HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13th
American Art – Part I of V: Lillian Bayley Hoover
“I never could have thought of it,
To have a little bug all lit
And to go on wings.” – From “The Firefly,” by Elizabeth Madox Roberts, American novelist and poet, who died 13 March 1941.
I saw a shadow on the ground
And heard a bluejay going by;
A shadow went across the ground,
And I looked up and saw the sky.
It hung up on the poplar tree,
But while I looked it did not stay;
It gave a tiny sort of jerk
And moved a little bit away.
And farther on and farther on
It moved and never seemed to stop.
I think it must be tied with chains
And something pulls it from the top.
“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.” – Stephen Vincent Benet, American poet, short story writer, novelist, and recipient of the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for “John Brown’s Body”), who died 13 March 1943.
My mind’s a map. A mad sea-captain drew it
Under a flowing moon until he knew it;
Winds with brass trumpets, puffy-cheeked as jugs,
And states bright-patterned like Arabian rugs.
“Here there be tygers.” “Here we buried Jim.”
Here is the strait where eyeless fishes swim
About their buried idol, drowned so cold
He weeps away his eyes in salt and gold.
A country like the dark side of the moon,
A cider-apple country, harsh and boon,
A country savage as a chestnut-rind,
A land of hungry sorcerers.
—Your mind is water through an April night,
A cherry-branch, plume-feathery with its white,
A lavender as fragrant as your words,
A room where Peace and Honor talk like birds,
Sewing bright coins upon the tragic cloth
Of heavy Fate, and Mockery, like a moth,
Flutters and beats about those lovely things.
You are the soul, enchanted with its wings,
The single voice that raises up the dead
To shake the pride of angels.
I have said.
From the “He Should Certainly Know Department”:
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: The Beatles
13 March 1965 – The Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” single reaches number one on American popular music charts and remains there for two weeks.
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: The Beatles
13 March 1968 – The Beatles release “Lady Madonna” in the United Kingdom.
Here is how one writer describes the artistry of Portuguese painter Isabel Contreras Botelho: “Born in Lisbon, Isabel Maria Contreras do Botelho has been painting and drawing for some time. Works in a primate organization as teacher of Arts in Painting and Drawing.
Although personally assumed as figurative, her paintings have a personal life, gestural and intuitive but, simultaneously, conceptual and marked by symbologies.”
Six Wise People – Part I: Joseph Priestley
“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – Joseph Priestley, English Dissenting clergyman, chemist, natural philosopher, political theorist, and educator, who was born 13 March 1733.
Some quotes from Joseph Priestley:
“Like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves.”
“We should like to have some towering geniuses, to reveal us to ourselves in color and fire, but of course they would have to fit into the pattern of our society and be able to take orders from sound administrative types.”
“As we read the school reports on our children, we realize a sense of relief that can rise to delight that thank Heaven nobody is reporting in this fashion on us.”
“It is no use speaking in soft, gentle tones if everyone else is shouting.”
“What I have known with respect to myself, has tended much to lessen both my admiration, and my contempt, of others.”
Six Wise People – Part II: Paul Fix
“The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it’s unfamiliar territory.” – Paul Fix, American film and television actor best known for his work in Westerns, who was born 13 March 1901.
American Art – Part II of V: Denard Stalling
In the words of one writer, “Balance, clarity and purity of form are foremost in a Stalling piece. Simple elegance is allowed to shine through, as Denard Stalling strikes a new chord with his evocative, breathtaking compositions. Elevating the instrument to a grand and well-respected status, Stalling manages to merge the worlds of art and music in an innovative display of detail, light and color.”
Six Wise People – Part III: President Benjamin Harrison
“I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.” – Benjamin Harrison, twenty-third President of the United States, supporter of both the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and advocate for federal legislation to protect the voting rights of African-Americans, who died 13 March 1901.
Benjamin Harrison was a Republican, though his views on issues both foreign and domestic would find little support among today’s GOP ideologues.
Some quotes from Benjamin Harrison:
“We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.”
“Great lives never go out; they go on.”
“No other people have a government more worthy of their respect and love or a land so magnificent in extent, so pleasant to look upon, and so full of generous suggestion to enterprise and labor.”
“There never has been a time in our history when work was so abundant or when wages were as high, whether measured by the currency in which they are paid or by their power to supply the necessaries and comforts of life.”
“This Government has found occasion to express, in a friendly spirit, but with much earnestness, to the Government of the Czar, its serious concern because of the harsh measures now being enforced against the Hebrews in Russia.”
“When and under what conditions is the black man to have a free ballot? When is he in fact to have those full civil rights which have so long been his in law?”
American Art – Part III of V: Sarah Steiber
Six Wise People – Part IV: Susan B. Anthony
“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” – Susan B. Anthony, American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century movement to introduce women’s suffrage into the United States, who died 13 March 1906.
Some quotes from Susan B. Anthony:
“If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals.”
I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”
“I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.”
“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”
“Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women! There is so much yet to be done.”
“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.”
“The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled the more I gain.”
“Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.”
“Trust me that as I ignore all law to help the slave, so will I ignore it all to protect an enslaved woman.”
“This is rather different from the receptions I used to get fifty years ago. They threw things at me then but they were not roses.”
American Art – Part IV of V: Jonathan Viner
Inn the words of one writer, “Jonathan Viner was born in 1976 in New York, and was raised up and down the east coast of the United States. After receiving a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998, he moved to New York City where he continues to live today.”
Six Wise People – Part V: Nobel Laureate Ivo Andric
“If people would know how little brain is ruling the world, they would die of fear.” – Ivo Andric, Bosnian novelist, short story writer, author of “The Bridge on the Drina,” and recipient of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country,” who died 13 March 1975.
Ivo Andric donated all his Nobel Prize money to the improvement of libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Some quotes from Ivo Andric:
“One shouldn’t be afraid of the humans. Well, I am not afraid of the humans, but of what is inhuman in them.”
“Searching for what I need, and I don’t even know precisely what that is, I was going from a man to a man, and I saw that all of them together have less than me who has nothing, and that I left to each of them a bit of that what I don’t have and I’ve been searching for.”
“Between the fear that something would happen and the hope that still it wouldn’t, there is much more space than one thinks. On that narrow, hard, bare and dark space a lot of us spend their lives.”
“Sadness is also a kind of defense.”
“Lands of great discoveries are also lands of great injustices.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Polish painter Grzegorz Wrobel (born 1983): “During my studies at the Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, I learnt a lot about watercolors. Although the faculty of Architecture at this university has a strong tradition in drawings and watercolors, but most of my skills are gained from my own study and personal interest in this medium, and from friends who also work with watercolors.”
Six Wise People – Part VI: Clarence Darrow
“I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.” – Clarence Darrow, American lawyer, civil libertarian, leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and attorney for John T. Scopes at the infamous Scopes “Monkey” Trial, who died 13 March 1938.
Some quotes from Clarence Darrow:
“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.”
“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”
“I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood.”
“Chase after the truth like all hell and you’ll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails.”
“When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.”
“The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.”
“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.”
“If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think.”
“The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.”
“You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom.”
“History repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history.”
“I do not believe in God because I do not believe in Mother Goose.”
“The world is made up for the most part of morons and natural tyrants, sure of themselves, strong in their own opinions, never doubting anything.”
“The trouble with law is lawyers.”
“Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?”
“No other offense has ever been visited with such severe penalties as seeking to help the oppressed.”
“The origin of the absurd idea of immortal life is easy to discover; it is kept alive by hope and fear, by childish faith, and by cowardice.”
“To think is to differ.”
“Depressions may bring people closer to the church but so do funerals.”
“If a man is happy in America, it is considered he is doing something wrong.”
“Laws should be like clothes. They should be made to fit the people they serve.
“There is no such thing as justice – in or out of court.”
“I am a friend of the working man, and I would rather be his friend, than be one.”
“In spite of all the yearnings of men, no one can produce a single fact or reason to support the belief in God and in personal immortality.”
“Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.”
“Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom; Justice is what comes out of a courtroom.”
“None meet life honestly and few heroically.”
“Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas.”
“The best that we can do is to be kindly and helpful toward our friends and fellow passengers who are clinging to the same speck of dirt while we are drifting side by side to our common doom.”
“I consider myself one of the most fortunate of men, to have lived at a time when some of the old Haidas and their peers among the Northwest Coast peoples were still alive, and to have had the privilege of knowing them.” – Bill Reid, Canadian artist whose works included jewelry, sculpture, screen-printing, and painting, who died 13 March 1998.
Below – “Raven and the First Men”; “Xhuwaji/Haida Grizzly Bear”; “Chief of the Undersea World”; “Sockeye Salmon”; “Bear Mother”; “Haida Eagle-Gut”; “Haida Dog Salmon”; “Beaver Bracelet with Multiple Faces”; “Haida Wolf.”
A Poem for Today
By Laura Kasischke
One night from the other side
of a motel wall made of nothing but
sawdust and pink stuff, I
listened as a man cried
to someone on the telephone
that all he wanted
to do before he died
was to come home.
“I want to come home!”
That night a man cried
until I was ankle-deep in sleep,
and then up to my neck, wading
like a swimmer
or like a suicide
through the waves
of him crying
and into the deep
as icebergs cracked into halves,
as jellyfish, like thoughts, were
passed secretly between people.
And the seaweed, like
the sinuous soft green hair
of certain beauty queens,
washed up by the sea.
Except that we
were in Utah, and one of us
while the other one
was sleeping, with
nothing but a thin, dry
wall between us.
American Art – Part V of V: Rosalind Shaffer
Artist Statement: “Seeking balance and harmony in an ever more chaotic world has lead me to create sculpture and vessels with a meditative spirit and a personal reflection on the human condition. Some of the pieces, particularly in the figurative and animal stoppered vessels collection, offer a humorous social commentary. Nature is a primary inspiration for my work, and I often incorporate feathers, weathered wood, leather thonging and other textures and elements found in the natural world.”