Tuesday, October 31, 2006

how to be a hobo (on halloween)

Whine as only a fifth grader can about not having figured out your halloween costume yet (I don’t wanna be a witch again!) until you push your father to the edge and he says: Come here.

Follow him to the master bedroom where he rummages around in his closet and drawers and pulls out:

  • A funky old flannel shirt (Put this on.)

  • A bunch of old t-shirts (which he promptly stuffs into the funky old flannel shirt and plumps just right so that it looks like you have a beer belly)

  • A funky old flannel jacket (‘cause this is the Olympic Peninsula and it’s cold and wet out there, trick-or-treaters)

Follow him into your brother’s bedroom where he scores an old railroad conductor’s hat, then turns and twists your long hair into a bun and stuffs it all up inside.

Follow him into the kitchen where he whips out a can of Crisco and a tin of Folger’s coffee and slops on grease and coffee grounds until your 10 year old face has a five o’clock shadow.

Admire your whiskers approvingly in the bathroom mirror while he disappears outside and then returns with a stick that he’s whittled down quick and outfitted with one last bundled up funky old t-shirt.

Best costume ever.
Best Dad in the whole wide world.

Update: The above pic made John Hodgman's blog -- see just a little bit starstruck for the full story.


Heard Sam Gard speak on Saturday at the University of Chicago Humanities Weekend on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Midway Gardens. Sam’s an old sweetheart, a master tradesman and a brilliant resource on all things having to do with Chicago architecture. I heard him speak last year at the same event on early modernist Hugh Garden, and he was tremendously insightful and informative.

Gard was a little off his game this last weekend – spent a bit too much time crushing on Alfonso Iannellii’s contribution to the project (in summation: Iannellii designed a whole lot of gorgeous Sprites for Midway Gardens – one of which you can see in the Chicago Art Institute – they were all masterful, lovely anthropomorphizations of architectural columns. Sweet. Now let’s move on, Sam – ‘cause we’ve been looping on this for two hours).

But Gard did mention Wright’s theory of interpenetration, which I’m sure is old hat for true students of architecture but hit this dilettante like a ton of bricks – lovely long low-lying prairie-style bricks, of course, but a ton of bricks nonetheless – because it revealed so much about Wright’s architecture, and also gave me a gorgeous metaphor for the thing I’ve been trying to put my finger on for a while.

Interpenetration refers to the intersection of two forms in space – creating, in their meeting, a third space – and harmonizing the whole.


Like that thing that happens when you hang out with a dear friend – where sympathy is a given and not a chore -- and you carve out a new place in space and time that could not have happened if you hadn’t encountered each other just then and consented to the interpenetration of minds and time and concerns.

A new construction dependent upon the elective proximity of its supporting forms.


Monday, October 30, 2006


Originally uploaded by diastema.
A strange and wonderful abecedarium: semi-edible by diastema.

new babel

Either they will fail, or they will break the Internet.

Web daddy Vinton Cerf, who is also the chariman of Icann, commenting at the Internet Governance Forum near Athens, on the factions who are unhappy with the progress of the work performed to date by the Internet Engineering Task Force, which is trying to internationalize the accepted character set for Internet addresses. As quoted in today's New York Times.

The article continues:

At present, 37 characters can be used for Internet addresses; Icann is gradually adopting a plan that would expand that set to tens of thousands of characters from all of the world’s languages. Already, several Asian character sets have been approved, but Icann has not yet signed off on a system for using international symbols for the part of the Internet address that represents the top-level domain, such as .com or .net or .jp.

The Internet Engineering Task Force as well as an independent group of private-sector experts are involved in the process. “It is turning out to be quite difficult to integrate this very large character set in a way that is safe and stable and will work with many applications for many decades to come — to future-proof it,” Mr. Cerf said.

all grown up

When you grow up, you have to do certain things. The Internet has matured to a place where traditional marketers — companies that have been spending much more money on television and print — are asking the questions that they would ask for the print side. I see that to be very positive because it does legitimize the Internet.

Mainak Mazumdar, NetRatings’ vice president of measurement science and product marketing, commenting in this morning's New York Times on an announcement by Kimberly-Clark, Colgate-Palmolive and Ford Motor Company that they will be auditing the online ad and viewer counts provided by their marketing partners (e.g. Google) beginning in 2007.

Does this mean we get to stay up later? Cool.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

sunrise to sunset

Q. Is one long sunny late fall day stretched out between sunrise and sunset time enough to catch up with an old friend after 20 years?

A. No, but it's a good start.

Not a lot of pics -- mostly busy catching up -- and walking over every square inch of the Loop and Museum Campus. But there was consensus that it was a good day in Chicago »

Saturday, October 28, 2006

october shadows

Shadows on my dining room wall. Framed photograph is Moon, Eureka Valley, by Aric Mayer.

This is what Saturday looked like »

fall fashion

What the well dressed ratslayer is wearing.

Friday, October 27, 2006

ginger lemon tea

Originally uploaded by JimReeves.
• one big nub of ginger root
• one whole lemon (meyer is best)
• hot water
• honey

skin the ginger root with the edge of a spoon.

grate coursely.

toss into one of those plunger pots.

squeeze the lemon -- if it's organic toss the whole thing in.

add hot water and steep.


pour off a cup and toss in a dollop of honey.

drink down and pray that it will banish the demons who have stolen your voice and replaced it with a horrible raspy cough.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

on wine

Referring to Roman times:
Until cork was discovered, seventeen hundred years later, a film of olive oil over the top of a wine jar was the only means they had of preventing the wine from turning sour.

From Betty Watson's «Cooks, Gluttons and Gourmets: A History of Cookery» published in 1962 and now, I think, out of print. (Fun read if you like food.)

Another useless factoid: In ancient Greece, the archer Orion was credited for inventing white wine sauce.

african carvings from the boer war

a found poem

My grandfather was born in 1888
he didn't have a lifestyle: he had a life

He had a hat and a car and a wife
and two sons and a housekeeper and a maid
and a nanny for the children
and the housekeeper had a dog
and the dog had a canker and lived in a kennel

My grandfather read Charles Dickens mostly
Sometimes they went on holiday

His house was furnished with furniture
Brought back from exotic places
African carvings from the Boer [War]

Nobody had a lifestyle then
(there was nobody to tell them to)
they were too busy having lives
They were grown-ups
They went about their business

I suspect that my grandfather's life was real
in a sense that my father's life
hasn't quite been

and my life is not at all

Found in Michael Bywater's piece «We're all big babies» which appeared recently in the Telegraph, and was originally published in Granta.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

a liquid intimacy

From the first time I rode in a Pullman with an aunt who was taking me who knows where -- to a ball game maybe, or the circus -- I've felt a liquid intimacy with trains and streetcars.

W.S. Di Piero in the October 2006 issue of Poetry

Photo: Boxcars enroute to Galena, a compilation of cameraphone shots

what do you make?

Like Van Gogh's Bedroom of Arles, William Utermohlen's self-portraits, painted over many years as his Alzheimer's progressed, say simply: Here I am. This is what I see.

They're devastating and beautiful. And an important reminder that in every creative act there is an act of generousity -- which isn't necessarily a remedy, but is really all we have.

Here's a link to the New York Times story that just ran -- which is accompanied by a slideshow of Utermohlen's self-portraits »

And here's a link to a BBC piece back in 2001 »

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

lovely laguardia

lovely laguardia
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
I just ate a tuna sandwich baked in parchment -- that's how desperately hungry I was.

I just want to go home.

Monday, October 23, 2006

lost on the long island parkway

lost on the long island parkway
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
It's just become apparent that my cabbie is lost (we just stopped at a gas station for directions). Anyone know the way to Uniondale?

on the road again

on the road again
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
dinner at o'hare

hundred different sandwich shops

all the same sandwich

range creek

gallery of the spirits
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Years ago, Waldo [Wilcox] found an eroding Fremont skeleton sticking skull-first out of the earth. To protect it, he picked up a nearby metate – or “corn grinder,” as he calls the stone basin the ancients used to pulverize their maize – and laid it over the skull.

Four years ago, Waldo directed a pair of archaeology students to the site. They came back from the all-day hike exhausted but exhilarated. “They told me, ‘We’ve discovered that the Fremont buried their dead with corn grinders covering their heads,’” Waldo recounted. “I said, yep, and I bet I can tell you right where that was, too.’”

From « Guardian of a Ghost World» by David Roberts in the August 2006 issue of National Geographic which recounts how rancher Waldo Wilcox protected Fremont artifacts and rock art on his massive Utah ranch for over fifty years – without letting on to anyone that they were there. His father protected them before that.

Wilcox recently sold his ranch, Range Creek, to the Trust for Public Lands (his wife had had enough, and wanted to move closer to civilization) – a decision that has left archaeologists overwhelmed and excited by one of the richest repositories of Fremont artifacts in North America – but which, perhaps, he regrets, concerned that the Trust won’t look after the land the way his family did all those years.

David Roberts writes:
One May evening, Waldo and I sat on the lawn in front of the cinder-block house. Far above us to the north, a butte where Waldo had discovered a ruin caught the orange glow of sunset. The old man seemed in a pensive mood.

“What does it fell like to come back?” I asked.

Waldo paused. “It hurts,” he finally said. “I should’ve had my ass kicked for sellin’ it. There’s only one Range Creek in the world, and I let it slip through my fingers.”

But then a certain gleam lit his gaze. “There’s one other place I know of with as much Indian stuff in it as you got here,” he said. “And if they ruin Range Creek, that secret’s going’ with me to the grave.”

Range Creek is remarkable not only because there is an abundance of artifacts, but because Wilcox and his family left just about everything – with the exception of a few arrowheads – in situ.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

no words

no words
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
how to explain this?
forest ablaze with decay
just three weeks to live

autumn is upon us

autumn is upon us
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
trees drop their bright leaves
like girls in a burlesque show
bare limbs glorious

Saturday, October 21, 2006

the ride home

Skirting the Mississippi. Somewhere near Galena, IL.

as far as I have gone

form follows function

You either see nothing
In which case you are satisfied


Once you go beneath the mere surface
You see so much that you are astonished
And then you see a little further and you become depressed
A little further and you are bewildered
A little further and you are frightened
A little further and you become passionately enamoured
A little further and you become morbid
After that I don’t know what happens – it’s as far as I have gone.

From «Chapter XXVI: The Awakening» of Louis Sullivan's Kindergarten Chats, written in 1918.

The copy I’m reading is from 1947 – published as part of Documents of Modern Art series that was designed by [insert weak knees here] Paul Rand. (Photos coming soon. You’ve gotta see these spreads.) Found it online at Abe Books after every single presenter mentioned the title at the Louis Sullivan Symposium last weekend. First I’d heard of it.

Sullivan put together the Kindergarten Chats when he was on the steady downward alcohol soaked slide that would eventually end his days (in 1924), and some of that comes through in these writings.

There’s a strangeness, a sadness, a bit of that wise old man afraid no one is listening sensibility (read: just a teeny bit doddering).

I’ve only just started to dip in – some passages are absolutely bizarre, others brilliant – this one above seemed so plaintive and strange – all the more so because I know exactly how he feels.

where havisham hangs

Shamelessly aping Mikkel the Master's technique for stacking images (and doing it rather poorly by comparison, actually).

Galena, IL

jerome liebling

All meaning accrues in duration — sometimes you have to just slow down and look.

Documentarian Ken Burns on what he learned from photographer and mentor Jerome Liebling, who received a tribute from the Museum of Film and Television Thursday night. Burns was quoted in Randy Kennedy’s piece in the NYT: « The Still-Life Mentor to a Filmmaking Generation »

Kennedy continues:
Though age has finally begun to slow [Liebling], he said, he is still hard at work with a camera and has in fact just returned to printing a series of pictures he first began in 1979 in an apple orchard near his house.

“I guess that’s a long time to be working on an apple orchard, isn’t it?” he said. “But the apples still keep growing each year.”

[Photo credit: Jerome Liebling]


I was born in transit
Seattle to New York to Seattle again
LA in between
Then the coastal excursion
Lifted from my bed in a dead sleep
By the mother who disappeared
The week before with the laundry
And returned in the night

We drove from Seattle to Sonoma
Without telling my father goodbye

The moon raced alongside

On a scratchy phone line he told me he loved me
When the line went cold I sang his lullaby
Papa gonna buy you a diamond ring
And bragged of my daddy to the neighbor girls
Who looked at me sideways, strangely and said
You don’t have a daddy

Reunion came at a cost
The father restored
The mother lost

That was Denver
I was 5

And the transit that would fire across far networks
As I aged into my own peregrinations
Had just begun

I have traveled to find friends, family and comfort
The rich good food of interest and experience
In found and forgotten corners

But it occured to me this morning
As I poured the coffee that anchors me
That is always bitter & good
That maybe the dull ache that lives constant
In this cavity, spooning my heart
Is knowing there is no one place to return to
There is no one place to gather all at once
To call my friends close
To hear their laughter fill the room

Friday, October 20, 2006

extensive mildew on the face of a recluse

David Sedaris reads at the Paramount Theater in Aurora, IL

p.s. He recorded a nice piece called Monster Mash for This American Life as the opener -- it should show up on their Halloween show.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The usual NPR crowd -- guy in front of us in the wine line was telling us all about his girlfriend who works for WBEZ. (shhh - curtain.)

nothing like the sun

All that is left of a person is their name.

Olivia Mostacilla of Columbia, quoted in the 5 October issue of the London Review of Books.

In the LRB Diary piece Michael Taussig goes on to say: “She wasn’t referring to the paramilitary massacres, which have stopped in the past few months because of the ongoing ‘demobilizations’ of the paras organized by President Uribe’s government, but to the craze for plastic surgery, especially the variety known as lipo-escultura or ‘fat sculpture.’”

I’ll spare you the accounts of the back room cut-rate surgeries: the enlarged eyes that won’t close, the infected breast enlargements that result in double mastectomies, the nose job that resulted in breathing like a cat. “You know how a cat breathes? You can hear her breathing several feet away.”

And just for good measure:

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go:
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

~ That would be our boy Willy S.

p.s. I have more to say on the subject of female beauty, but right now I've gotta get prettied up for work, so it will have to be later.

[Video credit: Ad spot for Dove Evolution]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

hobo matters

hobo matters
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Hobos did not leave many records. Those who were not illiterate were intensely superstitious and especially distrustful of ink… And in the makeshift railyard camps called ‘jungles,’ it was considered a virtue if you could legitimately and purposefully forget anything that had happened to you a week, a day, an hour before.

From An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by Me,John Hodgman, Professional Writer, in The Areas of My Expertise, Which Include: Matters Historical, Matters Literary, Matters Cryptozoological, Hobo Matters, Food, Drink, Cheese (a Kind of Food), Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels, Haircuts, Utopia, What Will Happen in the Future, and Most Other Subjects

pardon my dust

Apologies to the folks who pick up detritus via bloglines or other RSS aggregators: I've been tagging, so you're gonna get a lot of stuff you've seen before.

As a result of all this activity, there's a new index in the right hand nav. It's not a groovy tag cloud, but it does provide access to some of the topics that seem to come up here more frequently than not.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

bovine influences

"Name another city that was almost wiped out by a cow. G'head -- try!"

~ Chicago radio spot

marvelous night for a moondance

Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Or: What I did with my San Francisco layover

B1-66er has posted a great write up of the Roger Waters show at Shoreline in Mountain View that he was kind enough to let me tag along to while I was in town last week on business.

Listening to music with B1 is like drinking wine with a great sommelier -- it's well worth the read »

i like an arch

Originally uploaded by ashish_mohite.
To express is to drive. And when you want to give something presence, you have to consult nature. And there is where Design comes in.

And if you think of Brick, for instance, and you say to Brick, "What do you want Brick?" And Brick says to you "I like an Arch." And if you say to Brick "Look, arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lentil over you. What do you think of that?"


Brick says: "... I like an Arch."

~ Louis Kahn

Many thanks to Leslie for coupletiz-ing and posting the Kahn quote to Choka-On-It -- one of the most brilliant expressions of Buddha nature on the Internet (that only lacks for on-site search).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

load bearing walls

Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Why I love Flickr: Reason #322

Because frankly, this wouldn't happen if my random photographic images weren't residing in a highly indexed funky folksonomized searchable database that is accessed by hundreds of thousands of people:

Hi, I am working with Malcolm Holzman at Holzman Moss Architecture on his upcoming book on building materials. In one chapter he addresses load bearing walls. He is interested in using an image of the Monadnock building. I have located your excellent photograph on [Flickr] and assume that you are the copyright holder.

Would it be at all possible to discuss what might be involved to use such an image for our publication? The use of such an image would be greatly appreciated and we would use your guidelines for credit, etc.

And, yes, by now she knows that all you have to say is "your excellent photograph" and you can have anything you want from me...

what I learned tonight.

nosh before the lecture
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
You can call an Eskimo an Inuit, but please don't call an Inuit an Eskimo.

Just don't.

Field Museum, Chicago


Originally uploaded by deborah lattimore.
The largest, well-connected part is the outer mantle of the jellyfish, the little nucleus is the brain, and the tendrils hanging down are the least connected features that have to send their messages to the nucleus before being fed out.

Scott Kirkpatrick, EVERGROW scientific coordinator, describing the topology of the internet as mapped by the EVERGROW project team, in Monster jellyfish? Mapping the global Internet, Information Society Technologies

[Photo credit: Deborah Lattimore]

Monday, October 16, 2006

sexy geek

For the record, I fell for John Hodgman when he did his Superpowers piece on This American Life. (I have linked evidence – see Choka couplet: "which superpower for you / unseen or flying?" from – oh hell, I don’t know when, because there ARE NO DATE STAMPS OR LINE NUMBERS ON THE CHOKA, goddammit) – but have you noticed? The sexy girls have found him now.

Maybe it was the Mac ad, or maybe it was all of his Daily Show contributions. Whatever the reason, Violet Blue went out of her way to attend his recent book reading at Cody Books, and the Suicide Girls just posted a great interview with Hodgman, by Daniel Robert Epstein.

No moral to this story. Just cheering on the English Major.

From the interview with Epstein:
I was trained in literary theory at Yale University, which was a period of high post-modernism that suggested that all texts and no texts were reliable. They were all a function of a point of view. Various accumulated cultural pressures, prejudices. Personally I believe there is such a thing as a true fact and I think that we have to rely on that in order to live right as a society. I don’t think anyone could have said it better than [Stephen] Colbert in identifying what is a pretty devious scourge of truthiness. This idea that something sounds or feels right because it has some ring of plausibility to it or it’s something that we want to believe and therefore it takes on the gravity of truth even though it is not true. I think that’s awful but at the same time I profit from it.

On the other hand there is something about a story that is able to convey truth that bare facts cannot bring to life. Those kinds of stories include tall tales and jokes and lies. One of the first things that came to mind when I was thinking about the book was “Truth is stranger than fiction but never as strange as lies.” I think that anyone who has been lied to knows that is true.

The elaborate and baroque storytelling that goes into telling a lie is just one of the strangest things to witness and it is disturbing, weird and strange. Lies are really just very compelling stories where the teller is really more invested than usual in getting you on their side. If you look around us, we see a lot of lies today that are all stranger than truth and then to a different degree those lies reveal, perhaps inadvertently, a different kind of truth.

hot bot on bot action

I {heart} robots
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
I learned the power of the 'bot in kindergarten, when I took my favorite toy -- a cool robot that stood about 16 inches high -- to class for show and tell. The boys lined up to take turns looking at it, playing with it, adoring it.

I'm talking lined up around the block, girls.

Never before or since have I commanded so much attention from the boy half of our species. It was a glorious golden moment.

In gratitude and longing for those lost days, I have loved me some robots ever since.

There's a new blog on the block: Suicide Bots »

(Via Boing Boing)

missing sontag

I don’t want any make-up on her. I don’t want any of that crap.

Annie Leibowitz to the undertakers who were dressing Susan Sontag’s body for burial. As reported in the Guardian piece, My Time with Susan, on October 7.

Good god – have I been sleeping under a rock? To learn today that two of my favorite women in the world – Susan Sontag and Annie Leibowitz – were partners in the later years of Sontag’s life and I missed the whole thing… Goddammit.

But I’m so glad they were. It makes such perfect sense: It’s like hearing about two friends you’ve known forever -- loved dearly, each for their own gorgeous talents -- who found each other somehow. Perfect fit.

Leibowitz has published a book of photographs of Sontag’s last days. The Guardian published a beautiful piece a little over a week back about the book, and about their life together.

The photographs will soon be on display as part of a larger Leibowitz exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. (Unfortunately you just missed a wonderful special exhibition framed around Sontag’s On Photography that was hanging at the Met back in September.)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

richard nickel: chicago's cassandra

Half a dozen years ago, just as I was getting ready to make the move to Chicago, I saw the Lookingglass Theater production of They All Fall Down -- which told the story of Richard Nickel, the photographer turned salvager who waged a losing campaign against the wrecking ball in an effort to save the Chicago buildings of Adler and Sullivan and then, as time went by, tried to save all the historic architecture of Chicago that he could.

Louis Sullivan was Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor and employer – FLW called him Leibermeister – and he was arguably one of the first architects to forge a distinctly organic American style of architecture.

The Lookingglass production portrayed Nickel as something of a geek and a freak – you feel pity for the poor guy as he wages his campaign with his camera hanging perpetually round his neck -- but he was so awkward that you (that I) never entirely sympathized with his plight. And it certainly never became my problem.

City Files Press has published a book that just changed my idea about who Nickel was and what he did. I picked it up today at the Chicago History Museum after the Sullivan Symposium wrapped up, without realizing that it’s hot off the presses – the Chicago Tribune is running a portfolio of some of the shots in the book this weekend in their Sunday Magazine – and popped it open tonight to see what it had going on.

It’s a simple collection of Richard Nickels' photographs – many of which have never been printed before – peppered with brief excerpts from his writings and letters. He covers two thirds of the trinity that concerned his friend and mentor, Harry Callahan -- limiting himself to People and Buildings (Nature appears in Nickel’s work only in the detailed terracotta of Sullivan’s facades, or the imminent encroachment of a weedy lot) – but his work introduces pathos in a way that Callahan’s does not – it’s a powerful ache that something is not right – that everything must be turned on its head if things are going to turn out okay – but that turning never happens. One by one we watch, through Nickle’s eyes, the glorious structures erected by Adler and Sullivan – and other Chicago landmarks -- demolished to make way for parking garages and featureless office buildings.

The passage of pages in Richard Nickel’s Chicago: Photographs of a Lost City has the same chilling effect that creeps up when Cassandra starts tugging at our sleeve – that poor gal who warned the lugheads of the Iliad that their actions would lead to terrible consequences, knowing of course that no one – absolutely no one – was listening.

But still she was compelled to prophesize. And so was Richard Nickel.

Nickel fell in love near the end of his life. He promised his sweetie he’d pull back on being such a pitbull on the conservation issues. He bought a building of his own and started renovations – something he could save. “I should have owned a building several years ago,” he said. “I enjoy all the steps I am going through, but I worry if I will ever make it.”

He was right to worry. In 1972 he made a salvage trip to Adler and Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange, which was then under demolition. He had photographed it on previous trips – photographs that would be used to reconstruct the trading floor at the Art Institute of Chicago.

It was late, he was alone, and no one’s entirely sure what happened next. All that is known is that he was buried so badly in the rubble it took 28 days for construction workers to recover his body.

I knew that going in, of course, but I didn’t know how deeply I’d be moved by Nickel's images. Not only of the buildings, but also of the kids on the South Side playing under Sullivan’s arches, and of the self-portraits that showed not a freak and not a geek – but a man who cared deeply about what he was trying to save. And who worked like hell to make someone else care too.

The book hit me the way some movies do when they strike something deep and sleeping (Wim Wenders Paris, Texas affected me this way) – I was relatively still as I paged my way through the 200 some pages, and then, when the last page was turned, I closed the cover and had myself a good cry.

The problem with landmarks – the basic problem – is that material things are short-lived, easily replaceable in the USA. ~ Richard Nickel

I will follow you to the ends of the earth

isn't he dreamy?
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Because when the reporter asked him if he believed in God he quoted Borges, for chrisssakes:
I offer you that kernel of myself that I have saved, somehow -- the central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with dreams and is untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.

That, and he's not afraid to admit he inhaled.

Mr. Senator: I'm yours.

p.s. I should probably add that I've heard him speak on policy issues and he's got me there too.

From the brand spanking new Men's Vogue, September/October 2006 issue. And yes, as a matter of fact I *did* buy it because Barack Obama was on the cover.

pure power

This is what I scribbled down today at the Chicago History Museum's Louis Sullivan Symposium -- I'm confident, however, that it's been brutally paraphrased, and I'm concerned that I may even have made some parts up. I haven't been able to cross-reference it anywhere, but I like it enough that I'm going to throw it out here anyway. What the hell.

Genius is the power to see, hear, and feel life.

~ Louis Sullivan (maybe)

p.s. It's Louis's 150th Birthday.

spanish red

Open letter to the bottle blonde in the off-the-shoulder fuzzy sweater at last night’s Spanish wine tasting: Hon, if the wine is as pink as your sweater, you REALLY don’t need to ask if it’s going to be “too dry.” Because it won't be. Trust me on this one.

Here’s the crib sheet I came away with – not a bad one in the bunch – and sorry, no tasting notes of my own – although I tried to link to folks with notes. And if you're wondering if you'd like what I like it might help to know that I like my wine like I like my humor -- dry, complex, a little bit earthy and, oh yeah -- spicey.

Or maybe that's how I like my ###[1].

Either way, it’s about character, baby. And it’s gotta be red.

Finca Antigua La Mancha Crianza
Martín Berdugo Barrica Ribera Del Duero
Bodegas Martinez Bujanda, Conde de Valdemar Crianza
Castillo de Fuendejalon, Crianza
Coto de Hayas Tempranillo/Cabernet
Coto de Hayas Riserva
Terrasola Syrah/Garnacha/Temperanillo, Penedes

[1] shhhhhhhh -- google's listening.

Friday, October 13, 2006

what to view, what to view?

So much video, so little time.

Tonight the choice is yours -- what will it be -- precious sweet pandas? (via shiny shiny.)

Or John Hodgman on -- well -- all kinds of crazy stuff » (via Violet Blue)

thank you, mr. sugimoto

One New York night in 1980, during another of my internal question-and-answer sessions, I asked myself, "Can someone today view a scene just as primitive man might have?" The images that came to mind were of Mount Fuji and the Nachi Waterfall in ages past. A hundred thousand or a million years ago would Mount Fuji have looked so very different than it does today?

I pictured two great mountains; one, today's Mount Fuji, and the other, Mount Hakone in the days before its summit collapsed, creating the Ashinoko crater lake. When hiking up from the foothills of Hakone, one would see a second freestanding peak as tall as Mount Fuji. Two rivals in height—what a magnificent sight that must have been!

Unfortunately, the topography has changed. Although the land is forever changing its form, the sea, I thought, is immutable. Thus began my travels back through time to the ancient seas of the world.

~ Hiroshi Sugimoto

If you’ve never gotten lost in a Hiroshi Sugimoto seascape, you should probably go do that now (keep clicking – it’s worth every page load) »


"Blogs totally have buddha nature."

via MGL at (...). Sorry -- no link -- use the blogroll to get there -- I'm posting via email. (Worth the trouble -- links to a great video that lays it all out.)

good vibrations

Turns out the hippies were right about this one too:
A widely dispersed class of brain cells that operate like neural WIFI, mirror neurons track the emotional flow, movement and even intentions of the person we are with, and replicate this sensed state in our own brain by stirring in our brain the same areas active in the other person.

Mirror neurons offer a neural mechanism that explains emotional contagion, the tendency of one person to catch the feelings of another, particularly if strongly expressed.

This brain-to-brain link may also account for feelings of rapport, which research finds depend in part on extremely rapid synchronization of people’s posture, vocal pacing and movements as they interact. In short, these brain cells seem to allow the interpersonal orchestration of shifts in physiology.

Reviewing decades of such data, Lisa M. Diamond and Lisa G. Aspinwall, psychologists at the University of Utah, offer the infelicitous term “a mutually regulating psychobiological unit” to describe the merging of two discrete physiologies into a connected unit.

To the degree that this occurs, [the doctors] argue, emotional closeness allows the biology of one person to influence that of the other.
From «Friends for Life: An Emerging Biology of Emotional Healing» in Tuesday’s New York Times.

looking back

Mountain View, CA

Thursday, October 12, 2006

more tornado

a found poem

death is more
than hurricane




with capricious

Found in Peter Applebome's piece « 3rd Iraq Death Has One Town Shaken to Core » in yesterday's New York Times.

use as directed

use as directed
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
In-N-Out, animal style. Best after Midnight.

first snow

first snow
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
First snow -- here we go...

or does it explode

"raisin" prompt script
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The opinion of a woman who has slept only three hours after being up for 24 before boarding a very long flight back to Chicago from San Francisco, probably can’t be trusted to comment on a show that she drove straight to from O’Hare (well, stopped for dinner first) so as to honor plans and tickets shared with a friend long before the SF trip came up.

But if you want to know what I think about The Court’s production of Raisin anyway?

One hundred percent worth the bargain ticket price of $36 to sit three rows back to see the musical adaptation of Raisin in the Sun in the heart of the very same neighborhood (on the University of Chicago campus) that tried to prevent Lorraine Hansberry’s family from moving into the house they had purchased there in the 50s (which led to lawsuits and victories and an extraordinary play from a undiscovered playwright).

Well worth it to sit there and be washed over by a fine, jazzy score -- that at first aggravates the tired mind with that soft-edge dissonant sound that can accompany jazz but is unexpected in musical theater – until the heart gives in and just lets it be, lets it in, and gives way.

And baby: the whole thing is worth it just to watch Ernestine Jackson occupy that stage, silently, gorgeously, profoundly, all alone with the exception of a potted plant, craddled like a baby, in the closing moments of the show. (Me? Weep? I’m sure it’s just because I needed some sleep.)

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a rasin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore --
and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over --
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

~ Langson Hughes

soulful sustenance

soulfood sustenance
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Fried green goodness -- and my first meal all day -- grabbing a bite at Dixie Kitchen before the show.

Also on the menu: red beans and rice and peach cobbler for dessert.

Like water in the desert.

watch your step

Please watch your step and hold on to the sanitized handrail.

The friendly tape recorded message that greeted me as I stepped onto the escalator at O’Hare. The handrail was spooling out of a little contraption -- that was sanitizing it, I guess -- with a video screen on the endcap that was playing some kind of “Welcome to Chicago” video.

I wonder if there’s been a decline in handrail use (and maybe an increase in falls from escalators?) since word got on the street that escalators handrails are germ-ier than port-o-potties. (Lord knows I haven’t touched them since I got the memo.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

the city

the city
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Dunno what I loved more about this trip through SFO: that security called me gorgeous or that the barista called me Miss.

(No -- I do know -- it's that an old friend lives near there, & that there was time to say hello.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

you were expecting sunshine?

you were expecting sunshine?
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Making a quick overnight trip to San Francisco -- moblogging here »


a happy unbirthday
to you
(dear friend)
ten months and many miles
past your exit

(I would rather you had missed
that turn in the road

than be missing you now)

you who hover
very nearly always here

through the trees

I don't know what kind of shelf life this link is going to have -- it doesn't appear that Orion has a link strategy aimed at fostering longevity -- my intention is to link to a slide show by Dewitt Jones of drive-by shots -- images that have haunted me since I saw them back in the early summer -- and that linger with me still.

The Drive-By Photography of Dewitt Jones »


fading light
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
here is perfect peace
sunday silence; long train ride
reading side by side

after all

koolhaas in seattle
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
After all, buildings are people too.

~ Camilo José Vargas, photographer and essayist

that's because

the flatlands
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
That's because nothing in this country is done for the good of the people.

The ancient matron sitting behind me on the Galena Limited.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

galena limited

galena limited
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Day tripping to just shy of the Mississippi by train today -- Posting mobile pics here »

Saturday, October 07, 2006

buy local

Home Sweet Home
Originally uploaded by dzgnboy.
dzgnboy's Flickr thread on the New Tivoli Diner in Toronto -- a neighborhood joint that was forced to shut down after 34 years due to difficulties with a lease renewal -- is pure heartbreaking poetry.

For brilliant portraiture his slideshow of the people who inhabit that place is a must see -- but do take the time to click through for the captions that tell more about the people in the thread -- they'll make you regret that the Tivoli wasn't your breakfast stop every damn morning.

And they'll make you weep to know that it never will be.

Here's a link to the slideshow »

it's begun.

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