Sentient in San Francisco – 29 January 2019

British Art – William Holman Hunt (1827-1910): Part I of II.

Below – “Our English Coasts”; “Amaryllis”; “The Lady of Shalott”; “The Birthday”; “Portrait of Fanny Holman Hunt.”

A Date for Curmudgeons – Part I of III: W. C. Fields, an American actor, comedian, and screenwriter, who was born 29 January 1880.

Some quotes from the work of W. C. Fields:

“I’m free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.”
“Any man who hates dogs and babies can’t be all bad.”
“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”
“Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.”
I”f at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
“Beer: Helping ugly people have sex since 3000 B. C.”
“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
“A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.”
“You can fool some of the people some of the time — and that’s enough to make a decent living.”
“I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted.”
“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore always carry a small snake.”
“Money will not buy happiness, but it will let you be unhappy in nice places.”
“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”

British Art – William Holman Hunt (1827-1910): Part II of II.

Below – “Il Dolce Far Niente”; “The Haunted Manor”; “Cornfield at Ewell”; “Fairlight Downs, Sunlight on the Sea”; “The Thames at Chelsea, Evening”; “Self Portrait.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 29 January 1895 – Muna Lee, an American poet.

“Caribbean Marsh”
by Muna Lee

Acres of mangrove, crowding the sea-streaked marsh,
Acres of mangrove, wading toward the beaches,
And here and there a milky-white bloom tossed
On fragile boughs above the flooded reaches.
Mangrove thrusts deep in salty mud,
Balances uneasily upon its three-pronged roots,
Huddles from wind in its dissonance of leaves.
Tempest and drought it has withstood,
This straggling orchard that bears no fruits,
This field where none will garner sheaves.
Sucking life up from the acrid marsh,
Drawing life down from the burning sun,
All the year offers of crude and harsh
There between sea and shore it has known.
Wave and glare, sea-urge, sea-drift,
It has been their victim, proved their power,
Persisting bleakly for one end alone—
Through an unheeded hour
Briefly, awkwardly, to lift
This frail, inconsequent flower.

British Art – Arthur Hughes (1832-1915): Part I of II.

Below – “April Love”; “Ophelia”; “Endymion”; “Fair Rosamond”; “Friends”; “Gleaning.”

A Date for Curmudgeons – Part II of III: H. L. Mencken, an American journalist and critic, who died 29 January 1956.

Some quotes from the work of H. L. Mencken:

“As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”
“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”
“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”
“The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line. The objection to it is not that it is predominantly painful, but that it is lacking in sense.”
“The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely.”
“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong.”
“An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.”
“The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.”
“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
“I am suspicious of all the things that the average people believe.”

British Art – Arthur Hughes (1832-1915): Part II of II.

Below – “In the Grass”; “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”; “The Lady of Shalott”; “A Spring Afternoon”; “Memories”; “Wonderland.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of Her Death: Died 29 January 1933 – Sara Teasdale, an American poet.

“There Will Come Soft Rains”
by Sara Teasdale

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Contemporary Polish/British Art – Karolina Zglobicka

Below – “Adjustment”; “Profile Image”; “Celmentine’s Thread”; “Active Content”; “Storm”; “Other Europeans.”

A Date for Curmudgeons – Part III of III: Edward Abbey, an American essayist, writer, environmentalist, anarchist, and author of “The Money Wrench Gang” and “Desert Solitaire,” who was born 29 January 1927.

Some quotes from the work of Edward Abbey:

“I have been called a curmudgeon, which my obsolescent dictionary defines as a ‘surly, ill-mannered, bad-tempered fellow.’ … Nowadays, curmudgeon is likely to refer to anyone who hates hypocrisy, cant, sham, dogmatic ideologies, the pretenses and evasions of euphemism, and has the nerve to point out unpleasant facts and takes the trouble to impale these sins on the skewer of humor and roast them over the fires of empiric fact, common sense, and native intelligence. In this nation of bleating sheep and braying jackasses, it then becomes an honor to be labeled curmudgeon.”
“Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.”
“To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious. But the stupid have an answer for every question.”
“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.
“Life is too short for grief. Or regret. Or bullshit.”
“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.”
“Why is it that the destruction of something created by humans is called vandalism, yet the destruction of something created by God is called development?”
“There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated… To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.”
“If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.”
“How to Overthrow the System: brew your own beer; kick in your Tee Vee; kill your own beef; build your own cabin and piss off the front porch whenever you bloody well feel like it.”
“Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and esthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one.”
“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”
Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”
“The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws.”
“My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation’s history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.”
“May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God’s dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.”

Contemporary French Art – Wilfrid Moizan

Below – “Vol de nuit”; “Beyond the Bridge”; “Desirade”; “Time Traveller 3”; “Time Traveller 4”; “La seance 4.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 29 January 1963 – Robert Frost, an American poet, playwright, and four-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Frost was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature thirty-one times

“The Road Not Taken”
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Below – Margaret Ellis: “The Road Not Taken”

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