The problem (if there was one) was simply a problem with the question. He wants to paint a bird, needs to, and the problem is why. Why paint a bird? Why do anything at all? Not how, because hows are easy, series or sequence, one foot after the other, but existentially why bother, what does it solve? Be the tree, solve for bird. What does that mean? It’s a problem of focus, it’s a problem of diligence, it’s supposed to be a grackle but it sort of got away from him. But why not let the colors do what they want, which is blend, which is kind of neighborly, if you think about it. Blackbird, he says. So be it. Indexed and normative. Who gets to measure the distance between experience and its representation? Who controls the lines of inquiry? He does, but he’s not very good at it. And just because you want to paint a bird, do actually paint a bird, it doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished anything. Maybe if it was pretty, it would mean something. Maybe if it was beautiful it would be true. But it’s not, not beautiful, not true, not even realistic, more like a man in a birdsuit, blue shoulders instead of feathers, because he isn’t looking at a bird, real bird, as he paints, he is looking at his heart, which is impossible, unless his heart is a metaphor for his heart, as everything is a metaphor for itself, so that looking at the page is like looking out the window at a bird in your chest with a song in its throat that you don’t want to hear but you paint anyway because the hand is a voice that can sing what the voice will not and the hand wants to do something useful. Sometimes, at night, in bed, before I fall asleep, I think about a poem I might write, someday, about my heart, says the heart. Answer: be the heart. Answer: be the hand. Answer: be the bird. Answer: be the sky.
New time of day.
A mid-day oasis.
A sabbatical from the morning crush.
No scramble to find a seat.
Tourists staring out the window.
Day visitors chattering.
Students with headphones bobbing their heads.
And a smattering of Suits.
The Sun beams through the windows overheating the railcars.
The train clacks Se détendre. Se détendre. Relax.
We pull into Grand Central at 3:51 pm, 10 minutes late.
The crowd meanders out of the car.
I zig zag around them.
I have a 4pm call and need to get out of the tunnels to get a cell signal.
The escalator to the Exit is out of order. I look up the stairs. Way up. And groan.
I take them. One at a time.
Counting them off.
I look up. Dear God. I’m only about half way there. Where the h*ll is the Oasis now.
Heaving now. Gasping for air. Middle age wheels are coming off.
I steal a peak at my watch. 3:58 pm. 2 minutes until the start of my call.
Pay attention. A toe stub would be a calamity, serious mellon damage.
A backward tumble is unimaginable.
3 steps left.
76.77.78. Could this be what a heart attack feels like?
I dig into my bag. And pair my bluetooth ear piece to my phone.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m going to put my phone on mute. Please take the lead.”
Wow, I managed to get that out.
Superman leans against the sign post on Madison and 46th.
The chattering continues in his right ear
as he watches the yellow cabs flying by.
The delivery trucks.
All a symphony. An orchestra.
He waits for the Walk signal pondering the antidote to his Kryptonite.
And there it is.
“The world, whatever we might think about it, terrified by its vastness and by our helplessness in the face of it, embittered by its indifference to individual suffering – of people, animals, and perhaps also plants, for how can we be sure that plants are free of suffering; whatever we might think about its spaces pierced by the radiation of stars, stars around which we now have begun to discover planets, already dead? still dead? – we don’t know; whatever we might think about this immense theater, to which we may have a ticket, but it is valid for a ridiculously brief time, limited by two decisive dates; whatever else we might think about this world – it is amazing.”
~ Wisława Szymborska
Wisława Szymborska-Włodek (1923 – 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist and translator. She was described as a “Mozart of Poetry”. Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”.
Image Credit. Thanks Lorne.
Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi. Ishibashi, 38, was born in Seattle, Washington. He grew up in Norfolk, Virginia where both of his parents were professors at Old Dominion University. He went on to study classical music becoming a renowned violinist. Ishibashi has recorded with and toured internationally as a violinist with diverse artists such as Regina Spektor, Sondre, Of Montreal and Alexi Murdoch. (Source: Wiki)
“NPR’s Stephen Thompson called the Virginia native’s “one-man orchestra” of violin, beatboxing and English and Japanese vocals one of a few standouts from South By Southwest. The Washington Post reported at least one woman openly weeping at a Kishi Bashi concert, and Andrew Bird comparisons are already piling on like so many violin loops.” Read more @ Huffington Post.
Find his album on iTunes here.
Gregory Porter, 42, is a Grammy Award winning American jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actor. Gregory Porter won the 2014 Grammy for best jazz vocal album, Liquid Spirit.
Find his album on iTunes here.
“We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day – the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.
In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”
~ Mark Nepo
Pamela Druckerman, author of “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” shares 20 Lessons she has learned in her 40′s upon turning 44. Here’s a few nuggets from her article in the NY Times: What You Learn in Your 40′s:
3) Eight hours of continuous, unmedicated sleep is one of life’s great pleasures. Actually, scratch “unmedicated.”
4) There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
7) Emotional scenes are tiring and pointless. At a wedding many years ago, an older British gentleman who found me sulking in a corner helpfully explained that I was having a G.E.S. — a Ghastly Emotional Scene. In your 40s, these no longer seem necessary. For starters, you’re not invited to weddings anymore. And you and your partner know your ritual arguments so well, you can have them in a tenth of the time.
11) More about you is universal than not universal. My unscientific assessment is that we are 95 percent cohort, 5 percent unique. Knowing this is a bit of a disappointment, and a bit of a relief.
12) Just say “no.”
14) Do not buy those too small jeans, on the expectation that you will soon lose weight.
Read entire NY Times article here.
An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. ‘Can they be brought together?’ This is a practical question. We must get down to it. ‘I despise intelligence’ really means: ‘I cannot bear my doubts.’
— Albert Camus
I know. I know. I am a handsome devil.
Image Credit: Paul Meriweather
(P.S.: For the record, this was your Mom’s idea. You were 3-4 years old here.)
We wait for the phone to ring.
For the obligatory college briefing call.
(As long as you feed from the trough, you’ll call home on Sunday. Non-negotiable.)
Rachel jabbering. Eric tight lipped…leaking information on a need-to-know basis.
Not last night.
Big day for me on Tuesday Dad.
I forgot it’s his 20th birthday.
You forgot right?
Of course not.
Of course you did.
You know that I’m leaving for El Salvador on Saturday.
I’ll be taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature…and recording it.
Dad, I’ve been told there will be thousands, all waiting for medical care.
We’ll be readying patients for the doctors and dentists.
And then feeding homeless at night.
I’m dressing for work this morning.
I check the weather app. -5° F with wind chill.
How many children are huddled and shivering in the cold? Hungry. A soda can and not much else in the fridge for breakfast. Not in El Salvador. Here. Right here.
I reach for a t-shirt. Folded. Stacked. Clean. White.
I’m drawn to the label. I squint to read the small print.
XL 100% Pima Cotton. Machine wash warm with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble Dry Low. Warm Iron if needed. Made in Bangladesh.
Made in Bangladesh.
Image Source: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom
When you’re young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time in your hands, tossing it away. You’re your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too — leave them behind. You don’t yet know about the habit they have, of coming back.
Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you’ve been.
Here’s the critic’s leading selection for the 2014 Oscar Foreign film of the year. And what a film it is. Introspective. Astonishing cinematography (EYE CANDY). Overwhelming. And, Toni Servillo, oh what a performance. (The movie is long…strap in.) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
- NY Times Review (5/5 stars): “thrilling ode to sensibility and to some of its linguistic cousins, like sensation, sensitivity and sentiment.“
- RogerEbert.com (4/4 stars): “Servillo, a theatrically-trained actor, makes Jep arresting. He’s like an Italian Tom Wolfe. You hang on his every word, even when you’re about to hear something gossipy and mean-spirited, because you know it’ll probably be true, or at least well-said…You are overwhelmed with information, but each scene is constructed with such care and attention that it’s easy to miss that each new scene elaborates on Jep’s latest theory or dilemma. His character arc is engrossing because it’s not just full of complex ideas, thanks to the screenplay, but visual beauty as well, courtesy of Luca Bigazzi’s cinematography”
“The enchantment of the sky, ever changing beauty almost ignored. Beyond words, without fixed form, not to be understood, or stated. It ravished away dullness, worry, even pain. It graces life when nothing else does. It is the first marvel of the day. Even when leaden grey it is still a friend, withdrawn for a time.”
~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, Measure of My Days
Image Credit: Natgeo
“Damien Jurado is an American indie rock singer/songwriter from Seattle, Washington. He quietly built up one of the strongest catalogs on the indie scene, earning high critical praise yet somehow never quite getting his proper due. Nick Drake had a definite impact on much of his work, but Jurado modeled his career on more idiosyncratic, unpredictable figures like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, or Randy Newman – songwriters who followed their own muse wherever it took them, whether fans and critics agreed or not. Many of Jurado’s best songs spun concise, literate tales of quiet everyday despair, which often earned him comparisons to short story writer Raymond Carver.”
His website can be found here: damienjurado.com
Liked this? Check out Jurado singing Sheets.
It’s frigid outside.
You’re going to lounge in bed or
Lay on the couch all afternoon looking for a flick.
Here’s your answer.
On the 2014 Oscar Ballot for the Best Foreign Language Film.
You don’t like Bluegrass music?
Watch it anyway.
You don’t like foreign films and subtitles?
Watch it anyway.
Does the racy trailer put you off?
Watch it anyway.
The Broken Circle Breakdown Movie Reviews:
- Washington Post (“stunning cinematography“)
- RogerEbert.com (“pure emotional release“)
- Nola.com (“Is a thing of bitter beauty“)
If tomorrow wasn’t promised,
what would you give for today?
Forget everything else.
Forget everything else.
Forget there was any sun light left,
what would you spend today thinking about?
We get one opportunity in life.
One chance in life to do whatever you are going to do.
To lay your foundation.
Whatever legacy you are going to leave,
Leave your legacy.
And its found through your effort.
Wins and losses come a dime dozen,
But effort, nobody can judge effort.
Because effort is between you and you.
Effort doesn’t have anything to do with anybody else.
Because every day is a new day.
Every moment is a new moment.
So now you’ve got to go out and show them
that I’m a a different creature, now,
then I was five minutes ago.
Because I’m pissed off for greatness.
Because if you aren’t pissed off for greatness,
that means You are ok with being mediocre.
And no man in here is OK with being mediocre…
SMWI*= Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
dk: Lately or average?
dk: Bit testy, no? Ice cream and pasta.
G: Do unto others…?
dk: Come on Father. I can’t believe we’re all created in your image.
G: Do unto others…?
dk: Oh for G…Sakes. (Sorry) Some of them deserved it.
dk: No. Closer to celibacy. Desert here Father. Monk. Parched.
dk: Mostly. Yes.
dk: OK. OK. There’s work to be done here.
G: Be sure you wear your thermals.
G: And, don’t forget your tuk and mittens.
If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is one of just three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. After Hammarskjöld’s death, U.S. president John F. Kennedy regretted that he opposed the UN policy in the Congo and said: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.”
Band of Horses, originally known for a brief period as Horses, is an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. The band has released four studio albums, the most successful of which is 2010′s Grammy-nominated Infinite Arms. Band of Horses’ fourth studio album, Mirage Rock, was released in September 2012. (Source: Wiki)
If you liked this tune, check out: Slow, Cruel Hands of Time
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Ben & Jerry’s releases four ice cream flavors with gooey ‘Core’. The four new flavors are:
- Hazed & Confused: chocolate and hazelnut ice creams with fudge chips and a hazelnut fudge core
- *That’s My Jam: raspberry and chocolate ice creams with fudge chips and a raspberry core
- Peanut Butter Fudge: chocolate and peanut butter ice creams with mini peanut butter cups and a peanut butter fudge core
- Salted Caramel: sweet cream ice cream with blonde brownies and a salty caramel core
Source: NY Daily News
* DK favorite. Thank you Rachel. Exactly what I needed.
“Pay attention to when the cart is getting before the horse. Notice when a painful initiation leads to irrational devotion, or when unsatisfying jobs start to seem worthwhile. Remind yourself pledges and promises have power, as do uniforms and parades. Remember in the absence of extrinsic rewards you will seek out or create intrinsic ones. Take into account [that] the higher the price you pay for your decisions the more you value them. See that ambivalence becomes certainty with time. Realize that lukewarm feelings become stronger once you commit to a group, club, or product. Be wary of the roles you play and the acts you put on, because you tend to fulfill the labels you accept. Above all, remember the more harm you cause, the more hate you feel. The more kindness you express, the more you come to love those you help.”
- David McRaney
Quote Source: Brainpickings - The Benjamin Franklin Effect: The Surprising Psychology of How to Handle Haters. Image from Amazon.
Where’s Caleb on Hump Day? Merzouga, Morocco. Here he’s posing with his friend before a long walk in the desert…
Source: Russell Bevan
Two weeks running.
Every day. Every day.
The commute in. The ride home.
It opens the day. It closes the doors.
Same tune. One tune.
Over. And over. And over.
[John Waters: “Without obsession, life is nothing.”]
From end to end.
The tune on a loop three to six times depending on traffic.
↓ click for audio (Harry Chapin – “All My Life’s A Circle”)
The Big Gato waits. Crouched.
Tapping his fingers on the seat. Impatient.
Waiting for Chapin to stop jabbering.
And then it comes. 4:30 on the running time.
I crank the volume up.
The dashboard vibrates.
Chapin cues him up.
Michael, the Cellist. Man Singing with Soul.
DK and the rest of the band join him to belt it out to the finish:
All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
The Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.
All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
The Seasons’ spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.
Image Source: MTVhive
Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”
~ Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Quote Source: Brain Pickings - Life Is Like Blue Jelly: Margaret Mead Discovers the Meaning of Existence in a Dream. Image: Unknown.
There’s no solace
above or below.
Only us —
battling one another.
I pray to myself,
~ House of Cards, 1×12.
I tripped into this recipe catching up on the week’s papers. My eyes locked in on Marmalade. And I HAD to have it. The NY Times piece by Melissa Clark was titled: Sweetness is Found In a Slice. The recipe was for British Marmalade Cake. (Who knew the Brits could bake?)
“This beautiful, tender, citrus-scented loaf cake filled with bits of candied orange peel is everything you want with your afternoon tea. The key is finding the right marmalade; it needs to be the thick-cut (also known as coarse-cut) marmalade made with bitter oranges, which will be laden with big pieces of peel. Look for the British brands in the international section of your supermarket if the jam aisle lets you down. (And not give up and use the neon orange marmalade that’s more like jelly.) Your reward is a fine-grained, not-too-sweet cake that will last for days well-wrapped and stored at room temperature (if you can manage not to eat it up all at once).”
Bottom Line: Skip the tea. (Sacrilegious for you Brits, I know). Grab a fork, a glass of cold milk and belly up. THIS IS BLOODY GOOD.
See Recipe below: [Read more...]
You’ll read the papers later today. They’ll say:
- Undefeated and decisive. (Toronto Global & Mail)
- Smothering (National Post)
- Dominating. (NY Times)
- Relentless. (Chicago Tribune)
- Four lines deep that just kept coming. (Toronto Star)
We watched you lock arms and sing O Canada. We sang along teary eyed. Our bodies tingled as we watched our Maple Leaf raised.
From all Canadians and ex-pats, Bravo Men.
Gold. Canada Gold.
4:45 am. Wednesday morning. Hump Day.
I lay in bed. I glance left to the window. It’s dark. Quiet.
Zeke nuzzles closer.
I close my eyes.
What’s it going to be?
1/2 way back. 3/4 way back. All Better?
I ease out of bed. And inhale.
A twinge. A bite. A grimace. An exhalation.
Let’s call it 75%.
Bit of grade inflation but we’re going with it.
I ease into the car.
The icicles on the eaves dripping.
Yes. Make it be Spring.
10:00 am meeting. Annoyances are whispy, floating in a thin ibuprofen haze in an otherwise cloudless sky. 10:14 am. Left eye begins to water. A fountain with intermittent spurts. The corneal abrasion roars out of remission and is shooting flares. 10:30 am. In the car, heading home. One hand over eye. The other keeping the wheel between the lanes, driving well below speed limit behind a semi trailer truck. 11:30 am. Sitting in darkness. Taking conference calls.
Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore; Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more. (Homer)
5:35 am. Thursday. Fever?
I pop 3 Extra Strength Tylenol. And start pounding on emails. My left elbow tingles. I pull my sweatshirt up. It’s swollen, baseball size and throbbing. WTH? Where? How? Why? Thoughts race. We’re in a bit of a rhythm here:
Left lower back.
Left corneal abrasion.
When it doesn’t feel right, go left.
And, if it doesn’t feel left?
Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old wunderkind of ski racing.
She became the youngest slalom world champion a year ago.
Shiffrin sped past the finish line to become the youngest Olympic slalom champion.
She is the first American to win the event in 42 years.
“You can create your own miracle,” Shiffrin said when the gold medal was on a sash draped around her neck. “But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way.”
Don’t miss the full inspirational story @ NY Times – American Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Gold In Slalom
Thank you Susan
Don’t fish? Don’t like fishing? Don’t care about fishing? No worries. This short film is so much bigger than that.
…It’s easy to stay inside when the weather isn’t pleasant. Sometimes convincing yourself to get out is the hardest part. And once you’re out, it’d easy to find an excuse to quit. But there are just some things you can’t see from the inside of your house. Some things you can’t feel and experience from the comfort of your warm home. Things your high definition TV can’t give justice to.
The woods are silent. And the water abandoned by the crowds who surrender to the cold. You fully appreciate the stream you fish, when you see it cycle through all its seasons. The dense thick green canopy is gone. And the stream runs crisp clean and bright. The sun touches water it only reaches a few month a year.
The pain of frozen extremities fades fast when you hook that first fish. And all of the sudden, it all seems worth it. You forget about all of your problems. You forget about the ice in your guides. The frozen hands. The problems at home. Troubles at work. It all fades.
At the end of a cold day of fishing you end up much more thankful than when began. Thankful for the motivation to get up and get out. Thankful for the lessons of the day. Thankful for the fish you may have been blessed with. And thankful to return home to the things outside of fishing.”