Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Navy Posters

One way to recruit men to defend the nation on the high seas: advertise their duties as Barber, Dentist, Mailman. Where are the Baker, Lawyer, and Indian Chief!? Great posters, though.

What I'm Listening to #84

"Save Me, San Francisco" is the latest offering from Train. It's a really fun CD. Lot's of Old School references, and the single "Hey, Soul Sister" is a great boychick song.

I adopted Train after the demise of Toad The Wet Sprocket, a band I still miss. But I accept that they had squeezed themselves dry, like Counting Crows after them. It's nice to know that Train still has juice to spare.

Maple Blossoms!

Yesterday nothing. This morning, VOILA! My magnificent sugar maple has exploded!--Yeah!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ricky Wins A Toaster!

So Latin Pop Star finally decides to tell the world that he's gay. What to say?

Congratu- lations! Just to be real and even possibly lame. Like who really cares?

The tabloids have pegged this for nearly a decade, so how is this really news? A terrible sexy, masculine man prefers to fuck other men? Get over it girls! A gay man who is also a great guy, is a great father? Where's the contradiction? And more importantly, where's the story?

Ricky, may the sun shine upon you even more brightly, and may all the rest of your life just be as wonderful as it is.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eastertide Well Wishes

Came to me from my friend L. in Wuxi, China. What a lovely card and what a perfect stamp for Spring. May each of my friends experience the season of passover and resurrection from whatever perspective and in whatever manner that gives their life the most comfort and meaning.

Rainy March Monday

Two picts from my emerging gardens. The fountain in my front yard and the circle bed in the backyard. I love these sort of soft spring days.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ninja Cat

Ai-ya! Ninja cat! Be afraid. Be very afraid!

The 2010 Final Four

#5 Michigan State
#5 Bulter


#1 Duke
#2 West Virginia

And what would be the most anti-climactic pairing for the national championship after one of the most egalitarian and exciting NCAA tournaments in history? Duke vs Michigan State. On the other hand, which two teams represent the most amazing pursuit of the national championship via it's long and storied history? Butler vs West Virginia.

Here's hoping that the Mountaineers meet the Bulldogs in Indianapolis for the NCAA men's Final. And may the team that wins be deemed the BEST.

3 Minute Fiction

NPR's Saturday Evening show has held a contest for short story writers called "3 Minute Fiction". Submissions of 600 words or less vetted by students in the Iowa Writer's Workshop program and ultimately awarded by a guest judge. The fourth iteration of this exercise will be judged by Ann Patchett. She's one of my favorite authors. For this round she's mandated that the story include 4 words in any grammatical form: Trick, Fly, Plant, and Button.

I want to do this. I am so not a writer and honestly barely even a reader, but I do love words. Even just to have Ann Patchett read something that I'd written would be such a gift.

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh MY!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yes We STILL Can

Here's a wonderful video mashup that shows more clearly than any words I can concoct why I am a Democrat.

It also really punctuates a week in which my people have made a real difference in the lives of me and my neighbors and in the history of this nation.

1) Healthcare Reform has turned the lumbering, leaking super tanker of the industrial medical complex in a new direction. It's not perfect, nor is this battle over, but damn it the ship toward destruction no longer sails in that destination.

2) Student Loans have been dramatically altered to a point that will hopefully simplify the process and place the future of this nation in the hands of elected officials who have the best interest of this nation's success in their hands and not the fiscal bottom line of a for profit industry that routinely feeds off of the most vulnerable clients for the benefit of it's wealthiest members.

3) Nuclear Proliferation between Russia and the United States have agreed to reduce by more than 1,000 the number of mutually assured destruction based warheads renewing a process that was begun by Ronald Reagan and allowed to lapse under the incompetent presidency of George Bush-the-Lesser.

4) "Don't Ask Don't Tell" had its first significant chip taken away in a process designed to make irrelevant the sexual lives of the men and women who serve this nation in its armed forces. For the life of me, I just cannot understand why gays are not as trustworthy to be moral as those who breed. There is no empirical data anywhere to suggest that this isn't true.

5) Positions Filled when President Obama made 15 recess nominations after nearly a year of Republican holds. To date president Obama has used this option less that 30 times. The Republicans in the Senate cry foul like little babies without their mother's teat to suck upon, but George H. W. Bush used this approach 170 times!~ Honestly, who the baby in this picture?

6) 8 Billion Dollars! The pending resale of the United State's holding in Citigroup purchased as part of the financial bail out is set to net the US treasury 8 Billion dollars. Even Everett Dirksen would have to acknowledge that that's "Real Money".


March Madness: Bitter Sweet 8.1

The Mountain- eers who were seated at #2, by the way, have sent my Wildcats home to the blue BLUE grasses of central Kentucky. I've got nothing against West Virginia...well, until now! But I guess I'm left with an option, and I will choose to be a good sport. Go West Virginia!

After all, it is only a game.

Shake, Rattle and Role: American Style

I had this really vivid dream on Thursday night. I was at work in my office at school when the earth shook! I scrambled under my desk, and except for objects rattled off of shelves and piles of empty boxes from MSA testing toppled around the room, I was okay. The room, however was pitch black (power off), and I have no windows. So I got up and found the door, but it wouldn't open. The building had shifted and the door was jammed! I could hear the sound of kids being evacuated and I pounded on the door until the teacher next to me came and shouted that she would get help. A few minutes later one of the building services guys showed up with an axe (an axe!--I doubt we actually have one on the school grounds) and he chopped me to freedom. Once out, we began to learn the news of the extent of the disaster. The epicenter was no where near D.C. but in western Kentucky! In a fit a disbelief, I woke up.

I look at the seismic activity in the U.S. since the Great Chile earthquake and it's really saying something. Something that my subconscious mind is clearly worrying about. California is as shaky as ever!, but there are two "hot spots" if you will. Central Oklahoma and the fault just off of the coast of Oregon have been very active. In Oregon, the activity is on a known plate, the quakes in central Oklahoma are on a mid-continental plate where rifts have and are forming. Are these signs of something larger to come? I would have any idea. But it is curious, and as I have said before the general global seismic activity is occurring at a pace much larger and more intense that usual.

Motivational Poster

After those ubiquitous posters defining ideas like "Success" and "Team Work", and if this doesn't motivate you, I don't know what ever would! Scary Spice!

One correction, Sinclair Lewis wasn't alive in 1835....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Break 2010!~

A thought for those headed to sunny adventures!

March Madness: Sweet 16.2

Another top seed team sent packing. Bye Bye to Ohio State! Good show, Tennessee!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March Madness: Sweet 16.1

OMG! Butler beat Syracuse! I'm suddenly afeared for Kentucky...

Four More Harbingers of Spring

From my gardens again, of course!

Sanguinaria canadensis

European Hawkweed
Hieracium varigata

Epimedium sulphureum

Astilbe arendsii

Frittata Thursday!

The amazing Italian frittata. Nothing could be simpler. It's basically a crustless quiche that takes 6 eggs and whatever ingredients you want combined and baked for 60 minutes at 350˚.

So you have two parts, stuff and eggs. Let's look at the stuff. The most basic Frittata is made with various chopped peppers, and possibly tomatoes or/and zucchini. But it can be made with any thing vegetable and or meat. Combine things that make sense to you or that you're hankering for. Include a cheese: Mozzarella, sharp Cheddar, and Swiss all work. Asiago, Gorgonzola, Munster, and even Havarti with the right set of veggies or meat. This puppy works with what ever you like.

The eggs are fine with just salt and pepper to taste, but can also be laced with a variety of spices for amazing variations. Spices can range from Mediterranean fare like parsley, rosemary, thyme; seeds like caraway, pepper, coriander, or fennel; nutmeg and cilantro can also turn the direction of the results. For a Greek twist combine oregano and cinnamon.

Tonight's creation came in three layers: 1) chopped fresh broccoli, oyster mushrooms, and Swiss Cheese, 2) a layer of Goya® canned tuna and corn after draining away the excess olive oil, 3) repeat of layer one. I combined a package of dried onion and mushroom soup mix with the eggs before pouring them over the other ingredients. Of course, spray your pie dish with non-stick spray first.

Bon apetit!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

USA Today/Gallup Pole

The tide is turning....Just wait and see.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Immigration Reform

It's time. It's time that we stop being a racist white-centric society and embrace our ideals without prejudice to tribalistic associations.

As a thoroughly white/Anglo American; born and raised on the soils of this patch of earth called North America in the nation of the United States I recognize the following: 1) My birth was an act of blind fate, 2) I am no better than anyone else on this planet, 3) nationalism leads to aggression and artificial distinctions between people that only divides and harms us, and 4) Humanity is a house. A house divided cannot stand.

It's time to face that reality with a powerful sense of providence and generosity. The people we are trying to drive away are the people who are doing our dirty work. How dare we act like this. It shames me deeply.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Freudian Slip?

Came home from a long day at work to find this post card from London from my friend, J. He's doing research there toward a doctorate from Harvard. J. is such a good soul. He totally defines "straight not narrow" in the dictionary.

As to Freud....well these phallic Amulets are from his collection amassed from the antiquities of Egypt, Etruscan and Roman Italy and Japan. You do the analysis!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Final 8 Are Set

The Madness of March has whittled down from 64 teams full of hope to 8 teams that still have a chance. How's that for entertainment? Here they are with my tip of the hat from the most improbable to the pre-ordained:

12th ranked Cornell
11th ranked Washington
10th ranked St. Mary's
9th ranked Northern Iowa
6th ranked Tennessee
6th ranked Xavier
5th ranked Butler
5th ranked Michigan State
4th ranked Purdue
3rd ranked Baylor
2nd ranked Kansas State
2nd ranked Ohio State
2nd ranked West Virginia
1st ranked Duke
1st ranked Kentucky
1st ranked Syracuse

Half of these teams were on top of the final four and half come from below. The game to watch is Cornell vs Kentucky; but my original final of Syracuse v Kentucky remains. Best wishes to all!

March Gardens

Two of the areas where I have augmented the perennials with pansies doused in Deer Out!

13 Harbingers Of Spring

Thirteen of the couple dozen perennials that are erupting around my gardens. Every day there's something new to discover.

Aquilegia vulgaris

Celandine Poppy
Stylophorum diphyllum

Virginia Bluebells
Mertensia virginica

Bleeding Heart
Dicentra spectabilis

Japanese Anemone
Anemone japonica

Marsh Marigold
Caltha palustris

Loosestrife "Firecracker"
Lysimachia ciliata

Corsican Helleborus
Helleborus argutifolius

Solidago virga aurea

Evening Primrose
Oenothera missouriensis

Podophyllum peltatum

Money Plant
Lunaria annua

Phlox paniculata


I know what it is when I see it.

Angry white racists fueled by the cynical and opportunistic Republican party for over a decade now and ignited by the rhetoric of idiots like Glen Beck and Sarah Palin no longer have even the decency to keep their sagging white asses covered in public. It's a sad day.

Spring: Birds!

Spring is officially here and so are the birds. I awoke this morning to the sight of a a blue jay, cyanocitta cristata, and a male northern cardinal, cardinalis cardinalis, sharing the branches of my still naked yoshino cherry. The jay would flit to the ground in search of insects and then back up into the tree.

When the cardinal grew tired of it,--and not seeing what it was he was looking for from that vantage--he flew into the higher branches of a nearby maple affording me an even better look at his magnificent scarlet plumage. For the past 16 years (as long as I lived here) a pair of cardinals has kept residence in the neighborhood. They nest in the thick prickly foliage of one of the towering american holly bushes/trees, with it's hypodermically spiked leaves and tightly twisted and stubby branches, it's an ingeniously safe place to raise a family.
And while very welcome visitors to my yard, neither of these birds is unusual.

So imagine my delight when I next saw a perfect specimen of a male rufous-sided towhee, pipilo erythrophthalmus. His coal black cap and red eyes and the bookends of raw umber feathers framing his bright white breast. It's the first time I've seen one of these in my yard.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

NCAA 2010 March Madness Round One UNDERDOGS

Now that round one is history, here's the list of up-set underdogs:

14th ranked Ohio beat #3 Georgetown
13th ranked Murray State beat #4 Vanderbilt
12th ranked Cornell beat #5 Temple
11th ranked Old Dominion beat #6 Notre Dame
11th ranked Washington beat #6 Marquette
10th ranked Georgia Tech beat #7 Oklahoma State
10th ranked Missouri beat #7 Clemson
10th ranked Saint Mary's beat #7 Richmond
9th ranked Northern Iowa beat #8 UNLV
9th ranked Wake Forest beat #8 Texas

Art I'm Seeing #44

Since 9/11/2001, there has been a noticeable dearth of grand or even quality art exhibitions in the major museums of the middle Atlantic region. Insurance companies have made it nearly impossible for museums to afford to cover the loss cost of works, and internationally European museums have been skiddish about loaning works to shows in US museums. As a result, museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Walter's Gallery (Baltimore), the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.) have only been able to mount smaller and often less interesting exhibits.

"Apples," c. 1925
Charles Demuth
Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Nebraska.

But there is a delightful exception presently at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Cézanne And American Modernism is an example of a really interesting show that doesn't rely on images from the European Museums, but presents the influences of the Old World on the New with lots of beautiful works and wonderful concepts.
And one of my favorite included influenced artists is Marsden Hartley. There was a retrospective of his works at the Phillip's Collection in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2003,

"Still Life," 1912
Marsden Hartley
Weisman Art Museum,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

and it inspired me to read his autobiography, "Somehow The Past." Between the two events I had a rather dour impression of the artist; and yet, the works in this exhibition really demonstrated how much more complex an artist he was.

"Peaches In A White Bowl," 1910
Charles Sheeler
private collection

I've shared three examples of artists whose still lifes were influenced by Cézanne from the exhibition. Of course, Cezanne's other two major themes, "bathers," and "landscapes" are also generously represented in this show. Be all means check it out, you will have until May 13th to see it here, and then you'll have to catch it in Phoenix.