Welcome to Saturday ...

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A phenomenon . . . which caused an ambiguous
shimmering brightness to appear on the print
where sunlight and foliage came into contiguity.
~ Janet Malcolm

Portrait of a Musician, Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1490

My dear, you moved so rapidly through my life
I see you as a ghostly blur;
You are the subject, I the ornament
Eternally crossing some cobbles on some rue,
Where a covey of pearl umbrellas glistens
And ladies pause—courtesy of Caillebotte—though
This is of an era before we were born.
But the impression is emotionally true:
A sheen of rain, a gray noncommital sky;
Limp banners cling to window frames (Monet);
And the bonnet, shovel-shaped with a crimson brim,
Casts a becoming glow over my face,
No longer young, ambiguous, shimmering.
A bunch of violets tucked at the waist, the figure
Navigates curb and puddle, assisted by
A gentleman in black, a courtly crook of arm:
Poseur and posed, the painter and the painted
Doubly exposed. Now I am reminded

Of a woodland picnic slightly earlier,
You almost fully dressed, I not quite naked;
You in the serge of your reserve
And I as bare as in those disturbing dreams
That reveal our vast uncertainties, including
Those of Giorgione and Manet.
Background figures (us, in fair disguises)
Haunt the middle distance, bosky, green,
Stand witness, even when .reclining…
But I am no Cherie but Liebchen. Liebchen.
Our expeditions did not end in halcyon places.
Instead, all roads led to a sanitary fill
In full sunlight. Nothing ambiguous about that.
We raise champagne in paper cups, toast one another,
Perched on the tailgate of an ugly car.
But the shutter snaps, and we slip into art,
Its negative image: sister into brother.

Once a little coarse, a trifle epicene
(a little too Rouault, whom you admired),
You've silvered over through the passing years.
Now, like a platinum plate, imagination,
That elusive lustre, may transform
A row of poplars to the filaments of desire;
An alley, lit by one gas lamp, the path
To Charon's boat, that ultimate black stream.
This fluid which develops and embalms
Beyond the possibility of alteration,
ls cropped by us, to suit perversities
Of taste and time . Your sinewy arm (Cezanne's)
Seemed to wrap twice around my waist.
Dreamer and dream, in dose up confrontation,
The pair emerged as Bonnard's moving blurs.

Touch now, O author of my authorhood,
Your peer at last in contiguity
Before we went our ways and broke the frame.
What happened to us friend? You saw the light,
Not that of haloed streetlamps. Halogen
Impersonally scanned us, banishing
All subtle shadows, a trace of leaves at night.
The hallowed moon, astigmacized before,
Is glowing with a brighter face than ours,
Scored by the years, focussed last, and free.

~ Janet Malcolm

Newly discovered string quartet, love 'em, hope you do


Paris Street, Rainy Day ~ Gustave Caillebotte, 1877

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lotlizard's picture

Better known to my age cohort as the “Rape of Nanking.”


Poisoning relations between China and Japan to this day.

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wendy davis's picture

to counter the flaming heat of the current global zeitgeist. thank you; i needed the break, and thanks also for introducing me to janet malcolm, as well...

my addition: this morning before first light three owls began hooting to one another. one was in a tree near 'tiny park', which is what one of our grandsons had named the ancient swing set we'd restored for our own chirren, and spruced up for the next generation. the other two were northwest and southeast of the closer one... quite a treat, as owls have been quite scarce here over the past few years.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

The quartet is lovely. I wrote a poem and hit the wrong button and it's gone. Unfortunately, it's gone from my brain, too - I'm sad I couldn't recreate it.

Have a peaceful day, folks! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

enhydra lutris's picture

I may have to add these folks to my off-line music stashes somehow. Thank you very, very much.

Thanks for the Paris street scene too, Castro Valley Rainy Day is simply not comparable.

No mas going on here, garden looks good in spots but things are attacking parts of it. I suspect bushy tailed tree rats, though the scrubbies also do some damage stashing and recovering stuff.

Off to farmers' market and on to chores in a while but for now I think I'll just enjoy your playlist and clean up a week's backlog of e-mail and postal chaff.

Have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

mhagle's picture


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"Make dirt, not war." eyo

magiamma's picture

Gentle rain here for the last several. Travel day for me. Dawn just peaking through dark tree trunks. One last persimmon waiting for me before departure. Thank you for the weekly respite. Always look forward. Onward. Be well...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Anja Geitz's picture

Loved the painting. Loved the poem. Loved the music. Thanks for the introduction. Great theme...

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz One of my first trips abroad was a cheap London/Paris/Rome trip. Even though it was a horrible tour company, and after some years of travel and basis for comparison, I can say the guides were subpar, as were hotels, meals, etc...
Still, I did see the essentials.
The awful hotel in Paris was so awful, numerous people on the tour went to another hotel nearby. It was a 10 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, was on the Left Bank.
I got away from the hotel, sat at a table, observed the people, and the place looks much like the 3rd picture you posted. I can say the wait staff was rude, and I must have looked like an American, so nobody at other tables, or passersby even made eye contact with me. Nevertheless, It was just enchanting, and my afternoon was spent inside your third picture.

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snoopydawg's picture

Not when they spend $1,220 for a coffee cup.

Ever wonder how they connect the pipes they then lay on the bottom of the ocean for natural gas to flow through? I have and now I know.

And speaking of the ocean,, man I wish I was there to see the 30 foot waves.

Awe well. I am off for a quick jaunt in the snowstorm. More rain than snow, but Charlie tells me that is why I have a slicker and boots. She will have to wear her sweater that she thinks makes her look fat. Shhh... but it kinda does.

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"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

@snoopydawg are pricey.
It is all so corrupt, I can't keep score.

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Re: laying pipe.
Worked anchor handling tugs for pipe laying barges in the G.o.Mex way back when. The barge was about 350' long by 100' wide. Supply ships would come in with 100' sections of 4 foot diameter pipe, the crane on the barge would off-load the ship. The sections were rolled into a central welding section, then burned onto the last one. Our job on the tug was to pick-up one of the four corner anchors from the barge and move it ahead (in the direction the pipeline was going) using a huge diesel winch to spool up the 2" cable attached to the 5 ton anchor thru the middle of a 20 foot diameter steel buoy. The operators on the barge would radio our movements - distance and direction - to release the anchor in co-ordination with the other 3 tugs (depending on the progress of the pipe welding). Using the barge's own winches, they could control the movement of the barge, laying out the pipe as they went.

The exciting part was backing the tug up to the buoy close enough for the deck crew to snatch the cable loop poking out of the top of the big ball with a long pole hook, muscling it over to the hook on the end of the winch cable, then scramble like hell as the winch took up the anchor. Dangerous work. The bulwarks (deck sides) were short for a fair lead on the cable. Invariably the decks were awash with breaking seas. Tying a rope around the waist (attached to the boat) kept us from getting washed overboard. The tricky bit was avoiding the whipping cable as it was being reeled in. Many times we would be washed overboard, then washed back on in a crazy dance with saltwater mountains. Soaked to the bone. Six hour shifts around the clock for weeks at a time. Until something broke down.
Fun stuff!

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the music very much smiley, thanks for the introduction. Hope you had a good day on the mountain. with good snow. I think we hit a temperature of 80 here today. Bright and sunny, no rain.

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for an Edith Piaf video to go with what turned out to be a Paris themed OT, but I came up with Bach instead.

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@randtntx n/t

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@on the cusp work that is. Smile

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lotlizard's picture

Now that I’ve gotten to know folks here in former East Germany, much in this autobiographical reminiscence on the end of communism in Poland sounds very familiar.


Lech Walesa, the hero of Solidarity, . . . had turned out to be such a bad president (egocentric, intemperate, conflictual) that my mother, previously an ardent supporter of the opposition, would mute the television when he spoke.

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smiley7's picture

always a pleasure to read, listen to and view the comments. Off to the mountain, so far so good.
Have a pleasant and relaxing day wherever you are. Smile

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