Monday, October 16, 2017

Somehow he never loses his hat

Animation is not the art of drawings that move but the art of movements that are drawn.
~Norman McLaren

Thank you, Matthew, for this terrific hand-drawn video by DoodleChaos, which shows a "line rider" making his way down the music for Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yehoshua November

There's a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, "Why on our hearts, and not in them?" The rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.
~Anne Lamott

When I was deciding what to post for Poetry Friday, I was feeling pretty lousy (a cold). What kept my attention when I was blowing my nose every thirty seconds? These poems by Yehoshua November...

Yehoshua November

After Our Wedding
by Yehoshua Nobember

When you forgot the address of our hotel
in your suitcase,
the driver had to pull over
in front of the restaurant.

Men and women dining beneath the August sun
looked up from their salads
to clap for you,
a young, slender woman
in a wedding dress and tiara,
retrieving a slip of paper
from the trunk of a cab
in the middle of the street.

read the rest here


Upstairs the Eulogy, Downstairs the Rummage Sale
by Yehoshua Nobember

The beloved Yiddish professor
passed away on the same day
as the synagogue’s rummage sale,

and because they could not bear
the coffin up the many steps
that led to the sanctuary,
they left it in the hallway downstairs,

read the rest here


by Yehoshua November

Before the Silent Prayer,
some slip the hood of their prayer shawls
over their heads,
so that even among many worshipers
they are alone with God.

read the rest here


Conjoined Twins
by Yehoshua November

My father was a resident in the hospital
when my young mother gave birth to them. Two bodies
and one heart.
And hearing that the pathologists at that teaching institution
were coming to learn the lessons
science’s rare cases could teach,
my father turned the combination
on his locker and concealed the stillborn baby boys
in a box.

read the rest here


2AM, and the Rabbinical Students Stand in Their Bathrobes
by Yehoshua November

2AM, and the rabbinical students stand in their bathrobes
at the edge of the yeshiva parking lot, watching
the practiced motions of muscular firemen disembarking
from their engine. Soon, it will be determined
the youngest student in the building
pulled the basement alarm

read the rest here


A poetry poster by Yehoshua November: “You Stood Beneath a Streetlight Waving Goodbye.”

Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!

Don't forget to send your mistake poems! (Penicillin, anyone? X-rays?)

Jane Austen

How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!
~Dodie Smith

Do you have a favorite Mr. Darcy or Colonel Brandon? My sixteen-year-old and I disagree about which version has the best Colonel Brandon, but we do agree about Mr. Darcy. Were you wondering when I would finally get around to featuring Jane Austen art? Wonder no more!

Jane Austen sculpture at Winchester Cathedral
photo by Jason Ballard

Sitting with Jane, Basingstoke
photo by Heather Cowper

walk on
by andrea joseph

The Examination of All the Letters Which Jane Had Written to Her
by Isabel Bishop

Dromen van Jane Austen (Dreams of Jane Austen)
by FotoBIB

Jane Austen
by Antony

Chawton Mittens
pattern and photo by The Bees

Jane Austen book plate fabric, from a Mansfield Park illustration
photo by Karen Cox

I love this quote of Mark Twain's because I always wonder, "How many times did he read it? Wouldn't once have sufficed?":

“Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”
~Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We can keep on singing

I remember my choir teacher in high school told me, 'When in doubt, sing loud.' I'm a terrible singer, but I always auditioned for the musicals, and would get cast in them because I really would just put it all out there. That was really good advice, and I think it works for everything, not just acting.
~Judy Greer

For Wellness Wednesday, some choral music and an excerpt from Heather Lende's Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer where Ms. Lende speaks about what singing in a choir means to her:
"The years are adding up -- births and deaths, arrivals and departures, old songs and new. All held together by the strength of not one note, but so many, blending together. We will never be onstage at Carnegie Hall, but lives have been changed for the better by our music and our connection to one another through it. If I weren't in this little choir in the middle of nowhere, I wouldn't have been standing on the stage at that memorial for my good friend who died at sixty-one, singing peace with al my heart into all those tear-streaked faces. I wouldn't have truly felt Emily Dickinson's beautiful words, "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul," and better yet, because I sang about that little bird who sings sweetest in strongest gales, and never, ever, asks a crumb of me, I felt that unexpected surge of contentment.

It may sound corny, but I don't care, because it is true: Hope did perch in my soul that day and I watched it flying around that room as surely as if it were a yellow canary. Some philosophers urge young people to march to their own beat, or dance to their own music. There's a time and place for that, but I sure hope my grandchildren find a choir, and work to sing along with it. We may not be able to control when children throw up or a spouse leaves us or when one of the altos has a stroke between morning worship and the evening church potluck and won't ever be returning for the dress shoes she left by the coatrack when she pulled on her snow boots. We cannot stop a once-vigorous running companion from shrinking inside a hospital gown and disappearing entirely, but we can keep on singing. This is how we give each other a little lift on low notes, and a smile on the high ones, or share the effort in those places where staggered breathing is the only way to make it to the of the day.
With thanks to Ms. Lende for giving me permission to share this excerpt.

It's not the best view, but hey, my kid is performing (in the orchestra, not the chorus), and the choirs sound like champions, my friends!

Want more choral music? Have I got some for you!

The YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus
Choir! Choir! Choir!
Steinberg's Passion Week
Elijah Rock
Le lagrime di San Pietro
Eric Whitacre Singers

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dreams made real

Looking down on empty streets, all she can see
Are the dreams all made solid
Are the dreams all made real
All of the buildings, all of those cars
Were once just a dream
In somebody's head
~Peter Gabriel

Interesting video by Yoke Lore! What if Virtual Reality could give us a "redo" with things we regret?

Enjoyed this cover of Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street performed by Banfi (cool studio!):

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The thing the poet thinks

Heaven deliver us, what's a poet? Something that can't go to bed without making a song about it.
~Dorothy L. Sayers

Glass Jar by Steve Johnson

Poet connections this Poetry Friday. First, a poem by Robert Francis:

by Robert Francis

Words of a poem should be glass
But glass so simple-subtle its shape
Is nothing but the shape of what it holds.

A glass spun for itself is empty,
Brittle, at best Venetian trinket.
Embossed glass hides the poem of its absence.

Words should be looked through, should be windows.
The best word were invisible.
The poem is the thing the poet thinks.

If the impossible were not,
And if the glass, only the glass,
Could be removed, the poem would remain.


Robert Frost was Robert Francis' mentor, which brings us to this excerpt from a poem by Galway Kinnell written for Robert Frost:

from For Robert Frost
by Galway Kinnell

Poet of the country of white houses,
Of clearings going out to the dark wall of woods
Frayed along the skyline, you who nearly foreknew
The next lines of poems you suddenly left off writing,
Who dwelt in access to that which other men
Have burned all their lives to get near, who heard
The high wind, in gusts, seething
From far off, coming through the trees exactly
To this place where it must happen, who spent
Your life on the point of giving yourself away
To the dark trees, the dissolving woods,
Into which you go at last, heart in hand, deep in:

When we think of a man who was cursed
Neither with the all-lovingness of Walt Whitman
Nor with Melville’s anguish to know and to suffer,
And yet cursed . . . A man, what shall I say,
Vain, not fully convinced he was dying, whose calling
Was to set up in the wilderness of his country,
At whatever cost, a man who would be his own man,
We think of you. And from the same doorway
At which you lived, between the house and the woods,
We see your old footprints going away across
The great Republic, Frost, up memorized slopes,
Down hills floating by heart on the bulldozed land.

(read the whole thing here)


Kinnell mentions Whitman in that poem, as does my daughter in her poem For You, which you can read here.


Violet Nesdoly has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Violet!

Ah, yes, I almost forgot -- don't forget to submit to the mistakes anthology for middle schoolers! We could use some more poems about historical blunders (The Tower of Pisa, anyone?), and I'm not sure we have any about fictional flubs. (What's a fictional flub, you wonder? Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe makes a famous mistake...) Updated to add: Got a Tower of Pisa poem!

Nice as pie

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.
~David Mamet

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any kinds of pie that I don't like. I'm sure there's something out there somewhere, but you'd have to put in some effort to find it. Accomplished artisan bakers can make amazingly ornate pies, but even a "regular" pie can be a work of art in the hands of the right photographer.

Tarte aux Pommes Bouquet de Rose
By Meg Zimbeck

Chocolate Tarts (polymer clay)
by Stéphanie Kilgast

Peach Pie from Gold Orchards in Stonewall, Texas
by Diann Bayes

Chocolate ice cream PB pie
by Yesica

Lemon Meringue Pie
by Mary-Katherine Ream

Herringbone Lattice
by Joy

Apricot Strawberry Pancake Pie
by Bill Bumgarner

Blackbird Pie
by Charles A. Federer

Deep apple pie with a leaf crust
by distopiandreamgirl

A final quote:
Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.
~Yogi Berra

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Keeping hydrated

They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.
~Hermann Hesse

Summer smoothie ice cubes by Personal Creations

This Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about keeping hydrated. My older daughter drinks a LOT of water/liquids during the day. She has a condition which requires that she have a continual stream of electrolytes. My son likes plain water just fine and drinks plenty of that, but my younger daughter tends to go all day without having much of anything. Does that happen to you? What are ways to make drinking water more interesting?

The Daily Burn suggests:
Pop a couple blueberries or blackberries into each ice cube tray slot and fill the remainder with plain or flavored seltzer.
Pour and freeze chocolate milk into cubes to cool off (and jazz up!) a plain glass of milk.

Martha Stewart suggests:
Freeze fresh lemonade, limeade, or the fruit nectar of your choice in an ice cube tray.
Cut watermelon into cubes, place on a baking sheet, and freeze.

My Fussy Eater suggests:
Freeze various juices—such as apple, cranberry, and orange juice—in layers. As they melt in your cup, the sunny cubes will add color and flavor to that otherwise unexciting H20.

From 17 Apart:
Fill an ice cube tray with a generous number of mint leaves, add water, and freeze.

From Rachael Ray:
Dissolve one part honey in three parts hot water. Let cool, then pour into a tray. suggests:
Freeze clementine slices and use as ice cubes.
Add a few drops of rose water. (I like rose syrup in water, esp. with a slice of lemon. So good!)

I drink a lot of tea (black, green, white, and herbal), and I also like broth. What about you? What are your favorite ways to keep hydrated?

There are apps you can use to help you keep track of how much water you've drunk (my older daughter's roommate uses Plant Nanny, where you keep a plant "alive" by watering it when you drink).

One last quote:
[Jellyfish] are 97% water or something, so how much are they doing? Just give them another 3% and make them water. It's more useful.
~Karl Pilkington

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are you an arts advocate?

The creative arts are the measure and reflection of our civilization.
~Ann P. Kahn

Americans for the Arts says:

Join the movement to advance the arts and arts education in your community and across the country.

Annual membership is FREE and your online benefits include:

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Sign up now and be entered for a chance to win 1 of 10 $100 gift cards valid in-stores and online at Blick Art Materials and Utrecht Art Supplies when you sign up during the month of October!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Singing your knife

Kind words are benedictions. The are not only instruments of power, but of benevolence and courtesy; blessings both to the speaker and hearer of them.
~Arthur Frederick Saunders

Today's music is on knives from the Renaissance. The notes -- comprising graces and benedictions to be sung before and after a meal -- were transcribed and given to the Royal College of Music, who made the below recordings.

Left & right views of an etched, engraved and gilded steel knife with ivory, brass and silver handle, by an unknown maker, Italy, 1500–50. Victoria and Albert Museum no. 310-1903

From Open Culture:
...Each knife had a different piece of music on each side, and that a set of them together contained different harmony parts in order to turn a roomful of diners into a chorus. One set of blades had the grace on one side, with the inscription, “the blessing of the table. May the three-in-one bless that which we are about to eat.” The other side holds the benediction, to be sung after the dinner: “The saying of grace. We give thanks to you God for your generosity.”
Grace, Version 1
Benediction, Version 1

...We are as unlikely now to encounter singing kitchen knives as we are to run into a horse and rider bearing 100 pounds of finely-wrought wearable steel sculpture. Such strange artifacts seem to speak of a strange people who valued beauty whether carving up the main course or cutting down their enemies.
Grace, Version 2
Benediction, Version 2
One more benediction quote (80 years!):
For the past eighty years I have started each day in the same manner... I go to the piano, and I play preludes and fugues of Bach... It is a sort of benediction on the house.
Pablo Casals

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Gentle lunatic at large

We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Two poems by James Kirkup today.

No Men Are Foreign
by James Kirkup

Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign
Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes
Like ours: the land our brothers walk upon
Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie.
They, too, aware of sun and air and water,
Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter starv’d.
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read
A labour not different from our own.
Remember they have eyes like ours that wake
Or sleep, and strength that can be won
By love. In every land is common life
That all can recognise and understand.
Let us remember, whenever we are told
To hate our brothers, it is ourselves
That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn.
Remember, we who take arms against each other
It is the human earth that we defile.
Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence
Of air that is everywhere our own,
Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange.


The Poet
by James Kirkup

Each instant of his life a task, he never rests,
And works most when he appears to be doing nothing.
The least of it is putting down in words
What usually remains unwritten and unspoken,
And would so often be much better left
Unsaid, for it is really the unspeakable
That he must try to give an ordinary tongue to.

And if, by art and accident,
He utters the unutterable, then
It must appear as natural as breath,
Yet be an inspiration. And he must go,
The lonelier for his unwanted miracle,
His singular way, a gentle lunatic at large
In the societies of cross and reasonable men.


Here's your weekly reminder to submit to the mistakes anthology for middle schoolers!
Also, all you Teachers, Librarians, and Stealthy Do-gooders, you might like to see the Take One posters from this week's Wellness Wednesday post. I made a literary one to go with the others I found.

Writing the World for Kids has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!

A little prickly

He lies like a hedgehog rolled up the wrong way, Tormenting himself with his prickles.
~Thomas Hood

I'll bet you didn't know that what you needed today was hedgehogs... (Does anybody know the story behind the powder flask? Just wondering about standing on a hedgehog!)

Hedgehog in Chiang Mai
photo by Natasha McLenahan

Ceramic hedgehog
by Ignác Bizmayer
photo by Peter Zelizňák

Unknown Artist, Germany c. 1570, antler and steel, carved and engraved
photo by Johnbod

Spring of a Hedgehog
By Mordecai Moreh

Participants in a fairy-tale ball, representing the race of the hedgehog and the hare, Munich, 1862
By Joseph Albert

Amiens, hedgehog in a tower
By Sokoljan

Hedgehog II
photo by Kalle Gustafsson

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Take One

If you be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams - the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
~John Dryden

October is National Emotional Wellness Month. To note it, the PTSA at my daughter's high school is talking about putting up "Take One" or "Take What You Need" posters. They're fun, they're cheerful, they're something a little out-of-the-ordinary. (You can have anything you want on them. I've seen posters that just say, "Have you seen this poster?" and all the little slips at the bottom say, "yes.")

Once they have been printed out, the little sections at the bottom need to be cut apart so people can easily take one. Then the top can be taped to a wall or stapled/push pinned to a bulletin board or any place you'd put a flyer.

Some printables:

Take What You Need: Literary Edition

You Are Amazing
Hope, Kindness
Love, Joy
Kindness Matters
Free Compliments

Lastly, here's Astley:

Monday, September 25, 2017

Air between

If I cannot fly, let me sing.
~Stephen Sondheim

So much emotion in this Music Monday video! YEBBA really sounds like she means it.

For something more upbeat, Maggie Rogers with "Alaska":

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sound and light

Real haiku is the soul of poetry. Anything that is not actually present in one's heart is not haiku.
~Santōka Taneda

Sentry by Chris Burke

Haiku by Polish poet/artist Maria Tomczak today. I'm grateful to Maria for giving me permission to share these with you.


storm in the mountains –
a clap
from every side


cricket chirping
the silence between us
finally broken


moonless sky
a crow separates
from the night


the lingering silence
after diagnosis


chemo center door
she strokes the sunlight
in her wig


winter field
the crows devour
the last light


hand-knitted scarf
the length
of her sleepless night


wind treading
the summer grass


These haiku originally appeared in The Mainichi, Frogpond, and Akitsu Quarterly. They also placed in the Little Haiku Contest, European Quarterly Kukai, and Shiki Monthly Kukai.


The mistakes anthology for middle schoolers is collecting poetry submissions through November 1st.

The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!


Got up this morning and could not find my glasses. Finally had to seek assistance. Kate [Winslet] found them inside a flower arrangement.
~Emma Thompson

Although I wear glasses and so does most of my family, it's taken me a while to getting around to this Art Thursday theme...

The Glasses Apostle
by Conrad von Soest (1403)

by Dara or

Daniel Chodowiecki auf der Jannowitzbrücke
By Adolph von Menzel

good use of eyeglasses
photo by frankieleon

A sad eye
photo by Quinn Dombrowski

by Sharon Brogan

Spec mosaic in Brighton
photo by Chris Read

Inuit snow goggles
Snow blindness is caused by sunlight reflecting off white snow and ice. This painful condition causes temporary loss of vision. The Inuit people in North America wore goggles to shield their eyes from such glare. These goggles are made from pine and rawhide. Slits in the rawhide eye pieces let the wearer see. They are kept in a wooden case decorated with hunting scenes.

Here's what Inuit snow goggles look like being worn.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stars in our eyes

When you're an astronomer, you always have stars in your eyes.
~Anthony T. Hincks

I settled on featuring NASA images for today's Wellness Wednesday because they make me pause and sigh with appreciation. Why do Saturn's rings get me every time? I don't know, but here they are:

The Cassini spacecraft's last looks at Saturn

Hubble's Megamaser Galaxy
Image Credit: NASA

Northern Lights over Canada from the International Space Station
Image Credit: NASA

Glory of the Heavens
Partial solar eclipse, Ross Lake, composite image, Aug. 21, 2017
Image Credit: NASA

Image Credit: NASA

Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Only Dancing

And if your boyfriend suddenly appears,
if your father comes home and finds us here,
You would know we wouldn't need an alibi--
It's only dancing.
~Jeremy Messersmith

Hat tip to Bonnie Boo (again) for this song by Jeremy Messersmith, who also wrote 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

No Time for Poetry

Learning never exhausts the mind.
~Leonardo da Vinci


Today we have a poem I wrote for math-and-poetry lover Tricia during the Summer Poem Swap.

No Time for Poetry
by Tabatha Yeatts

Renaissance man Leonardo daVinci sought no poetry,
overlooked literature, neglected history. "Let no one read me
who is not a mathematician," he said, drawing his
precious geometry closer, chalky slates by his elbow,
wooden mazzocchio perched on his papers,
water-filled polygon hanging in the light.

With compass and pencil, the analytical artist
produced perspective, secured locomotion,
interpreted the universe. Behold, the human form
corresponds to a golden proportion,
abstract perfections, nature's perfect harmony:
the perfect lines in the perfect order!

He escaped the confines of his studio
and conveyed that dimension beyond earth,
fire, water, and air: the fifth essence -- celestial virtue.
Leonardo could taste infinity, see it in his
mind's eye, knots of shapes to tangle and
untangle at will. There was no rest for a seeker
of the Divine in all, no time for poetry.


Today's Little Ditty has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!


Almost all words do have color, and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone's eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her, too.
~Gladys Taber

I've featured various colors before, and today it's pink's turn.

By Jakub Schikaneder

Fashionista sculpture
photo by Romain Bochet

Back to the 50s: Pink Panther
photo by Brian

Bleeding Hearts
photo by Helen ST

The rosebud gorilla
photo by Simon Webster

La Viennoise Irma Brunner
By Édouard Manet

Blackberry necklace
photo by Polosatova

Pink underwater-landscape
by Tobi Firestone

Looks like fun: