February Offerings – Part XXVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Micah LeBrun

In the words of one writer, “Micah LeBrun is a self-taught artist who considers his understanding of art to be derived from what he visually identifies in everyday life. Developing a penchant for drawing at a young age he turned his attention to painting while he was still in his teens. Through the discovery and process of working with different materials he began to isolate a stylistic punctuation in the many mediums he created with. Early on, LeBrun’s most profound influences were the cubist and line oriented works of Pablo Picasso, the bold graphic nature of Andy Warhol, as well as the dominant colorful brush strokes of Peter Max. Coupled with modern day movements such as car culture and graffiti, these influences meld with the artist’s fascination of the natural design of insects, skeletal structure, reptiles and amphibians.
LeBrun is a self-prescribed wanderer when it comes to his creative process as he believes each idea or intention possesses an individuality which should be executed in its own medium and style so as to best relay each individual idea. This approach has resulted in stylistic deviations necessary in maintaining the artists continued interest in the creative process. While the artist’s appreciation of design and fashion are evident in his figurative work, his love of portraiture has had a dominant presence throughout his career. LeBrun has composed countless solo exhibitions throughout the US and internationally. His original works have become part of major east and west coast collections containing masters works recognized globally. He currently lives and works in San Francisco and San Rafael, California.”

Below – “Attention Seeker”; “Cartoon Country”; “Empress”; “Serape”; “Paparazzi.”





Musings in Winter: Garrison Keillor

“I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.”

James T. Farrell in His Library
“America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true.” – James T. Farrell, American novelist, short story writer, poet, and author of the “Studs Lonigan” trilogy, who was born 27 February 1904.

Some quotes from the work of James T. Farrell:

“If you let conditions stop you from working, they’ll always stop you.”
“They served the rich, and tried to think that they were rich.”
“He had come to America, haven of peace and liberty, and it, too, was joining the slaughter, fighting for the big capitalists. There was no peace for men, only murder, cruelty, brutality.”
“He was sad because he had grown up, and because the years passed like a river that no man could stop.”

Musings in Winter: Ann Brashares

“I’m afraid of time… I mean, I’m afraid of not having enough time. Not enough time to understand people, how they really are, or to be understood myself. I’m afraid of the quick judgments or mistakes everybody makes. You can’t fix them without time. I’m afraid of seeing snapshots, not movies.”

A Poem for Today

“Bird With Two Right Wings”
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

And now our government
a bird with two right wings
flies on from zone to zone
while we go on having our little fun & games
at each election
as if it really mattered who the pilot is
of Air Force One
(They’re interchangeable, stupid!)
While this bird with two right wings
flies right on with its corporate flight crew
And this year it’s the Great Movie Cowboy in the cockpit
And next year its the great Bush pilot
And now its the Chameleon Kid
and he keeps changing the logo on his captains cap
and now its a donkey and now an elephant
and now some kind of donkephant
And now we recognize two of the crew
who took out a contract on America
and one is a certain gringo wretch
who’s busy monkeywrenching
crucial parts of the engine
and its life-support systems
and they got a big fat hose
to siphon off the fuel to privatized tanks
And all the while we just sit there
in the passenger seats
without parachutes
listening to all the news that’s fit to air
over the one-way PA system
about how the contract on America
is really good for us etcetera
As all the while the plane lumbers on
into its postmodern
manifest destiny

Musings in Winter: Sarah Kay

“Life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.”


“The layman’s constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn’t like is unconstitutional.” – Hugo Black, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1937 to 1971, who was born 27 February 1886.

Some quotes from Hugo Black:

“A union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.”
“Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind.”
“The Framers of the Constitution knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.”
“It is the paradox of life that the way to miss pleasure is to seek it first. The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self.”
“When I was 40, my doctor advised me that a man in his 40s shouldn’t play tennis. I heeded his advice carefully and could hardly wait until I reached 50 to start again.”
“The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”
“Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”

American Art – Part II of IV: Alec Huxley

In the words of one writer, “Alec Huxley continues to explore a wide range of subject matter through a detailed but softened figurative style. His creative skills were honed while drawing inspiration from living in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square and southern industrial neighborhoods. This combined with his love of light and shadow, the geometry of structures and spaces, as well as the innate and oftentimes enigmatic drama of life and art.
A self-taught painter, he captures cinematic-like cityscapes and intimate, familiar interiors. Ghostlike figures wax and wane through the scenery and at other times, well-dressed men and women donning space helmets drift amongst the distinctive architecture of San Francisco. Working methodically through photographs, many works are filtered by a dominant color, contemplating the diffusion of light through each space.”

Below – “All I’ve Ever Known Is True”; “And That’s That”; “Coming of the Silent Wave”; “Charon”; “Everything Can Change on a New Year’s Day.”






Musings in Winter: Christopher Hitchens

“About once or twice every month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimension, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough—and even miraculous enough if you insist—I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about?
Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is. (It is on a par with the equally subtle inquiry: Since you don’t believe in our god, what stops you from stealing and lying and raping and killing to your heart’s content?) Just as the answer to the latter question is: self-respect and the desire for the respect of others—while in the meantime it is precisely those who think they have divine permission who are truly capable of any atrocity—so the answer to the first question falls into two parts. A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called ‘meaningless’ except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one’s everyday life as if this were so. Whereas if one sought to define meaninglessness and futility, the idea that a human life should be expended in the guilty, fearful, self-obsessed propitiation of supernatural nonentities… but there, there. Enough.”

“There are times when parenthood seems nothing more than feeding the hand that bites you.” – Peter de Vries, American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit, who was born 27 February 1910.

Some quotes from the work of Peter de Vries:

“What people believe is a measure of what they suffer.”
“Life is a zoo in a jungle.”
“What baffles me is the comfort people find in the idea that somebody dealt this mess. Blind and meaningless chance seems to me so much more congenial – or at least less horrible. Prove to me that there is a God and I will really begin to despair.”
“Human nature is pretty shabby stuff, as you may know from introspection.”
“He resented such questions as people do who have thought a great deal about them. The superficial and slipshod have ready answers, but those looking this complex life straight in the eye acquire a wealth of perception so composed of delicately balanced contradictions that they dread, or resent, the call to couch any part of it in a bland generalization. The vanity (if not outrage) of trying to cage this dance of atoms in a single definition may give the weariness of age with the cry of youth for answers the appearance of boredom.”
“Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of [parenthood] is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.”
“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”
“My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too. ”
“I made a tentative conclusion. It seemed from all of this that uppermost among human joys is the negative one of restoration: not going to the stars, but learning that one may stay where one is.”
“Why is the awfulness of families such a popular reason for starting another?”
“The murals in restaurants are on par with the food in museums.”
“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetric-ally once, and by car forever after.”
“We live this life by a kind of conspiracy of grace: the common assumption, or pretense, that human existence is ‘good’ or ‘matters’ or has ‘meaning,’ a glaze of charm or humor by which we conceal from one another and perhaps even ourselves the suspicion that it does not, and our conviction in times of trouble that it is overpriced – something to be endured rather than enjoyed.”
“We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through. ”

Musings in Winter: Maria V. Snyder

“There’s always another storm. It’s the way the world works. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on what’s brewing for tomorrow.”

A Second Poem for Today

“The Sugar Thief”
By Ned Balbo

If it was free, you taught, I ought to grab it
as you did: McDonald’s napkins, pens,
and from the school where you were once employed
as one of two night shift custodians,
the metal imitation wood wastebasket
still under my desk. But it was sugar
that you took most often as, annoyed
on leaving Dunkin’ Donuts, pancake house,
and countless diners, I felt implicated
in your pleasure, crime, and poverty.
I have them still, your Ziploc bags of plunder,
yet I find today, among the loose
change in my pockets, packets crushed or faded—
more proof of your lasting legacy.

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Portuguese painter Martinho Dias: “His work moves itself, above all, in a social and political criticism inside a contemporary reality. He unfolds this reality, which is common to us, in a suggestive, implied way. He privileges patterns of information collecting photographs from the mass media, such as newspapers, magazines or images taken from the television. In an intelligent way, he uses these ‘models’ of his for the accomplishment of pictorial compositions, which are the substratum of the representations of figures and bodies of his painting, faced as an inevitability of the daily life.”





Musings in Winter: Thomas Jefferson

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.”

Below – A replica of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond.

“Ours is a system of corporate socialism, where companies capitalize their profits and socialize their losses…in effect, they tax you for their accidents, bungling, boondoggles, and mismanagement, just like a government. We should be able to deselect them. ” – Ralph Nader, American political activist, author, lecturer, attorney, humanitarian, environmentalist, consumer protection activist, and five-time candidate for President of the United States, who was born 27 February 1934.

Some quotes from the work of Ralph Nader:

“The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.”
“The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door.”
“Addiction should never be treated as a crime. It has to be treated as a health problem. We do not send alcoholics to jail in this country. Over 500,000 people are in our jails who are nonviolent drug users.”
“A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity.”
“Since I was a law student, I have been against the death penalty. It does not deter. It is severely discriminatory against minorities, especially since they’re given no competent legal counsel defense in many cases. It’s a system that has to be perfect. You cannot execute one innocent person. No system is perfect. And to top it off, for those of you who are interested in the economics it, it costs more to pursue a capital case toward execution than it does to have full life imprisonment without parole.”
“Your best teacher is your last mistake.”
“There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship.”
“You should not allow yourself the luxuries of discouragement of despair. Bounce back immediately, and welcome the adversity because it produces harder thinking and harder drive to get to the objective.”
“Let it not be said by a future, forlorn generation that we wasted and lost our great potential because our despair was so deep we didn’t even try, or because each of us thought someone else was worrying about our problems.”
“Moral courage is the highest expression of humanity.”

Musings in Winter: Anais Nin

“I don’t really want to become normal, average, standard. I want merely to gain in strength, in the courage to live out my life more fully, enjoy more, experience more. I want to develop even more original and more unconventional traits.”

Russian painter Vadim Chazov (born 1975) spent six years studying in one of the best art schools in the world – The Academy of Fine Art in St. Petersburg.





A Third Poem for Today

By Glenna Luschei

Dog at my pillow.
Dog at my feet.
My own toothbrush.

Musings in Winter: John Keats

“Life is but a day:
A fragile dewdrop on its perilous way
From a tree’s summit.”

Nobel Laureate: John Steinbeck

“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.” – John Steinbeck, American writer and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath,” as well as the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception,” who was born 27 February 1902.

Some quotes from the work of John Steinbeck:

“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”
“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.”
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
“I guess there are never enough books.”
“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?”
“When a child first catches adults out — when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just — his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.”
“Anything that just costs money is cheap.”
“To be alive at all is to have scars. ”
“It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

Musings in Winter: Bruce Lee

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Ali Kaikaoss Kamal:
“Born in 1965, I studied in Minsk at the art academy where I earned my Master of Art.
I have lived and worked in Germany since 1991 and consider myself a global citizen, for art has no borders. My experiences in various cultures have allowed me to find my own unmistakable style. I am and have been present at many single and group exhibitions in Germany, Belgium, France, the USA, and Belarus.”






Musings in Winter: William Faulkner

“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”

“A city becomes a world when one loves one of its inhabitants.” – Lawrence Durrell, expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer, who was born 27 February 1912.

Lawrence Durrell is the author of “The Alexandria Quartet” – “Justine,” “Balthazar,” “Mountolive,” and “Clea” – four remarkable novels that are decidedly worth reading. He also wrote “Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel,” which one critic described thusly: “From one of the last century’s greatest storytellers, Lawrence Durrell, comes a sumptuous collection of essays that describe the author’s unique and cherished approach to life, with its pagan enjoyments as well as its intellectual pursuits. The book contains Durrell’s articles about the Mediterranean and Aegean islands he loved so much, along with passages from his letters. ‘My books are always about living in places,’ Durrell wrote, ‘not just rushing through them.’”
Some quotes from the work of Lawrence Durrell:

“Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?”
“I don’t believe one reads to escape reality. A person reads to confirm a reality he knows is there, but which he has not experienced.”
“It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values. You do not need a sixth sense for it. It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. ‘I am watching you — are you watching yourself in me?’ Most travelers hurry too much…the great thing is to try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, and not too much factual information. To tune in, without reverence, idly — but with real inward attention. It is to be had for the feeling…you can extract the essence of a place once you know how. If you just get as still as a needle, you’ll be there.”
“All culture corrupts, but French culture corrupts absolutely.”
“We are all hunting for rational reasons for believing in the absurd.”
“There is no pain compared to that of loving a woman who makes her body accessible to one and yet who is incapable of delivering her true self — because she does not know where to find it.”
“Who invented the human heart, I wonder? Tell me, and then show me the place where he was hanged.”
“I am quite alone. I am neither happy nor unhappy; I lie suspended like a hair or a feather in the cloudy mixtures of memory.”
“These are the moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory, like wonderful creatures, unique of their own kind, dredged up from the floors of some unexplored ocean.”
“Odd, isn’t it? He really was the right man for her in a sort of way; but then as you know, it is a law of love that the so-called ‘right’ person always comes too soon or too late.”
“History is an endless repetition of the wrong way of living”
“I had become, with the approach of night, once more aware of loneliness and time – those two companions without whom no journey can yield us anything.”
“Very few people realise that sex is a psychic and not a physical act. The clumsy coupling of human beings is simply a biological paraphrase of this truth – a primitive method of introducing minds to each other, engaging them. But most people are stuck in the physical aspect, unaware of the poetic rapport which it so clumsily tries to teach.”
“The heaviest impact of the work of art is in the guts. Art does not reason. It manhandles you and changes you.”
“Music is only love looking for words.”
“Science is the poetry of the intellect and poetry the science of the heart’s affections.”
“The realisation of one’s own death is the point at which one becomes adult.”
“Art like life is an open secret.”
“A diary is the last place to go if you wish to seek the truth about a person. Nobody dares to make the final confession to themselves on paper: or at least, not about love.”
“Love is like trench warfare – you cannot see the enemy, but you know he is there and that it is wiser to keep your head down.”
“An idea is like a rare bird which cannot be seen. What one sees is the trembling of the branch it has just left.”
“I once found a list of diseases as yet unclassified by medical science, and among these there occurred the word Islomania, which was described as a rare but by no means unknown affliction of spirit. There are people…who find islands somehow irresistible. The mere knowledge that they are on an island, a little world surrounded by the sea, fills them with an indescribable intoxication. These born ‘islomanes’…are direct descendents of the Atlanteans.”
“She took kisses like so many coats of paint … how long and how vainly I searched for excuses which might make her amorality if not palatable at least understandable. I realize now the time I wasted in this way; instead of enjoying her and turning aside from these preoccupations with the thought, ‘She is untrustworthy as she is beautiful. She takes love as plants do water, lightly, thoughtlessly.’”
“Art—the meaning of the pattern of our common actions in reality. The cloth-of-gold that hides behind the sackcloth of reality, forced out by the pain of human memory.”


A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Wading Pool”
By George Bilgere

The toddlers in their tadpole bodies,
with their squirt guns and snorkels,
their beautiful mommies and inflatable whales,
are still too young to understand
that this is as good as it gets.

Soon they must leave the wading pool
and stand all day at the concession stand
with their hormones and snow cones,
their soul patches and tribal tattoos,
pretending not to notice how beautiful they are,

until they simply can’t stand it
and before you know it
they’re lined up on lawn chairs,
dozing in the noonday sun
with their stretch marks and beer bellies,
their ‘Wall Street Journals’ and SPF 50.

From the American History Archives – Part I of III: Wounded Knee, 1973

27 February 1973 – The Wounded Knee incident begins when approximately 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupy the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In the words of one historian, “The protest followed the failure of an effort of the Oglala Civil Rights Organization (OSCRO) to impeach tribal president Richard Wilson, whom they accused of corruption and abuse of opponents. Additionally, protestors attacked the United States government’s failure to fulfill treaties with Indian peoples and demanded the reopening of treaty negotiations.”

The occupation soon became a conflict that involved federal marshals, the F.B.I. and members of the U.S. military. In the words of one writer, “The equipment maintained by the military while in use during the siege included fifteen armored personnel carriers, clothing, rifles, grenade launchers, flares, and 133,000 rounds of ammunition, for a total cost, including the use of maintenance personnel from the National Guard of five states and pilots and planes for aerial photographs, of over half a million dollars.”

An agreement to disarm was not reached until 5 May, and the siege ended three days later and the town was evacuated after 71 days of occupation. The casualties and losses: American Indian Movement – 2 killed, 13 wounded; U.S. Government Forces – 1 killed, 2 wounded.

Below – Russell Means (seated on the right), one of the AIM leaders, beats a drum at a meeting of the Wounded Knee occupation; one of the armored personnel carriers deployed by the U.S. Army during the siege; Marlon Brando was an AIM supporter, and so he asked Sacheen Littlefeather, an Apache actress, to speak at the 45th Academy Awards on his behalf, as he had been nominated for his performance in “The Godfather.” In the words of one writer, “She appeared at the ceremony in traditional Apache clothing. When his name was announced as the winner, she said that he declined the award due to the ‘poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry’ in an improvised speech as she was told she could not give the original speech given to her by Brando and was warned that she would be physically taken off and arrested if she was on stage for more than a minute. Afterwards, she read his original words about Wounded Knee backstage to many of the press. This recaptured the attention of millions in the United States and world media. AIM supporters thought Littlefeather’s speech to be a major victory for their movement.”



Musings in Winter: Tom Hiddleston

“Stay hungry, stay young, stay foolish, stay curious, and above all, stay humble because just when you think you got all the answers, is the moment when some bitter twist of fate in the universe will remind you that you very much don’t.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Secretive Heart”
By Jane Hirschfield

“What’s this? This is an old toolshed.
 No, this is a great past love.” -Yehuda Amichai

Heart falters, stops
before a Chinese cauldron
still good for boiling water.
It is one of a dozen or more,
it is merely iron,
it is merely old,
there is much else to see.
The few raised marks
on it’s belly
are useful to almost no one.
Heart looks at it a long time.
What do you see? I ask again,
but it does not answer.

Musings in Winter: John Mayer

“Life is like a box of crayons. Most people are the 8 color boxes, but what you’re really looking for are the 64 color boxes with the sharpeners on the back. I fancy myself to be a 64 color box, though I’ve got a few missing. It’s okay though, because I’ve got some more vibrant colors like periwinkle at my disposal. I have a bit of a problem though in that I can only meet the 8 color boxes. Does anyone else have that problem? I mean there are so many different colors of life, of feeling, of articulation. So when I meet someone who’s an 8 color type…I’m like, hey girl, Magenta! and she’s like, oh, you mean purple! and she goes off on her purple thing, and I’m like, no I want Magenta!”

From the American History Archives – Part II of III: Robert Lee Scott, Jr.

Died 27 February 2006 – Robert Lee Scott, Jr., a brigadier general in the United States Air Force, a member of the Flying Tigers in China, and the author of “God Is My Co-Pilot.”

Robert Scott became one of my boyhood heroes when I read “God Is My Co-Pilot” after purchasing a copy for ten cents from the “Weekly Reader” book list while I was in elementary school.

Musings in Winter: Joseph Campbell

“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.”
A Sixth Poem for Today

“No Help for that”
By Charles Bukowski

There is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
a space
and even during the
best moments
the greatest
we will know it
we will know it
more than
There is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
we will wait
in that space.

From the American History Archives – Part III of III: Frank Buckles

Died 27 February 2011 – Frank Buckles (born 1 February 1901), the last surviving American World War I veteran. When asked about the secret of his long life, Buckles replied: “Hope,” adding, “When you start to die … don’t.”

His funeral was on 15 March 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery, with President Barack Obama attending and with full military honors.

Below – Frank Buckles in 1917, at the age of 16. (He lied about his age in order to enlist in the army.); the young soldier; the old soldier.



Musings in Winter: Robyn Schneider

“‘Life is the tragedy,’ she said bitterly. ‘You know how they categorize Shakespeare’s plays, right? If it ends with a wedding, it’s a comedy. And if it ends with a funeral, it’s a tragedy. So we’re all living tragedies, because we all end the same way, and it isn’t with a goddamn wedding.’”

American Art – Part III of IV: David Choong Lee

In the words of one writer, “Artist David Choong Lee was born in 1966 in Seoul, Korea. He moved to the USA in 1993 in pursuit of gaining the skills to be a traditional fine artist. He found that he was very interested in the art of young people after his graduation from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, in 1997. After seven years of focusing on the figure, he began to explore different concepts, such as mixed media, sculpture and graphic design. He’s been influenced by such diverse sources as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Sukdo, and underground music DJ scenes. He ended up creating his own artistic style that is a combination of graffiti, collage, portrait, and classical realistic skill with bold graphic elements. As you can see by the release of his products, he has combined many different forces to create his own, distinctive style. David’s work has shown at many galleries in San Francisco such as 111 MINNA gallery, BUCHEON gallery, CULTURE CACHE gallery, LEVI’S as well as other places in the US and also in South Korea.”

Below – “Girl from San Francisco”; Untitled 12; Untitled 14”; Untitled 18; Untitled 3.





Musings in Winter: Charles Addams

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”

“This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of old, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.” – The first six lines of “Introduction to Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet, educator, and translator, who was born 27 February 1807.

As part of my Final Examination in seventh grade English, I had to recite the six opening lines from “Evangeline” flawlessly while standing before my classmates, with my teacher Miss Van den Bree sitting at her desk behind me, grade book in hand. I knew that it was altogether possible that a memory lapse might prevent me from moving on to eighth grade. Despite the anxiety that still attends my recollection of this trial, from that day forward the beautiful language of the poem has nourished my imagination.

Musings in Winter: Arthur Golden

“Hopes are like hair ornaments. Girls want to wear too many of them. When they become old women they look silly wearing even one.”

Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Sara Tabbert

Artist Statement: “Most of my artwork is inspired by the natural world. Observation and life study have always been important elements of my working process. I combine the information that I gather through observation with other ideas to create pieces that are simultaneously real as well as fantastic. When my art is at its best it is part science and part fairy tale.
“Training as a printmaker gave me a love of careful craft, a desire to create interesting surfaces, and a sculptor’s interest in materials. Carved blocks have become increasingly important to me as finished pieces rather than just a matrix to print from. I continue to explore my ideas through prints and panels, developing an interesting conversation between these related art forms.”

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “October Burn”; “Rockfall”; “East Rim Burn I”; “Fall Ridge”; “Canyon Pocket.”

Musings in Winter: Vladimir Nabokov

“Let all of life be an unfettered howl.”

A Seventh Poem for Today

By William Stafford

It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out – no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

American Art – Part IV of IV: Brian Barneclo

In the words of one writer, “Over the last decade, Barneclo has honed a style that has allowed him the ability to be extremely prolific and highly efficient. Literally a quarter mile of liner feet of San Francisco can be traveled by the murals of Barneclo who boasts the largest in his, ‘Sound Systems Mural’ of the Cal Train yards on Townsend measuring at an incredible 40 x 700 feet!”

Below – “Mid-Market Blues”; “World Town”; “There Goes the Neighborhood”; “Turf Dancing”; “Changing Structure 1.”





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