Saturday, February 28, 2009


  • Bottled water consumes between 1100 and 2000 times more energy on average than does tap water

  • Global demand for bottle production alone uses 50 million barrels of oil a year, or 2 1/2 days of U.S. oil consumption

  • Drinking an imported bottle of water is about two-and-a-half to four times more energy intensive than getting it locally

  • U.S. bottled-water consumption in 2007 required an energy input equivalent to 32 million to 54 million barrels of oil

  • Although the energy for purifying and delivering tap water varies, even in the most expensive cases it is hundreds of times less than for bottled water

The research findings of environmental scientists Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley of the Pacific Institute as reported in Drink Up, Energy Hogs in the 26 February issue of ScienceNOW.

The article continues: "To put that energy use into perspective, Gleick says to imagine that each bottle is up to one-quarter full of oil."

venus & diana at armitage & clark

Maybe the cameraphone isn't the best
way to shoot these two...

faces of abe

faces of abe
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Posting by cameraphone from
the Chicago History Museum.

Hanging at the Maritime Festival

Friday, February 27, 2009

my brothers

My Brothers.

Delayed in Detroit just now
I called you

First Denver, then Philly.

We shared details
Made plans
Deferred others

And I thought how I wanted
to capture this
full feeling I have
in my heart
when I hear your smiles

How I worry through your stress
your projects
your children
how I beam presumptuously
when it all goes well

Thought maybe I could
trace out the memories
that make us kin

Football tackles
and Fisher Price little people

Dying to the count of ten
(one thousand one, one thousand two)
in neighborhood battles of war

Big wheels and bikes

Your slight frames riding my knees
as I revved and roared speedway sounds
and leaned into the turns
your tiny hands grinding my balled fist
like a stick shift
your feet on my shoulders
(the gas and the brake)

The electric proximity of play

Thought maybe there would
be a way to sketch out
those years when everything
went to hell and we fled the house
each as we could
to find firm earth
to forage for comfort like we’d known
when that house was home

But there’s no way, my brothers,
to ink out the ache that remains
when I cut the line and end the call

The fractured terror of missing you always
The rich round way I love you

There’s no way to explain what I mean
when I call you My Brothers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Posting by cameraphone.
Flight touched down early.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Heading to Ann Arbor for a couple of days.

Posting by cameraphone.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

tongue tied

Being multilingual is a richness. Protecting this richness, keeping it alive, is a requirement of this era.

Ahmet Turk, in an address to members of his political party, the Democratic Society Party, known by its Turkish initials, D.T.P., yesterday in Turkey, as reported by the New York Times.

Mr. Turk delivered the first sentence of his public address in the official state language of Turkish and the second sentence in the Kurdish language -- the use of which is illegal for public addresses.

The live broadcast of Mr. Turk's address was cut off as soon as he introduced Kurdish.

my little red book

Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation ("men-struation") as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat ("You have to give blood to take blood"), occupy high political office ("Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be priests, ministers, God Himself ("He gave this blood for our sins"), or rabbis ("Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean").

Male liberals and radicals, however, would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could join their ranks if only she were willing to recognize the primacy of menstrual rights ("Everything else is a single issue") or self-inflict a major wound every month ("You must give blood for the revolution").

From Gloria Steinem's 1978 essay If Men Could Menstruate, which makes an appearance in My Little Red Book, a collection of stories about women's first periods compiled by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

mind map

“Coupons” up 161%
“Unemployment” up 206%
“Discount” up 26%
“Mortgage” up 72%
“Bankruptcy” up 156%
“Foreclosure” up 67%
“Unemployment Benefits” up 247%

Year over Year growth in Search Terms related to the Economic Downturn, December 2007 vs. December 2008.

Via: comScore

expired meds & their consequences

begin bottom left, roll clockwise

Hydroxyzine HCL 25 MG
Small white pills
Take 1 tablet every 8 hours as needed for itching
Script filled: 11/01/07
Use before: 10/31/08
To remedy: Mystery virus.
  • May cause drowsiness.

  • Breastfeeding while taking this drug may result in side-effects of drowsiness, jitteriness, or decreased feeding in young infants

  • Premature or low birth-weight infants of infants less than 2 months of age may be at increased risk for side-effects while breastfeeding


Phenazopryridine 200 MG
Round black pills
Take 1 tablet by mouth three times daily after meals
Script filled: 05/06/00
Use before: 05/06/01
To remedy: The need to pee while weathering a urinary tract infection (ow ow ow ow).
  • This medicine may change the color of your urine or feces

  • Take with food or milk

  • Warning: Soft contact lenses may become permanently discolored by this medicine

Etodolac 400 MG
large white pills
Take one tablet three time a day as needed for pain begin 1 hour before appointment
Script filled: 12/21/01
Use before: ---
To remedy: Pain resulting from oral surgery
  • DO NOT DRINK alcoholic beverages when taking this medication

  • Take with FOOD

  • It is very important that you take or use this exactly as directed. Do not skip doses or discontinue unless directed by your doctor.

  • Do not take aspirin or aspirin containing products without knowledge and consent of your physician.

Amoxiclav K 875-125MG
never opened
Take one tablet by mouth two times a day for 10 days
Script filled: 01/08/08
Use by: 01/07/09
To remedy: A sinus infection, even though the doc knew that I’m allergic to most antibiotics and am at risk to develop an allergy to this last class of antibiotics as well. Not wanting to take the risk I got through the infection with a Neti pot instead.
  • If this medication upsets your stomach, take it with crackers, bread or a small meal.

  • Important: Finish all this medication unless otherwise directed by prescriber.

  • This medication can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. Consult your doctor or pharmacist.

  • May cause diarrhea during treatment. If it persists or becomes severe, tell your doctor or pharmacist.

Monday, February 23, 2009

ave eva

Photo: Playboy, Mexican Edition, December 2008

Posting the recipe for tonight's dinner because how often do you have a chance to slather pasta sauce "the way a whore would make it" (Puttanesca) over angel hair (Capellini)?

Unless you're mired in a post-modern feminist critique, and right now I'd rather eat.

Pasta alla Puttanesca
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil

  • 1 can / 2 oz. anchovy fillets, undrained

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed (or dice 'em like I did)

  • 1 can (35 oz.) plum tomatoes, drained

  • 1 jar (2 1/2 oz.) capers, drained

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted imported black olives, coarsely chopped (kalamatas work)

  • coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

  • Place the oil, anchovies, and garlic in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Mash thoroughly to form a paste.

    Add the tomatoes, capers, and olives. Stir, and heat to simmering over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Season with pepper.

    Serve over capellini. I put together a side of kale sauteed in garlic just to make sure we got our greens.

    Recipe says serves two, but somehow we two wound up with leftovers.

    Via The New Basics

    ghost toes

    expired polaroid film.
    unintended self-portrait.

    Sunday, February 22, 2009

    snow blows.



    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    120 in waiting.

    Posting by cameraphone
    from home.

    hanging with my holga

    hanging with my holga
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    That's all.

    Posting by cameraphone
    from home.

    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    I love Blue Barnhouse »

    locked & loaded

    Today we shoot.

    Pinhole camera courtesy of the
    World's Best Mechanical Engineer.

    Posting by cameraphone.

    the thousand natural shocks

    John D.'s picture
    Originally uploaded by lauren.rabbit
    Fewer than 20% of suicides leave a note.
    Contained in this volume are 31 case studies -
    1. brief case history
    2. snapshot
    3. photographic documentation of items from the pockets, found clutched in the hands, or arranged to be the last thing the deceased would see on this earth.

    Of individuals who, feeling their lives had failed, ended them; and finding that words had failed, abandoned them.

    Lauren Simonutti in her introduction to Drowning, Not Waving: 31 visual attempts at a justification for suicide.

    Some of the spreads from the book are online at Flickr »

    For the first time just now I counted the times that an individual's suicide or suicide attempt has touched my life. People dear to me; people dear to those who are dear to me.


    I doubt my proximity is anomalous. I suspect many of us have encountered suicide in one shape or another. But I can't recall a conversation I've had in the aftermath of a suicide or attempt that wasn't soaked with a burrowed kind of grief and a terrible loneliness.

    via sidereal

    Friday, February 20, 2009


    Ten Items from London Transport Lost Property in the Guardian via Dinosaurs & Robots

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    window seat

    window seat
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    I usually avoid the window seat. Statistically folks who sit on the aisle have a better chance of surviving a crash, plus it's a whole lot easier to get to the bathroom.

    But usually isn't always and sometimes a window seat is the best place for snugging up for a homeward nap or, as it is tonight, a little reflective eavesdropping on the gentleman behind me whose hand is dancing in a regulated repetition across the ruled page like a visual metronome.

    Posting by cameraphone from the road home.

    the sky over my head

    the sky over my head
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Rose Reading Room, NY Public Library. Squeezing in some work following a creative pitch before I head to LGA for the flight home.


    Posting by cameraphone from Midtown.

    I've gotta get out more often (with my camera)

    Made the Gapers Block spot with a shot I took at Second Pres on the near South Side not too long ago. Needed that little ray of sunshine -- my work life has mostly devoured my creative life of late (not that work isn't creative, it's just not purely selfish creative).

    Good reminder to get out more.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    blue days all of them gone

    Queuing from 30,000 ft Inbound to LGA

    Posting by cameraphone.

    daily dose of B12

    daily dose of B12
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Outbound from O'Hare to LaGuardia.

    The two guys in front of me transferred from a flight that banged into another flight on the tarmac -- kinda like a fender bender, if airplanes had fenders.

    Another fellow just boarded wearing an Obama button. Has there ever been another election in U.S. history where folks wore election ephemera *after* the campaign was won? It's more like wearing a Steelers jersey after they've won the Super Bowl than a presidential election.

    The guy sitting next to me is almost certainly in sales. Just told his buddy over the phone he was heading to "the Big Yapper". Made a disparaging remark about the stimulus plan; criticized Obama's use of Air Force One to come home to Chicago for the weekend; called our president a homie.

    Predicting that he and I will not share fascinating trivium about our lives on this flight.

    Pilot just came on to say that they're jacking up the plane to change the left front tire. And so they are. Anticipated delay: 45 min.

    Also: tired.

    Posting by cameraphone at the gate.

    Monday, February 16, 2009


    Happy Valentine's Day
    Originally uploaded by brendaj
    Cephalopods are the new bacon.

    via @me3dia

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    between creameries

    Between Creameries.
    Palo Alto, CA

    if we don't

    Death is the exit door for each one of us. I do not know why we want to make it awful. It is the horizontal of the vertical: complementary and natural.

    The Architect Le Corbusier in a letter to his assistant, Andre Wogenscky, on the death of Wogenscky's father. Wogenscky cites the letter in the context of Le Corbusier's passion for the right angle, in his book Le Corbusier's Hands.

    The book, which I picked up at Powell's Technical Books in Portland and devoured in the first leg of the return flight home, is a impressionistic remembrance of the man the author worked with for twenty years, and is scattered with Le Corbusier's line drawings (he aspired to be an artist and felt architecture was a compromise), most of them of hands, rendered in squared off forms that are highly suggestive of Mayan hieroglyphics.

    The chapters are usually two pages long; sometimes a few pages longer; often only one. The 83 chapter headings are just as brief: Height. His Hand. His Step. Touching. Taking. Body. Effort. Bitterness. Meanders. The Sea.

    The author's deep feeling for his Master and colleague color every page. This isn't an academic assessment of Le Corbusier's work: it's an elegy to a dear friend and teacher who is lost and mourned. He remembers with tenderness the massive scale of Le Corbusier's hands; the quality of the warmth he radiated when he was pleased; the solitude and silence from within which he worked.

    Martina Milla Bernad's translation is a little bit awkward, but only seems to add to the tenderness. A passage from (which is very nearly all of) a chapter called A Gift reads:

    Architectural forms are like human beings; they can be beautiful or ugly, strong or weak, violent or gentle, aggressive or soothing. Le Corbusier's architecture is always strong, just as his hand was strong. Sometimes it is violent, but it is rarely aggressive, and almost always it is gentle and tender. Architecture is like people; only those who are strong can be calm and gentle.


    The beauty of architecture is a generous gift. We can take it, make it ours, carry it with us. It will not be diminished by this. It is inexhaustible. Someone else can come after us and receive it and take it along as we did.

    This is all because the shapes drawn by Le Corbusier's hand and conceived by him call us. If we don't shut up our thinking, they come toward us. When we find his architecture beautiful, it is not just that we like it. It is the architecture that seems to like us.

    Le Corbusier's Hands
    Andre Wogenscky
    translated by Martina Milla Bernad
    MIT Press (2006)



    I had twenty brief minutes to wander and shoot before [one of] my favorite aunt[s] materialized for breakfast Friday morning in Portland -- which was only time enough to cover one brief block of a district teaming with luscious vintage signage.

    And let's not talk about the amazing San Francisco Chinatown neon that I found first in the dark, and then pined after in the pre-dawn as I loaded into my cab for the ride to SFO to catch my 7AM flight.

    All good reasons to return soon for more.

    Saturday, February 14, 2009


    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Have decided I'm officially a fan of the Hotel Lucia in Portland, Oregon, where they have 1) a pillow menu in each room (soft, medium, firm, extra firm, U-neck, body), along with 2) a spiritual menu (call down to the front desk for a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the Koran, the Tao de Ching, the Torah/first five books of Moses, or the Book of Scientology).

    Where they also have a lovely little Thai place called Typhoon where a couple of slow moving old broads (that would be me -- pooped from a long week on the road -- and the spectacular Anniemcq -- wiped from a nasty nasty bug) can settle in for a long meal complete with floor show, provided by the inimitable Joe-Henry.

    Also: Fish on Fire. For real. (Halibut.)

    Plus Joe-Henry brought me not only a Valentine, but maybe the coolest one ever: punch out the paper bits and fold it just right and you have paper goal posts and football guaranteed to provide hours of amusement. Or at least half an hour on the swanky chaise lounge in the lobby.

    Above photo of a nascently evil Dick Cheney in a bumpercar at the Ohio State Fair courtesy of David Hume Kennerly, whose images are sprinkled all over this place.

    One more reason to love human retreats in the middle of grueling business weeks, and be reminded that it's this kind of road time -- the kind that brings far away friends close enough to touch -- that makes me not mind all this traveling so much.

    Posting by cameraphone from the Hotel Lucia in Portland, OR.

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    powell's technical books

    powell's technical books
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Where Fup the Store Cat has his own business card.

    Of *course* I spent more than I could afford: that's
    what this place is for.

    Posting by cameraphone from Portland, OR.


    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Leftover shot from last night -- we had dinner in the room
    next door, Asia de Cuba at Clift. (Quite good, btw.) This is the Redwood Room, which I had heard about many years ago but never seen.

    When I was told that the whole room was paneled with a single giant redwood back in the 1930s (I may have the date wrong) I imagined something funky and rustic, WPA era National Park style, but it's not like that at all.

    It's sleek and chic and all Deco -- and remarkably welcoming. A warm red infusion of an I could stay here all night in this embrace kind of place.

    Except there was dinner to be had and then bed, and now an early flight to Portland.

    See ya San Francisco. & thanks.

    Posting by cameraphone.


    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Wandering San Francisco's Chinatown after a long day of ceaseless conversation. Quiet streets. Shooting stuff. Making promises to myself to return in the early morning light with a freshly loaded Holga.

    Which will take some doing because my flight to Portland departs at 8AM.

    Posting by cameraphone.

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    2 love

    2 love
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Shot late last night, right around the corner from the Birite Creamery near Dolores Park, while eating some of the most amazing ice cream ever.

    Posting by cameraphone.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    assume the on position

    assume the on position
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    Four hours into my series of flights to San Francisco I realized I could mute the crazy light display of the little TV screen at my seat by dialing the brightness all the way down.

    There's no actual off switch, because who *wouldn't* want a tiny TV screen at their seat?

    Me. I do not want a TV screen at my seat. Not one that requires I swipe my credit card before I receive any programming of merit. Not one that cycles through the same endless series of promos on the unpaid plan. Not one that competes with the Cory Doctorow's Content for my attention, a book that ironically is all about the lure and power of the screen. (I found if I held the book just right I could block the flickering lights.)

    These little screens must be working the way advertisers want them to because they're propagating in all the semi-anonymous public spaces where I used to think my own thoughts. In the backs of NYC cabs. In elevators. At the checkout of my local grocery store.

    Their default position is always on and loud and cheerleader cheery.

    I do not want them in my cab.
    I do not want them near my Tab [1].
    I will not watch them in a box.
    I will not watch them playing Fox.

    [1] Okay: that's a lie. I don't drink Tab so I don't buy it. But I needed a grocery item that rhymes with "cab". Any ideas? Happy to swap in a substitution.

    Posting by cameraphone enroute to SFO.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    when spring was a closer memory than this

    when spring was a closer memory than this and the trees had leaves to lose

    springs eternal

    I don’t condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet. But in this case I think it’s a very unique situation.

    If you put all the legal stuff away, I’m so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it’s had.

    Freelance photographer Mannie Garcia commenting in this morning's New York Times on the image that has spurred the pre-emptive lawsuit that Shepard Fairey has filed against the Associated Press.

    Since identifying the image as one of their own the AP has been negotiating with Fairey for a portion of all proceeds related to the work. Garcia claims that in fact he owns the image under the terms of his contract with the AP at the time.

    Not mentioned in the lawsuit? George Clooney, who was sitting next to Obama at a 2006 National Press Club event at the time the shot was taken by Mr. Garcia.

    Related: Shepard Fairey was arrested in Boston for doing what he does.

    Monday, February 09, 2009

    how we roll

    Hopeless monoglot that I am, my impossible attempts to properly roll my Spanish "R"s came up last week when I was traveling with a colleague who grew up in Barcelona. She was kind enough to provide me with a primer for getting it right -- and also kind enough to allow me to post it here so that you can all get it right (except for those of you who already know what you're doing).

    Tutorial courtesy of Marrrrrria Perrrreda-Rrrrramon. Enjoy.

    Can't roll your R? Frustrated that people make fun of your gringo accent? Learn how to roll your R right now!!!

    1. Loosen up the tongue
    The reason why a lot of people can’t roll their r’s is simple because they’re too stressed, or at least their tongue is. Speakers of American English are actually quite near a rolling r, although most tend to say it’s impossible for them to do. The problem is, however, that they keep their tongue way too far back. The trick is to put your tongue in the front of your mouth, but we’ll get back on that later. First, you want to loosen up your tongue. It’s useful to use a tongue-twister. Three simple words worked to loosen up YOUR tongue: tee dee va. Say these words fast and for a long period, in order to loosen up your tongue. (Warm up your tongue so it can get used to some of the positions required for rolling "r"s. Try to fold your tongue in half, turn it upside down, flutter it, curl it up and down, and so on.)

    2. Try to make short trilling sounds
    So, you tongue is ‘loose’ now? Good. After a lot of practicing with the above method I you can produce short ‘trrr’ and ‘drrr’ sounds. The reason why you can only make the sound with a t or d in front of it, is because you hold your tongue close to the place it should be with and r when producing a t or d.

    After the above technique you should be able to produce short rolling sounds as well. It doesn’t matter if the rolling part only is there for a second, as long it’s there. Just take a deep breath and push the air out trying to make a ‘trrr’ or ‘drrr’ sound.

    3. Make a an individual rolling r
    The next and crucial step is to be able to make a individual rolling r. This can be VERY hard to do, so be sure you practiced a lot with the ‘trrr’/'drrr’ method. The first few weeks your individual r’s may sound like a weird sissing sound in the beginning. The good part, however, is that after a while you can make looooong rolling sounds without a sissing part in the beginning. Just practice, practice and practice. It can look hard, maybe impossible, to roll your r correctly, but you WILL succeed.

    4. Putting your rolling r into words
    Putting your newly acquired r into words can be really awkward in the beginning. The only way to overcome this is practice A LOT. Listen to Spanish music and singing along (perro, carro, carretera, Serrano, correa, redonda, sierra, lalalalalala), concentrating on the r’s. Just try it, after some days you can confidently roll your r in words, just like any Spanish native-speaker.

    Want some examples and instructions on how to place your tongue? Visit this great website: Phonetics: The Sounds of Spoken Language, hosted by the University of Iowa

    Sunday, February 08, 2009

    historic second church of chicago


    Spent the better part of Saturday on a speed dating spree, hosted by the Chicago Cultural Center’s Neighborhood Tours, visiting some of the heavy hitters of ecclesiastical architecture of Chicago, including St. Alphonsus, St. Benedict, and St. Clement [1].

    But like a smitten pilgrim I was slain in the Spirit on the first stop -- the Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago -- and spent the rest of the morning regretting that I ever got back on the bus.

    Second Pres grew from prominence out of a small group of Presbyterians who hooked up at Fort Dearborn once a long time ago. The Presbyterians split into two groups around 1842 over the cause of Abolition, the way churches split today with such frequency over the issue of gay rights. Second Pres was the more conservative collective of the two, composed of congregants who felt that enslaved peoples shouldn’t be freed until there was an economic strategy in place to support them in their freedmen status. It’s probably no surprise that this congregation would evolve to be the conservative well-heeled businessmen and industrialists who populated Prairie Avenue and built domestic fortresses like the Glessner House.

    Politics aside, they did all right outfitting their church.

    trumpeting angel

    The neo-gothic exterior was designed by James Renwick, the fellow behind St. Patrick’s in New York. Renwick took a pass at Second Pres twice: the first structure was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire; the second one stands today at the intersection of Michigan and Cullerton. After another fire destroyed the roof over the sanctuary and inflicted severe water and smoke damage in the nave, the congregation hired member Howard Van Doren Shaw to rebuild and restore the interior.

    Shaw dialed up his buddy and fellow church member Frederic Clay Bartlett and together they kicked off an Arts & Crafts Pre-Raphaelite mashup that has all the hallmarks of Protestants going to meeting. Divergence, vernacular and rambling symbolism reigns.

    Unlike the soaring Catholic cathedrals that we saw later in the day where the stained glass panels flow cohesively in a concise story line about wretchedness and redemption, the Second Pres art glass panels are all over the narrative map.

    Two Edward Burne-Jones stained glass panels adorn the narthex, pious copies of the Oxford panels of Saints Cecilia and Margaret.

    (Wait: let me say that again. SIR EDWARD FRAKING BURNE-JONES.)

    the Ascension

    Over the choir loft a riotous Ascension by William Fair Kline plays out in full technicolor across one master panel and five smaller accompaniments.

    Of the twelve stained glass panels that line the main sanctuary the majority are by Mr. Louis Comfort Tiffany himself, and yes, no, of course not one of them coheres with another, but each of them is radiant (even for want of cleaning) and uncompromising in its magnificence.

    Tiffany Angel

    Of the Tiffanys there’s a jewel glass panel, several pastorals, and a handful of painted figures (only the faces of the Tiffanys are painted -- the remainder of the color is infused in the glass) including an angel and a Jesus figure who is tricked out to look a little like Edgar Allen Poe (as our guide, the incomparable Al Walavich pointed out).

    across the pews

    Don’t even get me started on the fine finishings, among them: the suspended flat panel stained glass light fixtures evoking the triune God and, quite possibly, the pomegranate. The six variably sized globes that swing among other chandeliers at the altar and may well represent the spinning planets.

    Frederic Clay Bartlett's Tree of Life

    I won't go on too long about the lovely mural work that is everywhere, except to say that I felt the most captivating piece in the church, and also the most illusive to capture on camera (I failed completely) is Frederic Clay Bartlett’s Tree of Life, which adorns the altar. Pure Arts & Crafts, the mural is all pattern and repetition. Dark and leafy, arching ever upward, it reminds me of the extraordinary wooden altarpiece of the cathedral of Santiago de Atitlan carved by the master Diego Chavéz and his brother Nicholas in the way it tethers spiritual aspirations with the grit and power and persistence of the earth.

    welcome visitors

    So, in a word: Go. Visit a good long while. And while you’re at it leave the Friends of Historic Second Church a few farthings for the privilege so that they can continue the work of repairing the patched and torn carpet and cleaning the glass and protecting this treasure so that it will endure.

    [1] Turns out St. Clement is host to Danny Thomas’ St. Jude, the effigy to which Mr. Thomas targeted his ardent appeal for career success, and the very same saint that he built a hospital to honor when things took off. Also of interest for those of us who love Elaine Stritch too much: Thomas formulated his plans for his hospital with Cardinal Stritch, Ms. Stritch’s uncle.

    Saturday, February 07, 2009

    give it up

    give it up
    Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
    St. Benedict's
    Chicago, IL

    Posting by cameraphone


    Because of this thing
    People think they are in hell
    Instead of Denver.

    One of 200 haiku written to protest Luis Jimenez's Mustang sculpture that Denver area developer Rachel Hutin dropped off at the mayor's office this week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    As a former Denver resident I wasn't aware of the controversy surrounding the installation of Mr. Jimenez's Mustang at the Denver International Airport until my brother sent me the clipping. He went to school with Hutin and got a charge out of seeing her pic in that funky sketch format that the WSJ uses.

    I got a charge out of the story, which included telling details about the Mustang's "light-emitting diode" eyes "which burn red like taillights," as well as this spooky plot point:

    Mr. Jimenez was killed working on the sculpture. In 2006, while he was hoisting pieces of the mustang for final assembly in his New Mexico studio, the horse's massive torso swung out of control and crushed the 65-year-old artist.

    Personal opinion? I'm all for art that makes people squirm, and I think it's good for Denver to be a little uncomfortable with Mr. Jimenez's sculpture (may he rest in peace). Colorado harbors a heavy-handed preference for a nearly neutered realism in its public art, and as a result there's a preponderance of tedious pastoral bronzes peppered about public places.

    Speaking of real: Once I met a horse in the wild and I nearly soiled myself. I was walking with a friend on the island Vieques, a brief ferry ride from Puerto Rico. The horses run wild on Vieques, which sounds charming until you encounter one at a full gallop on a lonely road with only a scrabble of jungle to hide in. Hide I did, and you would have too: they're fiercer and stronger and wilder than you would imagine they could be. The one I encountered was quasi-domesticated, and even this one, sprung from any memory of a paddock, scared the bejesus out of me.

    I can only imagine that Mr. Jimenez got the spirit of the Mustang just right.

    p.s. Says my brother: "The horse is a bit demonic. Maybe the setting just isn't right. I think they should at least turn off the eyes."

    Friday, February 06, 2009

    swan song

    Video: Bush's Last Press Conference as scored by Henry Hey

    ping me

    Addiction, neurologists say, changes the physical shape of our brains. Each time old Z finds another text message, another headline, another update, my brain injects a little dopamine into a reward pathway.

    “You’ve got mail!” squeals the computer and—whoosh!—here comes a shot of dopamine.

    I feel stronger, says Z.

    Five minutes pass, the dopamine fades.

    I’m weak, hisses Z. I’m hungry. I need to see a picture of Joe Biden.

    Anthony Doerr in Am I Still Here? Looking for validation in a wired world in the January | February issue of Orion Magazine

    america's first archaeological subdivision

    INDIAN CAMP RANCH is a 1200 acre tract of land 2 miles due west of the town of CORTEZ in the southwest corner of Colorado. It is divided into 32 parcels, each a little over 35 acres in size.

    What is so unique about our Development is that we have over 210 Anasazi sites in excess of 700 years old. Montezuma County, where we are located, has an estimated 80,000 such sites but our uniqueness comes from not only the fact that we have the highest recorded site density in the state of Colorado but that we recognize the importance of protecting these sites for future generations. More about this later but the basics are these:

    Every parcel contains from one to seventeen sites and every owner may excavate his or her sites when he or she agrees to the following guidelines:
    1. Excavate only under the guidance of an approved archaeologist

    2. Protect the finished dig in an open and protected condition

    3. Write an archaeological report upon completion

    4. Agree to donate all artifacts to the Indian Camp Ranch Museum upon their death

    From the Indian Camp Ranch website, "America's First Archaeological Subdivision".

    I poked around a little online to try to uncover how far Indian Camp Ranch's policies diverge from Colorado State and Federal Laws, because I suspect that the policy of their subdivision is simply state law delivered as marketing spin.

    In Colorado, according to the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers:

    Anyone who knowingly disturbs an unmarked human burial commits a Class 1 misdemeanor; any person who has knowledge that an unmarked human burial is being unlawfully disturbed and fails to notify the local law enforcement official commits a Class 2 misdemeanor.

    Which is why, of course, you'd want to call in an archaeologist and proceed according to best practices if you stumbled across a possible archaeological site on any tract of land, regardless of whether it was within the boundaries of Indian Camp Ranch.

    It appears that it's legal to collect arrowheads on private land, but it's unclear what the explicit considerations regarding the excavation of artifacts on private land are, when they are not associated with human burials. (I suspect there's more information out there -- I'm just short on time to dig around for it.) (Yes, of course, that pun was intended.)

    Also important to keep in mind, per the Colorado Historical Society Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation: What to do when you find those old dinosaur bones?

    Contact a paleontologist. Stat.
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