Thursday, May 31, 2018

Favorite songs that keep being sung

Local singer from our town, in a summer concert awhile back.  I love her interpretation of Piaf.

Fabiola Toupin et l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec interprètent Non, je ne regrette rien, d'Édith Piaf, sous la direction de Gilles Bellemare, lors du concert "Piaf en symphonie", le 6 août 2015 au Domaine Maizerets à Québec.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Old Finds

In my library awhile back I found my old green Gregg Shorthand book from high school.  On a whim I decided to write my sister a postcard in shorthand, to see if she could read it.  (She was a year behind me and had taken shorthand as well.)  I was astounded at how much I'd forgotten.  In elementary school we'd learned the Palmer method of cursive, another ancient practice that appears headed for obsolescence.  Anyway . . .  my sister called to say she received it and, amazingly, was able to read all but three words without consulting her own kept copy of the green Gregg book.

So we've been sending postcards back and forth in scribbled forms that nobody else can read, to keep our aging brains from calcifying.  

I'm intrigued by language in general, and certain ones in particular, though I've never learned to speak them.  What cryptographers and stenographers have in common is an ability to code (and decode)--in the case of S/H it's phonetic: 

                         All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and
                         rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one
                         another in a spirit of brotherhood.

 [Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] -- Gregg illustrations provided by Andrew Owen. 

  Practical Cryptography, if anyone's game to self-instruct.  :)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

One Month Later

The snow has not gone yet.
I invite April to hurry up and get here.

Besides the squirrels and sparrows and the two courting bluejays, we
 now have several doves visiting.  They usually all eat at different times -- the squirrels
come first, then the sparrows.  The doves wait till afternoon.  Sometimes they
all arrive together and pretty much ignore one another.  

What I loved about this particular scene was the juxtaposition of accidental symmetry in
the pecking order of the calm, polite doves with the quirky, jerky back-to-backness of
the ever-jumpy squirrels--who abruptly stopped eating to go chase a fellow squirrel
that was thinking of approaching the feeding spot.

I'm sooooooo ready for Spring!  This winter has been a disaster as far as
finishing long overdue projects was concerned.  Some actually never even got tackled.
Maybe like the squirrels, I'm too easily distracted.  ("Look! There's a squirrel!")  

Watching birds and squirrels when you should be doing  ... [insert whatever].

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

Fun with Homemade Bookmarkies

I sometimes hand-paint leftover scraps of watercolor paper to use as bookmarks.  
The hat on the one below was a bit too puffy, 
so I cut off the excess.

Since it still looked like a pile of white dough on top, 
in attempting to render her hatless, I ended up flattening her head:

In a sudden attack of a "What if?" moment, I cut her out completely, to make a
 kind of paper-doll bookmark, whose arms could attach to the top of the page.

On a roll, as they say, then did another one, soccer-related:

But bookmarks are not supposed to be so tall that
they get bent when the book gets shelved.

Back to the drawing board.

Gingerbread Man's more practical,
but too generic.

Let's personalize the figure, and experiment with placing the arms
behind the page this time.  But because the figure here lacked a torso,
it could easily get dislodged.  Rethink the pattern.

What about doing them as pairs?
Propped up, they could hold both pages open for the reader
(say if the reader were taking notes).

As in real life, some characters just like 
being on the same page together.

Inspired by the character with the glasses,
this one now preferred that his arms hang behind,
placing himself "out front" more. (I forgot to give him feet.)

The lady in blue trends along, wanting to show off her rhinestoney dress.
(Accessorizing a bookmark, because, why not?).
Her mate, more of an introvert, remains hesitant.

Okay, enough playing with the paperdoll bookmarkies. 

So the idea is to create cut-out-type bookmarks that appear to be peeking over from behind, OR dangling onto the page in full form, so to speak, to mark the place you stopped reading.

Although functional (as bookmarks), these cut-out types are neither as sturdy nor as practical as their more traditional (evenly proportioned) counterparts.

Fun to make and play with, though.  If you wrote a book of fiction, you could include individual bookmarkies depicting characters in the story so readers could mark the chapters in which they appear (assuming a potential reader might be inclined to want to do so).

(Or not.  :)    File that under the "What if?" section.)

Fun imagining, anyway.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Imagine Something Other


"I think that hard times are coming, when we will be wanting to hear the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.

We will need writers who can remember freedom; poets; visionaries; the realists of a larger reality.

Right now I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a commodity and the practice of an art."

                                             [Excerpted from an event, November 19, 2014.]

Le Guin's words challenge and inspire us to be more mindful of the way we practice our art--and its potential role in suggesting the possibility of something more, something better than the reality one is presented with.  John Lennon is an example of a voice that asked us to imagine a world without war.  (He also asked us to imagine a world without religion, borders, or greed.  Then, as now, however, not everyone wants to change, or to be one with the "Other" in today's or tomorrow's reality.)

Still, I like her conviction that writers, poets and artists offering creative alternatives to the status quo need to have their voices heard.  Writers can create stories that transcend the reality we're given, to imagine a different, better one.  Poets could give us words that profoundly resonate, leading to life-changing insights.  And artists can make us see, instantly, what words often struggle to say, and can't. 

In all this, it seems to me, it's less important whose voice is doing the voicing than the meaning of the message conveyed. That messages can be misinterpreted (or go unheard) does not mean that some aren't or that their impact is unfelt.  Grounds for hope.

Thank you, Ursula Le Guin, for your words and the reflections that resulted. R.I.P.


Click here for Ursula K. Le Guin website.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Window Woodhawk


No Possum, No Sop, No Taters

He is not here, the old sun,
As absent as if we were asleep.

The field is frozen. The leaves are dry.
Bad is final in this light.

In this bleak air the broken stalks
Have arms without hands. They have trunks

Without legs or, for that, without heads.
They have heads in which a captive cry

Is merely the moving of a tongue.
Snow sparkles like eyesight falling to earth,

Like seeing fallen brightly away.
The leaves hop, scraping on the ground.

It is deep January. The sky is hard.
The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.

It is in this solitude, a syllable,
Out of these gawky flitterings,

Intones its single emptiness,
The savagest hollow of winter sound.

It is here, in this bad, that we reach
The last purity of the knowledge of good.

The crow looks rusty as he rises up.
Bright is the malice in his eye . . .

He joins him there for company,
But at a distance, in another tree.

         ~~ Wallace Stevens 

What struck me about this Wallace Stevens poem is the way certain words leap out as
metaphors for the new now, in this age of excessive lack, "here, in this bad" , where an emperor's utterings erupt as hollow savageness inspiring horror, or "gawky flitterings" intoning emptiness. 

Like silent sentinels we watch, and wait, for the light to shine again.         

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye to 2017

It feels like -20 F today.

The neighbor next door has hung her wash out on the line and I believe it has frozen.
 Frozen socks take awhile to thaw out, which is why inside on a rack is better,
past a certain temperature mark anyway.

 Last January I thought 2017 would be THE year -
 the one certain projects got finished (or started).

Time to start again to start again.

Ever onward.

Best wishes to all for a HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2018.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Four more years

TRUMP: We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and we’re being respected again. But another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, “Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.” O.K.

Quoted from an impromptu interview by President Donald Trump to a New York Times reporter yesterday.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Poetry for a Cold Winter Day

It's -13 F today and our house and street are surrounded by snow.
So quiet it's as if the world has stopped.
Rearranging a  lower bookshelf, a thin volume slid out, which
got opened to a random page.
These are the words that leapt out:


December sun seeps into the woods
orange yolk over bare limbs
drips into a grove
where woodpeckers
tap tiny solos
                           a net cast
                           in the wake of the day

Chinese monarch King Wen
tells us the wanderer can progress in little things
when the source of light is farthest from the earth
and bends the prism
like a bow
                           and he finds himself
                           surrounded by woodpeckers
                           tapping out their eternal question

how to hold
interwoven rhythms
in a net of changing light

                          ~ ~ Paul Pines

Excerpt from Book Two: The Absent One
in Divine Madness (Marsh Hawk Press, 2012).

Monday, December 25, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Normalization of the Intolerable

With only a precious few notable exceptions, this past year has been seamless in its belligerent horror.

We are well beyond "It can't happen here."  

This is what fascism looks, smells and sounds like before it breaks out of its egg  and spreads its wings. This, right down to the clownish strongman screaming from the podium. They laughed at Mussolini, too, until it became a crime to do so.  After that, the joke was on the world. [Source]

There is a point, I think, when continually being outraged becomes both exhausting and irrelevant.  A populace that's socially conditioned to respond will react predictably, and be ignored (or punished) for doing so,  (A typical reaction to the New Now is the expression on the face of the guy in the photo above. ) 

Maybe it's time to stop  knee-jerk emoting and take a stand, try to find a solution.    Replace fear with resolve.   Say no to the Nonsense.  As in:  No, we don't buy into the reality they're trying to impose.


Photo and artwork by awyn.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


of how far there is to go yet;
of the power of declarations (individual, or universal)
     to motivate;
of the powerless with little hope
the world is listening.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted on 10 December 1948. The date has since served to mark Human Rights Day worldwide.

Human Rights Day promotes and spreads awareness about the following articles under UDHR: 

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
  • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 
  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. 
  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 
  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
  • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law. 
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. 
  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. 
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. 
  • Everyone has the right to a nationality.  No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Consecratalstones That Lack Foundation


Wreckball all the highrises:
then use the cornerstones of those
leveled towers to create my castle:
composed solely of foundationstones,
each one of which was blessed
with a ceremony, a literal
groundbreaking and therefore whole;
each block unique,
inscribed with ritual aggrandisements;
each planted solemnly:
each underpin-laid as the bedrock
its lesser brothers would rest on:
use only these rootstones to raise
the walls of my eyrie house hideaway
whose forbidding frame will have
no real infrastructure, whose form
will be a spiritual suspension
(cradle crux kernel hub core)
wherein each establishing stone
must cohere solid with the weight
of its having once been named
in salutation as such--but surely
when these maidenstones these
consecratalstones are placed
together to make home my dream
my ideal occupancy, then surely
due to the baseless act
of imagining this acme of architecture
I will never be allowed to live here.

~ ~  Bill Knott

From: Beta: Poems About Things that Begin with the Letter B,
self-published by Bill Knott in 2013.

The poem above is one of three poems in this 82-page book that fall under his category of "buildings" (between "barbershops" and "bullets").

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Apocalyptic Haiku Dream

Overweight, her cupboards bare
Mother Earth implodes.
News at eleven.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Great Cruelty and Heartlessness

We’re living in a time of great cruelty and heartlessness

where instead of a sun they’re throwing up

Instead of sunlight there’s the sound of
hammers beating

Instead of walking there’s kicking

Instead of thinking there’s talking

It’s almost as if there’ve never been times like
these before

Even shadows thrown by cartwheels on dirt roads
resemble the grimaces of armies as they
slide across rocks

In the palaces of power clocks go off but no one

Decisions are made by pouring acid down drains
or waiting for nightfall in a room lit by
neon tubes

If anyone speaks all eyes are upon them

I saw a sparrow fly over a fence

An ant stop and not go on

But laughter has turned to pebbles
falling on zinc

And children have been torn from their futures

-- Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

From In the Realm of Neither, (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2008)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Whether Report

Region:   Earth
Timeframe:  Ongoing
Population Affected:  All
Deadline for Full Recovery:  Past


Not a question of Whether anymore

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Liu Xiaobo Has Died

 Liu Xiaobo, (1955-2017)

 He once said he hoped he'd "be the last victim
in China's long record of treating words as crimes". 

Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned for the crime of speaking.

Free expression is the base of
 human rights, the root of human nature
 and the mother of truth.  To kill free speech 
is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature, 
and to suppress truth.

~~  Liu Xiaobo

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fun with digital brushes

Forgot I had this paint program installed.
Played with some lines & shapes & colors to see what would emerge.
Voilà, c'est fait!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Garden haiku


                                                                 accidental scarecrow -
                                                                 the birds are not impressed