of shorts for the film festival. I hope most of them are good, it looks like we are going to have a few new people coming. thank goodness lin volunteered to host and organize the food! friends are so fine.

perhaps there will be more on the mouse's adventures in washington dc another day or perhaps not, we'll just have to see what the week brings! I hope all my friends in the bloggyhood had a good weekend, geez, I haven't even started checking out last week's tt players....boy am I late!

tired feet, written and performed by singer songwriter alela diane. alela's voice has such a haunting and ethereal quality about it, don't ya think?


photo: me with a photo of the adorable grover. the photo exhibit of sesame street, the longest street in the world will be up in union station through november 30, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ready for the storm


Popular art is the dream of society; it does not examine itself.

The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose.

Margaret Atwood (b. 18 november 1939)

today is the 70th birthday of margaret atwood, one of my absolute favorite writers. this weekend I finished atwood's newest novel the year of the flood. no one weaves a dystopia like atwood! the book overlaps with atwood's 2003 novel oryx and crake. I hear there may be another book in this series, gosh I hope it won't be a six year wait - I can't wait to find out what happens to the those who survived the waterless flood.

the are many wonderful versions of ready for the storm, this one is by the irish group déanta. the group released the song in 1994 on an album with the same name. the group played together until 1997. I've heard that they regrouped in 2008, however I can't find any information about upcoming tours. the last album they released was whisper of a secret which came out on the green linnet label in 1997.



photo: three-way plug by claes oldenburg installed in 1970 at the allen memorial art museum. oberlin - november 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

no need to argue

Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival.
René Dubos (1901-1982) microbiologist, environmentalist, humanist

in 1995 unesco declared the 16th of november as the international day for tolerance - unfortunately tolerance seems to be a quality that at times is in increasingly short supply no matter where we look.

one of my all time favorite songs by the cranberries, geez, I miss them, although I have heard dolores is coming out with another solo album, if it's not out already. I've long felt that the cranberries' no need to argue and zombie are wonderful anthems against intolerance.



photo:the backyard squirrel on avenue c enjoying a bit of breakfast. it is a shame so many folks are intolerant of these delightful critters - there's plenty we can learn from squirrel medicine . 16 november 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

inch by inch

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.
Robert Louis Stevenson (b. 13 november 1850 -1894) novelist, poet & travel writer

wednesday I had the pleasure of accompanying my daughter to oberlin so she could run an errand for her work. it was an absolutely gorgeous fall day and was made even more delightful as it was filled with companionship, conversation and art. we met a friend for lunch so the day got even better with the addition of a good friend and some good food into the mix.

for me no visit to oberlin is complete without a stop at the ginko gallery, a gallery and working studio. the art they sell and display always inspires. the photo above captures a few of michele hannon's fantastical and whimsical creations which are currently on display at the gallery. the exhibit, entitled 'human critters and other creations,' runs until november 22nd. michele is an oberlin area artist whose sculptures incorporates seeds, pods, twigs, and other artifacts of the natural world.

with my mind centered on seeds and sowing this morning, I immediately thought of pete seeger and the garden song. sometimes this song is called inch by inch; it was written by activist and singer-songwriter david mallett. along with pete, the song has been covered by arlo guthrie, peter, paul and mary, and john denver. I first learned the song in the early 1980s, it is a popular sing along song and offers many positive and wise messages. the song is somewhat of a staple for the more musical actions and marches.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

call me

The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web.
Edwin Way Teale (1899–1980)naturalist, photographer, and writer

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998) author & educator

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
James Baldwin (1924-1987) writer & activist

Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.
Ambrose Bierce (1842- presumed dead in 1914) writer & editor

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
Leonard Cohen (b. 1934) singer-songwriter, poet
from Bird on a Wire

A Harvard study indicated that cell phone users are 4 to 5 times more likely to be involved in auto accidents than non-users. The risk for text messaging is probably higher because it requires more attention.


notes on photos:
  1. telephone wires along a country road in lehigh county pennsylvania, may 2008
  2. my nana (age 89) talking on her phone to her daughter, my mother. in trying to come up with some snaps for this week's theme, I discovered that I have scores of pics taken of family and friends while they are on the phone. at first glance these photographs might seem quite boring; but if we look closely often the photo is fraught with the essence of a person, time, and/or place. harwood mines, pennsylvania - 1996 - this photo was taken a few months before my nana broke her hip. this break resulted in her having to move out of the house where she had lived for over seventy years and into a nursing home. she lived there from 1997 to 2003, and died at the age of 96 (transferred from film)
  3. lil tv, one of my fairy godchildren- lil tv isn't so little these days! this photo was also taken in 1996 and transferred from film. this was the year when f was living in cleveland while e and I were wrapping things up in connecticut. I seem to have taken a lot of pics of people talking on the phone that year - I wonder why!
  4. caller id - I love it! 'out of area' = don't have to answer!!
  5. birds on wires, summer 2009
  6. in july cleveland instituted an ordinance prohibiting texting while driving - a most excellent law in my humble opinion. as with alcohol cell phones and driving do not mix!!
by the way, this was one of the more challenging themes....I don't know if I pulled it off, but hey, I gave it the ol' college try!


blondie's 1980 chart topper call me, the song was also used in the film american gigolo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

sunny days

this week features a couple significant anniversaries. november 9th marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. from what I've been hearing today on the radio it sounds as if there is quite a celebration going on in berlin. the party started last thursday with a concert at the brandenburg gates by U2; apparently, the city is planning on partying for a week. the UK telegraph offers an interesting selection of reminiscences, articles, and photo galleries, perhaps my particular favorite is the photo set called 'berlin wall: then and now'.

then of course the other big anniversary happening this week is taking place tomorrow. depending on how one measures socio-politico seismic activity, the 40th anniversary of the debut of sesame street maybe just as earthshaking as the fall of the wall.

I am too old to have watched sesame street as a kid, which is too bad for according to daniel anderson, a professor emeritus at umass, amherst, if I had watched sesame street as a kid I probably would have done better in school.

even though I might not have watched or benefited from sesame street as a child, I certainly have watched my fair share of the show. a couple years ago I posted about the social significance of sesame street. on occasion I still hang with the pre-school set, so fortunately for me I still tune in every once and a while and I always enjoy seeing what the neighborhood is up to. although sesame street has changed a lot over the last forty years, what hasn't changed is it's mission to help kids with their abc's, numbers, and how to be a positive part of our diverse and ever-changing world.

anyone who is a regular listener to npr undoubtedly has noticed that the anniversary of sesame street has been mentioned quite a bit on various programs. however the best I heard was friday's edition of fresh air as it devoted the entire program to sesame street and aired four different segments that all touched on sesame street. fellow sesame street aficionados who might have missed it and are interested can check it out here.

I'm definitely tuning in tomorrow, first lady michelle obama is going to be a special guest on the first show of the 4oth season. coincidentally tuesday is the day ms t comes over and hangs out with me on avenue c which is good now I won't feel silly for turning on the show, after all I'll be watching with a member of the 'target audience.' who knows, maybe ms t will be willing to provide a review of tomorrow's show.

have you ever wondered if you were a sesame street character, what character would you be? don't despair of course there is one of those cyber quizzes out there where you can find out. here it is! if you take it make sure you let me know who you turned out to be

regular readers of the mouse know I am a sucker for these quizzes.

You are Big Bird. You are something of an eccentric, and not everyone always gives you credit for your inventiveness and intelligence. You may not always know everything, but people turn to you for your sound, unique logic. Plus, you have a big heart. Really big.

aw geez!


happy 40th birthday sesame street



photos: top-soon to be falling leaves on avenue c; insert-courtesy of here

Sunday, November 8, 2009

breaking news....

despite countless attempts for almost one hundred years no chamber of congress has ever passed a comprehensive health reform bill. until now!! late last night the house of representatives passed a health insurance reform bill. well, the bill isn't perfect but it is a start.

the good news is the bill guarantees everyone affordable, quality health care, it reins in the abusive practices of the insurance company, and it provides public health insurance options. the bad news is the anti-choice forces were up to their usual shenanigans and at put in an anti-choice amendment (but hopefully this can be eliminated in the final bill).

yeah!!! to borrow one of friend reya's favorite expressions, onwards and upwards!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

revolution

The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.

The historic ascent of humanity, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of consciousness over blind forces - in nature, in society, in man himself.

You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.
Leon Trotsky (7 november 1879-1940) statesman, writer & editor

today is the birthday of the bolshevik revolutionary and marxist theorist leon trotsky. these days trotsky isn't particularly well known in the united states. and today, as in the good ol' 1950s, anything or any person that is associated with the "s" word, or heaven forbid the "c" word, is not only shunned but also maligned; so, trotsky hasn't been a household name for a quite a long time.

however, perhaps there will be a new wave of interest in this under-appreciated and misunderstood advocate of class struggle and the "permanent revolution" as a result of barbara kingsolver's new novel the lacuna. on thursday I happened to catch susan page's interview with kingsolver on the diane rehm show. the book sounds fascinating. the book is a historical novel about the life of a fictitious boy/man named harrison shepard. the story takes place in the united states and in mexico where shepard, the son of an american father and a mexican mother, lives. shepard's story intersects with many of the tumultuous events of the first half of the twentieth century and in the telling of shepard's life, kingsolver creates a world where he (and we) encounter historical figures such as trotsky, kahlo, fdr, and even j.edgar.

like many fans of kingsolver's novels I have been waiting a long time of a new book; after listening to page's interview and reading this review I expect the wait will be worth it. I'll let you know later, needless to say I already ordered the book!

even if one isn't a student of political theory, one might know a bit about trotsky from the 2002 movie frida. in the movie geoffrey rush plays leon trotsky. through the film we learn trotsky was greatly admired by diego rivera, who was helpful when trotsky's exile led him to mexico. once in mexico, trotsky and his wife lived in rivera and frida kahlo's blue house. eventually, diego and trotsky had a falling out which resulted in trotsky moving out. less than a year after moving out of the blue house an attempt on trotsky's life was made which eventually lead to his death at the age of 60.

the photo above is part of the amazing set of diego rivera murals at the detroit institute of arts, the series is entitled detroit industry. I put another photo of the work a while back, you can see it here.

those interested in learning more about trotsky, are advised to read trotsky's autobiography, my life which was published in 1930 (the entirety of the book can be found here). then there is bertrand patenaude's recently published trotsky: downfall of a revolutionary which covers trotsky's life after 1930.

a live version of the beatles performing revolution

Thursday, November 5, 2009

castles made of sand

Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) draftsman, painter, sculptor, architect and engineer

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) essayist, poet and philosopher

By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) writer

Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
Sean O'Casey (1880-1964) dramatist & memoirist

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) novelist & short story writer

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) poet and playwright

From the body of one guilty deed a thousand ghostly fears and haunting thoughts proceed

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) poet

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun

Christina G. Rossetti (1830-1894) poet

The journey of a thousand pounds begins with a single burger.
Chris O'Brien
notes about photos:
  1. the castle keep at castell caerdydd (aka cardiff castle). the keep of a castle provided safe shelter for the lord and his household in the time of trouble. surrounding the keep of the cardiff castle is an amazing complex of buildings that were built during the victorian era in the 19th century. march, 2003
  2. side view of a smithsonian building which is known as the castle. the castle was the first smithsonian building, the castle was designed by architect james renrick in 1847 to be a focal point of the picturesque landscape on the mall. the castle now houses all of the administrative offices of the smithsonian institution and also serves as the smithsonian information center. any visit to the museums should start at the castle where one can get up to date information about what is happening in all of the 17 washington based smithsonian museums. july 2008.
  3. to celebrate the cleveland museum of art exhibit on "arms and armor from imperial austria" that was soon to open, one talented artist created a gingerbread replica of an austro-hungarian castle. december 2007
  4. detail of wall surrounding dublin castle not a castle in the traditional sense but the home of british power. today britain retains control of northern ireland, dublin and the lower five-sixths of the island are independent ....but independence hasn't been easy and it's not fully realized - yet!
  5. detail of wall surrounding cardiff castle (see link above) which features a collection of interesting animals. it was only when I visited wales, and cardiff in particular, that I realized one of my favorite children's authors, roald dahl was welsh. this photo was transferred from film. march 2003
  6. the ruin of swansea castle. one of the highlights of our visit to swansea was visiting the dylan thomas centre. for all you dylan thomas fans check out this virtual movie of thomas reading his poem do not go gentle into that good night - I really get a kick out of these poetry animations, if memory serves me well, one or two have appeared before on the mouse.
  7. cleveland is home to franklin castle, reputed to be the most haunted house in ohio. here's a link to its strange and bloody history. according to this, the house is being meticulously restored however, based on what I saw this week when I went by to snap this pic, the club has a long way to go before it is restored to its former glory and splendor. cleveland, 4 november 2009
  8. squire's castle on the north chagrin reservation. built at the turn of the 20th century by f.b. squire, this building was to serve as the gatehouse of his country estate, but plans for the remainder of the estate never materialized. according to local lore, franklin castle isn't the only haunted castle in the greater cleveland area! willoughby hills, november 2008
  9. several years ago I tried a couple of the famous white castle burgers. can't say they were bad, but then again, can't say they were good either. I am biased I'm not really one for fast food. according to the portal of all knowledge, white castle is the country's first hamburger fast food chain. maybe one of these days I'll check out the 2004 flick harold and kumar go to white castle. then again life is short .... this castle is located quite close to where I live and is located on 117th street in cleveland should I ever get a desire to start on those thousand pounds, 4 november 2009
alas I couldn't find a youtube version of the traditional scottish ballad castles in the air, I thought about don mcclean's hit castles in the air but then how settled on jimi

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

camera

Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.

With the camera, it's all or nothing. You either get what you're after at once, or what you do has to be worthless. I don't think the essence of photography has the hand in it so much. The essence is done very quietly with a flash of the mind, and with a machine. I think too that photography is editing, editing after the taking. After knowing what to take, you have to do the editing.
Walker Evans (3 november 1903 - 1975) photographer

today is the birthday of walker evans, one of my photographic superheros. walker got his start as a photographer for the farm security administration, documenting the effects of the great depression. when I think of it, quite a few of the photographers that I admire most were fsa photographers - including dorothea lange and gordon parks. geez, I was definitely born at the wrong time. although I'm sure it was quite difficult to get such a gig.

I love work which captures our social world - when I hit the library I need to see if they have a copy of walker's many are called, a book which is a compilation of one of walker's early depression era projects. during a three year period beginning in the late 1930s walker snapped photos of people riding the nyc subway using a hidden camera. fascinating.

well, no more time, today is ms t day and we are off to the library but first have to vote. it is election day and although it's an off year there are a few local issue to tend to.

photo: angler bill, I met bill the other day when I was taking a hike, I was drawn to the sight of this guy sitting on a chair in the river fishing. of course I walked over to him and asked him if I could take his picture. as I was taking his photograph I learned a great deal about his life. people are so interesting. I'm always so grateful when folks say yes when I ask to take their picture. of course like walker, often I'm kind of sneaky and sometimes I snap a picture without asking permission. rocky river reservation, cleveland october 2009

r.e.m.'s song camera from the 1984 album reckoning

Monday, November 2, 2009

ancestor's breath

Listen more often to things than to beings
Listen more often to things than to beings
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters.

Those who have died have never, never left
The dead are not under the earth
They are in the rustling trees
They are in the groaning woods
They are in the crying grass,
they are in the moaning rocks
The dead are not under the earth..
Birago Ishmael Diop (1906-1989) Senegalese poet & storyteller
(above diop's poem as adapted by sweet honey in the rock)

thinking all of the people I love who have passed, I am always comforted by diop's poem and sweet honey's song.

kind thoughts to you and yours today - all souls' day, la toussaint, day of the dead (el día de los muertos)

click here to hear the sweet honey song (unfortunately you only get one listen to the full song, then the site wishes you to purchase it, so, click carefully - unfortunately I can't find a version of this wonderful song on youtube.) the song was released on the album breaths in 1989.

here's another link to the song, I think the listens are unlimited, but it might take a few seconds to load.

photo: detail of an altar from el día de los muertos celebration, cleveland, 2 november 2008

addendum @ 6pm:

a bit of history about the mexican celebration of dia de los muertos that was in an email received today (thanks bob)
November first begins the Dia de los Muertos festivities with All Saints Day in which the deceased children are honored and remembered. November second All Souls Day is for the remembrance of the adult dead. Dia de los Muertos combines these days to celebrate the deceased and enjoy their memories. The spirits of the deceased are thought to pay a visit to their families during Dia de los Muertos and the families prepare an altar for them.