On an absolutely gorgeous last day of May evening in the nation's capital, I've pulled me out some Andy Bey to chill with this evening. Andy's voice is visceral. He can make those low notes hummmmm deep within your chest and then just as suddenly hit a falsetto rift with a clarity that makes you worry about your crystal. All with an intimacy that has you half expecting to turn around and find him playing your own piano. What a great way to end a nearly perfect day.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Ever start something without knowing where it's going?
You do it just because you gotta get into it, and you have an inkling of an idea, an incomplete thought, a fragment of a concept percolating in your head. It's bursting against the limits of your creative brain cells, so you remove your thumb from the dam and welcome the deluge. That's kind of how this project is evolving.
Here's a third patch of circles on circles and I now see it as not simply circles, but portals. Windows into time and space and other worlds of possibility.
This is now my inspiration. It gives me a focus and sense of mission in this quilt, as well as, a working title: "Portals Into Other Possibilities." It's still clunky, still a work in progress.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
It is utterly entwined in our DNA as human beings to seek meaning. We have been given brains that demand eschatological systems within which to work and play and breath and judge the rest of our world. And I for one thank the Heavens for this, because it has led us from a world based of superstitious causal relationships to one rooted in scientific discovery.
And still there lingers a certain fascination with things of chance and magic and unscientific systemization. We play the lottery. We read our horoscopes. We proclaim meaning in chance and coincidental events. And it gives us a different, perhaps more primordial comfort as we do. And so it’s to this end that I share with you some of the people who were also born on my birthday. We form a sort of fellowship of humanity based solely on the accidents of our birth. Therefore, there’s no real relationship at all, yet there remains a question of “meaning”. And a platform from which each of us is free to determine whatever meaning we want—at least those of us who are still alive!
At the very least we can wish one another well. And I do.
FROM TOP TO BOTTOM/FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
R1.C1 ~ THOMAS PAINE (1737 – 1809) American Revolutionary, born in England, confirmed intellectual who seized upon the possibilities presented by a new nation to promote Enlightenment Ideas in written works like, “Common Sense” (1776), “Rights of Man” 1791, and “The Age Of Reason” 1793-94.
R1.C2 ~ HENRY LEE, III (1756 – 1818) American Revolutionary from Virginia who signed the United States Constitution, served as Governor of the state of Virginia, represented Virginia in the newly formed House of Representatives, and was the father of confederate Civil War general Robert E. Lee.
R1.C3 ~ WILLIAM McKINLEY (1843 – 1901) 25th President of the United States
R1.C4 ~ ANTON CHEKHOV (1860 – 1904) Russian playwright and author of “Uncle Vanya,” “Three Sisters,” and “The Cherry Orchard.”
R2.C1 ~ FREDERICK DELIUS (1862 – 1934) German born English composer of classical music: operas, concertos, symphonies, etc.
R2.C2 ~ W. C. FIELDS [nee: William Claude Dukenfield] (1880 – 1946) American Vaudevillian performer, actor and comedian.
R2.C3 ~ BARNETT NEWMAN (1905 – 1970) American Abstract Expressionist painter.
R2.C4 ~ TOM SELLECK (1945 – present) American actor.
R3.C1 ~ OPRAH WINFREY (1954 – present) American philanthropist, TV talk show host, actor.
R3.C2 ~ GREG LOUGANIS (1960 – present) American athelete and AIDs activist.
R3.C3 ~ SARA GILBERT (1975 – present) American Actor.
R3.C4 ~ ADAM LAMBERT (1982 ~ present) American singer, American Idol runner-up 2009.
Monday, May 25, 2009
To look at images from my gardens, you'd practically get the impression that I live in coastal Oregon or Washington and not Washington, D. C.'s suburban Maryland! It's just been a wonderfully wet spring. Everything flourishes today...Foxglove and St. Francis.
Back when I lived in Kentucky on the crest of a palisade at the edge of the prairie I planted California Poppies. I was enamored with their frilly unconventional foliage and brilliant yellow-orange blossoms. They loved the sun there and rewarded me by reseeding and returning annually to wave in clusters in the summer sun.
And therefore, it was an act of nostolgia that drove me to buy and plant a dozen of them in my moist, humid and shady backyard. Would they bloom? I had no way of knowing.... So, imagine my surprise this afternoon at the advent of this blossom: A peachy, variagated circle of creamy light against a bed of pale blue-green filigree. Will wonders never cease?
I have this narrow garden in the backyard that is sandwiched in between the walkway and the back stairs down to the basement. When I first bought this place it was somehow filled with tomato plants full of fruit! Quite a trick, I've never gotten tomatoes to even bare a blossom there for general lack of light.
Each year I plant a trinity of flowers in the bed and this year the combination includes: Pineapple Sage (back row); Choleus var. "Henna" (middle row), and white begonias in the front. It's the most interesting partnership of plants I've every attempted there...time will tell.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
I didn't know his name until today, but I often witnessed his genius.
Arthur Erickson was the architect of the Canadian Embassy here in Washington, D. C. It's a powerfully amazing and iconic structure. My recent visit there to see the exhibit of documents, paintings, and prints to celebrate the colonization of Canada by Europeans was my first one. It only enhanced my awe of the place. It is a building well designed and well placed. Bravo, Msr. Erickson--may light perpetual shine upon you.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Is a documentary by Parvez Sharma that traces the lives and experiences of gays and lesbians in the Arab world. Men and women who love Islam, who love Allah, and who wage a war daily with both because they have the audacity to love themselves, too. This is their personal "Jihad".
The film adroitly opens their individual worlds to you, warts and all. So whether we're witnessing the trials of the only openly gay Imam in South Africa or the triumphant introduction of a lesbian's lover to her mother in the rural highlands of Turkey you feel compassion and empathy and hope. And in some vinettes you wish you could intervene as in the case of the four young men from Iran who escaped certain execution in their homeland to become wards of the United Nations with no control over their future, and no guarantee that they won't be sent back to Iran.
The only shame is that the only people who are likely to see this film are the denizens of independent and glbt film festivals.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Or as one Republican noted back in the Bush days, "elections have consequences."
Finally, Republican members of the Senate's judiciary committee are stepping up to the plate and acknowledging this reality. Until now, members of the "so called" liberal press have been acting like some legal views of potential nominees to the Supreme Court would be, nay ARE, controversial. Chief among them the idea of abortion.
Give me a break! Abortion as a concept is as old as man, and as a legal right in the United States the law of the land for nearly 30 years. You don't have to like it, but the clock moves one, the page has been turned: This is NOT a litmus test for membership on the Supreme Court. To harp otherwise only confirms that it is a very SLOW news day on FOX(FAUX)News.com!
So, it was refreshing to learn that the leading Republican on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate gets this, too. In today's New York Times, Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama stated, "Everyone up here can see the political pieces on the board. No one is talking about the possibility of defeating any nominee, barring something coming out of left field.”
I can only hope that would be something criminal and NOT ideological.....
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
So given my just completed comments on WIW #196, let's talk funny.
This is some funny shit.
Confession: I hated "Dougie Howser, M.D." and by extension, Neal Patrick Harris. But then Dougie got canceled, and NPHarris disappeared... well, sort of. Little by little he re-emerged and re-invented himself almost just AS himself. And that takes balls.
In this iteration he's amazing. The whole concept is simply delightful. And today, I learned that he will be hosting this year's Tony awards. Well done, and Bravo! -- NPH! I can't wait for your next project.
I have a new teacher this year who is simply dynamite. She brought this film in for me to watch declaring that it was the "funniest film I've ever seen!" -- OUCH. I watched it. I did!
I reminded myself afterwards that I'm twice her age + 2 years. And it isn't that this movie is bad or unfunny. It's, in fact, charming at times--times after it ceases to be simply vulgar, or utterly predictable in an adolescent way. Like 2 minutes into the thing, I had basically written the rest of it myself. Where's the funny in that? Super Bad? Hardly. More like super sad...
Monday, May 11, 2009
The senate has just tipped to 60/40 in the dems favor.
Oh my! Honeys, you haven't seen anything yet.
In 2010 there are 35 seats open and here are the battles so far.
FLORIDA - A true toss-up, Thanks to Governor Chris' announcement.
ILLINOIS - A Democratic KEEP, but by WHO?
KENTUCKY - A Democratic TAKE, Bunning is adled, the race will kill him.
MISSOURI - A narrow Democratic TAKE, Non-buyer's remorse....
OHIO - A Democratic TAKE, the purpling of the "Heart of America"
PENNSYLVANIA - A just turned Democratic KEEP, but by WHO? Not betting on Arlen Specter!
Obama will face his second term with 63 or 64 allies in the Senate. Believe it!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The front TOP and back BOTTOM of my latest quilt are done. Based on a random number sequence, the top is meant to depict the morning sun through a window, and the bottom an evening dusk via the same. The background is meant to enhance the luminosity of light from within a space and without.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
It's been awhile since I've shared one of these, and I regret that. The rate of casualties in the War on Terrorism for 2009 is nearly 1 per day. Did you know that? In our name for our protection, for our comfort, a man or woman in the military is dieing every day....
Army Spc. Jake R. Velloza, 22, of Inverness, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died May 2 in Mosul, Iraq, after being shot by enemy forces. Also killed was Spc. Jeremiah P. McCleery.
These are quotes left with the Los Angeles Times from those who knew Specialist Velloza.
"We talked about college, but he said, 'No, Coach, I want to be a Ranger doing special ops.' He was set on his goals. He was one of those young men who knew what he wanted to do and did it. Service to his country is what appealed to him.
~ LF , high school football coach
"I met Jake when he came to buy his letterman jacket. What a wonderful kid. He reminded me of his father and uncle who I went to school with. He was quite the football player and getting that Letterman jacket was a bid deal for him. And on the back, the school mascot -- also a symbol of what he was -- a BRAVE."
"I was his team chief, his leader, his mentor. We talked about baseball and football on many occasions. He had told me he was a left hand pitcher, and I told him that I was also a pitcher in highschool. It was hard saying bye to Jake. Not only was he a great soldier he was a great friend. To his parents I am deeply sorry for your loss, I can't imagine what you are feeling right now."
"Jake was hilarious. Just a funny guy who had a really hard time being in a bad mood. He was also obsessed with the concept of true love, and love at first sight. I'd like to think he finally found what he was looking for in Danielle, his fiancee. My heart goes out to her."
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Finished the first half of my new quilt. It's entitled "Morning" and it's made up of the pattern formed by the random serial numbers on the test booklets of 3 of the 6 second grade teachers at my school.
When recording the numbers, I became more and more fascinated by their random, yet un-chaotic arrangements. The patterns seemed to favor certain numbers and the "favoritism" shifted from one class roster to another.
I took the rosters and created a random set of Tryptichs. This one favors warm colors and is entitled "Morning". The other favors cool colors and it entitled "Evening". Together they form one day. Morning is framed with a dark nuetral gray, Evening with a light nuetral gray.
Numbers are beautiful. n'est pas?
Here's a fragment of the first column of the back of the quilt. It's the "Evening" side of the duo tryptich. I've placed it against the background fabric to emphasis the contrast with the other side.
The best part about the back? All of the fabrics where already part of my stash.
Comes from a protest held at a local High school and the student led response:
"At Whitman, A Protest Over Poet's Lifestyle"
A group of seven congregants from Topeka, Kan., set up outside Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda yesterday to protest the sexual orientation of the poet for whom the school was named. The police presence -- 40 officers, five horses, blocked-off streets and a football field's length of yellow tape -- seemed comically disproportionate until the counter-protest arrived.
At the 2:10 p.m. dismissal, 500 students issued forth from the campus and lined up, several students deep, along the police tape, across Whittier Boulevard from the congregants. They alternately chanted the school name and "Go home!" -- drowning out voices from across the street.
Whitman, a 19th-century poet with major influence on American literature, is generally regarded as having been gay or bisexual, but his sexual identity remains enigmatic.
The Westboro Baptist Church has gained national notoriety for its anti-homosexuality demonstrations, staged provocatively outside military funerals and at schools that are putting on the musical "Rent." Before heading to Whitman, they showed up at the funeral of the Middletown, Md., family killed in a murder-suicide last week, claiming that those deaths, like the military casualties, were God's wrath toward a godless people. Police asked them to leave.
But at Whitman, the protesters arrived to palpable excitement. Faculty had spun the event into an interdisciplinary lesson. English teachers spent the day on Whitman's verse. Social studies teachers led a unit on tolerance. Math teachers fanned through the crowd, attempting a head count.
It was the first taste of protest for many Whitman students, and perhaps the first time they had paid much mind to their namesake.
"This is my school, and this is where I live, and that makes it personal to me," said Maddie Oliver, 18, a senior. Along with others, she wore a blue T-shirt emblazoned with the Whitman passage "Let your soul stand cool and composed." Principal Alan Goodwin helped choose the slogan, hoping students would see its wisdom, he said.
Indeed, no one was injured, and no property was damaged.
Rebekah Phelps-Davis, daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, said it was "the duty of the servants of God to go where the message needs to be heard."
Susan Russell, 17, a junior, said she hoped the publicity would
"highlight how ridiculous they are. I mean, that sign -- 'You will eat
your babies' -- that doesn't even mean anything."
And from the poet himself:
from LEAVES OF GRASS
I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing,
laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
round his or her neck for a moment—what is this, then?
I do not ask any more delight—I swim in it, as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women,
and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well;
All things please the soul—but these please the soul well.
~ Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
Saturday, May 02, 2009
This view of deck is taken from an angle of my backyard not often included in images of gardens. Here the azaleas appear to break like some ocean wave encountering a retaining wall. My deck is a place of respite and a mission control center were plants just purchased first land before being parcelled out.
This whole first weekend of May promises to be gray and cool and moist with rain on and off. These gloomy days are not uncommon in this region hugging the Chesapeake Bay. To combat their dreary motifs, I turn to a plant from South Central Asia: the Choleus.
Here follows 3 views of choleus that I have planted in my gardens/planters this year. For those living in the metro-Maryland region, Potomac Nursery on route 28 at Quince Orchard has the most amazing varieties of these foliage rich plants I've ever seen. They love the planter as much as the good earth and clippings can be easily rooted in a glass of water.
Is this delightful and endearing children's book about the famous "gay" penguins of the Central Park Zoo. It tells how two male penguins, Silo & Roy, bonded and then raised a little female penguin, Tango, from abandoned egg to adulthood with all the penache and parenting skills of their opposite sex coupled enclosure mates.
The actor, John Lithgow's jacket quote says it all, "A little miracle for children. Funny, tender, and true, the story of Tango will delight young readers and open their minds." If only, if only......