Monday, July 29, 2013

They ALL Want You Back

Trying to live without your love is one long sleepless night
Let me show you, girl, that I know wrong from right
~Jackson 5

Friday, July 26, 2013


See here, our Appalachia, our
bone and blood. Listen, our
Double Creek girl: you are
what happens when we know
that God lives in between
the pages of books and at the tips
of pencils and on the sharp
edges of notebook paper.
~Silas House

There's good stuff in Still, an arts journal which focuses on Southern Appalachia.

from the Multimedia section of Still


There are also poems, such as Serving by Kari Gunter-Seymour:

by Kari Gunter-Seymour

Remember that time your dog died and I didn't tell you for months
Because you had deployed and George Bush was shouting,
Bring it on and we were all thinking that Korea was fixing to blow.
But, when I emailed to say we were headed for West Virginia,
You fired back, Mom, where is Annie? and I had to say she was hit by a car.
I sent brownies loaded with black walnuts from the old home place.

read the rest


More poems from Still:

Wind Chime Lessons by Tyler S. Collins
Ten Ways of Looking at an Appalachian Woman by Connie Jordan Green
Witness by Rita Quillen
The Ten Women in Every Appalachian Woman I See by Ron Houchin


And there's a contest:
The editors of Still: The Journal announce the fourth annual Writing Contests for fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Contest entries should be in keeping with our submission philosophy which states: “Our emphasis is on the literature of the Southern Appalachian region, and we are committed to publishing excellent writing that does not rely on clichés and stereotypes. We want to feature writing that exemplifies the Mountain South or that is written by an author with a connection to the region.”

Keri is sharing a tritina of mine at Keri Recommends today.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Semicolon.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


"If all the personal computers in the world —approximately 260 million computers— were to be put to work on a single PGP encrypted message, it would take on average an estimated 12 million times the age of the universe to break a single message."
~William Crowell, Deputy Director of the National Security Agency, 1997

I went to the National Cryptologic Museum recently and enjoyed seeing various ways ciphers have been used over time. Have you heard of the Navajo Code Talkers from World War II? The Navajo language itself turned out to be an unbreakable code. (My kids like Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac.)

I'm including a couple of shots (not mine) from the National Cryptologic Museum below this Khan Academy video. For more Khan Academy cryptography videos, click here.

What is Cryptography?

Johannes Balthasar Friderici's Cryptography or Secret Correspondence, 1684
Taken at the National Cryptologic Museum, NSA.
photo by ideonexus

Herbern Electric Code Machine, 1918
Taken at the National Cryptologic Museum, NSA.
photo by ideonexus

The CIA's Kryptos sculpture
photo by the sculptor, Jim Sanborn
Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture by American artist Jim Sanborn located on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia. Since its dedication on November 3, 1990, there has been much speculation about the meaning of the encrypted messages it bears. Of the four messages, three have been solved, with the fourth remaining one of the most famous unsolved codes in the world. The sculpture continues to provide a diversion for cryptanalysts, both amateur and professional, who are attempting to decrypt the final section. (info from Wikipedia)

Poznań monument to Polish cryptologists who helped break Germany's Enigma machine ciphers
photo by Ziko

A giant copy of the Rosetta Stone
by Joseph Kosuth in Figeac, France, the birthplace of Jean-François Champollion

16th century French cypher machine in the shape of a book
photographed at Musee d'Ecouen

Cipher Pyramid
photo by Marcin Wichary

1945 Captain Midnight decoder badge
photo by Sobebunny


* Steganography, sending messages that don't seem like messages at all
* Classical Cryptography
* Kryptos: A coded sculpture at CIA headquarters has yet to be fully broken.
* Make your own wallet-sized Enigma-like machine
* The KidsMakeStuff Cipher Disk

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chopin and Shostakovich

“After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. Music always seems to me to produce that effect. It creates for one a past of which one has been ignorant, and fills one with a sense of sorrows that have been hidden from one’s tears.”
~Oscar Wilde

“Bach is an astronomer, discovering the most marvellous stars. Beethoven challenges the universe. I only try to express the soul and the heart of man.”
~Frédéric Chopin

A great piece of music is beautiful regardless of how it is performed. Any prelude or fugue of Bach can be played at any tempo, with or without rhythmic nuances, and it will still be great music. That's how music should be written, so that no-one, no matter how philistine, can ruin it.
~Dmitri Shostakovich

A bonus video from Stanford University. The music is J. Strauss II and the dancers are excellent:

The cartoon at the top is by Doug Savage.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Poetic Tumbling

Poetry-related Tumblr today. First, a bit from Excerpts from Batman’s Failed Poetry Blog:

Superman Sucks

Superman? Pff.
With your big dumb muscles
And your big dumb sexy hair curl
And your gleaming city of gold...

read the rest here (scroll down)


That's Not Shakespeare, a Tumblr that sets the record straight.
Godzilla Haiku, because even giant monsters like haiku.
A Tongue With But Six Words (six-word poems)
What is Poetry to You?

Check It Out has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Poet Sculptures

To use bitter words, when kind words are at hand,
Is like picking unripe fruit when the ripe fruit is there.

These tributes to poets have everything from sass (Robert Burns) and bare chests (Juliusz Słowacki) to muses (Mihály Vörösmarty) and looking like death (Anonymous). Understandably, several poets have books or a pen.

Statue of Thiruvalluvar at Kanyakumari
photo by Harismahesh

Monument of Juliusz Słowacki in Warsaw
photo by Szczebrzeszynski

Kavi Dalpatram
photo by Harshit Gohil

Statue of Mihály Vörösmarty in Bonyhád

Statue of Tajik poet Rudaky in Dushanbe, Tajikistan
photo by Gadi Zafrir

Sappho on the rock of Leucas (1859), by Pierre Loison. North façade, Cour Carrée, Louvre palace, Paris.
photo by Jastrow

Statue of Ferdowsi in Rome
photo by Harlock81

Statue of Anonymous, author of Gesta Hungarorum, in the Vajdahunyad Castle yard, Budapest, Hungary
photo by Andrei Stroe

Statue of Dante Alighieri
by Brazilian sculptor John Turin
photo by Mathieu Bertrand Struck

Statue of Robert Burns
by Frederick Pomeroy from The World's Memorials of Robert Burns by Edward Goodwillie (1911)

Grave of Margot Leonhard
photo by Mutter Erde

Statue of Victor Hugo
by sculptor Jean Boucher, in Candie Gardens, Guernsey

Bust of Rabindranath Tagore in Dejvice
photo by Matěj Baťha

Monday, July 15, 2013

Did You Practice?

Three bits about music teachers to share this Music Monday. The first is a video about stuff music teachers say. You can tell that the students who put it together had fun with it. The second is part of a speech given by Wynton Marsalis. Lastly, we have a video about a music teacher in Philadelphia. I am so impressed with his dedication.


Wynton Marsalis, presenting Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation awards to music teachers:

“Band directors, music teachers...are artists...They are psychological concierges; they know how to help you get over the fact that you’re not first chair...They know how to console you when you’ve messed up the one solo you had and you worked on it for an entire year...They are politicians. They know how to deal with the politics of parents and the school administration...They are coaches. They know how to put teams together. They know how to get us all to work... above all they love their students. They love us and they deserve to be respected.”


Friday, July 12, 2013


Today we have poetry by Alfred Kreymbourg, 1883–1966. A New Yorker with a knack for connecting with artists of all kinds, Kreymbourg knew photographer Alfred Steiglitz, artist Man Ray, mobile-inventor/sculptor Alexander Calder, artist Fernand Léger, poets Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Carl Sandburg, among others.

by Alfred Kreymborg

Ladislaw the critic
is five feet six inches high,
which means
that his eyes
are five feet two inches
from the ground,
which means,
if you read him your poem,
and his eyes lift to five feet
and a trifle more than two inches,
what you have done
is Poetry—
should his eyes remain
at five feet two inches,
you have perpetrated prose,
and do his eyes stoop
—which Heaven forbid!—
the least trifle below
five feet two inches,
are an unspeakable adjective.


A poem for (Dr.) William Carlos Williams:

To W.C.W. M.D.
by Alfred Kreymborg

There has been
Another death.
This time
I bring it to you.
You are kind,
You know
How to lower
I ask only
That the rope
Isn't silk,
(Silk doesn't break)
Nor thread,
(Thread does.)
If it lifts
And lowers
Common things,
It will do.


Old Manuscript
by Alfred Kreymborg

The sky
Is that beautiful old parchment
In which the sun
And the moon
Keep their diary.
To read it all,
One must be a linguist
More learned than Father Wisdom;
And a visionary
More clairvoyant than Mother Dream.
But to feel it,
One must be an apostle:
One who is more than intimate
In having been, always,
The only confidant --
Like the earth
Or the sky.


by Alfred Kreymborg

AFTER we've had
our age of gold
and sung our song of brass,
fingers will brush
the age aside,
fingers and leaves
of grass.


I just found out that my book The Holocaust Survivors was listed as one of the "Top 100 Nonfiction Books Read by ATOS Book Level Range" in What Kids Are Reading: The Book-Reading Habits of Students in American Schools, 2013—Bonus Online Content. Very nice to see that it is still being read!

Michelle is our Poetry Friday round-up host.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Space Stamps, Plus a Sculpture is for everybody. It's not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. That's our new frontier out there, and it's everybody's business to know about space.
~Christa McAuliffe

I've posted about Mars, the moon, the sun, music in space, NASA images, and I've included NASA images in posts about spirals and fireworks. I also recently included a Japanese astronaut's image in a post about self-portraits. Going to outer space has never been an aspiration of mine (I'm a bit claustrophobic), but you could say that I'm a fan.

Telescope and map of Milky Way, radio astronomy
Observing International Quiet Sun Year, issued 1965, Hungary.

Icarus Falling, issued 1968, Hungary
In memory of the astronauts Edward H. White, US, Vladimir M. Komarov, USSR, and Yuri A. Gagarian, USSR

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev (1907-1966), leader of the Soviet space program, issued 1969, USSR

American Lunar Rover on the moon, Apollo 15 moon mission (July 26 - August 7, 1971), issued 1972, Hungary

Intercosmos, issued 1980, USSR.

Marking the 150th anniversary of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory (the first telescope and a modern large radio telescope observatory), issued 1989, USSR.

Stamp of Moldova, issued 2000

Astronaut, la Catedral Nueva de Salamanca, Spain
photo by Tamorlan


* National Geographic's Space Exploration Time Line
* Women in Space History from the National Archives
* Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery
* The Radio JOVE Project: Solar and Planetary Radio Astronomy for Schools

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Arithmetic of Nurses

From warm meals, to daily exercise, to healthcare; one can't help but wonder how our society would be different if we tended to the elderly as we do to our imprisoned.
~Steve Maraboli

The Arithmetic of Nurses from Liz Dubelman on Vimeo.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Acrostic Song

The star that danced at Carroll's birth
In high exuberance of mirth
Is dancing yet.
~Beatrice Hatch

For Music Monday, we have an a cappella version of "Acrostic Song" from David Del Tredici's Final Alice (the acrostic itself, which is by Lewis Carroll, is below the video). I'm sorry to say that I don't know what group is singing here.

The first letter of each line of Carroll’s “A boat beneath a sunny sky” spells out "Alice Pleasance Liddell," the "Alice" for whom he wrote Alice in Wonderland:

A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July—

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear—

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

The value of an education in a liberal arts college is the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.
~Albert Einstein

In my parents' day and age, it used to be the person who fell short. Now it's the discipline. Reading the classics is too difficult, therefore it's the classics that are to blame. Today the student asserts his incapacity as a privilege. 'I can't learn it, so there is something wrong with it.'
~Philip Roth

The ‘deep’ civic function of the humanities . . . is something understood very well by totalitarian societies, which tend to keep close tabs on them, and to circumscribe them in direct proportion to how stringently the population is controlled.
~Mark Slouka

It’s technology married with liberal arts, humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.
~Steve Jobs

Friday, July 5, 2013

Soul Vang

The Hmong have a phrase, hais cuaj txub kaum txub, which means “to speak of all kinds of things.” It is often used at the beginning of an oral narrative as a way of reminding the listeners that the world is full of things that may not seem to be connected but actually are; that no event occurs in isolation; that you can miss a lot by sticking to the point.
~Anne Fadiman

Kumquat Tree by Rasmus Lerdorf

Sharing two works by Hmong American poet and professor Soul Vang today. Thank you, Soul, for giving me permission!

Learning to Eat the Kumquat
by Soul Vang

I planted the tree out of curiosity
the year we moved to this new house,
two years after our older son was born
with frontal cortex injury, one year
before our second son was diagnosed
with autism spectrum disorder.

I first planted it in the shade
under the grape arbor, then transplanted it
the next year to the far side of the yard,
where each year it has grown more bushy
and bore more and more of its brilliant yellow
pearls that we would try to eat-- peeling
the orange skin, eating the acid pulp.

Each time we would spit it out in sour
perplexity--how could anyone eat
of such a fruit? It wasn't until this year
that we learned to properly eat the fruit
from some wise friends who came to visit.

You see, the way to eat the kumquat
is to pick it off the tree, rinse it
in clear water, roll the fruit gently
between thumb and index finger
to mix the sweet and the bitter juices,
pop it in the mouth and bite through peel
and pulp, swallowing the whole.


Against Traffic
by Soul Vang

Running in the bike lane
against traffic,
three miles done, two
to go. My lungs labor
to take in the oxygen
tainted by cars
brushing by within a foot.
It would be so easy
to stop--just one step
to the right. But
then I am distracted
by a bunch of low-hanging grapes,
that had escaped picking
machines and human hands,
living on into winter,
refusing raisinhood.


How Do I Begin: A Hmong American Literary Anthology, which includes work by Soul Vang.

Keri has our Poetry Friday round-up today.

You can find my "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Emma" at Reflections on the Teche.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I paint German artists whom I admire. I paint their pictures, their work as painters, and their portraits too. But oddly enough, each of these portraits ends up as a picture of a woman with blonde hair. I myself have never been able to work out why this happens.
~Georg Baselitz

I love an intriguing self-portrait and have posted a number of them before, such as these by Rembrandt and these by Gentileschi, Lempicka, and Vigee-Le Brun. There are four hundred years separating the first and last of today's self-portraits.

(On a personal note -- Blogger has been giving me fits re: image sizes. I almost didn't post today because I was frustrated. I hope to get it figured out before long.)

Self-portrait with Dr Arrieta
by Francisco Goya
“Goya, in gratitude to his friend Arrieta: for the compassion and care with which he saved his life during the acute and dangerous illness he suffered towards the end of the year 1819 in his seventy-third year."

The Honeysuckle Bower
by Peter Paul Rubens
This self-portrait is of Rubens and his wife Isabella Brant, circa 1609. The honeysuckle and garden are both traditional symbols of love, and the holding of right hands represents union through marriage. Isabella died of the plague in 1626. She was 34. (A bit more trivia: In 1977, Isabella appeared on an Anguilla postage stamp.)

Judith with the Head of Holofernes
by Cristofano Allori, 1613. According to his biographer, the heads were those of the painter, his ex-lover, and her mother.

The Wounded Man
self-portrait by Gustave Courbet

At the Dressing-Table
by Zinaida Serebriakova (1884–1967)

Robert Cornelius, self-portrait, 1839, the first photographic portrait image (also, the original daguerreotype boyfriend)
Library of Congress, American Memory

Breakfast with Myself
Daniel Carlborn

Aki Hoshide, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut