This Date in Art History: Born 8 December 1815 – Adolph Menzel, a German painter and illustrator.
Below – “Emilie Menzel Asleep”; “Balcony Room”; “Studio Wall”; “At the Beer Garden”; “Supper at the Ball”; “Living Room with the Artist’s Sister”; “The Bedroom of the Artist in the Ritterstrasse.”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 8 December 1960 – Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist, writer, journalist, and author of “The End of Nature” (1988), which has been called the first book on global warming written for a general audience.
Some quotes from the work of Bill McKibben:
“Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it.”
“Global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat, no longer a threat at all. It’s our reality.”
“The technology we need most badly is the technology of community, the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done.”
“In 50 years, no one will care about the fiscal cliff or the Euro crisis. They’ll just ask, ‘So the Arctic melted, and then what did you do?’”
“In fact, corporations are the infants of our society – they know very little except how to grow (though they’re very good at that), and they howl when you set limits. Socializing them is the work of politics. It’s about time we took it up again.
“We’ve been given a warning by science, and a wake-up call by nature; it is up to us now to heed them.”
“It is unbelievably sad and ironic that the first victims of global warming are almost all going to come from places that are producing virtually none of the problem.”
“We can either save the planet from catastrophic warming, or protect fossil fuel CEOs. Not both. Do the math(s).”
“The real negotiation is between humans on the one hand and chemistry and physics on the other. And chemistry and physics, unfortunately, don’t bargain.”
“The world hasn’t ended, but the world as we know it has-even if we don’t quite know it yet.”
“A spiritual voice is urgently needed to underline the fact that global warming is already causing human anguish and mortality in our nation and abroad, and much more will occur in the future without rapid action.”
Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Olga Novokhatska
Below – “Pink Trees”; “Rock & Flowers”; “Poppy Fields in France”; “In the Garden”; “Anna in the Light”; “Sea Landscape.”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 8 December 1913 – Delmore Schwartz, an American poet and short story writer.
“Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day”
by Delmore Schwartz
Calmly we walk through this April’s day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn …)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)
(This is the school in which we learn …)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn …)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(… that time is the fire in which they burn.)
Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;
Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.
Below – Joseph Catanzaro: “A Walk in the Park.”
Below – “Manhattan Bridge, NYC”; “Dancing underwater”; “A Spring Window”; “Still the Water”; “In the Rose Garden”; “Still the water.”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 8 December 1951 – Bill Bryson, an award-winning Anglo-American essayist, travel writer, science writer, and author of “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America” and “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.”
Some quotes from the work of Bill Bryson:
“Take a moment from time to time to remember that you are alive. I know this sounds a trifle obvious, but it is amazing how little time we take to remark upon this singular and gratifying fact. By the most astounding stroke of luck an infinitesimal portion of all the matter in the universe came together to create you and for the tiniest moment in the great span of eternity you have the incomparable privilege to exist.”
“That’s the trouble with losing your mind; by the time it’s gone, it’s too late to get it back.”
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
“But that’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”
“Of all the things I am not very good at, living in the real world is perhaps the most outstanding.”
“I ordered a coffee and a little something to eat and savored the warmth and dryness. Somewhere in the background Nat King Cole sang a perky tune. I watched the rain beat down on the road outside and told myself that one day this would be twenty years ago.”
“Because we humans are big and clever enough to produce and utilize antibiotics and disinfectants, it is easy to convince ourselves that we have banished bacteria to the fringes of existence. Don’t you believe it. Bacteria may not build cities or have interesting social lives, but they will be here when the Sun explodes. This is their planet, and we are on it only because they allow us to be.”
Contemporary Argentine Art – Marco Ortolan: Part II of II.
Below – “The Spring”; “Sunset NYC”; “She”; “The Kiss of the Lovers”; “Romantic Venice”; “Two Women and a Cat.”
A Poem for Today
“Death of a Dog”
by Ted Kooser
The next morning I felt that our house
had been lifted away from its foundation
during the night, and was now adrift,
though so heavy it drew a foot or more
of whatever was buoying it up, not water
but something cold and thin and clear,
silence riffling its surface as the house
began to turn on a strengthening current,
leaving, taking my wife and me with it,
and though it had never occurred
to me until that moment, for fifteen years
our dog had held down what we had
by pressing his belly to the floors,
his front paws, too, and with him gone
the house had begun to float out onto
emptiness, no solid ground in sight.
Below – Ted Kooser with his Labrador retriever Howard (the subject of the poem) on his right.