Sentient in San Francisco – 20 February 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 20 February 1902 – Ansel Adams, an American photographer.

Below – “Moon and Half Dome”; “Oak Tree, Snowstorm”; “Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome”; “Afternoon Sun”; “Northern California Coast Redwoods”; “Sierra Nevada, Winter Evening.”

A Poem for Today

“In the Dark”
by Penny Carter

At bedtime, my grandson’s breath
rasps in and out of fragile lungs.
Holding the nebulizer mask
over his nose and mouth,
I rock him on my lap and hum
a lullaby to comfort him.

The nebulizer hisses as steroids
stream into his struggling chest,
and suddenly he also starts to hum,
his infant voice rising and falling
on the same few notes—some hymn
he must have learned while in the womb
or carried here from where he was before—
a kind of plainsong, holy and hypnotic
in the dark.


This Date in Art History: Died 20 February 1992 – A. J. Casson, a Canadian painter.

Below – “High Water”; “Approaching Storm, Lake Superior”; “White Village”;”White Pine”; “Little Island”; “Cloche Hills.”

Musings in Winter: William Bolitho

“Adventure must start with running away from home.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Wojtek Babski: Part I of II.

Below – “Face 33”; “Hush”; “Face 31”; “Face 28”; “Face 36”; “Face 29.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 February 2005 – Hunter S. Thompson, an American journalist, writer, and author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

Some quotes from the work of Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”
“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy – then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece. Probably the rarest form of life in American politics is the man who can turn on a crowd & still keep his head straight – assuming it was straight in the first place.”
“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”
“Hope rises and dreams flicker and die. Love plans for tomorrow and loneliness thinks of yesterday. Life is beautiful and living is pain.”
“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the ‘good life,’ whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.”
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
“Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind but falling in love and not getting arrested.”
“We are living in dangerously weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they’re dazed and confused. The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb. It is the beginning of the end of our world as we knew it. Doom is the operative ethic.”
“Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life.”


Contemporary Polish Art – Wojtek Babski: Part II of II.

Below – “Face 30”; “Face 32”; “Confused”; “Reverie”; “The Wall 6”; “Face 35.”

A Poem for Today

“Love Poem”
by Melissa Balmain

The afternoon we left our first apartment,
we scrubbed it down from ceiling to parquet.
Who knew the place could smell like lemon muffins?
It suddenly seemed nuts to move away.

The morning someone bought our station wagon,
it gleamed with wax and every piston purred.
That car looked like a centerfold in Hot Rod!
Too late, we saw that selling was absurd.

And then there was the freshly tuned piano
we passed along to neighbors with a wince.
We told ourselves we’d find one even better;
instead we’ve missed its timbre ever since.

So if, God help us, we are ever tempted
to ditch our marriage when it’s lost its glow,
let’s give the thing our finest spit and polish—
and, having learned our lesson, not let go.

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