Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Julie Taymor – Across The Universe

American film director Julie Taymor’s brilliant interpretation of the American 1960’s via the Beatles sound with a fresh set of artistic eyes to look at our history.


Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah Georgia, Founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA

Julliette Gordon Low - National Portrait Gallery

Juliette Gordon Low

Founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA, 1912

2012 Recipient of the American Presidential Medal of Freedom

Well done Mrs. Low and Girl Scouts.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Changing Face of America's Newspapers - Philadelphia Inquirer

By chance I ran into the fact that the Iconic Philadelphia Inquirer Building in downtown Philly has been sold and the newspaper itself and its entire staff are moving to one floor of another downtown structure.

It kind of visualizes how the age of computers and the Internet has shrunk the need for bodies and space to deliver a much smaller product - an American newspaper.

The white clad stone eighty year old landmark and space behind it for several blocks is planned to become a hotel and casino.  Ain't that something?

The present American Town Square is perhaps no longer recognizable to an older generation.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Loren Eiseley - Quote

“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. there were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, "It makes a difference for this one." I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.”

― Loren Eiseley

Friday, May 18, 2012

FDR Memorial - Washington D.C.

There are two FDR memorials in Washington DC, the official PC one and the one that FDR himself requested.

“If they are to put up any memorial to me, I should like it to be placed in the center of that green plot in front of the Archives Building. I should like it to consist of a block about the size [of this desk].”  - -  Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I do not believe anyone have ever given Franklin Roosevelt the benefit of the doubt in the subtlety department regarding his much simpler, less expensive monument.

I believe FDR being classically educated was do doubt familiar with the poetic license in the true meaning of Christopher Wren's famous epitaph at St. Paul’s Cathedral London.

Lector, si momumentum requires, circumspice.

Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you.

Reader, if you seek his (FDR) monument, look around you.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pennies for Poor Richard - Ben Franklin's Grave - Philadelphia

Pennies on Ben Franklin's grave.  A Philadelphia tradition.  Pennies and nickels are for Poor Richard.

Grave located by a fence in a brick wall, 5th and Arch Sts. Philadelphia, of Christ Church cemetery. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graff House - Replica - 7th and Market - Philadelphia

Graff House, a modern replica of the house where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in rented rooms on the second floor. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

God Hates No One

Young boy stages WBC counter-protest 
Posted: May 12, 2012 - 10:40pm 

Nine-year-old Josef Miles felt the urge to make his own counter-protest sign upon encountering protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church during Graduation Day activities Saturday on the Washburn University campus. Securing a small sketchpad and pencil from his mother, he created his own sign that read simply, "God Hates No One." 

The way Patty Akrouche tells the story, her Mother’s Day gift arrived a day early Saturday when her young son mounted a quiet counter-protest to the pickets of the Westboro Baptist Church. 

Nine-year-old Josef Miles and his mother were walking around the Washburn University campus Saturday, which was Graduation Day on campus. As they returned to the area where they had parked their car, they couldn’t help but notice the WBC protesters picketing in an area where they had an audience. 

After reading WBC signs proclaiming God’s hatred for homosexuals and other assorted groups, Josef asked Akrouche if he could create his own sign proclaiming his different view of God’s outlook. 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Prada Moment – Mother’s Day 2012

I guess I have to begin at birth.  I am not one to remember pain but then again maybe nobody at birth knew how to identify pain.  Somehow it got stored in some miscellaneous data base until it could be identified and archived.

Surely females, when then give birth, feel the pain their mothers felt when they gave birth.  Not to say females understand what the infant feels.  Of course, infants for the most part cry being thrown out of warm liquid comfort zone and forced to change environments on a survive or die scale.

Perhaps for an infant, ignorance is a blessing.  That absolute no going back, you’re here, live with it, do or die, birth moment is best forgotten and left uncategorized and uncompared to any other.

Still I have wondered through the years, that maybe that Yung thing in psychology is the first two years of your life in data collecting still rumbling around uncatalogued or not capable of being catalogued later in life.  It is lost data.  It was useful data as is, at the moment, in the moment kind of way.  It was perhaps also strung together in memory, in hours or daily loops of learned behavior communication, which did not make it to the final eye opening totally present, that each of us marks our backward history by.

In a way it is not like riding a bike now in the present.  It is, the past, all that compressed, forgotten attempts to ride the bike fully.  To put together desire, passion, balance and perfect flight marks a multiple intersection of data rather than any one or few strings of data or memory.

Who, on the moon in a space suit and walking around a whole new environment remembers the first few days of flight training as a cadet?

I started this subject with birth and I guess I have to in this outer waiting room to the afterlife have to reconcile the mother thing. Life begins with mom.  Our earliest habits, tastes and behaviors mimic the person we first saw after birth and the one we clung to both before and after that birth.

With mom, it is difficult to reconcile the thing.  I am looking back.  I am using adult prejudice and adult preferences in dealing with, dissecting and commented on past memory data.

In a way there always was a distance between myself and my mother.
I begin to see her face in silhouette.

The scene is a seemingly rare moment when she acted out of the normal. In fact I have probably played this scene over in my mind through the years and seem to know all the facts underlying that scene now.

I am four years old.  We are walking to a nearby playground.  In my mind I have always known it was gray blustery March.  The impressive tall Schlichter clock tower over the old Schlichter rope factory dominates its surroundings as it has done since before the Civil War.  In fact, this building had supplied a very large percentage of the rope and rigging that ran the U.S. Navy in their blockade of the South during that war.

The playground is quiet, empty on a school day. Seeding will be done in another month or two to replace the grass on one baseball diamond on the space. Years later my research would reveal that this playground for factory workers’ children, had at one time been a black chimney belching mill just like Schlichter’s.

The cyclone fence surrounding the playground is rusting just like the batting cage surrounding home plate of the baseball diamond.

One sole small building housing the boys and girls bathrooms and the groundskeeper’s office and supply closet sat sadly on the lot.  Nearby were two sliding boards, one small and the other large for bigger bids. So too were a set of swings, one junior and one senior. 

One “Jack and Jill” with stairs, platform, monkey bars and broad slide, with its gazebo like roof over the platform completed this working class recreation scene in Harrowgate, Philadelphia.

Next to the playground as a boundary marker and artificial wall was the elevated embankment of a factory feeder train track, the Trenton Avenue line. The embankment was beyond more rusting cyclone fence and the large chunks of gravel on the embankment seemed to carry the black accent of coal dust and train soot of over half a century.

Into this cheerless, colorless, world, comes my mother with a four year old boy and a one and half year old sister, trying to do something different in her life. Perhaps her day trip was some kind of out of the box of a row house life experience, that house only some three or four blocks over.

Was this trip into the cold March day an escape from her depression?  Got to mention the depression.  She suffered from it and my father too.

Of course, nobody in those days went to see a shrink to talk about depression.  The thing was not called mental health.  You were either crazy or not.  Any problems, you talk to the priest.  Salvation of the soul was more important than any mental health issues. Right?

I am looking back at my mother on this day.  I have looked back at this day as sort of a singular photo.  In a way all the millions of images available on TV, the internet, used to only be available in books and or encyclopedias.

In a way I am not framing this moment in a black and white photo thing in a photo album.  This image in the wind of the day is my Prada image, touchstone image on which all other images and memories have to go through as a gateway in and out of my own personal archive of memory and imprints on my soul.

Is this what it is all about?  Condensing? Compressing? Memory? A life? One life.  A soul.

Well, the Prada image that should have been painted by a Goya both in normal tones and lights as well as in the maddening images that only a Goya later in life, and crazy from the lead in his paints, could paint.

Don’t I deserve a Prada or a Louvre to store the treasures of my life?  Am I not the king of my destiny? Was the king of…

This reconciliation with mom and her issues that overlapped with my own issues in living never had a simple ending, a typical ending, a final closure….

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Dial Building Phoenix - Leaf Blower Subculture

Speaking of U.S.A. culture.  I was awoken from a nap the other day by the sound of a leaf blower.

Which brought to mind an image and impression associated with a strange looking building in Phoenix.

This all happened some twenty years ago.  We were living in Phoenix for a short time.  I was walking around.  Only a New Yorker would walk around Phoenix.  I believe it was pre-furnace, pre the month of May.

The Dial building as it was called then was supposed to look like a bar of dial soap.  Do they still sell Dial? The image above is taken from a back street with the building itself being on the main drag in town.

At the time Dial Corporation had bought Greyhound Bus Lines of all things.  Before the big bust of the Savings and Loans in the late eighties, there were plans to build a duplicate twin Dial Tower next door to the existing Dial Tower as the headquarters for Greyhound etc.  So much for architectural might and the flavor of the month corporate spreadsheet empires.

Anyway. Walking around, near this building off Central Avenue, I encountered an army of men with leaf blowers blowing leaves and grass clippings.  It was my first encounter with the leaf blower device and its loud noise and it was also my first encounter with what looked like an army of migrant and or illegal labor.

Being from New York, the sight of so many Mexican looking individuals with baseball caps and bandannas over their mouths and noses as their only protections from the fumes, debris and noise of the blowers in the shadow of the big Corporate America office tower and being in the blazing Arizona sun was something to me like being part of some surreal science fiction movie.

I walked on.


Sunday, May 6, 2012



In Innisfree upon the lake

Frosted in morning haze

There hides a shrine on magic isle

That misses the gaze of day.

In temple forgotten by time

An ancient secret abides

While slowly it sits

In calm and stately decay

Beneath faded gilt tiles of clay.

No lock bars the doors

Ready to open wide

No person but self

Can look inside to see

A secret true here reside

And touch a formless majesty.

Wherein doth lie

A sacred orb of light.

A center set firm and right.

By creator's quest

In search for inner sight.

Amid the threads

Of mortal tapestry.


(At a certain angle and with certain light and low lying clouds, I saw magic one day as I viewed the tops of three buildings in downtown Manhattan from a sixteenth story window, One Bankers Trust Plaza, mortally wounded on 911 and now torn down. The Golden Boy statue on top of the old ATT building mixed with the wedding cake architecture and gilt statues of the Municipal Services Building along with the temple looking top of the old Federal Court Building. They all seemed to be floating on an island cloud and I was reminded of some lines by Yeats. - 1978)


Friday, May 4, 2012

Alma Mater – Columbia University (King’s College) – New York City

Alma Mater on the Steps of "Ole' Low"

The statue of Alma Mater by American sculptor Daniel Chester French is almost as famous as the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial also by French.

Columbia, originally King’s College before the American Revolution, changed it’s name to the metaphoric nickname of America based on the name of Christopher Columbus.

Columbia is also a metaphoric name for the American goddess Liberty.

In the tradition of ancient Rome, the statue of Alma Mater (dear mother) embodies many classic and grand qualities in a place of higher learning.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Traditional - Purple Bearded Iris

Classic.  Traditional.  Heritage.  A variety gone out of vogue.