Tagged: Books

Sep 08

Live long and google

Live long and Google! Thanks to our innovative and happening friends at Google my day has been made (right here in the home stretch to the midnight hour)! Not sure how long the Star Trek interactive icon has been up, but I just saw it and checked it out. Great stuff, Google. Happy 45 years to all forward thinkers and dreamers. This almost tops my Star Trek find at Goodwill this week. Thanks also today to Valerie Johnson of Chicago’s best poetry magazine ever,  Poetry. How many can claim they’ve done it for 100 years, yet alone, done it right (and/or done it with poetry). Valerie made the trip to Springfield to collect a Centenarian award from the Illinois State Historical Society. Beyond 100 years, and Star Trek and Google, good folks like Valerie, surpass the stars in my books. There’s nothing better than the humble and kind. Make sure to check out the Poetry Foundation, and if you are in Chicago, the awesome new green building they are housed in (by John Ronan Architects).

 

 

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Jan 27

Beets and poetry

Two subjects linger in my mind on this Tim Burton-like day, where black trees with spindly branches seem to reach into the rain as if the drops might medicate their gloom. Beets and poetry. Yes, beets and poetry are on my mind. While the sun fails to shine outside my kitchen window for the umpteenth day in a row, lunch consists of beets, cottage cheese with mandarin oranges, and mushroom soup. Ah, you might say…there lies the rub, but no, the soup is Campbell’s soup. The last time I checked, Campbell’s was not in the pharmaceutical business. Beets play a role in the book, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. I enjoyed reading this book, but that was years ago. The book was better for me because beets were in it, not beets tasted better to me after reading the book. I don’t remember if this was in the book, but I thought the beet, a heart, a symbol of immortal love. Anyway…I love beets. Why? I do not know. They taste a little woodsy. Perhaps there’s an unconscious connection to the outdoors or trees or some other earthy thing I adore. Though I can’t place what it is about the color that is attractive to me, the color is deep and rich, and an unusual color for a vegetable. The texture may be the key. Cooked beats, like turnips, don’t fall apart as easily as potatoes, retaining their form, though they can get very soft. Yum. Beets taste good. Particularly pickled beets with hard-boiled eggs. I plant and harvest beets, boil them until the skins slid off easily, mix up a concoction of vinegar, water and sugar, boil some eggs, drain and peel the eggs, put everything together and refrigerate over night. Abracadabra. According to Wikipedia (a source I might add that you should use at your own risk), “the first known mention of the word abracadabra was in the 2nd century AD in a poem called De Medicina Praecepta by Serenus Sammonicus, physician to the Roman emperor Caracalla, who prescribed that the sufferer from the disease wear an amulet containing the word written in the form of a triangle. Abracadabra…beets and, I feel a little beeter, I mean better, and I haven’t even gotten to the poetry.

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Dec 02

Book overload

I have too many books. Occasionally I lose my sanity and sell some to the local used bookstore. I almost always regret it. A year or two ago I got rid of an attic-full of science fiction books. Biggest mistake of my life. Well, maybe not the biggest, but stupid all the same. I love books. I like the cover and spine colors, the different shapes and sizes of letters and words, the interesting publishing logos, the way they stand tight up against each other in my bookcases, or lean slightly upon one another. I like the texture of books bound in glossy paper, or knobby cloth or smooth, soft leather. I haven’t even commented on the smell, the sound, or the feel of them. I like that a thousand images and a thousand ideas sit inside them, not to mention a thousand characters, a thousand worlds. On the right wall they provide insulation. In the right space, decoration. In my life, just the right volume of intelligent noise.

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Jun 10

On Caregiving

Awareness is a blessing or a curse. It is a blessing if knowledge, beauty, or possibility finds its way to you. It is a curse if short-comings, ugliness, or self-pity leap upon you like prickles from a cocklebur field. Many days Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, comes to mind, and in the awareness of his words, I question if I face unavoidable suffering, and therein if I do, do I meet it with dignity. So many days it seems all I do is try to pick burrs from the cloth of my being.

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Jan 28

This is why I like…

… Paige’s art “The Pole” so much as seen on the cover of The Maze 2008 (adonisdesignspress.com). For me, all the history and important-world-changing stuff that happened inside the fence is put into perspective. Her focus on the pole instead of the historical building reminds us to pay attention to the little things, the ignored, the trivial, to the seemingly insignificant stuff, that many times makes up all that big stuff.

Art takes a back seat to sports and politics often. Not here. The pole is part of an intricate piece of art. Sure it’s a barrier around a famous building, and perhaps a frame to draw attention to the importance of the history contained within, but the fence is a beautiful sculpture too.

Furthermore, the pole is a mirror. If we stand close enough and gaze into its reflective globe, it contains our image. From the right seat on a freezing February day, or on another day in the heat of August, that object held an entire city of people ready for change.

From an artistic point of view, I like how the pole mimics the shape of the capital dome. Others might snicker, “It’s just a pole!”

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