Beleaguered in Bothell – 28 February 2018

Remembering a Historian on the Date of His Death: Died 28 February 2007 – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., an American historian, social critic, and public intellectual.

Some quotes from the work of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.:

“If we are to survive, we must have ideas, vision, and courage. These things are rarely produced by committees. Everything that matters in our intellectual and moral life begins with an individual confronting his own mind and conscience in a room by himself.”
“For most Americans the Constitution had become a hazy document, cited like the Bible on ceremonial occasions but forgotten in the daily transactions of life.”
“The Bush administration’s extralegal counterterrorism program presented the most dramatic, sustained and radical challenge to the rule of law in American history.”
“Let us by all means teach black history, African history, women’s history, Hispanic history, Asian history. But let us teach them as history, not as filiopietistic commemoration. The purpose of history is to promote not group self-esteem, but understanding of the world and the past, dispassionate analysis, judgment, and perspective, respect for divergent cultures and traditions, and unflinching protection for those unifying ideas of tolerance, democracy, and human rights that make free historical inquiry possible.”
“The militants of ethnicity contend that a main objective of public education should be the protection, strengthening, celebration, and perpetuation of ethnic origins and identities. Separatism, however, nourishes prejudices, magnifies differences, and stirs antagonisms. The consequent increase in ethnic and racial conflict lies behind the hullabaloo over ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘political correctness’, over the inequities of the ‘Eurocentric’ curriculum, and over the notion that history and literature should be taught not as intellectual disciplines but as therapies whose function is to raise minority self-esteem.”
“When every ethnic and religious group claims a right to approve or veto anything that is taught in public schools, cultural pluralism becomes ethnocentrism. An evident casualty is the old idea that whatever our ethnic base, we are all Americans together.”
“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.”

Art for Winter – Part I of V: Andrea Smith (American, contemporary)

Below – “Joy in Life”; “At One With the Earth”; “Balance”


Remembering a Spiritual Teacher on the Date of His Birth: Born 28 February 1939 – Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, scholar, poet, artist, and author of “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism.”

Some quotes from the work of Chogyam Trungpa

“Delight in itself is the approach of sanity. Delight is to open our eyes to the reality of the situation rather than siding with this or that point of view.”
“Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”
“It’s easier to put on a pair of shoes than to wrap the earth in leather.”
“As long as you regard yourself or any part of your experience as the ‘dream come true,’ then you are involved in self-deception. Self-deception seems always to depend upon the dream world, because you would like to see what you have not yet seen, rather that what you are now seeing. You will not accept that whatever is here now is what is, nor are you willing to go on with the situation as it is. Thus, self-deception always manifests itself in terms of trying to create or recreate a dream world, the nostalgia of the dream experience. And the opposite of self-deception is just working with the facts of life.”
“We also have to give up the notion of a divine savior, which has nothing to do with what religion we belong to, but refers to the idea of someone or something who will save us without our having to go through any pain. In fact, giving up that kind of false hope is the first step. We have to be with ourselves. We have to be real people. There is no way of beating around the bush, hoping for the best. If you are really interested in working with yourself, you can’t lead that kind of double life, adopting ideas, techniques, and concepts of all kinds, simply in order to get away from yourself.”
“Walking the spiritual path properly is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This fundamental distortion may be referred to as spiritual materialism.”

Art for Winter – Part II of V: Rupert Jasen Smith (American, 1953-1988)

Below – “Shiseido from Homage to Warhol Suite”; “Issey Mikake from Homage to Warhol Suite”; “Greta Garbo”


Worth a Thousand Words: A caterpillar in Wuhan City, China; photograph by Minghui Yuan.


Art for Winter – Part III of V: Laurie Smith (American, contemporary)

Below (all bronze) – “Solitude”; “Trust”; “Circle of Life”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 28 February 1953 – Paul Krugman, an American economist, academic, and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science.

Some quotes from the work of Paul Krugman:

“I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.”
“Politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth.”
“Wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.”
“The media are desperately afraid of being accused of bias. And that’s partly because there’s a whole machine out there, an organized attempt to accuse them of bias whenever they say anything that the Right doesn’t like. So rather than really try to report things objectively, they settle for being even-handed, which is not the same thing. One of my lines in a column—in which a number of people thought I was insulting them personally—was that if Bush said the Earth was flat, the mainstream media would have stories with the headline: ‘Shape of Earth—Views Differ.’ Then they’d quote some Democrats saying that it was round.”
“For most Americans, economic growth is a spectator sport.”
“If it were profitable to have indentured servants in the modern world, I’m sure that Richard Scaife’s think tanks would have no trouble finding justifications, and assorted Christian groups would explain why it’s God’s will.”
“Some people want the past repeated and have an interest in making sure we don’t remember it.”


Art for Winter – Part IV of V: L.J. Smith (American, contemporary)

Below – “Preservation”; “Rusty Hog”; “Path Light”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 28 February 1916 – Henry James, an American novelist, short story writer, and critic.

Some quotes from the work of Henry James:

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
“I don’t want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.”
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
“Sorrow comes in great waves…but rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us, it leaves us. And we know that if it is strong, we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain.”
“Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic.”
“I call people rich when they’re able to meet the requirements of their imagination.”
“Live all you can: it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t matter what you do in particular, so long as you have had your life. If you haven’t had that, what have you had?”
“Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting, but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it, forever and ever; and we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.”
“Try to be one of those on whom nothing is lost.”
“Be not afraid of life; believe that life is worth living and your belief will create the fact.”
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.”


Art for Winter – Part V of V: Mel Smothers (American, contemporary)

Below – “Mountain Lake #16”; “Andy Dialog #224”; “Watercolors #30”

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 28 February 1915 – Peter Medawar, a British biologist, writer, author of “Pluto’s Republic,” and recipient of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (shared with Frank Macfarlane Burnet).

Some quotes from the work of Peter Medawar:

“The alternative to thinking in evolutionary terms is not to think at all.”
“The human mind treats a new idea the same way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it.”
“I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this: the intensity of the conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing on whether it is true or not.”
“Scientific reasoning is a kind of dialogue between the possible and the actual, between what might be and what is in fact the case.”
“For a scientist must indeed be freely imaginative and yet skeptical, creative and yet a critic. There is a sense in which he must be free, but another in which his thought must be very precisely regimented; there is poetry in science, but also a lot of bookkeeping.”
“The USA is so enormous, and so numerous are its schools, colleges and religious seminaries, many devoted to special religious beliefs ranging from the unorthodox to the dotty, that we can hardly wonder at its yielding a more bounteous harvest of gobbledygook than the rest of the world put together.”
“When asked to make the formal declaration that I did not intend to overthrow the Constitution of the United States, I was fool enough to reply that I had no such purpose, but that were I to do it by mistake I should be inexpressibly contrite.”
“It goes with the passionate intensity and deep conviction of the truth of a religious belief, and of course of the importance of the superstitious observances that go with it, that we should want others to share it – and the only certain way to cause a religious belief to be held by everyone is to liquidate nonbelievers. The price in blood and tears that mankind generally has had to pay for the comfort and spiritual refreshment that religion has brought to a few has been too great to justify our entrusting moral accountancy to religious belief.”
“Today the world changes so quickly that in growing up we take leave not just of youth but of the world we were young in.”


Contemporary American Art – M. L. Snowden

In the words of one writer, “For over two decades in a lifetime immersed in sculpture, Snowden has pursued bronze as an expression of the forces which mold and shape existence. The steps that go into creating bronze sculpture within the foundry setting are seen by Snowden as a microcosm of accelerated processes happening deep within the earth. Within this perspective that continuously unleashes new work, M. L. Snowden has seen the very substances and mediums of sculpture as octaves of geological phenomena, with humankind expressing a naturally occurring biomorphic summary of mass related energy inherent within the earth materials of clay and bronze. Indeed, these dramatic works are maps of exploration into phenomena that accrete and condense the universal forces and elements of creation into evocations of physical substance, humankind, and light.”

Below (all bronze) – “Wind Scarf”; “Sea Creates”; “Devonian Seafan”; “Solaris”; “Lightwave”; “Sirius”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 28 February 1909 – Stephen Spender, English poet, novelist, essayist, and recipient of the 1995 Golden PEN Award.

“I Think Continually”
by Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun they travelled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.


Contemporary American Art – Ford Smith

In the words of one writer, “As the son of an Air Force serviceman stationed in a small Japanese village, Ford’s artistic sensibilities began to take root under the nurturing eye of an elderly Japanese painter when he was just twelve. After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a BFA in painting, Ford moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he realized a natural talent for photography. During the late 70’s and 80’s Ford established his reputation as Atlanta’s premier fashion and commercial photographer. The early 90’s, however, brought a compelling urge to return to painting. He began painting again whenever his schedule permitted, which wasn’t often enough to satisfy his creative mind. So in 2000, as he approached his 50th birthday, Ford decided that he would no longer deny his passion for painting – despite his success and stature as the city’s top photographer. Believing his return to painting deserved 100% dedication, Ford sold his photography business and never took another professional photograph. He then set off to travel the world and seek inspiration. After exploring different painting styles and themes, he found tremendous fulfillment creating contemporary landscapes conjured from the stunning horizons witnessed during his travels. Emboldened by critics and collector’s enthusiasm, he narrowed his focus there and pushed the creative boundaries of landscapes to arrive at the distinctive and radiant style for which he is known. He never paints from a photograph – nor does he do studies. Instead, he enjoys the freedom and creative abandon to see where an impulse might lead.”

Below – “Night Shimmes”; “Low Country Drama”; “Recalling a Daydream”; “Faithful Watch”; “Night Shimmers”; “Moments Notice.”

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