Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy Pi Day 2017

Yes, it's that time again...

Look up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane! It's a circle:
Its circumference divided by its diameter!
Oh my!
For lots of good ways to celebrate
Go here!
...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mar 2017

Manhattan here, Manhattan there,
Manhattan musings everywhere...

I’m calling this guy El Ladrón.
He’s a Heermann’s Gull
But he doesn’t care.
He’s hanging here at Manhattan Beach
With Kate & David, who are
Freshly back from Baja California
Where they watched whales,
Lazed on the beach and ate
Vast quantities of scrumptious food.
El Ladrón is returning from Baja BC
And is on his way further south
To some very private Mexican islands
In search of some cute girl gulls.
As he swoops and zooms,
He’s always on the lookout for
A Brown Pelican, watching as it
Swoops and dives, then
El Ladrón steals its bounty from its
Very ample beak.
El Ladrón, after all, means Thief.
Of course, he’ll be happy to steal
Human treats, too. He’s not so picky…
Just incredibly fast and sneaky.

And he has incredibly cute feet.

As El Ladrón wings his way south,
Kate and David wing their own way
Home to their sky pod on Manhattan Ave,
On a tall NJ cliff that overlooks
The Manhattan Island we all know.

Or do we?

All these Manhattans prompt me
To wonder how that name came about
In the first place. Seems though
There’s no definitive “first place.”

In 1609 Henry Hudson plied the seas
And mapped the coast around the mouth
Of the river that now bears his name.
Somebody labelled two places with two words
That are each sort of like Manhattan, but not
Manhattan, but not like in two different spellings.
And the two places are
On opposite sides of said river.

Walt Whitman was the first to use the name
Manhattan in print. The name’s meaning, though,
Is delightfully strewn with opinions
Now deemed as spurious
As old Henry’s first map labels.
“Island of many hills”
Gave way to “Place where
We became intoxicated,”
Put forth as evidence
That the island’s vendors
Became drunk on the Dutch buyers’ spirits.

Seems though, both are myths
On all historical, geographical,
And etymological fronts.

Enter our hero, Albert Anthony,
Né Shiikwáhkwunund, “Lone Pine”
In the Munsee (Delaware) language
The language of the original inhabitants
Of the whole Hudson Valley region…
Including Manhattan Island.

In 1884 Anthony was
Part of a delegation from
Six Nations Reserve…
And along with three chiefs
Gave an interview that said:

Our traditions affirm
that at the period
of the discovery of America,
our Nation resided
on the Island of New York.
We call that island Man- -h -tonh,
The place where timber is procured
For bows and arrows…
At the lower end of the island
was a grove of hickory trees
of peculiar strength and toughness.
Our fathers held this timber
in high esteem
as material for constructing
bows, war-clubs, etc.


So…
From this prized stand of hickory
To a lone buttonwood tree,
Manhattan's greenery has defined
How the known nations interact
With themselves and each other.
From tools for both hunting
And warfare to the trading of shares,
Often profiting from warfare,
But always in dreams of filling the tables
Of the poor as well as the rich.

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.

But, then, that's yet another story, eh?
...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course:

Friday, January 27, 2017

Feb 2017

An Early Happy Feb...

... because Chinese New Year is coming tomorrow... early this year! I love that the Lunar New Year holiday honours and celebrates the start of Spring! This New Moon appears tomorrow and the traditional annual 7-day observance serves as rest time before the approaching farm season... sort of an official Spring Fever time!

Thx to Canada Post yet again for continuing their series of seasonal stamps.

This year is full of expectation. The rooster is proud, confident, hardworking and punctual. Fire by its very nature is the element associated with brilliance, warmth, passion, spark. So a brilliant and enthusiastic rooster, combined with the warm and bright characteristics of fire, heralds an enterprising and fruitful year... a year of results and achievements. This year we can fulfill all of our dreams.

Chinese tradition dictates a whole list of DOs and DON'Ts for best results:
  • Visit with family and friends to wish them good fortune and prosperity.
  • Spend the rest of today (Friday) cleaning your house but avoid cleaning for the next 3 days to avoid sweeping away good fortune.
  • Red symbolizes vitality of life and happiness while gold symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Dress—in new clothes—and decorate accordingly! Give gifts of money in red envelopes.
  • Tonight (Friday) stay up until midnight and open your doors and windows to send out the old year and welcome the new.
  • Ring a bell at midnight to bring good fortune for the whole year.
  • Then tomorrow, be sure to feast—but don't nap, as naps can encourage laziness for the rest of your year.
  • Keep children happy and joyous, as crying might discourage good luck.
  • Use lots of positive words all day to set the focus for the new year.
Seems to me we're encouraged to be happy tomorrow so we can be happy all year long.
...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Jan 2017

A Time Piece for Father Time...

He's busy carving another notch on his ancient scythe,
As our tired old year washes back into eternity.
Whew!
We do a countdown with our own timepieces,
And this bright and hopeful NewYear washes ashore
And laps at our feet,
Ready for our perusal.

Daylight Savings Time will be back soon
Somehow, that promises us more time…
In some time zones, anyway.
In the meantime…
Let’s indulge in some personal
Daylight Wasting Time:

I never seem to have enough time.
After all,
Time is money.
And
Time keeps on slippin’ a-way-ay-ee.

What time is it anyway?
Is it lunch time yet?
How do Time Lords tell time in that blue phone box?
Tardis.
The White Rabbit is tardy.
Always.
The mail's a little late today, too.

Life moved more slowly in Olden Times.
We all know that.
We still have The London Times
And Times Square.
I’m just marking time now with this job.
Romeo was making time with Juliet.
Time is fleeting.


      Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
      creeps in this petty pace…

When the big hand is on the seven
And the little hand is on the six
It’s time for the baby’s bedtime story.
In my time it was
Howdy Doody time!
Sh, sh, now…
It’s time for you to go to sleep.

This is my favourite time of the year.
Time and time again.
Time marches on.
Soldiers sometimes march in Quick Time.
Do they call their other marching
Regular Time?

There’s no time like the present.
It’s about time!
So many chocolates, so little time.
Spending time now
Remembering across Time…
To bring focus to today:
If you had a Time machine,
Where in Time would you visit?
Oh, and...
When was your First Time?

Time-saving devices.
Time’s a wasting.
It’s closing time.
Once upon a time…
Not this time.
Pastime.
Not thyme.
Time to go.
Time flies when you’re having fun.
E=mc2
It’s all relative.

Today I use yesterday to create tomorrow.
Each year I do more things
For the first time and
Fewer things for the last time.

Pay attention this time…
Take time
To notice slow time.
And fast time.
And how you can decide which
Kind of time to live each part of each day.
See?

      Time embeds the memories
      That create your own
     
Timeless identity.
      Without Time we are not.
      Time is our most valuable
      Non-renewable resource.
      We gotta use it or lose it. 
           Enjoy it.
                  Share it.

    
A L L   W E   H A V E   I S   T I M E

...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dec 2016

We're all here... just being ready for plenty...

Autumn's cornucopias give way
To festivals of Light...
And to trees lopped into pointy perfection,
Ensconced in homes and be-decked
With garlands and geegaws...
Guarding gifts for warm
Family gatherings. 

We lucky ones welcome
All this with open arms
And expectations of glee...
We even sing and hum along
Together.

We're like these huge Chihuly bowls:
With vast capacity for all things
Wonderful and magical
And glowing with sparkling hope.

Greetings my friends.
Enjoy. 
...
If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.

              Kurt Vonnegut, of course

...
From Sand. From Fire. Comes Beauty.

MORE ABOUT DALE CHIHULY AT ARTSY'S CHIHULY PAGE

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembrances 2016

Rembering Vonnegut's admonitions...

Last year I told you about Arthur VanTowsey, one of my touchstones of remembrance. Every year I remind you to remember Kurt Vonnegut's birthday today, along with his admonitions to seek peace and to enjoy today, both lessons he learned as a WWII POW in Dresden during those devastating firestorms and shared in his famous Saughterhouse Five.

As I was writing this month's missive the sad news of Leonard Cohen's passing reached me. So I offer you a memory of his style and grace. You're probably already listening to streams of his melodies, as am I.

As Kurt wrote so many times in his Slaughterhouse Five, "So it goes." Alas, we've seen too many go this year.

My favourite Vonnegut book, however, is Cat's Cradle. I think I might have been happy to be a follower of Bokonon.

My favourite L. Cohen song, is Tower of Song. "I asked Hank Williams how lonely does it get. Hank Williams hasn't answered yet."

Both Leonard and Kurt were blessed with a profound understanding of lonliness and unique golden voices that helped us to accept and appreciate and love. I offer my thanks to them both. So it goes.

...
If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.

              Kurt Vonnegut, of course:

Monday, October 31, 2016

Nov 2016

Watching the evolution
proceeding in my viewfinder..
.

         and pondering...
         with help from this:

The leaves of the oaks are like the leather of bookbinding. How to speak otherwise of them, when in October they take on a brown hue and are as if leathery, ready to be set with gold. Why this excessive poverty of language any time we deal with colours? What do we have at our disposal when we try to name the splendor of colours? Some leaves are yellow, some red, and is that all? But there are also yellow-red, and flame-red, and bull’s blood-red (why this recourse to comparisons?). And birches. Their leaves are like small, pale-yellow coins, sparsely attached to twigs which are of what hue? Lilac, from the lilacs, and violet, from the violet (again, these unwieldy comparisons). How does the yellow of birch leaves differ from the yellow of aspens, underlaid with copper, stronger and stronger, till copper wins. A copper colour? Again a thing, copper. And probably only green and yellow are deeply rooted in the language, for blue the etymologists associate with flavus, yellow, while red again, in its old Norse forms, goes back to trees, the rowan or reynir, the mountain ash, or perhaps to rust. Is the language so resistant because our eyes are not very attentive to details of nature unless they serve a practical purpose? In October, pumpkins ripen in the fields and their colour is orange. Why this recourse to orange, how many eyes saw oranges in a northern country?

I put all this down, for I have encountered difficulty in describing autumn in the valley of the Connecticut River in a precise and simple manner, without the props of comparison and metaphor.
                      ~ A Little Treatise on Colours by Czeslaw Milosz
...

If this isn't nice, I don't know what is. 
             ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course, whose birthday is November 11th...
                and who always reminds us to remember to remember.