Wednesday, June 27, 2007


From the latest copy of The Inlander, here is an except from the commencment address David McCullough gave at UConn in 1999. This story could be almost be a mantra for my life, sort of.

"My message is in praise of the greatest of all avenues to learning, to wisdom, adventure, pleasure, insight, to understanding human nature, understanding ourselves and our world and our place in it.

I rise on this beautiful morning, here in this center of learning to sing again the old faith in books. In reading books. Reading for life, all your life.

Nothing ever invented provides such sustenance, such infinite reward for time spent as a good book.

Thomas Jefferson told John Adams he could not live without books. Adams, who through a long life read more even and more deeply than Jefferson and who spent what extra money he ever had on books, wrote to Jefferson at age 79 of a particular set of books he longed for on the lives of the saints, all 47 volumes.

... Once upon a time in the dead of winter in Dakota territory, with the temperature well below zero, young Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat, accompanied by two of his ranch hands, downstream on the Little Missouri River in chase of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized row boat. After days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then, after finding a man with a team and a wagon, Roosevelt set off again to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. He left the ranch hands behind to tend to the boat, and walked alone behind the wagon, his rifle at the ready. They were headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the rail head at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in that eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina.

I often think of that when I hear people say they haven't time to read. "

So, next time you find that dusty and forlorn copy of Anna Karenina or its kind, no excuses.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Todd: I used to play this LP constantly when I was a teenager; so much so that my original copy is pretty much worn out. It's a great mix of, among other things, proto-electronica weirdness, Hendrix-esque guitar pieces, and lush ballads. On CD you can listen to the whole thing at once, as opposed to the double LP that necessitated a lot of flipping, so a big improvement. My favorites, then and now are the ballads, as sweet and sincere as they get. I mean, this was one sweet guy, the man who actually raised Liv Tyler and is still her ‘first’ dad to this day.

I Think You Know

The visitors were never seen
They missed my monologue between
But I think you know
The letters came, the letters went
The last reply was never sent
But I think you know
I cant explain whats in my brain
That tells me where to go
But I think you know

For I would draw a diagram
To signify the things I am
But I think you know
And in the end it all boils down
A useless bit of running round
cause I think you know
And love I send to you my friend
But never tell you so
But I think you know

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

His...and His Trucks

Actually, I’m told the vehicles are called pickups in these parts. The his and his thing; a joke that sounds about right for the occasion. It goes like this: since our mum’s went to school together, I’ve known Gavin since we were in diapers. Our lives have paralleled and diverged over the years and now they’re back on the parallel. We’ve been both divorced in the last few years, living and hanging out downtown, blah, blah blah…

So, I have my p/u in town and find out he’s moving to another place and I go over to help. I knew he had a junky yellow truck but never paid much attention to it until I got it alongside my junky blue truck. As you can see from the photo, they’re identical! Too funny--we haven’t come to a conclusion on which is in worse shape-almost a point of pride as trucks/pick-ups aren’t supposed to be pretty, after all. I dumped mine in a ditch a couple of weeks ago, got pulled out, and drove off with not a (noticeable) scratch, to the p/u that is.

Check out the great place he’s moving into. I used to walk by it almost every day as it’s around the corner and visible from the house I lived in-a place I’d rather forget. Gav keeps on saying he has too many memories here and it’s time to move on to Seattle or something. He may be right…

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The good ole' days?

1956: In the fields near my hometown of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley of California, a farm worker is forced to stand naked while being sprayed with DDT. The photographer was later arrested for 'documenting' such treatment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sweet Dreams, Sadie

Sadie had been dumped by someone near my place at Newman Lake and was sort of taken in by one of the neighbors. Eventually Sadie became the neighborhood dog and everyone fed her and so on. Unfortunately, no one took responsibility and she usually had no place to go on cold winter nights. When I was out at the lake, especially in winter, she would show up, eat, and stay for awhile and then leave, not seeming to mind the cold. Sadie seemed to do OK but as she got older I became concerned for her well-being. I would have brought her back to Spokane but at the time I traveled a lot and wasn’t home enough to care for her. So, when a friend mentioned that she wanted a dog I knew exactly what to do. We zoomed out to Newman. Sadie was waiting as usual, jumped into the car and laid down in the back. It was like she had been waiting to come last...all this time...

The friend had a fence put up around her place and Sadie took to it and her instantly and vice a versa. Sadie seemed very relaxed and content in her new home, but oddly lethargic. Then one day, about 6 weeks after Sadie moved in, she collapsed and was taken to the clinic. Sadie was terminal, suffering from cancer that had metastasized throughout her body. My friend was devastated; I was also shocked but grateful that this kind and devoted creature had a few comfortable weeks at the end.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The vase

Another creation by Chris Kelsey; I particularly like the way he uses bone ash as the outer layer of glaze to achieve the wrinkly effect. It reminds of something really ancient; something you might find during an archeological dig. Pieces of this type always sell quickly so I asked if he could make more just like it. He informed me that the effect is not exactly reproducible and comes out differently each time, often disastrously, part of the charm I guess. Anyway, one day a friend and I were looking at a similar piece and she asked “what do you put in it…flowers?” He gave us this contemptuous look that read something like ‘you soulless philistines, how dare you presume to debase this work of art…’ but after a pause finally said “it’s fine the way it is, nothing goes in it”. Oops--and that settled that.

I had never cared much for pottery, always thought it kind of a lesser art. A while back I started frequenting the Trackside Studio where Mark Moore and Chris Kelsey create and display. Now…well…as you can see from the photo…pottery is way cool.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Indirect Reflection

Here is another painting by Tom the Artist; from his ‘Indirect Reflection’ series. He tries to explain to me how, what, and why he does what he does, and sometimes...I understand some of what he says-bonus!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Talkie Walkie and the Totem Arro

I scored a great deal on a pair of the waif-ish Totem Arros and started playing some of my favorite CDs. They all sounded pretty good as the Arros put out a huge soundstage, but then I got to Air’s Talkie Walkie from 2004. It had always sounded somewhat cutesy before, I mean, they’re French guys after all. But now, I’m totally floored…c’est fantastique! I finally realize why they named themselves Air. They throw out dense, swirling layers of sound that are at the same time totally ethereal; I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like it. It is similar to what Roxy Music achieved with the 1982 release of Avalon but with significantly improved recording and playback technology that allows one to really hear the skill and craft these guys put into their music.

French Pop + French (Canadian) speakers = a sonic aural ephiphany..."wonderful, wonderful, and yet again wonderful".

Monday, June 04, 2007


A piece from local potter Chris Kelsey's 'Origins' series. From the photo, you can't see the glazing inside the egg-like things but the piece is fantastic--this guy is good.

Public art on Riverside Ave.

My daughter Kerry and friend Tom, formerly known as 'The Artist'; neither cared for the raucous and overly crowded Elk. Actually, Tom IS a very fine artist (he did the fab Lake Painting and this gem). We both carried cameras and I was fascinated by his skill or talent in composing shots. That 'creative vision' thing again.