Thursday, January 31, 2008

the pottess (rhymes with goddess)

more of that funky finish

I won’t go on too long about the presentation that Chap Kusimba of the Field Museum gave last night at a meeting of the Anthropology Alliance, other than to note how I was (am always) struck by his gentle style of presenting -- something I’m so unused to, given the nature of the presentations I’m usually a part of (read: Technology & Business driven. Dressed in suits). Mr. Kusimba was wearing a suit all right, but as a man who was born in Uganda and raised in Kenya his voice and manner bestowed a gentle, melodic cadence on the proceedings. I found myself smiling and nodding just to listen to the music of it.

And then there was what he had to say.

I suspected that he’d be talking about textiles, since the front of the room was laid out with heaps of new acquisitions from Madagascar, and the last time I listened to Kusimba’s lovely music was when he spoke on a book that he had recently helped to edit with some colleagues on the Field’s collection of Madagascar textiles (Unwrapping the Textile Traditions of Madagascar) -- currently the largest in the world, given an unfortunate fire on the island nation itself that destroyed a tremendous collection of what was then the largest assemblage.

This was fine by me: I’m a fiber freak (when I travel it’s textiles I bring home -- hand loomed, embroidered, loved). But actually: he was speaking on pottery.

Bukusu pottery. Which, come to find out, I discovered I own a piece of. [1]

Lovely lecture, made all the better by his confession that pottery “makes me melt” and the passion that came through. He ran an excerpt from a documentary that follows a Bukusu pottess through the making of the pot (part of the Field’s work is to capture the stories of these crafty girls on film) -- from the gathering of the clay, through the shaping by hand, the drying in the sun and the way it’s polished by river rocks prior to firing. How it’s fired in a makeshift mound of wood and wet grass that functions as kiln.

He spoke a little of the economics -- how pottery making is enabling Bukusu women, many of them widowed (many by the AIDS epidemic), to feed their families and support them in some comfort.

And he referred too to a strange taboo that I pressed him for more info on: Only post-menopausal women are allowed to gather the clay to make the pots. Why? Because the pot as it takes shape is considered a womb, and jealous one at that, and if a woman capable of bearing children touches the clay before it’s been gathered all together the risk that the pot will collapse during production is great. Better to ensure its integrity, its fertility, by letting the old gal do the gathering.

A little Googling turns up more on this taboo and others -- Stevie M. Nangendo’s Pottery Taboos and Symbolism in Bukusu Society, Western Kenya. The paper is freely available online.

Also mentioned at last night’s event: The retirement of Ben Bronson, a long time curator at the Field who, it turns out, was the author of the Field’s collecting policy which ensures that it will acquire no artifact in which provenance is not clearly known. The intent, of course, is to prevent collection from looted sites which compromises both the local economy and the archaeology. Bronson’s policy served as the foundation of the policy that was later adopted by UNESCO.

And so concludes this anthropological geek out. Thank you for your patience.

[1] A wonderful earthy orange hand shaped and fired piece that a girlfriend gave me many years ago saying: “It’s from Africa somewhere -- I’m not sure where.” I’ll try to take a shot as soon as natural light allows and post it here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

stealing a quiet moment with sue

Field Museum event tonight. Buffet was a disappointment. Regrettably: no dessert.

But the lecture was a sweet meditation on East African pottery. Blog post to follow soon.

In the meantime wanted to post this shot of Sue -- the largest complete Tyrannosaurus Rex in captivity -- for my Aunt Sue the geologist, who keeps assuring me that she'll make the trek from Truckee, CA to Chicago before too long to see this magnificent creature.

Tonight, given that the event took place after the museum had closed, we had her all to ourselves.

Posting by cameraphone from the Field Museum, Chicago, IL


Illustration: Creative Thursday

In Japan neglected or abandoned blogs are called ishikoro, pebbles.

One of many tidbits about blogs in Sarah Boxer's review of many many books re blogs and blogging in this week's New York Review of Books.

Much as Boxer struggles (or pretends to struggle) to define "blog writing", that thing that "stinks of the link", and how it differentiates itself from traditional journalistic writing, she wraps up the piece in true blogger style as she marvels "at the large numbers of bloggers obsessed with masked superheroes":

Finally, I think I get the superhero fixation. It's the flying. It's the suspension of punctuation and good manners and even identity. Bloggers at their computers are Supermen in flight. They break the rules. They go into their virtual phone booths, put on their costumes, bring down their personal villains, and save the world. Anonymous or not, they inhabit that source of power and hope. Then they come back to their jobs, their dogs, and their lives, and it's like, "Dude, the ball."

Blog writing is id writing—grandiose, dreamy, private, free-associative, infantile, sexy, petty, dirty. Whether bloggers tell the truth or really are who they claim to be is another matter, but WTF. They are what they write. And you can't fake that. ;-)

go tell mama

Aija's mention of Shepard Fairey's Obama posters led to me to chase down a thread that emerged from my Flickrstream some time back when I posted a cameraphone shot of a creepy Obama poster -- one of many that was plastered about downtown Chicago.

Someone in the know left the essential breadcrumb -- which, on clickthrough, also provided an answer to where this lovely stencil came from -- all part and parcel of a grassroots art campaign to get the word out on Obama.

Or, more succinctly: "Go Tell Mama I'm for Obama!"


Good stuff. Come to find out, Shepard Fairey's work is here too, as a guest artist, along with Mike Genovese, Cody Hudson, and Lashun F. Tines.

And they have an online store (but, lord love 'em, not one stinkin' permalink on the whole site. You'll have to pick and poke through the top nav to get there).

you have my word

bacon brittle

That's right: Brittle. With bacon. And a pecan or two.

Courtesy of Ms. AnnieMcQ, who rhymes with "I love you."

You shouldn't have, doll. But I'm so glad you did.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

what jackie knew

Video: The Zapruder Film on YouTube

The other night one of the egghead channels ran a program on the Kennedy Assassination, and as part and parcel to that story they played the Zapruder film, of course.

I’m just as fascinated by the bullets’ trajectory as the rest of them, but on this night, as they looped it endlessly, I couldn’t take my eyes off Jackie.

That timeless domestic gesture as she leans in to her Jack, sensing his first indication of pain, her posture a question mark: Honey, what is it? Are you okay?

Anyone who has cared for another recognizes the impulse: how we execute it without thinking, how it’s wired into us to lean into the ones we love and inquire into their suffering.

And then the next moment, when everything changes, and the movie, although silent, seems to sing of the gun’s report. Her husband’s head recoils from some great force and she scrambles -- Jackie, our queen, who we know as all poise and dignity -- she scrambles onto the back of the limousine.

An automatic impulse, a gathering of what has been scattered. That’s how I’d always seen it: A wife collecting her husband’s bits and brains, the way she might collect the pieces of a shattered vase, to see if it could be pieced together again.

But watching the film something else struck me that escaped my notice before: Her proximity to the final blast.

We know our history, of course. We know she escaped unscathed -- but she didn’t know her history then.

In that moment she sat within inches of the force that took her husband’s life -- as it took it. As it so easily could have taken hers.

And I had to wonder about that final scramble -- was she really gathering up what was lost, hoping to return it -- or was this an impulsive moment of escape? A scramble to safety?

To know in that moment that your husband is lost and to fight in a flurry to save yourself.

Monday, January 28, 2008

holy haptics, batman!


We have a working prototype device and we have validated it. It gives a reliable and reproducible sensation of real fabrics in a virtual world.

Professor Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann, coordinator of the HAPTEX project as cited in Haptics: Just reach out and touch, virtually in

HAPTEX stands for Haptic sensing of virtual textiles.

Magnenat-Thalmann and her team are working out the kinks of a system that will let folks feel textiles in an online environment. The article explains how they've developed:

a powered exoskeleton glove with a pair of pin arrays that provide tactile sensation to two fingers. The glove gives the sensation of bending and stretching the fabric, while the pin arrays convey texture. Then this integrated device is combined with the visual and tactile database to give an overall impression.

Knitters will be disappointed to hear that the system's not yet up to differentiating between cotton, wool and silk -- but they're working on it.

p.s. Mash it up with this and we're in business, baby.

Update: And, of course, it took a better mind than mine to recognize the obvious. This just in from a friend: "This could breathe new life into the porn industry!"

Solid point, although I'm not convinced the porn industry is lacking for life. ;)

anatomy of the mac guy

Mindset Media uncovers the obvious about Mac & PC users with recent research as recounted in today's AdAge »

Research from internet ad network Mindset Media confirms the ad's personification of Mac users as superior and self-satisfied. Its recent Mac user "mind-set profile" -- a psychographic ranking system that scores respondents on 20 different elements of personality -- found them to be more assured of their superiority, less modest and more open than the general population.

Mindset did not work with Apple, Microsoft or any other PC company for its survey of 7,500 Nielsen online consumers. The questions were structured so Mindset could discover information about groups they were interested in -- in this case, Mac and PC users.

Far fewer cohesive personality traits emerged among PC owners, likely because of the breadth of PC ownership. Given that 95% or so of all computer users own a PC, those users essentially are the general population. The one area where PC users did stand out as statistically different was in creativity -- low creativity, that is. Mindset Media found they tend to be realists who are emotionally steady and work well with what they're given.

Beth Snyder Bulik's Mac Owners Are Just Like, Well, the Mac Guy
Study: Apple Computer Users Less Modest but More Open Than General (Read: PC) Population

Also worth noting: Mac owners are "bright green" "very satisfied" "music mavens".

Full disclosure: I swing both ways (platforms, silly).

[Photo credit: Mindset Media]

happy birthday, lego.

The Lego brick is 50 years old today, and Google's marking the occasion with a Lego Logo.

Is anyone keeping track of these Google celebratory icons? Googling (albeit briefly) for them turns up little.

Seems to me they've become their own kind of endorsement: If Google thinks you're worth celebrating, then baby: you've arrived.

green doors

Facade, Virginia Holocaust Museum
Richmond, VA

Museum is well curated, with the exception of their questionable use of mannequins. (Don’t ask.)

Update: I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that, when I posted this this morning, I didn't realize that today is Holocaust Memorial Day »

of interest

of interest
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Marker for Jewish Confederate Dead

Hollywood Cemetery
Richmond, VA

speaking of sex

And our complete inability to get a handle on it without reducing it to some kind of cliché:

When Cary Grant tells Grace Kelly in 1955’s To Catch a Thief that what she needs is “two weeks with a good man at Niagara Falls,” no one thinks he’s talking about boat rides.

—Cary Grant as cited by Ginger Strand in Selling Sex in Honeymoon Heaven: Femininty, Niagara Falls, and the Genuine Allure of an American Fake in the most recent post at Believer Magazine

Strand has written an interesting piece (if you have the time -- it's a little long) on the place of the Honeymoon in the American landscape (with apologies to Canada, with whom we share the Falls, but who fails to make it into the title of the piece) that raises more questions than it answers.

Like: How did one of North America's most astonishing Natural Wonders become a universal euphemism for marital sex? And how come Old Faithful got nudged out for the honor?

None of these questions are entirely answered (Old Faithful doesn't even come up -- that's just me thinking out loud) but it's an intriguing read, nonetheless. And the Red Hatters are mentioned, so it scores a few points as a cautionary tale.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

linden leaf

A linden leaf from one of two lovely Linden trees that frame the approach to Mr. Jefferson’s Monticello.

The docent mentioned that linden blossoms were frequently used for tea -- so I looked it up. Indeed:

Today linden is used by some cultures in connection with anxiety, although no clinical trials have confirmed the herbs effectiveness for anxiety. Some trials have produced results indicating that linden flower tea can help people with mild gallbladder problems, upset stomach or dyspepsia, and excessive gas causing the stomach to press against the bottom of the heart (also known as the gastrocardiac syndrome).

When taken as a hot tea, linden flowers act as a diaphoretic. Diaphoretics induce a mild fever, thereby possibly helping to increase the immune system's ability to fight infections. The fever usually does not go very high because the diaphoretic also causes sweating, which in turn cause the body to cool off. In a few European countries, linden has received approval for the treatment of colds and cold-related coughs.

Different parts of the linden are used in connection with specific conditions and symptoms.

  • Flowers: colds, cough, bronchitis, infectious diseases, and headache (particularly migraine), and as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces spasm), and sedative

  • Leaves: internal use-intestinal complaints; external use-ulcers in the leg

  • Wood: liver and gallbladder disorders, cellulitis (inflammation of the body's connective tissue)

Dosage and Administration
To prepare linden tea add 1 to 2 tsp flowers in 8 oz of water and steep cover for 20 minutes. Tea is to be taken 3 times daily. As a liquid extract linden is to be take 3 times daily in doses of 3 to 4 mL. Similarly, as a tincture linden should be taken 3 times daily in doses of 4 to 10 mL.

Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of linden for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.

From the NutraSanus website

une vraie femme, complète

Photo: Art Shay
Subject: Simone de Beauvoir

This last week there was some fuss in France over the publication of an Art Shay photograph of Simone de Beauvoir’s curvalicious backside on the cover of Le Nouvelle Observateur.

I caught wind of it via a brief New Yorker mention (we’re too busy with Britney’s troubles -- and her sister’s! -- to be bothered by the naked bum of one of the 20th Century’s preeminent intellectuals here in the States) and given the weakness of my French I was consigned to follow the story in the English language press. The Times Online provided this recap:

The reaction of de Beauvoir’s admirers to the Nouvel Obs piece and its accompanying photograph was pained. A small demonstration of the feminist group Les Chiennes de Garde assembled outside the magazine’s offices, waving placards calling for Jean Daniel, the proprietor, to publish pictures of his own bare buttocks as well as those of various male philosophers. “My first thought on seeing the magazine,” said Florence Montreynaud, an authority on the relationship between de Beauvoir and her life’s companion, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, “was that they would never have considered putting a picture of Sartre’s bottom on the front of Le Nouvel Observateur.”

This is certainly true. And anyone who has seen a picture of the front elevation of Jean-Paul Sartre, fully clothed, will instantly understand why. The behind of the great rock star of French philosophy, Bernard-Henri Lévy, might be a different matter ...

Aren’t we past this by now? The idea that a woman may be only smart OR sexy -- but not both? And certainly not all at once?

Studying Shay’s lovely composition from the sidelines, in which I see a woman standing bare, except for her heels, before an open doorway in a friend’s house in which she was fully aware roamed another friend who was a photographer (and are any of us safe from those unscrupulous creatures, photographers?), and then reading the story of how when she heard Shay’s shutter close she turned, laughing, and said “Naughty boy!” -- I can only conclude that in this shot the 44 year old de Beauvoir has elected to be the subject -- meaning that she is by no means subjugated.

Because honestly: No woman wears heels for herself alone.

So if she welcomed the camera’s gaze, does that make her any less of a philosopher and intellectual? Does she, for this, become a dirty girl, and are all honors and privileges previously conferred upon her for her accomplishments nullified?

Let’s hope not. I prefer to hope that this is a brief insight into the possibility that de Beauvoir recognized the power inherent in female sexuality -- the turn of well-placed a curve -- a powerful force that historically our institutions and legislations have worked feverishly to control and contain.

I see in this shot a woman wielding her superpower called sexy (one that every woman who bothers to embrace it owns) in which resides the ability to captivate and hold the attention of others and persuade through the beautiful concert of both mind and flesh.

Any woman who has discovered the magical power that a low slung neckline has over some men (& women) knows that with great power comes great responsibility -- women should not use their physical powers to manipulate just as men should not (and of course, women have, as have men, which is where our fear springs from) -- but to revel in it? To share that beauty and, with it, a lust for life?

Hell, yeah.

So why does it seem that we still subscribe to this idea that to embrace the force of flesh means that your brain will wither and die? Or to be recognized and seen for these things means that the rest goes unnoticed?

The sapiosexual knows better.

And, frankly, enjoys life more.

p.s. The title of this post was pulled from a Times' citation of the Nouvelle Obs piece -- it was how one of de Beauvoir's former lovers, Claude Lanzmann, described her.

speaking of valises (& Mexico City)

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough.

— Robert Cappa as quoted in this Sunday's New York Times

Three cardboard valises of Robert Cappa negatives from the Spanish Civil War have recently come to light after many years in storage in Mexico City.

Whoa. »

Photo: Robert Cappa

well-read wanderlust

I just thought that this is one of the great things that civilzation has produced.

Playwright Tom Stoppard in this morning's New York Times speaking of a lovely little book valise (by luggage maker T. Anthony, but no longer in production) that he carries with him when he travels.

I was a little surprised that this got my juices flowing this morning: After half a dozen whistle stops in the last couple of months I'm tired of the road and savoring the time at home, but even still. There's something about a well-made piece of luggage that not only appeals to my longing for the beautiful and useful -- but if it's luggage it can mean only one thing: "It's time to take to the road now".

To open to it. Receive it. Let it teach you what it will.

Or even just to dream of it. And hold the anticipation right there where you can taste it.

I'm afraid I'm a bit addicted. But like an alcoholic I know that, much as I love the taste of travel, I souse off the bottle to suspend the Right Now just a little bit; because when you're on the road the day to day and the bills that need paying tomorrow are on hold, replaced by what's just in front of you. Senses seem heightened, but perhaps are just focused. And maybe just focused on avoiding something else.

So I'm ready to stay home for awhile and take the time to look ahead a little bit farther than tomorrow.

And maybe start planning that Mexico City weekend...

[Photo: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times]

Friday, January 25, 2008

sly & the family stone & all the rest

Sleeveface meme again
Originally uploaded by lemonad.
Digging the Flickr Sleeveface group a little too much.

Must. Stop. (But not just yet »)

Many thanks to Robert Brook for the tweet that devoured my morning.

expense report

expense report
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Filling out my expense report for three days away working a gig in Virginia, during which time I drove a little rental Toyota Prius Hybrid. Probably spent three hours on the road total, getting between here and there and then detouring a long way out of the way to take a nice hike through the woods at First Landing State Park.

Usually that would cost me a gallon, maybe two, when I topped off the tank before returning the rental.

This time, given that it's a hybrid, it cost me 32 cents.

Actually, the pump stopped at 16 cents, but I didn't believe it so I pushed it a little bit farther.

I don't think I'll be submitting this receipt.

Posting by cameraphone.

uneeda biscuit (honest, you do)

Richmond, VA

of mice and men (or what henry said)

One of the highlights of our brief trip to Richmond was running into a fellow named Ray who gives walking tours of St. John’s Episcopal Church where Patrick Henry gave his rousing Give Me Liberty... call to arms in March of 1775.

Ray’s passionate telling -- he broke the story down frame by frame -- brought the history alive and won my love forever. He even gave us a snippet of Henry’s speech, which I looked up online on my return home and whittled down excessively (this being the abbreviated age of the Internet) for your reading pleasure, below:

Different men often see the same subject in different lights ... This is no time for ceremony ... it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery ... it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts ... Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not ... whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it ... I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past ... We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne ... our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain ... may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.

There is no longer any room for hope.

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

resistance is futile
(hope springs eternal)

Flood Wall
Richmond, VA

Mr. Jefferson


Pleasure is always before us; but misfortune is at our side: while running after that, this arrests us. The most effectual means of being secure against pain is to retire within ourselves, and to suffice for our own happiness.

Thomas Jefferson to Maria Cosway, 12 October 1786

Paid our respects to Mr. Jefferson [1] over the weekend and to several of his lovely creations, including his home, Monticello. Was disappointed in a docent who insisted on subscribing tightly to the requirements of the architecture tour (for which we signed up special, so my bad) and resisted conveying insights into the lovely contraptions that Jefferson populated his life with through invention and acquisition.

Mr. Jefferson's compass

So I secured a hefty volume that I hope will reveal all in good time, and which also contains the above quote, which startled me some but also explains the strange melancholy that seems to surround one of history's greatest hotties and one of our most prominent vegetarians.

Mr. Jefferson's headstone

Worth noting: Mr. Jefferson’s gravestone (at his behest) doesn’t mention his presidency. Instead it notes that he was “Author of the Declaration of Independence of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia”.

But nothing about holding down the highest office in the land.


Mr. Jefferson's garden, fallow

[1] I was instructed by a Virginian of some standing that Mr. Jefferson is the proper way to address the former President.



You've stumped me.

Presidential hopeful John McCain, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, when asked whether condoms prevent the transmission of HIV.

Was unable to find the Profiles in Pandering piece that ran in the 24 January print issue of the Magazine online, but I did find this tasty home base for the 2008 Campaign »

I suspect McCain may become the one folks love to poke fun at this time around.

feeds and seeds

Richmond, VA

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

a walk in the woods

a walk in the woods
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Stole a few minutes in the transition between the windowless corporate meeting rooms in which I spent the last three days and the nearly as soulless spaces of the Norfolk Airport (where my late flight to O'Hare has just been delayed another couple of hours) to steal away down HWYs 13 & 60 to Virginia's First Landing State Park abutting Chesapeake Bay.

Never saw the Bay, except for a brief drive-by, but I did get a good fix of white pine and bald cypress (see above) and sand in my shoes from the soft white trails that limn the park.

Plus a deep clean breath or two that tasted of the sea -- all of which were fine by me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I thought the editing, especially in the first version, was brilliant, as I said. The stories I can’t let go of in their entirety are these. “Community Center” (If It Please You) and “The Bath” (A Small Good Thing) and I’d want some more of the old couple, Anna and Henry Gates, in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” (Beginners).

I would not want “Mr. Fixit” (Where Is Everyone) in the book in its present state. The story “Distance” should not have its title changed to “Everything Stuck to Him.” Nor the little piece “Mine” to “Popular Mechanics.” “Dummy” should keep its title. “A Serious Talk” is fine for “Pie.” I think “Want to See Something” is fine, is better than “I could See the Smallest Things”…

Raymond Carver in a letter to his editor and friend Gordon Lish, concerning Lish’s edit of Carver’s book of short stories originally published in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, as cited in the 24 & 31 December 2007 issue of the New Yorker.

Letters to an Editor reads like heartbreak.

Carver’s widow, the poet Tess Gallagher, intends (maybe already has? It’s late and I can’t find my reference…) to republish the book of short stories as Raymond Carver originally intended them.

The New Yorker published Beginners in the same issue – this is the original What We Talk About… as Carver originally intended it, prior to Lish’s edits. Even more telling: The online publication of “Beginner’s”, Edited, a blow by blow account of Lish’s clear cut of Carver's work.

Monday, January 21, 2008

happy birthday, martin.

happy birthday, martin.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Posting by cameraphone from Chesapeake, VA

view from the guest room

Spent the weekend with two of my favorite people in the world at their beautiful new digs in Richmond, Virginia, where we paid our respects to a few of the movers of the American revolution, and where I was reminded once again why it is that friends matter so much; how they remind of us of what's possible; how just by showing up and sharing their stories they give us the courage to reach farther and do it better.

Posting by cameraphone on the road to Chesapeake, VA.

Welcome to Monday.
Time to get back to work.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

smiling white guy

smiling white guy
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Liked this guy's smile. Shot at the Virginia
State Capitol Building where all the guys
were white, but not all of them were smiling.

The one exception was a super sweet miniature
portrait of Pocahontas wearing western clothes
and holding a lap dog.

Regretting that I didn't get off a quick shot
of that one.

Posting by cameraphione from Richmond, VA.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Shot just outside the Virginia Holocaust
Museum at the only spot in America where,
I'm told, three railroad lines converge.

This one runs over and alongside
George Washington's canal.

Posting by cameraphone from
Richmond, VA


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Richmond, VA

Posting by cameraphone

Saturday, January 19, 2008

the byrd

the byrd
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Beowulf for a $1.99
Tub of popcorn: $3.50

Posting by cameraphone from
The Byrd Movie Theater
Richmond, VA

mr. jefferson's rotunda

mr. jefferson's rotunda
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Or one of its rooms, anyway.

With Mr. Jefferson himself,
hanging over the mantle.

Posting by cameraphone from
the University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA

all season passageway with tree (trunk)

Paying respects to Mr. Jefferson.

Posting by cameraphone
from Monticello, VA

Friday, January 18, 2008


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Enroute from Norfolk to Richmond, VA. I think we're under that river that feeds into Chesapeake Bay.

I have, however, only a Mapquest Map and it's uninterested in the names of rivers.

Posting by cameraphone.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

if we know nothing of blood

Who was it who said that to be truly happy one must think about death for at least five minutes every day?

Here's your five minutes: Joe Wilkins' Of Blood and Bone in this month's Orion Magazine.

Not a bad way to get the job done. At all.

that time we went to the ocean

sunshine on sandycove

It was a story sparsely told by a friend at a time when I had curled in on myself like a bear under the onslaught of winter, eager to sleep through the cold that surrounded me. It contained both diagnosis and prescription.

Of the time when, as a child, newly arrived with her family from China, they decided to see the sea, and drove to the Pacific. In just a few lines she painted her wide eyed small self rushing to the edge of the water, taking in the expanse, shouting to the waves, asking her father: “Is it the biggest thing in the world?”

And she told me of her father, catching up to her racing feet, placing his arms around her small frame. “Almost,” he said, as they stared out together across the wide ocean. “Only the heart is bigger than this.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

i wish i could cry

A series of Setlists from rulesqualified »

Just found entirely by accident in rulesqualified's Flickrstream.

They brought me great joy (for reasons I don't entirely understand) so I thought I would bring them to you.

bacon bits

with many thanks to Martin

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

midwestern wisdom

framing the problem
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
It's more fun to bowl than to shovel.

Tagline on a bowling alley marquee, spotted on my way into work this morning.

So you just keep that in mind the next time you're, well, shoveling.

Monday, January 14, 2008


An individual with the same name as you whose records and/or stories are mixed in with your own when you Google yourself.

Cf. doppleganger.

Today's Urban Dictionary Word of the Day

urban cowboy

Maybe I would been more deeply moved by the exhibits at the New Museum if they hadn’t been mere punctuation marks in the larger conversation that Rahul and I had over the weekend -- catching up, tossing ideas around, pondering whether some of the “under construction” installations were actually constructed installations -- whether they were messing with us or, really, just working it out.

Either way I have no regrets -- the catching up was the best part. Of the experience the “Hell, Yes” rainbow on the exterior of the building (just me? or so delightfully Japanese?) moved me more than the whole of it, even more than the lovely stacked boxes that made up the structure -- chiefly because the traffic flow through those boxes, which relied heavily on large elevators to transport people between floors and seemed better able to accommodate the ingress over the egress, left me, well, to state the obvious: Unmoved. (And when I’m trying to get from floor to floor I like to be, at the very least, *capable* of motion.)

But I did come away with a treasure: A small chapbook of Minneapolis artist David Rathman’s cowboy sepias. A chapbook that I thought I might hoard for myself but which Rahul, in keeping me honest, has reminded me that I said something like “my dad would love these...” as I was oohing and aahing over the laconic compositions which Rathman creates, according to the book’s preface, by first snapping polaroids of old Westerns which he renders in inky sepia and then, on many, overlays found snippets of dialog.

And you know how much we like the found here at detritus. (With apologies to my brother, AMB, who once stated declaratively during a visit to the AIC, “I don’t like words with my art.”)

The Clementine Gallery has posted a few of Rathman’s pieces online -- but unfortunately their selection doesn’t speak to what this whole little chapbook reveals. The pieces they’ve chosen to post are largely without the dialog, which I suspects makes them more commercially safe.

But I prefer the ones that speak aloud to no one in particular, saying things like: “My vices were magnificent.” “Every day above ground is a good day.”

And: “This used to be a proud town.”

This one’s coming your way, Dad. Just give me a few more days with it.

the new museum

Sunday, January 13, 2008

the landscape of the play

This is the only shot -- a poor one, I'm afraid -- that I managed to get off last night at the Imperial before the owner of this Playbill returned to his seat and lifted it away as the curtain rose on Tracy Letts' August: Osage County.

Seeing a Steppenwolf production on Broadway is like visiting old friends who have moved to the big city from the somewhere where you first met: They're shinier, a little wiser, maybe wearing a careworn hipness about them -- but they're still old friends and the time you spend together feels a whole lot like home.

Lett's delivered a three act monster production peopled by all the shining lights of Steppenwolf (left my Playbill behind so I'll have to circle back with names and their proper spellings [1] -- but Amy Morton led the pack, of course) and Lett's script managed to do that marvellous thing that he did so well in the Man from Nebraska -- portray the way people take on the essence of the place they're from and the places they escape to -- creating a humane terroir of the kind that characterizes wine in which you can taste the earth and the sunlight (or lack thereof) in each sip.

The only sour note in the whole Oakie-gothic middle class drug addled production was the wardrobing of the 14 year old reportedly from Boulder, Colorado. The clothes looked 14-years old enough -- but they weren't the clothes of a 14 year old pothead who grew up under the Flatirons with a CU professor father. Not even close.

But certainly to the point, which is that we carry the unconscious artifacts of our surroundings with us. Wardrobe, in this case, brought something to the table that looked like very much like Evanston, Illinois.

Completely unrelated: Stephen Sondheim was seated nearby, catching a show in his neighborhood. Unrushed. Smiling. Standing to let a late arrival stutter past his knees. Entirely organic to the city he calls home, and scattering, unconsciously, a little of that magic pixie dust as he smiled, stood and moved.

Posting by cameraphone.
Just about home myself.

[1] The whole cast is laid out beautifully in this NY Times Review »

smokestacks, bent

smokestacks, bent
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
On the road to LaGuardia. Homeward bound.

And after 5 nights away I'm so ready to be home.

Posting by cameraphone from NY (for just a little while longer)

I can see you

I can see you
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Shot in Soho, NY

Posting by cameraphone
from the road home

Saturday, January 12, 2008

the new museum

boxed in

boxed in
boxed in
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Spent the afternoon losing my way with** an old friend through the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which really *is* a new museum (designed by architects Sejima & Nishizawa) and is also *called* the New Museum.

The structure and the exhibits were wholly disorienting.

Which is not entirely a bad thing.

The going without my big gun camera? That was kind of a bad thing.

Posting by cameraphone from NYC.

**and catching up and eating lots of good food with too.
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