11 November 2012

veterans for peace

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

I noticed the above quote on a t-shirt today, and this website address: veteransforpeace.org

Veterans Day 2012

at work today...

07 November 2012

04 November 2012

The Dawn

The New York dawn has
four columns of mud
and a hurricane of black doves
that paddle in putrescent waters.

The New York dawn grieves
along the immense stairways,
seeking amidst the groins
spikenards of fine-drawn anguish.

The dawn comes and no one receives it in his mouth,
for there no morn or hope is possible.
Occasionally, coins in furious swarms
perforate and devour abandoned children.

The first to come out understand in their bones
that there will be no paradise nor amours stripped of leaves:
they know they are going to the mud of figures and laws,
to artless games, to fruitless sweat.

The light is buried under chains and noises
in impudent challenge of rootless science.
Through the suburbs sleepless people stagger,
as though just delivered from a shipwreck of blood.

translated by Stephen Spender and J.L. Gili

30 October 2012

hurricane victims on my mind...

My son and his fiancee are safe, dry, powered up and hosting unexpected guests. My niece is safe in Brooklyn. The blogs I follow whose writers live in NY, NJ and Philly - some announced they were okay, others were dark today. I live in Florida, where hurricanes have their own season and a dedicated aisle in Target. Sandy dumped snow on West Virginia (where I have family) and snow presents a new slant to this chaos; we never had to deal with snow and sleet post-hurricane, just cold showers and warm beer.

The Red Cross is accepting donations: American Red Cross

14 October 2012

i've been reading...

"We should turn on the radio" was all he could think of to say.

Ethel sat down across from him with her own cup of coffee. She took a handkerchief from the pocket of her black cardigan and handed it to him. "First cry," she said.

She gave him a gummy piece of honey cake and then, as she had on the night of his arrival, handed him a towel.

While he was showering, his grandmother shuffled into the bathroom, lifted the skirt of her nightgown, and, apparently unaware of Joe's presence, lowered her pale blue behind onto the pot.

"You don't listen to me, Yecheved," she said in Yiddish, calling him by his aunt's old-country name. "From the first day, I said I don't like this boat. Didn't I say it?"

Joe spoke English. "I'm sorry," he said.

His grandmother nodded and got off the toilet. Without a word, she turned out the light and shuffled back out. Joe finished his shower in darkness.

After he had warmed himself into an uncontrollable spasm of weeping, his aunt wrapped him in a bathrobe that had once been Sammy's father's, and led him to Sammy's old bed.

"All right," she said. "All right." She put a dry hand to his cheek and kept it there until he had stopped crying, and then until he stopped shaking, and then until he caught his stuttering breath. He lay still and snuffled. The hand on his cheek remained cool as brick.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay, by Michael Chabon

02 October 2012

hello, october

Some nothing afternoon, no one anywhere,
an early autumn stillness in the air,
the kind of empty day you fill by taking in
the full size of the valley and its layers leading
slowly to the Blue Ridge, the quality of country,
if you stand here long enough, you could stay
for, step into, the way a landscape, even on a wall,
pulls you in, one field at a time, pasture and fall
meadow, high above the harvest, perfect
to the tree line, then spirit clouds and intermittent
sunlit smoky rain riding the tops of the mountains,
though you could walk until it’s dark and not reach those rains—
you could walk the rest of the day into the picture
and not know why, at any given moment, you’re there.

28 September 2012

there is a tide in the affairs of men...

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

William Shakespeare

09 September 2012

The Harvey Awards 2012

"The Harvey Awards are named in honor of Howard Kurtzman, who was a cartoonist, writer and editor. While he did extensive work in the comics field, he is often best remembered as the founding editor of MAD magazine."

Joe and Paolo Rivera (father and son) won again for their work on Daredevil, along with Mark Waid, writer of the series. Congratulations, guys!

I've been reading...

"He settled in on that Sunday morning, and quickly began to feel better, and his fever almost went away. Even so, the nuns forbade him to leave the room, not even to use the bathroom, though it was directly across the hall. They made him use a bedpan, and they emptied it for him, and he washed himself at the sink in his room. The steam radiator under the window hissed and banged, and it made his room feel stuffy. He wanted a cigarette. He slid open one of the room’s windows just a crack, got out his cigarettes, and lit one. The nuns were not happy with that, and ordered him to keep his window closed.
That Sunday, Father Kunibert, a Benedictine priest, made rounds through the hospital, offering holy communion to the sick. He was an older man, not strong on his legs, and he worked his way down through the building, so that he wouldn’t have to climb stairs. Finally, on the first floor at the end of the corridor, he put his head in Room 151 and asked the patient if he wished to receive communion. The young man was not interested. The medical report informs us that he “refused communion” and that “the priest was advised that his services were not desired.”
When the nuns weren’t looking, Peter would get out of bed and slide up his window a crack, and cold air would pour in, filling the room with a brisk scent of the outdoors mixed with chirps of sparrows, and he would smoke another cigarette.
The tetracycline wasn’t working, and the doctors started him on chloramphenicol. He had a sense of creeping malaise, a feeling that things weren’t right, and the drugs weren’t working on his typhoid. He took out his colors and his brushes and began to paint. When he became tired of that, he took out a pencil and made sketches. There wasn’t much to see out his window–a nursing sister in a white habit, hurrying down a walkway, patches of snow, branches of bare beech trees crisscrossing a sky of cobalt blue.
Monday and Tuesday passed. Every now and then a nun would come in and collect his bedpan. His throat was red, and he had a cough, which was getting worse. The back of his throat developed a raw feeling, and he sketched restlessly. At night he may have suffered from dreadful, hallucinatory dreams. The inflamed area in his throat was no bigger than a postage stamp, but in a biological sense it was hotter than the surface of the sun. Particles of smallpox virus were streaming out of oozy spots in the back of his mouth, and were mixing with his saliva. When he spoke or coughed, microscopic infective droplets mixed with smallpox particles were being released, forming an invisible cloud that floated in the air around him. Viruses are the smallest forms of life. They are parasites that multiply inside the cells of their hosts, and they cannot multiply except anywhere else. A virus is not strictly alive, but it is certainly not dead. It is described as a life form. There was a cloud of amplified virus hanging in his room, and it was moving through the hospital. On Wednesday, January 14th, Peter’s face and forearms began to turn red."

The Demon in the Freezer, by Richard Preston (non-fiction)

05 September 2012

"nuns on the bus"

In Sister Simone Campbell's speech tonight at the convention in Charlotte, one sentence stood out for me: "Her neighbors have been polarized by politics masquerading as values".

She was given a standing ovation.

29 August 2012

"so much great stuff, so little time"

Another crazy week at work, and I just want to escape into a book...I came across this post in my reader, and he suggested several books, including one that was already on my list: Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie...and, I loved his comment on the bestseller, 50 Shades of Gray: "Just don't spend more than two hours with it, or it may render you stupid for life."

Jesse Kornbluth, at English Muse

I'll return after Labor Day.

13 August 2012

the sun

"When I walked into Emma's room and introduced myself, she said, "I don't need any missionaries. You're wasting your time."...

Each time I came to see her, Emma had more questions. I went from visiting once a week to two or three times. I'd been told she had only a couple of months to live, but she continued to be my patient for more than a year. She told me that she'd been a court reporter all her life, had never married or had children, and had many regrets about friends she'd dropped along the way because she was 'too busy.'

One day Emma asked, 'So, where are you going after you leave here?'

I sighed, 'To the grocery store. I absolutely hate grocery shopping!' I've been doing it for forty years, and I'm so tired of it.'

Emma looked out the window. 'Oh, I'd give anything to be able to get out of this bed, put on real clothes, make a list of what I want to eat, walk out that door, and drive to the store.' She described how she'd pick whatever she wanted and go home and cook it herself and maybe invite a friend over to dinner. Listening to her made me aware of how much I took for granted.

When I returned a few days later, Emma's bed was empty. A staff member told me she'd died just hours earlier.

Grocery shopping has never been the same."

L. D.           "Readers Write" about Paying Attention, in The Sun Magazine

10 August 2012

i've been reading...

"After some time I found Salomon's ward, the vegetable patch. The old nurse who sat the desk by the door was asleep. Without disturbing her I made my way into the enormous room which housed Salomon's children. The whooshing sound of the groaning iron lungs greeted me. The air was musty; everything seemed covered with a fine, chalky dust. I wondered why whoever had built the hospital had built such an enormous room...and I wondered how many had been built.

I made my way slowly between the rows of beds and iron lungs. I held my breath. I didn't want to rouse them from their sleep, their sleep of death-in-life. I thought of the many times I had turned over large stones while playing along the river, turned them over to watch in fascination and with some repulsion the teeming life which lived beneath the stones. Pale bugs, colorless tendrils, white ants that scurried for the dark, insects that had never seen the sun..

So were the vegetables in the enormous room. They lived in the dark beneath the weight of the hospital. Their pale eyes turned to follow me. I couldn't speak, but I cursed them through clenched teeth. I cursed them because I could move and they couldn't. I feared them like I feared the bugs that lived beneath the stone."

Tortuga, by Rudolfo Anaya

"Anaya brings an unusual perspective to this tale of adolescent experience which incorporates cross-cultural elements unique to the American Southwest. Native American myth and lore provide a backdrop and a particular idea of healing that inform the way disease and health are described; the spiritual dimension is never obliterated by clinical detail. The boy's point of view is sensitively, sometimes exquisitely imagined." Literature, Arts and Medicine Database

27 July 2012

chicano park memorial service

under the coronado bridge (which connects san diego to coronado island). this bridge ranks third in the united states for suicides. the memorial service was for an artist who committed suicide, but whose mural work will continue to be on view in chicano park...

i believe the first photo of the ceremony shows a traditional sage smudging purification ritual, but i was trying to be respectful and not ask too many questions.

thanks for encouraging me to stop at this beautiful park, April.

26 July 2012

The Sun Magazine

The Internet
(readers are given a topic, a deadline and publication date)

"I was twenty-seven and riding my bicycle coast to coast across the United States. Along the way I was trying to live simply and 'make the journey the destination.'

I'd taken a three-day break at a hostel in Missoula, Montana, when I met Dan, who pulled in on a beautiful light green Bianchi, not a scratch on it. He was riding cross-country as well. Our personalities clicked, and we decide to ride together, despite the fact that we had different approaches to travel: I'd brought a cheap tent, a couple of pairs of riding shorts, a change of clothes, and little else. Dan had bright spandex outfits, shades with interchangeable lenses for varying degrees of sunlight, and a specially engineered rack to tow all of his belongs, He also had a cellular phone - an expensive rarity in 1997. For fun we used it to order pizza from a campground.

After a few weeks of riding, we pulled into Iowa City. Dan said he need to check his 'electronic mail.' I followed him into the University of Iowa computer lab, and he explained how he'd set up a mail account on the Internet and could now send and receive messages from any online computer, I could do it. For free. 

I was skeptical.

'Don't live in the Dark Ages!' Dan joked.

I followed his instructions to get my own account, then prepared to send a test message to his address. Dan showed me where to type the subject and the body of the message, then leaned over my shoulder. 'OK, now watch this,' he said, fingers poised to click SEND. 'This is going to change your life.'"

T. S...n
from "Readers Write", The Sun

ps. a friend gave me a subscription to this magazine, and I read it cover to cover. Love it.


24 July 2012

20 July 2012

museum of man

in the shadow of the dna double helix, san diego's museum of man...

colorado on my mind, once again, this summer.

18 July 2012

the Getty

a magical canopy, with flowering vines sneaking through the rebar barrier...

The J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles

father & son Eisner winners

San Diego Comic Con 2012, Eisner award dinner...father and son, Joe and Paolo Rivera.

I was there. Congratulations, guys!

06 July 2012

i've been reading

Fire Season (field notes from a wilderness lookout)

by Philip Connors

"After the McKnight Fire in 1951, ash runoff killed most of the native trout in this stream, or so it was presumed - no one can say for sure - and later the state Game and Fish Department stocked it with various non-natives, dumping whatever was on hand. Before them the stream was home to the state fish of New Mexico, the Rio Grand cutthroat, now a threatened species reduced to less than 10 percent of its historic range, which once spread across 6,600 miles of mountain streams that funnel their waters to the Rio Grande.

According to scholars, the Rio Grande cutthroat appears in the first written mention of a North American trout by Europeans. In 1541, Pedro de Castaneda de Najera, a member of the Coronado expedition, noted "a little stream which abounds in excellent trout," likely Glorieta Creek, southeast of modern Santa Fe. Over the past 150 years, mining, logging, road building, cattle grazing, fire suppression, and the stocking of non-native species have destroyed the fish in vast reaches of its range. Increasingly isolated populations remain, most of them in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, cut off from intermingling with their kind in other streams and therefore susceptible to genetic stagnation. Rising water temperatures, as a result of global warming, may also imperil their long-term survival. Government officials have so far denied efforts to list the fish as an endangered species - mainly, the admit, because they don't have the money for a recovery program."

click to listen: Philip Connors NPR interview

ps. I apologize for my absence; I've been battling a summer cold. I will be on blog break until the end of July, but not because I'm sick! Enjoy the late summer nights and rain storms.

01 July 2012

sunday thoughts

"If you can sustain your interest in what you're doing, you're an extremely fortunate person. What you see very frequently in people's professional lives, and perhaps in their emotional life as well, is that they lose interest in the third act. You sort of get tired, and indifferent, and sometimes, defensive. And you kind of lose your capacity for astonishment - and that's a great loss, because the world is a very astonishing place. What I feel fortunate about is that I'm still astonished, that things still amaze me. And I think that that's the great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears, where you basically have to admit you never learn it."

"I [internalized] this idea that it didn't matter whether I was called an artist or a designer or an illustrator or whatever else it was. The core value was always the act of making things, and the transformation of an idea that you hold in your mind that becomes real or material. That to me, still is the glory of any creative activity."

Milton Glaser, via brainpickings

26 June 2012

the dog days of summer

The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term "Dog Days" was used earlier by the Greeks (see, e.g., Aristotle's Physics, 199a2).
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

"Before you can blame an individual for their choices, you have to make sure they have the same choices as everyone else."

Bix , the fanatic cook.