Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A scary time of year

Good e-ven-ing. My name is Bob Beetortib, independent, non-partisan candidate for mayor. May I take a few minutes of your life to explain why you should vote for me?

Interesting that national Election Day occurs so soon after Halloween (and it’s been that way since 1845). Maybe it was strategic planning, to play on the public’s state of fear induced by masked children (or adults) roaming the streets demanding treats.

Fear is a strange beast. We need to have enough of it to protect ourselves from danger, yet it’s easy for it to escalate into panic attacks over non-specific or mundane things. Psychological buttons pushed that directly connect to something bad in our past. Of course, the trick is to separate past from present, dig down enough to discover the real fear, then face it, deal with it.

Like the small masked bandits—or scary politicians—knocking at your door: Trick or treat.

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Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.
-Napoleon Hill

Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.
-Mason Cooley

Eat, drink and be scary.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


A sunny, warmer-than-usual Sunday. Our morning spent at the MK Nature Center amid music of birdsong and waterfalls. Marveled at the shimmering colors of fish as they glided between stumps and rocks. A heron sat on the Center rooftop, silently watching the finches and squirrels feed below. Peregrine falcons eyed us curiously from their rehab cage as they warmed themselves in the sun. Two deer, a doe and fawn, nibbled leaves in the underbrush just beyond the herb gardens; disappeared as we crept closer. Two ducks arced in the sky, around, and down, then skimmed across the pond, a water perfect landing.

With few people there this morning, the park became our sanctuary.


Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul.
-Christopher Forrest McDowell

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Scary characters

Not a lot going on at work today. Phone calls of people looking for help (legitimate calls). Suspicious callers with thick foreign accents wanting to "update information of your agency" in their "database" so we can receive more phone calls like these and more reams of junk mail. Told the caller today "our information was already updated" and hung up.

Mainly was working on funding requests; wrestling with how to explain how our program "positively impacts the community" in 50 words or less to fit in the little box on the funder’s online form. At least it’s a word count and not a character count, as in "tell the story of how your program improved a client’s life"—in 150 characters.

(The above paragraph is 55 words, 255 characters without spaces, and 308 characters with spaces.)

So, the wind is blowing, leaves tumbling down the streets, and Halloween characters are appearing in front yards and doorways. This along with political characters popping up disguised as lawn signs for the upcoming election. With spaces or without, now beginning to walk the streets of every neighborhood to "update information of our election." It's all pretty sca-a-a-ary…


If I were invited to a dinner party with my characters, I wouldn't show up.
-Dr. Seuss

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
-Gertrude Stein

Tuesday, October 23, 2007



falling leaves
hide the path
so quietly

~John Bailey

Monday, October 22, 2007


The Salon du Chocolat is featured on Eric Tenin’s Paris Daily Photo blog today. It's everything a chocolate lover could want; a fashion show featuring chocolate designer clothing, Choco Demos (chefs demonstrating outstanding recipes), "tasty" exhibits, the history and culture of chocolate, beauty and health items from cacao and cocoa butter, an art and poetry exhibit to portray the love and passion of gourmet chocolate-eaters, and a job fair for those wanting careers in the "chocolate professions." There’s even a wall of chocolate graffiti. How cool would it be to attend this! And take photos!

And on the subject of photos: The National Gallery of Art is showing "The Art of the American Snapshot," an exhibit made up of over 200 snapshots taken by people like you and me. Can’t hop a jet to D.C.? The NGA also has virtual exhibitions you can view by using Quicktime. One of my favorites is the work of Alexander Calder, who made lyrical, dancing mobiles and sculpture. Some of them bring melodic riffs to mind. I also see that the Museum of Modern Art currently has a Calder exhibit on display.

For those who have a "shoe fetish," the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has an extraordinary exhibit of shoes—women’s and men’s, from ancient times to the present day. (Look under current exhibits, "Walk This Way" and the photos from the exhibit.) You think we wore high platform shoes in the 1970s? Check out the Venetian chopines they were wearing in the early 1800s.


Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.

If the shoe fits, it's too expensive.
~Adrienne Gusoff

The underlying sense of form in my work has been the system of the Universe, or part thereof. For that is a rather large model to work from.
~Alexander Calder

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall prisms

After the rain and the sun
bursts through clouds
a patch of blue
captured within the
orange and yellow
fall prisms
of maple


Words are the leaves of the tree of language, of which, if some fall away, a new succession takes their place.
-French proverb

Man's life is like a drop of dew on a leaf.

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.
-Walt Whitman

Friday, October 19, 2007

Triple action at work


~ To obscure; darken. A lunar eclipse is caused by the moon passing through the earth's shadow; a solar eclipse, by the moon coming between the sun and the observer.

~ To obscure or diminish in importance, fame, or reputation.

~ To surpass; outshine: an outstanding performance that eclipsed the previous record.

~ Overshadow: exceed in importance; outweigh; "This problem overshadows our lives right now."

~ The consequences of an Idaho senator’s "terrible mistakes" that are "triple action and "long-lasting", but don’t "freshen" or "neutralize" (except to provide comic relief):

* * ** * * ** * * ** * * ** * * **

It's only during an eclipse that the Man in the Moon has a place in the sun.

Politicians can do more funny things naturally than I can think of to do purposely.
-Will Rogers

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Music for fall

Dreamed about guitars last night and a room full of people.

Spectacular trees with so many oranges and reds. Today, their colors glowed, iridescent against the stormy sky. Like the beginning of a song…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

With what voice,
And what song would you sing, spider,
In this autumn breeze?

Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.
-Andre Segovia

Monday, October 15, 2007

Where's a shovel?

Some people just keep digging themselves in deeper. And our industrious senator, Larry Craig seems to be determined to do just that. To try and exorcise his "terrible mistake," he has now filed an appeal to overrule the Minnesota judge who refused to overturn his guilty plea in the "bathroom incident." Legal experts say he’ll have "a steep hill to climb" in trying to win this appeal. Seems like the more he digs, the higher the hill becomes…

Speaking of digging, a new species of dinosaur was unearthed in Argentina, one of the largest dinosaurs ever found, at 105 feet tall. Paleontologists believe it was a vegetarian rather than a carnivore. Now, that’s intelligent digging!

And from England: In a poll of comedy fans in Britain, Oscar Wilde was voted as the country’s greatest wit; a man who knew how to give a good "dig"…

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity.

I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.

--Oscar Wilde

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Living in music

In a different frame of mind lately while recovering from being sick; been hearing music in my mind. Melodies, demanding notation, demanding to be heard in their entirety. Been at the piano the last three days, playing them out, penciling in the notes, chords, rhythms. Pulled out the tape recorder to capture what I couldn’t notate while in the flow of the songs.

Went to a music store yesterday to buy guitar strings. This store specializes in pianos; has Steinway, Kawai, Boston, Pearl River, Essex. A huge showroom filled with uprights and grands. I played nearly every piano in that showroom; checking out the feel of the keys, the tone and timbre of each one. Played bits of various songs and arrangements I’ve been doing for the past few years. Amazing to hear the room ringing with my music, especially from the grand pianos.

While in Ketchum, we went to an exhibit at the local arts center which featured maps. One piece was about 9 feet tall, built as a globe. Walk inside and you see maps covering the inner walls. If you stand directly at center and speak, something unusual and wonderful happens acoustically. As C talked with one of the staff, I went back inside the globe, stood in the center, and softly sang, just to hear the way different tones sounded, reverberated. This particular artwork was actually created as an exploration "on the relationship between cartography and war," according to the brochure. But for me, it was an exploration in sound.

And while talking with a friend today, she mentioned a book, "This is Your Brain on Music," which explores how the brain reacts when hearing music; what parts of the brain light up when listening, when composing, when performing; how it reacts to tonal dissonance and resonance, and more.

Pent-up creativity can cause illness, says C. Perhaps it’s like a flood-high river pounding against an earthen dam. Sooner or later, the river will explode through, and in the process, create a new channel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Without music, life would be a mistake.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
~Maya Angelou

i live in music
is this where you live?
i live here in music
i live on c# street
my friend lives on b-flat avenue
do you live here in music
~ Ntozake Shange

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mosaic of them all

October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter.
~Nova Bair

He is outside of everything, and alien everywhere. He is an aesthetic solitary. His beautiful, light imagination is the wing that on the autumn evening just brushes the dusky window.
~Henry James

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
~Stanley Horowitz

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vacation and celebration

Snowfall in the mountains as we arrived in Ketchum; later it cleared and the air was crisp and fresh.

Fine art, excellent food, bookstores to browse in and lose track of time. Walked the halls of the Sun Valley Lodge, eyeing all the photos of celebrities who have visited over the years. Mornings on the greenbelt alongside the Big Wood River, shaded by leaves of golden and orange.

The trip, too short. But the memories, lasting, of a wonderful anniversary celebration.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Politics and art

Well, the bet-makers were right. Even though Minnesota Judge Porter denied Larry Craig’s motion to overturn his guilty plea, Larry has "vowed" to continue serving his term in D.C. Now Larry says he will not run again in 2009. Any bets on that one?

Then, I visited the website of the Times-Picayune to see what was happening in the Crescent City. What do they have as a leading headline? That a St. Bernard Parish Councilman, Joey DiFatta, was detained by police twice for the same bathroom behavior as Larry! Only DiFatta’s preference was shopping mall bathrooms. At least DiFatta is showing a little common sense; he’s dropping his bid for State Senate, citing "health reasons".

Since we’re already in the potty tonight, here’s another news item, about an art teacher in Virginia who was fired because he made "butt paintings" during his off-work time. (He is now suing the school district). Apparently, he applies paint to his "cheeks" and other body parts, then "prints" the images on canvas to create paintings of flowers, birds, and other homey images. He was fired after a video was posted on YouTube showing him demonstrating his painting technique (he did have enough sense to wear a mask and a turban to conceal his ID). He sells the paintings through a personal website. I checked out his site and the paintings. Personally, I think they should be donated to MOBA (see the link below).


Neither give cherries to pigs nor advice to a fool.
-Irish proverb

Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television.
-Woody Allen

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blazing thru the news

-Seems that a chili sauce being cooked at a Thai restaurant in London was so spicy that the Fire Brigade’s Chemical Response Team was sent out. Apparently, the smell burned the throats of passers-by and they called the cops. Roads were closed off, other buildings sealed off, then the response team crashed through the door of the restaurant, only to find extra hot chilis in a deep fryer and the makings for a chili sauce. Fortunately, no one was arrested.

-And in the countryside of Northern England: A mysterious sculptor is leaving carved stone heads on people’s doorsteps during the night. Attached to the heads is a card with a riddle: "Twinkle twinkle like a star, does love blaze less from afar?" with the word "paradox" written around the points of a star. So far, there are no suspects.

-Another solar system? Another earth? Using a special telescope, astronomers have spotted a dust cloud swirling around a young star. They speculate that within the dust cloud, planets are clumping together—much like our solar system was formed eons ago.

-People in Iowa and Minnesota reported seeing a bright, flaming object zipping through the sky this afternoon. Scientists suspect it may have been a meteor.

-Speaking of flaming objects: We’re not rid of Larry Craig yet. His self-imposed deadline for resignation has passed—and he’s still in D.C. If the Minnesota judge refuses to throw out his guilty plea, will he then resign? Some bet-makers say no, that the legal wrangling he would embark upon "to clear his name" would take him right up to January 2009—the end of his term. How convenient…


Think how many blameless lives are brightened by the blazing indiscretions of other people.
~Pope Paul VI

The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.
~Felix Adler

Monday, October 01, 2007

Language and oscillation

Understanding time and prices in a different language is a real challenge. I sit and listen repeatedly to the recorded voices stating how many Euros something is, what time el tren leaves and arrives, or the hours of el museo, and try to type in the correct numbers. The first time through the test, I failed nearly all the questions; had to try again. (When I took beginning French, I had the same problem.)

Maybe it’s because of the order of the words, or the way times and prices are thought about in Spanish (and in French) as opposed to English; nueve euros sesenta y ocho (nine euros sixty and eight, 9.68) or las diez menos cuarto (ten minus a quarter hour, 9:45). If I was in Madrid (or Paris), I’d probably miss el tren, show up at el museo at the wrong time, get snookered into paying too much for something. I’d be doing lots of hand motions, possibly writing words and drawing little pictures on paper. Providing comic relief for the locals.

But having a good time, having an adventure. Spice, exciting, something "to write home about." One I wish I’d had available when I was in college. Maybe one of these days it’ll be an adventure we can take.

Learning a different language; oscillation?


Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas.
-Henry Louis Mencken

Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.
-Dave Barry