Currently reading: Paris, When It’s Naked by Etel Adnan 📚

You don’t resolve problems, in Paris, you chat, you measure your powerlessness.

Top 25 Christmas Movies - IMDb

In case anyone needs inspiration…

The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self: How a Circle of Friends and Lovers United Nature and Human Nature

Mind is invisible nature, while nature is visible mind.

Friedrich Schelling

About those green tomatoes… wait long enough and they turn red… last of the summer tomatoes.

The Serviceberry – Robin Wall Kimmerer

Charles Eisenstein expresses that we have created a grotesque economy that grinds what is beautiful and unique into money, a currency that enables us to purchase things we don’t really need while destroying what we do.

The Serviceberry – Robin Wall Kimmerer

In a gift economy, wealth is understood as having enough to share, and the practice for dealing with abundance is to give it away.

An interesting Thanksgiving story…

Books Read: Faith, Hope and Carnage by Nick Cave 📚

Just finished reading. I have become a fan of Nick Cave in the last few years. This book is a deep dive into his faith, music and philosophy of life. Often moving, filled with insight. Highly recommended.

Nick Cave - The Red Hand Files - Issue #212 - Is it better to keep quiet, or to speak one’s mind? : The Red Hand Files

… Nick Cave’s description of what a good faith conversation is and is not is useful…

What If… Listicles Are Actually an Ancient Form of Writing and Narrative? ‹ Literary Hub

… this book excerpt is really fascinating… ideas are exploding in my head…

Made fish stock over the weekend… think i may be heading for a bouillabaisse in the near future…

A filibuster proof bipartisan group of Senators set to pass protections for same sex marriage……

Nature Is Always Listening: The Science of Mushrooms, Music, and How Sound Waves Stimulate Mycelial Growth – The Marginalian

… mushrooms can perceive sound?..

Really enjoying this book. Full of recipes and stories. The recipes are interesting. Presented in narrative form, they are more a guide than a recipe. They give you guidance but you have to deploy your cooking spidy sense to make them. Some experience helps.

Maybe I am old fashioned but I find it really offensive when someone decides to conduct a business call in the middle of a quiet cafe early on a Sunday morning…

Illinois Is Poised to Pass a Huge Win For Workers – Mother Jones

A constitutional amendment that bans “right-to-work” laws within the state, among other things, is set to pass. This is major!

“As far as I can see, social media makes you sick.”

Nick Cave

About two weeks ago I put a fresh pencil in my bag thinking this one would soon need replacement. It’s still waiting…

Leaf Shadows

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leaf shadows

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November hues.

November 03, 2022

… re-read my notes from yesterday… good notes… even though my morning process has been interrupted somewhat by the need to give medication to one of our dogs… today is the last day of that…

Letters from an American, November 02, 2022

… President Biden addressed the nation last night… he told the people, Democracy is on the ballot… yes it is… this morning’s HCR post is largely quotes from that speech… Biden urges voters to assess not the economy, not inflation, but whether the candidate they might vote for believes in Democracy… have they said they will abide by the vote, win or loose?… if not, if they are election deniers, then we need to turn our backs on them and vote for the person who will abide by the vote, by the will of the people… she quotes Joseph Nye Welch, who famously confronted Joseph McCarthy:

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness…. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

… i am feeling hopeful about the election… early voting has been enormous… in my mind, that favors Democrats… but we will see… we have voted… i voted a straight Democratic ticket… there is no other choice in my mind… Republicans need to be turned back… i will be more discriminating when i feel Democracy is secure and the lunatic MAGA people are no longer an issue…

the work of artist Crystal Liu, a strong Chinese landscape feeling… i like them…

… i have been photographing with my Nikon lately… i get better quality color images from it… i don’t particularly like the 2x3 frame of the 35MM format… i have been cropping them to 4x5 which is quite a crop… still, if you are thinking about that crop when you shoot, you include more on the sides than you than the picture you are taking warrants… so you can crop… at any rate… i have been making some landscape photos in the vertical and was tempted to leave them in the 2x3 format… i didn’t… i can’t stand that proportion these days…

Reclaiming Our Human Potential in the Age of Technological “Progress”

… Maria Popova writes about and quotes Dervla Murphy, an Irish woman who rode her bicycle from Ireland to Afghanistan… it was a feat for a woman to do such a thing in the times she did it… i am not sure it would be possible in today’s political and social climate… it wasn’t really safe back then… it’s less so now… the point of the quotes shared though is about how technology has succeeded in separating us from nature and deprived us of the full use of our powers…

The more I see of unmechanised places and people the more convinced I become that machines have done incalculable damage by unbalancing the relationship between Man and Nature. The mere fact that we think and talk as we do about Nature is symptomatic. For us to refer to Nature as a separate entity — something we admire or avoid or study or paint — shows how far we’ve removed ourselves from it.

… there was a time, when i was young, that i believed in the promise of technology and science… i still do to some degree… i suppose it’s the combination of science, technology and capitalism that is the problem, and one cannot have any of these things separately, it seems to me… i wish i could somehow envision a society without capitalist greed… Buddhist Economics is what i would aspire to… would it work?… what is so good about all this science and technology anyway?… longer lives?… better health?… for what?… at this critical moment in the world, much is being challenged and challenging… what will the next few years bring?…

How to Be Un-Dead: Anais Nin and D.H. Lawrence on the Key to Living Fully

… embrace the wild and wonderful process of life… embrace it’s trials and tribulations… embrace the process and move through it without regret… do the best you can… accept the unfolding… be in the midst of it… whatever it is…

Bern and Hilla Becher’s Misunderstood Oeuvre

… the article, written by Julia Curl, takes issue with the idea that the Becher’s were aloof, emotionally disconnected from the work… from the world… how else could they produce such clinically sterile work?… i am with JC… no artist is emotionally disconnected from their work… they make art because they feel… i can’t think of an exception to that statement unless we are talking about AI generated artwork… am i aloof because i make photographs without people?… some might think so, but i feel the photographs… at least the ones that are most important to me…

October 29, 2022

Letters from an American, October 28, 2022

… Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attacked… all indications are that while the attacker may have been a little off his nut, he was steeped in right wing hatred and had been radicalized by conspiracy theories promulgated by the right… this puts me in mind of this quote from Don Quixote by Cervantes:

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?

… HCR goes on to discuss the ratcheted landscape where violence ideation is running rampant… national security departments are all warning of a heightened threat environment surrounding the midterm elections…

… and then she turns to Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter… Musk has promised, threatened?, to allow 45 back on Twitter… pundits speculate that a content moderation free environment on Twitter isn’t likely as advertisers would run from the platform… General Motors has already paused its advertising until it sees what things look like under new management… right wingers seem to be testing the new management as there has been a significant uptick in antisemitic and racist posts on the platform…

‘Bros’ and ‘Ticket to Paradise’ Reviews

… Bros came to our local theater and i contemplated going to it… thought i should go to it just to take in a gay romantic comedy, but at the end of the day i really didn’t have much interest in watching guys get it on, romantically or otherwise… turns out i am not alone as the movie has been a box office failure… perhaps rom coms are not the best format for exploring LGBTQ+ love… still, i am aware that there are love comedies that i might enjoy, such as two women falling in love and getting it on… or, possibly a transvestite falling in love with a straight man… my kinky proclivities run in the direction of cross dressing, though i never have but in the most minimal way… sounds like i would enjoy Ticket to Paradise… hopefully that too will come to my local theater…

Everyone Agrees Democracy Is in Danger. No One Agrees Why.

… according to a recently released New York Times/Siena survey—that 59 percent of respondents in that category believe it’s the mainstream media that poses a “major threat.” That compares with 45 percent who say Trump is a major threat, and 38 percent who say Biden is.

… butchered as that first sentence is, its a bit astonishing that a far greater majority point to the mainstream media as a problem than in any other direction… as a liberal, i immediately think that this would be because moderates and liberals think Fox and (if they know a thing or two about media markets across the country), Clear Channel are the problem and there are more of them in general… i do think media and social media are a problem… even on the left, it is easy to get a bit siloed into looking at things through one lens only and all media does what it needs to do to gather peoples attention and this often means playing up the threat levels of the other side…

  • 28 percent say Democrats pose a major threat
  • 33 percent say Republicans pose a major threat
  • 27 percent say the Supreme Court poses a major threat
  • 33 percent say the federal government poses a major threat
  • And 27 percent say the Electoral College while 20 percent say electronic voting machines and 33 percent say voting by mail pose major threats

In short, a whole lot of Americans—71 percent in total—think that our democracy itself is in peril, but there’s no consensus as to the source of the danger.

… although i had no idea of the diversity of options for democratic failure blame, i was very certain that when MSNBC cited polls suggesting that the preservation of Democracy was a top concern for voters across the country, that did not represent a consensus on what the problem was… right wingers are being told democracy is threatened and believe it, just as much as left wingers are and do… personally, i think the case left wingers make is more substantial at the present moment… even so, there is not national clarity on this issue…

Imagine back in 1941, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, if roughly equal percentages of Americans had been as worried about at attack from Britain as they were an attack from Imperial Japan.

… how does one find a way forward when there is no consensus?… in this regard, my plan has been to refuse to talk about my side vs your side, my guy vs your guy… i instead want to focus on particular issues and discuss feelings and ideas about them… our politicians and the media have pressed us into being team players… we need to resist that…

Ruben Östlund on the Realism and Black Humour of Triangle of Sadness

… this movie actually sounds pretty interesting… it makes the to-watch list…

October 27, 2022

Daily Notes

I’m Jewish and I Don’t Want to Leave Again

… that an American Jew felt the need to write this post is itself disturbing…

When to leave? That’s the question every Jew has embedded in our DNA. When did people know to leave Germany? Russia? Where do you go? What do you take? What do you leave behind? How will you live, if you live?

We are waiting for the midterms and then we will decide. 

They say antisemitism is the oldest hatred. But it is hard to know who is historically more hated: Jews, women, or homosexuals. There is the problem of human nature and the question: Why do things never really change? But having those three giant targets on my back, the time might be now.

… i worry about the midterms too…

The Art World Reacts to Ye’s Hateful Comments

… what the fuck is Ye up to?… a black man hating jews, selling “White Lives Matter” t-shirts, purchasing Parler and just being an all round shit?…

It’s been a long October in the realm of Ye’s erratic, attention-seeking behavior. In the last three weeks, Ye has had his “White Lives Matter” t-shirts delivered to Los Angeles’s homeless population in Skid Row, made moves to purchase the conservative social media app Parler, and made a series of antisemitic comments and theories publicized on social media (on now blocked accounts), and the Drink Champs podcast interview that has since been deleted. Several companies affiliated with Ye and his projects have woken up from their daze and severed ties with the disgruntled artist at last.

… i am just as baffled with black people becoming 45 supporters and election conspiracy hawks… do they understand that any Christian Nationalist government is not going to hold them in high esteem?… already doesn’t hold them in high esteem…

“I’d Read Her Grocery Lists.” On Cooking with Sylvia Plath

We know, from the dates on her entries, that she made lemon pudding cake on the day she wrote “Lady Lazarus”—in which she grapples with her own repeated, unsuccessful suicide attempts. “Dying / Is an art, like everything else / I do it exceptionally well” she wrote, while beaten egg whites stiffened in the oven. In the process of drafting “Death & Co”—a poem as cutting and nihilistic as its title suggests—she prepped tomato soup cake, blood red and bittersweet. A signature recipe of hers, it requires, among other things, two cups of butter and one can of condensed tomato soup.

… tomato soup cake?… i wonder if i can find a recipe for that… and there is

The kitchen was the axis on which her whole world spun. It was where she wrote, stood, boiled, diced, longed, mourned, revised.

… i think of my own kitchen existence… right along side the photography work and my writing…

It’s not lost on me that looking for cooking inspiration from a woman whose last great baking project was, well, her final act, is a questionable project (whether or not we can joke about the matter is another complicated question). But for Plath, the stovetop was an altar of a kind, the kitchen, a chapel—the whole room wreaked of guilt, shame, wickedness, tomato soup—as restrictive as it was holy.

… i seem to be on a food binge this morning… on making a map of Toronto identifying all the various places one can get dumplings…

Versatile, Universal, and Delicious: Karon Liu on the Magic of Dumplings

Toronto is the perfect city to create such a map: a metropolis that has evolved to be one of the most diverse culinary destinations in the world, thanks to waves of migration resulting in cuisines from disparate parts of the world commingling with each other. This place is a mix of cooks practicing centuries-old techniques learned from previous generations, innovators sharing new creations in the age of TikTok, and cooks embracing their third-culture cooking—combining what they learned from their parents with the new flavors and methods that come from living in a city where a roti spot, a sushi restaurant, and a souvlaki joint can all be found in a single plaza.

October 24, 2022

Letters from an American, October 23, 2022 #american-history #voting-rights #voter-intimidation

… HCR offers a history lesson about how white southerners intimidated the vote in the aftermath of the Civil War and managed to establish one party (Democratic) rule across the south… she tells us the same thing is happening again, except more broadly…

Over the weekend, the Maricopa County Elections Department announced that two people, both armed and dressed in tactical gear, stationed themselves near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona. They left when law enforcement officers arrived. At least two voters later filed complaints of voter intimidation, both complaining that they were filmed dropping off ballots. One complained of being accused of “being a mule,” a reference to people who are allegedly paid to gather ballots and stuff drop boxes for Democratic candidates.

The great triumph of Movement Conservatives in the 1980s was to convince Republican voters to ditch the ideology of their founding and instead embrace the ideology of the old Confederacy.

And now, we are in the next stage of that pattern: Republicans are using intimidation to keep Democrats from voting.

If we continue in this direction, we already know how it turns out: with a corrupt one-party government that favors an elite few and mires the rest of us in a world without recourse to legal equality or economic security.

… i don’t know that i will encounter voter intimidation when i go to vote, but, if i do i will walk right past it and cast my ballot…

This Close-Up of an ant’s Face Will Scar You Forever… indeed… #nature #macro-photography #photography\_5ac5893088\_o-1.jpg?w=1200&quality=100&ssl=1

Eugenijus Kavaliauskas’s terrifyingly close-up photo of an ant (all images courtesy the artists and Nikon Small World)

… fabulous images from Nikon Small World competition… they are not all so scary, mostly beautiful…

Rare 2,700-ear-Old Stone Carvings Discovered in Iraq… #art #archaeology #cultural-heritage #iraq #isis #mashki-gate #nineveh #middle-east\_433151268945967\_167476862822793958\_n.jpeg?w=1280&quality=100&ssl=1

Eight marble slabs were excavated underneath the Mashki Gate, partially destroyed by the Islamic State in 2016. (all photos via Iraqi State Board of Antiquities & Heritage on Facebook)

… the slabs were found at Mosul’s Mashki Gate (Gate of God)… part of the effort to conquer and subjugate peoples is to destroy their history by destroying their cultural artifacts which is what ISIS militants did in 2016… the slabs were buried which saved them from damage…

In total, eight stone slabs were uncovered by a team of scholars and researchers affiliated with the University of Mosul and the University of Pennsylvania’s Iraq Heritage Stabilization Program. The excavation is being undertaken as part of a collaboration with antiquities authorities in Iraq, with the end goal of converting the vandalized Mashki Gate monument into an educational center exploring the history of Nineveh. The slabs will stay in Iraq.

Since 2014, the Islamic State has ravaged Iraq and Syria’s museums, libraries, and cultural heritage sites.

[The Most Important Poem of the 20th Century: On T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” at 100] #literature #poetry #ts-eliot #the-waste-land #to-read

… this article is a long read, but very illuminating of Eliot and the poem…

It’s as if this poem can give anything—a cry, a list of place-names, a snatch of conversation, a Sanskrit word, a nursery rhyme, an echo—an almost infinite and carrying resonance that brings with it unforgettable intensity.

Certainly, poetry was not the same after _The Waste Land_; at the same time, it’s perhaps more difficult to trace the influence of the poem than it is with Pound’s experimentations.

_The Waste Land_ has seeped into culture as a moving set of referents to describe urban alienation, fracture, cultural collapse. It also has a striking ability, inherent in its form I suppose, to speak across cultures.

I think Jahan’s recent lecture on “Burying the Dead: The Waste Land, Eco-Critique and World Elegy,” which I was lucky enough to hear in London at the International T. S. Eliot Summer School, and which, I gather, is available to read free in volume 4 of the _T. S. Eliot Studies Annual,_ is the most brilliant recent piece of Eliot criticism. It shows strikingly just how relevant the poem is to a great range of contemporary poets.

Me and my shadow move through the landscape…