Musings in December: John F. Kennedy
“I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty.”
Art for December – Part I of IV: Adam Matano
Below – “Wild Dog” (bronze, resin)
Art for December – Part II of IV: Val Hebert
Below – “Pink Lady” (felted cameo necklace)
A Poem for Today
By Ira Sadoff
I’ve been blessed
with a few gusts of wind,
a few loves
to wave goodbye to.
I still think of mother’s kitchen,
sorry for tantrums
of way back when. No frost
lodged in me then. In those days
snow spread through town
like an epidemic: how archival
the blankness seemed.
If you flew above
the shell of the old house
it was nothing really:
there was no story
to our little ranch house,
so you couldn’t hear a thing.
Art for December – Part III of IV: Barbara Ann Stanley
Below – “Raven”
Art for December – Part IV of IV: Minghua Nie
Below – “Even if it all fades away”
Musings in December: Jonathan Safran Foer
“We know, at least, that this decision (ending factory farming) will help prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural America, decrease human rights abuses, improve publish health, and help eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in history.”
Russian Art – Alexei Butirskiy
In the words of one writer, “It is no wonder that his works have been described as ‘taking the onlooker to a real of suggestion and mystical beauty…where everything is alive with a sense of everlasting fluid motion.'”
Below – “After the Storm”; “Autumn Stream”; “Canal at Dusk”; “First Snow”; “Golden Sunset”; “Secret Place.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Ryan Teitman
The days unfold
like maps. Fresh dirt
in the garden, black
as cake, grows warm.
The roses perform
a silent recital,
each playing its part
from memory. I wait
for my father the way
men wait for a train.
I wait for my father
the way a dancer
waits for music.
My mother is a curtain
in the window.
She calls me in
to fit my shadow
for a suit. I keep still
as she pinches the tape
around its wrist.
Around her neck
my mother’s pearls
clink like teeth.
Your shadow grows
faster than you do,
she says. She says
that waiting is
a kind of dancing.
At night I dance
with the stillness.
My blood waits
behind my chest
like a man behind
a locked door.
My father waits
in another country.
Musings in December: Steve Almond
“Most forms of rage, after all, are only sloppy cloaks for grief.”
Canadian Art – Cyril Cox
In the words of one writer, “Cyril Cox paints with vibrant use of colour, typically oil on canvas. He is an artist from Toronto that appreciates nature and wildlife. He is painter with a sense of realism and passion.”
Below – “End of Summer”; “Defiance”; “Sliver of Light”; “Along the Seaton Trail”; “Winter Farm”; “Midmorning on the Creek.”
Arundhati Roy is an Indian author, political activist, and environmentalist.
Some quotes from the work of Arundhati Roy:
“When you live in the United States, with the roar of the free market, the roar of this huge military power, the roar of being at the heart of empire, it’s hard to hear the whispering of the rest of the world. And I think many US citizens want to. I don’t think that all of them necessarily are co-conspirators in this concept of empire. And those who are not, need to listen to other stories in the world – other voices, other people.”
“The policies the US government is following are dangerous for its citizens. It’s true that you can bomb or buy out anybody that you want to, but you can’t control the rage that’s building in the world. You just can’t. And that rage will express itself in some way or the other. Condemning violence when a section of your economy is based on selling weapons and making bombs and piling up chemical and biological weapons? When the soul of your culture worships violence? On what grounds are you going to condemn terrorism, unless you change your attitude toward violence?”
“We hear all this talk about integrating the world economically, but there is an argument to be made for not integrating the world economically. Because what is corporate globalization? It isn’t as if the entire world is intermeshed with each other. It’s not like India and Thailand or India and Korea or India and Turkey are connected. It’s more like America is the hub of this huge cultural and economic airline system. It’s the nodal point. Everyone has to be connected through America, and to some extent Europe.
When powers at the hub of the global economy decide that you have to be X or Y, then if you’re part of that network, you have to do it. You don’t have the independence of being nonaligned in some way, politically or culturally or economically. If America goes down, then everybody goes down. If tomorrow the United States decides that it wants these call center jobs back, then overnight this billion-dollar industry will collapse in India. It’s important for countries to develop a certain degree of economic self-sufficiency. Just in a theoretical sense, it’s important for everybody not to have their arms wrapped around each other or their fingers wrapped around each others’ throats at all times, in all kinds of ways.”
“I think it is dangerous to confuse the idea of democracy with elections. Just because you have elections doesn’t mean you’re a democratic country. They’re a very vitally important part of a democracy. But there are other things that ought to function as checks and balances. If elections are the only thing that matter, then people are going to resort to anything to win that election.”
“Isn’t there a flaw in the logic of that phrase – speak truth to power? It assumes that power doesn’t know the truth. But power knows the truth just as well, if not better, than the powerless know the truth. Enron knows what it’s doing. We don’t have to tell it what it’s doing. We have to tell other people what Enron is doing. Similarly, the people who are building the dams know what they’re doing. The contractors know how much they’re stealing. The bureaucrats know how much they’re getting in bribes.
Power knows the truth. There isn’t any doubt about that. It is really about telling the story. Good fiction is the truest thing that ever there was. Facts are not necessarily the only truths. Facts can be fiddled with by economists and bankers. There are other kinds of truth. It’s about telling the story. As a writer, that’s the best thing I can do. It’s not just about digging up facts.”
“Once you understand the process of corporate globalization, you have to see that what happened in Argentina, the devastation of Argentina by the IMF, is part of the same machine that is destroying Iraq. Both are efforts to break open and to control markets. And so Argentina is destroyed by the chequebook, and Iraq is destroyed by the cruise missile. If the chequebook won’t work, the cruise missile will. Hell hath no fury like a market scorned.”
“People often don’t understand the engine that drives corruption. Particularly in India, they assume government equals corruption, private companies equal efficiency. But government officials are not genetically programmed to be corrupt. Corruption is linked to power. If it is the corporations that are powerful, then they will be corrupt.”
“We ought not to speak only about the economics of globalization, but about the psychology of globalization. It’s like the psychology of a battered woman being faced with her husband again and being asked to trust him again. That’s what is happening. We are being asked by the countries that invented nuclear weapons and chemical weapons and apartheid and modern slavery and racism – countries that have perfected the gentle art of genocide, that colonized other people for centuries – to trust them when they say that they believe in a level playing field and the equitable distribution of resources and in a better world. It seems comical that we should even consider that they really mean what they say.”
Swiss Art – Sandro Del-Prete
In the words of one writer, “Del-Prete was born in Bern Switzerland in 1937 and went to school in Freiburg, where he obtained a diploma in commercial subjects. Drawing and painting had been his favorite hobbies since childhood, and so he traveled to Florence to attend the Art Academy of that City.
In developing his style, Mr. Del-Prete coined the term ‘Illusorism’, this means the process of representing optical delusions when drawing pictures. These optical delusions are actually illusions in the broadest sense of the word. The illusory effect of Illusorisms is based on intentionally misleading the viewer –, as is the case with illusionists (magicians.) However, it is founded on a completely different principle. The deliberate presentation of an ‘erroneous’ perspective on certain plays of light and shadow, the interpretation of which is open to various explanations and can be used to create such Illusorisms.”
Below – “La Vie En Rose”; “Leonardo da Vinci”; “St. George the Dragon Slayer”; “The Dream Taken by Wind and Time”; “Dolphin Bath.”
Musings in December: Michael Poeltl
“The guns reminded me that this was just an attempt to punch holes in the darkness that enveloped us now.”
A Third Poem for Today
“They Call This”
By C. K. Williams
A young mother on a motor scooter stopped eat a traffic
light, her little son perched
on the ledge between her legs; she in a gleaming helmet, he in a replica of it, smaller, but
the same color and just as shiny. His visor is swung shut, hers is open.
As I pull up beside them on my bike, the mother is leaning over to embrace the child,
whispering something in his ear, and I’m shaken, truly shaken, by the wish, the need, to
have those slim strong arms contain me in their sanctuary of affection.
Though they call this regression, though that implies a going back to some other
state and this has never left me, this fundamental pang of being too soon torn from a bliss
that promises more bliss, no matter that the scooter’s fenders are dented, nor that as it
idles it pops, clears its throat, growls.
Musings in December: Joy Williams
“For centuries poets, some poets, have tried to give a voice to the animals, and readers, some readers, have felt empathy and sorrow. If animals did have voices, and they could speak with the tongues of angels—at the very least with the tongues of angels—they would be unable to save themselves from us. What good would language do? Their mysterious otherness has not saved them, nor have their beautiful songs and coats and skins and shells and eyes.”
Dutch Art – Ton Dubbledam
In the words of one writer, “It is remarkable to see that the Dutch painter, Ton Dubbeldam, often chooses themes that beautifully come together with his impressionistic and pointillist techniques.
There is a certain atmosphere about his canvasses, which will give you the feeling of a 17th century landscape painting. You will notice his specific use of light and dark shades, the depth, the high skies, the wideness, the far horizons, which are not disrupted by buildings or trees.
The angle from which Ton Dubbeldam views his subjects are far from traditional. Horizons will sometimes be very high up and sometimes they will be almost at the bottom of the painting. Through these unique views, the water and sky are strongly accented.
On canvasses where nature plays a leading role, we can only be observers. This is mostly to be seen in his paintings, where the person will look away, for instance; a lady at the pier who is staring from under her hat at the sea and completely forgets everything around her.
Dubbeldam’s paintings in oil, combined with dry pastel, and sometimes by using Spotting and dripping techniques will make you associate his work with various art forms and different periods of time.
An important factor in Dubbeldam’s work is the use of light and dark shades, showing a clear luminosity quality. He creates surprisingly, unsuspected perspectives, letting nature take over, and resulting in a totally captivating painting.”
Below – “Elysian Fields”; “Grand Cafe”; “Early Spring”; “Fall Day on the Beach”; “On the Balcony”; “Spring Reflections.”
Musings in December: Hunter S. Thompson
“I think this was a nice idea we had in this country and a nice landscape to experiment with. But I think there comes a time in almost any experimentation or idea, where you have to evaluate it, maybe our time has come. In the context of the real world, not just the American world but all around, we haven’t done too well. We are not a very good advertisement for the idea we represented. If you lose one wheel of the car, you might be able to get to the side of the road, and some freaks can make it on two, but if you lose three, man, you’re in serious trouble. I think we’ve lost three.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Lee Ann Brown
“What Is the Grass?”
The child asks, bringing it to me in handfuls.
We stop at the Walt Whitman Service Area—
No sign of Him save some “Democratic Vistas”
& “Drum Taps” on a plaque near the Micky D’s
‘Let’s go find the grass’
I say to my two-year-old beauty and
We pick one blade from the median
Then back we go in the forever car
Hours later, pulling into Richmond
She, half awake in my arms mumbles
‘Let’s go find the grass’
Musings in December: Rebecca Solnit
“‘They are all beasts of burden in a sense,’Thoreau once remarked of animals, ‘made to carry some portion of our thoughts.’ Animals are the old language of the imagination; one of the ten thousand tragedies of their disappearance would be a silencing of this speech.”
American Art – Stephen James Harlan
In the words of one writer, “Masters of the past and artists of the present use techniques to create images that please, relax, and inspire in very personal and unique ways. Stephen Harlan has established his own style in a world moving quickly into the new millennium.
Stephen was born in Minnesota and his childhood memories are filled with thoughts of family, friends, and the activities that kept his soul alive during the long winter months. His family relocated to Ft. Myers Florida while he was still in grade school. His love for the water began at an early age where he spent time sailing into the sunset (literally) on his catamaran. Investigating the uniqueness of harbors and sunsets became a passion and his focus on the mystery of light and shadows is a driving force in his art today. In the early 80’s Stephen and his wife relocated to Burbank, California where his love for the ocean continued. Abstract images also began developing as requests and interest from collectors in this new geographic location surfaced. His images were recognized by many and adorned the covers of magazines. He was recognized as a leader in digital imagery and continued to place Best of Show in major exhibits across Los Angeles.”
Below – “Three Boats”; “Morning Porch”; “The Day Begins”; “Red Chair”; “Just After the Storm”; “Seaside.”