Wednesday, February 28, 2007

letting go of Pythagoras

a found poem

It is hard to let go of Pythagoras.

He has meant so much
to so many
for so long.

Most of what you believe
or think you know
about Pythagoras
is fiction.

Much of it deliberately contrived.

Did he discover the geometrical theorem
that bears his name?

Did he ponder the harmony of the spheres?

Does he deserve credit
for analysing the mathematical ratios
that structure musical concordances?

Certainly not.

Found in M.F. Burnyeat's cover piece Other Lives in this week's London Review of Books

(Sorry to be the one to break the bad news.)


B1-66er and his brother -67er turned me on to the Sidekick -- a handheld mobile device that -66er had a hand in creating and which I now love like a child of my own. They call by its given name: the Hiptop.

Today in the New York Times this tidbit appeared in a review of Robert’s Steakhouse, which is nestled inside the Penthouse Executive Club in New York -- where your steak comes with an optional lapdance. B1- boys, this one's for you:

Brianna took an interest in my friend Michael, who instead took an interest in my new BlackBerry cellphone. Not to be left out, Brianna volunteered that her phone was a Sidekick, which has e-mail and Web-browsing capabilities.

Indica was fixated on my friend Ari. I asked her what kind of phone she had.

“A Sidekick,” she said.

“Wow,” I said. “That’s the same kind Brianna has.”

“Strippers’ phone of choice,” she said.

From Frank Bruni's piece: Where Only the Salad Is Properly Dressed in today's New York Times.

ways and means

With a business meeting in Napa earlier this week I had the chance to spend last Sunday afternoon with an old dear friend driving by Zen around the Bay Area, eating legendary dim sum, contemplating the ways and means of bonsai, studying bones and burgers, and wishing there was a way to suspend the day in amber so it didn't have to end.

But it did, of course, which is why the images of the carefully tended concentrated growth of the bonsai stayed with me, and took the edge off the goodbye.

Here's a snippet of what we saw in The Oakland Bonsai Gardens »

Traveler's Tip: If you ask nice when you visit the Gardens (like we did) they might let you in the back.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

some kind of pretty

Breakfast West of the Mississippi is something different from breakfast anywhere East of the great Divide. We've got breakfast joints in Chicagoland, sure -- but they treat the meal like it's something less than its siblings, lunch and dinner.

Maybe it's because the West Coast is three hours behind that part of America that puts on a suit in the morning, and they're just sitting down for their first meal of the day when everyone else is starting to think about their second. Out this way you can get breakfast for real, treated as the sacrament it's meant to be. And eat it slow and easy.

I'm posting this from a San Francisco diner. I have an order of Eggs Blackstone on the way -- poached eggs on a bed of spinach with a broiled tomato. Topped with Marinara. I promise to enjoy it.

Something else you get out this way that isn't practised on the streets of Chicago: appreciative comments from strange men. I figured I'd aged out after I moved to Chicago from Seattle, 'cause they just stopped coming. Maybe I'd get a glance, sometimes a shy smile. But those Midwestern boys had nothing much to say to me. They're not that forward. Not that I minded (I thought): I got my Midwestern boy. That's all I need.

But I took a wrong turn this morning and stepped deeper into the Tenderloin than I planned, and I suppose I should have minded more when that young delivery guy said: "Now that's some kind of pretty. That's how ya do it." And of course I gave him a crooked grin that said "mind your manners, young man." But of course I didn't mind at all.

But that old guy who wanted me to look inside his styrofoam cup because something in there was "dancing just for you -- you've gotta APPRECIATE this"?

That's when I knew it was time to turn out of the Tenderloin.

a little bit freaky

a little bit freaky
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The Bone Room.
Berkeley, California

Okay -- a LOT freaky. The teeth in the center skull had implants characteristic of ancient Mayan remains -- and, I suspect, other ancient peoples of the Americas. The skull to the left had incisions in the front teeth. Ditto on the suspected provenance.

Gotta wonder why no one's shown up to repatriate these folks.

never get left alone

Joe-Henry's not only running for President -- he's writing songs too.

Now if I could only download them to my iPod -- especially this little gem »

Monday, February 26, 2007

nice work if you can get it

nice work if you can get it
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Business meeting in Napa means business dinner in Napa -- and, of course, when in Rome... We stopped by a little tasting room before dinner to try some really sweet boutique Napa wines.

Man I love my job.

Wines worth searching for:

Vintner's Collective
1245 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559

Sunday, February 25, 2007

travel tips for tall girls

travel tips for tall girls
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The Serrano Hotel in San Francisco has "tall rooms" available on request -- the bed is long enough, the shower head is actually *over* my head instead of right level with it, and the bathroom sink doesn't require quite as much slouching over.

I feel like Goldilocks in Baby Bear's bed: everything feels *just* right.

flight rebooking

flight rebooking
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Crazy morning at O'Hare -- an ice storm shut everything down after 7 pm last night. I talked to a brother and sister who sat on the tarmac for 7 hours before they were able to wheel back to the gate and let everybody off to wait for their unlikely standby flights.

They were not optimistic about getting out of Chicago today.

I got lucky: my flight was booked for this morning, by which time everything had warmed up and Chicagoland was one big slushie.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

bumpa with crabs

bumpa with crabs
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
(Okay -- that's probably not the best title I could have come up with.)

I'm just dying to shoot something new. Too much work and not enough sunshine around Chicagoland have been getting me down, but I'm heading out to San Francisco and Napa tomorrow where I hope to get a little bit happy with my Nikon.

This was shot somewhere along the West Coast in 1942. My grandparents were living in San Francisco at the time so it could be right around there, or it might be along the coast of Oregon where they went for a belated honeymoon trip.

My Nini's caption reads: "Jerry with crabs for lunch, 1942". We included this in a book that she recently self-published that I helped her typeset.

This Bumpa is not this Bompa, but they were both my grandpas, from whom I landed entirely unique inheritances.

I'm pretty sure I got my goofy sense of humor from this guy.

running on now.

Looks like Lolabola and Anniemcq have the same problem I’m having: movie spill over. Here are few more for the road:

Baraka. Not a single word of dialog. Still made me cry.

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Why did Tommy Lee Jones win NOTHING for this one? Why, why, why? So chewy. So good.

The Matrix. The first one, not the franchise.

no cheap swill, that

If I lived a different kind of life, I would have been at Sotheby’s this week in New York, bidding on a bottle of Château Mouton Rothechild Pauillac adorned with a label by Marc Chagall.

Or Kadinsky.

Or Picasso.

Or Warhol.

Or Henry Moore.

Or Jean Cocteau.

Or Saul Steinberg.

(The cheaper ones are going for the price of a small laptop. The older ones will cost you a small bungalow in a Midwestern town.)

Instead, I helped my husband re-seat the upstairs toilet.

May I'll buy the catalog and do the whole vicarious thing.

See the catalog PDF here »

Sotheby’s N08381 | New York 28 Feb 07
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Treasures from the Private Cellar of Baroness Philippine

The label at the top of the page is by New Yorker artist Saul Steinberg who has a tremendous exhibition on right now at the Morgan Library.

Friday, February 23, 2007

speaking of movies

AbeBooks dropped by this afternoon to tell me that The Cat in the Hat is 50 years old.

That movie really freaked me out as a kid.

I don't like messes in movies. I don't like car chases that crash through fruit stands. I don't like it when two men are carrying a large pane of glass across the street and a large vehicle invariably crashes through it. Okay: I liked the Blues Brothers and the whole shopping mall thing -- but honestly, all I can think of when one of those scenes plays out is the pain, and the injury, and the property damage.

And don't try to tell me that everything was okay in the end with the Cat in his Hat and those innocent children because they put it all back together again before Mom in her sexy stilettos made it home: it was all a big LIE.

The kids knew it. The goldfish knew it. The cat knew it.

Mom suspected it.

And everything had changed.


p.s. A First Edition copy is available for only $17,129.12 »

p.p.s. Green Eggs and Ham I can do. And Horton rocks the Whos.

visual stimulus

fermi's lab #1

Too many words. Time for some pictures. How about a new Flickr set? reflective refractions »


Last two of the 12 Movies that Stick to Your Ribs.

Trainspotting. I saw this for the first time at the Seattle International Film Festival, and the house absolutely made the experience. Such a great gross-out film (poignant, yeah, sure, that too – but really, really gross) and something about being surrounded by an audibly grossed out crowd makes it that much better. Netflixed it recently and enjoyed it well enough, but the gross out factor wasn’t the same at home alone. (Sweetie was off watching something else on the Hallmark Channel.)

I was thinking about putting down David Lynch’s The Straight Story as the last of the twelve, because as a transplant to the American Midwest this movie takes all that I find maddening about this place and turns it into pure poetry. But I feel like I need to throw a few more classics into the mix. I’ll cheat again with two: African Queen and Roman Holiday, which probably reveals a little too much about how I like to love – there’s always a good bicker in there somewhere when you love someone just right, and can get on each other’s case in just that way, and have fun with it in a fashion that throws the stuff that really matters into high relief.

Done. For now.

where have you gone, big woman?

I met a gentleman last night at the shelter where I work once a month who shook my hand, told me his name, and said: "You. Are an Amazon." (There's that tall girl thing again.)

I told him it wasn't my fault.

He said that's okay, men love Amazons.

So of course I had to smile when I saw Cinderella in the Subway, and its caption, in Frederico Mendes' photostream this morning. (Apologies: he hasn't enabled blogging, so you'll have to click through to see it.)

to be continued

I'm with Lolabola -- I have a hard time calling anything, let alone a movie, a favorite. There are so many, and “favorite” is such an exclusive word.

But I like talking about movies even better than I like talking about books, so for the sake of the tag, and because it's Oscar week, instead of "12 favorite movies" let's call this list "12 really good movies that stick to your ribs.”

You know the kind of movies I’m talking about: the ones that wander through your mind days, sometimes weeks, later. The ones that leave their characters in your heart like memories of good friends you’ve been meaning to call.

In no particular order:

High Tide with Judy Davis. Don't know if I can recommend this as a must see, but it moved me as only a kid with a mother who disappeared on her when she was five and rematerialized seven years later could be moved. I realize that means it's not for everyone. An early Gillian Armstrong movie. That’s gotta count for something.

Paris, Texas. Wim Wenders. See above.

Damage. Louis Malle's last film. I love the tragic structure of this movie, and the performances are amazing: Miranda Richardson. Jeremy Irons. Rupert Graves. Juliette Binoche. A friend of mine worked with Graves right after he made this film, on a small indie, and told me that Graves was almost undone by this production – so severely that he considered getting out of filmmaking. (Come to think of it, I haven't seen him around much since that indie -- maybe he did.) Apparently Malle was so ill during production with the heart trouble that eventually killed him that Irons acted like a proxy director and was a tyrant on the set. Took all the life and joy out of it. Even knowing that, I love to watch this film.

Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Even more relevant today than when it first came out in the ‘80s. And even more relevant today than when I first watched it almost 30 times on video tape in the ‘90s.

Rushmore & The Royal Tenenbaums. Okay: I’m doubling up. Which is cheating. But they’re both by Wes Anderson, and even though the folks who live in these movies don’t know each other, they inhabit the same world. I love that world. And I love being able to love Owen Wilson at his absolutely most adorable. Before the Dupree thing. Even before he saddled up with Jackie. You were cute in Shanghai Noon, Owen, but you were at your best with Wes.

Kolya. I recently rented this movie again after seeing it in the theatres many years ago. So perfectly sweet and tender without veering to saccharine. This one I can definitely recommend as a must see. And don’t go bitching to me about not liking subtitles: the rest of the world makes movies too. Damn good ones.

Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm. Absolutely jaw-droppingly gorgeous. With a story to chill your heart. And yes, this is the movie in which I first started nursing my crush on Tobey Macguire that Spider Man not only did not squelch but stoked. Yes, he’s half my age. Yes, it’s wrong. And yes, I don’t care. Because that’s what movies are for.

Manhattan. I’ve dished on this one to litwit already. ‘Nuff said.

Kitchen Stories. “Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” Ain't it the truth. Heartbreakingly subtle, but with maddening appeal for anyone who has ever loved a Norwegian. Or a Swede. Or possesses a prurient interest in ethnographic field studies. (There I go again offering too much information.) It’s all there.

The Mask of Zorro (1940) and Shane (1953). Cheating again with the bundling thing. But these two movies are all about my Bompa, who would make sure that all his grandkids were sleeping over when these were broadcast on TV maybe once a year (this was before video) so that we could pop a big bowl of popcorn, slather it in melted butter and salt, and line up in our PJs to watch the magic happen. It was through these two movies that my grandfather tried, I think, to teach us why justice mattered, and why it meant so much to him. (Or maybe he just thought they were great movies.)

I have two to go but it's late and I've run out of steam. To be continued.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

joe-henry for president

Nothing new from me, 'cause I'm burning it at both ends and there isn't one lucid thought in my brain that doesn't belong to the Man today.

But friends, you've gotta visit anniemcq, 'cause Joe-Henry's running for President -- and lord knows we need him »

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

big man, stronger woman

Man, if it were called 'Big Man, Stronger Woman' this thing could tour.

Producer Gary Guidry of the urban theatre circuit, joking about repackaging August Wilson's Fences for touring the circuit, in The World of Black Theatre Becomes Ever Bigger in this morning's New York Times.

Interesting read about the success of urban theatre productions, which the piece describes as being built around "black settings and uplifting messages." Of the theatre that I've attended in Chicago in recent years about half of the productions have been peopled by black stories and performers (Intimate Apparel, Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, Raisin, and Radio Golf, to name a handful) so it's not uncommon in this city to attend a production with a largely African-American audience.

But the piece captured my attention mostly because of what I thought was a missed opportunity to draw a comparison to Yiddish Theatre and the role it traditionally played for the Jewish community, delivering relevant entertainment that lives outside the mainstream (read: WASP-stream).

And also because any time I read about living, breathing theatre that matters to folks beyond Broadway, I get happy.

Don't know why. Just do.

still life: barbie with cuffs

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

02.20 ... 20.02

Shoot. Day was so busy that the whole thing blew by before I realized there was some cool numerical symmetry going on:



Forty eight minutes left to get excited about it before that "1" shows up and throws the whole thing out of whack.



(Yes, I know: I really need to get out more.)

send me the bill

in the company of strangers

There’s a lot of press today about the “Passenger’s Bill of Rights”. There’s one out there by Barbara Boxer and another one by Jet Blue, in response to an incident last week where folks were stranded for nine hours on an aircraft without food, water, or usable toilets.

A quick google fails to turn up the actual bills (I suspect they’ll be posted soon – I’ll update when they are), so I’ll recount what I heard on the radio this afternoon: Ms. Boxer is calling for a three hour limit on tarmac sitting, after which passengers may be allowed to leave the aircraft at their request if the plane has failed to go anywhere during that time. She’s also requiring that adequate food and water be stocked for the duration -- and mentioned that Jet Blue’s Bill of Rights didn’t say anything about food and water, and that they oughta.

Jet Blue, if I heard it right, is offering to compensate folks for essential supplies when their luggage has gone missing for over 24 hours. Something, too, about vouchers for late and cancelled flights, and they’re for five hours on the tarmac as the limit.

The NPR interview, with the reasonable and well loved Michelle Norris grilling Boxer about the sensibleness of this approach, struck me as close to ridiculous, if only because it never touched upon the self-evident human rights component of the equation.

To make things even more ridiculous, one of the interviewed airport-passerbys commented that all this sitting around on planes for hours was “unconstitutional”. (Probably because he’s an American, and anything that doesn’t sit well with us Americans is “unconstitutional”.)

Okay folks – time to get out your Universal Declaration of Human Rights and take a look at Article 9:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Doesn’t nine hours on the tarmac – when you’ve contracted for a quick flight to Ft. Lauderdale – count as arbitrary detention?

It's not just bad business when you start messing with human rights: it's bad karma.

Case closed. One unruly airline down; one remote Cuban outpost to go.

Monday, February 19, 2007

vanishing point

Photographers deal in the things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again.

Words from Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment. Image and page from Seeing Beyond Sight: Photographs by Blind Teenagers.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

no safety

Damn things kept going off in my pocket.

Edward G. Robinson as Barton Keyes in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity -- talking about why he doesn't carry matches any more.

At least that's what I think he said. That's how I remember it, and it comes to mind every time something or someone explodes on me without warning.

But I can't confirm it with an online reference, and it's been years since I saw the movie, so it's entirely possible that I got the whole thing wrong.

Wouldn't be the first time.

biophonic spree

Biophony is unique to each place; nowhere in nature sounds exactly like anywhere else.

Many animals ... have evolved to squeeze their vocalizations into available niches of the soundscape in order to be heard by others of their kind.

Evolution isn't just about the competition for space or food but also for bandwidth. If a species cannot find a sonic niche of its own, it will not survive.

The ideas of Bernie Kraus, recounted by Jeff Hull in The Noises of Nature in today's New York Times Magazine.

Krause was an early master of the Moog synthesizer and worked with the Doors, Van Morrison and Mick Jagger during the '60s. He went back to school to study bioacoustics in the '80s and has been recording soundscapes ever since.

The article goes on to say that: "Unfortunately, just as Krause and his scientific progeny have begun investigating the possibility that an ecosystem's sounds are a key aspect of its health, they're witnessing those sounds' demise. ... Nearly a third of the ecosystems he has captured have become aurally 'extinct' because of habitat loss or the presence of noise-making machines."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

charlie boy

We interupt these pointless posts to bring you Charlie -- an abandoned three year old grey tabby my sweetie and I adopted about a month ago from the shelter.

We lost our sweet Brillig over a year ago, and it took nearly that long to be ready to bring another cat home. It felt disloyal somehow, we missed her so much.

But we needn't have worried: they're different creatures entirely.

Where Brillig was delicate Charlie's a klutz.

Where she was a demure little girl he's a shameless, blameless boy.

Where she was petite he's enormous.

His name came with him, and we thought about changing it, mostly in deference to another rare and charming Charley I know -- but he's such a Charlie, so it stuck. I call him Bird sometimes, just to mix it up. But he's our Charlie boy.

Bonus jump the shark material, as long as we're talking about cats: Nora, the Piano-playing Cat, who's got the same grey tabby thing going on. (Many thanks to Marilyn for link.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

apparition with an appetite

Like a bad jingle that gets stuck in your head, this image of Mother Theresa in a cinnamon roll has haunted me since Tuesday, when I spotted it in a New York Times story.

Since then I've learned that it may not even exist anymore.

Unfortunately, that doesn't change a thing.

'morning, sunshine

'morning, sunshine
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
3 degrees in Ann Arbor.

12 below with wind chill.

And I lost my frickin' cap.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

eavesdropping at the airport

She loves him.

Her daughter is spending the night at her aunt's place with her new pink overnight bag.

He was delayed all day in New York and just barely squeaked through Chicago.

Three kids in Detroit will receive a recruiter's visit tomorrow afternoon. He'll be wearing a black suit.

She wants a skim decaf mocha with extra whip.

He says she'll be fine on the medication -- it just takes some getting used to.

She grew up in Baltimore but she might be moving soon -- with her husband.

He sounds disappointed.

grey matter

fly away

a found poem

the color gray appeals to me
the full spectrum
from pearly pigeon-breast
to ashy or granite
to weathered cedar-plank

a cloudy, foggy, or mist-ridden morning

a cool gray break in a too-long stretch
of overheated, UV-saturated, blue-sky days

Found in Robert Michael Pyle's The Territory of Tint in the Januaray | February 2007 issue of Orion Magazine

Not sure I entirely agree -- I could use a little sunshine today. But I do like grey.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

not likely to be found elsewhere

Snow Pigs
Originally uploaded by tiffanytom.
Snow Statuary.
The statuary may be of various kinds. It is very seldom that pigs are sculptured in marble or cast in bronze, and it would be well to make some of snow, so as to have statues not likely to be found elsewhere.

An oblong mass of snow forms the body (Fig. 171); the legs, nose and ears are made of sticks surrounded by snow, and a bit of rope nicely curled will make a very good tail.

The various parts can be shaped and carved according to the skill of the young artist. A number of pigs, of different sizes, will give a lively and social air to the yard of a snow-house. Fig. 172 shows a finished pig.

The American Boys Handy Book: Centennial Edition

Sticking by my commitment to be nothing if not helpful in this, the Year of the Pig.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

real history

a found poem

Real history
is the slow-crawl study
of small changes

From clan loyalties
to price ratios

Gradually shifting
tectonic plates
that suddenly erupt
into visible mountains

We see the peaks
but the movement
is the story

Found in Adam Gopnik's "Slaughterhouse: The idealistic origins of total war", his review of David A. Bell's "The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare As We Know It" in the 12 February issue of the New Yorker.

Monday, February 12, 2007

happy Abe day

master (slave)

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, there is no democracy.

~ Abraham Lincoln, Fragment found on a scrap of paper 1 August 1858

Sunday, February 11, 2007

the peach

Originally uploaded by +fatman+.

a found poem

Most people experience
a truly great piece of fruit
very rarely

that perfect peach
you ate one summer day
long ago

a taste you hope for
in every subsequent peach
but never quite recapture

Found in Jillian's PaperForager, in a piece attributed to a New Yorker profile of the Fruit Detective by John Seabrook

This happened to me twice.

The first time was early autumn in Boulder, Colorado. It was late, around 9, and a chill misty rain was falling. I ran into my housemate on campus and together we mounted our bikes for the ride home.

(There was a three year period in my life when I rode in a few buses and airplanes, but managed to avoid cars entirely. During that time I only rode my bike or walked. This was then. When finally I did step into a car it felt like the sky was falling, the roof over my head was so startling and strange.)

As we were unlocking our bikes Tim said: "I know a great peach tree on the way home," and he led the way.

The peach tree was personal property, and I was a bit of a prude. I didn't want to climb the fence and steal the peach. I was reading St Augustine's City of God for a class assignment, and could think of nothing but that pear tree and the stolen fruit.

Besides: I was pretty sure I didn't like peaches, because the fuzz made me gag. Tim thought I was being ridiculous, left his bike in my hands and scurried over the wall.

A sidenote: Tim was a kung fu master -- it was he who introduced me to Jackie Chang, early Jackie Chang, god bless him for all eternity -- and watching him scramble over a fence taller than his head was a particular treat. I didn't mind being left behind.

He returned shortly with two peaches, which he pulled out from under his shirt where he had tucked them in for the return trip. I can only speak for mine because he devoured his. It was same temperature as the air around us, which meant that it was perfectly chilled. It was washed with the gentle mist that was washing my cheeks, and it was ideally just-enough-juice-running-down-your-chin ripe.

I had never tasted anything so wonderful. I suspect it was the combination that did it -- the perfect fruit and the trespass -- because even though I didn't scale the wall, I felt guilty for eating the contraband. I wasn't inclined to break rules, still am not, but the illicit thrill of it was undeniable.

I would taste something just as sweet, underscored by that illicit thrill, later, when the stakes were higher, when scaling the wall couldn't be undone and would shatter and shake many of the other walls that were erected in my life.

And when I did I remembered that peach.

But that's another story for another time.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


The more you see the less you know
The less you find out as you go
I knew much more then than I do now
And I miss you when you’re not around
I’m getting ready to leave the ground….
Oh you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights

Don’t look before you laugh
Look ugly in a photograph
Flash bulbs purple irises
The camera can’t see

I’ve seen you walk unafraid
I’ve seen you in the clothes you made
Can you see the beauty inside of me?
What happened to the beauty I had inside of me?

From U2's City of Blinding Lights

Still trying to figure out why the Barack Obama for President campaign stripped this U2 song into the video clip that shows Obama making his rockstar climb to the capitol steps this morning.

Cool intro riff anyway.

que guapo

Best quote ever.
Originally uploaded by p2wy.
P2WY's back from Paris, and he's brought with him all kinds of urbane European insights. Thanks, p2, for steering me to this one:

The Viagra worked, she says, but she decided anyway to leave her boyfriend, an urbane 55-year-old psychologist, for a 32-year-old unemployed student athlete.

"Viagra is not the solution many Spaniards think it is," said Carmen, who declined to use her last name to avoid embarrassing her former sexual conquests.

"I came to realize that the problem wasn't my boyfriend's sexual prowess. The problem was him." Now, she added, "I have sex six times a day, but I do miss going to the opera."

From 'There has been a Viagra explosion in Spain' in today's International Herald Tribune

this is my church

this is my church
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.

like Sunday service
folks settle in, murmuring
soon the curtain lifts

Posting from the Goodman Theater's production of August Wilson's last play, Radio Golf.

Chicago, IL

barack me all night long

a Lincoln for our times
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The Old Illinois State Capitol (reconstructed -- although the columns are original), where Lincoln served his term as congressman, and where right around NOW Senator Barack Obama is climbing the steps to announce that he will run for the Presidency of the United States.

Run baby, run.

(Shot this back in August on my Springfield field trip »)

still small voice

see it on black
Shot in the central church of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

remote control

We submitted our data for review to very good journals, but no one would review it. ... How do you get peer review when you don't have any peers?

Brenda Dunne, manager of PEAR -- Princeton's Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory -- which is closing its doors after 26 years of running empirical experiments to ascertain the extent to which the human mind can remotely control machinery. Funded solely by private donations ($10M worth) since 1979, "its equipment is aging, its resources dwindling." As reported on the front page of this morning's New York Times.

Friday, February 09, 2007

six weird things about me

I've been tagged by heatherlorin over at Mixed Bag. As if you hadn't already learned enough weird things about me from this blog, here are six more:

1. I have a birthmark in my right iris. I like to think that makes me like Faye Dunaway in Chinatown, but it doesn't. It's just a splodge.

2. I know just enough Swahili to get really, really lost somewhere in Kenya.

3. You know how some folks can roll their tongue like a taco? I can't, and when I try it folds up like a lotus blossom with three distinct tips.

4. Three of my best friends have told me (once we had been friends for awhile) that they initially hated me on sight.

5. I'm omnivorous, with the notable exception of chicken and sea urchin. Brussel sprouts used to be on that list until recently, when I developed an inexplicable craving for them.

6. I'm a lucid dreamer, meaning I'll frequently re-work my dreams while I'm still dreaming if I don't like the way things are going. I suspect that also indicates that I'm a bit of a control freak.

I'm tempted to tag b1-66er, but heaven only knows when he'll be done with those g*ddamn rats.

hooray for friday

hooray for friday
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Last meeting of the week.

Hip. Hip. Hooray.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

the old man and the sea

Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women.

The crazy old shark guy in Jaws as he raises his glass. (Watching a re-run tonight.)

That line is second among crazy old men of the sea quotes only to, in my estimation, Anthony Quinn as Zorba the Greek when he wants to know: What kind of a man are you? Don't you even like dolphins?

And now, perhaps, you know too much about me.

btw: I've been on this beach, where they filmed Zorba the Greek. It's a little slip of nothing outside of Chania on the island of Crete. When I was there there weren't a lot of folks around -- although I'm willing to guess that most days there are, since they promote its cinematic virtues to anyone who will listen.

But does anyone really know about Zorba the Greek anymore? Does anybody care? (What kind of a man are you...)

There's a small cave on the hillside overlooking this cove, and if you take the time to hike the hill you're surrounded by the fragrance of rosemary, thyme, and oregano growing wild and baking in the sun. The cave itself is a treat, if you can overlook the goat droppings that carpet the floor. There's a small shrine to a saint -- as there are in so many caves around the hillsides of Greece -- that was previously dedicated to a pagan god or goddess.

The same holds true in Guatemala, where holy caves are frequently dedicated to John the Baptist -- although folks who know will tell you that John and Don Juan, the Earth Lord, are one in the same.

I imagine the cave thing holds true wherever you find pockets of populations who have been around for ages, and who all felt, for some reason, the compulsion to whisper their petitions to the deep crevices of the earth.

tit for tat

this is who we are
Originally uploaded by smalldogs.
Made my first Flickr print trade. Smalldogs of L.A. offered up a print in exchange for Miracle -- this is who we are arrived yesterday, and will now take up its welcome place on my wall.

I picked this shot of her belly tat from her tremendous collection of all kinds of subjects long before I latched on to my current belly button obsession -- but I suspect, given this, that Jung would have said that he could see this belly button thing coming.

Update: Regrettably, the image succombed to smalldogs' Flickr purge sometime back. It is, however, hanging on my wall, where, if you visit me you are welcome to see it, her lovely midsection punctuated with blackletter gothic type that reads: "This is Who We Are". Just under, of course, her belly button.

object of desire

Some girls get that jumpy feeling in their chest when they spot a great handbag or a fine skein of wool just begging to be knit.

I. love. bikes.

They don't have to be fancy or all tricked out. They do have to be rugged. Mountain-like. Ready for rough roads -- none of those skinny treadless tires for me, please.

I get that slow burn feeling of desire when I spot one of these -- well-loved, well-used. Take me to bed, baby -- this is all I need.

My life works better when there's a bike ride waiting for me somewhere in the periphery. Solitary more often than not: I don't like to chat. I like to ride. For most of my life riding was synonymous with altitude: the canyons around Boulder were great for those steep stand-up-and-walk-those-pedals grades. Seattle too.

Chicagoland not so much.

This place is about wide open prairies and far horizons and days when you ride for hours without tiring a bit. Except for your rump which wears sore much more quickly when you're not standing up for those grades.

It's 2 below this morning -- it's been hovering in the subzeros for some time -- there are no long rides in my imminent future. Not until Spring.

So for now I row on an erg that I picked up when I moved to the flatlands, already hungry for that other object of desire in my new land-locked home -- the shell lifted high and then lowered into the drink, the sympathy of oars sculling across the water in synch.

But soon there will Spring. And road. And miles to go before I sleep.

This lovely creature lives in Antigua, Guatemala. Just as this was shot she was perched in an old ruined convent.

pointed loads

There are things they don’t tolerate well, such as point loads. Twenty women in high-heeled shoes would not be good.

Bill Steen, a natural builder in Elgin, Ariz., commenting on earthen floors in Down and Dirty in today's New York Times.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

heaven on earth

"I'd like an arch"

The arch is most nearly human and most nearly divine.
Architect Louis Sullivan writing about how the arch synthesizes the vertical (heaven) and the horizontal (earthbound) into a single form.

we are the web

We are.

By Michael Wesch, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University



sleight of hand

a found poem

you can pick up
a surprising amount
of information

from watching people's hands

people who are
thinking of betting
will fondle their chips

people who hit
big hands
will often flinch

people who recheck
their cards
after an all-suited flop

were not holding
two spades
to begin with

Found in Mark "The Red" Harlan's Texas Hold 'em for Dummies.

Liars fascinate me -- mostly because I don't know how to do it well myself, and I've been reamed by them in the past. I learned too late (one failed marriage full of lies later) that it was a mistake to search his face -- I should have been watching his hands.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

as housewives do a fly

If you were coming in the fall
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn
As housewives do a fly

Emily Dickinson reborn as pop-lyrics in the hands of Carla Bruni. The New York Sun reviews Bruni's goods in The Supermodel School of Poetry »

Oh to be an Italian ex-supermodel setting Emily Dickinson to the strains of pop-music, with an ex-boyfriend like Mick to set you up with the right people.

Some girls have all the luck.

Monday, February 05, 2007

disseminating misinformation to the third world

Thousands of t-shirts commemorating the Chicago Bears Super Bowl victory (not.) will be donated to folks in Niger and Sierra Leone in partnership with World Mission.

Heard just now on Chicago Public Radio.

the importance of being earnest

This last Saturday, with the evening reserved for Maestro Morricone, the afternoon was given over to David Hare’s Vertical Hour, directed by Sam Mendes, playing now at the Music Box Theatre on 45th Street in New York.

The Music Box is an older playhouse, built in the 1920s by Irving Berlin and a contemporary of his that I had never heard of, and immediately I'm happy walking through the door because the scale is just right, the furnishings were maybe spruced up in the 50s but have remained unchanged since then, and it carries the same name as the theatre my grandmother worked at back in Seattle when she was just out of the school -- the one in the photograph on opening day when she's working the box office under a new Leslie Howard picture (Pygmalion) and where the usher stands beside her in his little monkey grinder's hat.

Earlier in the day, in another context, the conversation had touched upon earnestness – the irritating prevalence of it in America – and the following morning it would arrive there again, as I’m trying to sum up the experience of the play, which I enjoyed very much (along with the inimitable company of litwit, recently moved to NY), and the presence of the two British stage actors – Bill Nighy, an old favorite, and Andrew Scott, a new love – both endearingly subtle in their conveyance of wide swings of emotion – contrasted with Julianne Moore, radiant, lovely to look at, but so one-note, so, I dunno… “Earnest?” my friend asks. Yes, that’s it. And he proceeds to recap the earlier conversation, which he wasn’t privy too, about the irritating prevalence of earnestness in America.

Poor Miss Moore had a load to carry in the play – a former war correspondent, now an academic consulting with the president on the war in Iraq. There was much to sort out, much to feel responsible for, much to – oh my god here we go again – go ON about. All in all the play was well played, the point came across, and I left shaky for reasons I still don’t entirely understand.

But the residue of it dovetailed into another conversation about the conversation that we are not having – not artistically, anyway. I suspect it’s different in Europe and elsewhere – but in America very few of us, and decidedly few artists, are having the conversation about Iraq.

What we’re doing there. How we’re doing it. What should be done.

Vertical Hour attempted to touch on it, and served up that single note that seems to prevail when the conversation swings in that direction: the earnest desire that we well, feel fully enraged and earnestly attempt to…


No matter. Earnestness is all.

the man in black

Why is John Edwards dressed like Johnny Cash?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

word on the street

Soho, NYC
Cameraphone shot

Saturday, February 03, 2007

the clumsy that we like

Even in Picasso it is the clumsy that we like, not the use of
dexterity. Clumsiness means reasoning, making up your mind, searching.

Artist Saul Steinberg blurbed alongside a piece in Illuminations, an exhibition of his work that's currently running at the Morgan Library in New York.

Friday, February 02, 2007

manhattan is a better fate than houston

With apologies to e.e. cummings and flickr fave kisses are a better fate than wisdom.

Posting from the Manhattan Midtown Tunnel

people mover (if.)

If I were a social scientist I might spend some
time trying to figure out why airline pilots are so
highly esteemed and well compensated, while bus
drivers are not.

It's pretty much the same job, isn't it? Each
operates heavy, cumbersome machinery in order
to move large volumes of people from point A
to point B on schedule.

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