Friday, December 31, 2010
Doyle was 17 when the famous UPI photo was taken. She had been working at a metal pressing plant near Ann Arbor at the time. The U.S. government liked the image so much they used it as a recruiting tool to encourage women to join the workforce and support the war effort. Later it became a popular poster and has been reproduced endlessly, here seen as a metal sign on one of our kitchen cabinets.
During World War II millions of women moved into jobs at factories to produce, among other things, the weapons and ammunition that kept our boys equipped for the fight. But in the aftermath of the war this image probably helped serve as a reminder that "sometimes a woman is the man for the job" serving now as an inspiration for more than half a century.
Other memorable personages who have departed in 2010 include Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, directors Blake Edwards and Irvin Kershner, actors Tony Curtis, Dennis Hopper, Fess Parker, Peter Graves and Leslie Nielson, Beaver's mom Barbara Billingsly, entertainers Lena Horne and Captain Beefheart, and novelist J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, whose Holden Caulfield proved to be an omen of sorts for the adolescent alienation that that would subsume the Sixties generation.
None of us is here on earth forever. Therefore, as you move into the new year, make the most of your days. May your 2011 be your best contribution yet.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Ennyman: When did you first become aware of your aptitude for art and how have you nurtured this gift?
XM: I can't remember the moment when I became interested in Art as I was far too young to remember... all I can remember is the fact that I always saw myself either drawing or involved in some plastic little project as a child. As my parents have a lot of books I started looking attentively at some of the world's greatest works and was absolutely fascinated by them and for as long as I can remember I always wanted to be an artist. As my parents became aware of this they introduce me to an art mentor at the age of eleven and he guided me for some eight years. He taught me Art History and Fine Art (mostly painting) in private lessons apart from my normal school studies where I also chose the art subject.
EN: How did you become interested in geometric and kinetic art?
XM: In the very same way as art history reflects the evolution of pictorial ideas I believe that every work of art is a process of many years of assimilation and maturation and it reflects that very same process. So, for me it was a process for one has to go through many stages till one finds what is it that is worth conveying in a contemporary work of art, and, after a lot of analysis I found myself constantly referring to geometry which is not new because most great works have a geometrical basis to them (even figurative ones) and what geometric abstract artists did was to lay bare what others concealed. I also combined this with movement therefore turning the work kinetic and using digital media to support it which enabled me to produce optical illusions that for me are the core of geometry, for geometry is exactly our attempt to dissipate the illusion of form and connect with archetypes (perfect forms) therefore my work is an allegory as it closes itself in a cycle.
EN: Fascinating. You were born in Lisbon. How did you come to live in London for ten years?
XM: It was decided by my parents and me when I was fifteen that I should go and study abroad once I finished High School at the age of eighteen. I applied to London and Edinburgh and I was accepted at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London to much of my surprise and happiness. After that I went on and did my BA at Chelsea College of Art and Design and as soon as I graduated I started exhibiting extensively. I was given a studio by Space Studios at a very reasonable price and that gave me the right space to work as I was getting important commissions to work on. The last show that I did in London was the "London Recycled" show where I curated with a group of friends a very ambitious exhibition where we showcased twenty new works by London-based artists from different artistic disciplines and from different nationalities' backgrounds.
EN: And how did London influence your work?
XM: London influenced my work enormously because I didn't have access to the latest contemporary shows in Portugal and even at school we only got as far as Abstractionism and Surrealism. I avidly went to see as many shows as possible in London and became aware of Art Theory of Conceptualism and Minimalism which truly defined my work direction at the time. Also new media was emergent at the time and I became very interested in these new forms of art especially video and installation. Besides all this there was of course the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world and learn the history of different cultures which is a truly enriching experience for anyone interested in broadening his/hers horizons.
EN: Are you making a living on your creative endeavors or do you support your art passions by some other means?
XM: I have been commissioned for my work, so therefore received monetary support through that but it is difficult for those opportunities to arise. I made a conscious decision (because I can afford it) to make work which I find relevant and not necessarily to sell for I like to work in a site-specific manner and/or also produce work that I feel that is genuine and not very commercial. It was a conscious decision and I don't regret it.
EN: Some of your art has been described as being based on "philosophical ideas related with the eternal evolution of thought, creativity, knowledge and culture." Can you explain the philosophical ideas that underpin your work?
XM: The main philosophical ideas behind my work - I would like to stress Philosophical because I usually use those to make parallels with religious and scientific ones - are Platonic ideas and the ability that every human being has to go through the stages of the Allegory of the Cave. I think it provides the best metaphor for the quoted "eternal evolution of thought, creativity, knowledge and culture." for those four stages of evolution are the progression of human mind and spirit in every given human life going from Empirical Knowledge, Belief Knowledge, Abstract/Scientific Knowledge and finally Intuitive Knowledge. There's also another Platonic concept that I agree with and that is the fact that we have innate forms within us - in fact the purpose of the Allegory of the Cave is that we discover those archetypal forms and dismiss the shadows that are being projected and alluded upon us. These became known as the geometrical platonic solids that I use time and time again in my work for I believe that Sacred Geometry is, as stated above, innate in us and its resultant Divine Progressions are at the very foundation of our souls. As I said I create concept parallels based on these ideas and one example is the fact Hindu religion also gives a lot of emphasis in dispersing illusion - Maya - being the source of all ignorance and therefore very similar in some aspects to Plato's views. This is a small account of the ideas that surround my work because I fear my description might become too dense but I would like to say that I like to find affinities in Religion - Kabbalah, Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism - based on symbolism and respective beliefs.
EN: Where is the best place to find you online besides http://www.margaridasardinha.com/?
XM: I prefer to be contacted via e-mail either on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
2. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory by George Musser
3. Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan
5. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
6. On Call In Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story by Richard Jadick
7. The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
8. James Madison, the Fourth President by Garry Willis
9. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
10. The Accidental Billiionaires: Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
11. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie
12. I, Claudius by Robert Graves
13. Appointment with Death: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie
14. A Pocketful of Rye by Agatha Christie
15. The Labours of Hercules: 12 Hercule Poirot Mysteries by Agatha Christie
16. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
17. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
18. Three Act Tragedy, A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie
19. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro
20. Fierce Pajamas: Selections from an Anthology of Humor Writing from the New Yorker
21. Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer
22. My Revolutions by Hari Kunzru
23. Sideways by Rex Pickett
24. Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
25. Conquistador Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy
27. Fidel Castro, My Life: An Autobiography by Fidel Castro
Lengthy, detailed account with many interesting details about "the Revolution" and Cuba's recent history.
29. Plato & a Platypus Walk Into a Bar--: Understanding Philosphy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart
30. Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President by Robert Dallek
31. Superfreakanomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
32. On The Wealth of Nations by P.J. O’Rourke
33. Call Me Ted by Ted Turner
34. Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance by Tony Dungy
35. Taking Woodstock: A True Story of Riot, a Concert and a Life by Elliot Tiber
36. The Man Who Loved China: Joseph Needham and the Making of a Masterpiece by Simon Winchester
37. Eyewitness: 1910-1919 by Joanna Burke
38. Limitations by Scott Turow
39. Yogi Berra by Allen Barra
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Tonight we have company, so I have neither the time or inclination to take this much further, though I wouldn't mind weighing in on a few recent films I have watched or the books I am reading. For the moment, I will save all that for another day... or maybe even next year, since 2011 is just around the corner.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
The situation is made more complicated because apparently the U.S. is detaining a number of Iranians. It is a fact that doesn't get much coverage in the news. And then the mind begins to drift again to Guantanamo where the U.S. harbors prisoners without due process.
The Guantanamo situation shows straight up that the Iranians aren't the only "bad guys" who do this kind of thing. This excerpt from an Andy Worthington article in The Public Record seems to reveal frightening parallels.
To be fair, some sort of review process, involving lawyers, is better than a process in which prisoners designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial are given no opportunity to contest the Task Force’s decision, but as Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office, told the Post, “Indefinite detention without charge or trial is wrong, whether it comes from Congress or the president’s pen. Our Constitution requires that we charge and prosecute people who are accused of crimes. You cannot sell an indefinite detention scheme by attaching a few due-process baubles and expect that to restore the rule of law. That is bad for America and is not the form of justice we want other nations to emulate.” **
The article this passage was extracted from deals with the complications of closing Guantanamo. President Obama seemed to make this a major objective when he was elected two years ago. Some said it couldn't be done, or wouldn't. But why? Is it because the things our government has been doing there might not be humane and had best not be revealed?
We've been told that these are terrorists who will go back to threatening our freedom and causing havoc for us. But as time unfolds we have learned that many of the detained have had hearings in which U.S. court judges declared they should be released, yet they remain detained. Why? Does our government have something to hide?
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1867
Friday, December 24, 2010
Racconigi is a town and community in Northern Italy's Piemonte (Piedmont) region, located in the province of Cuneo 25 miles south of Turin, and 3o miles or so north of Cuneo. Historically its economy has been mostly based on agriculture, production of milk and meat, along with some sheet metal industry.
But its claim to fame must have always been its beauty, as kings set up their royal residences here. The park's centerpiece is the Castle of Racconigi, built in 1570 0n the site of an earlier castle that had been there from the beginning of second millennium. The park itself was laid out in 1755 by a French gardener named Molard, eventually enlarged in 1835. In between these dates the Piemonte region had been annexed to France during Napoleon's reign, a fragment of history known as "Racconigi Napoleonica."
According to historian Mario Monasterolo of Terre di Seta,"The annexation took place in three different periods. 1797, a first French invasion: Napoleon compelled Piemonte to surrender many fortresses and cities to France (but our king went on keeping his throne). 1798: a second invasion and the birth of the Republic. The king left Piemonte, but an Austrian - Russian army tried to conquer Piedmont again. 1799: the French army defeated the Austrian - Russian coalition and Piemonte was definitively annexed to France, till the end of Napoleon in 1814."
In 1901 the castle became the summer residence of the King of Italy and in 1997 was added to the World Heritage Site Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. Another highlight of the 20th century was the region's liberation from Nazi occupation at the end of World War Two, cited in Bud Wagner's And There Shall Be Wars. Wagner, who drove a jeep and kept a diary, noted that he never really got to see the castle as the officers had set themselves up there when the war ended.
As it is Christmas, and we are thinking of Italy this morning, it seems appropriate to share Italy's favorite Christmas song, as sung by the great tenor Pavarotti.
Buon Natale a voi dall'Italia.
Which, translated, means... Merry Christmas to you from Italy.
(EdNote: Lest there be any confusion, I am not there today except in spirit.)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
My initial blog entries were text based, but eventually I began to illustrate them with photos and art. Little did I know how many pictures I would be making. It felt good to see the ramped up output as I strove to meet daily deadlines. I began to understand how Gary Larson (Far Side) or Charles Schulz (Peanuts) might feel, trying to come up with something interesting or meaningful on a daily basis. For those guys, though, it was a full time job. I was trying to squeeze the creative juices out of me each morning before heading to the office.
Eventually I'd produced enough work to have last year's show at the Venue. (The photos here are from that event.) I'd also began to learn how the other social media can work together... and how international it is! Friends have emerged in Italy, Germany, Australia and other points Stateside that I'd have never encountered ever in a traditional manner.
One of my current dreams is putting together an art show in Europe, an idea that would have never entered my mind two years ago. I am thinking Torino or Marseilles. Or both. It's on my bucket list anyways.
Here's that first blog entry, a happening you most likely missed.
One Small Step for a Man, One Giant Leap...
The purpose of this blog is as yet undefined. Perhaps to share art, to share philosophy, or most likely to share insights from 30 years of journal writing. The hardest part is to begin. This little paragraph seems so small, yet it serves to set a tone. We're creating a first impression. And what, pray tell, will it be?
On my wall is a quote from Bruce Barton. "Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things... I am tempted to think there are no little things."
It is my hope that this blog site -- though at first a "little thing" -- will grow to have tremendous consequences. I will sow my seeds and hopefully someone will read them in a manner that somehow, in some way deepens their life understanding. And in that manner they shall make a difference in another's life.
Onward, then, fellow travellers, pioneers in life's great adventure. Discover yourselves and change the world.
Round and round and round it goes.... where it stops, nobody knows. Thank you to all who have been travelling along with me here. May 2011 be your best year yet.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Ennyman: When did you first realize you were more creative than some people and decide to pursue art?
James Day: My ambitions in art started very early since I was the son of a sculptor. So it was inevitable that I would be an artist in some capacity.
EN: What was it that influenced you in the direction of sculpture?
JD: Of course being the son of a sculptor would have a large impact on the medium I would focus on growing up and in the future. I enjoy drawing and painting quite a bit, too, even web design, but definitely feel a higher connection and ability in sculpture.
EN: Who were your early inspirations?
JD: Early on I was inspired to be a special FX artist in part from watching the making of Star Wars and the alien bar scene back in the 1970's. I loved creating miniature and life size monster busts and fantasy characters. That lasted through high school and half way into college. The majority of high school I attended in Holland, and like most American families over there we visited countless museums. That's where some of the more traditional inspirations for me came from. My favorite artists were Michelangelo, Bernini, and Picasso. The first two artists were epic sculptors of course and amazed me with how intricate they could carve detail, form, and movement, especially Bernini. But Picasso inspired me to do whatever I wanted, leaving no boundaries to what I could imagine and create. His art taught me to push what were perceived to be acceptable limits and not worry about traditional approaches to presentation and subject matter in art.
EN: Please explain the bas relief process that you use to create these fascinating pieces?
JD: I use all types of clay, from traditional firing clays to plasticines or even polymer clays. I usually start by forming just a rudimentary shape roughly the size and shape of the work I want to make but slightly larger so that the detail can be carved into it. I used to build up clay and add details, but over the years prefer to start with larger solid blocks of clay carving out the detail and removing what's not needed.
EN: What are you currently working on that excites you and why?
JD: I have several relief sculptures and a few paintings that aren't finished yet. When I have the time I plan on finishing them. At the rate I find spare time now days, it will probably be months before I get them finished and ready to show
EN: Any advice for people trying to balance art and career?
JD: Since it's such a monumental task, it's hard to give advice in this department. I guess I can give a little insight into how I've managed though. I have no social life what so ever, find very little time for myself to even watch a movie, and never go out in the evenings or on weekends. The only way I've been able to balance it all out is by giving up a normal existence, and working around the clock in an attempt to keep up with the workload, contacts, and networking. It's really difficult and launching the Art of Day site as you can imagine has only compounded it.
EN: I'm also interested in your relationship to the featured artists at your blog? How long have been hosting/managing/curating the Art of Day Blog?
JD: Each of the artists featured on Art of Day are selected from those who post their art on the ArtofDay Facebook fan page, entries submitted through the Art of Day website, or by direct invitation.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/ArtofDay/400259831040 (fan page)
I joined Facebook back in 2008, got in touch with old friends, and started networking with as many artists, curators, and galleries as I could. After more than a year of networking I saw a huge need for something like the Art of Day website where artists could receive a sizable amount of exposure for simply taking part in such a site. It took another 6-9 months working the idea around before I actually committed to the project. Art of Day launched on July 12th 2010.
Sculptor & Artist James Day
Artist Features, Gallery Networking, & Art Event Promotions
FAN PAGE (Facebook)
Visit the Art of Day website to submit your art and bio for review or your gallery's upcoming events for inclusion on Art of Day. The ArtofDay.com website accepts artists and galleries as contributors, meaning you can submit your own articles & event announcements for immediate review. Submit your own article today! http://artofday.com/wordpress/?page_id=367
Monday, December 20, 2010
Garcia, by the way, was a huge teddy bear. I remember one time years later finding that my parents had him stored in the attic still, leaning against the chimney under the eaves. Because Lemon and Feller were my favorites, they got pretty much "used up" and worn out. But Avila I had forgotten about.
I never forgot the ballplayer, though. He was my Mom's favorite player hands down. And pretty much forgotten today, even though in 1954 he was the American League's leading hitter. Indians manager Hank Greenberg, himself no slouch with a bat, said of Avila, "He has that extra something that makes a great hitter. Call it the competitive instinct.... He's always fighting the pitcher, never choking up, and never giving an inch.... In a tough spot, I'm always glad to see Bobby coming to the plate."
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Writers are a different kind of animal. No one completely understands their struggles. This is probably why writers enjoy reading about other writers, so as to be affirmed that we are not alone, even though the arenas we battle in are solitary.
John Steinbeck, one of the great writers of the last century, once indicated to The Paris Review a willingness to be interviewed before he died. The interview never took place as Steinbeck crossed the river in 1968, becoming inaccessible. Nevertheless, by means of his diaries and letters, the great writer's thoughts and insights about writing were scattered all over. As a courtesy to the rest of us who care about these things, The Paris Review assembled these scattered notes and observations in a 21 page article rich with insight.
Here is one passage, with a link to the entire piece further on.
A man who writes a story is forced to put into it the best of his knowledge and the best of his feeling. The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty. A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator. Of course, there are dishonest writers who go on for a little while, but not for long—not for long.
A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel—
“Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as alone as you thought.”
Of course a writer rearranges life, shortens time intervals, sharpens events, and devises beginnings, middles and ends. We do have curtains—in a day, morning, noon and night, in a man, birth, growth and death. These are curtain rise and curtain fall, but the story goes on and nothing finishes.
To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.
The excerpts and snippets assembled in this article cover a wide range of topics related to writing including getting started, luck, work habits, inspiration, writing verse, the short story, hack writing, size, character, intent, the craft of writing, competition, titles, critics, relaxation, having a writer in the family, honors, Hemingway and fame.
If you are a writer, and especially if you are a Steinbeck fan, here's a link to a very good read. Savor it.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Gloria: Yeah, at Beverly Hills, that's where we met, that's where I met Elvis. I was an elevator operator and we'd kiss between floors. He invited me to his room because I had a 22 waist, 110 pounds. At that time I looked like Liz Taylor, people say. My hair was past my waist. He used to come in with all his Memphis Mafia, and one time Charlie Hodge, he grabbed my hand, this is some time into it, he grabbed my hand and he's holding my hand looking at me. Elvis had these long cigars and he blew the smoke right straight through between us to break it up. And Charlie looked back and dropped my hand like that. So he asked me to his room, and I said, "I can't come 'cause I'm employed. You know if I go to your room I might get fired, and its not worth it." So anyway, he moved out and then the fun started.
Enny: Esposito is part of the Memphis Mafia?
Gloria: They call those guys the Memphis Mafia. They were like Elvis' body guards and business people. So he called me up and he goes, “Can you be ready in a while?” and I said, “Where are you calling from?” And he said, “I'm calling from a limousine downstairs. Elvis wants to know now if you can come over.” But he hesitated. He said now can you come to his home and he hesitated and I said, “Yeah, sure.” So my parents ran to the window and looked out and looked down and said, “Oh, my, gosh.” You know how a limousine looks.
So anyhow, he said, “How soon can you be ready?” and I said pretty soon. I set my hair down, took my curlers off, fixed my hair and I'm like, “How did you know I was home? My address and phone number, that’s not hard to get. You can get it from my boss, but how did you know I was home?” So anyhow I went to Elvis' house, and all the fun started from that point on. You know, I believe to this very day that he was my soul mate. I had no doubt about it. I got to know the dad really well. I invited my brother a few times.
Enny: Roughly when was this?
Gloria: It was, I was 23 years old, so 1962, around that. And so then finally I brought my brother there, and he said to me he was jealous. And I said, "There's no reason to be jealous. He hasn't officially dated me."
Enny: He proposed to you?
Gloria: Yeah, this is some time into it. We'll get to that. Anyway, we'll bypass everything else because it’s too long. He's interested, showing interest in me and I'm like, not showing anything. I'm like independent, you know. I'm not deliberately doing that, but I'm just acting like he's just another guy. I think he kind of liked that in a way. So anyway this was, I believe, in Bel Air, and I'm sitting in a convertible that my friend took me up there in.
Enny: Your friend was?
Gloria: I had a friend who drove me up there.
Ed: He or she?
Gloria: It was a he. And so finally he's in the house and then Elvis comes out and he's getting into his motor coach, one of those ones they drive and he pointed over at me and said, “I want to get married.” And I'm looking around, and he says, “I want to get married and I want to have a boy and I want to have a girl.” And then I looked around and he says, “I'm talking to you.” And I froze. I didn't know what to say. Finally, he repeated that two times and he said, “Oh, girls,” and I said what the heck just happened? Why didn't you answer him? Why didn't you say something? Even to this very day I'm like, “Why didn't you say something to that man?" You know? But that is considered a proposal when he pointed at me and said I want to get married and have a boy and a girl. Later on in the books in Barnes and Noble, it said that he wanted a boy and a girl, a boy first and a girl second. And there's so many coincidences that are happening still to this very day that are unexplainable.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I was born during the pennant race of 1952, a nail-biter of a season with the Indians coming up two games short against their arch-nemesis, the Yankees. The Indians, famous for their pitchers, would spend most of the 1950's falling short like this, though in 1954 they did punch through and captured the American League pennant, again behind a dominant starting rotation that heralded four 20-game winners, three of whom would become Hall of Famers.
I do not recall my first ballgame in Cleveland Stadium. I have a memory of box seats on the third base side on a sunny summer day when I was about four. I remember many games after that over the years including several games in the hopes of being present when Early Wynn reached his 300th lifetime career win. I remember learning how to keep the box score in the scorecard when I was barely old enough to write.
I like to tell people that we went to every Yankee-Indian double header back then, but I'm sure my memory is faulty and it only seemed that way. We did go to a lot of games and I do recall one double header when Yankee catcher Elston Howard slammed game-winning home runs over the center field fence in both games. Other household names in Cleveland in those days included Rocky Colavito, Herb Score, Woody Held, Vic Power and Tito Francona.
It wasn't until I was grown up that I learned from my dad that we went as often as we did because my grandfather, who was a supervisor at the Packard plant in Warren, routinely acquired free tickets. It's only natural to want to take your grandkids out to the ballgame. And who better to go see than the Yankees.
I remember one game in which the Indians were losing going into the ninth and my dad said it was time to leave so we could beat the traffic. We walked to the car hoping against hope for a comeback, and sure enough the Indians tied it up while we headed back to Maple Heights. When we got home the game was still going and I remember sitting in the back yard rooted to a lawn chair sipping kool-aid. We beat the traffic but missed a great comeback. No biggie.
Bob Feller's fame could be attributed to his fastball, a sizzler once purportedly clocked at 107 miles per hour. But now that I'm grown I think his fame lay in that wonderful blend of good-heartedness combined with talent. At seventeen years of age he was already pitching in the major leagues. In addition to being a great ballplayer he was an exemplary person.
I'm not the only writer with fond memories of Cleveland baseball. Indians fans owe a debt of gratitude to veteran sportswriter Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for his loving coverage of the team over the years. Strongly recommended reading for Indians fans: The Curse of Rocky Colavito, which details the story of heartbreak most Indians fans have experienced since those mid-century glory days.
In remembrance of Bob Feller, here's Pluto's account of a visit to the Feller family farm in Iowa. Bob "Rapid Robert" Fellow passed away on Wednesday, December 15, after a bout with leukemia. He was 92. The Indians have not won it all since he took them there in 1948.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
By John Cook
The U.S. Navy has admitted that it lost control of a helicopter drone during a test flight in Maryland earlier this month, leaving it to fly unguided for more than 30 minutes and 23 miles and violating Washington's restricted airspace. The drone's operators eventually regained control and got the drone safely back to base. The Navy tells the New York Times that a "software issue" caused the snafu.
The drone, a Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Navy Fire Scout, is supposed to have a failsafe system that directs it to land safely if it loses its communication link with the controller on the ground. That obviously didn't happen on the drone's Aug. 2 flight, and it made a beeline from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in southern Maryland, where it was being tested, toward Washington. It was roughly 40 miles from the capital before the Navy regained control.
Evidently the Navy went so far as to prepare F-16s to shoot the thing down. They did not know what it was going to do.
Monday, December 13, 2010
The well-known maxim "Art for art's sake" was birthed during this period. The movement was, in part, a reaction against the de-humanizing influence of science and utilitarianism, which places value on things according to their usefulness.
Friday night at our philosophy club Professor Daniel Robertson (on a CD lecture we listened to) used the following example to illustrate the difference in perspectives between the aesthetics and the scientists. What is the best way to understand what a radio is? Scientists would break it open and study its components. The aesthetic philosophers would say that you will never understand a radio that way. The only way to really understand a radio is to turn it. Once you hear a Schubert symphony (choose your passion here) you will understand what a radio is.
So it is with the human spirit. A man or woman is not the sum of its component parts. We are more than muscle and bone and fluids and ectoplasm. By that measure how could you ever comprehend a Shakespeare? The Aesthetic movement was an attempt to counteract the ideological forces that were boxing people in, treating persons as if they were simply gears in a machine.
In the 1960's the same forces were at odds, striving to define us. The utilitarian view was that we have value only if we were producing something of value. The measure of value was in our wages. Materialism said that more goods would make us happier. But there was something within us that said life was more than that. Maybe the hippie ethos went too far in rejecting everything Western modernity had invented. But there was something to be said for this deeply human longing to aspire to something more, to dream impossible dreams.
Carpe diem. Reach for the stars.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Domed stadiums are nothing new. Minnesota Twins and Vikings fans have enjoyed their Metrodome for several decades now. Unfortunately, the weather can play havoc with Northland domes as in this morning's collapse of the Metrodome roof at 5:00 a.m., thereby sending tomorrow's Monday Night Football game to Ford Stadium in Michigan. Bummer for season ticket holders who can't make it to Detroit.
This isn't the first time the Metrodome collapsed. In 1981 Susie and I were returning from a year in Mexico when severe storms iced the Northland. We had our sights set on Minneapolis, but freezing rain turned Iowa bridges into skating rinks and we were forced to take shelter in a motel. We saw a lot of cars in the ditches that night. And the next morning we entered the Twin Cities to a scalped stadium. Ice had cut through the fabrics that shrouded the dome, leaving it shredded and sunken. Ah, but I digress.
Being a Cleveland Browns fan I took umbrage to the coining of the Cowboys as America's team. Nevertheless, you really can't fault the franchise for becoming darlings of the NFL and a fan magnet. And like most such stories, if you dig into the details you can usually find a reason or two for their uncanny success. In this case, I doubt the lion's share of the credit can be attributed to their Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry.
Landry's imprint on professional football was significant. Whenever you hear great coaches and players tell their stories, many will speak with reverence of the two acknowledged greats, Lombardi and Landry, who not only influenced how the game was played, but about the role of character and the real meaning of greatness.
In addition to two Super Bowl titles, Landry led the Cowboys to an unprecedented and unmatched twenty consecutive winning seasons. Many of his innovations in both offensive and defensive formations have become the standard in today's football.
So today, helmets off to the Dallas Cowboys and their legendary coach Thomas Wade Landry.
Tom Landry Quotes
"A winner never stops trying." ~Tom Landry
"Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it's so incredible, it's unbelievable." ~Tom Landry
"I don't believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be prepared to play a good game." ~Tom Landry
"I've learned that something constructive comes from every defeat." ~Tom Landry
"If you are prepared, you will be confident, and will do the job." ~Tom Landry
"Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you're in control, they're in control." ~Tom Landry
"Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve." ~Tom Landry
"Right after the game, say as little as possible." ~Tom Landry
"Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan." ~Tom Landry
"The secret to winning is constant, consistent management." ~Tom Landry
"Today, you have 100% of your life left." ~Tom Landry
Trivia: Tom Landry was born on my birth date, September 11 and died on my daughter’s birth date, February 12.
For more information on this great NFL innovator.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
It's not likely that the sale of these lyrics will have much impact on the value of my painting of Dylan based on that particular album cover (18"x 24" acrylic on paper), but for the sake of this noteworthy event I'm offering a discount on my signed limited edition giclee prints.
In the meantime, while rummaging thru files related to this theme I found the following document initiated by my brother, completed by me. The instructions went like this:
Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to other people you like and include me. Try not to use the band I used, and try not to repeat a song title. (It's a lot harder than you think!) Repost as "My Life According to (BAND NAME)".
MY LIFE according to Bob Dylan
Are you a male or female?
“The Man in Me” says I am a man
I am a Lonesome Hobo, but my name is not John Wesley Harding or Joey or John Brown
How do you feel?
To be on my own? With no direction known? Like a complete unknown? “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Describe where you currently live.
It’s positively NOT Positively 4th Street. Keeps me singing the Dirt Road Blues.
If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Goin’ to Acapulco, or maybe the Gates of Eden.
Your favorite form of transportation?
A “Slow Train Coming”
Your best friend is...
One of Us Must Know
Your favorite color is...
Tangled up in Blue
What's the weather like?
A Hurricane, with Buckets of Rain
Favorite time of day...
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?
What is life to you?
Up to Me
Gotta Serve Somebody
A “Simple Twist of Fate”
Watered Down Love
What is the best advice you have to give?
“A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”
If you could change your name, you would change it to?
Quinn, the Eskimo
Thought for the day:
The Times They are A-Changin’
How you would like to die?
Property of Jesus
Your soul's present condition.
Tryin’ To Get to Heaven.
“I need... a Shot of Love.”
Are You Ready?
Top Right: Portrait of Bob Dylan based on album cover The Times They Are A-Changin'. Limited edition signed and number giclee originals available for $125, including shipping.