Category Archives: Art

Amazing quilting

Hi readers.

During the coldest months of last winter a friend from one of my previous lifetimes heard about my situation here and sent me a fantastic, warm, welcome gift. Judy Van Hooser was so long ago I’d have thought she had forgotten I exist.

judy quilt1
Beautiful work and it all appears to be hand-stitched.

judy quilt3
Every year Judy makes one of these and gives it to a veteran somewhere.

judy quilt2
Last year she contacted my ex-wife, Caroline, and said she’d like to give this one to me.

judy quilt flipside

I was both dumbfounded and ecstatic. It’s almost too fine to use as a quilt. But these winter nights don’t leave a lot of room for the luxury of using a warm quilt for a showpiece. This one does what quilts and blankets were always supposed to do.

Thank you Judy. You’ve earned a place in my gratitude affirmations. And every time I use that quilt I remember.

Old Jules

Advertisements

Why Napoleon’s troops shooting the nose off the Sphinx with artillery in 1799 was a good thing

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the British Empire the past few months, and considering the implications of its almost spontaneous collapse during the decades after WWII. This was written November, 2013, but I find it’s still worth a chuckle today. Old Jules

This reblog is only a portion of the original piece.   If you want to read the entire blog entry you can read it here: Why shooting the nose off the Sphinx was a good thing

So Far From Heaven

Hi readers.

A lot of you probably think the world would have been just as good a place if Napoleon’s troops hadn’t shot the nose off the Sphinx practicing with artillery in 1799.  You might even think if they’d just stayed home in France and shot the noses off every Frenchman they could catch the world would be better off?

In the interest of science, Napoleon's troops couldn't know what would happen up there without shooting some artillery at it to find out.  Same as Hiroshima and Nagasaki later on.  Theories are worthless unless they're tested. In the interest of science, Napoleon’s troops couldn’t know what would happen up there without shooting some artillery at it to find out. Same as Hiroshima and Nagasaki later on. Theories are worthless unless they’re tested.

Well, you’d be wrong.  Napoleon’s troops did just the right thing blowing off the nose of Sphinx.

Keep in mind, these were Frenchmen.  All they knew how to do at that point was try to take the heads off whatever got in the way.  But they saved the Sphinx.  If they'd left it alone until the British took over in 1802 the Sphinx would be in London.  Housed in a wonder-of-the-world-sized British Museum.  Same as everything else the British could haul off from every country they ever conquered. Keep in mind, these were Frenchmen. All they knew how to do at that point was try to take the heads off whatever got in the way. But they saved the Sphinx. If they’d left it alone…

View original post 366 more words

Statue of Liberty replica from a water tower

A lot of people these days worry about whether other people are going to bring about the collapse of civilization and the end of life as we know it if they don’t perform the proper ritual when various patriotic icons are displayed.    But the VA in Leavenworth is going the extra mile to recreate a national icon that will take the breath away from the most casual observer.

water tower 1

See those wossname, things, sticking out at the top of that water tower?

water tower 2

Yeah, those.    And here is what is happening:

water tower 3

That’s right!  Can you believe that?   The VA is creating a replica of the Statue of Liberty out of that water tower!

water tower 8

Is this a great country, or what?

Old Jules

Something time forgot

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back in the 1960s browsing around book stores a person used to find 33 1/3 LP records of poets reading their own poetry.  I bought several and always enjoyed listening to Robert Frost, TS Eliot, Archibald MacLeish and several others.  Those poor old LPs were awfully scratchy and beat up by the time cassette tapes came along and I converted those I could.

But toward the end of LP-days along came Rod McKuen and I suppose made everyone a bit shy about admitting they listened to poetry.  I’m telling you now I listened to part of a Rod McKuen LP once, so shoot me for a dumbass.

Anyway somewhere back there my tapes ran away with a fancy machine designed to play them and it’s been a long time since I’ve heard Frost, MacLeish, Penn Warren, or TS Eliot, among others.  Missed it considerable.

But here in my dotage in Olathe, KS, there’s a lady who works at the County Library who was once an English Major.  She takes delight in getting me whatever the library has on almost anything.  I’ve consumed books on low sodium cooking, for instance, and am currently reading some new Terry Pratchett.

So lately when I got hankering to find some MP3 recordings converted from those mentioned naturally she was my database.  The bad news is a lot of it is still in libraries somewhere on vinyl, never converted even to tape.  You can find my favorite MacLeish on Amazon on LP for $4.77 used, but nothing even on tape.  Or you can get it Interlibrary loan from NY Public Library on LP.

Anyway I got Frost converted from CD to MP3, along with an assortment of other CD anthologies and spang sent them back to the library, ordering more.  And today I’ve got another stack  she brought home last night.  TS Eliot and The Spoken Arts Treasury Volume 1 [6 CD] of a large variety of poets reading their own poetry if they were still alive when recording devices were invented.

I also have a 2 CD set of the Mills Brothers, 1931-1968 I’ll be converting to MP3.  Truly looking forward to hearing it.

But the technology is moving so fast by the time I get them on MP3 probably something will come along assuring they’ll be lost to history some other way.  Heck, there aren’t enough people interested in Archibald MacLeish, Carl Sandburg, to justify someone commercially to preserve them.  Not anyone after cassette tapes came along.

Ezra Pound spent the years of his life after WWII in confined exile because he got so enthusiastic about Italian fascism, entirely because Il Duce supported the arts.

If poor old Ezry had recorded all those endless cantos he penned from 1945 until he died I suppose it would be one hell of a treasury to convert to MP3.  I’m probably the only person on the planet who wouldn’t listen to it.

Old Jules

Korean kids are higher quality stupid than US kids

Hi readers.  I saw the entire movie, Attack the Gas Station 2, on Netflix and found it fascinating.  It ain’t the same Korea I spent 14 months in back in 1963-’64.  Hell, it ain’t even a 3rd world country anymore.

jackjeepkorea2

When this photo was taken near Camp Howze, Korea [Pong Il Chon], I can say with authority there was a rice paddy somewhere nearby where people toiled from daybreak to dark. Somewhere nearby men were carrying a-frames loaded with firewood several times their own weight. Probably somewhere in Korea there was affluence staying well hidden, but the ‘average’ Korean made a few dollars per month and most would never expect to be able to afford a bicycle anytime during their lives.

But several things impressed me about the Korean film.  First, it’s the best photography I’ve seen in any of the foreign films I’ve watched on Netflix lately.  Secondly, the characters are wealthy in the middle-class way US citizens,  even the poor ones, are wealthy by standards of the 1960s.

Secondly, the kids are easily as stupid as US kids, but it’s a higher quality stupidity.  I suppose it hasn’t had time to mature, to become as decadent as US kids manifest constantly in public.  Stupidity of Korean kids has the quality of an over-ripe apple that hasn’t yet begun to rot.

And thirdly, the amazing wealth.  Look at that gas station, the cars and the people driving them.  The motorcycles those kids are riding and the clothes they’re wearing.  Observe the body-fat.  Those people might well be Americans in  the better neighborhoods.

By comparison, consider another Netflix foreign film, this one from Russia.  The Suit.  Some Russian youngsters fall in love with a Gucci suit in a store window and the adventures they go through to acquire it.  And what happens once they have it in their possession.

The Suit is a damned eye-opening good movie, well done and fun to watch, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Attack the Gas Station 2.  The Russian kids are smarter, incidently, and not so wealthy.

Anyone who tells you different is wrong.

Old Jules

 

Outlawry and the metaphysics of Quality – Zen, Persig et al

tabby thinking it over 2

Tabby:  So what does all this airplane talk have to do with the metaphysics of  quality?

Me:  Giving ourselves quality in life comes in a lot of forms, but each trail we take leading there relies on our personal determination to define what we believe is quality.  Although it’s remotely possible some larger social or governmental entity will offer the opportunities, it’s no priority with them.  They’re concerned with something they define as ‘the greater good’.  Keeping people on the sidewalks, off the grass.  If a person sees the need to walk on the grass, to lie on it, to find the quality in it, he’s going to have to find a way to get there without going to jail.  You have to find awareness of the grass, and you can’t be aware of it until you’ve experienced it.

Tabby:  But at least they’re keeping the dogs from crapping on the grass..

Me:  That’s right.  And if you’re planning to crap on it you’d destroy the quality you hoped to find there.  But if you allow the fact someone in control is afraid you’ll crap on the grass to keep you off it so’s to make sure you don’t you’ve lost a chunk of life you’ll never recover.  A piece of the quality of living gone because someone else might have violated it if they’d gone there.

Tabby:  People can’t see the damned grass anyway, right?  They walk right past it without seeing anything.

Me:  Mostly they don’t see it because they‘re somewhere else.  They‘re thinking about something they think is in the future, where they‘re having lunch, or something someone said an hour ago.  They’re walking past that grass and have a vague intellectual awareness the grass is there, but that’s only half of where quality lives.  The flash of instant ‘seeing’ it before the mind has time to intellectually define what it’s seeing is where quality hides.  And because they don’t experience the quality of the grass they have no respect for it.  They’re minds assign it no value.  They take a rhetorical crap on the grass without ever knowing they’ve done it.

Tabby:  So that’s why the people posting the signs want to keep them off the grass?  So they won’t take a rhetorical crap on it as they go by?

Me:  No.  The people posting the signs think they’re doing it to protect the grass for the ‘greater good’ of all those people and dogs going by who won’t see it.  Sign posters couldn’t care less about what people experience as they go by.  They think it’s the separation between the people and dogs, and the grass that’s important.

Tabby:  I’m glad they do it, anyway.  I hate eating grass after a dog’s peed or crapped on it. 

Me:  But you can’t taste it until you get past the signs.

Old Jules

My hat’s off to Jeanne

I was talking to her on the phone last night, her feeling down and in fairly low spirits about the art she’s worked on all these years and hasn’t sold enough of to balance the cost of entries in art shows, etc.  We were discussing other strategies she might try when I suddenly heard the word, “AWESOME!”

I thought the connection and gone bad or I was hearing wrong.  Just reaching for the button to hang up when she added, “I sold one off the blog!” 

I didn’t hang up after all, though the word awesome isn’t one I usually allow to reach my ear twice in the same conversation.

Can’t tell you how glad I am for her.  I honestly couldn’t imagine a blog, no matter how much trouble a person took building it, was a place where original art could be sold.