Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
If you have any interest in haiku or tanka at all (or even if you don't think you do, having only seen the boring kind) check out Fay Aoyagi's website and click around for samples of her work and her English translations of contemporary Japanese haiku and tanka. If you read Japanese, you can read it here, too!
This is a photo of Fay reading haiku at our Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Christmas party in 2006. The photographer in the lower right is noted haiku author Paul O. Williams.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
S read me an article the other day about a mid-20th century Hungarian writer, Sandor Marai. I can't type Hungarian diacriticals here, but he has one in each name. He was driven out of Hungary around 1949, and lived in the US in obscurity for the next 40 years before committing suicide in 1989. I got his short book Esther's Inheritance, on my Kindle and read it before going to bed. It's a very good book, so tonight I am thankful to Amazon's Kindle and the translators and publishers who now make this work available.I've ordered a memoir and some more of his fiction. Stay tuned--I know I keep promising to make this a better blog; this seems to have the result that I procrastinate writing ANY post. . . Good Grief, as that poor Chuck used to say. That's a great book, too, the one about Charlie Brown's creator! It wasn't as funny as it seemed.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Here is something that happened on February 23, 1912. In a letter to his companion, Emilie Floge, Gustav Klimt wrote, " I really am getting my telephone today--who knows how much it will irritate me."
I can dig that! It is fun to think about living without phones, the way everybody did, a mere hundred years ago.
This tidbit was brought to you courtesy of the Chronology of Klimt's life in the back of the book Gustav Klimt; Modernism in the Making, which I finished tonight. The reproductions in the book are very beautiful and they cover the whole arc of his career. I have always preferred his landscape paintings to the golden portraits of society ladies, but I am very glad to have this book. His drawings are exquisite! Tomorrow, I need to remove another book in the shelf of my European art favorites to make room for this one. The perils of being a retired librarian. . .
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I need to get back into the swing of writing this blog. Look for improvement, faithful readers. I've been reading some great stuff.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
We hope to take Our grandson to the new Academy of Science building, at least. A view of the Golden Gate bridge, etc. etc. I'm off to look at tourism websites; I haven't spent too much time in San Fran lately.
When he was a child, he lived for two years with his parents in Helsinki, near the harbor and used to walk there with his father. From the first and second pages of this book:
"I saw only endless plains of gray Baltic light. This didn't bother me. It was the world I knew. It was a world of shadowy loves. If a person appeared before me he or she resembled nothing more than the black trunk of a tree. A troupe of women emerged from the mist. They were indistinct, liquid, black and green. These were the old women from the neighborhood unfurling their carpets on the shore of the frozen sea.
Lordy! Then they sang!
The tree women sang and beat their carpets in the Baltic wind.
My father told me to listen.
"These are the old songs." he said.
The women croaked, chanted, breathed and wept.
The women were forest people. They had survived starvation, civil war, and then another war, the "Winter War" with the Russians.
Their carpets swayed on wooden racks that stood along the shore. They sang and beat dust from the rugs with sticks.
They sang over and over a song of night. The song unwound as if from a spool. I remember its terrible darkness. They were together singing a song that rose from a place deeper than dreams. Even a boy knows what this is.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Wind poured from the city through the masts of sailboats.
There was an old man who sold potatoes from a dory in the harbor. His voice was like sand. He talked to me every day.
Potatoes from the earth, potatoes from the cellar! You can still taste the summer! You can still taste the summer!
Later I would think of his voice when reading of trolls under bridges."
I cannot recommend this book highly enough!!!
Monday, February 09, 2009
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Can you read this? Click for larger view. Another little evidence of our chequered past. No Chinese need apply. . .
Of course you can't! Here's the text of the bronze plaque:
Cardinal French Laundry
This reinforced concrete building was designed by Edwin Reichel and constructed for approximately $7,000 by Wells P. Goodenough in 1931. The structure housed the Cardinal French Laundry until 1989.
During the early twentieth century, the laundry industry in this neighborhood near African American, Chinese and Japanese residents was an important source of employment for workers who were unskilled. The industry was also associated with serious social issues in Palo Alto at that time including the treatment of women workers, racial prejudice and labor struggles. The term “French Laundry” originated as a code for laundries that did not hire Chinese workers.