Wednesday, April 25, 2012

poem in your pocket

Every single soul is a poem.
 Michael Franti (b. 21 april 1967) musician & bard

today is wall wednesday and tomorrow is poem in your pocket day!

i've known that april is national poetry month for years, but until i heard this story on npr i never knew about poem in your pocket day -- even though it has been going on for years!

poem in your pocket day is a moveable feast - this year it occurs on april 26th.   poem in your pocket day (piyp) began in nyc in 2002 as part of the city's celebration of national poetry month. the idea of piyp started to spread and in 2009 the academy of american poets deemed that it was such a bonne idée they deemed the day as a national day of celebration and made it an established part of national poetry month!

observing piyp is simple....the basic idea is to select a poem that you love and carry it in your pocket, share the poem with whoever - friends, family, strangers or whatever - mice, cats, or twittering birds - you wish in the course of the day.

speaking of twittering birds, according to, for people who tweet, there's even a way to share your poem on twitter. i don't tweet, but i thought there was a character limit for tweets - if that is still the case than i guess your pocket poem has got to be short and sweet in order to tweet!

as for what poem i'll be carrying in my pocket tomorrow; i'm thinking of lewis carroll's

there are a  many vids on youtube for poem in your pocket day - however, this one from 2009 is my  favorite.

photo: cleveland ohio, april 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you - you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences - like rags and shreds of your very life.

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) writer

the theme today's tattoos have in common is love of place.

the top photo is of vincent  -- although vincent now lives here on the north coast his left arm is an homage to his california 'home' and  pictures the pier in huntington beach (which he  considers his home), two bluebirds which in the cosmology of tattooing denote love and happiness, a bright sun, and the logo for the california angels baseball team.  

the second photo is of josh who i met this past weekend.  i was taken by his eclectic and artful assortment of  body art; among the images on josh's right arm are two train cars of the cleveland rta - as a fan of public transport i applaud this embodied monument to mass transit.

the final tat for the day shows the cleveland skyline --  this was the first tattoo that theresa got - it is a friendship tattoo - theresa and her best friend got the same tat when they were eighteen.  although they got the same image the tats are in a different locations on their respective bodies. i love  the idea of friendship and family tats - 

shangri-la by the kinks - appearing on their 1969 concept album arthur.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

rocky raccoon...

The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.

Okakura Kakuzō (1862-1913) scholar and author of The Book of Tea

this week's weather has been utterly resplendent - i've been lucky to be able to spend considerable time outdoors.

bingo and i spent a couple days strolling through the local metropark - the first of days in the park was a magical day for animals. now we didn't see any exotic animals, but the critters we encountered were a particularly friendly sort.

our first close encounter was with brother squirrel - this fellow was so bold i was nervous that he was going to jump into the stroller!

a short while later we met up with a chipmunk. i was surprised on how close i was able to get - one expects woodland chipmunks to be shy and hesitant; this chippy must have felt that we intended no harm and she let me get quite close and even seemed to pose for a portrait.

much of the walk goes alongside the Rocky River; there were plenty of ducks and geese about - it seems as if it may be prime nesting season. and bingo loves calling the birds - and on the whole they are much obliging.

we saw a local ranger with her high power binoculars looking under the hilliard road bridge for the peregrine falcons that generally nest there. i didn't see the falcons, but i did notice a curious sight - a pair of canada geese who seemed to be checking out a most peculiar location for their nest!

while crossing a small bridge over a culvert, i felt the presence of another being - i looked down and lo and behold what should i see but a young raccoon busily feeling around in the water, i suppose looking for some tasty treat.

it is unusual to encounter raccoons in the early afternoon for they are mainly nocturnal creatures. however, raccoons are the masters of adaptability and sometimes a raccoon will come out during the day when they are disturbed or when they know that some tasty treat is going to be available. perhaps this raccoon sensed that bingo and i were on the path and could anticipate the lovely baked goods we were carrying from our pre-hike stop at the local bakery.

as soon as i pointed out the raccoon to bingo, bingo dropped some of the roll he was eating down into the culvert - i followed up and threw a piece a bit further out, closer to the raccoon. the raccoon sensing that we were friends, not foes, waddled towards us, eating the trail of bread.

for at least ten minutes we were just hanging with the little raccoon. it was very magical. he got very close to us. then the spell was broken as a couple other humans came up to see what held our attention; the little raccoon who sensed rather than saw the additional humans quickly scampered under the bridge and was no longer visible.

not all of our encounters were with wild animals - as we were leaving the park we encountered our friend lynn who among other things is a dog-walker, with her were 5 very friendly dogs - and bingo was in heaven as each dog sniffed him and greeted him!

i have long had an affinity for raccoons - in fact, the first time i was conscious of having an animal totem or spirit guide was with a dream visit by raccoon. had not mouse visited me later and gained prominence in my pantheon of animals guides, this blog may have very well been named raccoon medicine.

for those curious about raccoon medicine, here is what one student of animal totems has to say:
Raccoon is our comical friend of the dream world. His hands have great dexterity, and raccoon uses them to get himself into all kinds of mischief. His gifts are imagination, inventiveness and intelligence, for raccoon is an amazing problem solver. Raccoon is the perpetual student. The key is to love learning, and raccoon teaches us to observe life with an innate sense of curiosity. Thus, raccoon fully understands a situation before taking action.

the beatles rocky raccoon (1968)- the song first appeared on the album known as the white album. according to the portal this song is the last beatle song to feature lennon's harmonica playing.

rock and roll hall of fame trivia - paul mccartney (1999 inductee) was inspired to write the song while jamming in india with john lennon (1994 inductee) and donovan (2012 inductee).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.

Thornton Wilder (17 april 1897 - 1975)

generally on tattoo tuesday i feature one or two photos of a particular individual - but today i was hard pressed to keep it down to 3.

i met myles the other day - initially i was quite taken by the organic looking peace sign tattoo on his right forearm. bold mouse that i am went up and told him how i admired his tattoo and asked if it was possible that if we were done shopping at the same time if i could take a photo of the peace sign ...for a millisecond he was a bit taken aback by the request, but then realized i was sincere and the startle morphed into being flattered and he graciously consented to having my request.

once outside the peace tat began to pale as myles enthusiastically showed me his other body art - he proudly presented the image of his most recent addition - a 'mother earth' image that adorns his upper right inside arm.

and as we can see in the top two photos, the left arm is a celebration of the sea - among the images are: poseidon holding a trident, a mermaid, a ship, and numerous hawaiian tribal tattoos - including nine sea turtles.

seeing the hawaiian inspired art and myles' exotic good looks made me wonder whether he might be hawaiian - so i asked. he said no he wasn't hawaiian and is actually a local clevelander and his descent is half sicilian and half african-american. however, he mentioned that he does have family in hawaii and it was there, while on an extended stay with his cousin when he was 18, that he was first bitten by the tattoo bug.

hi'ilawe performed by peter moon and cyril pahinui - cyril is the son of the late great gabby pahinui (1921-1980) gabby, a talented self-taught musician was one of the key figures of the hawaiian renaissance of the 1970s and popularized the slack-key method of playing guitar.

until the movie the descendants came out, i haven't really thought about the hawaiian sound/music for quite a long time - now i can't get enough of it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

wishin' & hopin'

Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) humorist, writer & lecturer

this past week cleveland was the location for the rock and roll hall of fame induction festivities. despite being the home of the rock and roll hall of fame and museum, this is only the third time that cleveland hosted the induction ceremony; the first year cleveland hosted was in 1997 and next in 2009.

however, to quote one of rock's best loved bards the times they are a-changin' - in 2007, the powers that be announced that cleveland will be home for the induction ceremony every three years - when not here, new york city is the the other location. unlike new york, in cleveland the event truly rocks -- in new york it is an exclusive vip-only gala; here the induction ceremony was open to the public (granted tickets sold out in a blink of an eye). not only that, but in cleveland the induction is a ten-day long celebration! what can i say cleveland rocks!

alas, i didn't attend any of the festivities - there were many. however if i'm still here in 2015, you can bet i'll be seeking out some of the induction week fun - all the reports i've heard from those that attended paint a picture of a mega good time!

12 performers were inducted this year, one artist was inducted as an early influence, and 4 individuals were included in the sidemen category - to see the full list go here.

since we are coming off rock hall mania, it is only fitting that today's song come from the lofty group of performers who have been inducted into the hall of fame.

today is the birthday of dusty springfield - born mary isobel catherine bernadette o'brien on 16 april 1939 - with a name that long no wonder she changed it. during the 1960s springfield's voice was ubiquitous and had 18 songs reaching the billboard hot 100 from 1964-1970. the portal states that some international polls consider springfield among the best female rock artists of all time.

springfield died in 1999, finally succumbing to the cancer which first emerged several years earlier. ironically she died on the very day she was scheduled to go to buckingham palace to receive her award as an officer, order of the british empire from queen elizabeth II. when knowledge of her hospitalization became known, arrangements were made and springfield received the award in a small ceremony in the hospital.

ten days after she died, springfield was scheduled to be inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame; the induction took place as scheduled, sir elton john was among those who championed her inclusion in the hall of fame. others inducted that year include: billy joel, curtis mayfield, paul mccartney, del shannon, bruce springsteen, and the staple singers (for full list go here)

photo: casa mouse birdhouse and tree, 15 april 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012


You validate people’s lives by your attention.


yes, yes the film festival has been over for more than a week, but the spirit of the festival continues as i follow up on some of the gems i missed or heard about. today, i want to share a short film which i watched last night. the film, validation, can be seen in it's entity below. it is among the body of work of kurt kuenne who was the recipient of this year's director's spotlight award at the cleveland international film festival (ciff).

at the festival, i watched his newest full-length film shuffle and absolutely adored it - it was a funny, touching and affecting tale of man named lovell milo, with a very odd condition - when he fell asleep he never knew what age he'd be when he'd wake up. sounds a bit odd and it was, but oddly wonderful. make sure you keep an eye out for it; if it comes to a theater near you, check it out! by the way i just learned that shuffle took the prizes for best picture and best director at the phoenix film festival just a few days ago.

kurt was around for a q&a after the showing of shuffle - and i must say he was as delightful as his films. during the session he mentioned that a few of his shorts - including validation, are available via youtube. so last night i began my own kuenne film festival and started with validation.

i started with validation because one of my favorite things about ciff is the validation desk and the joy this festival constant brings - not only because i get to chat with the wonderful people who staff the desk, but for the fodder of fun that comes when one goes with the validation bug - if i'm hanging out at the desk visiting, i often can't myself and chime in to tell people how wonderful and great they are as they come up to have one of the cadre of festival staff or volunteers stamp their parking ticket.

while the faces and bodies at the desk do vary from time to time, the validation station is mainly the domain of two gregarious, creative, and extremely validating individuals - the husband and wife team of tim and danielle (danielle can seen making origami balloons to add even more fun to the - what'd i say creative!)

so, go get yourself some popcorn and come back for a real treat - or should i say a reel treat - the delightful and award winning* short validation. the film is about 16 minutes long; if you don't have time now, make sure you come on back for a spell at another time.

*Winner - Best Narrative Short, Cleveland Int'l Film Festival, Winner - Jury Award (2007), Gen Art Chicago Film Festival, Winner - Audience Award, Hawaii Int'l Film Festival, Winner - Best Short Comedy, Breckenridge Festival of Film, Winner - Crystal Heart Award, Best Short Film & Audience Award, Heartland Film Festival, Winner - Christopher & Dana Reeve Audience Award, Williamstown Film Festival, Winner - Best Comedy, Dam Short Film Festival, Winner - Best Short Film, Sedona Int'l Film Festival.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

the elements

Tattoos mark their wearers as members of a tribe. In the language and symbols of the tribe, the tattoo communicates what is meaningful: I prefer Harleys; I have killed three men; I know a lot about fonts...The symbols of science set the tattoo-wearer apart from the rest of us at the same time they draw us in with their beauty and mystery.

Mary Roach, from the forward of Carl Zimmer's book
Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed (2011)

i took the periodic table tattoo a few years ago - long before i started tattoo tuesday. my memory of mm's tat was jogged a couple weeks ago when i took the second photo which is the inside forearm of theresa, of last week's wonderful bird tat. by the way, since last week i learned the name of the book and illustrator of theresa's tat - alle voegel sind schon da (all the birds are already there) by ida bohatta-morpurgo. the book by the way is derived from a famous german children's song.

not surprisingly my friend with the period table tattoo was a chemistry major in college and is now pursuing a doctorate in an applied subfield of macromolecular chemistry. mm and his periodic table tattoo would be a suitable addition to carl zimmer's collection of photographs of scientific tats.

i first learned of zimmer's book and collection last fall when the new york times posted a slideshow of some of the images from zimmer's collection. the times piece corresponded with the release of zimmer's book. i forgot about zimmer's book until i started thinking of posting today's snaps.

how about a wee CoNtesT! the first to identify what the molecule on theresa's arm represents will win a fabulous prize (just comment your answer, if it isn't obvious on how to contact you - eg you are not an identified reader then email me [kyanoshik at gmail] your email/contact info)

tom lehrer's catchy and instructive song the elements - about the periodic table - cleverly animated by timwi terby

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

and still i rise

Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud.

Maya Angelou (4 april 1928) poet, writer, activist
from Letter to My Daughter

dr. maya recites her poem and still i rise (1978)

photo: it is wall wednesday!!! today's featured art is a slight variant of wall art - 'tis fence art - although this piece is not signed (at least not that i can see) it looks like it was made by my bud anna arnold, a very talented local artist/muralist. i ran across this work last month while wandering about the buckeye neighborhood in cleveland. march, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

golden slumbers

While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) writer & literary critic

today's tattoo tuesday photos feature body art influenced from images found in literature. the top photo was inspired from an illustration from a cherished children's book which was handed down by the grandmother of the baby in the photo - hopefully next time i run into mama theresa i'll remember to get the name of the book - she mentioned it was a german book written in the 1930s, but we were so busy talking about other things, getting the name of the book slipped my mind.

regarding the second photo, with the exception of the felix the cat tat (which incidentally was christopher's very first tattoo) the other tattoos on this arm are primarily characters from alice in wonderland - we see the mad hatter, the march hair, and the cheshire cat (not seen because it is on the inside of c's arm is alice). these alice inspired works were all done by sean kelly one of the owners and artists in residence of the kollective gallery in cleveland heights.

gold slumbers, written by paul mcartney, and first appearing on the abbey road album (1969)- the song is inspired by the 1603 poem cradle song, a lullaby by the dramatist thomas dekker. mccartney uses the first stanza of the original poem, with minor word changes, and added single lyric line repeated with minor variation. the original album does not credit dekker with the stanza or with the title.

photos: lakewood, ohio, march 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012


If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I... will answer you: I am here to live out loud.

Émile Zola (2 april 1840-1902)writer, critic, activist

my annual film-cation ended last night! what a ride - now it is back to reality from 10 days of reel-ity. in the past on the mouse, i listed and summarized the movies i saw at the festival; however this year i'm going to modify tradition and simply give a rough account of my reel-life travels. to list and summarize all of the 44 films (and 10 shorts) i viewed would take too long especially considering that i put real-life on hold for the last ten days and i really need to get my head out of the clouds!

the cleveland international film festival (ciff) is a true celebration of international filmmaking - more than 60 countries were represented this year at the festival, my personal cinematographic journey took me to more than 25 countries. even though i visited all the continents, my own viewing habits seem consistent with ciff's particular strength- ciff is renowned for showcasing and supporting films from central and eastern europe and eleven films i choose to go to came from this region of the world. perhaps this is due to my own czech/slovak heritage. in fact, the first film i saw was a german-polish collaboration. despite the scores of films that came afterwards, winter's daughter remained in my festival top ten list. it is a wonderful moving family drama and an inter-generational road trip film.

fortunately none of the films i saw were losers all though there were a couple that didn't live up to my expectations. looking at my list of films seen, it appears that i lean toward dramas - 26 films i saw were primarily dramas; and 9 films could be classified as comedies (although most of these so called comedies were infused with significant dramatic aspects - such as come as you are which is also on my top ten list); and 9 films were documentaries.

i don't think i could choose one film as my festival favorite - instead i've constructed a top ten list. for film lovers out there consider these films ones i enthusiastically recommend, although a couple of them are definitely not for the faint of heart.

my list, in order seen during the festival, each film is linked to the festival's blurb:
  1. winter's daughter germany/poland drama
  2. chronicle of my mother japan drama
  3. nicky's family czech/slovak documentary (about the rescue of more than 660 czech children during ww2 by a british businessman)
  4. tyrannosaur uk drama
  5. headhunters norway drama/thriller
  6. the girls in the band usa documentary (about the history of women in jazz music)
  7. mabul israel drama
  8. come as you are belguim comedy
  9. lucky south africa drama
  10. intouchables france comedy (dramatic comedy)

like most favorite lists - what you see above is today's list - if asked in a week the list may very well be different. there are a handful of other films which i can't get out of my mind - for instance women with cows, a swedish documentary about two elderly sisters that is most affecting and visually arresting; tomorrow will be better, a unique road-trip film about 3 russian homeless boys who seek a better life in poland; and, found memories (from argentina and brazil) and nana (france) two narrative films with are gorgeous visually poetic reflections on different stages of life.

photo: terminal tower as seen through the skylight during last night's festival closing night party held around the fountain in tower city, cleveland.