Wednesday, November 29, 2023

BEAUTY: Art--Caroline Dewison

I am enchanted with these sweet little book nooks (small dioramas the size of a thick book that fit between tomes on your bookshelves). Based on classic books like THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE and THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, these charming little scenes by Caroline Dewison, of A House Of Wonders often incorporate theatrical lighting to enhance the illusion.

She sells her miniature creations on her site...and takes commissions!

Friday, November 24, 2023

In It

The Zone. The Flow.

“The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”
--Robert Henri

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
--Søren Kierkegaard

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving 2023!

Once again, we find ourselves approaching a holiday season with a world full of turbulence, pain, uncertainty, and violence. Such dark challenges make us look to what we have in our own lives, close to us, and cherish those people, things, and places even more. On this holiday of gratitude, let's give thanks for the things that make us good, strong, honorable, and loving human beings. Let's give thanks to the people who bring light and calm and love to our lives and to the world. Let's give thanks for the generous actions and goodwill in our lives--whether done by others or ourselves--that strengthen the fabric of humanism and the choices to unite, protect, and find value in this existence, and which can combat the turbulence, pain, uncertainty, and darkness. Hold dear these things and live up to these ideals for which we are grateful. Let's find value in ourselves and others, and express this gratitude in our intentions, deeds, and words. Let's be grateful for the value of the human experience, love, and life itself.


Thanks, Jesus 2023

As we eat our Thanksgiving meal, let us thank not an imaginary figure in the sky but those who are TRULY responsible--migratory agricultural workers--for helping to bring our food to our tables, through their numbingly long days of low-wage, backbreaking work.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

"Heaven Up There" by Palace

"Heaven Up There" by Palace. One more chance to hug, to say I love you, to say goodbye...just one more.


Well the night is gone
And the shadows clear
When I hear my song
Will the grave be near?
See what you want
But I'm the rising tide
I'm no force of god
I'm a thousand lives
I take what I want
'Cause I'm the frightening sky
I'm a selfish man
Designed to die

But is it heaven up there?
Is it heaven up there?
Is it heaven up there?
'Cause it's hell down here

Believe in existence spent
To separate us from them
To know that your blood runs thin
Is to live with the truth within
So scrape up the bruise I wear
And eradicate all my fears
Prepare me to walk these stairs
I don't know where my future is
I don't know where my future is

Is it heaven up there?
Is it heaven up there?
Is it heaven up there?
Is it heaven up there?

Say I've been blind
For the use of my time
Wanna be a better man
On the ground that I stand
There's something out there
Just know that I've cared
Do this side by side
Motion with the tide
Ooh ooh ooh Ooh ooh ooh

Is it heaven up there?
Is it heaven up there?
Is it heaven up there?
'Cause it's hell down here
Yes, it's hell down here
Is this heaven up there?
I know there's heaven up there
I know there's heaven up there
'Cause there's heaven up there

Happy birthday mom. Is it heaven up there?

The Shot That Was Heard Around The World

Today, sixty years ago, a man was shot in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 P.M.

All day
Hiding from the sun
Waiting for the golden one
Waiting for your fame
After the parade has gone

Outside was a happy place
Every face had a smile like the golden face
For a second
Your knuckles white as your fingers curled
The shot that was heard around the world
For a second

It took seconds of your time to take his life
It took seconds


For a second

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

I Miss My Mom

Take one if you miss your mom too.

Monday, November 20, 2023

"Alarms" by HÆLOS and BEA

Yesterday I posted videos from HÆLOS' updated "Somnum" project here, and I want to share another video from their most recent release, "Where We Bring Our Burdens." This song, "Alarms" features BEA on vocals. A special song and a special sound...with a very special video of amazing shadow puppetry by photographer and artist JC Verona.

It’s been a while my friend,
And what was said was said,
We’ll make it,
Or fake it then.

It’s been a lot since when,
The shadow cast on them,
I’m terrified.

Don’t go chasing,
Let the feeling grow.
Cause I’ve been wondering
How to be alone.

Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm.
You’ll make them scared,
You’ll make them scared.
Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm.
There’s nothing there,
There’s nothing there.

So disavow your senses,
Some credit now, debt later
Take it,
Just numb it out.

They couldn’t love you better,
The weightless sin when we’re together,
A fallen feather.

You can think it but
Don’t go chasing
Let the feeling grow.
Cause I’ve been wondering
How to be alone.

Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm.
You’ll make them scared,
You’ll make them scared.
Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm,
Don’t cause alarm.
There’s nothing there,
There’s nothing there.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

More "Somnum" by HÆLOS

In 2021, the phenomenal band HÆLOS created a work they called "Somnum" to reflect where they were at the time: "When the whole world is asleep and it feels like it’s just you, on your own, it can be wonderfully calm or horribly isolating. Although the band have been in different locations this year, they have often found themselves in the same sleepless state. Lotti navigating the early days of motherhood, Dom struggling with tinnitus and Daniel working nocturnal hours. In this twilight search they began exploring white noise and sharing ambient albums, gathering a palette of sounds that would form the basis of 'Somnum'."

Well, thankfully the band have revisited this musical sleep project, adding new tracks which build on the original ambient sound by introducing a cinematic quality and intriguing sampled sounds. And the visuals in the following videos are subtle but effective. They appear to be AI generated which give them an unsettling feeling, unmoored from reality. Taking place at night, naturally, the urban images of distant skylines, underground tunnels and roads, fire escapes, metal catwalks, skyscrapers, car parks, street lights, tower blocks, lighted advertising signs, bare roof tops, and overhead pipes and wires, all bathed in blue fluorescent or neon orange are inexplicably endless. Incongruous ballerinas, hip-hop dancers, and parkour freerunners are caught in mid-leap, sporting three arms or three legs as they flicker, shimmer, and dissolve. This is how I dream. Everything is based on reality but everything shifts. Something about where I am is just not right. Eerie. Uncanny. Even a little frightening. And the music reflects all of that.

Here is "Quietus," "Caligo," "Momenta," and "Coram Tempestate."

Friday, November 17, 2023

"Asleep" by Atom Made Earth

I am intrigued by this lovely, moody song, "Asleep" from a new release by Atom Made Earth (the musical outfit of Italian composer Daniele Polverini). The album "Songs For A Dreamer" is out now.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

I Miss My Dad

Take one if you miss your dad too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

"Wall Of Eyes" by The Smile

The in-the-meantime musical project The Smile headed by Radiohead (previously here) members Thom Yorke (previously here) and Johnny Greenwood along with jazz drummer Tom Skinner have released a new song, "Wall Of Eyes" from a release of the same name out this coming January 26th, 2024. In typical Yorke/Radiohead fashion, the song shyly ambles up to you, seemingly innocent, and stealthily proceeds to devastate you...yes, let's raise a glass to everything we don't deserve...

Down a peg or two we all go
Behind a wall of eyes
Of my own device
Is that still you?
With a heart of ice
Changed to black and white
Strap yourself in

I try, but it don't go away
I try, but it don't go away
I try, but it don't go away

Let us raises our glasses
To what we don't deserve
What we're not worthy of
So rich and wide
To the grains of sand
Slipping through our hands

I try, but it don't go away (One, two, three, four, five)
I try, but it don't go away (One, two, three, four, five)
I try, but it don't go away (One, two, three, four, five)

Is that still you? (One, two, three, four, five)
Through hollow eyes (One, two, three, four, five)
Changed to black and white (One, two, three, four, five)
So strap yourself in (One, two, three, four, five)

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

"Mishima" by Daphne Guinness

Nice new little ditty by heiress to the Guinness fortune, philanthropist, actor, film producer, and fashion icon Daphne Guinness. "Mishima" is from her forthcoming album "Sleep," out in early 2024.

And Andy Butler of Hercules and Love Affair (previously here) has remixed the song and added a little bit of bottom from the club and a little bit of electronic bee-boop perkiness.

Monday, November 13, 2023

"11 mind-boggling facts about time" from BBC Future

11 mind-boggling facts about time
By BBC Future Staff
11th November 2023

This week, we're launching a special series called "Time: The Ultimate Guide". To kick things off, here are some of the most fascinating facts we've learnt to date…

To mark the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who, we'll be spending the next week tackling the big questions about time, including the science of time travel, how clocks have shaped humanity, and even the mind-bending temporal consequences of flying into a black hole.

We're starting our ultimate guide with 11 mind-bending facts about the physics, psychology and history of time, plucked from the BBC Future archive. Read on to learn why there's more to time than meets the eye.

Think of time as a line. Which direction does it flow? Is it horizontal or vertical? Or perhaps it is not a line at all for you. The answers to these questions may very well depend on what language you speak.

Much of the way we perceive the time is influenced by the language we use. For example, English speakers describe time as being in front or behind them, or as a horizontal line moving left to right. Mandarin speakers envision time as a vertical line where down represents the future, while Greek people tend to view time as a three dimensional entity that is "big" or "much" rather than "long". In Pormpuraww, a remote Indigenous Australian community, time is arranged according to east and west.

Much like us, the way time passes changes will change as the Universe ages. The "arrow of time", which points from the past towards the future, is thought to have its origins in the Big Bang. The infant Universe is thought to have had very low entropy – a measure of disorder or randomness. Since then, entropy has been increasing – this change is what gives the arrow of time its directionality. It's the same reason it's easy to crack a fresh egg, but extremely hard to take a mess of shards and yolk and create a whole fresh egg.

No one knows what will happen at the end of the Universe, but a strong contender is "heat death", where entropy will have reached a maximum and the arrow of time will lose its direction. Think of it as all the eggs in the Universe being already smashed, and after that nothing interesting ever happens again.

We count, therefore we are. The ticking of time is the invisible heartbeat of our lives, and affects every moment of our consciousness. Time and self are in perpetual handshake – even a human trapped in a completely dark cave would still be governed by the circadian rhythms of our internal clocks.

Holly Andersen, who studies the philosophy of science and metaphysics at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, warns about what losing our sense of time could do to our sense of self. She believes it's not possible to have conscious experience without time and the passage of time. Think about how your personal identity is built over time, filed away as memories.

"These memories constitute you over time," says Andersen. "If you lose a bunch of time you are now a different person."

Metrologists work very hard to keep time, using ever-finer technology to measure the passing of minutes, seconds and hours. However, while their atomic clocks are incredibly accurate, they're not perfect. In fact, there is no clock on Earth that is entirely "correct".

The actual process of defining what time it is – right now – is based on lots of clocks, all keeping time around the world. National laboratories all send their time-keeping to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris, which then creates a weighted average. The time, therefore, is a human construct.

Various factors are crucial to our construction of the perception of time – memory, concentration, emotion and the sense we have that time is somehow located in space. Our time perception roots us in our mental reality. Time is not only at the heart of the way we organise life, but the way we experience it.

The upside is that this gives us some measure of control over how we experience it. For example, if you want to feel like your life is not rushing past you, the key is novelty: research shows that a life of repetitive and routine activities will feel, as you reflect on it, that time is moving faster.

The next century can often feel very far away: a distant land, where hypothetical unborn generations live. However, there are millions of people on Earth right now who will be there when the fireworks go off on New Year's Eve 2099. A child born in 2023 will be their 70s. We're far more connected across long spans of time than we might realise. Through our family ties, we're all just a hop, skip and a jump away from past and future centuries.

Time does not always flow at the same rate for everyone. Is time all in the mind?

A car skids for what feels like an age, spraying gravel into the air where it hangs motionless. Time slows almost to a standstill and, in that moment, you react and dive for safety. In situations like this, stress can prompt the brain to speed up its internal processing – to help you handle a life-or-death situation.

Brain disorders such as epilepsy or stroke, too, can cause temporal tricks of the mind – speeding time up or stopping it dead. Some people, like athletes, can even train their brain to create a time warp on demand; a surfer catching a wave at the perfect moment, an unstoppable footballer.

Time, it seems, is a fragile illusion. In a moment we could find ourselves in an altered reality.

Changing the clocks for summer – to make the most of long daylight hours at higher latitudes – is not universally embraced by everyone. But love it or hate it, there's a stubborn British campaigner you can thank. Without a builder called William Willett, a quarter of the world – including the US – might never have adopted daylight saving time.

After Willett managed to persuade political leaders, Britain made the change during World War One. The move came about because of a coal shortage – and longer daylight hours meant less need for coal-powered electricity to keep the lights on. It was such an effective idea that in World War Two, Britain took it a step further and temporarily ran on Double Summer Time, a full two hours ahead of GMT, to save on industrial costs.

As you read these words, it's easy to assume that it's "now". However, it's not.

Take the simple act of looking at a person speaking to you across a table. The confirmation of them moving their lips reaches our eyes before the sound of their voice (because light travels faster than sound) but our brain syncs them up to make them match.

It might surprise you to know that the Moon – our planet's constant orbital companion in the astro-ballet we perform around the Sun – is inching away from us. Every year the distance between the Earth and the Moon increases by 1.5in (3.8cm). And as it does so, it is making our days ever so slightly longer in the process.

This is down to the tug of the Moon's gravity on our planet. The gravitational pull of the Moon creates tides, which are a "bulge" of water that extends in an elliptical shape both towards and away from the gravity of the Moon. But the Earth spins on its axis much faster than the Moon orbits above, meaning friction from the ocean basins drag the water along with them. This causes the bulge to move slightly ahead of the Moon in its orbit, which in turn attempts to pull it backwards. This gradually saps our planet's rotational energy, slowing its spin while the Moon gains energy, causing it to move into a higher orbit and away from the Earth.

The incremental braking of our planet's spin has caused the length of an average Earth day to increase by about 1.09 milliseconds per century since the late 1600s. Other estimates put the figure a little higher, at 1.78ms per century by drawing on more ancient observations of eclipses. While none of this sounds like much, over the course of the Earth's 4.5-billion-year history, it adds up.

For many Nepalis, this article was not published in 2023. In the Nepali Bikram Sambat calendar, it's actually the year 2080. At least four calendars are used among different ethnic groups there, and Nepal is even 15 minutes out of sync with standard time zones.

It turns out many cultures are fine with experiencing multiple years simultaneously. In Myanmar, it's also 1384, in Thailand it's 2566, and in Ethiopia it's 2016, where the year lasts 13 months. The Islamic calendar, meanwhile, marked the arrival of the year 1445 in July.

Link to original article with additional information and video about each item:

Sunday, November 12, 2023

BEAUTY: Painting--David Wilson

I am loving the light reflected on the rain-slicked streets in David Wilson's paintings. The way he catches headlights and streetlights and neon signs is enchanting...

Top to bottom: All That Time; Bring Me With You; I Like To Ride In The Backseat With You; I'll Take That Chance; In The Distance; Last Night; On The Other Side; So Much To Say To You; Somebody Said To Me; Take Me Away; The Whispers In My Head

Originals of some of these images are for sale on his site!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Veteran's Day 2023

"Regardless of feelings on conflicts past or present or military action in general, it is best to understand that the men and women who are or have been in the Armed Forces do not choose their wars, but they do their work no matter what the cost."

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower, Address before the Canadian Club, Ottawa, Canada, 1/10/46

Friday, November 10, 2023

Meat The Fish, London

If you're in London and asking yourself, "Where should I go for dinner?" then wonder no more! The interior design alone of Meat The Fish, a new Maria Group-designed restaurant in Chelsea is enough of a draw with its nature-inspired five-panel tapestry by Studio Bokja, and the octopus fireplace wall by ceramic artist Souraya Haddad, but on top of that the menu looks delicious. According to their website, "A simple, clean food approach is at the heart of our daily menu. Open for lunch and dinner, our Mediter-Asian dishes feature seasonal, local produce with a good balance of meat, fish and plant-based specials. Our curved bar is central to the restaurant and offers enticing signature cocktails and the full dining experience as well."

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Currently listening to...

...the sublime "Answered Prayers" from David Sylvian's (previously here) incredible 1986 double release "Gone To Earth." Maybe it's the time of year but this wistful, introspective, delicate, even ghostly song just feels right.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

BEAUTY: Painting--Kevin Specht

I am touched by artist Kevin Specht's narratives in his work. Are they landscapes populated with people, or are they portraits with a landscape background? I suspect they are both since the landscape and the people seem to be interdependent. But the thing that really moves me is how some people in these crowd scenes seem to be made of light, as though they are not physically there but more of an energetic presence, a memory. These spirits walk among and with us: one woman even walks arm in arm with one, a former partner still there to comfort and guide. These two realms exist at the same time for Specht and the idea of this kind of continuity makes me emotional.

Top to bottom: Bike Path; Bocce Players; Crossroads; Flood; Rendezvous Problems; Sand; Through The Park; Two-Way Street