Friday, December 31, 2010

Wisdoms of His Ocean

his years are all the air he will ever need

The Sage
Art by Andy Westhoff
Poem by the Poetry Store Poet, Silvi Alcivar

Click on the picture to read the poem more easily.

Carol is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

All The Thoughts of A Turtle

Turtles always strike me as devastatingly serious. If turtles could talk, I'd believe everything they said.
~ Erin O'Brien

Snapping Turtle
By Will Sillin

From Old French Fairy Tales
"There were three months passing through the forest."
Illustration by Virginia Frances Sterret

This photo was taken by Sarah, but I'm not sure who the sculptor is

An illustration from The Mighty Orinoco by Jules Verne
Drawn by Tony George Roux

The Hare and the Tortoise
By Arthur Rackham

Charmeur de Tortues
by L. Crépon

Tribal Turtle
by Holly Kitaura

The title of this post comes from the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:
All the thoughts of a turtle are turtle.

* To learn about turtles and how to help them, check out these links.
* Video of a turtle being drawn
* This turtle plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur would make a nice poster. In English, the title of the book is Art Forms of Nature. It's quite a beautiful resource.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Altered Book Art

A couple of how-to's, in case you have some books you can alter...if you don't have any but would like to try one of these projects, keep an eye out for yard sales or library book sales:

* On Craftside: How to make recycled book page flowers from the book Playing with Books by Jason Thompson

* On Planet Green: Old Book, New Craft: Things to Make From Used Books (including a hidden safe, wallets, and envelopes)

This pinhole camera was made by engrained from a book.

More altered book art:
* To Kill A Mockingbird birdhouse and Golden Book birdhouses
* A book sculpture project at Cornell University
* Khoshbin manipulated book art

A desk made of books at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands

Lastly, book-inspired art, book spine poems, book cover art

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Pay-It-Forward Publisher

I read about a generosity-based publisher on Kurious Kitty's blog. What does "generosity-based" mean? Concord Free Press gives away books with the understanding that, in exchange, the recipient will make a donation to someone in need. Also, recipients are asked to pass along the book to someone else when they are done with it.

Concord Free Press doesn't sell books (since they are giving them away), but they do sell t-shirts and posters. I wanted to show you these:

I like the reading patriot logo:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hero, Hero

Atlas sculpture on Collins Street, Melbourne

This poem was written by U.K. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy to celebrate National Poetry Day, 2009.

by Carol Ann Duffy

Give him strength, crouched on one knee in the dark
with the Earth on his back,
balancing the seven seas,
the oceans, five, kneeling
in ruthless, empty, endless space
for grace
of whale, dolphin, sea-lion, shark, seal, fish, every kind
which swarms the waters. Hero.

Hard, too,
heavy to hold, the mountains;
burn of his neck and arms taking the strain-
Andes, Himalayas, Kilimanjaro-
give him strength, he heaves them high
to harvest rain from skies for streams
and rivers, he holds the rivers,
holds the Amazon, Ganges, Nile, hero, hero.

Hired by no-one, heard in a myth only, lonely,
he carries a planet's weight,
islands and continents,
the billions there, his ears the last to hear
their language, music, gunfire, prayer;
give him strength, strong girth, for elephants,
tigers, snow leopards, polar bears, bees, bats,
the last ounce of a humming-bird.

in infinite, bleak black,
he bears where Earth is, nowhere,
head bowed, a genuflection to the shouldered dead,
the unborn's hero, he is love's lift;
sometimes the moon rolled to his feet, a gift.


You can hear it here.
Some info about Atlas

Mary Lee is hosting Poetry Friday this Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Trumpet Shall Sound

Today's focus is on George Frideric Handel's Messiah.

The Trumpet Shall Sound

A performance of Handel’s Messiah at Penrith (on Sydney sandstone)
By Jack Featherstone

From the Lilly Library

Albums (I'm interested in abstract representations of the oratorio):

A poster:

A score:

Not sure about these two...posters?

* The texts for Messiah along side-by-side with modern translations
* Listen to Susan Stamberg ask classical music commentator Miles Hoffman questions about Messiah
* Smithsonian Magazine's The Glorious History of Handel's Messiah
* Handel as word painter

Must include a Messiah Random Act of Culture:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate, Puzzles, and Quiet Things

Giving chocolate to others is an intimate form of communication, a sharing of deep, dark secrets.
~ Milton Zelman

My husband's grandmother, Ethel Reed, passed away this week. I'd like to post a few photos in her honor. She was a formidable Scrabble player, even into her 90s, and she never lost her taste for chocolate.

La Sagrada Familia-Cathedral Gaudi made out of chocolate
by Gerhard Petzl

A s'more keyboard

This isn't a Scrabble building, but! This crossword puzzle building is in Lvov, Ukraine. The clues to the puzzle are all over the city, and you can check your answers after dark.

Quiet Things
by Grace Noll Crowell

These I have loved with passion, loved them long:
The house that stands when the building hammers cease,
After wild syncopation, a sane song,
A tree that straightens after the winds' release,
The cool green stillness of an April wood,
A silver pool, unruffled by the breeze,
The clean expanse of a prairie's solitude,
And calm, unhurried hours- I love these.

I have been tangled in the nets too long;
I shall escape and find my way again
Back to the quiet place where I belong,
Far from the tinseled provinces of men.
These will be waiting after my release:
The sheltered ways, the quiet ways of peace.


Be like the bird
who, pausing on her flight
on limb too slight,
feel it give way beneath her,
yet sings,
knowing she hath wings.

~ Victor Hugo

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Don't Stop The Music!

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike is still underway. The governor of Michigan and a Michigan senator tried to work out a compromise between the two sides, which was accepted by the musicians. The management, however, refused. What a shame for both the musicians and the audiences who wanted to hear them.

A previous post about the strike.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Upcoming: YoungArts Week

I'm not going to be able to take advantage of this, but if you live near Miami, check it out!

The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts presents:
YoungArts Week
January 10-15, 2011
The artists are 17-18 years old. There's a voice performance, writers' readings, theater performance, visual arts and photography exhibition, dance and cinematic arts performance and screenings, chamber music concert, and a jazz performance.

All performances are FREE and open to the public. Limited seating available.

Friday, December 17, 2010

People Are More Fun Than Anybody

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly.
~ from the preface of A Christmas Carol

Having Dorothy Parker and Charles Dickens together reminds me of a cartoon that was one of my teenage favorites. I would have a hard time describing it, so I'll use Stuart Moore's description. He says:
There’s a great Roz Chast cartoon from The New Yorker called “Where Their Paths Crossed,” graphing the lives of Davy Crockett and Franz Kafka. The Kafka line has points along it labeled “Depressed kind of guy,” “Lived in Europe,” “Modern writer,” and “Thought the world had a lot of problems.” The Crockett line is made up of points like “Folk hero,” “Frontiersman,” “‘The Coonskin Congressman,’” and “Could whip his weight in wildcats.” And there’s one point where the lines cross, marked: “Liked to eat raw dough.”
Dorothy Parker and Charles Dickens may be unexpected pairing, but they're kind of like chocolate chips and cookie dough. They're fun together. My poetry for today is what Parker had to say about Dickens:
Charles Dickens
By Dorothy Parker

Who call him spurious and shoddy
Shall do it o'er my lifeless body.
I heartily invite such birds
To come outside and say those words!

Dickens and Parker Links:

* David Perdue's Charles Dicken's page points out that The Internet Movie Database lists over 200 films made from Dickens' works!
* Victorian Web has articles about Dickens' novels from the point of view of political history, economic contexts, science, imagery, gender, religion, and more.


The top four Parker links are videos:
* Jane Learmouth does a nice job with Parker's Unfortunate Coincidence
* Shaken and Stirred: A Tribute to Dorothy Parker
* Tallulah Bankhead reciting Sentiment by Dorothy Parker
* A clip from Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (Dorothy reciting Resume)
* Dorothy Parker gifts
* The title of this post is a Dorothy Parker quote, natch.

I made the Dickens quote picture, and Philip V. Allingham scanned the John Leech illustration from Dickens' A Christmas Carol which is at the top.

As long as we are making curious connections, here's a quote I read yesterday that reminded me of Ms. Parker: "I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal."

Know who said it?
Jane Austen.

This week's Poetry Friday round-up is at The Poem Farm.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

P.J. Lynch

"External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty."
- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

On tap today: Irish artist/illustrator P.J. Lynch.

Some of Lynch's illustrations from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Scrooge and Christmas Present

Bob and Tiny Tim

From Melisande, by E. Nesbit, illustrated by P.J. Lynch

A poster for the Steadfast Tin Soldier

Mr. Lynch also created the art for various Irish stamps, such as this one of the Children of Lir:

One last quote from A Christmas Carol:
It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.

Tomorrow I'll have a bit of poetry about Dickens as well.

The works above were posted with permission of the artist.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Nefarious Sock

Pirate Zombie Sock Puppet
by Underroos

An interesting mix, no?

I like puppets and sock monkeys. Sometimes I like pirates and zombies.

An entire zombie book is often too much for me, but here's a zombie haiku by Ryan Mecum in the style of Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken):

Two lobes in the skull.
I eat the bloodier one –
not much difference.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Here We Come A-Wassailing

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wand'ring
So fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail, too,
And God bless you, and send you
A Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.


* A frothed wassail recipe (uses eggs)
* an alcoholic wassail recipe (no eggs)
* a non-alcoholic recipe
* Hymns and Carols of Christmas has a very informative Wassail page
* So does Colonial Williamsburg.
* Wondering what to eat with your wassail? A recipe for shepherd's or cottage pie.

Friday, December 10, 2010

the grandmother

the grandmother
by Humberto Ak'abal

The night begins,
when the moon
­Grandmother of the villages­
comes out with her lime-white candle
to light up the silence.

The darkness
hides in the canyons,
the small birds
roll up their songs...

read the rest here

-translated by Miguel Rivera and Robert Bly
from Poems I brought down from the mountain

Jama Rattigan is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have an extra Gargoyles 2011 calendar. Want it? Let me know.

Aztec Calendars

Today we're looking at the Aztec calendar. My understanding is that the Aztec version had its roots in the Mayan calendar. The face in the middle of the calendar is Tonatiuh, the sun god. I'm including a heaping helping of links below.

Who were the Aztecs? Archaeology guide Kris Hirst explains, "Aztecs are the collective name given to seven Chichimec tribes of northern Mexico." Their civilization was dominant from the 12th century until the Spanish invasion in the 15th century.

A replica of an Aztec calendar from the exhibit In Bringing the Heavens to Earth

Inner Mission, San Francisco, California
Photo by Emily Hoyer

A public domain Aztec calendar

From the book Historical and chronological description of the two stones found during the new paving of the Mexico's main plaza
by Antonio de Leon y Gama, 1792

Millan Primary School, Mexico City

Photo by Gregory Schick


* The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) site has a neat exhibit called A Walk Through Time that includes info on ancient calendars.
* Info comparing the Mayan and Aztec calendars
* A diagram showing the meaning of the Aztec calendar
* The most famous Aztec calendar is the one at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. It took 52 years to be completed!
* I had almost finished this post when I saw this article from Wired, which says that the Aztec Calendar Stone was used as an altar for human sacrifice.
* A book about the Aztec Calendar Stone
* How to Make An Aztec Step Pyramid
* 2012 Isn't the End of the World, Mayans Insist
* You can actually get an Aztec Calendar on a onesie!
* Brush footwear shoes:

Symbols for my birthday, courtesy Aztec Calendar: Go there if you'd like to see what your symbols are.