Welcome to Saturday ...

open thread.jpg


Calm, the dark of early morning pacifies, safely hidden from real glaring lights: murderers carrying crosses, thievery of all kinds proudly rolling in black limousines ... eating planets on the way; momentarily forgotten, sipping ease and joy in lives yet to be.

My favorite poets
never met
They lived in different countries
and different ages
surrounded by ordinariness
by good people and bad
they lived modestly
like an apple in an orchard
They loved clouds
they lifted their heads
a great armada
of light and shade
sailed above them
a film was playing
that still hasn’t ended
Moments of bitterness
passed swiftly
likewise moments of joy
Sometimes they knew
what the world was
and wrote hard words
on soft paper
Sometimes they knew nothing
and were like children
on a school playground
when the first drop
of warm rain
descends

My Favorite Poets ~ Adam Zagajewski, translated from Polish by Clare Cavanagh


A 44,000-year-old hunting story


Across a 4.5 meter (14.8 foot) section of rock wall, 3 meters (9.8 feet) above the floor of a hard-to-reach upper chamber of a site called Liang Bulu'Sipong 4, wild pigs and dwarf buffalo called anoa face off against a group of strangely tiny hunters in monochrome dark red. A dark red hand stencil adorns the left end of the mural, almost like an ancient artist's signature. Through an opening in the northeast wall of the cave, sunlight spills in to illuminate the scene.

Liang Bulu'Sipong 4 is a living cave, still being reshaped by flowing water, and layers of rock have begun to grow over the painting in spots. The minerals that form those layers include small traces of uranium, which over time decays into thorium-230. Unlike the uranium, the thorium isn't water-soluble and can only get into the rock via decay. By measuring the ratio of uranium-234 to thorium-230 in the rock, archaeologists can tell how recently the rock layer formed.

The deposits have been slowly growing over the hunting mural for at least 49,300 years, which means the painting itself may be even older than that. That makes the Liang Bulu'Sipong 4 mural the oldest record (that we know of) of an actual story. At first glance, it seems to suggest a game drive, in which people flush animals from cover and drive them toward a line of hunters with spears or other weapons. If Aubert and his colleagues are right about that, it means that somebody 44,000 years ago created a firsthand record of how they made a living. https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/12/a-43900-year-old-cave-painting-i...

~~~

Elizabeth Spencer, prolific short-story writer and chronicler of the South, dies at 98

Elizabeth Spencer, a celebrated author whose irony-laced novels and short stories explored family strife and buried histories, most indelibly with “The Light in the Piazza,” and who was regarded as one of the foremost chroniclers of the American South, died Dec. 22 at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C. She was 98.

Craig Lucas, the playwright who adapted “Piazza” for the stage, confirmed her death and said he did not know the cause.

Ms. Spencer’s seven-decade career, beginning with the 1948 novel “Fire in the Morning,” was one of the longest in American letters. Outlasting her Southern peers Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty, she continued publishing new work as recently as 2014, when — at 92 — she released a widely praised story collection titled “Starting Over.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/elizabeth-spencer-prolif...
Rest in peace, old friend.

~~~

Today's art: Memoria in Aeternum ~ Hans Hofmann, 1962
Trophy ~ Conroy Maddox
Bagdad ~ Wyndham Lewis, 1928
Dama en la playa ~ Jose Manuel Capuletti, 1953

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thanatokephaloides's picture

I'll see your January Jazz and raise you a Club des Belugas:

Biggrin

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

smiley7's picture

@thanatokephaloides

Let's go, Germany, here we come; best get the martinis ready.

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Wally's picture

Mornin' Smiley,

What a great way to start off the morning:

HUGE jump in betting odds for Bernie today! Bernie is up 6% and Biden down 8%. For the first time since all candidates announced, Bernie is seen as MOST LIKELY NOMINEE

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magiamma's picture

@Wally
Look ma, no hands. Wheeee... (but bloomingbug at 10%?)

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

smiley7's picture

@Wally

Love the sled.
Happy day to you!

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magiamma's picture

Love the Hofmann painting. He was so brilliant. Sunny here. Spring is coming very early. Off to the races. Be well, sir...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

smiley7's picture

@magiamma

Raining here, so i'm home. Glad you enjoy Hofmann, me too.

"What we need is a revolution;" seems i heard that somewhere.

Onward ...

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Lookout's picture

Wild winds today - 25-35 MPH out of the South. A balmy day with temps in the high 60's. Just one trader at trade day - the Elijay Apple man. Used the visit to go by the dump - one small bag of garbage and five full of recycling...our largest component is mixed paper - and go grocery shopping. Got a bargain on some Italian wines, and wild caught salmon to cook tonight.

Got seeds ordered this week, and arranged my tree purchase in a couple of weeks. Already have my holes dug, manured, and mulched...ready on go.

Enjoyed the stories, poem, and art today. We have a few petroglyphs along the cliff line on the mt., but no paintings that I know of.
Harrisburg cave 003.jpg

And here's Sequayah's English name signature in Manitou cave in Ft Payne...

Manitou 045.jpg

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

smiley7's picture

@Lookout
Petroglyphs are neat. Assume the Cherokee inhabited your woods; always enjoy my visits to Franklin, NC, where they gathered from all over, a large river mud plain protected by rising hills excites my imagination, i can feel the spirits when standing there by the river.

Damn weather seriously impacting our area, lost revenues for hotels, restaurants, retailers and lost income of working folks and bad news continues, appears the huge holiday, MLK, will also be lost to this climate change.

Happy tree planting!

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Lily O Lady's picture

@Lookout

get stuff done before the storm hits. I got my eggs from the nice, evangelical farm lady with the Trump 2020 hat. I tried to keep cool, but really, I should have known.

This is the first time her politics came out. Her eggs are good, but damn! Evangelicals seem to see Trump as the Second Coming. Do they really think Jesus was an a-hole who went around working to Make Israel Great Again? Hmmm, I guess I answered my own question.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

smiley7's picture

@Lily O Lady

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Lily O Lady's picture

@smiley7
which protects us from flooding and we’ve been lucky with tornadoes. We’re under a tornado watch, but I’m not unduly concerned. Alabama and the very western part of the state have more to worry about. I hope they’re lucky and all they get is wind and rain.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

enhydra lutris's picture

music too. I find that Dama en la playa is particularly intriguing.

Rained overnight but stopped. Just enough to dissuade me from performing particular outdoor tasks, but not enough to justify doing nothing other than the mandatory, yet to be scheduled, "official" dong nothing. Heh, being crazy and fomenting live surrealism is a good response to today's weltanschauung.

Farmer's market starts in about 3 minutes, so I guess I'd better get ready to wander on down there.

Have a great 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 --

smiley7's picture

@enhydra lutris

Used to help along that surrealism quite a bit. Smile

Enough food for a family in the fridge, in its freezer and cupboards, an old habit from the meager theatre days, when flush, purchase a lot of food first, one never knowing when a show might close or where and when the next paycheck would arrive.

El ensueño (The Daydream) ~ Manuel Alvarez Bravo
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lotlizard's picture

@smiley7  
“Plan mindfully when food is plentiful, for the next famine is already on the way”

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smiley7's picture

@lotlizard

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Anja Geitz's picture

While that's not what the collection of stories are about, I love the idea that Elizabeth Spencer at the age of 92 was able to share her long life of observations and experiences in a way that delights and entertains. For me, there could be no better reward at that stage of my life.

Like most of her work, the nine stories in this collection are set in the South, and they concentrate on families, most from small towns, and the bonds that characterize, constrict and sometimes sustain the people who claim kin with one another. Spencer recounts the details and doings of her characters in such spare, unfussy, almost conversational prose that she sounds at first like nothing so much as a shrewd family storyteller. I can see the members of my own family — or almost anyone in the South, for that matter — reading these fictions and then going on to talk as though the people in them were quite real. What do you mean, she wouldn’t wear the wedding dress? Did he really see that boy standing on the corner with a sack of peanuts? These questions are logical, not lunatic, because the surface of Spencer’s fiction is filled with the everyday doings of normal people — weddings, Christmas pageants, summer vacations. A man is torn between his love for his wife and his love for his mother. The new couple down the road, at first glance so hospitable, are not at all what they seem. Nothing much happens in these stories that hasn’t happened to any of us.

Spencer’s great gift is her ability to take ordinariness and turn it inside out, to find focus in a muddle. She constructs her stories out of gossip and old memories and anecdotes not so much for their own sakes but as a means of locating the mysteries about people, the things that don’t add up. She’s more interested in the subterranean emotions, the half-forgotten grudges, the ancient allegiances that animate every family’s history. And she’s interested in how time changes things, sometimes because we can’t escape the past, but just as often because we can’t reclaim it. In “The Boy in the Tree,” a middle-aged man looking back on his life wonders “if happiness always came in packages, wrapped up in time. Try to extend the time, and the package got stubborn. Not wanting to be opened, it just sat and remained the same. You couldn’t get back in it because time had carried you on elsewhere.” Starting over isn’t an option for the characters in these stories. It’s an inexorable part of life.

I still have a gift card to my favorite book store and I was wondering just the other day which way to go in my reading selection. I think you gave me an idea. Smile

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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

smiley7's picture

@Anja Geitz

Been meaning to post her obit, but forgot. She and her husband were social friends, we laughed a lot together at fetes. Also, i had the pleasure of producing and premiering her play For Lease or Sale, at our wonderful LORT D Equity company in Chapel Hill.

A grand lady, she was.

Making green tea with ginger as i write and plan to do an asparagus salad later this afternoon, probably with sesame oil, seeds, lemon and garlic, chilled.

Managed to clean off two small shelves in cupboard, some of that stuff was decades old. Well, enough tiding work, back to surrealistic thoughts. Have a wonderful afternoon and evening.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@smiley7

Why doesn't it come as a surprise that your life and Elizabeth Spencer's life would intersect in that way that made both of them richer? What an interesting life you've led.

Asparagus Salad sounds lovely. I'm going to play around with a brussel sprout salad this afternoon by sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil and then adding some shaved brussel sprouts and balsamic vinegar. We'll see how it goes. Enjoy your lunch Smile

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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

no.jpg

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smiley7's picture

@gjohnsit
We'll probably have to get in the streets to ensure Bernie's victory, gj; provided of course, he does win which i feel is a high probability. Damn thieves and oligarchs standing in the wings to rush on stage and save the show.

Full speed ahead!

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dystopian's picture

@gjohnsit hey gj. It is "The Leader Who Must Not Be Named". I have saved a bunch of these, CNN and MSNBC have been particularly great at not naming the leader who must not be named.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

dystopian's picture

Great cave art stuff! Amazing that was in Sulawesi. Not far from where the recently described Flores man was from. These are Indonesian Islands of course. I was getting some great farmed corals (mariculture) from Sulawesi 10 years ago or so. They should find and photo all of this art they can because that limestone with water coming through it will eat them up. We are lucky they lasted this long. On the Edwards Plateau of central Texas there is a lot of Travertine from water moving through the limestone. So yeah, the rock grows. Wink

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

smiley7's picture

@dystopian

Fascinating to me, too. Love cave art, great fun to contemplate.

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janis b's picture

I am saving the rest of the art and poetry for later; the more quiet and reflective part of the day.

The Zagajewski poem is satisfyingly enough for now. Thank you.

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dystopian's picture

@janis b Thanks for the nice song Janis!

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

janis b's picture

@dystopian

I enjoy them all very much. Check them out when you have the time or desire.

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smiley7's picture

@janis b

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