Friday, October 30, 2015

A Poem for Stephen Hawking

On seeing the Enterprise's warp engine while visiting the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation (where he would briefly play himself in the 1993 episode Descent, Part I), Hawking smiled and said: I'm working on that.

"Black Holes - Monsters in Space" by NASA/JPL-Caltech

Today we have a poem by Sarah Howe written for Stephen Hawking, followed by a video of Stephen Hawking reading it himself. As slowly as he speaks, I am guessing it took him a whole day to do this reading. British artist Bridget Smith added the visuals (graphite particles in motion) to the video.

by Sarah Howe
for Stephen Hawking

When we wake up brushed by panic in the dark
our pupils grope for the shape of things we know.

Photons loosed from slits like greyhounds at the track
reveal light’s doubleness in their cast shadows

that stripe a dimmed lab’s wall — particles no more ―
and with a wave bid all certainties goodbye.

For what’s sure in a universe that dopplers
away like a siren’s midnight cry? They say

a flash seen from on and off a hurtling train
will explain why time dilates like a perfect

afternoon; predicts black holes where parallel lines
will meet, whose stark horizon even starlight,

bent in its tracks, can’t resist. If we can think
this far, might not our eyes adjust to the dark?

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Check It Out.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cool as the other side of the pillow

What pillow can one have like a good conscience?
~John Steinbeck

Yay for textile art (and for sleeping)! Many places to lay your head today. Also, some bonus shots from Pillow Fight Day, which I did not even know was a thing, but obviously is much needed! We'll start with a pillow that doesn't look very comfortable...

Bean-shaped pillow, China early 12th century, with peonies
photo by Vilseskogen

Cabbage babies - Kohlbabies
by Sara Lechner

Pillow Talk
photo by Linda

Doughnut Pillow Wall
photo by B Romero

Art quilt pillow
by Jayne

Mariner's Compass Pillow
by Caroline Press

Pillow Fight, Paris
photo by Philippe Leroyer

San Francisco Pillow Fight
photo by Scott Beale

The Heat of the Fight
photo by Sjoerd Lammers

A funny moose antlers pillowcase

Monday, October 26, 2015

Keep Going

Every day I’m walking out the front door
Leaning on your ghost
The best feeling of the day is one that I lean toward most
~David Shaw, The Revivalists

New Orleans band The Revivalists today:

One more for Music Monday. This video with South African Jeremy Loops really counts for Joyful Monday:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Here, There, and Everywhere

I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.”
~David Foster Wallace

Do you read multiple books at once? At the moment, I have an upstairs book and a downstairs book. Upstairs, I'm in the middle of Machine Man by Max Barry. My downstairs/take with me book is Quite A Year For Plums by Bailey White.

Those books are a pretty good summary of me (Southern geek, although I think of myself as more of a nerd). Do you stick to one book at a time?

P.S. I also have Adaptogens by David Winston close at hand for nonfiction reading.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Power, Conflict, and Wrath

He knew the things that were and the things that would be and the things that had been before.

Aristoteles and Homer's bust by Rembrandt

Focusing on an impressive achievement by London's Almeida Theatre today. Over the course of one day in August, they had performers read Homer's Iliad in its entirety (18,255 lines of text -- it took 66 people to read it) to an "audience of more than 50,000 people across the world, watching online or in person at the Almeida and the British Museum." The event is available to watch online until 21 September 2016.

The Making of The Iliad | Almeida Theatre, London from Almeida Theatre on Vimeo.

Take a look:
Iliad the video: introduction
The whole thing

The Descent of Discord, Book XI

Jama Rattigan is the Poetry Friday round-up host.

P.S. Thinking about suffragettes a bit these days? Here's a throwback post with suffragette poems.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hidden Jewels

How is gerrymandering like a salamander? In 1812, Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a law that established an odd-shaped Congressional district. It was redrawn by political cartoonists into a salamander-type creature and thus the term gerrymander was born.

I thought about featuring salamanders today after reading a press release about the Smithsonian's exhibit "The Hidden Jewels of Appalachia."

The Hidden Jewels of Appalachia from Joe Milmoe on Vimeo.

Plethodon yonahlossee (Yonahlossee Salamander)
photo by Marshal Hedin

Larch Mountain Salamander (Plethodon larselli)
photo by John Clare

Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium mavortium)
photo by John Clare

Clouded Salamander, Aneides ferrus
photo by johnvillella

Plethodon yonahlossee
photo by squamatologist

Salamander (salamandra salamandra gigliolii)
photo by Aldo Crisci

Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)
photo by Greg Schechter

Northern two-lined salamander (Eurycea bislineata)
photo by Dave Huth

Cave Salamander, Eurycea lucifuga
photo by johnvillella

Helping out a salamander migration
How you can help salamanders

Friday, October 16, 2015

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

For aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
~William Shakespeare (Lysander, scene i, A Midsummer Night's Dream)

I am prone to featuring things that relate to my kids (books they like, history and poetry competitions they've been in, and many musical works that they have performed, e.g. here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). They've been in a dozen plays and musicals, everything from The Two Gentlemen of Verona to Seussical (three times!), but I haven't spotlighted plays as often. My youngest is currently taking part in two works: Les Miserables (which I spotlighted on an Art Thursday a while back) and A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is my focus today:

A fun fight scene (“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”)

Titania (Judi Dench) is under a spell that makes her fall for a donkey in this scene. When I was talking about this video with my 14yo daughter, I asked her if she knew who Judi Dench is, and she was like, "Of course!" Silly me. (Heads-up: Judi's mostly just wearing green body paint!)

The ending monologue by Puck. This version from the Dead Poets' Society is poignant due to the obvious double-meaning it has for the speaker:

Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream is beautiful. I expect you may recognize it:

One last bit:

So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted;
But yet a union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem.

~Helena, scene ii.


The Poetry Friday round-up is at The Poem Farm.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wild and Woolly

Advice for New Knitters
When choosing a pattern, look for ones that have words such as "simple," "basic," and "easy." If you see the words "intriguing," "challenging," or "intricate," look elsewhere.
If you happen across a pattern that says "heirloom," slowly put down the pattern and back away. "Heirloom" is knitting code for "This pattern is so difficult that you would consider death a relief."
~Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Knitting our brows (and everything else) this Art Thursday. I was torn between depictions of knitters and knitted items, so there are some of each.

It's a little hard to see the knitting in the first photo, but you can make it bigger by clicking on it. In the second piece, the shepherd's seat is the most fascinating part, imo! (It makes sense he would want something to do while he watches the sheep.)

Slått med stuttorv Lindahl
by Axel Lindahl, Norwegian National Library

Shepherd sitting on raised stool and stilts, 1855
Forrester's Pictorial Miscellany for the Family Circle, edited by Mark Forreste

Primarschule Binzholz, Schulhausstrasse 6, Switzerland
photo by Roland

The little knitters
by Albert Anker (1831–1910)

Tree Knitting, Melbourne
photo by Andrew

Andy Warhol Bridge, Pittsburgh
photo by Darren and Brad

Yarnbomb, Mount Pleasant
photo by anneheathen

Knitted Bicycle- Knotty By Nature in Victoria
photo by Robin Zebrowski

Tricotons la rue, Montreal
photo by Retis

Some examples of heirloom knitting patterns

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yay, The Edward Gorey Envelope Art Contest!

The Edward Gorey House 2015 All-Ages Halloween Envelope Art Contest

Gorey House's annual Envelope Art contest is now open for submissions from artists of all ages from around the world. Submit your original envelope artwork postmarked no later than October 23rd, 2015. There is no entry fee though artists can only submit one entry to the contest per year.

Visit the web site for the entry form

Decorate an envelope (of any size you choose) with your Edward Gorey-esque Halloween themed image(s)—with the Edward Gorey House address clearly visible on the front—and mail it to this address:

Edward Gorey House
8 Strawberry Lane
Yarmouth Port, MA 02675

View the 2014 Winners

P.S. My unexpected love story "A Rainy Evening with Turn Signal, by Windshield Wiper" is up at Today's Little Ditty.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Wood Brothers

What should you do about your troubles? You could always sing.

The Wood Brothers:

I almost forgot to thank BonBon for introducing me to TWB. Thanks, Bon!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bust a Move

Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.
~Shel Silverstein

A group of people from ages 0-105 were gathered together and asked to show off their best dance move. These folks are so cute and such good sports:

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Smart Time

Full moon by Hans Põldoja

An Estonian poet and a Tamil poet today. Both poems are from Words Without Borders.

Evening Fare
by Kaur Riismaa, translated by Miriam McIlfratrick

This is a smart time, I think as I sit and eat a sandwich in the kitchen.
Tomorrow is sorted, the hayracks ready, the tools even stowed in the shed,
your magnificent culinary creation needs one more hour,
(no, bread and ham won’t ruin my appetite, I don’t want to pig myself later).
Actually, I could even go for a swim, do a length of the lake,

read the rest here


The Mother and the Goddess of Night
by Aazhiyaal, translated by Lakshmi Holmström

She has walked and walked
for nine long days.

All of nine days
and nine long nights
have passed by.

Weary of wandering as she is,
the mad woman mutters brokenly,
"Have you seen my daughter?
have you seen her?"
All along the paths she takes
the heavy clouds freeze—a thousand
birds fly past her in scorn
and the wind howls aloud.

read the rest here


The Poetry Friday round-up host is at Writing the World for Kids.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hang On To Your Hat

Some hats can only be worn if you're willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you're only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.
~Neil Gaiman

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that it was surprising I hadn't repeated myself...and this week I felt sure I *must* be repeating myself. How could I not have posted about hats?

When I was checking to see, I found an old post about men's accessories, a bunch about costumes, and one about a man who sure knows how to wear hats. But no hats. Huh!

Mouse and Top Hat
by Takeuchi Seihō

Mary of Burgundy
attributed to Michael Pacher

Bonaparte franchissant le Grand Saint-Bernard
by Jacques Louis David

Saturno, Cappello Romano worn by an archbishop
photo by Dieter Philippi

by Melissa Cabot
photo by Chris Phutully

Sea of Hats
a.k.a. Emma Goldman addressing a crowd at Union Square, New York

Lost: one cowpoke!
photo by Steve F

You know what kind of hat makes my day? Bollenhuts. A bollenhut is traditional formal headgear worn in the Black Forest area of Germany. Married women wear black pom poms, but the red ones worn by single women are particularly striking:

by Curt Liebich

The red pom-poms are said to have inspired the top (cherry) layer of Black Forest Cake. Yum!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Only Clean Shirt

Two quotes (poem excerpts?) from Rudy Francisco today:

Some days
Life is a pile of dirty clothes
And laughter is the only clean shirt you have left


we should love ourselves
so fiercely
that when others see us
they know exactly
how it should be done.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Let the Honey Soak Through

She reminded me that the world was really one big bee yard, and the same rules worked fine in both places: Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants.
~Sue Monk Kidd

First verse adapted from Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, additional lyrics and music by Ingrid Elizabeth, arrangement by Mouths of Babes.

Another quote from The Secret Life of Bees:

People, in general, would rather die than forgive. It's that hard. If God said in plain language, "I'm giving you a choice, forgive or die," a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.
~Sue Monk Kidd

Friday, October 2, 2015


Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live alone in one place: usually a forest where there is a pool clear enough for them to see themselves-for they are a little vain, knowing themselves to be the most beautiful creatures in all the world, and magic besides.
~Peter S. Beagle

Straight-up silliness today and a shout-out to Julie Larios, whose love for wordplay was one of the inspirations for this poem.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at My Juicy Little Universe.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Nature is not only all that is visible to the also includes the inner pictures of the soul.
~Edvard Munch

I am not really up on what Expressionism is, but I hear it's "a term used to denote the use of distortion and exaggeration for emotional effect." Edvard Munch's The Scream seems like a perfect example. Another definition is "a style of painting, music, or drama in which the artist or writer seeks to express emotional experience rather than impressions of the external world."

All of the below art was listed as being Expressionist. Is "The Neck of a Little Girl" Expressionist? I can't tell, but I love it, so...

by Marie Laurencin

Girl with Sheep
by Louisa Matthiasdottir

The Three Graces
by Tia Peltz

The Neck of a Little Girl
by Helene Schjerfbeck

Man with the Yellow Hat
by Ossip Zadkine

Nannies in the National Garden
by Theophrastos Triantafyllidis

The old woman and the girl
by Rafael Zabaleta